The Internet age has opened up a whole new level of couponing. A whole new industry, in fact. There are Web sites dedicated to delivering coupons right to your inbox (so convenient, so tempting!), and already established stores have recently caught up, too.
Some "big box" stores now offer daily or weekly e-mails with special discounts, often ones you can use for a limited time (sometimes as little as a day). You usually need to sign up for them, though, so that part takes some initiative on your end.
The bigger deal here, though, is the Web-based industry that has popped up with the sole purpose of offering discounts, typically local ones. Once you register, which is almost always free, you'll open your inbox each morning to find coupons for pretty much everything -- home goods, electronics, clothing, massages, yoga, facials, laser eye surgery, gourmet food, river-rafting trips. The list goes on and on.
With these types of sites, you need to buy the coupon. So, for instance, you'll pay $10 for a $50 coupon you can use at a local restaurant. You're spending $10 to save $40. The (relatively) exciting part is this: In many cases, there's a tipping point. The deal might require that 300 people buy the coupon in order to activate it. If 300 buy, you've got your $40 savings. If the sales don't quite make it, you get your $10 back.