When you're shopping online, you may have noticed most online retailers give you the option to enter a discount voucher code before you finalise your payment. These discount codes are a good way of saving money on online purchases, and there are many websites that deal in collecting discount codes for their users at no cost.
You can use discount vouchers to buy all sorts of things: clothes, books, music, gadgets, hotels, car hire, restaurants etc. Common deals are a scaled percentage reduction (like 10% off), free delivery, or two-for-one.
Sometimes these discount codes are deals made exclusively between a retailer and a discount voucher website, and in this case the deal is likely to be unique. Other times the codes are designed to give discounts to a specific group of customers (loyalty card holders, members clubs and organisations, etc.) that have gotten out onto the Internet.
However, most of these sites are not performing a public service, they are being paid to funnel traffic to the retail website, and so we'd recommend reading the following tips to use discount vouchers effectively:
- Just because you have a discount doesn't mean that you're finding the best deal. Always compare prices between several retailers or use an online shopping comparison engine before making your purchase. You may find the item you're looking cheaper on another website, and you may even find a discount voucher for that site too.
- If you don't find the code you want on any of the better known discount voucher sites, try using a search engine. Retailers may have made an exclusive deal with a lesser known website, and you could find a voucher you can use by searching for the company name and the words discount voucher or discount code.
- Some websites will imply that a discount is available and give you a link to click through to the retailer's website, only for you to discover there is no discount at all. This practise is frowned upon by the Internet Advertising Bureau, and the best advice is to ignore that website and find a better one.
- Even the biggest discount voucher sites may list expired voucher codes that no longer work. If the site has a feature to allow it, let them know that this code does not work so it can be taken down, then try to find another code.
- If one of your favourite retailers is listed on a discount voucher site but there are no active vouchers, there may be a feature to sign-up via email. This will mean that you'll be notified as soon as there is a discount voucher available for that retailer.
Of course there are no discount vouchers available for Money Dashboard on any of these websites, as our personal finance software is free of charge.