coupon coup

Hot cup of coffee at a very cool price.

I bought coffee on the internet last night. Six boxes of K-Cups, to be exact…which comes out to something like 144 attempts to wake me up and get my kids off to school.

The total cost was supposed to be $65.94 before shipping. But what did I actually pay for my caffeine load? $52.75…and shipping was free. To score this deal, I followed a shopping strategy that I’ve been using for a few years now. It’s a bit tedious, but if you’re not schooled in internet discounts, I promise you it’s worth hanging with me here for the step-by-steps. (Excuse some of the blurry images, below–so much for screen shots. You can click on them for better viewing.)

My total, before shipping and coupon discount...

First, I find something I want to buy (if you’re reading this blog regularly, this should be no problem). Then, I head over to Froogle–it’s Google’s price-based search engine, which lists items by seller and cost–to get an idea of the range at which my dream coffee/shoe/business card/art print is available. Next, I go to eBay and check how much the item is selling for at auction. (Arrange your search by “lowest price first.”) If a particular lot seems to be generating plenty of bids, I skip that seller, knowing I’m not likely to find a deal there. So now I turn to the Buy It Now sellers (no bidding involved—it’s a straight purchase), looking at their prices, feedback scores and shipping costs. If all the variables seem to be a much better deal than a straight internet or retail purchase, I’ll pull the trigger. But more often than not, once you factor in shipping, the eBay price is equivalent; so I head back over to Google and find the best number from an online retailer.

And now we get to the part where a bonanza deal can kick in: You know when you’re wrapping up an online purchase and see a box that says “enter promotional code here?” You find those codes by searching the net. Simply open a new web page and type the name of the retailer along with the word “coupon” into your search-bar engine; up pops dozens of coupon sites to peruse. My favorite, most reliable one is, but I’ve heard that is a good bet as well. You’ll see several coupons offered; some will work, some won’t, but most of the time, it’s worth all the back and forth effort. (Important note: I actually find that obscure retailers seem to result in the biggest coupon discounts. In the case of my coffee, I used Who? Exactly.)

My very own "cash cow."

Free shipping + a coupon discount = Score!

All this Ellery Queen (or should I say, Hillary Quinn) deal-sleuthing takes some patience—probably a good 30-40 minutes from initial search to purchase. But I figure I’d spend a lot more if I went to the mall. Time and money, that is. Still skeptical? Here’s another one of my win-wins:

I only wanted 250 business cards--but 500 resulted in a better discount.


I’m sure I’m not alone in finding cool ways to spend less. Got any tips to share? We won’t enter our Amex numbers into the computer until you do.

  • Nancy

    Hey Hillary, your maven from Brooklyn here!! This is SO aftr my own heart! What I also do is Google “Printable Coupons” with the name of the retailer, and you can find ones that you can print out and take to the stores. some coupon sites have different coupons, so I always check them all out. Also like
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