Holiday Shoppers Going Online to Find Deals
Old-fashioned coupons are going high-tech.
With folks looking for ways to stretch their budgets this holiday season, millions of consumers who once scoffed at the idea of penny-pinching are turning to coupons. But rather than clipping them from magazines or packages the way Grandma used to do, they're going online.
Many coupon providers saw record traffic during this week's Cyber Monday, now considered the biggest online shopping day of the year. For instance, RetailMeNot saw 1.1 million shoppers - a surge of 57% over last year while CouponCabin visitors edged 65% higher, according to USA Today. The article also noted that over 20% more shoppers are printing online coupons this season than last year.
But as with any sale, it only pays off under the right circumstances.
Unlike those buy one-get one free paper coupons, online discounts allow you to search for what you want - and get a discount on the things you planned to buy anyway. In the past few months, I've found online codes, signed up to receive free samples, and gotten discounts for becoming a Facebook friend of certain stores. The key here is that everything is free.
But if you're buying a new sweater just to get the second 50% off - when you've already got a closet full of sweaters - it's not worth it. Nor is it a good deal to sign up for a store credit card that gives you 20% off your purchase; that so-called discount won't last long once you start paying down your balance plus interest.
Used correctly, coupons can be an easy way to save a few bucks during tough times. But be careful not to go overboard, or you can cancel out any rewards. Of course, if your debt is out of control, you may need more help than a little coupon clipping - or clicking - can provide. As your balance - and subsequently, your interest - grows, an overwhelming debt burden can suck money out of your bank account each month like a hungry vacuum. But when you reduce that debt, you'll lower your monthly obligations - meaning more money for you, no coupons necessary.
By providing a realistic payment plan and legal protection from creditors, a bankruptcy plan can help you achieve the momentum necessary to get out of debt, no matter how big your burden. To find out if bankruptcy is right for your situation, sign up for a free one-on-one debt analysis with one of our Chicago bankruptcy lawyers today.