WCCO CBS News Minnesota 11/05/08 - WCCO CBS News Minnesota
Shopping Smarts: Best Online Saving Sites, Terri Gruca reporting

Some studies estimate that spending 20 to 30 minutes a week searching for online coupons could save the average family as much as $900 a year. We're all trying to pinch pennies, so for the next four Wednesdays WCCO-TV's consumer reporter Terri Gruca is focusing on the best ways to help you save, starting with the best online saving sites.

Local Deals

Minneapolis and St. Paul both have terrific sites that offer coupons to help you tool around town. Meet Minneapolis mainly focuses on deals for out-of-towners, but there are some coupons you can snag to some of your favorite restaurants and the coupons constantly change.

Visit St. Paul launched in April. Adam Johnson works for the St. Paul Convention and Visitors Authority which is in charge of the content.

"You can scroll through by category, you can pick if you know you want a coupon for business "x" you can click on business "x" in the advertiser list, get their coupon and go use it," said Johnson. "It's really easy for people to find coupons they want, tailored down to whatever category they want. If they want restaurant coupon, if they want a lodging coupon if they want an attraction coupon they have an opportunity to find it really easily."

Businesses pay $40 a month to put up a coupon but you pay nothing to cash in on the savings. And there are some great deals on here. Currently there are coupons for hotels during the WCHA, water park discounts, even coupons to some of your favorite restaurants and museums.


Looking to save money on groceries? The Grocery Game monitors advertised sales and then manufacturers coupons helping you combine the savings without having to do the work. Right now the site is offering a four-week trial membership for just $1.00.

After that you'll pay $5 a month to access one store list and it goes up from there. Members log on once a week and access a shopping list, which outlines the sales bargains available at local supermarkets for that week, including both advertised and non-advertised sales. Members then print out that list and use it as a shopping guide.

The site says, "By purchasing the items at their sale prices, in conjunction with the coupons they've already clipped, shoppers can save upwards of 60 percent on their grocery bills. The average savings for a family of four is $482 a month."

Another site is supposed to launch in the Twin Cities in a few weeks. It's called Savings Angel. It operates in a similar fashion where you pay money to save money.

So here are a few sites where you won't pay a penny:

The savings at Coupons.com are targeted for your specific zip code. One of the best things about this site is you don't have to register to save.

You do have to register at My Bargain Buddy, but you'll find grocery and other savings. Karen Hoxmeier, a California mother, created the site in 1999. She was so good at finding bargains that her friends and family kept asking her to share her secrets. So she decided to create a place to direct people.

Now companies send her coupons directly. You'll find deals from 1700 different stores. Her "Hot Deals of the Day" are where she puts items that are at least 75 percent off. Hoxmeier admits she makes money off the hits on her site, but won't say how much. Last year the site generated $8 million in sales.

Promotional Codes

More people are choosing to do their shopping online. You can save as much as 40 percent and even avoid paying shipping with some of the best sites for promotional codes.

Retail Me Not.com is one of Gruca's favorites. It's easy to read. You can plug in the store of your choice and up pops the savings. You can even see which codes people have had the most success using.

Coupon Chief.com is another great place to look. It not only publishes the most popular promotional codes, it shows you the success rates and allows you to post the codes you find. You can even earn money for sharing the savings.

Looking for free shipping? Check out Free Shipping.org where you'll find codes for 800 different stores including Cabela's, Coldwater Creek, JCPenney and Macy's. The site also tells you when the code expires.