Online coupon codes are a great way to make savings when shopping online. They take their cue from traditional paper coupons but, instead of a scrap of paper, you get a specific combination of numbers and letters that need to be entered on the website in question before purchase. While discount codes represent a great way to make savings on regular online purchases, there are some pitfalls to avoid when using them and some great strategies to help shoppers get the most out of this handy tool. In this article, you'll find tips on how to do both.

Coupon codes: How they work

Before we get into the pitfalls and benefits of using discount codes, first, for the uninitiated, here is a basic overview of how the whole thing works. Coupon codes can be broken down into three main types. 

1: Codes that offer a percentage reduction.

2: Codes that offer a fixed amount of the order i.e. 15 GBP.

3: Codes that offer free or discounted shipping.

How to apply or use a code during purchase can vary a little from website to website but it will usually take the form of copying the code into a coupon code box that is found at the checkout stage of your online purchase and hitting 'Apply'.

Things to avoid and be cautious of​
Did you discount code apply correctly?

While coupons codes are a great tool, there are many reasons why they might not be working at the time of entry. Most codes have an expiration date but this is not always displayed. There may also be exclusions or special terms and conditions that will mean it does not apply to the product you are purchasing. The bottom line is this; don't assume your code has applied simply because you entered it and pressed 'Apply'. Many stores have a checkout system that clearly displays the discount underneath or near the checkout price. If this is not the case, keep the original price of the item in mind and check to see if it is the same at the point of checkout. If it is, you can contact customer service or check the FAQ section of the website to see if you can find a reason why your code hasn't been applied.

Don't ever pay for a promotion code

As a rule, stores offer promotion codes to entice you to their website with the promise of a saving. It makes no sense for them to sell these codes. If a website is offering to do so, it is an indication that they are not on the level. Avoid!

Tips to get more out of your codes

Use a discount code website

You can now find websites that take the work out of finding valid discounts by gathering them all in one place. This will allow you to peruse a variety of discounts from major stores such as Amazon or Flubit. Our advice is to find one that links you directly to the deal in question and clearly displays the expiration date: that's exactly how Flubit discount codes are displayed on Plusvouchercode.

Do your calculations to choose the right code for you

As we mentioned, discount codes can offer savings as a percentage, a straight-up price reduction or as a saving on shipping. Understanding which one represents the biggest saving based on your own unique circumstance can help you decide on the right option. You can choose to do this as a mental arithmetic exercise if that's your bag, or you can run through the checkout process up until the final price to let the platform or website do the hard work for you.

Published by Alice Queen