Hobbies Couponing How to Use Coupon Codes and Promo Links Easy Steps to Saving Money With Coupon Codes When Shopping Online Share PINTEREST Email Print Paul Bradbury/ Caiaimage/ Getty Images Couponing Local Coupons Coupons Outlets By Donna L. Montaldo Donna L. Montaldo Massey Junior College (Fashion Institute of America) Donna Montaldo wrote for Dotdash Media, Inc. for almost 17 years, covering couponing, discount shopping, and other ways to save money. Learn about our Editorial Process Updated on 12/05/18 Using online coupon codes or promo links when shopping online can be similar to utilizing paper coupons or shopping the sales at local stores. But unlike paper coupons that you hand to a cashier to redeem, online stores have a code to enter during checkout that relates to a specific discount and that amount is subtracted from the total purchase. The discounts range from dollar-off savings to free shipping and beyond. How do shoppers find online coupon codes? When coupon codes first began circulating, they were not often found on retailers' websites. Instead, coupon codes appeared on related shopping sites in order to lead shoppers to the retailer's online store. Today, many retailers continue to have coupons on related websites, but also offer one or more coupon codes on their store's websites or through weekly emails that are sent out to their customers. The best way to locate a coupon code is by using your favorite search engine such as Google and typing in "Coupon Code." This will generate a list of websites that offer coupon codes. Shoppers can then visit the websites and compare the coupon savings that are available. Sometimes shoppers can find coupon codes for specific stores after they have selected what they want to purchase. This can be done by putting the retailer's name and "coupon code" into the search engine. For example, if a shopper knew they wanted to purchase a dress from Macy's, they could find the available coupon codes for Macy's by entering "Macy's Coupon Codes." What are "linked" coupons and how do you redeem them? A linked coupon does not have an actual coupon code to activate the promotion, but instead includes a special link. When you click the link, it will take you to the online store and you will get the discount automatically when you check out. How do I redeem a coupon code? Depending on the online store, there are a few different places to enter coupon codes. In some cases, the coupon code can be entered in the shopping cart, before checking out. Other times, the coupon is entered on the order review page prior to checking out. Look around carefully for the coupon code's (also called promo code) "submit" area before completing a purchase from an online store. What if I don't see any place to put the code? Check and see if the website has a FAQ (frequently asked questions) section for an answer to the question. Often times you can find it on the "Customer Service" section of a website. If you do not see it anywhere on the site, call and ask the customer service representative to explain how to use coupon codes on the website. How do I know if a coupon code is working? Usually, the merchant will have a page showing how much you are being charged for the merchandise, how much is being discounted because you submitted a coupon code and any shipping fees that may be applied. This should show on an order page before you submit your approval of the charges. If you enter the coupon code and do not see the discount on the order review page, try contacting customer service before completing the transaction. How do I know if a "linked promotion" is working? Generally, a linked promotion will take you directly to the product that is being promoted at a special price or the page that advertises the discount. If it does not, then look for it on your order page before you accept the transaction as a desired purchase. What if the coupon code is not working? Many times, online stores will omit an expiration date for a coupon code so that it can be closely monitored and changed or discontinued quickly. Online stores may alter or discontinue any promotion at any time. If a coupon does not work, it is best to look for another code. Can I use online coupons in my local stores? Local stores are not obligated to honor online deals unless the promotion specifically states otherwise. If you print out the offer and bring it to the store, some stores will honor it as a courtesy to you. It all depends on the deal and which store it is, but it never hurts to ask. Can I double up on coupon deals by using more than one at a time? Most coupon codes specify that only one promotion can be used per transaction or per item purchased. You can get even more savings by looking for a rebate on the item that you purchased with a coupon code. Rebates are fairly plentiful on electronic devices, computers, software and home improvement items. If you cannot find one online, contact the retailer's customer service department and find out if one is available for the item you wish to purchase. Going Beyond Online Coupon Websites While it is important to find your favorite websites that specialize in coupons for shopping online, you can also go to popular rebate websites that not only offer coupon codes but will also give additional rebates if you make a purchase. For example, Ebates.com is a shopping portal that offers its members online coupons and cashback from purchases made at over 2,500 online stores. There are no forms to fill out or fees for shoppers to use the service. When a shopper makes a purchase through an Ebates link, Ebates receives a commission from the retailer and gives part of that commission back to the shopper. The amount saved can really add up, especially for shoppers who make a lot of online purchases. makes a purchase through an Ebates link, Ebates receives a commission from the retailer and gives part of that commission back to the shopper. The amount saved can really add up, especially for shoppers who make a lot of online purchases.