NEW YORK (MainStreet) — Consumers flock to coupon codes to slash prices, but knowing what day of the week the best coupon codes are released can help you stretch your savings.
Deal website DealNews.com looked at its own data over the past two years to detect patterns surrounding when retailers release coupon codes with the steepest savings.
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It found the first of the month is when coupons tend to be released by retailers, making this time an obvious choice to browse the web for codes. But these codes tend to be valid for one-month, making for some unimpressive discounts.
Retailers also released coupons towards the beginning of the week, on Sundays and Mondays, which were valid for the entire week. However, these discounts weren't as substantial as coupons that expired within a few days.
"In general, coupons with shorter durations result in bigger savings," says retail expert Mark LoCastro with DealNews.com.
LoCastro found that coupons for May's Memorial Day holiday, known as a major shopping weekend, were released as early as three weeks before, though these coupons were not as strong as those released the Thursday and Friday before the holiday.
"The retailers want to create a sense of urgency and incentivize people to head to stores and spend money," LoCastro adds. "If you know the coupon is only valid for three days you may want to use it, but if it has a three week lifespan, you may forget about the coupon and miss the savings."
Even if you don't have time to pre-plan when you scour the web for coupons, a common rule of thumb is to conduct a quick Internet search before you make any purchase online, instead of leaving the promotional code box on the retailer's website blank. Following retail outlets via social media and email lists is another seamless way to score coupons.
Coupon use can backfire on consumers, as it tends to bolster impulse spending. Some consumers feel pressured to make purchases they don't need, simply because they want the instant gratification from redeeming an unused coupon or scoring an item off of the clearance rack at the store.
If you haven't had much luck with coupons lately, we're about to enter a busy couponing season.
"For past two years, total number of active coupons have been the highest during August and October," LoCastro tells MainStreet.
August includes the busy back-to-school shopping season and final summer clearances, while October is the start of the holiday shopping season.
- Written by Scott Gamm for MainStreet. Gamm is author of MORE MONEY, PLEASE.