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Before you click 'buy,' search for coupons

A quick Web search can lead to money-saving coupons for your favorite online stores.

Rick Broida

There I was, about to order something from for Mrs. Cheapskate (am I way ahead on holiday shopping? Yes I am!), when I noticed the ever-popular Promotion Code box.

Rats, I thought--I don't have a promotion code. But then, a light bulb: maybe the Web does.

A quick Google search later (" promotion code"), I'd snagged a 5-percent-off coupon. Total savings: $7.50. Not a fortune by any stretch, but a pretty good return on my 30-second Google effort.

There's also a site called DealLocker that collects coupons under one roof for easier searching and browsing.

I've done this a few times before. While at the checkout page for an online store, I'll pop open a new browser tab and search for coupon codes. Sometimes the results are fruitful, like today, but not always. Sometimes the codes are expired or invalid. But, hey, it never hurts to try. The moral of the story: a few minutes of searching can often save you a few bucks--and maybe even more than a few. Give it a try the next time you buy.