Best coupon apps, sites, and extensions for holiday shopping

The holidays are fast approaching, and with many states still battling the effects of COVID,

The holidays are fast approaching, and with many states still battling the effects of COVID, online shopping is going to be more popular than ever in the 2021 holiday season. Thankfully, there are some fantastic apps, sites, and browser extensions that you can use to beat the crowd and receive the best savings.

Whether it is a store program, mobile app, or browser extension, we have hunted down the very best coupon apps, sites, and browser extensions for all of your holiday shopping needs.

Best online shopping sites and apps


Best for quick shipping


amazon-logo.png

Price

After a 30-day free trial, an Amazon Prime membership costs $12.99 per month or $119 per year, plus taxes. Prime discounts apply for students and EBT/government assistance recipients.

At a glance

Ever since its 1994 launch, Amazon has been making a splash, simplifying the way we shop. You can do your shopping from the comfort of your home with available same-day and 2-day shipping in most areas. Your membership also includes additional perks like Prime Video, Amazon Kindle bookstore, Amazon Pharmacy, and Amazon Fresh grocery delivery. 

In addition to shipping discounts and perks, Amazon has a fantastic selection of products from global retailers. Prices are often competitive with daily deals that quickly grow in number as we approach the holidays. There are also extra deals on Amazon products with up to 35% off for early shoppers.

Pros & cons

Pros

Cons

  • Membership fee required 

  • Benefits not available in all areas

  • Some services may cost additional


Best for buying and selling


ebaylogo.png

Price

eBay is free to use, but varying fees apply to sell.

At a glance

eBay was founded in 1995 to serve as an online auction, but it has since evolved to encompass a number of different goods. With eBay, you can buy and sell anything from clothes and electronics to rare collectibles and more. Accounts are available for both personal and business use.

There are two ways to buy: you can purchase an item outright, or you can make your best offer to the seller. The seller can then accept, reject, or counter your offer. Sellers also choose whether to include shipping or bill it to your purchase. If you are not ready to buy, you can use My eBay to track activity and watch pricing on up to 300 different items.

Pros & cons

Pros

Cons

  • Flexible pricing with negotiation tools

  • Multiple payment methods accepted

  • Auctions can get competitive

  • Must work directly with seller to negotiate

  • May have to pay for shipping

  • Currency conversion fees apply


Best for local deals


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Groupon

Price

Groupon is free to use, or you can opt for a Groupon Select membership for $4.99 per month.

At a glance

With over 26 million customers today, Groupon has become a go-to when you want a deal at your local restaurant, spa, or theme park. Given that Groupon’s monthly traffic includes one in five web users, many businesses use the platform as a marketing tool to grow exposure and expand their customer base. That means major savings on your favorite businesses, both old and new. Travel getaways include staycations close to home, as well as exotic destinations across the world. Groupon has also partnered with Live Nation and similar companies to provide exclusive access and discounts to special live events. 

There are also many products available on the retail side, with easy shipping to your home. To earn even more, consider Groupon Select. It gives you access to extra savings, like an additional 25% off local deals and an extra 10% off getaways, events, and tickets.

Pros & cons

Pros

Cons

Best for in-store shopping

target-logo.png

Price

Target Cartwheel is free to use, but if you are approved for the Red Card, it carries a 22.90% APR with no annual fee.

At a glance

One of the best parts about Target is its easy accessibility. When you make a purchase, you have the option of two-hour curbside pick up or in-store pickup. Plus, when you opt for in-store pickup, you can even get a free COVID-19 vaccine with an appointment. If you prefer to have your things come to you, Target has partnered with Shipt to provide Shipt members with same-day delivery on in-store items. 

Target’s new Circle program is an easy way to earn savings. Loyal target shoppers may already be familiar with Cartwheel, but Target has since rebranded the savings program to include Target Circle. It is free to join and provides up to 50% in exclusive savings. There is 1% savings that is upgraded to 5% when you use your Target RedCard. Right now, new Target Circle members receive a free trial for Apple favorites, including Apple Arcade, Apple Music, Apple TV+, and iCloud.

Pros & cons

Pros

Cons

  • In-store pickup

  • Same-day local delivery

  • Free 2-day shipping

  • Restricted to Target purchases

  • Need Red Card for best savings

  • Red Card is eligibility-based

Best savings apps and extensions


Best for cashback


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Rakuten.com

Price

Rakuten is free to use.

At a glance

Rakuten is strategic in its rewards. When you use the Rakuten app to order your Lyft ride, you receive exclusive cashback, plus cashback rewards for your in-store purchases at stores like Best Buy, Nordstrom, Old Navy, and Priceline. If you like to eat out, Rakuten also rewards you with 5% cashback on your entire dining bill, including your server’s tip. Cashback can be redeemed via check or PayPal, depending on which method is most convenient for you. 

To start earning, you simply download the mobile app or install the Rakuten Cash Back Button for Google Chrome. You can also apply for the Rakuten Cash Back Visa® Card.

Pros & cons

Pros

Cons

  • Limited number of retailers

  • No cashback on returned items

  • Rewards paid periodically


Best for web shopping


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Honey.com

Price

Honey is free to use.

At a glance

Although a mobile app is available, Honey works a little differently than most savings sites. It is a desktop browser extension that hangs out in the background of your browser while you shop. When you go to checkout, Honey will automatically trigger a search for the latest and greatest coupons available for that merchant. If you have your eye on something, you can add the product to your Droplist and receive automatic notifications when there is a price drop on your selected item.

You can shop at popular retailers like Finish Line, Sephora, J. Crew, Forever 21, and Lenovo to earn exclusive savings. Honey works with more than 30,000 sites and is growing all the time with more than 17 million members. It boasts an average annual savings of over $30,000 with an average 17.9% discount.

Pros & cons

Pros

Cons

  • Instant savings search while shopping

  • Easy browser extension with available app

  • Simple, free installation


Best for on-demand coupons


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Coupon Sherpa

Price

Coupon Sherpa is free to use.

At a glance

With 3.5 million downloads, Coupon Sherpa is actually a small company with just a minimal staff, but this assures a personal touch for the latest hand-selected deals. The number of retailers is limited, with over 100 available, but these merchants include popular ones like Gap, Kohl’s, Amazon, Hertz, Toys R Us, and Macy’s. In total, Coupon Sherpa counts more than 28,140 printable coupons and codes.  

Coupon Sherpa uses mobile coupons to pass on the savings. Some coupons may need to be printed, while others can be accessed via the mobile app for exclusive promo codes you can use at the register. Coupons are also verified, so you will not waste time on codes that won’t work. A weekly newsletter helps keep you plugged into the best deals.

Pros & cons

Pros

Cons

  • Instant access to coupons

  • Thousands of updated deals

  • Free weekly deals newsletter

  • Some coupons must be printed

  • Must use specific promo code

  • Some local stores don’t accept corporate coupons


Best for automatic savings


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Dosh.com

Price

Dosh is free to use, but there is a $4.99 monthly fee that applies after one year of inactivity. 

At a glance

Dosh offers savings through automatic cashback on your regular spending. There are no coupons, and there is no need to fuss with receipts. Once you download the app, you connect your favorite payment methods for easy and discounted checkout. Venmo and Jelli integrations are available for even greater convenience.

You can use your card at popular participating retailers like Walmart, Disney, Proactiv, Instacart, and Pizza Hut. Dosh then credits cashback, allowing you to transfer your rewards once you earn $25 or more. Cashback can be deposited to your bank, PayPal, or Venmo account, or you can donate your cashback to your favorite charity for an extra dose of good karma.

Pros & cons

Pros

Cons

  • Instant cashback rewards

  • No couponing necessary

  • Huge retailer network

How did we choose these products?

There are countless sites that claim to offer the best savings for your holiday shopping needs, but few actually combine stress-free membership with quick and easy savings. 

To find the best coupon apps, sites, and extensions for holiday shopping, we consider a number of critical factors:

  • Compatibility: While some discounts require you to download an app, others may use printable paper coupons or a browser extension to search out the best savings. 

  • Price: Some apps and sites may charge membership fees or other charges that can counteract your savings.

  • Retailers: Before you choose the right coupon app, site, or extension, we consider which service works with your favorite retailers and businesses.

  • Redemption: For services offering cashback or rewards, it is important to determine how and when these bonuses are distributed.

Before you choose the right coupon service for your holiday shopping, be sure to read the terms and conditions for a full understanding of the requirements. 

Which is the right one for you?

With so many choices for your shopping, this handy guide can help you find the best holiday coupon, apps, sites, and extensions.

Choose this product…

If you want…

Best online shopping apps

Amazon 

Quick shipping

eBay

Best for buying and selling

Groupon 

Best for local deals

Target

Best for in-store shopping

Best savings apps and extensions

Coupon Sherpa

Best for on-demand coupons

Dosh

Best for automatic savings 

Honey

Best for web shopping

Rakuten

Best for cashback

FAQ

How does a coupon app work?

A coupon app is an easy way to bring savings right to your fingertips. These apps search for the best discounts and deals from your favorite retailers and service providers. Coupon apps require a mobile download, but some services may also be available via a website or browser extension.

How much does a coupon app cost?

Most coupon apps are free, but there may be additional costs based on membership upgrades, lines of credit, or account inactivity.

How do I sign up for a coupon app or site?

Signing up is easy for most coupon apps, sites, and extensions. Most services require you to visit the website or download the app to create an account. After providing basic personal details, accounts are typically available for use immediately. 

Are there alternatives worth considering?

These are some of the other services we considered in our search for the best coupon apps, sites, and extensions for holiday shopping.


  1. Capital One Shopping

    : Great for price comparisons


  2. Coupons.com

    : Use for printable coupons


  3. Drop

    : Earn excellent rewards


  4. RetailMeNot

    : Find online promo codes


  5. Shopkick

    : Great for flexible rewards


  6. Zulily

    : Excellent for e-commerce 

Before you start your shopping, also check out our picks for the best store credit cards and the best prepaid debit cards!

https://www.zdnet.com/article/best-coupon-apps-sites-and-extensions-for-holiday-shopping/