If you are like a lot of people, you might view coupon codes with a bit of skepticism. Why would retailers offer discounts on their products if they didn’t expect to get something in return? In fact, many people believe that the primary purpose of coupon codes is to trick you into buying. Is that true? Can you really save money with coupons?

Like anything, coupons can either be good or bad, depending on the specific offer. Oftentimes, using a coupon is an excellent way to save money. You can find some truly amazing deals if you are willing to search and if you use coupons wisely.

In other cases, however, the discounts offered by coupons may not be quite as good as they seem. It is important to evaluate each offer carefully to make sure that you really are saving money. Sometimes, retailers use coupon codes as a way of trying to get people to spend more money or buy more products. There are quite a few examples of how they do this.

Have you ever seen a coupon code where you get free shipping if you spend a specific amount of money on products at a website? For instance, the store might offer free shipping with a coupon on orders over $25.00. Even though this seems like a good deal, it can wind up making you spend more money than you intended. If the item that you really want to buy from the store is only $19.00, that means that you need to find at least $6.00 more worth of merchandise to add to your cart to qualify for the free shipping.

Your odds of finding an item that you want to buy that costs exactly $6.00 are relatively slim. That means that you probably will need to buy something a little bit more expensive to meet the threshold. By the time you are done, your cart total could be $30.00 or higher. Not only that, but you may have added things to your cart that you didn’t really need, all to get free shipping. In this case, it would have made more sense to simply pay the shipping fee.

Another way that retailers can trick you with coupons is by raising the prices of their items before publishing the coupon. Oftentimes, retailers price their products below the manufacturer’s suggested retail price. For instance, if a blouse has an MSRP of $20.00, the retailer might normally price it at $17.99. If they decide to publish a 10% off coupon for that blouse, they might raise the price up to the MSRP before putting out the coupon. That means that you would save 10% off of the higher $20.00 price, making the total that you pay $18.00, which is just about what you would have paid originally before they marked up the price.

Not all coupons are bad, however. There definitely are deals to be had. The key is to pay attention to the fine print to make sure that there are no requirements that you need to meet to qualify for the discount that could wind up costing you more.

If there are specific items that you want to buy, keep track of the prices so that you know what they usually are. That way, you can more easily spot any price increases that occur in conjunction with the release of coupons.

Although not all coupon codes are designed to trick you into buying, some are, which is why it is important to use them with caution. Evaluate each deal carefully to make sure that it will really help you save.