How to outsmart stores and their coupon systems

Many stores have patterns to when they release coupons. Here is a guide to figuring out seven retailers' coupon patterns.

Elise Amendola/AP/File
Shoppers walk into Sears in Peabody, Mass., May 14, 2012. Sears is one of seven stores that consumers can save big by knowing their coupon patterns.

Wouldn't it be great if you could predict when your favorite store would release a coupon? And even further, wouldn't it be lovely to have a general idea of the kind of discount it would be? This information can help loyal fans of certain stores plan their purchases wisely, to maximize their discounts.

Since our coupon database has a wealth of codes from the best vendors on the Internet, we were able to find distinct patterns from the hottest seven retailers on our site. These vendors are immensely popular with our readers, which means they have broad appeal for the average shopper. (This isn't to be confused with our top 15 list of retailers that offer the most coupons.) Moreover, each one features some trends in how they release new codes.

So when can you expect coupons from the hottest retailers online? And what kind of discounts will you get? Check out our list below, and be sure to brush up on how to effectively use a coupon with our thorough guide.

Best Buy

  • Check Best Buy early in the week. Most new offers are released on Sunday and typically go through Saturday.
  • Discounts will mostly consist of special sale pricing on specific products, plus promos for things like free gifts, free gift cards, or discounts on certain items with select purchase.
  • Coupon codes aren't found very often. General-use codes, usually for 10 percent off one item, appear to be sent for one-time use to select targeted customers, like people who have recently moved. Codes issued for all customers will usually apply to specific items, such as 20 percent off one small appliance.


  • Check for new Lenovo offers on Thursdays. These offers run through the next Wednesday.
  • The offers you'll find are mostly coupon codes that apply to specific configurations of certain computer and tablet models. If the item already has an instant discount, a code will usually take another $20 to $60 off the lowest price. Or, it may provide a much higher discount for an item without instant savings. There are also codes for steep discounts on select computer accessories.
  • Lenovo recently shifted their focus from coupon codes to more instant discounts. This means you are less likely to see codes displayed on their website, but there are still plenty of options available if you search for them.


  • Sears releases the bulk of their new offers every Sunday, which can include coupon codes, sales, and discounts on certain products or categories. Non-code based offers typically expire on the following Saturday. Expiration dates for coupon codes vary.
  • Sears has a selection of ongoing or long-term coupons, like the $5 off $50 or $35 off $300 general-use codes that aren't set to expire until January of next year. Weekly offers usually each include a handful of new codes that are shorter in duration, but may provide higher discounts of 15 percent off or more for certain product categories.
  • Don't expect to find a coupon code for electronics. We don't see coupons specific to electronics and general-use coupons typically exclude them, so watch for good sale prices for any tech items you have your eye on.


  • 6pm has a daily pattern. They have a selection of five to eight sales released every day for up to 90 percent off list price on certain brands or product types. We usually find that two of these sales are email exclusives that aren't listed on the homepage.
  • Coupon codes aren't available very often. They are usually for 10 percent off, although 15 percent off comes up occasionally and 20 percent off was offered on Cyber Monday. You can expect to see these codes around once a month, but some months may have up to three codes issued. We saw three codes released last December.
  • Codes only last for one day or up to a certain number of uses, meaning they can expire before the end of the day. If you want to apply a code to your purchase, be quick to use them as they come up. 


  • Target has new weekly offers each Sunday and most expire the following Saturday.
  • We don't see general-use coupon codes much, but we do usually see a handful of codes for specific items. However, most offers don't require a code and will be promotions like free gifts or gift cards with select items, instant discounts on certain categories or products, and "buy one, get one" deals.
  • Target will occasionally release a general discount that doesn't require a code, but it does require clicking through a certain link found on a coupon or deal site. They currently offer $5 off $50 through the end of June. You'll see this discount after selecting guest checkout or logging in if your order qualifies.

HP Home & Office

  • HP Home & Office releases new weekly offers on Sunday and most go through Saturday.
  • You will usually find at least one or two coupon codes in their weekly offers. These codes often give an extra discount on a customizable laptop or desktop purchase with a certain minimum purchase amount. They also regularly offer codes for general discounts like $10 off $50 or $15 off $75 on a more long-term basis. Some codes do not combine with instant rebates and have several exclusions.
  • Other offers you'll find are for instant discounts on certain computer models and printers.


  • New offers for Staples are released on Sundays and typically go through Saturday.
  • You will see an assortment of coupon codes, but these mostly apply to specific items rather than being general in use. However, there is enough variety to cover a fairly wide selection of products.
  • General-use coupons are not released as often, but they come up occasionally. You'll also find offers that don't require a code, like instant discounts on select products and special offers for rewards members.

While you should always be on the lookout for great deals and special coupons, it's true that discount codes are a consistent part of some stores' business strategy. And as such, it's easy to tell when they'll offer a promotion. For that reason, it's best to stay informed when you can.

Sarah Jones is the coupon editor for DealNews, where this article first appeared:

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