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Chicago (November 22, 2010) – Black Friday is upon us and as a result, many shoppers will be combing their favorite stores for the best bargains in an effort to save money during the pricey holiday season. Exclusive online sales, door busters and coupons are also ways to save, and according to Mintel, roughly a third of coupon users now cite the Internet or email as a source of coupons.

Compared to five years ago when 19% of consumers said they got coupons from the Internet or had them sent to their email account, the figure has increased to 32% in 2010. Seventy-one percent of respondents say their coupons come from leaflets inserted in newspapers, while 55% use coupons found in or on packages they’ve purchased.

” consumers report that they’re budgeting less than they did a year ago in regards to food, transportation and clothing, but coupon usage is as popular as ever,”says Fiona O’Donnell, senior analyst at Mintel. “While the percentages of coupon users who cite traditional sources like newspapers have held relatively steady over the past five years, the incidence of obtaining coupons from the internet and email has risen sharply. “

While 59% of those surveyed say they usually use coupons, that’s not the only way consumers save money. An equal percentage say they seek out sale products advertised in store flyers and 57% watch for sales via newspaper ads. A meager 6% say they listen out for sales on the radio.

“The self-discipline required for a strict monthly or weekly budget can be difficult for some consumers to maintain for an extended period of time,” adds Fiona O’Donnell. ” opportunistic savings like coupon clipping and sales ads take relatively less effort. “

But it’s not all penny-pinching and bargain hunting: many consumers treat themselves with any extra money they save. Once all bills are paid and essentials purchased, 46% of those surveyed say they use their extra money to dine out, 35% say they pay off debt and 30% say they spend any excess cash on entertainment like concerts, movies or music.