For many years, my family and friends simply referred to me as "the coupon lady". Open my kitchen drawer and you were likely to come across a stack of clipped coupons that ranged from discounts on apparel to groceries to electronics. Most of the time, however, I found myself either forgetting to carry them to the store or they would be expired by the time they got there.

Thankfully, the era of clipping coupons from the Sunday newspaper is long gone with online coupon sites now giving us access to thousands of coupons whenever we wish- and devoid of scissors too. All you have to do is copy and paste a special code onto any retail Web site’s checkout page, or simply click on a link and the discount is instantly applied.

Online coupon sites have continued to gain traction with each passing year- as evidenced by traffic especially during holidays and special occasions. And as the prices of food and entertainment continue to rise month-on-month, it is little wonder that online coupon sites are experiencing such numbers. To help you in your quest for coupon codes for product discounts, free shipping, and more this holiday season, here are the 7 best coupon sites as follows:

CouponMom.com

Needless to say, no one is better equipped at finding sales than your mom. And at CouponMom.com, Stephanie Nelson (founder) scouts coupon codes for numerous categories, including but not limited to movies & music, phone & wireless, computer & software etc. Once you click on a chosen category, you are likely to see featured deals, new deals, hot deals, and expiring deals from merchants. In addition, the newly launched Coupon Mom Forum allows users to share their favorite shopping deals and tips.

The best part about CouponMom.com is that it is easy to use, especially for those who wish to save money on groceries as it has a database of coupons together with sales from common stores where a majority of people shop. This allows you to make a comparison so that you are able to get more from every dollar you spend.

2. RetailMeNot.com

RetailMeNot.com is, without doubt, one of a select few sites where you can find printable coupons and coupon codes prior to paying full price on an item. By entering the store’s web address, you can browse through 20,000 stores with the site then presenting staff-or-user submitted codes as well as a list of discounts from similar stores—if the ones displayed do not impress you enough.

If you are anything like me and would not want to miss out on a bargain, then it is advisable to add the RetailMeNot 2.2 extension to your browser (preferably Firefox), which automatically alerts you incase of new coupon codes. I am almost always lucky whenever I use coupon codes submitted on this site. For instance, I was recently able to get $5 knocked off my $60 holiday purchase from Target.com.

3. Coupons.com

This coupon pioneer site remains a perennial favorite owing to its wide selection. And as one of the biggest providers of online coupons, it feeds into numerous affiliates and other coupon sites. This is your guaranteed source of all things savings enhanced by fantastic features such as coupon codes, local coupons, exclusive member savings, a member center, and more. Moreover, the CouponBar allows for instant savings regardless of whatever website you are on. Coupons.com is especially beneficial for grocery trips where all you have to do is to search, clip, and then print the coupons before going to the grocery store.

4. Groupon.com

Groupon getaways are a tad different from those on the sites described above. Here, you are unlikely to get free printable coupons to present at your local shop. Instead, you are required to pay for the discounted service or product immediately. Once you have made a purchase at Groupon, you should receive an email containing a signing-in link that should enable you to print the coupon as a gift or for yourself. You can also refer your friends to Groupon and upon them signing up, you stand to receive a $10 Groupon credit. Groupon.com has a presence in over 150 North American cities and over 100 cities in South America, Asia, and Europe.

5. Savings.com

Savings.com features dozens of coupon codes for almost anything you may want thus making it simpler to locate and share big savings from all your favorite stores and brands. Here, you can easily navigate from one category to the next for all your shopping needs or simply use the search box if you are looking for a specific deal. You could even showcase your expertise on deals by contributing tips and fantastic deals to a community of other online shoppers. Also, Savings.com has a blog where they post useful tips on how to better save money whilst shopping online.

6. Ebates

Ebates is, undoubtedly the pioneer and market leader of online cash back shopping i.e. users get rewarded for shopping through their portal. Partnering with over 1,600 merchant stores from which customers can earn up to 25% of their purchase price (although most return anywhere between 4% and 10%), Ebates even allows for one to buy deals at Groupon via their site. And the good news is that almost anyone with a website can become an affiliate to these stores. Additionally, bonuses on this site may be automatically donated to a charity of your choice if you do not wish to use them or be used for further purchases.

7. Valpak

One of the biggest names in coupons, Valpak has been operating from as far back as 1968 as a direct mail advertising service (familiar to most Americans due to their blue envelopes which are still sent to date). But advances in technology mean that everyone can now easily find the same and even more deals on Valpak’s site. All you have to do is enter your ZIP code to see any deals near your area- with dozens of printable coupons that you can take with you to restaurants, the grocery store, auto repair shops, salons, dentists etc. You may also choose to load savings onto your smartphone with the Valpak Local Savings for iPhone and Android.