If not an all-out “super-couponer,” I can at least attest to being an avid couponer most of my adult life. I’ve always done my best to use coupons to save on anything I possibly could. Yes, for many years I was “that” lady who pushed around a shoebox full of coupons, categorized and arranged by expiration date in my grocery cart. I guess that makes me a real-life, “Coupon Shoeboxer,” doesn’t it? I received many compliments on my “organization” and “patience” for couponing by other shoppers who knew they were doomed to pay full price. I must admit, such comments stroked my ego, reinforcing my desire to seek out, print, clip, file, retrieve and ultimately redeem as many coupons as possible at the register. That said, I want to extend my apologies if you ever had the misfortune of being the shopper behind me in the checkout line while the cashier scanned a dozen or more coupons on my behalf.
That was me, operating within the “couponing world” as it was at the time. Nowadays, it’s a whole new ball game. After decades of clipping, organizing and schlepping, couponers are enjoying the benefits of technology. While coupons to physically clip and print certainly still exist, technology is impacting the couponing world in an increasing number of ways. The first “technological upgrade” was the advent of online coupons, which could be downloaded and printed. It was revolutionary because it eliminated the need to buy newspapers for the express purpose of retrieving those coupon inserts. Online coupons could be “clipped” right on your computer from any number of websites and redeemed at most stores just like those from the Sunday paper. I say “most” stores because there were always merchants who refused to honor self-printed coupons, or at least those for over $1.00 in value, for fear of coupon fraud.
Such redemption problems in our technological age has lead to the birth of the electronic coupon. Instead of being a physical coupon, these e-coupons provide shoppers savings via store loyalty cards. Other than our very own at CouponShoebox, I use a few of these sites and save substantially. Here are three examples of the ways you can access and benefit from e-coupons:
- Store loyalty card – My primary grocery store has a loyalty card. By registering its account number on the store’s website, I can load e-coupons which, when I get my card swiped at the register, are deducted from my receipt. My favorite drugstore frequently offers a coupon for a percentage off my purchase. Because I’ve linked my loyalty card to my online account, I receive the coupon via email. I can load it to my card and the savings automatically comes off at the register when my card is swiped.
- SavingStar – Register your loyalty card from any of the participating stores where you wish to shop, then choose your coupons from the website. When you purchase the items, the savings can be deposited to to your choice of your PayPal or bank account, an Amazon.com gift card or a charity.
- Ibotta – This is a free app you install and run right on your phone. Choose coupons from the app; then, once you’ve purchased those items, use the app to submit a photo(s) of your receipt and the UPC of each item. Your transaction is processed within a few hours, then you choose whether you want the money deposited to your PayPal account or donated to any school in America.
No paper cuts. No filing nightmares. No forgetting them at home. Thanks to technology, it’s more convenient to redeem coupons than ever.
Have you embraced electronic coupons?