Thanks to a growing number of digital couponing apps available on smart phones, you no longer have to flip through newspaper inserts just to save a buck or two on toothpaste. With access to apps everywhere we go thanks to smartphones, coupon savings are now just a swipe away.
Apps like RetailMeNot and Coupons.com (for iPhone users with the Passport app) allow you to download coupons onto your phone and simply show your screen to the cashier. Better yet, some apps have location services that will alert you to nearby restaurants and stores offering deals.
Apps will begin to customize their offerings based on your preferences and alert you to deals on your preferred brands. Considering that couponing once entailed having to search through pages of inserts for what interested you, using general insights on your consumer behaviors isn’t a bad exchange.
When it comes to shopping for everyday items, your best bet is to look for apps that can sync with store loyalty cards. That way you can take advantage of store deals in addition to any savings the app is offering up.
For example, Coupons.com partners with grocery stores like Pick ‘n Save and Copps so you can download coupons directly on to your loyalty card to be applied when checking out. The app Saving Star, which sends you refunds and rebate deals, partners with dozens of stores (including Copps, CVS and Walmart). When you connect those stores’ loyalty cards to the app, you don’t have to scan and send in receipts to receive the deals.
Another benefit unique to using your smart phone for in-store deals is the impact it can have on your larger budgeting goals. For example, the Wisconsin-based app Shop Fetch offers two features that help you track your grocery spending, giving you greater control over your monthly budget.
By scanning each item with your phone as you place it in your cart, Shop Fetch provides you with a running total of your purchases. It’s not unlike the bill you see when shopping online.
“We’ve gotten really positive feedback from consumers on this,” says Peter Dermody, marketing manager for the app. “Consumers will walk in and say “I only want to spend $60. With Shop Fetch you can look through and see what you’re getting and say ‘Wow how did I get to $50?’” The app will show you what’s so expensive so you can trim your selections before you find yourself in the checkout line.
Second, because you can revisit your past transactions and see what you’ve saved and from what sources, the app doesn’t just help you lower your bill in the store, but also can help you track and maintain your monthly budget.
Whether you use digital coupons or are sticking with your scissors, perhaps the real reward to couponing is in the thrill of the hunt. Give yourself some positive reinforcement for finding the best deal!