I taught a coupon class a couple months go and someone asked me a question I was rather unprepared for. They said,
Do you think couponing is changing?
Well, I hadn’t really thought about it. I’ve been doing this since June 2009 – so 6 years this month (Happy Birthday, Blog!) and I’m always so focused on the the newest deal and the newest way to save and what’s going on in the now. So I started looking back on how were saving differently than we were 6 years ago.
I’ve discovered that is has changed. Couponing, just like anything else has to keep evolving to stay relevant.
How has couponing changed for me over the last 6 years?
- I use coupons from the Sunday Newspaper less.
I know plenty of people that still get their Sunday papers religiously and use lots of the coupons – and there are still plenty of deals to be had with the coupon inserts – so I’m not saying that the use of Sunday coupon inserts is outdated. But I’m using lots of different ways to save now. The time that the Sunday coupon inserts require (getting to the store on Sunday to purchase, clipping, sorting, etc) is currently out weighing the savings for me at the moment. I want to get to a point in the near future when I finish up some projects at home and get a few things organized so that I can start to get my two papers a week, clip my coupons, file them in my binder and use them at the store again. But I’m not there yet.
- I use printable coupons more.
Printable coupons were relevant 6 years ago when I started but they were still kind of new. And some stores weren’t as open to them as they are now. And there was confusion. And there weren’t as many available as there are now.
I use printable coupons more now because there are more to use and a lot of times you can find the same coupons in the Sunday inserts in printable form also.
- Cash back apps were unheard of 6 years ago.
Cash back apps? What in the world? No one had thought those up yet. SavingStar emerged first as a “linked to your store card” savings program that gave you cash back instead of cash off at the register. But it was all done through your account on the computer at that time.
Now with the popularity of smart phones and the abundance of apps for them, you have Ibotta, Checkout51, Snap by Groupon, Shopkick, Shopmium and Receipt Hog to get offers from! I use cash back apps on purchases sometimes that I didn’t have a single “redeem at the register” coupon for. All my savings were strictly cash back. Four or five years ago I would’ve NEVER entered a store without my paper coupons!
- Mobile coupons weren’t available either.
Now Target has coupons you receive by text and redeem by showing a barcode on your phone. (And now they have Cartwheel too.) Winn-Dixie has mobile coupons you can add to your loyalty shopping card – they are the same coupons you would print from Coupons.com – so you don’t even have to print to save! And Publix also offers the same coupons you would print from Coupons.com in their mobile coupon program.
- Sales are important.
Sales were important 6 years ago when I started couponing too. But just learning to shop on sale can save you more than using coupons can. Coupons combined with a sale are great. But mastering the art of shopping sales cycles saves you tons also. Using coupons is less effective is you’re not also shopping the sales.
There are a couple negative ways couponing has changed over the last few years unfortunately…
- The massive freebie deals are fewer and far between.
Example – When I first started couponing I could get 6 body washes at CVS for $1 or less for all of them. And this deal came around almost monthly. Now I can’t remember the last time I’ve seen a deal for body wash for less than $.50 each. And even at $.50 your usually limited to 1 or 2 deals.
- Coupon limits.
If you just started couponing recently you probably don’t remember a time when coupons didn’t say “limit (insert #) coupons per customer”. But there used to be a time when that wasn’t a thing.
- Shorter coupon expiration dates.
I don’t have proof of this but it just seems like the coupons in the Sunday insert expire faster than they used too.
How has couponing changed for you since you first started?
- Sunday Newspaper
How many papers should I get each week?
- Following your favorite brands on Facebook
- Brand’s Websites
- Store Websites
- Writing to companies
- In store and on products
-tearpads, blinkies and peelies (coupons on products)
- In the mail by signing up through various programs
Coupons and Rebate Apps:
- SavingStar – works with Winn-Dixie, CVS, Rite-Aid and others. Load offers to your store card and receive it as cash back after purchase
- Ibotta – works with CVS, Walgreens, Rite Aid, Dollar General, Target, Publix, Walmart, Sam’s Club, Whole Foods and more! Scan your receipt and items after purchase and receive cash back (requires a smart phone)
- Checkout51 – works at ANY store. You can upload receipts via phone app or by taking a picture and uploading via your computer.
- Shopkick – works with Target and other retailers. There are mobile coupons to use as well as offers to earn points you can redeem for giftcards. This one requires a smartphone
- Receipt Hog – Receive points when you upload your shopping receipts and redeem your points for gift cards! Requires a smartphone.
- Fetch Rewards – simple, easy cash back! Works at any store. Scan receipts, get points, redeem for gift cards. Requires a smartphone. Be sure to put in NJ0MU (that’s a zero in the middle) when it asks for a referral code. You’ll get 1500 points which is halfway to a reward of a $3 gift card to Amazon, Target or CVS!
Store Specific Coupon Apps and Tips
Walmart – If you haven’t tried online grocery pickup yet, click here to get a code for $10 off your first order to save time and money!
Winn-Dixie – e-coupons can be loaded to your Winn-Dixie/SE Grocers card and will be deducted at the register. Cannot be stacked with manufacturer coupons, do not double and one per purchase
Publix – e-coupons add the coupons you want to your account. Enter your account number (phone number) at the register to receive a discount at time of purchase. Cannot be stacked with manufacturer coupons, do not double and one per purchase.
Publix also has instore coupon flyers containing STORE coupons that can be stacked with other offers
Dollar General – e-coupons can be added to your account. Enter your account number (phone number) at the register to receive a discount at time of purchase. Cannot be stacked with manufacturer coupons and one per purchase
CVS – e-coupons available through the store app. Cannot be stacked with manufacturer coupons and one per purchase (unless otherwise specified)
Scan your Extra Care Card at the Magic Red Machine for store coupons!
Walgreens – e-coupons available through the store app. Cannot be stacked with manufacturer coupons and one per purchase (unless otherwise specified)
Pick up a monthly coupon book at the front of the store for store coupons!
Fred’s – Fred’s now has e-coupons!