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How to Save With Digital Coupons

Don’t lose out on discounts!

Digital Coupons
BEN MOUNSEY-WOOD

Gone are the days when you needed paper coupons to maximize your savings on groceries. Supermarkets, dollar stores and big-box stores increasingly offer deals only through apps and websites. Digital coupon redemptions outpace paper coupon redemptions, reports the research firm Inmar Intelligence.

Once you figure it out, “clipping” and redeeming digital coupons is super easy: For many retailers, all that is required is having a loyalty card and registering your number on the store’s app or website. Then, simply select deals you want as you scroll through a list on your smartphone, tablet or computer. The store automatically applies those deals at checkout.

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Even if you don’t have a smartphone or ­aren’t online, you can often get these coupons via workarounds. For example, you can have a friend or family member download the coupons from a website to your loyalty card. My dad does this for my mom; the discounts she has him select on his computer are applied when she provides her phone number at the register. Also, some stores ask for a smartphone number to send you a sign-up code. If you don’t have a smartphone, you can give the number of a friend or family member, then ask that person for the code they’ve received and use it to complete your registration on the store’s website.

Here’s how to get digital coupons to work for you at major chains that offer them. Though these instructions might seem complicated, you’ll find that most sites make the sign-up task easy and that once you use digital coupons a few times, it all becomes second nature.

Supermarkets and drugstores

The best places to start with digital couponing usually are the supermarkets and drugstore chains for which you have a loyalty card. Go to the retailer’s website (or download its app to your smartphone) and create a digital account. Next, sign in and link your loyalty card to the account by inputting your card number or by scanning the card with your phone. With many stores, here’s what you do next. 

  • Look for the Coupons or Deals icon on the app or website. Tap or click on it, and coupons will pop up.
  • Scroll down the page for deals; often you can search by category, such as Fruits and Vegetables or Personal Care. Tap or click on the deals you want; you’ll often see a plus sign or a scissors icon. The deals should automatically load onto your loyalty card account.
  • To redeem a coupon, simply scan your loyalty card if you’re doing self checkout, or have the cashier scan it. Voilà! The discounts will automatically get applied. If you left your loyalty card at home, the cashier can scan your unique barcode from your phone, since it’s usually stored on the store’s app. Some stores may also accept a phone number linked to the account.

Coupons.com

This site showcases cash-back deals, but it’s also a clearinghouse for digital coupons for a variety of products. Unlike many other apps and sites, it lets you print those coupons. On the website, click on Printable Coupons on the top left-hand corner of the page. Then click on the blue plus signs for the coupons you want. Before you can print, you’ll be asked for a mobile phone number to be sent a verification code. If you have only a landline, submit that number instead; on the next screen, you’ll be able to request a call with the code recited to you. Other brands’ sites that let you print coupons may also have such a workaround.

Shopping & Groceries

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Dollar stores

On the website of Dollar General or Family Dollar, sign into your account or create one. Then click on DG Digital Coupons on ­dollargeneral.com, or scroll down the page on familydollar.com. You’ll need a mobile phone or landline to sign up. Here’s how to use the DG app. (Family Dollar’s works similarly.)

  • On the app’s home page, tap Explore Digital Coupons.
  • Tap All to get a list of coupons, or filter by product category, such as Foods or Beverages.
  • Tap Add to Wallet to “clip” the coupons you want to use.
  • To see the coupons you collected when at the store, go to the app and tap Wallet, then Coupons.
  • Enter your phone number at the register, and the coupons will automatically be applied to your balance.
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Target

On the Target website, click on Deals at the top left-hand side of the home page. From the drop-down menu, click Target Circle Offers (you can also find it on the home page of the Target app). Sign up for the Circle loyalty club, which gives you access to perks such as exclusive discounts on groceries. Here’s how to download digital coupons on the app.

Tap on Target Circle Offers, then tap “All” to see the digital coupons.

  • Pick one of the 12 categories and scroll down to see current offers. In each category, you can use filters to explore subcategories, such as Baking Supplies or Deli & Meat in the Food category.
  • Tap on the plus sign. A check mark will appear, which means that the offer has downloaded to your account.
  • While you’re shopping, tap the Wallet icon on the bottom of your screen, then tap Saved Offers for a list of your coupons. You can check for additional offers while you shop by using the app’s barcode scanner, located in the Discover icon at the bottom of the home screen.
  • At the register, tap Wallet at the bottom of the screen, then tap the red bar labeled Show My Barcode. Show that to the cashier, and your coupons will be subtracted from your balance.