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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.