This post comes from Rob Berger at partner blog The Dough Roller.
My experience as a cashier explains my aversion to coupons. Still, there's no denying that a penny saved is a penny earned. And what about $2 billion in pennies? In the first half of 2011, consumers saved about $2 billion by using coupons, a study by NCH Marketing Services Inc. says (.pdf file).
That's a lot of coupon clipping, and the bane of a couponer's existence is finding and organizing all those tiny rectangles. Luckily, many retailers are starting to offer mobile coupons. They're easier to find and organize on your smartphone. You can also use your smartphone to find the best prices on everything from groceries to Amazon purchases when you don't have a coupon to use.
If you're seeking more ways to save, check out these top 10 apps for couponing, extreme or otherwise.
More stores where coupons are available are sending out their coupons through smartphone apps specific to their chain. Here are some of the top store-specific apps to check out:
Target app. If you're a frequent shopper at Target, this app is a must-have. You can use it to shop online, manage registries, and store and use those Target gift cards you scored over the holidays. Plus, you can view your local store's weekly ad on your phone, and you can have daily deals and twice-a-month coupons sent directly to your phone.
Walgreens app. Many couponers love saving on personal care items by combining coupons and sales at drugstores. The Walgreens app allows you to receive exclusive offers and weekly store ads on your phone.
Plus, you can use the barcode/QR code scanner to learn more about products while you're in the store or checking out Walgreens' weekly paper ad. As an added bonus, the app comes with options for refilling your prescriptions, checking your prescription history or even ordering photos straight from your phone.
CVS app. The CVS pharmacy app is similar to the Walgreens app. It gives you exclusive coupons and lets you create a shopping list while checking out the weekly ad. If you're an ExtraCare card user, you can create a mobile ExtraCare card on your phone. Then, use the app to access your ExtraCare points account.
You can also refill a prescription and check out your prescription history. If you're in need of urgent-care services, you can use the app to find the nearest Minute Clinic and check out its hours and services.
Other couponing apps
To broaden your mobile couponing search, these apps help compile savings from different stores and brands.
SnipSnap. This app is ideal for extreme couponers. You snap a picture of coupons with your smartphone. The app not only captures the coupon, but it also stores the expiration date and provides in-store reminders. It's social, too. You can connect with friends to share coupons.
Shopkick. This free Android and iPhone app gives you points just for walking into major stores like Toys R Us, Macy's, Target and Best Buy, and you can redeem the points for rewards later.
Plus, you can use the app to browse deals at your favorite stores. Some of the offers on Shopkick are exclusive or aren't well-advertised. With the latest app update, when you browse rewards before going to a store, you'll get even more points for walking in.
Yowza. This free app nixes your need to clip coupons. Just boot it up, and it alerts you to coupons and deals in your geographic area. Many of these coupons come directly from merchants, so they may be options you won't find anywhere else.
With Yowza, you can save the coupons you like best, so they're easy to find on your phone. Then, have the cashier scan the coupons directly from your phone at the register. They work just like traditional paper coupons.
The Coupon App. This app helps you save money in multiple ways. It includes a coupon widget to give you daily deals. The coupon database is updated continuously every day. You can save coupons so you can more easily find them later, or you can share them with friends.
The great part about The Coupon App is that it has such a large database of coupons. You can search them (even by voice search) while you're actually shopping to pick up last-minute deals. As with similar apps, you can use this one for mobile coupons that can be scanned right at the register.
Grocery Smarts Coupon Shopper. If you're interested in cross-referencing manufacturer coupons with store sales, this is the couponing app for you. Using coupons for items that are already on sale is how extreme couponers save so much money. This app actually tracks store prices from Wal-Mart, Rite Aid, Target, CVS and Walgreens, and then shows you exactly how to use current manufacturer's coupons to save.
Note that this app allows you to save with printable coupons and coupons from your Sunday insert. You can have printable coupons emailed to you for printing. If the app is showing a coupon from a Sunday paper insert, it will let you know the date so you can find and clip the coupon on your own. You still have to carry paper coupons, but this app does the cross-referencing work for you.
Best Coupons & Deals. This app allows you to save more on your favorite brands, especially restaurants and clothing brands. You can sign up for exclusive offers or push notifications for hot deals. You can also share deals with friends.
One great part about this app is that it lets you choose the offers you see. You'll be able to sign up for exclusive-offer emails from particular brands that you shop for often.
CardStar. With this iPhone or Android app, you can move all your loyalty cards onto your smartphone by taking a picture of them. You don't have to stuff your wallet with cards or add them to your key chain. And stores can scan your account directly from your phone.
Whether you're an extreme couponer or just learning the ropes of saving with coupons, these apps can be a huge help. Let us know in the comments about other apps you use to find deals or organize your favorite coupons.
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