You ability acquire heard about the high-tech, whiz-bang means you can get coupons on your corpuscle buzz so you never acquire to blow a cardboard advertisement again.
You anticipate yourself in the bazaar checkout line. The accountant scans your acute buzz to acquire the advertisement and acclaim you 50 cents off of Hellmann’s mayonnaise.
Unfortunately, that’s not absoluteness yet. The obstacles are many, not the atomic of which is this: Traditional bar-code readers acquire adversity annual bright bottle screens on phones and added hand-held devices. A notable barring is Target, which uses a altered blazon of bar-code reader.
Phone-based coupons with a cipher that the accountant keys in or writes bottomward are bound in availability.
However, one adaptation of agenda or paperless coupons is accessible today for prime time, said Matthew Tilley, agent for advertisement market-research armpit CouponInfoNow.com. “What is alive today… is direct-to-card agenda coupons.”
How it works
You accept coupons you appetite to use, either through a Web armpit or through a phone, and the coupons are electronically loaded assimilate your abundance adherence card.
At the supermarket, you present your adherence agenda to get approved sales discounts and additionally the acclaim for coupons you agilely loaded assimilate the card.
Supermarkets complex with direct-to-card coupons accommodate Kroger and its affiliated stores: Ralphs, Fry’s Food, Fred Meyer and others.
Safeway and its affiliated stores, such as Dominick’s, Genuardi’s and Vons; Giant Eagle; ShopRite; and Shop ‘n Save additionally acquire save-to-card coupons. Added ample bazaar chains are acceptable to activate programs this year, experts say.
How to get started
Sign up for a adherence card. If you don’t like accustomed about a agglomeration of adherence cards, you can generally accord the accountant your buzz number, or amalgamate up to six loyalty-card bar codes assimilate a distinct agenda at KeyRingThing.com.
Go online. Visit Cellfire.com, Shortcuts.com, Coupons.com and your bazaar Web site. Register your adherence agenda at the sites. Identify coupons you appetite loaded assimilate your agenda by beat on them. You’ll see duplication of coupons at these sites, but it’s annual blockage out all of them, abnormally the abundance sites. They are acceptable to acquire a few absolute offers, experts say.
They’re not necessarily the aforementioned coupons and advertisement ethics you’ll acquisition in the Sunday newspaper. Parents can baddest e-coupons at Upromise.com. Accumulation are automatically deposited into your college-savings account.
Get the apps. Download chargeless acute buzz apps (See sidebar).
Stack coupons. One abstruse of agenda coupons is you can generally use a direct-to-card advertisement calm with a cardboard advertisement on the aforementioned item, at atomic until the technology gets smarter and prevents you from accomplishing that, said Stephanie Nelson, architect of CouponMom.com.
A downside of agenda coupons is food that bifold the amount of cardboard coupons won’t bifold the amount of agenda ones.
Go bang crazy. Don’t decay time debating whether to add a advertisement to your card. If there’s any adventitious you’ll buy the product, amount the coupon, Nelson said. “It doesn’t aching to aloof bandy them all on your card,” she said. “Then, if you appear to buy the item, you get the amount off.” You about acquire allowance for at atomic 100. Unused coupons will expire off the agenda automatically in a few weeks, so you don’t charge to administer how abounding the agenda is.
Print to remember. A downside of direct-to-card coupons is you don’t acquire a concrete admonition about what coupons you acquire so you apperceive which articles to buy. Direct-to-card Web sites will acquiesce you to book a annual of adored offers to booty with you.
The old standby. Agenda coupons ability be the future, but for now, Tilley said, there’s still aloof one administration approach for 90 percent of coupons: the Sunday newspaper.
Gregory Karp is columnist of “Living Rich by Spending Smart.” E-mail him at email@example.com.
Texting for dollars
Since added bodies acquire admission to argument messaging rather than adaptable Internet, application texts for coupons and rebates is advancing soon, experts say.
How it will work: In a bazaar you’ll see a potato dent affectation with a assurance adage you can get $1 off that cast of chips if you argument the chat “CHIPS” to 55555. You blazon in your abundance adherence agenda cardinal — aloof the aboriginal time you use it. When you analysis out application your adherence card, you’ll see the $1 accumulation appear off your total, said Ken Fenyo, admiral of You Technology, which builds systems abaft agenda promotions.
For rebates, you ability get a abbreviate argument cipher central the package. Use it and your abatement will be beatific to an cyberbanking account, such as PayPal, said Matthew Tilley, agent for advertisement market-research armpit CouponInfoNow.com.
Free advertisement apps
Description: A able-bodied shopping-list app and advertisement finder, it’s apparently the best able bazaar advertisement app.
Pros: Acute shopping-list action accumulated with coupons from accustomed site, Coupons.com. Users can add to their arcade annual by scanning bar codes of items with the iPhone camera.
Cons: Save-to-card affection alone accessible for Safeway ancestors of stores. Groceries only.
Description: Accept grocery coupons on your accessory to add to your adherence card.
Pros: Powered by Cellfire.com. Includes non-grocery coupons, such as Sears and 1-800-FLOWERS.
Cons: Bound by supermarkets that accord with Cellfire, mostly Safeway and Kroger families of stores.
Description: A adaptable adaptation of the accustomed dejected envelope blimp with bounded coupons.
Pros: Uses your accepted area to acquisition bounded coupons not begin in added apps.
Cons: Bound cardinal of offers.
Description: Non-grocery coupon-finder.
Pros: Finds coupons based on your location. Claims to acquire absolute coupons.
Cons: Includes bound cardinal of mostly alternation stores. Some retailers crave you to book coupons.
Description: Acquisition non-grocery coupons a you.
Pros: Set cardinal of afar from accepted area to chase for food with coupons. Claims absolute deals for Yowza users.
Cons: Bound cardinal of food and coupons. Some after-effects are aloof ads.
Description: Amalgamate your adherence cards assimilate your device.
Pros: Acquire all your retail adherence cards in one place.
Cons: Some abundance bar-code scanners acquire agitation annual confined on the device. But it displays your adherence agenda number, which can be keyed in manually.
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