In September, The New York Times gave a primer on the brief history of coupon use in America and highlighted a noticeable increase in the use of coupons since the decline of the economy.
“Coupon redemption in America peaked in 1992, at the end of a recession, when 7.9 billion coupons were redeemed, according to Inmar, a coupon-processing company. By 2006, that number fell to 2.6 billion and stagnated there through 2008. (if this and the paragraph below are all one quote, they need to be together…)As the economy worsened and consumer sentiment plunged, coupon redemption ticked up 10 percent in the fourth quarter of 2008, compared with the period a year ago — the first jump in coupon redemption since the early 1990s. In the first half of this year, coupon redemption climbed 23 percent. Some 1.6 billion coupons were redeemed, leading Inmar to forecast that more than three billion coupons will be redeemed this year.”
In this new age of technology, coupon clipping is no longer reserved to a pair of scissors and the Sunday paper. Many sites offer print-at-home coupons, online shopping coupon codes and savings loaded directly to a frequent shopper card. The type of coupons available range from beauty products, free shipping and a plethora of grocery store items.
Top 10 Coupon Sites
Retail Me Not collects coupons from more than 40,000 retailers. This site features a simple way to search for coupon codes dedicated to specific online retailers. Promotional codes are user submitted and rated depending on success rate. Retail Me Not does not require a membership or subscription.
This site offers a variety of coupons under the Proctor and Gamble (P&G) corporation. These include name brand products such as Tide, Olay, Crest, Charmin and Iams, just to name a few. Membership is required and free, however, P&G Everyday Solutions will mail free samples as well. Coupons can be mailed, printed or loaded onto your grocery card (what is a grocery card?).
Most grocery stores offer a membership card program. This card program is usually free and offers frequent shoppers lower prices on featured items. Shortcuts has teamed up with several grocers to provide a way to add additional savings onto the card. By signing up with Shortcuts and linking your membership to your grocery card, savings are deducted from your grocery bill at checkout.
Cellfire is similar to Shortcuts as far usability. Both offer memberships linked to your grocery card. However, Cellfire offers coupons and discounts available to use on your cellphone. With a downloadable application, users select a coupon depending on the retail establishment and show it to the cashier. The cashier copies code, and applies the discount.
Typically, Red Plum is a pull-out section in most local Sunday newspapers, but they also have a Web site. This Web site offers the same types of printable coupons for use in grocery stores. These coupons vary by location. No membership is required through Red Plum and coupons can be easily accessed.
Coupons.com is a source for manufacturer coupons for grocery and health items. Membership is available but not required. These coupons can be selected and printed all at one time.
Smartsource offers printable coupons and deal from a large variety of manufacturers and companies. These are not limited to grocery and health food items, but also contain coupons for Blu-Ray discs and services. Membership is not required.
A Full Cup is a site that contains a range of manufacturer coupons, online coupons and online shopping discounts. This site is also fully integrated and matches coupons with low prices on (?) products. A Full Cup provides references on the method of couponing along with savings. Membership is free and required in order to use this service.
Shop At Home provides discounts for online shopping as well as a cash back program. When shopping online using their cash back program, users can earn cash as well as save money. Membership is required with Shop At Home, but is a free service.
Slick Deals offers coupons — manufacturer and printable.. However, Slick Deals logs online retailer specials, temporary price cuts and sales. By following their blog, users can find specials and promotions online and in stores.
It’s important to understand a store’s policy regarding coupons because each store is different. Some stores allow you to “stack” coupons (which means using more than one coupon on a product). However, some stores limit the number of coupons to stack on one item. Using coupons can be an effective way to save money on everyday purchases and even special occasions.