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Couponing 101: Digital Couponing

December 11th, 2013 9:30 am by Amanda Arnold-Drinnon

Couponing 101:  Digital Couponing

One of the easiest ways to coupon is digital couponing. There’s no clipping, organizing, or remembering to take the coupons. Digital couponing requires store loyalty cards and the Internet. It is literally just pointing and clicking your mouse, and remembering to use the store loyalty card. Some stores have eCoupons on their web pages that can be downloaded to their loyalty cards. 

1.  Kroger (www.kroger.com

2.  Food City (www.foodcity.com

3.  Food Lion (www.foodlion.com

4.  Target (www.target.com

To use eCoupons, go to a web site, register a loyalty card (use the email address that you set up for couponing), and select the eCoupons that you want to use. 

When you scan your loyalty card at check-out, your coupons will enter into the system and your discounts will be applied. The sites will also allow users to print a “reminder list” of the loaded coupons. 

Target is a little different. They do not have a loyalty card. Target has a program entitled Cartwheel. Cartwheel works like a loyalty card program, but instead of showing a loyalty card at checkout, you actually show the cashier a printable list that has a bar code. Cashiers can also scan the bar code from your cell phone. 

To use Cartwheel: 

1.  Go to www.target.com 

2.  Click on the Cartwheel icon (it looks like a shopping cart) 

3.  Register 

4.  Add discounts to your Cartwheel list 

5.  Print 

6.  At checkout show the cashier the bar code on your printable list, or show them the bar code on your cell phone. 

7.  Cartwheel will stack with manufacturer coupons and Target coupons (You can actually use three coupons/discounts on one item!) 

Two additional sources for eCoupons are www.cellfire.com and www.redplum.com

Red Plum offers eCoupons for some of their printables, but not all. Just register and link your loyalty cards to the sites. 

Another type of digital couponing works like an instant rebate. The savings are not instantly deducted at the register, but go into a “savings” account. SavingStar and UPromise are programs that link your loyalty cards to accounts that keep track of your savings and mail you a check after you have accumulated a designated amount. 

SavingStar is currently connected to over 100 store chains with over 24,000 stores nationwide. 

Stores in our area that participate include: CVS, Food City, Food Lion, Ingles, and Kroger. So, how does one sign up? 

1. Go to www.savingstar.com 

2.  Create a free SavingStar account (use the E-mail account that you set up for couponing) 

3.  You will receive a confirmation E-mail from SavingStar 

4.  After you receive a confirmation, link store loyalty cards to the site 

• Log-on to www.savingstar.com 

• Go to “My Account”

 • Select the “Cards” Tab 

• Enter your loyalty card numbers 

5.  Next, select the eCoupons you like from SavingStar’s website, and they will automatically link to your cards (This site has a printable list as well.) 

6.  Present your loyalty card at checkout, and the money will be added to your SavingStar account. You do not receive a discount at the register, but will receive a cash deposit into your SavingStar account. The deposit will register in your account within 7-30 days. 

7.  When your account accumulates at least $5 in savings, you can select a payout. Choices include a cash deposit to your bank, a deposit to a PayPal account, an Amazon gift card, or you can donate your earnings to charity. 

Currently, there are over 35 eCoupons available at SavingStar.com. Just like printable sites, their coupons change throughout the month. Typically, SavingStar sends out email alerts as they add new eCoupons. 

Another option for the same type of program is UPromise. 

UPromise deposits the savings into a college savings account. They have more options for adding savings to your account that will be discussed in a future article. UPromise coupons will not stack with SavingStar coupons. To register for UPromise: 

1.  Go to www.upromise.com 

2.  Join for free 

3.  Add your loyalty cards

4.  Select eCoupons 

5.  Invite your family and friends 

6.  Watch your savings grow 

Your account can earn three times more cash back for college when family and friends join. They can decide how much to transfer into your Upromise account. According to their site, “Members have earned $767,000,000 and counting for college…” 

The money in a Upromise account can be invested in a high-yield savings account or tax-deferred 529 plan, used to pay down a student loan, or you can request a check that can be used for college or other expenses. 

This program is not ideal if you want to make short-term withdrawals. 

Except for Target’s Cartwheel, you can only use an eCoupon once. 

For example, if you load a fifty cent coupon for frozen corn and you buy two packs, the coupon will only be applied to one pack. 

If you are going to buy more than one of an item, buy the newspaper coupons as well or look for printables. 

Target’s Cartwheel will display how many times the discount can be applied per item on the printable Cartwheel list. 

Overall, digital couponing with eCoupons is one of the easiest ways to coupon. 

Next week we will be looking at mobile couponing. Yes, even your phone can help save money! 

Please send all questions, comments, and/or tips to aarnold@timesnews.net. I look forward to hearing from you!

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