With the economy in the bleak state it is currently in, people have been trying to figure any way they can to stretch their dollars to meet their needs. One side-effect of this newfound frugality is the increased use of coupons – particularly online coupons. Coupon use has surged 10% in the past four months, according to a recently published Wall Street Journal article. Online coupons have helped fuel the rise in coupon usage. Coupons.com, for example, said its users printed out 140% more coupons in 2008 as opposed to the year before. Coupon sites were the fastest-growing category at the end of 2008, according to comScore data. These coupon-aggregating sites are a fast and easy way to find the coupons and discounts that you are looking for, thus making the whole coupon process more efficient than ever. However, coupons aren’t the only way that people are looking to stretch a buck.
Loyalty cards and reward programs have helped us make it through these tight times as well. The implementation of more widespread loyalty cards and reward programs by major retailers such as Borders and Kroger (Ralphs for all you SoCal’ers) has resulted in great discounts and savings for their customers. Customers can receive the same savings satisfaction that comes along with coupons, without having to do any of the work that goes along with them. Coupons have always been a popular way to save a few bucks when shopping at a high-end retailer, but this current economic downturn has caused more people than ever to seek out coupons and discounts for basic necessities such as groceries, personal care products and gas. Nowadays, there all kinds of great ways to get more bang for your buck, and coupons have actually become much easier to use through the popularity of coupon aggregating websites such as RetailMeNot.com and CouponCabin.com.
There has always been a bit of a stigma attached to using coupons. People were afraid that they would come off as “cheap” for trying to save a few cents, or feel like the work that goes into clipping coupons out of the Sunday paper wasn’t worth saving $2.83 on your grocery store bill. New technologies, including online coupons, have made it much easier to apply coupons and discounts to things that we purchase. Obviously online shopping has opened up a whole new world where people can purchase anything they like in a discreet manner. Similarly, we can use all the online coupons we want when shopping online, far from the judging eyes of society. Loyalty cards and reward programs help to accrue credit and discounts as well. These work out for all parties involved – the companies keep current customers as well as earn new ones, and the customers receive great coupons and discounts! Though coupons and loyalty programs are far more helpful when you have less money to spend, taking advantage of them now and getting used to utilizing them as part of your shopping habits can help you save money in the long run.