StashLearn
Get the app
Get the app

Join millions of investors on Stash

Investing, simplified

Start today with as little as $5
Get the app
Life

How To Save Big with Digital Coupons

August 28, 2019
woman pushing a shopping cart on phone

4 min read

“Why was our delivery order so cheap?” I ask.

“I had $5 off on Seamless,” my husband says.

I make a mental note—again—to ask him how he amasses all this credit from every site he frequents. And then I forget about it. And when it’s my turn to make an online purchase, I panic at the last minute, go to RetailMeNot, try six expired coupon codes, and then hang my head in defeat.

There are online retailers I proudly take advantage of, ones that send frequent coupon codes via email, such as EyeBuyDirect and my guilty pleasure, Old Navy. When I plug in a coupon code and it works, my heart soars. I love the feeling, and want more of it.

And apparently, with some extra effort, I could be getting this endorphin rush to the tune of $122 saved per month.

Plugins, email, and newsletter coupons

A new study by CouponFollow shows the average American household can save $1465 per year by taking advantage of trends in digital couponing. If “digital couponing” sounds intimidating or nebulous, fear not: Head of Retail Relations at CouponFollow, Tiara Rea-Palmer, says each type of coupon is easy to use.

First, there are plugins like Cently, Honey and Wikibuy. A plugin is a web browser extension, which you can download from Google Play or Apple for free to aggregate coupons from all over the internet.

“It sits innocuously in the background until you’re on a website where there are coupons,” Rea-Palmer said. The plugin automatically applies the coupon code at checkout.

Second, which is what I was already doing, is signing up for email lists from preferred retailers. According to Rea-Palmer, by signing up for newsletters, you’re guaranteed a coupon code at some point.

Third is to check sites like CouponFollow, Hip2Save, and Coupons.com for brand-specific coupons.

By using these methods, the study found, the average couponer save 6.4 percent of household spending per year.

Real savings

Additionally, CouponFollow found the average purchase price dropped a whopping $30 when matched with a coupon code. And a full 40 percent of online purchases were matched with a coupon—a much higher rate than when I fumble my way through expired codes on RetailMeNot.

Some people take digital couponing even farther. Friend of a friend, Katherine Quick, a New Jersey resident with two children and five total in her household, is an online and mobile coupon expert. By putting in four hours a week (two of at-home couponing, meal planning and organizing, and two shopping at physical stores that match her digital coupons), she saves significantly more than $122 each week.

Quick said she got into couponing while pregnant with her first child. She wanted to ensure money worries wouldn’t be a problem during her maternity leave, and soon found a blog called Living Rich with Coupons that aggregates deals for nine states. At ShopRite alone this year, Quick has saved $751.82. (Though, she noted, ShopRite has recently stopped allowing “stacking,” which means using coupons for both the manufacturer and retailer.)

That’s huge savings, especially considering CouponFollow’s study found that we haven’t even hit the biggest coupon season yet—October for the most coupons offered, and November for the biggest discounts thanks to Black Friday. (Aside from fall, April and May tend to have the most coupons.)

Mobile apps

So how can we be more like Quick, saving more cash than the average couponer and even getting some products for free? In addition to CouponFollow’s advice about plugins, emails, and websites, we can download mobile apps.

In particular, Quick recommends The Fetch app, Rakuten (formerly ebates) app, The Ibotta app and the ReceiptHog app. Most of these apps give you points for taking photos of your receipts—most likely to understand consumer purchasing trends—so as you accumulate points that can be converted to cash or gift cards, you’re also learning about your own saving and spending habits. Some also offer standard coupon codes.

When I spoke about this to my former couponer friend Carrie, she noted that it seems to be mostly giant, national retailers who offer deals. When Carrie was into coupons, she felt bad for not shopping local. “I was totally in a Domino’s cycle,” she said. “I hate Domino’s.”

But luckily, smaller brands have been catching on, according to Rea-Palmer. “It’s become a really popular trend,” she said. “For a smaller brand, it can help you get that up start.”

She noted many smaller apparel and makeup brands, such as Colour Pop, are offering coupons now.

As for me, I may never get to the expert level of Katherine Quick, but I can definitely spare an hour a week for coupon planning. My first step was updating a very old version of Ibotta on my phone, and finally signing up for Rakuten.

Make saving and investing a habit.

Go automatic with Auto-Stash.

Start now

Make saving and investing a habit.

Go automatic with Auto-Stash.

Start now

Make saving and investing a habit.

Go automatic with Auto-Stash.

Start now

By Emily Winter
Emily Winter is a writer and comedian in New York. She's written for TV Land, Glamour and Fusion TV.

Investment Profile

Bonds Worldwide

An International Bond ETF on Stash

Learn more
Explore more articlesChoose a topic to learn more about
social media pop culture budgeting Technology market news
Disclaimers

This material has been distributed for informational and educational purposes only, represents an assessment of the market environment as of the date of publication, is subject to change without notice, and is not intended as investment, legal, accounting, or tax advice or opinion. Stash assumes no obligation to provide notifications of changes in any factors that could affect the information provided. This information should not be relied upon by the reader as research or investment advice regarding any issuer or security in particular. The strategies discussed are strictly for illustrative and educational purposes and should not be construed as a recommendation to purchase or sell, or an offer to sell or a solicitation of an offer to buy any security. There is no guarantee that any strategies discussed will be effective.

Furthermore, the information presented does not take into consideration commissions, tax implications, or other transactional costs, which may significantly affect the economic consequences of a given strategy or investment decision. This information is not intended as a recommendation to invest in any particular asset class or strategy or as a promise of future performance. There is no guarantee that any investment strategy will work under all market conditions or is suitable for all investors. Each investor should evaluate their ability to invest long term, especially during periods of downturn in the market. Investors should not substitute these materials for professional services, and should seek advice from an independent advisor before acting on any information presented. Before investing, please carefully consider your willingness to take on risk and your financial ability to afford investment losses when deciding how much individual security exposure to have in your investment portfolio.

Past performance does not guarantee future results. There is a potential for loss as well as gain in investing. Stash does not represent in any manner that the circumstances described herein will result in any particular outcome. While the data and analysis Stash uses from third party sources is believed to be reliable, Stash does not guarantee the accuracy of such information. Nothing in this article should be considered as a solicitation or offer, or recommendation, to buy or sell any particular security or investment product or to engage in any investment strategy. No part of this material may be reproduced in any form, or referred to in any other publication, without express written permission. Stash does not provide personalized financial planning to investors, such as estate, tax, or retirement planning. Investment advisory services are only provided to investors who become Stash Clients pursuant to a written Advisory Agreement. For more information please visit www.stashinvest.com/disclosures.