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Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Frugal 101: E-coupons

As we continue along in our Frugal 101 series, we are going to discuss the newest type of coupon. Coupons have evolved from paper coupons found in your Sunday newspaper to coupons that you can print yourself. Now, they have electronic coupons. In the frugal world, we call them E-coupons for short.

What are E-coupons and how do they work?

Electronic coupons are loaded directly on to your store's loyalty card (i.e. Kroger Plus card). There is no "clipping" required. Instead, you access your savings by "clicking" the mouse. At the store, you simply hand the cashier your card. Your E-coupons will automatically deduct when you purchase the specific product(s).

Where do I find E-coupons?

Some of the popular sites are Cellfire, Shortcuts, Kroger & Upromise. E-coupons are FREE and there is no charge to sign up. Simply visit the websites listed above and follow the step-by-step instructions to activate your account. You will need the number from your store's loyalty card to register.

Do all stores accept E-coupons?

Unfortunately not. E-coupons can typically only be used at stores who have a "loyalty card" because the E-coupons need an "account" to attach to.

Is there a maximum number of coupons I can "click?"

Generally, you can load up to 50 E-coupons on your loyalty card at any given time. Coupons cannot be removed once they are loaded. You would either need to redeem it or let it expire.

When is the best time to load E-coupons to my card?

E-coupons are updated frequently just like printable coupons. Therefore, if you see an E-coupon you like, you should load it right away. E-coupons also have expiration dates just like regular coupons. Get into a good habit of checking for new E-coupons when you are working on your shopping list. Make sure that loyalty card is loaded up before you head out to the store.

Can I use E-coupons with other coupons?

You can "stack" an E-coupon with a manufactuer's coupon for the same item. However, only 1 E-coupon can be redeemed per item purchased. For example, you cannot stack a Cellfire E-coupon with a Shortcuts E-coupon. In the same way, E-coupons for the same item must be used in separate transactions. As an example, you can not use 2 Cellfire coupons for 2 identical items in the same transaction.

If my store doubles coupons, does that mean they will also double my E-coupons?

Unfortunately not. E-coupons will not double.

How are Upromise E-coupons different?

Upromise also offers E-coupons but they work a little differently than the companies mentioned above. Coupons redeemed via Upromise go directly into a college savings account that you set up. You can read more about Upromise and their program here. I am using Upromise to help me pay back my student loans and then I will begin using it to save for Skylar's college fund.

Help! My E-coupons didn't show up on my receipt. What should I do?

If your E-coupons do not come off at checkout, please verify that you bought the correct item/size/quantity/variety and that your E-coupon has not expired. If everything is correct, simply contact the company via their website "Contact Us" form. They may require some information from your receipt and your shopper's card number to help you obtain your refund.

Go here to sign up for these E-coupon sites and then bookmark them for easy access next time: Cellfire, Shortcuts, Kroger & Upromise.

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1 comment:

Cindy Wolford said...

Don't forget Meijer's new mperks! They are linked to your cell phone #, not a store loyalty card. You just enter your cell # at checkout and viola!

If you're like me and don't have texting, they do have an opt-out of text messages that was crazy simple to do IMO:-)))