Are coupon apps replacing paper coupons?

Coupon apps Snap SavesSAVE WITH YOUR MOBILE PHONE

 

Instant savings coupon apps in Canada are popping up all over the place so fast that it’s hard for me to keep track these days. The mobile coupon is becoming a household name and the savings are waiting to be claimed.

All those people who said you couldn’t get savings on healthy foods will be eating their words because coupon apps are here to stay.

As you can see from the photo you can now save money on all sorts of produce ranging from yams to lettuce and tomatoes. Is the savings worth your time now?

Saving money in your grocery budget using your mobile phone, provided you have one means no more carting around big bulky coupon binders.

To be honest when I started the weekly grocery game challenge here at CBB I never dreamed there would be grocery saving apps the way they are around today.

I can remember starting to order coupons from save.ca years ago and then realizing that there were more companies that were willing to send out coupons in the mail. It was a great way for us to cut back on spending while grocery shopping but it also meant being very organized.

One family I spoke with went from spending $1100 a month on groceries down to $600 a month by using coupons and various other forms of planning to get the family budget under control. Sure it takes prep work and planning but if you want to save it’s still very much possible if not with even more potential with the coupon apps.

 

Coupon binder

 

Years ago we had a huge coupon binder that was so overstuffed with coupons that we could hardly zip it shut. Often we’d put the big binder in a shopping bag and sit it in the shopping cart while we shopped. Armed with our grocery list.

We would also scan through our coupon binder that was separated into sections such as health and beauty, beverages, treats, dairy, cereals, household supplies etc. It was a bit embarrassing pulling out the binder at first but then when couponing became a big thing in Canada everyone knew that having a coupon binder was no big deal.

Sure, we would get people staring at us and people coming up to us and asking us how to coupon in Canada and we were happy to teach them couponing 101 in a grocery aisle. Sounds funny but it happened often because people were amazed at what you could get for free or paying hardly anything at all.

Then came the extreme couponing television programs which I watched maybe once but rarely applied to Canadians because we can’t really use coupons the way they do in the USA however you could still get lots for free or near free.

The coupon fairy would sometimes make his/her way around the stores leaving coupons close to expiry near products for unsuspecting customers to take advantage of although we hardly see that any longer.

 

Changes to coupons

 

Coupons are great and although some people would abuse them by taking the entire coupon pad. They knew it was a great coupon or the wording meant they could get trial products for free but it seems manufacturers started getting wise to that.

It was no fault of the customer it was the wording that was followed but likely not intended by the manufacturer. That meant that bottles of shampoo that were trial size selling for $2.00 had a coupon of $3.00 off applied making many customers cash back.

You could never find Nexxus shampoo or conditioner if you tried because they were flying off the shelves. At one point I think our Wal-mart actually stopped putting the product out because they knew customers were making money even though the store would get paid back the amount of the coupon and handling fees.

It wasn’t too long before that all ended and even now the likes of P&G Brandsaver, Websaver and Go Coupons are worded differently so consumers aren’t getting trial size as they are eliminated in the write-up on the coupon. You can still find coupons that say “any” with no restrictions but not like you used to.

Then the printable phenomenon started and companies were emailing coupons to customers or you could print instead of having them mailed to your house.

That was also abused by printing more than one, photocopying etc. You really have to stop and ask yourself how much you are saving when printer ink costs a fortune whether it’s black ink or colour ink along with owning a printer and printer paper.

Your time is worth money as well. Toss the fact that most stores said they would not accept printable coupons and it was clear that printable coupons weren’t going to be the next popular way to save money in the budget.

Sure, printable coupons still exist but slowly we don’t tend to hear much about them and more people tend to complain about printing programs that simply aren’t working so they give up.

Over the past year our coupon binder sits on the top shelf of our front hallway closet collecting dust and still has coupons from the end of 2013 in them. If you use coupons you will also notice now that stores are using automated coupon dispensers that give out one coupon at time to stop people from taking entire coupon pads.

Another tactic stores use is to put a huge screw through the pad of coupons which makes it extremely difficult to even get one coupon off but you certainly won’t be wasting your time taking one coupon off at a time if you want to hoard coupons. Grabbing a few coupons is the norm but wanting 20 or 30 or more is not something they want each customer to take.

 

Coupon apps Canada

 

Fast Forward into 2014 to be bombarded with coupon apps which are taking Canada by storm. Just last year Coupon Christine shared her insights on a new app called Checkout 51 with a guest post here at CBB.  You can get new cash back deals every week with Checkout51.

Everyone was intrigued by this new coupon app but only those that had the mobile phone to go along with using the app. My wife and I don’t have a fancy mobile phone so although we wanted our fans to know about the grocery savings it wasn’t a coupon app for us.

The great thing about coupon apps is you can pair paper coupons with the coupon app deals like double-dipping in the money pot. I’m just wondering how long this will go on for though.

What are coupon apps?

Coupon apps are apps that you can load on your smartphone free from ITunes or Google Apps. The coupon apps from what we can see are pretty much the same and becoming very competitive. What happens is each week the coupon app sends you a list of grocery savings that you can capture simply by purchasing the said product and uploading a copy of your receipt to the coupon app. It’s really that easy.

We simply didn’t get into Checkout51 like I mentioned but now it seems that coupon apps are popping up each week.  I’m wondering if  coupon apps are taking over the traditional paper coupon we are so used to.

 

Consumer opinion

 

I asked CBB fan Jen Peacock what she thought about coupon apps and here is what she had to say……

When I started couponing I started getting coupons for the products I already used in my house. When I realized that there were so many other products out there that coupons allowed you to get freebies with I started collecting all I could.

Then I began trading the coupons I didn’t need in exchange for more of the ones I could use. Collecting coupons and filing them in my binder just got too time consuming so I started trying to be a little more selective in the coupons I picked up or ordered online.

I also started trading less. I have also found over the last few years with couponing being so popular that a lot of the high value coupons have disappeared due to either misuse or the company realizing they were giving too much product away for free or cheap.

Grocery apps started coming out within the last year and they are ever so popular. The coupon apps started with Checkout 51, then came SnapSaves, CartSmart and now Zweet. There is also another new coupon apps site called Coupgon.

According to Save Big Live Better “Coupgon is only accepted now at Calgary Co-op and PriceSmart foods with more stores in the works.”

I have downloaded all the aforementioned coupon apps and enjoy using them all. I know some people go crazy with the coupon apps and have earned tons of cash rebates. 

I have always just used the coupon apps for items I already planned on purchasing or for making items I regularly purchase with coupons even cheaper or free. For me these coupon apps along with couponing allow me to really stretch out my grocery budget as well as donate items to charity when great deals come along.

I don’t think that the rebate coupon apps offer cut down on the amount of coupons I print or order as I use the rebates to make up additional savings in my budget using them with coupons.

For some it might be more convenient to use coupon apps so they can use it for savings instead of ordering coupons online or printing them.

 

Coupon blogger opinion

 

I also had a chance to speak to my good friend Julia from the popular Canadian couponing website Save Big Live Better.

You might remember wrote a special guest post here when the blog started about where to find coupons in Canada. I wanted to get her opinion on how couponing has changed over the years and where she can see the money saving coupon industry headed for consumers.

Here’s what Julia had to say…….

The differences between couponing in Canada in 2010 vs 2014 are too many to count! In addition to the changes in coupon policies in response to abusing the system companies have also tightened their belts and the coupons they provide are rapidly declining in value.

With the introduction of coupon apps such as Checkout 51 and Snap Saves couponing has become much more convenient and accessible for the average shopper. However, these developments simply cannot compete with the decline in offer/acceptance on behalf of the retailers and manufacturers.

Saving money through couponing is definitely becoming more of an uphill battle as the years pass. If you are familiar with the tricks of the trade and have weathered the storm of changes over the years it is still possible to save significantly on your grocery bill.

I don’t see many people willing to take on the task of learning to coupon in Canada going forward, since it takes longer now to begin seeing the results of their hard work.

It’s really unfortunate because with a little time and effort it is still possible to get things for FREE if you do your homework!

As you can see Coupon apps are in full swing around Canada and we don’t see them coming to an end any time soon. If you are still a big fan of using coupons you still snag some great deals especially if you pair them with the coupon app savings.

What do you think about coupon apps and do you think paper coupons may disappear over time?

 

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Mr. CBB
I’m from the UK and now a recent permanent resident in Canada. I bought my first house at the age of 21 after University then my second at the age of 24. I’ve always been fascinated with personal finance, savings, learning to make money and watch it grow while combating debts along the way. Canadian Budget Binder is a place where I get to share my experiences with personal finance and learn about yours along the way. I hope you stick around and check me out on Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest where I am active on all social media sites. Cheers, Mr.CBB
Mr. CBB
Mr. CBB

Comments

  1. Hi there,
    I used Checkout51 a lot and actually ended up getting a cheque from them for $21.00 or so.
    The problem is that I shop at Sobey’s a lot and for whatever reason, the people at Checkout21 couldn’t/wouldn’t give me coupon credit for the items I purchased there. It happened about 6 times on separate occasions. I appealed a few times was advised that my receipts were unclear. A lot of frustration over a few dollars is not worth it IMHO
    I now just carry around a baggie of coupons for products I know I will use. I still find that the coupons take a brand name item down to the generic store bought name’s price in any case. Sometimes, even with a sale + coupon, the generic brand is still cheaper.
    Cheers,

  2. I use Checkout 51 and I love that it works at any store ,and that each week they have a produce item, milk, or egg rebate that work on any brand. Usually it is something I need to buy – so why not! I also like the apps because you don’t lose your coupons, and don’t run into printer trouble with them….love this trend!
    Retired by 40 recently posted…Find Money in a Too Tight Budget!My Profile

  3. Christine Weadick says:

    I get the mail out coupons still as I can get some nice deals there. Royale product with Gocoupons comes to mind there. I have the Checkout51 app, Card Smart and Snap Saves on the iPad. I don’t have a smart phone so the iPad gets used. My biggest problem is just remembering to use the darn things when I get home. I did have an issue with Snap Saves over a receipt not reading but after trying 5-6 times to get a clear image I gave up in frustration. I’m thinking about Zweet but haven’t signed up yet…. I have gotten a couple of small checks from Checkout51 that were used for other things.the last one I got was in early December and was used for Christmas gifts. I’m tempted to just let these build up until later in the year for Christmas spending as I can’t get the gift cards I used to be able to get and use for that from Air Miles.. :(. Using these apps might be a way to save up for things like Christmas spending when money is tight as we have to buy groceries anyway. These combined with points from Shoppers and the like could be a way for people that are on a tight budget to pay for things like Christmas and birthdays. I’m trying to look into other ways I can build up the funds and points to use this way….

Trackbacks

  1. […] Mr.CBB at  Canadian Budget Binder asks Are Coupon Apps Replacing Paper Coupons? A really great post talking about the future of couponing. Sounds like it may be sooner than later […]

  2. […] still find fresh foods on sale using coupons back then but today it’s getting lucrative with coupon apps that are […]

  3. […] Are coupon apps replacing coupons in Canada? (canadianbudgetbinder.com) […]

  4. […] you have a computer or smart phone you can now use the popular savings apps which are not coupons per say, rather grocery savings without coupons like I mentioned […]

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