Couponing used to be a game that required extensive clipping and countless hours of effort devoted to organizing and planning trips to the supermarket. But, thanks to the innovation provided by many smartphone app makers, today it’s easier than ever to maximize your savings at the supermarket and at other retailers. Although the app market is saturated with plenty of apps promising savings, there are a handful of apps that run laps around the competition. These three apps are the Coupons.com app, SavingStar, and GroceryIQ.
The Coupons.com app is (obviously) produced by the coupons site Coupons.com. The site is one of the more reputable sites that offers savings by providing customers with a simple way to access hundreds of coupons tailored to their needs.
To store these coupons in your smartphone, simply download the app and log in to your account. From there, users are presented with three tabs: coupons, savings card, and settings. Under coupons, a listing of various discounts appears on common grocery, heath and beauty, and other items that are typical purchases for the average household. To add a coupon to your cart, users simply press the clip button, and the coupon will be added to the final list of discounts to be emailed. The next tab, “savings card,” is a slightly newer trend in marketing where users link their loyalty shopping cards to savings apps, and in exchange, the discounts requested by the customer are automatically applied at checkout. Rather than having to clip your coupons (or even find them), they’re discovered, stored, and used effortlessly. Overall, the savings card discounts are fairly reliable; the credits appear at the checkout.
Although digital coupons are a great concept, don’t expect to ditch paper just yet. Despite the usefulness of digital coupons, Coupons.com is primarily focused on printed coupons. For example, during my review there were 155 printed coupons as opposed to 16 digital coupons. Although 155 coupons is a great amount, the caveat of Coupons.com is that some of the items listed in the printable coupons section actually are non-grocery offers or things you probably don’t need that often. For example, coupons for Disney DVD’s, signup buttons for savings clubs, and numerous ads for “prescription discount cards” tend to clutter the listings (and reduce the overall quality and utility of the app) after the first few pages of results.
Another shortcoming of the app is the lack of printing capabilities. As of this review, after selecting coupons, the user has to email themselves the list and then print via their email client. Although this is a minor hurdle, for individuals who use a tablet as their primary computer, this can be a deal breaker. On Google Play as of the writing of this article, the Coupons.com app only has three stars out of five, however further inspection shows that the majority of negative reviews harp around the lack of print capabilities.
Another helpful app that follows a similar concept is SavingStar. Similar to Coupons.com and its digital coupons, SavingStar allows users to select discounts and load them onto their savings cards. The main difference between the two apps is that while Coupons.com applies the discounts to your receipt, SavingStar provides cash back. This payment is delivered via PayPal, bank deposit, or as an Amazon.com gift card. The savings can also be donated to charity after you earn $5 in savings.
The app is fairly simple to use, simply requiring you to tap the discounts that you wish to use. Payment is typically deposited into your account within three days of purchasing eligible items. Although the coupon count on SavingStar is a bit limited (on average ten to twenty items), their deals are worth taking advantage of, especially given how easy the process is. Additionally, the discounts on SavngStar change very often, so there are always new deals to utilize. SavingStar also has a useful push notification feature which will ensure that you don’t miss the latest deal.
Grocery IQ (also produced by the coupons site Coupons.com) provides helpful features such as: integrated barcode scanning, integrated coupons, product details, sorting by aisle, and much more. Unique to app is the ability for users to view and print digital coupons from the convenience of their smartphones or tablets. Also, Shopping lists can be emailed to family, ensuring that every trip to the store is filled with savings. Additionally, the app allows for synchronization across all your devices, so you are always on top of your grocery needs.
The app sports an “auto-suggest” feature when adding items to your list. It also has the ability to sort items by aisle, the ability to create multiple lists for different stores, and the ability to enter very specific product details such as quantity and size. These features are supported in both the desktop and mobile versions of the service, making the app significantly more usable than other similar apps on the market.
Although there are many discount shopping apps within the app markets, in terms of quality — Coupons.com, GroceryIQ, and SavingStar are an excellent trio worth trying, not just because of the app features, but more importantly the reputation of the companies. As all three companies are leaders in their class, users do not have to worry too much about being scammed by a less reputable vendor.
Charles Costa is the owner of CJC Digital, LLC. A web development firm focused heavily on the technical side of website coding and management plus technical writing services. In addition, CJC Digital also works heavily with emerging technology ventures to help new ideas get to market more effectively.