What you need to know about changes in the couponing world today
Numerous announcements revolving around coupons and stores have been made in recent months and this is what you need to know about changes in the couponing world today…
(1) Your local Rite Aid may become a Walgreens. What was supposed to be a merger changed into a partial buyout of Rite Aid by Walgreens. How precisely that will play out and what stores will be affected remains to be seen. What is for certain, though, is that the rewards program of Walgreens will continue. This allows shoppers to still get weekly deals that net savings of 50% or better. They will just be at Walgreens now.
(2) In other changes for Walgreens, they are rolling out a new store layout and stocking program, called “Simplify Stores”. This new focus has been announced as intending to offer wider sales incentives and better stocking on sale items. If it works, that's good news for couponers who have been frustrated in the past over narrow deal offers and empty shelves.
(3) Amazon now owns Whole Foods. Amazon has promised to immediately slash prices on numerous food staples, including fruits like apples and bananas, vegetables like lettuce and kale, and meats like tilapia and ground beef. Along with lower prices, Whole Foods' signature products will be available for purchase on Amazon – making getting certain items easier, and, hopefully, less expensively.
(4) Amazon will bring Amazon Prime benefits to Whole Foods. Amazon also plans to change the previous Whole Foods rewards program. Soon, Amazon Prime members will receive additional incentives and rewards for shopping at Whole Foods, as well as on Amazon.
(5) Coupon rebate apps and printable coupons are getting even more complicated. In an effort to prevent “double-dipping”, rebate apps and coupon issuers, like Checkout 51 and SmartSource are rolling out the technology to prevent consumers from using more than one offer on a purchase.
(6) Illegal theft and reselling of coupons has forced RedPlum (Valassis) and Proctor & Gamble (P&G) inserts to be pulled from several large metropolitan newspapers, with likely more to come over the next months and years. This has made consumers in affected areas turn even more to digital and printable coupons to save.
(7) Online grocery shopping is picking up steam. Consumers are taking advantage of online grocery shopping and local delivery to mainly save time. While couponers aren't too fond yet, companies that offer online grocery shopping are working toward better integration of digital coupons to pull in couponers as customers.
(8) Some coupon match-up services are no longer matching. Due to the changes in consumerism and the coupon world, SavingsAngel, for one, has opted to focus more on overall savings and advice. For those looking for a grocery coupon matching service, try CouponMom.com, SouthernSavers.com, or MyLitter.com.
(9) Groupon is expanding their restaurant savings options. They've partnered with GrubHub.com to get into the food delivery service AND they are rolling out Groupon+. Groupon+ partners with Visa and Mastercard to offer voucherless cash back deals of up to 30 percent off. Currently, 23 U.S. markets are in the testing stage.
Despite all the recent changes, there are still three truths about couponing that never change:
1. Buy what you don’t need (yet) and stock up when deals are best. Buying only what you need, and only in the quantity you need at the time, does not actually save you money. You get stuck paying whatever the retail price is at that time by shopping entirely from a list of needs. You'll gradually move away from that trap if you stock up when items are offered at 50% off or more. You get so much more for your money, free up cash for fresh goods, and rarely run out of things.
2. Yes, using coupons takes time – but it's more than worth it. For one or two hours of invested time planning and finding coupons, you can save at least an additional $30-$40 a week. You can save even more when you look for coupons and deals, and take advantage of rebate offers, for everything you do and buy.
3. Your Sunday newspaper, your printer, and your mobile device are all money-makers. You can invest a few dollars each week for a newspaper and some paper and ink – and get more than $50 in coupons. Even if you redeem just a couple of them, you've made your money back. And you're already paying for your phone, so why not have it pay you back via digital coupons for groceries and services? Digital coupons can actually help offset the cost of your service plan.