Thursday, January 1, 2009

eCoupons 101

What are eCoupons?

eCoupons, also known as Electronic Coupons or Digital coupons, are paperless manufacturer or store coupons that you can upload from your computer at home, directly on to your store's Shopper's or Loyalty Card. In my own experience, these eCoupons are Primarily available for your Kroger Plus card. The store's that use eCoupons will vary according to the region you live in.

How do you use eCoupons?

eCoupons are very easy to use! All that you have to do is register or sign up at the eCoupon sites (listed below) and add your shopper's card numbers to your account. Then you will review the list of coupons that they have available. You can then choose which coupons you want to use and add them (or load them) to your shopper's card. When you go shopping and purchase the product that you "loaded" a coupon for, the amount of the coupon will automatically come off at the register when you check out. Pretty easy, huh!

Where can I find an eCoupon?

The first place to look for eCoupons is at your store's website (i.e. Kroger). Grocery store chains are good about sharing ways to help you to save money if you shop at their store. They will usually include links to the eCoupon sites that they are using.

Here is a list of eCoupon services that I am currently aware of and that I have used:

Cellfire - Offers grocery eCoupons for Kroger and Kroger affiliated stores. These coupons are updated bi-weekly. PLUS, they offer savings on shopping, entertainment, and restaurants via mobile web. But, the Grocery eCoupons have Nothing at all to do with your mobile phone.

Shortcuts - Offers eCoupons for Kroger family of stores.

Kroger eCoupons - Offers eCoupons for Kroger stores.

P&G eSavers - Offers eCoupons for Proctor & Gamble products at Kroger. These coupons are updated monthly.

Meijer mPerks - These digital coupons can only be used at Meijer stores. For more info about mPerks and how to use them check out my post Here.

:: The following sites work a little different ::

Upromise - offers eCoupons at a variety of stores: CVS, Kroger, and Meijer (this varies based on where you live). The main difference between Upromise and other eCoupon services is that the product savings is deposited into your Upromise college savings account versus coming off of your total at check out. In addition, unlike most other eCoupons, Upromise coupons can be used in conjunction with manufacturer's coupons! Upromise eCoupons are updated monthly and you can find instructions for using them in my post here.

Saving Star - This is the company that manages the Upromise eCoupon system so these eCoupons work very similar to Upromise. Except, Once your account reaches a minimum of $5, you can get your money back in Pay pal, Amazon gift cards or other options. You can also combine these eCoupons with paper manufacturer coupons. You can find instructions for using them in my post here.

Campbell's eLabels - These are valid at 4,000 stores including Kroger family of stores. This program allows you to earn money for a participating school, when a participating product is purchased. You can find out more about these in my post here.

Tip for using eCoupons - Combine an eCoupon with an item that is on sale, to save more money!

:: Pros

  • No clipping or lugging around coupons to the store. Plus, you don't have to worry about losing coupons, since they are loaded to your shopper's card. Once you set up services, it is quick and easy to use.
  • You can easily print a shopping list from most eCoupon sites, so that you can remember which eCoupons that you loaded to your shopper's cards.
  • You can even get eCoupons for store brand products. (Kroger in particular, or Meijer products from mPerks)
  • If you have problems with your eCoupons not coming off, contact the eCoupon site directly, and they are more than willing to help!

:: Cons

  • There is usually a limit of 50-150 coupons per eCoupon site, that can be loaded to your card.
  • You have to be very careful to purchase the exact item (size, brand, ect) specified on the coupon, in order for it to work. For example, if the eCoupon says for 4 oz. Crest toothpaste, then you can not purchase the 6 oz. size if you want the eCoupon to work.
  • If you have added an eCoupon for the same product using two different services, there is no way to control which eCoupon is redeemed first. For example, if I add a $1/1 coupon for Cheerios on to my Kroger Plus card using Cellfire and a $.50/1 Cheerios coupon on to my Kroger Plus card using Shortcuts, I can not choose which coupon is redeemed first.
  • Once you add an eCoupon to your shopper's card, there is no way to remove it, unless you redeem it.
  • eCoupons can only be redeemed as face value, i.e., the eCoupon will not double or triple.
  • eCoupons are only available for a one time download. You can only download and use it one time.
  • You can not use an eCoupon and a paper coupon together (stacking) at Kroger. With the exception of Saving Star and Upromise.

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