Put the scissors down and stow the coupon wallet in the junk drawer. Coupon clipping is about to get a lot easier.
Armed with a smartphone and the right apps, you can find, save, and even redeem coupons--not just for your local grocery store, but for all kinds of stores.
This can be as practical as it is fun. You'll spend less time pouring through print ads, clipping out the ones you want, and matching them up with items on store shelves. You'll find coupons you might otherwise have missed. And you'll even get through the checkout faster thanks to coupons already applied to your loyalty card.
Here's a list of five great money-saving coupon apps for your Android phone and/or iPhone.
1. Coupon Clipper (Android, iOS) You know those Clipper, Mint, Rewards, and Savvy Shopper magazines that arrive in your mailbox every month? Coupon Clipper puts all those local deals in the palm of your hand.
Thus, you'll find coupons for nearby restaurants, automotive services, home-improvement stores, and so on. Just tap View for any deal you want to see, then tap Redeem to get your unique coupon code to show to the merchant. The app's interface is less than stellar, but some of the deals can't be found anywhere else.
2. Coupons.com (Android, iOS) Anyone familiar with Coupons.com knows the drill: Fire up your Web browser, "clip" the coupons you want, then spit them out on your printer.
The eponymous app lets you do the same thing, but on your phone instead. Alas, for the moment can print only to select HP printers. If you don't have one, you'll have to e-mail your coupons to yourself, then print them from your PC.
3. Grocery Pal (Android, iOS) Coupons can be a hassle, what with all the clipping or printing, the remembering to bring them to the store, the waiting while the cashier scans them, and so on.
Grocery Pal not only finds coupons for a ton of stores, but also lets you add them to your loyalty card in advance. That way, those discounts are automatically applied the moment you scan your card. How cool is that! If you install just one coupon app, make it this one.
4. Valpak Local Savings (Android, iOS) You know those thick Valpak envelopes that land in your mailbox every month? As with the aforementioned Coupon Clipper, this app puts those deals in the palm of your hand.
And not just the usual batch of coupons, either, but also some Groupon-style deals you can buy in advance to use later at local merchants (and even some online stores).
5. Yowza!! Mobile Coupons (iOS) What separates this app from the competition is that the developers work directly with merchants to provide you with exclusive deals.
Usually these come from chain stores, like those you'd find in a mall, but you may also see coupons from smaller, independent shops. For example, a nearby salon was offering new clients 20 percent off their first visit -- a deal I didn't see duplicated in any other other coupon app.
Have you found a coupon app you like better than these? Tell me about it in the comments!