Special Report: Digital Dollars

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Updated: 2/22/2012 11:04 pm
Mother of six Meghan Caron spends most Sundays clipping coupons.

"It is a massive undertaking,” Caron said. “I really anticipate the Sunday paper coming."

But keeping tabs on all those offers adds up to stress and confusion.

"I have this little binder system that I use, and I try to sort of organize them by store," Caron said.
Caron hopes to cut back on clipping by using digital coupons.

They're automatically loaded onto to your debit card, credit card, or shopper's card. You put coupons onto you Kroger card every week online, then use it in the store to save.

Janna Herron with bankrate.com says you're about to see a digital coupon explosion.

"It is convenient,” Herron said. “Consumers don't have to stuff their purse or their wallet with a bunch of paper coupons, and they don't have to worry about forgetting them, because it's linked to their card."

Some e-coupons can be found directly on your credit or debit card statement. Others are available through third party websites.

"Typically, you register your debit card, credit card, or store loyalty card on either the third party web site or your bank issuer's web site,” Herron said. “And then, when you see a coupon that you want, you just click on it."

And you can also download deals via billboards, magazines, and television by using q-r codes. Caron registered on mylinkables.com and racked up savings at a home improvement store.

"My savings there was between $5 to $10 dollars, which was very significant savings for us," Caron said.

While e-coupons can save you dollars, Herron says it's important to know that most services monitor your purchase history, so you can receive targeted coupons.

"Consumers should read the privacy policy before signing up for these services so they know how the information is gathered, what is collected, who it's being shared with," Herron said.

Bankrate says some credit card companies sell that history to stores.

When it comes to debit and credit cards the money you save is typically credited to your account 14 to 30 days after the purchase, so make sure to check your statement.

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