2009 Money moves: Get in gear with digital coupons

Gone are the days when coupon clipping meant you had to cozy up to a kitchen table for an hour of hunting and cutting in order to save money. Thanks to emerging technology and new trends form retailers; 2009 is poised to be the year that ushers in major coupon savings for any purchase.

Getting coupons delivered to your phone has been possible for a few years, but 2009 is set to be the game- changing year. More retailers are partnering with CellFire, the biggest name in mobile coupons, increasing the number of offers. Couple this with widespread phone compatibility and the market is ready to explode.

CellFire works by allowing user to add coupons to their cell phone or to their store loyalty card. Even in my relatively small town I was able to find a few participating retailers including Kroger. Once I tied my Kroger Plus card to my CellFire account, I could add coupons to the card from my computer or from my phone while I was shopping!. When I purchased the items, rather than carrying a stack of coupons, I simply handed my Plus card to the cashier and the savings were applied.

Other retailers like Caribou Coffee and Firestone Auto participate by letting consumers show a coupon on their mobile phone. Since I can access the savings from my cellphone I can easily save $1 on my coffee or get $10 off an oil change while I am wait in line. Gamestop has participated in the past and will be rejoining the mobile coupon clipping party by mid 2009.

Another resource that coupon shoppers can't do without in 2009 is RetailMeNot.com. RetailMeNot provides a quick, easy way to find coupons for an array of sites. Users can submit and rate a coupon which prevents you from entering expired code after expired code during the checkout process. RetailMeNot is so simple to use that I saved $5 in 30 seconds when I bought a pizza from Papa John's last week!

Dan de Grandpre from Dealnews.com took a few minutes to share several exciting coupons trends for 2009. The first relates to deep discounts, "To keep the average order sizes higher, retailers will increase the minimum purchase requirement for coupons. Expect bigger discounts -- 25%, 30%, sometimes 50% off -- but with high minimums -- purchases of $50 or more, $100 or more, $200 or more."

Additionally, Dan brings good news regarding coupon stacking. "We've recently seen a resurgence of stores allowing shoppers to use more than one coupon (another meaning of "stacking") ... enter a code for, say, free shipping, then enter another for $5 off $25. Such multi-coupon stacking is on the way back after several years where stores seemed to try to get rid of this trick. Stores that have let you use more than one code within the last month include Kohl's, Eastbay, newegg.com, Dell, Victoria's Secret, Office Depot, Bloomingdale's, ICE.com, SplendidLife.com, Speck Products, and White House | Black Market. There is rarely any "cost" in trying a second code."

Paper coupons won't die in 2009; their users will just get smarter! More newspapers will offer online coupon clipping like the Toledo Blade. These coupons are free and it's easy to find the ones that apply to you. Additionally more people will make use of coupon listing and trading sites like ThriftyFun's Coupon Swap and the Coupon Forum to find and trade coupons.

No matter how you shop, there are plenty of new ways to save money using coupons in 2009. Thanks to emerging technology and coupon trends, you can save more with less work.

What are you waiting for? It's 2009 and coupons have gone digital; start saving!

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