It’s all over television – people actually earning money to shop for their families with extreme couponing. No lie, these women go into a store with a purse full of coupons and leave with thousands of dollars worth of merchandise plus a handful of cash. And it’s legal. These shows are catapulting coupons to tremendous popularity. Looking for a piece of the action? There is more than one kind of coupon, and to be a successful coupon user, you need to know your options.
In Store Coupons
In store coupons are the kinds we’ve seen all of our lives. Coca Cola Corporation offered the first coupon in the United States way back in 1888. Our love for saving money comes from our frugal and thrifty ancestors. Naturally, during the Great Depression people were literally hungry to save money, and companies were just as eager to get customers into the doors to spend money.
The economy eventually recovered, but companies now had a powerful marketing tool and American families weren’t over their addiction to saving money. By 1965, half of all American families were regularly redeeming in store coupons to save on everything from orange juice to breakfast cereal. These coupons haven’t gone away, but a new and exciting twist entered the scene when the Internet was born.
By 1990, families had an entirely new dealer for their money-saving addiction. Coupons for stores could be downloaded and printed from the home PC, and download and print we did. In 2002, U.S. consumers saved a whopping $3.8 billion with coupons, many from websites that offer coupons for free.
What’s the Difference?
The main difference between in store coupons and coupons online is how cheaply consumers can get their hands on them. Most printed in store coupons require the customer to buy a newspaper, magazine or other periodical to get the coupon. So, while the coupon itself is free, getting access to enough coupons to walk out of the supermarket with two carts of groceries for 37-cents is going to cost you.
Websites that offer coupons, such as RewardIt.com, don’t charge anything to get access to these online coupons. All the customer pays for is the paper and ink to print the coupon.
Coupons Enter the 21st Century
The most recent innovation is the ability to use coupons on the Internet or in stores. Coupons that are expressly produced for online sales don’t always have a bar code that stores scan. It’s now commonplace to print a code on the coupon that the customer can enter when placing orders online. The principles remain the same, it’s just an updated way to save big bucks on great merchandise. And couponing goes on…