If your New Year's resolution is to save money, go digital.
The trend in couponing is moving away from the Sunday newspaper and onto your phone. Meghan Caron, a mother of six, spends most Sundays clipping coupons. Keeping tabs on all the offers requires organization.
It is a massive undertaking. I really anticipate the Sunday paper coming, she said, organizing her coupons according to store in a binder.
Meghan wants to save more with digital coupons next year, with promotions or discounts that are automatically loaded onto to your debit card, credit card, or store loyalty card.
It is convenient. 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, said Jenna Herron from Bankrate.com.
Some e-coupons can be found directly on your credit or debit card statement. Others are available through third party web sites.
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. And then, when you see a coupon that you want, you just click on it, said Herron.
And it won't be long til you'll be able to download deals from billboards, magazines, even your TV.
You scan a QR code, or you type in a star-star code on your mobile device, and that offer is linked right to your card, said Tom Burgess of Linkable Networks, a company on the leading edge of this technology. We support 99% of all credit or debit cards from around the country.
Bankrate.com says though savings are good, most services monitor your purchase history, so they can target the coupons. Credit card issuers sell that history to retailers.
Linkable Networks keeps your data anonymous.
We deal with the banks directly. And the consumer's data, all that personally identifiable information, your name, your address, and so forth, remains behind the firewall at the bank, said Burgess with Linkable Networks.
Meghan says she feels safe, and likes saving both time and money.
Just to even go out to eat as a family of 8 would be something that is a treat for us, she said.
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 be vigilant about checking your statement.