Q I do not have a clue what you mean by “load-to-card e-coupons.” What card, where do you get the card and how do you load them? How do you load e-coupons via the Internet? I would appreciate it if you could explain in more detail, as I am sure I am not the only one who doesn't have a clue what this is all about.
A: E-coupons are simply electronic coupons. With regard to grocery e-coupons (which are the type we will discuss in this column), e-coupons are very similar to paper coupons. You can use e-coupons on the items you're buying, just as you would use paper coupons. And in some cases, you can use both an e-coupon and a paper coupon on the same item. Just as you can stack a store coupon and a manufacturer coupon together, you also can stack a paper coupon and e-coupon together, as long as one is a store coupon and one is a manufacturer coupon.
Many major supermarkets and drugstores offer e-coupons. In most cases, you will load these e-coupons to your store's loyalty card via the store's website or a smartphone app. Enter your loyalty card number into the website or the app, then click on the coupons you wish to add to your account. Then, when you go shopping, the e-coupons will be activated and the discounts applied when your loyalty card is scanned at checkout.
So where does one find e-coupons? A great place to start is your favorite store's website. If your supermarket or pharmacy offers e-coupons, you may find information on how to load them to your phone via the store's website. Smartphone users also will find countless e-coupon apps in the Apple App Store or via Google Play.
Some national e-coupon websites work with retailers around the country. Here's a list:
Cellfire.com: Works with more than 25 chains around the country.
ShortCuts.com: Works with 25 chains nationally and provides both electronic and printable coupons.
PGeSaver.com: Offers a new set of e-coupons each month for 29 chains.
SavingStar.com: Offers e-coupons for more than 100 chains nationally. SavingStar e-coupons work a bit differently from the aforementioned websites. With SavingStar, your e-coupon discounts are not applied immediately at the register. Instead, the money saved is deposited into your online SavingStar account, and you can deposit the money to your personal bank account.
If you use e-coupons, remember that it will be your responsibility to keep track of their expiration dates. If you've loaded e-coupons that you haven't redeemed, the coupons will disappear from your card.