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How to Find the Most Rewarding Mobile Coupons

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How to Find the Most Rewarding Mobile Coupons
©Torrey Kim
The popularity of mobile couponing may be growing considerably, but in some respects, we’re still experiencing the early days of what will likely be a massively-expanding area over the next year. A new RadiumOne study reveals that although only 12.3 million consumers were using mobile coupons in 2010, that number will explode to 53.2 million in 2014.

Just as interesting as the news that mobile couponing is growing quickly is the word that 42.3 percent of the study’s respondents said that they prefer text-based coupons, while 28.1 percent would rather use a barcode-scannable mobile coupon at a retailing outlet.

Although the study doesn’t note the reason for that preference, it could be because redeeming a text coupon typically involves showing the cashier the text, which includes a discount code. The cashier keys that code into the register, and your discount automatically appears. In contrast, cashiers sometimes struggle with barcode-scannable coupons on your phone’s LCD screen, since they tend to complain that the screens don’t scan properly -- and some of these coupons even require the assistance of the dreaded “I need to call my manager” blinking light atop the cashier stand.

How to Get More Mobile Coupons

Because the mobile discount business is growing so quickly, it’s also changing dramatically from one day to the next. There are a number of strategies you can employ to ensure that you’re on the leading edge, allowing you to access the maximum number of mobile coupons to slash your bills. Consider the following tips to ensure that you aren’t missing out on any great discounts:

Check Your Phone’s ‘Location Services’ Option. When you download a new app, particularly those that involve location-based coupon offers, the app will ask you if you’d like to turn on Location Services. This means that the app can geographically determine your location and give you the deals nearest to you. But many consumers are concerned about battery life when all of their apps have Location Services turned to the “on” position. Apple, for instance, openly admits that the use of location services “may reduce battery life,” leading many couponers to opt against using it. However, you can turn location services on and off for each app on a per-use basis. If you plan to use GasBuddy, for example, you’ll typically want to have it on so it finds the best gas prices near you. You can go into your phone’s settings and turn on location services for individual apps (go to Settings>Privacy>Location Services and each app will be listed...see the image above for an example). Then you can turn location services off again when you’re done using the app. Alternately, many apps allow you to input your zip code manually to find local deals. No matter how you do it, however, many apps won’t maximize your savings without knowing your location.

Look for Text Codes at Local Retailers.Getting coupons via text is a simple and rewarding way to save money, since the coupon codes come directly to your phone on a regular basis and require no clipping. You can find text codes for national retailers using various listings or on company Web sites, but finding these discounts from local retailers may take a little extra work. However, the deals are out there, and often just require you to ask. You might find signs at your local restaurants and shops that advertise text codes, often posted near the point of sale or on the door. In addition, you can ask the owners of your local businesses if they offer text deals. Even if they don’t yet, your question might spur them to consider it.

Convert Paper Coupons to Mobile Offers. The beauty of mobile coupons is that you never leave them at home as long as your phone is with you, but many stores don’t offer mobile coupons, requiring us to continue clipping them from the newspaper, mailers, and magazines. However, you can use apps such as SnipSnap to convert your paper coupons into mobile offers, giving the cashier a scannable coupon bar code right on your phone.

By employing various mobile couponing strategies, you can ensure that you pay full price for fewer and fewer items. You may even find that the money you save using your phone for couponing eventually equals what you spent on your mobile phone in the first place.

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