Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Loading Up Your Shopper's Loyalty Cards with Coupons: Should You Do It?

Many grocery stores across the country now offer a shopper's loyalty card. Some of these include:

  • CVS ExtraCare Rewards
  • Rite Aid Up Rewards
  • Baker's Plus Card
  • City Market Value Card
  • Dillons Plus Card
  • Fry's Food Stores V.I.P. Card
  • Gerbes Plus Card
  • JayC Plus Card
  • King Soopers Sooper Card
  • Kroger Plus Card
  • Owen's Plus Card
  • Pay Less Super Markets Plus Card
  • QFC (Quality Food Centers) Advantage Card
  • Ralphs Rewards Card
  • Scott's Food and Pharmacy
  • Smith's Rewards Card
  • Carrs Saveway Club
  • Dominick's
  • Genuardi's Club
  • Pavilions Value Plus Club
  • Randall's Remarkable Card
  • Safeway Club
  • Tom Thumb Reward Club
  • Vons Club Card
  • Shop Rite My Price Plus Club Card
  • Price Chopper AdvantEdge Card
  • Albertsons Preferred Savings Card
  • Brookshire's Thank You Card
  • Jewel-Osco Preferred Card
  • Winn Dixie Reward Card

These cards and programs provide you with savings on your daily purchases and can include additional perks, too. Some of these perks include reduced pricing on the cost of gas per gallon at their own filling station unit but it may also spread to some national gas stations. With the Kroger Plus Card, for example, in some states you can have savings at Shell gas stations based on the number of available points on your card. These stores also monitor your shopping habits and will use that information to provide you with custom, in-store coupons for products you tend to use or similar products to those you currently use.

Most of these stores also allow you to upload ecoupons to your loyalty card providing you with an easy way to use coupons; no printing needed and no fumbling to find the right coupon amongst  many.  You can find these ecoupons to upload to your loyalty card from several sites such as the grocery store's own website, Cellfire and SavingStar. You can access both Cellfire and SavingStar directly from the printable coupon page here at the Coupon Centsation.

So should you use ecoupons? The answer: Yes and No. Uh? Well, that may be what you are asking but it really depends on the situation and you need to be careful. If you don't have a print coupon for the product you are seeking and you can find and ecoupon, YES, upload and use the ecoupon. If you have the print coupon then you need to do some comparing and know your store's coupon policy.

Most of the store loyalty cards listed above have one big, in fact HUGE, downfall: the ecoupons are not eligible for doubling. Even if you have a coupon within value that would normally be doubled if it were a print coupon you will not get the same benefit by using the ecoupon. So, for example, you have a $0.40 off print coupon for product XYZ and a ecoupon for $0.50 off for product XYZ and the doubling policy is up to $.50 but only on print coupons you would want to use the print coupon because the end value to you is $0.80. While the ecoupon value would remain $0.50.

This brings up a BIG BE AWARE! You need to know  whether or not you already have the ecoupon on your card. If you do it will automatically take your ecoupon when the scanner scans your product and that will negate you being able to use your print coupon. For this reason, I don't upload ecoupons until right before I leave for my shopping trip and only upload the ecoupons for the products I want to purchase that trip but don't have a print coupon for.

There are a few other times I will upload an ecoupon even if I have a print coupon.

1. Typically you can only upload one or two maximum ecoupons for the same coupon and product. If I know I am going to purchase a number of the same product and don't have enough print coupons I will add the ecoupon to allow me to purchase a few more with additional savings

2. If the value of the ecoupon and the print coupon end up being equal after doubling I will load up the ecoupon for ease at the register

3. If the value of the ecoupon is higher than the print coupon plus doubling. I am always going to go for the BIGGEST savings.

In conclusion, I recommend strongly joining your stores loyalty program and to use ecoupons through the loyalty card. Just be cautious so you can maximize your savings. Ecoupons, when used properly, can definitely help you to do that!

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