If you’re looking for a way to save money with minimal effort, two words: digital coupons.

What are digital coupons? They’re coupons you can use just like paper ones, but they come in electronic form. Digital coupons can be store or manufacturer coupons — they can even be rebate app offers.

Most often you’ll find digital coupons inside a grocery store app or in the form of a promo code that you enter to make a purchase online.

Digital couponing removes paper from the equation completely, because when you add an offer to your smartphone by tapping it, next you’ll show the offer to your cashier if you go in store, in order to redeem it. The cashier will scan it and then you’re done.

When you’re shopping online, you can add digital coupons to your cart and they’ll be applied to your order automatically when it’s delivered or when you pick it up curbside.

Download the KCL app and you’ll get access to our database of digital coupons galore. And then check out these tips for using digital coupons.

 

1. Get digital grocery coupons inside each store’s app or website.

How do you get digital coupons? Look inside grocery store apps or on a store’s website. Some of these digital coupons are store coupons, issued by the store itself, and some of them are manufacturer coupons, issued by the brand’s manufacturer. A few stores — like Target and Dollar General — even offer both store and manufacturer coupons inside their respective apps.

Download the store’s app, set up a profile or create an account and start tapping coupons to apply to your orders. Some stores allow you to apply a digital coupon to an online order for pickup or delivery, but others that don’t offer curbside services will require you to show the cashier the coupon barcode on your phone so they can scan it.

Here’s a goldmine of digital coupons to get you started on your favorite grocery stores:

 

RELATED: Stores That Allow Coupons at Curbside Pickup

 

2. Clip online digital coupons for retail purchases too!

Don’t think for one second that grocery stores are the only players in the digital coupon game.

Retail stores like Kohl’s, Macy’s and more offer everything from in-app digital coupons to promo codes that you can use when you shop online.

Some retail stores, like Kohl’s, allow you to stack up to 10 online digital coupons (or promo codes) in one purchase — quite a lot for a retail store, which usually only allow one or two per purchase.

For example, in the Kohl’s app, when you tap “Kohl’s Coupons,” you might see a few different promo codes available like SWEET20 for an extra 20% off your entire purchase or SUMMERTIME for an extra 25% off summer clothes and swimwear for the family.

Speaking of coupon stacking…

 

3. Go ahead and stack digital coupons, but regular coupon stacking rules apply.

“Stacking coupons” refers to using more than one discount on a single item in order to get the best discount. Learning how to stack coupons is it’s own adventure and I’ve linked to an article below that’ll make you a pro.

For our purposes here, once you know how to stack coupons, you’ll see that you can absolutely stack digital coupons under certain circumstances. Just make sure you’re following coupon rules that apply to paper coupons too. Here’s what I mean:

DO:

  • Stack a digital manufacturer coupon with a digital store coupon. It depends on each store’s policy, but in general, stacking manufacturer with store coupons is fair play.
  • Stack a paper manufacturer coupon with a digital store coupon. It doesn’t matter if it’s two digital or one digital and one paper coupon. Stores aren’t looking at the form of coupon (digital or paper), they’re looking at the type of coupon (manufacturer or store).
  • Stack a digital manufacturer coupon with a paper store coupon. Paper store coupons are more rare than digitals, but smaller, local stores often still have them.

DON’T:

  • Stack two manufacturer coupons, digital or not. You’re seeing a pattern here, right? You can’t stack two like coupons, it doesn’t matter what form they are.
  • Expect to use multiple of the same digital coupon in one transaction. If you have paper coupons, you can typically use up to four in one purchase (or transaction), if you are buying four items (one coupon per item). But digital coupons tend to only offer one use.

 

RELATED: The Ultimate Guide to Coupon Stacking

 

4. Redeem an unlimited amount of digital coupons as long as it’s only one per item.

Every store has its own coupon policy, but in general, stores that offer digital coupons inside their app won’t place limits on how many coupons you can use in one transaction. Stores like Dollar General and Kroger will let you use as many digital coupons as you want. But other stores, like Target, limit how many digital offers you can use at once.

Don’t be confused — this is not the same as “stacking” coupons. When you stack coupons, it’s multiple coupons applied to a single item. Using unlimited coupons means you can use a single coupon for Tide, a coupon for Clif Bars, a coupon for Colgate, a coupon for Purina dog food, etc.

If you buy the item, you can apply the coupon. In fact, stores are hoping the very presence of coupons will lure you into pulling the trigger on something that’s not actually on your list, so watch out for that.

For example, if you stuck to your list and found coupons for everything, party on. But if you didn’t plan to buy Clif Bars and got swayed into spending $6 because you saw a $0.50 off coupon, you won’t save money overall. Instead, wait until you can stack a sale and a coupon for Clif Bars before you buy them.

 

 

5. Download the Coupons.com app for all the digital manufacturer coupons.

While some stores offer digital manufacturer coupons inside their store apps, you can also access them through the Coupons.com app.

When you link your Coupons.com account to your store loyalty cards, you’ll get access to digital coupons to use at your favorite stores.

Enable location services on your phone so Coupons.com can list all the stores in your area. Tap a store you’re interested in and then tap “Link Card” so you can see all the digital offers for that store.

 

RELATED: How to Use the Coupons.com App: A Step-by-Step Guide

 

6. Redeem even more discounts with rebate apps like Ibotta and Fetch Rewards.

While rebate apps don’t fit neatly in categories like “store coupons” or “manufacturer coupons,” they offer savings that have been known to rival traditional coupon savings, plus they’re so easy that even the laziest couponer (isn’t that all of us?!) can get excited.

Plus, you can redeem these offers even if you’re using coupons because rebate apps offer savings after you make a purchase, after the cashier has taken all your coupons, after you get into your car and breathe a sigh of relief (and after you pat yourself on the back for being a badass smart shopper).

Pull out the receipt from your shopping trip and take a picture of it or upload it to the rebate app of your choice — go ahead and use one receipt to redeem offers from multiple rebate apps if you can.

You’ll earn either cash back that goes into your PayPal account (Ibotta, Checkout51 and Makeena) or you’ll earn points you can redeem for gift cards to stores like Amazon (Fetch Rewards and Shopkick).

Get all of these rebate apps:

 

RELATED: Your Ultimate Guide to Rebate Apps

 

7. Digital coupons are usually the first discounts taken off your total.

Most stores apply coupons and discounts in a certain order, which means if you try to use the same paper and digital coupon for one item, the register will likely beep and reject one of your coupons. It also gives you a heads up if you’re trying to do the math in your head to figure out what your total will be.

Here’s the order stores tend to use:

  1. Digital coupons
  2. Minimum-purchase-required coupons
  3. Manufacturer coupons
  4. Store coupons
  5. Catalinas for a dollar-off amount

 

 

8. Look for weekly digital coupons for freebies.

Once a month on Fridays, Kroger stores (like Fry’s, Fred Meyer, King Soopers, etc.) offer a digital free-item coupon that can be added to your loyalty card and redeemed within two weeks (you must add the coupon to your account the Friday it’s offered). In the past, Free Friday Download coupons have been good for bread, yogurt, pet food, candy, and more.

 

9. If your digital coupon doesn’t apply correctly, don’t give up!

Just like paper coupons, sometimes digital coupons won’t apply to your transaction correctly. You can troubleshoot most couponing user errors by asking yourself these questions:

  • Did you purchase the right product as stated on the coupon? Did you get the correct size, brand and quantity?
  • Did you add the digital coupon to your “wallet” inside the store app?
  • Is your phone screen bright enough for the cashier to successfully scan the coupon barcode?

I know these seem like no-brainers, but I can’t tell you how many times I’ve marched up to checkout and gotten something wrong. Like thinking I had a Buy 1, Get 1 Free coupon when in reality, it was a Buy 1, Get 1 50% off coupon. It happens!

If all else fails, head to customer service to find out why your coupon doesn’t seem to apply.

 

Don’t scroll up! Here are the articles mentioned:

Stores That Allow Coupons at Curbside Pickup
The Ultimate Guide to Coupon Stacking
How to Use the Coupons.com App: A Step-by-Step Guide
Your Ultimate Guide to Rebate Apps

 

UP NEXT: Learn all of KCL’s secrets to saving money on groceries!

9 Things You Need to Know About Using Digital Coupons