ALLEN (CBSDFW.COM) – There’s a new secret to saving money and getting free stuff in your everyday life. It almost sounded too good and too simple to be true. Our investigative team went undercover to check it out, and you can do it, too.
Clipping coupons could soon be a thing of the past. Now, there’s an app for your scissors! Saving money can be as easy as swiping your finger, or touching a button. Lynette Shofner of Allen never leaves home without her smartphone.
“If I’m going to spend money, it’s going to be at a discount,” Shofner said.
Using apps, she saves money on purchases from groceries to electronics, and even manicures.
“I get to try new places and experience new things because they’re always at a discount,” she said.
Her favorite app is Shopkick, which makes shopping and saving a game. Using GPS, it shows nearby stores with exclusive deals. Users get points just by walking in, checking into a specific section, or even scanning particular products. If you get enough points, you can get a gift card.
“For opening my phone and just walking into a store and letting it give me points that equates to money later on, there’s not anything easier to do,” Shofner said.
But, can you use apps to save money in your everyday life? For two days, CBS11 went undercover to check out the coupons found on three randomly selected so-called “money saving apps”. On GeoQpons, we downloaded a “Buy One Get One Half Off” coupon for lunch at Roma’s Italian Restaurant in Dallas. We also found a 15% coupon for Aldo Shoes on GeoQpons. Using the Coupon Cloud app, we saved money on lunch at Mimi’s Cafe in Lewisville, and got a free candle at Bath & Body Works. At Children’s Place, we saved nearly $16 on nearly a dozen items of children’s clothing. With the Coupon Sherpa app, we loaded almost a dozen digital coupons from the app onto our Kroger card in a matter of seconds.
Gary Huddleston with Kroger says more consumers are looking for easy ways to save money. “We’re very supportive of this, and we think it’s the wave of the future,” he said. “It’s much more convenient to have that coupon on their plus card and then when they shop, it’s taken right off their card.”
Shopper Cheyenne Rogers of Dallas agrees, and says it’s better than spending time trying to clip coupons from the paper. “It’s pretty simple, and just a few clicks away,” she said. “It’s more convenient in a lot of ways because you don’t have carry around the paper, cut the coupons out.”
But, there is a catch with these digital coupons as Lynette Shofner found out. “If you’re at Tom Thumb or Albertsons, and you’ve uploaded this digital coupon, it’s not going to double or triple like their policy says it would,” she explained based on her experience.
So, in two days at seven locations around DFW, we would’ve spent close to $275. But, with the help of these coupon apps, we saved a total of $50 – an 18% savings which Shofner says is worth it.
“It’s not something major that you have to do that’s life changing to make you save money,” she said. “It’s just a little that you have to give to start to save money.”
If you’d like to download the apps we randomly selected to be tested for this story, click on the links below: