Imagine this conversation at a back-porch barbecue: "Dude, skip the beer, have a margarita! I got a buck off three cans of Bacardi mix with a coupon online. … With salt? … Totally!"
A new study by Harris Interactive with Coupons.com shows that conversations such as this are pretty close to reality. That puts a new face on today's coupon clipper as someone who increasingly is affluent and educated, lives in a metro area and, quite possibly, is male.
Overall, six out of 10 U.S. adults with a household income of $100,000 or more said they had redeemed a coupon in the previous six months.
"Coupons aren't just for the groceries anymore," said Jeanette Pavini, household savings expert for Coupons.com, which offers weekly deals by city.
Online coupon sources, mobile coupon applications for cell phones and other techniques make using coupons easier and less conspicuous, Pavini said.
For grocery store items — a big coupon segment — shoppers can link a major store's rewards card to Coupons.com and then save specific coupons to the card so the discount is automatically applied at checkout. No paper coupon needed.
"This makes it techy and fun and easy for men to do," Pavini said.
Last year was the first year that coupon use increased since 1992, Coupons.com reported. The recent study showed that eight out of 10 U.S. adults plan to continue using coupons even if the economy improves.
To streamline the habit, Pavini suggests stashing coupons in an accordion-style folder in the car. So even if you forget them, you can just dash out to the parking lot.
She also suggests planning the weekly menu around coupons and local market specials to double the savings.
"It's exciting when you look at the bottom of your receipt," Pavini said, "and you saved $45 or $50."