Gone are the days of clipping coupons. Contemporary shoppers know what they want, and they know how to get the best deals, too.
"The era of carrying around a folder with all your coupon clips for the week is over," says Jennifer McDermott, consumer advocate for personal finance comparison website Finder.com. "There are now a host of apps and websites that will help you make the most of your budget."
According to a survey by RetailMeNot, a resource for finding in-store and online deals from retailers, restaurants and brands, 60 percent of shoppers are looking for deals no matter what they're buying. Those deals can include dollar discounts; percentages off; cash back; and free shipping.
Consumers can use the free RetailMeNot app or desktop site to search for deals on everything from sneakers to makeup, cooking supplies, electronics and more. Consumers can enter promo codes at the point of sale.
Another site, Promocodes.com, lists digital coupons for savings on products as well as services, such as hotels. Find a savings code you want, and then simply copy and paste that code into the promo area of the retailer's website when checking out.
Forget leafing through paper grocery ads. Nowadays shoppers can flip through ads on their phone. All the ads are in one place so you can compare products and prices. You can even search by product: e.g., enter the keyword "coffee" to see which local stores have the best deals on the drink.
On http://www.flipp.com or the free Flipp app, type in your ZIP code and peruse over 1,000 weekly ads from grocery stores, big-box stores, pharmacies and other retailers. You can add loyalty cards to your account and create a shopping list on the app based on your searches.
Many digital coupons are available, too, for additional savings. The company says that shoppers using Flipp save 20 to 40 percent on their weekly grocery bill.
Online retailer Amazon has lots of deals on virtually every category of product. For $99 a year or $10.99 a month, users of the subscription-based Amazon Prime get added value and service, including free two-day shipping for eligible purchases and free same-day delivery in eligible ZIP codes. Members also get Prime Now, which is free two-hour delivery on over 10,000 items in eligible ZIP codes. The subscription also includes unlimited streaming of selected movies and TV shows with Prime Video, as well as book borrowing from the Kindle Owners' Lending Library.
Save money at the pump! The free app GasBuddy lists all the nearby gas stations and real-time gas prices so drivers can find the cheapest price every time they fill up.
Apps such as IBotta and Checkout 51 give buyers cash back on purchases. With IBotta, for example, shoppers qualify for rebates -- before making purchases -- by completing tasks such as filling out surveys or watching videos. Customers must then purchase the item at participating stores and upload a photo of the receipt.
Checkout 51 users get money back by browsing the app, selecting offers, buying items and uploading the receipts. No extra work is required.
Many stores have their own apps that promise deals for consumers. Walmart, for example, has Savings Catcher, an app where you can scan and upload your receipt. Walmart then compares your purchases' prices with prices from its competitors. Customers receive the savings as a digital refund, which can be scanned like a coupon on a future visit.
Target's app has a savings tool called Cartwheel. Scan product bar codes or search for savings by product category. Scan the app's bar code at the register for an instant discount at the point of sale.