With grocery prices soaring, coupons can be big savings. But these days, with more and more shoppers needing smartphones, many shoppers struggle to access supermarket coupons.
And some consumer advocates have called the practice discriminatory.
Seniors struggle to get advertised deals
Pat O’Brien is a senior on Social Security who is frustrated trying to save money on groceries during this time of inflation.
“They make it too difficult,” she said. “I mean, seriously.”
Like millions of seniors, she struggled with her smartphone and couldn’t access digital coupons that offer $1 off some products. As a result, O’Brien was forced to pay her full list price, she said.
Meanwhile, elderly caregiver Tina Hahn says staying away from paper coupons has hurt many of her older, lower-income customers.
“I’m actually a personal care assistant,” Hern said.
Report claims many shoppers are at a disadvantage
A new report from ConsumerWorld.org finds that many of the biggest sales are now digital-only, according to the site’s founder and consumer advocate Edgar Dworsky.
“These problems were found in shrimp and chicken breast, so it wasn’t just canned coffee we were talking about,” Dwolski said.
According to Dworsky, digital-only coupons put thousands, if not millions, of shoppers at a disadvantage.
“People who aren’t connected today are missing out on supermarket savings,” he said.
However, digital coupons aren’t going away anytime soon. Stephanie Nelson, founder of CouponMom.com, says this reminds her of the introduction of her points card decades ago.
“People have adapted because unless you use a loyalty card, you can’t get the sales price and you can’t deduct coupons,” she said.
- Sort paper and digital coupons before going to the store.
- Visit the store’s website for coupons you can print at home.
- Frustrated with hard-to-find deals? Shop elsewhere.
She says she wants to get as many discounts as possible because food prices are so high.
“Rather than going to one store with high and low prices, you can save hundreds of dollars a year by buying from the right store each week,” says Nelson.
Nelson and Dworsky recommend checking at a store’s complimentary counter if you can’t access coupons. But there is no guarantee they will give you the deal.
We reached out to Kroger, the largest grocery chain in the country, which now uses many digital coupons, but have yet to hear a response. Hmm.
Much like loyalty cards, digital is the new reality if you want to save cash in stores. That way you don’t waste your money.
Don’t Waste Your Money” is a registered trademark of Scripps Media, Inc. (“Scripps”).
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