One day recently Kathy Trainor, a teacher mother of two from Taunton, Massachusetts, came shopping to the Target store, prepared to enjoy some significant coupon savings – but without having had to clip and compile any paper coupons.
What she was using is a not-yet-widely-known service called SavingStar.com that’s three years old and has quietly expanded to cover 58,000 stores from about 120 chains, including virtually all the big New England supermarket chains. It’s free, requiring only that you link your supermarket or other loyalty card to your SavingStar account. Instead of paper coupons, she clicks on deals that come through a smartphone app, and uses those to collect her savings.
“It adds a lot of value and it adds a lot of time to my day,’’ Trainor said. “I don't have time to cut out the coupons and then bring them to the store and then figure out which ones I use. Everything's right in front of me … I save quite a bit of money. This year I've saved probably about $100.’’
What’s new with SavingStar this summer is that it’s expanded beyond supermarkets and other stores with loyalty cards to which it links its deals to also cover big chains like Target, Walmart, Walgreen’s and Family Dollar and Dollar General stores that don’t have loyalty cards. With its new service, to get coupon savings on items you have bought at those stores, you take a photo of your receipt with your Android or iPhone confirming what you bought, and your SavingStar account gets credited with the savings on items eligible for coupon discounts.
“Everybody likes to save money in the grocery store, but not everybody's going to go to the Sunday newspaper and clip out coupons and carry them around. That's a pain,’’ said Michael Libenson, president of SavingStar.
On a typical day, SavingStar will have about 50 offers, including some offering as much as $5 off Goya products or $10 off Weight Watchers Smart Ones.
“Tuesday, we will have a healthy offer of the week. It might be on something like green peppers or corn or bananas. Every Thursday we'll put new offers up, and then every Friday we have a ‘Friday Freebie,’ and that’s good for Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. You get 100 percent back on that individual item.’’
Libenson has racked up over $200 in savings on his personal account this year and explains, “I can withdraw it anytime, either directly into my bank account or I can get it by PayPal, or I can get it in the form of a gift card. Or I can give the money to charity.’’
Libenson said SavingStar is working on continuing to expand beyond the newly added chains. “We are adding all the major club chains. Costco, Sam’s, and BJ’s, those are coming in the next couple of months.’’
With video editor Lauren Kleciak and videographer Daniel J. Ferrigan