Goodness knows we like to debate whether we really can save money using coupons here on Shine. But whether you're a coupon pro or you only cut out a few coupons for the products you always buy, you've got lots of company. Coupon use is definitely up for the first time since the early 1990s, thanks ever so much to a these short-on-money-and-jobs times.
Coupon use peaked in 1992, at the end of that recession, when 7.9 billion coupons were redeemed, The New York Times reports. Coupon use dropped pretty dramatically, to 2.6 billion, in 2008 and stayed pretty steady through 2008. But as the economy took a dive and we consumers grew more worried and careful about money, coupons have become very popular once again, with redemptions climbing 10 percent at the end of 2008 and 23 percent in the first half of this year. About 3 billion coupons are expected to be redeemed this year.
Coupons are so in vogue that "coupon," like so many other nouns these days, is becoming a verb. "The households that tend to not coupon as much are all couponing significantly more this year versus last year,” Neil Heffernan, senior vice president and general manager for the research company Knowledge Networks/PDI, told the Times. The researchers found that coupon use is up across the board with people of all incomes. .
You'd think digital coupons would have a lot to do with the resurgence of coupons, but while coupon codes on the Web and via cell phones are definitely being used more (up 25 percent over a year ago), paper coupons still rule. Sites like redplum.com and coupons.com provide coupons you can print and clip online, bridging the gap for those of who are online more and more but still like to do some old-fashioned clipping and saving. (For online shopping paperless coupon savings, try sites like retailmenot.com and couponcabin.com.)