The Christmas shopping season lurks in the not-so-distant future, and if you’re a financially challenged college student, you are (or should be) constantly on the lookout for money-saving tricks. Searching for coupons takes time and effort impermissible by busy schedules, but thankfully, as the Apple corporation would gleefully tell you, now there’s an app for that.
RetailMeNot, a free download on the iTunes app store, is designed to preserve your bank account by locating discounts at the stores you frequent. By keeping every store coupon you could possibly want in one convenient square on your phone, the app will save your good scissors from their once-a-year workout and prevent your wallet from overflowing with shredded newsprint.
The coupons on the app are easy to locate. You simply type the name of the desired store or establishment into the search bar on the home page, and a window opens devoted to that store’s current coupons. The app gives you the ability to peruse both in-store and online offers, and it conveniently allows you to save the coupons you want to use in a separate folder (accessible on the main screen). When checking out at a store, then, all you need to do is open the app, push the little star on the main screen and present the barcode to the cashier.
The inclusion of several search options makes the app customizable for your specific needs. If you’re looking for general sale prices (as opposed to prices at specific stores), the app features a “trending” menu that shows you the day’s most popular coupons among other users. Additionally, the “nearby” option uses your location to keep you informed about the best deals in the area.
The app does occasionally ask for your e-mail address on behalf of stores, a minor annoyance that is easily remedied by tapping the “no, thanks” option. Also, the coupons do not always work during the checkout process, so checking the provided success rate before attempting to use a barcode is advisable.
Though the app is called RetailMeNot, the coupons offered are not strictly for retail stores. Tapping the corner menu and selecting “categories” reveals discounts for car repair shops, restaurants, grocery stores, textbook-selling websites and even airport parking lots. Taking the time to check this app for scan-able barcodes or coupon codes before any kind of payment could save your bank account from being severely drained by both the Christmas season and the expenses of everyday life.