Save More Money in Less Time: 3 New Rules

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A new study says savvy couponers have learned how to spend less time to save max money. Here's what you can learn from them.

It seems the lingering recession has an upside: It’s created faster and more efficient couponers.

Perhaps the most interesting finding from coupon site RedPlum’s fifth annual Purse String Study is that deal-seekers spend less time seeking deals than they did last year – yet they save the same amount of money.

Last year, more than 90 percent of participants reported that they spent two to three hours a week searching for savings via coupons and other deals. But this year‘s study saw an 18 percent increase in the number of participants spending less than one hour a week searching for savings.

Shoppers have developed a “forever-frugal mindset,” says Lisa Reynolds, a vice president for RedPlum’s parent company. “They have become so accustomed to searching for value that these deal-seeking behaviors have become second nature to them. They clearly value the dollar as well as their time.”

If you aren’t among this new breed of super-savers, you can still learn from them. The answers from the study’s 9,100 participants point to three key trends…

1. Pick up the phone

More people use their smartphones to save – 100 percent more than last year – in more ways than ever. Within just a one-month period, participants reported using their phones to:

  • Search for deals via social media (12 percent)
  • Redeem a deal received by text message (15 percent)
  • Download a savings-related app (15 percent)
  • Download a coupon (18 percent)
  • Compare deals (19 percent)
  • Redeem a deal received by email (21 percent)

2. Diversify your portfolio

Although high-tech deals are more popular today, low-tech deals seem no less popular. In fact, super-savers save up to $50 a week by taking advantage of multiple methods:

  • Deal websites (88 percent)
  • Online coupons (82 percent)
  • Mobile coupons (79 percent)
  • Circulars (79 percent)

They also seem more open to trying more methods compared to last year. When asked how they would save an extra 25 percent, participants said they would be willing to:

  • Sign up for an email newsletter (75 percent)
  • “Like” a Facebook page (67 percent)
  • Tweet or retweet a deal (17 percent)

3. Share and share alike

More than 80 percent of participants said they share or swap coupons and deals with friends and family – and it turns out they save more money a week than participants who said they never share. The super-savers share by:

  • Word of mouth (82 percent)
  • Printed coupons (55 percent)
  • Email (40 percent)
  • Social media (28 percent)

Karla Bowsher covers consumer, retail, and health issues. If you have a comment, suggestion, or question, leave a comment or contact her at [email protected].

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