Money

Don’t Toss Out That Junk Mail! It May Save You Real Money

It’s tempting to just toss all the clutter in your mailbox, email inbox, and apps that looks like “junk mail on first glace.” But, not so fast! There could be a surprise inside. Here’s what to look for to score big savings.

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Probe that envelope.

Do you only glance inside your Valpak envelope because it rarely has coupons you need? Start looking more closely — chances are, you’ll discover a wide array you can use. That’s because Valpak recently partnered with the shopping analysis firm Catalina to send you coupons customized specifically to your household’s buying habits and preferences. This means if you regularly eat at Italian restaurants, get manicures, or have a pet, your envelope will contain coupons for these types of purchases. As a result, you pay less for all you buy and do!

Sift through the postcards.

With most of us spending more time at home, many stores, restaurants and brands are increasing the offers they send by snail mail. Take a peek before tossing these postcards, envelopes, and catalogs aside. You’re likely to find that the “junk mail” contains higher-value coupons than it used to. It’s smart to look as soon as they arrive, because many have short expiration dates to encourage you to use them quickly. For example, you might receive $10 in Kohl’s cash that’s redeemable for only a few days, or a Bath & Body Works coupon for 20 percent off your entire purchase that expires at the end of the month.

Look for e-coupon alerts.

If you shop via store apps, great news: More and more store apps (like Dollar General Cart Calculator and Target) alert you when coupons are available for products you’re buying as you shop. Just select the coupon you want, and you’ll get the discount during checkout. Shop online? If you use the Microsoft Edge Internet browser, a price tag appears in the web address bar if coupon codes are available. Using a different browser? Download a coupon-alerting browser extension, like Honey or Capital One Shopping, which notifies you about deals as you shop.

Open your emails.

Are you in the habit of pressing “delete” on emails from retailers without reading them? Start opening them now, and you may be surprised by the offers. A growing number of stores are sending out more coupons via email, and they’re turning to artificial intelligence (AI) to figure out which offers you’d want the most based on previous shopping behavior, such as items you searched or browsed. In fact, in one recent study, AI-powered email coupons led to a 58 percent increase in coupon usage!

This article originally appeared in our print magazine.

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