Consumers saving money turning to electronic coupons

For those working on budgeting and saving money, knocking off a few bucks on a grocery bill may be as easy as picking up a phone or checking a Twitter account.

According to a recent report from the Associated Press, electronic coupons are gaining popularity among consumers, particularly for younger shoppers.

“Coupon use had been declining since 1992 as consumers found less need for or some embarrassment in using them,” the report said. “But as the economy worsened, frugal became cool and their popularity grew.”

Citing Inmar Inc., which is a coupon-processing company, the AP report noted that electronic coupons account for 3 percent of all coupons used, compared to 2 percent in 2008. Furthermore, the use of electronic coupons and discounts jumped by more than half during the first half of 2009, where coupon use increased by 23 percent.

Though printable coupons are available, a number of them are totally paperless, arriving either on mobile devices in the form of a promotional code or a picture. Electronic coupons are also becoming available within stores through handheld devices and smart grocery carts.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, saving money accounted for 4.2 percent of disposable income use during July, for a total of $458.5 billion.