Save money with free iPhone coupon app SnipSnap

Put away your scissors and use SnipSnap on your iPhone to scan and store coupons.

Let me give you a glimpse into my household's organizational strategy. When the occasional need arises for a run to Bed Bath & Beyond, I rummage through the junk drawer in the kitchen to see if any of the half dozen or so BB&B coupons scattered in there are still valid, only to discover the sad fact that all have reached their expiration date. I then trudge off to the store empty handed, fully expecting a coupon to arrive in the mail within a day or two. It is no way to live, but now that I am using SnipSnap, my fruitless junk-drawer searches are a thing of the past.

SnipSnap is a free coupon app for the iPhone. With it, you can either scan a printed coupon or search for previously scanned coupons by other SnipSnap users. I downloaded the app because I was hoping to be able to use it with iOS 6's new Passbook app, but such functionality won't be ready until October. Even without Passbook integration, SnipSnap is a, well, snap to use. Here's how it works:

Screenshot by Matt Elliott/CNET

Launch the app and you can either sign in to Facebook or Twitter, or you can just jump right into the app. Since I am not an extreme couponer with knowledge of deals that must be shared via social network, I didn't sign in with either. I did allow the app, however, to know my location and send me push notifications for its alert feature, which we'll get to in a minute.

When you snap a photo of a printed coupon, SnipSnap converts the text, images, and bar code into a mobile-optimized offer, which you can redeem from your phone. To test SnipSnap's scanning capability, I found a flyer for Walgreens and tapped the Snip button to snap a photo. Unfortunately, the app misidentified the three Walgreens coupons. It got the product wrong for each and the expiration date. For example, it read an attractive five-for-$5 Gatorade offer as a Werther's coupon that expired four months ago. It did better with two manufacturer coupons, but manufacturer coupons aren't supported yet. You can use only coupons issued by a store itself, but SnipSnap hopes to bring support for manufacturer coupons with a future update. An Android version of the app is also in the works.

Screenshot by Matt Elliott/CNET

With my admittedly minimal scanning efforts more miss than hit, I turned to SnipSnap's Discover feature. Here, you can search for coupons scanned by other SnipSnap users. You can search by product or store, and when you find one you like, tap the Snip it! button. I found the ubiquitous 20 percent off coupon for Bed Bath & Beyond along with a handful for Target and hit the road. I've had mixed success with getting bar codes scanned on my iPhone; my local Kinkos/FedEx is batting less than .500 at scanning a bar code for a prepaid shipping label. At both Bed Bath & Beyond and Target, however, SnipSnap went two for two. For each coupon I used, I could either show the cashier the photo of the coupon or the bar code. After you use a coupon, the app asked whether it worked or not so that it can list a success rate for each.

From the Coupons view, you can see all of the coupons you have snipped, your favorites, or those you have used. To favorite a coupon, tap the star when viewing a coupon. If your collection of SnipSnap coupons starts to grow big, tap the Store button to view by store.

Screenshot by Matt Elliott/CNET

The app also can send you alerts, reminding you that you have coupons for a particular store. As I walked through the expansive Target parking lot, I got an alert telling me I had coupons. And while I was stopped at a red light next to a Walgreens on my way to Target, SnipSnap alerted me that I had a coupon. It'll also alert you when coupons you have snipped are about to expire. In settings, you can set these alerts to notify you between one day and two weeks before the expiration date.

Screenshot by Matt Elliott/CNET

Do you have a favorite coupon app? If so, please share in the comments below.

 

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