If you’ve ever tackled a do-it-yourself project of the crafty nature — or simply wanted to buy a cool picture frame as a shower gift — you know the frustration. You are face to face with that edge punch, that set of artist’s brushes, that stem of artificial flowers, and the disappointment nearly knocks you to your knees: You forgot your coupons.
Michaels, Jo-Ann, and Hobby Lobby are champs about putting out weekly coupons for anywhere from 30% to 40% off a regularly-priced item. Occasionally, one of these national chains will up the ante to 50% off, and lately Michaels has dangled coupons of up to 25% off your entire purchase including sale items (but not clearance).
So we’re talking serious bucks here — enough to make you put down the bird feeder kit and fly back home to get the paperwork.
But now these stores have taken the coupon distribution one step closer to your purse with these FREE smartphone apps. Just whip out your phone and flash the coupon screen at your cashier for instant savings:
- Hobby Lobby: Yes, the store that doesn’t use bar codes to scan prices at the register leap-frogged to technology July 2 with a simple app that contains store locations, a way to check the balance on your gift card, a rundown on weekly sales and the almighty dollars-off coupon. Users rate it 4.5 stars for its sheer simplicity.
- Michaels Stores: This app features projects, products and events, but the June 21 update says it all: The company added access to even more mobile coupons. You’ll need to sign up on your phone for special discounts available only to mobile app subscribers. Users give it 4 stars.
- Jo-Ann: Enthusiastic users of this app say their savings have paid for the cost of the smartphone. That’s reaching addiction levels on patterned paper, but we’ll take them at their word. This system requires you to save weekly coupons to a wallet in the app, and the cashier has to manually enter the code into the cash register as opposed to using the bar code scanner as they do at Michaels. For that reason alone, you’ll make new friends by flashing your electronic coupon on an iPad.
- Ben Franklin Crafts lists an app that’s been available since February 22, but no one has rated it yet. That doesn’t spark confidence in version 1.0.
Archiver’s, bless its heart, is still kicking it old style with the emailed coupons you’ll have to print and remember.
If you’re looking for craft ideas, here are a few from our editors:
- Recycle old magazines into beautiful bowls
- Kids’ crafts: Make a braided-rope dog toy
- Kids’ crafts: Make a rubber-band powered boat