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Clark Behind The Headlines

From HLN's Money Expert Clark Howard

Did you know your mobile phone is becoming the new, best source for discounts?

 Every couple of days, I get a new coupon from one of the big bookstore chains. Here's the one I got today: any item, 33% off list price, and it comes right to my cell phone. And I can click a button and almost instantly, a bar code pops up on my phone that can be read by the cashier. And so it eliminates having to carry around coupons.

 Well, now this is percolating throughout retail. There’s a huge number of people adopting smart phones. So we are going to become walking coupons. And retailers are becoming more and more sophisticated.

 You may remember I told you about the program Sam's Club does that is drilled down to each individual member. You get your own coupons based on your shopping pattern. And we're going to see this become a bigger and bigger part of retail, that you are going to be subject to what's known as  "behavioral targeting.” And you're going to see it at restaurants and retailers. Clothing stores especially are going to do offerings that are based on your individual shopping pattern.

 Again, it’s a case where you trade privacy for getting a coupon specifically for you. It used to be we thought about coupons just as part of the Sunday newspaper. Anyone that was willing to organize them could use them.

 Today, we're talking about a complete breach of your anonymity. But in return for it, you get great, individualized savings. It's a choice that a lot of people might not be willing to make. But I'm willing to do it, to save the dough.

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