A free coupon service, SavingStar works in conjunction with your local grocery or drug store’s loyalty card. It’s rather obvious, but having an app like this means your discounts come paper-free and you’ll never risk accidentally leaving them on the counter at home.

The mechanics of it are easy enough. Just scroll through the eCoupons and select the “I Want This” tab whenever you see an item in the database you’re planning to buy.

Before you can begin saving, though, you must set up an account — and it’s a bit of a tedious process. After you hand over your email address and create a password, you have to enter all of your relevant rewards cards information. This is how the app tracks your savings. If you only shop at a few stores, this shouldn’t take too long — but I feel for you if you’re one of those bargain shoppers who makes the full rounds each time you go shopping.

SavingStar doesn’t work in the same way as your traditional paper coupon, though — and this can be viewed positively or negatively, depending upon who you are. See, SavingStar does help you to save money… just not right away. When you head over to check out of the store, your bill will ring up at full price.

Later, once you’ve accrued more than $5 in savings to your SavingStar account,  you can initiate a cash deposit into your bank/PayPal account, request an Amazon gift card, or give a donation to the American Forests charity.

Scroll through the app’s database and you can see that a lot of these discounts are pretty sizable — ranging from $1 to 50 percent off. Clearly, it won’t take long to reach that $5 minimum.

However, I’m kind of old school in that I like to be able to look at my coupons while I shop and then receive my discounts at the cash register. Perhaps I’m deluding myself, but it makes me feel like I accomplished something by saving money. This system is a way to get users to spend more money elsewhere.

Not only that, but sometimes coupons are a way I learn about a new product — one I wouldn’t normally notice or come upon on my own. When I have the coupon in front of me, I look for it in the store.

[appbox googleplay com.savingstar.SavingStar]