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I'm in Coupons Scholarship 2014. Entry-Aimee C.

The Curse of the Crying Wallet

Ever since coupons made their debut, critics have been scrutinizing over their benefits, and their drawbacks. Many people wonder about how coupons make people think differently about their purchases…if the possession of a coupon makes you feel like you are saving more, and results in buying more food then you would originally. Here’s my outlook on coupons and how they influence my shopping decisions.

To put it bluntly, coupons make me spend more money.

I call it the curse of the crying wallet.

The curse usually takes over me after I’ve saved a good amount of money. The cashier will inform me that I’ve ‘saved x amount of dollars’ and I will feel proud and will think of other ways I can spend the money I saved. Then I will walk from the store feeling accomplished, happy that my wallet can rest easy for now.

But then, the next time I am shopping for something, I will feel so much more financially at rest, that I will spend money unnecessarily. For example, I might go to the store again to pick up a box of cereal. In the checkout line, I’d see several packs of gum. Now, under normal circumstances I would simply go through the line and pay for my cereal, before heading on my way home. But because I am feeling so good about my savings from earlier, I will allow myself to spend extra money on gum, sometimes more gum then I will actually chew.

At the end A note from us at I’m In: We can help you save with our department store coupons!

I think it’s because having a coupon and saving money makes me think differently.

When I have a coupon, I tend to go out of my way to be able to use it. For example, if I had a coupon to get a free smoothie with the purchase of another smoothie, I will go and buy a smoothie just so I can get the free one. Usually I wouldn’t have gotten a smoothie at all, but because I had a coupon to get something free with my purchase, I will spend my money on something I normally wouldn’t. Likewise, if I have a coupon giving my 20% off my entire purchase, I find myself buying more things so that I can get ‘more for my money’. All in all, coupons make me think differently, and often spend money on things I normally wouldn’t.

Another thing I fall victim too when possessing a coupon, is not just overspending, but under-spending too. When I am low on money, I go out of my way to search the internet or coupon booklets, clipping out as many coupons as I can to get the best discounts on the things I need. In situations such as these, I find myself searching especially hard to find coupons that are compatible with sales items. The crazy thing is, if I feel I am saving enough money (on my sale items with my coupons), I’ll end up ‘treating myself’ to something else, or give myself more leeway to spend money unwisely later.

Once again, it’s the curse of the crying wallet.

In the end, the curse of the crying wallet is normally a result of using coupons. But that doesn’t mean coupons are bad. It just signifies that maybe, even though I may have a great 50% coupon, I shouldn’t spend money I normally wouldn’t if I hadn’t had a coupon. That is to say, I should just buy what I need and I should only use my coupons on the things that I would normally buy (even if I don’t have a coupon to aid my wallet in the purchase).

This essay is coming to a close (aw), so I’d like to challenge you with something slightly different. When you next use a coupon, go out of you way to purposefully buy something you don’t need. See if it makes you feel any different (and plus it’ll help the economy). And then the next time you shop, use a coupon again but make sure not to buy anything other then what you really need. See how that makes you feel.

See if the curse of the crying wallet befalls you as well.

Or if you can avoid it and carry on like a good, financially balanced human.

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