The power of a coupon is simply magical. Two for one. Thirty percent off. Free shipping with purchase. These words ring in my ears as musically as Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker Suite in early December. As a young woman infatuated with the fabulousness of fashion, but mindful of rational rates, coupons hold an especially meaningful promise for me. An additional discount on clothes or accessories of any kind simply cannot be passed up, as it will result in a larger (read: better) wardrobe. Even Imelda Marcos would be unable to resist some of the shoe markdowns I find.

But fear not, my coupon-crazy is not merely for self-centered, sartorial reasons. Often, I can improve the gift choices I planned to purchase friends thanks to a coupon: two bottles of wine for the price of one; a bouquet of flowers with the purchase of a box of chocolates. Coupons not only help me as a conscientious consumer, they strengthen my relationships, as well. My friends are able to benefit from my savings search, and may even have a better birthday, work anniversary, wedding shower, or simply a happier Friday as a result.

An avid consumer of online grocery shopping, every week during my online selection of produce, poultry, and pies, I can be found hunting the virtual aisles for goods marked on sale plus any specials for which I may have a specific discount. In addition, upon completion of my purchase, I apply any coupon from previous shopping trips. Often, this allows me to buy greater quantities of fruit and vegetables. Or maybe earn a free delivery. So my coupon search is helping my health and the environment, too. I get more nutritious food, spend no gas driving to the grocery store, and in return, don’t have to pay for delivery to my home. It’s another win-win opportunity.

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Perhaps the most meaningful value of coupons, is considering their worth when trying to help others. I volunteer my time at a residence for seniors with developmental disabilities once a week. Around the holidays I like to bring them treats (always remembering a sugar-free option). Often, this means I will stop by a local drugstore before I head to their home. A constant consumer of drugstore goods (predominantly makeup), I am regularly graced with offers for better prices and seasonal rollbacks. I usually have a 20 percent discount coupon on hand. And while my makeup collection often reaps the perks (because who couldn’t use a brighter shade of fuchsia lipstick), the primary beneficiaries at Christmas, Halloween, Easter, and the Fourth of July, are the sweet men and women I visit Monday nights. Seeing their faces light up when I walk in with boxes full of candy canes or materials we will use to make greeting cards is among the most heart-warming experiences imaginable. With their smiles and laughter they cheer me and each other up.

So while I would make a number of these purchases without a coupon or discount, I would not be financially able to make them all. Thanks to the coupons and my use of them, my experiences as a shopper are significantly improved. And then I’m able to spread that positive feeling of happiness and abundance to others I know because I am able to share with them my good fortune in the form of treats and gifts. I may even feel capable of spending a little more money to get a greater return on a good, so for the retailer, the exchange can have a great outcome, too. I am always more likely to return to stores where I can use and apply coupons on a regular basis than to stores where it is rarely or never an option. In the long run, these stores receive a much more significant portion of my consumption, and I am likely to recommend them to friends and acquaintances for their own needs.

Psychologically, it’s amazing the influence a coupon can have. Whether it’s a discount on a dream vacation or a tiny box of paper clips, I love knowing that I saved a little bit of money in comparison to the original market price. It makes me feel a bit savvy, lucky, and good. And when I feel good, I can help others feel good, too.