The explosion of “couponing” has received a great deal of publicity in the last couple of years.  It seems that using coupons has become the “in” thing to do and some sort of competition to get the best deal.  I have been a fan of coupons since I can remember.  After all, for handing the cashier a piece of paper I can save money.  To me it’s a no brainer to use coupons.  I love math and it’s sort of like a game.  I try to combine store coupons with manufacturer’s coupons and then on top of that add double coupon day.  After trying to find the best deal at particular stores I then go wherever there is price matching.  This saves time and I don’t have to go to 5 different stores.

I am religious about looking for coupons before I shop.  I get the coupons from the Sunday paper weekly, I look online, and check my emails daily.  I look for coupons before shopping for the obvious reason: to save money.  I have certain brands that I always use.  So I look for coupons for the brands that I know I am going to buy.  The second reason I use coupons would be, if I see a new product that looks appealing, and there is a coupon I might try it.  I think this is smart for manufacturer’s to do because it gets people to try something new at a discount.  Third, there are the products that I don’t have a brand preference. If there is a coupon for, let’s say sour cream, and with the coupon that brand will be the cheapest then I will buy it.  So my shopping is a very intricate process.  I spend hours in the store when I grocery shop.  I have my pad of paper, calculator, pen, and prices of products from various stores on my phone for reference.  I am always looking for the best price. I divide the price by the amount to get the price per unit of measure.  This takes some time.  If I forget my coupons in the car or at home I do not buy the item.  I just can’t do it.  My fiancée thinks I’m insane.  It may only be 50 cents but that’s the point, “its 50 cents”.  We have a joke that started when my fiancée found a rain check for bacon from Walgreen’s in my car.  He just started laughing and couldn’t believe it.  He didn’t even know Walgreen’s had bacon.  It was for 80 cents.  I didn’t think anything of it because it was a really good deal and bacon can be expensive.  Bacon is one of those things I only buy one brand.  I tried others and always go back to the same brand, so when it’s on sale I am ecstatic.

A note from us at I’m In:  We offer lots of ways for you to save on groceries at I’m In!

Having a coupon or not DOES influence my decision to buy a product, but more importantly not having a coupon but knowing that a coupon exists is worse.  If I know that I have had a coupon for an item in the past, but I don’t currently have one at the time I’m shopping I won’t buy that item.  I will wait and look and wait and look until I finally get the coupon and then buy the item.  I know that sounds crazy but like I said it’s a competition for me.  I always try to get the best deal I can.

Now let me give you some background so you know why I am this way.  I was in accounting for years.  After looking at company financial statements I noticed a key piece of information.  You can nickel and dime yourself into profits and also into massive debt.  It is definitely the small things that add up to big things.  So that is my philosophy.  If I can save money, even if it’s only a penny, why wouldn’t I?  Pennies add up to dollars and dollars add up to hundreds.

And coupons aren’t just for at the grocery store.  I make sure I have coupons for household goods, restaurants, movies, etc…  The stores that take the expired coupons are the best.  This is very convenient.  And then there’s Groupon and websites like where the coupon is right on your phone.  That is a very good idea because I find if I am looking for somewhere to eat I’ll go where I have a coupon available. Another example is the Kohl’s coupons.  I will not buy anything from Kohl’s without a 30 percent coupon.  I get the 15 and 20 percent and they go right in the garbage.  I will wait for the 30 percent and then go and get what I need.  But the catch to that is I also try to use my Kohl’s cash at the same time.  This is very tricky since the valid dates don’t overlap too often but if you watch closely they do overlap sometimes.

I could go on and on about how I use coupons but the real answer to the essay questions is: coupons absolutely do dictate how I shop on a daily basis.  Both with coupons I have and coupons I do not have.