A special note from the imin.com Scholarship Committee:  Anna is going to tell you about how coupons can save you time… try our coupon app to take your deals with you wherever you go!

Congratulations! You have officially won one free coupon that allows you to continue reading this essay free of charge! Okay, okay, maybe a coupon to read this essay is a little extreme. Although, did it entice you to read a little further? As any savvy shopper knows, a coupon is like getting an extra scoop of ice cream on a hot summer day. You may not have asked for it, but you sure will enjoy it, and chances are you won’t turn it down. Sometimes coupons find us, and other times we go in search of them. Either way, coupons influence the goods we buy and where we buy them.

Imagine you are at the store. You are about to stock up on orange juice when a stranger hands you a coupon, informing you that she has two orange juice coupons and only needs one. The coupon is for a brand of orange juice you do not typically buy. You are about to crumple the coupon up until you see “Buy One Get One.” Since you were already planning on buying two bottles of orange juice, this would be a great deal. Now I ask you, would you be willing to try this new brand of orange juice for a bargain price? I surely would. Who knows, maybe you will like this brand even more than the stuff you usually get. Good deals can make us think about getting something we previously were not thinking about purchasing. And why shouldn’t they? Thrifty consumers know the worth of their dollar. Of course they would want to stretch it as far as they can.

This brings us to the most obvious reason people use coupons: saving money. To some preserving their funds is the only reason they use coupons. Saving money, after all, is the sole purpose of coupons. Is there more to the coupon experience though? Most will admit feeling a sense of accomplishment that goes along with getting a great coupon deal. In a way it feels like you are beating the system. To prove this point even further, how many of us have bragged to family or friends after finding a great coupon deal? We like to express our joy about finding such a good bargain. Having a coupon definitely makes saying “yes” to a purchase easier. If something is slightly out of our normal budget or a little more than we would usually spend, coupons allow us to rein in the cost.  Staying in, and even below, one’s budget is enough to make anyone happy.

Let us dig a little deeper now, can where a coupon come from impact the “thrill factor,” if you will, of getting the coupon. If you are a believer in the phrase “time is money” than the answer is yes. Think of it this way; if you had to choose between someone walking up and handing you a coupon (like the lady with the orange juice), or having to flip through a newspaper for ten minutes to find that same coupon, which would you choose? I like to call this the convenience factor. The harder it is to find a coupon the less worthwhile that coupon becomes. Luckily in our modern age we have a new fancy tool called the Internet. All right, you got me, so the Internet isn’t quite new, and most would hesitate before calling it fancy as well. The point is, unless someone does walk up to you directly and hand you a coupon (which chances are that will not usually happen), online coupon hunting is your best option. While you could spend hours browsing through magazines and newspapers for the right coupon that you want, the Internet has sites where you simply type in what type of coupons you are looking for and BAMB! They’re there.

Overall, coupons definitely influence our purchasing decisions. Coupons can make us think, “yeah I’ll give that item a try,” or even “oh if I buy from this store I can get a better deal.” Coupons make buying the goods we need and want easier by saving us money. So whether you are in on it for the triumph factor of a bargain, or simply to keep the green in your wallet, coupons are for you.