In modern day America’s financially difficult times, Americans need to save every penny in order to fight and survive against financial ruin and bankruptcy. Despite this fact, it is still difficult for people to balance out their needs and wants. With our country’s various forms of mass media, including radio, television, and the internet, Americans are bombarded everyday by advertisements, deals, and promotion for various items that they may or may not need to buy. I am a thrifty person, so coupons do not influence my purchasing decisions, for various reasons.

There are various reasons why coupons do not affect my purchasing decisions. Coupons, especially for small grocery items, tend to give a very small percentage of savings on the original price, and can lead to impulse buys of things that one does not really need, such as candy, snack food, and “as seen on TV” junk. Over time, buying too many impulse buy items can add up to a hefty sum. Unless the coupon is for a “big ticket” necessary item that I need, such as a laptop computer, and if the coupon is for massive savings, I generally avoid coupons. Also, finding the best coupons and cutting them out can be a pain, and, if they are printout coupons from the internet or emails, can waste precious printer ink and time. Furthermore, coupons can expire, if not used within a certain period of time.

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Rather than use coupons containing small savings, I tend to look for better deals or longer standing offers; for example, Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals; flee market, yard sales, or garage sales on certain items; Craigslist and eBay posting, thrift stores such as Salvation Army and Goodwill, and so on. Many times, buying items at these certain places and events can generate savings in much greater magnitude than those with small coupons. Sometimes buying things used or in damaged condition can also generate much savings. If broken, and with the proper know how and skills, the goods can be repaired and then used just like a new item. For an example of savings from these types of deals, rather than buying one of my university textbooks at the expensive college bookstore for $75 new, I bought the same textbook online at eBay. The eBay seller was a branch of Goodwill, and I was able to buy the book for $10.00 and in very good condition. This purchase resulted in savings of 86.66%. Also, for example, instead of buying a new mini refrigerator for my college dorm, I bought a 1.7 cubic foot mini fridge from Craigslist. The mini fridge cost $50.00, compared to $129 if bought at Wal-Mart. By taking the extra time and effort to seek out these “hidden deals”, consumers can save much money on the original price of their goods, which, in turn, results in greater savings in their wallets and bank accounts.

Despite those previously mentioned hidden deals, there are some goods that one cannot easily buy from those deals, especially consumables, such as groceries, beverages, and the like. (Who has ever bought a head of lettuce from eBay?) For these items, it is best to just use the coupons. I have nothing against coupons, and actually recommend using them whenever possible to buy things you need, not necessarily want. Consumers need to look out against impulse buying, however. Coupons can cause consumers to buy items that they really do not need, just because there are small savings on it. It is best to buy things you need from hidden deals, and then use coupons if necessary.

Like many financial aspects of society, coupons can be a good or bad thing. Coupons do generate savings for consumers purchasing goods; however, the magnitude of the savings and consumer’s attitudes about general money spending can be the negative aspect of coupons. Some consumers will impulse buy goods that they do not really need, just because they have a coupon with a very small percentage of savings on it. Furthermore, coupons can cause brand addiction and brand loyalty, by luring in consumers to buy a certain brand simply because the company rewarded them with savings. By consumers making wise purchasing decisions not based completely upon price and savings only, but upon the quality of the deal of the item, consumers can make wiser purchasing decisions, and save money for their future. Also, by taking advantage of hidden deals and other special offers, consumers can purchase items with higher savings than with most small coupons. All in all, I do not use coupons much, and look for other, bigger ways to save money.