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I'm in Coupons Scholarship 2014. Entry-Bess R.

Oh, coupons. A funny word. Whether you say Q-pawn, Coo-pin, Kew-Pahn, they are useful little suckers. But to answer the question: “Do coupons influence your purchasing decisions…why, or why not?”, my answer is: yes and no. If someone absolutely needs something, they will buy it, whether they have a coupon or not. In most circumstances, however, most people like using and do use coupons, if they know about them (cough, Target, you could make your coupon section a little more visible on your website, cough).

A special note from us at I’m In: We make our Target Coupons really easy to find!

I think nowadays, the majority of people who clip coupons from newspapers at least 67 years old. That was not always the case. I am old enough to remember my mom having stacks of expired coupons that she would have lying throughout our kitchen. It drove my father crazy. Coupons, especially paper ones, are hard to remember to bring with you and often have an expiration date (although, an expired coupon can sometimes still work, cough, Bed Bath and Beyond, cough).

Online coupons tend to be more convenient and utilized. I know that when I get an email that contains a coupon or special offer for one of my favorite stores, I do usually try to use it. I also hate paying shipping, so if I am ordering online, before I hit that “Pay” button, I will do a quick google search for any special offers or coupons to offset the shipping price (or hey, I would not turn down a free shipping offer code, either).

Having said I don’t always remember paper coupons, I have made the effort that when I receive a coupon in the mail, I will put it in my purse just in case. This affects my buying decisions. For example, I enjoy Starbucks coffee, and they have a website and redemption program, but it’s complicated and not the best deal. Dunkin Donits, on the other hand, sends out excellent coupons, so I will find myself forgoing an enticing Café-Vanilla Frappuchino for a nice Coolatta from Dunkin Donuts. Also, when I have to plan a party at work, I often am influenced by where I can get the best deal with a coupon because of limited funds (cough, my boss is so (so, so) finicky about money, cough).

Speaking of my boss, one thing that I have learned is to be a little skeptical of coupons and discounts. He always makes a profit. If he gives you 25% off on this, he charges an extra 50% on that. Despite knowing this, I still like and use coupons. In my mind, it is a better deal on that one purchase, and a profit for the company because I may not have otherwise bought that item.

Coupons also appear to be cross-generational. My roommate, who is 67 years old, so the aforementioned age cut off was not arbitrary, uses coupons constantly and has encouraged me to use paper coupons (because she still subscribes to a paper newspaper, even though she does not read it).  She also always signs up for company mailings and receives multiple Kohls, Ulta, and other company coupon mailings. Most of the paper coupons I have are because my roommate has put them aside for me.

I think younger generations usually use coupons they find online and can enter while shopping online or download on their phones. I know my sister has done almost every Groupon available in her city. Despite many traumatic haircuts and less than desirable food experiences, she keeps going back because she loves a good deal. For me, I usually use online coupons that I google while shopping (either for comparison before making a buying decision or at the last minute when I am shocked at the total after shipping and any other miscellaneous fees, as I mentioned earlier).

And I will note, none of us are the “crazy coupon ladies” that you read about or see on TV with a show like Extreme Couponing or, ironically enough, Kourtney’s (from the comically materialistic Kardashian family) brief love affair with couponing that resulted in a stockpiling of couponed grocery store items, much to her family’s dismay, but everyone loves a good deal, especially if they went the extra mile to use a coupon. So overall, I suppose my answer is yes, coupons do influence my purchasing decisions and those around me a lot of the time.

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