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I'm in Coupons Scholarship 2014. Entry-Carlos Q.

Coupons absolutely influence my purchasing decisions. As the Head of Household for a young family, I am acutely aware of where every penny goes and have to allocate a strict budget for purchases. When there isn’t a lot of wiggle room in the budget, coupons help my family get a little closer to making ends meet. Coupons impact my shopping as well as the habits of those around me.

Reflecting on my own shopping habits, I find that coupons affect my decisions about items in many different ways. The impact coupons have on a person’s mind is interesting because it taps into an incredibly primitive portion of the human psyche – the brain’s reward system. A book of coupons can have an almost Pavlovian response on consumers who are looking to save a few dollars on their purchase. Coupons work a simple wonder which is making people consider and alter their monetary expenditure threshold on an item by only bringing the price slightly closer to what the dollar amount that is within the budget. This causes a feeling of joy, of success in the consumer who believes they have gotten the “best deal” or feel like they made a smart purchase. It is a positive reinforcement, and when the end effect is positive the person will do the same thing again and again. It is in a way an addictive reaction – the person becomes almost addicted to seeing the “savings” at the bottom of the receipt.

When my wife or I go shopping, the first thing we do is look at what coupons are available. We tailor our shopping list to match the coupons or deals we can get in that particular shopping trip, but it’s important to make the distinction that just because there’s a coupon for it it is not necessarily money-saving to purchase it. We have to decide whether or not this is something we really need or really will use. If there is a dollar off coupon for a 10 dollar product we didn’t need in the first place, that’s not saving a dollar but rather spending nine dollars we didn’t need to spend. When using coupons, it’s important to pay attention to those sort of things. The initial desire is to use all the coupons available, but it’s very easy to go too far in the opposite direction.

Coupons also have recently gained a positive image in what the general public refers to has “couponing.” Couponing is the act of seeking out coupons in order to save the most amount of money. It has become extremely popular to the point of having numerous websites, blogs, books, and television shows dedicated to it. From a marketing perspective, coupons are all about advertising. Coupons generate advertising all on their own; the coupon itself offers a special on an item, and people talk wonders about their savings through coupons which inspires others to do the same. This makes coupons a crucial component for stores. The store that not only as the most coupons but makes them more readily available to their costumers has a winning edge over the competition.

A note from us at I’m In:  We can help you save at your favorite stores at I’m In!

This is just the beginning of how coupons influence the market. So far I have concentrated on how they affect a person psychologically. But coupons also change what product are sold more. Supermarket stores carry the everyday essentials for populace. People buy their food, their hygiene products, and even can find something to treat themselves with. But with a limited spending budget people will flock towards coupons. The item with a coupon will sell more, therefore the store will not only order the product sooner but in even higher quantities. The company that made the product will profit and expand its operation making able to provide to a wider market. The simple supply and demand, which can make or break a company. All of this created by a simple piece of paper with an offer printed on it. The coupon factor.

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