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I'm in Coupons Scholarship 2014. Entry-Christopher N.

Coupons come in many types, sizes, and fashions. From a blinking sign capturing your attention while you browse the internet to a self-sought out coupon in Sunday’s paper; they all have a meaning behind them- another transaction for the company. As a graduate with a financial degree with an interest in human psychology, and a past financial adviser for a jewelry company I tend to be a harsh critic when I see a coupon. Some people purely see it as an opportunity to save money but really, how many boxes of taquitos do you need when it’s buy 3 get one free. The common misconception is that coupons always save you money but did you ever stop and think for a second why grocery stores entice you to buy double what you need or send you coupons for items you may have never intended on buying in the first place? For the most part it’s a marketing strategy to remove old products off the shelves to be replaced by fresher or updated products, or stir up  interest and potential repeat buyers in a product new to the market. More importantly, it is your email and address that allow companies to target you and in a sense “sell” your information so that you are more reachable. NOW, with all that said, do coupons influence my purchasing decisions? Of course they do! With a little financial savvy, you can make coupons work for you. It’s all based on need and timing. If I like a certain brand of toilet paper, which I do, and I buy a six pack roll every two weeks; if there was a coupon for the same brand for buy one six pack and get $1 off the second it would be insane not to get it. That saves me a dollar, allows me a month of TP without needing to buy more, and everyone’s happy. However, let’s say the competing brand has a coupon for buy one 6 pack get one free but the first 6 pack is $2 more than the brand I like. Well, now I’m I a predicament. The power of the coupon is trying to make decisions  for me to buy a product I’ve never purchased before and my…body…has never experienced. What if I hate it! What if I love it! Would I do it, and risk a whole month of possible chaos? If I hated it, I’d have to endure a month of TP abuse and if I loved it what if the coupon disappears forever and now I’m paying $2 more consistently. I would have to move on to phase two and calculate the number of sheets in a roll, ply, weight, etc. Ultimately, the coupon has influenced my decision. This hypothetical scenario lends to the mentality of a shopper, or possibly just me but the point is the coupon maker has won. I use coupons for things I would already buy yet, it seems as though as soon as the companies are aware of my shopping habits, the coupons for my products cease to exist. If I’m online shopping which is a whole different ball game, I find what I want to purchase for the best deal, then search coupon codes for additional savings. Rarely if ever  do I fall in the trap of using coupons for holiday gift shopping. To me the Black Friday deals are a scam to get people to buy garbage so that when New Year rolls around they get to open the paper and see the better, newer, and improved version of the garbage they already bought for a slightly higher price they paid. Why buy a junky $700 65” flat screen TV that will last about 2 years when literally one month later there will be a better brand 60” for $825 that will last as long as you want it to. But come on guys! You had a coupon for 25% off the inflated regular price of $933, which MUST be a good deal. Wrong! My advice is to evaluate your “savings” with a coupon based on need, longevity, and money management. Coupons are awesome for: meals at restaurants you like, oil changes, smog checks, brands you already use, and getting free add-ons to a product you were going to buy anyways. Otherwise, carefully listen to the CEO of the products company  laughing as you fall into the trap of buying something based on flashy figures.

A note from us at I’m In:  We can help you save on food and restaurants at I’m In!

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