Saying that coupons influence my purchasing decisions is an understatement. They have a significant impact on what I buy and where I buy it. I am one of those people who whips out her coupon book when I am out shopping. In fact, I even have a pocket in my wallet dedicated to carrying a portion of my coupons. My friends and family know me as the one who always has coupons. Sometimes when we go out to eat or to a store, someone in my group will ask me if I have any related coupons with me. I love signing up to receive online newsletters because they typically contain discounts and coupons. Whenever the weekly advertisements arrive in the mail, my mother usually hands them to me because I will definitely make the most of the coupons. I am also the one that does the grocery shopping, due to my money-saving techniques. Nobody else in my family is quite as obsessed with coupons as myself. Of course, I am sure that my parents do not mind me saving them money.

A coupon can often times give me the incentive to shop at that particular store. If I receive a coupon in the mail giving me a 10% discount at Vons, it is very likely that I am going to go there to make my grocery purchases versus Albertson’s or another similar chain store. Coupons also influence my decision to buy a particular product. If I have a coupon to get 25% off Pedigree dog food, clearly I am not going to buy the bag of Ol’ Roy brand dog food. Using coupons is really just common sense. They can sometimes turn a $20 item into a $2 item.

The best way to get coupons is throughout the mail or e-mail. Luckily, most restaurants and stores send out weekly or bi-weekly coupons in the mail to encourage consumers to visit their particular business. Though it is often referred to as “junk mail” by most people, for me it is one of the highlights of getting the mail. Getting coupons through e-mail is another convenient, simple method. Often times, when making in-store purchases, customers are offered to sign-up for a newsletter and to receive discounts and special offers. Naturally, I almost always sign up for these perks.

My coupon usage is not limited to store purchases. I also love to use them at restaurants or fast-food establishments. Coupons and special promotions heavily affect which restaurants my family eats at. If we are deciding where to eat out at one evening and I have received a 20% off my entire purchase coupon, we may strongly consider going there versus elsewhere. I am always trying to find a way to save money, especially when eating out.

As much as I love coupons, they do not always influence my purchasing decisions. Granted, I will use coupons as often as possible. However, there are not coupons for every item and restaurant. Sometimes it is necessary to buy things-with or without a coupon. I am not obsessed with using coupons. While I am extremely impressed by some people’s commitment to coupons-use, there is no way that I would be able to accomplish that at such an extreme level. People who put forth that much effort into organizing and using coupons really show how much of a significant impact they can have on an object’s price.

Coupons can make all the difference on a shopping trip. That is why I love to use them. I get a feeling of accomplishment every time I save money. While I try to use them as frequently as possible, not every purchase I make involves coupons. For me, it seems ludicrous not to use coupons- it is basically free money.

A special note from the Scholarship Committee at Courtney talks about all the ways for you to find coupons… click here to find printable coupons for you to use in-store at your favorite restaurants and retailers!