Living as a college student in today’s world is a challenge in many ways. While living on campus has many perks, like meal plans and such, choosing to live off campus also means choosing to take responsibility for all meals and food, not to be included in your tuition bill. As a student living off campus myself, the responsibility of grocery shopping has become one more thing on my ever growing to-do list. The next challenge faced in the dreaded shopping trip itself. One never realizes how much food really costs until the bill is paid via your wallet. Since taking over the grocery shopping, the cost of the foods I purchase have become much more prevalent in the decision to buy them.
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Seeing advertised sales online is definitely something that motivates me to go shopping for specific item. Any way that I am still able to purchase all the food that I want, while still not emptying my bank account, is a major plus. On the specific subject of coupons, while I do believe that they are a great thing to utilize, I just feel that they are impractical in their most common form. Paper coupons, especially ones that come from a website and need to be printed, are impractical for college students who are living on a budget and either pay per sheet printed on campus or have a printer at home, but are very frugal to the pages they do print in order to save on ink costs. Personally, I have been known to disregard any coupon that requires printing, due to not wanting to spend the money I saved on ink and paper.
There have been apps that are attempting to resolve this issue, but those are still a bit impractical as well. Many of the apps still have coupons that you are able to send to yourself and then print but then we run into the same problem of printing and such. Another type of utilization in place is being able to take a picture of your receipt and specific deals are rewarded as cash back offers and money is accumulated in your “account”. The problem with this is that most of the time, these apps are offering small amounts of money, usually 10-50 cents back and you are only able to cash out when you reach $30 or more. Still, you are required to pay full price for the product and then wait probably months to acquire enough money to cash out.
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I do not wish to say that I am against the use of coupons, I would love to be able to utilize them more often than not. I just believe that the printable coupons, the ones that are going to most generally used for food items, are not practical for college students to be able to use. To open the market of coupons to college students, coupons themselves need to be not reinvented, just tweaked. If there is a way for coupons to be made fully digital, so that pressing a button on a smartphone opens the coupon to be scanned and has a unique barcode to only be used once, I believe that many more people would utilize coupons.
With how often the technology changes and how quickly the hot items become ‘so last week’, things like coupons become outdated and forgotten most of the time by the younger generation. As a generation that was raised to always be looking for the next best thing, looking for ways to change things for the better, if there is a way to digitalize the process of couponing, it will be able to make its shift to the 21st century. For an action to be appealing to a college student, the process needs to be simple and pretty instantly rewarding. Having to wait for the benefit makes the action less desirable, but having instant gratification is one way to create appeal to a larger group of people.