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I'm in Coupons Scholarship 2014. Entry-Denise D.

Coupons absolutely influence my purchasing decisions on a regular basis, almost daily. When I go to the grocery store, I bring a set of coupons with me for the specific items I plan to buy. For larger purchases that I may make in a retail store, I check online for an in-store discount code or coupon that I can use for that purchase. I also look at competitor’s circulars online for any possible price matching opportunities I can take advantage of. In some cases, if I cannot find an adequate coupon for my purchase, then I have been known to walk away from the item(s) and leave them in the store.

Why Coupons Are Important

Coupons are important because they help me save money, and prevent me from paying full price for items. As a college student, I have a limited budget to work with, so I take advantage of opportunities to maximize my purchasing power whenever I can. It is my ongoing goal to minimize the cost of any item I purchase, and coupons are the primary way for me to accomplish this goal. On occasion, I will take advantage of a store sale or promotion as well, if the timing is right for my needs.

A note from us at I’m In: We’re always featuring sales from our partner merchants at I’m In!

How I use Coupons

I collect coupons from the sales circular that comes every week for grocery related items. I usually have those coupons in-hand prior to going to the store, and these coupons are usually 50 cents to $1.00 off an individual item. By using several coupons on a single trip to the grocery store, I may end up saving $5 to $7 on a total purchase of around $25, which to me is significant.

For larger items that I may purchase in a department store, like clothes or shoes, I go online on my phone and search for coupons. I present my phone to the cashier at checkout time, and the cashier simply scans the coupon with their barcode reader. The types of coupons I find online are usually 10% to 20% off an entire purchase, sometimes 25% off a single purchase, $10 off a $50 purchase, and the like.

I have also placed online orders where I use a coupon code that either provides a discount on the purchase or possibly free shipping. For online orders, I may spend 10 or 15 minutes searching different sites in order to find the best online discount code that is active. Vetting out which coupon codes are still active and usable is sometimes a chore, but the savings is worth the extra time and effort.

Psychology of Couponing

I actually really like using coupons. It feels like I am getting a special deal on items I need. Coupons are important enough to me that I avoid making purchases without using at least one coupon. I am also a coupon advocate, and I encourage friends all time to use coupons. I even share mine with others if I am shopping with friends, and have been known to offer up a spare coupon to a stranger.

My mother is an avid coupon user, and I learned about the benefits of using coupons from her. I watched her use coupons through the years, and witnessed the savings they represent. At one time in my life, I was embarrassed by coupon use because using coupons felt like we didn’t have the money to afford to pay full price. Plus, not many other families were using coupons around us, so it felt like a very “un-cool” thing to do. Since that time, I have come to understand that using coupons is what a smart and well-informed consumer does in order to maximize their purchasing power and get the most value out of their purchases. In other words, coupons provide the consumer with more “bang for their buck”. Coupons now make me feel like an empowered and educated consumer who is making wise spending decisions. I feel like I have an edge over others who are paying full price and not taking advantage of coupon based savings.

Coupons play a significant role in my day-to-day purchasing decisions as I outlined above. In fact, I rarely go shopping without them.

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