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I'm in Coupons Scholarship 2014. Entry-Douglas S.

Everybody loves getting a good deal. The idea of getting something that one wants for less than the normal price is too good an opportunity for anyone to resist. I think that coupons influence everyone’s decision to purchase a product in some way, at least once in a while. I myself certainly reference my collection of coupons whenever I decide what to buy. However, that doesn’t mean I invest in everything that I have a coupon for. The question of how likely a coupon is to convince me to purchase something is based on several factors. A desire to purchase the item at all is obviously important, but due consideration should also be paid to an item’s new price, both in terms of savings and against similar available products, and the value one gets for their dollar. If a coupon doesn’t make a product more attractive when it is considered along these lines, then it I won’t buy it.

The first, and most important, factor is demand. How much do I want a given item? A coupon will almost never make me buy something I have no interest in, and I will always use a coupon on something I have to buy anyways. However, if the item is not of dire importance, rather some object of convenience or recreation, then a coupon will often present the best price I will ever be able to pay for that item and I might as well buy it. Perhaps the coupon is encouraging rashness on my part, but in most cases I think that I’m buying an item that I would buy at some point in time.  This way I am just getting the best price possible.

When talking about the best price possible, it is important to consider savings. If a coupon only saves me ten cents, then I don’t see it worth the effort in buying the product. It may still be the best possible price, but it doesn’t feel significant. Generally, I will consider myself to have found a deal on any product where I save at least five percent on an item price over one hundred dollars, ten percent on anything between twenty and one hundred dollars, or a dollar on anything normally priced less than twenty dollars. For items like canned food that are already less than a dollar, I won’t buy unless it is discounted by 50%. A truly good deal isn’t just about a mathematically lowered price, its about receiving a noticeable value, an amount of money that can be spent on something else.

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The price guidelines give a good idea of what will entice me to buy, but they make one very large assumption: that the discounted product is the only one of its kind I would consider buying. In the real world that is rarely the case. With the exception of a few standout brands, I will favor the cheapest product available. No matter how “on sale” an expensive product is, it will rarely be my first choice unless the coupon makes it cost less than its competitors.

Though I prefer a cheaper product, I am willing to buy some products that cost more if I feel that they are qualitatively superior to a degree that justifies the additional expenditure. If a brand can offer considerably more convenience, functionality, or reliability than its competitors, then it can technically be a cheaper way of acquiring what that brand offers. The added cost is justified by the added feature(s). A significantly superior product with a discount can sell me over a cheaper version if it offers a better value.

Coupons can definitely entice me to buy things, but I have to be convinced that I’m getting a deal first. The item in question has to something I would want if money weren’t an issue. I have to be receiving a considerable discount, not a trifling difference, and it has to be the best value when compared to competing products. Coupons can really make a product better, but they need to make it the best to convince me to buy.

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