In my household, coupons rarely influence our purchasing decisions. That’s not to say that we aren’t frugal, or we don’t care if we get the best price on products. We are, and we do. For the most part. My mother takes into account several factor when deciding where to make a purchase. If it’s something like groceries, she finds the place that has the lowest overall price for the products, like our local WinCo store. There are several stores between our home and WinCo, but she doesn’t go to them because, with a budget of $500 for food, she knows that she can get nearly 40% more product at WinCo than at Albertsons or our local Yoke’s grocery store. And, since we have 4 children in our home, she doesn’t have the time necessary to clip coupons, keep them organized, and on hand while fighting the little ones in the grocery line. She needs simple and economical. Inevitably, every couple years she will download a coupon program that mails her coupons for the products she already buys. She will print off several of them, and comment about how she spends more in ink and paper than the 10 cents she saves on the product, or she will come home from the grocery store muttering about how she forgot her coupons again, or lost the ones she needed.
Online, she will spend more time looking for the best prices, and will even look for promo codes for the items she is purchasing. But again, it’s about minimizing the clutter and streamlining the buying process. If she can’t find a promo code in less than 5 minutes, she will pay full price because she was going to buy the product anyway.
The only time I’ve seen my mother use a coupon on a regular basis is at our local Franz bread store. They have a punch-card that will give her 10 loaves of bread off their discount wall for every $200 she spends. With our family of 6, it doesn’t take her long to go through $200 worth of bread and the punch card fits in her wallet with her credit cards and doesn’t get lost.
The funny thing, though, is that I, the teenager, am even more frugal than my mother. I don’t like to pay full price for anything. This is difficult. I’m a 5’10” girl with the body of an athlete. I rarely have the luxury of buying off the rack. Luckily, I like to shop. A lot. I’m patient and I’m willing to spend 3 hours to find the right dress or swimsuit. And I will go from store to store to store to STORE until I find something that fits perfectly. I rarely buy clothes online because I absolutely must try them on before I buy them. Like my mother, I rarely use coupons. But I am mindful of which stores have the best value (not necessary cheapest), and I go to those stores first. The one store that I will use coupons on is at Kohls. I like how you get $10 for every $50 that you spend. They have quality products, a wide variety of stuff, and my mom will always give me any coupons she received from shopping there. So it’s like going shopping without having to spend any money. I’ve tried the punch cards, but it takes too long for me to fill one up. I’m too busy to be bothered with cut-out coupons, and I usually only buy stuff off Ebay or Amazon. My focus is on shopping for the lowest ticket price and/or best value for my money and enjoying the process.
A special note from the Scholarship Committee at imin.com: Like Elisha, Kohl’s is a popular store for coupons. Check out our page for ways to save!