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

The thought of saving of money on an item can definitely encourage a consumer to make a purchase. This is definitely important to a student such as myself who is trying to budget their way through school. Despite my disposition I have never really incorporated coupons into my daily shopping routine. Every now and then I will snag a Groupon but I tend to consider that more of a purchased deal while a coupon as a different entity with a code or paper that will impact my purchase. Theoretically, coupons can shave a load off of your total as seen in the television series “Coupon Moms” but personally I feel that there is not enough of a convenience for me to cut out a slip of paper to save five cents on a roll of paper towels.

I perceive American culture as fast paced and the type of community that aims for convenience. My claim is not that coupons are unfavorable but rather that the more convenient version of a coupon are sales. In fact, coupons usually do not work on sale items. Items that are put on some sort of sale or clearance is like having a coupon already applied. In reality I feel that the spontaneity of shoppers does not always coincide with the presence of coupons. Although a regular priced item with an applied coupon may be cheaper than a sale item, if the coupon was not brought along it is much more convenient to purchase the cheaper item then and there.

Accordingly there has been a lot of movement towards paperless routes and phone applications that can support the use of coupons. With this advancement, it is possible for shoppers to have access to coupons on their mobile device when at the store. Along with an alert system, these applications do a fine job of not only providing convenient access to coupons but it may even convince some buyers into purchasing something they did not plan on getting beforehand or even need for that matter.

Therefore, if I do happen to use a coupon, it is most likely a barcode waiting to be scanned on my cell phone. It beats the hassle of printing one out and is readily available. Generally, coupons do not influence whether I purchase an item or not. When I go to the store I will usually have something in mind and buy the item regardless if I have a coupon or not. In addition to that, sales may also influence my decision to purchase additional items. Similar to that, coupons may also have that effect. I am aware that some shoppers use coupons to influence what types of purchases they will make, but I look for sales either in a newsletter sent to my home, through word of mouth, or while browsing at the store itself.

There are a wide variety of coupons or rather a wide variety of goods. Majority of the coupons I use are for retail stores instead of groceries. There are several coupons for clothing shops such as Old Navy or Forever 21 but as an Asian American when it comes to groceries, my family and I buy from markets that do not provide coupons. I believe that there may be a different levels of coupon usage among different cultures. Although, many grocery stores such as Jewel Osco have many redeemable coupons, there are different ethnic markets as well as small shops that do not follow the trend.

Coupons are not a deciding factor for me when it comes to making a purchase for the sake of convenience. However, having a couple coupons on my phone every now and then may further my decision for a purchase. On another note, when it comes to shopping, I believe that sometimes consumers may experience post regret. Whether it be the price, one might question whether it was a smart purchase or if it were just an impulse. The use of coupons always makes me feel that I accomplished a good deal and reinforces my confidence of that purchase. It never hurts to save some money and everyone likes to embody their inner bargain hunter.

Special comment from the imin.com Scholarship Committee:  Like Jennifer mentioned, it never hurts to save some money!  Try searching our store directory for ways to save big. 

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