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I'm in Coupons Scholarship 2014. Entry-Jonathon B.

Coupons do affect my family’s purchasing decisions – but not as much as others. We do not scour around and salvage coupons that we find, we just acquire them as we go about normal life. In terms of changing our spending habits, coupons don’t carry very much weight. We do not choose to buy a certain item just because we have a coupon for it. When my mother buys groceries, she compiles a list of everything we need and buys the items. She does take advantage of coupons that bring discounts to items that are already on the list, but she never goes outside what we need. I believe the same is true for the rest of my family as well. We do not let coupons influence what we buy or when we buy it, but we do use them on items we were already intending to buy. I think that this conservative mentality is a good approach.

Some people have a perception that using more coupons to buy more items will save them money, but in reality they’re spending more money than they would have otherwise. Some people let coupons and discounts completely control their purchasing decisions. They search through newspapers, magazines, and anything else that may yield coupons. It is admirable that they’re attempting to save money by amassing so many coupons and creating a huge plan for making purchases. These consumers use the coupons and go buy items in bulk that they do not even need. These people are so blinded with their perceived savings that they aren’t even aware that they’re playing right into the hands of the marketing of producers. Producers want to create that illusion of savings when there is no real need for a given item.

People spend beyond their needs for many different reasons, and marketing targets each of them. In the world of coupons and discounts, there is so much economic strategy involved. From the perspective of producers, they want to get consumers to spend money on as many items as possible – even if they don’t really need or want them. This is accomplished by all sorts of strategic marketing. Advertisements like commercials can create a desire for an item. Coupons are another powerful way that producers boost the sales of items. So many people are ignorant of what they actually need to buy, and they just allow themselves to be led along like sheep following a shepherd. They let the advertisements and coupons decide what they buy. The majority of people would deny being victimized by this tactic, but it’s happened to more people than you’d think. It is primarily a subconscious occurrence that causes the purchasing desire to come about. Producers are trying to create many opportunities for impulse decisions. For example, in the checkout aisle for most stores there are usually shelves of candy and other small items. This is to make consumers rationalize an irrational desire. Most people don’t go to the store with a plan to buy a candy bar – they see it there in the checkout aisle and make an impulse decision.

In summary, there is really an underlying economic strategy involved with things like coupons. If people can recognize what coupons are really for, they can use them for an advantage instead of being victimized. Most people don’t realize what they’re really for though, and that is how producers can manipulate people and achieve their goal. I’m not saying that it is bad to use coupons, however. They are obviously very useful and advantageous when used in under the right circumstances. The key to using coupons for the right reason is to always stay on top mentally. If you’re aware of the choices you make, you can win the psychological war and get the most out of coupons, instead of them getting the most out of you.

A note from us at I’m In:  The I’m In Coupon App makes it easy for you to access coupons for in store savings. The power is in the palm of your hand!

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