Coupons can, on occasion, influence my purchasing decisions. When making day to day purchases I do not typically use them. However, I do use them, now and then for things like entertainment and dining out.
I have several reasons for not using them for day to day purchases. First of all, it is a pain looking for coupons for the specific items I plan to purchase. Secondly the ones that come in the Sunday paper are often for items that I do not typically buy. Using them would be ineffective and in fact cause me to spend more money than usual. Along the same lines, the coupons available in the paper are typically for brand name items. I buy store brand items most of the time because even with coupons the cost of brand name is not worth the small difference in quality.
I know that there are reality shows for “Extreme Couponing” and I have seen people in stores with huge binders of hundreds and hundreds of coupons. Somehow they come out with a very small total even though they have a cart full and I have had to stand behind them in line for what seemed like forever while they went through all of their coupons. When I ask them what kind of time goes into planning each shopping trip, or how much time they spend organizing and clipping coupons, the answer is always the same. They always spend several hours a week. Couponing is a part time job and even a full time job for the more dedicated. I do not have that kind of time to spare. I need an actual job, and since I am still a student in high school, I do not have much need for carts full of groceries. Buying 10 rolls of paper towels that I do not need for twenty cents each just because I have a good coupon or 10 coupons does not generate cash to fill my gas tank so I can drive to vocational school where I am earning college credit early. My time, at least in this stage of life, is better spent working part time where I am paid cash rather than working part time printing coupons from the internet or cutting them out of the paper to save cash on items I am not yet responsible for buying.
On the flip side, give me a good buy one get one coupon to my favorite pizza place or paint ball field and I am all for using those coupons. I love local discount cards as well as local coupon books. The savings from those coupons add up quick. You might have to pay for them, but they have more than paid for themselves after a couple free pizzas, movies, haircuts or paint ball games. You also have the knowledge that you have made a donation to a great charitable organization. Everyone wins and you are not wasting a bunch of time looking for coupons or using coupons for things you would not typically buy.
The only other kind of “coupons” that I like are reward cards. You do not have to look up anything to see if anything is on sale or carry anything around with you for the most part. Most of the time all you need is your registered phone number to automatically get discounts on random items and some items, like gas. all the time.
Basically, what I am saying, is that coupons can be good things to use. When I am older and responsible for my own grocery shopping I may use them on a wider scale, but for now it is not profitable for me. It is not worth my time or trouble trying to keep up with them either. Until then, I will stick with the easier to use rewards cards, discount cards and local coupons that have a greater per use value.