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I'm in Coupons Scholarship 2014. Entry-Julia H.

Frugal consumers are continually trying to find means of saving. To answer this question on a personal level—the majority of my purchases are set on the foundation of being a good deal, clearance, sale, or couponed. I generally only accept deals. Mentally I accept that if something is full price, I do not need it, or I could find a better deal elsewhere. For any frugal consumer, every penny counts. Everything is expensive. To live in the United States comfortably is an expensive way of life. Couponing, red tags, and sales are excellent marketing devices that give the consumer the mentality that they truly are getting an exceptional deal; it gives the customer a feeling of accomplishment, a new appreciation for the product they saved on, and a desire to return to the company that provided the good deal.

For my particular situation, I am a student and work part-time. I pay close attention to where my money goes since I have a relatively small paycheck per month. I analyze how much of my check goes toward charity, food, fuel expenses, car expenses, etc. To live comfortably on a little amount takes strategic planning and acceptance of a few of what some might call “losses.” It is in my routine to check my local grocery store apps on my cell phone to add sale or couponed items to a list. I shop based on my list of what I define as needs. As an example of my spending habits, I tend to buy the shampoo that is on sale in the ad over the shampoo that has better online reviews. When I enter into the grocery store, my eyes glance at the bold sales price tags first. The sale price is what caused me to pick up the item in the first place. Every time I hold an item I am considering to purchase, I analyze the deal in my head, consider the physical value of the item, question mentally the level of need or want, and then formulate my decision based on this quick analytical process that occurs in less than a minute.

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Old Navy is an excellent example of a company who has used couponing, clearance, and regular sales to capture my interest as a consumer and keep me coming back. By having me on their email list, I hear and read about great deals happening through Old Navy on a regular basis. They offer coupons on top of their online deals. They provide free shipping with a certain amount of merchandise purchased. As soon as a consumer spends at Old Navy, they will send the consumer a coupon to receive $10 back with a purchase of at least $25 with a limited time offered for the next time they visit. Despite their deals, I will end up spending hundreds of dollars into their company in the course of the year because they have the ability to sell the idea that I am receiving a good deal. Because of their marketing strategies, captivating email titles, and various incentives, I am a continual customer for Old Navy. I would say that the combination of their deals and their marketing strategies has made them a successful company. In this economy, they have appealed to their audience with accurate terminology and products. This is one example of couponing having an incredible influence on consumer habits.

In conclusion, couponing has been a genius invention in our world of consumerism today. The idea of winning, scoring, receiving something priced better than ordinary creates pleasure and is placed within conception of the consumer—as if they have the ability to cheat the system—to put out a few less pennies than usual. Some consumers are so extreme in their efforts that “extreme couponing” is a universally known term of extreme savers. The people that find loopholes in the system while we all sit back and wonder just how they did it. But were they really loopholes? That secret is to be remained with the whole system entirely. Nevertheless, couponing gives the consumers the feeling of being in control of what they spend and it gives them the power to make their amount of spending a matter of choice rather than a matter of fact.

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