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I'm in Coupons Scholarship 2014. Entry-Kristine C.

Do coupons influence your purchasing decisions…why, or why not?”

*Thump* the Sunday newspaper hits the front door. As I pick up the large newspaper, I can see all of the ads and coupons filling the bag. As I dump the paper onto the table, coupons come spilling out. They’re red, green, and any other color under the sun. But they catch my eye. I flip through them looking to see what stuff might be on sale. I see deodorant, food, candy, and so many other things. I need nothing at the moment, but the 3 for $10 deal on nail polish at CVS looks tempting, and it’s a one day only coupon.

A note from us at I’m In: Look gorgeous and save while purchasing your favorite brand of beauty products!

I cut the coupon out of the paper, and hop in the car. I drive around the corner to the closest CVS and walk in. I head straight to the nail polish that the coupon’s for, and look at the colors. The reds, blues, purples, and so many more all look so pretty. I look at my nails, and see a shade of purple already coats them. Looking up, I see a silver and a gold that would go well as an accent on the purple I’m already wearing. I then pick a random other color and walk to the counter. I hand the cashier the nail polish and the coupon, I hand her money, and I walk out. Once home I take the bag to where I keep my nail polish. As I add the three new colors to my collection, I think why did I just buy these?  I have 15 colors here already… I also realize that I never actually looked at the normal price of the nail polish; I had been so focused on using the coupon I hadn’t even looked to see if it was worth the money.

The nail polish turned out to be $4 on a regular day without the coupon, so I saved 2 dollars, but was it worth it?  The new nail polish will probably just sit there in the drawer with all the other shades, maybe getting the chance to be used once or twice.

The coupon gave me the impression that I had to use it! I had to go spend my money in order to save money.  I wanted nail polish, it’s fun to have colors on my nails, but I didn’t need it. I even already had a silver in my collection.

Coupons have this tendency to give the shopper, or myself in particular, this idea that they wouldn’t be able to get a product for a better price again. Even if the shopper doesn’t need it at the time, they still think it’s better to buy it now, than wait for when they need it.

Sales, coupons, dollars off, they all send the same message. Buy now or you’ll never get this for a lower price! The product is probably something the shopper wants, but doesn’t need. It’ll be an off brand, or the “better” brand than what they normally use. The shopper will want to try something that they’ve heard was good. And the coupon gives them then chance to try without spending as much. Or so they think. They give the shopper the impression that they’re saving money by buying the product with the discount. Yet, if it’s a 3 for $10, as my scenario above was, is it worth it? You’re trying the product out, what if it’s not what you’re hoping for? You’ll use one, and give the rest away, wasting 6 dollars. True, it’s not $8, but it could have only been $4.

I am one of those shoppers that are highly influenced by the deals seen on coupons. I cut, save, and buy with coupons. They’re great when used smartly, but when I realize I’m buying stuff that I don’t need with them, that’s when I realize their influence. I want to try new products, but I don’t want to buy them at the regular price in case I don’t like them. Yet, when I have to buy two to get the discount, I take the risk that I won’t like them and buy it anyway. The coupon has me spending more than buying just one, but makes me feel good about myself for saving on two.

I want to save the money that the coupon is offering me. Yet, I’m lazy enough to not think about if it will really be saved. Coupons influence my purchasing decisions. If they didn’t exist, I definitely wouldn’t buy as much as I do.

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