The short answer to your question “Do coupons influence your purchasing decisions…why, or why not?” is a resounding “YES!”
I observed my mother from an early age as she routinely cut coupons, searched on-line and printed coupons, and used coupons on a weekly basis to stretch our family’s dollars. I have to admit that at first, I just thought it was such a bother to go to the trouble to find coupons before we made a purchase. Over time, however, I became convinced of how wise the practice really is. My mother would often say, “Even if we were millionaires, it would be foolish to waste money, when money can easily be saved instead.”
I agree. Most all of us have limited resources. Using coupons stretches those resources and allows us to get more value for the dollars we end up spending. At first, collecting and organizing coupons can seem a bit overwhelming – afterall, it takes some time, and is a bit of work. However, the “reward” for that small investment is when we get to look at that receipt and see the results! (Who doesn’t enjoy spending less?)
In most cases, unless a person has a definite preference on a brand, when shopping at the grocery store, it is relatively easy to buy what you need and want, and shave dollars and cents off of your bill. As an example, if I need cheddar cheese, and I am not particular about whether the brand is Tillamook, Sargento, or Kraft, if I have a valuable coupon for any one of those, it will influence my decision as to which I will buy. In other words, if all things are “equal,” (relatively speaking), then I will apply a coupon I am holding towards that purchase.
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Outside of the realm of grocery shopping, which is where I learned most about coupons from my mother, I now am in the habit of looking for similar “deals” for restaurant meals, drug-store needs, entertainment (such as movies) and personal care services (such as manicures and facials.) Again, the overriding principle is simple: if you don’t positively have to have a certain brand, or have to eat at a certain establishment, and you are flexible enough, in the end you can be just as satisfied using your hard-earned money to spend less.
Let me provide another real, recent, and very practical demonstration of this habit I have developed. As a college student, I have very little “extra money,” as I must channel my funds towards the necessities associated with my educational expenses. I must choose carefully and wisely when deciding to part with my money. Yet, I still want to be able to do certain things in a respectable manner. I had a special friend whose birthday was approaching, and I wanted to be able to give her a nice gift, yet I knew it was going to be a huge challenge to achieve that with the few dollars in my budget. So, I began searching…! The most readily available source of coupons to someone like myself, living in a dorm, is like most things today, right on my computer. The first place I checked was Groupon. I began to look for something like a bracelet, or perhaps a facial. I came across a short-term offer that automatically took 25% off any goods or services on Groupon that I would purchase that day. Great! I already have a good discount going into the search, and now I could get down to business. In a matter of about 10 minutes, I located a beautiful necklace that originally sold for $55, offered on Groupon for $26. Because they will pay for shipping on any order over $24.99, I knew that I was about to get a great deal on a quality item, for under $20, all in.
A note from us at I’m In: We can help you save on flowers, gifts and parties at I’m In!
Now, back to the original question. Yes, because I did not have my eye on a particular item, I could shop freely until something caught my eye, and then take advantage of the “group coupon” (Groupon).
I am absolutely convinced of the value of using the wide variety of coupons there are out there. It does take a little time, but it is so worth it. In the end, besides the feeling of satisfaction you get, it is actually fun too!