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

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

We’ve all been there. Stuck in the middle of a store contemplating the pros and cons of two different shirts to finally decide which one you will buy because you can’t justify buying them both. “Which one will I wear more often?” “Which one will match more of my clothes?” Which one is cheaper?” This last question is often the deciding factor for me when choosing between two items and coupons are often the reason one is cheaper than the other, leading them to be the final influence on my purchasing decisions. Receiving coupons is one of the best and most common excuses to go shopping that I have heard and I believe that they not only influence my purchasing decisions, but everyone else’s also. However, coupons often influence people to make bad, impulsive purchasing decisions that may have been avoided if there was no coupon. In the end, coupons are a very influential part of most shopper’s thought process when buying something.

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Personally, I don’t like to spend my own money. However, coupons make this decision not only easier, but also justifiable in my mind. Recently, my parents have been pushing me to be more independent in various aspects of my life. One of these aspects happens to be paying for myself occasionally. As a teenager, I already do not have much money to spend. However, I still enjoy to shop as often as I can. Coupons give me a reason to shop and I often only begin looking somewhere because of them. This sometimes is good because I spend less on the item. However, coupons also lead, not only me, but anyone to buy something he/she might not have bought otherwise, eventually leading him/her to spend more money overall. For example, if I went shopping solely for a dress and then found a coupon for 25% off shoes, I would probably not only buy a dress, but also buy a pair of shoes because I wouldn’t want to miss the sale even though I may not have needed shoes. In general, coupons are often the source of impulse buying or purchasing something I honestly did not need or maybe even want.

Another way that coupons influence purchasing decisions is influencing when to buy something. If a coupon will expire soon, then someone will probably buy what is on sale right then even if he/she does not necessarily need the item yet. This can be good because then he/she doesn’t have to go back and get the item when they do need it. However, they might not need the item and only be buying it because it was on sale. Most people don’t want to miss out on coupons and, to avoid the chance of this, they use them as soon as they get them. For example, my father has never liked to shop or buy things for me. However, I know that if something has a coupon, then he is much more likely to be inclined to give in and let me buy it. Also, if he has a coupon, that is usually the only reason to why he would buy something on his own. As I am more inclined to spend full price on items, having a coupon often helps me make decisions on what to buy.

Overall, coupons have a very large influence over what and when I shop. I love the feeling of saving money on something I may have spent full price on if I did not have the coupon. However, having a coupon, to me, will always justify a purchase. Coupons do give people a good reason to shop, but they also usually lead to spending more money. Using coupons efficiently is difficult and I commend those who are able to do it.

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