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I'm in Coupons Scholarship 2014. Entry-Lucy Kl.

2.9 billion. That is the number of coupons that were redeemed last year. Coupons have become a large part of the purchasing patterns of the majority of consumers throughout the United States, and largely influence the way we buy in today’s society, in a multitude of manners. From online shoppers, to families doing their weekly grocery shopping, to major events or trips being planned, coupons can be redeemed to make each of the above a more affordable, enjoyable experience.

First and foremost, coupons work as an incentive to buy. They aren’t so much the main thing that pushes a consumer towards purchasing a product, but rather the final swing, the small difference between taking action, or proceeding on in the quest for “a better time to buy” or “a better deal”. For example, when someone is presented with a big ticket purchase, they cons (aka cost) often outweigh the pros of the item. However, when a buyer can physically see the price, or cons, being reduced before their eyes, the likelihood of the buyer to purchase the item increases drastically. This can work on smaller scale purchases as well. Take for example a mom at her local grocery store. If she has a coupon for “buy four, get one free” boxes of cereal, she would most likely use the coupon, and therefore purchase five boxes of cereal. In reality, she only needs one box to get her family through the upcoming week, but the coupon has worked as an incentive to purchase a larger amount.

Perhaps one of the most overlooked, yet extremely important, aspect of couponing and the role it plays on consumers, is that it is fun! Bargaining is a part of human nature. People have been negotiating and knocking down prices on items ever since we were using chocolate and rocks as means of trade. Couponing is a way to bargain, to pay less for an item than the people beside you are paying for the same thing. Plus, couponing makes the thrifty shopper feel good about his/her self. The rewarding feeling of saving money on something can make the entire shopping experience more enjoyable. It can become a hobby, a way to pass time and save money in the process. Couponing can become a family affair, something the

Not only does saving money make the consumer feel good about his/her self, but also helps the retailer. When the person shopping is saving more money than expected, the extra cash is often spent on other items within the store. In this way, coupons influence our purchases by allowing the average person more bang for their buck.

Humans, by nature, are creatures of routine. Take a look at our daily lives as an example; we wake up at the same time every morning, go to the same places, enjoy the same styles of coffee, etc. This is not necessarily a bad thing, however it can be hindering towards the growth and expansion of our lives. When we are forced out of our comfort zones, having our routines altered ever so slightly, we are stretched into more complete, well-rounded people. Coupons can do this on a variety of scales. On the extreme end, coupons can encourage us to purchase trips or pursue activities we would otherwise only dream about, such as a zipline tour or a hotel in an exotic country. On the other side of the spectrum, coupons can force us out of our daily routines by promoting a different brand, or different style of object, such as a new coffee grinder, or a different flavor of creamer. It is in this way that coupons not only influence our purchases, but the rest of our lives by default.

Coupons make a large impact on what, when, and how we buy. As consumers in the American economy, cost is a large factor when making purchases, and coupons can singlehandedly alter the cost of major items. From family vacations to family supermarket excursions, coupons are making a come up in the world.

A note from us at I’m In: You can find all of our coupons in one place by downloading our free Mobile Coupon App!

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