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I'm in Coupons Scholarship 2014. Entry-Melissa V.

I can always remember my mom refusing to spend more than she needed to on anything and everything. The pantry in my home to this day still consists of Great Value and Western Family products that are considerably less expensive than their name brand counterparts. The point of that brief tidbit of information is to make the point that saving money has always been a part of my life and my upbringing. Which leads me to the topic of coupons. I love the idea that you can get a discount, no matter how little, on the things that you are constantly buying.

Whenever I think of coupons I always think back to the bulky Costco coupon books that we would get in the mail as a part of being members of the warehouse superstore. Whenever we were about to go grocery shopping, my mom and I would first look through the booklet to see if any of the items coincided with what we actually needed. That coupon book ended up being a decisive factor in our purchases. If we saw that there was something that seemed to be a really good deal, we would end up buying it regardless of whether we “needed” it or not. Because of those Costco coupon books, we found ourselves trying things that we had never tried before or things that have we would have never considered buying otherwise simply because they had a really good deal for them.

A note from us at I’m In:  We offer lots of ways for you to save on groceries at I’m In!

No matter what the product in question is, my consideration process for it is definitely different once I realize that there is a sale of some sort involved with it, or that it has a coupon of some sort tied to it. I don’t doubt that that is the mentality for a lot of people. It’s easier to talk yourself into buying something when it’s considerably cheaper than it normally is thanks to the coupons. People love a good deal regardless of whether or not they actually need what they’re buying. The ultimatum, so to speak, of coupons also add their own chaotic factor to buying. The fact that there is an expiration date attached to coupons adds that much more pressure to the buying process. Not only are you almost forced to buy these products, but you are also forced to do it within a certain window otherwise there is no point at all.

There is also so much compromising involved with coupons. It seems that nine times out of ten, the brand that has a coupon is not the one that you regularly buy. I know I have bought a brand I’m not a fan of simply because the offer was “too good to pass up”. I don’t know what it is about coupons that skew my judgment, but they do something to warble my sense of what I need and what I don’t need. The thing is that coupons don’t even make a difference in the grand scheme of things. Am I really supposed to believe that these coupons are made and distributed by stores and manufacturers because they care about consumers and want to find ways to cut costs for them whenever they can? I seriously doubt that the coupons do more than give consumers a false sense that they are saving money on their purchases and it just leads them to buy more with the money they “saved” which just turns into more profit for these corporations. These operations give up a little bit of profit from one product only to turn around and make more money from the ignorant people who end up spending more.

Overall, I think that coupons do have influence my buying decisions. Coupons are like alcohol in the sense that like “beer googles” that make people seem more attractive than they are, they make products seem like a better deal than they really are. Coupons aren’t all that bad in all cases, but they do kind of suck. At the end of the day, they just make me spend more money than they actually save me.

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