Having just graduated from college, I found myself in an enigmatic situation; I am now freer than I have ever been, and at the same time also feel more constrained than I have ever experienced. I am free, in that I no longer have to worry about getting an education (at least for this summer!) and I have more time for myself. But in doing so, I have trapped myself in that vicious cycle of having to responsibly budget my money. Moving on to pursue a master’s degree, it is imperative for me to save as much money as I can. Besides tuition, I will need funds to live off when I am away from home. However, this means buying things quickly became my worst enemy; I lose money if I spend irresponsibly. It appears Alan Cumming was right when he made “Money” for the Broadway show “Cabaret”, as money does make the world go round. Money decides whether you can afford to feed yourself or starve.

A coupon, however, adds an interesting factor to purchasing goods and services. Something once thought of as a frivolous purchase suddenly becomes reasonable and daring. Does it affect my buying decision? You bet it does. If the amount of discount is sufficient and my desire to obtain the service or merchandise is great enough, I am all in.

Another aspect of coupon usage is the ability to choose an alternative brand over the one I usually buy at a discount. This makes the alternative brand seem more attractive than the usual one. The discounted item is usually very tempting to buy, regardless of whether or not I use the brand. How good is this brand, compared to the brand I use? Do I need this thing? If the coupon specifies one of my preferred brands as applicable, I would hasten to take the opportunity to stock up on what I need, since I can use a discount on something I most definitely will want in the near future. In this case, coupons most definitely affect my purchasing decision, but more in the case of purchasing an item sooner rather than later, in which the coupon will be invalid.

When it comes to coupons for items that I have no use for the situation changes. For example, as a male, if I was presented with a coupon for women’s products, I would not be swayed in the slightest to buy the makeup products. Simply put, I have no need for said product. Like most consumers, I believe if I buy an item that I would never use. In these situations, coupons would not affect my purchasing decisions, unless I knew a female who could use it and then purchase it for her either as a gift or try to recoup the purchase money. But that’s only for a deal too good to pass up.

Given these scenarios, I can say that coupons do hold a significant amount of leverage in my purchasing decisions provided the merchandise or service appeals to me. Even if I have never even heard of the brand, I would be tempted to try it if the price was right. For instance, I have tried flying lessons for a hundred dollars. I always wanted to learn to fly but was cost prohibitive. This provided me with an opportunity to try something I’ve always been curious about. In the future, I will look into driving an exotic automobile at a race track.

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As you can see, coupons do play a significant role in my purchasing decisions, especially if it is used for a product or service I was curious to try. Coupons can be an opportunity to open new doors and try something which was a curiousity but cost prohibitive. As for me, I have purchased many items and services which turned out to be unexpectedly useful or interesting. Coupons can give one a whole new insight into areas which were not considered because of price constraints.