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I'm in Coupons Scholarship 2014. Entry-Patrick G.

Coupons rarely influence my purchasing decisions. I do review all the coupons that I receive, and evaluate them based on if it is worth changing my purchase decision, if I need the item, and if I am going to be buying that item anyway. I generally do not use coupons, however for larger ticket items I do. For example, a while back, there was a coupon for a local carpet cleaning service that came in the Val Pak in the mail. I saved that coupon, and saved a ton on the carpet cleaning service, which I ordinarily would not have used had it not been for the coupon.

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Generally, when I set out to make any kind of purchase, whether it is for groceries, a large ticket item, or something in between, I pretty much know what I want, and exactly what I am going to buy. I do review my coupons to see if I have a coupon for that specific item, and sometimes if there is a coupon for an item that is enough similar to what I really wanted, I’ll get that item instead.

I’m all about saving money, and try to do this in as many ways as possible. The problem is, most of the time I clip the coupon, and it sits in my junk drawer until long after it expires. Generally, when I save money, it’s through other methods, such as purchasing the store brand items instead of the national brand items, and searching for the best deals within the store. There is a distinct difference in pricing between certain stores, and I know which stores to avoid by now.

Sometimes there are items that I purchase on a regular basis, that I have noticed over time that there are almost never coupons out for. I evaluate whether it would be cheaper to go with an alternative item in these cases, however most of the time it is still cheaper to stick with what I normally buy.

It is important to pay attention to the differences in prices due to sales and other discounts, and evaluate them along with the reduced price that comes with the coupon. There are a few times that even with the coupon, the national brand is still cheaper than the store brand, or vice versa. Quantity is also important, and something that I pay attention to. I could probably get the store brand cheaper than the national brand, but what am I really saving if 100 napkins of the bargain brand cost less than 200 napkins of the store brand? This is where it is important to do the math and evaluate what you’re really saving.

All in all, I was raised to be thrifty. My grandparents lived through the great depression, and as a result of this, became extremely thrifty and resourceful. I was taught a lot about the value of a dollar by my parents and grandparents, and this has shaped my shopping and spending habits quite a bit. I always review the coupons that come in the mail, as well as the coupons that I see from other sources. There are coupons that the manufacturer sends to me on a regular basis for a few things that I buy all the time, and I always use those coupons, however with other coupons, such as coupons in the Val Pak and in the newspaper, it is hit and miss.

With the advent of the newer technology of the 21st Century, especially the Smartphone, I would like to see more and more coupons able to be downloaded to the smartphone or in email format rather than in paper format. This would eliminate the issue of paper coupons which end up in the junk drawer and forgotten about. There is one major company that already does this, and the coupons that are already on my smart phone get used a lot more, because I always have my phone with me, I just have to remember that the coupon is on my phone.

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