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I'm in Coupons Scholarship 2014. Entry-Pranit S.

The economy in our world today is making it difficult for many people to do everyday shopping for necessities, let alone the ability to spend their hard earned money on luxuries. However, an alternate that many people have been using to save money is coupons. Different promotions or discounts from buy one get one free to 30% off on a certain item or just a couple of ways that different online websites and shopping stores are using and enticing and attracting more and more customers. The influence of coupons go unnoticed by many people, including myself. Though I may not realize it, coupons have influenced me to make decisions and purchase products which I haven’t always wanted. As a result of this continuing practice, I am becoming more and more of an impulse buyer. Though coupons aren’t always good, their influence is wide and effective, sometimes for the better or as I have found out, for the worse.

Coupons do influence my decision a lot. For example, sometimes I don’t feel like buying a product because of the price. However with coupons, I am more inclined in purchasing products which I may not have done with the regular price. This included my Bose headphones which were originally three $350. However, due to Black Friday, it was down to $200 or a 43% off difference which really inclined me to buy the headphone and as a result of it, because of the decrease in the price, I purchased the great headphones at a bargain.

A note from us at I’m In:  We can help you save on electronics at I’m In!

In the technological world that we live in today, it is more convenient for people to just shop online. People are now shopping more and more in website, some of which are: Amazon, Walmart, eBay, and Best Buy. Sometimes, I receive coupons and promotions from each of these stores in my regular email so I take advantage of the opportunity before the coupon goes out of date. Coupons are also sent to me regularly through mail so I go to places like Kohl’s or Shopko to make different purchases. As one can see, coupons have certainly done a lot for in terms of aiding my financial needs.

Though coupons have reduced the price of a product, thus making it easier for me to buy it, the results aren’t always good. For example, when I am reading a newspaper or a magazine and I see a promotion that’s going on or a discount, I immediately get on my iPhone and search for that coupon, not realizing that I am being drawn in to spend more money. So from that standpoint, the temptation of coupons is something that is hard to resist because everyone loves a discount. I am no different. However, sometimes I do have a narrow view and as a result of it, I realize that I have spent way more money than I wanted to because of the quantity of products that I have purchased, some of which I don’t need. So coupons aren’t always good because sometimes, I am inclined to buy more and as a result of it, I spend more even though those products that I purchased were at a lesser price.

Coupons have made me a bad shopper and I have spent way more money than I actually wanted to. In a sense, I am now an impulse buyer where I just buy things because they are at a very low price. Instead of looking at the whole situation, coupons have really influenced me to live in the moment and purchase products which I really don’t need. But again, because of that impulse and the attraction of the promotion and since it is at a discount, I sometimes don’t think through the whole situation and make mistakes that are costly. For example, I purchased a $130 chair for my home. However, we already had one but because this chair was originally $260 but now had 50% off, I just bought it because of the discount and the thrill of “saving” money. This is just one of the many examples of how I have spent my money and in more ways than one, through these mistakes, I have learned to make sound and fundamental decisions. I have learned to look at the whole situation before I actually dive into something and I have learned to never let my emotions get the best of me.

In actuality though, rather than saving money, I have actually spent more. The concept of saving sometimes gets misunderstood by people because they think that “saving” means actually not paying the full price due to the discount. However, what they fail to realize is that they’re spending their own money and are influence to purchase an item that they might not need or want. However, because it was a lower price, they decided to gamble and spend their hard earned money without even realizing that they had made a mistake.

As one can see, coupons are becoming increasingly more popular as a way for cutting back on the cost of shopping. I have found coupons for all sorts of things from kitchen supplies to apparel and even Legos. However, I have learned an important lesson to not get caught in what I call the “coupon frenzy.” It basically works like a domino effect where I have redeemed a coupon, than it doubles and quadruples and a never ending chain reaction starts, one that could lead to bankruptcy. So it starts to become a repetition and each time I redeem a coupon, the temporary satisfaction is met but in the long term, it does harm than good. As a result, I have spent thousands of dollars on items which I don’t need or want but because of impulse buying and the attraction of discounts, I have wasted a lot of my money. At the same time though, I did learn an important lesson: to step back and look at the overall picture with the emotions out of the equation so that I can use coupons in a more fundamental and balanced way. I’m not going to tell you how to use a coupon. However, I do warn that their influence can be like a drug with the end result being regretful and far-reaching than I ever realized.

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