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I'm in Coupons Scholarship 2014. Entry-Sally L.

Shopping is one big hunting trip. A store is a forest. That new coffeemaker you want? It’s a stag. You know the name of the game—get it and get out. Could you imagine trying to catch the stag with your bare hands? First of all you probably wouldn’t catch it and second of all if you somehow managed to, you would definitely come out with some scratches and bruises.

This whole analogy is a more dramatic way to represent an attempt to purchase an item without a coupon. You probably won’t get physically hurt but your wallet might take an unnecessary blow. It’s important to note that a person may even leave without purchasing the item because they simply cannot afford to pay for the item at full price.

Here’s where the coupon comes in. For this analogy, a coupon is a tool. Maybe it’s a trap. Maybe it’s a tranquilizer gun. The point is that using a tool to hunt is a lot easier and safer than hunting with your bare hands. The same goes for shopping with a coupon. Maybe you want a coffeemaker that’s $150. That’s a $150 hit to your wallet even before tax comes into consideration, but since you have a coupon you lessen the blow. If it’s a 20% off coupon you could easily save $30. Even a mere 10% coupon could save $15 off that coffeemaker. The more you take advantage of deals offered by coupons, the more the savings add up. Not only would you lessen the chance to leave the store empty-handed, you might even also pick up something nice for yourself on the way home with the money you saved!

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

If there’s anything at all that you take from this demonstration, it’s that coupons matter. They are the biggest influence on my decision to purchase an item aside from the price itself. They add the thrill to the hunt. They make me feel like a smart consumer.

Here’s the usual cycle I go through for purchasing an item:
I want something.
Is it on sale? No.
Is there a coupon? No.
Then I guess I don’t need it right now.

As a frugal college student, I find myself wanting certain items only to be dismayed at a meager wallet. When I somehow manage to buy something for full price, I almost always get hit immediately with buyer’s remorse. That is why, I use and am actively influenced by coupons every day. In fact, every semester my college hands each student a new coupon book with deals exclusively offered to college students. I find myself tearing out a coupon from that book at least once a week.

The coupon book showcases the variety of coupon types floating around. A popular deal is a buy one, get one free offer (another popular variation is the buy one, get one half off deal). Another is free shipping after spending a certain amount of money. Sometimes coupons offer you a free item when you purchase something like free fries when you order a meal.

Each coupon influences my purchase decision in a different way. The buy one get one free variety is always great when shopping with a friend or if you simply want more than one of the item. Free shipping offers always push me to either spend more money to hit the free shipping quota or recruit some friends to buy something with me from the web store. The real killers are the coupons that instill either a sense of urgency or importance in you. They are the coupons you receive that say “exclusive weekend deal” in big, bold letters. Not only do they make you feel like some sort of VIP, they pressure you into making a quick decision because who knows when the next time will be when you receive this offer.

My relationship with coupons goes two ways. Either I want something and find a coupon for it or I want something because I have a coupon. In both cases, coupons are an integral part of my decision to commit to a purchase. It’s a complicated relationship. Sometimes they aren’t there for me. Sometimes they demand too much from me. No matter the case, I could not commit to another purchase without coupons.

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