You ask: “Do coupons influence your purchasing decisions…why, or why not?” Why yes, yes they do! But, do they control my purchasing decisions? No, no they do not. Why do they have such an influence?? BECAUSE I HAVE KIDS!!! Do you know how much food these people eat and clothes they soil?? Allow me to explain.
First, my credentials, which also happen to be my why. It should be noted that I am a coupon guru. No, I’m not a crazy extreme ‘couponer’. I don’t hoard hundreds of tubes of toothpaste and cereal that won’t ever realistically get used. And, I don’t have time to buy all of this stuff and spend time donating it either. Kudos to those who do, but again, I HAVE KIDS, remember? I DO, however, know how to save money. Why? I am a stay-at-home mom of four young kids while budgeting my husband’s very modest income as a Certified Medical Assistant. Do you want to research how much a CMA makes? Even at the top of the pay scale because of his years of experience and specialized field he’s in it’s less than needed for survival. So, for the last 5 or 6 years since I stopped working I have managed this budget with couponing and deal shopping. Now, I am starting Nursing School, after a 17 year hiatus from college. This life requires a major amount of frugality. Coupons enter here…
The direct influence of a coupon is not as easy as “yes, I only purchase with coupons”. I think it’s more appropriate to say that I look for the cheapest way to purchase my needs and wants. That doesn’t always include coupons though! WHAT?!? How is that possible? Because, quite simply, that’s not always the cheapest way to go for everything. Often I can find online deals for the bigger purchases that have enough discounts and ‘cashback’ sites that make my purchase price competitive enough to beat the coupon deals.
Even when it comes to in-store purchases, coupons don’t determine what I buy. I have some things that I purchase that I am brand loyal to and there just aren’t coupons available. Other times, to be honest, the coupon isn’t worth my time. Sometimes I run out of toilet paper – because I swear my kids use it as either washcloths or eat it the stuff for snacks! If I am going to spend 10 minutes finding the sale and digging through my file of coupon inserts to save $0.25 on toilet paper, my time is worth more than the $1.50/hr I would save. (Remember the TP illustration for later) Another consideration is how often do I REALLY come across a coupon for strawberries, apples, bananas and fresh meat? Realistically, not often. And, again, I have four children to shop for, remember? We go through a LOT of produce. However, if I need the basic staples of toothpaste, soap, or conditioner for my children, I am going to grab the best sale and combine them with the best coupons I know of and head out. Hopefully that sale and coupon combo will fall when CVS has their sale and Extra Care Bucks deals going on so they can all be combined. Remember the toilet paper? Coupons are usually great for these types of sales. Usually CVS will give me Extra Care Bucks (ECB’s) for buying $25 in products. THEN it is worth my time to grab a couple of those $0.50 coupons, work a deal at CVS in conjunction with other products and walk out for a couple bucks and have $10 in ECB’s in my hand for my next shopping trip!
A special note from the Scholarship Committee at I’m In: Tausha is excited about CVS coupons, so we want to share some with you…. we regularly feature great coupons from CVS!
Coupons also come into play for me with regards to clothing too. I am big into who is going to give me the best deal. I have the RetailMeNot app on my phone to search for store coupons while I am there. I also have RedLaser on my phone that will search for the cheapest price locally and online. I will pull up the best deal on whatever I am buying and ask for a price match. If the deal at another store is considerably better and that competitor also has a coupon, yes I will walk out of the store and purchase elsewhere. However, if the cost of gas is going to negate the time and money I will save, I will just purchase at the store I am at instead of wasting travel time.
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Then, there is my why not? Let’s be honest, I could practically get paid to coupon. There are plenty of ways to get ‘paid’ but “ain’t nobody got time fo’ dat!” (Said in Sweet Brown fashion) I HAVE FOUR KIDS AND AM IN COLLEGE!!! Sometimes, I’m just plain lazy or pressed for time. Those are the ‘why not’ moments in my life.