As a single mother of one eight month old little girl I have to say “yes” coupons do influence my purchasing decisions. When making decisions about where I will shop, I first think “do they accept coupons; manufactures or other stores?”  I then move on to how much I can spend and finally it’s about location. If I have enough coupons I can usually splurge and buy myself some chocolate ice cream or some form of really bad for you sweets which is on my question list. Of course they also have to be on coupon.

The guilt I feel if I do not take every advantage out there to save some money is overwhelming. Not only am I a single mother but I am also a college student. So I need to count every penny to make sure I have enough formula and diapers, let alone gas to get back and forth to school. Coupons can be the deciding factor of whether I have enough money to make it through the week. Some weeks have been tighter than others in the past, based on the fact that I didn’t get the Sunday paper and get to coupon clipping or searching online. I really hated having no money by the end of the week. So now I have created a routine.

Right before I sit down to write my grocery list I always check the paper and online to see what deals are on for the month. I can then make a menu for the dinners I will cook and the shopping list. I can then budget for the week as well. By couponing I can almost tell you my weekly grocery bill down to the dollar. This helps me so much if I need to save some money and really want to stretch my dollars. For instance if I have an emergency bill pop up like a dr. visit or a broken car window I know I can make it just by couponing.

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There are some down sides to coupon clipping though. It can take a long time to find the deals. Then there is finding the deals you can use. Some coupons do not matter to me no matter how much I can save. I do not care about pricey foods that have a dollar off. They are still expensive. You have to really do your math to find the good deals. Then finding the stores that will allow you to use all the coupons. I have found that I like Wal-Mart the best. They make it so easy to use your coupons.

Then there are some things I will just not do. I will not drive an extra ten miles (and spend that extra time) to save an extra dollar. The automobile wear-and-tear and maintenance costs will eat the savings and I’ll have spent a chunk of an hour chasing that imaginary dollar. I’ll happily spend an extra dollar at a different store to save me that twenty minutes and the wear on the car. So location of the stores I use is very important to me.

For me, it’s simply a matter of knowing and using a small handful of local stores, being patient, and hitting the good sales there hard. I usually go on one big shopping trip for the month. So when that time comes around it’s usually at the beginning of the month when all the coupons are out. I plan to be there a while so I being lots of toys and food for my little girl and hit the doors ready to get some deals. When I do my routine beforehand, it keeps me from impulse buying. I already know that candy bar is on sale and I already know I can or can’t afford it based on the amount of coupons I have.

In conclusion, you bet coupons are the influencing factor for me when making purchasing decisions. If I don’t have the coupon for it I usually do not buy it and vice versa. I will buy some candy if I have a coupon for it yes and eat it with a giant money saving grin on my face. At the end of the day of my once a month shopping trips I am extremely happy with myself that I saved money and did it with my coupons.