Money on the Sidewalk – An Alternative Argument for Using Coupons
Using coupons is an effective way to save money. The savvy among us use them selectively, but with great frequency, often saving significant amounts of cash on a regular basis. There are, however, many people who scoff at the idea. They have their list of reasons why they do not coupon, most of which fall into the category of, “It’s not worth it.” This justification for inaction might seem appropriate but, more likely than not, it contrasts with the logic of other actions in their life. For those who claim cutting coupons is not worth the trouble, I offer this thought experiment as an alternative way to think about it.
You are walking down the sidewalk when you spot a crisp, clean, dollar bill resting unattended on the ground, just a few steps away from your intended path. There is no one around, and no hint as to how it arrived at this location, a public area. It would require just a few steps, a couple of seconds, and a bend at the knees to pick it up. Would you grab it? It turns out that most people would. In fact, a majority of people would pick up a quarter they found under these circumstances, while nearly half of us would stop for a dime seatgeek coupon code . The conclusion we can draw here is that we are willing to enrich ourselves in small amounts, as long as the effort involved in doing so is minimal and proportional.
If you would pick up that dollar, then you should use coupons. Coupons offer an analogous small reward in exchange for minimal effort. Coupons hold real cash value, and not just the 1/20 of $0.01 that you often see printed at the bottom. Even if the coupons offer a small discount, over time these small amounts add up. Many experts argue that coupons can save you 15% or more at the supermarket.
The list of reasons for not using coupons is varied, yet unconvincing. It takes too much time, the savings are too small, I don’t have access to coupons, I can’t find coupons for the products I buy- these are misconceptions and paper tiger excuses. It should not take you and your pair of scissors more than 10 minutes a week to cut your coupons and it is easy to multi-task the process. Do it while you are watching television, riding the subway, or listening to music. Further, there are several sites online that allow you to print a wide variety of coupons quickly and efficiently.
If you don’t think you have access to coupons, think again. There are usually hundreds of them in the weekend editions of newspapers. If you don’t get a newspaper, ask a friend who does to give you theirs when they are done with it. Along with the aforementioned online coupon sites, you can go to manufacturers websites or even that of your favorite supermarket and almost always find coupons there. Sign up for the free frequent shopper card at your supermarket and you will start getting coupons in the mail or via email. Major retailers like Target have their own printable coupons. Check your store policy, they may accept competitor’s coupons or have a double coupon day of the week to offer you twice the savings.
Are coupons embarrassing? Only to the most insecure among us. It seems that men have a particular aversion to cutting coupons for this reason. I was once told that, “real men don’t use coupons,” to which I laughed and replied, “Real men don’t care what the cashier or the other people in line think about them.” If you are embarrassed, get over it. You will be much less so when, at the end of a year, you have hundreds of extra dollars with which to impress people. Spending money wisely is being smart. Wasting money is embarrassing.
Manufacturers and supermarkets offer coupons as an incentive to purchase their product, buy your goods at their particular store, or encourage consumers to try something they might otherwise overlook. Those are their reasons. Your reasons are singular- you want to spend less money on the goods you purchase. Think about that dollar bill on the sidewalk the next time you see a coupon. Remember that you are willing to put in a small amount of effort to get a proportional return under some circumstances. Be logically consistent, cut some coupons, and start saving money.
Mobile coupons will continue to grow over the years, as industry experts predict 300 million people are expected to adopt mobile coupon technology by 2014. For those accustomed to clipping out coupons from the Sunday paper or weekly circular, figuring out how to use these new coupons is the first step to make this projected statistic a reality.
With mobile coupons, there is no need for a computer or printer to redeem them; all shoppers need are a smartphone and a data connection. There are new software applications for smartphones that allow shoppers to access coupons frequently to gain the savings while they are on the move.
Here are four ways shoppers can use mobile coupon technology to save money and time:
Text: Some retailers post an offer in their store window or on their website with instructions to text the retailer for a special offer. A user simply follows these instructions, receives a text message and then shows it to the retailer to redeem the offer. Some restaurants are participating in text clubs where customers can join to receive occasional messages and special offers that are available only to text club members. These clubs are free to join and help consumers find the best deals at their favorite restaurants, bars, and stores.
QR Codes: These are the funny looking squares that are being seen more and more on store windows, in magazine pages, and even on outdoor advertising, like billboards along sidewalks. With so many consumers carrying a mobile phone, and new barcode scanning apps being introduced continually, retailers are adapting their mobile coupons to evolve with the changing technologies, like QR codes. Consumers can scan the QR codes posted on retailers’ doors, menus, or marketing materials to find out more about the establishment and/or locate any mobile coupons available. Then they can download the coupon to their mobile device and have the retailer scan the QR code or coupon to redeem the special offer.
Barcodes: The same barcode reading technology that reads QR codes can also read barcodes. All mobile barcode readers are able to read the traditional barcode on any item available for purchase at a grocery store or retail store. This allows shoppers to find the best deals or read more information. It also allows some stores to send users to their own store’s website, where they can offer special coupons for shoppers.