Some people love coupons and never make a purchase without first finding a discount. Other people subscribe to the notion that time is money and would prefer not to waste precious minutes looking for coupons. But regardless of where you fall on the spectrum, there are some truths you need to know in regards to coupons, how they’re found, and how they’re used.
Coupons: Don’t Believe Everything You Hear
When it comes to coupons, there’s a lot of discussion about what they are. Unfortunately, this means there’s also a considerable amount of misinformation. Many of the people doing the talking around coupons and discounts don’t actually have any firsthand experience. As a result, they tend to perpetuate various myths and misconceptions and drive people away from the truth.
If you’re interested in becoming a savvier shopper, you can’t believe everything you hear. In particular, you need to ignore the following ideas:
- Finding Coupons Takes Too Much Time
The first myth is that the opportunity cost of coupons is too high to justify the savings. More specifically, people believe that finding coupons takes too much time.
In the past, the only way to find coupons was to buy a newspaper, manually sift through the advertisements, and cut out coupons. Today, the internet has streamlined this process and made it possible to find coupons in seconds. (So there really isn’t any excuse not to look for deals.)
- You’re Never Able to Find the Items You Want
Another rampant myth is that you’re unable to find the items you actually want when couponing. This misconception is tied to the idea that couponers are limited to only shopping for products that have coupons attached to them. But this is wrong for many reasons.
The big takeaway is this: You don’t have to use a coupon when you buy something. If there isn’t a coupon available, there’s always the option of paying full price. No harm, no foul.
- Coupons Expire Too Quickly
Many inexperienced shoppers believe that coupons expire too quickly, so they don’t bother to save them. However, the truth is that most coupons have pretty generous timeframes – often ranging from weeks to months.
Even if you do run across an expired coupon, you can always ask the company to honor it. You’ll find that many are perfectly happy to oblige, simply as a way of gaining your business.
- Coupons Make You Look Poor
One of the common myths you’ll hear is that coupons make you look poor or desperate. For starters, this is totally false. There are plenty of millionaires who use coupons, if that tells you anything.
In a 2017 letter, Bill Gates recalls that he and Warren Buffet once ate at a McDonald’s in Hong Kong. Buffet offered to pay and reached into his pocket and pulled out a coupon! There are plenty of other stories just like this from highly successful and wealthy people.
Secondly, why should you even care if someone were to think you were desperate? You’re the one saving money and making smart choices. If the average person is laughing at your financial choices, then it’s probably a sign that you’re doing something right. (The average person is broke.)
- Coupons Encourage You to Buy Too Much
Businesses obviously publish coupons and run discounts for a purpose. If they were losing money on these deals, they wouldn’t continue to push them out there. But the idea that coupons encourage you to buy too much doesn’t have to be true in your situation.
Never buy something just because there’s a coupon attached to it. Only buy items you need and never feel like you should add other items to your cart because you’re saving. Instead, take the money that you would have spent and put it away in a savings account. That’s how you, the consumer, win.
Give Couponing the Respect it Deserves
Couponing often isn’t as it seems. While there are times when coupons are unavailable or impractical, there are also plenty of occasions where using them can allow you to save a considerable amount of money. Make sure you have a practical view of the issue and don’t get so caught up in misinformation that you ignore their usefulness and value.
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