Why do stores and manufacturers send out coupons for their products? To get you to spend more money with them. There’s no other reason to do it. It works too. Grocery stores count on impulse purchases. If they offer you savings on item X, they figure you’ll buy items Y and Z while you’re there. Most people do just that. Even when you’re on a very tight budget, if you’re saving $2.00 with coupons you might grab that pack of gum at the register because the coupon savings let you buy it without going over your budget.

Here’s another thing about coupons. There are some circumstances where using coupons can actually cost you extra money. Seventy-five cents off of a bottle of body wash sounds good, for example. Let’s say it’s a product you use anyway and it’s on your grocery list this week so you decide to use the coupon. You have the coupon so you grab that brand without thinking and go on your merry way. You saved yourself seventy-five cents on a product you were going to buy anyway. Or did you?

I always take an extra step or two before grabbing a particular brand just because I have a coupon.

  1. Does the store have a sale on another brand for a price that beats the coupon discount? If so, then using the coupon at that time would cost me money. In this case I would hold the coupon and use it at a later date.
  2. Is the regular price on another brand or a store brand of the same product lower than the discounted price of the brand I have the coupon for? If so, and the lower priced alternative is of acceptable quality I would probably never end up using the coupon as it would cost me money. In this case I leave the coupon on the store shelf next to the item. Someone who has some brand loyalty or isn’t quite as careful as I am about this kind of thing will grab it and use it.

Store rewards programs often include special discounts not available to non-members. These savings are often better than coupon discounts as well. One store in my area occasionally mails out special coupons to it’s rewards program members. These are some of my favorite coupons. They usually give you better savings than manufacturer’s coupons. However, it’s still important to check the above points.

Coupons can definitely save you money, if you use good sense along with the coupons!

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