” Couponing” “Coupons” or “Discount coupons” can be a good way to save money but I will be honest before I start my rant (or lack thereof) with regards to couponing in the past my personal mindset was one of I would rather spend my time in the effort of making more money than trying to save a few dollars in an effort to check are coupons worth it. So today I am challenging myself (and you) to look at our own mindset about coupons and the benefits they can (or cant) provide all of us.
Online versus offline coupons
Hit your local grocery store here in Australia and printed on the back of your receipt will be a bunch of coupon offers ranging from two for one through to bonus buys and discounts on future purchases. Its a known sales and marketing method by organizations and retailers in order to drive repeat business and get a message to market and they sure work. Its simple easy and a great way to generate sales and leads for your business (not sure on pricing for this strategy I have never used it) and the most basic form of coupons and a place to find them. Coupon style magazine and newspaper offers just round out the places you can find coupons and find great ways to save.
Bridging the gap (and adding another option for savings) between the offline and online coupons is your “rewards style” cards which you swipe at time of purchase and provide frequent flier type rewards to you the buyer. These also provides real time data for the business your shopping with about your transactions, your shopping habits and what you buy and what offers you took advantage of. Its more of an electronic coupon but still a way to save on your spending. This is one of the biggest ones in my own personal life and on reflection I can honestly say influences my shopping habits as I try to keep getting fuel discounts. Keep in mind this is a sneaky way for retailers to get information about you isn’t it?
The online version involves nothing more than a simple Google or search engine query to look for coupon offers. I know I bought some monthly All Wormer and Flea treatment for my dog just yesterday and managed to save $6 on freight via a quick look online via Google. Hunting down bargains like this can apply to everything you can buy on or offline from website hosting through to pet products (like me), your groceries, clothes and even discounts on travel and bill payments!
So if its this easy why doesn’t everyone do it to save money?
But have you considered saving someone else as well?
It doesn’t take much more than a quick search to find the folks over at Save1 have come up with an interesting take on providing coupon deals to us shoppers. Their website has coupon offers from all the usual suspects you might shop with and really just provides you with the one place to find the deals you may want. But in return for the small commission they receive on the savings we make they are able to provide funding to their feeding partners who can then offer meals to kids in over forty countries including the Feeding America program that provides assistance to prevent children going hungry on our own doorstep. I cant think of a better way to be charitable without serious effort on our behalf.
Are you couponing to save money but spending time?
I have written before about investing in yourself and in thinking about the big picture with your finances instead of the small things. And to me coupons falls into that category quite easily. The age old question of time versus money is easy to apply here;
- Are you better off spending five minutes of your time to save $6 shipping on an item or 10% off on a purchase?.
- If you were to add up those five minutes here and another five minutes there sooner or later you have an hour of your time.
- Think in terms of leveraging your time and what you can accomplish if in your job with an hours overtime, or if you trade stocks online or even selling products on ebay in your spare time.
- Can you earn more than you save?
You decide – are coupons worth it?
A couple of the great comments which stuck in my own mind from guest and motivational speakers will challenge how you feel about coupons.
- You can make more money in your life but can you make more time?
- Wealthy people spend money to save time in their lives
- What is an hour worth to you?
These don’t apply to everyone and for some people time wealthy and finances poor coupons are great ways to save effective amounts of money which can be spent in other areas of your life.
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***Photos thanks to sdc2027, Robinsonsmay, cmcbrown***