Using coupons is hands down one of the best and easiest ways to save money. However, there’s some compelling research that proposes coupons actually make shoppers spend more than they normally would. Here’s why that claim is being made.
The Appeal of the Deal
Coupons are appealing to so many people because of the psychological excitement they bring. There is a high that comes when people believe they are getting great discounts on products. An article written by Frank Olito for businessinsider.com elaborates by saying, “Coupons are designed to lure customers into buying items that they don’t need. In fact, 63% of people said they have bought an item that they don’t need just because they had a coupon for it, according to Consumer Reports. To avoid falling victim to the scheme, Dholakia told Business Insider you should only use coupons for items you need. ‘If we are talking about groceries (where coupons are common), make a shopping list first, then try to find coupons for the items on the list,” Dholakia said. “That way, you will only buy things you need and get a real deal instead of buying things you may not use.’” It’s so easy to get sucked in by a ‘good deal’. Using this list strategy can help you stay on track with your budget.
Encourage Bulk Buying
Offering coupons that include terminology such as ‘buy 3 get 1 free’ or ‘BOGO’ are some of the ways coupons can have you spending more than you need. In his bussinessinsider.com article, Olito also states, “Brands tap into the “buy in bulk” ideology that couponers love. Consumers believe when you buy more than you need at the moment, it will pay off in the long run. But the truth is that you rarely break even. Most times, you end up with too much of one item and only use a fraction of it while the rest spoils. Bulk buying can even lead to hoarding-like tendencies, unhealthy eating habits, and ultimately, an empty wallet, according to Dholakia.” Buying in bulk works best when the items are non-perishable. If not, your family runs the risk of products going bad before you have the chance to use them. It can be a waste of both money and food items.
Disregarding the Budget
When using coupons, and buying in excess, you can convince yourself that it’s okay to overspend. You assume that spending more than your budget, you’ll actually save money in the long run. As previously discussed, most of these bulk items will end up going bad before you can use them. Additionally, when you get into a habit of disregarding your budget, it leads to poor spending habits. In this way, couponing is not beneficial for the consumer.
Coupons can help you save money, but only when they’re used appropriately. Utilize savings for items you were already planning on buying. This is the best way to ensure you won’t overspend.