Coupon Craze Concerns

Internet coupons have multiplied coupon exposure rates enormously, providing access to more coupons for more stores and more products than ever before. In some ways, this is like bringing casino tables into the living room of a gambling addict. For many people, especially women, saving money can be so exhilarating, that it becomes an end in itself. Online coupon websites with names such as Coupon and Eve’s demonstrate that marketing professionals are well aware of this phenomenon.

Coupon-crazed shoppers present two main concerns. The first concern is that they may actually spend more money than they would have had they not used coupons at all. The second concern is that avid bargain hunters can unintentionally create strife, or at least tension, within the family.

Exaggerated obsession about landing a good deal leads shoppers to buy quantities of items they do not need at stores they do not usually frequent. Purchasing a product just because you have a 50% off coupon for it is not saving money – particularly when it will not be used. Driving miles away to a store because you have a coupon you can redeem there may cost more in gas money than the amount saved on the purchase. In both cases, you have spent money you would not have spent had you never obtained the coupons!

Following the tips below should curb the coupon craze of anyone who feels that their craving for coupons is out of control.

* For printable online coupons, remember to factor in the cost of your printer ink. Print only those coupons you know you will use. Consider not only the product or store, but also the expiry date of the coupon. If you know you will not be shopping before the expiry date, do not print the coupon.

* Planning is very important, especially when using grocery coupons to lower your food bills. Plan meals and make a grocery list before you shop. Once you have a list of your actual needs, search for suitable online coupons. Conversely, you could plan meals according to the product and / or store coupons you have already obtained. This allows you to use your coupons before they expire.

* Make a list / inventory of items and products stored in your pantry, cupboards or closets. Coupon addicts typically store huge quantities of merchandise bought only because they were good deals. Be brutally honest and write everything down – then start using it. Do not allow yourself to use any new coupons on these items until you have used your stock.

* Implicit in the preceding point is that you must train yourself to pass up bargain opportunities for products you do not need. This is extremely difficult for people with a pronounced couponing craze. It involves honestly deciding whether you need a product and if you are likely to use it in the near future (especially for perishable food or health items). For non-perishables, you must consider whether you have room to store your great finds.

* Those of you who lack the willpower to apply the above recommendations have two more options. The first allows you to satisfy your addiction by proxy. Introduce a friend to the wonders of online coupons, and help her to save on her bills. The thrill should be almost the same, but you will not be spending your money on things you do not need. The second option will not limit your spending, but it will give it new purpose. Simply donate all your excess household supplies or food items to a good cause.

The time-consuming nature of online couponing is behind the second issue that may be a concern for coupon-crazed shoppers – creating tension or discord within the family. Online couponing is a worthy and perfectly commendable pursuit. However, if you let yourself loose sight of the purpose of this activity, it can take over your life. You can access coupons on the Internet all day, everyday. In fact, new coupons are probably available online every hour!

Looking for, and obtaining, online coupons is something one does alone. This means taking time away from your family. In addition to the time spent locating online coupons and comparing offers, online coupon websites provide various attractive options that can take up more of your time (coupon trading, for example). Online coupon forums bring a host of new friends to chat with, and hours can fly away as you discuss deals, savings and coupons with other couponing addicts.

To avoid tension or discord, limit the time you spend locating, comparing, discussing or trading online coupons. Choose a time when other members of the family will not feel neglected. Do not let your family feel that your coupon obsession is directing their lives. You do not have to eat at a restaurant just because you can redeem a couple of coupons there, nor is your husband obliged to stop at every store for which you have redeemable coupons.

Coupon-crazed shoppers have often forgotten the real benefits of online coupons. Instead of contributing to household savings and being appreciated for it, they often overspend. Combined with the time spent online and away from other family members, this can easily create resentment and tension.

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