How Do Coupons Work?

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CouponsSo how do coupons work on buying goods for cheaper? Well, the definition of “ coupon” is a discount off an object or a group of objects on sale given in paper form (or online oftentimes). Coupons give people money off items by definition. So it would only make sense that they could save money when used. Basic subtraction, right?

Unless of course you’re at a store that decides “hmm… the customers seem to be enjoying the coupon but we’re not pulling in as much revenue as we could be. Why don’t we just… raise some prices a bit? Make some more money? They won’t know; they’ll be too excited by the coupon!” I’ve watched this happen repeatedly in stores and have gotten irritated- coupons are for helping people, not messing them over- yet it is all too possible to do that. Even the Thrift Shop I work at did that recently. They had this little coupon for half-off everything in the store. I thought that was pretty nice to the customers and I was cheerful. Then they raised the prices. Say what? Seriously? We’re going to be dishonest like everybody else? Yet we were. It disgusted me.

So why do I mention this? Well, consumers need to know the risks. Oftentimes the supposed “coupons” that stores put out are actually only there to mask raised prices or put out to make people buy more but pay the same. Which is very sad because there are many honest stores or businesses trying to help people but the selfishly crafty business owners who decide to cheat people ruin it for everyone else. Because of course this cheating people isn’t always the case; just watch things. I’ve noticed that usually prices are raised to go with coupons if they are large coupons or cover a wide-spread selection of store merchandise. This means that when some store decides to give you half-off one specific object they might not raise prices. If though it is a storewide sale they might raise prices. Just because. People are fickle that way. People should only purchase from good stores like backcountry, by using discount coupons from Coupon Goo, people can save upto 20% on their order.

I still remember the first real coupon I thought on. I was in second grade on this field trip to some county place; I can’t remember exactly where. I’m pretty sure they had county or city plans that they were showing us. It was okay but the thing I really remember is that at the end we were given little goody bags full of random items, one of them a coupon for a fifteen dollar pizza at some place. I was excited; cheaper pizza! If something happened, such as our house burning down or simply not having enough money to pay for food, we would be saved! I ran to my mom after getting home, excited to tell her how I could help feed the family with this amazing coupon… apparently we could buy pizza ingredients for cheaper. The coupon wouldn’t be useful. After all, to use a coupon you have to have money in the first place.

Oh, yah. I guess that’s kind of an issue. My brilliant idea in response was just to set fifteen dollars aside for that day we were starving. Oh, to go back to the naivety of being seven! How was I to know that with fifteen dollars you can make a pretty good meal to feed four people; that buys several bags of lentils and split peas. And even some chicken. We didn’t really havefifteen dollars to spare. Saving for pizza is simply unnecessary and impractical. But this brings up a very important point. You need money for coupons to work.

Have you ever read a Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket? A lumber mill uses coupons to pay their workers in one of the books. The problem? They never give their workers money to go with them so there’s nothing they can do. What can you do with a bunch of coupons without money to fill in the rest of the amount? Nothing. Well, maybe barbeque with the paper scraps to start the grill. But where to get the food from…?

But in general coupons are amazing. All I’ve really said so far is how businesses can mess people over with fake coupons and how people cannot survive on only coupons. Well, there is a good side to them as well! (Thank goodness!) Good coupons, those that actually mean something and can get people items for cheaper without cheating them, are everywhere around us if we only know where to look. Oftentimes people are shipped coupons or mailed them. Stores will use them for promotional stunts when they first open or when they’re closing. It’s just up to the customer to realize when coupons are the glowing grails that they seem to be as opposed to the as opposed to the tempting traps they often are. A way to thus save money on coupons is to examine prices in stores that you regularly frequent. Do they seem the same when the coupons come out? Then you’ve got yourself a winner! Honestly it’s all about the timing and spread of coupons and how the store is doing. It’s all about threshold. If it’s doing really well it might give out more coupons to be nice. On the other hand if the store is closing they will also give pretty rocking coupons to get rid of merchandise. The issues are middle of the road stores. Some will try to lure in customers via coupons if they could use the sales but oftentimes these same stores won’t really be able to afford to use coupons with store prices or will at least want to hold onto money because they have so little.

So use your judgment dealing with coupons. Just like stores and the people who run them they can be both amazing and wonderful and just plain crumby. Just watch the prices and use common sense and you can have all the coupon benefits possible. Good Luck!