I've heard a lot about that Extreme Couponing programme in America. It sounds like these people save themselves a fortune by spending a lot of time searching out the best deals, but what about the average person?
I don't buy newspapers and no-one delivers circulars to this neck of the woods, but I do get sent the occasional coupon stash from the supermarkets. I like to think that I would not be tricked into buying something I didn't need just because I had a voucher for 50p off, but recent events have suggested I am prone to it!
I was walking through Tesco the other day and had a nose to see if my favourite cider was on offer - no such luck and it's £2.20 for a pint bottle. Then I remembered that I had a Clubcard voucher for 30p off a bottle, so I went back and got one! Now it's not the end of the world but that's £1.80 that I didn't need to spend (I only usually buy it when it's buy-one-get-one-free!), just because a coupon promised me free money!
Coupons are almost always for branded items. They're a form of advertising, designed to promote brand loyalty. They can save you money, of course, but do they work out cheaper in the long run? People spend longer in the shops looking for the right item and are more likely to buy more luxury items with the money they've "saved"!
I have also been carrying around a 50p off voucher for a bottle of Starbucks Frappuccino. This coupon is designed specifically to make you try their new product, decide you like it and then continue to buy it at full price! I wouldn't have bought it before, so why do I want to fall victim to their evil schemes? I need to act more like Ilona (aka the MeanQueen) and beat the shops at their own game – get in, get what you need, get out!
Do you "coupon"? Why is that a verb? I'd be interested to hear if any fellow Brits hunt coupons in a US-style way!