In a recent article hosted on Yahoo, Amy Fontinelle outlines her eight reasons why you shouldn't use coupons. Being coupon freaks here at Access, we obviously have a different perspective and would like to throw a few counterpoints out there.
1. You have to buy a newspaper.
3. Getting a newspaper invites lots of additional advertising into your home.
This was true maybe ten or so years ago. The Sunday newspaper is a great source of coupons to this day, but it's hardly the only place to find deals - in fact, according to comScore, coupon sites are the second most-visited sites online, just behind search engines. And that's just the start - wait until Access discounts go mobile. The need for newspaper coupons will go right out the door (and off the front porch).
As far as advertisements go, newspapers have been bringing ads into homes for decades, and they're maybe the least effective ad delivery channel you encounter. Think about TV, magazines, smartphone apps, websites, the logos all over the clothes you wear and devices you use, social media, and so on. The average American is exposed to as many as 3000 ads a day. It's not necessarily a good thing, but the modern consumer is aware they're constantly being sold to and can fight through the noise to see and act on what truly matters to them.
2. Clipping coupons takes time.
And in the philosophical sense: if time is money, and you spend your time doing something that saves you money...well, you certainly haven't wasted that time.
Coupons are delivered in so many ways now that the idea of sitting down in front of the TV and spending an evening cutting out coupons is about as outdated as the dad sitting in the chair with a smoking jacket, newspaper and pipe with the family hound curled up at his feet. It's a Rockwellian relic of another era.
4. Many of the coupons will be for things you neither need nor want.
5. Coupons can tempt you to spend your grocery dollars on things you shouldn't.
This is largely true, but not at all exclusive to coupons. The world is designed around trying to get you to act, from your boss to your children to ads to the articles you read. Consumers can decide for themselves what they want to do, and the good thing about coupons is even if you impulsively go for that triple cheeseburger with jalapenos and mayo, you'll at least save some money on it.
On the flip side, you also get to save money on "must-have" items like toilet paper and toothpaste. In the end, it's up to the consumer to spend their money as they see fit, and coupons at least help them spend less.
6. The same coupons tend to be offered over and over again.
Two quick points on this:
1. If it's a good deal, then this is a positive thing. It's something we try to offer our clients here at Access; for instance, people go berserk when Restaurant.com offers $25 gift certificates for $2, but it's a frequently-offered deal. The deal is so good that people keep Restaurant.com at the top of their minds when they're considering a night out.
2. If you're getting coupons from the right sources, you'll see variety. We work with our 250,000+ merchants to refresh and update their offers constantly.
7. You might become a slave to coupons.
It's true - you can become a slave to just about anything these days. As we alluded to before, there are worse things than being addicted to saving money (especially in this economy).
8. Shopping takes longer.
The author's reasoning on this point is that people will spend more time hunting for items that match their coupons. We see that as a bit of a stretch. For one, coupons these days go well beyond the grocery store and other places where items are "hunted." Two, as organized as most places are, how often does anyone search for items unless they're obscure?
Plus, shopping won't take longer because (remember from our response to number two) time equals money, and you saved so much money that you may have actually gone back in time.
Joking aside, there really isn't a valid reason against using coupons, especially when it comes to the items you use frequently. As technology progresses, and discounts are presented in different convenient formats, coupon usage will only increase. No sense in spending more money than you have to when the personal investment into earning the discounts is minimal.