AND STEP AWAY FROM THE NEWSPAPER Put Down the Scissors
You don’t get paid enough to afford all the groceries you’d like. In fact, if it wasn’t for coupons, you wouldn’t be able to get everything you need, right?
affect you psychologically. It turns out that the same part of your brain that governs basic instincts (like hunger and pleasure) also loves a screaming good deal. It can be hard to resist the allure, and that means you often spend money on things that you normally wouldn’t, because you have a coupon. It’s tough, but stick to the staples — like rice, beans, oats, and salt — that you’ll use eventually and that won’t go bad. Of course, if you’ve wanted something for a long time and it goes on sale, it makes sense to buy. But don’t let the coupon section dictate your desires! The second question is, “How much is my time worth, and how much of that time do I spend hunting down the best deals and
clipping coupons?” We’re not trained to think of our time as valuable when we aren’t working, but time is the one thing you can’t get back. If you’re saving $25 a week on stuff you actually need, but it takes 4 hours a week to get that savings, you’re losing money even if you make minimum wage. That’s time you could be spending with family, picking up a half-shift at work, or finding innovative ways to make money. We won’t deny that there are great deals out there — deals that are now more available than ever thanks to apps like Groupon. But don’t mistake coupons for anything but what they really are: businesses trying to target your brain into buying more stuff. Use them wisely, but don’t let them rule you.
Coupon clipping is a time-honored way of saving money and a source of pride amongst many of us who need those paychecks to go as far as possible. But there are two ways to look at it: as a way to put food on the table that you otherwise couldn’t afford, or as a way to trick money-conscious consumers into buying stuff they normally wouldn’t. Which takeaway describes your situation? To find out, you have to answer two questions. The first question is, “Do I need — and will I use — everything that I buy with coupons?” Here’s the thing: Coupons are designed to
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