Saturday, October 2, 2010

Don't Get Fooled by Coupons

CPH POW Canteen Coupon
There are plenty of coupons that are supposed to save you some money on your shopping. I personally haven't used many of these coupons but I've still managed to save a significant amount of money on my shopping even without using coupons. I've noticed coupons do not always give you the best deal. The only effective way to get a cheaper deal is to know the market well. Coupons are just like advertisements. The shops and companies distribute coupons through their advertisement brochures, newspapers, websites and magazines solely to promote their businesses. They certainly sell products on a reduced price during the promotion period but theirs aren't necessarily the cheapest available products in the market. Here are some of the things I've noticed that I'd like to share with you:

  • Shop around: When you go shopping, look around a few shops for the same products. Most of the time you will find different prices for the same product at different shops. Obviously buy from the one that is selling it the cheapest. The cheapest one that you've found could even be cheaper than what's being offered in the best coupon that you have. I have noticed this with meat, groceries and other food items.
  • Coupons for well-known brands vs store brands/local shops: Store brands are usually cheaper than well-known brands. Sometimes store brands are even cheaper than the discount offered on coupons for well-known brands. I usually buy store brands and go to cheap stores such as ALDI. I've also noticed local grocers and butcher shops sell the same products up to 50% cheaper than the big supermarkets. If you are brand buff, maybe it's time to consider switching. Find out more about store brands here.
  • Don't fall into marketing traps: Sometimes coupons can attract you to buy things that aren't necessary for you. For instance, you may not be a regular coffee drinker but a coupon that says "Upsize your coffee FREE" may entice you to spend on a coffee you would otherwise not purchase. You may come across similar situations. So don't fall into those marketing traps.
  • Read the fine prints: Always, always read the fine prints at the bottom of the coupons. Don't rush into a store right after reading the big attractive letters on the coupon. The fine prints usually have expiry date of the promotion but sometimes they may have an awkward condition. For instance, the coupon may say "Buy 1st pair and get the second pair for 1/2 the price" and the fine print may read "This offer applies for purchases over $100." Something similar happened to me once when I went to buy 2 pairs of shoes. The total came out to be $90. I could walk away from the shop but since I had travelled a long distance to get there, I just didn't feel like walking away. So I ended up spending $20 more on the cheapest item they had in order to fulfil the condition. What an absolute waste of time and money.
  • Commuting too far with your coupon? This may be obvious to most of you. You have a great coupon that offers a huge discount. The store is more than an hour away from where you live. You think it's an amazing store. So you take your spouse and kids with you. You have a great time in the store going through the wide range of amazing items they have. You get your product and get the discount offered on the coupon. You all have ice-creams and lunch cause the way back home is a long drive. You factor in the petrol and the lunch costs. Then you haven't saved much. So it's better to find a store closer to your home. Sometimes we are so obsessed with discounts, we forget about other costs. Then you'd end up going on a picnic rather than a bargain hunt.
Feel free to share your coupon tips and disaster stories.

    1 comment:

    1. Great post - I find sometimes coupons make me buy products I don't usually need or want.