Chasing Coupons

Coupons have influenced consumers’ decisions for over 130 years. Starting with free glasses of soda and sticky stamps that got traded for toasters or dishes, vendors found this to be an effective way to win the buying public’s hearts.

The act of doing something extra like clipping/redeeming physical coupons, entering a code, or hitting an extra button bonds buyers to both product and process. But coupon users get more than savings.

When our brain realizes we are simultaneously spending and saving money it congratulates us with an irresistible celebratory cocktail: equal parts endorphins, dopamine, serotonin, and adrenaline.

And like all cocktails, this makes other concerns fade away. By keeping the focus on spending and saving money, vendors keep your eyes on them, minimizing the competition and shortening the buying decision  process. Win, win, and win… for them.

It’s not life-altering if you buy the mustard you have a coupon for. Only marginally consequential if you try a new dry cleaner because of a special deal they have on doing shirts. But important to keep your equilibrium in bigger matters, especially those when you feel all you can see is dollar signs.

Money will always be important. Big decisions ahead? Remember being budget-conscious is different from being budget-driven. Take a breath or three. Be really clear about your objectives, and ask around, find out more about the people out there who deliver what you’re ISO.

Most people find the more consequential the choice, the higher level of required skill to deliver it, the less likely its cost factored into their decision. And how much you saved will matter nothing at all afterward if you don’t get the result you want.