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LJWorld.com weblogs Common cents

Coupons: How useful are they?

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News reports have mentioned more consumers turning to coupons as the recession continues. Reuters reported in March that coupon redemptions jumped 10 percent in the fourth quarter of 2008 compared with 2007. It's not just supermarket clippers, either. Coupons from mass merchandisers have taken a bigger market share compared with previous years.

I'm somewhat ambivalent about coupons. Sometimes they can save a bunch of money, especially those with 40-60 percent off selected items. On the other hand, one can end up buying about 12 items to save $2, with the sneaking suspicion that more was spent than was actually saved. I've also had trouble with printing off coupons — sometimes the printer doesn't work, or the coupon Web site crashes.

Finally, coupons can just run out on you — as several people experienced with the KFC free meal coupon publicized by Oprah Winfrey — scroll down to read the brief.

What's been your experience with coupons and promotions? Do you find them useful, irrelevant or just annoying?

Comments

Shanxi Upsdell 4 years, 11 months ago

Starlight - wow! I'm impressed. How and where do you get the majority of your coupons - on the Internet, from the products themselves (like the coffee bags), by paper, etc.?

Denak - I'm with you. I often go with store brands unless the coupon lowers the name brand product to below the store brand price. :) When you get coupons off the Internet, do you ever sign up for "coupon printer downloads" or cookies? If you know of sites that don't require giving away information (or downloading programs), I'd love to hear about them.

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denak 4 years, 11 months ago

I generally do not use coupons because there are usually for name brand products.

In my experience, the store brand or generic brand is cheaper than the name brand even with the coupon so there isn't a reason for me to buy the name brand product.

I do love getting "free coupons" off the internet. Unfortunately, you have to go through a bunch of advertisements or other things but sometimes you can score.

The one thing that coupons are really good for are diapers. If you have a child in diapers, coupons are a gold mine.

Dena

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Starlight 4 years, 11 months ago

Received my free Makita 18V reciprocating saw yesterday. Retails for $170 on Amazon and cost me the $.42 stamp it took to mail the form. Not a bad return. I also watched Amazon until the tool purchase that got me the free saw had dropped $59 to it's lowest price. Coffee beans I'm buying now are top-rated by Consumer Reports(I agree it's tasty) and half the price of what I had been buying. Till recently they had a $1 coupon on the inside of the bag. If I go online and enter a number off the bag then after 17 bags I get a $25 Visa card, another $1.47 off per bag. What's not to like about paying less than 25% of what an every day commodity had cost me? How about the two $10 off coupons for purchases of 5 qts of Mobil 1 motor oil. Five qt jug for $26 less $10 is $3.20 a quart versus $6.25(for single qts), about half price. That's $291 so far and I could go on. I'm not the least annoyed!

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