The mind fuck of coupons

Let’s face it, more of us are cutting coupons nowadays. It’s something I used to do with my parents when I was little. Something I still occasionally do, but now I do it semi-regularly. But they’re sort of a mind fuck really. Of course, no one wants to pay full retail price, but sometimes you’re lured by the “value” of a deal into buying crap you don’t really want or need. Just because it’s a bargain somehow justifies the purchase.

Case in point: Macy’s sent me these 20% off all day, one day coupons. They basically want you to shop all day and use this coupon. I get it. And between the holiday sales and the coupon, you could buy a lot of stuff not at retail price. But I’ve been really busy lately with graduate school applications and haven’t had time for shopping, so I basically forced myself to shop on Wednesday. Not only was it their “last” One Day Sale, but I had used the 20% off coupon and now I’d have to use it as many more times as I could that day to get the full value of it. So I have a crappy day of shopping when I don’t want to shop, and I end up spending more money than I want to because it’s a “bargain.” And I love bargains — I went to the ballet this week and the Mr asked if I was wearing new pants. Nope, just pants I’ve had for years and have never worn before. Cause I like to buy shit on sale. Whether I’m going to use it or not.

The other problem with coupons is that sometimes I use a coupon and actually spend more money. For example, Target sends me coupons. I <3 Target, but they’re inconvenient to get to so I don’t go there as often as I might if they were closer. I sometimes buy items I wouldn’t normally buy just because I have a coupon for it. Little things like their Archer brand snacks, or home & beauty products I don’t normally use. The crazy thing is that sometimes I pay more for a particular item (like brand name feminine hygiene pads) because I have a coupon for it when I would actually pay less just buying the Target brand like I normally do. I know; it’s completely illogical! But I’m telling you, the psychological effects of coupons is complex and devious.

I am quite seriously considering going back to my irregular and not very frequent use of coupons to retain my sanity about shopping.

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