I loved my Mom, she was the greatest. But as a teenager, I was embarrassed whenever Mom would use a coupon. Not only was couponing uncool, but it made us look humiliatingly poor.
Thirty years later, I don’t only use coupons, I am a public advocate of couponing. My boys are only slightly embarrassed, and they think it is funny how many different products we bring home for free. It’s not just my family, but social morays have shifted. Couponing is now considered to be smart, and dare I say it, cool. Well maybe not cool, but there’s really no shame in pulling out your coupons.
It used to be that pulling out a stack of coupons in a grocery store was the subject of inescapable scorn. There have still been times that I wanted to crawl into one of my reuseable shopping bags and hide.
Now saving money is popular. Most people around at checkout want to know how much we saved and how little we spent. When I have a big stack of coupons, I will always warn the people behind me in line that this might take a while. It’s amazing how many will stay to watch. They get a kick out of seeing the totals go down and down. Couponing is on the verge of becoming an American spectator sport!
One aspect of public couponing that still bothers me is the necessity to “Like” products on Facebook in order to print their coupons. When I started serious couponing, I ‘Liked’ several products on a weekend, and I heard about it from friends, who seemed to think that I was giving a party without inviting them! So I unliked all of those party foods and stopped liking any future products in my personal account.
Marketers seem to believe that my friends will buy a product if I publicly endorse the product. Or at least this will be true for some people. Then someone decided that this Social Networking would be even more powerful if I first liked the product and then liked the coupon. And unless you explicitly prohibit it, these brands will write on your wall and access your list of friends. I am happy for people to know that I am a couponer, but all those Facebook posts can make it seem like I ‘m eating like a whale.
Certainly there are some of you who think that couponing still carries a social stigma, much like the teenage version of me. If this is you, there are always grocery stores across town, away from your friends and neighbors. Or just wear a wig and shop incognito. Otherwise, you can achieve some savings from electronic coupons, because the discounts appear automatically at checkout, and no one is the wiser. Remember that electronic coupons are a bad idea for serious couponers like me.
You can also take advantage of the occasional rebate, since those forms can be completed in the privacy of your own home. But be forewarned that rebating is only for the most organized people, and in general I discourage buying products only because of the rebate.
However you feel about couponing, from way cool to shamefully uncool, this is an activity that has room for everyone!