Five Things We Can Learn From Coupons

A few weeks ago I wrote that learning can happen at any time in any location. I talked about how we can learn from anything around us, like autocorrect. I would like to revisit that idea in my second installment of Five Things We Can Learn From Everyday Objects. Today, let’s see what we can learn from coupons. 

Five Things We Can Learn From Coupons:

1. A Little Time Can Help You Save Big

Every Sunday, my dad sits down at the kitchen table to clip coupons from the newspaper. Sometimes it seems like he spends more time with his coupons than he does his family, but in actuality the small amount of time he spends on a Sunday afternoon saves him hundreds of dollars over the course of the year. He cuts his grocery bills dramatically because he does this little task once a week.

You’ll be surprised how just spending a little time on something can lead to big results. Devoting a small amount of time to working on your craft, will do wonders for you in the long run. You may not be able to devote 8 hours a day to becoming an artist, but a few minutes here and there will make a dramatic difference.

2. Sometimes You Have To Spend More To Get More

I’m sure you’ve seen the coupon…buy 2 boxes of Cheerios and get one free! Does anyone really need 3 boxes of Cheerios right this moment? Many coupons have great savings, but they require you to buy a certain amount of the product. You may not need three boxes of Cheerios right now, but if you feel you will use them eventually, the deal may be too good to pass up.

This happens in business all the time. You may have recently heard that Apple purchased Beats Electronics for $3.2 billion. That is an absurd amount of money. I doubt that Apple will make that money back right this moment. But they are thinking long term, just like you were with 3 boxes of Cheerios. Sometimes the best deals take time to come to fruition and require a little more upfront.

3. Pick & Choose

When I looked for online coupons for Fry’s grocery store, my account said that I had $425.44 in digital saving coupons available. Great! Except I only want about 7 of those coupons. The rest don’t apply to me.

Your time is a very limited resource. You only have a certain amount to go around. Think about your Facebook profile. It may say that you have 1,000 friends but that doesn’t mean each is worth your time. Giving time to 1,000 people would spread yourself too thin and it would take meaningful time away from those who mean most to you. Sure I could use every coupon and save $425.44, but that would cost me far more than it’s worth. Same goes for your time. Pick and choose where it will be most well spent.

4. It Is Nice To Be Part Of The Club

I belong to a couple of rewards programs that occasionally send coupons via mail or email. It is a good feeling to receive those, especially when they are for a product I actually use. I didn’t have to do anything special to join these rewards clubs. I just signed up. I didn’t have to tattoo their logo on my body or learn a special handshake (although learning a handshake might be cool).

Same applies in real life. We all want to feel included. There is major value in being part of a club. Whether it is a book club or your Wednesday night rec basketball league, it can be rewarding to sign up for group activities. You might even get a cool handshake out of the deal.

5. Even The Best Deals Expire

The other day I was all set to use a coupon for dental floss. I had just run out of floss and I had a great $1 off coupon to use on a brand I like. Only one problem. I get to the grocery store and find that the coupon had expired a week ago. What a bummer!

In life you might get some pretty great offers. Like an opportunity to ask out that cute girl at the gym or the chance to apply for that once in a lifetime job. If you wait too long however, those offers might run out. Like we talked about in #3 above, time is not infinite. Don’t let your best deals expire.


Photo credit: Flickr