Saving Explained

“Why do you cut coupons?” Zoe asked me this morning, as I was finishing clipping the coupons that mom had brought over on Sunday.


I’d used some coupons this morning in a quick run to the store to get a few things we needed to get through the next few days of lunches. If you looked at my receipt, you’d see that I managed to trim the bill this morning by over five dollars.


And I’m sure it didn’t help that was as I was gleefully looking at the five dollar off total purchase coupons that I have.


“Coupons save us money,” I said. “So we can save some money or get other things we need.”


“But how do they work? Why do they let you do it?”


Ah, the point of view of a child, cutting right through the grey areas to get right to the place in a concept that doesn’t really make sense when you think about it.


Why do they let me clip coupons and use them to buy what I need? I got pop this morning and saved two dollars per pack because I could stack a store coupon and a manufacturer’s coupon. And is this a big deal? I was thrilled.


But why would someone want me to pay less for something? If it doesn’t make sense to a child, why would it make sense at all? I didn’t have a very good answer right away, but Zoe continued her thought.


“Is it because they want you to like it and buy it again?” Smart, savvy kid, there. She’s eleven, and she’s got basic consumerism down.


“Well yeah, and to get people to buy their stuff instead of anyone else’s.”


“But you always get Pepsi for mom.”


“Which is more reason for me to use their coupons.”


Our conversation, while brief, covered a whole range of issues on the basic topic: why I shop at Cub (I prefer it and it’s closer); why do they make you cut out the coupons; do you have to use them all at once; will you get us a loaf of the cinnamon chunk bread for $1.99?


So imagine my glee when at the store this morning, a $5 off total purchase coupon printed out as I checked out…Yup, happy dance time. So I can buy $50 worth of groceries at some point in the next week and pay only $40. I like that…A lot.


See you tomorrow.