This week I want to share a short, but vital, financial tip: It’s okay to let coupons expire.
The other day at the gym, I overheard someone sharing a story with her friend how she ran to Kohl’s that weekend because she had $30 of Kohl’s cash (free money!) that was going to expire. Letting this coupon expire would be like throwing $30 down the drain, so off shopping she went.
You don’t need me to tell you what happened next.
The net result of “saving” $30 with the coupon was spending over $200 on new slacks she “needed”, a couple blouses that looked cute, and a few other odds and ends she saw in the store while shopping and remembered she’d been meaning to purchase.
Sure, some of these purchases were items she legitimately would have bought at some point. But without the artificial deadline of the expiring Kohl’s cash she could probably gone several months more without spending that much money.
We All Do It
I’m willing to bet she’s not alone here. How often have you found yourself racing off to the store because you have a coupon that’s about to expire (you want to make sure you save that money after all) only to find yourself spending well above and beyond what you needed?
Ironically, coupons, which we (rightly) think of as big-time money saving tools, can backfire and get us to spend more money that we would have otherwise. After all, you don’t think retailers pass around coupons out of the goodness of their hearts, right?
If you go out to spend money that you wouldn’t have spent without the coupon, those “savings” are illusory. You’re not actually saving money if you’re buying things you wouldn’t have bought at all otherwise. Buying a $100 item marked down to $50 is fantastic, unless it’s something that you don’t really need or value anyway. Then you’re just wasting $50 instead of $100.
It’s easy to justify this to ourselves after the fact. Sure I didn’t NEED to get new clothes this weekend. But I was going to get a new blazer at some point and why not just get it now when I can get $50 off. That’s free money!
Let Your Values Dictate Your Spending, Not Coupons
Now, this isn’t to say you shouldn’t use coupons. In fact, I’m a huge fan of discounts, coupons and all manner of thrifty spending tactics! However, retailers know what they’re doing. They know that discounts and coupons are great ways to get people in the door to spend more than they would otherwise.
Don’t let the thought of getting a deal entice you to buy stuff you wouldn’t otherwise – or to spend money on things you don’t need yet just because you have a coupon that’s expiring. If there’s one truth about coupons (especially Kohl’s coupons!), it’s that there will ALWAYS be more coupons coming.
What do you think? How do you feel when you have a coupon that’s about to expire? Comment below or share on social media!
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