Coupons save you money. And when you save money, you're happy. And that sounds great, except for one little problem: when you're happy, you spend more, making the whole couponing thing counterproductive.
Photo by Carol Pyles.
A 2012 study, commissioned by Coupons.com and carried out by researchers at Claremont Graduate University, found that subjects who shopped with a coupon were happier and more relaxed than those who didn't. Their results were enough for Dr. Paul J. Zak, a Professor of Neuroeconomics at the University, to conclude:
The study proves that not only are people who get a coupon happier, less stressed and experience less anxiety, but also that getting a coupon — as hard as it is to believe — is physically shown to be more enjoyable than getting a gift.
My Bank Tracker points to a problem with this: happier shoppers are likely to spend more money. They call it a "coupon high," and you might be able to relate: you feel good about saving money, so you do some mental accounting and spend your savings on other stuff.
And a study from Columbia Business School backs this up. Researchers found that relaxed shoppers do indeed spend more. They concluded:
The study helps explain why luxury products and services, such as high — end boutiques and luxury hotels, are often sold or provided in relaxing environments. Everything else being equal, consumers will be willing to pay higher prices if marketers are able to relax them first, which has important implications for marketers.
Of course, stress spending is also a thing: basically, you're prone to spend if you're stressed, and you're prone to spend if you're relaxed. So it just helps to be aware of these triggers. And coupons, however frugal they may seem, have a subtle way of getting you to spend more without realising it. Check out the full post at the link below.
Why You're Losing Money to These Shrewd Supermarket Traps [My Bank Tracker]