- THE MAGAZINE
- FOOD MASTER
Every Sunday morning I get up, start the coffee maker and open my front door to retrieve the plump Sunday paper. It’s one of my favorite weekend rituals and I’ve observed it for years. I love attempting the Sunday crossword and reading the Metro and entertainment sections. But lately, a new part of the paper has drawn my interest.
Today’s economy has turned me into a coupon clipper. Now with coffee mug in hand, I rip open the poly-bagged stack and scan the ads for brand names I know and love.
Although I have always been a convenience-over-price kind of girl, my new-found thriftiness shouldn’t be particularly surprising.
“In a down economy even the most stubborn consumers are receptive to money-saving offers,” said Mark Hertenstein, vice president of ICOM Information & Communications LP Client Services. “This is a perfect time for brands to engage desirable consumer segments with offers that appeal to their frugal mindset.”
ICOM recently surveyed 3,013 American households and found that 43 percent of shoppers say they have increased coupon use in the past six months, despite the fact that 22 percent of them say they are self-conscious about using them.
Embarrassed about saving money? What’s un-chic about a fatter wallet? Granted, I am a new member of the coupon cult, but I plead ignorance as my excuse. Coupon-clipping just never occurred to me. Now, I can’t believe I’ve been missing out on the glorious BOGO savings for years. Others are with me; 57 percent of respondents to ICOM's Precima Inc.-sponsored survey said they once were self-conscious about coupon use, but now no longer care as long as they are saving money.
I’m going to venture to say the “too embarrassed” anti-couponites (to borrow a Seinfeld term) are going to find themselves converts before too long.
After all, a recession is a great equalizer. Recent articles in Newsweek, The New York Times and British newspaper The Guardian have identified “luxury shame” as a trend, saying that even the wealthy are spending less - or less ostentatiously - and seeking out sales and deals more often. Before long, it seems thriftiness will be “in” and coupons might just be in vogue.
Perhaps this is a bit of an overstatement, but we’ve noted here before that restaurant chains at all price points are offering more value meals - recent announcements from Starbucks and T.G.I. Friday’s show that more chains are following suit.
How do your products compete for consumers’ precious and ever-dwindling dollars? Will I see a coupon with your logo on it next Sunday?