By: E&P Staff
Jill Cataldo | dailybreeze.com
My recent column on theories why people of lower incomes are statistically not the heaviest coupon users generated a lot of reader mail. Here’s a sampling: “Perhaps the reason that low-income shoppers do not use coupons is because they cannot afford the newspapers that carry the coupons.” “(Getting coupons) usually requires buying a newspaper, which I don’t do, because so many coupons are for the more expensive brands of any given product. It is more worthwhile to watch grocery ads and buy house brands.” “Many poor people don’t get a newspaper and the generic or store brand is often less expensive than the name-brand item after the coupon’s value is deducted.”
Delving into why people choose to use coupons or not is a sensitive subject. The argument that low-income shoppers cannot afford a newspaper seems to hold water. However, in the hands of an effective coupon shopper, a newspaper will pay for itself many times over.
If I buy the Sunday newspaper for $1.99, the coupon inserts inside contain, on average, $100 to $200 worth of coupons. If I use just two $1 coupons that week, I recoup the $1.99 cost of the paper; the rest of the coupons represent money I will save on future grocery bills. I do understand that when times are tough, families must account for every dollar. But I also strongly believe that spending $2 to save $50 or more is good financial sense.