Thursday, July 14, 2011

Can Couponing and Sale Shopping Make You Fat?

Article first published as Can Couponing and Sale Shopping Make You Fat? on Blogcritics:

I had a revelation this week; couponing and deal hunting can make you fat if you aren't careful. I eagerly open my weekly coupon inserts to see a coupon for candy. I quickly flip the page to see more candy and gum coupons. Next page; potato chips. This is followed by processed foods and sugary cereals. Why on earth are most of the coupons for junk food?

To make matters worse, the best sales at the drug stores are often for sweets. One drugstore has even started giving gas card rebates to costumers if you buy a certain amount of certain products. What are your choices? Chocolate, hard candy, caramel-covered popcorn, chips, etc. There are very few choices for the health-conscious.

Why do they do this? I speculate that it is because if you have to buy $20 worth of cheaper items (like candy) you get a lot more total items then if you buy a more expensive item (like shampoo). If you receive more total items it makes you feel like you saved more money and got a better deal. You are then more likely to do the same deal again. Their hopes are that you grab some expensive perfume or makeup while you are there.

How do you avoid the "coupon fat trap"? As you flip through your coupon insert, pay attention to the item and not the amount off. If you see candy, flip to the next page. This will prevent you from cutting out the coupon simply because it is a "high value coupon" and will get you a great deal. When you are done clipping the essential and health/beauty coupons, donate the rest of your coupons to a friend. This will keep you from going back and cutting out the coupon later.

To avoid the "sale fat trap" skip the junk food pages in sales fliers and don't walk up those aisles in the store. If you don't know about the deal, it is easier to pass up. Avoiding the "fattening" coupons and sales will not only save your waist, it will help save your wallet too. You will avoid spending extra money on items you don't need just to receive the good deal. You are not saving money if you spend $1 for something you don't need and didn't really want. So, pay close attention the next time you are checking out the weekly sales and coupons.

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