Some people think using a coupon in public is even more embarrassing than, say, accidentally walking into the wrong restroom. I have done both, and I assure you — the latter is far more embarrassing! Here's why I am not the least bit embarrassed by coupons:

Companies make coupons available; why shouldn’t we use them? When you use a coupon, you are not cheating anyone. It's no different from accepting an offered sale price. I suppose some people may be embarrassed to be seen digging through bargain bins at sales, but I doubt anyone has ever gone into a store to buy jeans and said, “I see you're offering 30% off my favorite brand today, but I insist on paying full price.”

Sometimes, coupons make the difference between buying or not buying. I hate to cook, but I know that eating out is hard on the pocketbook. Sometimes a coupon is enough incentive for me to patronize a restaurant. The same goes for things I might want but don't consider worth the retail prices — if I have a coupon, I might buy them. If I didn't use those coupons, the store or restaurant wouldn't be getting my business at all on that particular day.

The money is worth more to me than to the store. I don't mean, of course, that the value of a dollar changes based on who holds it, but I do mean that (in most cases) the value of a coupon accounts for a greater percentage of my income than the income of the issuing company. I save about $1,000 a year using coupons. To a large company, that's chump change; to me, it's a pretty good amount.

Some see using coupons as a sign that you're cheap, but some of the most generous people I know use coupons — often to buy dinner for an entire party. Others keep track of what they've saved in coupons and donate that amount to charity. Someone who is truly cheap wouldn't use coupons. Instead, that person would always expect someone else to pay or, worse yet, complain about the food, service, or product just to get it for free.

Descriptions of lousy first dates often mention a guy who uses a coupon at a restaurant. Though it's been a long time since I've been on a date with anyone but my husband (the only man I remember using coupons on our dates), I would think more highly of a guy who used a coupon while we were out. Once again, if he were truly cheap, he would find an excuse to make me pay or would never take me out at all. A man who saves money on dates could be building his savings to retire early and travel the world with the right woman. (Plus, I would have much more in common with the guy who used the coupon than the guy who was too embarrassed to!)

If I made spending decisions based on how I look to others, especially strangers, my life and my bank accounts would be a wreck. I learned long ago that if I spend my time trying to gain status in the eyes of others, I don’t get anything else done. Plus I enjoy life much more when I do what’s best for my family (using coupons for things I would normally buy so that we can save money) rather than worrying about what others think I should do.

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  1. Nice article! I used to be a tad embarrased about how “cheap” my ex-boyfriend in college was. We couldn’t eat out unless there was a coupon. And look at me–5 years later, I am a coupon FREAK! I would love to tell him what my favorite hobby is these days, he probably wouldn’t believe me!

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