Clearly someone has a problem with coupons

by Frugal Brian

Here’s something that’s truly unfair… some governor, who shall currently remain nameless, has decided that taxing people for the entire purchase price of a product before the coupon is applied, rather than taxing the price someone actually pays after the coupon is deducted, is a splendid little idea. (I have an idea for the governor.) What kind of economics is that?! It’s crazy talk. Even the newest member of the business world knows that the price you actually pay for an item is the actual price. There simply aren’t two prices for one thing. There’s no debate, no discussion. It is what it is.

How do you tax something that wasn’t actually paid for…? We’re not talking about fair anymore; we’re talking about utterly impossible. And it’s not just coupons. What about ‘specials’ and sales? If a store has a special on an outfit that ordinarily sold for $550 but for the next three days only, will be on sale for $169… That’s not considered a coupon. Under this governor’s sordid idea of reality and fairness, anyone taking advantage of the sale would be expected to pay the sales tax of $24.00 on the difference. But the governor reasons that since the sale is there for anyone and everyone to take advantage of it doesn’t qualify for that tax. So you’re punished for using coupons, basically. Is this the governor’s way of trying to bail us out of our national debt? Charge the consumer sales tax on money not spent. So someone asked the governor “Well what about loyal customer discounts, employee discounts, mail-in rebates, matching competitors’ discounts, automatic rebates and so on?”

We’re still waiting for the governor to get back to us on that.

Is the coupon on its way out?

Ever heard of Groupon? How about LivingSocial, Tanga, Coupme, Buywithme or Eversave? These are social buying sites where, if everyone plays nice together, everyone enjoys discounts. In a nutshell, these sites will advertise offers that will run a limited-time only. If enough people sign up for the deal everybody gets it. If not enough people sign up, nobody gets it. They stipulate the minimum number of people when they post the special. No coupons needed. They do offer some decent savings on clothing, museum passes, restaurants, salons, etc. Decent savings meaning 50% off or more. The offers can range from nationwide to locally or regional.

Groupon alone spans 31 countries, has 25,000,000 participants and offers 375 deals every single day. LivingSocial is accessible in four countries in over 100 markets. And the people using these social networks tell their friends about the great savings; who then go on to tell their friends, and so on. The entire concept has literally gone viral. You don’t have to understand how it works to take advantage of the savings. People are actually having fun saving money. One college professor has been quoted as saying “In some ways, it has become a new way of communicating”.

Will clipping coupons soon be considered ‘old school’?

The Target Corporation is apparently trying to do away with coupons. You can now save at Target with your smartphone and their new mobile coupon program. Well, why not; you can do everything else with your phone these days. By texting the word coupon (all in caps) to a special number, you will be able to receive deals, alerts, ad reminders and ‘coupons’ on your phone every week. As long as you’re at the store doing your shopping you will be able to scan the bar codes with your phone. The whole process will only work in store, not online. The only requirements of your phone are that it has a data plan and browser.

Target is fully aware that over 90% of shoppers utilize coupons for things such as health and beauty items and other household products. They are looking for a way to deliver savings to the consumers of today’s tech-savvy generation. Target already utilizes target promo codes for their online purchases. Just look online at sites such as or for online target codes.  They are also offering their store virtual coupons online. Target wants to say that they are the first to come up with this idea but in reality a number of stores are letting their customers skip the entire coupon clipping process by picking their virtual coupons online. Somehow the coupons are rung up at the checkout by use of your loyalty cards having been preloaded onto your phone with the virtual coupon.

Not to be outdone, owners of iPhones no longer have to sift through coupons and worry about the little pieces of paper scattering all over the place. A company has created a free app that allows you to load your iPhone with all your reward cards. Simply click the icon for the free app at the checkout, then pick which merchant you are currently patronizing from a list shown the screen. The cashier then scans your phone’s screen, which is now showing a bar code. It’s like a coupon and a loyalty card all in one. What will they think of next?

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