Tuesday, February 20, 2007

You Ask of Coupons?

So DMK posed an interesting question;

Why don't men favor or use coupons as much as women?

And it got me thinking about the economics of coupons and how in an economic behavioral sense men and women may vary and I could only come up with a couple observations (and broad generalities so for all the anti-free speech Nazi's out there who salivate at the chance no matter how innocuous to accuse other people of sexism or racism or whatever -ism, please shut the hell up).

1. Men are less patient than women.

2. Historically men have been more industrious than women and the amount of time they'd have to spend collecting enough coupons to save $10 in groceries intuitively somehow they could have made $30, ergo why waste the time.

3. Somewhat related to #2, but more of a Darwinian/evolution approach, women have stayed at home for all these years doing the typical household tasks which coupon collecting would fall under while men are out slaying mammoth, ergo we are biologically/genetically predisposed to not want to collect coupons.

That's about the only reasons I could come up with.

I have used coupons in the past, but they literally had to fall into my lap. Or I was sitting somewhere with nothing to do, there happened to be a newspaper nearby and I just started looking for coupons. ie-I don't go looking for coupons.

I'd also be curious to see how men and women behave differently when it comes to a similar economic decision; lottery or gambling.

Is the potential savings/winnings worth the time of buying the Powerball ticket.


Anonymous said...

There's 3 reasons I don't use'em.
#1 I don't have anywhere to store coupons when I find them. My wife puts them in her massive purse.
#2 I forget that I have them and after I've bought something I could've saved money on I find the coupon I had stored away.
#3 Most of the coupons I have are for $.50 off a $10 item or 10% off a $2 item. Who cares? Give me 50% off a new XBox 360 and I'll rush to the store to buy it, but really, do I care about saving a crappy $.50?

My wife goes shopping weekly for about $180 worth of groceries (we have 5 kids). For her it's worth the extra $.50 here and 10% there (in fact they have 10% Tuesdays at our main grocery store on the first Tuesday of the month). that sort of stuff adds up but not for the amount of family stuff that I buy.
--Redneck Ricardo

RHJunior said...

for me, it's that

1)they're rarely for what you need or regularly purchase

2)they're always for name brand stuff-- and I buy generic (for which I get the same savings with less fuss.)

Anonymous said...

Most people don't have sufficient granularity in their control over income for a strictly financial cost-benefit analysis to make sense, but there remain nonfinancial opportunity costs to spending time coupon-clipping. Unless you're bored out of your skull or you derive actual _enjoyment_ from saving as much money as you can (I don't get it, but I also don't criticize other people's ways of having fun), sitting around clipping out coupons is always going to feel like a waste of time.

As for the sex difference, I'd add another factor:

4. Women are more likely than men to be out of the workforce, or working only part-time. A person who isn't putting over a quarter of their overall time and 36% of their waking hours into earning income isn't going to feel the opportunity cost of time spent clipping coupons as keenly as one who is.

I know lots of women who are coupon-clippers, but none of them work full-time. The full-time working women I know are just like men in their distaste for couponning.

Even if one doesn't (as most people don't) have the liberty of trading time directly for money in flexible quantities, a person who is engaged in nondiscretionary activity for that large a percentage of their life is naturally going to value their scarcer leisure time rather more highly than one who isn't. The higher the perceived value of leisure time, the less likely one is to spend it on coupon-optimization.

The_Bad said...

What’s a coupon?

DMKhldibo said...

Yes, yes, guys are lazy and find other ways to spend our time. But, it's good to know that the yahoos that are in the next dorm are the minority and that there isn't a de-masculinazation in using discounts . 'cause frankly I don't see the problem with doing one of those-by-one-get one deals at some of these white table cloth places- and show up in whatever

Anonymous said...

My husband thinks clipping coupons is a waste of time. I do work full time, and I do clip coupons. I rarely (if ever) by anything just because I have a coupon; but for things like bread or fruit that I would buy anyway, I do use them. I usually save about $4 per trip, even though it is just me and my husband in our household. It pretty much pays for my newspaper subscription, which I have because I find reading it a very calming, mindless activity (what can I say, it's the Star Tribune!!)
As far as the lottery tickets go, I only buy the powerball for my husband, because it makes him happy. I think the odds of winning are so low, that if we just invested the dollar on a weekly basis, we'd come out ahead.