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Coupons: Thrift is hip

Remember a few months back when Oprah's KFC coupon offer caused a feeding frenzy? In case you haven't heard, coupons are back. Analysts have noted a remarkable rise in the youth and affluent consumers, who before the recession, did not bother to look through the newspapers and cut out coupons.

"As the economy worsened and consumer sentiment plunged, coupon redemption ticked up 10 percent in the fourth quarter of 2008, compared with the period a year ago — the first jump in coupon redemption since the early 1990s. In the first half of this year, coupon redemption climbed 23 percent. Some 1.6 billion coupons were redeemed, leading Inmar to forecast that more than three billion coupons will be redeemed this year."

Some of them aren't even your grandmother's coupons anymore: the clip-n-save motto of the past is now click-and-save at coupon printout sites. Mobile coupons skip the paper altogether, sending your savings straight to a store's discount card swiped at the checkout.

It's heartening to see the return of thrift and its redemption from outdated stereotypes: apparently you can be young, hip, and cheap, all at the same time.

Coupons are kind of a double-edged sword because like any special offer they are designed to get you to buy. When financial times are tough, coupons often make people feel less guilty when they chose to go out shopping. Kit Yarrow, a consumer psychologist in San Francisco states, "Saving money so often means not doing something, as in not buying something. Coupon-clipping has a proactive quality to it that appeals to bargain hunters."

If you're looking for a really proactive approach to conscious consuming, download our wallet buddy, a handy sleeve for your credit card that asks "Do I really need this?" before every purchase. Taking that step before whipping out your card might save you more than coupons.

Tags: Cheap, Lifestyle, Savings

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