The Rich Get Frugal With Coupons

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NEW YORK (MainStreet) — Coupon clipping and bulk buying is gradually becoming a new kind of status symbol, as more wealthy Americans around the country admit to relying on these cost saving techniques when shopping, a new survey shows.

Some 80% of households with incomes in the $75,000-$100,000 range say they use coupons regularly, whereas just 63% of households who earn less than $35,000 a year do, according to a survey from Coupons.com. Likewise, nearly three quarters of wealthier households say they buy in bulk compared to about half of lower income households.

At first blush, the survey’s results may seem counterintuitive, given that wealthier households arguably have less of a need for relying on these frugal tactics than less well-to-do families, but previous studies from groups like Nielsen have come up with similar results. In part, the rich may have been driven to frugality during the recession years because these households lost a greater proportion of their wealth during the down economy than most Americans.

Yet, as the Coupons.com survey shows, frugal shopping habits may not just be influenced by one’s wealth but also by whether one is well-educated and well-informed.

Consumers with college degrees were significantly more likely to use coupons, make bulk buys and compare prices than those without high school degrees, the survey found. Less than half of those consumers without high school degrees comparison shopped, while 62% of those with college degrees did. Similarly, just 51% of those with less education said they used coupons compared to 78% of college educated consumers.

Coupons.com’s survey, which is based on interviews with more than 1,000 adults over the age of 18, found that the desire to be frugal is as strong now as ever, in part because consumers of all income brackets are worried about the rising cost of food and other products.

In total, 95% of those surveyed said they were aware of rising food costs in particular and planned to use at least one savings strategy to combat rising prices. Coupon clipping proved to be the most popular choice among consumers, as nearly three quarters said they intend to rely on this tactic, followed by doing price comparisons and shopping at discount stores.

Though some products have certainly had their price tags go up, many others are actually getting cheaper. For a list of these, check out MainStreet’s breakdown of seven products that cost less now than they did in 2010.

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