Clipping Coupons


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shopperHave you ever gone grocery shopping? What types of food do you buy? Think about one thing you might buy. It might be cookies, cereal or ice cream. Now, think about what brand you buy. Why do you think you choose that brand over others?

Sometimes producers offer "incentives," or a special reason to buy their product. An incentive might be a discount, like a coupon, or a 'gift' like a toy in a cereal box. Incentives make consumers want to buy that product instead of another product.


Today, we will think about why we make the choices we make as consumers.


With your class, think about and discuss the following:

When you are in a store and making a choice, what might affect your choice of brand?

couponsProducers, or the people who make the products, know that there are certain things they can do to get you to choose their product over someone else's. First, they can make it taste or function better. This would be called improving its quality. Next, they can make the box or packaging that the product is in look really fun. Finally, they can give you an incentive to choose that product, such as a toy in the box or a lowered price.

Today you will look at some coupons, pieces of paper a producers give you which let you pay less for their product. In some ways, it is like free money if you buy their product.

Complete the Clipping Coupons-BargainQuest Activity and be prepared to answer questions after completion.


Answer the following questions relating to the activity:

Questions from activity:

  • How much money did you save with these coupons?
  • What would you like to buy on the saved money?
  • What might influence your choice?
  • Do you think coupons might help you choose?


In small groups, cut out coupons from newspapers and magazines. Organize the coupons into three piles:

  • Brands of things your family normally purchases (for example, the correct brand of ketchup)
  • A different brand than your family normally purchases (for example, a different brand of ketchup)
  • Something your family doesn't normally purchase (for example, BBQ sauce if they don't normally buy BBQ sauce)

Then, for the pile of coupons representing the "different brand than your family normally purchases," separate the coupons into two more piles. The first pile is for products you would buy even though they are the wrong brand. The second is for products you would not buy even with the coupon. Then in your small groups, discuss the following questions:

  • What made you decide to buy (or not buy) a different brand?
  • What other incentives might a producer offer to encourage you to buy its brand?

Next, look at the coupons in the third pile (something your family doesn't normally purchase). Subdivide that pile into two piles: things they will buy and things they will not buy. Then, in your small groups, address the following questions:

  • What made you decide to buy a product you don't normally buy?
  • What incentive could the producer give to get you to buy the product?