OK, first things first. Sorry, this is not really a listicle. No 10 reasons and nothing too shocking here. You seriously need to quit the clickbait, but this article is actually worth reading. So, stay a moment. Please.
Why, you ask?
Because Millennials save money like Kanye lets people finish.
We’re practically burning the stuff:
But what if our relationship with money were more like Kanye’s is with a microphone, and we could yank it back a bit before forking it over.
Yes, I’m talking about something boring – coupons. But I’ll try to make it more interesting for you.
According to Gallup, the average American consumer spends $99 of discretionary income every day. That’s a lot, and it increases a little every year. Millennials will spend over $2 million that way over the next 40 years or so. If that were a stack of one dollar bills, it would be 782 feet high – more than the length of two football fields.
Now, I’m not going to tell people they shouldn’t spend money. Consumers drive our economy, and I like shopping as much as the next person. Sometimes too much. A few years back Amazon delivered a giant flat screen TV to my apartment. At first I was confused – I didn’t order a new TV! But I did kind of want one. Are you sure this is for me? Is this a surprise present from a senile relative who forgot Christmas isn’t in August? Did Amazon just invest in mind reading? Then I thought about the last weekend. Met friends at bar to celebrate a birthday. Someone said, “Let’s do shots.” Woke up with hangover. Two days later I have a giant TV…. I slowly connect the dots…
Did I regret the alcohol inspired purchase? Well, Amazon has free returns, but the TV is still hanging on the wall in my living room. What does that tell you? It was like a surprise present, courtesy of Jose Cuervo, though unfortunately they did not offer to pay for it. Life is too short not to indulge ourselves, at least a little. Still, that doesn’t mean we have to waste our money.
Enter the coupon. Millennials already like getting a good deal. According to Alison Griswold, of Business Insider, more than 90% of Millennials use coupons to some degree now. But when we do the math on redemption, they’re still only using them a tiny fraction of the time. Why is that? Well, I didn’t use one when I bought that TV. But I was drunk (this was before I got married and started a company, FWIW). Now, Millennials can’t be drunk all the time, right? OK, maybe Amy Schumer, but that doesn’t explain this for everyone else. According to the Boston Consulting Group, Millennials, particularly, tend to look up coupons on their phones, so it seems the reason they’re often skipping the use of coupons is that it’s just not easy enough to find them that way. Or it takes too long and we get distracted by a Snap from one of our friends. I think that highlights a way we, as Millennials, are very different than our parents’ generation.
I remember my mom clipping coupons when I was a kid. She’d cut out the ones she wanted from newspapers (remember newspapers?) and circulars and put them in a big ceramic container next to the kitchen table. It influenced what she bought later that week as we went shopping. But fast forward to now and Leon Watson, in The Telegraph, reported that the human attention span has, “fallen from 12 seconds in 2000, or around the time the mobile revolution began, to eight seconds.” The goldfish, apparently, has an attention span of 9 seconds… Score one for the goldfish, I guess, but I don’t think 4G works in a fish tank, anyway.
Unfortunately, that short attention span is costing us money. A lot of it. Maybe not a stack two football fields long, but the average coupon can save about 12%. Over 40 years, saving 12% of that discretionary cash and investing it in the market should turn it into $1.1 million. Seriously. That’s still over a football field long. That’s a nice house, your future child’s college education, or a whole bunch of drunken Amazon purchases. But it’s definitely a lot of money.
Now, as the founder of Stylinity, a company that makes it easier to buy things we see on blogs, Instagram, and elsewhere, I know first-hand how important it is to make it easy for people to click “Buy Now” and get stuff they want. But I also know that sometimes people would click “Buy Now” and get to checkout only to realize they might want a coupon. Maybe they open a new window and try to find one, but then maybe they get a Snap of a friend puking a rainbow and forget they were about to buy those new shoes. Or worse, they end up overpaying when they could have gotten a great deal. Either way, this has to be easier. We have a football field’s worth of money to save people.
In our case, we decided to integrate coupons into shoppable content. It’s now super easy to click a “Coupons” button in the content and get the best deals available for whatever brand you’re thinking about buying, whether you want to get something from Forever21 or you need an Amazon coupon. If I’d started this company years ago and we’d done this, I would have saved about $250 on that TV. Maybe I would have invested it. Or maybe I would have gotten some new jeans instead. Maybe I would have gone back to the bar and screamed, “More shots!” But I definitely would have saved some money.
I hope other companies follow suit. It’s a good idea for brands to offer great deals to customers – we definitely appreciate it, and I like knowing I made a smart purchase, even when it’s an impulse buy.
So go ahead, make an impulse purchase after having a few shots at your friend’s birthday. Just remember to use a coupon. And don’t drunk Tweet. It will almost certainly not result in Zuckerberg giving you a billion dollars for your “ideas”. Sorry, Kanye.
|Author: Tadd Spering|
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