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Why are more men using coupons?

The proliferation of daily deals has had some effect, but the real reason is that they have to.

By doubleace Aug 3, 2011 1:46PM

This post comes from Lynn Mucken at MSN Money.


The facts are undeniable: In increasing numbers, men are using coupons when they shop.

In a survey conducted for, 59% of men said they redeem coupons when shopping, up from 51% last year. Another survey, by Harris Interactive, showed that 87% of male online shoppers (and 93% of women) had used coupons while buying groceries.


The explanations, however, are debatable, primarily because they confuse effect with cause. 


Here's a typical analysis, from

You don't normally think of men sitting around clipping grocery coupons from the newspaper but a survey finds that men are nevertheless becoming not just savvy shoppers but also astute coupon collectors.
Maybe this isn't surprising, given the success of Groupon, LivingSocial and other daily deal sites but men's changing behavior isn't limited to the daily deal sites, according to the study, which also found men's use of all types of coupons on the rise.
"Men are changing their shopping behaviors as a result of many things, including that coupons are for so much more than groceries," said Jeanette Pavini, household savings expert. "They are not going through the newspaper clipping away, but instead finding alternative sources which include online, at sites such as, and mobile phone apps such as Grocery iQ."

Men, I maintain, have always been "savvy" shoppers. Not for groceries -- that wasn't their job. Instead, they bought the cars, the lawnmowers, the drill sets, the tires. They studied the ads, investigated the product and, unless forced to do otherwise by circumstances, bought low.

And if a coupon was involved, they clipped it and presented it, without hesitation. Stand around the pro shop of any golf course that has circulated a coupon offering a $10 discount on a round of golf. Every guy walking up to the counter is pulling that piece of paper out of his wallet. Post continues after video.

So what is the real explanation for the increase?


According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in June, 9.1% of American men over 20 who wanted to work were unemployed. The figure for women was 8%.

Dig a bit deeper and the numbers for adult men get worse. Points out Jon Stine in his blog for Cisco:

The unemployment rate for US 25-54 year olds without a high school diploma is nearly 35%  -- up from around 10% in the 1960s. Of those with a high school diploma but no college, today's unemployment rate is almost 25% -- up from less than 5% in the 1960s.

Men are clipping coupons and doing the grocery shopping not because of some cultural sea change, but because while the female in the household is still working, they aren't. They're home, and they're struggling financially.

More than a few years ago, I went without work for four months. My wife, recognizing that I planned to spend the summer golfing, swimming with the kids in the nearby Willamette River and drinking beer, immediately redefined my priorities to wash, iron, clean, shop and cook.

I became the coupon king. If round steak was on sale, it was placed on that week's menu. I lost all product loyalty, as the price became everything. I mapped out a route to hit all the grocery stores: 3 pounds of butter for the price of 2 at Safeway, then the $1-a-pound-off pork chops at Albertsons. No impulse purchases (except for ice cream, of course). It was a grand game, and I played it well.

When I returned to work, my devotion to smart shopping dwindled, my duties not quite so much. I still do the washing and ironing and much of the cleaning, shopping and cooking. Now I'm more into bulk buying -- divide into two-person portions and freeze -- although I check the grocery ads and coupons diligently (red grapes, 89 cents a pound!).

Clearly, across America, out-of-work men are doing the same. It's not about gender; it's about survival.

Read what Chad had to say on Cha-Ching:

I am a man that is totally into couponing. To be honest I don't really understand why this is such a novelty. Stereotypically, aren't men the ones that are such penny pinchers?
For years I ignored how much my wife was spending on groceries a week ($150+), until I lost my job. We had to re-evaluate everything to support our family of five. It was another male -- my older brother -- that introduced me to couponing, and I ignored his suggestions for a couple of weeks, but once I read up on it and understood the system I was on fire.
My wife loves it because she hated grocery shopping and loves all the deals I come home with. As my business is growing back up, I credit the savings of couponing as a key element to getting back on our feet.

More on MSN Money.



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