Beating the Game: Coupons as Bonus Points
Anyone who has felt the rush associated with a delivery of money-saving coupons and free products in the mail
will understand how much collecting coupons can feel like building up points and rewards in a video game. The comparison is particularly apt when those coupons have been discovered and ordered online, or accessed through an app
. Real life and the world of computer games seem to collide when what you do on your computer or smartphone results in real life rewards. Even if you are not much of a game-player, you may find yourself imagining a little you-shaped character running around a pixilated world picking up coupons to increase your score.
The Gamification of Life
Gamification is a word that refers to efforts to bring elements of gaming into real life
. It is a term that is mainly used by social theorists and companies hoping to take advantage of the trend, but it is not necessary to wait for someone to gamify your life for you. A small shift in perspective can make collecting coupons and saving money more enjoyable, by turning it into a game that you design for yourself. You may already have used this tactic to get through repetitive work or household tasks by trying to beat your hourly record or to finish in a certain amount of time. Jobs like mowing the lawn or encouraging the kids to finish their math homework can be much easier when the work turned into a game.
How to Turn Shopping into a Game
Shopping is one of those everyday tasks that can become less of a chore when you set yourself a challenge. Trundling your cart around the grocery store, feeling rather like a video game character exploring a maze, your task is to find and collect all of the items on your list, avoiding the temptation of buying anything you don't need, and trying to maximize your score by spending as little as possible:
The Cheat Sheet: Rules for Winning
- You gain and lose points by saving and spending money
- You can find bonuses by looking for coupons and using them to save
- Look out for traps: sometimes a coupon that seems to save you money will actually attempt to get you to spend more or buy something you don't need
- You gain experience by learning how to find and identify the best coupons
- Move up a level: You can start saving by just taking a few minutes to look for the best deals, but if you want to become an expert saver, you can learn how to combine coupons, sign up for free samples and download coupon apps
The biggest difference between games and life is that games usually come with a set of rules that tell you how to play. Some gamers have even posted "cheat sheets" that tell other players exactly where the secret bonuses and hidden traps are in the game. Life would be a lot simpler if it came with a rulebook, but even without one, it is possible to seek advice that can offer you a cheat sheet to certain aspects of living. Managing your finances is one area of life that, with certain household expenses rising
, can seem particularly difficult to navigate without help. As prices change and stores advertise forever-changing offers, it can feel impossible to ensure you are getting the best deal. Luckily, there are plenty of places, like the Coupon Claim website, where you can find advice on using coupons and other ways of saving money
, to help you grab all of the bonuses while avoiding the traps.
You Don't Need Computers to Play a Game
Still not convinced that coupon collecting is as rewarding as beating a video game? If you are a more traditionally minded game player, you may prefer to envision your life as a board game. Everyone has probably played a game like Monopoly that requires a certain amount of strategy and financial acumen, but which can also provide surprises that depend entirely on chance. Collecting a coupon is like pulling out a card that entitles you to a reward, but you don't have to wait for one to come to you by chance. You can go out and start looking for savings.