Healthy high: Coupons! -

Healthy high: Coupons!

Coupons - once reserved for the elderly and the frugal - are becoming more popular as tough economic times have everyone trying to save money wherever possible. For some it's a necessity, but for others it can be an addiction.

Shannon Kaiser says she started using coupons to save money. But then it became something more. "At first it was the money, but now it's definitely the feeling," she says. "When you can walk out of a store and save more than you spent, that's pretty cool." 

With six mouths to feed, the Kaiser family enjoys the savings during these tough economic times. But Shannon found there was a little more to her Sunday morning ritual. "It's a game, absolutely. A game. And I am completely addicted." 

Another player in the coupon clipping game: Rhonda Dockery. "This week I saved $117," she says, clearly pleased. 

Rhonda is a member of, and she also shops with a coupon binder she created. She never lets a coupon slip by.

"Kroger will print off this little coupon for you. I am embarrassed to say I have walked through carts in the parking lots and picked up their coupons from Kroger. It's an obsession. If you leave these in your cart, I'm going to find them," she says.

2009 marked the 100th anniversary of the coupon. It was started in 1909 by C.W. Post. to boost the sale of his cereal. Now coupons are available in the newspaper, online, from in-store dispensers - and don't forget those loyalty cards.

With proper planning - using coupons on items that are already on sale, for example - you can save big bucks. But it's easy to see that you can also get a rush.

Dr. Chris Stewart explains: "You're talking about experiencing pleasure, and so when someone finds something pleasurable they get a rush in the brain."

Shannon agrees. "When you get a big score - it's like, 'Yeah, this is cool! I'm going to do it again.' Then you can't wait for Sunday to get your paper and you can do it all over."

Dr. Stewart, a psychiatrist who specializes in addiction, says that's normal behavior for any reaction to pleasure - even the pleasure gained by saving big money with coupons. He also says that becoming addicted to coupons is normal and fortunately, it's a helpful addiction rather than a harmful one.

"After someone has already experienced a rush after being successful and getting a coupon and saving money, they are going to anticipate that feeling again and try to recreate it," he explains. "That's only normal. Actually, that's part of your brain's normal survival mechanism."

The euphoric feelings are real, and so are the savings. As Rhonda can attest: "The receipts don't lie!"

Copyright 2011 America Now. All rights reserved.

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