Coupon craze hits younger generation

HOUSTON (KTRK) -- Move over, Grandma! These days it is Millennials who have gone coupon crazy looking for steals and deals.

The younger generation has become so thrifty and retailers are catering deals to them to hook them both in person and online.

When Briana Brooks' family went through some tough economic times, she decided to grab her scissors and start clipping coupons.

"By the time we got to the store it was just like, 'Go get this, go get this', head up to the register, hand them the coupons, bill goes down by at least 50 percent. I was like this is actually kind of cool!" Brooks said.

She's not the only Millennial who thinks couponing is cool. One study found 96 percent of those born between 1980 and 2000 said they use coupons.

"They're saving and they're budgeting and I think that coupons are the, are the norm," Millennial expert Chelsea Krost said.

Experts say the fact that Millennials have grown up in uncertain times has made them thriftier than other generations.

"We're living in a time where our economy is uncertain, where the job market is uncertain and I think wherever we can save a dollar or two or more were definitely going to take advantage of it," Krost said.

So are retailers, says marketing expert and author Liz Crawford. Stores are coming up with creative ways to reach Millennials and give them the coupons they crave.

"A business that wants to connect with Millennials should make it fun and make it mobile," Crawford said.

There are several tactics in place now, from money saving apps to social media sites that reward followers with special deals. There are coupons that can be pulled up on a mobile phone or printed out in the store.

"Millennials are so trained to look for coupons and good deals that they have in mind what product or brand they'd like to buy ahead of time and then they find that coupon across a variety of different vehicles, platforms, retailers and websites," Crawford said.

In addition, Crawford says Millennials are drawn to deals that involve some kind of gamification.

"The best way to make it fun is to make a promotion similar to a game that they like to play, like a Candy Crush or an Angry Birds. They don't just want bargain hunting for bargain hunting's sake. They also want to have a little bit of fun with it," Crawford said.

As for Brooks, she still clips coupons and looks for those deals online.

"It's really important to me to make sure that my money gets spent as efficiently as possible." Brooks said.

Another shopping trick Millennials are using is combining offers from a variety of different sources like manufacturer coupons, along with in-store deals. One survey found they're doing this more than Baby Boomers or Generation X.

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