I wish I could use a coupon to pay for college tuition. Coupons are a huge part of my everyday life to the point where if I don’t say, “I think I have a coupon for that” my friends and family do a double take and ask me if I’m sure. I work for a small nonprofit and have a great family to helps support me. Coupons came into my life when I first entered college because I felt that I wasn’t able to contribute financially to my life as much as I wanted to while I was taking 20 credits a semester. I know I was being unrealistic but it urged me to find a different way to contribute. I thought to myself and figured out that if I was contributing to someone else’s life as much as my parents were contributing to mine, I would want them to be as financially responsible as they could be. I took it upon myself to clip coupons, sign up for company emails, use student discounts, and look for BOGO specials. Considering I had recently moved from a small town to a metro area, this was a relatively easy thing to do compared to the couponing I tried to do in my hometown. Soon, I was finding myself only going to events or buying clothes that I had coupons for. I also based my diet off of what was on sale that week that I also had a coupon for at the grocery store, besides the staples of course. The first time I realized the potential of couponing was when I was grocery shopping and I was shopping BOGO sales. I got to the cash register and knew my bill would already only be half of what it should have been but then I had coupons on top of the BOGO sale. As the cashier took the coupons off, I realized that I paid only about $24 for $200 worth of food. I felt good about my purchase and was proud to be able to share that with my parents.
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Now that I’m living on my own and going back to grad school, I’ve continued my couponing to be able to use my money in the most responsible way possible. Many of my friends ask how I have so many nice things and when I tell them how much I paid for them, they are often less than they would cost second hand. I know many people who are envious of the couponing skills I have but don’t put the time or energy into doing it like I do and get frustrated quickly and quit. A downside is that you usually can’t shop at second hand stores, Sam’s Club, or a few other places with coupons so people feel that they won’t be able to afford items at a regular store so they go to the second hand store instead when they could be getting new items for less than what they are paying for second hand items. It’s also harder to coupon in small towns. When I lived in my hometown, coupons were harder to come by and stores often times didn’t know how to use them. Patience is very important when waiting for a teller to ring in some coupons. Also, there weren’t large coupon books like the Entertainment Book that I have now because they are only good for mostly metro purchases. Without couponing, I would have felt very guilty about the support I was receiving from my parents. I couldn’t use a coupon for college but I could use coupons to save on my life expenses to the point where seeing a teller with a shocked face at the cash register was a typical experience at a store because my total was so small. I try to pass on my wisdom to others and it really has spread since I started doing this about five years ago. Now, I’ve taken it up as a hobby and really have fun finding good deals for myself and my family and friends. Everyone should learn how to coupon successfully, especially college students.