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I'm in Coupons Scholarship 2014. Entry-Antonio V.

If you were to ask this question to a group of 100 college students, I predict that at least 95 of them would say yes. I would put myself in the majority category. However, I would also put in a disclaimer. While coupons can have an influence on what I do purchase, the lack of coupons are not the be-all and end-all on my decisions. There are a few things that I look at but the ones that I look at the closest are: my immediate need for the product or service, the value, and whether or not I will use the product or service again after I purchase it.

When purchasing something, one of the biggest things that I take into account is how much I actually need to use the product. As a college student, I know that my personal finances are limited so it’s important that I watch not only how much I spend but on what I spend it on. Eating is always a need and buying food can really rack up costs pretty easily. Coupons can be a big help in reducing the cost of buying groceries, for example. Two big reasons: a) You’re able to get more food and b) You can use the money saved for something else. There are many places to get coupons, but the easiest way to start saving is to sign up for a membership card at a store you shop at regularly. Most stores already have discounted prices on food items for members, so that’s already some savings without even having to go online and print coupons or finding them from your local paper. Ultimately, it’s up to you to put in the work to find the deals and coupons that will save you money.

A note from us at I’m In:  We offer lots of ways for you to save on groceries at I’m In!

Another key component of purchasing anything is what kind of value that product or service has. Value is universal in the sense that everyone has some semblance of it, but what people value has a wide range. Some people choose to buy a cup of fair trade coffee as opposed to a cup at Starbucks because they value what the fair trade movement stands for. If a student is buying a textbook, many people rent digitally or borrow from someone else in order to save money. Where do coupons come into purchasing decisions for me? As a diehard sports fan, I’m more likely to value buying tickets to games to see my favorite teams or merchandise of said teams. I’m more likely to look for coupons that help me purchase those items because I put a greater value in them. If there is a way I can go see a football game at a lower cost than the full value, you can bet I will do everything in my power to be there.

Coupons can be a good way for businesses to make a name for their product or service and get their foot in the door with the local community. One of the biggest challenges that businesses have getting to that next level is keeping those customers coming back or bringing in new people from referrals. For example, if I’m looking for a good place to get a haircut that’s not too expensive, I would first start by asking people in the area for recommendations. After that, I would do a quick online search and see what other people think of that barber shop. If it’s a place I’d like to try, I would see if there are coupons available for first time customers. Some barber shops may have a deal, others may not. Either way, it’s important to do your research on what you’re getting what you’re paying for. In this case, coupons can have an influence on where I get my haircut. Ultimately, my decision to go back to a certain barber shop will be more dependent on the quality of the cut.

Coupons can be a good resource in order to save some money and I do use them on occasion. They can lead to something better down the road, but I believe that it’s important that you use the coupons for something that will be of value to you as an individual. If it’s a service that you enjoy and you like the work that they do, there may come a point where a coupon wouldn’t make a difference. Coupons can be a way to buy a service or product, but it’s up to you to decide how you’re going to use them.

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