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I'm in Coupons Scholarship 2014. Entry-Ashlynn S.

“Do coupons influence your purchasing decisions…why, or why not?”

Coupons are my one way to justify that one special item that I would otherwise live without. I am a struggling, starving college student, and I am doing it all on my own. I had a very blessed childhood, but adolescence had another thing coming. My aunt was dying of ovarian cancer, a loss that many can understand and relate to. It was an extremely sudden loss and she and I were very close. This experience is enough to greatly impact a sixteen year old in such a critical time of self-discovery. On top of our family’s loss, my older sister, my role model, was battling hard drug addiction. She was not the person I grew up with, and I did not know how to cope with the loss of my sister as I knew her. At the same time, my father lost his job in the housing industry, and consequently we lost our home. The move was one of a new beginning and positivity in my family, yet coupons were a common means of shopping for us. My parents were always modest, but now there was a need instead of a want to spend their money as conservatively as possible.

Not only was my home life starting to crumble beneath my feet, but my social circle was suffering from depression and self-mutilation. My very best friends were in and out of the behavioral health clinique, and it seemed as though I was completely alone in my fight to be successful but more importantly, happy.

School provided much of my solace. Inspiring teachers and clubs I was involved in kept me afloat. I battled my own depressive disorder for much of that year and thereafter. I was through positive environments and loving support that got me through such an adverse time. The depression I suffered through that extraordinarily trying year is my driving force to study psychology and help those like myself and my family. Because I grew up comfortably but never extravagantly, and I knew if I were going to be successful in life I had to go to college; I applied at Northern Arizona University. I did not know then what I know now, which is the expense of mountain towns versus the valley I grew up in. Now that I am putting myself through school, taking classes full time and working thirty hours a week to pay my rent and bills, spending my hard earned money on anything more than necessity is excessive. To buy real groceries (other than constant Ramen) is solely possible because of coupons.

A note from us at I’m In: We can help you save a lot on groceries, too!

Any expense I can reduce is one I gladly do. My family taught me so much about what is important in life. Things, material items, fancy vacations, and brand names were not on the list of importance anymore. A few of what became more important to me was family, love, education, happiness and health. There are so many ways happy healthy lifestyles can be achieved. However, we college students are in a transitory period. It’s downright hard to afford certain things without sacrificing something else of relative importance. That is of course unless we take out massive loans that we will be paying back for the rest of our hard working lives.

There is a light at the end of the tunnel. I will get my bachelor’s degree in psychology and art; I will get my masters in art therapy to help those with depression and anxiety to PTSD and ADHA and anything in between. I know I can, but all the help I can get, is help so very much appreciated.

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