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I'm in Coupons Scholarship 2014. Entry-Bobbie H.

In the age of extreme couponing, it would seem absurd to think that there is actually a single person who has not used a coupon when making a purchase at least one time in his/her lifetime.  Coupons are available through many means such as the internet, newspaper, mail, e-mail, and at the store which make them readily available for purchases.   However, to that end, coupons play a partial role in my purchasing decisions.

I have watched the extreme couponing on T.V. and became fascinated so I gave it a whirl.  I bought the Sunday paper for two months straight and reviewed the sales flyers from the local stores.  I cut coupons and placed them in my “coupon organizer.”  I spent two months really only making purchases that involved using my coupons.  At the time, I noticed I was spending a little bit more than I normally would, but I thought it was awesome to see a savings on my printed receipts.  Because, I like to analyze my spending, I put together a cash-flow pie graph and noticed that I wasn’t just spending a little more, but a lot more!  In fact my expenses had more than doubled.  I mean I am paying for a Sunday newspaper, paying for ink to print out coupons,  it was labor intensive to clip coupons and search through the sales flyers prior to shopping, and was spending more in gas trying to “save” money by going to the different stores in order to make coupons more effect.  So what was I doing wrong?  All these people on TV would make huge purchases and only spend a few dollars doing it.

Hmmm…  I was baffled.  So I decided to conduct an experiment.  I already had the data from my couponing extravaganza (Cash Flow Chart).   I spent a couple months not using coupons, but purchasing generic brands (coupons always seem to be for name brand products).  Instantly, I realized …WOW  I am carrying more bags out of the store and didn’t spend as much.  I liked this!  After a couple months, I produced my Cash Flow Graph and I in fact was correct, I have spent considerably less and was able to get a bigger bang for my buck.

So, you would think when comparing both sets of data that I would obviously choose get the bigger bang for my buck, right?  Well, not exactly.  In carefully analyzing this I realized that maybe I was trying to use coupons just to use them and not making conscience purchasing decision like I was when purchasing generic brand products.  Maybe I was trying to be an “extreme couponer” when I may have barriers, if you will.  I am family of one.  I don’t make huge purchases mostly because I can’t afford to.  I work  full-time in which I commute an hour to and an hour from work, manage my house, and am a full-time student.  By the time I get home at night, I have homework and fur-babies to take care of.  I had an “ah-ha” moment.  I was doing this wrong!  The coupons were not making me spend more money, but the issue was my mentality of trying to coupon for unneeded items that I would never use to begin with.

When I say coupons partially play a role in my purchasing decision.  They do… I do not go out and try to purchase everything because I have a coupon.  I will make a decision to purchase one item over another because of coupon. I will hold off on purchases because I don’t have a coupon to make it a little less inexpensive.  I don’t spend hours clipping coupons and surfing the web to find coupons, instead I have them emailed to me because I  check my email regularly it only made sense to have coupons in one location that I can view quickly and decide if it would be an item that I would purchase, if so, I hold on to it otherwise I click the delete button.

A note from us at I’m In: And you can save even more time by downloading our Digital Coupon App and have instant savings delivered directly to your smartphone! 

With that being said, I have noticed that if a manufactures coupon is on an item in the grocery store I usually purchase that item because it is an instant savings.  I have found that it I most helpful to have coupons that are already tailored to my purchasing trend. To summarize, yes, coupons play a partial role in my purchasing decisions.

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