Coupons have been influencing my purchasing decisions for over 17 years.  In order to be a stay-at-home mom, I had to cut corners wherever possible.  It was the best decision I have ever made, my daughter is thriving.  Having been a student myself much of the time since my daughter started school, being a single mom and/or working public sector jobs as a teacher, I have never had money for extras. We have always cut corners where we could or going without.   Now, my husband of one year is a full-time student and not working, while I am working full-time and also a student, completing my Ph.D. in Chemical Education.  Coupons are a necessary part of our lives and I always look for them before shopping.

I have made couponing a challenge and I like to sit down once a week, clip coupons and make lists from the weekly fliers.  Although I have seen television shows about extreme couponers, I have never gone to that level.  Still I find couponing a fun way to get the best prices I can at the grocery store.  The best I have ever saved is 51% and I am quite proud of that.

In addition to coupons, I use the store fliers to get the best deal possible.  Typically, I purchase name-brand items if I am able to pair a coupon with a sale at the store.  If the coupon for a name-brand item without an in-store sale is lower than an off-name item, I will use the coupon and get the name-brand.

I find coupons in many different ways.  The newspaper, online, e-coupons, in-store and attached to the items being sold.  There are several on-line sites I use, but before applying for this scholarship, I had never heard of  It will become part of my shopping experience.

When I don’t have a coupon for a product, if possible, I will usually wait a week or two to see if a coupon will be available.  If I cannot find a coupon, I will usually buy a generic item.  The barrier I find when using coupons is the expiration dates.  In addition, some coupons are only good at certain stores which can be a challenge.

Not only do I use coupons for groceries, I also use them for restaurants.  Because eating out is so expensive, we only do so when we have a coupon, a Groupon or an Amazon Deal.  As it save us money, it is also a fun way to try out new restaurants that we would normally never go to.  We actually tried Baca’s Italian restaurant last week for the first time with an Amazon Deal and it was great.  We signed up for their e-club so we can go there again and have coupons emailed to us.

My newlywed husband was initially embarrassed by my use of coupons, but now he loves it.  He sees how excited I get and after looking at the receipts to see how much money we have saved, he gets excited to see the savings too.  It makes me feel good that he is proud of me.

I have recently extended my use of coupons to amusement parks and sporting events.  These activities are not ones in which we could normally participate given our very limited income.  For example, we were able to go to Cliff’s Amusement Park in Albuquerque, New Mexico because I had a two for one coupon emailed to me from a radio station.  It was really fun.  Last Friday we went to our minor league baseball team game because, as a Red Cross Disaster Relief Volunteer, we were given free coupons for the event.

Finally, I never by clothes retail.  When I combine sales with coupons that are mailed to be by being on multiple store’s mailing list, we get very good prices.

A note from us at I’m In: We can help you save on clothing at I’m In!

Thank you for your consideration for this scholarship.  Receiving it would make a big difference in our lives and I look forward to using in the future.