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I'm in Coupons Scholarship 2014. Entry-Caitlin P.

Coupons are a wonderful way to save money. They are available for all types of products at many of thousands of stores. Some people make their entire shopping list based on the coupons they have. Others only use coupons for products they use and happen to have a coupon for. I consider myself to be a mixture of the two. I use coupons but I do not create my shopping list around them.

I have products that I buy in only a specific brand. I won’t switch brands of toilet paper to some one-ply off brand just because I have a coupon. If I have a coupon for my usual brand then it’s an added bonus. Sometimes I find coupons for products I have never tried and the coupon does influence me to purchase that item to try.

I wouldn’t say that coupons always influence my purchasing decisions though because there are just some brands I won’t stray from over a coupon. I have tried new brands because of coupons and sometimes I do find new things I like better.

Now, my dad is an example of someone who does not at all use coupons. He doesn’t see the point of spending time cutting coupons to save a penny here and a penny there. As a child, I always did the shopping with my father and I don’t think I ever saw him use a coupon. Even when my mom gave him coupons, he always forgot to use them cause he doesn’t think of them.

My mom is an example of a coupon lister, we will call it. She creates her list as she goes through her coupons and she only buys items she can save money on. She keeps all of her coupons in a mini accordion folder and goes through them every week for grocery shopping. I think this is a crazy waste of time. I don’t spend all day making a list off of coupons. Instead, I only keep coupons I know I will use. I don’t organize every coupon I ever see into a folder.

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All of my coupons go in my wallet with my check book. When I get to the register, I pull them out and hand them to the cashier knowing that I have gotten everything I had a coupon for. I got all of my usual items on my list and saved a little money because I happened to have coupons for the items that were already on my list.

I watch those shows on television with all the hard-core coupon clippers. I don’t know how they do it. I barely take the time to go through my mail each day never mind spending hours upon hours searching for coupons and doing math. It would be great to go to the grocery store and spend $1.00 on $500 worth of groceries but I don’t have that kind of time or willingness to buy just any brand. I have seen people on that show use hundreds of coupons in just one visit to the grocery but they pay nothing for 12 carts full of food! Unbelievable!

It’s people like those on these shows that have their purchases entirely influenced by coupons. The only time I am influenced by a coupon is when the coupon is for something I have never tried before. Trying new things can be very exciting but I wouldn’t normally spend the money on a regular basis on something I may not like. With a coupon, I don’t feel as bad spending the money in order to try it.

I love coupons when I have them but I don’t feel they influence my purchasing decisions all that often. Normally, I am on auto-pilot at the grocery store and just go by the usual things. I don’t see any reason to stray from the routine as it works just the way it is.

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