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

Human versus Register

It is an early Saturday morning that smells of the crisp holiday weather and fresh ink. We sit surrounded by bright blues and deep reds of inserts from the local paper. It encircles us in a haphazard ring. We are braced with our protective binders that are stuffed with plastic holders that house the coupons. Scissors are our weapon of choice as we focus on the task at hand.  Breakfast is on hold until we finish our duty.

This is not an unusual sight. It is a weekend ritual that is sacredly performed by my entire family. We are a couponing family. My mother leads us, her trusty soldiers, into the strategy meeting. We comb through a 100s of coupons for items for deals and steals. The head editor and chief, my mother, makes all final decisions on what coupons are clipped and what coupons are banished to the trash bin. The coupons chosen are sorted into subsections based on type of product. Some titles include “shaving and deodorant,” and “breakfast food.” These coupons are then cross-referenced with weekly deals and specials at the local stores.

Yet, all the deals offered do not include all the products we use. Coupons are offered for products such as razors and frozen food. We have rarely come across one that offers deals on fresh fruit or vegetables. The deals are limited in nature to big companies that have the ability to print coupons in the paper. This causes a bias on the products purchased. The purchasing decision on one item can be affected on whether it has an associated coupon.

My immediate family consists of my mother, father, my two sisters and I. My dad is losing at a 4 to 1 ratio. Having three teenage girls at one time demands an abundance of products such as for hair styling and hygiene. We live in a three bedroom townhome and share one bathroom. A peek into our bathroom would offer a clear image of the chaos. This is not by choice. My parents built the life my sisters and I have from the scraps that young parenting has to offer. They at times worked multiple jobs to reduce the struggle. The result of their perseverance is the life I now enjoy.

Coupons have been a part of my life when shopping at stores. The coupons offered determine which brand is purchased if there is an option. For example, if a coupon can be used to buy a brand of toothpaste for cheaper than the competitor that brand is the one placed in the shopping cart. This causes different brands to be purchased. We have tried many different brands of products of items such as deodorant, frozen foods, hair mousse, and granola bars. To be honest we have purchased many brands that we swear we would never buy again even if a coupon is offered. Since many brands offered coupons, we have been exposed to more of a variety and forced to try new products that we now use religiously.

A note from us at I’m In: Savour best deals on your next trip to store and keep saving!

Also, using a coupon just makes sense. A few cents saved on one item seems petty, but coupons can add up to great savings. For example, my mother was able to purchase four bottles of shampoo, one box of granola bars, two bottles of hand soap, and three bags of candy using coupons. She paid under a dollar. While these achievements may not be up to par with “extreme couponers” as seen on the show aired on TLC, their impact should not be underestimated. The money saved using coupons is money that can be spent on more fun activities.

In essence, coupons are an aid to my shopping. They bear some of the load through discounts and deals. Coupons may not decide all the products I buy, but it can help determine the brand that is chosen for purchase. I will seize the opportunity to save money in any way possible without sacrificing quality. Also, the dollars saved while couponing adds up for the use of other activities such as going on vacation. For these reasons I will continue to skim through the weekend papers and inserts and clip away at as many coupons that I can. I am armed with my coupons, and I am ready.

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