After I graduated high school in 1987, I almost immediately went to Europe to explore, not knowing when I would return to the US.  At the time I left, I don’t believe coupons were that much in my consciousness, since I come from a family of 11 children and my parents did the majority of the shopping for our family.

I lived in Europe until a few years ago and in the 20 years I spent overseas, I do not recall ever seeing coupons. I spent twelve of those years in Bratislava, Slovakia working at the international school. While in the country I heard many stories from Slovaks who had to use a sort of “ration coupon” during Communism to acquire different household goods.

Six months after I returned to the US, to finish my Psychology degree, I had a stroke caused by a large benign brain tumor I did not know I had. Four hours of surgery left me very disabled. I have minimal use of my right arm and leg and I walk with a cane. I spent a year bed-ridden, only moving to go to physical therapy a few times each week. But I was very determined to finish my degree, which I do online.

And now I am only one class away from finishing my Bachelor’s in Psychology! I have already been accepted to graduate school online to do my Master’s in Child & Adolescent Development Psychology. My goal in the immediate future is to go back overseas and work in international schools as a Guidance Counselor. The organization I worked for overseas really wants me to come back and work for them.

I am applying for this scholarship because, being disabled, I cannot work full-time at the moment and the disability insurance I receive just covers the basics. The topic for this essay is interesting to me because since I have become disabled, I have had to use coupons almost daily. Without the availability of these coupons, I would not be able to stretch my limited funds as far.

I mostly use coupons for food and small items you would find at a drug store, like a pharmacy. I did see coupons when I lived in Scotland, but I have never seen such in-depth advertising in other countries as I have seen here in the US. In Eastern Europe, they have no concept of “buy one get one free,” or “”$2.00 off if you purchase two…” Not that Eastern Europeans are unintelligent. They just have not gone at marketing principles from this angle.

A note from us at I’m In: We offer lots of ways for you to save on groceries, too!

My experience with coupons is quite limited, and it has mainly happened in the last few years, since my disability. But coupons have indeed been a great tool to use! They are not just for those like me who have low incomes, but even those who simply want to save money. The savings do add up over time, and this endeavor is well worth the time!