Soon, the young girl who used to attend a high school and return home to her mother and sister will be attending a college on the other side of the country. Usually, she would be ecstatic to travel to a new location she had never seen before and create a new adventure for herself, but happiness turned to fear soon as she watched her mother cash in every check she received just to feed her children. Courtney was terrified to ask how her mother was able to pay the bills or afford her going to Oregon State University, but she knew that even if she asked, her mother would not answer her.

Coupons… coupons were the answer to all of her mother’s problems in the past. When a season was approaching, Courtney and her mother would sit down and search through the papers and ads in order to find coupons whether it is for food, clothing, or back to school shopping.

Now, I have a job babysitting, and I am preparing myself for living on my own in a state where no known friends are around and no family is near to rescue me. I looked upon myself as dependent before, but now I am slowly proving to myself that I can be independent and self-reliant. No longer will I look upon my past in fear, but with passion and my eyes open to learn from past experiences.

Most teenagers and young adults who first acquire a job spend their earnings quickly on clothing and other items, no matter the cost due to their excitement of having their own money to spend. Yes, I had that accomplishment, but the best experience I learned from was looking for coupons in order to save my money for a bigger picture, future bills that I will acquire, such as my college tuition and debts that I will acquire.

One of the most exciting things about Oregon is the weather where many days are very hot in the summer, but the winters are tough and unbearable as well. One of the college expenses that I needed to purchase over the summer was clothing. When I began the summer, I only had enough clothes to fill one dresser drawer, and doing laundry twice a week would be too expensive, and there were no coupons for doing laundry at college, detergent yes, but starting the washing machine and drier, no.

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It was a tricky journey. For one, I hated shopping for clothes with a passion because it is difficult to distinguish between what one needs and what one wants. Traveling through woods and treacherous paths, I felt prodded with emotions such as poked with thorns when I had to put a cute shirt back on the rack. Walking in rain, snow, and maybe a tornado, I was losing hope when I was looking through newspapers and finding coupons for stores I would never go to or coupons for items that I would never choose to wear. How could I shop for a new wardrobe and be happy with the clothing items I chose? Finally, I realized that like many things, they can be found online. Target, Kohl’s, Kmart, and Debs all sent coupons and clearance sale notifications to emails, such as mine. For good measure, I even applied for coupons for a coffee shop. If I needed coffee one morning, at least I was not eating out of my savings too much.

My favorite part about shopping now is looking at the bottom of the receipt to see how much money I saved. Every cent that I saved helps reassure me of the amount of money that I have towards laundry detergent, hygiene products, tuition, and school books.

If purchasing an item is necessary, a lack of a coupon will not prevent me from making the purchase, but if there is an item that I am unsure of purchasing and I do have a coupon or there is an amazing sale, most likely I will purchase the item. A coupon or sale can be the selling point to my purchases.