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I'm in Coupons Scholarship 2014. Entry-David He.

Black Friday is one of the scariest nights of all. I went to a Black Friday sale at Walmart two years ago figuring it clever to strategize with my family and save for the upcoming holiday. I arrived with one mission: to help my mom buy the nice, sleek crockpot she had needed for some time. If we got that, our night would be a success. My family and I left the chaotic parking lot, walked through the automatic doors, and were nearly stopped in our tracks. Men, women, teenagers, and children were standing guard around several different plastic-wrapped pallets, each mound of gifts with their own supply of great deals. The discounts were incredible and the people were poised, ready to attack and get their deals like their life depended on it. When it reached the hour, everyone dove towards the items as if it were their first Christmas. Crazy discounts influence our decisions, and it is safe to say coupons do to.

Coupons are discounts on paper that, when it comes time to redeem, offer great deals that might even compare with the sales at Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and the other holiday sales we love. While there may be conditions as to when and where we can use them, we tend to take advantage of opportunities when possible to save money if we find the deal too good to resist.

A note from us at I’m In: Enjoy the best sale offers and continue to save!

To begin, the most influential word in finance is free. Free means we can cheat the system and get something without having to invest all of our hard earned money. Coupons offering “buy one get one” deals are an opportunity to earn double—in other words, we can leave with twice as much as we originally expected to get. This makes for a great opportunity to buy something for ourselves and possibly for others too without using more cash than we expected. It leads us to believe we can, in fact, save money. Some companies even offer free items without adding any conditions. Market Street is an excellent example. The grocery store emails participating customers once a month with the newest and best deals. Personally, our family has been able to get everyday items from both familiar and new brands for free, and in the process have tried some products we might not have purchased otherwise.

While we all love the word free, coupons offering free items might be few in number, or hard to redeem. So, while free is a great choice, it might not always be an option. But, coupons allowing a percentage off on purchases prove we can get still save money. When coupons state cashback rewards like “ten dollars off when purchasing twenty five dollars’ worth or more” or offer discounts at the register, “fifty percent off”, it shows how we are definitely saving money. One of the greatest examples is when my family shops for our mom at Bath and Body Works, which sells lotions and candles. During the Christmas holidays the franchise has a deal where lotions’ and candles’ prices are discounted with coupons received in the mail. We have one currently that allows us a few bucks off if we purchase one of their holiday items. While the lotions and candles would be a little more to purchase during a regular work day, we know that the best times to get something for her are the holidays when these items can be purchased with coupons. This is great because we can save money while still getting her the favorite items she loves.

Whether it is for food, candles, lotions or something else, most everyone loves a good deal. While we all have needs and want, sometimes pricier items take a little convincing. With a discounted price, a percentage off, or free—which are the ones we like most—we learn to love coupons, save big, and put money back in our pockets for the holidays.

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