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I'm in Coupons Scholarship 2014. Entry-Elisha E.

Couponing is often a thing we associate with those who are elderly, on television, or have a limited field of financial holdings.  Coupons are known to be extremely useful; all one must do is pay for a newspaper, and the possibilities for higher savings are broadened; but it’s not something many people do.  There are some whose finances rely heavily on saving as much money saving as possible, but others, like myself, prefer to go without the hassle of cutting out bits of paper very often.  Why don’t I do it? The answer, simply put, is because my family doesn’t do it, and why we don’t is most likely that we aren’t in a tighter financial situation.  That doesn’t mean, however, that we don’t know how to handle or save our money well.

I was born and raised in a more thrifty environment, but coupons weren’t really part of my family life.  It wasn’t that we didn’t have any; in fact, our appropriately termed “junk drawer” was simply overcrowded with sheets of magazine paper for various restaurants, pizza parlors and fast food places.  It was more of the fact that we didn’t really use them when we had them.  My grandmother, however, is an adamant user of coupons.  She carries coupons for fast food places as well as for craft stores; but she only carries coupons for places where she actually makes purchases from.   But the most prominent influence on my purchasing decisions are not coupons; that would actually be my parents.

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My mother and father; particularly my father; make excellent spending choices.  Both having grown up in slightly poorer environments, each developed their own financial managing technique, only a minority of which consisted of couponing.  My grandfather on Mom’s side was, simply put, a cheap spender; he had various techniques for stretching a dollar a good ways, and taught my mother to do much of the same.  My father generally managed his own way, and he learned several methods of saving his cash.  Even so, neither of them used coupons often as a chief means of breadwinning.  Therefore, coupons have not had a very strong effect on our lives.

One reason for this may be that we try to avoid clutter.  As I said before, the coupons we do have tend to get left around, forgotten, and eventually torn up or smashed somewhere out of the way.  Also said before, our junk drawer is the recipient of much of this clutter.  And let me tell you, trying to keep a house with six kids from being cluttered is just shy of impossible.

Another possibility is that, for us, it seems couponing may have been associated with extremism, which is something we generally tend to avoid.  As of yet, aside from myself, there are approximately three other teenagers in the house.  This tends to trigger a due amount of melodrama, which gets tiresome after the seventh or eighth bout.  There are also two other under-teen minors, who cause a good deal of ruckus stampeding around the house.  What with the lack of what some could call peace and quiet, extreme circumstances are generally avoided at all costs; including the hassles accompanying devoted couponing.

These extremes, however, are not shirked by my mother’s mom.  Commonly known by essentially everyone as “Mama Ruth,” she has developed, as a result of being married to my grandfather, expertise skills at couponing, money saving and bargain prices.  If anyone has used coupons the most effectively in my family, it would be her.  She enjoys taking the younger children out to eat for lunch, particularly if she has a two-for-one combo option, or on a “Kids Eat Free” day of the week.  Any cash she doesn’t have to spend is well earned for her.  Still, aside from her, coupons haven’t really been a large part of my life.

Couponing is a good idea for the frugal, but my family isn’t frugal in that way.  The hassle of collecting, cutting and using coupons was too much time for us to take out of our day.  We still use gas points and buy things on sale, but coupons aren’t really part of our lives.

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