As I shop with my mom in preparation for dorm life as a college freshman, I can state emphatically that the availability or absence of coupons for specific items definitely influences my shopping choices. With the help of online, email and old school paper coupons, I’ve stockpiled quite a collection of toiletries, foodstuffs and décor for my new home away from home. In a way, I consider coupons the “scholarships” of shopping!  I worked hard to earn the grades that led to my academic scholarships, why wouldn’t I put in a little time and effort and save as much money as possible by shopping with coupons? And it’s not just about what I can save for myself, it’s about sharing amazing deals with others. My girlfriends who are going away to school have gone with me on a few of these shopping trips and they are hooked. Now they can continue to save money and stretch their college budgets on campuses in Arizona, Florida, Washington and Massachusetts!

I remember grocery shopping with my mom and helping her organize and use the coupons we collected from the Sunday paper.  And August was a great month because we could fill my backpack with school supplies for $10.00! Then, when I was a little older, there was the thrill of Black Friday shopping; we plotted our strategy and waited in line with other bargain hungry strangers who became friends by the time the doors opened. Now, I’m an adult and I can find a discount on just about anything by searching online or clicking my smartphone. After learning about, it has become a favorite resource.

A note from us at I’m In: You can download our mobile app get instant savings to your smartphone, too!

How to get the most for our money and how to live within a budget are two of the obvious lessons I learned from my mom.  But she took it a step farther and taught me to share: the extra groceries and toiletries were donated to the food pantry at church, all those deals on markers, crayons and paper filled shoeboxes for Christmas delivery around the world, and the savings on toys allowed us to grant wishes from the Christmas trees in the mall for local children.

As a high school junior and senior, I was able to fund a service project with the help of donations and shopping with coupons.  My friends and I filled knapsacks and tote bags to create activity packs for patients in the local children’s hospitals and homeless shelters. Interacting with so many people actually helped me decide what to study in college.  After considering teaching, physical therapy and nursing, I am going to study nursing at Grand Canyon University. I am so excited about this amazing, challenging opportunity.  The nursing program puts together outreach projects and I know that my coupon savings expertise will help me contribute in the future.

Now that I know about the “I’m in” coupon website (, I’ve used this resource to check out and find deals at stores in Arizona so I know where to find the things I need that we can’t fit in the car and drive over. It’s going to help me find great deals on family birthday gifts, services and clothes when the weather changes. If I have to choose between shopping at a store that offers a coupon or a store that does not, I’ll try the one with savings offered first, always!

I love the lessons my mom taught me and I hope that while I’m studying at college and working as many jobs as I can to help pay for school,  I never forget that the reason it’s important to save money is so that you can pay cash for your expenses, save for a rainy day and emergencies, and GIVE!! Shopping with coupons helps me keep these goals in sight and makes this new college adventure seem a little less scary.