The first time around, I wrote a more typical essay about how a coupon can save money on the items that one would’ve bought anyways. After about a page, I decided to throw it out and give it some substance. I spent a few hours researching techniques and inspirational stories of how a single person can save tens of thousands of dollars a year on groceries with the help of coupons. With two pages of new notes, I’m ready to start new.

As a person who loves to save money, I can’t believe I haven’t turned to coupons. I’ve been using discount apps, such as RetailMeNot, to save as much as I can on my shopping trips, but I’ve ignored the possible savings available at the grocery stores. $200-300 a month can be saved with the use of store credit policies and stacks of coupons. Of course the couponing business isn’t one that someone can jump into head-first and expect to float. Time and energy must be spent searching, collecting, cutting, and using coupons.

Saving money is rarely a walk in the park. Using coupons is very time consuming, involving more than simply cutting coupons. Instead, research into different coupon sites to find certain coupons, finding sales to use them with to increase the savings, printing, gathering, organizing, and doing the math all comes into play. It’s not easy, it’s a lifestyle. But, in order to be successful, one must start out small. “A journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step.” In order to be successful, one must start with a few items with their corresponding coupons and work his way up. Stacking several coupons together can up the savings and can possibly make the items free! If a coupon calls for 50 cents off of a tube of toothpaste and the store will double the value of the coupon, that means it’s a dollar off per tube. If the fine print doesn’t specify the size of the tube, one can get the smaller size, or the travel size that costs a dollar, then the product will be free! All of these techniques can pay for the time spent working with the savings.

As a soon-to-be college student (I’m currently a postsecondary student, both enrolled in a university and a high school) who will be on her own, paying for college, as well as the daily supplies needed and used, worries me. I know that I’ll be working in between classes, as I do now, and I’ll need to do whatever I can to stretch my dollar further. From food to shampoo to other necessary products, all can be made cheaper with the help of coupons. From the advice and help of other college students, they’ve told me that they don’t use all of the free prints that the school offers each semester. With this thought in mind, instead of wasting future prints, I can use them to print off coupons in order to save. Many different sites that I researched explained how to find cheap printers and ink so that printing off coupons can be cheaper, but what’s cheaper than free paper and ink? Finding this out ahead of time makes the game plan for next year even clearer.

So how does this entire essay relate to the established prompt? I guess I got a little carried away with the excitement of this new knowledge of savings that I had to share. Anyways, do coupons influence my buying decisions? In many ways, yes! If I have a coupons for something that I don’t like or won’t use, then I won’t buy it. But if I have coupons for something that’s useful or tasty, of course I will use it! It’s also a great way to try out new brands that I might not have tried out on my own. Nothing’s better than cheaper products. Even though I love the thrill of saving money and buying things at their lowest, I know that I’ll need to control myself. I don’t want to use these coupons on products that I know ahead of time I will either throw away or will sit around without being used, I shouldn’t waste my time getting it. I need to take a step back and analyze what I’m buying, what I’m spending, and if it’s a good match. This will help me become a better spender, better buyer, and can only help me in my future. When I graduate, get married, and have a family, money will seem to get tighter. By starting early while I’m on my own, it’ll be easier and easier to do when my future family is relying on me.

I must thank I’m In for opening my eyes to this world of savings. I’ve always admired couponers from afar, but I never knew where to start. By having this scholarship opportunity, I’ve finally researched into this new field and I’ve learned the skills I know I’ll need to be successful. Debt is a scary thing and many college students leave owing money. By saving where I can and using coupons to increase those savings, I can put the saved money into my schooling and my work so that I can leave with less debt and I can sleep easier. Once again, I sincerely thank you.

A note from us at I’m In: We can help you keep the savings right at your fingertips with our free Mobile Coupon App!