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I'm in Coupons Scholarship 2014. Entry-Harpreet D.

If I was asked this question a couple months ago, I would have said no but my vision on couponing has completely changed recently. I have spent the past couple months reading a lot of finance/self-improvement books/blogs to better the life of my family and I. While doing this reading, I came across the Krazy Coupon Lady blog. This is a site set up by two women who dedicate their time in matching up local sales to coupon/promo codes to find the best deal possible. From reading their e-book, website and watching TLC’s Extreme Couponing show, my view towards couponing has completely changed.

Although couponing takes time and dedication, to me the outcome is worth it. I have downloaded apps such as Ibotta, Checkout 151, Snap, Wal-Mart Savings Catcher, Shopmium, Jingit, Savings Catcher and Receipt Hog to earn additional money on the side to help with couponing. Of the ones I’ve mentioned I would say I use Ibotta, Checkout 151, Snap and Wal-Mart Savings Catcher the most. In the past few months, I’ve earned $58 in Ibotta, $10 in Checkout 151,  $5 in Snap and $22 in Wal-Mart Savings Catcher.  Checkout 151 and Snap require you to save $20 before you can redeem the cash but Ibotta redemption is only $10 and Wal-Mart Savings Catcher doesn’t have a limit so those are my top two apps. I do not online shop that often but I’ve downloaded the UPromise, Ebates and Honey extensions to help me earn more cash on things I previously do. I currently have $40 in both of those accounts. After saving so much money for not changing my grocery list I think twice before I have to buy something that does not give me cash back/extra buck reward.

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I was not planning on starting Graduate School so soon but after the Academic Director waived the GMAT test for me based upon my work experience I had to find a way to make extra cash on the side since my program is $46,700. I do help my parents out with the finances but these programs give me the opportunity to get things for 70-90% off so why wouldn’t someone take advantage of that. As my parents say, every penny counts and online savings calculators have shown that $20 wasted today will cost you a day of your life in retirement. Being raised my immigrant parents, my parents were not aware of all of these saving opportunities. Now I just imagine how much I could have saved if I had realized their options months (if not years earlier).

Although there are pros of couponing there are cons as well. For example on coupons.com, you can only print two coupons per machine and some rebates have a limit of the number of redemptions per household. I remember how discouraged I was when I started couponing and having a line of people behind me at the cash register. Anxiety would kick in wondering if my transactions were going to go along smoothly and some haven’t where I have had to wait for the manager to come over and inspect the items to override the system if my coupon wasn’t working but as soon as I get home and scan in my receipts and see how much I’m getting back/savings it is like giving a chocolate cake to a child. I can definitely see how some people become extreme couponers and have stock piles. Nowadays I get things like mouthwash, shampoo and toothpaste for free. I do have a small stockpile in the middle closet of our house but the way I see it is if we are going to use it, I can always donate it to someone in need. When I help my family get things for cheaper/free, it gives me a great feeling knowing I’m doing something to make their financial worry go down. It makes me feel like a great daughter knowing they can go to sleep worrying less about money/bills/their retirement. I’ve never looked at shopping the same after being introduced to the coupon world and the wonders it can do to your life.

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