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I'm in Coupons Scholarship 2014. Entry-Jacalyn B.

The prompt given asks, “Do coupons influence your purchasing decisions… why, or why not?” (http://www.imin.com/college-scholarship/) The answer I would have to give at this point in time is yes, it does.  Though I am not the best “couponer” in the world I do have to look for them and use them as often as I can in order to make ends meet now a days.  I am legally considered a single mom as of April 12, 2014 to a beautiful baby boy that is my entire world. Though my love for him is unending it makes it very difficult to find time to be a full time student and hold a part time job. Luckily for me I have a great support system and his father is still in the picture and working as much as he can to help us get ahead in life. Even with both of us working we can’t manage to save anything to get out of my parents house and be a true family on our own.  We use coupons as often as possible to save every last penny we can, but between rent, diapers, wipes, gas to get back and forth from school and work, and food for all of us we can’t manage to find that penny to be saved.  I am grateful to be able to have coupons to get us more for less though so we are not pinching pennies to get food to last us through the week. Coupons help my new family get by from week to week, as well as make sure that I do not have to drop out of school to help support my family.

My fiancé gets paid on a weekly basis and most of that money goes to food for the week for my son, my father (who we currently live with), my fiancé and I. The coupons we use help us save enough money to give my dad rent.  We even manage to find coupons to get discounts on diapers. One would think that getting paid weekly from a full time job would be easy for us to make ends meet and be able to save up, but there is one problem with that.  I have a gluten allergy.  Everything I buy to eat has to be gluten free and they do not give out many coupons for gluten free food, which has a tendency to be the most expensive.  For an example: bread normally costs about three dollars for someone who is not a gluten free diet. The gluten free bread I get costs close to six dollars. That’s basically double what everyone else has to pay to eat a regular diet.  So, whatever my fiancé gets for himself and our son to eat has to be determined on if we have a coupon for my gluten free version or if there is one for the non-gluten free version that they get. The coupons make it so that way no one in the house is starving.

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They also help me stay in school and continue my education to become a moderate to intensive intervention specialist, or for short special education teacher.  This has been my passion since I was a senior in high school.  It has completely turned my life around for the better and given me a reason to succeed in life.  Before I started working with students with autism my parents were positive that I would not graduate high school, because I had no motivation or interest in anything school related. Then by some odd stroke of luck I found this program that allowed me to work with these students and they encouraged me to double my GPA so that I could get into a college with a 3.0.  Now I struggle with getting the costs together to keep my family afloat while trying to go to school, work and take care of my six-month-old son.  I worry that at some point I will have to drop out so that I can help my family gets where it needs to be, in our own house relying one hundred percent on ourselves and not being a burden on my parents.  Coupons are currently making it so that I do not feel as much of a burden because we pay rent and we get food for the house and for now we are providing for our son all by ourselves.

“Do coupons influence your purchasing decision… why, or why not?” Yes, because without them I would not be able to remain in school and help take care of my family.  I would not be able to get the proper nutrition that I need to survive without being in an intense amount of pain from my allergy. Without coupons I would be struggling a lot more than I already am to make ends meet.  They are keeping me in school and helping my family survive.  They definitely have a good influence on my purchasing decisions.

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