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I'm in Coupons Scholarship 2014. Entry-Janine K.

As a full time working mother of two young boys, couponing and the influence of them does not appeal to me. I am a savvy, budget following person and, most the time, coupons do not save me enough money for the time I have to put into it to save a buck or two.

Many coupon lovers disagree with this statement, but I have tried it all. I had relatives save me their coupon ads. I have had people order me the newspaper so I can get extra coupons on Sundays, but all in all, after I wasted a lot of time and money, I did not save enough.

Back in 2007, I started couponing. My husband was out of work and I thought this could be a better time than ever to start. I applied for my free membership and point cards to Walgreens, CVS, Giant Eagle, etc. and I was on my way to the big dream I saw so many people do.

I spent a little money in the beginning for good scissors, organizers and more. I would Google “best ways to organize coupons” because I had a hard time keeping them all straight.

My husband was supportive of my stockpile when I had it. That was nice, I will admit. Having a stockpile because of free stuff was neat. But, dragging two boys to the store, making them “help” me clip coupons, organizing, and picking up ads from people made me insane. I would follow many blogs to find the best free toothpaste deal for the week. My sister and I would try to go to the stores together and have the cashier confused on the coupons we would bring to the register. I am sure, nowadays, the cashier expects it because there are many more couponing people out there. I have even seen free library classes to learn how to join this craze.

After about a year, maybe more, my stockpile started to fade and I was sick of finding the time to cut coupons weekly. I wanted to spend more time with my family. It would save us money, but a lot of the coupons were used on unhealthy things such as processed foods and unhealthy snacks.

Nowadays, my life now consists of a bulk store membership. We shop at off brand places and a bulk supply place. It is worth it for a membership fee to us. It is different for other people, and I have seen so many people save a ton of money couponing, but it is not for me.

I also know people who will only shop at one store for their groceries. I have noticed I am a “many store” type of person. I find deals from the ads at my local grocery stores and shop for the best deals in that way. It saves me a lot of money just doing that. I also plan my meals, from breakfast to dinner. I try to stay with the grocery ad with what is on sale. Again, it saves me money, but it takes up time. I shop for a lot for produce and fresh groceries, which couponing rarely had for me. I remember one time buying 10 boxes of Hamburger Helper. It stayed in the pantry for way too long. We don t like to eat out of the box like that.

I now put that money I used to save into used things. I shop at consignment shops and craigslist for clothing items and toys for the kids. You would not believe the stuff I find. Recently, I found a used toddler bed in great condition, right down the road from us for $30. The website had one for $130. That saves me a lot more than a coupon would!

A note from us at I’m In:  We can help you save on toys and games, too at I’m In!

I spend more time with my kids than clipping coupons. My grandmother still saves me her coupon ads, and I will occasionally look at them, but I no longer go coupon crazy like I did in the past. I do admire those who can keep up with the every changing couponing craze! Good luck!

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