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I'm in Coupons Scholarship 2014. Entry-Jessica C.

Coupons are popular to some people and there are plenty of folks out there who have mastered the art of “couponing”. Television shows, books and magazines cover “how to” and the perks of couponing, but to me, it makes no mind. It is a scrap of paper I have wedged between my cash and the local bakery’s rewards card that I forgot I had, which has expired seven months ago. I don’t lose sleep over it; it was only going to save me $0.15 off a can of soup, anyway. Coupons are not important enough in life for me. Whether or not I allow coupons to influence my shopping experience, it is my prerogative and I say they hardly influenced me at all.

My father has taught me the value of the American dollar.  In fact, my whole family consists of truly hard laborers and we all know what it takes to put food on the table and a roof over our heads. We do not mind spending the money we make because we know how we earned it and what we deserve. Having eight years of working experience at my young age is also a factor when it comes to my mindset of the importance of money. Since I earn my money the way I do, I am the only one who decides what and when I spend and save, and a coupon with a timed offer is surely not going to decide that for me.

When one works hard for their money, they have the right on how they spend it, although, there is always a responsibility to abide. When I go out knowing I will be spending money, such as grocery shopping, I do look through the newspaper for any coupons for products I will be purchasing, but if I do not find a coupon on the particular hairspray, soap or coconut water, I will still be making my purchase.  If I know I will be dining at a specific restaurant, I will look online for any offers the restaurant is having, but if there is not one, I will still enjoy my meal at that restaurant. My original plan will not change just because I can’t locate a coupon. I will not change my plan of action because there is no “buy one get one free” offer on the entrées.

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Coupons usually put me in a stressful mood because there are rules and stipulations the shopper needs to keep in mind when using them such as not being used with any other offers, certain locations do not honor the coupon, expiration dates, and a certain number of ounces on a product label may not meet the qualifications. All of these are written in the fine print, and even though it is read, it may not be clearly understood by the consumer. How would one know which location may not accept the coupon? How would someone know that a company might actually be willing accept expired coupons? There are factors involved that someone may not even know about coupons because they may be ashamed to ask to save themselves a few dollars. I ask, is it really worth it? The deadlines of a coupon seem like work to me and if I’m leisurely shopping, I do not want to feel like I am at work.

I consider the coupon to be a bonus, not a necessity. I do not live by them. As mentioned, I have the right to spend my money as I so choose and if the advertisement isn’t putting the item on sale, it makes no difference to me. I buy what I need when I need it, not when a store is ready to advertise a discount. I am not the type of person to be told when to buy something, how much of it I need to buy, and what type I need to buy.

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