Every day we are exposed to advertisements proudly showing off the newest iPhone, boasting about a new club or dining option, and reassuring you that, although your home is nice as is, you would be much happier with all new hardwood flooring or a state-of-the-art 80-inch flat screen television. While living in a society that is more than happy to promote the materialistic portions life has to offer, we also run into the problem of money. How are we supposed to afford all of these new innovations when the initial price tag would easily break the common person’s bank? This is where the “Golden Ticket” of modern America comes into play; The Coupon. Invented in 1895 by a Philadelphia pharmacist, the coupon allowed the buyer of the now-famous Coca-Cola company to promote his new product while the general public enjoyed a free drink of Coke. Since then, the idea has boomed, and more companies used this technique in order to sell more of their product. Having a coupon greatly affects whether or not I buy a product because it makes me feel like I am getting a good deal.

The idea of getting a good deal makes anyone feel better about buying goods, whether they are necessary or not. I’ll be the first to admit that Groupon, BOGO’s, and seeing a “75% Off” sign at my local convenience store has a sort of magnetic field that drags me in. Sure, I already have an entire drawer-full of tank tops, but would having more really kill me? It’s on sale 5 for $5 and I love the brand name, so why not? And let’s not forget Starbucks with their crazy BOGO Sales on what seems to be every Holiday! I only have to pay for one over-priced cup of coffee and get another for free. Unfortunately, more often than not, the things that I do buy on sale are usually not necessary to own. However, I am able to shake off the guilty feeling because I had a coupon. Of course, there are also practical reasons as to why I buy things that I have coupons for. Since I am now a college student, I need to be careful as to where and when I spend my money; should I splurge and buy the biggest name brand of laundry detergent, or should I buy the cheaper brand? If I have a coupon, I will go ahead and buy the detergent my family used growing up (or, the expensive brand). If not? I’ll grab the cheaper of the two. The same goes for food, clothes, and when and where I go out just for fun. Unfortunately, my parents were right; Money does NOT grow on trees. In order to help myself get the most for my money, I look ahead of time for coupons, make sure to head for the clearance racks first, and look to see if there are any matinee shows for the newest movie at the theater. This way, I am able to enjoy myself while also feeling comfortable with how much money I’m giving in order to do so. When living in a society that always demands the spending of more money, it is always very helpful to have deals, coupons, and other forms of saving money in order to enjoy life.

Being honest with myself, I enjoy spending money. Especially if I am getting a good deal! I feel as if everyone feels this way in some form or another; forking over cash for stuff (no matter how necessary or unnecessary it is) is fun, especially when I get a deal out of it! Being a “common person”, I do not want my bank account to drain fast over the newest products. However, who doesn’t want a new iPhone, hard wood floors, and 80-inch flat screen while enjoying high-class dining before dancing the night away at the newly-built club? This is why I love coupons and make it a point to use them; enjoyment with a smaller price tag and the feeling of accomplishment that follows it.

A special note from the imin.com scholarship committee:  Joelle has explained not only the history of coupons, but how she uses them in her every day life.   Like her, try our Starbucks coupons to save big!