As a first year college student, I think that it’s very easy for me to say—on behalf of my other fellow college students—that we are broke. A majority of college students take out loans to pay for school, work during their undergrad and graduate years to help pay off some of the loan, focus heavily on studying, and still try to always find some time for fun. With all of that, it’s hard to find money for food if you don’t have a meal plan. That’s why whenever I go grocery shopping with my sister (who is a second year student), we always make sure to look for coupons.

A note from us at I’m In:  We offer lots of ways for you to save on groceries at I’m In!

Coupons definitely impact what I end up buying. Why pay $45 dollars for food or clothes when I can use a 10% off coupon or any coupon for an individual item that doubles to lower the cost? Growing up, my mother always used coupons. Money was never a surplus in my house so we would go through all the coupons in the Sunday newspaper for groceries, clothes, and makeup, anything that we would want. Even now, I still check newspapers or online offers of coupons.

I think that when you are a college student or just someone who is tight on money, coupons will be your best friend for life. Have you seen TLC’s Extreme Couponing? That will alter your way of thinking for the rest of your life. Forget wanting to be an astrophysicist, extreme couponing is the way to go. Watching these people save all that money, basically buying hundreds of dollars worth of groceries for $30-something is amazing. If they can do it, so I can—maybe to not that extent though.

Couponing really does impact how I decide to spend my money. Being tight on money like I am right now, I want to make sure that whatever I do spend my money on; I spend it on something worthwhile that I really do need in my life. I also want to get that item for the least amount of money that I can. Coupons definitely do help. Let’s think about this scenario: My dirty laundry is piling up and I won’t be coming back home until mid December and it’s late September right now. I can’t just keep letting it pile up until I get home for my mom to do because pretty soon, I’m going to run out of clothes and that’s not a good thing my friends. So I make a trip to Target. Target has a magazine at the front of the store will coupons for Tide. I make my way to the cleaning isle and I notice that Tide, All, Ultra, Mr. Clean, and a few other detergents are on the shelf. Now most of them are priced relatively the same but the Target magazine has a Tide “Buy one, get one free” coupon attached to it. It’s just common sense that I will get the Tide detergent to take advantage of the buy one free. It’s a waste of money and time if I just bought one container of Ultra detergent because 1. I would be buying just one can of detergent instead of getting two and 2. Buying one means that I would have to make a trip back to Target pretty soon again to buy more detergent when I could have just bought both Tide’s and called it day. No one is going to say that the coupons don’t help him or her get what they need for the cheapest amount.

The idea of coupons is to benefit the consumers so why not take advantage of that? Using the coupons to influence your buying decisions is one of the smartest things anyone can do that does need to focus on saving and spending money wisely. Looking through magazines, websites, and newspapers could end up saving you a good amount of money that you can use for something more important like making a loan payment or buying some books for your Organic Chemistry class. I definitely use coupons regularly and saying that they don’t make a difference would be a lie. Of course I don’t save $572 when I shop live the people on Extreme Couponing, but I do save enough money that I’m able to have some on the side for anything that I will need in the future.  Coupons are definitely something that impacts my decisions on what to buy.