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I'm in Coupons Scholarship 2014. Entry-Kylie L.

Two years ago when I was living at home and my parents paid for all of the groceries, then I would answer that coupons did not influence my purchasing decisions. If there was a certain food or item that someone or myself needed, we would buy it whether we had a coupon for it or not. My family is fortunate enough that we don’t have to worry about each penny we spend.

Now that I’m at college, living on my own and paying for all my own groceries, my answer has changed. At college, I pay for everything that I want or need. My parents do not give me money for anything. Paying for books, tuition, groceries, gas, etc., can be very stressful. I try to spend as little money as possible. Going to the grocery store has changed dramatically. I used to pick out anything, whether I truly needed it or just wanted it. Now, I don’t buy things just because I want them. Sometimes there are things I actually need but I still don’t buy just to try and save as much money as possible. When I see something in the store, I ask myself if I really need that item and if I can live without it. If I can live without it, I don’t buy it. Coupons are a great way to get what you need and still save money.

My roommate and I print out coupons that are available for everything we plan to buy before each grocery shopping trip. Usually we find ourselves eating foods we don’t even like just because it was on sale for cheap with a coupon and we saved money. Coupons don’t cost anything to get and save money, so there really isn’t a reason not to use them. My roommate and I watch “Extreme Couponing” on TLC. We joke about becoming an extreme couponer. However, college students don’t really have time to cut out thousands of coupons every week. We also don’t have room or need a stock pile consisting of 300 toothbrushes. We settle for using just a few coupons rather than multiple coupons for each item.

A note from us at I’m In: We can help you save a bunch with grocery coupons!

Living away from your family is a huge adjustment. I moved three hours away from my home. Many of the students I know live pretty close to school. They typically go home every weekend and when they do they have their parents’ buy them things they need and then bring it back to school. I only go home once a month at the most, so I don’t have the option. When I do go home, I stock up and take back as much as possible, but it’s never enough to last.

I don’t get coupons in the mail. I use www.coupons.com for all of my coupons. They make it easy by showing all the coupons they offer, you simply click the ones you want and then print them out. They always have great deals on frozen pizza, which is every college student’s meal at least three times a week. College has made me grateful for home cooked meals. While I am very thankful that there are coupons that let me buy frozen pizzas for $1.50, nothing beats coming home to a home cooked meal. I will continue to use coupons throughout my college years and even after I graduate.

There is a great feeling of accomplishment when you get to the cash register and you see how much money you saved by using coupons. Imagine how much money can be saved by printing out free coupons and applying them. It really adds up. I think the people that don’t use coupons don’t really care if they’re saving money or not. Personally, if there is something that I can do to save money, even if it is a few cents, I’m going to do it every time.

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