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I'm in Coupons Scholarship 2014. Entry-Lilliana O.

Clipping Coupons = Cutting Costs

Coupons hugely influence my purchasing decisions. As a financially independent full-time college student, I can’t afford not to use them! All of the money that I save while shopping goes toward my college tuition payments, and I’m proud to say that coupons have, in part, helped me get through two years of college with no debt. Although the task is daunting, I hope to complete the rest of my undergraduate and graduate careers without taking out student loans. I plan to continue using coupons to save money along the way. I would like to influence others to save money by using coupons as well, no matter what their financial situations may be. I hope that my essay will convince people to take a second look at coupons, and to learn to turn them into savings.

Many people see coupons as ordinary pieces of paper, and some people even seem embarrassed to use them. There is no shame in wanting or needing to be frugal. I truly don’t understand the stigma that comes with using coupons, because I see them as free money. To me, a person with a stack of coupons holds as much wealth as a person with a stack of dollar bills. The only difference between the two is that coupons are not a common currency as the dollar bills are. I understand that there are certain things that coupons cannot buy, but why not use them whenever possible? One excuse that I often hear is, “I don’t have time to clip coupons!” But if I can do it (while being in an Engineering college full-time and juggling three part-time jobs), anyone can.

Although I don’t have as much time to devote to clipping coupons as an “extreme couponer” does, I dedicate a few minutes each week to finding coupons to use while shopping. All it takes is a little bit of time and patience, and some basic math. Searching for coupons and deals to use on items that I already purchase can save me up to $50 per week, depending on what I buy. Coupon savings really do add up! I often hear statements like, “Save $0.25? That coupon isn’t even worth clipping.” Any coupon is worth clipping, as long as it’s for an item that will be used or consumed. This reminds me of another excuse I’ve heard for someone not wanting to use coupons: “I can’t find any coupons for my favorite brand-name items, and I don’t want to change brands.” Because it’s so easy to locate coupons online for thousands of different items, I have not needed to change many of my preferences. Those that I did change were only slightly different, and ended up saving me a lot of money. To me, being brand-flexible and taking a little bit of time to seek out coupons for the items that I shop for is unquestionably worthwhile. Watching the total drop on a cash register as a cashier scans my coupons is exhilarating and rewarding! Every cent that is subtracted from the total is mine to spend on my education, so that someday I can be in a better position than I am now. But even then, I will continue to use coupons.

In a country where the distribution of wealth is incredibly uneven, where roughly 46 million people1 (including myself) are
impoverished, and the average amount of student loan debt is $29,4002, money truly is hard to come by. Coupons, however, are plentiful. It’s time to banish all embarrassment and excuses, and start clipping coupons! As I mentioned before, coupons are not exactly synonymous with money, but they can be used in a similar fashion in a multitude of situations. And they should be used whenever possible. I hope that this essay has encouraged people to reconsider using coupons if they do not already do so, and has inspired those who do use coupons to continue doing so. Just remember: If I can do it, anyone can. Happy saving!

1 According to 

2 According to

A note from the Scholarship Committee: Lilliana gave us some facts on why it is important to use coupons.  Check out the featured coupons on our site to find great ones for you to use!

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