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I'm in Coupons Scholarship 2014. Entry-Madeline J.

Coupons play a very small role in my shopping trips. First of all, I never actually seek out coupons. The people who I watch with awe on “Extreme Couponers” would absolutely hate me. Thank goodness my mother isn’t an avid couponer, or I might be disowned for my lack of coupon usage. The only coupons that I ever use are ones that are either on the product itself in the store or those that print out when I get my receipt at the end of my transaction. That being said, most of the coupons that print out at the register I have found to usually be for things that I never buy. Therefore most of these coupons end up getting thrown out immediately when I get home or even left at the register for the next unsuspecting customer. Even when there are coupons for food items that I do buy, I usually do not use the coupon because I have found that the store brand is almost always a better deal. In this case, I will keep the coupon for the item that I typically buy and compare the price of the brand name product to that of the store brand product before going with the cheapest option. I would much rather pay full price on a store brand item than get 50 cents off of that essentially same item that is marked up $1.00 because of marketing costs. If by some miraculous wonder the name brand is on sale and the coupon makes it’s final price come down to the same as the store brand, then I will willingly go with the brand name. I’m almost positive that those brand name people hope that this will happen and hope that by buying their normally overpriced item you will be lured back to buy it even when it is not on sale and there is no coupon. So, I just smile every time I buy the name brand for the same price or cheaper because I know what they don’t know – that I will absolutely buy whatever is cheapest next time (which will most likely not be their precious name brand).

When I go shopping I have a pretty basic list of things that I need which I replenish as I run out of them. This list usually includes fresh fruit and vegetables, meat, and milk. Before I am ready to head out to the store I will make my list of things that I need and then match that up to my stores discount coupons such as mperks for Meijer, cartwheel for Target, or Walmart’s app). I make sure I have the deals “clipped” for those items that I am going to buy before I leave the house. As I am searching through, I don’t pass right over all of the other offers. I make a mental note of each one in case there is something that I need that I may have forgotten about. One of the best ways that I save money is by looking at items that I don’t buy often every time I’m in the store, even if I don’t need that item at the moment. If that item is on sale and it does not have a short shelf life, I will stock up. In my eyes, a coupon is only worthwhile if the food or item you are getting is healthy, you like to eat it/ will use it frequently, and is a reasonable price. It’s not a deal if you are buying something extra that you would not have bought otherwise.

A note from us at I’m In: We can help you stack your mobile savings by downloading our Digital Coupon App!

This is my view on coupons, and I like to think I am pretty resilient when it comes to everything that the media and society tries to tell me that I need to buy. Most people in this world however, are not so resilient and will give in without a second thought to a 50 cent coupon to buy something unhealthy that they would not have otherwise bought.

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