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I'm in Coupons Scholarship 2014. Entry-Portia H.

So, you want to know do coupons influence my purchasing decision. The answer is yes and no. It all started a few years ago when my mom was really into using coupons. I use to laugh at her when she would hold up the line at the store looking for her coupons. One day in college, I looked at my checkbook and realized, I needed to start budgeting a little better. Somewhere down the line, I became very or should I say extremely cheap. Actually, I like to call it budgeting. For years now, I buy the newspaper every Sunday just for the coupons. Once I get my coupons, I look at all the sales papers for the stores I normally shop at. Then, I decide what store I will buy each product at for the week. A lot of personal and household products I buy never have coupons in the paper. So, when I do see a coupon for those items in the paper, if it’s for a dollar a more, I’ll buy a few papers so I can have a few coupons depending on when they expire.

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I’ve noticed there are certain items I purchase that never have coupons in the paper, which I don’t like. I think some companies don’t like to give coupons or discounts. I hate that because some brands of products are very expensive and if there were coupons or a discount for those products, more people would probably buy them. I’ve learned to try other cheaper brands or the store brand if there aren’t coupons available for what I need. So far, the cheaper/ store brands are just as good as the expensive brands. Anytime I need to go grocery shopping, I always check my coupon book first. If I’m not in dire need of a certain product, I try to hold out until the following week in case there’s a coupon in the paper. I also have a few things I do in case there aren’t coupons in the newspaper. One thing I do is go on the manufacture’s website and see if they have any coupons available. Sometimes they do have a coupon available to print which is great. I have experienced a few problems with printing coupons online. Sometimes they don’t print clearly and when I try to use it at the store, it won’t scan. When that happens, sometimes the cashiers are hesitant to take the coupon. That’s the only downfall with printing coupons online. Sometimes when you go to the manufacturer’s website, they want you to sign up to receive e-mails just to get the coupon which is not so great. I already get a million e-mails a day, so I don’t like to sign up for anything else.

I’ve found that using coupons is a great way to save money. I shunned the idea a few years ago of using coupons. I thought it was embarrassing to hold up the line because you had coupons to use. That was before I had to start buying my own things and then I realized using coupons could really help me save a few bucks. I’ve also learned that not all coupons are good coupons. Usually, I only use coupons that are for seventy five cents or more. Anything less than that to me is useless and probably won’t even cover the tax for the item I’m buying. I’ve also noticed recently that some companies are starting to have coupons where you have to buy two items and not one. If a person wants to save money, I doubt if they’re trying to spend even more money just to get a dollar off. Overall, I think being able to use coupons for a lot of items I use is a great way for me to save money and budget. I just wish more companies would provide coupons for their products. It could really help a lot of people who are financially challenged or on a very tight budget.

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