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

When I was a child, my mom would use coupons every time we went shopping. It was the early 90’s, and everyone used them; I didn’t think anything of it. That was the norm, and I thought it was cool; the idea of saving money really struck me as interesting, and anyone that wouldn’t do it must be crazy. It felt like we had a secret way to save cash, and then we would be able to put that money towards something else, like a trip to Disney Land or some amazing presents when Christmas time came around. I would take pride in helping my mother clip them from the newspaper. Finding great deals and organizing the pile so that we could hunt for our bargains later became my favorite pastime. Those trips to the supermarket were my big outings, and I enjoyed them.

Once I began to make the awkward transition into a preteen, I became extremely embarrassed when my mom would bring out her coupons. Everything has been checked out, and now we were holding up the line; it would take so much time. It didn’t seem like it was worth the small amount saved to do so much work, and to top it all off: we were inconveniencing other people. The savings that I admired when I was younger had lost it’s luster. It felt like all eyes were upon us; these judging gazes cut right through my ten-year old skin and saw the embarrassment that I felt. I no longer enjoyed these outings. I began to dread them.

During my late-teenage years, I wouldn’t be caught dead anywhere near coupons. They were for people who were cheap, and they were for those people who didn’t mind bothering others. They were ridiculous to me. I had no bills or real responsibilities, and I made a good amount of money doing seasonal work. I could easily afford the bag of chips or energy drinks that I wanted to buy. Why would I care about saving cents? The items that the coupons were on never pertained to me anyway. It seemed like there was always something for dental care or laundry detergent; these things don’t jump out at me as exciting.

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Now that I’m a young adult and a struggling college student that has to buy his own things, I see the value in saving money. I can’t believe how ignorant I was as a teenager. I wouldn’t say that they influence the items that I purchase, but they are great to look through before I head to the market. If I’m going to buy those items anyway, why not take advantage of a lower price? The transition that many stores have made with downloading the savings onto your card and having the price come off at the checkout line is absolutely wonderful. It’s fast, efficient, and it doesn’t waste paper. The only big drawback that I can see for the new e-commerce is the tough transition for the elderly. They have a hard time understanding the concept, and the lines become halted from employees trying to help them.

I enjoy using deals to lower the cost, and I have found myself waiting to purchase items until they are on sale in order to buy them in bulk. I wouldn’t buy an item that I didn’t need, but they help with the things I’m already going for. The fact that coupons don’t affect my purchasing decisions now, doesn’t mean that they won’t in the future. I’ve gone through several transitions in my views on coupons, and I don’t expect that to stop. I’m finally able to understand why they are used so often by older generations; having a fixed budget makes it imperative to save at every opportunity. The items that I didn’t care about in my teenage years are starting to become the focus of my shopping excursions, and only time will tell what other changes my mind will make regarding these small, square, paper helpers.

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