Living in a home on a single mother’s salary growing up made me very conscious of how valuable saving money and finding adequate products at fair prices is. Coupons have been a saving grace when it comes to putting food on the table. My grandmother passed away eight months ago. She was the main provider of food in my house. Her social security money allowed us to keep up with our bills and have food in our refrigerator. Since her passing, coupons have literally fed me and my mother. I am still in school and my mother is a retired disabled police officer. We are living on a very limited income. Couponing has allowed us to find the best prices available for the mere essentials. When shopping for anything, for my family, price is the most important deciding factor. There are so many external influences of what to buy, how to dress, who we should be. These pressures of needing to meet other’s perceptions of what is acceptable causes an extreme burden when you do not have the money to reach these expectations. Coupons relieve some of this stress for those who are just trying to get by. There are some that think coupons are the average person’s way of saving a few pennies, but for some, this is how they are able to provide food for their family, put new clothes on children’s bodies, and have money left over to keep up with household bills. When I sit back and think about the impact that coupons have had not only on my life, but on the lives of so many people in economic crisis.
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Even after college when I finally end up where I want to be financially and in my career, couponing will still greatly influence my purchases. I have learned the value of every single dollar; working since I was fourteen and contributing to my family’s bills have allowed me to understand various aspects purchases in general. First, having the most expensive items is not what is important. What is important is finding quality clothing for good prices with help of price reductions from coupons. This is what allowed me to not go into school with clothes that were too small or worn for having been around for four or five years. Couponing is what helped deterred bullies from criticizing my appearance because my mom was able to provide me with new shoes, clothes, and hygiene products. Second, coupons allow other financial responsibilities to be paid on time and avoid foreclosure on my house. It sounds dramatic, but when the money is not there, bills do not get paid. When I began to try and add up the money that has been saved by mere coupon use, I realized this is what provided my mother with the opportunity to keep up on our financial obligations as I was growing up. This is what allowed the money to be there when the Con Edison bill came in the mail. The money saved on items that we used coupons for put gas in my mom’s car to get her to work in the morning so she could provide for her family. Last, couponing provided me with an optimistic outlook. Again, it may sound dramatized, but if you’ve ever lived paycheck to paycheck and worried about making the electric bill, the mortgage payment, or any payment, you know that any money saved relieved some very heavy burdens. I have hope when I know I can walk into a store and buy what I need and still have money left over to provide for my family.