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I'm in Coupons Scholarship 2014. Entry-Samantha W.

Coupons are the most helpful item a college student can get their hands on. Whether they are living in the dorms, in an apartment, or a house with friends I know that coupons can be extremely helpful. I personally use them as much as I can, in fact I don’t go shopping unless I have checked the weekly paper or online for any deals and steals I can get. Being a college student attending a big university myself I am trying my hardest to save as much money as I can for school tuition, books, and supplies because I don’t want to be in too much debt after graduation. It’s incredibly expensive to be in school these days.

My parents have a big impact on my life and after all they have done for me I would hate to have them pay for my schooling, so I try to do it all on my own. Before school started for me I decided that I would do everything by myself because it’s a good learning experience. It is also something my parents can be proud of knowing they raised a smart kid. Prior to shopping I look for coupons because they help lower the cost of my shopping bills. My greatest achievement was spending $63 on 37 grocery items for my dorm last year. I was stocked up with all my favorite healthy foods.

Coupons also help with picking out things I want. Every time I cut out my coupons I make a list of what specifically to get. They also help me try new things. When I think of an item I want I look through the coupons I have for the cheapest version. Sometimes you can get a coupon that says 8 cups of yogurt for $10 and then another one shows up for 10 cups of yogurt for $10 in another brand. I usually go for the greatest discount and it almost ends up being a different brand every time. Trying out different things helps me decide what I really like. Using coupons with new things makes me feel better in a way that if I did not like a product I would not feel so bad about buying it because I got it at a discounted price.

There are certain barriers I have when using coupons. I have a rule that if the coupon doesn’t say I get at least 50 cents off my of purchase then it is not a very “worth it” coupon. I also dislike coupons that say you get a small discount after you spend a lot of money, this usually happens at clothing stores. The same goes for coupons that say things like “Save $1.00 when you buy 3” especially when the item is pretty pricey as it is. I mainly try to stick to coupons that I can use at many different stores. Sometimes we get coupons that only allow you to use them at one store and often times it’s an expensive store. Universal coupons are great when grocery shopping especially when some stores do not carry the items you need.

A note from us at I’m In:  We’ve got a lot of great “universal use” grocery coupons that Samantha mentioned!

My tip for the best way to go couponing is to use them on days there are sales that allow you to use coupons. You get way more steals this way. You have to watch for helpful commercials and ads online or in the paper to know when and where you can save money. I love going shopping at the mall for clothes when I get freebies in the mail especially when they have big sales in some stores. It is also helpful to go on double couponing days because they can allow you to use more than one coupon on top of sales for certain items. Clothes sales are one of my greatest weaknesses. I love going “thrifting” for good deals and cute outfits and I love buying brand new things at super cheap prices. Nothing is better than the feeling you get when you made a huge bargain on your best outfit.

In all I would like to say that coupons are one of the greatest inventions ever made. They have always had a big impact on my life in terms of saving money. Without them I do not think I could afford half the things I want and need and I am very thankful for any help I can get.

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