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I'm in Coupons Scholarship 2014. Entry-Sarah C.

I use a lot of coupons, and, yes, the availability of coupons does influence my purchasing decisions greatly. Getting started can be a bit difficult and stressful, but the benefits are too much to pass up. Those who do not coupon must not realize all the benefits. As for me, it can be said that I am a bit of a less fortunate introvert who was in need of a hobby. In other words, it saves me money, allows me to meet new people, and makes me feel accomplished. I would not be able to have any of this without coupons.

My primary motivation to start couponing is obvious- money. As a college freshman, I know I need every penny that can be scrounged. Although I have always been a frugal penny pincher (yes, I used to search the couch cushions for loose change when I was little. Fine, you got me, I still do it), there comes a time when everyone could use a little bit more help with their budgets. With the help of online, printable, and traditional coupons, I can even buy new, better, or free products. (I know it might not sound so great to some people, but you try using one ply toilet paper for a year. I guarantee you will be excited about that name brand toilet paper bought for two dollars off retail price.) Still not sold? Even if you use coupons to save ten dollars every week, at fifty-two weeks in a year, that adds up to five hundred and twenty dollars. I know I have plenty of places to reallocate those funds, like buying more to stock up for harder times.

After some time, I met more people. They are very dedicated to finding the best deals around. They are literally everywhere- online showing off their hauls, in the grocery aisles with their books of coupons, even living in at home with me. As one who coupons, I can tell you that my least favorite thing to do is clipping them, but there is a solution! Invite friends and family to do a sit down, clipping marathon (it helps to entice them with snacks and promises of gossip). It is a great way to mesh family time, friend time, and savings time all into one. Who knows, they might even be inspired to start their own clipping marathons and share some good deals they find.

After everything is said and clipped, I love going through the checkout line of the store feeling like I just robbed the place (I know, I know, I still have to pay). I get hyped up searching ads and web sites, looking for the best sale to pair my coupons with for the best bang for my buck. It is every couponer’s dream to see their total go down, down, down, all the way to zero, or in cases where the combination of coupons and sales prices go below zero, some stores will actually “pay” me, usually by crediting a gift card, to go home with all my goodies (talk about being on cloud nine, right?). Even more fulfilling is being able to give away those goodies to people who need them more than I do. When we can, my mom and I love to be able to give people such as our neighbors and family, items when they are in hard times. A toothbrush, a stick of deodorant, or even a bottle of shampoo can be such a relief to someone doing without.

Coupons are used nearly every time I go shopping, and the availability of coupons really helps my family’s wallets. Since I am an introvert, couponing helps me connect with others of a similar interest (who is not interested in saving money?). Helping feed, clothe, and support with necessities the local people who are less fortunate, like myself, is empowering. There is no way my family could give as much as we have to people without the aid of coupons. Coupons can be life savers.

A note from us at I’m In:  We think saving helps create a great community, too!  Next time you come across a great coupon, make sure and share it with our community at I’m In.

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