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I'm in Coupons Scholarship 2014. Entry-Shantal D.

Bloop bloop! There goes another email alert on my phone. It must be my aol account, I think, from the distinguished tone. There are four different merchants informing about a sale that is either upcoming or taking place as we speak. I know the tactic. They tell me that the sale is for a limited time, hoping to get me into their store or visit their website. There is absolutely no way I can partake in all of these sales, but looking at the deals make is so darn hard not to give in. I try to decide if I can squeeze in a new blouse from New York and Company or one of those cute printed screen tees for each of my children from The Children’s Place. But at the end of the day, my bank account makes that final decision for me. The coupons are nice, but they only influence my decision when I plan to make a budgeted purchase.

The hardest thing for me to do is budget my money when so much needs to be done. Being a single mom and raising two children under 10 also requires me to budget time as well. I hate to make impulsive purchases that feel good at the moment, only to regret them later. So I shop around before I buy.

If you are one of those persons who hates getting 20 emails a day from merchants trying to entice you to buy their goods, I clearly understand your deposition. I used to be that woman. I used to hate the emails at 4 am alerting me that it was my last day to redeem Gymbucks or there was an “online only” sale with FREE SHIPPING on all orders. I used to despise not having the funds to make all of the purchases I wanted to make because I was spending my money on my family’s needs. But then I got smart. My children started to grow like weeds. They were eating me out of house and home. I had to make sure my dollars stretched as much as their legs were beginning to. So I sat back and analyzed what our needs were. And when I saw coupons that were befitting to them, I used them instead of going out and buying the first thing smoking.

When my children need new clothes, I would search through my emails and filter for “The Children’s Place” and see all available coupons and offers. If shipping wasn’t free, I would select what I wanted online (and add it to my cart) and then go to the nearest store and find it there. This way, I know what I will be spending and it deters me from going over budget. I have combined these trips with the grocery trips in the same vicinity to save money on gas and get the bulk of my monthly necessities at one time.

A note from us at I’m In:  We can help you save on baby and kids’ products at I’m In!

One site that seems to always get me to the point of pressing the “Purchase” button is groupon.com. I get the daily emails with all of the goods, services, and getaways and my purchasing thumb starts to itch. I think, “Hey, that is a pretty good deal!” just to try to validate myself making an impulsive purchase, but when I have to enter all of my user information in, I start to second guess. Yes, they are good deals, but why allow this email to control he money in my bank account? Once again, I regain control. When I want to plan time for family fun or a treat for myself, the first place I look is in my emails. I usually find new adventures there for a fraction of the cost. And this leaves my children happy, myself happy, and my bank account in the green.

What I have learned from coupons by email is that I am in control. I do not let them tell me when to buy. They are just my reference point when I do decide to make a purchase. I am bad at budgeting, but coupons do allow me to budget better and get the most out of life. I have also learned that some of the same sales occur on a rotating basis, so you never really “miss” a good sale, because a better one may be right around the corner. Coupons are good to have, but they should never be the ultimate reason you buy an item. The coupon should be the savings you are due because you have already decided to buy it. I look at coupons as a “Thank You” from the merchant. If I walk into a store I have probably decided I will buy, but to top my patronage off with 20% off, dear merchant, you are welcome.

A note from us at I’m In:  We can help you identify week’s sales at I’m In!

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