A note from us at imin.com: Silver talks about looking for coupons each Sunday.  At I’m In, you can check new coupons whenever you want!

Coupons are highly influential in my purchasing decisions. Today we live in a society where things are becoming outrageously priced that without having some kind of support system many essential items needed would not be able to be purchased. I only recently started to get the Sunday paper to clip coupons or get online to download coupons. However, since then I have saved so much money. The sad part is, is that I still am having a hard time affording other essential things that I need to pay for. Therefore, where would I be without the couponing process?

Many people look at coupons and think, “Oh, this one is only $0.25, there is no point”. I look at the number and think that is one less quarter that I have to try and scramble to collect to pay my rent for the upcoming month. Every little bit helps and alleviates more stress. I only use coupons for the items that are essential in everyday life such as toilet paper, staple food products, hygiene products, etc.. Unfortunately, most of the coupons out there today are for the nonessential items such as candy, ice cream, or that electric razor you just have to have.

When I started to coupon my family thought I was just one of those annoying customers that hold up the lines at the grocery store. But, is that not the cashier’s job? I have cashiered for going on nine years now. I have always admired those who use coupons and to this day I still ask how they manage to find some of the coupons they do because they end up saving so much more money than I do.  I only wish that I was as good at couponing as some of the individuals that come through my checkout line.

I try to make sure that I get to a gas station every Sunday morning before the paper is gone to go through and see if it has coupons. I only purchase the paper if it does have coupons, otherwise I would be spending more than I am making. Many times I am able to get anywhere between ten and fifteen dollars worth of coupons out of the paper which cost me two dollars. That is a profit of approximately ten dollars.

One aspect that people do not realize is that couponing is a job. However, it is not required to do it. You choose to do it. Couponing is a source of income, and the best part about it is that you do not have to report it on your taxes, which means free money! If your boss was to come and ask you if you wanted a raise, are you going to turn them down? You probably are not. Why? That is simple; you are getting essentially free money. You were doing your job before that at a lower rate. So every raise thereafter is essentially free money. How are coupons any different?

Coupons are essential in my shopping process. However, in order to coupon successfully though, you need to remember to compare. Many coupons are usually for the name brand products. But, is that generic brand still cheaper after you were to use the coupon on the name brand? That is where I feel that most people fail with couponing. Coupons require you to think, providing me with another reason on why I take them on my shopping trip. I like the challenge and comparing. I sort my coupons by date and every week when the weekly ad comes in my mail I compare it against my coupons. If I have a coupon for something that is priced lower for the week I can end up with a great bargain which increases my income level even more.

It is hard to see that over the years coupons have greatly diminished in Sunday papers. Companies do not provide them as much as they used to. The part that is hard about this is coupons are needed more now than they have ever been before. With all this being said coupons are important and essential to make it in life, especially as a college student living on my own and trying to come up with ways to pay for school. That quarter may just be that last payment I need on my tuition for the year before graduation.