In the last couple of years, our economy has slowly begun to improve, with the increase of jobs and people spending more money. However, during the recession many people were very careful about how and what they spent their money on.  According to a recent survey by NCH Marketing Services, 75 percent of customers in all income brackets used coupons sometimes.  Therefore, I became one of those people who use coupons to make all my major purchasing decisions.  As a high school student working towards college, I have found that coupons are a great way to help me save money, it makes shopping easier and I can purchase certain items in bulk.

As a teenager, without a job, I know the value of money. In order to help put money aside for college, my family and I started to use coupons when purchasing various items. Recently, I heard a speaker who talked about the U Promise savings program. This program is geared towards teenagers, their families and friends that need a little help with saving money for college. As a participant in this program, you can download e-coupons and shop at certain grocery and drug stores, where the money you saved from using those coupons goes into an account set aside to fund your college tuition. After some research on the website, I realized that the U Promise savings program would be a great way for me to buy products that I use on a daily basis, like snacks, cleaning supplies, pain medications and personal hygiene items, while saving up for college as well.

While clipping coupons hasn’t been the most enjoyable thing to do, I have come to realize that having/using coupons when I shop makes the process a lot easier and smoother. My family use to have a habit of going to the grocery store, without a list and spending way more money than we intended too. Since deciding to use coupons, our shopping trips have been more efficient. Now, our shopping is limited to products where the coupon reduces the price or lets you buy one, get one free. This helps with the shopping process because the coupons are visual reminders of what we need to buy, sort of like a visual shopping list. This prevents us from buying items that aren’t necessary and keeps us from overspending. Using coupons have also decreased the time spent at the grocery store and the cash register because I know exactly what I am purchasing and I don’t have to decide what items to put back because I picked up too many.

A note from us at I’m In:  We offer lots of ways for you to save on groceries at I’m In!

Companies provide customers with coupons, in the hopes that people will buy their products but unless customers make use of the actual savings found within the coupons, they become worthless. I must say that I have found that I can get more of certain products, like dish detergent or soap and even cereal and milk, depending on the type of coupon. My family has seen first-hand how we can spend a little but stock up on things needed around the house. As a result, we don’t have to go to the grocery store as much. Sometimes, when you see coupons for things you use on a regular basis, it is smarter to go ahead and purchase it in bulk so that you will always have it on hand to use. Therefore, I believe that is why items such as, toilet paper, paper towels and washing detergent always have some type of coupon offering reduced prices and/or bonus buys.

In conclusion, I know that coupons influence my family’s purchasing decisions. While I used many examples focusing only on groceries, we also look for and use coupons for our clothing, electronics and recreational activities. I believe that using coupons will assist families on a budget but also provide them with the essentials needed for their everyday life. Shopping with the help of coupons has helped me with saving money, changed my shopping process for the better and allowed me to have things in bulk. While there are people who say that using coupons limit your purchasing power, I feel that it has actually given me more power and control over how I spend my money. It has also helped me stay focused on my long term financial and life goals. Those people make purchasing decisions on impulse or emotion and may regret their decisions later. As a coupon user, I know that I can purchase something I want or need  without paying an outrageous price.