When asked this question, I actually began to giggle. It reminded me of when I was about eight years old and shopping with my mom and sister at the local grocery store, asking for at least one thing on each aisle. I remember my mom becoming frustrated with my many questions and having to tell me repeatedly “No, put it back” or “Maybe next time.” I was even more frustrated because I didn’t understand why I couldn’t get just one package of Oreos when she had just put pasta and cheese in the shopping cart. One more item couldn’t hurt, could it? Well, actually yes it could. That package of Oreos was two more dollars than what she had on her EBT card and it was she who had to make the decision of either purchasing a package of Oreos that my sister and I would gobble down within an hour, or a gallon of milk that would last our family for about 2 weeks. Fortunately, for my sister and I, my mom was able to splurge on a few items every now and then when she had her coupon book with her. My sister and I would make sure we accompanied her to the grocery store those days as we had high hopes to get a box of sweets or a new toy. I remember she would have her grocery list in one hand and her coupon book in the other, calculating how much she was going to spend this trip and how much she would have left over for the next.  So when asked if coupons influence your purchasing decision, in my opinion, the answer is yes they do and I will explain why.

As a young mother, my mom became proficient at saving money and spending it where need be. She couldn’t afford to spend money she didn’t have, so once she became involved in couponing, it made a huge impact on the necessities she brought home from the store. As a family, we were able to have more. Meaning, my mom was able to buy more food, toiletries, toys, etc… for our household at such a cheaper price, saving her at least 60 dollars or more every time we made a visit to the market. Items that were on sale through the coupon book gave my mother the option to buy a larger quantity than she was ever able to before, or to save her money and make another trip at the end of the month. It also gave her the option to buy items of better quality as they were on sale so she was able to afford it easier.

It is easy for many people to splurge with coupons and actually spend more money than what they would have if they didn’t have a coupon book. My mother on the other hand was always very smart with her money and rarely bought more than needed. Coupons can influence your purchasing decision in a drastic way. It can impact your shopping experience for the better or for the worse; it all really depends on how money savvy you are. As a young adult, I even use them. Coupons make my shopping experience less stressful. Of course, it is a bit time consuming to look through a coupon book and see which coupons apply to exactly what is your my cart, but at the end of the day, you are saving yourself a lot of money. Money that you can use somewhere else, or that you can simply save. Now that I am a young student living on my own and paying bills, I can truly appreciate coupons more than what I ever could as a child. It really does help and make a difference as to whether or not I will be eating cup-of-noodles at the end of the month, or being able to treat myself to a nice dinner.

A note from us at the Scholarship Committee at I’m In: Tisa can treat herself to a nice dinner – and save! – using one of our restaurant coupons!