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I'm in Coupons Scholarship 2014. Entry-William S.

Do coupons influence your purchasing decisions?

I have a story to tell you and here is how it goes: In the summer of 2010, for the first time in my life, I was homeless. My father had a successful 30 year employment at NASA and grew up in a comfortable environment. Prior to that summer, I rented a nice home in the pleasant side of town. Since October 2009, I had been laid off from a real estate job, unsuccessfully tried to start a business and struggled to attend school. I was fortune enough, though many are not in America, to have a family I knew through my church invite me into their home for a year until I was able to get back on my feet.

Their tail is one to cherish: the husband and wife, happily married for 15 years, have amazing chemistry. Mike, a small business owner, was a true example of a good father and loving husband. Lisa, an Alumni from the college I am currently attending, is a home-schooling mother and supportive wife. They also had four wonderful children, three girls and one boy, ranging from 11-5 years old. When they took me into their home, they added a 7th mouth to feed.
This is where for the first time, well into my 20’s, I learned about the value of couponing. They were feeding so many people, I felt obligated to try to find some money to give them for my consumption of daily goods. I went to Mike to express my concern and he was quick to mention that Lisa saved so much money “couponing” that they barely noticed a change since my arrival. I was taken aback. I inquired of this wife, mother and “couponer” extraordinaire how this could be true. Growing up in a family of six, same as theirs, I know how much the run to Publix can easily be several hundred dollars per week. It was at this point that she divulged her secrete: she spent a few hours a week couponing.

Hastily, I suggested that her activities were a colossal waste of time to save $0.50 on a jar of mayonnaise. She then preceded to tell me that her family of six saves over $100.00 per week on her grocery bill by couponing. Since I am a college student, I needed to save as much money as possible and was excited to hear more. She then told me “Luke, I teach a ‘couponing’ class on Tuesday nights, would you like me to show you the value of this?” I was all ears from that moment on. Many of the people I met in that class were replacing weekend job incomes with savings at Publix and Win-Dixie stores. Some were actually getting money back at the register! I felt sheepish having undervalued the idea of couponing, but they welcomed me, none the less. I discovered that with minimal money and little time, you could save on almost all the items you purchase on a weekly basis. As a college student in a finance major, I was hooked. Since that time, I have been a coupon junkie!

A note from us at I’m In: We can help you save a ton on groceries, too!

Well, that’s my story. If you would, allow me to assume for a moment that you enjoyed my story and that you too would like to be a part of it. Well, you can! Many of the savings I get are through websites that send coupons via email for free, such as www.southernsavers.com. Red Plumb, a coupon booklet, gets mailed to most residents free of charge. I choose to invest $14.00 per month in my local paper and I easily double that investment with the coupons I receive. Many stores will match their competitor’s pricing as well. For me, a few hours a week clipping and an extra few minutes in line at the grocery store was worth saving 20% on my toiletries. Coupons do influence my purchase decisions in financially positive way. Try it, you’ll like it!

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