Saving money in college can be as easy as clipping coupons

Courtney Kerrigan

18-34-year-olds use

more coupons in 2009

Coupon clipping isn’t seen as

a typical college past time, but

in today’s economy, it’s the next

best thing to printing your own


Senior criminal justice major

Brianna Olesh said when she

lived on her own, she would

spend 30 to 45 minutes every

Sunday clipping coupons.

“There were times when I

would walk out of the grocery

store having saved $30 on my

groceries,” she said.

If students spend 10 to 15

minutes clipping coupons every

week, they can easily save 10-15

percent on their groceries, said

Matthew Tilley, director of marketing

for Inmar, a company that

deals with coupon settlement for

retailers and wholesalers, among

other services.

In 2009, Tilley said Inmar saw

an increase in the usage of coupons

among younger consumers,

specifically those ages 18 to

34. He said the increase had three

main causes: the economy, consumers’

attitudes and the methods

or tactics marketers use.

Also, the use of the Internet

and printed coupons increased

three times over the past couple

years, making them more accessible

to a younger audience.

Sites such as, and Fatwallet.

com are just a few of the online

sources, but Tilley said 90 percent

of coupons are distributed

through Sunday newspapers.

“If students are looking to

save money, the best thing in the

world they can do for groceries,

as well as restaurants, is go buy a

Sunday newspaper,” Tilley said.

“That’s where you can find the

largest assortment and better


Coupons can help save on

groceries, but when retailers offer

coupons for clothes and shoes,

students might feel obligated to

take advantage of a deal.

Olesh said she likes to use the

30 percent off coupons and other

discounts when she shops at

Kohl’s, but Tilley said he believes

that a deal shouldn’t influence


“A wise consumer is going

to be one who is not responding

to a deal for deal’s sake,” Tilley

said. “If you weren’t going to buy

something in the first place, then

you probably won’t respond to

that — that’s how smart shoppers

use coupons.”

Although coupon Web sites

distribute less than one percent of

coupons, some allow consumers to

browse through items, pick what

they want and print the coupons

off, making it easier than clipping

through catalogues.

While grocery coupons seem to

be popular, Brent Shelton, public

relations director for Fatwallet.

com, said electronics and computers

are the hot items for the site,

along with health and beauty

products and vitamins.

Shelton said one of the reasons

students use the coupon

site is because it offers cash back

rewards and deals. A lot of college

students are experts at finding

deals and teach their friends

how to “stack multiple discounts

on top of each other.”

“With anything that’s considered

a deal, it’s always good to do the research and ask yourself if

you really need this, because you

can get hooked,” Shelton said.

Ashley Dill, senior general

studies major, lives off campus

and said she doesn’t think it’s

worth it to spend the time clipping


“It takes a lot of time to cut

them out, and I don’t have a

newspaper subscription,” Dill


She said she shops at Walmart

because it has cheap prices and

good deals, but Tilley said he

thinks coupons are best for helping

people decide which brand to buy versus which store to

shop in.

“Use it to your advantage” he

said. “There’s a lot of opportunity

to save, and you can think

about it as an opportunity to try

something new, such as a new


Contact student finance reporter

Courtney Kerrigan

at [email protected].