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Happy Friday: Couponing for College

5:53 PM MST
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Sent from reader, Daniel:

I’m 17 years old and a senior in high school. I started couponing a while back, and I’ve learned to be more responsible with money and how to make a dollar stretch. I know college tuition and books will cost a fortune, so I’ve been planning ahead.

For the past few years, I have been slowly accumulating school supplies to use when I’m in college. Pens, pencils, folders, post-its, notebooks, you name it. I make an effort to donate half of the supplies I collect every year, while stashing the other half in my “For college” pile. Why spend $4 for a Five Star notebook at the school bookstore when I will be able to use the same notebook I got on sale for $0.50? I plan to continue couponing in college as well. My future college roommates won’t have to eat ramen noodles every night, we can eat the delicious and healthy food I’ll get for a good price with my coupons and frugal ways. And if any of them ever run out of school supplies, they can just dip into my stockpile.


Do you have a funny, “Hip”, or unique photo to share?! Email us at happyfriday@hip2save(dot)com. Every Friday, I will post one photo, submitted by you and/or another Hip2Save reader, that gives us a glimpse into your frugal lifestyle or simply makes us smile. If your photo is published on Hip2Save, we’ll email you a $10 Amazon e-card!

** Check out all of the previous Happy Friday pictures here.

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  • S.B. says:

    I say this all the time…. “I wish I had started couponing and living frugal years ago!” Slightly jealous that you’re so young and already so smart with money! Good for you!

  • Emery says:

    Daniel, you’re an amazing young man and without a doubt, you’ll do great things in life! I’m sure your family is super proud of you. You’re a credit to your generation. Keep it up! :)

  • Carrie says:

    I am SUPER impressed. You’re on track for such success in life!

  • Melissa says:

    Congratulations Daniel on being such a wise, generous, and self-sufficient young man. You will go far in life! Best wishes for the remainder of this school year and your future years in college!

  • CourtneyAmanda says:

    Kind of amazing for a 17 year old, but especially a young man!! This bit ” I make an effort to donate half of the supplies I collect every year,” is my favorite!! :)

  • Em says:

    The best piece advice I ever received prior to school (and I had many years of it, MD) ignore all the advice of what you need and don’t need. You’ll know when you get at it.

    Also, manage your time well and you won’t be so busy like that other girl commented. I pulled exactly 3 all nighters my entire scholastic career, and I was one of those people who had to study a lot. I worked full time, cooked all my own meals and got it done.

    Enjoy college, it’s seriously the best time of your life.

    • JJ says:

      Same here, Em… headed to grad school in the fall but rarely pulled all nighters. Had most of my papers done in advance (senioritis/stress may have gotten the best of me this last semester, but I still had straight A’s) and got sick maybe once at school due to a disgustingly sick roommate. I got enough sleep the rest of the time to keep my immune system up!! That’s the most important thing with so much going on in college!

  • christa says:

    What an inspiration. Such a wise soul beyond your years.

  • tdimfb says:

    WOW !!! 17 years old, now you can boast to your friends about how much money you saved. I saved around 10k over a four year period–enough to pay for over half of my student loans.

  • jagosto says:

    Sound like you are a amazing young man. Good Luck !!!!!

  • lola says:

    uhhhhhhhhmazing Daniel!! thank-you for sharing this!!

  • Sallie says:

    What an amazingly responsible young man. Your parents must be so proud!

  • Michelle says:

    As a high school teacher, I love to hear these types of stories. There really are a lot of great teens!! Good for you! I teach a financial planning class to sophomores & I just might have to use you as an example!!! Keep it up!!!

  • Gina R. says:

    I wish I’d started out that young! Good for you! I hope you keep it up.

  • nelly says:

    do you have a blog?

  • Bethany says:

    Just finished my first semester of law school and definitely used all the supplies you have in undergrad and now!! I’m bummed I didn’t stock up more in August for the upcoming semester! I feel like writing my notes instead of typing them helps me remember things better, but of course, everyone is different! One tip I heard in law school is to use colored pencils instead of highlighters when marking things. I found that it doesn’t leak through the pages, and it’s easier for me to read something when it’s underlined instead of highlighted.

    College is a blast! Wish I could go back!!

  • angel says:

    Smart kid!

  • mandi says:

    Wow, that’s awesome! You make a couponing mom proud!

  • Lisa says:

    Best Wishes in your studies Daniel. Another great way to make money is to sell online your childhood toys and books and collections. You will be surprised to see how much some of that stuff is worth!

  • mmyers81 says:

    that is awesome! i try to use coupons at all time but fail alot. :(

  • Cheryl W. says:


  • Leanne says:

    Wow – that is really something to be proud of. I like the fact that you don’t just keep your stockpile, but you donate half every year. That is absolutely awesome. I honestly wish that when I was in high school they taught more financial planning classes and the value of a coupon. =) Congrats on what you have accomplished so far, and good luck on your future endeavors!

  • Angela says:

    This is so awesome to see. It reminds me of where I started :) This will prepare you in more ways than you think, good job!

  • milissa says:

    One way to get the textbook prices down is to check them out from the school library. Using inter-library loan or your schools equivalent, you can borrow the books from nearby libraries (if your school does not have them). Many times the book may be the 6th edition instead of the 7th, but exactly the same! I am always surprised by how much people pay for textbooks. I always pay very little by checking them out at the library or by using sites such as chegg or bookrenter.

  • Mady says:

    It’s great Daniel!!!! Great example for everybody!!!!

  • Mrs. S says:

    I am in college and I find that during the semester I do not have enough time to coupon :(

    Great idea about the supplies stash. This will save you money but most importantly time, which is always at a premium for the full time college student.

  • ad says:

    someone like you WILL succeed in college! I hope my 7 year old daughter will coupon in the future!

  • Rachel C. says:

    I am so impressed! Keep it up and you will be a millionare by the time you’re 40 from all the money you’ve saved!!

  • Emily says:

    Congratulations on the stockpile. I’m pretty sure you have 7 times the amount of things that I used the entire 6 years that I was in a bachelors and masters program. What you’ll really want to save is amazon credit and gift cards b/c you can buy all your books used from amazon a lot cheaper than you can from the book store. And all of your English books – get from the library!! Someone in my class did that and I thought they were so smart, it hadn’t even crossed my mind that they’d have the books we were assigned to read!

  • Cari @ReachForTheStarBerries says:

    What a great idea! I’m an elementary school teacher and this just brings a smile to my face when I see students preparing for their future. My aunt teaches high school and I’d love to share your story with her. She teaches AVID to high school seniors and this would really help them.

  • rivercamper says:

    Thanks for sharing. What a great story and good lessons to learn early in life.

  • Sarah H. says:

    Good for you!!! One hint for you — start Swagbucking NOW to earn those Amazon Gift Cards for your college texts (and NEVER buy your books from the college bookstore unless they are special prints made specifically for your professor) — new on Amazon is frequently cheaper than used/electronic at the book store. And for those texts that you have to get on campus, make sure you get gift cards that can be used at Barnes and Noble college locations (if that is what is on your campus) — some e-cards cannot (those you can earn through the Viggle app can, so kudos to them!).

  • Edie says:

    I’m sure you’re well aware of this, but when you get to college, do not buy your textbooks at the campus bookstore unless it is ABSOLUTELY necessary! Waste of money. Look on eBay, Amazon, anywhere online, or see if there’s people on your campus selling their old books.

    Also, look for the previous edition to your books. If this is something you’re interested in, I would suggest only going one edition previous to the most current one. Unless you’re taking pharmacy classes, you probably need the most up to date books for that. :) But for one of my Allied Health classes, a new edition to the book I needed had just came out that year, and it was $120 at my bookstore. I found the previous edition on Amazon for $3 shipped, and I passed the class with an A, so obviously there was nothing too different about the book and I saved $117!

    I’m also taking a chemistry course this winter, and I did some research on the book I need. I found out the author provides the textbook for free on his website, so that’s another $65 I saved. It pays to research!

    Sweet stockpile, and good luck in your endeavors. :)

  • Nina says:

    Well done! Don’t be silly like me and “have to have” brand new books from the book store either…Amazon was my best friend after I realized I was wasting my parent’s money. Wish I was a couponer back when I smuggled cafeteria food out for a late night snack.

  • Amber says:

    One big expense is food. Food sold on campus is always expensive, so my suggestion is, if you don’t have time to make something yourself, either buy from one of the student organizations trying to raise money, or make it yourself. If you’re staying in the dorms, there are a few appliances that, although a tad pricey, are well worth the investment. They are a pannini press, a Nu-wave oven, and a good quality, japanese rice cooker. You can make practically anything with these three item. With the pannini press, you can make grilled sandwiches, obviously, but it also opens up, so you can grill meat and cook eggs and pancakes as well. You can cook pretty much anything in a Nu-wave oven, and the rice cookers can keep rice, cooked and warm, tasting fresh for five days, and you can also make oatmeal in them.

  • Elyse says:

    This post just made me so happy! Way to go, Daniel! Don’t forget to stockpile your toiletries as well — toothpaste, shampoo, razors, etc. These things can definitely add up!

  • Suzanne H says:

    Good for you! I WISH I had been wiser when I was your age. It would have saved me a lot of $ and stress!

  • Casey says:

    I couponed all the way through college, both for myself and my family at home. My parents would give me a bit of an allowance to do the household couponing and planning grocery trips (much less than they were saving of course ;) ).

    I also was in a sorority that emphasized financial responsibility. Of course I taught them to coupon too!

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