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Education

Accounting students leverage coupons to collect for charity

TBO.com
Published:   |   Updated: March 19, 2013 at 02:03 AM

Calling someone cheap is usually an insult.

But some accounting students at the University of South Florida are owning that term. They've turned pinching pennies into paying it forward.

"I am an extreme couponer," said one of the students, Amanda Kerney, of the Beta Alpha Psi honor society. "I've been doing it for about four years now."

For the last semester, members of Beta Alpha Psi have gone shopping every week, buying hundreds of dollars worth of groceries and supplies, products any college student would love to get their hands on.

"We're not getting the stuff no one wants," junior Pamela Bennett said. "We're getting the stuff you go out and buy."

The students' coupon strategy has allowed them to spend just $38 on $660 worth of items.

"Instead of writing that check for $38 to a local charity, we've converted it to over $660 worth of savings for products," Kerney said.

Alumni and sponsors buy Sunday papers for the group, allowing them to combine coupons with items that are already on sale.

"That's when you're going to knock down that price to free or less than free," Kerney said.

Graduate student Christopher Rosales said the group often gets special attention when shopping.

"A lot of times, the cashier will say, what are you guys doing? What's going on here," he said.

The students could probably live through the summertime on all they've bought, but everything they've added up will be going somewhere else.

They plan to donate their haul to the Ronald McDonald House and other charities. They are also helping the university's ombudsman's office, which helps USF students who are homeless or might not be able to afford things like food or soap.

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