With the coming of the holiday season, I’ve decided to write about the blessing of giving back. It has been such an important part of my couponing journey. I didn’t know that it would be when I first started my journey. I was focused on ‘the thrill of the deal’. As time went by, however, I began to reach the realization that buying more for less meant nothing if you didn’t share it with others. There are so many ways that you can give back and using saving opportunities makes it possible to give more than you might be able to otherwise.
One of my favorite ways to give back is participating in Operation Christmas Child. If you aren’t familiar with this program, visit samaritanspurse.com. Briefly, this program involves packing a shoebox with Christmas gifts for a child who would otherwise not get anything for Christmas. I include personal care items like toothpaste, toothbrush, comb, soap and washcloth. I always have most of these items in my stockpile. I also include school supplies like pencils and crayons. A perfect time to get great deals on these items is during the back-to-school sales. I put together eight of these boxes – one for each of my grandchildren. They help pack the boxes and they write a note to include in each box. I think this is a good way for them to learn the importance of giving to others less fortunate than they are.
There are many other ways to give back. I have donated food to families in my community and given needed items to families who’ve lost everything in house fires. I have donated to shelters for victims of domestic violence and to centers that help young girls deal with unplanned pregnancies. Something I have not done yet, but plan to do in the future, is donate pet food and supplies to our local animal shelter.
My first thought when I’m deciding what to buy is “Can someone I know – family or friends – use this product?” I no longer buy something just because it’s a good deal. That ends up in waste and I hate waste! That’s a story for another day.
The take away: Giving is a blessing for all involved.
How do you use your couponing skills to give back? Leave a comment and let us know. We’re always looking for new ideas!
BTW – You can also donate coupons. Here are ways I’ve done it:
I posted earlier about spending many hours cutting out coupons, just to throw a lot of them away when they expired. I discovered a way to put these coupons to good use and help out military families. On military bases overseas, expired coupons can be used six months past the expiration date. I started separating my expired coupons (food and non-food), putting them in labeled bags and sending them to a collection center for this program. My information came from one of my favorite coupon blogs. To read more, go to thekrazycouponlady.com.
I also have donated coupons to friends and coworkers. I organized a coupon exchange where I worked, so that coupons could be taken by those who needed and would use them. I have friends who have dogs so I give all my coupons for dog products to them. Over my years of couponing, friends have made me aware of products they need, like over-the-counter medications, so I give them coupons for the things they have to buy. Giving back by donating coupons can be tailored to the needs of friends and family.
You can also donate coupons to strangers who shop in your area. I leave coupons on store shelves on or close to the corresponding products. My favorite products to do this with are diapers and wipes. There are so many families who struggle to buy these necessities.
Do you have other ways to donate coupons? Leave a comment and let us know!
Read about other steps in my journey:
My Couponing Journey – Giving Back