When Savings Lead to Giving

This weekend I’m taking part in a blog blast sponsored by the Parent Bloggers Network and the Quaker Oats Company to spread the word about their Start With Substance campaign to donate up to one million bowls of oatmeal to those in need! Check out the Start With Substance Website to see how YOU can help make it happen!

donating blood glucose monitors

Quaker has challenged bloggers to write about how our families have helped others or will be helping others in 2009. I’ve written (approximately) a million times in my life about how couponing has been a blessing to me and my family. But one of the things I love most about couponing is that it’s allowed us to be a blessing to others. Before couponing, we didn’t have resources to just give to people in need. Now, while we still may not have wads of cash to give away, we can meet material needs with all the extras I get through couponing.

Take the blood glucose monitors pictured above, for instance. I get these for free with coupons and usually “make money” on them via rebate or CVS ExtraCare bucks. No one in my family has diabetes, so we donate them to our local non-profit Hospice. Their patients use them only a short time, and since these items can’t be re-used, re-stocking them can be costly. Last year we donated about 15 of these, and this year as you can see, I already have a stack ready to take over there. I believe they do very valuable work there, and I feel great about donating to them.

In 2008, because of couponing, my family donated hundreds of dollars of toiletries, cleaning products, and hygiene items to local women’s shelters, church efforts, and just individuals that we or friends knew of who were down on their luck. These items can mean a lot because you see, food stamps only buy food. They won’t buy paper towels, diapers, or Lysol. I’ve given deodorant to a grateful mom of three stinky teenage boys and a bag full of makeup to a twenty-year-old girl who couldn’t afford to buy it for herself and was overjoyed to get it, and diapers and wipes to a family at my mom’s church who took in the THREE young kids of a relative who was too busy doing drugs to care for her kids. I can be generous, giving away what we have because I know through couponing, I can always get more. But the people I’m giving to can’t.

It’s so fun to be able to make someone’s day with the little things. And the beauty of it is, of course, that it’s not costing me money out-of-pocket, that more often than not I’m able to turn my drugstore shopping into a profitable venture. So everyone wins, needs are met, hearts are blessed.

That’s what coupons can do for ya! What’s not to love!? When savings lead to giving, it’s a beautiful thing.

And just to keep it real, I need to let y’all know that this post was written for Parent Bloggers Network as part of a sweepstakes sponsored by The Quaker Oats Company. If I win, HUGE party at my place, and you’re all invited. So, ya know, cross your fingers!

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Comments

  1. Giving to others is what led me to this site in the first place! Since my mom was a single parent, and I went to private school, we didn’t have a lot of extra money. I was raised to look for a good deal. When I saw an article in the Dayton Daily News the first weekend of 2009, I was drawn to how saving money can help others, too! A lot of people think “why do you buy all this stuff you don’t need” (my husband is one of those people) but if you’re getting it for free or making money off of it and can give it away to someone who truly needs it, why not??

  2. absolutely a wonderful idea and something that I want to foster in my family as well. We have been blessed with the means to contribute money to local and national charities. However, as the economy has decline, so has the available funds for us to give. we will still pinch pennies to ensure a contribution, but actually providing everyday items is such a wonderful idea and definitely something we can do! I never knew food stamps did not cover TP, personal products, etc… I just assumed they did!

    great post and good luck!

  3. Count us in for the party. You can make the taco dip I LOVE!

    Thanks for showing all of us that it doesn’t take money to be generous.

  4. you forgot to mention how you have also been generous with your time, training others to use coupons to their full adavantage, even taking “emergency” phone calls, talking your friends down from the coupon ledge. You are a blessing!

  5. We used a lot of our stockpile to fill shoeboxes at Christmas. Especially the Johnson’s Buddies bars!!

  6. 100% with you Jenny – it feels good to give and I’ve been able to give so much more through couponing, too.

    Good luck — hope you win!

  7. I’ve gotta learn your couponing tricks! That’s awesome. Fabulous post!

  8. I can can personally attest to Jenny’s coupon Kung-Fu. She helps us every week with our not made for couponing brains. She gets us great deals every week! The only thing she asks is that we hang out with her every so often….it’s the least I can do.

  9. Ok, ok you have finally talked me into it. We are going to have to have a play date soon so that you can show me the light!

  10. I completely agree with you that using coupons effectively can put one in a fantastic position to be generous. However, it doesn’t do a person any good to look down on those whom you are helping. To mention that one of your benefactors was “too busy doing drugs to take care of their kids” does not demonstrate the compassionate heart that I am sure you have. I’m sure your heart goes out to that person, and that you are praying they are able to find the help they need in order to be reunited with, and take care of their children. I would just encourage you to be certain that your words match your motives.

  11. I wasn’t donating to her, but to the relatives that took her children. (Who
    have now been adopted.) When her preemie newborn twins (preemie because she
    was doing drugs when she was pregnant with them) were in the hospital, she
    didn’t even go visit them. To be honest, I wrote that without even thinking
    about it – free flow. I suppose my language did betray the revulsion I feel
    at her actions, but I certainly don’t have any ill will for her as a person.
    I can only hope that she cleans herself up and does something good with her
    life.

    I realize that it’s hard to read tone into an email, blog post, or comment.
    Maybe you felt my tone was condescending towards the girl, like I said, I
    mean her no ill will. As a mother, it is hard for me to conjure up a lot of positive feelings about her though, based on her behaviors toward her children,

    You’re right, I DO have a compassionate heart, I just wish you’d had a
    little more compassion for me, and given me the benefit of the doubt, before
    you posted that reprimand to me on my own blog. It would have been better
    done in an email to me, however, I won’t delete the comment.

  12. Jenny, you are awesome.
    I’m thrilled that you’re taking part in this program because it is absolutely amazing! I feel truly blessed to be a part of the Quaker program as well!!!!!

    Hugs to an amazing woman, that I am blessed to know.

  13. I must have donated 30 to 40 of those monitors last year! I heard we can get more monitors at walgreens free this week, I think they are the one touches! Cannot remember, but after reading your post, I will have to make sure to go buy some for my Kings Klinic, at my church!

  14. You rock!

  15. It is such a blessing to give to others in need. Being a recipient of the gift is such a blessing as well, as I can attest to the outpouring of love and help we recieved in 2008 after I was diagnosed with cancer. Even seemingly little things can be a huge deal so I encourage you to keep it up!

    I’m not near the couponing queen you (and I really have slacked off since the New Year), but I was able to give some things to a single mom friend of mine, as well as let my in-laws (who have been missionaries for 35+ years) go through what I called our “CVS Missionary Bin.” It was fun for them and me!

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