Friday, February 18, 2011
Five ideas for turning your saving into giving
Being frugal does not mean you need to be stingy. In fact, with a little creativity, you might find your couponing habit only increases your ability to give to others.
Today, I’d like to share a few ideas I have on being generous as you live a frugal lifestyle.
1. Donate coupons you won’t use. Many of us only use a fraction of the coupons from Sunday inserts. Consider ways you could share the others. Perhaps give the cat food coupons to the friend that owns cats. Or the tofu coupons to your vegan pals. Or leave your unwanted coupons right by the products at the store. You might also inquire if a local food bank or outreach center would be interested in accepting coupons to give to others in need.
2. Donate expired coupons to overseas military. Did you know that coupons may be used by overseas military families for up to six months past their expiration date? To participate in this unique and worthwhile program, head to the Overseas Coupon Program. Getting started is as simple as selecting a base to adopt and mailing them your coupons!
3. Donate items from your stockpile. Many places would love to accept your non-perishable food and non-food items! I recently checked with my local food bank and they had a list of items they particularly could use. What I learned was that the non-food items (such as baby diapers, toothpaste, and soap) were really needed since food stamps can’t cover these costs. Some food banks also welcome donations of pet food. In addition to food banks, consider who else could use your donation. The church I attend has a food pantry that serves many families each week. They also accept donations of toys and games for Christmas. A couple non-profit organizations in my area put backpacks and school supplies together for children impacted by poverty. Check with your church, community center, or non-profit organization to see what kind of items they accept and when.
4. Teach someone how to coupon. Why not teach someone what shopping sales and using coupons looks like? This could be done on a one-by-one basis over coffee, or if you’re up for it, consider teaching a class! Last year, I reached out to a couple non-profit organizations and found they were more than happy to have someone come and teach how to use coupons.
5. Give your savings. Perhaps you can take your savings and make a monetary donation to a non-profit organization or charitable cause. For instance, you might resolve to give all the rebate money you receive to the efforts in Haiti. Or use the money you’ve saved by couponing to sponsor a child overseas. The idea here would be to make a direct connection between what you save and what you give.