August 17, 2011

Couponing for a Cause

Many people ask... you're 24 years old, why do you coupon and where do you have room to store everything?  The truth is that couponing is challenge and it really does save you money!  When I started I will admit that I was spending a little more than average on creating the base of my 'stockpile' but now I have seen my weekly grocery bill go from around $50 to about $20!  

Items that I stock up on are thing that I use on a daily or weekly basis; toothpaste, toothbrushes, body wash, pasta, powerade and garnola bars.  Sales go in cycles so when I find a coupon that I like I typically jump at the opportunity, buy multiple coupons (either through ebay or a coupon clipping company) and then take advantage of the sale for as long as I can.  My grocery store (Price Chopper) also recently began doubling coupons up to $0.99!  

One of the best and most recent example I have is Barilla Piccolini pasta!  $0.55 off any one box of Piccolini pasta.  That doubles to $1.10 off per box.  An in-store sale has all Barilla pasta at 4/$5 or $1.25 a box.  I buy in bulk and I am getting each box of pasta for $0.15!  Another example is Powerade, which I drink  more of now since I have been training.  All summer Price Chopper has had a sale on Powerade for $0.88 a bottle.  I ordered a great coupon, $0.75 off any 2 Powerades; double this and it becomes $1.50 off two bottles.  Two bottles of Powerade with the in store sale total $1.76, subtract the coupon savings and divide by 2 and you are getting each bottle of Powerade for $0.13!  Deal!

So enough about merely couponing because after all the title of this post is 'Couponing for a Cause'.  I am not one of those extreme couponers who have garages full of stockpiles and buy cat food even though I do not own cats.  I will not let my stockpile go beyond my linen closet, I only buy and coupon towards what I consume and I donate a good portion of what obtain.

In June I recruited for the program that I coordinate (Northeast Energy Corps) at the Schenectady Inner City Mission (SICM) Food Pantry in downtown Schenectady and the need was incredible.   (SICM has a mass distribution day the last Thursday of every month but also serves those in need any day of the week throughout the year.)  Individuals and families lined up hours before and in the month of July the SICM served over 500 ticket holders.  Ticket holders could be an individual or a family of 10, so just imagine how many families in Schenectady are in need.  

That same weekend I was sitting in church and the priest was giving a sermon on how great the need is in this country and the world; he focused mainly on the famine in Somalia but toward the end he spoke about how many people go hungry in the Albany/Capital Region area as well (with Schenectady being one of the poorer, if not the poorest area in the region).  He ended the sermon by saying that it was all a damn shame because probably none of us in the congregation has ever had to go hungry.  Then he paused and said, "and some of you may leave here focused more on the fact that I said the word 'damned' than on the actual need."  Something clicked - he was completely correct!  So many people in this country focus on the wording, the perception and the verbage rather than the actual problem.  I asked, what can I do and I realized that my couponing skills could be used to help others!  So I started couponing for SICM and I now try every week to bring a (reusable) grocery bag of food to the food pantry every week.  I know it isn't much and there are so many people in need but I figure that every little bit helps.  And after all, I live by myself, how much pasta and powerade can one girl consume!

This week's SICM donations

No comments:

Post a Comment