Five months ago and still new at the extreme couponing concepts, I felt led to create a blog called Clipping for a Cause. At first, clipping coupons was a personal mission to do whatever it took to be able to stay at home with my children. (After all, when you begin to save $300-$400 a month on your grocery bill, that is earned income for your family, right?!) Soon after, I began getting persistant “taps on the shoulder” to do something with this newly acquired knowledge far beyond just saving money for my own family.
I began questioning myself each time I proudly unloaded that week’s deals and added them to our shelves: “Sure, that was free, but are we ever going to use it?” “Do we need 20 boxes of Betty Crocker Potatoes?” Do not get me wrong…I firmly believe especially in today’s economy that providing for our own families and creating a stockpile is crucial. However, there are also people just like you and I who have suddenly fallen on hard times and are now turning to food banks for assistance for the first time in their lives.
After continuously hearing stories about the spiraling economy and it’s tragic effect on food banks throughout America, I decided to take what I had learned to help our own family and pay it forward. I turned to my family and friends and church congregation for help. Within days, the response was overwhelming! After meeting with my pastors, “Clipping for a Cause” was a new ministry at our local church here in Georgia, with weekly information printed up about how to get involved!
It’s still hard for me to believe how far it’s come in five short months. Each week, the members of the church graciously donate their unused coupon inserts in a designated box. From there, members of “Clipping for a Cause” meet on a bi-weekly basis and take the best deals listed for that week listed online and delegate who is clipping what coupon. You have to imagine that at least 40-50 coupons are available for one item! So..if the Fisher Fusion trail mix turns out to be free after coupons, we are able to donate 40 items to people in need for absolutely nothing! (No worries! We split all of the coupons up and shop at different stores so we don’t wipe out one store of any items!) A lot of folks stress how difficult it is financially to give to their favorite charities anymore, and find themselves having to cut back in every possible way. However, using what we’ve learned (as I know so many of you do already) we have the opportunity to completely alter the hunger crisis going on right this very minute across America!
I will leave you with this “food” for thought! To date, “Clipping for a Cause” has donated 3,525 items. The Amount Saved: $1,652.33, and the total amount spent out of pocket: $60.37. Others have read about and been inspired to launch their own “Clipping for a Cause” effort in their areas. So far, we have expanded to other cities in South Carolina, Florida, Alabama and Mississippi! I encourage you if you have a moment to visit the blog at Clipping for a Cause. If you have any questions about starting up your own “Clipping for a Cause” effort in your area, don’t hesitate to contact me! Thank you so much for taking the time to read this and thanks to Jennifer for her individual efforts in making a difference through “Saving and Giving!”
This was a guest post from Heather Bonner from “Clipping for a Cause.” In 2003, Heather graduated from Georgia Southern University with a Bachelor’s degree in Public Relations. Upon moving back home, she followed a slightly different path by accepting a job at a local assisted living home as the activities director. For five years, she planned and led activities with residents and absolutely loved going to work every day. Heather and her husband were married in 2005, and in 2006, they found out that they were having twin boys! After the twins’ arrival in 2007, she made the decision to be a stay-at-home mom. While it was one of the hardest things she’s ever had to do to say “goodbye” to the residents and job she loved so much, there was no doubt what her first priority was. Heather was forced to think outside of the box when it came to assisting her husband with the financial responsibilities. Although she felt helpless with two little babies, she soon discovered through coupons, it was possible to make that a part time job and earn income for her family. It wasn’t until number 3 came along that the “extreme couponing” concepts really came into play. Ever since, Heather has not only learned to passionately save for her own family, but also use the knowledge she has gained to make a difference in the lives of so many who desperately need food on their tables too.