The Stocking Up Principle, Part 3: Giving More Generously

Welcome to part 3 of the Stocking Up Principle series. So far, I’ve told you how stocking up in advance can cut your grocery budget in half and I’ve tried to convince you that stocking up is not the same thing as hoarding. Today’s bonus lesson is how stocking up let’s you be a more generous giver.

I don’t want to get to into the how, when and where to count a donation as maaser, but I did want to point out that since I’ve been couponing, I’ve been able to give away far more food and household items to charitable organizations than ever before.

At least once or twice a year, I go through my basement storage shelves and pick off items that aren’t getting used up as quickly — from barbeque sauce to toothbrushes — to donate to a food pantry or women’s shelter.

Just the other week, I brought my sons to a “Touch a Truck” exhibit at our convention center (could there be any more perfect way to spend a Sunday afternoon if you’re a little boy or girl?). Admission was free with a canned good, so we packaged up an assortment of tomato paste, salad dressing, canned corn and beans, and a six-pack of Kids’ Essential and toted them off to the center. All these items were free or less than $2 (in the case of the KE). I brought the boys downstairs to our storage shelves and let them pick out the items for donation, which I think helps reinforce the message of giving in a more personal way.

I also want to throw out one other way in which I am able to give more by stocking up, which is buying items that are free + overage. Occasionally, there will be shelf-stable items that the store will actually pay me to take home. I’ve gotten overage of a few pennies to several dollars by combining coupons with sales with other incentives, like catalinas.

I used to skip these deals if they were products I wouldn’t use or that weren’t kosher. But then my husband suggested that I buy (well, get paid for) them anyway and just put the products in a bag for donation. There’s no reason someone else shouldn’t benefit from my couponing. And selfishly, if there is overage, I get to apply that to my total bill, which means I get a discount on produce, chicken, meat or other higher cost items without a coupon. Win, win!

Given that we’re entering the time in our calendar when giving is even more emphasized, I want to encourage all of us to look at our giving from the lens of strategic coupon shopping. How can your ability to save money at the grocery store help benefit someone in need?

Comments

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Comments

  1. What about something as simple as giving the coupons, you don’t use to someone else? I am sure, this is not a new idea, but I am also sure, sometimes, we save a coupon and never use it because, we really didn’t want that item but just in case……

    • That’s a great idea, Chaya! I recently read about a program where you can donate expired coupons to military spouses who shop at commissaries. Apparently they will take expired coupons. While I haven’t done this yet, I think it’d be a great project. You can get more information here.

  2. These are great ideas! What creative ways to donate!

  3. I just got either 30 or 36 boxes of Hyvee cereal. I lost track. I may have over done it. My husband was trying to get me to stop 12 boxes sooner, but he could see in my eyes it was a losing battle and let me go on with my frenzy. We really only have 2.5 kids that eat cereal anyway. The 0.5 kid eats eggs half the mornings and cereal the other. The one kid who does eat cereal exclusively is a very discrete eater and never eats too much. So after doing that calculation I realized he may indeed have been right (that and the fact the door on the cereal closet can barely shut). With Passover only (lol) six months away, I realize I may have a slew of stale cereal that will need to be sold. Instead I have decided to drop off some of my boxes into the Yachad food pantry NOW!

    • You’re cracking me up. Yes, stockpiling can quickly become hoarding… especially when you’re paying less than a dime a box of cereal. Good for you for donating now. Everyone wins!

  4. Mara,

    This is an excellent idea! I have a number of people at my shul that use the deals from my website to do the same thing — be more generous! While I do not keep a kosher home, several of my friends do. Several of our grocery stores have donation bins for the local food pantry right inside their stores. That has allowed my friends to take advantage of deals they normally would not because of kashrut. So now they can do those few moneymaker food deals and just leave the non-perishable food at the store so it’s a big win for everyone!

    My kosher friends have been using my drug store information for quite some time (I used to share it b4 I had a website) to save money on those items so they can better manage the overall monthly budget. I actually helped one lady in our shul who wanted to have a kosher home but wasn’t sure she could afford it. She was able to buy the drug store items for next to free and it gave her enough money each month to begin keeping kosher. We even used the drug store deals to buy glass dishes (parve) and serving piece.

    I’m so glad you have this site, it’s fantastic! There are many Orthodox families, and ultra-conservative ones as well that keep kosher, that are honoring G-D with the mitzvah of kashrut that need a like-minded person to share information on saving money. The many big frugal bloggers do not always understand how to make a deal work for a kosher family, so it’s nice that you can now put it together and help.

    Shana tova u’metuka,
    Sara

    • Thank you so much, Sara. You encouraged me so much! This is exactly why I’m writing and I’m very, very glad to know I am able to help someone. I love that you helped that woman buy glass serving dishes at CVS. Amazing idea!

      Shana tova to you and your family. xo

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