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?