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Giving on a Small Budget

Not only can using coupons significantly lower your grocery bills each week, they can also allow you to donate to those who are needy–even when you’re strapped for cash yourself.

See a real-life example of this over at Living the Domestic Life. Like Amy encourages in her post, if you’re already taking the effort to match coupons and sales, why not just buy a few extra of things as you’re able in order to donate them to others?

Have you blessed someone with your coupon freebies recently? If so, tell us about it in the comments. I’d love to hear!

See more ideas for giving on a small budget here.

photo credit: Mindful One

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  • jenna says:

    Our sales tax is so high I can’t even afford to buy when the item is free to turn around and donate. However, it was 2006 I was forced to accept from the food pantry in 2007 and 2008 I was able to give back a ton. Now this year we came close to have to accept once again but due to coupons and great advice from all you ladies I have kept feeding our family on what little we have. I do leave my extra coupons around the product for the next person if I can’t use my coupons. I do this alot since I can’t afford the sales tax. In this way even if you have zero cash you can still help someone else by just leaving it on the shelf near the item.

  • CJ says:

    The Girl Scouts “April Showers” personal care items collection drive is this Saturday. I’ll be donating several bags full of shampoo, soap, razors, dental items, deodorant, body wash and other items. Most I’ve gotten for free over the past year with coupons and sales. I always pick up extra freebies and know they will go to good use.

  • I help out a single mom by bringing her goodie bags of drug store items that make her life more fun. It’s so satisfying to share. I was also able to help out a neighbor on several occasions when they lost their home. Lastly-I’ve been able to donate a bunch to our church food bank. Couponing helps me to be generous.

  • Jennifer says:

    No matter how you get the items you donate, even if it is just your time, it just feels good. I help/donate items/time everyweek and it is just the best feeling !! 🙂

  • Shannon W. says:

    I am working on a care package for those in the military. I sign up for every single free sample I can get my hands on. Any that my family can’t or wont use goes in the care package. I also look for coupons+sales= FREE stuff. If I don’t use it I will get it anyway and into the package it goes.

  • Dee in Culleoka, TN says:

    Being the mom to 4 teenagers we use a lot of HBA, but with active couponing I have quite a stock pile. The kids are super active in 4-H and they are always doing service projects (hand to larger service), so all those free toothpastes, toothbrushes, soaps, etc. have come in very handy. I am able to donate a larger or better quality item than if I had to purchase it for the project and I did not have to make a trip to town, just “shopped in my closet.”

  • SHADOW says:

    Believe it or not, coupons have really inspired a spurt of the ‘random act of kindness’ within me. I am not a very social person… some will say I’m quite timid even, but when I am shopping in stores armed with my coupons I get an urge to approach random strangers offering to share my savings with them! Before I used to toss coupons for products that I have no use for, but I save them now just in case I see some one with that particularly item in their basket or mulling over the price in an aisle. I felt so good just this weekend when I tapped a lady in front on me on the line at CVS with a pack of Always pads and gave her the 3 Always ‘buy one get on free’ coupons in the P&G April insert (I don’t use disposable feminine products but I kept them anyway for an opportunity such as that). She was so grateful, she made her husband tend to the rest of their items as she made a mad dash back into the aisle and came back with 2 extra packs. She thanked me so many times, even on her way out :-). I have done this several times in Target & BJ’s giving strangers extra coupons I had for Razors and cereals that were on sale so that they reap the same saving deals I’m taking advantage of. It’s like, in spite of my shyness I HAVE to do it. Such a strong urge comes over me when I see someone next to me in a store picking up an item I have a coupon for and don’t need, or someone reaching for the same product I am and I have an extra coupon for and don’t offer it. Even on the verge of what I thought may be offending, I gave an elderly lady a $1.00 off coupon for Fixodent after I spotted it in her basket and struck up a conversation with her. I started to share with her about getting the Sunday paper to expand on her savings in CVS and she was very surprised and happy to know that with that coupon and the extra bucks reward, she would be getting the Fixodent for free 🙂

    Of late, another thing I have been doing is leaving random coupons I don’t need or foresee me using in stores, by sliding them under the item it’s for. Just yesterday I left a couple strips of coupons in Target hanging under some goodies, that coupled with the current sale, the lucky finder would be getting a steal! Not only does it make me feel giddy knowing some random lucky person will find a little surprise bonus under the item they wanted to buy, but it also helps keep my sanity and unnecessary spending in check, because I realized unused coupons (especially close to the expiration date) make me crazy with pressure. Use me before its too late! So it’s a win win for me 🙂

  • Racheal says:

    I’ve only been couponing since January and already I have an enormous supply of items. I share my packed pantry and shed and closets and extra freezers with friends and family. I also donate items to my son’s school, any kid items I find cheap I donate to our Reading Store, it gives the kids points for reading books and they go shopping. We also have a yearly carnival and auction off items, the money is put back into our school in the form of field trips and this year we bought new playground equipment. I’m in the process of putting together a laundry basket full of my good deals, I might have about 10 bucks into it but it’s worth well over 2oo. Not a bad donation if you ask me!

  • Katie says:

    I just put together a huge back of Personal Care products for the Girl Scouts. This bag includes items for babies, ladies, and for men. I am also donating hot chocolate, that I got free, to our Sophomore class for the concession stand. These are small items, however it feels really good doing it!

  • Annette says:

    Just this week I was able to get two razors to give to a local ministry called Shepherd of the Streets as well as two pack of Pampers Swaddlers for the local crisis pregnancy center. It had never even occurred to me to use couponing for charity in this way before I read about it on a blog! All it cost me was a tiny bit of time and about $2.

  • Beth Morrison says:

    I use my coupon surplus “buys” and “freebies” for my daughter who lives in her own apt. at college. Also for her room mate. So they never have to buy the bathroom stuff, cleaning stuff, and lots and lots of food.
    They think I’m so awesome and it costs me basically nothing. I will do the same for my son when he is off to college in 2 years. After that I will put my goods back to our local food bank. I love getting the deals and saving all the money! 🙂

  • Emily says:

    I save up toiletries like antipersperant, shampoo and razors for when our church hosts homeless at our church through the Interfaith Hospitality Network. Also I regularly go through my stockpile and bring stuff to the local food bank.

  • Claire says:

    I just responded to a CL ad of a homeless family. I was able to fill some of their wishlist with my freebies from couponing. I don’t have lots of cash to give, but I have lots of things to give ~ lol.

  • Claire says:

    ALSO Don’t forget about Stamp Out Hunger by the USPS. I believe it’s May 8th this year!

  • steph hess says:

    This year i’m focusing on using coupons to buy Toys for tots at christmas. I hope by doing it all year i’ll have quite a collection by xmas without spending a ton.

  • sophia says:

    My friends laugh at me sometimes when I pick up pet food since we don’t have pets but if it’s FREE, by golly, I’m getting it! There are always bins by the grocery store exits for donations to the local animal shelters and if my items can feed a dog or cat for a day or two, why not?
    Also, my sister is raising my niece and nephews by herself and with very limited funds. Along with sending her money when I can and having the kids all come out to spend summers with us, when it is time for them to go back home, they all have backpacks loaded full of toiletries as well as the car trunk filled with cases of cereal and snack foods. I also send her any coupons that I have for FREE items. Since she lives 700 miles away, it’s another way of helping her with groceries since I can just pop the coupons in the mail to her (oh and I also send her my duplicates of refunds when it’s a “Limit One Per Address” thing. If I can only benefit once, then I’ll mail the other refund to her address so she can benefit too).
    Throughout the year, various organizations collect items for the food banks or homeless shelters. Stamp Out Hunger, the Boy Scouts do a food drive, my daughter’s preschool has a collection, my playgroup, etc. I am always able to contribute due to sales matched with double coupons. Tuna, chili, pineapple, mandarin oranges, cereal, entire grocery bags FILLED with items for the needy. The organization feels like they had a successful drive, I’m able to pass on some of my wealth (and any good couponer knows what a true wealth it is!) and someone in need is helped. Win/win!

  • Lynn in MD says:

    I have a huge stash of stuff I’ve gotten free at stores over the past few months. Usually, twice a year I have a flea market type sale and sell everything for cheap (at least 50% off of retail price). This year I’m donating every cent I make (hopefully around $500) to the March of Dimes.

  • alisha says:

    We love love love being able to give extras to nursing homes/homeless shelters etc… Recently, my husband has been having health issues and a sweet older lady from church has been keeping our daughter while we’re at the hospital/doctor – she refuses to let us pay her so I gave her a lot of toilet paper and she acted as though that was better than money! Now I know how to thank her next time too!!!

  • Faith says:

    My household budget has been severly cut during this recession. Hubby is in commissioned sales and times have been tough. But thanks to couponing and help from ladies like you, my pantry is full. During Lent, our church had a food drive. Because of couponing I was able to donate 6 big sacks of food items. It felt so good. I am also collecting toiletries free or very cheap [I’m loving the free Johnson Buddy soap bars] to see how many Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes I can put together next holiday season [also donating some locally along the way]. Thanks so much for your help.

  • Jenn says:

    I love reading these stories!

    I’ve been donating to the food pantry at my church for about 18 months now. I’m known there as “the coupon lady”… Some of my favorites:

    Almost 2 years ago there was an awesome deal on Walgreens brand diapers – FREE after coupons and RR! I donated about 70 packages of free diapers! They were SOOO thrilled! The director there said they receive 3-4 calls EVERY DAY about items like diapers and wipes!

    Another favorite was about a month ago – I was able to get free Post cereals at Jewel with a catalina deal and coupons. I pre-ordered 20 cases and pre-paid for them. When they came in – I picked them up at Jewel – and drove them straight to the pantry. The director said it was perfect timing because they had RUN OUT of cereal the day before so none of the bags were getting cereal as of that morning!

    I love being able to give so freely without spending a lot of money that I don’t have!

  • Laura Driver says:

    A lot of ladies @ our church have gone crazy with coupons and overall just adopting a more frugal lifestyle-we call ourselves the “Discount Divas for Life”. Recently, a member of our congregation lost her job (and she is the main bread-winner), so all of the “divas” got together, shopped from the stockpile & overflow in our own pantries and filled her cupboards so she had one less expense to worry about. We then filled the pantry of another congregant who had major surgery and was unable to do the shopping for several weeks. We are having so much fun and love watching God multiply His blessings in such a practical way!

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