(Photo credit Jello Fishy)
So in Lesson Fourteen I suggested that it's possible for couponing to make one greedy and snobby. Sometimes. The positive flip side to that is more often than not, learning how to coupon will turn you into a more generous, giving person.
Today I'm going to share a few ideas of how you might harness that "good feeling" you get from couponing into practical ways you can be generous with others.
1. Teach someone else to coupon. As cheesy as it sounds, I get excited hearing about someone else's good deal as much as enjoying my own. I love it when a reader emails me and thanks me for sharing how to use coupons and find sales. Whether you're an old pro or someone just starting out, I hope you will take the time to share what you're learning with other people. Trust me, for every one person I tell that doesn't care, about 10 more do. And don't feel you must run out and start a blog to do that either (trust me, that's a whole 'nother ball of yarn…). Telling your neighbor, coworker, or friend will do (if you can limit yourself to that).
2. Donate to homeless shelters, church pantries, and others in need. This would be a perfect time of year to put this into practice. I know my own church is hoping to ramp up the food pantry in order to provide local families with Thanksgiving meals. A lot of the items they need are the same items we're seeing on sale right now – canned broth, vegetables, baking supplies. Consider sharing from your stash or doing the deal to help out a family in need.
3. Do a deal for the not-so-coupon inclined. Got folks in your life that are awed by your coupon deals but you know it's unlikely they'll make the time to do it for themselves? Why not ask them to write a list of 3-4 items they use regularly and see if you can't help them out. Who knows, they might be so wow-ed by the deal you scored them on canned tomatoes they'll be willing to give it a try!
4. Be a coupon fairy. If you have coupons (particularly good ones) you are not planning on using, why not leave them on store shelves for other customers? There are other ways you can be a coupon fairy too. I recently decided to ask my friends on Facebook who would like my cat and dog coupons as we don't have pets. In less than an hour, I got a response. Some of this will depend on your comfort level and the situation, but try to gage if you can ever help other customers at the store. For instance, if you see a lady grabbing for a $4 bottle of orange juice and you know the $2 bottle is a better deal with the peelie coupon, see if you can politely assist. Be nice; and again, remember not everyone will necessarily be excited about finding the best deal. But the ones that do will be grateful!
5. Donate expired coupons. Did you know overseas military bases will allow expired coupons to be redeemed up to 6 months past their expiration dates? It's completely easy to sign up. Go here to learn more and get started. I participate with this and think it's a simple way we can thank families overseas for their sacrifice.
6. Give other resources as you are now able. I think you'll find the ideas for giving will grow as you learn to save money and stockpile. You might find the deal on the pretty lotions and bath gels make lovely gifts for women at the local nursing home. You might be inspired to cook a few extra freezer meals from your stockpile and deliver them to a family with a new baby. You might realize you have money left over at the end of the month and can now help a friend that's struggling with the bills.
The more you learn to save, the greater your ability will be to give. While it might seem counterintuitive, it's true. And I'm not the first one to make this connection either. It is a theme you will find over and over with couponers. So while there are a few bad eggs, I think you'll find there are many more courteous and giving folks out there.
Tomorrow, I will wrap up this series by summing up the key points I've shared with you over the last month and giving you an "action plan" for how to carry everything you've learned into practical steps. Shortly thereafter, there will be a final, so if you've not been paying much attention, you might want to go back and review the other October Coupon Lessons! See you then!