Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Pay It Forward: Coupon Edition

Facebook keeps telling me that today is 'pay it forward' day. While I personally think that every day should be 'pay it forward' day, I'll honor the spirit of the idea by sharing my own little couponing 'pay it forward' that is still warming my heart.

When Leslie and I were shopping the other week (the day that we were photographed for the paper), and we were shopping the great toy deals at Target, we gave away a lot of coupons. I had printed a lot of toy coupons because I wasn't sure exactly what I was going to get for the kids; once I'd picked out our gifts, I just started giving my leftover coupons to folks that were looking at those items in those aisles. One lady almost started crying when I gave her a good coupon off the FurReal friend in her shopping cart! The lesson here is that we're ALL really broke this year (and often, many other years too), we all want to do the best for our kids that we can, and we all appreciate saving money.

When I ran out of people, I left the rest of the coupons on the shelves in the toy section. I didn't do any of this specifically to pay it forward; I wasn't thinking about other people doing the same thing and benefitting from it myself at some point in the future. I just did it because I wanted to help people. I did it because I've been amazed at some of the great deals I've been able to score using coupons, and I want other people to be able to do the same thing. Money is really tight for us at this time and I keep running into more and more people that are in the same boat as us or, unfortunately, an even worse one. I feel extremely fortunate to have the time right now to explore couponing, learn all the tricks, and be able to provide more for my family. If I can share that with other people, and help them even a little, it's worth all the time I've invested in the process.

Yesterday, Leslie and I were shopping at Jewel. One of my Avenu deals was .40 off 3 cans of Pringles. Pringles are something we love, but don't buy very often because a) it's junk food and b) it can be pricey. Definitely a treat item. I thought I'd check and see what the price was just in case it was worth a buy for us. We stopped in the aisle and Pringles were on sale, 2 for $3. With my $.40 off 3, I'd be paying 4.10, or $1.37 each. Which may not sound like much but money was really tight this week and this definitely wasn't a need, so I was going to pass them up. Then Leslie spotted three little pieces of paper on the shelf. Coupons. PRINGLES coupons. They expired that day. Some intrepid couponer obviously had decided not to use them, and rather than just toss the coupons later, they were kind enough to leave them for someone else to use. I snagged a $1.00 off 3 cans coupon. Now my 3 cans of Pringles would cost $3.10, or $1.03. Again, it's just a small amount, but it brought the price down just enough to justify a little treat for my family. (As a bonus, I had a $3 off your next shopping order Catalina in hand from a previous Jewel trip, so my Pringles were virtually free!)

I actually bought original, salt and vinegar, and EXTREME sizzlin' sweet BBQ. Which ended up being DELICIOUS. And also fairly spicy. But really good!

So thank you, anonymous coupon benefactor, for helping me treat my family yesterday.

For all you couponers, if you don't already do this, please consider paying it forward by leaving your unwanted / about to expire coupons on the shelves in the store for others to take advantage of. You might just be able to help someone give their kids an extra special Christmas. Or give their family a special treat they wouldn't normally buy. Or even help feed them milk, or eggs, or bread. It's a little thing that might just mean a lot to someone out there.

I know I'll be paying it forward this way from now on.

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