Category Archives: Couponing for Christ

Couponing for Christ: Missions

My journey of couponing has allowed me to give like never before.  Whether it was for Operation Christmas Child Boxes, Thanksgiving Baskets, or just giving to my loved ones, I have been able to do so much more with much less money.  I would like to think I have a heart for giving, until I met a woman who’s heart aches for giving.

“The righteous gives and does not hold back.” Proverbs 21:26




Sarah stocking the shelves at a food pantry.
Sarah stocking the shelves at a food pantry.

Sarah and I met on my facebook page: Couponing 101: Shopping With Shana.  She was a couponer searching for help on how to stock-up on those personal care items that are most needed.  Before Sarah found my facebook page, she explained:

“About a year ago I started the hard core couponing. I would look for deals where I could get things for free. I was skimming through Facebook one night and came across the story of what shelters are afraid to ask their donors for.”

After building a small stockpile of items, Sarah took her haul to a local food bank. As tears weld up in the volunteer’s eyes, Sarah was on a mission to continue to give.  A month later she was back with more, a whole lot more.

“A month later I returned to the food bank with my big boxes full, I wanted to make a difference. I walked in and the sisters were praying. They finished their prayer and immediately began sobbing when they saw I had come back. This time I found out they had not received any donations of pads or anything since the month prior and wanted to so badly help women who had come seeking help with that issue. I sat my boxes down and you would have thought  [it] was [like] Jesus and the 4 loaves of bread and 2 fish. At that point I realized I had been blessed with a gift.”

Sarah has done so much more since then by giving to the community from putting together cleaning kits to providing hygiene and personal care products.  But it was in February of 2016 that her church approached her.  First Christian Church Disciples of Christ in Covington, KY was planning a mission trip to Beatyville in Eastern Kentucky to help support the community by building & painting but also to help support a local food bank.  They tasked Sarah with finding the best deals.

"God's Partner Food Bank" in Beatyville, KY
“God’s Partner Food Bank” in Beatyville, KY

“He who is generous will be blessed, for he gives some of his food to the poor.” Proverbs 22:9

To help Sarah, the church members would save their coupon inserts and she would pick up stacks of coupons every Sunday morning.  Now it was just about finding the DEALS!




I remember one of the first few conversations I had with Sarah, she had found toothpaste for $.25 or so after coupons.  She was SO excited about the find!  I had to burst her bubble and told her that she could do better.  (As a couponer, you NEVER pay for toothpaste and honestly if you aren’t getting paid to take it out of the store then its only an ok deal.)  She was SHOCKED!

“I would pay maybe $1 or $2 for toothpaste. [Shana] said watch and learn. I did.  When it was all said and done I had 68 tubes of toothpaste and maybe paid $3 for all of it because I spent $2 on 2 tubes.”




After several months of hard work and couponing as well as a curve ball in her personal life as she dealt with the death of a precious family member, the mission team of 9 adults and 3 kids was prepared to leave.  Sarah had managed to do more than thought possible.

“WE took over 70 tubes of toothpaste, 4 boxes of food, 50 packs of maxi pads and tampons, cleaning supplies and baby items.  We arrived to lots of bare shelves but we were super excited that we left it full. “

 

Once Sarah returned to Northern Kentucky, one would think she could take a break from couponing or maybe only coupon for her own personal needs.  Nope!  Sarah was back and insisted on finding the next place to donate items to.

Sarah has been an inspiration to me and I love hearing about what she’s stocked up on and where it is going.  God’s light is seen brightly through Sarah.

“In everything I showed you that by working hard in this manner you must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He Himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.'” Acts 20:35




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Couponing For Christ: Thanksgiving Baskets

My church works hand in hand with Hope Ministries here in Northern Kentucky.  Hope Ministries provides food, clothing, and other help to those in need while sharing the love of Jesus Christ.  It is a wonderful ministry and every year a few weeks before Thanksgiving the members of Florence Baptist Church on Mt. Zion and Hope Ministries join forces to gift Thanksgiving Food Baskets to those in need.

“Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.”
-2 Corinthians 9:5
Photo Credit: FBMZ Twitter
Photo Credit: @FBMZ

This is my first year to provide a basket as an Extreme Couponer.  In the past we have always donated a basket of goods for about $30.00-$35.00.  We usually go to a discount type of store to grab the necessary items, hoping to save money.  This year I hoped to get everything for my basket under $20.00.

Now, before I got started, I prayed about this basket and asked the Lord to help me through this venture.  My husband has recently changed careers and in this transition our budget has had to make drastic changes for my family’s living expenses.  Making it more difficult to give like we have in the past.  But the best thing about calling on God, is seeing Him work and work big.  Seeing what God can achieve on a tight budget is truly amazing.

“Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.”
-Hebrews 13:16
Photo Credit: @FBMZ
Photo Credit: @FBMZ

Full disclaimer, I didn’t purchase everything at one time or from one store.  It is best to purchase items throughout the year especially if you know this is an area of giving that occurs every year.  It is always a great idea to shop clearance items or great sales and stock-up on items you may use or give in the future.




So, first I take note of any items I already have in my cabinets, like a box of Tea Bags.  I purchased a box earlier in the year with a Kroger sale, coupon, and Ibotta rebate making the Tetley Brand Tea FREE.

Then I started to scan the ads and match-up deals and coupons to get great deals.  I have posted each deal on shoppingwithshana.com.  Click the links listed below for specific details.

Items needed for each basket (meat is provided):

TOTAL COST: $19.63

God showed me His glory by allowing me to take care of both my family and a family in need over Thanksgiving.  In fact, God showed his glory throughout our church as we donated over 550 Thanksgiving Baskets.

Photo Credit: @FBMZ
Photo Credit: @FBMZ

I challenge you to give this holiday season.  It can truly be a blessing to you and your family.

Check out my print coupons page:  Coupons.com.  Go through and print any coupons you might use NOW and then you have them later when the deal pops up!

For other current deals: “Current Deals” Page

Thanks for shopping with me today!  To help my small business venture:

  1. Please subscribe to my blog for the latest deals.
  2. Print coupons from my blog: coupons.com
  3. Join my facebook page: “Couponing 101: Shopping With Shana

Couponing for Christ: Operation Christmas Child Boxes

As the Holiday season starts, there are many opportunities to give.  From dropping lose pocket change in the Salvation Army’s kettle to adopting a family or buying gifts for needy children.  One of my favorite seasonal giving opportunities is Operation Christmas Child through Samaritan’s Purse.

Photo Credit: www.samaritanspurse.org
Photo Credit: www.samaritanspurse.org

What I love about Operation Christmas Child is how I get to teach my children about giving to others plus they get to learn by being hands on.  Since my family is on a strict budget, we have a limit on how much money we can spend, limiting the number of boxes we can afford to put together, especially if we are paying for everything full price.

So, this year, I decided to put my new couponing skills to the test and see how many boxes I could provide with minimal cost.  I normally  get 2 boxes together under $50 which includes the $7 in shipping per box, and I usually shop exclusively at the Dollar Tree. (Edit: 2017 Boxes are shipped for $9.00 a box)



What’s great is when you pray to the Lord and ask for His help and blessings, you get to see how God can do so much more than you can.  How He can truly bless your efforts.  This year was completely different than the past.  My family and I put together 4 large boxes, filled with more stuff than ever before, and with items that were better quality than ever before for about $5.00 give or take!

Our 4 boxes for Operation Christmas Child.
Our 4 boxes for Operation Christmas Child.

So, before we jumped in head first, we prayed.  Prayed that God would bless this venture, prayed that He will guide me, and prayed that He will bless those in need through these boxes.



Next, I needed to know what to look for.  Samaritan’s Purse has a list of suggestions.  Suggestions include: Toys, School Supplies, Non-liquid Hygiene Items, Accessories, Crafts, and a personal note.  Watch the video below to see what items I used and how I couponed.

PLEASE NOTE: As of 2017- toothpaste & candy is no longer accepted in the boxes.

Now, remember, couponing for Operation Christmas Child boxes is not something that you can do during the week before they are due and have major savings.  You have to catch the deals throughout the year.

Items included in our boxes:

  • Hygiene Items
    • Toothbrush
    • Bar Soaps
    • Washcloths
  • School Supplies
    • Paper
    • Pencils
    • Pens
    • Crayons
    • Coloring books
    • Folders
    • Glue Sticks
  • Clothing/Shoes
    • Crocks
    • Flip Flops
    • Plain T-shirts
    • Skirts
  • Hard Candy
  • Toys
    • Puzzles
    • Balls
    • Play Doh
    • Hot Wheel Cars
    • Kid’s Jewelry
    • Bike horns
    • Slinky

OCC7 OCC8

I want my children to have a giving heart and I look at these opportunities as great way to teach them to care about others.  There are great printables for kids to color and fill out showing the child that will receive the box more about the family that provided them.

OCC3 OCC2 OCC4

Finally, we took our finished boxes to a local Chick Fil A that was collecting boxes.  The Chick Fil A also matched each box up to 100 boxes.  They gave a free Chick Fil A chicken sandwich for every box PLUS they paid for the shipping of each box (which was a $28 savings for my family!)

God is GOOD!



OCC6 OCC5

“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us” – Ephesians 3:20

Check out my print coupons page:  Coupons.com.  Go through and print any coupons you might use NOW and then you have them later when the deal pops up!

For other current deals: “Current Deals” Page

Thanks for shopping with me today!  To help my small business venture:

  1. Please subscribe to my blog for the latest deals.
  2. Print coupons from my blog: coupons.com
  3. Join my facebook page: “Couponing 101: Shopping With Shana

Couponing for Christ: RESET Ministries

When we coupon, we help our families by saving money and staying within our family budgets (not to mention the stockpiles of food and other items).  And while those reasons are in and of themselves very rewarding, there are even more potential benefits to shopping this way.

We can use our couponing skills to help others by donating items we get for cheap or free.  When a need arises, we can pull from our stockpile or look for specific deals to meet those needs.  Just because I personally don’t use a certain brand of shampoo doesn’t mean that someone else couldn’t benefit from it.

“In everything I did, I showed by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.'”  Acts 20:35

Recently, I had the pleasure to get involved with an organization called RESET Ministries.  I was able to make a donation from my own personal stockpile of items that I had acquired through couponing!

RESET Ministries House in Northern Kentucky opened in June of 2015. Picture taken when a team was coming in to clean it.
RESET Ministries House in Northern Kentucky opened in June of 2015. Picture taken when a team was coming in to clean it.

RESET Ministries serves both men and women who desire a radical change their lives. They help people find their true purpose: a life away from addiction and toward the one true answer- Jesus Christ.  Along with counseling, their organization provides dignified housing and other basic needs to those they serve.




RESET started with a men’s home in Newport, Kentucky and just recently added another location in the form of a women’s home also in Newport.  A friend of mine, Brittany, who works with RESET along side her parents, was tasked with getting welcome baskets together for the ladies who would live in this home.  Her parents started the ministry after they had felt God’s call to help meet the needs of these people.

Brittany needed to make a basket for each lady with personal products like toothbrush, toothpaste, soaps, razors, deodorants, wash clothes, and other toiletries.  She also planned to stock the linen closets with household items and the pantry with non-perishable food items.  She contacted me to teach her how to coupon for these items.  Luckily, all of those items were the easiest to coupon!!!

Slowly, but surely, Brittany began to build her stockpile for the ministry.
Slowly, but surely, Brittany began to build her stockpile for the RESET Ministry.

Brittany shared with me the needs of the people they would be servicing, “All new residents receive a welcome basket with toiletries, towels/washcloths and non-perishable food items.  We had heard stories where people have gone a week plus without eating because some sober living homes don’t provide any food in the pantry or welcome basket.”

By watching the sales and using coupons, Brittany has put together amazing baskets for these ladies and stocked their closets.

Care Baskets- filled with basic essentials, linens, and snacks.
Care Baskets- filled with basic essentials, linens, and snacks.

“Don’t be afraid just stand where you are and watch, you will see the wonderful way the Lord will rescue you today.” – Exodus 14:13

Brittany explained “Anything we receive that isn’t included in the basket we use to stock their shelves. Like feminine hygiene or toilet paper. The residents are responsible for everything from paper towels to food. This can be a challenge when you are also paying for rent and you’ve just started a job. 




Other needs for the ministry include volunteers to lead Bible Studies and make family style meals.   “Another need we have are for ‘dream coaches’. These are people that are modeling their faith and sobriety in life. Not all coaches are former addicts but the point is the coach believes in sobriety and encourages the individual” explains Brittany.

Thank you Brittany for sharing your story of Couponing for Christ with us.  If you are interested in volunteering or donating to RESET Ministries please checkout their website: www.resetministries.org

If you have a Couponing for Christ story to share, please email me at shoppingwithshana@yahoo.com.