Couponing for Good: Holiday Update (Adopt-a-Family)

by on December 13, 2012 in Coupon Education,Personal Experiences

The Coupon Snob - Couponing For Good

It’s been a little while since I have written anything about Couponing for Good, so I thought I would share an update about how I am using this concept to help others in my community this holiday season.

I started writing about Couponing for Good in March when I did a campaign with Champions for Kids that involved using my coupons to save as much money as I could on food donations to a local charity of my choice. Since then I have looked for ways that I could use my money-saving know-how to help those around me.

My church recently invited members of the congregation to help other families by participating in the Salvation Army Adopt-a-Family program. The Adopt-a-Family program pairs families that need help to provide a Christmas experience (presents, food, etc) with those that want to help them be able to do so. Even though I only just became a stay at home Mom, and we are still adjusting to a one-income lifestyle, I really wanted to do this! I asked for us to be paired with a family that had 3 or fewer members, and we got just that: a single Mom with two little girls.

Salvation Army Adopt a family

Even though the Salvation Army provides a food voucher (for a Christmas dinner) for each family that signs up, I wanted to also provide a meal for the family, along with the gifts we were to provide. The only stipulations that we had were that we could not spend more than $50-$100 per child, and that we had to have the items wrapped, labeled and returned to the church by a certain date.

I won’t go into the details about the specific toys that I bought, but I can tell you that I was able to give the whole family, including Mom, some awesome gifts straight from their wishlists for a fraction of the retail prices. I was able to give 6 presents (some with more than one thing inside) to each child plus gifts to Mom, while spending about $100 TOTAL. The value of the items were far beyond that, but I used items that I had previously bought for my own daughter on clearance ($1 clothing from Walmart in sizes she can’t yet wear) as well as Black Friday and Cyber Monday online deals (discount codes and Kohl’s cash) to snag items that I KNOW will bring joy to that family.  Dollar Tree deals also helped me put together some awesome stockings for those kids, too.

I will get into the details of the meal I bought though…

This is an excellent example of how planning, determination, and coupon knowledge and use can not only save you money, but also allow you to give without going broke.

I wanted to be able to give the  family we adopted an additional “holiday meal” that they could use for New Years, or daily eating. It all needed to be shelf-stable, because I had to turn in the items a week or more before the family would actually be getting the gifts. So, I made a menu as soon as we knew we were going to do this, and I started watching sale ads and clipping coupons.

My menu was:

  • Ham
  • potatoes
  • gravy
  • noodles (this might be an Indiana thing, but I had to include it!)
  • sweet potatoes with marshmallows
  • sweet corn
  • green bean casserole
  • cranberries
  • jell-o with fruit (a dessert I could provide all of the ingredients for)

I shopped at several stores over a period of about 3 weeks. I looked for sales, used coupons, and shopped at a couple of different stores. Here’s how I did it:

Kroger, no sale, no coupon
1 large can store brand sweet potatoes = $1.99
1 box Cherry Jell-O gelatin = $1.00
1 can of store brand fruit cocktail, extra cherries = $1.00

Kroger Mega sale, no coupon
2 jars of Heinz gravy at 50 cents each = $1.00
1 large container of French’s fried onions = $2.49
1 can of Ocean Spray cranberries = $.99

Kroger Mega sale, plus coupons
2 boxes Stove Top stuffing at 29 cents each = $.58
2 cans of Campbells Mushroom Soup at 55 cents each = $1.10
1 bag of Jet Puffed Marshmallows = $.19

ALDI
4 cans cut green beans at 49 cents each = $1.96
2 cans whole white potatoes at 65 cents each = $1.30
2 cans of sweet corn at 49 cents each = $.98
1 canned ham = $2.99

From my pantry
1 package of homestyle noodles = FREE

My total out of pocket was…Drumroll please…$14.58!!!

And, let me tell you…this was an impressive box of food for less than 15 bucks!!!

So, what I want you to take away from this is the fact that your coupon use and knowledge can help people.  Not just your family, but other families, too!

That’s the whole point of Couponing for Good!

Have you done something like this?  Please, let me know by posting and sharing!

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