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How do You Pay it Forward?

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With the holidays fast approaching, it is impossible not to get into the spirit of giving. Not only does it make you feel great to give to others, but I honestly believe that the more you give, the more you get back. Plus, don’t you love demonstrating to your own children the significance of giving to others?! One of my favorite things to do is to give my kiddos spare change to drop into the Salvation Army’s red buckets at Christmas time when I am leaving the grocery store. With that being said, it is often more fun to come up with things to give to others that do not necessarily cost you anything out of pocket. For example, consider donating several hours one night to babysit the kids of a friend or neighbor who never gets any “me” time, bake cookies and surprise a neighbor for no reason at all, or even consider handing over some coupons to a fellow shopper. I also love to be a “coupon fairy” by leaving coupons next to products at the store for an unsuspecting shopper to use later! Check out this email I received from reader, Liz, who appears to be a fellow coupon fairy. πŸ™‚

Today I was in Target, picking up my free cat food and free red potatoes (I got my free dog food yesterday). While in the cat food aisle, there was a woman with her daughter (around 8 years) buying some Meow Mix. I heard her adding up the items and thought…. hmmm, I bet she would appreciate a coupon or two! I immediately opened my book and pulled out a Meow Mix coupon for $1 and tapped her on the shoulder and asked her I she would like to have it. She recognized me as a “real couponer” and began to ask questions. As I answered her questions about stores and finding deals and how to get coupons, I noticed that most of her food was filler staples (high in filling up and low in nutrition); she also had 3 or 4 dozen eggs. While we spoke, I handed her 2 BOGO egg coupons from the Good Egg Project and she was both shocked and happy. I gave her your website as a good starting place to get her feet wet and also told her how to get ink cartridges for about $2 and paper for free.

I guess the cashier took the coupons because she searched me out while I was at the register and asked me again for the name of your website. It felt good to get another person excited about saving money, especially someone that obviously needed the savings. So, I ask you to challenge all your readers to give away a coupon or two to a stranger as an opportunity to be a good egg! After all, isn’t that what the good egg project asked us to do?

How do YOU Pay it Forward? Have you ever shared your coupons with a shopper? How do you give to others without spending money?


Collin founded Hip2Save in 2008 and has over 10 years experience as a deals and lifestyle editor, strategist, and creative copywriter. She is debt-free and has been featured in Parents Magazine, Today.com and MSNBC. Connect with Collin on LinkedIn


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Comments 354

  1. camom2six

    We have 6 children in our family and money is tight for us (just like for everyone else) so it feels really good to be able to gift a lot of the items that I am able to get for low costs. Also, it’s a lot of fun to get together with people and give them tips on how they can score the same deals. There is a womens shelter near my home and my daughter and I bring things up there every Friday. I try to leave coupons that I know I wont be able to use near the items in the store and give away tons of coupons. It has been so fun and rewarding to be able to afford to help others!!

  2. Kristine

    I was in Target the other day doing some early xmas shopping in the toy aisles. I saw a mother with two kids who were playing with all the neat toys Santa could bring! This little girl was so upset that she wanted to have a Strawberry Shortcake toy and her mother had told her to pick something less expensive. The little girl was extremely persistent on the more expensive toy and it looked like it just wasn’t going to happen. So…having a daughter myself, I pulled out my coupons and gave her two: one for the $10 off Strawberry Shortcake and another for $5 off Iron Man for her little boy that was there too! The excitement in all three of their eyes was enough to make every second of that worth while. The woman was extremely grateful and explained how she just didn’t know where to start with coupons and didn’t have the time with two kids. I lent her some advice as well as how I make it work with a busy schedule myself! Hopefully she’ll be couponing in no time!!!

  3. Margaret H.

    A long time ago my husband was laid off of work and we had a new born. We went through every bit of funding that we had and my husband tried his darnedest to make ends meet. Our son at the time was in a private school and someone got wind of the fact that we were struggling and may have to pull our son out of school. Without telling the other parents who we were; only stating that “a family in the school was in financial distress”. The parents pulled together and one individual came to our home with a suburban full of food, toiletries and other items to make ends meet.

    Then the school board paid for our sons following semester and told us not to worry about making up the bill! It was one of the most humbling experience I have ever received in my life. I am so embarrassed to state that I have not even begun to figure out how to repay all that was given to us at the at time. Then about a year ago I raised almost $6000.00 for cancer research. So many people many of whom I have never met donated to me and my cause. Not sure if that consist of pay it forward or not, but simply trying to state the blessings that others, many strangers have personally blessed me and my family with love and fortitude. I am embarrassed to admit. that sometimes I catch myself in a stupor and at times high expectations of others and the pitiful me syndrome.

    Therefore, I would love, love, love to give more than I do. Especially financially, but for now when I do use coupons and have to many of a particular one, I will usually leave it on the shelf next to the item for someone to use. I have paid for another person’s food item in the car line at chick-fil-a. Of course the usual paying it forward to take clothing items, etc to Goodwill or the Salvation Army. I have made food for other families and donated food items and I always volunteered at the schools when needed. Still none of it seems adequate to the blessings that my family and i have received in those months of desperation.

    (sorry – way to long of a comment)

    • tilla ham

      aww this made me cry…super sweet. and so hard when you are trying to give your kids the best of everything and it isn’t financially possible. I am so glad that your school friends were there to help you out of that tough time!!! Instilling those values in your children, will help them be great people. My son is a senior in high school and is doing his senior project on ways for young people to help the community with a focus on the poverty in our city. He is helping me coupon and collect free or cheap food and products…it is awesome!!!

  4. Jennifer P

    I know this is supposed to be a pay it forward, but I have a question about getting $2 ink. I would like to pay that info forward to my teacher friends who use a lot of ink for copying. Thanks!

    • Serafina

      I would love that, too!

      • Jamie

        yes please

        • Kolina

          Yes please also! I just spent 10 bucks at office max to get the black cartridge refilled πŸ™

          • Sandra

            Get your kids and their families to save you the empty ink cartridges. Most of the Office places will give you credit for the recycle. Office Max does $3.00 each.It take one month to credit to your account. I have not paid much for ink at all this year along with free paper with the OfficePerks. Highly reccomend this.

    • Claire

      The answer is in comment #168

      • Pamiam412

        My Daughters school has a class that saves the ink cartridges all year then turns them in and buys something for the classroom. I started saving cartridges when my daughter was in that class and I have continued each year as that teacher is so awesome. If you can pay it forward to a teacher please do so, they sacrifice so much for all our children

  5. Jill

    I email the links of the great deals that I find on your website to my friends who I think would enjoy the deal, too. I Love the easy “share” buttons you’ve provided for doing this! Thank you!

  6. Nicole

    We need more of these question and answer posts. It is so nice to read through other people’s ideas!!!

  7. Melissaan

    I have shared coupons with others in the store too. Yesterday I got to give a coupon to my favorite clerk at Walgreens. She was so appreciative. I felt truly blessed to be able to share out of my couponing abundance!

    The Chinese proverb, “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime” has great relevance with couponing. It is great to be able to bless someone with a coupon, but it is even better to teach them how to use coupons for themselves! Thanks Hip2Save for all you have done to help me and help me help others!

  8. Wendi

    I too love being a coupon fairy. I’m bad about looking in other peoples carts and rummaging thru my coupons to help out. On the other hand. I was placing coupons around Walmart one day. You know they ones that are about to expire that you really don’t need. I saw a store associate behind me taking them off the shelf. I asked her what she was doing and she said she was told to pick them all up when she saw them because they were a hazard. She said they fall on the floor and people slip on them and they could get sued. So much for the coupon fairy at Walmart. But I still do it at Wags and the local grocery stores.

    • dawn w

      lol, i do that 2!

      • Pamiam412

        I was thinking I could slip tape in my purse and tape them to the products. I would hope they wouldnt remove them

  9. Lisa

    I do the samething with coupons if i don’t need them i feel like a coupon fairy and leave them beside the product. I also donate to send a veteran to the memorial in washington, i donate to food banks with all the food i get with my coupons and to our local crisis control with the soaps, toothpastes, and shampoos i get. Collin your blog has been a blessing to my family and others that I have touched with me being able to give. I feel like that is paying it forward.

  10. Sara

    After eating at Claim Jumper last week, we received a “ticket” to scratch the next time we came to dine there. It was for like a free entree, kids meal, or dessert (you didn’t know until you got there your next time). Well, when we were leaving we handed our ticket to a young family just arriving! They seemed surprised but grateful! And it felt good to us!

  11. Alli H

    I was at the mall this week and had already eaten lunch. I had printed a coupon for the free slice of pizza and didn’t need it. I walked up to a father in line with his daughter and asked if they would like it. The surprised shocked and happy look on their faces was priceless. It reminded me of when my husband and I were really tight around Christmas one year. I was in line at Chick-Fil-a and was scrapping our change together to buy our son a sandwich. A lady must have noticed us, and walked up to me and handed me a $5 bill and said “you dropped this” when I replied that it wasn’t mine and I hadn’t dropped it, she looked at me, smiled, and said Merry Christmas. I will never forget. I love to pay things forward because they really do come back to you.

    • Lisa

      love that story

    • Annette

      I love that story, too. It made me cry. I especially love the classy way that woman gave you the $5. I want to remember and copy that one.

  12. Mareesa H

    I am so glad you posted about this. I have been doing this a lot lately to teach my 15 year old daughter easy ways to look beyond our own wants and help people who are truly in need. It started with something simple, we went to Taco Bell after her dance class for a quick bite and they were requesting donations of $1 to feed 4 children. I gave and it sparked a conversation between us and I loved to see the glimmer sparkle in her eyes when we talked about giving. The next day we were at Old Navy trying to take advantage of the $16 coast sale. We didn’t like what they had in stock so we got a few items from the clearance section and approached the checkout. I had a few coupons from the Old Navy facebook site in my binder, and saw a woman behind me looking through her cart obviously trying to see what she could afford. I turned around and asked if she would like a coupon. She said she would love one and I handed her a $5 off $50 purchase coupon. She lit up and kept thanking me over and over. I told her about your site and I sure hope she is one of the people reading this story now. It is great to give!

    • Liz

      I’ve done this too and people just light right up!

  13. theresa

    i, too, have had some opportunity to share a few coupons (and your website!) while out shopping, but honestly, i would like to know where to get the $2 ink!

  14. Amanda Spurgeon

    I have told my family, friends, other shoppers and even the cashiers ask me. I love to tell other people about the all the websites i go to to get freebies and money savings. I am with theresa how do you get $2 ink and free paper. Now that I have been getting more coupons I go through a lot of both and don’t have the money always to replace it right away since it cost me $20 for the package with the color and black inks.

  15. Collins

    Oh I would love to find out where the $2 ink is!!! Thanks! Your right its nice to give!

    • Claire

      Read comment #168

  16. Suzy

    Paying it forward is one of the things that I like most about couponing. A few weeks ago I was at Target and the lady in front of me was having to put back a few items because she didn’t have enough money to cover everything. She had a young baby with her and was buying items for her and her child. As soon as I saw what was happening I started going through my coupon binder and pulling out coupons that she could use. She was so shocked and greatful and she just keep saying how nice and generous that was. Normally I get a “coupon high” when I get really great deals at the store; helping someone out who was in need gave me that same feeling! This is definately something I try to do whenever I can.

  17. Smitha

    We don’t buy newspapers and so my coupons are limited to internet coupons. If I find a coupon which I feel might be useful to my friends, I print it out and give it to them. Also, I give away most of the coupons for cereal and juices to my friends’ daughter’s school. It’s not much – but I hope I have helped them save a dollar or two πŸ™‚

    • bri

      I have neighbors, friends and family save their coupon inserts they don’t use for us. I get 4 insterts this way!!!

  18. liz

    Here is the scoop on the ink. Of course, you probably know that free paper can be had at Staples or Office Depot quite often.

    Here is the breakdown on my ink deal: I went through MrRebates.com where I got a 20% rebate. The ink seller is 123inkjets.com.
    I ordered 8 ink cartridges at a great and awesome price of $32! Then, I got a 13% discount, bringing my cost to $28. I got free shipping (due to another order I added to this one: they have free shipping on $55 or more). I paid 123inkjets $28 and got a rebate from MrRebates.com for $6.40 (just for my ink cartridges). $28 – $6.40 = $21.60. Since I got 8 cartridges, $21.60 divided by 8 = $2.70. Sorry, it was closer to $3 than $2, but still always a really great deal.

    Also…. I only print one page a week in color to save on ink, so I rarely order color ink.

    • Mary Beth

      Thank you, Liz! I’ve gotten ads for 123Inkjets through my MyPoints account, and never knew if the cartridges were decent. Now that I know you’ve used them, I’m willing to give it a shot. And going through Mr. Rebates to get money back is even better . . . you are an inspirational frugal shopper!!!

      • liz

        Try using Ebates also. I made a slightly better deal there (see the comment a bit newer) for the details.

    • Audrie

      Could you tell me the make and model of your printer?? πŸ™‚

      • liz

        Audrey,

      • liz

        I use a Brother MFC 790 CW. It has separate black and color inks.

  19. Rhonda Y.

    So I went to Target on my lunch (after I read this post) to do my weekly deals. I was in the wipes section and a man asked me how the large box of wipes were packaged. You could tell he was probably a new parent and his wife sent him on a wipes run! πŸ™‚ He was talking about it would be cheaper to buy the big box. I remembered I had an extra $2.00 off coupon, so I gave it to him. He was so excited. Makes me feel good!

  20. liz

    Here is another deal I did, just a little better than the first. I went through Ebates.com and again bought at 123inkjets. 10 black cartridges for $40 (what a deal!), got a $6.00 promo discount and also free shipping promo, so paid $34.00. Then got a rebate from Ebates for 10.88. 34.00- 10.88 = 23.12. So, 10 black ink cartridges for $2.31 each!

    • Danielle

      what kind of printer do you have?!? I definitley cannot find my ink that cheap!

      • Audrie

        I just asked her that above! I couldn’t go that cheap either,the cheapest I could do was $10 a cartridge, which is what I get at my local refill store. I’d love to get a printer with ink cartridges that low!!

      • liz

        Danielle,

        I use a Brother MFC 790 CW. It takes separate black and color inks, so you don’t have to use the color up.

    • Diane

      I have an HP photosmart. The ink is much cheaper at Walmart than it is on this site. At walmart black ink is $13.47 each and on 123inkjet its $18.99 each. I wish I could find cheaper ink.

  21. helena

    I just shared a coupon the other day at the craft store with a mom who had her school aged kids with her in the middle of the day, so I guessed she home-schooled them. I so admire people who have the patience and commitment to do that and I hope I made her day a little easier and her project more fun (since I always think it is more fun to get a deal!)

  22. Angela

    I always ‘coupon fairy’ coupons I am not going to use so someone else can have a chance at them and I donate from my stockpile to family, friends and organizations that need it. Also I alert people of deals that are relevant to them to help them out. : ) Every little bit helps.

  23. Mrs.G

    I have my Amazon code from Parent magazine November issue. Here is little “catch”. πŸ˜‰ My family will host a party soon and we are expecting at least 30 guests to come. Every guest bring something and I will make several appetizers. If you interested in to receive my code, please email me with your favorite appetizer recipe(s), preferably not using meat. I would really appreciated your generosity in advance!! Thanks. πŸ™‚

    dragonmoon2559@yahoo.com

    • Angie

      I sent you a recipe. πŸ™‚

  24. Joanie

    I give away all my free samples that we do not need to others in need through our church or the veterans at Christmas. I also save up the free soaps and shampoos from hotels we are at during the year and give those away since I only use Aveeno products myself due to allergies. If I am in a store and know about a deal for price matching I will ask the person picking out the same item if they know about the deal or offer up a coupon if I have an extra. Makes me feel good to know I am helping others, even in small ways.

  25. Orawan

    Many times, when I have coupon but never buy that product, I would takethe coupon and go check out the price and if I decided not to buy it for any reason, then we leave the coupon there so someone else can use it.

  26. Kristen

    I’m a teacher and I just told a lounge full of teachers the other day about how I find my coupons and deals. They were very intrigued. I told them I was heading to the grocery store after school and they wanted a report the next day. They were very impressed with my $90 savings at Meijer.

  27. Dianne W.

    My stockpile includes things like Zegerid and Sinex from previous moneymaking deals. What charity will accept things like this?? Any suggestions?

    • Bargain Brit

      I was just wondering the same thing. Has anyone donated unopened medications?

      • Shelly P

        I donate them frequently to the Community Crisis Center in our town. They always have Tylenol, Motrin ect… on their wish lists.

    • Nancy

      Our local battered women’s shelter likes to receive over the counter medicine for adults and children. They are the first organization I have found to take these things. (Well, except for once when someone I knew was doing a mission trip to a Haitian orphanage.)

      • Nancy

        Oh, over the counter medicine is often welcomed when sending a soldier package through anysoldier.com.

  28. Shebella

    I share at work. I take a lot of the things I purchase to work and put it in a gift bag and let anyone who wants to look through the bag and take what they need for free. They ask me quite often how I do it, but they really don’t want to spend the time, so I say give me your coupons and I will make it work for all of us.

  29. Cristalle Callis

    I frequently look in the carts of the people who are in front/behind me at the check out lines and give them coupons for stuff that they are getting. My husband thinks I’m a dork, but I just like to share the savings.

  30. Jenny

    How do you get catridges for $2.00? hmmmm? I want in on that?

  31. Karen

    I am an Ambassador with Barefoot Books. I am selling 50/50 raffle tickets until the end of November. They are $2 each. The winner will win half the money toward their pick of books. The other half I will buy books and donate them to Toys For Tots. I did this a few years ago with Discovery Toys and was able to donate quite a few toys. Hoping to get the same response with Barefoot Books. It’s a way I can give back without spending money. And others love a chance to win free stuff.

    • Karen

      I also have a link on the bottom of my site and any orders through that link I will donate 15% toward buying more books for Toys For Tots.

  32. Amanda P

    I have had several times that someone has paid it forward to me – a lady once came up to me in Kohls and gave me her $50 in Kohls cash that she wasn’t going to use and said to buy my kids some clothes. I had my mother’s club give me $500 when they heard my husband was laid off, and my other mom’s club gave me $50 gift cards for food shopping. Because of these random acts of kindness, I am determined to do the same and “pay it forward”..
    My moms club makes meals for a mom who has had a new baby, or surgery, or some situation where a meal would really help out. I try to make a tray of lasagna, even if it is for a member I don’t know.
    I had to get a job at CVS working nights and I try to make sure that if a customer buys something that has a coupon tear pad or blinkie that I get them the coupon to use, or I make sure they know how to use the magic coupon machine and their extra bucks. I share my coupons with my coworkers who also have a husband out of work or just had a baby. We all seem to be in the same financial situation.
    I donate my baby formula coupons and checks to a local resale shop that caters to families with multiples (twins, triplets), to help with the cost.
    I pass along my son’s hand-me-downs to a friend, and donate my daughter’s clothes to the same business above. I also donate toys that we no longer need or play with.

    My goal is to repay the $500 that was given to me by my moms club, but when I was almost ready to do that this year when my husband finally went back to work, he got laid off again. So it is at the top of my list – I would like them to give that money to someone else who can use it.
    I wish I could do more!! I am working on it!

  33. Angela D.

    I like to leave coupons on items in the store. Last month in Publix I left 10 3/1 MFR coupons and 10 1.50/1 Target coupons for the Tide Stain Release tablets.

    This month I left a ton of candy coupons out.

    Plus when I was in the baby aisle getting wipes I noticed an elderly woman looking at the wipes too. She kept looking in her wallet at her cash so I gave her some Huggies coupons I had for FREE wipes. She was so happy, it made my day.

  34. Kathy

    During the holiday, I keep some one dollar bills in my pocket.
    Whenever anyone asks me for a donation or even a handout, I give them at least one.
    I don’t worry during that time of the year whether the person deserves it or is lying to me or is going to buy a bottle of wine instead of food with it.
    I just give and let God sort it out.

  35. Kara

    The other day I was at Walgreens frustrated because they were supposedly telling me that a coupon was a manufacturer’s coupon, not a store coupon. The lady behind me leaned over and “helped” by explaining the difference, which I knew already. I was a little annoyed. But it also reminded me that on a previous shopping experience the lady in front of me was having similar trouble so I whipped out my coupon book and gave her a coupon that would work instead. This is the kind of help I think I would prefer to receive some day. When someone is frustrated by coupons they usually don’t need further explanation that makes them feel a little stupid, I wish more stores would have the policy of “let’s just solve the problem” instead of holding up the line to explain why they can’t let you use a coupon for 50 cents. Thanks to all of you who do help someone (especially anyone with small children like me).

  36. Robin

    It is so crazy that you posted this today! I was at Wags with a dear friend of mine here in NC (we’re local to Collin!). We had a few transactions between the two of us, and there was a nice older lady who came up behind us while the first transaction was being rung. We started chatting with her, and let her ahead of us. Once her total was on the screen she said something about “Oh that was a good deal getting make up buy one get one 50% off” My friend and I looked at each other and told the cashier to hold on a second. We pulled out coupons for every item she purchased, saving her an additional 25% or so on her bill. She was completely amazed by our generosity and was so grateful to us for sharing our coupons with her. We were her coupon fairies for the day!

  37. Megan

    While at publix one time a lady saw my binder and commented on how unique a way it was to organize coupons. we continued talking and she mentioned using the free 25 gift cards for prescriptions at cvs and how awesome a deal that was. i happened to have two with me that i didnt need being a military dependent. i asked her if she’d like them and she was floored. in return she asked if i had dogs which i do. she then handed me a coupon for a free 20lb bag of purina dog food and told me how her son in law is a nestle higher up working in their purina division and sends them to her all the time. It pays to talk to people bc i basically gave her 50 and she turned around and gave me 20lbs of dog food!

  38. christina

    That time of the month MUST be coming, because these stories are making me tear up…

    last weekend I was getting my kids pictures done at Picture People, which is NOT cheap. BUUT I had a coupon for 6 sheets of portraits (any size) for $9! I printed off two copies, and while I was there a lady commented on my kiddos being cute…I whipped out a copy of the coupon for her to get the same deal I was getting..she was so happy πŸ™‚

  39. Megan R

    I’ve given coupons to other people before…one in particular was to a lady in CVS who had 2 boxes of pampers in her buggy. I had 2 super high value coupons that would be expiring so I asked her if she wanted them…she was appreciative and it made me feel great!

    My hubs is in Med school and one night we were on a panel of married students answering questions for the 1st year married med students and someone singled me out and asked me how we make it financially with me staying home. I of course was excited about the chance to talk about my couponing adventures and told the entire group about Hip2Save. Everyone was impressed and I was grateful for the opportunity to share what I’ve learned!

  40. dawn

    I love to give coupons to shoppers. I also save the diapers and wipes coupons because I no longer have little ones (mine are teens) so I leave coupons with shoppers or mail them out to a few people that have given me their mail address. I am often asked about my coupon folder when I am in the store so I tell them about Hip2save and how I use my coupons. Also, I look for toy sales on off seasons and store them up for Holiday donations. My samples and trial size products I give to my Dad (retired Navy Chief) and they send them off overseas to the troups.

  41. Val

    I just did this last night! We used our 99 cent kid’s meal coupon at Burger King. I had the coupon book that came in the paper awhile ago with lots of buy one get one free sandwich coupons. I handed the coupon book to a father and his son behind me who were stopping by after baseball practice. It ended up that they could get a better deal without the coupon because it was Wednesday and they were having some kind of deal on Whoppers, but I told him to keep the coupon if he wanted. He smiled and thanked me and said, “We’ll use it Saturday after his game!” Then I handed the coupon book to a family of 6 behind them. They looked through it, took what they needed, and handed it to the family behind them! Then they gave it back to me, and I told them to keep it if they thought they would use it again. I definitely believe that even the people love to save money, what really makes them happy is the unexpectedness of someone reaching out and offering something. Just a little pick me up on an otherwise boring or stressful day. The best part of the whole story is that the manager who was ringing us all up was having as much fun as we were. πŸ™‚ I just forwarded your link to another teacher at school who I give all my FREE Shape magazines to. Every time she asks, “You really get them for free???” She said she is going to “peruse” your site this weekend. πŸ™‚

  42. Erin

    I would like to think I pay it forward A Lot! When out i assist people looking for things in stores/share useful info. i always hold the door open for people. DH and i can not drive past someone with a sign asking for money or food with out leaving something. i always try to help people…

  43. Julieanne28

    I have given out coupons many times directly to people in stores and I also leave behind coupons I won’t be using next to the items. At Christmas I always tried to pick an angel from the tree but a couple of years I have been able to help families directly. I have a couple of Christmas stories to share so please excuse the long post.

    A few years ago a lady at my Mom’s church was struggling. She had a young son and an infant, she was unable to work because she is legally blind. I decided to raise money to help her purchase Santa gifts for her children and buy some presents for herself. I played spades online and was talking about it to some of my fellow spaders. A guy who I had talked to online for years sent me $100 western union from the Netherlands! Another spade friend sent me a $50 gift card to Walmart! I was in absolute awe! I took her shopping and bought lots of stuff for her and her children, things they needed plus some toys fro Christmas. My son’s even donated their playstation to her son since they had gotten a newer style.

    The next year around Christmas I received an email from a distant cousin in Florida. A friend of hers (single father) had a son with cancer and they did not expect him to make it through Christmas. They were asking for donations to give him an early Christmas. With tears in my eyes I told my little boy of this story and I asked him if he would like to help this little boy. My son (6yrs at the time) was very emotional as well and wanted to help anyway he could. We talked about it and decided to go the next day shopping for this child. We did our shopping trip and picked out things from the child’s wish list, as I was packing the items for shipment my little boy came into my room with a bag full of toys he took from his own toy box and said “Momma, I really love some of these but if this is that little boy’s last Christmas I would love for him to have them instead.” My heart was so full of love for my son, I couldn’t believe this little creature I created could be so thoughtful. We included a picture of my son inside a Christmas card with a little note; we felt so good walking into the post office. My son asked me a couple of weeks later if I thought the little boy got his stuff and if he was in the hospital playing with his toys; I told him most certainly he was and I bet he had a huge smile on his face with he opened the package. About a week after Christmas we received a thank you card and a note telling us that the little boy had in fact passed away but that he loved the spiderman my son sent him (this was an item from his toybox). I cannot put into words the feeling that gave us both.

    The past couple of years we haven’t given directly to a family but we to donate to Toys for Tots and to our local food bank. The stories others have shared have warmed my heart, it helps restore my faith in humanity. God bless you one and all!

    • Elizabeth M.

      That is so awesome!!! You all are warming my heart and bringing tears to my eyes at the same time.

  44. Kristin

    I always have my coupons with me and keep my ears open. When I see or hear someone getting something I have a coupon for, I let them know I have a coupon and could save them some money! πŸ™‚

  45. Liz

    I love to PAY IT FORWARD! I bought $15 worth of crest toothpaste and toothbrushes and sent them to a local veterans group who make gift boxes for soldiers overseas. I also bought 10 bags fo candy from the Rite Aid ‘goof’ last week and sent them all to my church for thier Halloween party.( I also gave each store employee a bag of their choice- yes, I bought a ton). But, a great one was last week at Old Navy. I gave away 2 $10 off a $50 purchase. After I gave them away, the lady iin front of me said, “I see you like coupons, would you like mine?’ All my purchases were gifts and this coupon allowed me to buy a brand new sweater @ 40% off. I was so appreciative, and their sweaters were all $20 or less!!!!! And just to put it out there, the store employees at my local Rite Aid are so great, I often give them them ‘freebie treats’ from my cupboard of freebies. Recently, I also sent the company a letter thanking them for the great service in hopes they too may be rewarded. I am so grateful for my great deals, I feel that all of us couponers should be especially thankful and courteous to the staff, especially when I know that these store clerks work for such meager wages. I never feel bad using all my couponing skills, but I am so grateful for not having to ever(EVER) buy toiletries, make-up, or other girlie supplies. I love this blog!

  46. Alea

    I love to coupon fairy πŸ™‚

  47. Erica

    I was just at Target picking up some things with coupons that I had and I saw something that I just had to share. As I was walking everything out to my car there was a mother and her two children walking back to their car in front of me. All of a sudden these three loud teenage girls came running out of Target carrying bags full of groceries. I didn’t think much of it until I had finished putting everything in my car and I heard one of the girls say something like, “no she already paid for them, I promise she doesn’t want them, just go ahead and take it.” I looked over and saw the mother and her two children surrounded by these three girls who were trying to give her the groceries that they had been carrying. The mother looked totally overwhelmed and kept trying to get them to keep the food or give them something for it but the girls just kept insisting that she take it.

    I wanted to stick around to see if I could figure out what exactly was going on but it really made me smile. It’s great to see things like that happen.

    On my drive home I started thinking about how greatful that mother probably was and how I could try to be more like those girls (or their mother as the case may be) every day. It could be as small as passing on a coupon to someone or just handing someone a bag of stuff that you got for free. Sometimes it’s hard to tell but everyone could use a little help. Even if they aren’t struggling financially, they might be struggling emotionally and that bottle of lemonade that you just got for free just might be the thing to turn their emotions around.

    I will never forget being in line behind someone at Winco when they had a coupon for a free 12-pack of soda and the lady who was in front of me stopped me as I was leaving and asked if I wanted her soda. I didn’t really need it but it totally made my day better just knowing that someone was willing to share.

  48. Adrimom

    I am SO happy when I hear about everyone paying it forward! (Yes, I’m a sap and have tears in my eyes reading all of your posts!) I have a baby and while I don’t carry all of my coupons with me in a binder, I DO carry all of my baby coupons because I never know when I’ll be out and see something I will need on sale. I give away the majority of these coupons to other moms I see in the baby aisle. Diapers, wipes, and food add up so quickly and every cent I can save them makes me feel like I’m helping. If I have formula coupons or checks, sometimes I just leave them on the container for the next person who is coming along.

    Keep passing it on everyone!! : )

  49. Sheila

    I love these stories.

    A few months ago I paid the tab for a gentleman at the Dollar Store- he was in that awful situation of being caught short at the register (haven’t we all been there?) and was just struggling with having to put stuff back. He kept trying to explain and make excuses, but I didn’t need to hear any of it. He didn’t owe me any explanation. I just wanted him to buy what he needed without worrying.

    At the pumpkin patch last weekend we had bought tickets for the corn maze, but decided not to go at the last minute because we were getting hot and tired. So we gave our tickets to a family who were on the way in. They were so happy- its like we made their day! For $6 tickets!!!

    It’s so fun to give back.

  50. Lyndsy

    love this post! Couponing definitely makes this more possible. Also, I would like to know how to get ink cartridges for $2!!! Can someone clue me in??? THanks.

    Love the website by the way.

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