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Coupon Abbreviations
  • SC = Store Coupon
  • MC = Manufacturer Coupon
  • SS = Smart Source
  • RP = Red Plum
  • PG = Proctor and Gamble
Coupon Terms
  • WYB = When You Buy
  • B1G1 = Buy One Get One Free
  • .75/1 = 75 cents off one item
  • .75/3 = 75 cents off three items
  • EXP = Expiration Date

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Clipping For A Cause

on 6.25.2010 at 12:33pm

This post may contain affiliate links. Read our disclosure here.


This is a guest post done by Heather at Clipping for a Cause.

“Clipping for a Cause” began out of a passion for couponing, saving money, and helping others. After realizing that coupons could help so many others in need, I decided to make it a personal mission to clip for a cause! Since its beginning, word has spread and others have been inspired to launch the same effort in their own areas!

There are several suggestions I have to help you get started:

1) If you are part of a church family, send an email or set up an appointment with the pastors to tell them about your idea for a new ministry. Explain that a box could be set out each Sunday in a designated spot at church. This is where congregation members would be invited to drop their unused coupon inserts each week. From there, announcements could be made about the new “Clipping for a Cause” ministry (through bulletins, mailouts, emails, or whatever way you think provides the best means of communication). After several weeks of building up a “coupon base” a group could begin to form regularly (every other week is what we do) to clip and shop for the items that are either free or just a few cents that week! Research your local food banks and other organizations in need. Currently, food banks everywhere are experiencing an increased demand for food due to the rise in the numbers of people needing to turn to them for food. Take into consideration also that organizations are not just in need of non-perishable food, they need anything from frozen food and personal care to cleaning items!

2) If you aren’t part of a church family, you can still get involved individually! One of our ministry members here in Atlanta began her own effort right in her neighborhood! She created a box and labeled it “Clipping for a Cause.” All neighbors were notified via email that if they did not use their coupons they could drop them off in the box each week on her front porch. The first week she got 17 inserts and 26 the second week! To be able to collect 26 separate coupons for something like “Mahatma Rice,” and then donate those bags to families greatly in need for FREE is an effortless way for all of us to give back! Even better, hardly anything ever comes out of pocket! To date, our local “Clipping for a Cause” chapter has donated nearly 3,000 items for around $30 while saving over $800 over a span of 4 months!

3) If the first 2 ideas don’t really appeal to you there is still a 3rd way you can get involved! Another area of “Clipping for a Cause” is a monthly “Mobile Food Drive.” This could be your neighbors, co-workers, friends or family members. Each month set a specific date as to when you would like to do the mobile food drive. Then, ask everyone to set out one bag of non-perishables that could be picked up and delivered. This is yet another easy way for everyone to come together to “stock the shelves” of food banks across the nation!

If you have any questions or comments, visit clipping for a cause or leave a comment below.

Notes from Jenny:

If you are “rarin’ to go” to donate goods there is a way that you can shop for others and still not upset the coupon world around you.  As  Heather said above it’s awesome to grab 26 bags of rice to donate but also pause to consider the folks that are shopping around you that need one for their family this week.

The best way to be considerate and shop in bulk is to look at your sale flier the first day it starts and then go that day and ask your store to order you your own case etc. of the items you want.  They will get a shipment in again before the end of the ad with your products on it.  This makes it a win win moment:

  • You get everything you want to donate.
  • Your fellow shoppers still have products left to buy.
  • Your store doesn’t get wiped clean and have to write a ton of rain checks (grocery stores lose money with rain checks).

If you are looking for places to donate other than food banks I got an email today from a parent at a Ronald McDonald House saying that they are in desperate need at many of these houses.

    • Germaine Jenkins

      Thank you for sharing this idea and the tips on being considerate of other shoppers! I'll definitely pass it on at our church. They have a food pantry that's only open 4 hours a week, but serving hundreds of people in the North Charleston and Hanahan. They could really benefit from this type of support.

    • What a wonderful idea. I thought about doing something like this myself

    • Mom2teenagers

      WIS TV in the Midlands has a link on their website to the Blue Star Mothers “Operation Stars & Stripes Troop Supply Drive where they are collecting supplies to send to our troops. Many items are needed any I'm sure many of us have these items in our stockpile.

    • Vwalsh91

      This is great for the church nursery too. I started a box for ours to just take un-used baby item coupons to share. I invite people to donate, swap or take coupons as they need them.

    • Carrie

      Heather- I just love you! You are doing such wonderful things for our community!

      Also, someone brought it to my attention recently that you can send your expired coupons to military families, and they are able to use them on their military base. I think this is a great way to use coupons that would otherwise end up in the trash.

    • Ruby

      Jenny, could you give me a little more info on the need at Ronald McDonald Houses. What is the need, where, etc. or contact info. As a parent of of child who has had an extended hospital stay I understand how important Ronald McDonald houses are to so many and would love to help if I could.

      • Mom_4_Him

        Ruby, usually your local RM house has a list of needs on their website. We have donated several items our local one. they even take metal soda tabs and cans.

    • Katrina Quick

      I think this is a wonderful idea. We have a box at work for the expired coupons that we send to the troops.I also have friends and neighbors that bring me there unwanted coupons. I also go to the local library in my town and they save the coupons out of the papers that they get there. All the extra coupons come in handy. I have several family members that are struggling due to the economy and live where the stores do not do double and triple coupons so I buy extra items and give to them. This really makes you feel good at all the money you are saving and at the same time are able to help others in need.

    • Jen

      I've started helping my daughters food pantry at her high school. Anything I get for “free” w/ coupons or under a dollar, I donate it there. I only get 2 or 3 of each coupon, so I'm taking away from others in my effort:)

    • Lee

      Heather is so enthusiastic and has been such a source of inspiration to any of those involved with Clipping for a Cause. I also know that the volunteers who come every other week divide up the coupons and shop at different stores around town, to make sure that they don't wipe out the shelves at any one location. Jenny – thanks so much for highlighting such a great, growing ministry.

    • Afhoke

      I have been donating to my local food bank since Febuary, by just using the coupons I get in my Sunday paper, and I talked to my paper carrier and told him what I was doing and he leaves me 2 to 3 extra inserts each week. I have been able to donate about 75 pounds a month. This helps them greatly and I get the enjoyment of shopping and saving. Everyone should be able to donate a little, you can only stockpile so much, and it is very little out of pocket expense.

    • Lyvismommy

      I have been donating to our church food bank since I started clipping a few months ago. It started as a small ministry by a class of Senior citizen women, and now all the Sunday School classes are donating as well. This food bank has been such a huge blessing to our community, b/c as an “industrial” town, we have a very high unemployment rate (almost 16%!!!) I love being able to donate personal care items, b/c we are always getting those for free or just pennies. I just hope that some woman may feel blessed when she doesn't have to buy shampoo, or tampons, one month. I know that if I were in a desperate situation, something like that would be such a blessing to me!
      Heather, you have inspired me to start something similar at our church. And I will start with the same class of Senior Citizen Ladies that started our Food Bank… they really know how to make things catch on! Thanks, and may God bless you for your efforts!

    • Heather Bonner

      Oops! Should have noted in my article that I would never grab 26 bags of rice from one store! As Lee mentioned, the people involved in the ministry locally all divide up coupons for each item and shop at different stores so that this doesn't happen! Thanks for all of the positive feedback! :)

    • Military members overseas can use manufacturers coupons for up to 6 months after they have expired on overseas installation at the bases, commissaries, exchange etc.

      If you google “expired coupons for military” at least 1 of the top 5 pages should give you an address for each airforce, marine corp, army or navy base. You will see several military bases located in Germany, Japan, UK, Spain, Guam, Belgium and Italy.You would send your package Attn: Fleet and Family Services. Also I am sure if you were to call the Fleet and Family Service of your nearest branch they are VERY happy to help (another thing you an google if you know the name of the station).

    • Danielle Sudduth

      This is great information. I have been buying for my MIL's pantry. All of the hygiene products I have been getting free I donate. If I find a sale on deoderant, soap, shampoo, toothpaste, etc I buy it and give it to her. We have also done bags of groceries before I found this website. Thanks for the idea, I am going to send a link to my MIL for her church. Love the military suggestion to…thanks so much for sharing.

    • Eepiphani

      Thanks for this information. I was trying to find somewhere to donate some items and i think this is an excellent idea.

    • Rowval

      I buy for a local womens shelter, I found out after I start donating to them, that they have NO budget for health & beauty aids. They are so grateful.

    • renamac

      thanks for sharing this. My son works as a CNA at a local home and helps to take care of about 6 young men.They alll live off of monthly paychecks. Every week they all travel to walmat a( no no in my book) to purchase any personal items they need. My son and I decided to help by using coupons to help them save money and use their money for other things they would rather buy. So now we are gathering all the local freebies and great deals for them ourselves. As couponers we take for granted the freebies and lets face it cheap deals we find and it is an awesome feeling knowing you are able to give ! This week alone we were able to get 8 old spice body washes and a 10 pack of ivory soap 79 cents out of pocket! I hope others will find a small way to help others. It is such a blessing.

      • Ruby

        Awesome idea! I will look into doing this in my area. Thanks for the idea.

    • SFLS

      We donate to our local no-kill animal shelter. They loved the 7th Generation dish soap.

      The HS band director loves all the snacks we donate – last time it was 8 boxes of Ritz crackers and 8 boxes of Cheez-its. Snack time covered for a few days!

      There are many organizations that are thrilled to received our generosity. The kids love getting involved in picking out what to give away.

    • TuckerSwan

      Heather is an amazing gal! Every month we meet up so I can give her a few boxes full of goodies that I've obtained via couponing that my own family cannot use. She's a bundle of energy and a kind soul. Clipping for a Cause is a ministry that I hope continues to spread to more churches everywhere. My great uncle ran his church's food pantry for years and I hope he's smiling, knowing I'm trying to continue his ministry in some small way.

    • Kay

      Also, the Publix on Two Notch Road in Columbia, SC has a gentleman there that collects expired and/or unused coupons. He is with the American Legion (ask or leave the envelope written to Bill Neubert). They collect these expired coupons and send them overseas to the military families to use. Apparently, there is a 6 month window of expiration for the date on the actual coupon. This is a great way to use our expired coupons without tossing them in the trash, and helping military families that really live on tight budgets.

    • Heather Bonner

      I truly appreciate all of the comments and wonderful suggestions on how to further spread this growing ministry! Since it posted last Friday, my inbox has been flooded with others wanting to launch their own “Clipping for a Cause” effort in their areas..Mississippi, Florida, South Carolina, North Carolina and Alabama included! Words can't describe how much this means! Together..we can truly make a difference just by using what we know how to do through couponing!

    • Heather Bonner

      I truly appreciate all of the comments and wonderful suggestions on how to further spread this growing ministry! Since it posted last Friday, my inbox has been flooded with others wanting to launch their own “Clipping for a Cause” effort in their areas..Mississippi, Florida, South Carolina, North Carolina and Alabama included! Words can't describe how much this means! Together..we can truly make a difference just by using what we know how to do through couponing!