What’s Your Favorite Way to Pay it Forward?
There’s a lot going on in the world today that makes you wonder how we lost our way. When did it become okay to win at all costs? When did we stop being kind to each other? Most importantly, how do we find our way back?
Although Paying it Forward isn’t directly related to Couponing it is strongly promoted throughout How to Shop for FREE. Years ago we did a Couponing for a Cause Event at Kohl’s in Danvers, MA and the beneficiaries of our efforts that day were those affected by Hurricane Sandy. In addition to the freebies we got at Kohl’s many brought donation items from their stockpiles. Think about this for a minute, a group of strangers got together in an effort to help another group of strangers who, in some cases had lost everything. It’s a little overwhelming to realize the impact that effort may have had on someone’s life.
Most of us probably started Couponing to save a few dollars, stretch our budget, or put some money away for a special purchase. What we How to Shop For FREE’ers soon discovered is that the secret to shopping for FREE is to buy everyday items when they are free or nearly free and buy enough to at least get us through until the next time the item is free. Then we discovered that items like toothpaste, shampoo, body wash and other basic staples are free A LOT. Did anyone else up with so much more than they realistically needed? The next logical step was to start sharing the extra products. Family, Friends, and Neighbors are a great source for “stockpile management”. Everyone knows what brand of toothpaste, laundry detergent, shampoo, and cereal most of their coworkers use, right? That’s not too weird, is it? Even after sharing with friends, family, and coworkers there may still be enough to share so donations are often made to local organizations.
Keep in mind that paying it forward doesn’t have to be with stockpile items. It can be with knowledge. How did you feel the first time you scored your first deal or big haul? Wouldn’t it be cool to share that feeling with someone else? Maybe that friend that you shared your knowledge and a few coupons with was secretly wondering how they were going to feed their family and they were too embarrassed to seek out help. You never know the impact that one simple gesture can have on someone’s life. It’s so exciting to find a deal and share it with everyone.
Are you looking for some other (non-couponing) low or no costs ways to pay it forward? Here’s a quick list:
- Compliment Someone – A compliment costs you nothing and will make their day
- Remember a friend on Mother’s Day or Father’s Day who has lost a parent – Those days can be tough, especially if it’s the first holiday without their mother or father. A simple phone call or check in could mean the world to them.
- Offer a Cold Drink to your Mail Carrier, UPS Delivery Driver, or anyone else that works outside – A cold drink when it’s hot is sure to brighten someone’s day.
- Make an Extra Meal – Do you have an elderly or disabled neighbor. Not only will they appreciate the effort, but they’ll enjoy the company when you bring it over.
- Say “Thank You” – Be kind because you feel it’s the right thing to do, not because you want something in return. However, isn’t is nice to hear thank you when you have done something for someone else. Return the kindness by saying thank you when someone does something for you.
- Leave a Quarter – Leave a quarter in a vending machine or a parking meter. You may think, it’s only a quarter but it will bring a smile to someone’s face.
- Pay a Toll for the person behind you
Paying it forward is very personal and each person does it in their own way. There is no right or wrong when it comes to paying it forward and there is no couponing “rule” that says you have to. We just wanted to share our thoughts on the subject as well as some personal experiences. If you have a story about paying it forward that you’d like to share, we’d love to hear it.
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