Charities profit from smart shoppers

Catholic Charities’ Community Closet in Michigan is thankful for consumers who are turning to couponing to help others as well as themselves.

The project of Catholic Charities of Shiawassee and Genesee counties has been getting donations from couponers who get an excess of products through their couponing abilities that their family does not need.

The economic crisis over the past several years has driven many to search for new ways to save, and couponing has become a major source of savings for families. Often, consumers are required to purchase multiple products to get deals, so they end up with more than their family can use or have no room to store the excess.

Vicky Schultz, president of Catholic Charities of Schiawassee and Genesee counties, told The Catholic Times, a publication serving the Lansing Diocese and other Michigan dioceses, that “we had a woman back up her minivan to our Community Closet and unload a whole back seat full of toothpaste that she had gotten completely free with coupons. It was amazing.”

The popularity of TLC’s TV show “Extreme Couponing” also has led to a greater number of people turning to coupons as practical saving method.

“Extreme Couponing” features ordinary people who take their couponing to extreme levels, usually saving between 90-95 percent off their grocery bill and sometimes making money from their purchases.

While not all of the couponers use their skills to purchase items for those in need, several featured on the show share their surplus.

“My couponing has become so much more than saving money. It has become a true ministry for Christ. It is all centered around passing the blessing on,” Joni Meyer-Crothers, a wrote on her blog,

Eighth-graders at St. Mark School in Cleveland also learned about the benefits that couponing can have on others in May, when they were challenged to purchase products for a local service organization.

Each student received a $50 donation from a parishioner, and then used different savings strategies to get as many products as they could with the money they had. In the end, the students used $2,850 to purchase $5,094 worth of items.

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