Last week we shared with you how we love to participate with the Salvation Army Angel Tree program. If you’re not familiar with the program, participants select a child in need from a local mall, purchase gifts that child has requested or needs and then returns those gifts to be distributed to the child in need. This year we decided to select two children from the Angel Tree. It helps not only the children in the program, but has helped us teach our children that there are others that have much less than them and helps them learn how to give. This year we were so excited to see the excitement on our children’s faces when carrying these items in – our oldest told us that she was so glad we did this!
Why do we share this with you? What we would love to show is how you can truly maximize your giving when you use all the ways to save. This year, we were able to able to purchase over $267.38 (retail price) of gifts and needed items for only $91.42 (that’s over 66% savings!). What this does is helps you to give more and help many more than you could if you had just gone and spent the full retail amount! We love to share this – not because of what we are doing – but because we would love to see even more helped with our limited resources by just being a bit more wise with our money!
Please note, we picked up these Angel Tree cards last Friday and had one week to do the shopping, which means that we were nearly fully dependent upon sales and coupons this week. But you can find amazing deals nearly every week! We were planning to partly use our diaper stockpile for the first child that needed diapers, but we actually didn’t have the sizes she needed (our baby is nearly 2!). So we needed to buy diapers new this week and it worked out well!
Child #1 (9-month old girl)
Our first child was a 9 month old that was in need of diapers, wipes, clothes and Fisher Price Laugh & Learn toys. We spent $61.97 and saved $108.45. Here is what we purchased:
- 2 Big Packs of diapers at Walgreens that are normally $21.99 each (at our Walgreens). After coupons and discounts, we were able to get them this week for $11.79. Here’s how (we shopped at Walgreens on Wed. to use the 15% off coupon!):
- 2 Big Packs diapers normally $21.99 on sale for $17.99 each = $35.98. Then used 15% off Walgreens coupon which took $2.70 off each = $30.58. We then used two $2.50/1 Huggies coupons – $5 = $25.58. We then received $2 in Register Rewards (we did two transactions to get two RR) = final is $23.58 for two or $11.79 each!
- 3 216 ct. refill packs of Huggies wipes on sale for $4.99 each (normally $6.99)= $14.97. Then used the 15% off coupon which took .75 off each = $12.72. We then used three $1.00/1 printable coupons = $9.72 for three packs or $3.24 each.
- 1 tub of wipes on sale for $1.99 (normally $3.49) then used 15% off coupon -.30 = $1.69. Then used .75/1 wipes from Huggies mailer = .94
We then went to Kohls to hit the Friday Night Owl sale for the toys and clothes! As far as clothes goes, we tried to purchase things to be strategic in multi-function clothing. We wanted to get pants in different colors to cooridnate with what she may already have and one outfit was a 3-piece with purple pants, white bodysuit (both very versatile) and a purple flower fleece vest for extra options and warmth. We also had a 15% off coupon that came in the mail that we could combine with the night owl sales (the toys were cheaper on this Friday than they were last Friday! There were even customers there trying to return their Black Friday purchases!)
Here’s the Kohl’s Breakdown:
- 1 Laugh and Learn Toy Camera regularly $12.99 on sale for $5.20 – 15% off coupon = $4.42
- 1 Laugh and Learn Learning Book regularly $14.99 on sale for $5.97 – 15% off coupon = $5.07
- 1 two piece pant and shirt outfit regularly $30 on clearance for $6 – 15% off coupon = $5.10
- 1 3 piece pant, shirt, vest outfit regularly $24 on sale for $12 – 15% off coupon = $10.20
- 1 pair of pants regularly $10 on sale for $3.50 – 15% off coupon = $2.97
- 1 long sleeved hooded shirt regularly $10 on sale for $3.50 – 15% off coupon = $2.97
- We then used $5 of our $10 Kohls cash (counting $5 off each child)
Summary for Child #1 (9 mo. old girl): The total for all of the above was $170.42. After sales, the total dropped to $89.11. We then used a total of $27.14 in store and manufacturer’s coupons = final is $61.97.
Our budget was $25 for each child. We obviously went over budget, but we really wanted to get diapers and wipes for this child and the diapering products alone were $34.24 ($68.44 worth). We really are not counting this as part of the $25 to spend on her, but more out of necessity for her caretaker! So….. we really only went $2.73 over budget as everything but the diapering products came to $27.73! At the price of $61.97, this represents a savings of 64% total!
Child #2 (2-year old boy)
Our second child was a 2-year old boy in need of a coat and Fisher Price Laugh & Learn and handyman toys. We spent $29.45 and saved $67.51. Here is what we purchased:
Again, for the little boy, we purchased most everything at Kohl’s Friday night owl sale.
- 1 heavy winter coat regularly $50 on sale for $13.99 – 15% off coupon – $2.10 = $11.89
- 1 Laugh and Learn Toy Camera regularly $12.99 on sale for $5.20 – 15% off coupon – .78 = $4.42
- 1 Laugh and Learn Learning Piggy Bank regularly $23.99 on sale for $9.60 – 15% off coupon – $1.44 = $8.20
- We also used $5 of the the $10 Kohl’s cash that we had!
This little boy also wanted handy man type toys and so we were also going to Toys R Us has they had a 45 piece Home Depot Tool Set for 50% off at $9.99 for their 2-day sale. Well, of course, when I got there, they were completely wiped out! The alternative toy of the tool box for $4.99 was also gone. In fact, all of the sale items on the Home Depot tools were gone! So…. unplanned and having wanting to spend around $10, we found a tool kit for $6.99 and a extra tool accessory set for $2.99 = $9.98 total at Toys R Us (regular price). We were bummed that we couldn’t get those handy man tool deals, but this had to be turned in that night!
Summary for Child #2 (2 year old boy): The total before sales and coupons was $96.96. After the sale prices, the total was $38.77. We then used $9.32 in store coupons = $29.45. This represents a 70% savings! So for the little boy, we went $4.45 over budget!
There are many ways to give this holiday season, whether particpating in purchasing items for things like the Angel Tree, Toys for Tots, shoe and coat donations (new and used) Food Banks, dropping change into the Salvation Army buckets when you pass, giving of your time to a local charity, church fundraisers and church giving opportunities – there are literally hundreds and even more this time of year across the nation. Maximizing with coupons, your current stockpile, your current clean-out and organize projects (and donating the extra shoes, coats, etc.) it is possible to make a HUGE difference in someone else’s life with very little money. We tried to find a list online for you to easily reference what opportunities are in your area, but that seems nearly impossible (if you know of one, please link to it in the comments!).
To find an opportunity, these are some possible places to checkout:
- Your local Church
- Your local Walmart, Macy’s or other major retailer
- Your local newspaper or news source
- Asking around to friends and neighbors
- Doing a Google search for your local area and giving opportunities
- You can always check with the local food banks, soup kitchens, women’s shelters and homeless shelters (they need help all year round too!) and they may be able to direct or suggest Christmas time giving!