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Simple Saving Savvy: Reducing Spending To Increase Giving ~

Simple Saving Savvy

Practicing Wise Stewardship & Blessing Others Out of Our Abundance

Friday, March 20, 2009

Reducing Spending To Increase Giving ~

1 John 3:17-18
If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth.

What started as a way to give out of the overflow of free and cheap deals I found each week has blossomed into a full-fledged ministry. God took my newly formed frugal shopping habits and a desire to share with others and created Coupons for Christ. Praise God for the way He has blessed this endeavor. It belonged to Him from the very beginning.

In August 2007, while driving down the road after a particularly successful  CVS trip on my way to Walgreens to do double duty, I was thanking God for His blessing and wisdom. During the course of the conversation I began to pour out my heart. All the thoughts and ideas I had been harboring about helping others became real as I voiced them aloud. At the time I didn't know where I was headed but the quickening in my spirit told me God owned these desires; He had put them in my heart and He was leading.

To make a long story short, after much prayer and brainstorming with spiritual leaders and friends, it was affirmed that God was indeed guiding me down a new path and Coupons for Christ was born.

Fast forward.......

For the last year and a half  two and a half years, the primary focus of Coupons for Christ (CFC) has been to provide much needed household and personal items to the families served by another ministry organization - FaithWorks of the Innercity. FaithWorks, spearheaded by Sally Goin, provides many services to the families who reside in the Shidler Elementary School area in OKC. These services  include after school tutoring, ESL classes, parenting and hygiene classes. There is always a need for the things we sometimes take for granted and CFC comes alongside to help provide for some of those needs.

Church members at Faith Bible Church, where I attend, donate their unwanted coupons to CFC. I then take those coupons, apply them strategically and stretch our dollars to buy 4-5 times that amount in products. The products are turned over to FaithWorks to be distributed among the families.

In the short time CFC has been ministering, God has moved and answered many prayers. He has shown His desire for this ministry to continue and to bless it.

I began the ministry with the intention of donating the overflow of deals I could fit into my own already frugal budget. Before long, God provided a small operating budget through Faith Bible Church. The ministry hobbled along for awhile but didn't seem to be growing or going anywhere. I began to doubt the authenticity of my calling. Isn't that just like the enemy? To take a God-given desire and make us doubt it? At the time, though, I did not recognize this as the case. I began to pray for God to make clear to me His will and vowed to be obedient come what may.

Less than two weeks later, I received a call from the VBS missions coordinator at Faith Bible Church informing me that she felt led to raise funds for CFC that year. I was moved to tears as I realized what God was telling me and that this was my answer to prayer. In June 2008, the kids who attended VBS raised over $2,500 for CFC. We are STILL operating on that money. To date CFC has provided thousands of dollars in products for FaithWorks of the Innercity.

It then became my prayer focus for God to continue to grow CFC at His pace, for Him to continually renew His vision for CFC and to provide direction.

When CFC was founded, I had a vision of teaching other women to shop like I shop and then supplying them with coupons and money from our operating budget to so that I could shop faster and in greater volume.

God had different plans.

Before long, the ladies at church were asking me to teach coupon classes so they could learn to do what I do. Fifteen people attended the first class and it just took off from there. I now teach three classes a year at Faith Bible Church and continue to see new faces.

From these classes and a new outlook, God has raised up a group of women who see a new way to be faithful stewards through saving and giving. They are able to save for their families and give in abundance out of all the deals they can get for free or cheap. Each time I go to FaithWorks, I have a load of items that didn't just come from my efforts but from the joined efforts of many giving, ambitious women. Proverbs 31 women! And I know their generosity has reached out to more than I know.

I still shop for Coupons for Christ out of our tiny budget. But God had something bigger in mind all along. Not only would He take my efforts and multiply them, but He'd do a work in the hearts of others.



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