With Harvey still on the minds and hearts of so many, it can be overwhelming to find ways to provide continued support to those directly affected.
Currently, the San Antonio Food Bank* is in need nonperishable food, water, baby food, diapers, hygiene items, new car seats, lightly used strollers, cribs or “pack ‘n plays,” and cleaning supplies.
I reached out to my friend Jennifer King, of the local blog Hunting Bargains at HEB, for ideas on how to make a dollar go further while looking to buy supplies for evacuees. She’s a Coupon Jedi, and offered the following tips both for stocking up your own home and for buying supplies you can donate after a trip to H-E-B:
- Set a budget before you go deal hunting. Couponing can be addicting, and you might be overwhelmed with all the terrific sale options available right now (like “better than free” hair care, for example). So plan how much money you’d like to spend on your donations before you hit the stores. Don’t forget to consider time and gas expenditures as well—it can be counter-productive to run all over town to save money!
- Get to know your H-E-B mobile app. The H-E-B app offers a steady stream of discounts on non-perishable food items and cleaning supplies each week. Right now, for example, H-E-B shoppers can snag 98¢ Stagg canned chili, Dawn dishwashing liquid for 83¢, and Maruchan noodles for 48¢ per six-pack just by using the digital coupons available on the app. I recommend searching for the 12 Most Wanted Foods from the San Antonio Food Bank and tracking down matching deals. Tip: When an H-E-B coupon says “Unlimited,” you can use it on multiple items in the same transaction and receive a discount on each one! If you’re brand-new to the H-E-B mobile app, go here for a quick walk-through video.
- When in doubt, donate bottled water. Since some hurricane-impacted communities are still without safe drinking water, this is the item that can go almost anywhere and be gratefully accepted. Aim to pay a dime per bottle or less for the best value. And be sure to consider Home Depot and Lowe’s—sometimes their prices on bottled water beat the grocery stores!
- Don’t have coupons? Try the dollar stores. Dollar Tree and 99 Cents Only stores both carry a lot of shelf-stable food items at reasonable prices. And they often stock name brands at up to 67% off what you’d pay for them at Walmart! Just be sure to check the expiration dates closely before you purchase. Since these items are for donations, you don’t want to give anything that hits its best buy date before it can be distributed out to families.
- If possible, leave the kids at home while you’re couponing. Kids are the kings and queens of impulse buys, and it can be hard to stay focused on your math if they spot something irresistible. If your schedule requires that they come along, avoid temptation and skip the candy, toy, and cereal aisles to cut down on
distractionsbegging in the middle of the store. You can also enlist older kids in your deal-spotting—it’s a great way to reinforce math skills and spark conversations about community outreach!
- Want to buy in bulk? Talk to a manager. If you find an amazing price on a donation-worthy item, track down the manager on duty and ask if he/she can place a special order for you. Many H-E-B stores, in particular, offer this service—and at the very least a manager can let you know when the store usually restocks that particular item so you can be there to grab more.
If you don’t have the time to put together your own coupon deals, here are a couple of deal scenarios to get you going:
- Dollar General: Bush’s Baked Beans $1 Per Can (save 50%)
- H-E-B: 72 Cents L’Oreal Hair Care Returns (normally $3.97)
- H-E-B: Pampers Easy Ups $2.58 Per Jumbo Pack (normally $8.97)
- Walmart: Malt ‘O’ Meal Cereal 36 Cents Per Bag
- Walmart: 3 F-R-E-E Jars Of Nutella (save $8.91)