Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Operation Christmas Child Update

This week I scanned the sales and coupon match-ups but I didn’t find anything significant to note on here. Hopefully by now you are all getting a good idea of how you can save money AND be able to give to a cause like Operation Christmas Child.

One idea I did not mention was to work with other people who are participating in the cause. My mom’s church is also collecting for Operation Christmas Child. However, instead of asking people to bring in already filled boxes, they ask for donations of items and volunteers will assemble the boxes using those donations. This can work really well if you have people shopping those rock-bottom deals all through the year.

My mom had several bags of OCC items. She is awesome at stocking up on those deals! Many of the things she said her church had plenty of already. So she sent them home with me. I’m excited! I can put what she gave me with the free items I’ve collected and possibly fill TWO boxes instead of one.

Mom gave me tons of school supplies:
pens, crayons, markers, notebooks and more.
The only other cost I have to consider is shipping for each box. At $7 a piece, $14 is not that much and definitely not something I am worried about. But, I like to challenge myself to find creative ways to cover extra costs, no matter how small.  Here are some of the ways I plan to pay for shipping:
1) I might have mentioned already that I do surveys online through Synovate. For each survey I complete, I am awarded points. After 5000 points I can submit for a check or cash reward. So, I have a $5 check on its way to me.
2) My husband and I cleaned out our closet the other day, pulling clothes we no longer wear. I took a couple of my items to Plato’s Closet to see if I could sell them. I walked out with $3.75. Every little bit helps!

3) Several months ago, my husband got a survey in the mail accompanied by two crisp dollar bills. We checked out the company, it’s legit, and since then he has completed a couple of surveys and gotten few dollars for each one. Recently, we each received a radio diary from the company to record what radio stations we listen to, for how long each day, over a week’s time. When we mail the diaries back this week, we will each get $10.

Adding up these extra little payouts will definitely cover the cost of shipping for the OCC boxes…plus some!

Now to bring some balance to this discussion…

So far I have been talking about saving money and pinching pennies to be able to give to Operation Christmas Child. This is because our budget is tight and I know many of you may be facing the same thing. The message I want to convey through this discussion is that it can be possible to find those few extra dollars to give to the causes you care about. However, please keep this in mind:

Giving is not about how much we can afford. It is about expressing love through sacrifice – whether it is a sacrifice of time, effort, resources, or money. Sometimes God asks us to give what we may not think we have, because of the blessings that will flow from those acts of love. There are also times God may not ask us to give because there is a greater need to meet within our own families. (Realistically, we can’t all give to every great cause! Priorities are needed.) Whatever we give, I believe, should be out of obedience to God and love for the cause.

So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver. 2 Corinthians 9:7
I enjoy giving and I enjoy looking for creative ways to have the resources to give. I believe God has gifted me with the ability and time to look for deals and save money. So I steward that ability to bless others. It is not a chore…and I am always aware of how extremely blessed I am to be able to give anything at all.

I hope you also catch that same spirit of giving. Let’s be responsible with our finances, but don’t get to hung up on counting pennies. God will take of our needs!