Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Why Do I teach Coupon Classes?

I have always had a heart for teaching.

I have a degree is Early Childhood Education, and I actually have this teensy little habit of teaching everyone within ear-shot whatever it is that I am currently pursuing... like the time I taught my friends to make rubber stamping cards, or that time that I taught kick boxing classes... teaching others about coupons just seemed like the natural progression of my teaching obsession!

A year and a half ago, after my first few weeks with couponning success, I invited a group of 10 girlfriends over for dinner and I gave my very first 'coupon class.' I was still plowing my way through the learning curve of couponizing my household, but I just couldn't keep my mouth shut.

As the weeks passed, I continued to share my new passion for coupons, and I made offers right and left to share my skills. One night I had my Bunco league (or my Pink Poker friends, as I like to refer to them) over to my house for dinner and a high rolling Bunco night of fun... and yep, I started talking about coupons.

I invited my Pink Poker friends to peek at my stockpile and they were each in awe of all of the FREE goodies that I had, so they started making plans for a Pink Poker coupon class.

Now, I am a bit of a dreamer, and I had tossed the idea of teaching classes around for a few months... but the problem was- who really knew what a 'coupon class' was, it did (and probably still does) sound kind of weird.

I decided on January first to design an information packed coupon class that I could use as my New Year's REVOLUTION (vs. an easily broken New Year's Resolution).

The ripple effect that I wanted to create needed to be well thought out, easy to understand/stay organized, and it needed to make an impact. So I set to work first creating the layout of the topics for my education, then I created the resource guide and finally I created a coupon box kit as an easy place for a coupon beginner to start.

I was tickled to have created something original, something that was truly unique since no other blogger was doing what I was launching out to do. I LOVED it!

My REVOLUTION was set in stone by three goals that I have for teaching classes:

My first goal is to teach families how to care for themselves by spending less and receiving more. The skills I teach are to use manufacturer coupons, store coupons and store reward programs to multiply your spending power for the same products that you already purchase, like paper products, cleaning products, hygiene products and groceries. 'Creative spending' techniques allow purchasing resources to be stretched further and as a result, better quality products can be purchased, like name brand products and more produce.

Secondly, I placed the goal of developing "sharing relationships," or really, developing a heart to share with those who are financially struggling. I was overwhelmed that the amount of goods that I was able to purchase with coupons for less than the amount that I had previously been spending. I literally was purchasing 5 times the products for 30% less money! I was overwhelmed with 'stuff!'

I have always enjoyed being a giver, my sister once told me that I am the kind of girl that would offer the shirt off my back- only to offer my bra as well... and so couponning allowed me to ramp up my giving!

I decided that if I were to be teaching others to shop more effectively, than I would also like to develop a passion for giving in each of my students. I encourage my students to partner with family members, friends, neighbors, a church/civic organization or a food pantry to share the overflow of the goods that they purchase.

Lastly, I want to make a lasting impact on a global scale, giving to someone that you will never lock eyes with... a sacrifice. My husband, Dave and I have a heart for a missions organization called Raincatchers (http://www.raincatchers.org/) whose purpose is to bring clean drinking water to some of the poorest villages in Haiti. Clean. Drinking. Water. A resource that I, and most Americans take for granted. This goal was the driving force behind my stepping out and stepping up to teach. I could trade my education of shopping for a donation to an organization in desperate need of financial resources.

My class comes with a financial cost in order to serve each student to the best of my ability. The beginners coupon kit which includes a box, an organizational system, a resource guide and the previous weekend's coupon inserts to start clipping, plus the cost of my gasoline to travel, a cost of $5. To keep the class cost reasonable, and still be able to raise a significant amount of funding for Raincatchers, $10 of the class fee is a donation. The remaining $5 of the class fee was a tough call for me personally to make. I love to share my skills, but the time required for me to spend away from my family, per class, was at least 5 hours due to purchasing and organizing class supplies, driving and teaching. It was hard for me to justify not accepting financial compensation for teaching so Dave and I have decided to create an emergency fund with my earnings, which allows me to care for my own family in a significant way through teaching. *Classes where it is necessary for me to rent a location have an additional $5 class fee, but when the rental fee has been met, gift card giveaways during the class will counter any excess funds.

I have stayed true in teaching my three goals of helping families who in turn will have the resources to be able to help those locally and globally who are in desperate need. And in order to continue encouraging others along this path, I developed this blog. I decided to ramp up my education by creating Sharpen our Scissors to be a central learning location in sharing new tips & tricks, answering questions and highlighting amazing deals for grocery and household goods.

Teaching coupon classes has been quite a rewarding learning experience for me. I have stepped out of some of my more secure comfort levels, allowing me to grow and be challenged personally, and I have really enjoyed meeting and connecting with so many of you.

Teaching has also allowed me to creatively fulfill my insatiable need to teach. With 42 classes under my belt, I look forward to many more opportunities to inspire others to make just as significant an impact in their circle of influence.

5 comments:

Amanda

Thank you for sharing the details and motivation behind your teaching and saving. You've become a tremendous asset to many of us who just don't know where to start!

Laura Webber

Thanks, it really is a pleasure to teach!

Amy

Laura,

Thank you for all you do. I am an unemployed, single mother of three and this is helping me stretch my dollars. I am engaged and when married will be able to give, but for now this is what is going to get me by to feed my family.

I enjoyed your story and am loving the tutorials.

Amy
Livonia, MI

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