Taking God to the Grocery Store

Did God want to use my extreme couponing as a ministry?

I can't stand grocery shopping. Making a list of what we need, cutting and sorting coupons, and trudging the supermarket aisles mark the height of tedium for me. Add to that the fact that it has to be done over and over and it equals one really bothersome task. Or at least it did—until I brought God into the mix.

Three years ago a friend told me about a website that posts the current deals on groceries. This friend explained how, with the help of this site, she was paying less than a dollar per box for cereal.

One dollar? I thought. I regularly paid three times that! My thrift radar went into action. I took down the web address and vowed to check it out.

Within two weeks I was hooked. The Internet became my new tool for maximizing my grocery store savings. I scouted deals, devised transaction scenarios, and collected coupon inserts. Couponing terms like Catalina and rolling filled my conversations. Grocery shopping had become a game. And I wanted to win.

I found only one drawback to my new method of grocery shopping: it made me vulnerable. The biggest savings strategy required buying several months' worth of groceries when the price dropped to its lowest. Then I was supposed to "shop" out of my pantry. But what if I calculated wrong and ran out before another sale? Then what would happen?

Driving to the store any time I ran out of something had been my habit, but it cramped my new routine. I couldn't justify paying regular store prices any more. As space in my pantry would appear, I'd think, Now what can I do? There isn't a sale on this right now. I knew I should wait, but sometimes I'd fall back on the convenience of stopping at the store to fill those gaps. And then I'd be frustrated with myself. What was I doing wrong?

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May 25

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