I am a bargain shopper, a coupon clipper and a meal planner. That's how I attempt to keep my food costs under control. But there is also one more thing that I do that you probably won't hear about on coupon blogs or Extreme Couponing. I pray. That's right, the most important tool in my shopping strategy is prayer. I don't always get my coupons organized and matched up. I may need to pick up a few things before I have time to meal plan for the next week. But the one thing that I do everytime I head to the store is to pray.
Usually it's just a simple conversation with God as I'm walking into the store. It may sound silly but if God says that he cares about what we care about then that would include getting the most for our money at the grocery store. A few weeks ago I was making a special trip to the store for some specific items for a dinner we were cooking for a meeting. Usually I plan my meals around what meat is on sale. However, this time I was looking for a specific meat and did not have the time to shop around and compare prices. So as I entered the store, I asked God to please provide this item at a good price. I found 1 package of the meat that I needed on manager special. You may say that it was just a coincidence, but I don't believe in coincidence. Especially when you factor in the fact that I shop 3 - 4 stores each week to get the bargains. And the store I chose to go into that day, had 1 package of exactly what I needed marked down.
And that's not the only time that something like that has happened. Just today, I was shopping for ingredients for a special birthday dinner for a friend. Once again, I wasn't just going in buying what was on sale. I needed specific items to make this dinner and didn't have time to compare sales and visit multiple locations. So as I headed into the store, I asked God to help me find the items that I needed. And once again, he provided. I found some items on sale and others that were on huge markdown. I even found a delicious dessert for half-price. I see that as God's way of providing above and beyond for our family.
I've had similar experiences with shopping for specific items for the kids. Whether it's a certain color of pants for a concert or dance; an outfit for a school project or new shoes for church. I make it a point to pray as I enter a store and ask God to help me find what I'm needing at the best price possible.
The power of prayer is the only explanation when you look back and see that the numbers just don't work. When the budget is so tight and there doesn't seem to be an extra $5 to spare. Yet somehow you were able to pay the bills, put gas in the car, fill the refrigerator and pantry, keep the kids clothed and still have something left to cover that unexpected expense. It could only be God.
So as you clip and organize your coupons, or plan your meals around the sales, remember to take your needs and requests to God and he will answer