by Danielle Lansing, SIPI Early Childhood Faculty and SIPI Restorative Teachings Project Director

During brainstorming sessions and meetings as part of SIPI’s Restorative Teachings Initiative, parents of children in the program identified couponing as a strategy to support budgeting and financial stability within their families. A major goal of SIPI’s initiative is to support Native families through educational opportunities that build their capacity to become increasingly financially stable. SIPI works closely with parents of SIPI’s Early Childhood Learning Center.  As a result, SIPI provided a special parent training on couponing strategies.

SIPI’s Restorative Teachings team of staff has always operated under the notion that community members are their source of strength and capacity. As the staff team worked with SIPI’s families to determine the parent training schedule, Reeve Mora, a parent in the program, volunteered to provide an information session for parents focused on couponing. Mora has been an active parent participant since the onset of the program.

Reeve Mora, SIPI Early Childhood Learning Center Parent, displays her coupon binder as a strategy for organizing coupons.

Reeve Mora, SIPI Early Childhood Learning Center Parent, displays her coupon binder as a strategy for organizing coupons.

All parents were invited to attend the couponing workshop at SIPI’s Early Learning Center. Childcare and dinner were provided to twelve attendees which represented the Hopi, Navajo, and San Felipe tribes, as well as other community members.

At the event, participants found a table of household items such as detergent, shampoo, toothpaste, makeup, and school supplies. Mora asked families to estimate their monthly budgets for groceries and toiletries, and after receiving participant responses, asked them to imagine cutting that expense in half and to discuss how the extra money might be used for a savings account, activities with children, or developing a special fund for a family vacation. Mora drove home the message that couponing can be a strategy to increase the funds available for other family expenses. Parents were motivated to hear more about couponing as a money-saving strategy.

Mora also shared a wealth of information including coupon lingo and the types of coupons available such as Register Rewards, online coupons, Red Plum mailers, and various couponing apps. She also shared important rules for couponing such as, “Never use a coupon on a full priced item when you can save twice as much on a sale priced item” and “Use multiple coupons to get the best value.” She continued to share information to guide couponing habits such as learning to understand the cycles of sales for each store and sticking to a shopping list to avoid unnecessary purchases.

SIPI Early Childhood Learning Center participants received a coupon wallet and free coupons

SIPI Early Childhood Learning Center participants received a coupon wallet and free coupons.

Mora ended the workshop by sharing her personal couponing binder, which was a typical student binder equipped with baseball card holders. She shared her system of organization and encouraged others to develop their own system for organizing their coupons. She suggested that parents leave their coupon binders in their cars so they wouldn’t forget their coupons at home.

Participants learned valuable information that will help change the way they shop for their families. The best part of the presentation was the fact that it was conducted by a parent; a perfect example of parents building the capacity of other parents within SIPI’s Restorative Teachings Initiative.  It was so well-received that SIPI will have Mora provide the workshop to the wider audience of SIPI students, faculty, and staff. Mora will surely make an impact with the entire SIPI community!