Do you use food markets rewards to save money at your local food market?
“And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.”Philippians 4:19, nasb
Always looking for a bargain, especially in this season of rising inflation, my husband and I have succumbed to our local food market rewards and digital coupons program. If we spend so much money, we’ll get a reward point. Then there are ways to get double points on certain items or in certain departments. We’ve learned to play the game to both rack up those rewards points and save money through the digital coupons. When clerks tell me I saved as much as I spent, I tell them the store isn’t making any money off of me. “We’re still making money,” one clerk had the courage to say.
Sometimes I add digital coupons to my phone at home before venturing to the store. Other times, Jack trails behind me in the store aisles, adding deals on his phone as I find them. At the time, not knowing any better, we had two separate accounts but mistakenly thought they were synched. We found out we were wrong.
On one trip, we found great deals on meat, so we grabbed the chance to stock our deep freeze, Jack clicking away on his phone while I loaded the cart. As we approached the checkout, I said, “The rewards plan often doubles your points if you spend more than $50. That will save us more money.”
Jack’s face clouded with confusion. “Points . . .?” His voice trailed off.
“Never mind,” I said, whipping out my phone. “I’ll add it.” I found a 4x Rewards coupon specifically for meat purchases and deftly clicked on the link. But in the middle of checking out, the clerk told us that all the coupons had to be on one phone.
Jack pulled out his phone, still confused about what I was talking about. “Can’t do it now,” said the helpful clerk. “You’ve already swiped your card.”
When we reached the car, Jack asked, “What was all that about?” As I explained, I saw his shoulders slump. We’ve been married long enough; I knew what he was thinking. I screwed up. Again.
“It’s no big deal.” I put a hand on his arm. “We have a rich Daddy and He’s promised to give us our daily bread.”
How rich is God?
My reminder was as much for myself as for him. I know myself too well. When prices rise or investment revenue falls, I go into overdrive: curtailing car trips, scanning the grocery ads more closely, and becoming fastidious about turning off lights. My mind retains the words of Philippians 4:19, “And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus,” but my lifelong frugality tells me that if I work harder to save a dollar here and there, we’ll be all right.
Yes, God wants us to manage well the resources He’s given us. Bargain hunting is a part of that management; the more I save, the more I will have to bless others. But the moment I allow my budgeting to rule my life is the moment I’ve bought into the lie that I’m in control of my daily needs, not God.
It’s that little phrase “according to His riches” that convinces me about the silliness of my worry. God’s resources are so vast, the psalmist describes God’s wealth in terms of having cattle on a thousand hills (Psalm 50:10). And, as a loving father, God will make sure we have everything we need.
I’m grateful God doesn’t use food market rewards, like my grocery store does. We don’t have to invest one hundred good deeds to get one blessing. God gives to us freely and generously. If I mess up, get confused about a store’s complicated marketing scheme, or choose to use my time to serve God’s Kingdom instead of clipping coupons, God will still provide.
How do we break the habit of fixating over the control of our resources? I’m slowly learning to do two things.
- I pray before I head to the store, asking God to help me spend His money well.
- At each meal, I thank God for giving us our daily bread and so much more besides.
Trusting God to provide and thanking Him when he does helps minimize my tendency to worry over whether I’ll have enough. And when I relax and let Him lead, He leads us to bargains and sales that we didn’t know about, proof that He really is in charge and taking good care of us.