Couponing for the Rest of Us

Give The Gift of Dignity This Christmas!

 

The is a guest post by Holly Duncan.  Several years ago Holly helped organize and host a Time 2 $ave Couponing Workshop at her home church in Atlanta.  She recently contacted us about an amazing project that she is involved in that helps parents during the Christmas Season provide presents for their own families.  If  you live near the Atlanta, GA area this is a great opportunity to be a blessings this year.

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Don’t you just love buying gifts at Christmas? Whether they’re for your family, friends, or someone in need, it’s just fun to be able to share gifts to celebrate this special season! Many of us will be looking for a way to give back to our community. Churches, businesses, and individuals often sponsor organizations that provide toys to families at Christmas.

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Operation Christmas Child: How do You Teach Your Children about Giving?

 

How do you teach your children generosity, kindness, and compassion?  I believe, to teach my children to be givers I’ve got to live out that example.  My father was the greatest giver I’ve ever known, he never sat me down and said, “Kasey this is how you give, or this is what giving looks like.”  Instead, I watched his life.  I saw him taking groceries to people in need; I was in the car, when he stopped on the side of the road to help an elderly lady who had fallen while she was walking home.  I saw my mom and dad fill up their trunk with wrapped Christmas gifts to take to a family less fortunate than ours.  As a result, I see how important it is to live out his legacy with my children.  Not just at Thanksgiving and Christmas, but all year long.

What does that look like in my family?  We purposefully by items that are cheap or free when we go to the grocery store to put in our giving box.  When our box is full, we go together to donate the item’s we’ve been collecting.  We are intentional at birthday’s and other special times of the year to teach our children to clean out their toys to make sure that we are in the habit of giving to others and not collecting too much “stuff.”  We participate every time we have an opportunity to give at our church, or through sports organizations.  Last year, the town I live in was devastated by tornadoes, my children took their own money and bought toys to donate to children who had lost everything in the storms.

We also sponsor a child, through Operation Compassion named Tinsel.  Tinsel lives in Ethiopia, my children write her letters and color pictures for her.  We receive letters from Tinsel several times a year as well updating us on what is going on in her life.  We talk about the conditions that Tinsel lives in, and how different it would be to grow up in Ethiopia.  It’s become a very real way for them to grasp in their minds how blessed they are.

 

 

Every year at Christmas we pack shoe boxes for Operation Christmas Child.  We go shopping together, and talk about what this box will mean for the child that receives it.  We always pack at least two boxes, one for a little girl about the same age as my daughter, and another for a little boy close to my son’s age. I love sitting back and watching them carefully pick out items for their shoe box or ask questions like,” Mommy, do you think she loves Hello Kitty like me”?  As they participate, the children that we are buying for become real in their hearts and mind not just a concept.  This year as we were shopping my daughter stopped me and said, “Mommy, I know that getting a gift is cool, but it feels so much better to give.  I love it”!  Wow – so proud of my baby girl!

 

What about you?  How do you teach your children about generosity, kindness, and compassion?

This week is National Collection week for Operation Christmas Child, a nonprofit that distributes millions of shoe boxes for children in need.  I’d love for you to join in!  I’ve included the directions below for how to pack a box.  Gifts are tax deductible to the full extent allowed by law.

Helpful Links

  • Click here for details about how to pack a shoe box.
  • Click here to find the closest drop-off location during you and drop off your box during OCC’s National Collection Week, Nov. 12-19, 2012.
100 Millionth Box Promo –This video features shoe box recipients from all over the world who
now live in the U.S. and want to thank those who participate:
100 Millionth Box Promo –This video features shoe box recipients from all over the world who
now live in the U.S. and want to thank those who participate:
100 Millionth Box Promo –This video features shoe box recipients from all over the world who
now live in the U.S. and want to thank those who partici
100 Millionth Box Promo –This video features shoe box recipients from all over the world who
now live in the U.S. and want to thank those who participate:

This holiday season build a box with your family to teach kindness, compassion, and generosity.

Operation Christmas Child and influencer marketing platform BlogFrog have teamed up with 200 bloggers like me to spread the word about this great cause.

BlogFrog will match the first 200 boxes that are built.  Pledge your commitment below to build a box today on Facebook or Twitter!

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Operation Christmas Child. The opinions and text are all mine.

Gutzy Gear Event : School Supply Donation with the Kiddos! #payingitforwardisgutzy

 

Recently, I had the honor of participating in an event with Gutzy Gear to provide a child with a backpack and school supplies. Gutzy gave each of the participating bloggers $25 to purchase a backpack and school supplies for a child in need.  Gutzy Gear also provided super cool backpack straps and patches. 

 

I ended up getting such a great deal on a backpack, I was also able to purchase a lunch box and pencil bag. 

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Since I wasn’t familiar with Gutzy Gear before this event I snapped a pic of the back of the box of patches to show you some of the different products.  My kids were so excited when the Gutzy Gear arrived in the mail.  I was their hero for all of 15 seconds……until they realized that the patches weren’t theirs.  Once I explained that the Gutzy Gear would be going with a backpack and school supplies that they could help me pack and donate for a needy child, they were very excited. 

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I hit up the Target clearance aisle for the school supplies.  I was excited to find such a great deal on the backpack and lunchbox.  Knowing how much my son loves Star Wars, I wish I could be a fly on the wall when this little boy gets his backpack!

Here’s what I bought:

  • Back Pack
  • Lunch Box
  • Pencil Bag
  • Pk of Pencils
  • Pk of Pens
  • 2 Pks of Glue Sticks
  • Pencil Eraser
  • Scissors
  • Pencil Sharpener
  • Tissues
  • Hand Sanitizer
  • Notebook Paper
  • 2 Notebooks
  • Pk of Erasers

 

I took my kiddos with me to donate the backpack to the Caring Place.  They were proud as little peacocks, and insisted that they hand deliver the backpack:)  Ya’ll know we are all about being purposeful givers here at Time 2 $ave.  Makes my heart happy to see my children so excited to GIVE.  They asked a lot of questions and were very curious as to why a kid would need school supplies. It was difficult for them to understand that some parents just can’t afford it.  It opened the door for us to talk about why, and how important it is to treat all children the same no matter what they have.  Although we talk about giving all the time, donating a backpack with school supplies seemed to really hit home to them. 

Disclosure:  This event was sponsored by Gutzy Gear and powered by Madame Deals Media.  Gutzy provided me with $25 to use toward purchasing school supplies as well as Gutzy Gear Products.  All opinions and experiences are my own.  See my full disclosure policy here.

Don’t Forget to Check your Pantry & Owl City’s Photo Montage Video #childhunger

 

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Over the past couple of months I have posted about the ConAgra Foods Child Hunger Ends Here campaign several times.  It’s honorable when a brand steps up to help end and raise awareness of child hunger. Nationwide 1 in 5 children are food insecure, meaning they don’t know where their next meal is coming from.  If you missed any of my previous posts here’s a link to two of my favorites here, and here.

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As I was reaching in the pantry tonight to gather ingredients to make homemade salsa and chicken fajitas (YUMMY- I’ll post pics and the recipe soon) I realized I still had a couple of cans of Hunt’s products with the push pen logo and code that I had not entered.  GASP – I Can’t believe I forgot!  I could have kicked myself, as the deadline to enter codes ends on August 31, 2012. I had four cans in my pantry which means I almost missed out on the opportunity to help ConAgra donate 4 meals.   I figured if I had cans still in my pantry and I’m a Child Hunger Ends Here Ambassador then there is a good chance that some of ya’ll do too.  I don’t know about you but I don’t want to miss this super easy opportunity to feed a hungry child.

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So…….real quick, take a break and run in the kitchen and glance over your canned food and frozen items.  Look for the pushpin logo (see my pantry above) and code on the back/side.  If you find any cans or frozen items still lurking around grab them and bring them back to your computer.  Go to the Child Hunger Ends Here site here and look for the image below to enter your code/s.  It’s that simple; for every code you enter ConAgra donates one meal.

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You’ll get to download the song “Here’s Hope” preformed by Jewel, Owl City or Jay Sean each time you enter a code from a participating ConAgra product.  Thanks so much ya’ll!  I feel so blessed that our Time 2 $ave Community has such an amazing heart to give and make a difference in the lives of others.  .
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Again, don’t forget to enter all of the 8-digit codes found on the back and sides of specially marked packages at ChildHungerEndsHere.com

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Recently, Owl City rallied their followers to help raise awareness of child hunger by asking, “What surprises you about child hunger?” ConAgra Foods asked their facebook fans to post photos in response to Owl City’s question. Check out the video above of the photos and comments that were submitted.

You can also follow the discussion on facebook here. You can also tweet along by following www.twitter.com/ConAgraFoods using #ChildHunger.

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I am a blogger correspondent for ConAgra’s Child Hunger Ends Here campaign. Opinions and experiences shared here are my own.

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Coupons and Giving: Where do you like to give?

Being a couponer means being able to stockpile things at their lowest price -  the unexpected bonus being that you suddenly have enough extra that you can give some away.  We’ve talked before about some of our favorite places to give – but we’d love to hear some of YOUR favorite places to give!  First, lets take a look at some great ways to give…

The following excerpt is taken from Kasey’s article on giving for Scripps Media services:

Giving can be anything you want it to be for your family. The reality is no matter how you choose to give, the act has the power to bless you in amazing ways.  To get started, here are some examples of items to buy and places that always need help:

■ Grocery/personal care items/household items: food banks, homeless shelters, battered women’s shelters, local church pantries, Salvation Army, United Way

■ Pet food: animal shelters, churches

■ School supplies: schools, day care centers, Salvation Army, churches

■ Baby items: teen pregnancy centers, food banks, homeless shelters, battered women’s shelters, churches, Salvation Army, United Way

Other ideas for giving back:

■ Help homeless people: Make bags of personal care items such as a toothbrush, toothpaste, nonperishable food such as snack crackers, ChapStick, shampoo, etc. Keep the bags in your car, and distribute them as the need arises.

■ Adopt a U.S. soldier: Send care packages filled with some of these items: Gatorade, Crystal Light, beef jerky, beef sausage, canned meats, candy, chocolate, cookies, gum, mints, aspirin, cough drops, dental floss, disposable razors, Kleenex, Neosporin, mouthwash (without alcohol), ChapStick, batteries, pens, local newspapers/comics.

■ Be ready to respond to a natural disaster: Collect items such as water, personal hygiene items, baby wipes, diapers, nonperishable food items, feminine hygiene products, toilet paper, paper towels, cleaning supplies, pet food and cough drops.

And check out these other posts on giving:

  • Include Your Kids in Giving – HERE
  • Unconventional ways to give, the Gas Stations!? – HERE
  • Ways to give during the holidays – 2 Video Posts HERE

So, let’s hear it – what are your favorite ways to give?

Time 2 Give: Reader, Joy, donates 10 Shampoos to Homeless Shelter

We all know that coupons can help us save money on things our own families need – but if you’ve ever stocked up on a great deal, you’ll realize that when you have enough (and often more than enough) of something, it makes it easy to give it away!  Giving, in fact, is a large part of why we continue to coupon through good weeks and bad.  Having that opportunity to go from a place of need to a position of helping others is a real blessing.

Whether you take extra school supplies to school, bring boxes of non-perishables to the church food pantry, or drop off toiletries to the women’s shelter – we want to support you and tell your story here!  To encourage all you “extreme givers” out there – we’re starting a new segment featuring stories of couponers who make a practice of giving, rather than hoarding, their surplus supplies.

This week, for instance, reader Joy commented that she had been to CVS to get (10) Herbal Essence shampoos and a box of Puff’s for around $5 at CVS.  She was even able to mail in her receipt for the $5 P&G Rebate we metioned here.  I actually emailed her to ask if she would send me a picture of her great haul, and this was her apologetic response:

So sorry! I already donated it to a local homeless mission.

 

That stopped me in my tracks this rainy Thursday afternoon.  Joy – if you’re still reading – we just want to say how AWESOME you are!  It’s a great reminder that I have too much shampoo sitting around my house as well :)

We’d love to feature a story of giving through couponing in your life – if you’d be willing to share, please email us at time2saveworkshops (at) gmail (dot) com!

CVS: FREE Hair Accessories Set!

I stopped by CVS tonight to pick up my FREE Hershey’s Chocolate and FREE Makeup Wipes, and I got a coupon from the scanner for $1/1 Hair Accessories.  I roamed around a bit and everything was around $4 – until I got to the Dollar Aisle.  Check out what I found – this little girls’ hair accessories set full of 100 ponytailers/barettes/whatnots for $1.  The scanner coupon made it totally FREE!

While I have 4 boys, this is something cute I can put aside for the Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes or as part of an Angel Tree gift this coming Christmas.  Couponing is so great when it gives you things you can give to others – what a fun bonus!

Have you been able to pick up something to donate recently?  What was it?

#ChildHunger: Schools Out for the Summer but Child Hunger Isn’t

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School is out, and it’s officially S U M M E R T I M E!  Many of us are planning vacation getaways with our families and other fun family activities.   It’s so easy to get busy and forget about needs around us, especially since daily school routine has been interrupted with promises of summertime fun.  In reality, during the summer months free and discounted school lunches are gone. Therefore, the number of children are food insecure is even greater.

 

This summer, approximately 18 million children will face a greater risk of hunger while they’re out of school. During the school year, almost 21 million children depend on free or reduced-price school meals to help keep them from going hungry. But only 2.3 million children are enrolled in similar summer meal programs.1

(from http://www.hungerfreesummertour.org/)

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The past couple of months, I have posted several times about the ConAgra Foods Child Hunger Ends Here campaign as one of their blogger ambassadors. I’ve include links below to a couple of my favorite posts!  Remember, all you have to do is enter the codes on the back of participating ConAgra products online and ConAgra will donate a meal.

Child Hunger Ends Here- 3 Ways to Include Your Kids in Giving

ConAgra- Child Hunger Ends Here! We can all help by entering

ConAgra Child Hunger Ends Here- Enter Codes to Donate Meals!

 

All you have to do is enter the codes on the back of participating ConAgra products online and ConAgra will donate a meal. If you have codes that you haven’t entered yet you’ve still got time!  Codes will be accepted up to a maximum of 3 million meal donations or until 8/31/2012

 

You can make a difference by purchasing participating ConAgra products at your local grocery store. Look for the push pin logo, and enter the code online at Child Hunger Ends Here. For every code entered, ConAgra will donate the equivalent of one meal.

You can also follow the discussion at www.facebook.com/ConAgraFoods, or tweet along by following www.twitter.com/ConAgraFoods and using #ChildHunger.

 

I am a blogger correspondent for ConAgra’s Child Hunger Ends Here campaign. Opinions and experiences shared here are my own.

 

1 U.S. Department of Agriculture/FNS