December 2010

Have you begun the mad dash to get all your holiday shopping complete?   Do you have younger children in your life? Can you see the deluge of toys that will invade you home Christmas morning?

This is a fantastic time to bring in the spirit of the holidays and introduce your children to donating.  Although parting with their loved toys can be difficult they can be  involved by choosing toys they played with when they were ‘little’.

There are several places you can look to donated gently used toys.

1) The usual suspects: Goodwill and The Salvation Army

2) Preschools, elementary schools, early childhood programs and daycare centers may accept toys

3) Homeless shelters or domestic violence shelters

4)  There are several ways to donate at your church; the church nursery, give them to missionaries traveling to poor countries or speak to someone there about donating to a family in need that is known to them

5) Ask around your neighborhood

Children often have so many toys because they are more affordable than ever and with the prevalence of advertising it seems that what is hot today is old news tomorrow.   This often leads to nearly new toys being relegated to the back of the closet or under the bed.

The most important part of this process is involving your child/children.   The experience of giving will give them the opportunity to see that they are blessed and the joy that comes from helping others.   And although that is more than enough reason to clear out toys and added benefit is that you’ll have the opportunity to get the remainder of their toys organized and make room for the new ones that are sure to be under the tree.

Best wishes and Merry Christmas!



Are you among the millions shopping online this year for the holidays?  If so, take advantage of all that the stores have to offer.

Have you ever signed up for a company’s newsletter and received sale notices by email?  Typically these sales have an offer code  or what is often known as a coupon code or promotion code.  These are a series of numbers and letters that you enter at checkout.

This year, before hitting the ‘Submit Order’ button, check for the coupon or promotion box.  If the store site has one, open another window and go to a site, such as Retail Me Not (  Then type in the store’s website where you are shopping.  You’ll see coupon or promotion codes both that have been proven to be successful as well as those that have had less success.  On Retail Me Not you’ll see the percentage of time these have worked.

Look for a code that matches what you are looking for (i.e. Free Shipping or 20% off your order, etc…).  Then write down the code and return to the store’s shopping window.  Type in that code and presto – you’ve saved money!

These sites gather information from people just like you.  They rely on online shoppers to add new codes as they receive them or use them.   If you receive an offer consider ‘giving back’ to your fellow shoppers and submitting your code.

I’ve been shopping this way for years and have saved hundreds (probably thousands) of dollars.  What do you have to lose?  Give it a try the next time you shop online.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!