Starfish Project: Raising Awareness and Money for Exploited Women

Recently a friend of mine made a major career change to do work she is passionate about. She took a job with an organization called Starfish Project.

Exploitation of women all over the world, especially in Asia, is a significant and overwhelming problem. Reading stories of young girls and women sold into sex-slavery and exploited in other ways, and hearing statistics often makes the problem seem completely unfathomable and people just don’t know where to start. And, sadly, this is not an issue isolated in Asia. Every woman, no matter where in the world and no matter her background, is important.

Every woman deserves the chance to provide for her family, grow, and feel valued.

Starfish Project

I want to share with you an amazing organization called Starfish Project which works in three different cities in Asia. They find these women, befriend them, and give them a way out by providing them a range of social, emotional and practical opportunities. While in the Starfish program, women can live in the shelter, receive counseling, get work training, and have a job to provide income for themselves. Their job is to make beautiful jewelry. By buying a piece of jewelry you make these programs, and lasting change in these women’s lives, possible.

You become an advocate.

This summer, Starfish Project is hosting a sale and offering a discount on over 150 of their pieces for two weeks only.

50 | 50 Summer Sale

50% off orders over $50

on over 150 participating products
July 1 12:01 am EST through July 15 at 11:59 pm EST

By purchasing jewelry you are becoming an advocate for exploited women in Asia. Your purchase will give them work for their hands, hope for their hearts, and the knowledge that they are valued by someone who doesn’t even know them.

This sale only lasts for two weeks but the Starfish story is both continuing and growing. Would you become an advocate and join the Starfish Project?

 

You can become an advocate by:

Buying their jewelry and telling your friends. Find all the summer sale items here.

Following the story on their blog, Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram

Thanks for becoming an advocate for women in Asia. The problem is huge, but together we can make a difference.
 

Disclosure: I am sharing information about Starfish Project and this deal with you because I am an advocate for the work they do. I do not receive any commissions or free products for this post.

Sara

Stein Mart Black Friday Ad 2013

Black Friday plans and strategies are already underway for many people. So start planning your savings today!

The Stein Mart Black Friday Ad 2013 has been leaked!

One of my favorite discount stores is Stein Mart, and Black Friday definitely brings out some of their best deals all year. They have great quality on-trend and classic clothing for men and women, as well as housewares, shoes, and accessories that keep you looking good without breaking the bank.

Stein Mart stores open at 7am on Black Friday.

Make sure you take the ad with you to have an associate scratch off the token for your additional savings (up to $100!) between 7am and noon. Also, don’t forget the coupon on the back of the ad for an additional 50% off Red-Dot merchandise.

Friday-Only In-Store Specials

Peck & Peck Cashmere Polo Sweaters $39.98 ea

Isotoner and Dearfoams Slippers $7.98 ea

Ladies Coats 50% Off

Peck & Peck Ladies 100% Cashmere Scarves $17.98 ea

Boxed 24K gold or Silver Plated Hoop Earrings $8.98 ea

Boxed Sterling Silver Cubic Zirconia Jewelry $8.98 ea

Aigner Designer 100% Leather Gloves $17.98 ea

Leather Handbags $29.98 ea

Big Buddha Pashminas $6.98 ea

Ladies Boxed Fashion Watches $7.98 ea

Pajama Separates $7.98 ea

Crockpot 4Qt $17.98 ea

Double Beverage Dispenser $16.98 ea

Paisley and Solid Quilts, Queen-size $12.48 ea

Hotel Collection Sheet Sets $9.98 ea

Embossed Plush/Sherpa Throws $9.98 ea

Entire Stock of Holiday Décor 50% Off

Hart, Schaffner & Marx Sportswear, Shirts & Pants for Men $17.98 ea

Men’s Watches $7.98 ea

Men’s Neckwear $5.98 ea

Alan Flusser Cashmere Scarves $17.98 ea

Alan Flusser Cashmere Crew & V-Neck Sweaters $59.98 ea

Nike Sweatshirts and Hoodies for Men $12.98 ea

If you’re looking for Black Friday Deals at any other stores, check out the complete list of 2013 Black Friday Deals I’ve put together with some of my blogger friends. Nearly 50 stores with all their HUGE SAVINGS DEALS are ready for you to help maximize your savings on Black Friday!

 

Sara

6 Ways To Save On (Almost) Everything You Buy

Save on everything you buy

ways to save money

Shopping and saving is like a game to me. A game to get the best value on whatever it is I’m buying. With the advent of the internet, the game got even easier. No longer did I need to run from store to store or call and wait on hold to compare prices. Then came smart phones, which made comparison shopping easier. There are apps for comparison shopping, apps that will scan bar codes and tell you the best price in your area, online shopping apps that take you right to the product, and, of course, the internet to get online and create a great deal while still in the store.

I rarely pay full retail for things. And for those certain items I do pay full retail, well, I often still try to combine it with something to create a better value for me. With such ease of connectivity, it’s pretty easy to save something on almost everything you buy. But whether it’s online, a mailer, or other type of coupon/discount, the ability to save money is all around us.

6 Ways To Save Money On Almost Everything You Buy

1. Plan Ahead – To save the most, planning ahead is often your best bet. Knowing the cycle for the foods you and your family eat will keep you from spending full price. Even if you don’t have a coupon, buying on sale is always a win! Most everyday products are on a 3 month cycle at the store, so a little planning goes a long way. Then, of course, there are holiday and back-to-school sales where you can save on seasonal-type items. Need to replace a kitchen appliance, they often go on sale for Mother’s Day or Memorial Day or President’s Day or … get the idea? Power tools or lawn equipment? Father’s Day, maybe Memorial Day or 4th of July sales. And, of course, for many places the entire store is on sale for “back to school”. If you can wait, chances are you’ll find what you need on sale. Even with travel, there are often deals for people who plan ahead!

2. Google It – Yes, hop online and use your favorite search engine to see if you can find a coupon or promotion code. Even if you’re in a store, a quick online search may reveal a way to save a few bucks. Maybe it says you have to sign up for their newsletter, but if you ask about using a current coupon the associate may be willing to extend the savings to you. Type in the name of the store and the word “coupon” and see what comes up. Some stores use the word “promo” or “promotion” so you may need to check those as well. Usually the SEO is pretty good that either “coupon” or “promo” or “promotion” will return the same results.

3. Use a Price Comparison App – If you’re in the store and you want to see if the price you see is the best price, having a price comparison app can come in very handy. The three I like best are Amazon Price Checker, Red Laser, and Price Grabber. Price comparison apps can often help you find the best deal somewhere else, or even negotiate the current deal at the store you’re at. Sure, most stores don’t negotiate price but there are some items where they may. Especially on big-ticket items, many retailers would rather not lose the sale to a competitor.

4. Shop Where You Are Rewarded – There are certain stores I shop at for items I know don’t go on sale (my favorite Dior Lipstick, for example) because I get points or rewards for shopping. I may not get a dollar savings on that item, but I will get points for free products, discounts on future purchases (when I can then same on my favorite items), or quality sample items. If you’re already going to buy an item regardless of whether it’s on sale, then find a way to add value! This doesn’t apply just to physical products, because restaurants and many service providers reward their repeat clients. Amazon is one of the places where I’m almost always rewarded. There is the convenience factor of not having to pay shipping because I have Amazon Prime and use Subscribe & Save. But, my secret weapon on Amazon has always been Amazon Filler. Long before Amazon Prime I had to get up to $25 to get the free shipping. With Amazon Filler I was almost always able to get free shipping on those items that were in the $23-$25 range. You’d be amazed at what you can get on Amazon for $0.12!

5. Procrastinate – No, I’m not contradicting myself. I know Plan Ahead is on this list. But, let’s be real. We all know there are times we’re rewarded for putting off the buying decision. Travel providers are known for having last minute deals. So if you’re ready for anything, you may be rewarded for waiting around. Bakeries and florists often discount their items before they close, so take advantage of that. Even grocery stores have areas of the store where they discount fresh meats, dairy, and produce that must be used within 24-hours.

6. Ask – Remember when you were a kid and you’d ask for pretty much anything you wanted. Sometimes you got it and sometimes you didn’t. Savings are the same way. If you shop at local stores, and are a frequent customer, maybe the owner will say yes. If you’re making a large order, why not ask for a discount. Are you getting things for your kid’s teacher? Then ask if there is a discount for educators. Naturally, you don’t ask every time. You don’t want to end up being “that customer”. But if you’re strategic about your ask, chances are you’ll be able to save something. Is there a possibility you can barter for what you need? Are you willing to take a floor model for a discount? If you can wait, you can inquire if the item will be going on sale soon and if you buy now is there a price adjustment policy.

It doesn’t matter how much money you make or have in the bank. What matters is how prudently you use that money. Those “millionaire next door” people aren’t throwing money around like a drunk sailor. They’re making savvy buying decisions and spending their money wisely. Being aware of how you’re spending your money doesn’t mean you have to be cheap, only eat beans and rice, or vacation in your backyard.

There are more ways you can save (almost) every time you shop. What are some of your tips?

Sara

Customize Your Tech: 25% Off all ZAGGSkins

ZAGGskins

 

Want to save 25% off one of the best tech skins? Then you’re in the right place! Shop now through April 18th and save 25% off all ZAGGskin device protectors. Choose from their selection of hundreds of designs or upload your own custom design.

These days it seems like everyone has the exact same phone, MP3 player, eReader and personal gaming devices. Put yours down and the only way you know which one to pick up is to turn it on. Enter custom skins. While I don’t have one on my iPhone4, I have a Limited Edition Disney World case, I do have the ZAGG Intellishield protector for my screen. I have a custom ZAGGSkin on my laptop, as does CycleGuy. And we have them on our iPhone3s (which now are used for music and games). Get the picture? We love these things! And you will too.

In the past we have been able to re-sell our old devices for top dollar because they had a full body cover from Zagg and were in pristine condition. And having a laptop or phone with a custom skin is a great way to not only protect your device, but also add some branding if you’re attending conferences, working at the local coffee shop or just wanting to show your personal style.

If you have an iPad, iPod, Kindle, Kindle Fire, any cell phone or even laptop or netbook you’ll want to check out all the cool ways to customize them. Zagg also has a low threshold to get to free shipping. Nothing I hate more is a big sale but you end up paying back all your savings in over-priced shipping. Not with ZAGG!

Check out ZAGG now and save 25% off all ZAGGskin covers!

Disclosure: This post contains an affiliate link. By clicking on the link I may receive a small commission if you buy something. And by small, I do mean small. But, their products are awesome and I really use their stuff! All opinions are my own and are truthful and honest. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

 

 

Sara

Zagg intelliShield – Phone and Tablet Protective Skins and Cases 50% Off


 

Over the past several years, I’ve ordered screen protectors and custom skins for my phones and even a custom laptop skin. To say I truly LOVE, LOVE, LOVE Zagg products is an understatement. They are the best device protection on the market with their intelliSHIELD product! And when they have these 50% off sales I double check to see if I need to change out my screen protector or if maybe I should get a new back for my phone.

We have been able to re-sell our old phones for top dollar because they had a full body cover from Zagg and the phone was in pristine condition.

If you have an iPad, iPod, Kindle, Kindle Fire, any cell phone or even laptop or netbook you’ll want to check out all the cool ways to customize them. Zagg also has a low threshold to get to free shipping. Nothing I hate more is a big sale but you end up paying back all your savings in over-priced shipping. Not with ZAGG!

Check out ZAGG now!

On November 28th and 29th the Zagg Cyber Monday 50% off sale will be in full swing. On these two days nearly every product on ZAGG.com will be 50% off, including ZAGGsparqs, invisibleSHIELDs, ZAGGsmartbuds, and ZAGGskins. Tablet keyboards, iFrogz cases, and EarPollution headphones will not be discounted.

Disclosure: This post contains an affiliate link. By clicking on the link I may receive a small commission if you buy something. And by small, I do mean small. But, their products are awesome and I really use their stuff and will be shopping on Monday! I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

Sara

Shopping Tip: How To Get Free Shipping Every Time You Buy From Amazon.com

 

If you don’t have Amazon Prime, you’ve got to come up with at least $25 for items that ship FREE with Super Saver Shipping.  And that can be a drag to find something, anything, just to save on the shipping (which can be over $5 sometimes). If you’re like me you’ve put a few things in your cart only to realize that you’re a few cents short for the FREE Super Saver Shipping when you spend $25.  It’s annoying to have $24.99 in your cart knowing that if you just bought something for $0.01 you’d get free shipping.

So you do like most people and add something else, paying more than you really wanted to pay but glad you got the “free” shipping.  Afterall, by buying this other item you get free shipping which would have cost a few bucks so you feel like you actually ‘saved’ money by buying this other item.  But what if I told you that you didn’t have to buy something for a few bucks just so you can get free shipping?

Amazon Filler Item Finder to the rescue!  Using Amazon Filler Item Finder is easy!

1.  Click over to Amazon Filler Item

2.  Type in the amount you’re needing to get to $25 for the FREE Super Saver Shipping

3.  Select an item from the list of items shown.  You probably won’t need anything from that list but for a few cents, it’s worth it! For a few cents, you can always use another bubble mailer, right?

4.  A new window will open.  Add the item to your Amazon.com shopping cart and proceed to check out.

5.  Check Out and Save Money!

Do you have other ways of saving? I’d love to know what tips you have!

Sara

Should I Save or Should I Go?

Piggy Bank with Hammer photo

Did you get The Clash reference? If so, definitely pat yourself on the back! It’s this phrase that zips around my brain far more than I’d really like.

I’m a saver. I was brought up as a saver and it’s how I roll. CycleGuy has left the dark side and after almost 24 years together is a pretty good saving jedi. Except when it comes to experiences. When it comes to things though, it’s taken awhile but they don’t catch his eye as much as they used to.

CycleGuy was raised by the yoda of spendthrifts. Mama-San could probably convince a homeless man to give her a dollar. Don’t get me wrong, I love my mother in law very much. I even like her a lot. But when it comes to the spend – save dichotomy we’re like BP and the Louisiana Gulf Coast. And while I respect her need to spend, I’m not sure if she respects my need to save. To her, I’m more of a hoarder.

So nearly a quarter of a century of togetherness has allowed both CycleGuy and I to gain both the respect and understanding for the other person’s spending habits that are needed to avoid making money a point of contention.With money issues being one of the leading causes of divorce, it’s easy to understand that it takes a lot of work by both people to maintain common ground. I’m determined not to let money be an issue, even when it’s because of my crazy saving habits.

Where am I going with this? Well, it’s about experiences. What if you’re invited to go somewhere that is not an everyday occurrence? What if you had been invited to the inauguration? The royal wedding? Would you go? Think back to high school and how we begged our parents to come up with the money for an out of town trip.

I think of the kids who spend a year fundraising so they can march in the Rose Parade. Pay money, lots of money, to be hot and sweaty. And yet so uplifted. So uplifted that 20 years later they’ll tell anyone and everyone they were in the Rose Parade. Heck, they’ll be 50 years old watching the Rose Parade with their grandkids and telling them about the time they were in the Rose Parade.

Sometimes there is no next time. It’s a now or never option. Kind of like the spring trip to Italy BabyGirl and I will take. There isn’t an option to wait and save and think and ponder and work the numbers. It’s a question of are you in or not. And thanks to CycleGuy’s belief that life is to be experienced, it was a no brainer for him. Me? Well, that’s probably going to be weeks, if not months, of therapy right there!

As I hemmed and hawed over the weekend about a travel opportunity, for CycleGuy there wasn’t even a moment of hesitation. Go! Then there was me and my personal game of 20,000 questions. It’s the reason I never could get a Magic 8 Ball. Because I’d just be shaking that crazy thing until I finally broke it open and got the answer I thought I should get.

Theoretically, I know life is to be lived and experienced. Unfortunately, sometimes I can’t break out of my savings paradigm and throw caution to the wind and just go. In my mind I can do that. And I can encourage other people to take the leap. But when I comes to me, I can find every reason not to do something.

Fortunately, I, too, have learned something in the past 20-plus years with CycleGuy. Life isn’t about being able to tell stories of ‘what if’ or ‘I almost’ or ‘I could have’. Life is about being able to share stories of living, doing and experiencing. No amount of money when I’m 60 will make up for not having said yes when my savings account is telling me no.

This weekend I realized that sometimes Someday is staring me in the face and I’m not wearing my glasses!

Do you ever ponder, weigh, evaluate and think and rethink whether you should do something? How do you feel when you’ve passed on an opportunity but deep down really wanted to say yes?

Photo Credit: Public Domain

Sara

Customize and Protect Your Tech With 50% Off At ZAGG

 

I truly LOVE, LOVE, LOVE Zagg products. They are the best device protection on the market with their intelliSHIELD product! And when they have these 50% off sales I double check to see if I need to change out my screen protector or if maybe I should get a new back for my phone.

I have a custom back for my iPhone, a screen protector and a custom laptop cover all from ZAGG! When CycleGuy upgraded is phone we were able to sell his old for for more money because he had a full body cover from Zagg and the phone was in pristine condition.

If you have an iPad, iPod, any cell phone or even laptop or netbook you’ll want to check out all the cool ways to customize them. Zagg also has a low threshold to get to free shipping. Nothing I hate more is a big sale but you end up paying back all your savings in over-priced shipping. Not with ZAGG!

Check out ZAGG now!

Disclosure: This post contains an affiliate link. By clicking on the link I may receive a small commission if you buy something. And by small, I do mean small. But, their products are awesome and I really use their stuff and will be shopping on Monday!

Sara

Reader Input: Thoughts About My Blog

Sale Poster image
My apologies if this image offends. I thought it was hilarious!

Recently I had a few people ask me why I don’t post all the deals going on at stores we all shop at, both online and around town. Yes, I have Saving in my blog name. I love to save and I love to talk about saving. When I started this site it was mainly to share the grocery and drug store deals that I was already sharing with friends and family. A few times a week I’d let them know about a great coupon code or other deal going on. But, in general, I would direct them to other sites that focused on posting deals all day.

I knew I couldn’t compete with their 85 posts a day. I homeschool and work part-time, in addition to blogging. There just aren’t enough hours in the day to do it all. And, honestly, I feel bad if I post a few deals because I don’t want people buying stuff they don’t want just because it’s on sale. Then again, I’m not a mind reader (although I pretend to be one!).

Occasionally I will post deals when I think they’re terrific and are for product or services that I would use or have used. But I’d like for you to let me know if you’re OK with me posting some deals on things like cute shoes, great kids’ clothes, games and books, household items or even beauty products. I know I’ve posted the Restaurant.com deals (where you can get a 70% savings using the code PLATE now thru 5/24!) and you liked that. So just let me know if you’re cool with me posting some deals and I’ll share some great sales with you. Sound good?

I save a ton of money on things I need. I want you to be able to do the same. If you’re fine with me posting a few extra deals a week, I’ll definitely do that. Seriously, there are some amazing deals on these interwebz! You can leave a comment or tweet at me, send me a message or even post something on my Facebook page. I’d love to hear from you.

Thank you for coming to my blog and sharing my passion for figuring out how to live life fully!

Sara

Needs vs. Wants

Needs and Wants

When it comes to funding all these somedays I have, I really wish I was independently wealthy. It sure would make it easier to go out and do or buy some of the things I want. But the reality is that I am not independently wealthy. I have to plan and save for these things.

There are so many temptations out there. All these daily deal sites that want me to buy their deal because, well, it’s a deal! I could save a lot of money if only I would buy something from them. And sure, many of these are truly great deals. For instance, I love books and so does BabyGirl. So when Groupon had the recent Barnes & Noble deal I got in on it.  I wanted it. I was saving 50%!

But did I need it.  Need it as in it is required for my daily living. I didn’t need to buy the Groupon deal. I wanted to. I wanted to save money that I knew I would end up having to spend. And it’s not often that a deal for a bookstore comes up. Clearly a want, not a need. And, sure I don’t need an iPhone. But because it makes doing business and keep connected with CycleGuy, I have one. For me, the convenience factor is a tradeoff with the cost factor.

I need heat and electricity and internet and food and gas for the car. But I don’t need to go out to eat when I know that it is cheaper and often more healthful to eat at home. Dining out is definitely a want. For me and my family. And even though heat is a need, I’ve decided that with an extra blanket and sweater I could avoid turning the heat on. I need to be comfortable in my home and I’ve found a way to do that without having to turn on the heat. It’s not for everyone, but it works for me an my family.

Budgeting is one way to look at Needs and Wants, and so is finding balance in your life.

We need clothing. We don’t need high-end couture fashion. It’s a matter of choice as to how need is defined when it comes to clothes. For some families, it’s acceptable to purchase pre-owned items. For others, thrift and consignment stores don’t even enter the picture. It’s another example of how need is defined differently for each family.

My friend Heather, whom you met yesterday if you read my Budget Date Night guest post, started a No Spend Month program for the month of February. Heather is already very frugal. She’s a work at home mom to three girls and her husband works in the tech field as well as at home doing the back-end work for Heather’s many websites. With 3 kids, all of whom have food allergies, she’s keenly aware of how wants and needs vary from family to family. Her food budget is seen as high by some, although she has to account for special foods that often don’t go on sale or have coupons. Safe foods are a need for every family. It’s just that for some family those safe foods are very expensive.

In talking with friends and looking at my family budget from last year, I realized that CycleGuy and I have a pretty good grasp on our family budget and overall spending. His living in another state makes things a bit more challenging. For example, coming back to Phoenix is a need for him. And while I miss him dearly, sometimes I see it as a want (especially when I see the airfare). I’ve examined some of my wants and reevaluated them so that we can fit his travel into our budget. We need to make it work for our family.

Schooling is another big category that is part want and part need. Again, it’s a very personal choice for a family to choose private school and say it is a need. Many may disagree, but none of this is for other people to judge. I choose to homeschool. With that comes different expenses and costs than if BabyGirl went to public school. We also see violin and french lessons as a need for her education. The money must come from somewhere, though.

It’s easy to say everything is a need. What it comes down to though is making hard choices. I’m not a music fanatic. CycleGuy is. For me new music from iTunes is a want. For him it’s a need. So we need to come together and find a balance. Heather talks about this, too. Which makes me feel good, because I know it’s not something I deal with alone.

Most, if not all, the things on my Someday List are wants. I’d have to look really closely to find a true need. It doesn’t mean they aren’t important. Each and every one is meaningful in some way to me. But a girl can’t live on needs alone!

Have you taken a close look at where you spend your money? What are your needs and wants?

Sara