It's all about the little things…

Tag Archives: stores

Week 35-Shop till ya drop, Day 7-Thrift stores

When I was in high school I lived in thrift store t-shirts and sweatshirts.  Well actually the first couple of years I tried to dress all cute and impress the upperclassmen, but after my sophomore year that went straight out the window.  I went for the I’m-too-lazy-to-find-anything-else and I’m-so-hot-without-even-trying look.  I dunno if it worked, but it sure did cut down on clothing costs.  Needless to say I became very acquainted with my local Salvation Army, Goodwill, a little place downtown called Bargain Box, and Carolina Thrift.  Thank goodness for the simple days of t-shirts and good ‘ole jeans.

One of the first places I started to shop a little thriftier, pun intended, was the Bargain Box which is run by the Junior League of Greensboro NC.  It was a great place to start honing my skills because they had lots of great products.  Turns out it’s not just me who thinks that either.  The BB was awarded Honorable Mention by Go Triad Readers in the Best Thrift Store category for 2010.  They have been open since 1947 and helped the Junior League fund over $3 million worth of community project.  The JLG is an organization compromised solely of women who are motivated to better their communities.  They have over 1,000 members who are committed to promoting volunteerism, developing women’s potential, and overall improving their community by their actions.  Founded way back in 1928 with 34 dedicated women who wanted to make sure Greensboro was a healthy and vital place for its inhabitants.  I’d say, so far so good!  Another place I loved to get my shop on was The Salvation Army.  Even though you had to dig a little more to find the gems, I always knew shopping at TSA was a great way to give back to the community.  My brother used to tell me I was taking affordable clothes away from people who really needed them, and I had to explain that I was actually helping those people and not stealing their clothing supply.  TSA is so great because they have so, so many opportunities and different ways that we can give back.  You can donate your clothes, your car, your time, and even your airline miles!  Seriously if you thought giving back was something you could never fit into your schedule, check out TSA and I’ll bet you will change your mind.

Junior League of Greensboro Donation

The Salvation Army Donation

So here’s to you thrift stores!  You come in all shapes and contain all kinds of collections from across the globe.  You help us connect with our past and bring really special pieces back to life.  You know what they say, one man’s trash is another man’s charity.

Trash or charity? You decide.

Week 35-Shop till ya drop, Day 6-Best Buy

Over the past couple of weeks I have been looking at new laptops online.  To be a little bit more specific, I have been looking at Apple laptops, and I think I’m in love.  The problem is I need to test drive them before I’m ready to drop, and by drop I mean save up like a little kid who wants a new Nintendo, the dough for this investment.  So where do I need to go for that?  Well most people would say an Apple store, which would obviously work, but in good ‘ole Morgantown where there is no such thing I will head to Best Buy.

BB has been supplying thousands upon thousands of CDs, DVDs, and video games to teenagers since 1983.  This makes them the perfect store to believe in these angst-ridden young people and create the @15 organization.  @15 gives a voice to countless teenagers, because they take time out of their busy schedules to actually listen.  They don’t stop there either.  @15 follows the lead of these teenage voices and focuses its resources in the direction of supporting teen efforts that lead to social change.  @15 also supports high school students by giving them something even better than music…money!  They dole out 1,099 $1000 scholarships, and kids can nominate their school to receive BB gift cards through the Teach@15 Awards to up their technology ante.  Since the @15 Scholarships program began, they have given $19.7 million in scholarship funds to help 15,438 students attend college.  Oh and you might know this young lady who is a fan of @15. One of the many partners that the @15 foundation works with is Genesys Works.  GW enables inner-city high school students to break through barriers and realize that they can be successful in the business world.  GW gives these young people the chance to experience the rewards of a meaningful work experience before they go off to college, or integrate themselves into the workforce permanently.  Students go through eight weeks of intensive training before they are assigned to one of the GW client locations.  GW has been bridging the gap between education and business for almost ten years.

@15 Foundation Donation

Genesys Works Donation

So here’s to you Best Buy!  You’ve provided me with a GPS that has saved my behind on more than one occasion, and kept me entertained with my fancy fly Kindle.  Your gadgets and gizmos would even impressive Ariel.  All you Little Mermaid fans know what I’m talking about.  Thank you for giving me a place to blow an hour playing around on the weekend, and a place to connect with my community.

Whozits and whatitz galore!

Week 35-Shop till ya drop, Day 5-The Home Depot

I’m gonna be really honest right now.  I don’t have quite the love affair with Home Depot that my husband, or most men for that matter, has.  Here’s what I do have a love affair with though: pictures hung, desks put together, shelves built, and our lawn mowed.  I guess that means that on some level, I really do love Home Depot, because without them none of those things would get accomplished.  And since we’re being honest, I actually really like the orange aprons the employees wear.  I don’t know what it is about them but the color just makes me happy.  And you know what they say, happy wife…happy life.

It turns out that The Home Depot is so invested in the communities they serve that they created the Home Depot Foundation in 2002.  The motto of the store may be more saving, more doing, but the foundation is all about improving lives and improving homes.  HDF works with local non-profits and volunteers from Team Depot to help repair damaged homes and other facilities that serve disadvantaged people.  For the next three years, HDF has decided to focus on military veterans and their families as they return home from service, and discover new physical and financial hardships.  HDF will invest over $30 million dollars to renovate and repair the homes of these deserving individuals.  Remember those aprons I love, well they even have an awesome program called Aprons in Action.  You can see how HD associates are volunteering their time to make a difference with non-profits and vote for which ones deserve more funding.  HD also works with Good360, formerly known as Gifts In Kind, for their Framing Hope program that donates unsold home improvement products to local nonprofits who focus on providing affordable housing.  G360 is another one of those charities with a simple yet brilliant idea.  Take product donations from America’s top brands and retailers and turn them into goods for the greater good.  Any company that can leverage $70 in product for every $1 in funding is a key in my eyes.

The Home Depot Foundation Donation

Good 360 Donation

So here’s to you Home Depot!  You know, the more I type this blog the more I like you.  You have all of the essentials for home improvement with some fun things thrown in there as well, and you give back to your community.  You’re a stand up store.  Thanks for helping us save more money, do more things.  For ourselves and more importantly, for others.

I just love those aprons!

Week 35-Shop till ya drop, Day 4-Trader Joe’s

I love Trader Joe’s.  I miss Trader’s Joe’s.  I was so spoiled because there just happened to be one right down the road from me in NC and NJ.  For anyone who has never been there, first thing, you’re missing out.  Missing out on what you ask?  Oh I dunno beautiful fresh flowers, delicious assortment of cheeses, cheap (I’m talking $1.99) but extremely flavorful spices, coffee that rivals Starbucks, and $3 wine.  And did I mention they have $3 wine, that’s actually good?  I think you’re starting to understand my obsession with this adorable and customer friendly store.  If this isn’t your neighborhood store, you might want to consider moving…or at least figuring out how to fit it into your summer road trips.

TJ’s also has a big heart underneath all those good deals, but you probably already figured that since I decided to include them on this blog.  In March of this year they announced that all the seafood products they offer, including fresh, frozen, and canned, will come from sustainable sources by December 2012.  Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch helps businesses like TJ’s and people like you and me make healthy choices for our oceans.  If you’re like me you might be wondering exactly what a sustainable seafood source is.  Well, MBASW explains that encouraging seafood purchases that are fished or farmed in ways that do not hurt the environment will help sustain wild, healthy, and diverse ocean ecosystems that will survive into the future.  This is key because 75% of the world’s fisheries are either fished to capacity or overfished.  Seafood Watch works hard to make sure the recommendations they make offer a complete vision of sustainability.  Trader Joe’s knows that providing food for people in need is one of their biggest responsibilities as a grocery store.  There is a new documentary about dumpster divers called Dive, that puts the screws to TJ’s saying they throw away more food than they donate, but St. Mary’s Food Bank in Phoenix might disagree.  Last Thanksgiving SMFB was 2,000 turkeys short of its holiday goal, and TJ’s stepped up and provided 6,000 roasted half-turkeys, which was enough to make holiday boxes to feed 20,000 people!  It’s no wonder that St. Mary’s needs some help from time to time, they serve 13 of Arizona’s 15 counties and provide enough food to feed 275,000 meals on a daily basis.  To say they’re the experts is a bit of an understatement.

Become a Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch Advocate or Donate to Monterey Bay Aquarium

St. Mary’s Food Bank Donation

So here’s to you Trader Joe’s!  You always brighten my days with your Hawaiian-shirt-wearing employees and free samples.  Even though I don’t get to see you nearly as much as I used to, or want to, I know you’re serving all of your neighborhoods well.  Thanks for being that funky, cool older brother of a grocery store that we’ve always looked up to.

Week 35-Shop till ya drop, Day 3-Giant Eagle

Once again we’re back to the reoccurring theme of food but we all gotta eat, right?  There are probably a lot of you out there who are asking, “What the heck is Giant Eagle?”  Short answer, my new favorite grocery store.  Long answer, it’s a chain of grocery stores in Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Ohio, and Maryland that’s been around since 1918.  What I really love about them are their rewards programs.  You buy groceries you get a discount on gas.  You buy gas you get a discount on groceries.  We’ve saved up to 80¢ per gallon when we filled up at the pump, and 15% off our entire grocery bill!  It’s ok to be a little jealous right now.  🙂

GE makes sure we get great deals on groceries and gas, but they also make sure that schools get the cash they need to buy new books, computers, and other essentials for its students.  Box Tops for Education has helped schools across America earn over $400 million dollars since 1996.  You’ve seen those little cut out for BTFE on the top of your Cheerio cereal boxes, Betty Crocker cake mixes, and Pillsbury cinnamon rolls.  Cutting out those little things, find out who your school’s coordinator is, and send them off!  Every box top you cut out is worth 10¢!  Plus the BTFE website has great coupons so you can save money and help your school at the same time!  You can also earn box tops when you shop online at stores like Lands End, Barnes & Noble, and Gap.  Grocery stores like GE give shoppers a chance to earn Bonus Box Tops throughout the year during special events.  These days kids are thinking about college sooner and sooner, and Giant Eagle has you covered there too.  Upromise helps GE shoppers save for college as they shop.  Yep, you read that right, you can shop and save at the same time.  Free.  Of.  Charge.  Three of my favorite words.  When you buy Nestle, Florida’s Naturals or a ton of other products money will automatically be deposited into your UP account.  Then what you do what that money is up to you.  You can invest it in a 529 college savings account, pay down student loans, or request a check that can be used for college expenses.  You can also earn money at a ton of restaurants and online stores as well.  Awesome, I know.

Sign up for Box Tops for Education in your area! (It’s free!!!)

Sign up for Upromise for you and help out a friend or family member! (Again, it’s free!!!)

So here’s to you Giant Eagle!  You always have just what I need on my shopping list.  Your produce is fresh, your organic section is huge, and your sales rule.  Now when I fill up our cart I’ll be thinking about all the classrooms we’ll be filling with books and computers instead of how cheap we can fill up our gas tank.

Sometimes more really is more!

Week 35-Shop till ya drop, Day 2-Macy*s

When I need essentials that only a department store can provide Macy’s is my go-to store.  They have everything.  At least the good stores do, and if you can’t find it in the store you can most likely find it online.  Let’s just say I got a little spoiled going to the Herald Square Macy’s in NYC when I needed some new clothes or fancy cooking pots.  Now we have to travel about 45 minutes to a Macy’s store, but I’m still a fan.  I really fell in love with Macy’s when we registered there and we got points (that translated to dollars) for the presents on the registry that other people bought us!  That’s right we got the presents and the points to buy more stuff on our registry that we didn’t get.  Double-dipping rocks my world.

Climb those books!

I’m not going to try to impress you with a bunch of fancy numbers today, and I really don’t need to because the work Macy’s is involved with speaks for itself.  Macy’s has teamed with Reading is Fundamental, the nation’s largest and oldest literacy organization since 2004 to help children “Be Book Smart“.  RIF’s mission is to motivate kids to read by working with them, their parents, and their community to make reading fun!  RIF dreams of a literate America where all children have access to books so they can discover the joys and value of reading.  RIF’s founder Margaret McNamara could see just how fundamental reading was 45 years ago when she started the program in Washington, D.C. in 1966.  My favorite part about RIF is that they give disadvantaged children a chance to own books, not just go to their local or school libraries and check them out.  And they don’t just have some assembly line where they hand out the first book they grab out of the box to any child either.  They set out dozens of books for children to look through and decide on their own which they’d like to have.  I don’t know about you but that would make me want to read!  Another organization that Macy’s and it’s employees whole heartedly supports is the United Way.  UW is one of those great charities with a simple mission.  Improve lives.  Isn’t that really what it all comes down to?  We are all connected in this world is one way or another, so when one of us succeeds then we all do.  UW focuses on encouraging financial stability and independence, improving people’s health, and helping children and youth reach their potential through education.  I know I said I wasn’t going to through a bunch of numbers at you, but this one is pretty impressive.  Macy’s employees and the Macy’s Foundation donated $10.7 million dollars to UW just last year.  Again, double-dipping rocks my world!

Reading is Fundamental Donation  and get Book Smart

United Way Donation

So here’s to you Macy’s!  There is something that makes you undeniably magical.  You always seem to have just what I need, and lots of other things I can’t live without once I walk through those doors.  You were there when we registered for our wedding, you’re there for us when we need to buy baby shower gifts, and I know you’ll be there for life-changing organizations for years to come.