It’s been a week since Hurricane Sandy devastated much of the North East, especially New York and the New Jersey shoreline. Social media’s giving us an all-too-revealing look at the damage; in the last few days my Facebook feed has been, well, flooded – with photographic evidence of all the damage sustained by people’s homes, vehicles, memories, etc. This is a good thing; it inspires the rest of us to give. But it’s really important to make sure what you’re giving can be received and put to good use by Sandy’s real life victims. I’ve recently read some interesting statistics about how to donate effectively. In short: Keep your clothes, shoes, and yard-sale eligible items to yourself. If you want to help, donate cash.
There are a lot of organizations that will accept your monetary contributions to Sandy relief. At the top of the list are local divisions of the American Red Cross. Want a bonus, super-easy mobile way to donate – no credit card required? If you’ve been accumulating kicks in the shopkick app like I have, you can now donate any and all of them (in 10-50 kick increments) to the American Red Cross, specifically for Hurricane Sandy disaster relief.
Just open the shopkick app, click through to the “Rewards” screen and select the American Red Cross option at the top. Determine how many kicks you want to donate by scrolling to the bottom of the screen and adjusting the number.
Remember: 250 kicks = one dollar, so use this conversion to make your donation. (You can currently only donate 50 kicks at a time, so you will have to go through this process more than once for larger donations.)
New to shopkick? It’s one of my favorite mobile savings apps. Make sure to read my review, download shopkick, and subscribe to Mo’ Money for all things mobile money saving.
The Philadelphia area was in full freak out mode over Hurricane Sandy by 9AM last Saturday morning. I was kind of freaking out too, but I tried to keep it a frugal freak-out as much as possible. The grocery stores in my neighborhood were completely cleaned out of everything, bottled water and peanut butter especially. So I decided to try Target, since shopkick was very generously offering 185 walk-in kicks that day.
It makes me sad to think about all the money people waste in anticipation of a storm. I live pretty far inland, and my area has never sustained serious hurricane damage, but that doesn’t stop people from spending hundreds of dollars on six months of survival supplies. Want to keep your savings on track? Here are three things to think about when you’re preparing to weather a storm:
- Don’t impulse buy, even if you’re in the path of destruction. When you’re stressed, it seems like a good idea to buy eight varieties of Oreos. (Yes, all the Oreos were completely cleaned out at the grocery store, too.) But, if you’re a couponer, you know what a big blow a move like this is to your frugal routine (and your diet). Make sure you stick to stocking up only on what you normally eat and don’t buy anything extra without a coupon. A really good coupon.
- Avoid the grocery stores when possible. They’re the first place panicked people go. You’re much more likely to find everyone’s nonperishable favorites at Target or Walgreens. Pay attention to your emails and stay tuned-in to social networking; companies will communicate with their shoppers about the status of their stores. Walgreens did an especially great job of this through Sandy.
- Mobile Coupon. SnipSnap makes it easy to save on the spot, even when you’re death-fighting with other shoppers for the last of the Duracell batteries. I SnipSnapped coupons to Target while I waited at red lights and my shopping speed wasn’t compromised at all. (Download SnipSnap here!) I also used Ibotta to earn money on groceries like Jiff peanut butter and Smucker’s jelly.
- Save Your Receipts. You want to make sure your bases are covered in case anything does go wrong. But that doesn’t mean you have to hold on to that 84-pack of Dasani or those fancy night vision head lamps if you don’t need them. If you don’t/won’t use your supplies, take them back!
- Stay calm. This one goes without saying. The best thing you can do to prepare yourself is maintain a clear head. Buy what you need for the worst case scenario, but keep your thoughts fixated on the best possible outcome.
Mobile meal deals sound especially good to me, blogging from the East Coast, while Sandy is having her way. Everything is closed! Even all Starbucks stretching north to New York City. So, I’ll be subsisting on bottled water and PB & J until at least Wednesday. If you’re not on the East Coast, celebrate by going out for a meal today (or Wednesday, if trick-or-treating isn’t your thing). Stuck inside like I am? You might be able to sneak out for a celebratory meal by Wednesday or Thursday, depending on the weather in your area. Claim these great Facebook offers and you’re good to go. Here’s the scoop:
Kids Eat for FREE at Chili’s
This is a pretty sweet deal, considering you can feed multiple kiddos with the purchase of just one adult entree. And the offer is good through Halloween, so, if you’re not in the mood for cooking after all the festivities, take the clan out for some real food to balance their sugar levels.
Take 20% off Your Check at Olive Garden
This is a pretty great Olive Garden offer. I love meal coupons that apply to groups (especially at lunchtime during the workweek). This offer discounts your entire check (excluding alcoholic drinks). If you don’t make it to Olive Garden until after 4PM, make sure you take advantage of the Dinner Today & Dinner Tomorrow promotion. You can choose from from of five signature pasta entrees for $12.95 and take home another for free.