Don't miss out! Get Chief Family Officer's free daily roundup:


WHAT'S HOT RIGHT NOW:

  • Take this short reader survey and be entered to win one of two Mystery Boxes of Goodies!
  • Enter for a chance to win a $25 GAP Options gift card!
  • Rent over 20,000 videos for $1.99 or less at Amazon.


  • Couponing for Good

    Last month, I discovered that some friends were part of a giving circle and that they were buying holiday presents for a needy family. They graciously allowed us to join them in the giving, so we gave a gift for each family member, and I also put together a large collection of toiletries and beauty products. Most of the toiletries were free or super cheap thanks to The Drugstore Game, but I realized I had far fewer items to give than I could have because I hadn’t shopped that much in the fall.

    Prices have definitely gone up in the last couple of years, and I feel like I have to work harder to get the deals. Consequently, my stockpile is about two-thirds of the size it used to be.

    So one of the things I want to do in 2012 is build my stockpile back up, so that I can give more. I’ve been going to one drugstore a week, usually CVS – so maybe I will start going to two drugstores a week to get more items.

    Do you “Coupon for Good”?

    Keep on Giving After Christmas

    A while back, I acquired a free subscription to Whole Living magazine, and I’ve been reading the December 2010 issue. There’s a thoughtful article on giving, and figuring out the “right” amount to give.

    I was particularly struck by the suggestion of thinking not just about what we can do without, but “of what we value most and do[ing] what we can to create more of it in the world.” As the article acknowledges, the concept of giving can be overwhelming and stressful – knowing that there are so many people in the world who have so little, how do you establish a good life for yourself without feeling guilty for not giving away almost everything you have?

    So I like the idea of not so much taking away from you already have, but of creating more of what’s good. If it takes money to do that, then it’s more of an investment than a sacrifice. And the concept of giving is expanded beyond monetary donations to taking action. That’s something to think about in the new year.

    For locals: The LA Times has a list of organizations that serve the homeless and are looking for contributions.

    Help for Haiti: Join Money Saving Mom and Other Bloggers

    Crystal at Money Saving Mom is challenging readers and bloggers to do what they can to help the victims of the earthquake in Haiti. She is asking everyone to pray and give to a charity providing relief to the victims. For each email or comment that Crystal gets about what someone did to help those in Haiti, she and her husband will donate 30 cents to Numana, Inc., which is an organization dedicated to giving food to the starving.

    And, for every blogger who writes a post about what they have done to help the people in Haiti, Crystal and Jesse are donating $10 to Compassion International, an organization dedicated to helping children who are living in poverty.

    Crystal’s encouraging creativity but my brain cells aren’t up to it this morning. So I’ll just be donating to AmeriCares, an organization that provides relief similar to the Red Cross, but which has a better rating at Charity Navigator.

    In fact, that’s the thought I’ll leave you with – that although any donation is great, it’s always good to check out the recipient and make sure they’ll make the most of your money. Charity Navigator makes it easy to do at least a little research into an organization, and most large charities are listed. Now, head over to Money Saving Mom and read Crystal’s post.

    Stamp Out Hunger: The Annual USPS Food Drive is on Saturday

    Each year, the United States Postal Service holds a food drive to collect donations for local food banks. The event is called Stamp Out Hunger and it’s one of my favorite charity events because it’s so easy to participate. All you have to do is leave a bag(s) of nonperishable grocery items next to your mailbox. (They ask that you not include items that are expired or in glass containers.)

    This is an excellent time to go through your pantry and clear out the things you won’t use before they expire!

    Would you take a $100,000 pay cut to work for a nonprofit?

    According to this Law.com article, Simpson Thacher and Bartlett is sending fifteen associates to work for nonprofit organizations for one year as part of their pro bono initiative. The firm expects the attorneys to return to the firm when the year is up.

    Simpson salaries start at $160,000 – par for the course for a large firm in a large city. But it sounds like associates who spend the year with a nonprofit will only make $60,000. (I don’t know anyone who works for a firm that has this kind of pro bono program so I don’t know if the difference is made up for at some point.) The associates won’t be considered employees of the firm while they’re away, although they get to keep their insurance benefits – so the year away may impact seniority as well.

    As much as I believe in serving the public, I just can’t see taking a $100,000 pay cut for a year. That’s a lot of money to give up, especially since most lawyers I know have student loans that need to be repaid – and the associates going out are only first to third-years, so it’s unlikely that they’ve paid off their loans already. Even though $60,000 is a decent salary, it’s not that easy to pay off $1,000 in student loans each month when it’s 20% of your gross pay, and close to half of your take-home pay.

    What would you do?

    class="nolinks"