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166 - How to be a giver and feel really great about it!
Episode 16623rd September 2016 • The SavingsAngel Show • Josh Elledge
00:00:00 00:28:16

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Good day from sunny Orlando, Florida! I am Josh Elledge, the Chief Executive Angel of SavingsAngel. Welcome to the SavingsAngel show!

As a consumer expert and money-saving advocate, I’ve appeared over 1500 times in the media, including on television and on the radio, and I hold a syndicated newspaper column.

And I really am encouraged - and like to encourage others - when I hear of people giving back or paying it forward. No matter how you describe it, I’ve always advocated generosity - and we’ve always promoted it through SavingsAngel as well. It feels good - and I want YOU to feel good - but I want to make this happen easy for you.

This week I want to give you two ways that you can be generous...

First I’ll have 8 ways to give back or pay if forward. Then I’ll have 5 charities Retailmenot recommends for easy giving when you’re shopping. And I’ll wrap up this portion of the podcast with a caution about giving.

After that, I want to continue our discussion about life insurance. Life insurance is a way to give to your own family - in case the unthinkable happens. So, even though it can be uncomfortable to think about, it’s important. To help you even more, you can listen to my two most recent podcasts at, where I’ve discussed life insurance already. It is life insurance awareness month.

I’m eager to give to you in the form of knowledge, so get to saving more, earning more, and living more abundantly!

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I want to start this portion of the podcast with a quick list from They’ve put together a short list of charities that allow you to purchase merchandise while giving! I thought this was kind of cool.

When you buy merchandise from the ASPCA Store, 40 percent of the purchase price funds the work of the animal welfare group. You can also buy what’s called a “symbolic gift,” with 100 percent of the purchase price benefiting an animal’s life.

2. American Heart Association
The American Heart Association runs, and 100 percent of proceeds after expenses go to support the American Heart Association’s efforts to drive awareness and education of heart disease and stroke.

3. World Wildlife Fund
Another source of presents for an animal lover is World Wildlife Fund, which allows you to symbolically “adopt” an animal as a gift. For instance, the recipient of a Panda Adoption Kit ($50) will receive a panda stuffed animal, an adoption certificate, a species information card, a photo of a panda and a gift bag. You can also adopt lots of other animals like cougars, kangaroos and wombats.

4. St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital
All the proceeds from the St. Jude Gift Shop benefit the St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital, which is famous for providing care for children suffering from cancer and other life-threatening diseases.

5. Livestrong
Lance Armstrong’s Livestrong lives on beyond Lance’s foibles - but hey they provide invaluable support to people of all ages with cancer, and the Livestrong Store has tons to choose from, especially when it comes to apparel.

Along with these charities, you can peruse RetailMeNot’s charity section for even more gift ideas that give back. Go to

And now, my list of 8 easy ways to give back or pay it forward.

(1) Help a student: Students typically need to raise money for at least one activity or event every year. Don't want what they’re selling? Ask if simply giving them cash is okay.

(2) Hold a second-hand sale for a cause: Save yourself a lot of work by making the sale by donation-only, rather than pricing everything. Use social media to get out the details of the sale and the cause.

(3) Tip generously - even if the service is poor: We typically give less when a server doesn't do a great job, but you don't know what they are going through outside the restaurant. So maybe it is actually the best time to give more generously.

(4) Buy someone's coffee or lunch: Ask the cashier quietly and leave before they even know you did it. This method of giving back works especially well for showing appreciation to police officers, first responders, and emergency personnel, as they typically are not allowed to accept direct tangible appreciation.

(5) Use coupons to pick up new items, like clothing, just to give away: If you belong to mailing lists for places like JCPenney or Sears, from time to time you should receive really good coupons - ones that result in free or almost free merchandise. Use them to pick up items you could give to a needy family or an organization that collects and redistributes new goods.

(6) Comb clearance with others in mind: While you're already out shopping pick up deeply discounted things that could work right now for needs in your community, or stockpile for holiday drives, such as Toys for Tots or Angel Tree.

(7) Buy groceries and health and beauty items just to donate: When you combine sales and coupons, you can get perfect items to donate every week for pennies on the dollar.

(8) Stop at lemonade stands: You may not see as many of them as in summer, but stopping by a young entrepreneur’s stand, even if you don’t want the lemonade, is an easy way to give a bit of change and a lot of encouragement to a young heart.

I couldn’t do this recommendation to give generously without including a caution regarding giving.

These days, we’re all are flooded with requests to donate to various organizations, with little information about their inner workings or what really happens with the money. And sadly, scams are plentiful.

So before giving to anything you’re not personally familiar with, answer these two questions:

– Did you call them, or did they call you? If you didn’t reach out to them, don’t give over the phone; even if the caller claims to be from a well-known organization or familiar organization. It can all sound on the up-and-up, and may well be, but you have no way to verify verbally. Instead, refuse to give over the phone, and hang up. Then, check for a contact number online (don’t use the one they called you from), and contact the charity directly if you wish to give. That way you’re sure it went where you intended – and that charity can do their good work.

– How’s their company transparency and track record? Even big, well-established organizations can have trouble handling funds the way you expect. You may be led to believe your money is going to help buy food and clothing for orphans, when in reality, most of it is being spent on administrative expenses and further solicitation efforts. So thoroughly research organizations before giving, and pick ones that reveal their expenses and how donated money is allocated and used. Never just assume that the full amount of your donation actually gets to the need.

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>>> AD LIB transition from interview to plugging Enlightened Shopping <<<

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Well, that’s all for this week’s show.

If you’ve loved all the helpful ideas and advice on this podcast, would you take a minute to leave a 5-star review in iTunes? By doing so, you help us get this podcast out to more people. The higher our rating, the more we’re noticed.

And as always, if you have any specific questions, or if there is something you’d like to hear me talk about, you can drop me a comment in the podcast feedback, write me on my Facebook group, or call my podcast hotline at 407.205.9250 and leave me a message. I’ll answer your question, write you back, or - with your permission - I might even share your question or story with others on this show.

Have a blessed week - full of saving more, earning more, and living more abundantly!