Give Back to Education — Every Little Bit Helps

earning for learning

Recently, I shared with all of you that I did a great deal of my back to school shopping at Polaris Fashion Place. I wanted to refresh your memory on why I chose to do my back to school shopping there. One, because Polaris Fashion Place is a one stop shopping destination and two, because you can earn cash for local schools just for shopping and dining there with their Earning for Learning Program. Read the full post here.

Here’s what you need to know about Polaris Fashion Place’s Earning for Learning program:

Through September 27th, each dollar spent shopping or dining at Polaris Fashion Place is turned into points for the school of your choice. Mondays and Tuesdays are “Double-Point Days”, which means you could earn your school double the points for every dollar you spend!

To participate, simply take your qualifying receipts dated August 4 – September 27 to Guest Reception to add points to your school’s total. Your receipt does not have to be redeemed the same day you shopped but all receipts must be redeemed by 9:30 pm on Saturday, Sept 27, 2014. At the end of the promotion, the top ten schools will earn cash prizes ranging from $7,500 to $1,000. The tote board in front of Guest Reception will be updated weekly with the top 15 leading schools. You can also view top schools here.

Any public or private K-12, elementary, middle or high school in the state of Ohio is eligible to participate. Schools are not required to register. Simply present a qualifying receipt to Guest Reception to add points to a schools total.

I cannot tell you how glad I am to see more organizations giving back to education. We need to find these programs and take advantage of them. Give back to your local schools with Polaris Fashion Place’s Earning for Learning program (if you live here in Ohio), Box Tops for Education and Labels for Education, just to name a few. In the classroom is where bright futures start. We all need to find small (or big) ways to give back to education. Not only is it important for us, but it is important for our children.

Find more information on Polaris Fashion Place’s Earning for Learning program here.

This post is sponsored by Polaris Fashion Place.

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A Way to Give Back During Back to School Season

polaris fashion place

No one enjoys those few weeks before school starts when you have to go to one store for shoes, one for clothes, another for a backpack and yet another for a new pair of glasses.

Have you ever wondered if there is one place you can shop for all of your kid’s back to school needs? Obviously you can go to a big box store (Target or Walmart) but what if you are looking for name brands or designer items? Consider the mall!

I have to admit that I am one of those people that will go from store to store for all my kids back to school needs, but this year was a bit different. I went to Polaris Fashion Place here in Columbus, Ohio. Some people may think that a shopping mall is overpriced but I was able to find some really good deals!

For example, I purchased several shirts at JCPenney for $0.97 – $6.99, shirts and jeans at The Children’s Place for $5 – $10, a pair of Adidas shoes at Journeys Kidz for only $9.99, and much more. All of the items were on sale or clearance, and I stacked them with a store coupon to save even more. That is how you snag good deals, right?


Polaris Fashion Place has your classic department stores including Macy’s, Sears, JCPenney, Saks Fifth Avenue and Von Maur. You’ll also find over 180 specialty stores including Gap, Crazy 8, Finish Line, New Balance, Crocs, Game Stop, Apple, and Barnes & Noble just to name a few.

Purchase an outfit or two from GapKids or H & M Kids. Snag some shoes from The Finish Line or Stride Rite. Buy a pair of glasses from LensCrafters. Pick up some accessories at Claire’s. Get your hair cut at Master Cuts! So many stores equals so many options. That is why Polaris Fashion Place is a one-stop shop for all your back to school shopping!

play area

Not only does Polaris Fashion Place have the perfect stores to make your back to school shopping easy, they also have stores for us moms to treat ourselves.

Coach, Pandora, Yankee Candle, Sephora, Aveda and Williams-Sonoma, just to name a few. You can also grab a bite to eat at one of several restaurants, in the food hall or other eateries. Best of all, they have a children’s play area for the little ones to play while you take a much needed break and review your lengthy shopping list.

What I love most of all about Polaris Fashion Place is how they give back to the community. They promote and support education in local school districts with their Earning For Learning which turns money spent by shopping or dining at the mall into cash prizes for local schools.

For the 10th year in a row, the mall will award $30,000 to local area schools this fall. Through September 27, when you make purchases at Polaris Fashion Place, each dollar spent will be turned into points for the school of your choice. Mondays and Tuesdays are “Double-Point Days”, which means you could earn your school double the points for every dollar you spend!

To participate, simply take your receipts dated August 4 – September 27 to Guest Reception to add points to your school’s total. The top 10 schools earn cash prizes ranging from $1000 to $7500. Every school in Central Ohio area is eligible to participate and schools are not required to register.

So by shopping at Polaris Fashion Place, you will not only be purchasing what you need, but you could help the school of your choice. It’s a win-win! That is why from now on I will be shopping at Polaris Fashion place not only for my back to school needs but for other needs as well.

For more information on Polaris Fashion Place, check out their website at Or visit them on Facebook or Twitter.

This post is sponsored by Polaris Fashion Place.

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*NEW* Cheerios Protein – The Healthy & Delicious Choice


If you are looking for a delicious and healthy breakfast cereal, look no further because Cheerios has introduced a new product that packs a healthy punch! It is called Cheerios Protein and it comes in two flavors: Oats & Honey and Cinnamon Almond. Not only is it just as delicious as the other Cheerios varieties, it is also packed with 7g of protein (11g with milk). Cheerios Protein also has 27 grams of whole grain per serving, which is more than half of the recommended daily amount, and it’s a good source of fiber. I almost forgot to mention that each serving also contains 10-50% of the daily recommended amount of 13 vitamins and minerals including Folic Acid, Iron, Zinc, Vitamin B, and more. You would think it could not get better than that, but it does. Cheerios Protein also leaves you feeling full longer and gives you long lasting energy.

Thanks to Cheerios, I was able to sample both flavors of Cheerios Protein, Oats & Honey and Cinnamon Almond. I could not pick a favorite because I liked them both very much for different reasons. Oats & Honey combines toasted whole grain O’s, crunchy oat granola clusters and real honey to make one delicious cereal. Honey Nut Cheerios is a staple in our house because of its amazing flavor and Oats & Honey had a similar flavor and that is probably why I liked it so much. Cinnamon Almond brings together toasted whole grain O’s, crunchy almond granola clusters, and real cinnamon to make one flavorful cereal. If you like the taste of cinnamon, you will love this cereal! Both cereals are equally great it just depends on your flavor of choice. Give them both a try … you won’t be sorry.

Another thing I love about this cereal is that it also makes a great snack. A healthy and delightful snack for around 220 calories. It would be great for the kids to munch on in between meals, after school or for an evening snack. Same goes for us parents, eat it in between meals, while you are out running errands, or for an evening snack. No need to deprive yourself because now you have a healthy and delicious choice!

Cheerios has teamed up with a few bloggers to give (3) lucky winners (2) boxes of Cheerios Protein, one of each flavor! Giveaway ends 8/20/14 at 11:59 pm EST. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure: I received a free product for review purposes. All opinions expressed are my own and were not influenced in any way.
This post was created in cooperation with Mom Buzz Media.

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Sleeping Right — How to Find the Best Mattress at a Great Price!

mattress stack

If you’ve been sleeping on the same mattress for between 8 and 10 years it may be time to consider investing in a new one. In fact, it probably is. Buying a mattress is a big decision. Think about it, you spend a third of your life on your mattress.  Addressing some important issues before purchasing will help you find the best mattress at a great price!

Sleepless nights with the wrong mattress

Spend money on the wrong type of mattress and your body won’t thank you in the long run, showing its ingratitude with all kinds of aches and pains. Key points to remember are: too firm and your spine won’t achieve a natural position, whereas if the mattress is too soft it won’t support your back. It’s vital, especially for those who suffer from back complaints, to find the right level of comfort and support. Try out a range of different beds when looking to improve your sleeping quarters

Choosing the right mattress

A good salesperson should ask a number of questions so that they can recommend the best mattress to meet your needs. The more information you give them, the more they will be able to help you. Some of the points to consider will include the size of your bedroom in relation to your new bed, any health issues concerning back complaints, your actual mattress comfort level preference, and your price range. Experts claim that sleeping on the right mattress with the correct amount of pressure should actually feel as if you’re floating on air. The first basic test is to get a feel for the mattresses out there and that means trying them in the store. My suggestion is to test the mattress in your own sleep position for 10 – 15 minutes to see how it feels and if it offers the right support.

pick your mattress

Considering the price factor

A decent mattress is an investment in your health and this is a long-term purchase of usually just under a decade. You can find some great deals on beds and mattresses online but don’t just purchase straight from the website. Drop into the store first and check that the mattress matches your requirements. Sales are another great option for picking up a discounted mattress or consider visiting those large discount outlet stores. Visit mattress specialty stores, especially if you suffer from sleepless nights or back complaints, because expert help will be provided. My advice is to find a mattress you love in store, jot down the brand and model, and then head home to comparison shop online.

If you’re looking for a restful night’s sleep with a high quality mattress that will offer a long life span then it makes sense not to financially skimp on this product. You’ll probably only buy around 10 beds during your life and the best deal will be a mattress from which you awake each day feeling refreshed and rejuvenated.

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17 Ways to Save Money on Groceries Without Coupons

17 ways to save money on groceries without coupons

Not everyone is into couponing. Coupons are a great way to spend less at the grocery store but you can also save money by making smart shopping choices. Below you will find 17 ways to save money on groceries without using coupons.

1. Visit the grocery store less. If you currently go to the store three times a week, cut back to going only once a week. The more you go to the store, the more opportunities you have to buy things you do not need.

2. Make a list and stick to it. A grocery list saves both time and money. You will save time because you will not be wandering the store looking for tonight’s dinner. You will also save money because sticking to a list helps prevent you from buying things you really do not need.

3. Buy produce in season. Buying produce in season is a great way to save money. The produce on sale in the grocery store’s weekly ad is usually what is in season. You can also check out the USDA’s season produce list here.

4. Buy Generic. Generic products are close to name-brand quality yet less costly. Often times the manufacturer that makes the name-brand product manufactures the store brand products as well. Sometimes, it is even be the same product in a different package.  If you are worried about quality or taste, have no fear because most come with a money back guarantee. For example, Aldi offers a double guarantee which means if you are not satisfied with the product then they will replace the product and refund your money. Check with your local grocery store to verify if their store brand has a guarantee.

5. Look for markdowns on meat, produce, and dairy. Many stores mark down meats, produce, and milk that is about to expire. Save some money by purchasing these items if you plan to consume them quickly. Whole milk tastes fine for about a week after the store expiration date. You can also freeze the meat you do not plan on eating right away.

6. Take advantage of store sales. Watch the ads for sales and get items when they are reduced in price. I suggest finding a couple of stores near you and compare prices.  If it is not too inconvenient, think about purchasing the better deals from each store. You will save some extra money, but you will have to invest a little more time. Make sure it is worth it.

7. Stock up when items you regularly buy go on sale. When items you regularly buy go on sale, stock up. Do not just buy one. Purchase as many as you think you will consume before it will go bad or until the next sale rolls around (normally 12 weeks). If the item has a long shelf life or you can freeze it, buy several and save big.

8. Avoid prepared, prepackaged, and individually wrapped foods. There is no need to pay the store extra for something you can do yourself at home. You can peel and cut up fruits and vegetables yourself. You can make potato salad at home. There is also no need to buy individually wrapped snacks when you can buy the full sized product and divide it evenly into ziplock baggies.

9. Leave the kids at home. I am sure you know that when you take your kids to the store, you end up buying items that were not on the list. This also can apply when you take your husband to the store. Or at least it happens when I take mine. :)

10. Check the unit price. Look at the tag on the shelf below the item. The shelf tag shows the item price and price per unit for the product. Knowing this information can help you determine the best value. For example, last week I was buying vegetable dip. A 12 oz container was regularly price at $1.89 ($0.16 per oz) while the 16 oz container was on sale for $2 ($0.125 per oz). Even though the small container was cheaper, it was not the better deal.

11. Reuseable bag discounts. Some retailers such as Whole Foods Market and Target offer a cash discount for bringing in reusable bags. Reusable bags are also stronger and hold more groceries than the plastic ones.

12. Credit Card discounts. Some retailers such as Target, Meijer, Kroger and more give a percent off discount or points to redeem for rewards for using their store credit card. This is a good option for you ONLY if you pay off the balance at the end of each month. If you let the balance roll to the next month, you will pay interest which means no savings for you.

13. Shop at discount stores. Aldi and Save-a-Lot are great examples. I love Aldi! We shop there two to four times a month for produce and a few other things. These stores are very basic and you probably will not find every item you need but they will save you money.

14. Buy in bulk. Shop for bulk items at stores like BJ’s, Costco and Sam’s Club. It is best to buy paper products, laundry detergent, batteries, meat, coffee, milk and pet food at the warehouse clubs. Just remember to look at the unit price to make sure you are actually getting a good deal.

15. Scan the top and bottom shelves at the grocery store. Save several cents to several dollars by simply buying products off of the top or bottom shelves. The bottom shelf is home to store brands, oversize, and bulk items. This is where you will get the most bang for your buck. The top shelf is usually reserved for smaller brands and regional brands (both of these can save you some money as well), along with gourmet brands. Best sellers and name brand items can be found at eye level, what some call the bull’s-eye zone. These are typically the higher priced items or those with the highest markup.

16. Plan your meals. Look at the weekly ads and plan your meals based on what is on sale along with what is already in your cupboards. For example, if hamburger is on sale this week and you have pasta and sauce already in your cupboards, then you can make spaghetti and meatballs for next to nothing. Plan your meals around the season as well. Cookout food is cheap during the summer months and soup is cheap in the winter months. Don’t get me wrong, you can eat what you want, when you want, but remember that you might pay a little more.

17. Price match. Very few retailers price match anymore. Target and Walmart are two of those that do. If you plan on shopping at one of these stores, take your local grocery ads with you. When you check out show them the price of the item you want to price match and they will give you the cheaper price. Price matching is great because you will not have to run all around town for the best deals. Save time, gas, and money!

Do you know another way to save on groceries without using coupons? If so, leave a comment a below and share it with others.

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