Season of Service Challenge Week 3: Shop

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Week 3's Season of Service challenge, sponsored by American Express's new PASS card, may be the easiest challenge yet. To serve, you must shop. That's right: shop. This means using your credit card for the common good. Can you do it?

This list below identifies 10 possible ways to serve others through shopping. The first five are ways you can serve by giving what you've already gotten through shopping; the second are ways you can serve your children. Please share a comment with other ideas you have or things that have worked for you.

  1. If you have a card with frequent flier rewards and you haven't redeemed those points, consider donating them to charities through an airline such as Delta. Through Delta's SkyWish program, you can donate to organizations such as the American Cancer Society and the Make-a-Wish Foundation.
  2. Along those same lines, American Airlines AAdvantage® members can also donate their miles to organizations that improve the lives of children with medical, educational, or social services issues.
  3. The Working Assets Visa Signature credit card donates a dime for every purchase its holders make to one of 50 progressive nonprofits like Planned Parenthood and the ACLU.
  4. Wells Fargo lets you redeem your credit card reward points towards, among other things, a Charity Choice gift card. This card, once activated on the Charity Choice website, let's you convert those reward points towards donations to any of their 100 charities.

On your next shopping trip, take your teen or older child with you, if you have one. Teaching them financial responsibility can happen while shopping and does them a service they'll benefit from all their lives.

  1. Pick out not only something to buy now that is within budget, but also something bigger or of greater value to save up for, and encourage them to do the same. Having a particular savings goal is a great way to teach delayed gratification.
  2. Prepare for that shopping trip by teaching your teen how to draw up a simple budget. Don't go shopping without a spending limit in hand.
  3. Help them make a list of what items, be they clothing or otherwise, they want to get, before the trip.
  4. Do not pay for any items they cannot afford.
  5. Have your child or teen pay for the items they want. Just teaching them that everything has a certain value, and that the money they've earned is proportionate to that, will go a long way in keeping them from becoming the Veruca Salts (remember Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory?) of the future.

How Will You Give to Others This Week?

  • What other ideas do you have for giving to others through shopping?
  • How has giving to others made a meaningful difference for you this week?
  • How have others given to you this week and what difference has that made in your life?

How Else Can You Make a Difference This Season?

Make a meaningful difference this season by taking the Season of Service (SOS) Challenge. Here's how you can participate:

  • Commit to do one act of kindness/service based on this week's challenge.
  • Leave a comment with ideas relating to this week's challenge as well as your experience(s) performing it.
  • Grab the SOS button in the sidebar and put it on your blog or social networking site.
  • Enter to win each week's giveaway. Check out this week's prizes from American Express by clicking here.
  • Join #gno this Tuesday on Twitter to connect with other Mom It Forward moms about the challenge.
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