Friday, May 20, 2011

Christmas Cards All Year 'Round -- you've gotta see that!

I just found a blog about making Christmas cards -- the “all year 'round” theme drew me in. :-) Christmas Cards All Year 'Round has some really gorgeous handmade cards! The design team puts up monthly challenges, and guest designers are often featured. Anyone who loves to make cards will adore this blog! (The red name is the link -- click on it, and you'll be there!)

(If I could make cards like that, I would hate to part with them and would likely decorate my office with them instead...)

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Tip for Gifts When Times Are Tight

I have a couple of friends who have raved about Swagbucks for months. They talked about trading swagbucks for giftcards and using their swagbucks to get birthday and Christmas gifts for their families. I didn't pay much attention.

Then times got tight for me. I gave in and joined a week ago. You might want to think about it too. It's primarily for people living in the USA, I think, but I understand that Canadians have swagbuck opportunities as well.

Search & Win is a GPT (get-paid-to) site. By joining, you have the chance to earn rewards online. Many websites ask you to fill out surveys and sign-up for spam, and you can do that on SwagBucks too, but you can totally avoid that and still earn swagbucks! How, you ask? You can use the SwagBucks Search Engine as you normally would in Google or Yahoo. A popup announces a win. Winning from searching happens randomly. The trick is to search regularly every hour or so. You can win as much as 5 to 50 SBs (swagbucks) per random win! You can also earn swagbucks by answering a daily poll, watching commercial videos, and more. Then there are secret codes that are hidden now and then for you to find. When you join, the website keeps an ongoing tally of your bucks in the upper righthand corner. It's very nice to see that number go up. They have a blog and tip pages as well. Joining the SwagBucks page on Facebook can help you figure some of this stuff out. 

Each swagbuck is worth about 2 cents. In the span of a week, I've earned almost enough for a $5 Amazon e-giftcard. Some people are a lot more active on SwagBucks than I am. Still, every little bit helps in the current economy. Suppose I do the minimal amount each week. There are 52 weeks in a year. That means I could end up with an extra $260 to spend online each year, and if I really want to dive into Swagbucks, I can earn more! Watch out, though, as going after swagbucks can be addicting!

You can also earn swagbucks from referrals, so if you want to help me out as you check it out, 

Do you already Swag? Post and share your tips or your favorite gift!

Monday, May 9, 2011

May: Mother's Day Christmas Ideas

May is for Mother’s Day
May has two big holidays: Mother’s Day and Memorial Day. I don’t think Memorial Day will offer much in the way of gift ideas, so let’s focus on Mother’s Day. Do you have a mom? Are there moms in your family or in your close circle of friends? Do you know any moms-to-be? Gift items for the Mother’s Day holiday are going to be on clearance this month. You may be able to snap up some Christmas gifts among the candles, bath supplies, t-shirts, candy, and books that will be on sale. You may even find some mommy gardening supplies!

Do you have a gift cabinet or closet or storage space of some sort where you can stash gifts bought year round? If not, now is as good a time as any to create a space or buy a container. An opaque plastic tub with lid might be good if you don't have an allotted space in your home. Decide where you would like to stash your gift supply before buying the container. If you have snooping kids, you'll have to be sneaky. You might get the under-the-bed box. If you get a larger box, consider faking kids out with a top layer of boring things like sweatpants, an old folded sheet, or newspapers. Then if they find the box while snooping in your closet, they will think it’s nothing and move on. Label it “Tax Stuff” to ensure that everyone avoids it! 

A tip I received last year is to buy one gift card each month. By December, you’ll have a nice stash that you can give as gifts without the anxiety of spending all that money at once! OR, you might use the gift cards yourself for Christmas shopping. This will work if you prefer to do your Christmas shopping closer to the holiday instead of early in the year. Turning your cash into gift cards each month is almost like having a personal Christmas savings account! When you're ready to shop, you’ll know how much you’ve got on each card and be able to create a budget for gifts.