Oprah is well known for her favorite things. Since she doesn't announce her "favorite things" episode until the audience is seated, can you imagine the thrill of finding out that you are part of THAT show? Each audience member goes home with at least $5000+ worth of items.
Well, I concede that this blog isn't half as exciting as going home with a new car, iPad, or Kindle but I wanted to list a few of my favorite things that have made my life easier- and cheaper- this year...
Swagbucks.com : I tooted this horn a few weeks ago but I'm loving it now, even more, as I'm beginning to redeem my Amazon.com gift cards for Christmas purchases online. Don't forget, you can only redeem two 'items' from their store a day, up to a total of five per calendar month. Swagbucks is a search engine that randomly gives out 'bucks' that can be used to earn Amazon.com (or .ca for my Canadian friends & family) gift-cards (!!!) or iPads or anything else. Click HERE to sign up. Use their tool-bar daily for 1 point, enter the daily poll for 1 point, and check out the surveys daily for another point. If that's all you do, you'll earn 1000 points per year. If you refer a friend, you also get a matched total of their first 1000 points. I love Swagbucks!!
Groupon : a new deal (or more) per day per area. Groupon's expanded into Canada, with local sites in Vancouver, Victoria, and Edmonton. Also, American cities like Salem and Eugene, Oregon, for my Oregonian friends;-) They offer restaurants, fitness classes, online store products (like Picaboo.com!!), and swim schools (like ours!) for 50%-80% off the regular price. I even was able to score a boat tour around SF Bay when my parents came in August. I've never had a problem using the Groupon.com coupons and most companies are thrilled to see that you bought their ticket item. Sign up HERE for your daily posting.
Ebates.com : I hit this site before I do ANY online shopping- even Groupon.com. If you sign up thru this site HERE, then click on you desired company (Groupon, Gap, Sears, REI, United.com for airfare!- anything- except Gymboree:-(, you'll score a percentage back from 2% to 10% cash back. The checks are mailed out every four months, I believe. You get $5 just for signing up:-) I've had no problems with this site and it's great to get a check in the mail that I deposit into my thrift-store account to dip into later.
ShopAtHome.com : a rival company to Ebates.com . Hey, I don't mind! They also are a cash-back company that combines their site with online coupons. Click HERE to sign up. Sometimes they'll have a higher cash-back percentage so I check both sites before shopping online. Both these sites are SO easy to use, it's just a waste not to take the 20 seconds to shop via their sites.
All this to be said, I've come to appreciate the time that these sites have allowed me to have this year. Instead of dragging the kiddos from store to store, I can do my shopping online during room/nap times and usually my packages are delivered free of shipping or a nominal fee- less than the cost of gas to get to the stores:-)
I hope this coming Christmas season is a blessing to you and not a burden. It is wonderful to show others we love them through the ritual of gift giving, but going into debt over it does not say "I love you." You might not be able to save enough points, bucks, etc. right now in time for this holiday season but you'll be thrilled when next year's birthdays and holidays come around and you can cash in your balances for free or cheaper items. I hope you enjoy a few of these favorite things- just in case you don't make it onto Oprah's "favorite things" episode this year;-)