Monday, November 5, 2012

Websites with Deals

Sometimes you search and search for the best deal on that special item, and sometimes you don't even know what you're looking for until you find it. Either way, regularly checking in with "deals" websites can lead to some major savings. Why spend tons of time researching when someone else will do it for you?

My favorite site is Brad'd Deals for the discount low-down on everything under the internet sun.They have printable coupons, a coupon search tool, and they highlight the best deals of the day/week. You can follow their Black Friday page on Facebook HERE for easy access to exclusive codes each day until Christmas. They also have a Cyber Monday website with more deals (currently a Land's End women's poplin shirt for $4 shipped - regularly $45 before shipping!)

There are so very many of these types of websites. I'm a simple girl (or a lazy girl) and I'm not going to search and list a ton of them. You probably have your own favorites, too - please share!

*Sidenote* Walgreens has 40% off ALL photo items until Wednesday with code EVERYTHING. I love that they can do so many of their gifts right in-store, so there's no shipping cost. Plus, they get it done quickly. I ordered my free 8x10 photo collage online and picked it up the next day at my local store.

Friday, November 2, 2012

FREE Photo Gifts - shop from home!

Some of my favorite things to give (and even receive) are photo gifts. These are great for just about anyone who loves you or loves your kids (or loves your pets). They top the charts for thoughtfulness, and the variety of photo gifts is seemingly endless.

If you know someone who is into photography and you can get access to their work, an artfully framed & matted print of their own photo is a fun idea. This would also work if you have taken a great family shot for the mom or dad who is always behind the lens in their own photos, rarely next to their kids in the frame.

Every year, my aunt creates a family calendar with pictures of the whole family (including birthdays, which is SO helpful!) and passes them out to each family at Christmas. It's so much fun to look through it like an album and have it on the fridge to enjoy all year long.

I recommend creating accounts at Shutterfly, Snapfish, Walgreens, and other photo sharing/printing sites - and make sure you click to receive e-mails. You'll get tons of free and super-discounted photo gift opportunities just for being on their mailing list, especially this time of year. I've gotten free 11x14 prints and free 8x8 photo books from Shutterfly just in the past 2 months (and they are not paying me to mention them - I've collected tons of free stuff from them over the years just for having an account). All you pay in shipping! Also make sure you check their "special offers" tab - often there is free shipping on orders of $30.

Specials right now from Shutterfly:
 **101 FREE regular size prints - ends today (code SPOOKY)
**50% off hardcover photo books of any size - ends Sunday (code BOOK50)
**FREE SHIPPING on orders $30+ (code SHIP30)
plus more offers, and they change fairly often, so keep an eye out!

Make sure you enter the corresponding code (also found under the "special offers" tab) at checkout to get the deal.

Special offers from Walgreens:
**FREE 8x10 collage - ends Saturday (code COLLAGEFREE)
**66% off custom photo books - ends Saturday (code CSTMBOOK)

Please share if you have any other specials! I'm a little rushed this morning, but will update later if anything else comes up today.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Take 2: It's that time again!

The last few years have been a complete blur with my husband's school, his many changes up the career path, four moves, a disastrous renter situation, selling our house, buying a new house, and on and on... Needless to say, I've been neglecting my love of all things free & cheap. We are finally settled, and although the hubster is still finishing his MBA (go him!) and our schedule is filling up by the hour, I'm itching for another FREE CHRISTMAS.

This year will be a little different than the last Free Christmas. Since we got rid of everything we don't need in the process of 4 moves, we won't be selling useless treasure for cash. Instead, I'm working off deals for FREEBIES or super-spectacular discounts and will be sharing all my fabulous finds with you all. Also, I encourage you to share any deals and codes (either via e-mail or in the comment section) that I could post here for others.

In the spirit of reality, I'm hoping to gather at least half of our list for free. Adult gifts are much easier to find for free, so if I only have to spend cash on toys (which are hard to find for free, but discounts this season are all over the place), I'll be happy.

Are you with me?

First things first, make your list. I have a "must buy" list (immediate family, exchanges, the kids, teachers, etc...) and a "maybe buy" list (extended family, friends, coworkers, etc...) for the ones that you might or might not see, or those you aren't sure about yet, and whose gifts might be small if you do get them. Obviously, the "must buy" list gets done first, but keep the "maybe" list in your back pocket just in case you run across those small "free with purchase" items or something that just won't fit anyone on your "must" list. It's always nice to pick up a free small item here and there to keep in the closet for last-minute gifts.

**An admission**
I love the hunt. There's something exhilarating about searching and searching for that one popular toy everybody wants. Yes, it's a racket and yeah, the kids don't usually care nearly as much as the grown-ups who obsess over it - but it's FUN! Unfortunately, it's also expensive and conducive to insanity (the crazy part I don't mind so much). Take that same compulsive need to hunt, and transfer it to thoughtful gifts you can find for free, and you have a beautifully full under-the-tree area, happy recipients, a stress-free wallet, and zero January-credit-card-bill-induced depression. PLUS you still get to enjoy the hunt - or if you don't like that part, keep your jammies on and shop the Internet deals. I'll be taking part in both the online and in-store variety of shopping.

See this post of you want to know what started this 3 years ago.