Wednesday, July 18, 2018

4 Savvy Tips For a Sizzling Summer Garage Sale

Summer is fully underway, which means that homeowners nationwide are preparing for what's generally considered the best time of the year to hold a garage sale. Summer streets are bustling with those enjoying all that the long days and warm nights have to offer, which means your sale will get more foot traffic than ever -- that is, if you can pull it off like a pro. Here are just a few sizzling tips to help make the most of your summer garage sale.

Quality Over Quantity

First, many homeowners think that the more merchandise they can scrounge up from around their home and put up for sale, the better. But this isn't necessarily the case. While having a wide selection of items for sale is always ideal, you shouldn't overshadow the items you can sell for maximum profits with an abundance of lower-profit merchandise. This will just hurt your garage sale profits as a whole, and if it's really a cluttered mess, it can overwhelm potential shoppers and drive them away. Instead, consider donating any clothes or household goods that may not be garage sale quality. Internationally, more than 14.3 million tons of donated American textiles help clothe people and families worldwide, and there are countless charities you can choose from that will make good use of your no-longer-needed items.

Spruce Up Big-Ticket Items

This may not apply to all sales, but if you're selling any upholstered furniture or otherwise big-ticket items, it can help to take some time and make sure they appear as clean and new as possible. Typically, steam cleaning is the best option, since steam kills 99% of common household germs and bacteria like E.Coli, salmonella, and staph, as well as dust mites and bed bugs. Many homeowners skip the cleaning process because they're already selling the item and they think it's a waste of time. But it can truly make the difference between someone buying a piece or furniture or walking away empty handed.

Advertise Effectively

It's up to you to advertise your garage sale effectively and using various media. There are numerous websites dedicated to advertising garage sales, most of which can be found with a quick Google search. But at least create a quick post on Craigslist and write a brief description of the items you'll have at your sale and when it's happening.

"Post an ad on as many [websites] as you want, but aim for at least three. Feel free to describe your items in detail, but avoid sounding like a marketing executive. Simply tell people what you have and when you’ll have it, and let their own imaginations work out how wonderful it is," writes Angela Colley on Money Crashers.

Of course, it's also essential to advertise your items properly the day of the sale. This means both arranging them in an appealing style and marking each item or item section with a clearly visible sign and price tag. Several studies, including one from Brigham Young University showed that merchandise with a sign outsold merchandise without a sign by 20%, and just like retail stores, customers may get frustrated and walk away if they can't easily find the price of something. Either that, or they'll put you on the spot and offer you a price, which is likely to be lower than what you were hoping to sell the item for. Avoid the trouble and make sure customers can easily find the price of each and every item up for sale.

Don't Neglect Customer Impulse

Finally, just like a retail store, it can help to arrange smaller items near the 'check-out' table. These items could easily be impulse purchases if they're generously priced. For example, 75% of U.S. adults wear Rx or plano sunglasses, and selling things like sunglasses, keychains, and other trinkets for as low as $1 can make customers more tempted to snag them at the end of their shopping session.

Ultimately, marketing your garage sale effectively and based on natural customer instinct is the key to maximizing profits and sales potential.

Monday, July 16, 2018

Hints for Amazon Prime Day Deals - Starts TODAY!

It's almost here!  I'm so excited about the great deals to be had at Amazon Prime Day, the online retailer's giant 36-hour extravaganza.  This year, starts at noon PT (3 p.m. ET) on Monday July 16 and runs through Tuesday July 17 at 11:59 p.m. PT (Wednesday, 2:59 a.m. ET).  You can get some amazing deals!  But, of course, you need to be a Prime member to get them!  I've compiled some hints and recommendations for you to help you take advantage of the deals, even if you aren't a Prime member yet!

1.  If you are not a Prime member, you can sign up for a free trial.  This will let you try Amazon Prime free for 30 days. You will need to input a credit card, but if you cancel by the end of the 30 day trial period, your card won't be charged.  This free membership will qualify you to take advantage of the deals!  Of course, with the FREE two-day shipping, unlimited streaming of popular movies and TV shows (we watch constantly on the Prime Video app!), and the ad-free music streaming, you might just find it is worth continuing! 

2.  Join Prime Student if you are a college student (or going to be one in the fall - congrats!).  This is a great deal offered and the annual fee can be as low as $5/month if you want to extend past the 6-month free trial.  College students will love the Prime membership, with its unlimited music streaming, and reading on any device!  

3.  Once you've got your Amazon Prime membership squared away, download the free Amazon App.  You can review sneak peeks of select deals on the app and start a wishlist.  It will be so easy to get the most updated pricing when Prime Day kicks off!  The deals go fast, so your wishlist will be a great way to keep track of things!  (hint: in the app, if you press and HOLD an item listed in the 'Upcoming Prime Day Deals', then you can drag it to the shopping list that shows up at the bottom of the screen).  There are some directions on the Prime Day page in the app that show you how to do this, as well as how to enable notifications so you find out right away when your favorite products are live on the Prime Day sale!

AND here's another big deal - Amazon Prime customers who want to try Amazon's Mobile shopping app for the first time can get a $10 promotional code off their next qualifying $20 order by signing into the app by July 31, 2018!  

I was excited to see pantry staples like these baby food pouches or K-Cups on the deal list as well as more premium items like these awesome Sennheiser Noise Canceling Headphones or this STEM-focused Computer Kit. This is a great time to stock up on things you use every day (or all those things on that back-to-school list you've been ignoring!), a
s well as any gifts you need to buy for your loved ones (or yourself!).  I'm definitely keeping my eye out for deals on Amazon's smart home products like the Echo Spot and the Echo Show!

I'm hoping Amazon Prime Day has great deals on the Amazon Show!

4.  Take a look at some other awesome Amazon programs which are offering special deals.  For example, if you sign up for Prime Pantry BEFORE Prime Day, new-to-Pantry customers get $10 off $40 Pantry order and Free delivery! 
If you love to read, I don't think you'll find a better time to sign up for Kindle Unlimited.  New subscribers get their first 3-months for only $0.99 (regularly $29.97)!!  This is a great way to take a ton of books on your vacation without packing anything more than your mobile device (using the Kindle app on your smart phone or tablet).  Of course, you can cancel any of these subscriptions at any time. 

Don't miss out on the Amazon Prime deals!  Let me know in the comments what your favorite deals are - I'll be sure to be checking Monday and Tuesday!

Disclosure: As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.


Sunday, July 15, 2018

OREO Thins Bites and ID OREO Iced Coffee @ Walmart: a sweet deal

This post was sponsored by Nabisco as part of an Influencer Activation for Influence Central and all opinions expressed in my post are my own.
Adults shouldn’t have dessert for breakfast, right? Well the folks at OREO, the ones that have made our favorite cookies for decades, are changing the rules. Now there’s a guilt-free way you can indulge in OREO’s first thing in the morning with the new International Delight OREO Iced Coffee. It definitely smells and tastes like the cookie we know and love - plus coffee!

Not only can we now start our day with OREO’s, we can also eat them by the handful - with the new OREO Thins Bites. I first tried these on a recent flight (yay first class upgrade!) and was warned by the flight attendant they were addictive. No lie, there, especially after I found more flavors at Walmart. Our local store had both original and fudge-dipped varieties (original, mint or coconut), so of course we had a family taste test, and our unanimous favorite was the Mint Creme fudge-dipped variety.

Walmart had the ID OREO Iced Coffee as well (we love one-stop-shopping!) and, not surprisingly, you can find some great deals too. They’re offering $1.00 off the limited edition International Delight OREO Iced Coffee or $0.50 off OREO Thins Bites at Walmart with coupons from Ibotta. Even better, if purchased together, you can receive an additional $0.50 off. That’s a sweet deal that’s hard to resist!

Friday, July 13, 2018

5 Tips to Help You Get Rid of Fleas and Protect Your Pets This Summer

Fleas can be incredibly dangerous for your pets. Not only do they irritate the skin and make your pets itchy, they can also spread deadly diseases and make your pets sick. Over a female flea's lifetime, she can lay 2,000 eggs, so if you find out that your pet has fleas, you better act fast. Here are some of the things you should do if your pet gets infected with fleas.

Step 1: Give your pet a flea bath

The first thing you should do it give your pet a bath. Bathing your pet regularly will help rid your home and your pet of fleas. You don't necessarily have to use a flea bath, but it helps. As long as you use a soap that is safe for your pet, it will work just fine.

Step 2: Buy a flea comb

After you bath your pet, you should buy a flea comb. Use a bowl of soapy water while you're brushing your pet's hair. You can dunk the brush in the water after you get the critters out so you're not putting them directly back onto your pet. Typically, fleas like to live on the neck and tail areas of your pet, so focus on those, but don't forget to brush them all over.

Step 3: Treat your pet with flea medicine

After you've bathed and brushed your pet, you'll want to treat them with medicine to be absolutely certain that you've gotten rid of the fleas. To immediately kill existing, biting fleas, you can use fast-acting products. You can purchase the liquid treatment that is placed between their shoulderblades or even a flea collar. This will assist you in getting every last flea off of your pet before you take the next steps.

Step 4: Thoroughly clean your home

Now that your pet is flea free and clean, you need to clean your house. Fleas, eggs, and flea dirt can hide out in your carpets, so those suckers need a deep cleaning. Bisaillon recommends having your upholstery cleaned by a certified cleaning technician every 12 to 24 months, and more frequently if you have small children or pets. However, even if you recently had your couches, carpets, etc. cleaned, you need to get them cleaned again to ensure the fleas are gone. Otherwise, they will keep infecting your pets.

Step 5: Buy a flea preventative

Now that the fleas are gone, you should order your pets a flea preventative. These come in chewable tablets, pills, liquid, and other forms for your pet to consume on a monthly basis. the best part is that you can order them right online. The American e-commerce revenue is about $423.3 billion, and it's steadily climbing. Whether it's full truckload, less-than-truckload (LTL), or parcel, carriers are forced to adjust to changes in the retail industry. This means you'll almost always have online shopping and shipping available to you so you can keep your pets safe.

Fleas are no joke, and you want to keep your pets protected. Follow these steps, and contact your vet if necessary. Summer is all about fun, not itching and diseases.

Thursday, July 12, 2018

DreamWorks The Epic Tales of Captain Underpants, on Netflix

"We played superheroes at the park today and my superpower was to have all the superpowers, so I won!" bragged our oldest at dinner last night.  And then, of course, his younger brother had to weigh in with a laundry list of his own 'superpowers' which included a lot of bathroom words and quickly devolved into mad fits of giggles.  So maybe we shouldn't have been surprised that a colorful cartoon about someone called "Captain Underpants" would be an immediate hit with our boys!  At first, we were a bit skeptical of the books since they seemed to have limited "educational value".  However, we did a little digging and learned that using comic books and graphic novels to encourage reading has been gaining acceptance, as they blend students' natural interests (hello bathroom humor!) with developing reading skills (e.g. making inferences, developing visualization skills and understanding character point of view).  Awesome - we love it when the kids are enthusiastic about something that's actually good for them!   Apparently, there are a lot of other people who feel the same, as the Captain Underpants books have sold over 70 million copies worldwide!

All of the Captain Underpants books have a fun comic book style that is very engaging for our emerging reader and we love to see his enthusiasm for reading continue to grow. Of course, we've all grown fond of the hilarious characters in the series, so we were excited to hear about the upcoming premiere (on July 13th) of the Netflix original series DreamWorks The Epic Tales of Captain Underpants, as well as getting our hands on the Captain Underpants Summer Fun Kit.

For those who haven’t come across the Captain Underpants phenomenon yet here is a quick summary: George Beard and Harold Hutchins are two best buds who share a love of comic books and practical jokes – and a strong dislike for their cranky, fun-hating school principal, Mr. Krupp. When their over-the-top pranks get out of hand, the boys unleash their creative superpowers by transforming Krupp into the bumbling, briefs-baring superhero, Captain Underpants! The future of Jerome Horwitz Elementary is always in jeopardy, and it’s up to two prank-loving fourth graders and one goofy caped crusader to save it. What could possibly go wrong?

The Summer Fun Kit included make-your-own George and Harold sock puppets, “The Epic Tales of Captain Underpants” book (related to the TV series) and a Draw-string sling bag. Our kids were thrilled to have a whole new Captain Underpants book to read and to have fun ‘making’ their own sock puppet. While the sock puppet activity may have met with mixed success, we are happy to report that great fun was had by all.  

Now we are looking forward to the premiere of the series on Netflix and being able to catch up with the new adventures of George and Harold and their underpants-clad superhero creation. 

Product received, thank you to Dreamworks Animation, and to PR for supplying us with products for this review, all opinions are our own.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Coping With A Death As A Family

On average, every one of the 2.5 million annual deaths in America directly affects four other people and this means that families, in particular, have one of the hardest challenges to deal with. Death is inevitable and a natural part of life but a loss of a spouse or close friend can bring about a surge of intense emotions while processing the grief, especially for children. Everyone will cope differently and it is important for families to stay in contact and communicate effectively even when you all live in different cities or countries. Keeping the lines of communication open between family members and being kept up to date with all the information relating to a death is essential for coping with a tragedy.

Rebuilding your life

Life after the death of a loved one can be like losing part of yourself. The person who shared your life on every level is suddenly not there and people deal with this loss in many different ways. There is no right way to grieve, rather there are various ways of grief support to embrace and help you along the way. If you do not have a big family, it might be comforting to seek help through counseling, your faith or getting in touch with support groups where people have experienced a similar loss that is relatable to your own experience. As time goes on, we all will pass through a mixture of emotions and sadness, which despite the pain, are the necessary stages of the grieving process

Be open to feelings

In order to overcome feelings of grief and have a healthy approach to coping mechanisms, talking about feelings is the first step in the right direction. After accepting the initial shock and confusion, try to remember the positive times you had with a loved one and share these with other members of your family. It is important to bear in mind that depending on the ages of your children, they will deal with a death in different ways. As a parent, you should be aware of the issues and responses a child has to a death in the family which will change daily as they learn to accept the reality of a loss so it is good to encourage them to express their feelings in their own way and not pressure them.

Coming together as a family

When a person dies, they leave behind a host of memories that need to be replayed through the remaining members of a family. To honor that person, think about making a scrapbook or photo album so that their legacy lives on to help everyone deal with the grieving process. Deciding on the arrangements of a funeral and a farewell gathering with all members of the family will bring you all closer together in remembering and celebrating the life of a loved one. It can also bring closure to the sudden news of a loss and help to heal the gap that is left.

It is likely that moving on with your life after a spouse or a family member has passed away will be hard to do. However, allowing yourself and the rest of your family time to grieve and accept feelings will make the process much easier to bear in the long term.

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