Saturday, August 23, 2014

blogging and product samples - what have I gotten myself into?

I started blogging a few years ago to serve as a creative outlet for my writing and to get a break from just focusing on work and family. Over the years, I have gotten better at connecting with companies directly or through middlemen, mostly social networking groups that collect interested companies and connect them to a number of bloggers for product reviews and word of mouth marketing.
I had never expected for blogging to become a full-time job and I still do not plan to give up my real job, which is IT consulting, because I love what I am doing.

But even I have to admit that blogging has become quite lucrative for me and with my blog getting more and more readers, offers for product reviews are becoming more frequent. Among my friends and colleagues I am already known as the crazy sample lady that brings odd collections of samples and coupons to share. Much appreciated by them, but still, they do wonder where on earth I pick all the stuff up.

My blog is a little bit unique in some respects. I cover a lot of different areas. If I find a product interesting, I will review it. If I find a topic in the news interesting, I will write a blogpost about it. I have spend significant time in recent weeks pushing my branded Facebook page (you can check it out at https://www.facebook.com/SparsameLady). It is a collection of interesting news stories, some link backs to my blog, posts on special offers and I try to end each day with a peaceful picture of an animal napping or sleeping. I find that each day should end on a good note, no matter what the day has brought. And the news recently has not been all that great. We see Americans beheaded on video, yet again, and again it is a journalist - a member of a profession that enjoys much more freedom in the USA than in other countries and with the US Constitution holding freedom of speech in such high regard, I feel that killing members of that profession is attacking one of the core values of the USA.

So while putting a peaceful picture of an animal sleeping cannot make all the troubles go away, at least the end of the days shows that tomorrow is another day and hopefully a better one.

That being said, back to my blogging adventures and what I can only describe as a banner year for my blog. I get new product reviews almost every week now. In addition, I have now solid connections to a few companies that actually pay me to review and so I have started actually rejecting product review opportunities because I can now afford to be selective. That in itself is a nice feeling and an accomplishment.

So rather than [put a post on my blog that only contains writing, here is a picture with a collection of freebies that I received and some of which I am sharing with others.

copyright Durhamonthecheap - samples included for Nerf, Dial, Purina One and Healthy Choice! Missing HouseParty kit for Houdini TV show starting on Labor Day.


smiley360: Healthy Coice Greek Frozen Yogurt

Through smiley360.com I was provided with coupons for a Healthy Choice Greek Frozen Yogurt, which is available at most grocery stores. I bought my samples at Kroger and Harris Teeter and they retail for around $3 for a box of three good-sized cup. Flavors available include Chocolate, caramel, blueberry, raspberry and strawberry. Each cup has only 100 calories, but you could never tell from the taste. The cups are creamy, rich in texture and full of flavor. I selected for my sampling at work the flavors of raspberry, blueberry and strawberry. Right flavors for hot summer days in North Carolina.
copyright Durhamonthecheap - table full of samples at work for raffles, coupons and giveaways!

copyright Durhamonthecheap - the great sample pack from smiley360.com and Healthy choice, T-shirt included!

copyright Durhamonthecheap -good size cups and only 100 calories, but packed with flavor and very creamy texture
Disclaimer: I received a sampling package to share and provide honest feedback. The package included, coupons to purchase the product, coupons for sharing and a t-shirt. The opinions expressed in this post are solely my own and have not been influenced by any third party.

Influenster made ma a great present - I get to try out the new Keurig 2.0! (before it hits the stores)

After a week at work, I came home on Friday and wanted to relax. As always I checked my email and got a wonderful, absolutely unexpected surprise - my affiliated with Influenster has gotten me into a program to try the new Keurig 2.0 for free. That's right, I will be getting a new, fancy Keurig coffeemaker after years of trying. I will spare you a description of the scene that the person I was chatting on the phone had to listen to, let's just say - decorum went out the window and if I had not been sitting with a computer on my lap, I would have probably jumped out of the chair and done a happy dance. This gift rivals the occasion of my getting a Kitchenaid mixer years ago; a transactions that involved survey points to Ipod nanos to Ebay transactions to Paypal money to mixers on clearance.

 Now my buttercup yellow Kitchenaid mixer will have to share the spotlight with the Keurig 2.0. The box is allegedly already in transit and so it should get here very, very soon!

So what is so special about Keurig 2.0? It combines the best of all Keurigs so far and then some. It can use the vue capsules to make cappuccino. In addition, it still makes the regular single serve cups of coffee. But the new thing about 2.0 - it can make a carafe of coffee, 4 coups in one brewing cycle. So when you have guests, no more standing around and waiting for each cup to brew. Now you host your guests with a carafe, make the cappuccino for some of your guests and brew a single cup of flavored coffee for you to toast yourself after a party well hosted!
 Prices for the Keurig 2.0 are in line with other Keurig brewers and range from $140 to $200. Very reasonable indeed, when considering that to handle all capsules in all sizes, the Keurig engineers actually resorted to Lego models according to a report in the Wall Street Journal.
 The four carafe K-cup is larger than the usual K-cup and when one considers that the vue capsules are also being handled in the new Keurig 2.0, the engineering team did have their work cut out indeed. I of course cannot wait to get my Keurig 2.0 in the house and start brewing. We have a Keurig at work and my personal favorites are the Vanilla Caramel coffee, the more traditional Nantucket blend and the cold-brew iced coffee with my little Keurig tumbler. Here is me sipping coffee from my old freebie Gevalia maker, counting the days!




Monday, August 18, 2014

Free Chick-fil-A Chicken Biscuit w/ purchase at South Square location Durham, NC on 8-19-2014

 They are turning 21 for their drive through and now you can celebrate with them!

Free Chick-fil-A Chicken Biscuit with purchase for wishing them happy birthday at South Square location only!

Come by on Tuesday and tell us "Happy Birthday" from 6:00-10:30am and get a FREE Chick-fil-A Chicken Biscuit with a purchase of hash browns and a drink (excludes a cup of water). Tell us "Happy Birthday" between 10:30am-10:00pm and get a FREE Original Chick-fil-A Chicken Sandwich with the purchase of a medium waffle potato fry and medium drink (excluding cup of water).



So hop on over tomorrow morning to Chick-fil-A South Square Durham NC and grab some cheap, but good eats!

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Purex Cartwheel Promotion - save big on the quality detergent at Target!

For great back to school savings, click http://go.purex.com/Zb3x and save money on Purex detergent.

Through August, using this coupon will save you 10% at Target stores when you buy Purex detergent. Best of all, the coupon is stackable - so
  • clipping a Purex coupon in your newspaper
  • adding in a clipped store coupon from Target and 
  • adding in the 10% savings from the #Cartwheel promotion 
    • will result in huge savings on quality detergents!

Disclaimer: This post is sponsored through Purex Insider. All opinions expressed in this blogpost are solely my own and have not been influenced by Purex or any other third party.