Hands up who’s got a wallet chock-full of loyalty cards? We have the answer for you!
Stocard, a free app from iTunes and Google Play, allows you to select from hundreds of pre-set loyalty cards (or input your own) capturing your loyalty details simply and effectively, ready to be used immediately. The Wall Street Journal enthuses that it’s ‘a clever way of turning a smartphone into a virtual wallet’.
Use your phone’s camera to quickly scan your loyalty cards, and store them in your phone. As technology moves forward, many stores can already scan your smartphone to access the card information. No registration is necessary, so you can start using Stocard as soon as you have uploaded your cards. No login is required either…your information is safely kept on your device.
We believe many people underuse their loyalty programs because they have too many cards in their wallet, lose track of what they have, or just find the process messy or time-consuming. We LOVE this idea as a way to get organised and stay organised.
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Courtesy of our Guest Blogger This Month - Melissa Fallon
WHO DOESN'T LOVE SHOPPING?
Giving in to the occasional impulse buy is normal. After all, the majority of people enjoy shopping. The problem occurs when you or someone you know has succumbed to obsessive shopping. When it happens to you, a negative change in your spending habits is noticeable. For instance, you are likely tempted to dash off to the mall to buy items you don’t really need. Being constantly exposed to shopping ads on TV and the Internet makes things even worse. If you think you or a loved one is showing the telltale signs of compulsive buying or shopping addiction, you should seek treatment before the situation worsens.
Understanding Compulsive Shopping
The irresistible desire to shop is known as compulsive buying disorder or oniomania. According to a research by World Psychiatry, 5.8 percent of Americans are afflicted with the disorder, with women comprising 80 percent of the total number of affected individuals. Commonly known as shopaholics, these people are overly focused on buying and suffer from disruptive anxiety that can only be relieved by shopping. People with compulsive buying disorder are also likely to have other mental issues, including mood disorders, anxiety and substance addictions.
How to Diagnose an Addiction to Shopping (or Shopaholism)
Ruling out normal buying behavior is important. Given that the US and other wealthy industrialized countries have citizens whose leisure time is often spent on shopping, spending a lot of time shopping does not necessarily mean a shopping addiction. The holiday season, for instance, is often a common time for people to splurge on things that are normally outside their budgets. Shopping sprees are also common among people who have recently acquired a large inheritance or won a significant sum of money. As such, the apparent impulsive buying done by these people does not necessarily constitute an addiction to shopping.
How to Recognise a Shopaholic
Identifying if someone is affected by a shopping problem can be achieved by referring to the signs listed below. Manifesting four or more of these behaviors possibly points to shopaholism:
- Spending over your budget
- Buying more than what is needed
- Keeping the excessive buy a secret from friends and family
- Returning bought items because of guilt
- Alienating relationships due to a shopping preoccupation
- Preferring the use of credit cards to cash
- Shopping in order to eliminate feelings of anger, depression or loneliness
- Arguing frequently with other people about your shopping habits
- Experiencing guilt and shame after a spending spree
- Mulling over money matters
- Delaying paying bills and opening new credit accounts to allow more shopping
Steps You Can Take to Help Someone With Compulsive Buying
When you recognize that someone is dealing with shopping addiction, several measures are available to help manage the disorder. Your presence and advice are very important during the whole process, especially when you’re a parent trying to assist your teen in overcoming addiction. The road to recovery isn’t an easy path, which means patience is needed.
Talking to a Shopaholic
One essential step to curb compulsive buying is to avoid scenarios that can lead to shopping binges. Indiana University professor Ruth Engs compiled a list of these possible situations. For instance, convince the shopaholic to enter a store with a shopping list in hand, instead of arriving unprepared. All credit cards must be paid off, cancelled and destroyed, save one that must only be used for emergencies. Furthermore, talk the affected person out of carrying a wallet all the time. After all, without financial means, the temptation to shop cannot be fulfilled.
Adolescents and Teens
If you are a parent or responsible adult helping out a teenager, the first step is to get the child to acknowledge the problem. You can expect the teen to deny the addiction, hence the need to be persistent. Convincing your child to open up is usually the best tactic. You can also point your teen to other activities that do not involve shopping. Exercising, jogging, reading and listening to music are just a few examples of healthy ways to keep your child occupied.
Learning to Cope With Shopping Addiction
To successfully deal with shopaholism, knowing what goes in the mind of an affected individual is important. Contrary to popular belief, shopping addicts are not always easygoing young women who are only concerned about the latest shoes and handbags. Truth be told, the shopaholic often suffers from emotional problems, has low self-esteem, and desires the approval of other people. Positive encouragement is a great way to help the addict follow constructive advice. Let the person realize that self-worth is not related to the items that they buy.
A shopping addict also has trouble controlling impulsive behavior, which can be addressed by dealing with the underlying issues. Finally, the shopaholic often has a profound sense of materialism, with the assumption that affection and admiration can also be bought. A real social connection with other people helps to reduce this problem.
How to Treat Shopping Addicts
According to WebMD, the origin of addictions remains unknown, although some evidence indicates that the addictive behavior may be partially exacerbated by genetics. As such, no standard treatments for shopping addiction are available, and current treatments involve a couple of sophisticated approaches. For instance, antidepressants may be prescribed to shopping addicts who have also been diagnosed with underlying depression. Therapy, on the other hand, involves addressing maladaptive behaviors and cognitive processes. Support groups and credit counseling are also used in dealing with shopaholism.
Deciding Between Shopping Addiction Solutions
Different people respond well to different therapies. For changing unproductive thought patterns, such as negative thoughts that influence the behavior regarding money and shopping, one approach may involve cognitive behavioral therapy.
Sharing experiences with people in an empathetic atmosphere is available via Debtors Anonymous, an organization that offers a free 12-step program for people who want to stop acquiring unsecured debt. If you prefer self-help, you can buy books or join online support communities. For help in managing debts, you can try credit counseling. Companies who offer this service also have debt management plans to help you create reasonable payment arrangements with your creditors.
Where to Find Shopping Addiction Treatment for a Friend or Family Member
If your own efforts are not working and you want to seek outside help, you can consult professionals or organizations to treat shopping addiction. Remember, recovery begins with acknowledging the addiction and seeking help.
Given all the personal and professional measures available, overcoming shopaholism is entirely possible. On the other hand, breaking free from this insatiable need to spend requires time and effort. You can’t expect recovery to happen in a few days. In fact, temptations and relapses can happen while attempting to change for the better. Patience and perseverance are essential when trying to defeat your addiction.
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I know, we women never have time to spare but investing a bit of time today will save you at least twice the time tomorrow... searching for things is the biggest time-waster, so getting organised makes very good sense.
Just grab half an hour and tackle one (or two) of the following tasks, some of which can actually be done in less than 30 minutes.
• De-clutter One Drawer in the Kitchen
Sort the contents into three piles: out of place, throw away, and put back. Wipe out the drawer. Replace wanted items. Put those that are out of place back where they belong and pitch the throw-away items.
NOTE: If you find any items that are unwanted but still in good shape, place them in a box to be donated to charity or sold at your next yard sale.
• Purge your Purse
Dump the contents onto the floor. Get rid of trash. Organise your money. Stash your receipts somewhere where you’ll be able to locate them when needed. And consider getting a smaller purse. If you buy a big purse, you’ll be sure to fill it. Think small! A “clutch on a string” type purse with space for a cell phone should do the trick. You can always keep this inside a larger tote bag or diaper bag if you want.
NOTE: It will be easier when shopping if you keep your main purse small and its contents narrowed down to the essentials.
• Clean your Kitchen Bench Tops
Move everything to one side of your kitchen counters. Wipe thoroughly. Move everything to the other side. Wipe the second half. Place it all back where it belongs.
• Disinfect your Doorknobs
This is likely the most germ-infested area of your home. Everyone touches the doorknobs, but no one cleans them. How many do you have in your home. I live in a 2 bedroom apartment and just went around counting mine. I have six doors and 12 door knobs…so a quick process right!. Experts say to give them a good rubbing with a disinfectant wipe every so often.
• Clean out your Fridge
Pull everything out onto the bench top. Wipe down the inside. Replace only what is not out of date. Ditch the rest. If any items are near the expiration date, and not going to be used soon, freeze if possible.
• Clean out the freezer
Use the same method of attack for the freezer. Discard anything that is out of date and no longer safe or tasty to eat. Can you say “freezer burn”? I knew you could. This will only take 5 minutes to do.
• Mind the Medicine Cabinet
Check the dates on all your medicines, and decide which ones must be tossed. Rid the cabinet of any lotions, shampoos, and products you don’t need. Wipe the shelves down and replace only what you’re keeping. I do this twice a year when the time changes.
NOTE: That’s also when we check our smoke-alarm batteries.
• Organize the Hall Cupboard
While you may not be able to make a dent in a large bedroom cupboard in 30 minutes, you might be able to straighten up a simple hall cupboard. Empty it, sweep it out, and wipe down any shelves. Hang the coats back up and reposition other hats, gloves, boots, and such. Consider getting plastic storage bins to keep like items together, further organising the contents. This will feel amazing when done!
NOTE: Get rid of what you don’t need.
• Purge the Pantry
We use this every day - 3 times a day so it makes sense to make it visually appealing and most importantly accessible. Remove all canned and boxed goods from your pantry shelves. Throw away what is out of date. Make a pile of what is still good but your family won’t likely eat. Donate this to a local food bank or homeless shelter. Replace items in an order logical to you. Sometimes, see if you can eat for a week with only the items you find in your pantry. I’ve invented some recipes this way. Go online to find recipes that pair items you have on hand. Shop for only what fresh items are needed to round out your meals.
NOTE: You’ll save a bundle on your groceries this week!
• Tidy and Clean a Chelf
Take time to pick through just one shelf in the garage or basement, ridding it of unwanted items and leaving it neat and tidy.
NOTE: If you do one shelf a day, that area will gradually get de-cluttered.
• Sort Socks
Have a basket or bag with single, lonely socks that have lost their mates. Dump the bag and pair up any matches. Better still - have a notice board in your laundry and peg the missing ones here…So when they show up - you can match them up quickly.
NOTE: Better yet, pay a child a small amount of pocket money for any matches they can find…
• First Appearances DO Count
Take a look at what others see when they knock on your front door. Does your front window need washing? The veranda need sweeping? Are there cobwebs that could do with a good knocking down? Take a little time to make the entrance to your home look presentable.
• Deal with your Drains
Pour some baking soda in your kitchen-sink drain. Next, douse it with a little vinegar. The resulting bubbling action will freshen it up. Or pour some clog-removing liquid down the bathroom sink and tub drains to prevent hair clogs in the first place.
• Fiddle with your Files
Remove three or four files from your filing cabinet. Look through them and make sure the contents are still worth keeping. If you find manuals for appliances you no longer own or out-dated paperwork, toss or shred them now.
NOTE: Doing this regularly keeps your files up to date.
• Give THANKS
Anyone you’ve been meaning to write a thank-you note to? Do it now. And to make it easier in the future, place some thank-you notes, stamps, return address labels, and your address book in a basket near your sofa so it’s easy and convenient to just write them.
NOTE: This is a fantastic way to build confidence and encourage others, it can mean the world to someone to receive a special hand written note in the post especially when just about all our communication seems to be via electronic devises.
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The Story Of Stuff
I watched this short video/slide show today on the story of stuff and even though I had seen it a few years back I still found it incredibly thought provoking and inspiring….
Our society has a problem with Stuff. We use too much, most of it is toxic and we don’t share it very well. But that’s not the way things have to be. Together, we can build a society based on better not more, sharing not selfishness, community not division.
The Story of Stuff Project’s journey began with a 20-minute online movie about the way we make, use and throw away all the Stuff in our lives. Five years and 40 million views later they are a Community of 500,000 change makers worldwide, working to build a healthier planet. We invite you to watch and share Story of Stuff Web Site Project, view some great new movies, participate in their study programs and join their campaigns.
Come on, check it out and let’s make a difference!
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It's easy to hold onto worn, mismatched bedding and towels, so a linen cupboard that is about to burst at the hinges is common in most households. If you're scared to tug at the pile of towels in case everything will come tumbling out, then it's time to makeover your linen cupboard. Follow these simple steps to whip your linen cupboard into shape.
Step #1 - Sort
Put on your ruthless hat and scrutinise those bath towels, sheets, blankets and quilt covers - are they really worth keeping? If it's too worn, grossly discoloured, or is more holy than the pope, then toss it! Now put the toss pile in a garbage bag to go to a charity bin - even really worn sheets can be used by charities to sell as rags to factories.
HOT TIP - Not everything has to live in your linen cupboard. For example table cloths might be better placed in a dining room side board cupboard and bath towels (if you have room) in a bathroom vanity cupboard. Likewise, kids' bed sheets might be better stored in their cupboard, or in one of their tall boy drawers.
Step #2 - Think in three's
Think about how often you wash and how many sets of sheets each member of your brood really needs. As a guide, try not to have more than three sets for each child. This means that while one set is in the wash, another is on the bed and the third is in the cupboard ready for midnight emergencies!
Use the three principal for bath towel sets too. Resist the temptation to hoard extra sets in case of emergencies, and whenever you get a new set of sheets or towels, give the old ones to the charity bin.
Step #3 - Organise
Now it's time to make sense of everything you've decided to keep...
First, divide linens into groups: bedding for each child, towels in sets, tablecloths, napkins etc.
Next separate summer from winter items, and daily linens from those for special occasions. The everyday and the current season should be stored at eye level, and the rest at the back or bottom of the cupboard.
HOT TIP - Store bulky items like blankets in the zippered bags in which they were purchased to keep them free of dust, or pack them in old pillowcases.
Step 4 - Label, label, label!
If you don't own a labeller, invest in one, it will change your life!
Label each linen cupboard shelf so if by some freak of nature, somebody else puts the washing away, they won't mess up your nicely ordered linen cupboard. Label not only the type of linen, but what bed or bathroom it belongs to e.g. - ‘King fitted,' 'single sheets,' 'kids' bathroom,' 'summer blankets' etc.
Step #5 - Maintain order
Keep your linen cupboard fresh by making sure you follow this simple principle: Always use sheets and towels from the bottom of the pile and place freshly laundered ones on the top. This way, you're not reusing the same sheets over and over again and wearing them out, but are using all three sets an even amount. When you've finished ironing and folding linens, place them neatly in the piles you have created and labelled to keep your linen cupboard oh-so-neat!
HOT TIP - Linen needs breathing space. Fend off mould and mildew by airing your linen every three months, or placing an open container of baking soda in the cupboard to dispel moisture.
Check out Carols pinterest page to view some inspiring linen cupboard images
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