About Rafflecopter Giveaways : A Half-Rant

Being a fan of online giveaways and contests, I’ve experienced it all. From tedious mechanics (and I’m guilty of this when we had our giveaway over at our food blog) to very easy tasks such as simply liking a Facebook page. There has been a remarkable increase in the amount of participants lately. My Facebook feed is a proof of that. ๐Ÿ˜€ Since these contests and giveaways are there for a reason (read: exposure), sponsors or hosts need all the help they can get to further get organized with how they verify and pick their winners.

Rafflecopter Giveaways

Ever since Rafflecopter was launched, I noticed that a ton more companies and bloggers are hosting their own giveaways (in fact, I joined one that’s currently running until the 13th of May – win $500 Paypal cash). And that’s a great thing, though I only won twice and the prizes weren’t as significant as an iPad or Paypal cash. ๐Ÿ˜€

I’ve only used Rafflecopter once in a giveaway over at my personal blog. I’ve had a couple of giveaways the past year, but there were mechanics or steps that were required that I can’t do yet with Rafflecopter back then. Now, the application / widget has improved a lot, even including an easier way for you to register, by connecting your Facebook account.

If I love Rafflecopter so much, why is this post’s title “a half-rant” then? It’s not actually about Rafflecopter since I have no complaints against them. It’s for the hosts. Okay, it’s not actually a rant, but a couple of inquiries.

 

Why are you not using the Extra Info section?

There’s a reason why it’s there. Help us out! Be more detailed with the instructions by using this field for those steps that are not already pre-programmed into Rafflecopter. It’ll save you a lot of time and effort since participants won’t continuously ask you to clarify your mechanics.

 

Why are you not checking all the links if they work?

Imagine spending hours going through a ton of steps for entries in a giveaway to hopefully get it over with, only to find out that ONE link is not working (to a Facebook page, blog, etc). Frustrating, isn’t it? And when you ask questions, it takes the host or the sponsors to act on it.

In my opinion, it should be the giveaway hosts / sponsors’ responsibility to check that. That’s why I admire giveaway groups who are so organized.

 

Why do you use Rafflecopter for the mechanics and not use it to announce winners?

I don’t understand this. I see giveaway hosts who use other desktop applications and even Random.org to pick the winner (FYI, Rafflecopter uses Random.org). I mean why go through all the hassle of setting up your giveaway on Rafflecopter and NOT use it to pick the winner?

Is it because you don’t know how to pick a random winner through Rafflecopter? I doubt it since you’ve already gone through the setup process, which is a bit more demanding.

What I do is this: I pick a winner and then I verify his/her entries. It’s easier that way. If there’s one thing the first winner missed, I pick a new one. And all that’s transparent.

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Am I alone in these rants / complaints? Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate and I thank sponsors / hosts of giveaways. The main reasons why I pointed out everything I listed above was also for their own good. I’m a giveaway sponsorship addict myself and it’ll really save us all the trouble if we let Rafflecopter do its magic through and through, don’t you think?

Speaking of giveaways, I have one upcoming generously sponsored by House of Flair, one of my favorite online stores. The prize is a necessity for proper makeup application. That’s a hint!

PLUS, we’ll have an anniversary giveaway over at Certified Foodies, and another giveaway here on my blog to celebrate…. oh, wait. Both blogs are celebrating their 2nd anniversary! Yay! ๐Ÿ™‚ Stay tuned!

Concerts I Missed and Will Miss

The last time I watched a concert was late last year when the Black Eyed Peas were here. It was a lot of fun, especially because I was partying with my bro at the VIP section (thanks… you know who you are). I remember almost losing my voice the next day and having a hard time hearing because of all the shouting, cheering, and singing we did the whole night. Not to mention the body pains we experienced the day after the concert as a result of standing up for almost 8 hours! ๐Ÿ˜€ It was all worth it, and I am now on the lookout for the next concert we’ll be watching.

Just last week, LMFAO was in concert here in Manila. My bro was urging me to watch. I love LMFAO, but the sad thing is I only know 2 of their songs. So, I didn’t want to spend money on their concert. But, I bet, if we went, I’d feel double the body pain the next day. ๐Ÿ˜€ I mean, how can you NOT dance along their music?!

LMFAO Sorry for Party Rocking in Manila

Before I even knew about the Backstreet Boys’ concert here, I’ve started listening to BSB’s old albums on loop. In fact, last week, their songs were stuck in my head. Then, when we were at SM North Edsa, I saw their poster and the date of their concert with New Kids on the Block on June 3, 2012. My heart seriously skipped a beat. BUT, the tickets are way too expensive for me. I’m desperate to watch them though, so I’m hoping there’ll be free tickets coming my way. ๐Ÿ˜‰New Kids on The Block and Backstreet Boys Live in Manila

Writing about this now made me miss the times when I’d go out, jam and party with my wild and crazy friends. We didn’t care if we had to wait for hours for the concerts of Parokya ni Edgar, Eraserheads, and Rivermaya to start. The music is enough to make us forget the pain of standing on our feet while waving our hands in the air and singing our hearts out along with the music artists.

During the BEP concert, by the way, my bro and I were amazed at how high-tech the whole stage setup was. I think I took like 500+ shots on that night alone. Plus, aside from the actual performances, the bass and mixes would get you all pumped up to dance and sing along. With all that power, it’s important to use quality instruments, power conditioners like those from Furman and sound systems.

I’m going to end this post with a photo of Taboo that I took when he climbed down the stage towards our side. He was THAT close to us, I can touch his hand if I wanted. But, I opted to take photos of him instead. ๐Ÿ˜€

Taboo at their 2011 Black Eyed Peas concert here in Manila

I’m hoping to watch the NKOTB and BSB concert in June, or Lady Gaga this May. Keeping my fingers crossed! ๐Ÿ™‚

Ways a Shopaholic can Save Money : Share Yours!

I’m a self-confessed shopaholic. However, for the past few years, I learned how to practice self-control, which paved the way to learning, though gradually, how to say no to those shopping urges and start saving and spending money wisely.

Tips from a Shopaholic

Ever since I started experiencing the convenience of shopping online, I admit, I slightly lost control. Good thing there’s always something that puts me back to my rightful path in saving money.

I am not an expert in saving for a rainy day, but I thought of sharing my own experiences and practices in the hopes that maybe, I’d be able to help you start small in saving for your future. Please, please share your own experiences and tips too. It’ll be of great help! ๐Ÿ™‚

Note: These tips are for shopaholics like me.

 

I always ask myself questions.

Will I be needing this product in the next days up to a month?

That’s one of the questions I ask myself whenever I get this impulse to buy something at the grocery, at a store or online shop. If I say no to the above question, I skip it, but I list it down on my phone for future reference.

 

Hold on to your wallets at sale events. Stick to your shopping list.

A few weeks back, my brother and I were in S&R for their bi-annual sale. Members can get up to 50% off on different products according to their promotions. But, when we arrived, the items that were half-priced were mostly USELESS to us. I admit, we got tempted a few times to buy things that were 50% off.

So, here’s my tip: when you’re at a sale event, before buying that 50% off product, ask yourself: would you even consider buying it if it was a regular shopping day? That’s the guideline I follow now. I mean, some of you might argue, why would I make a fuss about buying something that MIGHT be useful in the future when it’s 50% off?!

Think about it. You’re still spending money over something that’s not really on your shopping list, which logically means you don’t really need it.

ANOTHER important thing is, during sale events, people get into this crazy shopping mood that they start picking up products off the shelves and buying them even when those items were not on sale. I swear, I overheard this guy telling his wife, "Wag ka nga kuha nang kuha, di naman naka-sale mga pinagkukuha mo eh" (Translation: Stop putting those items in our cart. Those items are not on sale."). It’s psychology at work: people tend to spend more during sale events than actual saving.

 

Avoid trying on same products from different brands.

I am so guilty of this. And this tip is for you makeup junkies like moi. Unless you make money or you write about trying out or reviewing different products (cosmetics, gadgets, etc), if you’re happy with a product you’re currently using, don’t move on to the next brand without using up the one you already have. I know, it’s tempting, especially when someone you admire recommended it. If the product is there to stay for months or years, or if there’s no legit possibility that the manufacturer will discontinue the said item, hold your horses. ๐Ÿ˜‰

 

Don’t stock up.

I’m guilty of this as well. Whenever I go grocery shopping, I usually end up buying extra amounts of something I still have stock of at home. Why? I tell myself, "I might run out of this and it’ll take me time to come back and shop for more." The reality is, I always have time to shop again when I need more of something before I actually run out. Unless there’s a real threat for us to go panic-buying, save your money for next time.

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Those are four (4) of my most effective tips in saving money when shopping. My brother and I are now trying our very best to religiously follow them whenever we shop. It can be frustrating, but I know it’ll pay off big time.

Some of you might be wondering why I’m writing about saving money. It’s because of my future plans of buying my own home and moving out of our place here in Malabon. That’s my ultimate gift to myself for working hard all these years. I need to plan ahead, start saving now so I won’t have to go through issues of not having enough money to pay off my loans, or wondering who can help me refinance my home (click here for refinance info). I need to keep my shopaholic self in check. Hopefully, by continuing to practice all of the tips I shared on this post, I’d fulfill that dream of a home I can call my own… with a room with my own vanity table, of course. ๐Ÿ˜‰