More Musings on the Story of Stuff – Branding & Marketing

As I said yesterday, I’m currently reading this book:

Today, in the chapter on distribution I struck upon something horrifying. I guess I sort of knew this already, but seeing it in black and white is even more shocking. I’m sure we all know that most companies out there don’t actually make the stuff they sell, but they buy it in and have unknown manufacturers make it for them. We’ve seen this so much in the clothing industry where brands like H&M and Primark have clothes made up in India and take no responsibility for the working practices of those in their supply chain. This is all part of these companies plans to cut costs, basically by abdicating responsibility.

This efficiency driven, cost-cutting is pervasive. Companies don’t make the stuff they sell, they simply brand it. Apple don’t make computers, but they sure as heck have created a brand that people crave. H&M don’t make clothes, Nike doesn’t make trainers. They all simply buy the garments and items from producers, or the parts to assemble them and often not even from the same factory, but from multiple producers. It’s quite possible that one factory churns out the exact same product for multiple retailers.

So really, let’s face it – it’s often not the item we are buying, but we’ve been sold on the brand. The founder of Nike even admitted that the company once saw themselves as production oriented, but that they now understand their most important function is to market the product. So guess where they put all their money? Advertising. And often this advertising isn’t even for a specific product, it’s all about the image they want to associate with their brand. Nike aren’t selling your trainers, they are selling you a fashion statement that in this climate will probably be outdated in a mere 2 weeks!

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Swagbucks – The First Swago: Shopping Edition of 2018!

Online rewards site Swagbucks has a smart and fun way for you to earn and save while you spend.  Swagbucks is hosting another round of Shopping Swago!

What is SWAGO you ask? It’s a bingo-inspired promotion run by Swagbucks, a website that rewards you with points (called SB) for completing everyday online activities. You can redeem those SB for free gift cards.

If you’ve never used Swagbucks, participating in SWAGO is a great introduction to the site and an easy way to earn a good amount of points quickly. Click here to get started!

Here’s what you need to know to get your 50 SB Bonus (and don’t worry, you don’t have to make a purchase to complete a pattern):

  1. Click here to go directly to the Swago Page! If you’re not a member yet, you can join here – it takes 30 seconds. Make sure you hit “Join” otherwise you won’t get credit for completing the action items.
  2. Each square on your Swago Board will contain an action item to complete. Once you complete the action item in a particular square the square will change colour signifying the action item is complete.
  3. You have a limited amount of time to mark off as many squares as possible so use your time wisely. Be mindful of the patterns and their corresponding bonuses located on the right of your Swago Board. The patterns will vary in difficulty and bonus value.
  4. Once you’ve achieved a pattern the corresponding “Submit” button will light up. You can have multiple patterns available for submission, however, you can only submit ONE pattern so choose wisely. There’s absolutely no reason for anyone not to get the complete board with this one! So comment below for help, if you’re having any difficulties.
  5. The game ends Friday 26th January at 8pm GMT. So make sure to hit “Submit” on the pattern you wish to submit. If you don’t hit “Submit” before the game ends you won’t receive your SB bonus.

How to make gift cards work hard for you

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So, what do you do with all these gift cards you’ve been earning on Swagbucks or given for Christmas? Today I’m here to explain how to make them work harder for you. It’s tempting to hit the sales with them immediately after Christmas and before New Year, when the shops are pushing the fact that they have a sale big time. And whilst, if you really want a certain thing (especially something that’s bound to be popular) and want to be sure you don’t miss out, then that’s a good idea. Generally, it’s not – by this point in January most retailers are getting desperate to shift their old stock. We all know from the news, that retailers in the UK are generally having a very tough time out there and so, most of them have shed loads of stuff still left to shift.

By waiting until this point, and picking your day – you can hit retailers when they mark things down to 70%-75% off (or greater if you’re prepared to wait another week or so). This is when stuff becomes as cheap, or cheaper than buying it second hand in charity shops. So, take that stash of gift cards and hit the shops (but only if there’s stuff you really want or need).

Marks and Spencer went to 70% off in-store and online yesterday. I shopped both methods and found that the discounts were greater (nearer 80% in store, where they have shed loads of stock) and slightly less online (usually differing by between £1-£2). Mothercare have gone down to 75% off. Debenhams and H&M are at 70% off. You get the gist of it, most retailers will be dropping their prices now, on the stock that’s left. Just be aware that you have more rights when purchasing online, as they still have to give you 14 days to change your mind, under the distance selling regulations. Whereas, if you buy these items in-store – you’ll likely be told they’re non-returnable (unless faulty). This is certainly the case in M&S. So try things on, if they’re clothing or take the sizes you need with you, or a tape measure!

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Get 300 bonus points when you sign up for Swagbucks in 2018!

All throughout January you can earn large bonuses when sign up as my referral on Swagbucks.

Swagbucks is a rewards site where you earn points (called SB) for things you’re probably doing online already, like searching, watching videos, discovering deals, and taking surveys.

Then you take those points and exchange them for gift cards to places like Amazon, Starbucks, or PayPal cash.

When you sign up through me this month, you can earn a 300 SB bonus!

Here’s how:

1. Sign up using this link

2. Earn 300 SB total before 1/2/18. You’ll get a 300 SB bonus for it!

3. That’s it. It’s super easy, and Swagbucks is for real. I use it myself, and I’ve earned over £2350 to date. It helps me to pay for Christmas, Birthdays and little treats for myself and my family.

Get 500 bonus points when you sign up for Swagbucks in December!

All throughout December you can earn large bonuses when sign up as my referral on Swagbucks!

Swagbucks is a rewards site where you earn points (called SB) for things you’re probably doing online already, like searching, watching videos, discovering deals, and taking surveys. Then you take those points and exchange them for gift cards to places like Amazon, Starbucks, or PayPal cash. When you sign up through me this month, you can earn a 500 SB bonus!

Here’s how:

1. Sign up using this link

2. Earn 300 SB total before 1/1/18. You’ll get a 300 SB bonus for it!

3. If you spend at least £25 through Swagbucks Shop* you’ll get another 200 SB bonus on top of the cash back you’ll get from shopping. If you have some shopping to do online, just go to Swagbucks first and visit the store through them. It doesn’t cost you anything extra, but you’ll get SB points for every pound you spend (on top of the bonus)!

That’s it. It’s super easy, and Swagbucks is for real. I use it myself, and I’ve earned more than £2,300 to date. I’m saving up currently to get Amazon gift cards to pay for Christmas presents for all my family. Wouldn’t you also like to have Christmas paid for?! It really is possible with Swagbucks!

*You must receive your shopping SB before 1 February 2018

Shop Around for Insurance!

I’ve written before about shopping around for insurance, and it’s that time of year for me again. There’s a part of me that hates it, well it is a bit of a chore. But the other part of me relishes the opportunity to save money! (Of course! Ha).

This year I couldn’t actually find any cheaper quotes for car insurance, but that didn’t stop me ringing up my current insurer and asking whether or not there would be any movement on my renewal price. I already knew their quote was £50 cheaper than anyone else, but they knocked a further £35 off! It just shows if you don’t ask, you don’t get!

So this is just a short post to encourage you to always ask for a better deal.

Swagbucks – September Swago PLUS Spin & Win

The digital rewards site Swagbucks is holding a big “Swago” promotion starting Monday, September 11th at 5pm BST! Swago is just like bingo, but in this case you’re filling out squares as you earn points on their site for doing things you already do online. If you’re thinking of trying Swagbucks, this is a great chance to learn all about how the site works and earn bonus points while doing it.

Here are a few tips:

  • Each square on your Swago Board will contain an action item to complete. They can be anything from getting a search win, completing a survey, or just visiting one of our popular stores!
  • Once you complete the action item in a particular square the square will change color signifying the action item is complete.  You have until 12pm PT/3pm ET on Tuesday, September 19th to mark off as many squares as possible so use your time wisely.  Be mindful of the patterns and their corresponding bonuses located on the right of your Swago Board. The patterns will vary in difficulty and bonus value.
  • Once you’ve achieved a pattern, the corresponding “Submit” button will light up. You can have multiple patterns available for submission, however, you can only submit ONE pattern so choose wisely.
  • Each activity you successfully complete on your Swago Board will give you anywhere from 1-20 spins on the Spin & Win Wheel. PLUS, when you submit your board for a bonus you’ll get additional spins. The number of spins will depend on the pattern you complete. The wheel has all sorts of great prizes that you can win, and each spin is a winner!

The Spin & Win Wheel will be available all throughout Swago and expires at the same time. Fill up your board and then submit your pattern to get even more points – if you can fill in the whole board, you get a 300 SB bonus, which goes a long way towards your first gift card from the retailer of your choice.  Click here right now and click “Join” to get started! If you don’t already have a Swagbucks account, you’ll be able to quickly sign up; PLUS, if 300 SB before the first of next month, you’ll get a bonus 300 SB!