Now that my 2014 shoe boxes are packed, I have an unusual packing experiment planned for the 2015 Operation Christmas Child collection. I am going to see how many boxes I can pack and ship without spending any money from my personal budget.
I think it is safe to say most everyone who packs a shoe box wishes they could pack another. Those who pack many wish they could pack many more. So I have decided to seek out ways to pack more and share my journey here at Simply Shoe Boxes so others may be able to take advantage of some of these and also have the opportunity to pack more boxes.
Below is a list of many of the ways I hope to acquire items to fill my boxes. As I go thru the year I will elaborate more on each one and hopefully post reports on how my stock is adding up. And I
hope to find more ways I can fill more boxes. Being mostly home bound and having to depend on others for running all errands makes it a little harder to find free sources.
Ways I Plan to Fill and Ship OCC Boxes for Free:
Shoe Box Items for Packing
- What I have on hand
- I have dozens of items left over from this year's packing. I often send these as fillers to the processing center, but this year I am going to hang onto much of it to incorporate into next year's boxes.
- Swagbucks (goal: earn $5 to $10/monthly)
- By spending just 5 minutes a day in online activities I can easily earn $5 in CVS or Amazon gift cards each month. They offer dozens of gift card options, but these two are what I stick to. I will focus these on hygiene items and pick up items at Amazon that I am short on at the end of the packing year.
- If I have a more time to spend I can earn much, much more.
- You can check out this earlier post for information on how I earn: Financing Shoe Boxes: Earning Money Online ~ Swagbucks Introduction.
- From their website: "It's available in all of the following countries where Swagbucks.com has official presence. "
- a. US
- b. UK
- c. Canada
- d. Australia
- e. Ireland
- Links in this post are my referral link. When you choose to sign up under me at Swagbucks I earn 10% of what you earn. I will use all earnings towards filling more shoe boxes.
- MyPoints is much like Swagbucks.
- I earn free gift cards I can use to buy fillers for my shoe boxes.
- Check out this earlier post for more information: Financing Shoe Boxes: Earning Money Online ~ MyPoints Introduction
- I will request birthday and Christmas gifts that I can put in my shoe boxes.
- I've already put in a request for toys to go with the dresses I make for the 2 to 4 year old girls.
- I'm going to make a Pinterest board of Christmas wishes -- I think it will look much like a toddler's wishlist :-) .
- And I've added a bulk roll of elastic to my Christmas wishlist from my mom--I use this with my pillow case dresses.
- Enter blog giveaways daily
- And hopefully win some! Check out my post: How To Find and Enter Blog Giveaways to learn how.
- Gift Cards for specific stores and Visa Gift Cards good anywhere
- The Visa Prepaid Gift Cards I think can be used online to pay for the shipping of the shoe boxes, too
- Toys, shoes, clothing
- Fabric, yarn and sewing supplies
- Check out one of my funnest wins: Kohl's Shoe Box Fillers Shopping Spree ~ $1200+ for $0 Out of Budget
- Sew/crochet/craft from what I have in stock (pillow case dresses/bags/marble mazes/hats/scarves/mini blankets/other OCC craft items)
- I have been given a good bit of fabric for gifts, from an online sewing buddy, and inherited from my sister and mother-in-law and I still have many pieces left.
- I had birthday money last year and when the local craft store had closeout bias tape for just 25 cents I stocked up big time!
- I inherited dozens of skeins of yarn from my Mother-in-law.
- Find something new to make out of something old
- use clothing, cards, paper towel tubes, etc.
- Spread the word that I am packing
- Let others know I hope to pack lots of boxes so they have the opportunity to share items if they choose
- Request free samples
- Companies often offer free products or prizes
- Pick up free items at fairs, etc.
- Use coupons for free products
- Often items can be found at Dollar Tree or other stores on sale that a coupon is available for and covers the complete cost (I got a lot of toothbrushes this year this way)
|I wonder how many I will be able to pack?|
Earning Cash to Pay for Shipping
- Income from blogging (approx. $5/month)
- I hope to earn $5 a month above my blogging costs.
- This is in the form of cash so I will save it for shipping the boxes.
- SavingStar is a service that offers coupons on grocery/household items. They are attached to your store loyalty cards and when you buy the item it is deposited in your SavingStar account. When you build up $5 you can cash it out.
- Each Friday they offer a Friday Freebie: an item worth about $1. This helps it add up fast.
- From SavingStar: "Earn cash back on your groceries with exclusive freebies, healthy offers, and BIG savings on your favorite brands. There's nothing to clip or print. Link deals to your store loyalty cards or submit a picture of your receipt to earn money in your SavingStar account. Save 20% on a fruit or vegetable every week. Get a free product every Friday-Sunday. SavingStar now works at over 60,000 stores nationwide. The service is free and easy to use. Click here for SavingStar. "
- I do a lot of my shopping online, for shoe boxes and for personal items, because I can't get out of the house much. Ebates is a cash back service for shopping thru their links at my favorite stores. You can see my earlier post here for more details: Earning Rebates for Online Shopping
- I will use my cash back checks for shipping the boxes.
- My Father-in-law usually gives us cash for gifts, and I will save this towards shipping costs.
This does not mean I will not be spending any money on Operation Christmas Child shoe boxes this year, it just means I am going to see how many I can pack without spending any thus increasing the number I am able to give. My goal is twofold: one -- pack more boxes and two -- help others find ways to pack more boxes.
How do you find ways to stretch your shoe box packing dollars? What helps you to be able to pack more boxes or do your box more inexpensively?
EDITING TO UPDATE 10/2015: We were able to pack and ship 50 boxes for free this year with some goodies left for next year as well as sending fillers to the processing center. We will continue with this experiment in 2016.