Top Five New Year’s Resolutions and How to Keep Them

2012 raced through and before you know it, it’s 2013! Before you begin the arduous task of remembering to write “2013” in the date instead of 2012, there is the matter of New Year’s resolutions. This is an annual tradition that some are better at than others, but that’s not to say this year isn’t your year! Here are the top five most common resolutions courtesy of Time magazine, along with some handy tips on keeping them.

1.Lose weight and get fit. It’s at the top of the list for many after a silly season of delicious baking and baked ham. Gyms and fitness clubs know this, and take advantage by offering cheap deals. However often these annual memberships only get used for a month or so, which makes it a very expensive month at the gym.

How can I keep it? Get it out of the way! It should be your first activity of the day, and therefore you won’t be able to make any excuses after work such as being too tired, or having plans. Not only will you feel more energised for the rest of the day, studies indicate exercising right before sleeping can actually interfere with your sleeping patterns. Routine is also important. If you tell yourself these are the days you exercise and treat it as a given (and not an option), you are much more likely to keep to your new regime. Remember it takes about 66 days of regular exercise to form a habit.

2. Quit smoking. As more information emerges about the damage smoking does to our bodies, now is as good a time as any to quit the sticks. It takes a massive amount of willpower to overcome an addiction however, which is why only 15% of people who quit smoking are still cigarette-free six months later. It’s a surprising statistic, but there is no reason why you shouldn’t be one of the 15%!

How can I keep it? Luckily New Zealand has a whole range of free and low-cost support services available. Call Quitline or visit their website to find out the different options. It’s also a good idea to rally a support group of friends and family around you to help you quit. Also try and keep busy, anything that takes your mind off smoking is a bonus!

3. Learn something new. This is a very broad resolution, and so easier to keep that some of the others. The most common thing that holds people back from achieving this is time. However you don’t have to practice for hours become a professional at it, as long as you’re moving forward, you’re winning! Even half an hour a week is a great start to learning a new skill.

How can I keep it? Choose something you’re truly interested in! Don’t learn French just because you feel you should know another language, and don’t learn chess if it bores you silly. Do you scroll through Pinterest for hours at a time, but all the craft ideas are too much to handle? Why not focus on one area, such as knitting or painting. Don’t try and do it all at once! Trying to find time? If you are learning a language, why not get an audio CD and listen to it in the car while on the way to work? Want to expand your cooking skills but the kids are a handful? Incorporate them into your cooking lesson. You never know, they might just end up doing the cooking for dinner.

4. Eat healthier. This often goes hand-in-hand with resolution number 1, getting fit and losing weight. Especially when Christmas has just been with many lunches and dinners, all bursting with a bounty of food, it can be hard to remind yourself you can’t eat like that all the time.

How can I keep it? While there are fad diets a dime-a-dozen out there, you should remember there are no quick fixes. You should be aiming to create a healthy diet that you can you can adhere to for the rest of your life, while not feeling like you are constantly ‘missing out’. Don’t think of eating healthy as a ‘diet’, as this will just give a negative slant to your new, healthy eating plan. Try to incorporate more vegetable and fruit into your diet slowly while cutting out some sugar and fat. It will eventually become a habit and you won’t even notice the change.

5. Get out of debt and save money. Some of us can go overboard with the holiday season, and spend money on gifts, food, decorations and holidays that we can’t really afford. Unfortunately this follows us straight into the new year, but the good news is you can do something about it.

How can I keep it? There is plenty of good financial advice out there. A good government-run website is Sorted which has handy tips, facts, and financial calculators that will put you on the right path. Want to save? Why not create an automatic payment for each pay check, that diverts a set amount of money into a savings account. If this happens on the same day, you won’t even notice the money going out!

Bonus: Here is a great article by LifeHacker on forming good habits. A must read when keeping your resolutions. Click here to read.

 

Top Ten Ideas for Christmas in the Office

Christmas is just around the corner, but not all of us get a long holiday! Many of us are still working throughout this time, but luckily there are the four statutory holidays we do get to relax on!

So how can you still get into the Christmas spirit while in the office? Check out this top ten list.

1. Get a Christmas office tree! Doesn’t have to be a real one, our office has a plastic one someone had spare at home, and get everyone to bring in a few ornaments from home to decorate. You don’t have to stick to traditional trees either, what about one made of books or paper? The possibilities are endless.

2. Decorate your desk. Why not try a little decorating around your own desk? Hang some tinsel, artfully place a few baubles around… It doesn’t take much for you to see these and be reminded that the holidays are right around the corner.

3. Christmas cookies! Today the Cookie Time cookie bucket sales person stopped by our office to see if we wanted to purchase any buckets of their mini cookies for charity (we did). A delicious way to help others.

4. Christmas music. While it may drive you batty if you have it going 24/7, it is fun for a little while. Bing Crosby and Frank Sinatra sing great classics, or you can try something a little more modern like Mariah Carey’s “All I Want For Christmas”, or the Love, Actually soundtrack.

5. Dress seasonally. They don’t call it the silly season for nothing, and if there is a time to get away with wearing reindeer antlers or a Santa hat to the office, it’s now. You could also wear a Christmas tie or Christmas jewellery. Anything red or green is also ‘in season’.

6. Food. I don’t know about your office, but mine has a major sweet tooth! Everyone is sure to love it if you bring in some Christmas goodies. Ginger snaps, sugar cookies, Christmas cake.. Yum. You can impress everyone with your cooking skills at the same time!

7. Secret Santa. Our office does this every year. Pile the names into a hat, everyone draws one out and buys a gift (usually silly) for under $10. You never know what you’re going to get and it’s bound to get everyone laughing at the reactions of the receivers!

8. Cookie exchange. Originally an American tradition, it could be fun to do here! Every bakes a dozen cookies, brings them on a plate, and then refills their own plate with a selection of other delicious cookies.

9. Volunteer. Corral the office and go out and help somebody! ‘Tis the season of giving, and there are plenty of people who could use a hand. It could be at your local SPCA, planting some trees in the park or helping out the kids at your kindy. Whatever you do, it will be appreciated.

10. Office Christmas party. This is a great way for everyone to get to know each other without the stress of work on their shoulders. Christmas can often mean an extra-busy workload as well, so it’s a great way to unwind. Just be careful to not become that person in the office everyone talks about afterward due to too much

10 tips for surviving the Christmas Holiday

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The whole month of December is just magic for everyone. As a kid, everyone remembers the one house that really went all out for Christmas and make the memories that last a lifetime. Christmas is a time for family and friends, it’s a time for reflection and celebration. And without doubt, it’s a time to immerse yourself in gifts, wonderful food and fabulous company. Christmas requires lots of planning and coordinating. And really, all that needs to happen before December, ideally November (any homemade gifts of course have to start way before that). No worry, ProductSaver will help you go through all these things with handy tips.

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Top 10 tips for surviving the Christmas holiday:

  1. Check what you have at home, do not repeat buying the same things that you already have. Especially for the Christmas dinner!
  2. Write a list. By writing down all the things needed to be done before Christmas, Christmas Eve and especially Christmas Day.
  3. Shop smart! Survey products & prices online before you make any purchase. Always keep in mind. find the right products with right prices.
  4. Buy your Christmas costumes, gifts or decorations online in order to save your valuable time and petrol. Nowadays, the internet is making your life easier by providing wide range of sources that you need. Turn on your desktop/ laptop and surf the internet, then buy what you want and get it delivered to your door before Christmas.
  5. Try an avoid the messy kitchen from last minute preparation. So pre-prepare Christmas meal before Christmas eve. For example, marinate the chicken or glaze the ham before Christmas eve and cook it later on Christmas.
  6. There’s no reason why everyone in the house shouldn’t help out. Decide in advance whose job it is to wrap presents or set the table. If everyone knows what their task is, there will be fewer arguments.
  7. Create a CD or iPod playlist with your favorite Christmas songs. Have it ready as background music for all the other fun stuff you’re going to do on Christmas.
  8. Get your kids to help you plan the family vacation. This takes the stress off parents, and ensures that the family can all enjoy themselves during the time away.
  9. Save your energy, learn how to deal with hassles. Concentrate on the things you can change rather than worrying about the things you can’t.
  10. Keep a pen and paper handy to record gifts for thank-you notes later!

The chances are that you will know at least one other person who is going to find Christmas stressful. Remember, a problem shared is a problem halved! Who knows what tips others will having for surviving the holidays.

Top 5 Things To Do With Your Kids

We are getting busier and busier – they don’t call it ‘the rat race’ for nothing. It can be hard to have a work/life balance, and many families can make it work and still find time to spend time with the ones closest to you. How ever many minutes you can spare, be assured that it’s worth it! Focus on turning those minutes into memorable moments, instead of worrying about how many minutes you can spend with your children each day. Parents often compensate for having such a small quantity of time by scheduling “quality time.” Here are some ideas to get you going.

1) Play like your favourite sports star and contest the kids in a little friendly competition. Basketball, soccer or rugby with your kids is good for the heart in more ways than one!

2) Who remembers the hours on the trampoline, perfecting your flips or the frowned-upon double-bouncing? Trampolines provide you and your children with endless fun, all while offering exercise and valuable outdoor time with very little maintenance.

3) Making bread with loved ones is memorable and delicious! Bake from scratch or with an easy all-in-one breadmaker. Spend time while teaching those life skills that will serve them well when they’re older.

4) It’s a hot day but the beach is not convenient? Splash around without the sand and get a classic plastic or inflatable pool for your backyard. Problem solved.

Blue Swim Centre Pool £14.98 @ John Lewis

5) Do you love to entertain and have a BBQ with family? Make the most of your outdoor area with a BBQ and sit outside right until late evening, making the most of the balmy weather.

So slow down and make some time to spend with your kids. Create some fun memories that you won’t forget!

Top 10 Kids’s Party Cake/Decoration ideas

You need to plan and celebrate your child’s birthday – but where do you start?

Here are ProductSaver’s top ideas for party cakes and decorations, to start those ideas flowing. Decorating for a birthday party can be simple, even with an elaborate theme. Some of these tips may be helpful to pull off the big day.

1. Fabulous recipe for Microwave play dough, no more stirring stiff dough, just mix, microwave and let it cool. Each child gets to take home a cute little package of play dough – complete with labels made with the same Rainbow design as the invitations.

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2. Give your horse-mad daughter a birthday surprise with this deliciously pretty My Little Pony birthday cake.

My Little Pony birthday cake

3. Kid Halloween Party Ideas

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4. Cute color combo for girls party.

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5. Kids’ rainbow treats. Kids love colour of all shapes and sizes!

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6. Kit Kat birthday cake

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7. Bunny decoration

8. Boys party cake

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9. LEGO cake

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10. Cowboy parties are a great theme for an outdoor party.

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So there you have it, we hope we provided some inspiration!

Top Travel trips

Packing is part of any travel experience. Whether you’re headed to a beach condo or an Australia and New Zealand cruise, you’ll need to bring appropriate clothing and travel gear. Here are top travel essentials to include on any trip, regardless of destination.

1. Wheeled Suitcase / Backpack / Duffel Bag

Buy suitcases, backpacks and duffel bags with attached wheels, any of which can make transporting luggage easy, if not entirely effortless.

2. Daypack

You’ll need something to carry maps, snacks and bottled water while you explore. Keep your heavy wheeled bag in your hotel room and pack daily essentials in a daypack or tote.

3. Comfortable Shoes

Leave the high heels and beach sandals at home – unless, of course, you’re going to the beach – and pack shoes you can really walk in. Be sure to break them in before your trip begins. Blisters can ruin a perfectly-planned vacation.

4. Personal Medications / Glasses

These essential items vary from person to person. Bring your medications in their original prescription bottles, not in a weekly pill organizer. If you use an organizer, pack it empty and set it up when you arrive at your destination. Don’t forget your glasses, especially if you aren’t sure you can buy contact lens solution while on your trip.

5. Voltage Converter and Plug Adapters

If you’re traveling overseas and use plug-in appliances or electronic equipment, you will definitely need plug adapters.

Apart from bringing essential items in your trip, What else do you need for vacation? You will need some electronic devices along with the trip such as waterproof digital camera or camcorder so you’ll be able to capture amazing images in the pool, the beach, the sea and more with ease and precision. This is a perfect video recorder to take on your watery holiday or for the kids to have fun with in the pool this summer.

In addition,good music to accompany you along the trip would be the best option you ever had, especially when you are travelling alone. The lightweight, compact, portable music player is the ideal device for listening to music on-the-go. Whether you take it for a jog or use it to stave off boredom on your bus-ride, this MP3 player is sure to provide entertainment and enjoyment.

SPCA Cupcake Day 2012

Do you love cupcakes? How about cute animals? The SPCA Cupcake Day combines both with thousands of people nationwide pitching in helping make it “a sweet success”. This is the second year ProductSaver has taken part (helps that we love to bake).

Most importantly, we are delightful to announce that we raised $101.50 for SPCA Cupcake Day in our office.

We couldn’t have done it without our colleagues’ generosity in support of SPCA Cupcake Day. This money will be much appreciated, not only by the SPCA, but by the animals who deserve the fair treatment the SPCA supports.

ProductSaver’s beginnings on TradeMe

Did you all know that ProductSaver originally started out its business as Appliance_Shop on Trade Me in 2006? A few years later it branched out into a second seller called TV_Trader.

We aim to sell products that fit in with our customers needs at a good price. That’s why Appliance_Shop and TV_Trader on Trade Me grew to have more than 10,000 positive feedbacks over the years.

We’d like to say thank you to our thousands of customers who have helped us grow into who were are today. We are truly grateful for your support. Let’s have a sneak peek of our feedback history.

Our 500th feedback achieved in June 2007.

1000 feedbacks in later October same year.

It increased to 2000 feedbacks in following year.

3000 feedbacks in 2009.

We originally started selling only appliances on Trade Me, but since then we have branched out into a wide range of homewares, outdoor goods and more. Who knows what we’ll have next? With a whole world of possibilities we’d like to think we could stock anything, but you can always be sure that it’ll be at the right price.

Parallel Importing

In this day and age seeing the phrase, “parallel imported” is becoming a more common sight for shoppers. Our purchasing avenues and buying channels are multiplying at a steady rate, and one of the consequences of this is parallel importing such items as brand name watches like Casio, Citizen, or Seiko.

But what is parallel importing? Most of us have a vague sense that it saves us money, or know of the store named directly after it. Here is an easy explanation of what parallel importing is and how businesses such as ProductSaver take advantage of it to save their customers money on watches, appliances, toys and more.

Type in “define: parallel importing” into Google, and the first definition is from Wikipedia stating,

“A parallel import is a non-counterfeit product imported from another country without the permission of the intellectual property owner.”

Hang on, without permission of the intellectual property owner? It doesn’t sound quite right does it, but it’s perfectly above board and gives you the same rights under the Consumer Guarantees Act that non-parallel imported goods give.

Parallel import helps provide a wide range of international quality goods. For example, ProductSaver is importing goods from overseas countries such as the U.S., China and Australia and selling them in New Zealand. Therefore, consumers can shop at a place with variety brands and products.

When you shop online, you can get in on the latest international trends without spending money on tricky things like airfares. Perfect!