Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Active Accessories Hair Bands Review

My daughter LOVES to wear hair bands, but they're so hard on her hair and create a lot of breakage when she takes them out.  She always puts the bands on her wrist before leaving out to school or the gym in the morning and it inevitably cuts off her circulation and leaves a deep red ring on her wrist.  I was really excited to try Active Accessories' On-the-Go hair bands.  These hair bands are not like your normal hair bows that claim to be no tangle and no hurt.  These are made to be worn on the wrist until used and are nice and wide so they don't cut off your circulation.  They also don't break your hair or create split ends.  Even though they may be a little more expensive than hair bows you can get at Walmart, they're definitely well worth the money because they last a while and don't create pain and hair breakage.

You can get them on Amazon for $8.99 for 6 and they come in 5 really cute patterns and colors.

Monday, December 17, 2012

FromYouFlowers.com Christmas Cheer Bouquet Review & Coupon

I love fresh flowers for the home and as a gift, but I hate making a special trip to a florist and paying those high prices for a fresh arrangement and then having to transport it.  That being said, I am also a little leery of ordering fresh flowers online and having them sent as a gift because you just never know what you're going to get from a new internet-based florist.  I've used a couple internet florists before with varying success.  When I was given the chance to try out FromYouFlowers.com, I was excited to see what their product would look like.

I received a Christmas Cheer bouquet via UPS.  It was scheduled to be delivered on Friday afternoon, but I was going to be out of state until Sunday evening and for some reason I wasn't able to hold the delivery with UPS.  The flowers sat in their box at my mailbox out in the weather from Friday afternoon until Sunday evening.....I was really worried at what the flowers would look like after being without water for that long.  I opened the box and was pleasantly surprised to find that the flowers were beautiful and still very healthy.

My bouquet didn't come with any greenery or baby's breath like in the above photo, but it did have beautiful smell and color.  This bouquet has roses, mini carnations and several classic ornaments that really made for a beautiful yet simple centerpiece on my table.

The flowers came wrapped in florist paper and plastic for easy transport

Beautiful colors and plenty of unopened blooms for later

Sparse looking unless you have some filler or bunch it together more

The vase was a very beautiful red glass and not a cheap plastic type.  The only drawback to the vase is that it wasn't tall enough to hold the arrangement without having to cut off a good 4-6" from the flowers and wooden sticks holding the ornaments.  The opening was a little too wide for the amount of flowers and decorations, leaving the arrangement looking pretty sparse and bare without putting a ribbon around the flowers to bunch them together more or adding some greenery/baby's breath.

The package came with a very nice card, instructions on how to care for the flowers, a packet of flower food to add to the water.  The entire order was packaged securely and was easy to open and get the flowers out for display.

I think I've definitely found another online florist that I'll be using in the future for gifts and special occasions.  This will also be something that I'll probably use this year for a gift of Christmas flowers for my mom.

Want to check them out for yourselves?  Use this special link to have a coupon code for FREE DELIVERY applied to your order!

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Piczzle Coupon Code- Exclusive Offer! Expires 12/15

Have you read my review of Piczzle's photo puzzle?  I thought the quality and customer service were top notch and would definitely purchase their products in the future for family gifts, teacher gifts, or just as a fun way to show off a favorite photo memory.

If you didn't win the Piczzle photo puzzle giveaway that ended this week, don't worry because there's a great offer for you from Piczzle.  Right now until 12/15/12, you can get 21% off your entire order by entering this coupon code: SwvaSavesMoney21

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Kroger's Private Selection Brand Review

Most of the time I buy only what's on sale or what I have a coupon for, but you normally won't get food worthy of a discerning palette or a gourmet flair.  Every now and then when we have a special occasion, or want to add some gourmet feel to our dinners, I like to get Kroger's Private Selection brand of products.  I have tried their cheeses, olives, crackers, breads, spreads, dips, and sauce.  They have an endless variety of products available in this line and usually at a price that is way better than the comparable national brand.

I recently tried their pasta sauce in roasted garlic over thin spaghetti.  It didn't have much of an aroma while I was heating it in the ground beef, so I was concerned that it wouldn't have the robust flavor I love.  I was completely wrong....the flavor is spot on and wonderful.  My hubby said that it was probably the best canned pasta sauce he's had before and loved the balance of sweet to savory.  The sauce isn't watery at all, so it would also go perfectly with Chicken Parmesan and other dishes like that.

On another night, I wanted to have an easy meal with some class to it, so I picked up a rotisserie chicken, some PS cheese in buffalo Monterey Jack, PS wafer crisps, PS garlic stuffed olives, and PS fresh carrots and broccoli.  The kids and hubby loved everything.  My son wasn't the biggest fan of the crackers, but he's not really used to wafers like that....he likes Triscuits.  The price for the cheese was a bit higher than I like to pay, but if you're looking for a nice finger food option for a party or guests in a variety that you can't get in every day packaged cheese, it's well worth the extra money.  Hubby especially loved the olives.  He thought them being stuffed with a whole garlic clove, that it would be overpowering, but he was pleasantly surprised and said it was a perfect balance.

So, if you're looking for gourmet food at a fraction of the cost....Kroger's Private Selection brand is certainly the way to go.  I love one stop shopping for my gourmet foods as well as my every day grocery needs.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

$100 Stanley Steamer GC Giveaway! US, ends 12/20

Enter to win a $100 Gift Certificate & TWO Stanley Steemer Spot Removers™ courtesy of Stanley Steemer, hosted by Irish Italian Blessings and co-hosted by Shop Review Save 

With the holidays quickly approaching, what better time to take advantage of an opportunity to call in the experts to clean those floors. With over 60 years of experience as the dirt authority, they are certified in removing more than 98% of dry soil from floors. Stanley Steemer is not just for carpets- their expertise lends them to hardwood, tile, air ducts, water damage restoration, and more! Keep the spot removers on hand to quickly remove spills or spots to celebrate without having to worry.

I've never had my carpets professionally cleaned, but I know that I've needed to.  It's such a hassle to rent a machine, get the chemical mixture just right, move all of your furniture, steam clean your carpets (hoping you have the right settings and mixture), and then painfully wait for it to dry.  I was never completely satisfied with the results and the hardened stains usually never came completely out.  I never thought of calling in the professionals, but after a holiday party or a family gathering, this may be something I will do in the future!

Stanley Steemer has shared some tips with us to maintain a cleaner, healthier home:
  • Use Indoor and Outdoor entrance mats to reduce the amount of dirt tracked into your home. 
  • Act quickly to clean up spills or stains and keep a professional spot remover on hand all the time or use white vinegar and baking soda as an alternative since they are found in most homes. Stanley Steemer Spot Removers™ are a great option to keep on hand to work quickly at removing stains.
  • Vacuum high traffic areas in the home 2-3 times a week, especially when entertaining.
Be sure to check out actress Mia Gentile's variations on the brand's iconic jingle! Watch the video here: http://bit.ly/QFWzgv

Giveaway is open to US Residents Only and will run from December 6 - December 20. Good luck! Winning Entry will be Verified.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Disclosure: “The Stanley Steemer gift certificate, information, and two gift packs have been provided by Stanley Steemer.”  SW Virginia Saving Money has received no compensation for this post and is not responsible for drawing the winner or shipping of the prize.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

CollageIT PRO - Collage Software **FLASH GIVEAWAY**

I posted a review and giveaway about CollageIt's software previously.  I've gone through 2 rounds of winners and only 3 out of 20 of them responded to me to claim their prize.  Instead of drudging through another full fledged giveaway, I'm offering these awesome licenses to the people who complete the steps below.

I have 8 Windows and 9 MAC licenses for CollageIt PRO ( $29.90 value)
Licenses will be distributed on a first come, first serve basis to those who complete the following steps.

1. Leave a comment on this post telling me what you like best about CollageIt's software.  Include in your comment whether you'd like a Windows or MAC license.

2. Send me an email asking to claim your prize (click on the pink EMAIL ME button on the right sidebar) and let me know what name you commented under.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Go Picinic Ready-to-Eat Meals Giveaway, US, ends 12/16

I'm big into self-sufficient living, gardening, and food storage, but sometimes it gets to be a lot of work.  I often look for meals and products that store well and are something other than the standard beans and rice emergency rations.  I also like to have things on hand that will work not only for power outage situations, but for every day life when I don't really feel like cooking.

Are you on the look out for easy to prepare meals for yourself or your children?  Meals that are easy to take with you? I recently discovered some Ready-to-Eat boxed lunches that are better than stopping at those fast food places. These meals contain no trans fats, no high fructose corn syrup, no artificial colors or flavors and no MSG. They can be taken with you without fear of them spoiling as they need no refrigeration.

Have you heard of GoPicnic Ready-to-Eat Meals?


If you are concerned about all the artificial "stuff" that goes into so many of our foods these days and are looking for an alternative, I suggest you check out GoPicnic and I feel you will be pleasantly surprised.

And you can enter to win 2 meals for yourself by entering in the Rafflecopter below.
Giveaway ends December 16th and is open to U.S. residents only
a Rafflecopter giveaway 

Disclosure: Tots and Me received 2 Ready-to-Eat meals from GoPicnic for free in order to review them. This did not in any way influence her review. She only recommends products she uses personally and feels will be good products for her readers. Tots and Me and SW Virginia Saving Money is not responsible for sponsor prize shipment.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Stanley Steamer $100 Giveaway Event- Free Blogger Opp

Event Details:
- This giveaway will go live on December 6, 2012-December 20, 2012
- Open to US Only
- Prize: $100 Gift Card 
I've joined....if you're interested, get the details and sign up here.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Advil Congestion Relief Review

BIC Mark-It
Image courtesy of Smiley360

During the fall season, I tend to get a lot of sinus congestion due to the crazy weather in Virginia.  I don't normally get a full on cold, but I do get stuffy and sinus pressure and congestion.  I am always on the lookout for a good congestion relief product that doesn't make me feel like a zombie.  I've recently begun using nasal sprays when I get really bad congestion, but I generally don't go that route unless it's really serious and can't be controlled by pills.

I was recently given the chance by Smiley360 to try Advil's Congestion Relief medication.  What I liked most about it was that it's a one pill dose and it didn't make me feel loopy or spaced out.  This product seems to work fairly well if you have moderate congestion that isn't caused mostly by nasal passage swelling.  When I tried it last week on my minor congestion caused by nasal passage swelling, I didn't really notice an improvement, even after 3 hours.  However, when I tried it this weekend with moderate congestion caused by mucus, it did have a much better effect.

How do you treat your sinus congestion?

CoverGirl blastflipstick Review

I don't wear a lot of make-up, if any at all.  The one thing I do wear pretty regularly is lipstick, lip gloss, or tinted lip balm.  I love lip color that is creamy, lasts, and doesn't look unnatural.  I recently had the opportunity to try a brand new product by CoverGirl called blastflipstick.  CoverGirl had an awesome idea by putting compatible lip colors in one stick.  One side is a solid color and the other is a shimmering color that is perfectly blendable and compatible.

They have 13 color duos for every need.  I tried the duos in Stunner, Vixen and Minx.  I really liked the color selections and how they paired them together.   I loved the end result of the Stunner and Vixen for every day wear and Minx for night time darker shade.  I wasn't, however, pleased with how the lipstick looked on my lips.  The lipstick looked okay when I first put it on, but quickly gathered outside of the lines in my lip and kind of gooped up where my lips went moist towards the inner lip.  It created such a fake and terrible look that I had to wipe it all off within an hour of wearing it.  I tried base only, but it still became chunky and gloppy looking.

Looks great right after I put it on.  Awesome shimmer and color.

End result for me:  I love the color combinations, but won't wear it again because it doesn't have a creamy texture that blends into the lines of my lips and lasts without getting terrible looking.  This product would probably work for others who don't have dry lips or lips with lines in them.  Let's work on the texture CoverGirl.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Xbox 360 250GB Holiday Bundle Giveaway - ends 12/19

Xbox Holiday Bundle Giveaway Event

Please take a moment and visit our sponsor, Penny Auctions Canada

Penny Auctions Canada is an online auction website that lets you buy awesome products for pennies!
Xbox 360 250GB Kinect Holiday Console Bundle Includes:
Xbox 360 250GB Console
3 Month LIVE card
Kinect Sensor
Kinect Adventures
Kinect Carnival

One lucky reader will receive a Xbox 360 250GB Kinect Holiday Console Bundle!

Giveaway ends December 19th at 11:59pm, open worldwide {residents outside of the US will receive cash equivalent of $339}, ages 18+. To enter please use the Rafflecopter form below. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, November 26, 2012

Piczzle Provides Personalized Gifts: Review & Giveaway- ends 12/10

Looking for a unique gift item for a family member, co-worker, friend, or spouse but not looking to spend a ton of money?  Picczle is a great choice for a personalized and unique gift that ships fast and doesn't cost a fortune.  Picczle creates a jigsaw puzzle out of any photo that you submit (as long as it meets the required image size).  I love that you can choose from unique shapes for your puzzle such as heat shaped, circle, as well as the standard rectangle.  You can also choose the size of your puzzle....from small to giant and from 6 pieces to 2,000!  They offer wooden puzzles as well which most on-line photo gift companies don't.

Picczle offers high quality images and cuts on their puzzles and the pieces fit very nicely together without bending or gaps.  Their cardboard puzzles are shipped in a cardboard box that has the image on the outside so you can see what the finished photo puzzle should look like.

I received a medium cardboard 3-piece puzzle within a week of ordering.  The customer service reps were so nice and e-mailed me to confirm a change they needed to make on my photo puzzle due to the image size and bordering.  They offered me several suggestions and let me pick which one would suit me best.  I love that the cardboard doesn't seem cheap or flimsy and that the pieces fit together perfectly on the FIRST TIME I put it together.  The finished puzzle was fantastic in quality and looked like something I'd frame once done.

This is such a great idea for a gift because you can personalize the photo, size, shape, and number of pieces depending on the person (or age) you're making it for.  It's also very easy to upload your photo on their website and complete the checkout process.

Find them on Facebook or check out their YouTube page!

The great folks at Picczle have offered one of my readers a small cardboard puzzle of their very own!  I'm ending this giveaway earlier than normal so hopefully you'll have enough time to get your puzzle delivered before Christmas!

Contest ends 12/10 at midnight EST and winner will have 24 hours to respond or another winner will be chosen.  Contest is open to U.S. & Canada residents only.  

If you do not complete the mandatory entry with the required information, I will remove all of your entries into the contest.  If you do not include required additional information, that entry will be discarded.  SWVA Saving Money does not tolerate cheaters and I don't have time to email each person who may have forgotten to include some required information.  Thank you to all who play by the rules and want to win fair and square.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

GoPicinic Ready-to-Eat-Meals FREE Blogger Opp

The winner of the giveaway will win 2 GoPicnic Ready-To-Eat Meals.

This post is for bloggers who are interested in helping promote this giveaway in exchange for a Facebook link on the Rafflecopter form.

In addition, if you share about this opportunity you will get a Twitter link as well.

There is no fee to participate, just a promise to post the giveaway with Rafflecopter when it goes live and sharing about the giveaway a few times in the two week time period the giveaway is live (beginning, middle and end).  If you would like to join me head over and sign up. I am accepting sign-ups until November 28th!

In addition, the blogger who refers the most people will get to host a like or follow page (If I have enough interest there will be the opportunity for more people to host).  Hosting a page is great for traffic to your blog, so share away.

Click here to be redirected to the sign up form.

Afrin 12-hour Nasal Decongestant Review

With the weather in crazy mode here in Virginia the past few months, I have been suffering from sinus congestion and pressure.  I'm not a sickly person who gets a cold often, but when the weather moves from 70 to 20 in a matter of days, I get sinus congestion every time.  I also have a wood stove at home as the main source of heat for my house, so the air can get pretty dry, which doesn't help keep the sinuses in order.

I was give the chance to try out Afrin's Original 12-hour nasal decongestant spray and have to say I'm very pleased with the product.  I've tried several nasal sprays before...from the ones that are just simple saline to the prescription Flonase.  I've never found one that doesn't have some issue....whether not working at all or dripping a bad taste down the back of my throat.  I like that Afrin comes with a full line of NoDrip products to help with your sinus issues.  They have Original, Severe Congestion, Extra Moisturizing, and Sinus sprays available, all in NoDrip formulas.

When I tried the Original NoDrip Afrin, I was pleased that the product stood by it's word that it wouldn't drip back out of my nose and didn't drip down the back of my throat upon application.  However, I did get a little drippage down my throat after about 10 minutes of application but it wasn't a lot and didn't create an offensive taste in my mouth.  I have had moderate sinus congestion for the last several days and was breathing a lot better within a minute of using 2 sprays per nostril.  This spray works fast!  Within 10 minutes my sinuses were completely clear of any congestion and I was clear all day long at work.

Check out their "Stick Up for Yourself" campaign on their website to see some "Words of Wisdom" and a pretty funny video. 

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Xbox Holiday Bundle Giveaway Event -Coming 11/28!

Xbox Holiday Bundle Giveaway Event

Prize Package includes: Xbox 360 S Console, 250GB Hard Drive, Kinect Sensor, Wireless Controller, 3 month Xbox Live Gold Membership, Kinect Adventures and Carnival Games: Monkey See Monkey Do
Event dates: 11/28 - 12/19
Free Blog Event! Sign-up here, BLOGGERS WANTED

Monday, November 19, 2012

"Fried" Apples - A Great Fall Recipe

I posted earlier about canning apples, and it might seem that I'm an apple fanatic, given I posted that and a photo of my apples yesterday in my camera comparison, but I promise.....I'm not some sort of apple freak.  I like that apples are healthy, inexpensive in the fall, and the things you can do with them are seemingly endless.

I make unsweetened applesauce and can it to use in recipes in place of vegetable oil.  You can't really substitute applesauce for oil on a flat one-for-one basis...you have to balance the fat and liquid content too.  Here's a good resource that I found for getting that balance right.  I also like to make apple butter for my family and for gifts, cinnamon applesauce, apple bread and muffins, and various forms of an apple side dish for breakfast, lunch or dinner.  While my first attempt at canning apples (link above) was pretty good, I really think I need to add more sugar to the syrup mixture and compress the apples in the jar more so I don't get quite as much syrup in each jar.

One of my family's all time favorite side dishes is what I call fried apples.  I don't really have a "recipe" per se, I just kind of wing it.

For about 2 cups cooked (which would feed at least 6-8), do the following:

  • Peel, core and slice 12 apples - I use golden delicious - and place in a plastic bag or large bowl.
  • Sprinkle with sugar - I would guess I use a couple tablespoons, but depends on the sweetness I'm looking for and how many apples I am using.
  • Sprinkle with cinnamon - again, to your taste, but I would guess I use 1-1.5 tsp.
  • Sprinkle with ground nutmeg and ground cloves - I just give a couple of good shakes.
  • Mix well so all the apples are coated.
  • Add to a large saute pan (can melt a couple pats of butter if you want a richer texture) and cook for a few minutes on med-high, mixing constantly.
  • After a couple minutes, I like to turn my stove off and cover the pan and let set for a few more minutes to soften up further and make a nice syrup with the condensation.
As you can see, this recipe is so versatile and customizable to your own preferences.  You can cook less to have crisper apples or more to have soft ones.

With my Victorio apple peeler and my Pampered Chef apple corer/wedger, I can make this side dish up in just a few minutes!

Camera Comparison- Results!

Do you remember when I posted about my search for a good family and food/product blogging camera?  Well, here are the comparison photos that I took with my old camera and my new one....both on auto mode.

Kodak EasyShare camera

Canon PowerShot SX260

Canon PowerShot SX260 in color filter mode- love it!
At first glance, the first two photos may not look all that different, but if you look at specifics, you can see the major differences between the two.  The Canon has a real life feel and truly represents the actual colors instead of making them kind of fake and washed out or clumpy.  Look at the dark spots in the red apple on the right....the Kodak makes it all one blotchy dark spot while the Canon gave a true representation of the color differences.  The flash on the Canon also works so much better.....can you see that the flash washed out the colors in the first picture and also created a reflection in the red apple?  The difference in clarity of the images is amazing when you have the photos at a large size.

There are so many features in the Canon that I just love....one of which is in this third photo where you can choose what colors to let through the filter.  There are so many other features that I just haven't been able to really test, but I think the Canon is a clear winner over my old camera.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Double My Coke Reward Points until 11/24

From 11/7 until 11/24, you can get double points when you enter codes from the following products:

black Coke Zero caps
black Powerade caps
gray POWERADE ZERO caps 

Best thing is....bonus points don't count towards your weekly limits!!  I don't see that there is a max number of codes you can get double points on either.

Python Printable Games Review- Great fun for the whole family!

Looking for fun ways to get your family involved together, great clean office games to play during an office party, or to just pass a few minutes playing a fun game by yourself?  If so, then I think that Python Printable Games would be a great idea for any age.

All games are in PDF format, which is really nice for being able to print them out as a booklet or tile pages on one sheet.  The games also have the answer sheets so you don't have to give up and never know if you're right or not.  I played the 12 puzzles prize pack this morning which included word finds, crosswords, and mazes.  I think this was a fun little game for me, but it's definitely suited for pre-teens best.  They have Santa Letter templates and Thank-You notes for the kids which is fun.  I liked the Hard Christmas Bible Trivia the best.....really worked my brain some and gave our Sunday School class something new and different to do.  As you can see below, the artwork is really nice for these printable games.....no cheezy, fuzzy pictures or pages with nothing but the game.  The artwork makes it fun for kids and adults alike and the find the difference games have great images as well.

Right now, they have their Christmas bundle for just $19.95 (less than .33 per game), which includes 60+ fun games for kids, teens, adults, individuals or groups.  You keep the games forever and there is no subscription fee or download limit.  I would have liked it if there was one download for the entire set of printables, but I guess having individual links like they do helps people choose what games they want to save some data charges or bandwidth issues.  If you're not ready to buy a whole pack of games yet, you can always go to their website for some other fun FREE printables.  Subscribe to their site and you can also get great coupons and other fun freebies!

So, what are you waiting for, go download some games and have a little fun!!

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

The Original Christmas Classics BluRay DVD Box Set Giveaway- Ends 11/27


I don't know about you, but I absolutely love the Christmas season when desserts just taste better, people are in a giving and loving spirit, and most of all.....the reintroduction of all my favorite classic Christmas movies and cartoons (and music, of course)!  I could watch Rudolph year-round, but my kids just won't have it.  The last couple of years, I seem to have missed one or more of my favorite Christmas classics on TV because of one thing or another and mope around because I just know they won't come back on before the season is over.  If I had this set of movies....I could watch them whenever I wanted to!

All About the Mommies and a great team of bloggers are so excited to offer our readers a chance to win The Original Christmas Classics BluRay DVD Box Set! 
The cute and family-friendly box set contains four of the most beloved holiday TV specials of all time, including the Rankin/Bass classics “Frosty the Snowman,” “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer,” “Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town” and “Frosty Returns.” Watching these iconic TV specials are part of the American holiday tradition, just like baking cookies or trimming the Christmas tree! The holiday season just wouldn’t be the same without them… This box set is valued at $44.95 MSRP.

The giveaway will run from November 13th at 12:01 am EST until November 27th at 11:59 pm EST. The giveaway is open to residents of the United States only, ages 18+. a Rafflecopter giveaway Disclosure: SW Virginia Saving Money was not compensated for this post or giveaway. Sponsor is responsible for prize shipment. This giveaway is in no way affiliated with Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, or ReclipIt. Void where prohibited by law. 

Friday, November 9, 2012

CollageIt Software-Make Collages QUICKLY: Review & Giveaway- Ends 11/27

Ever have tons of photos that you’d love to put into a collage to share with friends and family on Facebook, via email, Flickr, or just set as your wallpaper, but don’t really have the skills or time to do it yourself?  Unless you own a product like Photoshop, you may be out of luck….until now.  I was given the opportunity to review CollageIt’s photo collage software recently and it couldn’t have come at a better time.  With my blog photos, as well as upcoming holiday family photos, I wanted a quick and easy way to get multiple photos in one collage without having to buy expensive software.  I even searched the internet for free collage sites and really couldn’t find anything (not sure why CollageIt didn’t come up in my search). 

I finally gave up and just started making my own photo collage template in Publisher in order to save as a JPEG.  If you know anything about Publisher, I’m sure you understand the time it took to set one template up and the limitations it has in being flexible for more or less photos.  The opportunity to review the CollageIt software came just after I painstakingly made my first template.  Now that I’ve made a template in CollageIt, I can truly see the difference between the two.

First, the CollageIt software is FREE for the basic version….Publisher is not free at all.  CollageIt takes your photos and makes a collage to the specifications you set instantly….no dinking around trying to get everything just so and manually dragging frames.  As you can see below, you just choose how many photos you want in the collage, set the size under page setup, and import your photos.  You can manually place them in the collage or let the software do it for you randomly and then move things around simply by dragging and dropping!  Voila…..you’re DONE!  Just export and you’ve got yourself a fully sharable and professional looking collage.  I did my first one in just under 30 seconds….and that’s on the first time I opened the program and included making my personal settings.

Here’s the one I did in Publisher that took me like 30 minutes.
Here’s the one from CollageIt that took me 30 SECONDS!

Some of the limitations of the free version:
  • Watermark on your collages (see bottom right)
  • Inability to crop photos or move within the frames
  • Size restrictions on how big your collage can be for export
  • Inability to change colors or size of grid lines
Several of these limitations are resolved by purchasing the PRO version of the software, but just be aware of them when you use the free version.  You can get a single-user personal license for the PRO version for just $19.90 and this includes a 30-day money back guarantee and free lifetime support.

Now, for the exciting part……CollageIt has offered 20 of my readers the PRO version at no cost and with free lifetime support!

Contest ends 11/27 at midnight EST and winner will have 72 hours to respond or another winner will be chosen.  Contest is open world-wide.  This contest is for a software download from the sponsor’s website, and only works with Windows and Mac OS.

If you do not complete the mandatory entry with the required information, I will remove all of your entries into the contest.  If you do not include required additional information, that entry will be discarded.  SWVA Saving Money does not tolerate cheaters and I don't have time to email each person who may have forgotten to include some required information.  Thank you to all who play by the rules and want to win fair and square.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.