Dear Future Secret Sister:

July 19, 2015 Musings 1

#OTSPSECRETSISTER is hosted by On the Same Page. It’s a six month “Secret Santa” type of set up, but instead of focusing on gifts, it’s a cheer club. Everyone is paired up and throughout the round, cards, little gifts, and cheer are sent. For more information about the set up and how to join the next round, see this post over at The Book Addicts Guide.

Dear Future Secret Sister:

Sign-ups for the next round of On the Same Page’s Secret Sister project are currently open. You don’t have to be a blogger to participate, but the ladies from OTSP will need to know who you are, etc. You might be a little late to participate in Round 4, but you can start talking to them on Twitter (Alyssa | Brittany | Amy) and express your interest so you’ll be good to go come Round 5. If you’re located in Canada or are international, email them to express your interest and along with your region. If they get enough interest in your region, you may very well be able to participate in this round.

The purpose of this letter to you, Future Secret Sister, is to let you know you don’t have to worry about extravagance when it comes to packages. I know a few people are worried about what they are able to commit to with regards to the price level range, but this isn’t about gifts! It’s about sending cheer! As Alyssa puts it:
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For me, I signed up at the highest level which I believe was $25 +. I’d like to say I’ve stayed on budget, but I’ve gone over a few times. Hopefully I have some tips for you that might help you save some money. This next round, we have 2 main holidays (Halloween and Christmas). You can pick and choose which you holiday you really want to splurge on and that’s assuming your sister doesn’t have any major celebrations going on. If she does, don’t be afraid to combine your regular package with that celebration.

As for shopping for your sister, I used mine as a piggyback. Let me explain, if I was already doing some online shopping and needed $10 to complete free shipping, I’d look for something in that price range and boom, something for my sister. I used a lot of coupons I’d receive from various stores especially if I was in the area, but wasn’t shopping for myself, I’d see if there was anything there for her I could get. I also took advantage of BookOutlet.com. I pretty much ordered early on and placed one order. I also used Hastings and shopped their bargain section in store. I’ve been able to find a few older releases on sale in their buy 2 get 1 free bin or half off bin. Don’t be afraid of these types of sales. The books are always in good condition. Don’t shy away from used books especially if they are in very good condition. Most of us participating don’t mind gently used books.

Now in terms of shipping, I sent everything pretty much using a flat rate box. They’re pretty easy to budget and you don’t have to worry about how much postage will be. I also picked up a bunch of bubble mailers and maybe used it once or twice. Target had some cute bubble mailers that were 2 for $1. If you’re a blogger and occasionally receive books from publishers, don’t be afraid to recycle the mailers if they are in good condition.

Speaking of Target, they have some cute stuff in their $1 / $3 bin sections. I’ve come across cute pens, small notebooks, as well as various other items. There’s nothing wrong with shopping in this section. Also, if you have a Michael’s near you, they too also have various bins where the most it’ll be is $5 (though recently did some Betsey Johnson umbrellas for $10 there). If your sister is the artsy / crafty type, you can pick up some great crafty items for her or for yourself! I also have to mention, shop at your local dollar store! The one by work sometimes has some cute stuff an all for a buck!

In the end, it’s not about the gifts! It’s about the friendships. I’ve met some really great people that I probably wouldn’t have come across on Twitter and there are others, that I followed on Twitter, but never really talked to them. Since #OTSPSecretSiter, I’ve talked to many new people and it’s great! For example, Andi is a teacher and a blogger who ran into some trouble earlier this school year. She needed her students to read a particular book, The Devil’s Advocate, but the teacher she was supposed to get books from took them! I offered to buy her class a few copies and few other bloggers helped out her class. It’s because of the secret sister project that I was able to help her when she needed it. When the husky died, I had a few fellow sisters check in with me and I was immensely humbled that someone cared to check in; after all, I kept hearing in real life “it’s just a dog,” when she was more than that to me and my family.

If you’re unsure if you want to join, I say do it! Start talking to Alyssa, Brittany, and Amy if you haven’t already! I truly can’t wait to meet my own Secret Sister (ah the anticipation!), but really I can’t wait for my own SS to know who I am!

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