How did you do here at Gather in 2008? Was the site good to you?
I'm greatful I found Gather when I did. I love this site- not just for the points and rewards, but the conversations, and the people you get to 'meet' and get to know. Gather has been a godsend to me. As a stay at home mom with few outside friends (I have a few anxiety & social issues that make it very hard for me to make friends), this site is my outlet for grown up conversation. It's been very helpful in allowing me my sanity. ;)
For 2008, I've cashed out for $1,130. I've received all except my Secret Santa donation, and the $25 gift card I just ordered last week. I have just over 1300 points, so I -should- be able to cash out again before Thursday, putting me at $1,155 for the year.
On top of that, I've also gotten 3 books for book clubs & reviewing, 1 gather grab bag 1 green baby book, a nice digital camera (which I gave to my daughter for Christmas), a $150 Amex card for the Milk promo, a free Turkey, and maybe a few other small things I'm forgetting about.
Gather has been good to me this year.
I think for 2009, I'm going to stock pile my points again (I've done it before- I didn't cash out from Jan-May last year, and once more from July to October as I saved up my points). I am hoping to put it towards something like a small vacation. The paypal option makes this much more viable. If I can go from January 1st until July 1st without cashing out, maybe I can take the kids somewhere on vacation.
Nick has a hard time building up PTO, and doesn't enjoy the vacations like I do, even if they are stressful with the kids, so it'll likely just be me and the kids.
I don't know where we'd go- somewhere in Michigan, we can't afford to spend too much on gas or lodging. I'd like to go camping again, but- well, there's issues with that. The past two years, I've borrowed my parent's camper three times (twice in 2007, once in 2008), and even though they assure me it's fine, my step-mother always, always, always gripes about it for months afterwards.
I leave it cleaner than I find it, I leave it stocked with paper supplies (plates, tp, paper towel, napkins, etc), but inevitably, she finds something I did wrong, and harps on it for months. After camping WITH them last year at the family camping trip, and nearly laving in tears two or three times, I decided I just can't borrow it again. It won't matter what they say to assure me it's fine, I'll still have to hear about it after the fact.
Ideally, I'd love to buy myself a small pop up camper that I can tow with the minivan myself. Even used, though, I won't have an extra $1500-3000 to spend on one. I'm thinking maybe this year, I'll have to invest in a nice big tent and a smaller tent, plus some air mattresses, lanterns, and a portable grill.
If I can do that, I can take the kids camping without relying on my parent's camper or camping in specific areas since they also have to haul it for me. With a tent, I'm not limited to those places. I could take the kids up north for a week, or over to Lake Michigan, or where ever I wanted to go. I also could pack them up, and go to several areas for a day or two each, without trying to haul the trailer.
So, my goal for 2009 is to save up around $50-75 a month here, and take the kids somewhere. $75 for 6 months is almost $500. That would go quite a ways, I think. I don't think it would be too hard. The past 3 months or so, I've been averaging that anyway. If I cash out before January 1st, I'll have cashed in for $125 in December alone. I had $100 in November. October is harder to judge. I had saved from July to October, then cashed out for $475 in October. I think about $200 of it was from the summer pics promo, though. The rest was from over the course of 4 months. So, less than $100 a month, obviously.
I also wasn't very active here until around the time BT took a huge gigantic dump, though, because when I started modding over there, I didn't have as much time to be here.
Anyway, that's my hope- a family vacation. If not, maybe I'll just save it from now until next November, and cash out for Christmas shopping.
Oh, wow- I just did the math. I didn't realize I was averaging almost $100 a month here when it was spread out over 12 months. Maybe it won't be so tough to hit $75/month average, then.
I wish you all luck in the New Year. Hopefully good luck. ;)