Spring has Sprung!

Spring is here… which always makes me want to redecorate or go shopping! Since I don’t always have the budget to pick up things I like, I have found a way to get new things without spending any money! The best part? My friends benefit too!

It’s called a Swap Party, and anyone can do it.

This idea came from a friend of mine that lives in Las Vegas. She sets aside a night and invites a groups of friends over. She asks them to bring a few items that they no longer need or want. (These items must be of good quality. Be clear about what is swap-worthy. Only clean goods in gently used condition) The night of the party everyone comes with their items and you set up shop! Allow everyone to choose items as if they were in a store. You can go home with some pretty awesome stuff you didn’t have to pay for, and you’ll get rid of some things you didn’t want in the process!!

Here’s a few tips:

  • Remember, it is a party, so have fun!
  • Serve your favorite punch and a few simple snack foods.
  • Give guests room to spread out their items by clearing off surfaces, such as dining and side tables. Use bins and trunks to serve as display space.

Make sure to outline one (or all) of these simple rules (or create your own) so everyone is on the same page:

  • Establish a system - Choose one of the following swapping strategies, which should be explained in your Invitation or at the start of the party.
  • Take turns shopping - Roll the Dice to pick who shops first. Limit the number of items to three per turn to keep it fair and moving fast.
  • Use tokens - The host hands out a poker chip for every item a guest donates. If a person brings 10 items, she gets 10 tokens with which she can purchase 10 new items.
  • Keep the numbers even - Everybody goes home with the same number of items that they donated.

Another Swap Option: Clothing and Accessories

How to organize: Set up a garment rack with hangers, or string up a clothesline, then prop up a full-length mirror. Make signs, and sort fashions by size, type, season, or even personality. (Julie, Samantha, Britni, and Miranda, anyone?)

What to consider at a clothing swap: You may want to invite people who are roughly in the same size range (though anyone can trade bags, jewelry, and scarves).

At the end of the night, if there are items left, whoever hosted the party should donate the leftovers to a local charity or thift shop.

**Another fun variation on the Swap Party idea: Hold a Swap Party as a fundraiser! If you’ve got to raise money for the PTO, or want to donate to a local charity or organization, get together and hold a silent auction with items you no longer want. If you do it amongst friends you’re more likely to go home with something you like (rather than your typical rummage sale). And, everyone will still go home with a bargain but you’ll have raised some money for a good cause!

I hope this idea inspires you. Happy Swapping!!!

Contributed by Guest Blogger – Jodi

Safari Users in Online Banking

It has come to our attention that some Safari users have been experiencing intermittent problems while using Central Online Banking. The most common problem is that customers will try viewing their account history but will get an error message. While researching this, it was discovered that these issues began with the recent release of Safari version 5.1.4, and numerous other industries have also been impacted. Our online service provider has notified Apple, and they are working together to determine the necessary changes that will allow our customers to navigate our website seamlessly.

In the meantime, we recommend that customers try using a different browser, such as Internet Explorer or Firefox, when using Central Online Banking. We hope that this problem can be resolved in a timely manner, and we apologize for any inconvenience this has caused.

UPDATE (4/9/12): We have identified a temporary workaround that Safari users may use until the problem is permanently fixed.  Immediately after you log in, and before doing anything else, click the refresh button on your browser toolbar to reload the page.  Then, try going to the transactions page of an account.  You should now see the page contents and not the blank white page.

UPDATE (5/10/12): The latest version of Safari, 5.1.7, should fix this problem.  If you are still experiencing it, please update your browser.