Building Your Stash With Freebies
Digi scrapping doesn't have to be expensive. You can get LOADS of free kits - and bits of kits. The problem is there is too much of it!
Choose Carefully, Grasshopper
Don't get into the habit of downloading stuff just because it's free. That isn't as daft as it sounds. Lots of people download anything that's free. All you're doing is clogging up your computer and wasting your time. For example, I don't do Halloween or school themed pages (only a few photos from my childhood) and have enough Christmas kits for the next 100 years so I don't download those. ell, not many.
On the other hand I DO download things I might want later. All the .psd templates are useful now that I have PSE 11. Always download a free template if you like the design as you can use it as a temporary background in MM/MMS.
Caveat Emptrix ....
Buyer beware ... well, lady buyer beware!
The idea of giving out freebies is to entice you to buy the kit that goes with it, sign up to a newsletter etc etc so you need to have your sensible head on while collecting freebies. If I find I'd like to buy the kit that goes with the freebie I tend to have the blog/website window open for the day and look later rather than jumping in on impulse
TIP: Use a gmail account purely for that purpose if you're going to sign up to newsletters.
Freebies are a good way for the designers/stores to get their kits seen. Some are very very generous and will give add-on kits with papers and elements and then give lots of free clusters. Raspberry Road Designs is the most generous of all and they also have 50% off deals regularly so you can collect the rest of the kit. As you can see, being generous makes others want to recommend them so it's very good marketing!
Blog and Facebook Trains/Hops
Newbie Note: A blog train or hop is where a group of designers each make a part of a kit and put the download link on their blog then you go through the list of blogs (or Facebook pages or a mix of both) and collect the kit. The idea is to get eyes on blogs and the hope is that you will be attracted to other stuff on the blogs. It's a marketing ploy but everyone wins because they get blog traffic and you get a free kit, usually a themed one or one that coordinates in some way. Again, choose carefully. Do you like the theme? Do you actually need kits in that theme? Do you like the colours? You might only want some of the stuff in the blog train. If so, go for it but focus on what you want and move on where there's something you don't want. Don't let the eyes glaze over and go into "must have everything" mode!
Give yourself at least 15 minutes for each blog hop and only do one at a time or you will get in a complete mess. Before you start make sure there is not a load of other stuff in your Downloads folder. If there is put it in a new folder (within your downloads folder) with the date. You will want to keep blog hop downloads separate for maximum efficiency.
I open a new window with the beginning of the blog train - or any stop with the complete list. Then I go through the first 6 or so links and right click - open link in new tab. I go through all 6 and download the freebie. If it says it's a direct link I just click on it but if it doesn't I right click and open in new tab again. so I then have two tabs open for each stop on the blog train.
I then go back and say thank you (do it after you download the file then you can alert the designer if there is a problem with the download). I have a trouble seeing CAPTCHA forms so I give that two goes and if it doesn't work for me I thank them on their Facebook page or just move on. It's polite to say thank you but you shouldn't have to spend lots of time trying to do so.
Once I've done the first 6 links I close those tabs and go to the next 6 and so on. There will be some stops where the links don't work or the designer isn't ready but I just move on. I don't tend to go back to a blog train a second time unless I'm desperate for the missing bit.
If you have time (try to make time!) unzip all the blog train files and tidy them up. I put them all in one big folder with sub-folders for papers, elements, frames, word art, coupons etc. I include a folder for the preview/TOUs so I can credit the designer if I use the kit. I found I didn't use blog train stuff at all when I left it all in separate designer kits. If you don't have time then put the zipped files into a "Name-of-blog-train" folder before you start downloading the next one. On iNSD/iDSD (twice yearly marketing fests) you will have lots of blog trains to go through and you don't want to get them all mixed up!
Then on to the next one!
Free With Purchase
Many stores offer a free kit if you spend enough in their store. These are fine if 1) You're spending that amount anyway and 2) You actually see the freebie appear automatically in your shopping cart. Having to send multiple emails chasing a designer for a link to a freebie rather takes the shine off it. I can't stand having my time wasted!