Saturday, August 17, 2013

Exciting News!

I have exciting personal news ! I am officially a Stella and Dot Stylist on a good friend's team. I will be her first branch out here in California! How exciting! If any of you would like to book a show with me, please feel free to contact me through this website or through my email. Hope to hear from some of you SoCal peeps! 

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Kate Spade Sale

This is such an awesome example of a member only sale that I talked about in the last post, I just had to share it!

It's a Kate Spade 75% sale that is only available to those who sign up to be a member. It's the only way I purchase anything from their store! 

Monday, July 15, 2013

A Different Way to Save

After a couple of long posts, I thought I would make this one a short and sweet one.  No need to overload on info just yet! I hope you all have been applying some of the suggestions I've given to save money on clothing and accessories. I also hope they have been helpful!

Now for today's post....As many of us have come to realise, there are so many ways to save money these days. From couponing to going to seminars and reading books about how to get the best deals. there's just so much to take in!  Amidst all of these many ways to save, I feel as though there's one trick to save money that has gone overlooked by many. What is this trick? Signing up for emails from your favorite stores!   What most people forget is it's a great way to get in on sales before it's announced on their website. What's even better,  is a number of the websites do member only sales with huge discounts. Through member only, or secret sales, I've been able to buy countless items on websites like Modcloth that almost always have clothing that is way out of my budget. Through their member only sales I was able to purchase two gorgeous dresses for $40. Each dress was originally around $50 each before the sale. Even stores like Potterybarn will give you advanced notice of when a big sale is going to happen. A lot of the stores will even do big online only sales when they are getting ready to clean out their inventory in preparation for the next season. Something else these stores do, is have huge warehouse clearing events at the end of the year. Which means HUGE discounts for you. The only way you can find out about the warehouse events is through the email memberships, or if you know some one who works at the store. Some times they even post it on Twitter, but then you have the chance of missing out on that Twitter post if you're not on there all the time. I know I have! Another cool thing about becoming a member on a website is most of the websites will send you coupons for your Birthday or to celebrate the Anniversary of you signing up to be a member. Pretty cool, right?

 There is one drawback for most people about signing up for the email notifications, the fear of getting spammed. I completely understand that concern! I've been guilty of signing up for to many store's emails and getting my inbox filled with unnecessary emails about stores. Or even having them sell my info to other stores who have spammed me. Through those experiences, I've learned a few ways to avoid both getting spammed, and signing up for to many store's emails. 

1. Only sign up for the stores that you buy an item from a once a week, or at the very least twice a month.

2. Read through the member agreement (if they have one) to see if they are going to give your info to other sister stores, or to stores you 'might be interested in'.

3. If you do sign up for email notifications, make sure to set the preferences for how often you want to be emailed and what you want to be notified about.

I hope you all can use this info to help you save some money! Have an awesome week!!

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

The magic words....

 If you're like any other typical person out there, you know what magical words I'm talking about. Words like, 'sale, clearance, sale on clearance, 50% off, 75% off!'. Yes, those heavenly words that inevitably draw us into our favorite stores and get us to whip out those debit (or even credit) cards without any hesitation. I mean, how can you possibly resist the opportunity to get the item you've been wanting, for a fraction of the original cost? Most of the time, you can't. It's thoughts like those that the stores are masters at making sure you cannot resist. Having worked in the clothing and sporting goods realm of retail for some time, my eyes were opened to most of the tricks these big stores play to get us to spend as much money as possible at their establishments. In return, I've learned some tricks of my own to resist their marketing schemes and save money.

One of the biggest things I learned; you can almost always find that same item that is in the store, and on sale, for even less online. One example, my wedding shoes. I'm a pretty picky person when it comes to fashion, not quite a label snob, but pretty darn close. This meant that my wedding shoes had to be perfect and I wasn't going to settle for any shoes that were a knock off, or a discount brand. Not a chance. So when I stumbled upon the absolute perfect pair of shoes by Iron Fist for the wedding and saw them on sale, I almost threw my credit card at the sales associate that instant. Even though they were completely out of my price range I was willing to pay whatever the price tag said for perfection. What stopped me? Two nagging voices in my head; God and my Mother. God was telling me, 'What have I taught you about buying items within your means?' My Mother was telling me, ' What have I taught you about being patient and finding a better deal elsewhere that's in your price range?' After about 15 minutes of an inner battle with these voices, I put the shoes down and walked away seemingly defeated. Ultimately, I'm glad I did. After about two hours of searching on the Internet, I found the exact shoes I saw at the mall online, and for $20 cheaper! With free shipping of course. You see, these stores are counting on your impulsive buying to take over and spend hundreds of dollars at their store. They know that as soon as they put one of those magic words in the title, customers will do exactly what I did and whip out that debit card without a second thought.

Second thing; you can almost always find it at an outlet store for less. One recent example is my new addition to the purse collection I have, a brand new Kate Spade purse. How much was it? $67.85. How did I get it? By going to the outlet mall knowing that this is the month all the major stores are looking to get rid of their 'last season' items. I don't think many people realise that outlet malls are on the same exact sale cycle as their regular priced sister stores. Which means all of those items in there are most likely now double discounted. Which brings me back to the Kate Spade purse, it was originally $190, the outlet marked it down to around $170. The mark down wasn't a big difference, which again, that's what they don't want you to notice. Like most of the other stores they had a 'mid year' sale, AKA 'last season' sale. Everything in the store was 75% off, which is what made the purse so cheap. At least, cheap for a designer label purse.

These two lessons I've learned have really helped me save some big money when purchasing items. I know that many of you out there may not have the time to scour for a better deal online for two hours, or have the luxury of time to drive to an outlet mall for better deals. That's okay! Although I would suggest looking at the typical re-sale websites like Ebay or Poshmark before you give up completely. Sometimes that 15 minute search can save you some major bucks on an item you didn't think could be found elsewhere. Another thing to keep in mind; no matter how badly you may want that item, if it's out of your budget JUST SAY NO. I know it may go against your nature, but honestly it's worth it. Don't even put it on credit, UNLESS you can afford to pay it off the instant you get home. Otherwise, you will ultimately end up paying for two items instead of one with all the interest they charge you. I learned that hard lesson multiple times over the years.

With all of that said, I hope you can pull some useful tips out of this post readers! See you next time!

Sunday, July 7, 2013

How to Make a Quick Trip to a Thrift Store

I have been so busy with working, and then getting a nasty cold that these past few weeks  I neglected to update the blog with a new post. Hopefully you all can forgive me :) . 

Today I wanted to write a post on some easy tips on how to make a quick trip to a thrift store. I know that there are some days where I really want to stop by a store, but just don't have enough time. For days like this I have come up with some tips on how to make a 30 minute trip to the store, and sometimes even an hour trip, into a 15 minute trip.

1. First, try to only look at three specific colors. I'm usually drawn to darker colors,  like purple or blue.

2. Once you have decided on colors, the next step is to decide what materials you are not interested in. I personally like to stay away from any material that is stretchy or silky.

3. Next, determine what patterns you want to stay away from. Like polkadots or stripes.

4. Once you have all these things figured out, shop! 

My quick trip usually looks like this with all the steps put into use: I go to the brown rack, run my fingers across each item and scan each shirt for pieces without stripes or sequence. Once I see a piece that meets all my requirements, I take it off the rack and decide whether I want to try it on or put it back. 

Each time I use these guidelines my usual time spent at the store is about 15 minutes. It does vary though depending on how big the store is and how much they have of each item. 

Hope you all can use these tips and  I hope they work for you! Have a nice week every one!

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Having a 'Shopping' Budget While on Vacation

Yes, you read that right, a shopping budget while on vacation! I don't mean shopping as in buying souvenirs, I really am suggesting setting a clothes or shoe shopping budget for your vacation. I'm sure this may seem taboo to many of you, but it has been a huge rule for us when going on vacation. I know most of you are reading this with major skepticism, but that's why I'm writing this! So to the best of my ability, I'm going to explain exactly why you should consider making this a part of your vacation budget.

Neither one of us is huge on souvenirs, we mostly just like to take lots of photos, go on tours, and do as many beer or wine tastings as we can. The only items we bring back from a trip are gifts for the people who watch our animals while on vacation and a fun travel mug from each place we visit. Like I said, we're not big souvenir people. After our first major vacation together as a married couple we realised how big of benefit a shopping budget could be. We started to notice that each major city we visited had an abundance of thrift stores, and on the outskirts of the city there was always some sort of outlet mall. As most typical girls would do when they see either one of those places while driving, they make their husband do a pit stop there. I mean, how can you say not to a Kate Spade bag that is brand new and 75% off? Or, how about Men's skate shoes that are half off? Then throw in the fact some states don't charge sales tax...we couldn't say no to any of that! Not to mention all the thrift store items! Seriously though, how can you beat those prices? Well, you really can't here in Orange County. Especially when they were things we had really wanted or needed. Making these pit stops is also a great way to go way over budget on a vacation. Which is what happened several times on a few of our trips.

After our third vacation in a year, and third time blowing our budget way out of the
water, we sat down and talked about putting an actual shopping budget into the vacation plan. Since then we've only gone over budget once in our 3 years of going on trips and have also found amazing deals we pretty much would never see at home. Deals such as, a Kate Spade purse for $65, Hunters boots for $40, or even Vans shirts for $2 a piece.

 For each vacation each vacation we now set the same amount as before, or increase/decrease it according to where we are going. For example, when we went to Idaho we set a budget of $20 to spend. We spent exactly that and not a penny more. What helped us decide that budget? We asked friends who had been there what there was to do for entertainment, they told us pretty much nothing but hiking and farm museums. Based on that review, we decided $20 was probably a good budget.

Now that you have heard my case, I hope you're able to pull some useful tips out of this post. If you do decide to put this budget in place, please keep some things in mind:

1. It doesn't have to be a huge sum of money. Something like $40 is even appropriate if you only go to the thrift stores in town. Just be sure it's a sum you can afford.

2. Try to make sure that sum of money is pulled out of your account and in cash before you leave. Some times a visual of just how much you have to spend can help you not go over budget or get too crazy with spending.

3. Just because you set that sum of money to spend, doesn't mean you have to spend it all. It's okay to have money left over when you get home.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Welcome to The Art of Being Thrifty!

Welcome to the Art of Being Thrifty!

I thought I would start this blog off by explaining a little about myself and why I created this page. I'm a working wife married to an awesome man who happens to be a physicist. We've been married for almost three years now, how time flies! As a married couple we have had our share of struggles, especially in the budgeting realm.

My husband is a very money conscious, budget oriented person. I on the other hand, am not. In the beginning of our marriage adjusting to living on a budget was incredibly difficult for me. So difficult, that I was the sole source of us overdrafting on our accounts almost every paycheck. I was also not allowing us to get on track with paying off several of the credits cards we had at the time. What made it even more unpleasant, was my lack of a job. Due to multiple sudden health issues, I had to have a few different surgeries to fix some old injuries from my athletic days. After struggling for almost a year with money and budgeting, I finally was able to get on track with lots of help from my family and God's scripture.

It wasn't as though I didn't grow up with some set of rules for money, or have any budgeting resources to pull from at our Church. I had several resources for money saving, budgeting, and paying off our debt forms everywhere around me. It was my expensive taste and drive to only have the best things in life that put me in the big fat red negative place in my account.

 Having an incredibly materialistic mindset didn't help me out much either. It wasn't until I read a verse in  the book of Luke that I was brought back to reality.  Since then, I have applied just about every budgeting technique that has been given to me and found what works for us and what doesn't.  My hope is that through this page, you as the reader are able to gain some wisdom to apply to your struggles with budgeting and daily purchases. To learn how to be frugal, but also be able to buy those high end items you may really want.

Until next time, I will leave you this verse to chew on;

Sell all your material possessions, and give them to the poor. Make yourselves wallets that don't wear out! Make a treasure for yourselves in heaven that never loses its value! In heaven thieves and moths can't get close enough to destroy your treasure.  Luke 12:33 GWT