There are more opportunities than we often acknowledge. Here are some tips on taking advantage of the great sales, promotions, and deals that retailers created for us savvy shoppers!
1) Create an email you use exclusively for shopping related mail
Remember when mom made you fold your clothes? After reluctantly doing so, wasn’t it great how much more room you had? Organized and neatly tucked away equals efficient, which results in saving your valuable time; and I don’t need to explain the value of time. Most of us don’t usually check our junk mail, but that’s where many offers from retailers end up. Granted some are definitely garbage, but by not checking you will miss out on some gems too. Whenever you sign up for anything online or in store leave your shopping email, this way you’ll be able to sift through the mass much easier and safely disregard the junk in your main email.
2) Sign up for loyalty programs
If you hate having a wallet full of cards, leave some at home! Let’s be real you won’t be needing all of them in one shopping trip. Having loyalty cards, especially at stores you frequent often, can result in fantastic rewards; if you shop there anyway, why not? This is applicable to anything from gas, to groceries, to fashion retailers, to pharmacies. Sometimes you will earn points or prizes, other times you will receive notification about upcoming sales, promotions, and free shipping events (in your now special shopping email. See 1)
3) redeem at opportune times
Always look for opportunities to get more, because these are plentiful. Many retailers will have special/bonus days, when you will be able to redeem your hard earned points for greater rewards. If your shopping list consists of non-essential items hold out for these events and enjoy getting more!
4) Don’t over-pay for basics
Stock up while the price is right! A common mistake is buying just because something is cheap or on sale when you probably don’t need it. Don’t do that! You’re just throwing money at the wind and cluttering your house in the process. However, there are items this method is absolutely great for! For example, you will always need shampoo/soap etc. So buy a few if they’re on sale, or better yet, get it while you’re redeeming your awesome points (see 3). This goes for fashion too. Think about layering pieces. Why over-pay for plain tank tops?
5) Time the season
As we all know retailers need to make room for new inventory and thus we get sales at the turn of each season. I don’t recommend buying ‘trendy’ things at this time. If you’re not going to wear it now, it might be out of style come next year. But this is when you buy the classics, the timeless pieces! A beautiful beige trench? Don’t mind if I do! Black pencil skirt? Oh yes!
Ah being frugal and getting free stuff. It’s great isn’t it? I think so, and I’m pretty good at it. If you’re going to buy something anyway, why not be rewarded for it? I’m sure we all understand the idea of loyalty cards – retailers vying for our business try to prevent us from going to the competition by enticing us with rewards. As simple as that, it’s how they earn our repeat business. While not all loyalty programs are created equal, there are some that fit seamlessly into daily life. Here are a few of my favourites: Read more
Julia Grieve, the beautiful fashionable and successful woman behind Preloved, was generous enough to sit down with me for a chat where she let me pick her brain. Having started her own business at a very young age, Julia definitely knows a thing or two about entrepreneurship!
“When I started my business I was young and not afraid of anything. Ignorance can truly be bliss! I knew exactly what I wanted and I went after it. I, of course, could not have done it without the support we got from the city, without my family, or without my modelling experience.”
She credits her attention to detail and meticulous eye for fit to her career as an international model.
“Wearing some of the most expensive brands in the world teaches you about how clothing should fit, and feel.”
I recently attended the Mode Accessories Show where I witnessed many beautiful and unique gems. Today I want to share with you a brand that touched me beyond the physical beauty of its pieces. I was very lucky to not only get a glimpse of MaLu’s spring line but get to know the woman behind the brand – Maria Luisa.
Maria, a school teacher so wholeheartedly devoted to her kids, started the “Start me up” breakfast program at the school she was teaching in at the time. The program quickly became successful and grew from the $500 Maria began with to receiving a $100,000 grant from Sun Life Financial. The Toronto District School Board took notice and modeled their own nutrition programs after Start Me Up. The name, by the way, was created by the kids themselves which earned them a well-deserved pizza party for their efforts! But the school where Start Me Up originated had to close down which was hugely upsetting to Maria. Read more
As retail experts will tell you Cyber Monday is not what it used to be. There are still great deals out there but overall they are not as spectacular as they once used to be on this one particular day. Today there is more competition in the market place than ever before, which is great for consumers because competition drives prices down and creates more options to choose from. This has led to the availability of great prices and selection not only on Cyber Monday, or Boxing Day in Canada, but rather all throughout the month of December. What does this mean for us? Well, for one we don’t need to trample each other on Black Friday and loose productivity by either shopping online at work or playing hooky to hit the sales. Sure there are ‘limited time deals’ but those are just marketing gimmicks to urge you to impulse buy quickly before this thing you don’t need disappears!
How to you get the most out of shopping season? Read more
Every year when fall begins to arrive I look outside and start day dreaming about all of the outfits I’m going to pull together. I start planning beautiful walks in the park surrounded by the changing foliage, sporting a boots-sweater-scarf combo in beautiful deep hues. I bust out my sweaters, put away beachwear, do a mini overhaul in the process and excitedly await my opportunity to get out there and enjoy. But before I have the chance to soak in the crisp air, crunchy leaves, and light sunshine, I find myself miserably crawling along the highway cursing winter driving. Fall is just a prelude for the wrath of winter which inevitably creeps up on us far too quickly. One day you’re debating which fall boots to wear, and the next you’re cleaning snow off your car! While I’m definitely thankful that I’m not in Buffalo right now, I feel like I didn’t get the chance to say goodbye to fall. It came and went so fast. I’m sorry if I’m not my usual optimistic self, but a girl’s gotta rant!
Now that winter is here I feel confused and unprepared. Quite frankly I’m excited for weekends during winter – cool walks in my awesome new boots, snow tubing, skiing, and playing in the snow. But weekdays are a whole different beast, especially if you’re getting dressed for work: Read more
I love Christmas! Even though it’s cold it feels so cozy and festive. The spirit of giving seems to prevail and random acts of kindness become more prominent. It reminds me of a simpler time – when my parents took days off work to spend time with us during the Christmas holidays. To me Christmas is about family – whether you celebrate Christmas or not this time of year is truly magical.
There can of course be a lot of pressure around this time as well – to get all the right gifts, not to forget anyone, to decorate your house, to get a beautiful tree etc. Not only is it a lot to do but the costs quickly add up, and many of us want to be able to donate our time or money to charity too. So how do you keep it in check?
Have a budget in mind before you begin to shop. There are a lot of options, and if you comparison shop or simply don’t buy on impulse you’ll save yourselves a lot of money. Know what your budget is and how you plan to allocate it. For example when it comes to Christmas trees there is such a range in prices! Some people might be ok spending $200 on a tree, some might think $50 is the true value. Personally, I found a beautiful 6 foot pre-lit Christmas tree at Wal-Mart for $20! I feel pretty good spending $20 on this baby!
#2. DIY Read more
I find personal finance extremely interesting – it’s like a game, where you try to manipulate what you have, earn more along the way, and move closer towards your dreams. It’s a giant topic so I won’t dwell too deep today, but I do want to talk about money.
I don’t think you can achieve financial independence by reducing your spending only. As you age, mature, and grow so do your needs and wants. Ultimately you should be working towards earning more. But that doesn’t solve the issue either. THE most important factor in the financial independence formula is proper money management. If you make a lot of money but spend it in ridiculous ways and end up racking up debt anyway, no amount of money will ever be enough. Building good strong habits, and learning about budgeting is key. No matter how much money you have spending it in a smart way is important.
Buying something of equivalent value, and no added benefit for a higher price is stupid. If something costs more it better be superior in quality or differ at least in some way. There are many reasons why one product can be more expensive than the next – quality, craftsmanship, brand name, better/more ethical processes etc. And I’m happy to pay for that. If I’m buying a winter jacket, which is essential for Canadian winters, I’m happy to pay more for one that will keep me warm, will maintain its shape and appearance, and hopefully last for several seasons. It is when there is no difference between items that I don’t see the need to overpay.
So without further ado, my little rant/tips for the day on making your money go further
We’re all familiar with it but what is EBay best for? While I’m sure that it’s great for collectibles and unique items, what I’ve discovered is that EBay is great for accessories. Everything is made in China anyway so why not get it directly from the source? I always select the Free Shipping option, as not to be surprised or discouraged from my purchase, and filter by price and end date. This is seriously fool-proof. You essentially get factory direct prices without all of the markups related to retail and international shipping.
Example: I went to Jamaica last year (absolutely incredible by the way) and I wanted to buy a keepsake for myself. Seeing as I hate knick knacks (they take up space, but what are they for?) I decided to get a beautiful piece of jewelry that looked unique. I thought I was getting a one-of-a-kind made-in-Jamaica piece, and for $20?? Excellent! A little while later, when I was back in Canada perusing EBay I came across the exact same necklace, only in a different colour. The price? $1.75. Yes that’s a nice profit margin.
So, I repeat, if it’s made in China anyway why not get it from the source, and cut out the middleman. While I know that brand names can be important when it comes to staple purses, if you’re thinking scarves, headbands and costume jewelry head to Ebay.
Yes, I do understand that stressed out, cooped up chickens are different than the ones that run around grazing and playing with their friends. Fine, those chickens might be better for you and thus more expensive. Then there’s the ‘Dirty Dozen’ – 12 products which are recommended to be organic due to pesticide residue. BUT what about the rest of food?? If there is no added benefit, I’m not paying for the brand. It’s food. You eat it. You don’t put it on your counter to admire the packaging. Hell, take it out of the packaging and serve it on a pretty platter if it makes you feel better. I just don’t understand why non-organic vegetables in the higher-end grocery stores are 3 times more expensive than those in cheaper ones. And yes I’ve tried both. Identical qualities. And if you think that the savings are measly think again. Grocery shopping is at least a weekly adventure, and there are 52 weeks in a year. If you’re savings $20 a trip (quite frankly it’s definitely a lot more than that) $20 x 52 = $1040. That’s more than a grand in your pocket. Vacation anyone?
There are a gazillion more such examples, but let me spread them out as not to burden you on this beautiful day. Have a look at my “Points I love” post for more ridiculously simple tips which don’t require any change or effort, but keep more money in your pocket.
You work hard for your money, you should be able to enjoy more of it!
I went to a shoe sale, and I bought… nothing! So why am I writing about this? Because the skill of holding back and stepping away from a sale took years to acquire.
I used to buy shoes for the mere enjoyment of witnessing my shoe collection expand. The more shoes the better, right? Unless you’re putting on a shoe exhibition wrong. I never wore all of the shoes that I owned. Some I kept even after they’ve served their time, others were impractical and I never actually got real use out of them (wearing them to dinner once and complaining the whole time doesn’t count).
As I get older I start to appreciate the utility of a shoes, instead of just hoarding them. Yes the shoe has to be hot but I have to either be able to wear it to work (and survive), or wear it out and not be the girl whose feet hurt. What’s the point of having shoes you don’t wear? I would rather have less shoes, and buy new ones as needed, instead of having a giant collection consisting of shoes I don’t wear, or don’t wear anymore. So as always, efficiency is key. If you wear it keep it. If you need it, buy it. Otherwise stay away.
I don’t think I’m the only one who enjoys a good sale. But the key to buying anything on sale is to buy items you love enough to pay full price for. There’s no point in buying crap you don’t love, doesn’t fit well, or doesn’t make you feel good about yourself just because it’s on sale. Believe me, based on years of experience it will not become more comfortable, your toes will always be squished in those shoes, and just because you fit into it doesn’t mean it fits you.
I’ve been on a mission to find a new crossbody purse. I was hoping for something feminine, with metallic detail, in a beautiful colour, and maybe with an over-the-shoulder chain. Imagine my delight when i stumbled upon this beauty in Ann Taylor:
Yes. This bag is fantastic! It’s big enough to fit my giant wallet, and all of my other purse contents, and it checks off exactly every single criteria on my list. Feminine? Check! Metallic detailing? Check! Chain? Check! Read more
I happened to catch ‘extreme couponing’ on TLC the other day while on the elliptical at my gym. It was so bad I couldn’t look away! Needless to say, I had a great hour long cardio workout.
There are so many things wrong with the idea of extreme couponing! I’m all for frugal living and saving money (obviously), but this is not the way to do it. I approach money and shopping in the same way I approach anything else- with efficiency. I like to do things without wasting time or money, whilst using all of the resources available to me. Read more
I have discovered a new gem, and although this store has been around for years now, it was a first for me because I have never been to Bowmanville before. Bowmanville is about 45 min East of the city, and it sure looks like I’ll be coming back!
The store I’m talking about is Gather, and it is the cutest boutique I have been to! All of the items are hand selected by the lovely Karen, and are all unique in their own right.
How pretty is she?!
Karen doesn’t buy entire lines necessarily, or even outfits that are meant to be worn together. She uses her personal style, intuition, and love of fabulous things to source individual pieces that will appeal to her customers.
What I personally loved about this store, aside from the fact that it’s huge and you feel like a kid in a candy store, is the fact that as different and unique as the items are they are not outrageous and you can picture yourself wearing everything. There is an interesting story when it comes to every piece in the store. If you pick Karen’s brain she can tell you where everything was made and how it found its place into her store. The prices are not cheap but are completely affordable, and definitely reflect the excellent quality! Not to mention that the chances of someone else wearing the same outfit are slim!
Karen and I had a blast trying on a bunch of awesome outfits, and of course I couldn’t leave the store empty handed…
And to add to all of the aforementioned awesomeness, there are quotes displayed all around the store, adding to the feel-good experience:
I had a total blast shopping at Gather. Karen, thank you for spending the afternoon and sharing your wonderful store with me!
Ladies, I highly recommend you check this place out! Fellas, there is an incredibly comfy chair for you at Gather!
First of all I want to take a second to remember Sept, 11, 2011 and all those we lost. It was a horrible tragedy, and may it never happen again. My thoughts are with the families affected by the events of that awful day.
What I want to talk about today on my Post for Thought is Judgment. I don’t mean judging the pros and cons of making a certain purchase or something relatively minute. I mean judging people. Judging each other. Judging strangers. Why do we think that we have the right to do that? I have to admit that I do it too. We have these preconceived notions about which external traits correspond to one’s character. How can you possibly know what a person has been through without actually talking to them? Just because a person looks a certain way doesn’t mean you know anything about them. I have a few personal examples I want to talk about to illustrate my point. Read more
I don’t normally wear dress shirts, but boy oh boy things are about to change! I am in love with this top!
I got it at the J.Crew outlet store at the Toronto Premium Outlets in Mississauga for $35. It’s similar to this one but not quite it. I think the selection will vary by store.
It looks very professional for work, but I can definitely see myself dressing it up, wearing it with jeans, and just really any multitude of outfits. Great for fall!
The coloring of it is interesting enough to make it unique but also simple that it can be used as a basic, and layered with colours, jewelry, or a nice jacket.
Here are some other awesome and similar suggestions: Read more
Hi guys! So I haven’t posted anything in 5 days *Gasp*! I know. I even missed Thursday Thought! But here’s why: As you know TIFF is in town, so naturally I had to be there. My friends and I didn’t get tickets to see any movies, not yet anyway, but we really wanted to be downtown for the hoopla of opening night! While we probably should have gone to King St. W. we decided to make our way to Yorkville instead, in the hopes of spotting some stars enjoying their evening. If you’ve never been to Toronto, you have to visit Yorkville. It’s a really cute area to just walk through, grab some lunch, go for drinks, and of course shop. This is the expensive shopping part of town, so if you’re into that sort of thing it’s fantastic! Just name it, it’s there. Otherwise, Yorkville is really great for window-shopping and inspiration. Because it’s an expensive area your chances of spotting celebrities there are pretty good all year round, not to mention during TIFF time.
What we learned is that to sit on the patio of certain places around TIFF time you need to make reservations. I’m pretty sure there were free tables but they must have been saved for celebs. Obviously we just didn’t cut it. Anyway, we ended up going to this adorable Italian restaurant called Trattoria Nervosa, and sat on their rooftop patio.
If you go, you should try their pizza and Aperol Spritzers. Both were divine! The pizza has a super thin crust, and tasted really fresh. They told us it was small, but we found it to be perfect for sharing.
It’s 1961 again!
Fashion is truly cyclical. Of course we are all aware of this already, but this thought was further reinforced when I watched Breakfast at Tiffany’s the other day. For the very first time, might I add. Gasp I know! I was completely flabbergasted by Audrey Hepburn’s character. Her charisma and her beauty was so enthralling. I couldn’t get enough of her! I kept admiring her classic look, her dramatic accents, and the way she was always put together. The fashion in this movie is truly iconic.
The fact that this movie is in colour gives it a modern feel, making it easy to compare 1961 with 2014. If you notice the other characters, and extras in the movie (but who can look away from ms.Golightly??) you will get a true sense of what 1961 was like. Here are some of the key pieces I noticed while watching Breakfast at Tiffany’s:
1. Full skirts
Although Ms. Golightly tended to gravitate towards black form-fitting gowns, which she would then dress up with jewelry head-wear or scarves, we do see her in this pink number sporting a fuller skirt.
2. Statement necklaces
Of course! How can one go through this movie without noticing the statement necklaces?! We see holly wearing 2 very different, and very dramatic pieces in the movie. Although today statement necklaces are extremely popular, we no longer use them only for black-tie events, but rather to jazz up a super simple day outfit, thus serving multiple purposes.
My blog is not sponsored by anyone and I have no incentive to encourage you to go and buy something. This blog is an honest reflection of my frugal but fashion-focused thoughts. I love saving money much more than spending it, which might sound counterintuitive, but forces me to be more creative. As I look in my closet and think about what I need to add to it to transition into the fall, I just can’t help but think that I have so many outfits I’ve never worn hiding in my own closet already.
We all know the feeling of staring in your jam-packed closet, bursting at the seams, and having nothing to wear. This is the result of clutter. If you have too much crap you will not be able to actually see what you have and make use of it – therefore less is more. The less you have, the more familiar you are with what you have and the more you can make use of it. Less clothes doesn’t mean less outfits. When your closet is full and you’re not sure what it is you have, you fall back on the small portion of familiar clothes anyways, and only wear a small percentage of your awesome wardrobe. So get rid of items you haven’t worn in the last year, and start fresh! It’s all about efficiency! Fewer beautiful pieces will serve you better than a closet full of mishmash. Spend your money on fewer, but better quality pieces which you will get the most use out of. Read more