Points I love

favorite point cards2

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

10 things not to splurge on

10 things not to splurge on

Let me share with you a list of 10 things that are just not worth the splurge. These savings certainly accumulate and become quite significant over time.

1. Tickets

Who doesn’t love a good night out? Maybe to the theater or a concert, perhaps even the movies. Let me tell you something, there are so many promo codes out there that I feel bad for anyone paying full price. Keep an eye out for these deals, often you’ll find them on group buying sites such as Groupon, Team Buy, Deal Find, Wag Jag, Living Social, etc. Tickets get cheaper towards the end of a run which can be a great time to score some deals too. In some cases you can find tickets up to 40% off the original price.

2. Garbage Bags

As environmentally conscious as I am, and as much as I try to always have reusable grocery bags with me, somehow I still end up with tons of plastic bags. I find solace in the fact that these seemingly useless plastic bags become my garbage bags, thus saving me from ever having to buy them.

3. + 4. Birthday Cards + Gift Bags

Personally I enjoy making cards for my loved ones, but I’m not suggesting that as a way to save money. In fact, if you factor in opportunity cost hand-made cards are considerably more expensive. What I am going to propose is a trip to the dollar store. I never understood what made a $5 bag better than the one that looks identical to it but cost $1.

When it comes to cards I find that a lot of people don’t really care or appreciate a store-bought card anyway. They will read it, remove the money if it contains any, and the card will find its way to the garbage shortly after. Spend the $7 if you please, but the dollar store does the trick just fine.

5. ATM Fees Read more

Cyber Monday – Did you miss it??

Cyber Monday – Did you miss it??

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!

splattershare gifts!

How to you get the most out of shopping season? Read more

More Money Please

More Money Please

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

Ebay

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.


my necklace is on ebay...

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.

Groceries

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?

apples

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!

xoxo

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Be a Shopping Pro!

Be a Shopping Pro!

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!

 

xoxo

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Money & Your Fall Wardrobe

Money & Your Fall Wardrobe

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

Taking off Shellac at home! Yes, really

Taking off Shellac at home! Yes, really

I’m going to save your life (and your $$$) just a little bit right now. This was huge for me! Apparently you can take off shellac by yourself at home. All you will need is tinfoil, cotton pads, nail polish remover and scissors.

Taking off Shellac at home! Yes, really @splattershare

DO NOT just peel the nail polish off. By peeling it off you are removing the top layer of your nail along with the shellac, causing your nails to be brittle. Trust me, I’ve done it! It takes a long time for them to grow strong again. Instead, here’s what you do:

1. Cut the tinfoil into strips and the cotton pads into quarters

Taking off Shellac at home! Yes, really @splattershare

2. Put a nail polish remover soaked piece of cotton on your nail, and wrap it with a strip of tinfoil

*TIP: Don’t make the strips too short, you want them longer enough to wrap around your finger tightly.

oTaking off Shellac at home! Yes, really @splattershare

3. In the salons they use Acetone, which is just a more concentrated grade of nail polish remover. Since what you and I have at home is not as strong, we need to keep this concoction on our nails longer. I kept mine on for about 25 min.

4. After 25 min remove tinfoil and scrape off the nail polish. At this point it should be soft and come off quite easily.

Then this will happen:

Taking off Shellac at home! Yes, really @splattershare

DON’T PANIC!

File the surface of your nails, and apply moisturizer. Trim your nails as you like and you should be good to go!

Here’s what my nails looked like after:

Taking off Shellac at home! Yes, really @splattershare

Good luck!

Let me know how it goes 🙂

 

xoxo

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