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

Shopping Mistakes

Shopping Mistakes

Whether you shop for fun or for necessity, I think we’re all predisposed to making some common mistakes.

Buying Something Because It’s Cheap

Sure, who doesn’t love to save money, but if cheap is the only criteria that helped up you pick that dress – put it back! Think about how that garment will work in your wardrobe. Will you ever even wear it? I like to justify purchases in terms of Cost Per Wear. If an item is more expensive but you’ll get more use out of it, it may be more justified than that cheap frock you’ll wear once. That being said, if something you LOVE is on sale, congratulations and well done!!
sale2

Buying Something To Fit Into Eventually

“Oh look it’s an adorable pair of jeans that fits my arms! But that’s ok, I plan on being skinny! I’m sure it will fit soon” Oh boy, I know I’ve said that one too many times! Shop for pieces that make you feel good now, and don’t clutter your wardrobe with clothes for future you. If your body changes, you should accommodate it then. Whether it’s because you’ve worked hard to lose weight, or gained a few pounds, you deserve to feel good.

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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

How to Have a Cheap Christmas!

How to Have a Cheap Christmas!

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?

#1. Budget

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!

our Christmas tree @splattershare

#2. DIY 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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Save your money – how to NOT buy shoes!

Save your money – how to NOT buy shoes!

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.

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Gather Adventures! A Not-So-Hidden Gem

Gather Adventures! A Not-So-Hidden Gem

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.

Gather Boutique in Bowmanville - @splattershare

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.

Gather Boutique in Bowmanville - @splattershare

Gather Boutique in Bowmanville - @splattershare

Gather Boutique in Bowmanville - @splattershareWhat 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…

Gather Boutique in Bowmanville - @splattershare

It was a damask & jacquard kind of day…
Gather Boutique in Bowmanville - @splattershareGather Boutique in Bowmanville - @splattershareGather Boutique in Bowmanville - @splattershare  This sweater was super comfy and had this great detail in the back:Gather Boutique in Bowmanville - @splattershare

And to add to all of the aforementioned awesomeness, there are quotes displayed all around the store, adding to the feel-good experience:

inspirational quotes in Gather Boutique in Bowmanville - @splattershareKaren - Gather Boutique in Bowmanville - @splattershare

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!

xoxo

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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