Sunday, March 9, 2014

Shopping Secrets

I always get excited when I get a great deal.  And right now, there are so many great deals to be had! Below I've shared some of my secrets, tips and tricks to help you get more bang for your buck!

Promotional Websites

I know I was so excited about these websites that I've already made mention on my Facebook page.

If you do a lot of online shopping like me, you must sign up for  You sign up by registering your email and right away you get a free $10 gift card from your choice of select retailers. I chose a Target gift card and it came in the mail yesterday.  I've been on the site for a little less than a month and have already earned about $20 in cash back.  Its like what they say - "you get paid to shop!" And there are no catches! About every other month you will receive a hard check in the mail or a deposit to your Paypal account.

Another great website is  This website has a downloadable app that you can access on your phone right at the cash register.  I never shop in store without checking the website for extra deals.  Another great feature about it is that you have your coupons right on your phone.  No more clipping sales ads or looking for your lost mailers.
A Little More About Promo Codes/Sales
Let's face it-- this is not the retailer's first rodeo.  They have spent thousands, if not millions of dollars throughout the duration of their existence to research which promo codes draw customers in and get them to SPEND MONEY.  It's called marketing! You have to know the mathematics of what "deal" you're getting before purchasing. 
Example: A buy one, get one half off sale may sound like a good deal.  Well, it depends.  If you are in need of only one pair of jeans or one pair of shoes, you are going to pay full price for the item you need, and then feel like you need to buy something else to get a good deal.  You've budgeted for buying one pair of jeans and now have gone over budget.  Are those two pairs of jeans really a great deal for $120? Or sometime in the near future when they are on sale, would you be happier with just the one pair at a better price?
Or this one...
What percentage off sale gets your running to the mall? Some retailers are still offering 5%, 10% or even a 15% discounts.  That is not worth the gas for me to get across town.  Even 20% discounts nowadays are not worth it. 
But maybe the sale looks like this instead- "$10 off a purchase of $50". 
It's like getting permission to buy more and but knowing you're spending less.  But take a look:
$10 off $50 --- (is actually just 20% off)
$25 off $100 --- (or 25% off)
$40 off $150 --- (or 26.67% off)
$60 off $200 --- (or 30% off)
$75 off $250 --- (or 30% off)
For the person that just spent $150, you only got a 1.67% better deal on that extra top or purse.  Or to the one that spent $250, you got the same discount as your friend that spent $200.  Unless you're buying an entirely new wardrobe, don't double your total for the extra 5% in discounts.
Now (if you're like most men) you're probably thinking at this point "well you aren't saving money if you're still shopping." Well this will always be a true statement, but you can't buy someone a gift without spending money, right? My point is be a smart shopper, not all sales and promos are bad. 
My Mom asked for a purse from Vera Bradley for her birthday.  The bag was full price and did not qualify for free shipping or a promotional discount.  My final total would have been $78 after taxes, and shipping and handling for the one bag.  I decided to back out of my shopping cart and do a little more browsing.  I also got my Mom a matching checkbook cover and sunglasses case to qualify for the promo/free shipping and my final total was $73. She loved all the items and I paid $5 less than what I was already going to spend. 

Never Pay for Shipping

Most retailers waive shipping if you spend a certain dollar amount.  When I make an order online, the first thing I look for is the qualifier to get "Free Shipping." You will have to judge what it is you need, what you are willing to spend and if you are within the ballpark.  I hate nothing more than going to a retailer's website for a single item only to find I must spend $100 or so to qualify for free shipping.  

Although I am a firm believer that one should "buy more" goods to obtain this qualifier (instead of still spending money shipping), I do not advise this in every situation.  Again, if you do not need or even want the extra item to get free shipping, just wait on your purchase altogether.  Items are going on and off sale so often, I promise within a week or two another good deal will come your way.
But if you have to have it, go see if its in stock in the store or check to see if it can be shipped to the store for free pick-up. 

Hassle Free Return Policies/No Final Sales

Make sure the retailer offers a good, FREE return policy.  I used to order my swimsuits from Victoria Secret and when they didn't work out, I had to spend $7 to return them each time.  Swimsuits for my size weren't sold in stores, and returns weren't allowed in store.  I've spent just about as much in returns as a new swimsuit would have cost.  They finally listened to their customers and made changes to their policies. 
No explanation here- never buy anything that is final sale without trying it on first. 
Store Credit Cards--ARE A GOOD THING!
But use with CAUTION! I repeat, use with CAUTION.  And because I know not everyone can follow that rule, they shouldn't be for everyone. 
My last example- I recently received $10 off in rewards and another $5 off on a mailer for being a card holder.  The mailer also included 20% off (big deal) my entire purchase.  Instead of rushing to the store and finding many things I didn't need and charging up my credit card, I went straight for a gift set containing my favorite hair care products.  The item was sold online only and I didn't qualify for free shipping based off my total only. 
I subtracted $10 off my total, another $5 in rewards, typed in a promo code for free shipping I found just for being a card holder and received my item for $0! Yep, no tax, no shipping-- just me and my hair care products restocked for FREE! 
And that my friends, feels good!
Until next time,

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Refurb - Update!

Hello All- I've been at it again!

About a year ago when my husband and I first moved into together, we decided to use his full size kitchen table.  My husband's table was a hand me down from his family and had spent its time in a few places with other guy roommates and in storage.  The cushions were outdated and stained. 
After moving in, I would hunt all over town for red chair cushions to cover the stains.  I took measurements, but apparently most chair cushions were measured for the standard "one size fits all" chair bottoms.  Not these chairs, they were extra wide.  I actually like them that way, you can just forget finding chair cushions that are large enough to cover. 
Well I don't know why it took me so long to figure it out, but I decided cover the old fabric with a new color. 
And off to the fabric store I went.  I purchased enough for 4 chair bottoms and got to work. 
The labor was actually real easy.  I had to remove 4 screws from the bottom of each chair and placed the cushion on the new fabric.  I few folds and staples later, I had completely new chairs.  Seriously, it took me less than an hour.  Check it out:
And the best part about this project? The total cost for this refurbish was $5.44.  Can't. beat. that.

Well, I'm off to see what else can use an update!

Until next time,