Photo Credit: zampano!!! via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: zampano!!! via Compfight cc

Lately I’ve been throwing on some clothes and finding holes in quite a few of them! The tank and t-shirts that I wear most often definitely have a hole or two and some of my leggings do too. My favorite pair of skinny jeans also has a nice hole in it that I can put two finger through. I’m still wearing a lot of these though mostly as undershirts or layering over them with other items to hide the holes. Either that or I’ve put them in my workout clothes pile. A lot of these items are from places like Forever 21 that don’t make very good quality clothing.

While I’m still going to try to wear these until they are too ratty, I think it’s time to at least start buying some items that will last me longer and will cover me up! I used to just hit the stores and just buy whatever I thought looked cute. Now I am moving toward buying higher quality items that will last much longer in my closet.

I try to keep a few things in mind while shopping:

Don’t follow trends
I don’t need to look trendy, I just need to look nice and presentable. Certain styles that I know are extremely trendy I try to stay away from because they just won’t work in a couple of months from now. It’s a great way to spend all my money because either I buy more clothing or I look like last season.

Classic all the way
I tend to gravitate towards basics but that doesn’t mean everything I have is just t’s and jeans. If something catches my eye if it’s something that’s considered classic then yes it still works. I usually end up being items that have one little thing about it that makes it cute and not just a basic. For heels I tend to go for stilettos since those have stood the test of time. Wedges are another one but not as likeable as stilettos.

Quality over quantity
It’s rare to find me in Forever 21 these days even though I still love how cute their clothing is. Most of my clothes with holes in them are from there. The material is pretty thin and holes just appear out of nowhere sometimes.

Confidence to pull it all off
Everyone has their own style and if you just like what you’re wearing then totally go for it! Doesn’t matter if other people think that you’re not fashionable and trendy. If you can still pull it off then great. There’s a resurgence in thrift store fashion that has become a trend in itself.

Borrowing instead of buying
I used to live pretty close to mys cousin who has a lot of dresses and is the same size as me. Anytime I needed one I would just drive over and raid her closet for something new. Well new to me and just sitting in her closet for her. Save some money buy borrowing some rarely used clothing or if you have a good friend exchange everything! It’ll be like having two closets to choose from.

 

There’s nothing better than throwing on some old comfy clothing that is super soft from years of wearing and washing. Even better if it’s not holey! I keep a lot of my clothes around with pieces even from high school! I’m hoping if I keep going with these points in mind while shopping that I won’t have to replace much in the future.

What’s your point of view when it comes to shopping for clothes? Get whatever you like or buy things that last longer?


Photo Credit: Dustin J McClure via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: Dustin J McClure via Compfight cc

Everyone has something that they tend to spend more on or they have less will-power to not buy. I’m not any different in that I do have a tendency to open up my purse and pay readily for certain items. Luckily my weaknesses aren’t expensive and I can usually get away with getting a few every now and then without breaking the bank!

Snacks/Candy/Chocolate

I totally justify all this by the fact that I’m spending money on things I can ingest. Of course it’s harder to justify it when I snag a box of $10 chocolates. Okay I admit I have spent more than that on a box of chocolates. I’ve got a chocolate addiction for sure and I fully admit to it. It’s hard walking by the chocolate section in a store and if I see a specialty store I’m going to beeline right for it. $2 for a small piece of chocolate? Well worth it in my mind! I keep those pieces to a minimum though!

Toys

When I say toys I’m talking about small collectible figurines and stuffed animals. Well okay that also includes some children’s toys also. I went through a phase where every week I would go to Kid Robot to get a new 3″ inch vinyl figurine. The toys employed the same method as baseball cards where you would never know what you would get. Every single box held something different and it might be something rare. At $7 each it wasn’t cheap and I have about 25 of them. I don’t indulge myself much on this anymore since I realized how much I was spending.

 

Gifts for other people not my husband

I love buying gifts for people and I definitely tend to spend a ton more money when it comes to that. I won’t spend it on myself because I really don’t need it, but I don’t think the same way when it comes to gifting. The one person not included as much is my husband since our money is combined there! Kinda funny for him but we’re pretty happy without giving each other gifts all the time. My nieces are of course the ones who end up getting the most gifts from me for any reason I can think. Not their birthday? No problem I’ll make up some excuse to buy them something. My sister probably thinks I don’t spoil them enough!

Containers

An odd one here but I can’t resist being tins, boxes, basically anything for organization! It’s most likely tied to some ocd but I do like things neat and tidy. I like being able to know where I can find something I need quickly and it gives me a lot of satisfaction to be able to find what I need quickly. I almost always know exactly where to find something. I have all sorts of containers that I’ve bought. One is an old spaghetti tin that I have lying round. I really shouldn’t have but it’s pretty fun looking with a vintage graphic on the outside. I definitely am that person who walks into the container store to look around. I never have bought anything though because everything is overpriced there.

 

At least my weaknesses don’t include fancy cars and a new wardrobe every single season! Mostly they are low cost items that I can indulge in every now and then and not break the bank.

What’s your weakness when it comes to guarding your wallet?


20141030_205257It’s Halloween tomorrow! As always every year I try to carve a pumpkin to be able to light it up. It’s a messy job but it’s pretty fun to do. I usually start out with some ambitious plan to carve the most intricate pumpkin but abandon that after the top is finally carved out. One thing I’ve always regretted is throwing out all the insides of the pumpkin. There are a ton of slimy guts and seeds that just get tossed away each year! Well this is the year I’m going to do something about that!

Eat it
Of course this is the first thing that comes to my mind! I’ve already taken the pumpkin seeds and roasted those. Next up I have to figure out what to do with the slimy stuff. For now I’m thinking I can puree it and then whip up some baked goods. I can also make vegetable stock, pumpkin puree, pumpkin pie, pumpkin butter and etc etc. Lots of options there!

Here’s what I did to roast the pumpkin seeds.
1. Separate the slimy stuff from the seeds. The best way to do this is to put it all into a bowl of water and reach in with your hands and pull it apart. Rinse the seeds.
2. Boil the seeds in salty water for 10 minutes.
3. Drain and pat dry.
4. Set the oven to 325 degrees. Place the seeds on a shallow pan without as much overlapping as possible. Sprinkle with some olive oil and then dust with paprika.
5. Roast for 10 minutes.
6. Take it out of the oven and stir it up. Put back in for another ten minutes. The last 5 minutes check the seeds by taking a few and cooling them down to eat them. The inside seeds will cook and burn a lot faster than the shells so be careful! When finished the shells will be nice and crisp and the seeds still green.
7. Eat!

Make spa treatments
The other thing I think I’ll try is a facial scrub and a body scrub! My hands felt pretty soft after I was finished scraping out the inside. There are tons of nutrients in the slimy pumpkin parts that are good for skin.

Facial Scrub
1. Puree the pumpkin slime.
2. Add brown sugar to the pumpkin puree. Recipe didn’t say how much so use your best judgement.
3. Add a splash of milk.
4. Apply and wash off after 20 minutes.
5. Keep scrub in the fridge for up to a week.

Body Scrub
1. Puree the pumpkin slime.
2. Mix 2 cups pumpkin, a cup baking soda, and 1/4 cup of honey.
3. Apply in the shower and gentle scrub. Rinse.
4. Keep scrub in the fridge for up to a week.

Compost it
Last option is to compost it all. This includes the pumpkin after it gets all nasty and such. One suggestion I found while Googling is to use it as a planter and then just stick it straight into the ground to decompose and provide nutrients. I won’t be using it as a planter most likely but I can still bury it in some corner of my backyard.

 

It’s a lot better to make use of as much of everything as possible! Pretty cool to see what you can do with things I thought were just trash before.

Happy carving time!

What were you able to do with the leftover pumpkin insides after carving a pumpkin?


Santorini, Greece

Santorini, Greece

I’ve traipsed my way through a good 7 different cities in the past 2 weeks and while I’m out some money, I’m also well rested and my legs got some good toning up. As vacations do it flew by extremely fast and before I knew it I was on the plane flying back home. We flew out to Rome, Italy 2.5 weeks ago, hopped on the cruise ship and went to 6 different places. Crete, Mykonos, Ephesus, Athens, Santorini, and Katakolon! It was a big whirlwind and each day was a bit crazy but it was a nice way to see a lot without too much hassle.
This was actually the second cruise I’ve been on and there are things I learned the first time around to save money this time. I love cruises because they are all inclusive room and board, but at the same time I dislike how almost everything but the basics is an additional fee. We didn’t bother with modern niceties like internet because it was $25 a day! Yep, that’s a day. Not the entire trip. My internet bill for a month is about that much. That’s just one example. It’s the worst part about being on a cruise when they are trying to sell you things every single minute you’re on there, but if you know how to avoid it then the cruise experience is still pretty wonderful. We also made sure to stay a few extra days at our end port of Rome so that we can enjoy vacation sans cruise ship too!
Here’s a quick general cost breakdown of the entire trip to see how much we spent for both of us
$2600 for the 9 day Mediterranean cruise (for the third option up room-wise)
$2600 for round trip airfare plus 4 nights of hotel in Rome (we bundled this through Expedia to get cashback and basically the hotels were free after the bundling)
$1400 for spending money for food, gifts, fees and transportation

We also had $175 of onboard credit to use which we put toward an excursions we wanted. That’s a total of about $6600 that we spent on a two week honeymoon! There are certainly areas we could have spent less, and many many areas we saved money on.

Spending a little more for our honeymoon
We definitely could have spent less on the cruise itself with a lower cost room. The lowest priced room is small without any windows in the interior of the ship. We decided for our honeymoon to get one on the outside with a large round window to enjoy the view. Cost more but we figure for our honeymoon we could do it once.

Beware of buying extras on the ship
Going on a cruise with the mindset that nothing is free will help keep your money in your wallet. Everything costs something even if you “win” a prize. We didn’t spend any extra money on anything on the ship except for what was already included in the overall price. This means internet, drinks like alcohol and soda, special dining restaurants, bingo, casino, algae detoxifying cleanse, fitness classes, photos and more and more. The first day I had actually won a body composition test to tell me my body fat percentage and what I could do to work it off. After a long session I was told I needed to also detoxify my body and was presented with a special $300 algae cleanse. On sale of course at a special price only available on the ship.

Excursions can be a double-edged sword
We did book 2 excursions on the ship to use our on board credit. If we wanted to really save money we should’ve booked it off the ship with other companies. We chose the two that would’ve been more complicated to do so because of multiple destinations and far locations to the port. They are easy to take but what ends up happening is that you get taken to special shopping areas where prices are jacked up just for tourists. In Turkey we were even taken to a carpet presentation to buy hand-made Turkish carpets for thousands of dollars. Luckily we look young and were not approached by any salespeople.

Look straight ahead and walk quickly
While I loved being able to to visit so many places in a short span of time, it also meant I ended up in very touristy areas. The locals are used to this and will spend all their time trying to sell you their wares. They’re pretty aggressive and will be yelling at you to come in and some will even touch you. If you don’t want to buy anything then don’t even look around because that’s an invitation for several people to converge on you. If you wanna spend money them let them fight over you! Otherwise it can be a nuisance to have people trying to sell you things all the time.

Taking advantage of public transportation and other alternatives
The easiest thing to do of course is to hail a cab and pay obscene amounts of money for them to shuttle us around for half an hour. In LA cabbies are the best option if you don’t have a nice friend to bring you to the airport. Luckily in Europe they have great public transportation and we took full advantage of that to save some mula. We took the trains a lot to get from the airport and to ports. One thing I did wish I spent more money on was to get on the express train so we wouldn’t have to deal with our luggage and a lot of people.

In Santorini there were two options to get from the port to the main city. 5 euros for a donkey ride or a cable car. As much as I wanted to try the donkey ride I didn’t want to burn my clothes afterwards. I took the cable car.

 

This was most likely our last big trip for a while and we certainly tried out best to enjoy it while not spending all of our money! We had a wonderful time with what we had already paid for. The ships already have a ton of free activities that we took full advantage of. The first day we walked round and poked in every nook and cranny. There was mini-golf, rock climbing wall, billiards, shuffleboard, jacuzzis, pools, soccer, basketball, shows, a gym, buffets and nice dinnertime dining. There’s more but I won’t bother listing it all out. Our few days in Rome after the cruise was also amazing and it was great do things on our own schedule too.

What’s the biggest vacation trip you’ve ever done and how did you save money on it?


Photo Credit: I Believe I Can Fry via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: I Believe I Can Fry via Compfight cc

Just another day in LA with accidents backing up traffic on the highway in the morning and even in the evening! Usually traffic is already pretty bad but whenever there is an accident it gets even worse. Somehow one accident also sets off more in a chain reaction as rubbernecks slow down to see what happened and instead cause another crash. Traffic is pretty common in LA and so are accidents. I always have a back-up plan just in case it’s one of those days when I don’t need to get home right away and can do something else to wait it out. Definitely helps with my stress level and blood pressure!

That back-up plan? Of course since it’s me it involves food most of the time! Sometimes if I have errands to run I figure I might as well but for the most part I decide that i might as well enjoy a good meal. This worked out really well tonight as my husband took me to a Mexican place to try it out. We saw a line out the door and didn’t know why. When we got closer we saw the big sign advertising the Tuesday special of $5 for a burrito, quesadilla, salad, or a taco plate. Score! We would’ve paid the normal price and been happy but finding an unexpected deal was even better.

Weeknight dining means nightly specials
It’s always the weekdays and nights that have the best deals on food! During lunch there are always specials that are usually under ten dollars or so. During the weeknights there are also usually great dining deals. A common one around here is taco night where you can nab a taco between $1-$2. Whole Foods has specials also every weeknight. One night they offer any pizza for $10, another night it’s $2 off their hot/cold bar.

Not as many go out to eat on weeknights and restaurants have to find some way to lure people in. Some specials aren’t so great of course but tonight dinner for my husband and I was only $10.90! It would’ve been $18 without the Tuesday night special. It’s also a great pick me up to occasionally go out to eat on a weeknight after a long day at work. Otherwise I can be inclined to sink into my couch and turn into a lump.

Online or call ahead ordering
Great specials mean that it can be pretty crowded and busy. It took us a long time to finally get to the front of the line to order. Many restaurants have online ordering or call ahead pickup that can cut down on your wait time. Next time we might try that before we leave. The guys behind us actually did try calling to beat the line but I think they ended up waiting just as long. We saw them exit after we were seated and munching away.

Don’t get so excited you leave your purse (murse) behind
It can be a great special but don’t leave your stuff behind! We saw that someone had left their purse on a seat. I can only assume that they were so excited to only pay $5 for a great meal that they then ran off afterwards forgetting all their important worldly possessions. We left it with one of the cashiers so hopefully she/he gets it back!

 

The hardest part about having a frugal lifestyle is cutting out dining out as much as I did before. I don’t think I’ll ever get to the point of dining out once a month like super frugal people. Well until I have kids that is. I hear that you’re forced to when that happens! I’ve cut out a lot of fancy dining options and have definitely tried to cut back to a few times a week only. For someone like me who loves food so much it’s a pretty big deal.

Do you have a favorite restaurant you go to that has a great weeknight deal?