Photo Credit: Leo Reynolds via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: Leo Reynolds via Compfight cc

It was Easter this past Sunday and not only did a lot of people celebrate, a lot of people went shopping! Anytime there is a holiday it’s an excuse to have sales. Holidays are always commercialized and it’s really a great time to try to find some great deals. So of course I went and did a little bit this weekend to see what I could find!

I find myself inside Carter’s every other month it seems like. Those little baby clothes are so adorable and I have so many nieces to shop for! Plus everyone is having babies now so it seems like I always need to go buy some baby clothes now. I did my usual of making a beeline straight to the back where the clearance items are to see if I could find something there first. Then I spun around the store looking for the best deals. 40% off here, 50% off there, some doorbusters for $6. Then I saw it! $10 for a whole wall of cute three piece clothing sets! I could choose from submarines, monkeys, bears, and all other sorts of cute little baby boy animals! Not believing my eyes I spotted an associate nearby and asked her if everything on that wall was really $10. Yes indeed! I started leafing through the miniature clothing then realized that I had been effectively suckered in.

What happened?
In a sea of signs with 40% and 50% mounted on top the $10 signs stuck out as unique. I was used to walking around looking at percentages and when I saw the few signs saying $10 it struck me as the best deal in the place. In fact all those clothing items were $20 so it was only a 50% off sale. Having a few different signs though really made it stand out and feel like a good deal. Kind of weird but that’s my theory!

Dollars signs or percentages?
My theory is that most people will react more strongly to seeing the dollar amount rather than a percentage. In my mind $10 is a pretty good deal for a lot of things. It’s instantly registered in my brain and I don’t have to calculate anything to get the sale amount. Lazy shopping.

Taking a step back
It’s funny how I reacted so strongly at first and then felt a bit letdown when I realized it was really only 50% off. Oh well right? Same goes for impulse buys where I instantly want something but if I think about it some more then I realize I don’t need it. If I didn’t take a step back to think about it I probably would’ve just snatched it up and then giggled me way to the register. Then at homeĀ  probably would’ve realized it.

 

Are you a dollar signs or percentages person? Which one sucks you into doing more shopping?


Photo Credit: pixeljones via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: pixeljones via Compfight cc

I’m a big fan of thrift stores and digging through stuff to find the goods…or sometimes just more stuff. Not a fan of that song though though I like Macklemore’s other songs. It’s one thing to be a bargain hunter at a normal store but thrift shopping is another thing entirely! Not only do you have to dig through piles of old stuff but you have to look past the exterior to find something good and worth saving. The pricing is also completely subjective and sometimes things I know that were cheap in the first place are priced much too high for buying second hand. It’s a different kind of bargain hunting that I have dabbled in but certainly can’t say I’m an expert at!

You never know what you’re going to find at a thrift store and that’s part of the fun! Sometimes you’ll find something really awesome for a few bucks and other times something brand name. My husband isn’t really into going into thrift store but I dragged him into one a few weeks ago. It pays to keep your eye out for things and he did just that. He spied an Oakley watch that had retailed for $1300 a few years ago. The thrift store price? $80! A quick look on Ebay (thanks smartphones!) and he realized that he had found something that we could definitely make some money off of. It eventually sold on Ebay for $370, netting $250 after taxes and fees and the $80 to buy it in the first place. Yeah!

What a find! I think I need to drag my husband into some thrift stores more often! It was definitely something that won’t happen very often but it really makes me like thrifting even more!

Save mula mula
Of course the greatest thing about thrifting is being able to buy things for much less than any regular store. A lot of the stuff in there is junk to the people who gave it away, but it could be totally useful for someone else! A lot of it is super old but can possibly be reworked to give it new life. It takes a lot of digging but if ou find something good you can snag it for a pretty low price.

Keep your eyes peeled for things to resell
This is obviously a harder thing to go into a thrift to try to find but it doesn’t hurt to keep your eyes open. My husband is great for this since he knows a lot of brands and the value of them. I was running round looking at clothing and getting distracted when he spotted the watch. Perhaps I can just take him along and do my thing while he keeps an eye out! Thanks to smartphones its also extremely easy now to look up how much something can sell for.

Hit stores with higher end stock
Makes sense that you wouldn’t go to Goodwill to try to find brand name items for less. The thrift stores in nicer areas will have better finds and while pricier than other thrift stores there will still be a big discount. The other thing is to go to thrift stores that do intentionally stock brand name items more often. There are some that do only do that and you’ll have a better chance of finding better items there.

 

This makes me want to go thrifting a lot more! I need to get better at spotting finds that I can resell though! I’m okay at digging to find items I would be interested in, but making money is a different matter!

Are you a thrifter yourself? What’s your biggest find?


The flowers are blooming and the weather is steadily getting warmer! This means that people are getting married like crazy now and it’s just the start of it all. Since being married I really appreciate how much time and money goes into planning that one big day. Not everything goes smoothly and I did end up spending quite a bit more than I thought I would but the day of was absolutely wonderful! I’m at the age where a lot of the people around me are getting married too so every year I’m bound to have a few to go to.

Just recently my little cousin (when I say little I mean two years younger than me) just got engaged to her boyfriend of seven years! Finally right? I’m the matron of honor so it’s back to wedding craziness for me! I had a year of my own wedding craziness, a nice break for a year and now it’s back to it! I’m extremely excited and happy to be her matron of honor, but of course my budget friendly self can’t help but wonder at the costs in the year ahead. Being in someone’s bridal party can mean a lot of money depending on the person. So far I’ve been a bridesmaid and a maid of honor. Now it’s matron! Bit sad because it just sounds so old. It’s going to be some fun times but I always like to think ahead and plan. There’s going to be some fancy budgeting especially for things like the bacholerette party.

Here’s a quick break down of what the bridal party usually ends up shelling out money for.
Bridal shower
Bacholerette Party
Bacholerette party games and gifts
Wedding Gift
The bridesmaid dress and shoes
Hair and makeup
Manicure and pedicure
Hotel and travel for the wedding

I’m sure there are a few things I’m missing! All these of course can quickly add up to a lot if the bride turns out to be a bridezilla with some expensive taste. My cousin won’t be a bridezilla but I can foresee a possible trip to Vegas for the bacholorette. I know that when it was my turn i was definitely not the average bride and I tried to do things as simply as possible. My cousin was one of my bridesmaid and she threw my a lovely bridal shower and bacholorette. My matron of honor was my sister who lives in another state but she also threw me a bacholorette when we were able to see each other. Pretty low key stuff but fun of course!

It looks like I’m going to have to plan my finances a bit around wedding stuff for the next year. Most of this will happen towards the wedding date but it will be useful for me to set aside some money for that time. So far I’ve been fortunate that the weddings I’ve been in have been pretty casual and low key. Both brides were mostly trying to save money. I’ve spent about $1000 for each including dress, airfare and gift included. It’ll be interesting to keep a tally going the third time around to see what the costs really are for being in the bridal party.

 

What’s the most you’ve ever spent on wedding related items when you were in the bridal party?

 


Going to the outlets is a shopper’s dream because of the guaranteed lower prices. There is almost a sense of adventure in going because if you love bargain hunting then this is a good place to find bargains on top of bargains. The staple outlet stores are almost always present in any outlet. Calvin Klein, Gap, Banana Republic, Nike, and other big brand name stores. I include myself in that group of people who like to go outlet shopping. Brand names for less and if things are on sale then even better!

It used to be that outlets would just carry the items that the normal stores couldn’t sell. Overstocked items and slightly defective were usually what you would expect to find. Now stores actually create different products for their outlet stores only. The fabric and materials aren’t as high quality as their normal products and there could be different styles. I know for sure that Banana Republic does this. Some of the stores at the outlet though are questionable because they seem priced exactly the same as the normal store.

Outlet shopping has really boomed in the last few years and is definitely a legit way to save money.

Big brands for less
Of course the whole allure of outlet shopping is being able to find bargains easily. Brand name items for lower prices than retail without having to wait for a sale or bargain hunt! It’s like an insta-sale! Who wouldn’t get sucked in? Even better if there is a sale at the outlets than you could potentially save more. That’s the magic of outlet shopping.

Always check it over before buying
Everything is going to be of lower quality possibly or have something wrong with it which is why it’s at the outlets in the first place. Most outlets are also pretty far away and are harder to get to if you have to return anything. I’m less cautious if I buy something at a normal store since usually I can easily return it. At outlets though I always make sure to try it on and to check the seams. It’s not a good deal if it has a huge hole in it after one wash. Or a big hole in it in the first place.

Normal stores sometimes still are better
Places like Banana Republic have higher quality items at their normal stores as compared to their outlet stores. While I still shop at both kinds of stores I always try to keep in mind that the quality is different. Plus sometimes BR has some really good sales and you can find some good deals there. Just have to be patient and wait for those sales to pop up!

 

There’s definitely the danger of buying too much because everything is a deal. Not everything is though but I’ll leave that up to your common sense to decide. I’m a fan!

Are you an outlet shopper?


Photo Credit: mikepetrucci via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: mikepetrucci via Compfight cc

When an earthquake hits what are you supposed to do? Drop and roll? Duck under a table? Freeze? Run around the streets waving your arms around? What you’re supposed to do is stay calm and duck under a sturdy table to protect yourself from falling objects. I’ve been living in LA for the last six years and I actually haven’t done this yet!

I’ve experienced a good number of earthquakes and by no means are they fun to go through. Most though are over in a few seconds and aren’t very big. They are some where it feels like a jolt just went through the building. Others feel like a big truck just rumbled past. Then there are the rolling ones where you feel the ground swaying beneath you. There are tons of earthquakes every year but the majority of them are pretty small in intensity and while they are scary you just learn to live with them. Some of them are so quick that they are actually over before I even have time to react. I’ve never ducked under a table before since they’ve never been intense enough for me to feel in danger.

Just a week and a half ago there was actually a pretty intense earthquake. It was centered about an hour away from where I am so I didn’t feel much. My in-laws though felt the entire house shaking and they had items falling off the shelves. A lot of statues were broken. My aunt-in-law had a glass chandelier come crashing down in her house. Luckily no one was hurt. All this reminded me that I really needed to be more careful and prepared. If a big earthquake ever happened I would need to duck and cover and then also have a survival kit just in case.

Why a survival kit?
Anywhere that we live there is always some natural disaster that can occur. In LA it’s earthquakes that I have to worry about. Other places can be the same or tornados, hurricanes, volcanos etc etc. If something major happens and there’s major damage then basically you’re on your own for a little bit. Calling 911 won’t help because firemen and police will be out putting out major fires. In a city as large as LA they definitely wouldn’t be able to help everyone. Having food, first aid supplies, and other necessities will let me be prepared foe the worst.

Pre-made survival kits
At work there are two small red backpacks that are earthquake survival kits. I can definitely buy some pre-assembled kits that have a lot of necessary supplies and there are a lot of options to choose from. These kits start from $50 and go up depending on the amount of supplies. A bit pricey in my opinion but a good way to go if it’s the most convenient way to be prepared.

Putting together my own
I’d much rather take the time to put together a kit of my own! The kits do expire eventually so I would’ve needed to replace items as they do so. Plus I’d much prefer to get food that I could actually eat and enjoy rather than munching on an MRE. They last for 5 years or more but I haven’t heard good things about them.

The basic necessities of a kit include enough food and water to last each person three days. First aid kit and flashlights are also recommended. I grabbed some bottled water, canned beans, trail mix, granola bars, fruit bars, raw honey, and threw in some tools and first aid items. It was pretty easy to put together and it cost a lot less than a $50 kit. A few months from now I should probably rotate out the food and make sure everything is still okay to use though. At least I can munch on yummy granola bars rather than MRE’s!

 

Convenience always comes with a nice hefty price tag. No matter what the best way to keep as much of my money is to put the effort into making my own. Then again, I guess I won’t have the pleasure of pretending to be in the army anytime soon.

Are you prepared for anything? What kind of survival kit do you have?