Category Archives: Save $

Is This A Potential Frugal Fiasco? Cutting My Own Hair

 

Ok Y’all. I haven’t cut my own hair yet but I am planning too. I also shared this youtube video to show what I am planning to do. Seems easy right? I will let you know how it will go when I actually do it. I am going to do it because I even bought shears for it.

I know what you are thinking. Am I really that cheap that I decided to cut my own hair? Not exactly. While the savings did pique my interest it’s more of a convenience for me. You see I haven’t been to the salon in over 6 months. It’s always on my to do list but it’s also always being pushed down my list of priorities. Plus I’ve always been the cheap salon girl so I never get the same person ( my theory is they get better and move to a “real” salon).

After quitting my “real” job almost 4 years ago I stopped going to a “real” salon. It wasn’t in my budget plus my part time job now doesn’t require me to look styled 24-7. Also My husband likes his woman like he likes his food… simple and no fuss. This includes the way I take care of myself. It just makes sense to downgrade salons at that point. I still get my hair cuts a few times a year but at one of those who give out coupons in the mail. It’s not so bad. To be honest the cheaper salon already knew I was a no fuss kind of girl so they understood I just wanted simple hair cuts and off I go.

The trouble now is by the time I have the feeling of ” I should cut my hair” it’s always at an inconvenient time. Which is when I’m home alone with my son. I don’t have the convenience of dropping him to a family member or friend ( they are all working). By the time my husband came home the need to “cut my hair” is long gone and forgotten.

Another reason is I know my own hair. Since they are forever changing stylists, they always mention how I should use so and so product to help with my dandruff. I get tired of this because I already am. While it doesn’t work 100% it works 80%. With me cutting my own hair I can take my time as well. If I do mess up I can always go to the salon but since I always have my hair in a messy bun I will probably end up waiting to do that too.

I admit I only cut my own hair once. It was when I was in high school and it turned out good. Except I didn’t use good scissors so I got split ends really fast. This time I’m a little more prepared. The funny thing is the shears I bought is still sitting in the box unopened.

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How Buying “Off Season” Helps Save You Money

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The Holiday Gift Buzz

It’s no secret that our country has the impression that Holidays = Gifts. Valentines? Yup bring on the candy and flowers. Mother’s day? Bring on the candy and flowers and appliances. Father’s day? BBQ grills and game consoles. Let’s not forget Thanksgiving, Christmas, & New Year’s. Just buy everything at that point. If you are broke as a joke then you have definitely felt the pinch during the holidays and probably detested the whole idea of gift giving. Then when the holidays are over you also didn’t think of looking at the clearance aisle. What could you have possibly needed or wanted now that the magic of the holiday is gone? I will tell you.

 The Sale Cycle

After working in retail for so many years and as a merchandiser, I got to see the day after holiday sales. I also remember the “sale” cycle most major stores goes through. My favorite place to buy almost everything is target as I am familiar with their sales cycle. Actually to make it easier on you, you should just visit http://www.allthingstarget.com/. I even have them on my facebook group. I always take a peek maybe once a month before a major holiday or end of season sales that might be coming up.

A sale cycle is a schedule the store has to follow. Each store generally follow corporate guidelines but it’s usually up to the manager as well. Some managers at chains, grocery stores, and drug stores work differently depending on how fast they “push (sell)” products out the door. If a store is considered a slow traffic store, they may hold a longer after holiday sale just to keep their shelves filled. If a store is a busy traffic store, the sale cycle will be a shorter schedule and they may throw unsold products to make room faster.

Usually the sales cycle happens like this:

1st day to 5 days after holiday:50% off

6 days and beyond: 75% off

10 days after holiday: 90% off

Now my estimate isn’t accurate. That’s why I look at my favorite store’s facebook group who look for these sales, and follow them. Stores that I have shopped at day after holidays are Target, Walmart, Home Goods, Grocery stores & drug stores.

Things I Have Purchased

The trick to taking advantage of these sales is to buy what you need and buy things that are versatile for gift giving. Don’t worry there are tons of things that you need or want that eventually go on sale. Here is an example on some things I buy when  holidays/season are over.

Clothing

In general I will always look for classic style clothes for my family and will buy 1 yr ahead for my baby. I will always buy holiday clothing after the holiday is over at a deep discount. This way I can be ready in “style” for next year. I have purchased swimsuits in the beginning of fall at 70% off, winter coats/hoodie sweaters in February-March, and have purchased PJs for my sisters to save to give to them next year ( $50 PJ for $5 in their favorite brand will always be appreciated)

Food

Yup. My husband and I make it a point to go to target day after the holiday is over to see if a special seasonal chocolate goes on sale. Day after Halloween you can see me at Walmart stocking up on Halloween candy  (without holiday decor) to for stocking stuffers at Christmas time. Don’t forget the special flavors of candy,soups,snacks, etc companies come out each holiday. My pantry is filled with pumpkin flavored snacks and food I have purchased at 75% off ( this I purchased 7 days after Christmas). All of them are something my family enjoys. Just look for expiration dates and base your purchase off versatility.

Beauty & Skin Care

I don’t stock up on beauty products but I do stock up on skin care products. Last Christmas I was lucky enough to stock up on stocking stuffers of vicks vapor rub. I’m keeping them for myself and family. I also was able to stock up on some beautiful, sweet smelling hand cream (will use them as small gifts too). I also saw some cosmetics my sister likes which I bought for her Birthday this January. I purchased them when they are 70% off.

Household Items

I think a couple of years ago I blogged about scoring on a Weber charcoal grill for my husband. We purchased it near the end of summer and stocked up on charcoal at 80% off. I will also buy holiday/seasonal base towels, guest towels, table runners, etc. Even now websites like thinkgeek.com are having a major clearance. I have purchased decor for my son’s room at 50%-75% just for being patient.

Pets

Since my three cats are on a special diet I don’t save on their food but I do save on their toys and scratchers. I always  make sure to stock up on scratchers and toys at Target. Right now we have a pile of scratchers stored in garage. All purchased at 50% off and in cute holiday related shapes.

Patience & Being Prepared

Another reason why buying off season helps is overall the buzz you get from saving is nice. Come on you always have a smile on your face when you save money. Just remember to have patience, take inventory of what you need regularly, and be open to buying different brands. I take inventory regularly by making a note on my phone. It doesn’t take very long to do and I always have my phone with me. How I stop myself from buying at full price is always asking myself “Do we need this now or can I wait for it to go on sale?” Since I’m not particular about brands (except for skin and haircare) I’m always scouring the shelves for items I know I will use throughout the year.

 

 

 

 

 

I Didn’t Shop During Black Friday

Black Friday

I’m a black Friday shopper. I always looked forward to it every year. Some years are so so and some years are pretty amazing. This year was a so so year for me.  I’m not a door-buster shopper but I do look for things I need to replace around my house. Most of the time I take advantage of sales on bedding, towels, clothing, gifts, and sometimes electronic items. This year I need more baby things than ever. Yet nothing really was a GREAT deal.  I do need a bigger car seat for my son but I’m trying to wait out for target’s baby sale which typically happens in January and July.

Deciding On Wants & Needs

I looked around my house and I don’t have to replace anything. Our bedding closet linens are in good condition, our towels still in great shape, nothing in the kitchen needs to be replaced, etc. I could probably wait another year or just look out for sales in other stores for them.

We didn’t completely ignore our want list. My husband bought himself a really nice espresso machine. He spent close to $300 for everything. For my soap supplies I spent $150.00. My husband and I discuss these purchases for weeks before taking the plunge. In reality these are things we would enjoy as hobbies. My husband loves espresso and enjoys reading about it. I have been enjoying videos on soap making and other processes.

Deals We Scored On

There was one deal I couldn’t ignore. Target had a 10% off their gift-cards. Unfortunately you can’t also get the 5% off using the Target card but it’s a great offer to take advantage of if you have friends and family who shop there often. For us we bought $200 gift-card and we will put it away for the baby sale.

Maybe next year will be better.

 

 

Husband’s Staycation

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Near the entrance of the Springs Preserve.

Last week my husband had his first staycation. It was great! He basically took two days off next to his normal days off so it was 4 days of just us three. I mentioned in the past that due to trying to save money, spend less money, we decided to do a staycation. Staycations still cost some money for us ( our choice) but it was far less than what we would have spent if we planned for a hotel+ road trip.

It was so much easier to “plan.” Actually we planned things the night before and we were able to do them the next day. I was able to take him to places I’ve always wanted to. I think he had the most fun at the Springs Preserve.

I’m so glad we went to Springs Preserve. I told him we should get an Annual Pass since we are probably coming back. We spent literally almost 5 hours there. I know I’ve been there so many times since I volunteered for them for a year in the past but it’s nice to view the place with him and as a member. He was truly impress and understand why volunteering was fun.  We went inside the Nevada State Museum, Origen, told him about the nature exchange, and finally viewed the butterfly exhibit. He liked it so much he wants to come back soon.

Grand Openings For Stores

I never really am a grand opening type of person. When a store just opens they offer things like gift cards & free items. I normally never attend these things due to either work, and me just hating the whole shopping crowd. Which is weird considering I shop at thrift stores and they are crazy busy. Perhaps the whole mentally of people being the “first” is a big shopping mood killer for me. I decided to attend my first one at Burke’s Outlet.

I received in the mail an “invitation” to their grand opening and it included a spend $40 taken $10 off. It also included days they’re offering free gift cards to the first 150 people. Since their grand opening was on a Thursday I figured Why not. Thursday is my husband’s day off and I figure it wouldn’t be so bad compared to attending a grand opening on a weekend. My reasoning is that people normally work 9-5 jobs. Who would go to a Thursday grand opening? Seniors, casino workers ( their days off are a mix bag of weekdays off), and all type of people. At least a weekday grand opening would be a smaller crowd. I stood in line at 8:30 am, thirty minutes before opening. I got my gift card, and I wasn’t surprised that it was only  $5 (it was suppose to range between  $5 & $50). I purchased:

–  Alphabet Floor Puzzle for my son Calvin

– Tux Onesie for my son

-A Universal phone holder for my husband, his birthday is coming up

-For myself, an Olay Microdermabrasion kit

At the register It went from  $50 down to $35. It’s wasn’t too bad. Plus I really needed a floor puzzle, and I am enjoying the microdermabrasion kit.

Saving On Baby Formula

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This isn’t really a tips post but I just wanted to share my excitement on saving big on baby formula recently. I’m sure you heard it before “baby formula is liquid gold, baby formula is expensive, etc.” My baby son is currently drinking a brand name formula (Similac) at the moment. I always buy from our local Target because they seem to offer a free target gift card.

I remember in the past I posted I didn’t think I was ever EVER going to need breast feeding classes. I didn’t even go to the one that was offered for free from my insurance. I know. Karma hit me. I’m currently not breastfeeding. I’m barely even breast pumping a whole bottle a day for my son. I was never opposed to formula feeding. I wasn’t one of those moms who thought that formula is poison. Though I was opposed to spending money on something I could do for free since I technically decide my own schedule ( I work from home, & part-time).

I tried breastfeeding. My son was even latching properly. The problem was I really wasn’t producing enough milk. After pumping 8 times a day for weeks, talking to several lactation consultant ( a fancy term for booby experts), plus drinking that weird tasting mother’s milk tea, I was tired. My milk never really came. If I would have tried to feed my son just on my breast milk he would lose weight and cry constantly. So I do rely on baby formula for the majority of his diet. Which means I’m at Target at least twice a month opening my wallet.

Recently I’ve just begun saving formula coupons, signing up for formula checks, and basically looking out for sales in the Target weekly circulars. I’m lucky my son isn’t extremely sensitive to formula. He just has to have the one that helps with gas and tummy aches. I actually mix enfamil & similac together (one way I’m trying to use the samples up).

Last week I definitely scored for sure. I bought 3 big cans ( 2 Similac, 1 Enfamil) + 1 6pk nursettes at get 45% off store retail. How did I do this? I had a formula check for each item, 1 catalina for  $10 off a can, coupons, plus a  $10 gift card from the last time I bought formula. I’m not listing the price since each store prices their items differently. I think it was roughly  $50 though for 3 big cans + 1 6pk nursettes That’s like getting one can for free plus the nursettes I bought. All of that is probably good enough for 1.5 months.

Tips To Save On Juicing

On our food blog, probakershelf.com, the topic has switched up a little bit for the time being. My husband is on the juice diet. He has done this before with a result of losing 70+ lbs in 60 days. Except he gained all of the weight back due to not keeping up eating healthily in general. When your a baker at a busy place it’s hard not to eat/taste what your making and avoid the goodies they serve you during lunch.

What inspired him the first time around was the movie “Fat, Sick, & Nearly Dead.”. Great documentary if you are looking to watch one food related. Now he wants to do it again because he wants to prepare for our baby and just finally fit some of his old clothes. This time though he is doing it somewhat a little different. He’s trying to juice two meals a days and eat a normal healthy meal in the evening. For a week now he has kept on with this and has lost 10lbs in one week. Not too bad considering he gets to enjoy a normal meal. His meals are only veggies and fruits. Now he is slowly opening up to the other of eating other vegan related items. For example he has shown an appreciation for tofu.

Juicing is expensive. I don’t care if your a great couponer, or grow some of your own veggies, juicing is expensive. Last time he juiced, we were spending $400 A MONTH just on fruits and veggies. That is low in my opinion in terms of diet food (ladies we all know we spent crap load on diet stuff), and diet related items. Still, it hurts to spend that much. That would mean between the two of us we are spending $600-$650 a month on groceries. The benefits is that we are eating out less. Yet that leaves me with getting take out on some days just for me. I want to support him so I try not to leave leftovers in the fridge. I’m not on the juice because I’m pregnant. I do drink juice with him but it is more of a supplementary to my normal diet.

We are still spending a pretty penny on veggies and fruits but at rate we are going, our grocery bill is $500. Saving even $100 is a good thing. Here are ways we are saving on his diet.

(1). Since he is eating 1 normal meal a day of whole fruits/veggies ( can be cooked), we are throwing away less of the mulch of the juicer. Plus this means when he or I make a batch, we have a few extra servings left.

(2). We buy what is on sale. I definitely look at the sales flyers now and kind of plan on what to juice on depending which fruit/veggies is on sale.

(3). We stick to basics of juicing at least carrots, celery, tomatoes (sometimes not, I’m not a huge fan of tomato juice mixed in), and cucumbers. These veggies are affordable and even if they are not on sale are still usually the cheapest price.

(4).This is probably obvious but we juice first what is going to expire first. If we notice a vegetable or fruit starting to get past it’s prime, we throw it in the juicer. At least we are making use of parts of the vegetable/fruit.

Just a note, just because we spend that much on juicing doesn’t mean that’s how much juicing costs for everyone. Some people are able to spend/save more/less depending on where they live and how they procure their vegetables/fruits. We are lucky to live in a place where grocery stores compete with each other.