If you have never heard of MyPoints, you will want to check it out! I signed up and I receive “email offers” in my inbox each day. I simply click on the offer to read more about it, and get points for clicking. Recently there was an offering for 500 points when you purchase a $10 Starbucks giftcard. I needed one to give as a gift, so I bought it thru that offer. The points add up fairly quickly and then I always cash out for giftcards. I used my points to buy myself a Starbucks giftcard. There is also a HOT deal right now with MyPoints. When you buy 3 $10+ giftcards, you get one FREE! How cool is that? So click over and check out MyPoints.
Earlier this week I asked a question on the CSwM Facebook wall: “I am looking for a good deal on curtains. Where do you guys go to get these for less?” And, the replies started pouring in from all of you! There was such great advice and tips that I thought I’d share some of them with you on CSWM. So, thank you, readers for your thrifty wisdom!
Make It Yourself:
Evangeline said, “fabric.com has some great fabrics on sale. I buy from them and make my own. Last a lot longer and I can pick my fabric/pattern.”
Judy said, “I made my last set of curtains (actually my daughter’s). I bought the fabric on sale from joann.com. It cost me less than $20 to make two pairs (four simple panels with ribbon tiebacks).”
Kimberly suggested, “Craigslist! People are always moving or selling things there…..Some people are even kind enough to post the measurements of the items you’re wanting to purchase so they don’t waste their time or yours. ” AND
Kimberly explained, “but the most recent Curtains were purchased at a Block Sale/Garage Sale from a nice neighborhood for $3. The nice woman said she purchased them and they didn’t fit and she was too lazy to return them so we got a great deal ”
Crystal shared, “I’ve got some great ones from Goodwill.”
Kristin offered, “…but there is a good selection at resale shops like salvation army or goodwill...”
Shop at Discounted Retailers:
Christine said, “IKEA has some neat pieces for cheap.”
Toddlertwins said, “Ross and Marshall’s have good curtains at low prices.”
Melissa said, “Christmas Tree Store!! If you have one nearby check it out. I found curtains for $4!!”
Hilda agreed and said, “I second The Christmas Tree Shop! There’s 4 in New Hampshire, go to www.christmastreeshops.com for locations. They were bought by Bed, Bath & Beyond in 2003…lots of good stuff there although I know you won’t be fooled by the supposed “bargains” on their health & beauty aids!”
Kristy said, “Overstock.com has some good ones, an you can find some good deals every now and again!”
Laurie said, “Brylane Home!”
Adriane said, “Not sure where in NH you are, but Ocean State Job Lot in Peterborough has a pretty good selection, I got some really nice Martha Stewart ones last year for about $4 a window.”
Sarah said, “smartbargains.com. I think I paid 20 for two panels. They were for my kitchen slider. They are awesome!! Free shipping too!”
Kristy said, “Don’t know if you have an Old Time Pottery near but I always find great deals and quantites there.”
Shop Sales and Clearance (plus use a coupon!):
Tiffany said, “I’ve gotten my whole living room & dining room clearanced at pier 1. They’re beautiful.”
Emily said, “I got mine at JcPenney’s when they were BOGO and I had a 20% coupon.”
Durinda agreed and said, “I went to Penneys when they had them 50% off and I had a coupon for 20% off my order plus a $10 coupon!! PLUS a call in number on the slip for a 15% off next purchase!”
Suellen said, “Bed Bath and Beyond always has clearance, plus you can use your coupons.”
Emily said, “I’m a fan of Anna’s Linens. I haven’t purchased curtains but I’ve been happy with the other things I’ve bought.”
Think Outside the Box:
Jasmine said, “If you open up the ends of queen sized sheets they are great for big, tall windows. i found a great brown and blue pattern at Target and get lots of compliments from people and they say they couldn’t even tell they are sheets. it would have cost me more to buy the fabric.”
Tara said, “Flat twin bed sheets work great…turn them upside down and use the top cuff as a rod pocket.”
Jenn said, “Queen or king size flat sheets are often the size you need & a lot cheaper!!!”
Nicole said, “If you are hitting places like TJ Maxx, Ross etc look at table cloths too. If you can find a matching pair all you have to do is sew in a rod pocket. They are already hemmed and everything. I picked up my newest set( a green sateen jaquard) for $4.50 each at Ross.”
Jennifer said, “christmas tree shop….. love love love that place!!!!!!!!!!! I also make my own.. I too use fat bed sheets… per yard it is way cheaper than bolt fabric from the fabric store… if you use a solid sheet buy a coordinating bolt fab as a accent for trim…”
Do you have more ideas or awesome stores you shop at for inexpensive curtains? Please share in the comment section below!
Don’t forget to join us on the CSwM Facebook page.
My hair is completely wild, out-of-control, and never obeys, but paying to tame it is an expense I loathe. What’s the purpose of spending money on a cut, color, or style when I can grab a hair tie, whip my hair into a ponytail and be done with it? When I can’t stand the rebellion any longer, I put my hair into its place with these 12 tricks for getting professional help on a budget.
- Host a hair cutting party. Invite over friends who also want to get their hair cut and negotiate a discounted rate ahead of time based on volume. You may be able to get 20% off or more per person, especially if you can pay in cash. Best to work with a stylist you or one of your girlfriends already knows.
- Look for first timer specials. Many salons offer newbie discounts that really pay off. One salon near me charged $20 for a cut or style that normally starts at $60. These deals rarely include a wash and blow dry, and you still need to tip.
- Turn to the almost-professionals. Yes, folks, I’m talking about students. Beauty schools across the country offer low-cost cuts that are often less than $15. Students lack experience, but they are eager to please. After all, you are a potential client once they graduate and get a job. Why not consider a student for a basic cut, simple color, or easy style? You can test them out without great risk. When you want to make a dramatic change, go to a student you have experience with or a veteran.
- Get to know the salon owner. They may be more likely to extend a discount, free sample, or extra service to a friendly and loyal customer. Be sure to ask if they have any promotions coming up.
- Find high-end salons that offer classes for professionals who want to learn a new skill. Sign up to be a “hair model,” which is free or a fraction of the cost these folks would normally charge. I have gotten many fabulous cuts for $10-$20 through the hair model program at Bumble & Bumble in NYC. The downside is that each cut took two hours (every snip had to be approved by an instructor) and the appointments were on weekday afternoons.
- Ask friends for a low-budget recommendation. You may have to pry the info out of them if the stylist is especially good and cheap. One of my most frugal friends confessed her stylist worked wonders on her hair for $20.
- Skip the wash and blow dry. Unless you are going to a party or event, style your own hair to save a few bucks.
- Pay in cash. Ask the person who books appointments or the stylish his/herself if there is a discount for paying in cash. You may have better luck if you’ve patronized the salon in the past.
- Use a coupon. Bulk discount sites like Groupon, Tippr, SocialBuy, and FreshGuide have offered steep discounts on coloring and styling services in the past. I’m talking 50-90% off, which is hard to beat. Sign up for the site’s email list, monitor for salon deals, and by golly read the fine print.
- Refer friends. If you have connections (think Facebook and Twitter), refer new clients liberally and make sure the stylist knows where their new stream of customers is coming from. It is impolite to expect a discount for referring friends, so be subtle.
- Book during down times. A salon or stylist may be more open to negotiating a deal with you if they would otherwise be idle.
- Do it yourself. Consider trying snipping your own locks if you want a simple cut or are extremely adventurous. If you mess it up, there is always Supercuts. Search for tutorials online or at the library. Use sharp scissors and work slowly. An alternative is to have a trusted and steady-handed friend cut your hair.
Mercedes here: how do you save on your hair coloring, styling and more? got any additional tips you would like to contribute? Make sure to leave a comment.
Every year certain states offer a tax holiday to help their residents save money on back to school expenses. A lot of these tax holidays take place during the first two weeks of August. if you have any big ticket items to buy and live in any of these states, make sure to wait until the holiday to shop. Also stop by Coupon Cravings to read her three tips to maximize your savings. Here are the states yet to have the tax holiday:
- Alabama: On Aug. 6-8
- Connecticut: On Aug. 15-21
- Florida: On Aug. 13-15
- Illinois: On Aug. 6-15
- Iowa: On Aug. 6-7
- Louisiana: On Aug. 6-7
- Maryland: On Aug. 8-14
- Massachusetts: on August 14 & 15
- Missouri On Aug. 6-8
- New Mexico: On Aug. 6-8
- North Carolina: On Aug. 6-8
- Oklahoma: On Aug. 6-8
- South Carolina: On Aug. 6-8
- Tennessee: On Aug. 6-8
- Texas: On Aug. 20-22
- Virginia: On Aug. 6-8
Each State has a list of exclusions and limits. Consumer Reports has shared these details here.
It’s not a secret that coupons for fruits or vegetables are very few and far between. However, there are ways to save money on your grocery budget while still keeping a healthy diet that includes fresh produce. Rely on the following common sense tips to save money:
- Only buy what you need. Go on and take a look at the produce bin inside your refrigerator and see how many items are near the brink of decomposing. How about half eaten apples? Got any of those in there? You will make a big reduction on your grocery bill by buying only what you need and making sure everything you buy gets eaten. Reduce waste!
- Buy what’s on season: Love blueberries in the winter? So does my husband but at $4.99 a pint the cost is prohibitive. But he knows that in July he can enjoy them to his heart content. Fill your menu with mostly fruits and vegetables that are in season. These are most likely to be on sale and therefore provide you the most savings.
- Buy in bulk: If you have a fruit or vegetable that your family consumes a lot, you will save a lot by buying the big bags of eat. For example, in my home we go through 5 lbs of apples in five days easily. It is cheaper to buy the five pound bag of apples than buy apples by the pound.
- Buy price reduced items. Some grocery stores have a section where they have discounted fruits or vegetables that don’t look their best. I often stop by this area to pick up browned bananas to make banana bread. Why pay top dollar for them when I need them brown anyway?
When warmer weather comes around consider the following to save even more:
* Consider having a garden (even if it is is just one pot of tomatoes or herbs that’s money in your pocket.
* Become friends with someone who gardens. Summer gardens produce an overabundance of produce. Make sure your friends are aware that you would be happy to take some of their garden excess off their hands.
* Shop at a Farmer’s Market at the end of the day. Most farmer’s market vendors are willing to discount the produce they sell at the end of the day to help them move the product.
What other tips do you have for saving money buying produce?
If you have an iPhone or iTouch chances are very good you are always looking for useful apps to help you along. Over the past few weeks I have been reading Coupon Cravings’ quest to find and review money saving apps. Her list is now complete and you really need to stop by and check it out. Not only are all of them FREE but also USEFUL. There is a little bit of everything for everyone that wants to save money: from helping you save money on your groceries, or your car, local coupons, financial advice and MORE. Check the full list of apps here and get downloadin’!
Don’t have an iPhone or iTouch? Don’t despair! Coupon Cravings is giving away an iTouch! Just hop on over here and enter. This giveaway closes on 7/29 at 8PM EST.
It is HOT!! and I am melting! Seriously, the northeast is under a heatwave and I am not happy. The house we are living in right now has no central AC and we are sweating. Southerners, don’t roll your eyes! I lived in Louisiana for years so I *know* HOT. So I asked you on the CSWM Facebook page for ideas for staying cool without breaking the bank and here are some of the ones you shared:
- Cool ties will help to keep you cool on hot summer days. You soak them in water and then place them in a cooler or frig. They get cold and then you put them around your neck.
- Keep a spray bottle full of ice water and turn it to fine mist. Spray! Feels great! Also, freeze a block of ice (use an empty ice cream container) and then sit that in a casserole dish and put it in front of a fan right in front of you.
- Wrap a wet bandanna around my neck if I have to go out of the house in this heat! works great!
- Get out of the house: go to the mall to window shop for a few hours or stay at the library until they throw you out
- Growing up in a house without AC, I loved putting my pillow or top sheet in the freezer. Mom always closed off the rooms that we weren’t using so the fans would be concentrated in the rest of the house. Even now in a house with AC, I keep unoccupied rooms closed off.
- Hang out in the basement too, it is much cooler down there.
- Keep the blinds/curtains shut and get some fans to circulate the air.
- Get a block of ice or a big mound of ice in a tub and run a fan behind the ice. It is the old fashioned way of cooling off and it feels much cooler than just the fan.
Google has made their web phone service Google Voice available to everyone in the United States. This is great news for anyone that wants to save money on their phone bill and to those looking for some privacy as well.
What is Google Voice?
Google Voice is a web-based platform to help you manage your communications. It provides you one number to ring all your phones, voicemail that works like email, free calls and text messages to the U.S. and Canada, low-priced international calls and more.
What are some of its features?
- give out one number that will ring all your phones
- get transcribed voicemails sent to your inbox
- Voicemail transcription: Voicemail messages will be automatically transcribed to text and sent to you via email and/or SMS.
- Define which phones ring, based on who’s calling
- Works with mobile phones, desk phones, and work phones. There’s nothing to download, upload, or install, and you don’t have to make or take calls using a computer.
- If you have a smartphone you can download the mobile app to make calls directly from your smartphone.
How can it help you save money?
Google voice allows you to make free calls to the US and Canada as well as free text messages & make cheap international calls. Here is how I intend to use Google voice to help me save money: Since our move to another state my husband an I decided to get rid of our land line. That posed a huge problem for me because international calls from my cell phone are very expensive. Google Voice offers international rates at half the cost of what I would be paying if I had a landline, let alone what the mobile rates are. Now I can call my family in other countries and bypass those ridiculous telephone fees and surcharges.
How can it help improve your privacy?
Google Voice assigns you a number that will ring to your home or mobile phone, so people can contact you if you want. But that is not your real number. You can use this number to provide on websites where they ask you for a phone number like survey sites or when you order online. It also has some great blocking capabilities.
I just signed up for my Google Voice number, so I am sure the more I use it the more I will learn to maximize its use. If you already use Google Voice, make sure to share your experience in the comments section.
Thanks Jackie for bringing this up to me.
Summer is coming and looking at my warmer weather clothes makes me realize that I need some. As a bargain hunter extraordinaire the first store I will hit will be my local thrift store. I will hit garage sales as well, but since I need some clothes now I will be visiting Goodwill first.
Luckily I love shopping at thrift stores and I do not have any problems buying and wearing previously worn clothes. I really don’t. I am very picky about the clothes I buy and the best part is that there are usually so many clothes at the thrift store that you CAN be picky. Here are some of my tips for thrift store shopping success:
Shop with a plan. Thrift stores can be treasure troves of goodies. Unfortunately, I find that it can lead to overbuying. I can’t tell you how many times I have been to the thrift store and left with something that was “so cheap” but ultimately ended collecting dust somewhere. Therefore, I advice that you visit your thrift store only when you are looking for something in particular. Maybe it is clothes for you, your children or your spouse, or maybe kitchen items. Window shopping at thrift stores can be a lot of fun put make sure to ask yourself if you actually NEED something before buying it.
Take time and preferably go without kids. Thrift store shopping takes a good deal of going through racks and racks of clothes or shelves full of items. You need patience and you need time to be able to find the gold nuggets among the rubble. If possible try to shop without your kids so you can devote your time and attention to what you are doing. In the end it will result in less time spent at the store and also better finds.
Look for quality items. I have been able to get some really great finds at thrift stores on really expensive clothes. My latest awesome find was a pair of 7 for all Mankind jeans for only 4 bucks! these usually sell for $150+. Plus they were in incredible shape! These finds are a matter of luck but also of digging and most importantly it takes knowing which ones are quality brands. So make sure to be cognizant of quality brands that fir YOU well and look for those.
You MUST try on the clothes that you are hoping to buy. This is key. If what you are buying doesn’t fit you right then even if it is cheap you are just wasting your money. This is another reason why it’s a good idea to shop with time on your side so you can invest time in making sure you buy quality that will serve you well.
Be persistent. If you maintain an ongoing list of needs for your family or household chances are you won’t find it all in one trip. Make sure to visit your thrift store often and browse for the items you have not been able to find yet. The best strategy for scoring great finds at thrift stores is persistence.
Having shared these tips, I intend to take a trip to my “new Goodwill” this weekend. I have never been to it but like I said, I need clothes so I need to pay a visit. I will make sure to share my finds with you.
What are some of the tips you use to score great finds when you go thrift store shopping? What are some of your best finds to date? Make sure to share in the comments.
Reader Jaime left me the following question in the comments section of a post:
Mercedes, since you have a growing family (and new baby), what do you consider “buy it” prices for diapers?
Jaime I believe that there are a couple of scenarios to consider before establishing your own buy it price for diapers:
1) You do not have a stockpile of diapers and need the diapers ASAP. When you have not built up a stockpile of diapers and are in need of diapers right now, your price to pay for diapers is a bit higher. Angie at Baby Cheapskate who has been tracking diaper prices for a few years has determined her price to buy for diapers size 3 at $0.22 per diaper. This is just a standard pricing she has established to be able to make comparisons among pack sizes. This price roughly translate into paying a bit over $7 per pack. I believe that’s a fair price to pay IF you do not have a diaper stockpile and need diapers ASAP.
2) You would like to start building a stockpile and have time to build one, as in you are currently pregnant and have months until you need the diapers. In this case you have the time to build up your stockpile and can work the diaper sales to your advantage. In this case I think that paying a price of between $4-$5 per jumbo pack of diaper to build your stockpile is a pretty good deal. Do these sales come around often? yes, they do. For example, right now you can get Pampers diapers for around this price at Rite Aid. Next week you will be able to get Huggies at this price at Walgreens and some grocery stores have been running catalina promotions on Pampers products as well (Spend $20 get a $5 catalina back). You just need to keep an eye for these sales and that’s why I am here for you.
A couple of things to remember about getting a good diaper bargain:
1) The first thing to know is that brand loyalty goes out the window. You buy the best deal available at the moment. If you must remain brand loyal then also be willing to pay a bit more sometimes or rock every diaper deal for the brand of your preference. This brings me to the next point.
2) When the bargain deal is available you need to take advantage of it. That means that you will probably have to have the resources to buy more than a couple of packs. But at a bargain price you may spend on two packs what you would normally spend on one. You need to have on hand more than one like manufacturer diaper coupon. In this case turn to Coupon Clipping services to get multiples of the coupons you need.
I have been buying diapers at rock bottom prices for three years now. What I am sharing is what I have experienced in that time period. I am also sharing my experience in tracking the sales and sharing them on this blog. But ultimately you need to determine what your rock bottom price is with the variables that apply to your particular case.
So, those are my thoughts on buy it diaper prices. How and where have you found you get the best diaper deals?