Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Save that Money, Honey!: $1,378 Savings Challenge

How does an extra $1, 378 at the end of the year sound to you?  You know what I hear? HA! LLELUJAH!

 It's actually such an easy task in terms of the planning, that I'm sorry I hadn't thought of it.  BUT, I'm glad someone did because now I get to jump on that bandwagon and share it with you!

Here's how it works: There are 52 weeks in the year, so for each week of the year you save that corresponding amount.  For instance, for week 1 you would put one dollar aside, for week 2, $2, etc.  OR you could work backwards by saving $52 on week 1, $51 on week 2 etc.  I prefer this approach since generally when we are gung-ho about something we are usually motivated enough to start with the harder aspects and we generally STAY motivated if each week gets "easier."

Here's a chart
Here's another savings challenge as an alternate to the one above- 
Instead of saving the amount of dollars= to the week #, you save the date.  Let me explain with a visual: 

 So depending on the date you get paid, that's how much you save.  If you get paid bi-weekly, I might multiply that number by two.  If you get paid monthly, I would multiply that number by four.  

So how about you?  Will you be trying any of these challenges?  Do you have any other savvy ways of saving money?  Please share!

Save that Money, Honey!: 10 Ways to Save at Target

As you know from my last "Save that Money, Honey!" post, Amazon is one of my #1 go-to sites.  But locally, I have to give it up to Target.  For me, Target's deals surpass those of Wal-mart because they offer so many additional savings opportunities in addition to their great prices for great products.   Below are the ways I maximize my savings at Target:

1. Printable Coupons- Yay for coupons!  After compiling your grocery/household list, always check the Target coupon section of the Target website for coupons to print prior to visiting the store.  They have a "search" icon too to make your search that much easier.

2. Manufacturer Matchup- Always check for matchable newspaper coupons to stack with your Target printable store coupons.  Now, I am a busy mom so I need help figuring out what the best deals are.  To help me with this, I've downloaded an app called "Bloglovin" for which I can then follow all the amazing moms out there who make it there job to find the ultimate best deals.  See more about that HERE.

3. Mobile Coupons- These are coupons that you sign up for through text.  Once signed up, you will receive links approximately every two weeks for Target deals.  These can be used in addition to both your Target printable coupons and manufacturer coupons!  Maximizing savings, baby!  If you haven't yet signed up for these, you can do so by sending the message OFFERS to 827438.

4. Cartwheel App- Target has a new app that can be used on top of all the other savings already listed!  Search for the deals you want in virtually every area of the store.  Often, what I will do, is look at my grocery/household list, and search specifically for deals on the items already on my list to continue to maximize my savings!  Nice!

5. Target RED Card- I love this card.  Not only do I save 5% on my total (after all the other savings listed above), I also get free shipping on should I choose to make my purchases online!

6. Shopkick- If you have kids, this is a great project for your kids to get involved in while helping you save!  Shopkick allows you earn "kicks" for walking into major retailers, scanning products, and making purchases.  Target always has many "kicks" to be earned, so when I shop with my kids, I send them around the store scanning barcodes off of products.  It keeps them busy and its fun to see how many "kicks" they can earn.  Generally in one visit to Target, we earn between 500-800 "kicks".  Once at 500, you can immediately redeem your "kicks" for a $2 Target GC which shows up as a barcode the cashier can scan at the register.  Free money!

7.  Check the bottom of your receipt- Get into the habit of checking the bottom of your receipt after your purchase has been made.  Target has begun printing high value coupons to be used on your next visit.  You will also want to be on the lookout for survey invites (which only take about two minutes).  Complete these as soon as you get home for a chance to win an instant $25 Target gift card or be entered to win a $1000 gift card!

8. Always walk the end caps!- I cannot emphasize how many great deals I have found here!  I once found 1 liter containers of olive oil for 75% off.  Olive oil.  That stuff is expensive!  Should I even tell you that I bought nearly all of them?

9. Check holiday clearance items!- While you may think you should only visit this section if you are looking to stock up on holiday items for the next time the holiday rolls around, this is also a great time to stock up on household items that have holiday packaging on them!  In general, the discount schedule is generally as follows:

  • 50% day after
  • 70% three days after
  • 90% a week after

10. Guest Services- I may actually visit Guest Services as often as I visit the main registers!  That's because I keep an eye on items I've bought, and if the item has been further discounted, Guest Services will offer you the difference within 7 days.  (This is not true of clearance items, unfortunately.) Also, if you forget to redeem coupons at the register, Guest Services can apply them to your total after.

How about you?  Do you have any additional suggestions for saving at Target?  Please share!

Friday, December 27, 2013

Naked 1 Palette Tutorial #1

Here's a tutorial using the original Urban Decay Naked palette.

  1. Blend "Naked" into the crease in a windshield wiper motion.
  2. Place "Baked" onto the lid in a patting motion. 
  3. With a pencil brush, create a triangular shape with the color "Hustle" in the outer V of your eye.
  4. Without using anymore color, blend any harsh edges with a blending brush. 
  5. With a shader brush, use "Virgin" along the brow bone.

  6. Using the same pencil brush as early, add a smaller triangular shape above the "Hustle" e/s using the color "Creep".
  7. With a clean shader brush, apply "Sin" in the inner corners of the eye.    
Add eyeliner and mascara, and you've got yourself a "Naked" look!

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Save that Money, Honey!: Free Clothes

Do you like freebies?  Of course you do!  And so do I!  As you may now know, I am always on the hunt to find how to get a lot for little.

Last summer, I found a way to get it for free!  That is, free clothes.  And more specifically, free school uniforms for my son and daughter!  Impossible?  Not even!

About two years ago, I subscribed to the Banana Republic VISA credit card.  I did this because I love their clothes and figured, why not, this is a place I shop at often, being a teacher and all, and if they'll send me more coupons on account of having their Visa card, I'll go for it.  Now let me just "disclaim" something- I always pay my credit cards off in full every month.  I never accrue interest.  So, having another credit card, for me, isn't an issue because I simply integrate it into my budget.  Notice I didn't say ADD it- I said integrate.

Let me explain, as you read in my previous post, I use one credit card every month for all of my bills (clothes, food, gas, etc).   So when I applied for the Banana Republic Visa card, I only intended it to serve for part of my already allotted clothes budget, not in addition to my clothes budget.  This is why I can pay it off in full, because I have already allotted for it and I stick to my budget.

Anyhow, during the summer months of May, June, and July, Banana Republic offered a promotion.  Three times the points per dollar.  My head starts clicking and ticking and then...I had a plan.  Instead of using my regular credit card, I would switch to my BR Visa card.  Essentially, embodying the same idea of buying what you already have to buy, and earning free money in the process.  Let's just say that at the end of the three month promotional period, I had accrued over $400 in BR rewards (example shown above).  The awesome thing about BR rewards is that you can also use them at Gap and Old Navy!  Sooo, I waited for the right moment, and as soon as those two stores started promoting their back to school sales, I went through Ebates and ShopatHome (yup, I wanted cash back on my free money), clicked on the Old Navy website, bought undies, undershirts, socks, pants, shorts, polos, used an online coupon on top of that (because yes, you can combine rewards with coupons) for...wait for it, wait for!  I did the same for my daughter at the Gap.  Amaze-balls!

Now, I still had to buy shoes.  So I bought shoes with other coupons online through Ebates and ShopatHome.  But nothing, nothing can beat that deal.  I hope they have the same promotion this upcoming summer, but if they don't I still have a good deal with their current program.

I hope this inspires you to think about what your credit card company's rewards are and how you can use them to your advantage.

If you have other exciting incentives or strategies for getting free clothes, please share with us and spread the word!