Monday, May 27, 2013

How to Bargain Shop!


As I get older, I find it so unnecessary to pay $60 on a pair of jeans like I did in high school.  I admit, I have become somewhat of a cheapskate but I am proud of my cheapness!  There is nothing like getting an awesome deal and the more I save, the more I can buy!  I have learned some tricks to make sure I get the best deals and try not to pay full price for anything. Below is a list of some of those  tricks and hopefully it can help other people save money!
1.) Shop online!
 But only if you can get free shipping or a really good deal on the shipping.  If the company is offering free shipping, it will be on the front page of the website usually at the top.
2.)Search and sort items according to price online
 When you are shopping online, most websites will have a drop down that will let you pick how you want the items to be sorted.  You want to pick the one that says price low to high.  That way you can see the cheapest items first and you are more likely to spend less money.
3.) Sign up for loyalty programs and email subscriptions
This way you will know about sales and get coupons.  Also, a lot of companies give you points when you spend money and reward you for spending money.  For example, Sephora gives you free gifts if you spend a certain amount of money. 
4.) When shopping online, search for coupon codes
When you are going to purchase something from a website, search for coupon codes online by typing the retailers name and then coupon codes.  There are different websites like temptalia.com and retailmenot.com that have codes to type in when you checkout to give you discounts or free shipping.  Some of them do not work but they are worth a try.  I always try multiple ones if they are not working.
5.) When shopping online, look at front page for promotions going on
When a retailer is having a sale, they put what they are on the front page and sometimes you need the coupon code, so make sure you always look on the front page before shopping.
6.) Clearance and sale items are not the same
When shopping online and in stores, know that sale items and clearance items are different.  Clearance is when a company lowers the price on an item for good.  This is usually when seasons change or a store want to get rid of leftover clothing that was not sold.  A sale is when a retailer temporarily lowers the price on items, usually a couple days or a week. Clearance items are usually at a lower price than sale items.
7.) Shop summer clothes at the end of summer and winter clothes at the end of winter
To get the best deals on clothes, shop for the opposite season you are in. You want to get the size your kids will be in next year. 
8.) Shop on the end caps!
 End caps are where clearance items are at that cannot go on a hanger.
9.) Save your coupons from your receipts
I am not one to go searching for coupons because I do not think they are worth taking your time to search for.  But a lot of stores are giving out coupons based on what you bought when your receipts are printed.  I always keep those coupons and try to use them since it does not take much work to get them.
10.) ALWAYS pay attention when the cashier is scanning your items
I cannot count how many times my items have not rang up to what they are supposed to be.  Also, I have may cashiers who get scan happy and ring items up more than once. 
11.) Accessorize!
Instead of buying new clothes that are in at the time, buy accessories because fads come and go.  Having pieces that never go out of style will give you more bang for your buck and you do not have to worry about not being able to wear it next year.
12.) Do not pay full price for clothing, unless you cannot live without it
Most of the times I have bought an item for the full price, I will see if go on clearance a couple weeks later.  This does not happen all the time but it is worth it to wait it out and see.  Nothing pisses me off more than paying full price on an item and see if much cheaper a week later.
12.) Care for your clothing and always buy the right size
If you take care of your clothing, it will last a lot longer.  I try to air dry as much of my clothing as possible and using Clorox 2 Stain Fighter and Color Booster every once in a while will make your clothing look like new.  Even if there is an awesome sale on a piece of clothing and it is a size too small, there is no point in buying it because it is just a waste of money if you cannot actually wear it.
13.)When grocery shopping, shop alone and on a full stomach.
When my boyfriend Eric grocery shopping with me, we end up spending a lot more than I want to. I always make a list and I know if I bring him, we will get a lot more than what is on my list.  Also, shopping hungry will make you want to buy everything you see because everything looks good.
14.) Shop for in season fruits and vegetables
Stores have to pay more for veggies and fruits that are not in season so, therefore you are going to have to pay more.
15.) Try not to buy pre-made food
When you buy premade food, you are going to pay more for the convenience.  Pre-made food be food like T.V. dinners.

Places that have awesome sales and clearance:
-Kohl's: They always have sales and their clearance is up to 90%.  They have Kohl's Cash also.  If you spend a certain amount of money, they will give you Kohl's Cash, which is just like cash you can spend on your next visit.
-Target: Their clearance is up to 70% and they always have sales also.  They have a dollar isle that is awesome and it is usually right when you walk in.  Make sure you look on the end caps.
-ShopLately.com: This is a website for accessories and they have really good prices and the quality is great for the price.
-Amazon: I cannot say enough good things about this website.  Some of the items such as electronics are the same if not more but the majority of the items of the site are way cheaper than the retail value.
-JCPenney's:  They have amazing clearance.  They often have $2 and $5 clearance racks.
-Etsy's: They have good prices on quality made head bows.
-HauteLook.com-  They have sales that last a few days on everything from kids clothing to beauty items.
-Ross- They have discounted designer items that are much cheaper than retail value.
-599fashion.com- I will admit, some of their items look like they came from 1992 but you can definitely find some gems if you look.  Everything is $5.99 or less and items like sweatpants are great to buy from here.
-Sear's-  They have great clearance and sale racks.
-Old Navy-  I NEVER by anything for full price from Old Navy.  In the back of their store, they have clearance racks and you can find great prices on clothing for your children significant other, and for yourself.
-BabyMallOnline.com- This website has baby everything at affordable prices.  They have a section for items under $5!
-AMI Clubwear- They have affordable shoes and clothing even though some of their clothes have barely there fabric.  Check out their clearance!
-Gojane.com- They are kind of like AMI Clubwear but better!
-Alloy- I will only buy their clearance items.
-H&M- Amazing!  They have super cute clothing for you, your child, and significant other for an affordable price.  The only bad thing is you cannot buy online yet.
-JustFab.com- They have free shipping, great sales, and awesome deals when you first sign up.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Homemade Chinese Take-out

When I first made beef and broccoli and fried rice, I just knew it was going to be terrible but it turned out better than actual take-out. I got the beef and broccoli recipe off pinterest.  The sauce is perfect and would be great with any meat really.  The fried rice can be very versatile and you can add different meats or even different veggies other than peas and carrots.  When I made it last, I added shrimp and it was delicious!  The recipes are below...
 
Beef and Broccoli
Marinade
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp sugar
1 tbs cornstarch
1 tbs low-sodium soy sauce
1 tbs water
2 tbs vegetable oil
1 1/2 lbs. flank steak (you can use any kind of steak)


Sauce
4 cloves garlic minced
2 heads of broccoli
2 tbs brown sugar
2 tbs flour
3 tbs vegetable oil
1/2 c. low-sodium soy sauce (must be low-sodium!)
 
1.) Mix the marinade ingredients and slice the beef.  Marinade in the fridge for a hour.
2.) Cut the broccoli heads off and mix the sauce ingredients.
 3.) Put some oil in the pan and heat the oil on high. When the pan is heated, cook the broccoli constantly tossing for about 5-7 minutes.  You want the broccoli tender but not too soft.
4.) Put the broccoli on a plate and set aside. Turn the heat down to medium-high heat.
5.) Cook the meat until done with half of the sauce.  The sauce will look kind of clumpy but it will turn out right in the end.
6.)  Add the broccoli and the rest of the sauce.  Cook together for about 3-4 minutes. 
 
 
Fried Rice
shrimp
Pack of Uncle Ben's Microwave Rice
1/2 c soy sauce
1/4 onion chopped
2 tsp. minced garlic
frozen peas and carrots
3 eggs
oil
 
1.) Cook shrimp with soy sauce until pink.  Set aside.
2.) Heat some oil on medium-heat.  Add peas and carrots, onion, and garlic.
3.) Cook until tender and then turn down heat to low-medium.
4.) Push to the side of the pan and cook the eggs on the other side.
5.) Add the rice, shrimp, and soy sauce and cook for about 3-4 minutes.



 
 
 
 



Sunday, May 12, 2013

My First Mother's Day!

 Today was my first Mother's Day and it honestly could not have been better!  Not only did I spend time with my own mother and family, I had the most amazing gift which was my daughter!  I feel like the luckiest woman out there to have such a precious daughter and amazing man beside me!  My Mother's Day started early a few days ago because me boyfriend gave me my gifts early.
I thought the gifts were done coming but this morning, Eric and Chloe left on a what Eric called "a secret mission" and when they got back, Eric called me into the living room to this...



Chloe's gift to me was a 90 minute massage, a facial, and a foot massage for Massage Envy.  I also got a coffee (much needed), a card, and flowers.  It was so adorable to see little Chloe holding my coffee for me but she makes anything cute! We went to Golden Corral (my mom and my aunt's request) with my mom, aunt Emogene, my cousin Shana, her kids Corey, Aliyah, and Amaya, their dad Corey, and my niece Adrianna.  
On this day and every day, I realize how lucky I am to have my mother.  She is really the best woman I have ever met!  She grew up with a mother who did not deserve her and she has been through a lot but has decided to overcome it all and be the best person she can be.  Ever since I can remember, my mother and her twin Emogene have taken care of other people's kids and have always been there for everyone in my family.  They really are the glue that holds us together.  I look up to those two women more than they will ever know!

Next, we brought flower's to Eric's mother's grave.  We also got a mini vase and added flowers so Chloe could put flowers on her Grandma's grave.  I really wish she was able to meet her other Grandma.  I know she would be obsessed with her Granddaughter and I know it tears Eric up that she is not able to meet her.  Through all the pain I know he went through on this day without his mother, he still made sure I had the best first Mother's Day and I look up to him for being so strong.
When we got home, Chloe was pretty sweaty so, we changed Chloe into her little romper I have been dying to put on her.


Then Eric made me dinner which was teriyaki steak, macaroni, corn, and mixed vegetables.  It was yummy as usual because he is awesome at grilling.
So, that was my day!  I have a new found respect for mothers and  I wish EVERY mother who sacrifices for their kids to raise good people a Happy, Happy Mother's Day!  

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Fourth of July shoes

Since the next holiday is Fourth of July, I have been trying to put together Chloe's outfit since April.  I know that is kind of extreme to plan so soon but I love the holidays and having a child makes them so much better and more exciting!  I have been looking online on Etsy.com for some shoes to match but they are ridiculously expensive! I love Etsy for headbands but I am not going to pay $15 for baby sandals that I can make myself.  Just a couple weekends ago, I went to Old Navy for some baby flip flops and I remember they had blue ones.  So, I decided to go get them and buy some embellishments to add to them.  The flips flops were $3.94 and I went to the craft store and got bows in white, red, and blue which were about $2 a piece.  They came in a pack of 12 so it was a great deal.  I got a bunch of other colors because I can use them for other outfits or holidays. You just need a glue gun and not even ten minutes!  I had some plain hair clips that you can get at the craft store so, I decided to use the bows to make a matching hair clip also.


Easy Bow Socks!

Last weekend, I made Chloe some bow socks!  Like a lot of other babies out there, Chloe hates shoes and will find a way to kick any kind of shoe I put on her.  This past St. Patrick's Day, I could not find any green shoes to match her outfit.  So, I made a trip to the craft store and bought some green flowers and glued them to a pair of her socks.

I went back to the craft store and got some more bows to make more bow socks.  The bigger ones usually come in packs of two or four and they are no more than $5.  The ones that come in four are great to make a matching bow.  All you need is a glue gun, socks, bows, and a headband if you want to make a matching head bow.  You can get plain headbands at Wal-Mart or any craft store.
 




Tuesday, May 7, 2013

A Weekend in our Life

After a long first week back to work, I was ready to get to spend the weekend with Chloe and my boyfriend Eric.  It went by way too fast but time flies when you are having fun!  Here is our weekend through pictures!  Just like any other day, weekend or not, it is started with caffeine because work, school, and baby equals sleep deprivation. 
On Saturday, we went to JCPenney's because they had dollar flip flips on sale and I wanted to get some for Chloe.   They had every size but hers.  But we did find some great deals, which I will be blogging about shortly.  And of course Chloe had to have her purse and sunglasses before we could go.  Too cute for words!
 
In honor of Cinco de Mayo weekend, we went and ate some Mexican food at Manny's which is my boyfriend's favorite restaurant.  We met Chloe's Aunt Nena, her fiancĂ© Mike, and Chloe's cousins Roman and Lincoln up there.  It is so sweet to see how much they love and adore Chloe. I cannot wait until she gets older so she knows how much she is loved. 

On Sunday, I woke up and fed Chloe pretty early and we took a nap around 9.  WE SLEPT FOR TWO HOURS! There is a reason that is in caps, it's a big deal.  We have been lucky too have a baby who has slept all night since she's been seven weeks old but she stopped taking naps for two months and would be fussy and cranky because she fought her sleep.  With help from my mom and cereal, she has been napping daily and I cannot tell you how awesome that is!  I have my happy baby back AND I can get shit done! And you know what another day means, another cup of joe and another pair of glasses!
We went to get flips flops from Old Navy so I could make Chloe's Fourth of July shoes.  Once we got home, I made her shoes did some crafting, one of my favorite hobbies.

I whipped up some tacos and then it was bath time.  We give Chloe a bath every other night so her skin does not dry up but I think I might start doing baths every night pretty soon.  This was one of the best parts of the weekend for the simple fact her rat tale is in full effect when wet!  I just love it!  She was born with lots of hair (that is about the only thing she got from me) and the back has always been longer.
So,I got my Mother's Day presents early on Monday.  Technically it is not apart of the weekend but I HAVE to share.  Eric can never wait to give me gifts when he buys them.  I do not blame him because he gives AWESOME gifts. So, he brings a Zale's bag up and I freak out because I know it has to be jewelry.  I open it and it is a Citizen watch with diamonds in it!!! I have never owned real diamonds until he bought me my push present which were diamond earrings (they have been on my wish list forever)  and now I have a diamond watch too!  And then he brings up this huge red bag from Coach!  Now, I have a coach bag that my mom got me but it is tiny and I have always wanted a big one but I have been too cheap to buy one.  So, I am still in disbelief I am rocking diamonds and Coach.  Now, that is a big deal!