Tag Archives: budgeting

My Shopping Technique

25 Oct

I am what I would consider to be a shopaholic however, I am a very frugal shopaholic.  There are some steps that I take every time I get the shopping craze in order to protect myself from overdrawing my small bank account.

Here is how I do it:

When someone invites me to go to the mall with them, I immediately have to think of an excuse for why I can’t go.  They are usually things like “Oh I’d love to but I am in the middle of a huge project for school”, “the mall? ummmm maybe, can we go at 8:30?” (our mall closes at 9), “I am actually feeling really sick and tired”, “sorry I just laid down to take a nap” or if all else fails do not respond and after the mall closes then text them back – “OMG I’m sorry, my dumb phone must not have gotten this text until now.”

If you do get suckered into going, this is my second step, unless there is something that I NEED, I take all my credit cards out of my wallet and I don’t carry more than $10 bucks on me (if I am that lucky to have that much).  This basically prevents me from buying anything.  If you feel nervous about this, then just start out by leaving them in your car and then after that becomes comfortable leave them at home.

Step three – go shopping with someone that you can help pick clothes out with.  Tell them that you should try on some of the ugliest dresses in the store.  This brings moral down, that means that they will get discouraged that they do not look great in the ugly clothes (because they are ugly) and you can get out of there quickly before you go clean out the shoe rack (that is my weakness!)  If you use this step DO NOT let your friend buy any of those terrible clothes!

Step four – Pretend that you are getting really bored of shopping, because if you have no money or any way to buy anything you will be bored.  Then go do something fun, like go into a costume jewelry store and try on all the crazy stuff that they have in there.  It will make you feel more excited!  Claire’s is my personal favorite for this.

When I actually do go shopping for myself, I usually like to go by myself and I like to go to places like TJ Maxx, Marshall’s, and Gabriel Brothers.  This is where I buy almost all of my clothes.  TJ Maxx is my very favorite store: they have so much name brand stuff for so cheap it is ridiculous!

I go to these places when I am in the mood to browse and to try on clothes.  I usually pick a bunch that will look cute on me but I pick them in the wrong size, either too small or too large that way I don’t really feel the love for them and I can have an easier time putting them back.

If I really do need something, I usually check out amazon and ebay for what I am looking for, especially if it is workout clothes.  Then I can compare prices and I always compare them to the same product sold by the actual brand so that I can see exactly how much I am saving.  Once I have found what I am looking for I wait.  Which is extremely hard for me to do.  I wait for two days.  If I cannot remember what it is that I was going to buy, then I do not buy anything, if it is something that I can remember but I feel “enhhh” about it, I don’t buy it.  I only buy things online if I cannot stop thinking about them for those two days and I really need them.

I probably spend at least 8 or 9 hours a week just browsing clothes and shoes on the internet.  What do you shop for the most when you go shopping?  What kinds of things do you use in order to save your money when you do go shopping?

How to make wonderful cheap costumes

22 Oct

With Halloween coming up it is important for us college students (and everyone else of course) to start thinking about our Halloween costumes.  We must ask ourselves these questions:  Will I go with something sexy or scary?  What are all my friends going as?  Will I be going to a themed party that I need a certain costume for?  Can I wear the same thing as last year?  How many people will notice if I do?  Will it be freezing out?  And most importantly how can I do this all with the insignificant amount of money that I have?

Smarty-pants and cat

Smarty-Pants and a Cat. Photo by Susan Myers

First, do NOT buy one of those crappy costumes at the Halloween Expresses of the world, the $50 costume is not worth it, not to mention that it is probably (at least for me) half of the amount of money you allow yourself for food each month.  While this might be good if you are trying to lose weight, I have some better ideas.

Cat

My roommates as a cat and a store-bought pirate. Photo by Susan Myers

Second, go to your closet.  Do you have black leggings and anything animal printed?  Instant animal costume.  Last year, I let my roommate borrow my cheeta print leggings, that and a black shirt with a headband with ears on it – ADORABLE CAT!

freshman smarty-pants

As smarty-pants, when I was a freshman in high school.  Photo by Sarah Hay.

For my own costume, I decided to repurpose an idea that I had used once before, this time making it a little more grown up.  I was smarty-pants.  I literally just attached smarties candy to my black leggings and threw on a white shirt with a tie that I borrowed from a neighbor and some plastic glasses that I had.  So clever! I looked so SMART!

80's chick

My Friend Kara, as an 80’s Chick (missing the sweater) and myself as Smarty-pants.

more 80's chicks

Another time as 80’s Chicks

For my friend’s costume, we decided to go with an 80’s girl.  She has crazy curly hair to begin with, so making it massive was easy.  I also have an absurd amount of blue eye shadow that we threw on her.  She wore some purple leggings, with a blue cami and this crazy sweater that I really liked when I got it but I really only break it out for 80’s wear now.  I’m sure that any oversized sweater and colored pants will do.  You can even throw on some of those great leg warmers that are in style right now and bam! – 80’S CHICK!

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Greek Goddesses

For another event, I needed a costume and I decided to go with a greek goddess.  For this one, simply get out that strappy white dress that most people have, throw on some gold eye shadow or something else sparkly and from a craft store you can get gold rope and fake leaves.  I got ours from JoAnn Fabrics.  Throw on some heels or sandals and amazing – GREEK GODDESS.

This one can be altered so that if you have a white dress and put on some black eyeshadow, tie a black ribbon around your waist and wear black shoes – INSTANT GHOST!

Another thing that most girls have in their closet are the cowboy boots.  Simply get those out with the jean skirt that you bought a long time ago but never wear and put it on.  If you do not have a plaid flannel shirt, start looking around a week earlier and find some friend that is wearing one, ask them to borrow it.  (Cowboy hat is optional) – COWGIRL.

These are just a few of the costumes that I have made myself or have helped someone make, overall how much did it cost me?  Probably not more than a few dollars since I already had most of this stuff or I borrowed it from someone else.  That is exactly what you can do as well.

What kind of creative costumes can you guys come up with?

 

 

Meal Plan

16 Oct

First off I want to give a disclaimer that I am a terrible cook, I burn everything, experiment without measuring and try to take as many shortcuts as possible in order to save time and energy.  I think in the end it costs me more than it helps me out.

Something that I have found when trying to save money (or at least have enough to make it through the month – see my last post on budgeting) is to always eat a home.  This is easier to do if you live close to where you work and go to school but if not it requires a bit more planning.

The Night – before you go to bed, prepare the coffee and set the timer if it has one, if not get it all ready so that you only have to turn it on in the morning.  Then pack your lunch, this could include a lunch meat sandwich or leftovers from dinner.  Every once in a while when frozen meals are on sale for under $1 I buy them and stick them in the freezer at work in case I forget a lunch one day.  Also, decide what you wan for breakfast, cut up the fruit or precook any meats (bacon, sausage, goetta etc.) and set all the ingredients together in the fridge.  This will save time tomorrow.

The Morning – If you are always rushing around like me, it helps to have all the ingredients put together and ready to go.  I usually have greek yogurt with homemade blackberry jelly (my parents have blackberry bushes) and coffee, but every once in a while I have a fruit smoothie in which I cut the fruit up and put it in a Magic Bullet cup the night before. If all else fails I always have my backup granola bars.

The Afternoon – Eat the lunch that you packed the night before.   This is the most affordable and quickest way to get lunch.  If you forget or have a lunch meeting, suggest places that have sandwiches or soups that you can get relatively cheap.  Another thing to do if you do not have enough food in you house for lunch is to pack what you do have an then buy part of a meal, such as bringing carrots and a pudding cup and buying a sandwich.

apples

Snack Time – This always hits me the second I walk in the door to my apartment.  I used to go for the ice cream and other junk food but recently I have been setting a bowl of apples (or other fruit) on my counter so that it is the first thing that I see as I walk into the door.  Normally I will eat an apple and satisfy that before dinner hunger craze.

The Evening – Of course supper!  This is the hardest meal for me because as I mentioned I am a horrible cook.  I usually try to make something that I can freeze and microwave later or make enough that I can eat it all throughout the whole week without having to think about cooking again for myself until a few days from then.  Something that I have learned to do however, is to keep a can of black beans, an onion, a bag of frozen corn and salsa on hand at all times.  Whenever dinner becomes a disaster (as it did last night)  I mix all those things together and have a meal that is both nutritious and flavorful.   Sometimes if I am on the sugar craze I just balsamic vinegar and honey.

The Night – This is where the whole process starts over again!

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