Tag Archives: saving money

Frugal Friday: Boston and Beyond

29 Jul

Happy Frugal Friday! Hope everyone is ready for the weekend and that it’s starting to cool down wherever you are. The weatherman said that in South Florida the heat index today will be 110 degrees so this girl is all about staying inside in the A/C. My parents said something about going to see a movie this afternoon at one of the $2 theaters so they are embracing Frugal Friday as well!

When I went to Boston, Stephanie took me to this awesome used bookstore she frequents. I love used bookstores but this one also had cd’s, dvd’s, magazines, records and other goodies. I soon got the lay of the land and found that they had racks in the front featuring best sellers, chick lit, cookbooks, etc. Along with that are rows upon rows of books, all organized  by genre. It was very easy to navigate through with very reasonable prices.

Not only did I get a couple of books (Devil in the Junior League was read on the way back to DC and a fun, quick read), I also snagged some books on cd, which I still call books on tape. I like to think people know what I’m talking about when I saw books on tape so hopefully that’s the case.

I listened to Something Blue on the way down to Florida and it really did help time go by quickly. I read the book years ago and knew the premise of it but forgot certain parts of it. Plus, after seeing Something Borrowed a couple of months ago, it was fun to continue the story from Darcy’s point of view plus now I can totally see Kate Hudson as Darcy. Every though I prefer the books to movies, I am hoping that they come out with Something Blue as a movie. I am waiting to listen to the Lovely Bones on another long trip. I read the book and it was a little too depressing for me but given the way the book reads, I think the book on tape will be really interesting. I got both of these for under $8. If anyone of you book on tape people would like “Something Blue” let me know and I will be happy to pay it forward and send to you!

While at the Lululemon store in Boston, I went up to the cash register to ask how much their red bags are. I’ve never bought anything there before but I see their bags everywhere and dig them because they are a) red, my favorite color b) I love the quotes on them, just looking at them makes me smile. Besides me Coach purses, I don’t think I can say that about any bags I own. The sales associate told me that they don’t sell them, that they are the bags they put purchases in. I must have looked pretty down while saying “Oh” because the sales associate took one then slid me it on the DL and that definitely turned my frown upside down!

I got to the train station a bit early on Monday and was bored after a half hour, the people watching gods were not being good to me. I found out where the closest CVS was and took a walk over there to stock up on snacks, drinks and more. Stephanie gave me this coupon for $3 off HerbaShine hair color and it must have been in the stars for me to buy it because it was on sale for $7 at CVS.

Pair that up with a $.50 extrabucks coupon and I got hair coloring, swedish fish, Gatorade and a sandwich for $11, not too shabby. But then I thought about my purchase and how sketchy I looked buying hair dye when about to get on a train. That’s like straight out of a movie when a chick kills someone then moves somewhere random like South Dakota to start anew. No worries though, Stephanie is still alive and I am too afraid of prison to do that anyways. I’ve never seen a CVS carry sandwiches like that and they had a pretty decent variety like a club, chicken caesar and buffalo chicken, which I got.

 

I later enjoyed on the train along with some pita chips that I bought at Trader Joe’s that weekend. A great, portable meal for about $5.50 as opposed to just a sandwich on the train for $7 or $8. The buffalo chicken was surprisingly tasty, a lot better than I expected from a drug store.

When I stopped in Charlotte for a night, my friend and I went to Target to look for dresses. Naturally, this meant that I would buy a crap ton more than a dress, including three pairs of shoes for under $30 (one of them not pictured because I have too much stuff and can’t find them at the moment)

While making my way down to South Florida, I saw this sign for free coffee if the restroom wasn’t spotless at Dunkin Donuts. I thought I was going to walk away with a free coffee since it was a DD located within a gas station but no dice, the restroom was completely spotless

I stopped at a friends house the first night I was back in FL and she has an avocado tree in her backyard that is growing avocados left and right. But they aren’t the avocados that I’m used to, like the Haas ones from California, they are Florida avocados and I’ve never heard of that even after growing up in Florida.She gave me a bag of them to take home but said I would have to wait awhile for them to be ready to eat.

As you can see, they are much bigger than the Haas ones and the skin is smoother as well. I sliced one open yesterday but it still wasn’t ready-boo.

I have been doing excellent with not eating out that much. I only ate twice this week and one of them was with a Groupon I had for Wings n Ale in Coral Springs

When I bought the Groupon, I thought the name sounded very familiar and when we pulled up, I realized that I had been there before. I was surprised to see it still in business because it’s in a random strip mall in the corner and if you blinked, you would probably miss it. The inside was very small with about eight or nine tables and you seat yourself. They have a small bar area and only two servers working that night. It was packed and our server mentioned that everyone who has been there in there was because of Groupon. One of the many reasons I love Groupon is because it helps support local businesses so I was happy to see that it was hopping!

Since I tried their wings before, I ordered the blackened mahi sandwich and it was superb. The fish was freah and blackened perfectly with a hint of spice. Plus I kinda dig that the mahi filet is square and served on a round bun-just like Wendy’s hamburgers!

 

Do you do a lot of shopping while traveling or try to save your money on other things?

Have you ever had a Florida avocado?

Do you have a good avocado recipe? I’m looking to do something besides guacamole!

 

 

Frugal Friday: Saving money when without home

15 Jul

Happy Frugal Friday! I am about to hit the hay because I have to wake up early for another traveling adventure. This time?

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Boston!

I haven’t been there since I was 11 years old and can’t wait to experience it as an adult. I’m taking the train up there so I’m sure that will be an experience itself and am intrigued by the whole train business. I haven’t been on am Amtrak train since I was in fifth grade when we went up to DC for the safety patrol field trip. I can’t wait to people watch but don’t think there will be as many skeezers on it than a bus. Stayed tuned for tons of pics and blogger meetup details!

As many of you know, I’m still living the vagabond lifestyle and much to my surprise, I haven’t been spending a lot of money. We’ve been eating out but not as much as I thought we were going to. If not eating out, I’ve been having leftovers at home (AKA Neyals house) or eating meals at home. Neyal likes to go out to eat but she is all about saving money and calories as well so we have been doing one meal at home and then go out for one each day if we don’t eat both meals at home.

Leftover chicken verde stew

Ropa Vieja made in the crockpot

Neyal’s garden is sick. But in a good way! She has a ton of vegetables growing right there in her backyard which saves her money on produce, especially in the summertime. Right now she has tons of peppers, tomatoes, cucumber, basil, parsley and more.

Check out these zucchinis!

Matilda took a liking to the big zucchini right away

I stopped by Trader Joe’s the other day after reading about Stephanie’s love for Joe.

I tried the tortellini bowl for lunch the other day and it was wonderful! It is pretty much the same as Amy’s Pesto Bowl. I usually have to add protein or some kind of space to kick up a frozen meal but this didn’t need anything additional.

 

When we went to the thrift store the other day, they had a ridiculous music selection. Not just cd’s, they also has cassette tapes, records and I saw an eight track! They cd’s were only $1 each so I grabbed some for all the road trips ahead of me. Apparently  I was trying to go back to my college days.

And yes, I did buy the Baha Men cd. One can never get enough Who Let The Dogs Out. Plus, there could be other hidden gems on there!

We went to 7-11 on 7-11 for a free 7.11 oz slurpee.

I’ve collected a bunch of reusable shopping bags at different events throughout the years. Instead of using them for shopping only, I use them day to day as well.

My Vitamin Water bag doubles as both a gym bag and a beach bag for me . It smells really interesting.

And my Food Lion bag used to be used for grocery shopping but now it’s used strictly for groceries. I cleaned out my cupboards when I left my apartment in Charlotte and the remainder was snack foods so why not take it on the road with me?

Instead of going out for fro yo, we made spinach ice cream the other night. I’ve made spinach smoothies but never spinach ice cream so I wasn’t sure how it was going to turn out. Neyal got the recipe from Costco magazine, I couldn’t find it anywhere online but I found this recipe for it which uses the same ingredients.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We followed the directions to a T but it still came out more like a smoothie than ice cream. It was good though,thanks to the agave nectar.

Totally not Frugal Friday related but has anyone else heard about the new Style Network show Big Rich Texas???

It’s supposed to be like Real Housewives but only saucier and cattier—can’t wait!

How have you saved money this week?

Do you grow your own vegetables or herbs?

Did you get your free Slurpee on 7/11?

Frugal Friday: A coupon a day

1 Jul

So, I used to have this little feature called Frugal Friday. I would post every Friday about the deals I found along with some tips but then it kinda slowed down. With all the traveling and packing I’ve been doing, I’ve been a little behind on posting. But not because I’ve stopped saving money,  I’ve actually been saving money in a big way. Mostly because I’m going through every coupon I have available to me and using them before I leave. No way I am letting my Groupons, Living Social and other deals go to waste!

*Bath & Body Works.

When I was in Commerce, GA last weekend, our hotel was located right next to the Tanger Outlet shops. I drove through there and didn’t see any stores that stood out to me and then I saw Bath and Body Works. I don’t need to accumulate stuff since I’m trying to get rid of items for the move but I saw their semi annual sale going on with 75% off and I knew I had to clean house.

I stocked up on lotions, body wash, hand soap, sanitizer and body spray. I was surprised to see they had Coco Cabana which used to be the scent I wore in college! Oh memories of summer time, ladies night free drinks and pizza at 2am!

Nine items for $21? Don’t mind if I do! I would be a fool to pass on a deal like this.

*Pedicure @ Nails of America

I bought a Groupon awhile ago for a pedicure but forgot that it was up in Mooresville, about 25 minutes north of Charlotte. I tend to stay in my neighborhood and in the Uptown area so going somewhere that far meant it was going to be a day trip for me. I stopped at a friends place in the area, got my pedicure and ran some errands. Always read the fine print with Groupons since this one had to be used with an appointment.

I always get pink or red on my toes and wanted to mix it up. I went with “Orange You Glad It’s Summer” by OPI

*Chick Fil A

I snagged a Free Chicken Mini coupon awhile back at Bark for Cancer. I completely forgot about it until I found it while cleaning the other week.

I got a soda along with that and brought my computer since they have free wifi. Never would I have thought Chick Fil A would offer wifi but they do and it’s quick. What makes it even better is that the employees will come up to your table and get refills on your drink for you. This may be better than Starbucks since there was only one other table in the place! Keep an eye out for businesses that have signs offering free wifi, this was better to go to for the the quiet and lack of people there factors.

*Café Monte

French stuff intimidates me—Chanel, Bastille Day, their food, wine, accents and the list goes on. 
Ask me what french food is and I will be either reply fries or croissants since it all seems too fancy schmancy for me.  As I vowed not to buy any more Grupons, I saw this one for Café Monte and toyed with the idea of getting it for a few hours. I decided to suck I up and buy it. I’ve heard about this place from many people in the past five years and wanted to see if it lived up to the hype.

My friend went on Monday morning right when they opened and there was only one other table in the restaurant. I absolutely loved the pale yellow walls but it wasn’t what I was expecting. I was expecting black and white walls in cramped quarters so seeing it’s spacious inside adorned with mirrors, images of France and natural light.

Even though there was only one other table in there, the service was lagging. Our server would come over and barely check back on us. This is not ideal when it’s morning and I’m having coffee since anyone who knows me knows I don’t do just one cup of coffee. To save some sough (and calories) we split the Eggs Benedict. They even brought out the half portions for us already split.

Quite tasty. They had other breakfast items such as the standard eggs, sausage, toast along with Belgian waffles, crepes and quiche. I wouldn’t go back because most of the breakfast items were $10 or more and that’s just too high for my wallet at this time. If I am going to drop some money on a meal, I would rather spend it on lunch or dinner. Add the whole service kind of sucking thing and yeah, I would rather go somewhere else. But then again, I think it comes down to

*Dunkin Donuts

America runs on Dunkin and so do I! I always go through my junk mail since they send out pages of coupons in the mail. The only downside to it is that they are only specific in the region you’re in so you can’t use them if you’re traveling.

What deals have you found this week? Do you have outlet malls in your area and if so, do you shop at them?

Rolling with my homies

19 Jun

I tried a new to me Japanese place on Friday night thanks to Living Social

I am so team Groupon by the way. Living Social is alright but they never seem to have as good of deals as Groupon plus I feel like it’s more expensive. I may be a little bitter that I recently had a Living Social deal expire and they didn’t even send me an email letting me know. Groupon always has my back and gives me advance notice that I better use my Groupons or they will expire soon.

Shiki isn’t in my neighborhood so I haven’t heard anything about it. When I looked online, I couldn’t even find a website for them  and there were minimal reviews on the Yelp so I was a wee bit skeptical going there.

For being in a Wal-Mart shopping center, this place was hopping for a Friday night! It looked like it hasn’t been there too long, was clean, had high ceilings and lots of comfy booths. The host sat us and got our drink order at the same time. That’s what I like to see, use of time management skills. I hate when they seat you and you have to wait forever just to get a water so getting everything out of the way is welcome. We each got a glass of wine which was $3.95 each. Talk about cheap! Plus they were very generous with their pours.

We started off with edamame, it was piping hot and my friend asked how to do you eat it. I simply replied “Just bite and suck” which then led me to think of one of my favorite movies of all time: Clueless

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RIP Brittany

When I said “Just bite and suck” it reminded me of the scene at the party where they start playing Suck & Blow and Cher goes off on Elton “God Elton, don’t you know how to suck??” which led me to start humming “Rolling With My Homies”

I would keep going on and on about Clueless since it’s one of the best movies ever.

And anyone who wants to argue with me can go suck it. All I needed to know in life I learned from the movie Clueless.

Plus, it introduced me to Jeremy Sisto. 15 years later and I still love this man.

(source)

Oh yeah, so back to the Shiki, right?

At Shiki, I figured with the hooch being cheap they would mark up the price of their sushi but oh no, this was cheap sushi haven! None of the rolls are over $10 and a majority of them are $5 or $6. They also have traditional Japanese hibachi dishes but I really didn’t even look too much into that since when there is sushi, I’m a girl on a mission.

We had $25 to spend on food so we ordered four rolls. And of course, I don’t remember the names because that would be too easy. But I remember the spicy tuna roll (second from left) and crunchy California roll (second from right)

Why can’t I remember the names?? Argh. The one on the far left was bomb, I think it may have been the Volcano roll?

All of the sushi was wonderful and we walked out of there only having to pay $12 due to the two glasses of wine which wasn’t included. Shiki was a great value! I thought it was going to take longer to get there from the Uptown Charlotte area since I’m spoiled and think anything that’s further than six miles is a long trip.  Also, they have awesome mints-just strong enough to wipe out the taste of wasabi. I would much rather go to Shiki and pay for sushi than go somewhere that’s overpriced where you’re paying more for the atmosphere than the sush. It’s nice being able to hear the person you’re with talking when you’re out for sushi rather than having to yell at them in a clubby atmosphere.

On Saturday, I felt like my day was shot since I had the Salvation Army thrift store coming over to do a large pick up of stuff. And they pulled the whole cable company act like we-will-be-there-between eight and four so I was just sitting around waiting for them. I was paranoid about going anywhere for long because with my luck they would decide to drop by when I left. What also sucked was I got an invite early Saturday morning to go to a restaurants soft opening on Saturday afternoon but couldn’t go because of the pick up.

My friend came over and she had a Groupon to use for Pisces Sushi. I love the sushi but my last experience at Pisces was less than desirable. I was with a big party, the service was horrible, food took forever to get out and when it did, the portions were so little. I swore I wouldn’t go back but when someone has a deal, I am game. Apparently, Saturday afternoon is the time to go to Pisces since there were only four other tables seated.

So stoked I got hygienic chopsticks this time! Now what was I using last time?

We started with the Vegetable Spring Rolls, the dipping sauce that came with it reminded me of Chick Fil A’s Polynesian Sauce but with a kick. I’m totally ok with that.

Xoxo roll on top and Bobcats Roll on the bottom. Both of the rolls were fantastic however the Xoxo roll was out of this world! It’s topped with  grilled scallop and a honey eel mayo sauce. The scallop was grilled to perfection and I don’t even want to know with hot much butter because it literally melted in my mouth.

Filet M roll on top crab crunch roll on the bottom. I’ve never had sushi topped with steak before so this was something new to me. the horseradish on the Filet M roll gave it a little extra zing. I liked it but don’t think I would get it again, the concept of filet on top of sushi was just weird to me (this coming from a hardcore carnivore)

Nothing like some sushi on a Saturday afternoon!

Do you like the movie Clueless? Please don’t answer if you haven’t seen it because I really don’t need help feeling older than I already do.

When dining out-what would you rather pay for, ambience or good food?

 

Frugal Friday: It’s June?

10 Jun

Happy Frugal Friday! Um, I don’t even want to start the conversation on how it’s June already so we just won’t. I just need to ask-seriously- where has this year gone??

A couple of months ago, I was perusing Groupon for the deal of the day. I started to look around at other cities to see what they were offering as well. Indianapolis’ sounded interesting—$8 worth of Mexican food for $4 at Bajio Mexican Grill . I am all about the Mexican food but cheap Mexican food, si papi!

 

I had some free time last weekend so drove over and ordered the Pineapple Shrimp Salad.

Bajio was just like Qdoba or anything other Mexican fast food restaurant. I loved the number of add ins and when it came out, it was gorgeous. Looks tasty right? Wrong. There was too much juice from the black beans and the salsa so what should’ve been a salad turned into cold Mexican soup. No bueno. It would have been fine if there wasn’t so much juice, add to the fact that the lettuce was shredded lettuce as opposed to bigger pieces, I wasn’t a huge fan.

Tip: If you know you’re traveling to another city and  know what part of town you will be staying in or have a card with you, check out Groupon or other discount sites in advance. It’s a great, cheap way to check out local cuisine!

My sister told me about a Sparkling Ice Water they sell at Kroger for $.99/bottle. She said it tastes better than Crystal Light all while being calorie free. I went to the local Kroger and stocked up, they had a number of flavors and even though I didn’t have a Kroger savings card because we don’t have Kroger here, found out that I could use my Bi-Lo supermarket card since they are affiliates.

I also bought some snacks for the road since I wanted to get back on track with getting my fruits, veggies and produce in my life.

Tip: If you’re in need of food or drink while on vacation, go to the grocery store instead of the convenience store or eating out every meal. You will save tons of money and possibly discover new products like I did!

 

On Memorial Day, we went to the local Salvation Army thrift store. They were having a huge sale with all of their clothes half off! I found some wonderful tops and skirts for super cheap.

All of this? $7 and some change. Can we say holla?  Where else can you find Nike and Adidas tops for under $.80? On another note, I don’t think I’ve ever had donuts for dinner but wouldn’t be opposed to the idea.

Tip: Retail stores have huge sales on holiday weekends but don’t forget your local thrift stores! They are usually packed to the gills with clothes and other items and have sales as well!

When I got back to Charlotte, I was looking through the circulars to see what was on sale. I saw Voskos Greek Yogurt on sale for $1. I’ve never tried that brand before but if I’m going to try something, it’s going to be when it’s on sale as opposed to regular price.

A possibility of winning a trip to Greece? Don’t mind if I do.

Tip: Some times you may not like the product you get on sale. I tried the honey flavor and wasn’t a fan at all. However, I refuse to let the other three go to waste. I like to throw greek yogurt in smoothies as a replacement for milk and for a little kick of protein.

Also while looking through the mail, I found this advertisement (with coupons!) for Einsteins’ Brothers

I don’t need a fresh baked treat but it’s good to know if I’m jonesing for one, I can get one for free at Einsteins in the afternoon with a drink purchase.

Tip: Don’t just throw out your mail, check out the advertisements. Often they are full of sales, discounts and coupons!

I went to Logan’s Roadhouse with my aunt and uncle last weekend in Indianapolis. When we sat down the server did their normal schpeal asking us if we’ve ever been there. I told them I’ve heard of Logan’s but never been to a Logan’s before. Before we were about to leave the manager came over and gave me this card for a free appetizer since it was my first visit since they hoped I would return. The best part is I can use it at any Logan’s location!

 

Tip: Sorry, I don’t have one this was total luck right here!

Do you shop for groceries while you’re out of town? Do you buy Groupons/ Living Social/ etc deals for cities you will be visiting?

Going savage

7 Jun

Anytime I hear the term “Going savage” I think of The Heartbreak Kid

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Terrifically, funny movie that is completely mindless. If you haven’t seen it, I definitely recommend it! Ben Stiller and Malin Akerman play newlyweds who go to Mexico for their honeymoon. Their first day at the beach they are getting situated in their spot to tan and have fun in surf when he asks her if she is going to put any sunscreen on. She replies “I’m going savage” to get a good tan. Whenever I take a stab at simplicity, I always say “I’m going savage”

And here I am, going savage.

How you ask?

I haven’t turned on my A/C yet. My lease is up June 30th and I am not going to turn it on before I move out. This winter my energy bill was through the roof ranging from $90 –$120 where it used to be around $40-$60 in my old apartment. And the past few months it’s been $20-$25, that is way more in line with my budget. So when I’m slaving over the stove, I’ve been cooling myself off with one of this nifty fans.

And it actually helps keep me  cool. Plus I’m building up strength in my wrist, now that’s what I call winning. It came in handy on Monday night where it seemed to be a scorcher out and it was only 6o’clock. This is not a good sign for the months to come.

I made peach bbq pork chops with quinoa and veggies.

I used a good hunk of Penzey’s Mural of Flavor seasoning to season chopped up zucchini, green pepper, onion and eggplant then spritzed with my Misto.

The level of excitement over this veggies was borderline psychotic. After eating out the past week and a half, I was giddy to be in my own kitchen cooking with fresh produce. I marinated the pork chop in Paula Deen’s Peach BBQ for 20 minutes then baked on a cookie sheet for 20 minutes at 375 degrees.

Mural of Flavor is my new favorite seasoning, maybe because it has most of my favorite blended in there such as onion, garlic, thyme, rosemary, basil, coriander,  black pepper, chives among other spices.I wish I would have bought another jar of it.

In a typical day, the lights don’t come on until 8 or 9pm. I have so much natural light coming into my house, I don’t feel the need to turn them on. So with that, I get free light most of the day, I can dig that.

I’ve also gotten rid of my cable. This hurts even more than the A/C not being on. I am not moving out for another three weeks but I decided to make a clean break to save money and break my Real Housewives addiction.  Whomever thought of the Real Housewives franchise is an absolute genius but three at the same time? It has gotten out of control with three cities on simultaneously and kinda taking over my evening hours since I don’t have a DVR. Plus, they were influencing me.

*When I watched New York, I wanted to confront someone.

*When  I watched New Jersey, I wanted to confront someone and east pasta

*When I watched Orange County, I wanted to talk about someone behind their back (they aren’t too big on the confrontation) and get Botox.

So, that being said, it’s been quiet around here. I always kept the tv on for background noise. Even when I was gone, I would keep it on for Lincoln to keep him company. Not sure if that’s a good or bad thing though since I’ve seen conflicting things about both. But it’s been a pleasant silence. I am eating more mindfully now, enjoying each bite instead of wolfing it down, waiting for the next one while watching a sitcom. I don’t  have a million commercials coming at me to influence my to buy stuff and I listen to music if I do want noise. Maybe this going savage thing isn’t too bad at all.

How do you go savage?

Frugal Friday: good savings, bad savings

27 May

Happy frugal Friday! I’m leaving on yet another road trip today. But not going to the beach or anywhere near the ocean–going the opposite way to Indianapolis and then Chicago. This time it’s only a nine hour trip so hopefully i t won’t feel as long as the Florida drive and once again I will have my trusted co-pilot by my side.

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The wonderful Tonya was over the other day and did a mini photo shoot for Lincoln. I just love her work so much and Lincoln was quite well behaved. He usually barks at strangers but fell instantly for Tonya due to the belly rubs and baby talk. But back to my point, Lincoln and I will be going on yet another roadtrip to see my sister then detouring in Chicago for a few days. I can’t wait to get to Chicago!!

The week has been chock full of savings, some I am happy about and some not so much. Yeah, you read right, I am unhappy with some of my savings. But we will get into that later.

The Good Savings

First was when I got back to Charlotte last week. I came home to a ton of mail and while going though the boring stuff saw this beauty of a return address!

Skinny Cow actually sent me coupons—hooray! But they are tricky cows. I wrote them a few weeks back telling them how much I love their products. Their stuff is expensive and I can’t afford it every single week when I need a fix so I just straight up asked for coupons. It can’t hurt to ask right? They emailed me back thanking me for the comments but said they don’t send out coupons so seeing this was a BIG surprise.

If you read yesterday’s post, you saw I am not a brunette. It’s been awhile since I’ve had dark hair and upkeep for highlights are so expensive. And I don’t like looking like white trash with my three inch roots so going back to my natural color seemed to be the best decision for me-financially and appearance-wise. In an effort to save even more money, I skipped going to my regular hairdresser instead and decided to go to the Aveda Institute for a cut and do my own color

But then I asked myself: “What is my natural hair color?” I’ve been coloring it for so long I can’t remember the last time when my hair was au natural. I went to Target to check out their selection of colors and saw this tool in the hair dye section.

Perfect! Just what I was looking for. I entered in my information and it gave me a few different colors and type of dye to choose from. With the recommendation of the find your color machine, I went with Pure Darkest Brown by L’Oreal Sublime Mousse.

I went through my coupons and saw that I had $3 off –yes!

It was on sale for $8.99 so I got a box for $5.99—pretty good deal if you ask me!  I got my hair cut on Wednesday for only $15. It took about an hour and a half since the student had to get things checked off by the instructor. For $15, I am happy with the cut……except the bangs. I told her I wanted longer side swept bangs but they ended up too short and have been pulling them back instead.

So I now have brown hair and bangs, quite a big change for my hair in one day. But I will rock it! The best part was that it usually costs me $100 every three months to get my hair done but by going to the Aveda Institute and doing my own color, it only cost $26. Yeah, I can roll with that.

I found this coupon for a free strawberry-lemonade from McDonalds in the paper a few weeks ago.

So when I looked at the temperature and it was 80 something degrees out by 10am yesterday, it was definitely time to redeem.

So how was it? Very tasty! It was refreshing and sweet but I think I would’ve liked it better if it was over ice instead of slushie form.

I found this purse at Salvation Army for $3.99 on Wednesday. I know, I know, I am moving and do not need to buy any more crap but it was too cute to pass up.

The Bad Savings

I was happy to go food shopping since this week was triple coupons at Harris Teeter. Triple coupons only happen a few times a year and it’s just a magical time for me since I try to save even more than I normally do! I went to Our Coupon Home to check out what items were on sale, what coupons are out there for those products to see what items I could get for cheap or free. After going through their site and my coupons, I put a list together of items that were either going to be cheap or under $2

I went to Harris Teeter on Sunday morning with my list, my coupons and my hunger for savings. And a majority of items I was hoping to get, were all gone. I would look for one item and nothing. Go to the next and nothing. People already cleaned everything out! I did find some items on my list that were under $2 though

The total?

$10.14. Meh. I know it could have been a lot more but when I got a crapload of stuff for $15.12 earlier this month, it annoys me that I didn’t get that much when the coupons were being tripled this time around. So I did some more research and went back to Harris Teeter early on Monday morning to see if I would have any luck at a different location.

Not so much. I only found four items on my list of 10+ items and got a six inch turkey sub from their deli.

They have a program where for every 15 six inch subs you buy, you get a foot long free. This was my 15th sub so I now have a foot long coming at me soon (that’s what she said??) But on the flip side, Harris Teeter has raised their prices for the six inch subs yet again and now they are $3.49. Boo.

The total of $7.52 this time around made me feel a little better so really I got the four items for only $4.03 so about a buck apiece. Not too shabby.

Do you cut or color your own hair?

Do you ever get bummed out about not saving as much as you wanted to as the grocery store? I thought I would get more items both times around but was sorely mistaken.

Frugal Friday: On the road again

20 May

Happy Friday all! I am rolling back up to Charlotte today and not looking forward to the 11 hour drive. I am driving back from the west coast of Florida (recap coming soon!) and am excited for a new route to take but nervous since I’ve never come from this way. Maybe one of these days I will finally put out the money for a GPS? Until then, it’s Google Map directions all the way.

Am I the only person who still uses paper directions? Maybe I haven’t bought into the whole GPS thing is because I have a problem with authority and don’t like people telling me what to do?

Some tips for saving money while road tripping:

*Bring a lunch box with you. I like to bring one with one or two ice packs so I can bring drinks, yogurt and other perishable items

*Instead of buying snacks at gas stations, stock up before hand. I raided my parents cupboard before I drove to my sisters and snagged some trail mix, soda, fruit and granola bars.

Holy crap, my parents are hipsters and now organic!

*Check your local newspaper for deals. I found a coupon for a $19.99 Mani/Pedi comboo—unhead of!

So there was a catch with this deal.

The place was huge however it reeked of old people, Aqua Net and moth balls.

Seriously, this troll looking senior was off her rocker. She kept talking about how bunions ran in her family but she was blessed because she didn’t have any. From the look on her nail tech’s face, she was lying.

I was the youngest person in there so that boosted my ego for a few minutes until I sat down and figured out what the deal was with the cheap price. You can get a regular pedicure (the one with the $19.99 combo) or a spa pedicure. The spa pedicure is like a normal pedi–chair, hot water, bubbles and all. The regular? Not so much. Instead of going into one of the comfy chairs, they brought me a foot bath to soak my feet in. It’s all gravy b/c you would think that it would be plugged in so the water would be kept warm right? Negative. So my feet sat in the foot bath while the water quickly went cold. Nasty. WTF??
There was one lady who shelled out the extra $5 to get the spa pedicure and the other old ladies scowled at her since apparently, she was a big spender. I wish I would have followed her lead and spent the extra $5. At least I got my nails did and they looked good.

*Go to local thrift stores for new digs, books, knick knacks, etc. I went to a Habitat for Humanity thrift store on Thursday and found this Nine West purse for $1

Do I need another purse? Hell to the no but for as many purses that I have, I don’t have a plain black one. I think it’s $1 spent wisely.

*Itching to work out on vacation? Check out the gyms in the area you are going to visit. I belong to the YMCA and checked out the one in Florida and my membership allowed me to go 14 times at another branch outside of my metro area. I checked into LA Fitness which offers three day passes for free and Life Time Fitness offered a one day pass. I ended up not going to either one but Life Time Fitness was a bit pushy about me coming in. Homegirl slice is still emailing me and even offered to buy me lunch if I went in!

*Rely on the kindness of strangers. Ok, maybe everyone shouldn’t do this. But if you know me, I am a social bird and a talker. I often chat it up with strangers when out and I was at a bar the other night and a guy overhead I was from out of town and bought me a free drink. Score. Bonus points if they buy you a mixed drink on $1 beer night!

*Go to the local supermarket or discount score to get goodies for the ride back. I went to Big Lots on Wednesday night and got the following for under $7:

Hello Bear Granola! I haven’t tried this brand yet but it’s been on my list of must try’s

Happy savings!

What’s the longest road trip you’re made?

Anyone have any fun road trips planned for the summer?

Frugal Friday Guest Post: Food Snob

13 May

Happy Frugal Friday! I have an extra special guest post today from Miss Monique from Food Snob.  I love Monique and I had the priviledge to hang out with her not once but twice last year when I visited NYC.  I am so happy I met her via the blogs since she is just all around fabulous and one of the blogs I have to check out every day! She is going to tell you all about her crafty ways to save money in the Big Apple!

I can’t exactly recall the moment when I discovered Ms. Shaka’s blog, but I know I became hooked immediately. I love her wit and cheery outlook on life. And who could resist a blog that has daily doses of cuteness with the adorable Lincoln? Seriously, who?

I met Tiffany last year in person and again a few months ago. We are two peas in the same pod. What’s not to love about this girl? When she asked me to guest blog, I was honored. Like, extremely and I sought out an opportunity to put a little bit of me and a little bit of her into one amazingly awesome blog post.

Her latest addition: Frugal Fridays, is turning into my favorite segment. I am, in no way, a bargainista. In the city that never sleeps (good ol’ NY, NY) saving isn’t as easy. But I have found ways of coping with the price tag that comes with dining out and having fun all while maintaining a breathable budget.

One thing that I have been doing as of late (and this is helpful to you single folk) is that prepare two new recipes per week and grocery shop ONLY for what I need to make those dishes. Sometimes, I purposely seek out recipes with 5 ingredients or fewer.

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For instance, these skinny chimichangas (http://www.iarethefoodsnob.com/2010/09/skinny-chimichangas.html) I made last year were healthy, cheap, and freezable! Don’t want to eat the same thing all week? Portion the meals into single servings in separate containers and freeze them. On those days you can’t find the energy to cook, pop one of those babies in the micro for a homemade meal. (this comes in handy after happy hours!)

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Another source which Tiffany is familiar with: Groupon! Deal Sites! I find many deals on great places to eat! I set a certain dollar amount in my mind and will not spend over that amount. When the deal comes along for that great hummus place I have been eyeing and is under my target I go for it. I recruit my best eater and we hit the restaurant together. And usually, as is the understanding my friends and I have, if I purchase the deal, the guest pays the difference. But this is not a recommended method with people you have just met or people that you aren’t very close to.

Lastly, I have discovered an amazing resource to feed my restaurant addiction. Restaurants.com. It’s a website that sells discount gift cards to restaurants. More times than not, the restaurants offering these gift cards are likely to be a little less than successful and use the gift certificates to reel in more patrons.

I found my local sushi joint on restaurants.com offering a $25 gift card for a mere $10. The catch is you have to spend $35 to get the deal and if done right, you can have a huge dinner for less than $20. On some days, I find promo codes that bring the price for the gift cards down to $1. ONE DOLLAR for $25 worth of sushi??? Yes please.DSC00912

I called my friend Bunz and told her about my deal and the next thing I knew, we were sitting in the quaint sushi joint and presenting our gift card. One word of advice: call ahead to ask if they still honor the gift cards. DSC00913

Since we were getting a great deal we decided to order the sushi love boat. It’s a $30 platter of sushi meant to be shared and even when I have Japanese I never order the boat because it’s a bit pricey. But there was no time like the present to try something new. DSC00915

Everything was amazing. And it was nice to try sushi that wasn’t salmon or tuna. The fish was fresh. Bunz, who only just recently started loving sushi, was equally impressed.

We rubbed our bellies and asked for the check. After the deduction our of $25 ($1) gift card, our total was a whopping $20 (we ordered an appetizer).

And if you break it down, split it in two, that’s $10 each for a sushi boat.

Not a bad deal! Not a bad deal at all.

I hope I haven’t bored any of you to death and hope that if you took anything away from this, that you know you CAN enjoy dining out on a dime!

Happy hour, hot babes and humidity

12 May

While hanging out here in Florida, I feel like I’ve been quite productive. Yes, the days have consisted of napping, hanging by the pool and beach and spending time with these pups

but I feel like I’ve gotten a lot done besides that.

I found the local YMCA branch in Boca Raton and dropped in the other day to see if I could work out there. I asked my local branch if they knew the rules when visiting Y’s in other cities and they said it’s at the discretion of the specific branch. So when I went to the branch here, I was pleasantly surprised when they told me I could visit 14 times in one month! woot woot! The place may smell like old people and they don’t have the latest machines like my Y in Charlotte but it is definitely useable. I went the past two days and had some decent workouts.

And holy hot babes at the Boca YMCA batman! I don’t know what these men do for a living but they are gorgeous—kind of like a toned down version of Jersey Shore-current and in 30 years. These men are out of control hot so it’s awesome to have some eye candy while working out.

The dbag wearing a wool hat to the YMCA when it’s 90 degrees outside? Dude, stop trying to be Colin Ferrell.

My mom really doesn’t cook that much anymore and my parents are always going out to eat. I am usually fine with dining on someone else’s dime however I do not want to be going out to eat every single meal since that just spells trouble. I told them instead of going out for every meal, let’s do one meal of lunch or dinner at home then go out to eat for the other. This has been working well except for the fact that my parents keep trying to get me drunk.

Don’t worry, they aren’t trying to take advantage of me anything. Or maybe they are trying to get me drunk so they can steal my car and my dog. Add the fact that I am unemployed to that and I’m a country song!

Ok, maybe not so much but Florida has happy hour specials whereas North Carolina doesn’t. So that means that here they do BOGO drinks from 4 to 7pm or whatever hours they do happy hour.  My parents keep pushing me to get a drink when I go out in a very ABC afterschool special kind of way. They don’t tell me that all the cool kids are having drinks but they are a step away from it. So, with that, more Blue Moons that normal have been consumed.

We went to The Quarterdeck on Tuesday night since we had a coupon for a free half rack of ribs

Yep, frugality runs in the family

We went in and sat in the bar area however once I sat down and saw the sketchers sitting at the bar, I asked the parentals if we could sit outside. I’m all for people watching however these guys were giving me the heebie jeebies! One of them had an eye patch on. I’ve never met a normal person with an eye patch so there has to be a story there, one guy was taking up three seats at the bar and looked like he brought his own pillow to sleep there and the others looked like they just got their sweet freedom from the Broward County Pen.

I ordered the fish and chips with a side of two Blue Moons.

When the fish and chips came out, I was stoked. Nothing like some fish and chips, especially when you’re near the beach but to put it nicely…..it sucked. I don’t know if the cod was past it’s hey day or what but it didn’t taste fresh and squeezing a few lemons and dousing it in tartar sauce didn’t even help. If I ever go back, I will stick to their conch fritters as I have in the past.

I met up with some of my sorority sisters on Wednesday for lunch at Rocco’s Tacos. Even though I went to college in WV, a few of them moved to FL after college and have been here ever since. I love getting to visit family and friends while I drop by.

Seeing friends and eating Mexican food? Count me in! My parents told me their guacamole was out of this world and they make it tableside for you. When we sat down, I was secretly hoping that we would order it and my friends told me we had to get an order. Success!

I could have ordered a bowl of the guacamole and been happy. Seeing that it was $12, it could have been a meal itself! Instead, I went with the blackened mahi taco platter with rice and salad.

The mahi was fresh and flavorful so I was happy with the 180 degree change of fish from the other night. However, instead of little pieces of mahi, they give you one huge chunk so it’s not as messy as potentially could be. A good time had by all though, it’s crazy to think that I’ve known these girls for over 10 years.

Other random things?

*I am totally down for being a Cicada bug. I think I could sleep for 13 years!

*I have a new love and it goes by the name of Temptations by Jello Strawberry Cheesecake

Yes, it may be gone after only three bites but it’s absolutely delish!

*I’m started to develop an unhealthy habit for Dunkin Donuts.

I went to three different DD’s within a 24 hour time span.This can’t be a good thing for anyone.

*I had Cool Whip for breakfast the other day. But then the adult in me spoke out and told me not to have Cool Whip…..put some fruit under it to get my produce in!

*Ross sells Philosophy for only eight bones!

*I thought Charlotte had bad humidity. I was wrong. I forgot how bad it is here and am finally just starting to dry off after being inside for 20 minutes. Gross.

*And how is Charlotte out of eggplants when Florida is selling them for $.99? Why is the Sunshine State hogging all the eggplants?

*The Coconut Mocha frappuccino is a gift from the gods. I really didn’t need to know that something so delicious existed but oh well, at least I got it half priced.

What’s your favorite frappuccino?

Do your high school or college friends live in your hometown? A lot of my high school friends still live there but since I went to college 18 hours away, not too many of my college friends?

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