Archive for the ‘ Saving Money ’ Category

Fantastic frugal fun can be found!

Last night we went out and except for the cost of a babysitter, I was a really cheap date.   I also advocate for swapping babysitting with friends to avoid this cost as well but it’s a crazy travel week. Anyway, we made (free) reservations online at OpenTable for dinner and I had specifically looked for restaurants offering 1000 points to dine as usually you only get 100. With only 2000 points, you get a $20 gift card to any of their participating restaurants so we were 1/2 way there when we checked in.  I also happened to have a Living Social coupon for the restaurant so our meal was 56% off the regular price. We ended the evening with a concert at a local venue where we had a buy 1,  get 1 free coupon for their music series from the Entertainment book.

We typically don’t leave the house anymore for any dining or entertainment without scouting out the above sites or these below:

Some of these sites are affiliated with a specific city but the majority have something to offer to everyone.  Let me know if there are other sites where you save!

The hand is quicker than the eye!

I know that it’s not even Halloween yet but I actually saw Christmas decorations in a store today! This means that I will start to avoid malls at all costs and that (soon) a local radio station will be totally dedicated to holiday tunes. It also means lots of online shopping and I’ve found a way to save you money if you’re interested!

InvisibleHand is a web browser add-on which shows a  discreet notification, with a direct link, when the product you’re browsing can be bought for a lower price elsewhere. Recently when I was on amazon browsing for a kitchen gadget, InvisibleHand popped up with another site that had it for $7 less but I’ve seen larger items at more than a $30 savings. InvisibleHand  remains invisible until it finds a deal on a product you’re shopping for and unlike price comparison sites, InvisibleHand refreshes its prices every single time you use it.

InvisibleHand is 100% free, No Adware, No Spyware & No Malware. GIZMODO, cnet, and Mashable all highly recommend this great money saving tool. Check it out today and start saving from the moment you install it!

Hold on, let me get you my card.

Never has their been so many choices for business or calling cards. If you are in the market for new or upgraded cards, check out one (or all) of these life2great sites. Vistaprint has been a leader in the field for the past few years due to their constant marketing of 250 FREE custom business cards.  They do offer hundreds of designs and the availability to upload your own photos but adding a printed backside or heavier card stock can start to add up. I’ve also noticed that they will give you a coupon as soon as you complete your order so sometimes ordering 1/2 of a set on one order and then the other 1/2 on a second order can save you money.

Zip on over to zazzle where you can browse hundreds of templates or design your own business cards. Zazzle also offers cards in three sizes; Chubby, business & skinny which can add to the individuality of your cards. This along with their entire line of other marketing items such as apparel, mugs and postage stamps can make them your one stop shop. Also, sign up for their street_sign_business_business_card-p240690611207123544tdcc_380mailing list as last weekend they had a 4 hour 50% off Happy Hour sale on Friday and 20% off the rest of the weekend.

MOO is a newer site but one of the coolest as it uses ‘Printfinity’. This is MOO’s unique printing technology which allows you to print a different image on every card in a pack. An inspiration gallery and expert tips makes this site on of the must unique and modern of all the sites.

A recent article in Woman’s Day has a great piece on business cards that provided expert tips on design, wording and presentation so you can network like a pro, check it out!

AGENT!!!

That’s me screaming into the phone when trying to connect to a live person while making some recent travel plans. A few days later while calling a major airline carrier, I was told by a recording that they were too busy to take my call and to try again another time. No pretending or giving me an estimated 5 minute wait time status update – nope, too busy, try again later. This, it seems,  is what it has come to…and it makes my blood pressure rise just thinking about calling any 1-800 number.

get humanHowever, I’ve just discovered Gethuman.com. Gethuman.com  is a great starting place before you “let your fingers do the walking”. It’s the ultimate consumer tool with phone numbers, shortcuts, reviews, tips, and more for many companies worldwide. It’s great at bypassing the voicemail systems and connecting you to a live human in record time – especially helpful if you have a specific question or if you have an issue that you need handled.

It came in extremely handy for me after staying at a hotel that had multiple issues from the moment I arrived. The on-site staff seemed unconcerned about the quality of my stay; but I called their main company line and after speaking to a customer service rep, I was credited 1/2 of my stay back onto my credit card. I presented the facts is a neutral tone, expressed my disappointment in this particular chain, and said that their service would affect my future choices in hotels. Their positive response was exactly what I had hoped for – and made possible by 2 live humans talking it out.

Lighten your Load

If you are tired of carrying multiple reward/loyalty cards around in your wallet or on your key chain, there are a few new apps around that can lighten your load… and save you money.  The CardStar App lets you easily store, manage and quickly retrieve your reward, club, and loyalty cards on your Smartphone, where they can be scanned directly from your screen at most merchants. If you are like me and have yet to upgrade to a Smartphone, get the CardStar Card which enables you to combine up to six cardmobilimembership and reward cards on one printed card. Also, receive coupons and deals to all your local and national merchants, at no cost to you!

Key Ring uses also bar code scanner technology to create a digital copy of all your loyalty cards and stores them on your phone; retailers simply scan the bar code from the screen. Key Ring also provides and easy way to collect and redeem special offers from your favorite retailers. Last but not least is Cardmobili which does everything these two do and has gotten some of the strongest reviews.

Click You Tube Key Ring App to see the app in action!

I Heart Resale!

St. Louis is blessed to have a number of resale shops to choose from but if I had to narrow down to one childrens and one adults, it would be Kangaroo Kids and Next– both located at the corner of Manchester and Sappington. Kangaroo Kids not only does resale (childrens, maternity, toys, equipment…) but offers KKidsparent and breastfeeding support groups and are retailers for Baby Jogger, Medela, and Motherlove Herbals. But my most favorite thing is the fact that they offer FREE events such as Estate Planning Basics for New Parents ( Monday, September 20th 6:30pm) on top of everything else. It’s truly a one stop shop and did I mention that you can get coffee and snacks there? Life Simplified fans & followers can get 25% off resale until September 24th if you mention this article at Kangaroo Kids or Next!

Careful not to lose an afternoon at Next Woman’s Resale Boutique  – rated #1 in Vintage & Resale by KTVI 2010 Hot List.  Dana, the owner of NEXT, prides herself on her shop’s personalized customer service for both her shoppers and sellers, carefully selected and always changing name brand inventory, Nextand a friendly atmosphere where everyone feels welcome. Whether you need something for a special occasion or a wardrobe make over, come visit NEXT any time. 

Dana states, “I’ve furnished NEXT the same way I would like to encourage you to fill your closet. Next was created using 98% resale, recycled or other wise repurposed items from local resources. Read the rest of this entry

Are You A MAGHOUND?

I wasn’t but I am now. MAGHOUND is a fabulous new online membership service that allows you to choose, change and manage all the magazines images 3delivered to your home. Select a tier package of 3, 5, or 7 magazines – with the option to add even more. So one month I could be perusing Better Homes & Gardens, Time and Consumer Reports for fantastic life simplified tips and a few months later switch it up to Food & Wine, Entertainment Weekly and Dwell.

You’ll find hundreds of other popular magazines to choose from. Search by category or look for magazine titles by name. Tier 1 (3 magazines) is $4.95 / month, Tier 2 (5 magazines) is $7.95 / month and Tier 3 (7 magazines) is $9.95 / month. There are no hidden commitments and no obligation to continue. If you are not satisfied with MAGHOUND for any reason, they will cancel your membership anytime, online, 24 hours a day, with no cancellation fees.

Looking for a gift?  Read the rest of this entry

No Better Time to Shop!

imagesMany states will be offering a tax free weekend this weekend or sometime in August so grab your back-to-school lists and get shopping! Check out the following states for details: Alabama, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, Missouri, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, Virginia, Washington D.C. & West Virginia.

Locally, St. Louis’ tax free weekend is this weekend (August 6-8) and applies to:

  • Clothing under $100
  • School supplies under $50
  • Computer software under $350
  • Computers/computer equipment under $3,500
  • Note: Some cities and counties in Missouri elect not to participate.

If you happen to do any of your school shopping at Target, they will begin offering a great new program in the fall which entitles you to 5% off everything in the store with a Target credit card.  The new 5%-off program (for every purchase, every visit) will replace Target’s current program in which account holders receive an initial 10% off coupon and existing cardholders earn coupons for a future shopping visit. No exact date has been set but I’ll make every attempt to post the date when it’s announced. For more great tips on back-to-school shopping and the tax free weekend, check out this great article on About.com.

“When You Care Enough…

… To Send the The Very Best” used to be one of the most recognized slogans for Hallmark cards and I used to be really good at remembering birthdays and other occasions to send cards. Now-a-days I wait for facebook to tell me when there’s a birthday (or other important date) and I send a quick one liner but it seems far away from the time and care that I used to take in picking out the perfect card for someone.

So, I’ve come up with a compromise – ecards. There’s more thought than a one liner but I’m saving time, money and the environment but utilizing modern technology. Here are a few of my favorites:

Sketch29StoryPeople has a great site that lets you choose from Quick Cards where you can pick by theme or if you have a little time, you can Create Your Own and find the perfect story, put it with the perfect e-card & send it to the perfect person. Smilebox is another site that lets you create an ecard, add photo, music and email for free. Perfect for Thank Yous, Grandparent’s Day or any occasion!

If your (or the recipient’s) style is more lowbrow, check out Rattlebox that literally has an ecard/video that is called Party Till You Puke – enough said. Finally, my former coworker, Matt, first introduced me to some ee cards with a fantastic (borderline offensive) laugh-out-loud card. Their selection of flirting cards has the potential to make you blush and there is something for absolutely every occassion, including break-ups. So when you care enough to “hit send”, you’ve got a lot of choices in ecards.

Gotta get your SWAG!

I mentioned swagbucks in a previous post but I thought they were worth a quick, second mention as today I cashed in my bucks for some swag. With just over 2200 swagbucks, works-2I got a $25 restaurant.com gift card, $10 Starbucks gift card and $5 amazon gift card, all for simply surfing the web!

Swagbucks is an online portal dedicated to helping you earn digital dollars called swagbucks which can be redeemed for exclusive swagbucks merchandise. I type in whatever I’m looking for online (just as you would in google), and with just one click, I can earn swagbucks. Now, it’s not every time but I’d estimate about 80% of the time, I’m online, I’m awarded. Then I can redeem them for giftcards like I mentioned above, magazines, “eco-swag”, etc. Read the rest of this entry