Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Beauty on a Budget

For years I spent a lot of money on buying high end make-up and then equally high-end cleansers to remove said make-up Years and years went by and I never did actually achieve clear skin. I didn't have like full-blown acne, but I always had one blemish, or my skin was too dry or too oily.

A few months ago I realized that the challenge was I wasn't removing a lot of my make-up. Sure the eye make-up came off okay, but my foundation, powder and concealer was hanging on, no matter how many times I washed or what products I used. This of course lead to a cycle of buying ridiculous amounts of make-up removing wipes and facials. Which was a hard hit to my budget.

Then something possessed me to try cold cream (I use Ponds). Yes, I used a product with mineral oil as the number one ingredient and smeared it all over my face. I was sure I had gone mad and that I was sure to have even oilier skin followed by crazy breakouts. But you know what, nothing bad happened, so I kept using it. Then pretty soon I noticed my skin was getting more even with less blemishes. AND I was getting the make-up all off of. My skin was soft, clean and balanced, not dry, not oily. After months of use I can easily say this is the best beauty product I've ever used. And my skin has never looked better. The best part? It's about $3 for a jar that lasts about a month and a half.

The key to the cold cream is to use it properly. Use it liberally and massage all over your face to loosen dirt and make-up. Then use a damp washcloth to wipe it all off. Your skin will feel soft, but not oily. If it feels oily, you need to keep wiping. The whole process takes about 1 minute. And you don't need to follow-up with a moisturizer.

I'll admit that it felt sooo weird to not lather up, but the results have been amazing. As a result I've cut my beauty budget by at least $30 a month for the expensive cleansers, clarifying masks and moisturizes. I do still use a basic cleanser in the morning followed by a lotion with SPF.

Ladies, you must try this miracle product!

Monday, March 22, 2010

GYOP (Grow Your Own Produce)

Let me start off by saying that I have a black thumb. I would like to think that I don't - I've been able to keep a plant alive at my office for almost a year, but that is literally the only plant that has lasted longer than a month. I'm making it my goal (in my new house!) to get some semblance of a garden started, and this article from Women's Health Magazine really helped me get an idea of what to expect.

I really love the idea of growing my own produce and herbs. First off, it saves you a ton of money. Have you ever purchased fresh herbs at a grocery store? For the amount you spend on one plant (typically around $4 for a mature one, significantly less than that for seeds), you get a lousy few ounces at the supermarket. Another benefit is you know exactly where your produce came from, and it is most likely organic. And doesn't it feel good to play in the dirt?!

But I'd love to hear from some of you who have small gardens or windowsill gardens - what do you plant? Has it been successful for you?

Friday, March 19, 2010

Friday Deals!

Hi folks! So excited for the weekend! The weather will be gorgeous! I hope you all will have some time to enjoy it! Here are your Friday Deals!

*30% off coupon for Borders! Must be a Rewards member (it's free to sign up).

*philosophy is having a sale on select body washes through Saturday - 3 for $33! If you buy philosophy products, you know that's a good deal. Enter code "party" at checkout.

*jcrew.com is having a dress sale - 20% off all dresses (except wedding gowns)! Ends today at midnight so hurry!

*30% off at all Gap Inc Stores (Gap, Banana Republic, Old Navy and even outlets) for their Give and Get Promotion. When you shop through Sunday, they will give 5% of the amount you spend to Big Brothers Big Sisters! Nice!

*FREE CONE DAY at Ben and Jerry's! This year, it's March 23rd from 12 - 8! Woo!

*And although we already posted this on our Facebook page, FREE pastries at Starbucks on March 23rd! Print this coupon and go in from open until 10:30 AM to get a free pastry! Yum! Looks like someone will be gorging themselves on free junk food next Tuesday...

*If you live in the Seattle area, head down to Westlake Center between 11:30 AM and 1 PM today to get FREE daffodils! It's courtesy of Pike Place Market to welcome Spring!

If you know of other deals, feel free to let us know by posting on our Facebook page or writing us an email at leanwithgreen@gmail.com. Happy weekend!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Money Saving Websites

I just got my April Real Simple this weekend - does anyone else subscribe or read that magazine? I relax just looking at the cover. The minimalist design, nice fonts...but this is not about how much I love that magazine.

It is however about how much I love what they wrote about - the 10 best money saving websites! We've talked about Restaurant.com and Gasbuddy.com on this site before, but here are some great suggestions!

*Freeshipping.org - free shipping codes for more than 2,000 stores

*Retailmenot.com - discount codes for 50,000 stores!

*Priceprotectr.com - register a new purchase at this website, and get an alerts if you're eligible for a refund if the price drops!

*Ecoupons.com - great site for online coupons, free samples and cashback opportunities

Definitely have to check those out! Other sites I love to save you money:

*Mint.com - okay, okay, I'm blue in the face from telling you about how much I love Mint. But not only does it track your budget (having a basic budget is step #1 in having a good relationship with your money) but it shows you other ways you could be saving money with credit cards, banking, insurance and more!

*Ebates.com - go through ebates.com to get cash back on purchases you make when shopping online! As if online shopping wasn't dangerous enough...

*Groupon.com - again, I have been talking about Groupon for 8 months now, but I still love it. It's a group purchasing site, meaning they have to sell a certain amount of groupons (say 75) and once they get 75 buyers, the deal is on! Among the muriad of things I've purchased from Groupon - a massage, two organic delivery service coupons, and a gift certificate for a restaurant. All for at least half off retail! Sign up for their daily emails!
Are there sites out there you frequent to save you some bucks? Leave a comment and let me know!

Friday, March 12, 2010

Friday Deals

Yay Friday! Looking forward to a weekend of packing...okay, not exactly looking forward to it but it needs to get done! Finding all these deals put me in a better mood though!

*FREE sample of Dunkin' Donuts new Dunkin' Turbo coffee. Also at Dunkin' Donuts, FREE medium hot or iced coffee each Monday in March at participating stores!

*FREE mango yogurt at Pinkberry tonight from 5-9! Wish I had one close!

*80% off gift certificates at Restaurant.com when you enter the code BITE.

*More FREE samples as Kashi.com! Yum!

*Take an extra 30% off J. Crew's sale items, plus FREE shipping for purchases over $150. Enter code EXTRA30 at checkout. I'm loving this striped blue shirt...on sale for $55, but take 30% off an it's $38.50!

*Express is ready for Spring - buy one tee or tank, get the other one for 50% off!

Remember to Spring Forward on Sunday! While I'm not thrilled to be losing an hour, I'm so excited for it to be lighter at night! Hope you all have a fantastic weekend!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Sandra's Money Saving Meals

This isn't usually a recipe reviewing site, but I thought those of you watching your grocery budget could use another good recipe website that makes healthy meals for little money.

Enter Food Network chef Sandra Lee. I'm not a huge fan of her show "Semi-Homemade with Sandra Lee". But her new show "Sandra's Money Saving Meals" caught my attention. According to the show's description, the show features incredibly budget-friendly recipes for every day of the week, all based on her triple A factor of accessible, aspirational, and affordable. During the show, Sandra also gives pantry stocking tips and supermarket shopping savvy.

I wanted to try Sandra's recipe for Black Bean Burgers. I needed to buy 2 cans of black beans (89 cents a piece), 1 onion (69 cents), and two Kaiser rolls (75 cents a piece) - everything else I had on hand. They were super delicious and relatively healthy! Black beans are a good source of protein, and much cheaper than meat. Not only was this a cheap, easy and healthy meal, but the other half of my bean mixture will be used in tonight's dinner for Black Bean Enchiladas.

Two dinners for under 5 bucks?! I'll take that!

Does anyone have other good websites or cookbooks they'd like to share for budget-friendly meals?

Monday, March 8, 2010

Saving Money Moving

As you've seen from other posts, my husband and I are preparing to move into our new home! While we're busy picking out paint colors and new furniture, we are grudgingly acknowledging that we have to actually move. Ugh! Can't we skip that part?

Since 2000, I have moved a whopping 7 times. Eeek! While I moved every year in college, I could fit everything in the back of my Jetta. Now that I'm married with a king-sized bed, I'm lucky to fit my closet in the back of my car. And of course the more stuff you have, the more it costs to move it from one place to the other. No more moving in laundry baskets and tupperwares - it's time for boxes and packing tape. Here's how I've lowered my overall moving costs in the past, and I hope it's helpful for you if you're in the process or will be soon:

1) Look for boxes before you buy them - this may take a little work on your part, but buying boxes can definitely add up (it takes an average of 30 boxes to move a 3 bedroom home). See if any of your recently-moved friends or neighbors have boxes in good shape that you could use. Go to your local grocery store or retailer and ask if they have any boxes. They are usually in great shape and places like bookstores or drugstores usually have a ton of smaller boxes that are useful for packing utensils, books, or other small items that add up to be pretty heavy.

2) Pack with linens - instead of buying newspapers, bubble wrap to protect my delicate items, I pack with towels, t-shirts and sheets. I'm going to have to pack them anyway, and why not have them protecting my wine glasses or my teacups and saucers? It's definitely a greener way to move and it saves money.

3) Forgo hiring movers and ask friends to help - hiring movers can cost a small fortune. If you're lucky enough to have a handful of friends in the area, see if they have a free afternoon to help, and buy them pizza and beer. It's definitely a lot cheaper and more fun to move with friends.

4) Ask for discounts when looking for a rental truck - do you belong to any clubs or alumni associations? Make sure to ask if the company offers any special discounts - you could save 10% or more on your total bill!

5) Sell/donate things you don't want - you know when you're going through all your stuff and you come across that one item that you've never used yet you KNOW you'll use it when you go ice camping in Alaska or when you pick up curling? Yeah, you'll never use it so get rid of it. It's taking up more space in your boxes, and it'll be one more thing to unpack and find a space for in your new home. When you donate your items to a non-profit, you can get a tax write-off. Or you can also try and sell your items on eBay, Amazon, Craig's List or the good ol' garage sale.

Anyone have any other tips for moving without breaking the bank?

Friday, March 5, 2010

Friday Deals

It's been a loooong week - I'm desperately in need of a weekend! Who's with me?! Hope you all enjoy some time off and here are your Friday Deals!

*Sign up for Cost Plus World Market's Explorer! There's a coupon for $10 off purchases of $30 or more and buy 1, get one FREE Italian Sodas! (PS - this is a great program that works like a grocery store reward card...totally free and saves you money)

*FREE sample of Purina's Beneful dog food for your pooch from Walmart.

*Buy 2, get 1 FREE skin care products at The Body Shop for their Semi-Annual Sale. Psst - while you're there, check out their specials! They change daily - yesterday, lip gloss that sold for $14 was selling for $3!

*You live around Seattle? Maybe you'd like a three course meal for $30 from renowned restaurants! Go to Dine Around Seattle for details! Thanks Alysia for the head's up!

*Ladies, if you're needing spring clothes, check out The Limited. Get a FREE skirt or pair of pants with a jacket purchase, buy 2 pieces of jewelry get one FREE, and buy 1 essential shirt, get the other one 50% off. Phew!

*Bring in your old denim to Gap, and get 30% off a new pair of jeans! What?! I don't have all the details (I got it via their Twitter page) but that's what it says! Starts today!

Happy weekend!!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle!

How much junk do you have around the house that you wish you could do something else with other than take up space in a landfill? This is becoming so apparent to me as I begin the process of packing and preparing to move into our new house! But before you throw things away, I hope you give those items a second chance and head to this website to help you use things that might otherwise end up in the garbage.

I came across How Can I Recycle This? when I was looking for how to use up broccoli stems. Eat them? Well, yeah, but they are kind of tough...anyway, this site suggested all kinds of things from peeling the stems, to stirfrying (duh) to soups. So now my 1/2 pound of broccoli I once thought inedible is sitting in my freezer waiting for Broccoli, Cannelini Bean and Cheddar Soup next week. Yum!

How Can I Recycle This? has tips on just about anything you can think of! How can you reuse small plastic lotion tubes? What about reusing an old ladder?

Do you make good use of old things? I'd love to hear some suggestions - what do you do with old clothes/shoes? What about books you don't read any more? Any fun second lives you give to things around the house?