Friday, April 30, 2010

Friday Deals

So so so SO happy it's Friday! What about you guys? Some deals to make your day that much better!

*Last chance for FREE fries at McDonald's. Make sure you bring this coupon with you.

*FREE sample of Eucerin lotion while supplies last!

*Um, New York and Company is having a half off EVERYTHING sale. What the what? Yep! Lasts until Sunday, but hurry because stuff is moving quick!

*Not quite as good of a deal but still nice, The Limited has a coupon for 25% off (use code 300 if you're online). Good through Sunday.

*Macy's is having their Friends and Family discount right now - save 25% off of purchases and get FREE shipping for orders over $99. Enter code MACYSFFS online. Ends Monday.

*Old Navy is having a 30% off "select seasonal styles" (whatever that means) - enter ONBIG30 at checkout. Ends Sunday.

*And this is a deal that's good any time - head to Origins to get a FREE mini-facial! Just make an appointment! I'm getting mine this weekend!

Happy Friday and a wishing you all a good weekend!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Things I Wish I Knew 10 Years Ago

As I'm in the process of planning my 10 year high school reunion, I've been having flashbacks to 2000 the past few weeks. I've decided a couple of things: there would be music beyond boy bands, Y2K was actually not a big deal, and I had it pretty good as an 18 year old. I've obviously learned a lot this past decade, and I'm in a completely different stage of my life. I can't just blow off work and go to the beach (yes, I did that in high school) or I can't spend my whole paycheck on restaurants, concerts, and clothes (yes, I did that too). And while I've learned a lot, I think coming to adult terms with money and having a happy relationship with my finances has been one of the biggest changes over the last ten years. If I could travel back in time via hot tub or any other way, this is what I would have said to myself to save myself some heartache, stress and scary financial times:

Store credit cards are not free money.

When a store employee tells you that you can save 10% by just signing some thing and then you get such a convenient way to spend money at their store, Do. Not. Do. It. Don't get them for 5 stores. Each time you open a store credit card, your credit score (the number that all lenders judge you on) will take a hit. You'll be more of a credit risk. You'll spend money you don't have on things you don't need.

30-60-90 is not a suggestion.

Companies are not telling you it might be a good idea to pay within 90 days, or saying you really should think about it. They are telling you that they will take you to collections if you don't pay up within 3 months. This will affect your credit score. Don't pay late. You open yourself up to paying more money (at a minimum) and even not being able to qualify for loans because your credit score will be worse.

Opening a credit card to get a free t-shirt is a huge mistake.

There are lots of schemes to get people signed up for a credit card. Free shirts, free flashlight/bottle opener/mp3 player... but no one ever looks at the fine print. The interest rate is ridiculous, there are insane charges for cash advances (don't do that anyway), and fines for being late, leaving a balance on your card, etc. If you're seriously in the market for a credit card, do some research and figure out what card makes the most sense and offers what you're looking for.

Try to save, even a little bit.

It's hard when you're young and/or you don't have any money. You feel like there's nothing you can save. But dig deep. What if something bad happens and you have no cushion? Try saving $1 a day. That's around $30 a month and almost $360 a year. That would be a huge help if an emergency comes up.

Don't spend money on things that won't matter.

It's hard when you're under the influence....of peers. They're getting designer bags. Or new cars. Or fancy jewelry. But stick to your guns. Spend money on memories, not items. That Tiffany bracelet that everyone wears will pay for a weekend trip. The friends that you'll be grateful to have later won't care what your car looks like or what new item you added to your closet. You'll look back on pictures and fond memories for years to come instead of cleaning out your closet a few years later.

What about you? What's something you would have told yourself to do (or not do) 10 years ago?

Friday, April 23, 2010

Friday Deals!

Happy Friday everyone! Who went to Origins yesterday to get their FREE bottle of cleanser as part of their Earth Day trade-in? I did and I used my Checks and Balances foaming face wash this morning - it's amazing! Here are your Friday Deals!
*FREE small fry at McDonald's with this coupon to celebrate Free Frydays! You still have a chance next Friday to enjoy!

*FREE bagel before 11 AM at Noah's Bagels on Fridays! YUM! Use this coupon over and over until Friday, May 22nd. Drooling thinking about an everything bagel and schmear....

*Next Wednesday, April 28th is Baskin Robbins' 31-cent scoop night! Get a scoop of ice cream for 31 cents! Baskin Robbins is giving $100,000 to the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation, so it'll be a time to honor and celebrate that, as well.

*30% off shorts for men and women at Gap. I love these Bermudas, but it has to be above 60 on a regular basis for me to start wearing them! C'mon sun!

*Take 30% off everything at Ann Taylor and Ann Taylor LOFT for Friends and Family! Enter FRIENDS at checkout. Expires on Sunday!

*Take an additional 30% off clearance items at Express!

That's all for now! Have a great weekend!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Confession of a Shopaholic

My name is Lacy and I'm a recovering shopaholic. And unlike society wants you to believe, it isn't cute or funny to be a shopaholic. It's damaging to your credit, finances and in my case allowed myself to temporarily try and fill a void.
I wanted to share my story because I think it's important for people to know that they are not alone, but to also know at some point you have to stop making excuses and recognize the damage you are doing.
Shopping was always a fun activity for me and I'd always loved clothes. But it really spiraled out of control when I went to college and discovered I could apply for and get approved for a credit card all on my own. And I did. At one point I had about 10 store credit cards plus a Visa.
And trust me, they all got a lot of use. At first it started out innocently enough. I shopped occasionally to get a new dress for a formal or some sweaters I needed. But as I began to encounter and struggle with anxiety issues and depression, my shopping addiction really took hold.
To most observers I probably looked like the happiest person alive. I was getting a new outfit for every party I went to, getting a new designer purse just because. But inside I was not a happy person. I started to find that shopping was like a drug. I would physically get a high walking in the mall. My heart would race, there would be a feeling of euphoria, my anxiety and depression were gone and I was in the moment.
My shopping "fix" could be anywhere from several hours to a few minutes. But I would always convince myself I "needed" these things. And this happened almost everyday. I'd probably say I averaged $75 per shopping trip. Sometimes I might only buy a necklace for $10, other times it was $450. And I didn't blink an eye. I remember one month I spent $1000 on incidentals and couldn't even tell you that I knew what exactly I had purchased.
Even when the mall was closed, my cards didn't get rest. I remember being at the 24-hour Wal-Mart buying shampoo and scented candles at 2am, because you know, they were essentials that I needed. Needless to say I wasn't even out of shampoo. Oh and Internet. I was constantly ordering online.
I was thousands of dollars in debt and that was with my parents sending me money to support my habit. I don't think they realized how bad it was and just thought oh Lacy likes to shop. I felt like if I didn't have new things people would think less of me. I wouldn't be considered stylish. I did anything to prevent people from having to judge me on heaven forbid, my personality.
After finally going into therapy, my therapist and I determined that I did in fact have a shopping addiction. She as a wonderful woman who helped me work through the underlying issues, and suddenly the urge to shop was not as prevalent.
That's not to say it disappeared completely. And I still struggle with this a lot. I go through times where I obsess about shopping and going after the new shiny thing. If I'm stressed, I want to shop, knowing that high will still be there. I have to fight it.
That's not to say I don't have relapses. They still happen. But it's pretty rare.
Now I focus on really thinking about my purchases and talking myself through them. I select clothes that make me feel good. Nice fabrics, great cuts. And I wear those things over and over. They enhance my personality and mood, but I no longer need a closet full of clothes to feel confident or satisfied. It's taken a long to get here and an ongoing process. If you find yourself experiences the symptoms I did, don't be ashamed. Get help. I promise it will make your life so much more fulfilling.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Earth Day Freebies and Deals

I love saving money - obviously. But I love it even more when saving money goes hand in hand with saving the environment. I honestly don't know why more people don't put an emphasis on going greener - it's good all around! As you probably know, Earth Day is coming up tomorrow, and some businesses are doing their part to get you to think about the environment AND take advantage of awesome deals!

*I found this hard to believe, but bring a beauty product container (empty or full) to your Origins store and get a FULL SIZED cleanser - either the Checks and Balances face wash or the Perfect World cleanser! Awesome, right? And it doesn't have to be an Origins product you bring in. And to think I was just about to go pay money for some more face wash...oh, and PS, any day of the year, bring in ANY cosmetic container to Origins (again, regardless of brand) and get a FREE sample of a skin care product as part of their Origins Recycling Program!
*FREE admittance to over 100 select U.S. National Parks, now through April 25th!
*FREE classes and a plant for kids at Pottery Barn from 11 AM - 3 PM on April 22nd.
*Send a FREE Earth Day e-card from the World Wildlife Fund.
*A chance to win a FREE reusable bag from Earthbound Farms when you answer 9 of 10 questions on a quiz right. Next chance to win is at this morning at 9 AM Pacific Standard Time!
*In a previous post, I mentioned the BBC's Planet Earth "Pole to Pole" episode for FREE, courtesy of iTunes. Download before April 26th.

I like Earth Day because it gives me a chance to refocus on doing good for the environment. I'm going to start bringing my personal mugs to coffee shops - it saves paper cups AND many cafes (including Starbucks) gives you a few cents off your drink! I'm also going to be much better about turning on the heat when I get chilled and reach for a sweatshirt (or Snuggie -ha!) instead.
What about you? What are your Earth Day resolutions?

Monday, April 19, 2010

Saving money on food part 1

So after a review of our budget my husband and I discovered that the most out of control part of our budget is food. Whether it's buying too many groceries or eating out too ofte,n a ridiculously large portion of money is wasted on food. And I mean A LOT, like we could have a few more weekend getaways a year a lot. We've tried meal planning and pantry clean-out and freezer meals and prepping food on the weekend. But nothing has stuck. Well we do meal plan, but don't necessarily stick to the menu for the week. We're either too lazy or tired, or we forget or some sort of take-out sounds so much better.

We're slowly working on some steps and solutions that will help us tackle the budget issue, yet still be satisfied with our meals. As we work toward this process I will be sharing a weekly update about what has worked or not worked for us each week in an attempt to help others who struggle with this same issue.

This week and last week we implemented a cupboard challenge. Similar to cupboard clean-out, but with an element of competition added in. Each weekend my husband and I challenge each other to see who can come up with the most meals based on what we already have existing with some fresh purchases. Being a game it makes it more of an activity instead of a chore. And playing off of each others creativity makes for some more interesting and delicious creations.

The one thing to be careful of is to not deplete your stockpile. For instance if you have a lot of frozen chicken, don't make 5 chicken dishes. It's boring and you won't have ingredients on hand when you need to whip up something quick.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Friday Deals!

Happy Friday everyone! TGIF! Here are your Friday Deals!

*FREE reusable bag at Target on Sunday, April 18th to celebrate Earth Day!

*FREE fries at Jack in the Box today (April 16th) - no purchase required! Woo hoo!

*Buy 1 Blizzard at Dairy Queen, get the 2nd for 25 cents! You have until April 25th and you must use this coupon. I'm quite partial to the Reese's Cups Blizzard, but cookie dough sounds awesome....yum!

*Buy 1 Jamba Juice, get one FREE with this coupon through April 25th.

*15% off at New York and Company - enter code 2400 at checkout. Good until Sunday.

*Take an extra 25% off sale items at Ann Taylor - enter code SALE25.

*If you're a DSW rewards member, you can take $10 off a purchase of $49. Online only and with the promotion code APRIL. Good through Monday, April 19th.

*This is kind of wacky, but if you purchase $100 of merchandise at Cost Plus World Market, get a FREE companion fare!! This is good only through Saturday and it has to be an online purchase. How about a trip to Hawaii? That sounds nice...

Happy weekend everyone!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Tax Day Freebies and Deals!

"Nothing is certain except taxes and death." - Benjamin Franklin

Unfortunately, that is probably true. Luckily, Tax Day has some good freebies and deals so while it's still certain, it's maybe just a bit more fun!

*Taco Del Mar will be giving away FREE tacos! Just fill out your Taco 1099 and bring to a participating location!

*Cinnabon is trying to make Tax Day less taxing, so they're offering 2 FREE cupcake bites from 6-8 PM!

*McCormick and Schmick's is offering a FREE $10.40 gift certificate to every customer on Tax Day (good for your next visit), plus a $10.40 dinner and drink specials! Oh, and if you are a tax preparer, go celebrate there on the 16th - you get a FREE dessert when you present your business card.

*P.F. Chang's is offering 15% off your bill (not including alcohol - I thought that might be important to add).

*Whole Foods will not be charging sales tax on Tax Day.

*Maggie Moo's Ice Cream and Treatery will be giving out FREE slices of their ice cream pizza (uh huh - ice cream pizza) from 3-7 PM. Check here for the participating locations.

*And while I think it's more Earth Day than Tax Day, Starbucks is giving you a FREE coffee if you plan to drink it in a reusable mug.

*File this in the Earth Day more than Tax Day category, too: iTunes is giving away FREE downloads of the BBC's Planet Earth Episode 1.

That should make filing your taxes a little less stressful and a lot more appetizing! If you know of any more deals, feel free to post them in the comments or on our Facebook page!

Friday, April 9, 2010

Friday Deals!

TGIF for sure! I'm looking forward to going to a wedding to celebrate a great couple and having so many good friends in town! I hope you all have something fabulous in store! Here are your Friday Deals!

*FREE knife sharpening at Sur La Table for their annual cutlery event! Goes through April 30th. ALSO, demos on homemade donuts and ice cream/brownies on Saturdays. Can you say yum!? All free, just show up! I'm hoping that samples are involved...

*Sephora is continuing their Skincare Challenge! If you're a Beauty Insider, enter 10FREE at checkout to get a bag full of 10 samples! (psst - it's free to join and you get a ton of rewards). While supplies last...

*Just found out about this amazing FREE resource at Home Depot while I was picking up stuff for the new house - the Home Improvers Club! They have classes and workshops to help teach you the skills you'll need to fix up your home! There's even a Do-It-Herself club for the ladies! I signed up to take a painting class! Can you tell I'm really excited about this?!

* has yet another deal - get a $25 gift certificate for $3 when you enter DISH at checkout.

*Spring giving you a kick in the pants to get in shape? Donate a pair of your old workout pants to Lucy (love them!) and get $10 off a new pair! In stores only and good until April 30th. I love these Hatha Power Pant...makes me want to break out the yoga mat right now....
*60% off items at Express!

*Are you a wing fan? At participating Buffalo Wild Wings, you can get 6 wings FREE when you buy six wings. Here's the coupon you'll need.

*And a Borders coupon to round things out - 30% off for you and 30% off for a friend!

Happy weekend!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Happy Financial Literacy Month!

Yay! Time to celebrate! In case you didn't know, President Obama signed a proclamation declaring April National Financial Literacy Month! The government has a website ( to help you understand basic money management skills, like how to start saving for retirement or how to buy your first home. There's different sections and topics for almost any money question you have. Another great thing - there are links to understand the different government programs, like the Making Home Affordable Act (helps homeowners stay in their homes) and different tax incentives on purchases.

I think it's great that there's a movement to learn more about money, with particular emphasis on saving. In 2007, it was reported that Americans actually had a negative savings rate! With everything that's happened in the last few years, I think it's starting to change. According to this Bankrate survey, most people are planning to use their 2009 refund to pay down debt or to save and invest. Only 7% of people are going to spend it on shopping or vacationing.

Although I'm glad there is some sort of a national movement to learn about money, many people learn when it's too late. Why isn't financial literacy a mandatory topic in schools? I would argue it's just as important as algebra (do you use algebraic equations on a daily basis?) or Shakespeare (iambic pentameter anyone?).

So do your part and celebrate Financial Literacy Month by learning more about your relationship with money! I'm going to start researching a Roth IRA - what's a financial topic you're going to take time to explore?

Monday, April 5, 2010

Living On Groupons

Hey all! All last week, my husband and I were moving into our new home! Between packing and unpacking boxes, painting, putting together furniture, and not having internet access for a few days, it was tough to blog. But I'm back and excited to tell you how I did majority of my spending via Groupon!

Groupon (in case you don't know) is a website that offers tons of great deals - from restaurants to activities to stores and more. It's "collective buying power" - every day, a deal is featured on their site, and if enough people buy, the deal is on! Some of my friends have told me they don't even bother checking out Groupon because they feel it would just encourage them to spend money on things they didn't need. But I'm here to show you that when used correctly, Groupon can be a fabulous way to help you save money and do things you love.

I knew I wouldn't have a ton of time last week - even to do things like grocery shop. So I signed back up for my CSA at Full Circle Farm - I had a Groupon for $50 worth of produce for $25! Score! All I needed to do was pick up my basket! I still have one week's worth left for the week after next! This week, I've used my Groupon for spud!, a grocery delivery service (another $50 worth of groceries for $25). Three weeks of groceries for $50 and I don't even have to shop!? I'll take it!

Friday was my birthday, and I wanted to make sure I took some time out for me. So I used a Groupon for a massage from Waking Life - $35 for an hour massage! Next, I won a Twitter contest from Groupon and in return received a $60 gift certificate for Turquoise Boutique! It was a very cute store and I got two shirts and a dress with my gift certificate!

With the 4 Groupons I bought, I saved $145 on things I needed (okay, and things that weren't necessities). Plus, I saved a lot of time and energy by not going grocery shopping. If you haven't signed up yet, you should!

Thanks Groupon!