Wednesday, September 29, 2010

The Winner of the $55 CSN Gift Card!



Congratulations to Red from Girl with the Red Balloon on the win!  I'll be in contact with you on how to claim your prize.

Thanks to everyone who entered!  Please stick around, because I have some great new giveaways planned in the coming weeks.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Another Reminder Why I Hate ING Direct

Consumerist posted an article about a woman trying to get ING Direct to give her the money out of her deceased husband's account.  I cringe every time that I read about ING and their horrible customer service. I wish that we had escalated our problem with ING last year after I was deleted from our joint account for failing security questions that did not pertain to me.  It is so frustrating to hear them constantly praised!

After our ING Direct horror, we signed up for an online account at HSBC and it has been great so far.  There are definitely other options available besides ING Direct, even though they seem to be the most popular.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

20% off at Soap.com

Right now if you use the promotional code SAVINGCENT at Soap.com, you can save 20% off of your first order. You can place your order through Ebates for an additional 5.5% cash back. Shipping is free for orders over $25.

They have a lot of natural products that can be difficult to find in stores, as well as great deals on everything else.

CVS 9/19 - 9/25


I haven't been going to CVS as often, and we have actually started to run out of things. I only had 1 ECB to start with today, so I knew that I would have to spend some money out of pocket.

Transaction #1

(2) Nivea Body Wash - $10
(1) Nivea Lotion - $8.89

Coupons Used: $4/2 Nivea, $3 Nivea, $2/$10 Skincare CRT, 1 ECB

OOP: $10.48 ($8.89 + $1.59 in tax)

Earned: 5 ECB

Saved: $11.98

Transaction #2

(2) Right Guard - $5.98
Schick Shave Gel - $2.99
Chunky Bar - $.89 (This was filler.)

Coupons Used: $1 Schick, $3/2 Right Guard, 5 ECB

OOP: $1.52 ($.66 + $.86 in tax)

Earned: 4 ECB and 1.80 ECB

Saved: $13.20

Transaction #3

Excedrin PM Bonus Pack - $9.99

Coupons Used: $1.50 Excedrin, 4 ECB, 1.80 ECB

OOP: $2.69

Earned: 3 ECB (because it was a bonus pack)

Saved: $7.30

Transaction #4

Excedrin - $11.49

Coupons Used: $1.50 Excedrin, 3 ECB

OOP: $6.99

Earned: 10 ECB

Saved: $4.50

Total OOP: $21.68
Total Saved: $36.98
ECB Total: 10 ECB for next time

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Giveaway - $55 Gift Certificate to CSN Stores

I am so excited to be able to offer another CSN giveaway to my readers. And I am still totally jealous that I can't win!

This $55 gift certificate is sponsored by CSN Stores and can be used at any one of their over 200+ sites. You can find pretty much anything that you need: a new coffee table, shoes, kitchenware, and so much more.

How to Enter:
  • Head over to a CSN site and pick an item that you would love to have! Leave a comment letting me know what you would choose.
Additional Entries:
  • Subscribe to my feed via RSS or Google Friend Connect and leave a comment letting me know that you did.
  • Tweet about this giveaway on Twitter and leave a comment with the link.
  • Blog about this giveaway and link back to it. Leave a comment to let me know that you did.
The Rules:
  • This giveaway is open to US and Canadian readers. Please keep in mind that there are shipping charges.
  • Make sure that you leave your email address so that I can get in touch with you.
  • Winners will be chosen via Random.org and you will have 48 hours to respond to my email or I will choose another winner.
  • The giveaway will end at Midnight EST on September 26th.
Good luck!


Monday, September 13, 2010

A Small Shopping Victory

So do you remember that amazing typewriter shirt that I desperately wanted from Anthropologie?



Well I found it in my size in the store!

So I'm guessing you might be thinking that my victory is that I bought it, right?

Nope. The victory is that I didn't!

In the past I would have run to the counter to buy the shirt the second that I found it in my size. Instead, I grabbed two sizes and headed to the fitting room.

When I tried it on, I realized that I didn't even like it that much. The print is amazing and I love it, but the fabric is very thin. There is a pocket on the chest (a detail that I hate!) plus since the fabric was so thin, the doubling of fabric for the pocket looked bizarre. It was originally $68, and on sale for $40. Nice discount, but still way too much money for such a low quality item.

So I said goodbye to the pattern that I loved, and left the store empty handed.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Is the Virgin America Upgrade to Main Cabin Select Worth It?

I think it definitely was for us, even though it added an extra $440 to our plane tickets. It costs $110 as an upgrade starting at 24 hours before the flight.

I have only been on an airplane a handful of times in my life, and it is generally not an experience that I enjoy. When I logged on to Virgin America's site to check-in, I noticed that there was an icon to change our seats. When we booked our flight, I agonized over the seat choices. I like the window, but I hate being boxed into a seat by a stranger, so eventually we decided on aisle and middle. By the time we were checking in, I was regretting that decision.

I saw that they had an upgrade available to Main Cabin Select, which is available in the bulkhead row as well as the exit row. I could get a window seat, and have some extra room. It would be free to check our bag, and we could order whatever we wanted and it was already covered. We also got priority treatment, and were able to board the plane first along with first class.

We decided to jump on it, with the following rationale: Our tickets were already hundreds of dollars less than those on other airlines. Even with the upgrade, we are still coming out ahead. I am so glad that we upgraded our seats. I can honestly say that this was the best flight that I have ever had. Boarding the plane early, and not having to squeeze past people was such a luxury. We were at our seats early, and as an added bonus, the aisle seat was not taken, so I didn't feel trapped.

I wanted to keep track of the perks that I was getting, to try to figure out if it would be worth it on the way home. First, we got to check our bag for free instead of $25. We ordered food on the plane (you have to pay for everything except soft drinks, juice, coffee, tea, and water). It's funny, because if we had to pay for these items a la carte, we would have spent our trip starving. Instead, since it was already covered, we tried to make it worth it

Here's what we ordered:

Food and drinks
  • Iced Tea $3x2 = $6
  • Chocolate Chip Cookies $3x2 = $6
  • Pastrami sandwich = $10
  • Grilled Japanese eggplant sandwich = $9
  • Another Iced Tea later in the flight= $3
  • Mixed nuts = $3
Entertainment
  • Date Night - $8
Total Value - $67

Added to the fact that:
  1. we had express check in.
  2. we boarded first.
  3. we had way more leg room.
  4. our luggage came out among the first.
I freaked out when I checked in for our return flight, because the option wasn't available. I entertained the notion of switching to first class, and even woke up at 3:30 in the morning (six hours ahead of time) to try to get that upgrade. That would have added A LOT more to our total, so I guess I should be glad that it wasn't available.

I was cranky as we got to the airport, since our seats were actually pretty awful: in front of the exit row, so they didn't recline, but not with the perk of extra legroom. When we were waiting to board, I saw a notice that there were upgrades available, and luckily I was able to upgrade our seats at the gate. Virgin America promptly refunded the $25 that I had already paid to check our bag, and we proceeded to order lots of food and movies on the return flight as well.

The upgrade was totally worth it for us, and I thought it was a good compromise between being squished in coach, and splurging for first class.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Spending Confession - $800 on New Glasses

Buying new glasses is really expensive, especially since I don't have vision coverage through my insurance. I attempted to save some money by buying my frames online. I nervously ordered a pair of Kate Spade Elisabeth glasses from Frames Direct, after studying the website for hours. I finally learned what the little numbers mean that are written inside glasses, and what that means for sizing. Though Frames Direct offers lenses as well, for pretty reasonable prices, I purchased just the frames, since I am really picky and I wasn't sure if I would like the lenses.

Well, my glasses came and I really liked them. Except since they were black plastic, they were definitely making a statement. I wanted something a little bit softer, so I ordered another pair of Kate Spade Liesel glasses, again without lenses.

I was feeling good about myself for being so savvy. The two pairs of Kate Spade glasses only cost me around $200, plus I got cash back from Ebates for one pair and points from MyPoints for the other.

When I went for my eye exam today, I quickly lost my high from the savings. The lenses cost nearly six hundred dollars! Like I said, I have no vision coverage, and my prescription is pretty strong so I had to get thinner lenses to avoid the Coke bottle effect. Plus I added a coating so I don't destroy them as quickly.

I know that I did save money. I got two pairs of glasses for around $800, while a few months back, my husband paid $600 for a pair of glasses. I know there are discount glasses sites online, but given the fact that I wear them every day, and the fact that I've had my last pair for over four years, I feel like it is worth it for us to spend the extra money. If I get another four years of use out of the glasses that I have, it will only cost around 25 cents a day. But still, yikes.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Extra Income for August

I started keeping track of extra income that I make online last month.

Cash from Survey Sites


Total - $34.60

Cash from other ventures
$10.00 from selling on Etsy
$78.78 from selling on Half.com

Total - $88.78

Gift Cards
Swagbucks - $15 in Amazon gift cards
Lightspeed - $10 in Amazon gift cards
MyPoints - $25 Banana Republic gift card


Total - $50

Grand Total for August - $173.28
Grand Total for July - $134.50

Total - $307.78

Friday, September 3, 2010

Get Free Artwork from RAWTOASTDESIGN

Jesse Kuhn, the artist behind RAWTOASTDESIGN, is giving away a free 5x7 print of your choice if you take a few minutes to help the East Side Community High School in NYC. He's asking that you vote for them on Kohls Cares via Facebook; you can get all of the details here.

This is an amazing and generous offer. His work is fantastic and you can bet I took advantage of this. Hurry though, because the voting ends today.

My Little Lush Foot Fizzed Away

Lush at ShopStyle

I bought this cute little foot scrub at Lush, but unfortunately I didn't know exactly what it was. I thought it was more like a pumice that I could keep around for awhile. Instead it started fizzing away and disintegrating the second it hit water.

Lesson: Know what you bought before dousing it with water.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

The Demise of the Jackson Fit at Banana Republic

A few months ago, Banana Republic nearly made me cry when they banished my favorite Jackson fit pants to the online only realm. This was after doing terrible things to it like adding pockets to the hips (really? Pockets on the hips of the curvy line?) and taking away any option of lined dress pants. When I checked their website, and saw only one pair in a weird cotton, shiny blend, I seriously almost started to cry.

Thankfully they did bring some dress pants back, but they still have the annoying pockets on the hips.




I realized that I would have to try other pants, since I fear the Jackson will be completely dead and buried soon. I decided to give the new Gap Magic dress pants a shot, and I really liked them. They are a lighter material, and they are unlined, but they have enough of a stretch to fit without gapping in the back. I was shocked that they weren't the Curvy fit because they fit so well.



PS - I dream of an existence where I do not know the names of different dress pants.