Savin' - Clothing October 11 2011

Since I’ve been in full fall clothing buying mode - Figured I’d finish this series with how to save on buying kids clothing. Here are my tips:

1) While tempting, all those kids sites - Zulily, Totsy, Mommy Bargains aren’t really much of a deal at all. By the time you factor in shipping & time spent waiting for said item to arrive - they aren’t worth it so my first piece of advice is unsubscribe from all of them; now!

2) Instead - Figure out who has the clothing you like the most for you child. Every company has email updates now so sign up for those. You don’t have to open them until you’re in the market for something. (In fact, those are the first things I delete when I open my email) Also a lot of companies give you a 20% off coupon just for signing up! 

3) Sign up for a store credit card. In our household Old Navy not only has the most stylish kids stuff but its also very reasonable and their sales are awesome so we have an Old Navy visa. We automatically get 10% off any purchases we make + we rack up points for every $ we spend. When we spend a certain amount of $, we get $ coupons. We also get added coupons with each statement so if done well, you can garner steep discounts. Added bonus is you can use for Gap & Banana and use their coupons interchangeable.

4) Buy a size or two bigger. You can roll sleeves and cuffs; so why not stretch those jeans for 2 winters instead of 1? Look for pants with the adjustable waist bands or loose/adjustable dresses.

5) Shop end of season sale for next year. You know that your 2T child will be a 3T next year so its safe to buy a few summer things now if deeply discounted.

6) Buy used. We have a great second hand store in Williamsburg called Flying Squirrel. Some of my most loved items for my children were purchased there at a fraction of the cost of retail! And best part is when you’re done, they’ll buy it back! I’ve also had amazing luck at the Goodwill by work. Lots of stuff still had tags on it!

7) Set up a swap with friends. I have a trade going with a girlfriend who had a son first and then a girl, while I had a girl first and then a boy second. I give her all my daughters stuff in exchange for her son’s stuff!

Photo: Le Bon Marche - by Robyn Lee

Savin' - Grocery Shopping September 09 2011

Next on the list is grocery shopping! By far this is our biggest weekly expense and I’ve been seeking out ways to lower our costs while still eating organic, farmers market and sustainable. Here are some tips:

-Get organized and meal plan: This is by far the best way to save money at the grocery store. Having a weekly menu will help focus so you aren’t tempted to make random and unnecessary purchases when you’re shopping. Also keeping a list going on your refrigerator of items that are low or you run out of.  
-Circulars are your friends: I read a tip that you should plan your meals around your grocery store’s circular. Its not bad advice at all. Typically fruits and veggies are on sale because they’re in season and in ample supply. Since we tend to do more organic, I often peruse the Fairway & Key Foods circular to see whats on sale. Both feature an organic section & you can get them delivered via email. If its a great deal on something we eat often, I load up & freeze it.
This also applies to Rite Aid and Duane Reade circulars. You can get amazing deals if you look. (If you want to take it the extreme, click here)
-Trader Joe’s: While everyone knows TJ’s has great prices, they also have an enormous amount of organic options. Having shopped there for a few years now, I sort of have my go to items- items I know TJ’s has that are less expensive no matter the sale. *TIP for people who drive: TJ’s on Metropolitan in Queens is directly across from a Metro Car Wash. Drop off your car and have your oil changed so you don’t have to park in that zoo of a parking lot!
-Shopping in bulk: I’ll be honest - I haven’t made the leap to bulk. I do remember shopping at Sam’s growing up and we always ended up with a bunch of food we’d eat too quickly or never finished so I’ve put it on the back burner for now. *TIP: BJ’s has a free 60 day trial until December. Click here for info
-Household items: Avoid buying these at the grocery store. They charge you for the convenience. If you can get to Target or Home Depot once a month, you’ll save a lot. If you can’t, try adding household items to your order. I’ve noticed their prices are very good on a few regular items we use (ex. Seventh Gen dish soap - $3!).
You could also make your own cleaning products from stuff you probably already have. Click here for some great recipes!
-Limit meat - Since we moved to only grass fed organic meat - we’ve also limited our intake. Meat is expensive (not only in terms of $ but environmentally). Highly recommend 101 Cookbooks and Peas and Thank you for recipes that are delicious and meat free!

Savin' - Travel August 26 2011

1) Collect miles (even when you aren’t traveling) = Free plane ticket sooner:
The NYTimes ran an awesome article last year about ways to manage and collect miles. Since we seem to fly Delta and Jet Blue the most, I’ve signed up for their email alerts. The alerts tell you when they are having a points specials with a certain company- say if you buy from, every dollar you spend, Delta will give you 4x the miles. I never buy anything online without going through one of these 2 companies websites. ( anyone!)
I’ve easily collected close to 10,000 over the past year. And always add your frequent flier number to car rental and hotels!
2) Rental Cars - ALWAYS try bid on a car through Priceline. I save 30-70% off rental cars and they include car seats! Why pay retails!
(Note: The only bad thing about it is no refund. So if your trip gets cancel, you can’t get a refund. But you can make changes!)
3) Rent apartment instead of hotels! Between, and Home you have plenty of great options. Aside from being less expensive than hotels, you have access to lots of extras like hot tubs or kitchens! Bonus - get breakfast food and make breakfast at your rental!

Posted by: Jessica Glorieux
Photo: William Eggleston

Savin' August 25 2011

Awhile back our friend T asked for some advice on saving money via facebook.
I’m going to blame it on the fact that I’m a Sag but I can’t ever remember a time when I was hunting for a deal or better price and over the years I’ve developed some pretty dang awesome saving habits that aren’t time consuming or complicated that I’d love to share. I’ll break these down the series into the following helpful categories:

Week 1: Travel
Week 2: Clothing (you and your babes)
Week 3: Grocery Shopping
Week 4: Protecting your money

Posted by: Jessica Glorieux