Sale on Sale on Sale…

It’s a great time of year.  The first day of summer was one week ago, and that means it’s finally warm enough to wear those cute crop tops, shorts & sundresses.  The beginning of summer also means that the autumn styles are making their debut and it’s time to clear the racks of this seasons top picks that came out in February (when it was still snowing in half the country)!

Banana Republic is on the endless list of stores that has almost everything on sale, plus 40% off the sale price, plus and additional 10% off when you use your Gap/Banana Republic Card!!  I was looking for some versatile traveling outfits that are easy to pack but still stylish (and to keep me cool while I try to endure the heat of the south for a few days).  I ended up finding this incredibly comfortable romper which started at $110.

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I picked it up for the sale price of $40.99… plus 40% off, with an additional 10% off since I used my Gap Card. $22.13 (total discount of 80% off)!

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Since no outfit is complete without accessories, I paired the romper with this Marc by Marc Jacobs leather cross-body bag that caught my eye in Saks Off-Fifth.  I knew it would go with almost any outfit – and what could be more perfect when you don’t have room in your luggage for 5 different purses to match everything.  It was marked down, PLUS an additional 50% off the sale price.

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The purse started off at $328, but was marked down to $233.99, and then kicked further down to $116.99 when taking off the additional 50% off.  At a total of 64% off, it wasn’t the best deal I’ve ever snagged, but definitely worth it for the quality and functionality!

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So to put it all together I added some timeless Ray-Bans and had an easy-breezy outfit perfect for my journey!  Mind the wrinkles… this photo was taken after a 6 hour car ride and a trolley tour in 95degree heat, yikes!

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‘Till next time, stay stylish, and cool 🙂

Dress for success (and savings)!

So I lost count of the compliments I received on my dress today.  I think it’s pretty cute too, but I’m biased since I bought it! Anyway, thought I’d clue you in on my little secret – I got an amazing deal on it (would you think any different by now)?!

Last time I was in Orlando, I had about an hour to kill so I headed to Dillard’s! They were having a huge sale and I went directly to the endless racks of dresses – all marked 50% off the sale price – time to browse.  This particular location seemed to be going out of business, but the sale has been going on for months and they apparently keep getting new merchandise – I just decided to call it a mystery sale and not ask any questions.

After heading to the dressing room, I ended up with this Eliza J. shift with jewels and a gold zipper:

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Dresses in this style are basically my go to: comfortable, easy care and stylish! So the purchase was a no-brainer! (And yes, my pony started off centered…. my hair is just way too heavy and my head is lopsided!)

The outcome? $25.90 from $148 – 83% off! (Half off the lowest ticketed price)

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‘Till next time! Stay stylish 🙂

Perfect gifts at perfect prices.

So, I still haven’t made a decision about which toaster oven to purchase.  I’m really indecisive…. I’ll get back to that another day.

However, I did make a another great purchase this past weekend – for Father’s Day! Now, my father would most likely be more happy if we saved our money and did not buy him a gift.  But I don’t think that’s fair – everyone deserves gift, especially on a holiday that focuses on them!  I had some hints as to what he needed… so I made my shopping plan:

I had a $20 rewards certificate from Marshalls that’s been floating around in my purse for a few months, so I figured I’d finally make use of that.  And where better to go than a store that sells just about anything and everything: clothes, shoes & accessories, home-goods, furniture, even gourmet food!

Enter Marshalls.  The front of the store was Father’s Day central – everything you could possibly think to buy for a man was laid out right when you walked through the doors.  Within 5 minutes, I found exactly what I needed: the perfect gift, at the perfect price… a versatile Brooks Brothers tie at a steep 83% off!  The original $148 tag was still on the tie, but it was marked to $24.99, that’s my kind of discount!

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When I got to the register, after aimlessly browsing the huge store for another hour, I used my $20 rewards certificate.  At a grand total of only $5 and change, what a steal, and what a great gift! That would barely buy you one Frappuccino.  So next time you need a gift, start with a store like Marshalls or TJMaxx that sells a huge variety of items, and you’ll be sure to find something at a great price! (They give gift receipts too!)

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And I promise the tie wasn’t cliché! It was what he was looking for!

‘Till next time… stay stylish 🙂

Same exact product. Two stores. Four different prices.

I promise to start posting about fashion again soon, but in a recent search for a new toaster oven, I had a little sticker shock! (a difference of over $65 for the same exact item in two different stores!)

I’ll backtrack to last night, when the bottom of my Black&Decker toaster oven caught on fire.  Unfortunately, I ended up having to use the fire extinguisher – neither the appliance nor my dinner inside were salvageable.  I was definitely more upset about losing the dinner than the toaster oven… it was 7:30pm and I was starving!

I didn’t really do my research on the Black&Decker.  It was very basic, and it definitely didn’t cost anymore than $30, but it did what it needed to do… up until the flames.

So now I’m in the market for a new one.  This time, I’m looking for a better, higher-quality brand and something with more features (like a convection oven).  After reading what feels like a million reviews, I’ve narrowed it down to a KitchenAid or a Cuisinart.

Lets say I decide on the Cuisinart TOB-60N Toaster Oven, Convection Oven & Broiler (I haven’t actually decided if I want this one yet but it’s a close contender)!  It’s $139.99 full price at Macy’s.  It’s $99.99 full price at Bed, Bath and Beyond.

After applying all valid coupons & promotions, and adding tax & shipping for the SAME EXACT PRODUCT:

$85.07 Total at Bed, Bath & Beyond either in store OR online, any day.
(20% coupon that can be used in store or online & there is free shipping over $49.  They even accept expired coupons, and they send new ones constantly via us mail, e-mail & text)

$94.74 Total at Macys Online today and tomorrow only.
(It’s on sale ONLINE ONLY for $99.99, plus there’s a 20% off coupon today and tomorrow only! But then they added $9.95 for shipping since my purchase was under $99)

$119.10 Total at Macys In-Store this weekend only.
(If I buy it in store, I don’t have to pay the $9.95 shipping, and I can still use the 20% coupon, but I don’t get the online web-buster price!)

$148.87 Total at Macys In-Store after June 21st!
(Well, the price jacks back up to $139.99 and the coupon will have expired)

So, you’re looking at up to a $65 difference depending on when, where and how you buy the same exact, brand new product.  Clearly if I chose the Cuisinart, I’ll make my final purchase at Bed, Bath and Beyond.  And I have even more incentive – I had a lot of Cashback bonus built up from my Discover credit card. For every $20 I traded in, I got a $25 Bed, Bath and Beyond gift card!  That’s another 20% savings! So I can use gift cards that I earned and not pay a dime for my new toaster oven!

Here’s the twist.  What if I choose to buy the KitchenAid instead? Guess what, even though it starts off $40 higher at Macys, that’s where I’ll buy it!  Why? It’s on sale, plus their coupons are valid on KitchenAid products so it’ll come out to a lower price than at Bed, Bath and Beyond! The Bed, Bath and Beyond coupons specifically exclude KitchenAid! I always read the fine print, in fact, I pretty much memorized the exclusions that every store has 🙂 Don’t be fooled. These stores are out to get you, they try to be misleading.  You should be out to get them instead!

I’m off to read a few more reviews!  Check back to see which one I choose!

From $71.95 to $23.73, all with that little red ExtraCare card…

When I was waiting in line at CVS tonight, the woman behind me asked “is all that stuff [in your cart] on sale?”.  She must have gazed through the flyer.  I said yes, then added “I have coupons too and I’m getting the $10 gift card deal”.  Her response? “I’ve seen people do that on TV; you’re going to be a millionaire one day”.  Well, lets hope she’s right.  She was only buying one greeting card so I let her know I was making two transactions and offered to let her cut me in line.  She refused – she had to see it to believe it.

So, I’m going to stray away from the fashion theme today and talk about one of my favorite non-clothing stores: CVS.  All you need to do is get an ExtraCare card (it’s free) and you’re on your way to saving.  A lot.

Knowing I should spend at least $30 pre-tax (advertised promotion this week: get a $10 gift card when you spend $30 on select products), this was the shopping list I created: Scott toilet paper 12 pack, normally $11.49 on sale for $6.99 (I’m getting two packs because I’d never want to run out and this is the only brand I like); Hefty Garbage bags 45 count, normally $10.49 on sale for $6.99; Degree Clinical normally $9.99 on sale for $7.99 and two bottles of Ajax dish soap normally $1.67 on sale for 88Cents.  All of these sale prices totaled $30.72 (pre-tax, pre-coupons).

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I also have 4 bottles of Lysol bathroom cleaner on my shopping list – they’re normally $5.79 or $3.49 depending on the type, but they’re on sale for $2.50 each.  I didn’t add these to my first total because I’m purchasing them during transaction #2.  You’ll see why.

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ExtraCare coupons? $6 off a $30 purchase, and $3 ExtraBucks for linking my ExtraCare card to the CVS app on my phone.  When the coupons were scanned, my total became $23.10 with tax.  Swiped my credit card, the cashier handed me my receipt and the $10 gift card I earned, almost done!

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Time to make a second transaction – for those Lysol cleaners I left in my cart.  At $2.50 each they come to $10 plus tax… used my $10 gift card from my first transaction and paid… $0.63. (that’s the tax on $10)! Unfortunately, I had to pay the tax since I used a gift card.  Had it been a $10 coupon instead of a gift card, the total would have been $0.00.

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So, lets go back to why I bought two bottles of Ajax dish soap for 88Cents each.  I don’t really love Ajax for myself (I go for Palmolive free & clear….) but I can bring it to our community kitchen at work.  Those two bottles of Ajax brought my total JUST above $30.  Had I not spent the $1.76, my total would have been $6 more, and I would not have received the $10 gift card.  Spending $1.76 saved me $16 – that’s worth it to me. Catching on yet?

Oh, I almost forgot! When I swiped my credit card, I used my Discover – which currently gives me 10% cash-back on CVS purchases.  I can put that cash-back directly towards my statement, or redeem it for gift-cards! Here’s a photo of everything that would cost $71.95 (total with tax) if you bought separately at full price without an ExtraCare card.

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My FINAL total: $23.73.

So, if you don’t have a CVS card, go to the store and get one ASAP. It honestly can’t get any easier.

Enter: Mens Clothing Department…

After last nights post about that $140 Michael Kors Jumpsuit I scored for $20.41 a few months ago, I figured I’ll follow suit with yet another deal I got at Lord & Taylor just last night. I’ve had a $15 off $40 sitting in my purse that was going to expire on Monday, plus it’s their Friends & Family sale, so it was time to head to the mall.

My fiance needed some new dress shirts (I don’t understand how so many of his ink-pens can explode all over his clothes), so that brings me to the mens department.  I can’t be selfish and only use these deals on myself!  I’m particular about what I buy for him, I know what colors he wears on rotation, and I definitely think about quality.  Plus – who has time to go to the dry cleaner, let alone pay those outrageous dry cleaning prices (even when there’s a coupon) so, the shirts really need to be “non-iron”.

As I browsed around, felling a little out of my element (well… actually there were mostly women around me) I hit the HUGE sale rack of button downs and made my way to his size.

As I sifted through what I didn’t like and what I knew he wouldn’t wear, I ended up with two Ralph Lauren non-iron dress shirts that can be worn with anything.  What did the price tags say? $69.50 each.  What were they marked down to? $20.85 each (that’s already 70%)!  It didn’t end there.  Let’s make our way to the register.

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The first shirt rang up correctly, then when the cashier scanned the second one, the screen showed $34.99.  Good thing I had my eye on the register because that wasn’t going to fly.  They have to sell it to you for what the sticker says.  ALWAYS double check and do the math ahead of time so you know what your total should be.  Sure enough, the cashier updated that price for me.  Then she scanned my $15 off coupon.  Then she applied the 25% off discount they are running throughout the whole store. Add the tax? $21.30 for both Ralph Lauren non-iron dress shirts.

Maybe it’s luck? Maybe it’s skill? Maybe I paid attention in math class and can do percents quickly in my head? But it doesn’t take too much time – I was in and out of that mall in less than a half hour.
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It’s time to start saving.

Let me introduce myself:  Connecticut born & raised, ordinary day job, love the beach, teach dance, obsessed with scrapbooking, and shopping is my exercise, literally. Oh, and I have the cutest mini-lop ever.

Let me backtrack the with introduction a little bit.  As I grew up, everything I needed was always provided for me, and then some: a great house with a playroom and a huge backyard, yearly vacations, dance classes from when I turned two until I graduated high school, and a closet full of matching outfits from Gap Kids and Limited Too (keep in mind it was the 90’s…). My winter coats, hats and gloves even matched my clothes perfectly.  I was used to having nice things, and I still am.  That makes me sound spoiled.  I wasn’t spoiled.  I also had my fair share of hand-me-downs.  I never got an “allowance”, and I certainly did not spend my summers uselessly sitting around.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining, I’m actually extremely thankful.  When I turned twelve, I spent my summers volunteering everyday which led to being hired at the age of fifteen.  I had two jobs simultaneously the year I turned fifteen and have not been unemployed since then, so I understand the meaning of hard work, earning what you own and living within your own means.  Every single paycheck went strait into the bank.  There wasn’t even a cell phone bill to pay because 15 year olds didn’t have cell phones back then!  It’s scary to think that was only 10 years ago!

“Save, save, save” was drilled into my head every single day.  I opened an IRA and had a credit card building credit before I entered college at 17, and I might actually have a chance of retiring before I turn 65 (which I am convinced will be impossible for anyone in my generation, at least in Connecticut).  Clearly I’m not breaking the bank on my Tory Burch Flats, Ann Taylor suit, Burberry purse, polarized RayBan wayfarers and Michael Kors watch as everyone around me seems to think (wait, do they think I actually pay full price for any of this? Yikes)!  If that was the case, I wouldn’t have been able to become a homeowner on my own before my 23rd birthday… and buy a brand new car in full with cash that same year… and never, ever not pay a bill in full well in advance of it’s due date.

But then how do I have three closets full of designer clothes, shoes and accessories? (Note to self – need to make space for my future husbands clothes)!  Extreme coupon-er? I don’t go that far. I just NEVER buy anything full price, ever.  I came to the conclusion that practically everything goes on sale at some point, usually long before you actually need it.  Honestly, I mean everything – I’ve even seen Louis Vuitton on RueLaLa.  I just like the thrill of knowing what else that extra money I saved can go towards (my upcoming wedding, tropical island vacations, the bill I know I’ll get when I can get a plumber to fix all the leaks in the spare bathroom….)

So, after all of that background, here’s the paragraph actually related to my blog!

About two months ago, I went to the mall and wanted a jumpsuit, mainly because they’re in style.  I mean, the idea of grabbing something that’s “one piece” is much more desirable at 6:30am when I’m getting dressed for work, than trying to make my skirt, shirt and sweater all match. So, I go to Lord & Taylor, which is always my first stop at Westfarms.  Navy Michael Kors Jumpsuit? Fits well, looks cute, super comfortable.  Price tag? $140… a little steep.  But I’m not worried because it’s marked down to $84, with an additional 50% off markdowns… plus I had a coupon for $20 off of a $40 purchase.  That brought me to $24. But wait, can’t forget that 20% coupon I received in an e-mail that the cashier could scan directly from my phone.  Final price after tax: $20.41.  SCORE! Not bad for leaving with exactly what I came looking for, right? But no surprise to me, because honestly, this is just how I shop.  Always.

This shopping trip, among many, got me thinking:  I get awesome clothes for fractions of what they cost, all the time!  I’m not talking outlet shopping (yes outlets are fun on a nice sunny day, but it’s also proven they sell lower quality merchandise).  I’m not even talking shopping at Marshalls or TJ Maxx, which I’m starting to think are over-priced.  And I am certainly not talking “fake” or “Knock off” anything.  I’m talking real designer clothes at high fashion and mid-level department stores for less than what you’d pay for a similar item at a price-sensitive department store or discount department store.  Actually, I’ll take it one step further and show you real examples of how to spend less on a brand new item at a high-end department store than you would for the same item used at a consignment shop!

Basically, in future posts I’ll keep you up to date with awesome sales, great coupons, information on rewards cards (the Bloomingdales one is AMAZING), ways to get instant cash back, and ways to get great style at a great price.  Don’t worry, every once in a while I’ll hit on non-fashion items too: groceries, drug store items, even travel deals.

Tip for this weekend: L&T currently has their Friends & Family sale running until Monday, 25% off practicality the entire store including sale and clearance and 10% off makeup & fragrance! Till next time.  Stay stylish 🙂

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