I’ll walk you through the process:

CVS. Okay, I know you’ll get bored if I keep posting about CVS – but I wouldn’t want you to miss out on free Colgate toothpaste!

Every so often, my fiancé accompanies me to the store.  I thought it was about time to teach him my saving ways so he follows suit.  To start, I made him sign up for his own CVS ExtraCare card.  Without that, you mine as well throw money down the drain.

His first trip to the in-store kiosk was pretty rewarding – it printed out a $3 coupon for linking his new card to the phone app, and a $2 instant coupon off of Colgate toothpaste (everyone gets one this week).  It also printed a $1 off any P&G product, but we saved that one for later (we’ll be going back to buy Tide).

For this particular shopping trip, we had two coupons from home – $1 off any Colgate toothpaste and $1 off any Colgate mouthwash.  These came in the Sunday newspaper.  Another set also came in my mailbox on Thursday with the local town paper (so I still have two more coupons for another time!)

I’ll walk you through the purchase, just as I explained it to him:
The Colgate toothpaste this week was on sale for $3.00 and the Colgate mouthwash was on sale for $3.99, plus $1 back in ExtraBucks for buying one.  When we combined the $2 instant toothpaste coupon with the $1 toothpaste manufacturer coupon – it was free.  Then when we combined the $3 coupon for linking his card with the $1 mouthwash manufacturer coupon – that washed out the mouthwash.  He actually, technically “lost” a penny – you win some you loose some. Just make sure you win more than you loose.

Overall, 100% savings with a $0.00 receipt total – plus a $1.00 coupon on the bottom for his next purchase!  If these items were not on sale, without coupons he would have paid $9.48 – yikes!

As the cashier bagged his items, she said “It always feels good when it’s free!”.  Yes, good is an understatement.

cvs2cvs

You can get your own free toothpaste until CVS closes Saturday night
(September 5th)!

Don’t forget – the CVS website has a “sneek peak” of the full flyer for the upcoming week.  Before you buy something, make sure there wont be a better deal in a few days!

‘Till next time, keep saving!

Why would your rent when you can buy for less?

As I was deciding what to write about a few things crossed my mind, like Tax-Free Week.  But then I started wondering, why do people bother with the hassle of renting dresses, when they can buy and own them for almost the same price?

RentTheRunway: the website where you rent an item of clothing or accessory for 4-7 days, and then return it.  I can think of one reason to use this site – you live in a studio apartment in the City and don’t have a closet.  If you don’t fit that description – then I would definitely steer clear of RentTheRunway.

While I’ve never actually rented from the RentTheRunway (and never will), I have browsed it quite a few time.  While I understand the concept, I just don’t understand why anyone would use this site to rent clothes for four days when they can own the same exact product.  Maybe you’re thinking, “Some of these are $1,000+ dresses that I can’t afford.”  Well, yeah there are some $1,000 dresses (original price!).  But they are also most likely on sale at Saks, Bloomingdales or Neiman for just slightly higher, the same or even lower than the rental price.

Lets take a look at a few examples from some of my favorite dress designers (dress photos below):
ML Monique Lhuillier & Carmen Marc Valvo

Example #1:
A gorgeous cobalt blue ML Monique Lhuillier sheath which originally retailed for $398 can be rented on RentTheRunway for $75 (4 day rental) or $120 (8 day rental). 
The dress is actually selling for $398 at Bloomingdales.
The same exact dress is currently on sale at Lord&Taylor for $298.50, free shipping, free returns, plus an additional 20% off with code SUMMER, bringing it to $238.  But, that’s not cheap enough.  Keep looking.
Guess what, the same exact dress is on sale at Saks Fifth Avenue (online) for $148.06, free shipping, free returns – almost every size is still available too.  If you sign up for e-mails you get an additional 10% off bringing it to $133.26 to OWN – plus if you shop with your discover credit card through Saks on shop discover, you’ll get an additional 10% cashback bonus toward your credit statement.  So if you’re doing the 8 day rental, wouldn’t you rather own this dress, for only $13 more!  Don’t need it right away? Wait until Saks has an additional 25% or 30% off their sale items, it’ll be even CHEAPER than renting for 8 days.

Example #2
A long flow-y Coral “Ella” Toga Neckline Gown by Carmen Marc Valvo that originally retails for $1,075 can be rented for $160 (4 day rental) or $256 (8 day rental)
Saks wins again.  Same exact dress = $266 to own in either the coral color or royal blue.  Use that 10% coupon from signing up for e-mail bringing it to $239.40 and it’s CHEAPER than renting for 8 days.

(I could go on and on.  There are plenty more examples with Kay Unger, Teri Jon, Badgley Mischka, Kate Spade, ect.)

 

 Another reason I don’t understand RentTheRunway:
Normally, when I buy a dress or jumpsuit I need it altered in some way to fit perfectly: taken in through the waist, shortened, or taken up in the shoulders.  Unless you are 6′ tall or going to wear 4″ heals, don’t count on a maxi dress, ball gown or jumpsuit from RentTheRunway fitting you.
And since you don’t own the item – you can’t alter it anyway.  Plus, who wants to deal with making sure the mailman delivers it on time and making sure it gets back to the company by your deadline!  If you don’t even see it until the day you wear it, or one day before how do you know what shoes & accessories work well?

At least if you buy a dress from a department store and it doesn’t fit, or if you don’t end up wearing it, you can simply return it for a refund.  If that dress you rented doesn’t fit you, or if you end up not wearing it, you’ve lost your expensive rental fee!  Next time you consider renting – take the time to check a few websites and find it on sale – for cheaper than the renal fee.

Only end up wearing the designer dress once?  Bring it to an upscale consignment shop (such as Second Time Around) or sell it on e-bay or Tradesy.  You’ll most likely be able to sell it for the sale price that you paid.
(If you keep the original tags, that helps the resale value when selling!)

My First Lilly Pulitzer Warehouse-Sale Experience!

I normally never shop at the Tanger Outlets in Westbrook.  Their store options are lacking with the exception of Williams-Sonoma & Waterford – plus it’s another 10 minutes past the Clinton outlets so I can never justify the extra drive.  Yet, for some reason I recently liked their facebook page to get sale updates.  Low and behold, last Thursday night, they posted info about their one-weekend-only Splash of Pink/Lilly Pulitzer Warehouse Sale.  (I also found out that there will be a full time Lilly Pulitzer outlet opening in Westbrook very soon)!

While I waited in line, I noticed some women were being dropped off by their husbands who opted to wait in the car with their travel-mug coffees. Boyfriends who thought they could handle the line impatiently ended up asking where they could go grab breakfast nearby.  My fiance on the other hand had a crash-course in the Lilly patterns I like the night before – possibly only agreeing to be a second set of hands in the hopes that we could get out of the store faster.

 Lilly sale photo

The sale started at 9AM.  Our 8:45 arrival put us pretty far back in line and didn’t allow us to be the first batch through the doors.  As we peered through the window for 15 additional minutes, I joined in discussions with the women around me – pointing to items we would LOVE to get our hands on, if only we could get inside!  9:15 arrived – Enter Lilly central.

After the initial mob entrance, it wasn’t a sale that allowed time constraints.  I hit the dress area first, moving on to the shorts, then the shirts & exercise apparel.  The line to the “shared dressing area” was as long as the line to get in the store – ladies holding heavy armloads full of anything they could grab.  There were extremely greedy women filling large boxes and not willing to give any item up, but there were also plenty of very nice women who would share their ill-fitting rejects in the dressing room if you asked nicely.  Thankfully I had my helper to stand in the line to the registers, which wrapped around the entire store perimeter.

I wasn’t thrilled with prices – the Facebook post mentioned items up to 80% off – I definitely didn’t see any sales that great.  Dresses averaged 40% off and shorts were only 30% off – but when you know that discounted Lilly is very hard to find, it can be worth it (even re-sale at consignment stores & e-bay doesn’t yield any significant discounts).  Plus, mostly every item in the store was a 2015 pattern, so they were still current styles.  My favorite pattern of the year was “TuskInSun” and after standing near the dressing room exit for a while, I was able to snatch a cotton t-shirt dress someone left behind.  I also have an odd pineapple obsession, and found this gorgeous yellow pineapple jacquard dress just waiting for me!

Lilly Finds

Two hours later, I left the store with 4 items and we were on our way to nearby Niantic for some Paddle Boarding, followed by a delicious surf & turf dinner in Hartford –
Rocking my new Lilly pineapple dress (paired with a clearance-priced
pineapple necklace I picked up last year at Ann Taylor)!

 Lilly Dress Yellow 2

The sale ends today (August 9th) at 5PM –
so you still have a few hours if you’re up for the trip!
Otherwise, keep your eyes peeled for the Lilly outlet grand-opening!

‘Till next time, stay stylish 🙂

A Pleasant Surprise – Double Coupons at Big Y!

I had a surprise on my Big Y receipt – doubled coupons!  I walked into Big Y with a very short list.  Napkins: specifically Bounty.  They’re thick, absorbent, and don’t leave lint – plus the Big Y Flyer showed they were B1G1F this week!  The Sunday newspaper had a page full of Bounty coupons too – one specifically for napkins, and one was more generalized for any Bounty product – so I used both.

When I got up to the register, I noticed as my 20¢ coupons were scanned, it was also applying another 20¢ off per coupon! They were doubling, and I wasn’t going to question it…

So, when I got home, I did a little research and found this on the Big Y website: “Manufacturers’ paper coupons with a face value less than 99¢ will be doubled.” That’s pretty awesome!  Although I did see this on their website as well: “Coupons cannot be accepted toward any item that is given ‘FREE’ based on our stores’ advertised sale. For example, if an item is advertised as ‘Buy 1 Get 1 Free,’ and the customer selects two, they may only redeem one manufacturers’ coupon.” Fortunately, my cashier wasn’t aware of the latter rule and let me use both coupons I had!

Since the Bounty Napkins were marked $2.33 each, on promotion for B1G1Free, and I used two 20¢ coupons that were both doubled – I got two 100 packs for $1.53 (that should have cost $4.66)! That’s 67% off!

The Difference: Extreme Couponers VS Me

I recently saw an instargram photo from a self proclaimed “extreme couponer” – it showed an entire table full of junk food, over 30 sticks of deodorant and over 15 bottles of off-brand shampoo that she paid a few measly dollars for.  Unless this person was going to donate all of the food to a local food pantry, and donate all of the personal care items to a local shelter – I think they wasted their time.  This same person also posted a photo of an entire living room floor completely covered in coupons – how do they even get those (dumpster diving?!)  Some couponers spend hours, even days planning their purchases.  A trip to the store could take them hours.  I’m not an extreme couponer, and I’m totally okay with that!

I have a very active lifestlye, I have absolutely no time to be an extreme couponer – nor do I have any desire to be.  But, I do want to save as much as they do – and I think I’ve proved that I can through my past posts.  Instead of getting cheap shampoo that I would never dream of washing my hair with, I want to get the same deals with the high-quality, brand name products that I use daily.  I don’t want things to go to waste, and I certainly don’t have a “storage room” for years worth of products – I will never give up my craft room!

Maybe I’m picky.  Or maybe I buy certain brands because I absolutely have to.  Having struggled with chronic seborrheic dermatitis and contact dermatitis my entire life, I know what I can, and what I can’t use.  One load of laundry washed with scented detergent will cause irritation and discomfort for days, even weeks.  Same goes for any beauty products, lotions, soaps, hair care – you name it, I probably can’t use it.  Spraying aerosols or harsh cleaners can easily prompt an asthma attack.  My point? The list of products I can safely use is limited – very limited and they tend to be extremely overpriced.   So, I have a dilemma – I either break the bank buying products I need to use on a daily basis, or I buy cheaper products that are going to cause side effects.  I don’t like either of those options, so I make sure I can always get what I want, and what I need, for a fraction of the cost.

Yesterday, I did just that.  I didn’t spend an hour, or two, or five searching for deals.  I literally spent 20 minutes quickly skimming through the flyers in the Sunday newspaper (which you can also easily find online…) to find the items that were on my shopping list!  CVS had ALL Laundry Detergent (including the scent free version) on sale for 2/$7.  It is normally priced $7.79 each.  There was a manufacture coupon in the newspaper for $2 off when you purchase 2 – so I could use that.  Every time you fill 10 prescriptions at CVS, you get $5 back in rewards – I had just hit #10 last week.  So as soon as I walked in the store, I scanned my card at the coupon Kiosk – and out came the $5 coupon to use on anything in the store!

WordPressCVS Laundry Detergetn

Overall, I had exactly $7 worth of coupons.  Since the detergent was on sale for 2/$7… well that’s easy math.  Without my ExtraCare card and coupons, I would have spent $15.58, but instead I didn’t even open my wallet (tax is on the price after coupons, and there’s obviously no tax on $0!).  100% savings – and I wasn’t even in the store more than five minutes.

FullSizeRender

So, I got what I wanted, what I use, what I needed – for free.  Maybe I do have one thing in common with extreme couponers: I LOVE the feeling I get when I leave a store with full shopping bags in hand – that I didn’t cost me a cent!

‘Till next time, keep on saving!

The Style of My Summer (Another Dillard’s Find) – at 81% off!

Think back to my post about the Eliza J. embellished dress from Dillard’s – I happened to leave with another great find that day: a light and airy J.McLaughlin Tunic at 81% off!!

Dillards J.McLaughlin Tunic

While I’ve browsed the J.McLaughlin store many times while strolling down the block in West Hartford Center, I’ve never actually left with anything in hand.  Reason? I never find anything within their extremely small inventory that doesn’t have an insane price tag.  But I have to admit, their clothes are really cute and seem to be very well made – almost a more grown-up, sophisticated Lilly Pulitzer.  I was pretty excited when I saw a lone tunic mixed in the clearance rack at the Orlando Dillard’s.

It’s a great tunic – light and airy for hot summer days that turn into cool nights.  I have to admit, as much as I hate ironing, it only took about four minutes out of my day to iron both the shirt and shorts (which I picked up at J.Crew last summer on clearance!) for my #ootd.  The tunic was $125. Wait, what? Well, that was before the markdowns and the additional discounts.  The markdown price was $43.75 – still way too much for a summer shirt.  Since the entire rack at Dillard’s was marked 50% off the sale price, I justified paying what I think clothes are worth – about 20% of their original price.

Dillards J.McLaughlin Tunic Original Price Dillards J.McLaughlin Tunic Sale Price

I ended up waiting in the horrendously long, slow moving line for the dressing room – but I’m sure glad I did because the tunic made it’s way into my shopping bag.  The price dropped from $125 to $22.  At a grand total of 81% off, the J.McLaughlin tunic was a great addition to my summer wardrobe!

‘Till next time, stay stylish & stay tuned for my upcoming post featuring the free laundry detergent I picked up today!