Unbelievable Dress Deals!

My posts have been far and few between lately – autumn is an extremely busy season! Anyway, even though I haven’t had much time to shop, my eye caught some amazing dress deals at Nordstrom Rack a few days ago.  I inspected the dresses and could not find anything wrong with them – just shocking price tags.

I literally could not believe some of these markdowns –

The very best deal in my opinion?
A $898 Cobalt lace ML for $68.  That’s about 92% off!

Normally in stores we see Michael, by Michael Kors.  It’s not often we see the real Michael Kors Collection, with dresses running up to $20,000 a piece.  This dress in particular was $1,575 and marked down three times to $119.90.
That’s a 92% savings!

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How about this beautiful blue Carmen Marc Valvo for 85% off!
It was $495 and dropped to $76.48!

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There was this $595 Thia for $144.97 – more than 75% off!

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More from Thia – a $1,095 gown for $359.97 (67% off):

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and a $1,295 gown for $169.97 (87% off)!

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There was also a super cute Burberry dress, retailing for $1,295
and marked down to $409.97 – a 68% savings!

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I’m sure if I kept browsing through the racks, I would have found more amazing deals, but the store was about to close!
If these dresses are still around during a “Clear the Rack” sale, you’ll get an additional 25% off on top of the already-incredible deals –
but I’m sure they’ll sell fast!

‘Till next time, always aim for the best, and realize you can afford it!

Keeping Memories Alive, While Saving $!

I love everything about photography: the composition of photos, telling a story, looking back at memories.  Unfortunately, in this digital age, so many people take photos and just sweep through them on their phones!

Scrapbooking is my go-to hobby, along with card-making.  There’s nothing better than giving someone a handmade card or album that you personalized just for them – and with cards running $5-9 a pop, sometimes card making can be cost effective in the long run (depending on how many papercrafting supplies you purchase!)… I could talk about craft supplies for days.

Anyway, back to the point.  Scrapbooking isn’t digital. It’s physical evidence, with printed photos, flipping through pages, designed however I desire.  In order to scrapbook, I need to actually PRINT photos.  Even with backup USB’s and backup websites, I still want a guarantee I’ll have those photos forever – and the only way to do that, is to print them!

Printing can be pricy.  But, of course, I save up my photos until there’s a great coupon.  Right now on shutterfly, they are offering $20 off of a $20 purchase (on basically anything – prints, cards, address labels, photo books, photo gifts)!  I made sure my total hit just at the $20 mark.  With tax and shipping, I paid under $10 total for 147 4×6″ photos.  This ended up being cheaper than going to a drug store or big box chain to print them – plus I don’t need to leave my house, and they’re delivered right to my mailbox.  Use code FIRSTGIFT until October 14th at checkout.  Plus, If you spend over $39, there is also free shipping with code SHIP39.

Don’t have a shutterfly account yet? Go sign up.  You’ll automatically get 101 free prints just for signing up.  They offer free, unlimited photo storage, which works as a great back-up system to your phone or computer.

So, next time you are showing photos to your friends and family, don’t hand them your phone, hand them actual photos!

Overspending on our Furry Friends?

Today, I’m going to stray away from my usual posts on fashion, home décor and everyday grocery/pharmacy items.  In honor of International Rabbit Day this upcoming Saturday, I want to focus on our furry friends! I happen to have an adorable mini lop rabbit that I love.  As much as I love my bunny, I’ll have to admit I don’t necessarily love the prices of pet supplies.  I also don’t love the smell of pet stores… or lugging large, heavy bags of litter and hay to my car.

There are SO many ways to save on things we need to buy for our pets.  I have found that almost everything sold in Petco stores, is actually cheaper online.  I’ve also found that stocking up is the way to go especially for something like litter that doesn’t expire.  I could literally buy a year supply and not worry about it for the next 12 months.  It was time for me to stock up.

So today – a 20lb bag of bunny litter that is normally $19.99 in the store, was marked down to $14.39 online.  I added 4 bags to my online ‘shopping bag’ – That’ll last me a few months.  I figured I’d get a chew toy as a treat too – that was marked down to $3.99 from $4.99.  Had I bought these items full price in store, I would have paid $85.00 + tax.

I also had a 20% coupon off my entire purchase (Use code BFF20 online until 9/26/15).  After calculating the sale prices and removing the 20%, my sub-total came to $49.24.  Every purchase over $49 pre-tax also gets free shipping.  I think 24¢ is my record of how close I can get to the limit!  After tax, my order came to a total of $52.37.  That’s 40% off in total, but that’s certainly not all!

Before I placed my order, I made sure to click the Petco link on the ShopDiscover section of the Discover Credit Card website – Clicking this link automatically earned me 10% back from my purchase total (pre-tax) which comes out to $4.92 in cash-back bonus that I can use toward my statement or toward gift-cards!

I also made sure to use my Petco Pals Rewards number when I placed the order, which earns 5%.  Every time I spend $100, they send me a $5 coupon! This rewards card is completely free – so there’s no reason not to sign up.

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Ultimately, I could find time to add Petco to my list of errands every time I’m running low on hay, litter, treats or other supplies – OR I could continue doing what I’m doing.  I’ll stick with the latter.

Rewards Galore! Plus: Pier 1 Coupon Code in Contents!

(Note: I updated this post because my final price in store came out much less than when I put the item on hold online)  Read on…

Let’s talk about rewards.  All you have to do is play your cards right: credit cards that is.

I recently bought a bedroom set at Pier 1.  I purchased the bed, dresser and chest through the Shop Discover link with my Discover card.  Some stores give up to a 20% bonus when you use this link.  Pier 1 offers 5% back, and that one transaction alone earned me $107 cash back bonus!  I can use that bonus to put toward my statement dollar for dollar, or to get rewarded even further with gift cards.  This month, I traded in $20 of that bonus for a $25 Pier 1 gift-card – plus a few other gift-cards from Sephora, Homegoods/Marshalls & Bed, Bath & Beyond!
(Trading in for gift-cards earns you an extra 20% and the options are endless!)  I already used part of the Pier 1 gift card on a pretty pineapple plate, but still had $17 left.

I purchased the two nightstands for the bedroom set a few weeks later than the other furniture – that time I used the Pier 1 credit card (when they were on sale and with a coupon of course!) – that purchase earned me $30 in Pier 1 rewards, which printed out on the statement.

I’ve been ‘window shopping’ online for the last few months for a new outdoor umbrella, but I couldn’t bear to buy one full price knowing they’d slash soon enough.  Plus, there was nothing mechanically wrong with mine that prevented it from doing it’s intended job of blocking the afternoon sun.  (Go back to my post about patience if you missed that one…) Now that I had rewards and a gift-card, Pier 1 seemed like the way to go!

Well, the $159.95 umbrella I wanted is now marked down to $103.96.  Lucky for me, when I was scrolling through Facebook this morning, I came across a Pier 1 coupon code – $1o off $50 or $25 off $100!  (The coupon needs to be scanned in store or you can use code Pier1Fall online until 9/27/15!

The umbrella pole had a slight scratch and it was the last one, but somehow this made my day better.  The scratch would be completely covered by the umbrella base and it meant another discount.  The cashier also informed me that all outdoor  merchandise had an additional 20% off.  

So, she rung up my umbrella and used the $25 coupon first (had she taken the % off first I couldn’t use the coupon).  Then she took off 20%, then an additional 25% for “damage”.  She took my $30 rewards off next, then swiped my $17 gift card. 

Now I have a beautiful new blue umbrella for next summer and years to come!  Nobody will never see the scratch covered by the stand either.  In the end,  I only paid $2.78 including tax out of pocket! That’s over 98.5% off of the original price – and I earned it :). Best deal yet? Quite possibly.  

‘Till next time, keep saving!

Labor Day Sales are Upon Us – Check These Out!

Labor day is upon us:  The end of summer, and the start of pumpkin-everything.  Kids are back in school, and soon enough we’ll be throwing on our sweatshirts and jackets. I can’t say I’m looking forward to the cooler weather – but I am looking forward to weekend sales!

Here’s a list of places to find the best deals this weekend on designer goods:

  1. CLEAR THE RACK at Nordstrom Rack – in stores & online.  Take an extra 25% off all clearance items through September 7th – with savings up to 90% off the best brands!
  2. Nordstrom Clearance – in stores & online.  A ton of summer items on sale for the whole family!
  3. Big Brown Sale at Bloomingdales – A huge selection of items are 20-70% off, plus use code BIG20 for an additional 20% off sale and clearance items! Don’t forget to use your free loyalist card to earn points toward rewards certificates too!
  4. Lord & Taylor – Use the savings pass available on their website in stores & online for an additional 25% off clearance items and an additional 20% off sale & regular price items.  On their mailing list like I am? Check to see if you also received a “$15 off $40” coupon in the mail that you can combine with the other deals!

Almost every store and outlet will have amazing promotions to clear out any remaining summer merchandise – and you might even score some great deals on things for autumn!

Heading to the outlets? Make sure to stop by the information desk if you have a AAA Card.  You’ll get a great coupon book for additional savings.  There are also extended weekend hours – be sure to get there early for the best parking or take advantage of the shuttles and valet offered this weekend due to the large crowds!

Check back to see my great finds!  ‘Till then, stay stylish!

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.

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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 🙂

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!

Act Fast – Free Item Alert!!

I’ll get to the point and make this post short and sweet.  If you don’t like free stuff, then move on to another blog – otherwise keep reading, then head over to your local CVS.

This week (until August 1st) at CVS, the 33.8oz bottle of Colgate mouthwash is on sale for $4.79. You’d be crazy to pay $4.79.

If you received the Sunday newspaper, cut out the $2 Colgate mouthwash manufacturer coupon.  If you didn’t get the paper, I’m sure one of your neighbors or family members did – so snatch theirs.

As soon as you walk into CVS, scan your Extracare card at the kiosk and a $2.79 coupon will print out automatically.  I’ve already harped upon getting this free card – but if you haven’t taken my advice yet (why not?), you can easily sign up for one within a minute at the front desk.

It’s as easy as this:  Bring the mouthwash up to the register.  The cashier will scan your Extracare card, ring up the sale-priced mouthwash,  scan your $2.79 CVS coupon and then scan your $2.00 manufacturer coupon.  Total: $0.00 Free. Free. Free.  

  

Lets just say you didn’t get the newspaper, and you don’t know anyone else who did…. you can still print off a 75 cent coupon from the Colgate website.  Combine that with the $2.79 CVS coupon and you’d get the mouthwash for $1.41 (including CT sales tax)!

‘Till next time.  Don’t wait too long or they’ll be sold out!