Is It Really A Sale?? A Closer Look into Special Sales and Black Friday

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I mentioned in an earlier post about benefits of reward programs such as Old Navy’s Super Cash (This post has nothing to do with furniture).  I try to use those coupons because it essentially is a large savings… at least in theory.

However, it isn’t.

On September 8th, I used my Old Navy Super Cash.  The deal was if you spend 75 dollars, you get 30 dollars off your purchase.  Well we needed jeans (we being my husband and I).  Here’s how it priced out.

4 pairs of jeans x 30 dollars each = $120

$120 – $30 Super Cash = $90 dollars for four pairs of jeans.  So that’s about $22.50 per pair of jeans.  Really not a bad deal.

 

However, last week on September 17th my mom was visiting and wanted to get some jeans.  So we went to Old Navy.  Jeans were on sale that day for $19.99 each!

If I had waited and bought the jeans when they were twenty dollars and foregone the Super Cash…

4 pairs of jeans X $20= $80

I would have saved 10 dollars!!!

 

One of the only times we took part of Black Friday shopping we bought our kids some legos thinking they were not going to be on sale again before Christmas.  When two weeks later, still before Christmas, we saw the SAME legos on at an even better price than we saw on Black Friday!

 

This year I am going to experiment with Black Friday.  I am going to track prices for 3 items from the beginning of November until Chrismas and see when the prices really are cheaper!  If there’s something you want me to track, please suggest something in the comments!

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All Good Things Come to Those Who….

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….WAIT!

We’ve all heard the saying “all good things come to those who wait.”  It’s essentially a saying that is about being patient.  If you wait long enough something good will happen right?  At least that’s always what I’ve thought it meant.

Although, as most adults know, just sitting on your duff and doing nothing isn’t going to get you anywhere…

However, when it comes to buying something, the best thing to do is wait.  Many times waiting means you are shopping around and you’ll find what you want at a lower price.  Waiting can also mean that perhaps you weigh whether or not you really want or need the item of purchase.    Waiting can also mean, that you simply wait, and someone either ends up giving you that item or you find it “free” on Craigslist.

Either way, if you take a minute and wait before buying something, it’s typically a better financial decision.

 

The Secret To Finding 2 tickets For the Price of 1?

hartfordFair_06And the secret is…… well, you must read on…

Most people buy pay for some sort of entertainment throughout the year.  In 2012 the average American family of four spent $2,605 on entertainment.  Surely that number includes video games, tv, technologies etc.  However, that number includes ticket sales. 14 billion dollars were spent in 2009 on performing arts tickets sales.  Wow, right!? And that doesn’t include sporting event tickets.

Since entertainment is a large portion of our yearly budgets, it’s important to find the best deals as possible.

This week in my town is the county fair.  What I love about our fair (besides the people watching- apparently I am not the only one who thinks so) is the fact that our fair is free to get in and there’s free parking.  The only things we have to pay for besides all of the delicious healthy food that is served at the fair (sarcasm) is the rides.

Every year the fair falls on my daughter’s birthday.  It has become a tradition that we go to the fair for her birthday.  That’s it, just the fair, no birthday party.  But she loves it.  However, rider braclet tickets are outrageously priced!!!  $30 dollars per bracelet, for one day, times that by 3 kids and viola $90 just for rides.

Heck NO!  I am not paying that!  How could I find a better deal?

The answer:  PLAN AHEAD

We knew the fair was on my daughter’s birthday.  We knew we were probably going, but really, $90 for some junky rides that a junky runs?  It hardly seemed worth it.

But I “googled” the fair online and found the brochure.

And guess what I found?

“Buy ride tickets in advance and only pay $22, limited time offer!”

Sweet!  That means that I could buy 3 tickets for $66 dollars!  That would have just about been the price of two bracelet bands had I bought them on the spot.

So the secret is, plan in advance.  If you know that you want to do something, see something or go somewhere… buy ahead of time rather than at the door.  More than likely you can find better deals when you buy ahead.  Think about it, an entertainment group would rather guarantee a certain number of people to buy tickets and attend (or buy and not show) an event at a lower price.  It makes sense.  They still make their money but then they ensure a certain amount of money was paid to them… plus there is the highly likeliness of those people buying food and souvenirs also.

Just plan ahead, I bet you can save!

This is the first year I bought fair tickets in advance, and I am definitely going to continue to do it.

5 Ways Meal Planning Makes Life Easier

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I have been a meal planner for a while now, but it has evolved over the years.  Most of it, like anything is trial and error and coming up with your own system.  I had mainly been planning weekly meals which I was finding wasn’t helping me keep within my budget, we were eating the same types of foods and it did not reduce my stress level at all.  It was beginning to seem as if it wasn’t worth it.

But I decided to revamp my meal planning with those goals in mind.  I made a 16 week meal plan.  I mean really, there are left over days, and picnic with friends days so my 16 week meal plan is going to end up being much longer.  I have enjoyed my new found plan, and I am going to share with you the 5 reasons my extensive plan has made my life easier.

 

1. Less Meal Repeats–  My husband, bless his heart, can’t eat the same things every day.  I can but he can’t.  So it has been interesting for me to try to find a variety of meals (that fit my limited cooking skills) without creating more stress for me.  I sat down with my recipe box at my computer and went through the recipes I use (or had forgotten about).  I threw the rest of the “extras” away.  I then made a list of all the meals I make and sorted it out into a schedule.  I was surprised at how many meals I’ve made over the 9 years of marriage.  A lot of them I make more often than others. I wrote out a 16 week plan to use each dinner once.  So far (besides left overs) I haven’t duplicated a meal nor have I thought about what I am going to make.

2.  Pair Dishes For Left Over Use–  Once again, my husband isn’t a fan of left overs.  (He’s really not a picky dude- but he is not a big eater… same with my son- but my family growing up eats everything in sight so it’s been different)  If planned right you can use some left overs from one night and transfer/add them to another.  For example, last night I made a chicken noodle skillet.  Well I had some left over plain noodles in the fridge.  Instead of tossing them when they get moldy (which is what happens normally) I added them to the dish I made last night!  Less waste more $ saved!

3.  Plan According to Budget–  Hopefully you have a grocery budget.  If you don’t have a grocery budget, I highly recommend setting up one.  The first time I set up an extensive meal plan, I did not pay attention to the meals I was planning back to back.  Some times I would have Shrimp and Flank Steak one week and then Tortellini and Salmon the next.  Well, my grocery budget isn’t set up for those types of meals in two weeks.  Once per week (minus the flank steak) maybe, but otherwise it broke the budget.  This time around I made sure to have just one or two expensive dishes per month, with the middle of the road ones and some casseroles.  That way I could afford to eat what I was planning.  If planned right, with using left overs, my grocery bill has had a surplus at the end of the month!

4.  Stock The Left Overs!–  So yes, my family isn’t a fan of left overs.  However, if I freeze the left overs that I can’t use in another meal, and bring them out later… my family thinks I made a whole new meal!  Granted this doesn’t really fit with the “no repeats” but if the majority of your meals aren’t repeated, you don’t feel as if you are eating the same thing over and over.  In my freezer right now I have some Fejoada, Enchiladas, and Spaghetti Sauce.  I am beginning to work these meals into our week just one at a time.  Tomorrow I will use the enchiladas and simply pair it with chips and a salad.  Boom! Already made, and very cheap.  Less waste, less money thrown away and most of all….

5.  Less STRESS–  I have found that having this extensive system has eliminated my DISDAIN for cooking dinner.  In fact last night I thought, ‘oh I kind of like this’. Once I realized what I was thinking I literally shook my head…. Cooking dinner has been so stressful for all of the reasons above and not to mention it’s the time of the day where everyone is tired and cranky.  I’d rather cook breakfast, but my husband commutes and the kids aren’t quite old enough yet to take over dinner, so I am stuck with it.  I just make sure I take out what I need to thaw (if necessary) the night before or morning of and it’s good to go.  I know what I have and I don’t worry about it all day.  Who knows maybe I’ll like cooking some day!

Anyway, those are the five ways my meal planning has helped me in my home… both monetarily and sanity wise.  What benefits does meal planning give you?

DISCLAIMER:  My husband has never complained about my cooking.  I do know my culinary skills are below par (even though he doesn’t say so).  He just isn’t a fan of eating the same thing over and over and over… and when you have such few culinary skills like myself, you cook what is easy and at the forefront of your brain…. over and over and over…. 🙂  Until now….