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6 Back-to-School Savings Tips for Procrastinating Parents

Posted by The Frugal Diva on August 25th, 2015

If you’ve been putting off back-to-school shopping, you’re not alone. According to a recent study released by the National Retail Federation, nearly half of families with school-aged kids have yet to purchase classroom essentials. As consumers, we’ve become accustomed to lengthy promotional periods and procrastinating may help you save more in the long run.

However, you don’t want to be stressed and make poor purchasing decisions to ensure your kids are prepared on their first day. Follow these tips for getting the most value out of late-season back-to-school shopping.

1. Shop Labor Day Sales.
Retailers promote extra sales during popular holiday weekends and Labor Day offers a great opportunity to stock up on clearance items with further price reductions. For instance, you can expect up to 70% off summer clothing like tank tops, shorts and sandals. Buy a size up to prepare for next spring and use these cheap finds as layering basics for the fall and winter. Also look for deals on basic supplies and backpacks as retailers are responding to news about procrastinating parents with extra savings!

2. Stock Up on Penny Deals.
Office suppliers like Staples and Office Depot promote penny deals throughout the back-to-school season, with 1-cent folders to 25-cent notebooks. Walmart also offers these deep discounts, so compare circulars online to figure out where to buy the various items on your shopping list then stock up for the year for cheap. You can also compare circulars on-the-go with the Retale app, which displays store circulars based on your zip code.

3. Seek Outlet Center Savings.
Outlet centers represent great resources for savings with the added advantage of knocking out most of your back-to-school shopping in one session. Review the mall map online to plan your shopping route, and look for special deals available on the center’s website. To avoid going over budget on discounted goods, determine a budget and bring that amount in cash. Once it’s gone, it’s gone, so you’ll know exactly how much money you have left to spend!

4. Splurge on Backpacks, Sneakers & Winter Coats.
Saving money is important, but there are some back-to-school items worthy of the splurge. Quality sneakers, winter boots and coats are worth the investment as they’ll hold up better over time. A sturdy backpack with plenty of back support and storage is a better buy than a cheap bag, especially when you opt for a classic design. Use tools like Coupon Sherpa to seek out savings on these splurges. For example, an eBags coupon code for 65% off back-to-school plus an extra 20% off select items is available through mid-September.

5. Save Gadget Buys for Black Friday.
If your child needs an upgrade to his or her laptop or desktop computer, it’s better to wait a few months for holiday sales to roll around. Historically, Black Friday weekend is the best time to snag top deals on gadgets including laptops, desktops and smartphones. If your child’s computer is running slow, consider defragmenting the hard drive to increase the speed and ease of use in the interim of upgrading.

6. Strengthen Savings with Gift Cards.
To increase your savings even further, shop with gift cards you purchase at a discount. You can buy them in bulk from Costco or Sam’s Club for up to 20% off, but websites like GiftCardGranny.com offer much more variety and inventory. For example, you can increase your savings at Macy’s by up to 15%, or bolster your discount from Dick’s Sporting Goods by up to 21%. Using discounted gift cards as currency is a truly savvy move, one that you should keep in mind for holiday shopping, too!

Andrea Woroch is a consumer and money-saving expert for Kinoli Inc. From smart spending tips to personal finance advice, Andrea transforms everyday consumers into savvy shoppers. As a sought-after media source, she has been featured among such top news outlets as Good Morning America, Today, CNN, Dr. OZ, New York Times, MONEY Magazine, Huffington Post, Forbes and many more. For more information, visit AndreaWoroch.com or follow her on Twitter for daily savings advice and tips.

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PayPal Offers Back to School Savings

Posted by The Frugal Diva on July 29th, 2015

School is almost back in session and with that, comes all the shopping that needs to be done to get ready for the new year ahead.  According to a NRF survey, nearly half of parents making online purchases have noted the importance of sales and promotions for popular items – like shoes, laptops, folders and pencils – in their buying decisions. So this year, PayPal is offering great deals from top retailers for customers to get even more savings!

Some highlights of the deals being offered in PayPal’s Back to School Promotions include:

·        LL Bean Back packs help students make a statement. Score 25% off Deluxe LL Bean Back Packs this season.

·        Aeropostale The back to school wardrobe must not be forgotten. Take $15 off $75 and revamp the wardrobe.

·        HPNo more student excuses of “dog ate my homework” when you’re armed with a PC and HP accessories. Score the following deals:

o   Up to 30% off accessories

o   Up to 15% off PCs $599 or more

o   Up to 20% off PCs $999 or more

·        iTunes – Students want to be sure they have the right tunes to focus or even just the right shows to watch (not binge!) on study breaks – Take 20% off iTunes gift codes.

·        Our Campus Market – Give your college student some TLC when it comes to getting back on campus this year. 20% off bedding, bath, care packages, and other back to school necessities from OCM.com.

For more about PayPal and back to school deals, please visit the PayPal site here.

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Shopping Tips For The Fall

Posted by The Frugal Diva on July 29th, 2015

The Frugal Diva wants to share a great guide for fall shopping tips.  Who knew that wine was a good buy in early fall. I like this guide because it not only tells you what is a good buy, it tells you why. Let me know if your experience bears this out.

FreeShipping.org’s “Best Time to Buy Guide”

Some August highlights from the complete list:

Best time to buy computers, MP3 players, lawn movers, and seasonal produce including great prices on cucumbers, corn, eggplant, tomatoes, summer squash, green beans, strawberries, cantaloupe, lettuce, watermelon, peaches, apricots, plums and raspberries.

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FIDM

Posted by The Frugal Diva on July 27th, 2015

Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising is a great place to visit, shop, and explore an interesting area of downtown LA. Now for the Diva it’s always more fun if there is some discount shopping involved and FIDM has a wonderful Scholarship Store with some of the best deals in town (brides pay particular attention when they have gowns available). For those not in LA, there is an online store, prices are not as good however these are original and unique items.

All the merchandise sold in the Scholarship Store is donated by over 400 successful manufacturers, retailers, and wholesalers, many of whom employ FIDM Alumni.  They send overstock and end of season items at great prices.  All the money you spend goes to scholarships so feel good about splurging.

Now they also have free exhibits of movie and television costumes.

A current exhibition presents an overview of the Damask’s important gift to the FIDM Museum including: historic avant-garde fashion and world dress; limited edition art books; seminal images by high-fashion photographers Willy Maywald (1907–85) and Horst P. Horst (1906–99); photographs, sketches, and books by artist-aesthete Cecil Beaton (1904–80); and theatrical designs by Erté (Romain de Tirtoff, 1892–1990).

For the ninth year, they have an annual exhibition celebrating the art and artistry of Primetime Emmy® Nominated Costume Designers and Costume.

Fleurs examines these sartorial techniques that allow springtime to be eternal and the flowers to never fade.

Check it out and watch Project Runway like a fashion insider.

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Posted in Category Test, Fashion | 1 Comment »

4th of July Savings

Posted by The Frugal Diva on June 22nd, 2015

The Fourth of July is all about red, white and blue… so why does it end up costing so much green?  From patriotic clothing to yummy picnic treats to parking fees, there are hidden expenses around every corner.  BeFrugal.com has some great ideas.

1.    Take advantage of free summer outdoor activities to have fun. Some ideas include face paint, sidewalk chalk, hula hooping, running through the sprinkler, having a water balloon toss, and tossing the ball around at your nearby neighborhood park or school field.

2.    Attend a free event. Listen for activities held at parks and attractions near you. Some cities have free concerts and many have public fireworks displays.

3.    Instead of buying new clothes with patriotic colors, shop your closet. Look for anything starred, striped or red, white & blue.

4.    Don’t give into buying unnecessary items. Often at public firework displays there are goodies for sale like food and glow-in-the-dark necklaces. Pack the kids’ favorite treats and toys instead of purchasing new stuff.

5.    To keep the costs of entertaining down, hold a pot luck meal and ask guests to bring their own beverages if you are hosting a gathering. Buy items like plastic cutlery and paper plates online to take advantage of free shipping offers plus use online promo codes and earn cash back – all on the same transaction. Also look at your nearby grocery store’s weekly ads to see the sales and prepare your coupons before going to the grocery store.

Stay safe and have a great 4th!

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Free Museum Days

Posted by The Frugal Diva on May 20th, 2015

The Frugal Diva loves culture and she loves the word free. By combining these two concepts, the divas of the world can soak up culture without getting soaked.

Most museums have a free day. It may be once a week, once a month, a late night but they believe that everyone should have the opportunity to enjoy great works of art, science exhibits, and natural history.  Check the local museum websites for venues in your area.  The free day can usually be found under visitor’s information.

In Los Angeles,  the California Science Center is free every day for all permanent exhibits including the space shuttle Endeavour, the Guggenheim Museum in NYC has free or pay what you wish on upcoming Saturdays, and the Philadelphia Museum has free Wednesday nights (you can even run up the steps and stand near the Rocky statue).

Since many of you will be traveling this spring or summer here is a great site for finding free museums in your city and at your destination. Museum Free Days provides a list for many cities and links to the respective website.

In the fall, tickets for over 1400 museums across the country are available through Smithsonian Free Day and can be downloaded on August 1, 2015 from the site for you and a guest. If you are in Washington, D. C. the Smithsonian Museums are our national museums and are free every day.

The world of culture is yours – however timing is everything.

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Staying Above Water, Staying Hydrated And Why Is It So Crucial

Posted by The Frugal Diva on May 19th, 2015

Today’s guest post hits the spot with information about staying hydrated.

Your body relies on water for functioning; water is the key element to our survival. Water makes up more than half of your body weight.  Each and every cell, tissue and organ in your body depends on the powerful properties of water to function properly, your body uses water to maintain its Homeostasis, remove waste and lubricate joints. Water is a core ingredient for optimum health.

When going about our daily routines, our bodies rids itself of water each and every day.  When use the bathroom, sweat, and even when you breathe, when you exercise or in the heat of the summer months you tend to lose water at an even faster rate. Vomiting, fever and diarrhea can also lead to significant fluid loss. If you don’t replenish the water you lose, you can become dehydrated.

Symptoms of dehydration consist of:

  • Diminished or no urine, or urine that is darker than usual
  • Dry mouth
  • Sleepiness or fatigue
  • Extreme thirst
  • Headache
  • Confusion
  • Feeling dizzy or lightheaded
  • No tears when crying

Please do not wait until you recognize symptoms of dehydration to get help. Dehydration warning signs are difficult to recognize when you are already dehydrated, and pay close attention to those of the older age groups. Be proactive in the prevention of dehydration, by drinking plenty of water.

There are multiple recommendations regarding daily water consumption. Most generally people have been advised that they should be drinking 6 to 8 8-ounce glasses of water each day, which is an attainable goal for most individuals. However, various individuals need different amounts of water to maintain hydrated. Generally healthy people can stay adequately hydrated by drinking water and other fluids whenever they feel thirsty. For some people, less than 8 glasses of water may be enough. Other people may need significantly more than 8 glasses of water each day.

Those individuals that are at a higher risk of dehydration include those who get a lot of exercise, have certain medical conditions, are ill, or are unable able to get an adequate amount of fluids during the span of the day. Older adults are also at greater risk, because you age your brain may be unable to sense dehydration and relay the signals for thirst.

If you are worried that you may not be drinking enough water, observe your urine output. If your output is consistently colorless or light yellow, you are probably are staying well hydrated.

There are times you may need to increase the amount of water you are drinking, especially if you:

  • Have certain medical conditions, such as kidney stones  or bladder infection
  • Are pregnant or breastfeeding
  • Are going to be outside during elevated temperatures
  • Are going to be active or exercising
  • Have a fever, or have been vomiting or are experiencing diarrhea
  • Are on a weight lost diet.

Water is the best choice for staying hydrated. There are a variety of  drinks and foods that can assist in providing you with an adequate amount of water, so that you can get the amount of water that you need, but some of these other options tend to add  many extra not needed, unhealthy calories from sugar to your diet.

If you feel that water can not be your only option, due to its tasteless flavor, drinks like fruit and vegetable juices, milk and herbal teas can contribute to the amount of water you should get each day. Even caffeinated drinks, such as coffee, tea and soda, count toward your daily water intake to a certain limit.  It is best to limit caffeinated drinks, as caffeine is a diuretic and tends to cause some people to urinate more frequently, or feel anxious or jittery. A moderate amount of caffeine, 200 to 300 milligrams (about the amount in 2 to 4 8-ounce cups of coffee), is not harmful for a majority of people. Another option for those looking to incorporate more hydrating foods into their diets, should know that water can also be found in fruits and vegetables, such as watermelon, tomatoes and lettuce, and in soup broths.

Generally water is all that is needed to maintain good hydration on the most part. However, if you are planning on exercising at a high intensity for an extended period of time, a sports drink may be of help because it contains carbohydrates that can prevent low blood sugar. Sports drinks can also help replace lost electrolytes if you spike a fever, have been vomiting or are experiencing diarrhea.

When choosing a sports drink, choose wisely, as they are often high in calories and may contain high levels of sugar and sodium.

Recap on How to Stay Hydrated

  • Keep a bottle of water with you during the day. Invest in  a reusable water bottle and fill it from the tap rather than buying bottled water, which is expensive and  causes plastic bottle waste.
  • If plain water doesn’t interest you, try adding a slice of lemon or lime to your drink.
  • If you’re going to be exercising, make it a priority to make sure you drink water before, during and after your workout.
  • Start and end your day with a glass of water.
  • When you’re feeling hungry, drink water. The sensation of thirst is often confused with hunger. True hunger will not be satisfied by drinking water. Drinking water may also contribute to a healthy weight loss plan, as some research suggests drinking water will help you feel full.
  • Schedule your water drinking, if you have a hard time remembering to drink water. For example, drink water when you wake up; at breakfast, lunch and dinner; and when you go to bed. Or drink a small glass of water every hour or so.
  • Drink water when you go to a restaurant. Not only does it keep you hydrated, but it’s economical too!

Here is a great recipe I found for making an all-natural orange flavored homemade sports drink.

·         1 quart of water (we use distilled water)

·         2 tablespoons honey or pure maple syrup (optional)

·         1/2 teaspoon of Sea salt

·         1 pint orange juice

·         Juice from 1 lemon

Directions

Heat 1/2 cup of the water to boiling, remove from heat, add honey and sea salt, stir until dissolved. Add the remaining water to a pitcher, add the honey water, orange and lemon juice, stir to combine. Refrigerate until ready to drink.

+ Stu Lieberman has been writing about Medical, Health and Beauty Supplies for 3 years; from Vitamins and Supplements to Therapy Equipment to Online Medical Supplies.  Stu uses MedicalSupply123.com for all his personal medical needs.

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Spring Yard Sales

Posted by The Frugal Diva on May 18th, 2015

Those novels you read on vacation, the shirt you haven’t worn for five years, the toys your college bound student won’t need, and the sheets for a single bed that you don’t own anymore. Sound familiar. We all put things away for a rainy day or because they remind us of a favorite event.

This is a great time of year to reorganize, declutter, donate, and stash stuff  in boxes for a future yard sale.

In fairness to yourself before selling or donating anything that you feel might be worth something check the ebay price of the same or similar item.

If you feel something is very valuable check with a professional auction house. Bonhams Auction House . Is it treasure or trash?  They are a neutral party who can provide an auction value estimate.

If you decide to go forward with a yard sale here are some good rules to follow:

Put a price on all items! You can have individual prices or grab bags where everything in the bag goes for a set price. Put stickers on everything and you can also segregate areas for different prices. All fifty cent items on one table. Remember nobody comes to yard sale to spend big bucks. Everything you sell is one thing you don’t have to carry back into the house.

Don’t let early arrivers throw you off. Post a sign that says when you start and don’t let anyone into your home. You want good coverage so if you don’t have enough family members, invite friends to help out or sell stuff along with you. If you can get your neighbors to join in – all the better.  Everyone has a unique inventory so the more the merrier.

Get change the day before and post that you will only give change up to $10 or $20.  Most yard sale shoppers know the drill and will come with appropriate coinage.  Since many items will be $.10 or $.25, get a few packs of quarters, dimes, and nickels plus twenty to  fifty in singles. Keep your cash on you or with a helper who is designated the cashier.

Feel free to sell sodas or lemonade for a modest price. This is a great learning experience for small children. Let them set up a stand and feel they are part of the experience.

Now to let people know about your sale.  Many local papers have free listings, put it up on bulletin boards at your grocery store, school, church, and gym, and post signs at all major intersections in your neighborhood. Many people still drive around looking for yard sales and neon colored paper will attract attention.

The most important thing about a yard sale, have fun, watch your stuff enhance another person’s life, and make a few dollars in the process.

Whatever is left over can be boxed up and delivered to Goodwill.

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Play It Again Sports

Posted by The Frugal Diva on May 15th, 2015

We’ve all been there – wanting to exercise and never finding the time, thinking equipment is too expensive, and worried that our investment will never be used. Play It Again Sports makes the initial outlay reasonable and encourages you to try something new. If you can never make it to the gym this is a great place to buy a stationary bicycle, treadmill, or weights. For a fraction of the cost, see if this option works for you. Sometimes a small investment makes a big difference in your health, plus you might be able to sell it back if this isn’t your type of workout.

Knowledgeable salespeople know all the right items and how to best fit your child for a glove or bat. Kids pass through sports crazes quickly and there is no reason to pay full price when they will only be playing for a few months. Check with your local store to see how they can help you fundraise for your team.

Now Play It Again Sports also carries some never used items they picked up at reduced prices during  manufacturers closeouts.

This store is a good resource for  ski season or for walking off those extra pounds indoors for next swimsuit season.

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24 Hour Fitness

Posted by The Frugal Diva on May 14th, 2015

Divas like to be in shape. And that means at some point we have to exercise. Cheapest is walking. For those of you in colder climes, there is the mall.  And it will give you a chance to keep an eye on an item until it goes to it’s lowest price. For those of us lucky enough to be in Southern California, walk everywhere. If you need a few items at the market, try walking. It’s a twofer – you burn calories and save on gas. Walk out your front door and walk for a mile in any direction. Walk to the post office. This is the best way to start exercising and the best way to save on gas.

Now this is going to sound very unfrugal however joining a gym might be a good investment if (and this is a big if) you are going to use the facilities. I recommend the larger chains such as 24 Hour Fitness.(The Frugal Diva is a member however receives no compensations for mentioning them). They have more classes (aerobics to zumba), keep up the facilities nicely, you can use a variety of locations, and they probably will not be closing down any time soon. Remember to look for deals and bargain, bargain, bargain. They need members and you have all the power. Read the contract carefully and look for any hidden charges.

Ask for the free 7 day pass to see if it fits into your schedule. It should be either near home or work. The classes that you are interested in need to be at times that you can attend.  Remember if you don’t attend at least once or twice a week, this is a waste of money. The more you attend, the better the deal. The other benefit of the gym, it is a great option when you don’t have money to spend on other activities. It gives you choices that make you healthy and keep you out of the mall.  Saturday morning might be a yoga class, swimming, and a sauna – your very own day spa experience.

And many locations have Kid’s Clubs where children can hang out while you exercise.  This is fun place with activities,  games, and close supervision.  Kids’ Club availability, rates, and hours vary per location.

Good health is the best wealth.

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