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Cheap Theater Tickets

Posted by The Frugal Diva on 8th October 2014

Now Divas occasionally we may have to pay for tickets however there are websites for theaters that make is easy to save on entertainment.

Goldstar has an amazing selection of tickets to theater, sporting events, wine tastings, and even some trade shows. They are in several cities so plan ahead when you are traveling.  I have used this website many times and always got good seats in the promised section and they keep a record of your transactions in case you want to recommend a production. Now in every major city.

Theater tickets for a year with a subscription to Theater Extras. Good for tickets in Los Angeles and New York City.

Gift Certificates to these sites also make wonderful presents for birthdays and the upcoming holidays. You pick the amount and send it in a Holiday card.  All the time avoiding traffic and parking hassles. That’s how divas do it.

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Shopping Tips For The Fall

Posted by The Frugal Diva on 19th August 2014

The Frugal Diva wants to share a great guide for fall shopping tips.  Check out what is most cost effective for October.  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”

Fall Highlights:

Air Conditioners
The price of air conditioners rise and lower with the temperature. Most old air conditioners expire when the temperature goes up which creates a high demand in the summer months.

If an air conditioner is a must buy right now, then begin looking for discounts today on last years models. If you have a unit that can make it through another season, then the best option is to wait until stores are clearing their inventory at the end of the summer. As temperatures cool the prices will drop and you can find great deals to keep you cool next year.

You can save money on the purchase of a new air conditioner by having your current system serviced. Early in the season is the best time to find deals on service for your air conditioner. In the heating and air conditioning business, the summer months are the most profitable. Many companies will offer discounts on air conditioner service before the heat arrives to stay busy.

Best time to buy an air conditioner: October
Best time to have your air conditioner services: February

Big Appliances
The new models for large appliances roll out in September and October, so stores will be working to make room by discounting previous models.  Some stores will keep older inventory in stock through the holiday months and then reduce what ever is left at the beginning of the new year.

During the rest of the year look for holiday sales around Memorial Day and Independence Day.

Best time to buy big appliances: October and January

Cars
New model year vehicles are typically introduced in late summer. The end of a model year can be a great time to get bargains on a recommended model as dealerships are making room for new models. Vehicles remaining on the lot at the end of the model year are considered to be “leftovers”. They have been on the lot the longest and can generally be negotiated for considerable savings.

The end of the month can be a good time to buy a car also as many dealerships establish monthly quotas and salespeople may be willing to take much less than asking price in order to make a sale to earn their bonus. The best way to save on end of the month purchases is to walk onto the dealership with a good idea of what you want to buy. Some salespeople may try pressuring you into making decisions about a car you are not prepared to buy if you don’t know what you are looking for.

Throughout the year, manufacturers offer rebates, incentives and cheap financing which often coincide with a holiday, long weekend, or special promotion. Sales incentives can be worth investigating to see how much money you can save.

Best time to buy a car: October, and end of the month

Gas Grills
Gas grills are in high demand during the summer and prices rise to match the demand. This makes Fall and Winter the best time to buy a new grill. Companies like Home Depot and Walmart will cut prices on summer grills when winter merchandise arrives.

Best time to buy gas grills: October

Jeans
There’s a double bonus if you buy new jeans in October: You miss back-to-school crowds and can take advantage of clearance sales scheduled before holiday shopping season. You’ll also have less of an audience to squiggle into new jeans if the store has one of those communal dressing rooms.

Best time to buy jeans: October

Toys
Early winter is the best time to begin your wish list if toys are what you want for Christmas. Retailers will be trying to maximize holiday sales by reducing prices and pushing sales as early as October. Your chances of finding cheaper games and puzzles are especially good during this time.

If you simply can’t wait to buy toys but you still would like to find a bargain, then August will be the best time to look for discounts. With holiday shopping on the horizon, retailers will be reducing prices on current stock to make room for the seasons hottest toys. Retailers will be willing to let items go at huge discounts in order to make room to stock newer items.

Best time to buy toys: October and November

Wine
The best selection of wines will be available after fall harvest. The latest vintages are released by most vineyards at this time. This is also the best time to find good buys on “cult wines”.

Many wine retailers are trying to keep a low inventory in these uncertain times and are marking down prices to sell off overstock. There are great deals being offered on wines of all quality so today may be the best day to buy your next bottle of wine.

Best time to buy wine: Early Fall (though with the earthquake in Napa this might not be true in the coming months).

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September Is National Coupon Month

Posted by The Frugal Diva on 18th August 2014

Ironic, coincidence, or  just the inevitable star crossed event – September is National Coupon Month and the month The Frugal Diva was born.   How appropriate that my birthday falls in the month for celebrating savings.  Coupon usage continues to rise and as a nation we are very interested in keeping more of our hard earned paychecks.  When economists tell us to spend more they never tell us where to get the money.  For those who are not trust fund babies, lottery winners, or living off the grid, coupons and budgeting help keep us ahead of higher prices and able to maintain our lifestyles.

While they put up this site in 2013, all the rules still apply.  The I Love Coupons site is right in sync with the our philosophy for strategizing  coupon savings.  And the most important rule is number 4 – if you don’t need it, don’t buy it!  The most expensive item you own is one you never use.  Even if it was half off  with a 30%  discount, there is no point to buying an item that will sit in your closet, stay in your pantry, or be relegated to your garage.  Check them out every day this month for everything you ever wanted to know about coupons and more.

There are others out there helping you save and Daily Finance has some great tips. Before you shop, hit up my two favorites Coupon Cabin and Coupon Sherpa.

On September 6th this year I will be in Los Angeles enjoying brunch, some pampering, and being ever so grateful for my relationship with The Frugal Dude.

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Student Savings

Posted by The Frugal Diva on 17th August 2014

Gift Card Granny has 81 student discounts savings.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, there are more than 19-million students enrolled in higher education institutions across the country. Whether you’re gearing up for your first day on campus or are counting the days until graduation, make sure to take advantage of your status as a student while it lasts.

Besides the prize of a degree or just learning something, students get to partake in many savings around town and around the Internet. Here are some other ways to save as you pay your way through school.

JourneyEd.com has all the best software and fantastic prices for those enrolled at a degree giving institution.  They will need verification of your student status and then you are free to roam this site for Microsoft, Adobe, and some good deals on hardware.

Before you start the school week in Los Angeles, take a break with the Laemmle Sunday Night Student deal.  For all shows that start after 6pm on Sundays, Students with ID are $7 and  popcorn is $1 for the small size.

Amtrak will help you get home for the holidays with a student discount.

Yapta.com will make sure that plane ticket is the cheapest even after purchase. Track prices for free.

Get the the Student Advantage Card, the nation’s largest student discount program, giving students access to thousands of discount locations across the country, near your campus and online. Get a full year of savings for only $20.

Stores and restaurants near your campus have plentiful discounts and coupons for students.  Remind them you are a struggling student who needs every break they can get.

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Order Some Law With Legal Zoom

Posted by The Frugal Diva on 24th March 2014

Being totally phobic about all things legal, the frugal diva was really happy when a friend recommended Legal Zoom.  Personal recommendations rank very high on my list of reasons to use a service – especially one on the Internet.  Being nervous about the process also generates a high need for great customer service. In my case more like hand holding, reassurance, and letting you ask many questions along the way.

I got all this and more. This company has the best customer service ever.  They inform you by mail and by phone each step of the way and you never have to wait more then a few minutes for a real, live person to walk you through the process.

And that person is soooo patient, soooo informed, and will make sure you understand everything before the conversation is over.  There is no rush, no attitude, and they are interested in your concerns.

You do pay for the service however you are saving time, aggravation, and gasoline. Instead of driving around, finding parking, making mistakes filling out forms, and dealing with clerks, you are taking care of your business.  Their prices are very reasonable given how much time you would spend getting the same service yourself or using the higher priced services of an attorney.   Legal Zoom proved that the law can be very orderly and efficient.

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Spring Yard Sales

Posted by The Frugal Diva on 25th February 2014

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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FIDM

Posted by The Frugal Diva on 24th February 2014

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. For those not in LA, there is an online store, prices are not as good however there 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 exhibits of movie and television costumes plus a gallery devoted to perfume. The FIDM Los Angeles campus houses a Permanent and Study Collection of over 12,000 costumes, accessories, and textiles from the 18th century through the present day, including film and theatre costume. It is one of the largest such collections in the United States, and top designer holdings include Chanel, Yves Saint Laurent, Dior, and Lacroix.

A current exhibition is 22nd Annual Art of Motion Picture Costume Design February 11 – April 26, 2014. On view are actual costumes from 2013 movies nominated for Oscars. This exhibit is free to the public and will be open Monday  – Saturday from 10:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m.

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

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Valentine’s Day 2014

Posted by The Frugal Diva on 14th February 2014

Here is a holiday designed for spending money-flowers, chocolates, overpriced restaurant meals rivaled only by New Year’s Eve. Let’s put a stop to this right now. Flowers will die (and quite quickly), chocolates and a heavy meal will only stand in the way of romance. After a five course meal and dessert, The Frugal Diva is not in the mood for romance. If she wants to unbutton her dress, it’s simply to get a bit of breathing space.

That’s why The Frugal Dude knows to spend Valentine’s Day dining at a great Chinese restaurant. In Los Angeles, we might head over to Monterey Park after checking out the Yelp reviews or go to the old school restaurants in Chinatown. This is also a great night to get sushi, Greek, Thai or any other ethnic group that is still not planning an over the top and over priced experience.Even better, rent a movie, prepare a meal together, and I’ll leave it to your imagination what to have for dessert.

The dreaded holiday of Valentine’s Day looms like a dark cloud on the horizon for singles. This year it falls on Friday which means an entire weekend of love, hearts, and hiding behind the curtains for the uncoupled. The Frugal Diva says come out into the sunshine and make plans to party. Get together single friends for a potluck and have each of them bring another single. You may enter with a vegetarian casserole and leave with a new relationship, friendship, or recipe. It’s better than weeping into a microwaved meal.

Let’s not restrict love just to the narrow definition of one on one. Now I’m not talking about anything kinky, though that is a personal choice. What about finding a soup kitchen, hospital, senior center, or shelter that needs volunteers? If you are looking for options, the Volunteers of America has an extensive nationwide network.

Now there is also self love. No, not what you are thinking. Well, maybe but that’s another personal choice. The Frugal Diva means to find a yoga class or go for a walk weather permitting, take a bubble bath, and relax with a good book. It’s okay to ignore your phone, computer, television, and all other flashing lights for an evening.

There is nothing worse than watching a co worker swoon over a dozen roses from their fiancée. What if we revert back to the classroom habit of getting everyone something? If you work in a small to mid size office, bake some brownies, after they cool arrange them by twos in a goody bag, tie off with a red ribbon, and deliver to every desk.

All these ideas have a few things in common. They involve minimal expense. They take a bit of imagination. They connect you to others or reconnect you with yourself. Isn’t that what love is all about.

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Even More Valentine’s Day Tips For Guys

Posted by The Frugal Diva on 13th February 2014

Guest post is by Gabrielle Greene who co-blogs on TipsOnHowToSaveMoney. Her friends often refer to her as “Gaby Gabs A lot,” especially if it has anything to do with freebies and saving money!

I was reading, “Valentine’s Day 2014,” and I just had to laugh at some of the things that were said because I can relate to them. I’m really not a fan of Valentines Day and never have been. In fact, my best V-Day was spent with my best friend when I was still single.

Seems now that I’m married there ultimately seems to be a fight that occurs on this day, but of course and it just stinks!

First I declared that I didn’t want to even participate in V-Day at all. Like the Frugal Diva herself, I don’t need the chocolates (my low-carb diet is already killing me, but that’s another story) or the flowers that will die (I swear mine die even faster than they should).

You would think he would be happy about this, but I think in his mind that even though I was saying I didn’t want to participate that I secretly did so if he didn’t do something then it would be yet another fight. Wait, did that make sense?

Men, generally speaking, women fall into two categories and you should know which one. We either swoon over the cliché and typical Valentines Day or we hate it. So take the time to know your woman and what will make her happy. Here are the things that we worked out and I am now looking forward to the dreaded V-Day for the first time in years.

Flowers – Instead of roses buy tulips, a plant or an herb. They last longer and they smell just as good. Rosemary, Sage and Lavender are all good choices.

Chocolates – Again, I’ve been killing myself on this diet (most women are always on a diet, sigh) and I don’t need any stinkin chocolates. But I would love some Starbucks! I will never say no to coffee; if I could get a caffeine IV drip, I would! I’m not the only one. If she doesn’t like coffee, get her tea. If fountain sodas are her thing, do that too. You get the idea.

Favorite things – Every girl has favorite things, two of mine happen to be Bath & Body

Works and candles. So buy the things you know she will love. In fact, Bath & Body Works is having one of their famous sales and it’s Buy 3, get 3 free. Retail Me Not has a great app for finding coupons for almost any store that you can access right on your smartphone. I recently started using it myself.

Household Items – There are some women that will have a complete meltdown if any sort of home appliance or bath room accessory is bought as a gift. I definitely do not fall into that category, although without a doubt, my best friend does. Please do redo my bathroom
cabinets or buy me a Keurig. Heck, I will even take a new vacuum or blender, even a new comforter. With age I have learned to appreciate these things.

The moral of the story? Guys, are you paying attention to your woman? We aren’t hard to figure out, we just want to know you are paying attention and know what we like. It took me years to convince my husband that I WANT BOOKS. He doesn’t like buying them  (or even a gift card) because he says that is not a proper gift. But if I love books and I want books why does he get to tell me it’s not a proper gift? Can you see how some of our arguments start? It’s totally his fault. Get her what she likes, even if you think it’s crazy.

Trust me, it’s just easier.

Now, I have to say, ladies, be fair and do the same for your man in return. I did buy him a bottle of cologne (because I liked the smell) but I also ordered him some things for the garage that he has been wanting but hasn’t bought for himself. Valentines Day is sold as a holiday for flowers and chocolate but it doesn’t have to be. Buy gifts that are more personable for the person you love. You don’t have to get it, or even agree, but it’s a good time to spoil the person you love and to make it count!

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Pop Your Cork

Posted by The Frugal Diva on 29th January 2014

The Frugal Diva cannot tell Two Buck Chuck from Chateau Lafite-Rothschild so it was up to my friends to inform me of this policy at many restaurants – free corkage. You bring the wine and they provide the glasses, you sip and they serve, you pay nothing and they stand by at your service. In an effort to brave the new realities of consumer spending, many restaurants allow patrons to bring in their own wine at no fee.

This is a great perk for those who have an extensive collection of wine or for those who just want to stop by a market and pick up a decent bottle for $8 to $12. Twelve dollars is just about what a  glass of wine goes for in many places and you will be getting four full glasses for the same price. When choosing restaurants for a night out this usually leads to a minimum savings of  about $50.

Opentable.com allows you to check out which restaurants are letting you bring wine at no charge.  Some like the Daily Grill only allow it on Tuesdays, others such as Roy’s have a changing policy, and Magnolia in Hollywood allows it anytime. On the Open Table left hand side they have free corkage and BYOB listing for restaurants in every city.  Policies change quickly so always call to verify before making a reservation.

Stop by Fresh & Easy on your way to dinner and find award winning bottles at great prices.   I pick wines, the same way I pick race horses-by their names.  So I was drawn to Pacific Coast Highway’s Chardonnay and took it when joining friends for dinner.  Everyone applauded my choice of this lovely white wine and no one guessed it came in under $10.  Unlike my choices at the track, this wine was a winner for price, quality, and remembering long wonderful rides up the coast when I first moved to LA.

Another plus about Fresh & Easy, you don’t have to negotiate through an huge store when in a hurry or high heels.

Disclaimer: Fresh and Easy sends The Frugal Diva occasional samples and gift cards plus her stepson works there as a buyer.

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