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Valentine’s Day 2016

Posted by The Frugal Diva on 27th January 2016

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 Sunday and before President’s Day 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, check out my post.

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 on Friday before Valentine’s Day

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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Singles Mingle Valentine’s Day

Posted by The Frugal Diva on 27th January 2016

Singles always want to hide out during the February romance fest however if you are looking for a kind heart on Valentine’s Day try out these volunteer events throughout the country.

Feed the Soul While Helping Feed the Hungry — February 13th

Date & Time: Saturday, February 13th, 2016 – Registration is from 8:00 am to 8:20 am – volunteer project starts at 8:30 am to 12:00 pm. Please bring your e-ticket and release form on the day of your service project

Address: Los Angeles Regional Food Bank is located at 1734 E. 41st Street, Los Angeles, CA 90058. Street and on-site parking is available.

Hunger doesn’t end after the holiday season, hunger happens in Los Angeles County 365 days a year. Volunteers are needed to help sort, inspect, and repackage donated food items from local food drives. Help us help those in need by donating your time to fight hunger in our community.

Check out VoluteerMatch.org for more opportunities around the country.

You get the idea, just google valentine and volunteer plus your location.

Opportunities will pop up for making this a heart warming day.

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Track Airline Prices With Yapta

Posted by The Frugal Diva on 16th December 2015

The Frugal Divas likes to know that they are getting the best deal possible and with travel there are so many options.  However who has the time to track every price change. And once you book who even wants to think about the fares and rates.  That’s why for airline tickets and hotels  Yapta.com is a great idea.

At no cost to you, they track prices and let you decide if this is a good deal. I’m going to quote from their website since they explain it so well. “Yapta is intended to help you get a handle on fluctuating travel prices so that you know when to “buy low”. Yapta conducts daily price checks on the specific flights and hotels that you choose, and alerts you when prices drop or when they fall within your budget.”

Plus they will let you know when a price drops after you have purchased. More valuable information from their website:

“Already booked an airline ticket? Yapta can still help you save. Most U.S. airlines have “guaranteed airfare” policies that enable you to claim a travel credit if the price of your flight drops after booking it. Not many people know that the policy even exists – nor do they bother to check the price of their flight after purchasing it. Yapta will track the price of the flights you’ve already booked and – if the price drops below what you paid – it will alert you when you’re eligible for a refund or travel credit from the airline.”

This is a great service for those who are overwhelmed by the myriad of prices and restrictions out there. Bon voyage!

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Be A Discount Beauty

Posted by The Frugal Diva on 26th October 2015

So many beauty products, so little time. The Frugal Diva is a bit late finding out about this terrific site ADiscountBeauty.com already recommended by several budget guides and magazines. Stock up on some Orly Nail Products or buy gifts at the  bath and beauty products page or find oodles of beauty accessories. Emerge refreshed without leaving the house or spending a fortune.  Ship gifts from this site and never set foot in a crowded mall again

For organic and natural shoppers they carry oodles of products including Alba Botanic, the Bio Bio Baby organic line of shampoos, henna hair coloring, and the Get Fresh spa collection.

Trying to score even bigger discounts, go to their sale page .

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Student Savings

Posted by The Frugal Diva on 29th September 2015

Tuition is expensive enough. Make sure you are getting the following discounts.

Gift Card Granny has 95 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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6 Back-to-School Savings Tips for Procrastinating Parents

Posted by The Frugal Diva on 25th August 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 29th July 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 29th July 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 27th July 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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Spring Yard Sales

Posted by The Frugal Diva on 18th May 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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