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Play It Again Sports

Posted by The Frugal Diva on February 26th, 2014

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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Spring Yard Sales

Posted by The Frugal Diva on February 25th, 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 February 24th, 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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Posted in Category Test, Fashion | 1 Comment »

Mega Bus

Posted by The Frugal Diva on February 23rd, 2014

The wheels on the bus go round and round and you end up with a great price. Riding the bus used to be for the poor and downtrodden now with airport security, delays, less leg room all the time, it seems like this might be the best option. Megabus will take you from Los Angeles to Las Vegas in about 5 to 6 hours for as much as $24 and as little as $9 (please check prices online). If this seems like a lot of time, let’s add up the time it takes to fly.

Arrive two hours before flight for security check in

Flying time is about 1 hour and 5 minutes

Deplane and get transportation into town could take 1 hour and a half

These times reflect no delays on the ground or landing

So for 4 hours you can rush to the airport, pay for a cab or parking your car, go through security, hope your plane gets off on time, land, get a rental car or find a cab to your hotel OR for an extra hour or so you can board the bus and be dropped off in town. This is a great way to get kids home for the holidays or grab a few days of vacation.

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Valentine’s Day 2014

Posted by The Frugal Diva on February 14th, 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 February 13th, 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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Cash For Trash

Posted by The Frugal Diva on January 29th, 2014

The Frugal Diva always wondered what you did with unwanted gift cards – Pep Boys and you don’t own a car, Wet Seal when you are over fifty, and Five Guys for vegetarians.  Here are some options from BeFrugal.com. founder and money saving expert Jon Lal. He shares the following frugal advice on cleaning out the clutter while cashing in on unneeded items.

Unused gift cards: To get rid of unwanted gift cards without losing out, simply use a legitimate website that buys and sells gift cards such as Cardpool. Before selling through Cardpool.com, first head over to coupons & cash back site BeFrugal.com and get money back on top of what you are selling the cards for. Rates can change today, but today you will get 4% Cash Back on sale of a Gift Card to Cardpool. Note that Cash Back is only available for the first $1000 in transactions from your Cardpool account (this includes all history in your Cardpool account).

Extra clothing: Why not clean out the clutter and cash in on last year’s fashion? Gently worn garments can be sold in consignment shops or online using eBay. Any item that does not sell in a consignment store or on eBay can be donated and you can save money with a tax write-off.

Old electronics: Sell unwanted electronic items to a site like Gazelle.com, BuyMyTronics.com, NextWorth.com or BuyBackWorld.com. These sites will pay you for gadgets you no longer use.

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Pop Your Cork

Posted by The Frugal Diva on January 29th, 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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Los Angeles Free Museum Day

Posted by The Frugal Diva on January 22nd, 2014

In a joint effort to present the arts and culture to the diverse and myriad communities in Southern California, SoCal Museums (previously the Museum Marketing Roundtable) announces the ninth annual “Museums Free-For-All” Saturday, January 25, 2014. The museums–presenting art, cultural heritage, natural history, and science–will open doors and invite visitors free of charge. This offer is for general museum admission only and may not apply to special ticketed exhibitions. Regular parking fees apply; consult individual museum websites for hours and other visitor information.

Participated museums are as follows:

Annenberg Space for Photography
Armory Center for the Arts
The Autry National Center of the American West
California African American Museum
California Science Center
Fowler Museum at UCLA
The Getty Center
The Getty Villa (Timed tickets are required. Visit http://www.getty.edu.)
Hammer Museum
Japanese American National Museum
Los Angeles County Museum of Art
Los Angeles Fire Department Museum and Memorial (Hollywood and San Pedro)
The Museum of Contemporary Art
Museum of Latin American Art
Orange County Museum of Art
Pacific Asia Museum
The Paley Center for Media
Pasadena Museum of California Art
Santa Monica Museum of Art
Skirball Cultural Center

SoCal Museums unites the diverse museums of Southern California in joint marketing and communication efforts to increase visitation and membership in museums in the Los Angeles metropolitan area. SoCal Museums leverages the museums’ collective strengths, working together to reach current and potential museum goers.

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H.D.Buttercup

Posted by The Frugal Diva on January 7th, 2014

Maybe some people are less phobic about buying furniture then the Frugal Diva, maybe they know what they want right away.  While usually quick and decisive, furniture makes me quake in my discounted shoes. And why is that?  Well, this is a big purchase where you usually can’t return the item without a truck and at least one sturdy helper, that is if you can return it at all. Furnishings are more permanent then a Hollywood marriage, more indicative of your taste then the movies ordered from Netflix, and almost as costly as your car. This your statement to every guest – look at all my eco friendly sustainable wood, I love anything from the fifties,or antiques malls are my favorite vacation.

If I haven’t scared you to the point where wooded crates and a futon seem like a decorating plan, let me tell you about a fun place to learn what style suits you. H.D.Buttercup in Culver City houses over 20 manufacturers of varying genres and prices. You can stroll the vast space and learn a lot just by asking the very friendly and non pushy salespeople.  Now where is the bargain?  There are two ways to save here.hd-buttercup-chairs

The first is one of their twice yearly sales that is after Christmas and goes to January 17th and another starts on June 20th.  The whole store goes on sale (or almost all of it), including vintage and one-of-a-kind pieces.

The summer sale will feature 20%-70% off sofas, tables, lighting, chairs, artwork, rugs, linens, and more at the LA store. Stay tuned for the exact dates.

H.D. Buttercup is surrounded by other great shops and restaurants however Let’s Be Frank , the gourmet hot dog stand, is your best bet when saving up for furniture.

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