Monday, April 28, 2008

Good News on the Dissertation Front

I finally met with my dissertation committee chairperson the other day, and the news was good! She seems to think I will be able to defend my dissertation in early June. She gave me changes to work on, but they are all "do-able". I will still have to get changes from my committee member, though. For me to graduate in October, my diss has to be defended, bound, signed, and to the registrar by July 31st. It looks like I will make it with plenty of time to spare.

So I may actually graduate after all. ;)

Monday, April 21, 2008

The Little Sears Giftcard That Could

A month or so ago, I got a free $5 giftcard from Sears in the mail. I can't remember why- I either signed up for email or I did a survey. Anyway, while at the mall last week I decided to go see what I could spend it on. I found the cute sale priced cuff bracelet and earrings above and thought I had taken care of the giftcard. Well, the jewelry was half off AND buy one get one free. So I went back again and got the necklace and clear beaded bracelet and...........

I still have $2 left on the giftcard. I guess that's what they call better than free. ;)

Monday, April 14, 2008

More for Your Rebate

Manufacturer's rebates are a great thing, right? Free products with just a little work (Yes, just a little work. Seriously.). Watch your coupons and sales and you can get even more. Here's how:

1) Combine a buy-this-get-that-free sale with a rebate. Walgreens recently had certain razors on sale and you could get a free shave gel for buying the razor. I had manufacturer's rebates for the razors. So I got two free razors and two free shave gels for the cost of tax.

2) Combine buy-one-get-one-free coupons with a rebate. A couple of months ago I had a buy-one-get-one-free coupon for Glade candles. I also had a Glade candle manufacturer's rebate, so I got two for the cost of tax.

Next time you find a good rebate, wait a little while until you buy the item. Keep an eye on the sale ads and you might get an even better deal. My free stuff stockings idea was a hit at Christmas, so I'm keeping my eyes open and trying to find all the freebies that I can.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Retail vs. Resale: Give Regular Stores a Chance!

Cute li'l top I bought for $3 at Marshall's.

At the risk of being thrown out of the frugal blogging community, I've decided to share thoughts on clothes purchasing. I love thrift shops and yard sales. LOVE. But not for clothes. Now, that doesn't mean that I don't give it a try. I have zero problems with secondhand clothing if I could find some that I like. And that, my frugal friends, is the problem. I am a picky wearer of clothing. Gasp! And much of what is available to me secondhand is not to my taste.

I want to make the argument that you CAN find clothes frugally in retail stores. For example, in the last six months I have purchased lined wool pants for $5, sundresses for $3, casual tops for $3 and under, and so on. These were all on sale racks in regular stores. You just have to know where and how to shop.

Stores with some of the best sales for cheap cheap cheap:

1) J.C. Penney- wait until they have green clearance stickers

2) Express- wait until their clearance is an additional % off

3) Marshalls and T.J. Maxx- depending on location; some get hit worse than others

4) Rue 21- you'll have to look past the navel-baring tops and pregnancy-smock looking tops to the normal-looking items on the clearance racks

5) Old Navy- wait until there is an extra % off of clearance

6) Outlet malls (seriously!)- go straight to the clearance racks, and make sure you check online for printable coupons before you go.

7) Target- look at their 75% off racks

8) For the occasional pricier buy, I like J. Crew sales (wait for an additional 20% off clearance AND a free shipping code) and Neiman Marcus Last Call Clearance (wait for a free shipping code). I assure you, these are occasional. ;)

I also sign up for mailing lists to favorite stores and have two store credit cards that offer free shipping, gift cards, and gifts on my birthday. Several times a year I get $10 off any purchase coupons for J.C. Penney. I'm also going to get a similar coupon from Van Heusen for taking a survey.

This doesn't mean that I will stop searching through thrift store racks any time soon. Sometimes they yield great stuff, like a recent Liz Claiborne no-iron cotton button down for seventy-five cents. If you can't seem to find those deals as often as you'd like, start stepping into retail stores. You might be surprised at what you find.

Friday, April 04, 2008

Express Sale

Right now Express is offering an additional 20% off their clearance. This is the time to shop there!!! I bought three button down shirts that were plain colors (I have too many patterns) for $7.99 each. They are a cotton/poly/spandex blend and have a beautiful cut (long, good button placement aka no gaps, wide cuffs, darting to make it fitted, etc.). Express' woven shirts hold up well, but beware of their knits which tend to pill after washing.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Second Nature

For the last few months, I've felt like I've been experiencing burn out when it comes to thinking of new frugal topics to write about. Then I wondered- have I stopped living frugally? I couldn't remember doing frugal things each day.

I still shop at Aldi for groceries, get free stuff at Walgreens (like above), use rebates and coupons regularly, send off for freebies, use free gift cards, use cloth napkins instead of paper towels, use cloth grocery bags instead of buying bags at Aldi, stock up when there's a sale on frequently used items, use a prepaid cell phone, take old ink cartridges to Staples for $3 coupons, take advantage of Walgreens' free ink cartridge refill days and occasional free photos, get free CDs from Swap a CD and free books from Paperback Swap, etc.

I realized then that the reason I can't remember doing frugal things daily is because this frugal way of life has become second nature. I don't have to think about it as much because I have done it for so long that these habits have become permanent.

That makes me happy. :)

Tuesday, April 01, 2008


I've finally finished a complete draft on my dissertation. Now I'm just waiting back to hear from the chairperson of my committee so that I can meet with her and begin revisions.

Yay! I should be back up and blogging more regularly soon.