Going Cheap

So how is the recession affecting your purchases? If you’re like me and you’re already a bargain shopper, it’s tough to see the difference in what you buy now versus pre-economic meltdown. But there are areas where I’ve made some changes to save a few more bucks. Have you?

Found an old friend – My Benefit cream is amazing, but it’s not cheap. It was lucky for me a friend’s daughter started selling Avon. For half the price, I now use Anew, which in my estimation is a phenomenal face cream and one I used years ago. Thanks to constant sales, I was able to pick up a jar for 15 bucks. Benefit costs $32. Cha-ching!

Took advantage of retail drought – Retailers are struggling. As a result, prices are insanely low and there are any number of discounts on top of that to entice you. Example – my $44 Levi’s 542s were $19.99. My man’s Dockers winter jacket – $30, down from $120. Even my favorite new boutique (Best Friends in Phoenixville, PA) has a sale rack where you can score a Graham and Spencer dress for as low as 10 bucks (top price on the sale rack – 30 bucks). A great way to stock up on investment pieces!

Bought more investment pieces – Maybe it’s the need to feel like I’m treating myself, but I’ve been buying fewer low-priced items and buying more higher-end pieces. I bought a lovely Velvet dress for $116, but I know I’ll get tons of wear from it. Also, today I’m going back to that boutique and getting a gorgeous little gray dress that caught my eye a week ago. Same cost, but again, it’s a style that is somewhat trendy, definitely classy, and will last any number of seasons.

Avoided eBay – You heard me. I’ve stopped shopping eBay because the prices locally are so much better. Plus no shipping charges. Until things bounce back, I can find better bargains here.

Replaced expensive facial scrubs with… table sugar – I swear it works like a charm. It dissolves, so it’s not as harmful to your skin as say crushed walnut shells would be. It costs a fraction of what a packaged scrub would cost, plus it comes in bulk. ūüėČ And sugar has slews of uses. I make a terrific and nearly-pain-free leg wax with it.

What have you cut back on? Are you still splurging once in a while? If so, on what?

March 10, 2009. bargains, clothes, eBay. 1 comment.

Beauty’s Tried and True Finds

As much as I’d love to be able to afford a jar of Creme de la Mer, I’m on¬†a¬†Benefit¬†budget. Sometimes even that taxes me – we have to be able to buy more shoes, you know. It’s through trial-and-error and years of beauty mistakes that I’ve come up with my ultimate favorites. Here are my go-to staples, my can’t-live-without-’em items that get me through my day.

Hair:

VO5 Conditioning Treatment – Oh my gawd, is there anything better than this little tube of wonders for dry hair? I’ll answer that for you – no! At a mere $5 a tube (and that’s a high estimate), I get shine, conditioning, and control. Since my hair is thick, dry, and easily frizzed, I can’t live without this stuff.

John Frieda’s Frizz Ease¬†– If you blow dry your hair, you need this stuff. Just a few small drops and¬†your hair takes on an out-of-this-world gloss. Worth every penny of the $9.99 it costs.

John Frieda’s Brilliant Brunette Shampoo/Conditioner¬†– Look, I’ve tried them all; the Nexus line, the Goldwells, the Matrix, the Systeme Biolage and everything in between. For my money, I’m sticking with this stuff. My hair’s never looked better.

Makeup:

Maybelline Define-a-Lash mascara¬†– I mean, WOW. I’m on my third tube of this stuff and still no clumps! Nothing either high-end or low-end touches the look you get with this one. It makes my scrawny lashes look divine!

Bare Escentuals Bare Minerals¬†– This is no bargain-basement makeup line. But the compliments I get and the way my skin looks is worth every cent. Even the overall condition of my skin is better after using this stuff. I paid something like $250 for full-size jars and brushes, but here it is three years later and I’ve only had to replace one jar. I’m a huge fan.

Max Factor Color Adapt¬†– Some days you don’t want to use mineral powder. On my lazy days, I dab on this incredible little foundation. A little under-eye pencil and mascara and I’m out the door.

Benefit¬†Eye Bright pencil¬†– Simply put, it’s a facelift in a stick. Nothing covers those circles better or brightens up your face faster than this!

Clinique Long Last Lipstick in Satin Blush (F4 for those of you who need to know that) – This color looks great on anyone, seriously. I’ve always loved Clinique lipsticks, and after trying several higher-priced brands, I came back willingly. Great colors and wonderful conditioning!

Neutrogena Age Shield Face Sunblock¬†– This is the reason some people can’t tell how old I am, I swear. I wear this every day on top of my moisturizer or as my moisturizer, depending on the day. Fantastic protection.

Skin care:

Benefit Dear John Movin’ On face cream¬†– I’m on my third jar of it. I love it. The smell is fresh and it feels amazing on the skin.

Gold Bond Ultimate Healing lotion: Your skin will just feel so much better after using this. Try it!

What are your personal favorites?

October 15, 2008. bargains, must-have products. Leave a comment.

Thank God for H&M

The man looked at my shirt the other day and said, “Wow.¬†You look¬†really nice. That shirt makes you look thinner and leaner.”

I went out the next day and bought two more. Hey, we don’t ignore when the man notices, do we? The shirt in question is a gorgeous raspberry-colored bib-gathered top from H&M with a subtle tone-on-tone stripe, 3/4 sleeve and enough lycra to hug the curves just so. All of $24.50. I’d show you a photo, but for some reason the US-based H&M site has yet to come up with an online store – why is that? If I want to fake my way through their Norwegian site, I might find something remotely similar. Here’s a somewhat similar shirt from the Norwegian site, though mine is not that long and much, much more fitted. No flowers on mine, either:

Does anyone know why H&M continues to disappoint us online shoppers?

October 3, 2008. bargains, clothes. 1 comment.

Shoes! More Shoes!

It’s tough for me to contain my excitement about the change of seasons. While I mourn summer like nobody’s business (it’s my favorite season), my body’s already craving fall’s cooler days (and all those jackets and shoes I’ve been buying all summer in preparation for fall). I sat myself down over the weekend and yes, I bought two more pairs of shoes on eBay. These are just so cute:

¬†¬†¬† Okay, to be fair, I haven’t actually won the second pair yet, but here they are:¬†Just please, don’t bid against me. It’s not like a really need yet another pair of shoes, but I’ve got my heart set on these for some weird reason.

 

 

What have you bought?

September 3, 2008. bargains, eBay, shoes. Leave a comment.

Blending Summer into Fall

As you know, I’ve been thinking about fall lately. So the other day when I had a few minutes, I dug through my closet and dressers trying to assess what I needed to get me through fall. Result – not much. It seems I’ve been shopping quite a bit! I have a lot of tops and an adequate amount of bottoms, not to mention scads of shoes. So it was fun to go through what I have and find new ways to wear the summer stuff.

 

 
This outfit came from a few newer pieces combined with spring and summer staples.

  • The Charlotte Russe blouse – $18.99.
  • Nine West¬†clutch – $40 on the Nine West site
  • White jacket – $19.99 at TJMaxx
  • Nine West shoes – $19.99 on the Nine West site
  • Old Navy skinny jeans – $19.99 last fall.
  • Silver hoop earrings – $8 at New York and Company

I added my watch because hey, sometimes a girl just needs something expensive (though it was on sale, too). The jade bracelet was something we picked up in Chinatown when we were in San Francisco about 10 years ago.

Excluding the watch and bracelet, this set me back $126.96. Considering how much use I’ve gotten out of most pieces – the jeans especially, but I’ve carried the clutch most of the summer – that’s that much less money going to an entirely new outfit.

What are some of your favorite ways to mix existing clothes into the new season?

August 20, 2008. bargains, clothes. 2 comments.

Handbags and Shoes: Can You Really Have Too Many?

For the most part I’ve slowed down in my shoe shopping, picking up only one pair of shoes this month – these Steve Madden Tipie flats. I’ve been craving a pair of zebra-print flats that are, well, understated (if that’s possible with an animal print). The little bit of patent on the toe breaks it up enough for me to love them. The price – just $19.99 on eBay – was the selling point.

However, I have renewed my search for handbags. I’m not interested in black or brown (unless they’re completely unique), so I was thrilled to find a sale at New York and Company¬†where I picked up a red bowling bag: ¬†and also this blue satchel:¬†

Both of them with shipping cost just under $60. Guess that leaves more cash for shoes!

I’ve been on the fence about the bowling bag style, but after seeing some fine examples in the stores, I couldn’t help myself. I’m a believer in keeping your bag size proportionate to your height and weight, so it was a little bit of a stretch for me to buy larger bags (I’m under 5 1/2 feet), but with heels, I’m good to go.

What are your most recent purchases?

August 11, 2008. bargains, handbags, shoes. 2 comments.

Cool Site of the Week

Kids, if you’re like me, you’re always on the lookout for a great look at a great price. A site after my own heart is the Frugal-Fashionista, which shows us the cheap way to look like the celebrity photo accompanying each post. An excellent way to ramp up your forward-thinking style!

August 11, 2008. bargains, cool websites. Leave a comment.

Makeup on the Cheap

How did I not know about the e.l.f. website before this? It’s touted in most major magazines, which is why I assumed the cosmetics would be pricey. How wrong! The eyes lips face (hence the e.l.f.) site is loaded with $1 cosmetic bargains. Seriously, when was the last time you paid $1 for anything, let alone cosmetics? The most expensive thing I found on the website was in the bath and body section – a bath/body kit in Peony Petal for a mere $15.

August 6, 2008. bargains, cool websites. Leave a comment.

Patience, Patience…

For months I’ve been coveting a particular kimono dress by BCBG. This one, to be exact:

 

The problem was the price and the availability. When I could find it on eBay, someone always outbid me. Or worse, I just couldn’t justify the price – which averaged $65 with shipping. That’s a bit of cash for a dress that may or may not look good on. And what size? Medium? Large? Which is the better fit? Will it fit? How will it look on me?

I saw it today¬†in Marshall’s.¬†(Marshall’s is¬†a version of TJMaxx. If you don’t have a TJMaxx near you,¬†move. These are some of the best places to save some serious cash on designer clothes.) As I was heading to the dressing room for the last time, I passed the sale rack.¬†There it was. At first I thought, “No, can’t be.” But I’ve been pining over that thing for so long, there was no mistaking it. I grabbed it and crossed my fingers.

I slipped it over my head and prayed. My gawd. It fit and it looked amazing.¬†At that point I didn’t care what the price was, for I’d found it and it looked so much better than I’d ever expected. Ladies, it’s stunning. The attached tie belt accentuates the waist perfectly. The satin finish is divine to the touch, and damn, the length of it makes the legs look miles long.

So what did I pay? Are you sitting down? It was on the sale rack for… $15. Yes, I spent as much for the dress as I would have on shipping the dress had I caved and bought it on eBay. Sometimes patience pays off.

Have you ever waited for that coveted item? Did you get it? Was it what you expected?

July 22, 2008. bargains, clothes. 2 comments.

Swing Jacket with A Kick

Even though it’s summer, I’m thinking ahead to cooler weather. It’s what I do when I’m stewing in my own juices – it hit 100 degrees here today. I found this really cool swing coat at Forever 21, and I have visions of at least four of my tops going with this. Can you imagine it with a black chiffon top and skinny jeans with maybe those Naught Monkey heels? It was a mere $24.80. I’m not one for the stores that the teens go to, but if you look carefully, you can find a real gem.

June 11, 2008. bargains, clothes. Leave a comment.

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