Lose Those Bags!

In my mind, the key to surviving on a budget is knowing when something is worth spending the money on. If it’s “investment worthy”, then adjusting your budget to fit it in is a good idea.

Beauty products may seem frivolous at times, but when it comes to your skin, it’s definitely investment worthy. You can’t replace your skin and it’s better to take care of it when you’re young so that it doesn’t come back to bite you decades later.

My biggest skin problem has always been the bags under my eyes. Perhaps it’s because of my pale skin color, but my under-eyes can get downright purple, i.e. not cute. None of the countless skin creams and concealers have ever done a thing, until I found the magic of Michael Todd True Organics.

The eye cream from the Michael Todd line can seem a tad bit pricy ($40 + shipping for one tube), but it works wonders. Plus, you only need to use a little at a time, so the tube can last a lot longer than you might think. I also have extremely sensitive skin which means having an organic formula is the safest option for my skin.

Of course, I’m horrible at remembering to do anything on a daily basis so my bags are still hanging in there to some degree, but I can definitely see the improvement!
eye cream

What are your favorite skin products? Anything you consider absolutely investment worthy?

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Charmed, I’m Sure

Just because you’re on a budget doesn’t mean your wardrobe has to suffer entirely. One of the best ways to spice things up at less of a cost is by taking advantage of fun accessories. As someone who has a strange tendency to lose and/or break anything of value, inexpensive jewelry, purses and scarves are a key part to my daily outfits!

My favorite place to shop for accessories is an often underlooked (at least in the Boston area) chain called Charming Charlie. They have an amazing in-store setup, where everything is arranged by color. If you have a specific outfit you are trying to work with, there is no going wrong at this store!

And even better — they just recently opened an online shop. You can now browse and purchase their excellent selection from the comfort of your couch (what’s better than that?!). They even offer great sales and coupons to make their already great prices even more attractive.

Check out some of my favorite finds, all available online!
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For those prices, your wardrobe can look great at any budget!

Have you tried Charming Charlie? Or do you have a favorite shop for accessories? Do share – a girl can never have too many affordable accessories!

Getting Personal…

…with gift-giving, that is!

With the holiday season fast approaching, I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about gift-giving lately. I will admit, I tend to just give gift cards, scratch tickets or some other generic gift that takes no thought to put together.

But more and more, I’ve found that when I receive such standard gifts, I’m a little disappointed. I’d rather get a present that I might not necessarily love but that I know the giver put a lot of thought into choosing. It shows that the person truly cares and has made a sincere effort to find something I would enjoy.

As such, I’ve been trying to give these kinds of gifts to my friends and family for their recent birthdays, and now I’m planning to for Christmas as well.

I start by planning ahead. I look at my calendar and see who has a birthday coming in the next few months. That way, when I’m out shopping anyways, I can keep my eye out for something that stands out as the perfect gift.

My new favorite thing for personalized gifts, however, is online shopping! My go-to sites?
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1. Etsy is an online marketplace where individual artists can sell their own products. As a big supporter of small businesses, I love this site. There’s everything from clothing to jewelry and accessories to personalized stationery. They even have an app for easy browsing on your phone!

2. Pinterest also takes some searching, but has great ideas for DIY gifts and unique places to shop. If you’re looking for craft ideas, Pinterest is a great place to check. See my Pinterest for some ideas if you need a starting point.

3. Amazon certainly has something for everyone. It can be a little overwhelming because there are so many options, but if you have an idea of what you’re looking for, then you’ll be able to find it for sure! What I like to do is add things to my cart ahead of time and keep an eye on it to see if the price drops, so I can get the best deal.

Have any other great gifting sites? Be sure to share — ’tis the season!

Moscato Spritzer – Yum!

Moscato is one of my favorite wines but I run into two problems with it: I am a total lightweight and sometimes it’s a little too sweet.

But by a stroke of luck, I stumbled across a great Moscato spritzer recipe on Pinterest one day and it’s now one of my Saturday night favorites. It’s simple but delicious, what more could a girl want?

The recipe
20131110-181408.jpg-2 bottles (or 1 of the large ones) of Moscato. I’ve only tried it with Barefoot but other options would likely work just as well.
-3 cups Sprite. Or as I like to do, as much as you need to get the sweetness just right.
-1 can of pink lemonade concentrate. You can find this in the frozen foods aisle at the grocery store.
-Optional: Crushed raspberries to add a little more flavor and texture to your drink.

The Result

20131110-181700.jpgThis one doesn’t have the raspberries, but was still delicious!

Enjoy!

Keeping Coupons Organized

One of the drawbacks of my limited budget is that it’s hard to satisfy my love for shopping when I barely have enough to cover expenses. Luckily, I also have a deep love for a good deal and I can satisfy both with the simple solution of coupons!

I’ve always had an old email that I was mostly junk, so I would sign up with that address to receive coupons. However, it’s an AOL address so it’s difficult to search and so old that I now have 20,000+ emails which made finding coupons within it an annoying task.

Instead, I decided to start fresh. I created a new Gmail account and I have been loving it! I’ve signed up for all of my favorite stores and can’t wait to get to using all of my great coupons.

The benefit of using Gmail is that it’s incredibly easy to keep things organized, by using the “filter” feature. Never used it before? Here’s how it works!

1. Start by logging into Gmail on your computer. Go to Settings, then along the top select the Filters tab.

2. At the bottom of the tab, choose Create a new filter.

3. I use the “Has the words” option, and enter the last part of the email address (everything after the @) to ensure that all emails from a particular store are captured. Then click “Create filter with this search” at the bottom of the drop down box.

4. Select “Apply the label” and categorize it how you choose. I put each store into its own category. Be sure to also check off “Also apply filter to x matching conversations” so that all emails are labeled, rather than just new ones.

5. Click “Create” and your filter is complete!

This is what you’ll end up with! Under All Mail, you’ll see a different folder for each category.
20131107-132016.jpgAnd when you open a particular one, all emails pertaining to that store will be there!
20131107-132132.jpgThis takes a bit of time to set up at first, but it’s well worth it in the long run. All of your emails will still be in your inbox for browsing, but when you’re heading to a particular store, it takes just a few clicks to check out what deals there are.

Have any couponing tips of your own? I’d love to hear them!