Here’s the deal. I am very aware and open about the fact that I’m broke.
While I’m currently working part-time, I had to live paycheck to paycheck even when I worked full-time.
I’ve always had to be a penny-pincher (splurges here and there required every once in a while) and it’s taught me a lot about frivolous purchases and buyers’ remorse. It still happens, but I’ve learned a lot in the process.
Today, I wanted to get out of the house. Sure, window shopping is always an option, but sometimes you need a little pick-me-up. I was able to pick up some things just-for-fun and have a little breakfast all for under $10!
Here’s how I did it, as well as some additional tips I find useful for saving money but still enjoying some treats.
I’ll be the first to admit I usually toss the receipts once I’ve marked them down (or I paid cash), but I had stashed away a Dunkin’ coupon from the other day and finally decided to go ahead and do the survey. It took about 2 minutes to do and I was able to have a donut and coffee for less than 2 dollars! Sure, donuts aren’t the healthiest breakfast food.
Still, it’s enjoyable on the go every once and a while.
Don’t Be Afraid of the Clearance Section!
When I head into any store, the first place I tend to go is the clearance/sale section. This mostly goes for clothing stores, but every store tends to have a place where prices are so good on hidden gems! I’ll admit that the photo above, from craft store Michaels, is a little frightening. But once I started digging through it, I found some really great items…and they ended up being even cheaper than the clearance price on the sticker!
I bought three sets of clear stamps, something I’ve seen around for a while but never found at a good price.
On the back, it said that you should stick them to a clear block in order to actually the stamp. I figured I would be okay just sticking it to some other object, though a clear block helps you see where it’s going…thus the point of a clear stamp. A little more digging and I found an acrylic block made just for the stamps, and it cost .50! I also grabbed a roll of washi tape because I’m obsessed with it and it is the easiest way to decorate pictures and scrapbooks.
As you can see, the total was $3.46 altogether! SCORE.
As you know, I am obsessed with nail polish. I have been avoiding Ulta recently because I haven’t had the money for my usual polish splurges. Luckily enough, I haven’t really enjoyed any of the most recent holiday collections and that helped me stay away! Out of curiosity, I walked in and started scoping random things out. I found this polish, Butterscotch, which I’ve wanted since I saw The Dainty Squid use it multiple times. I also purchased a Nail Art kit from Sally Hansen because I have never had studs, and I’ve wanted them for a while. Though both items weren’t necessarily expensive, I still had to be careful. I remembered the last email I received from Ulta saying that I had 9$ worth of redeemable points to use in store or online. I wasn’t sure if it would work, but I asked. They said they aren’t switching over to that program until February, but they were able to use 100 of my points, meaning I only spent .61 cents on what will basically be a full manicure!
Of course, I wouldn’t have gotten such a great deal if I hadn’t asked, but don’t let those points on cards go to waste!
I know a lot of people sign up for membership cards (they are so often free) but then never actually remember to use them when making purchases. They really are beneficial, though. You’ll have access to coupons that non-members don’t. You’ll get points for making purchases you would’ve done anyway. You’ll get secret savings for treats!
Other cards I recommend: Panera Bread (free bakery items, free beverages, and discounts on the Pick 2 meal, which is my favorite), Sheetz and/or Turkey Hill (at least .03 cents off per gallon, but more if you make purchases inside the store, like coffee and food), and my Rite Aid Wellness card (I get all my prescriptions filled there, so I get 10% off every purchase, money for certain purchases that can go towards my next bill, and points that add up to Rewards like free magazine subscriptions or Restaurant.com coupons!)
Free is GOOD!
I cannot stress enough the wonders of the library. To be honest, I neglected it for the longest time. Once I started reading more, I made it a point to go their often. I absolutely love making my own library filled with my favorite books and favorite authors. But usually, I can’t afford it. Enter the LIBRARY! The library is awesome because you pay $0 for the newest and oldest books you want to read. If you need to be put on a wait list, they will contact you as soon as it’s available. I’ve done this several times with buzz books. The only time you have to pay is if you are late returning the book (depending on the newness of the book, you’ll either have 2 or 3 weeks to finish it, and you can renew it for free at the library or even online!) or if you lose your library card.
Of course, the library isn’t just for books. They also have a great selection of movies. Nowadays, we all use Netflix, but how often do you look through the lists knowing you’ve already seen something or don’t want to see it? Redbox is great too, but it sometimes takes a while for new movies to be made available and it can cost a lot if you keep it more than one night. At the library, you can rent movies (old and fairly new) for .50 cents for the entire week! Again, if you need more time you can renew it for free without worrying about fees! That way you can stock up on more than one movie without racking up a bill or feeling guilty if you never get around to watching it that night.
Finally, I am aware that some people would rather just own the book. We have Kindles or Nooks or reading apps on our iPads and need instant gratification. If you have a Kindle like me, you can sign up to receive a daily newsletter about the deals of the day for Kindle books. There are usually 5 books, and they are very often bestsellers or popular books. Sometimes they sell each book in an entire series for a discounted price (though I haven’t read them yet, I bought 4 of the Beautiful Creatures novels for less than $10 through this deal). They also have monthly deals that cost less than 3.99. And when prices drop, you can sign up for BookBub, a daily newsletter that lets you know the latest cheap or free books for your chosen device and your favorite genres.
I hope these little tips from my personal experience help you to treat yourself on the cheap!
At the end of the day, it’s all about utilizing and staying connected to the right resources.
What do you do to save money while still entertaining yourself?