Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Secondhand Shopping

Photo credit: Jules, Flower Power linens

My husband and I both love used books. Often after visiting the library, we browse the secondhand book store before heading home. And neither of us mind using these 1970's flower powerbed linens. They were originally my parents, but since they've upgraded their bed size, I snagged them (I love the colours and the pattern).

As for clothing, shoes, and bags, though, our enjoyment of secondhand deals differs completely. I'm the one who loves thrift stores - when I'm in one, I'm a child in a candy store . My finds range from ecclectic vintage threats to professional, classy, up-to-date name brands. And all of these are always at a fraction of the price. However, since secondhand boutiques are gaining popularity, this doesn't always equate with a "cheap" find. I've seen jeans selling for more than $60 and some of the vintage labels are a bit spendy, too.

As for my husband, while he likes to find a good deal at TJ Maxx, he is freaked out by getting clothes at thrift stores or drinking glasses at antique stores. We just don't get each other on this one.
The way I look at it is, don't people try things on at Carolina Herrera and Macys? And don't you wash the stuff when you bring it home? Some goes for the glasses. So for me, I don't fret about where the item has been. Plus, I feel very content buying used because it is a green choice as it not contributing to the creation of new products.

How about you? Are you keen on thrift stores or do you steer clear? Also, if you have any recommended secondhand stores in your city, please do tell.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Money Hint #2: Use gift cards to purchase gifts

When you receive a gift card as a present and don't have an immediate or near future use for it, consider using the value on that card to purchase a lovely gift for someone else.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Money Hint #1: Free Gift Wrapping

Whenever you purchase a gift for someone, ask the store if they provide free gift wrapping. It can save you time and money on supplies, while providing you with an expertly wrapped present.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Cut Your Losses or Throw in the Toalla de Playa

A recent money drawn has resulted in my family throwing in the toalla de playa, or beach towel, so to speak.

About 6 years ago my husband was so adoringly smittening after his stay at a lush Mexican resort that he ended up buying a time share into that Mayan Riviera property. Up to this point he hasn't regretted it. However, 2009 was the first year in which no one in our family was able to go and enjoy the spendy purchase from years past. Plus, it was a year that the rennovation fee went into place. So for a year in which we did not step foot on the resort (or in Mexico for that matter... que lastima!) we were looking at a fee of $500 (for the annual membership dues) plus $700 for the rennovation fee (which is charged every several years), for a grand total of $1200.

Granted, we would have loved to returned to those gorgeous blue waters, enjoy fish tacos (and pizza de camarones - one of my favourites!) and spend leisurely days exploring the natural and urban areas near us, however we just couldn't stomach paying over one-grand for not having a proper holiday get-a-way in 2009. Plus, with money tight for everyone, we would have had to make major sacrifices in other areas of our lives over the course of several months even to come up with the extra money to pay those fees (note: we could use some from our regular savings or emergency fund, however for this type of expense we avoid doing so by tweeking our bills for several months to free up incoming month and putting it towards the current travel/vacation-related expenses).

The negative part of this is that we have forfeited our timeshare with that lovely resort. However, we believe that when the time is right for us to return to Mexico, we can find our own deals and create a new tradition south of the border.

When have you thrown in the towel for a money drain or cut your losses temporarily in the present to prevent further losses in the further?

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Money & Marriage Article Link

Interesting article from MSN Money: Why savers and spenders marry by MP Dunleavey. What do you think? Are you paired up with your opposite, financially speaking? If so, are you the saver or spender?

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Green Habits Keep Green in the Bank

I was thinking about it the other day... what are my most eco-friendly habits and how do those effect my personal finances. Here's the list I came up with of those green-tinted habits:

*paper: completely use both sides of paper, make grocery lists on envelopes that are mailed to me, use those same envelopes for storing coupons, receipts, etc.

*beauty: don't use hair dye, rarely use make-up (only a few times a year, if that!)

*water: take short showers, use the clothes and dishwashers only when full, don't leave the water running when not in use

*driving: minimal driving, group trips together, drive a fuel-efficient Japanese car, being a conscious driver (no quick stops or speeding)

*clothes: buy second hand clothes, happily accept hand-me-downs, mend and rotate clothes currently have, wash clothes only when necessary to increase their life

*books & videos: borrow from the library

*computer: hibernate or shut down when not in use

*rubbish: compost foodstuff for garden soil, recycle what I can, reduce purchases that have lots of packaging

Those are some of the areas that I feel I at least a little green in and that may be helping me to hold onto more of my greenbacks. How about you? What green habits of yours are allowing you to keep more green in your bank?

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Money Mistake: Lost Costco Gift Card

My top financial mistake this week was misplacing (losing?) my new Costco gift card. About a week ago I received a $50 card in the mail (as a gift for signing up for a Cable/Phone/Internet bundle). Excited to use it, but having enough insight to delay my Costco run until firming up my list (me + no list at Costco = bringing lots of cool stuff home while leaving lots of my money at the store), I "safely" set it on my mail counter.

Yet, today, wah-lah, the gift card is MIA. It's missing! Lost! Stolen (that one's probably dramatic, but still)! No matter the reason for its disappearance, I am highly saddened, frustrated, and disappointed by this recent financial mistake. Gift cards rock, but I always seem to hold onto them too long... so they end up getting lost or they expire before I use them. This is the anti-thesis to peaceful finances when you are counting on that card to cover some needed costs.

How about you? Have you ever lost a gift card or let it expired unintentionally?