Thrift Store Shopping Tips: 13 Helpful Hints

thrift-store-shopping-tips

13 Thrift Store Shopping Tips

Somehow or another I kept missing my Saturday morning yard sale runs this summer – but I made up for it with thrift store trips!  I love shopping the thrift store and one of the BEST times to save big bucks at the Goodwill is coming right up (Halloween costumes!)

Looking for some thrift store shopping tips?  Here are our 13 favorite:

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Top 10 Things You Need for College Dorm Life

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top-10-things-you-need-for-college-dorm-life

Going off to college is really exciting, and a little overwhelming – to help prepare you for the transition, here are the Top 10 Things you Need for College Dorm Life.

Of course, there are oodles more you could bring along that would help you get comfortable, or be nice to have around (like bean bag chairs and dusting spray) – but in my experience, really long lists make for really great panic attacks.  Plus – we think college is expensive enough without getting too crazy on dorm decor.

Start with this list for the basics, and build as you settle in.  And remember – you may hit the jackpot with a crazy-prepared room mate who’ll come bearing all sorts of room furnishings, so hold off on any big purchases until you meet :)

urbanoutfitters

Courtesy of UrbanOutfitters

1. Cute (& Comfortable) Bedding
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Dorm rooms are small, and the bed is one of the few pieces of furniture in there.  It’ll serve double duty as a place to crash AND a couch, so make sure to maximize it as a design statement, a hiding places for your mess, and a retreat from the world.  You’ll want to bring:

  • Mattress topper - Either Eggcrate or a memory foam topper for those used and abused mattresses
  • Comforter & Sheet Sets - Remember to get the Twin XL size 
  • Bed Pillows – Besides the regular pillow, snag a Bedrest Pillow or throw pillows to prop you up
  • Bed Risers – if you plan to store things under your bed these bed risers give you extra room
  • Dust Ruffle – to hide all the stuff that’s stashed underneath

2. Rug
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Some dorms have carpet, but if they do, do you really want to walk on it in bare feet?  Ew, no.

An area rug gives you a cleaner, more comfortable place to lounge and watch tv or hang out.  You may want to wait and see if your roommate has brought a rug before you spend much money on one.  Of course, where there’s a rug there’s a vacuum – so borrow your mom’s dust buster or urge the parents to upgrade so you can have the full-size vacuum from home.

3. Desk Lamp
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Sure there’s overhead lighting – but it’s pretty harsh.  You’re going to spend a lot of time hitting the books and a desk lamp that’s more soothing on the eyes is a must. Plus, that way you and your roommate can study at different times without keeping each other awake.

Choose a table lamp style for a more cozy vibe.

 

minifridge

4. Mini Fridge
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A mini fridge is a great way to save money on food while you’re in college.  Not having to go out for every meal means big savings over time – but Ramen can’t sustain you forever.  Keep inexpensive meal supplies in your fridge like milk (for cereal), fruit, lunchmeat and cheese, eggs, leftovers, etc…

Wait til you move in, to see if your roomate bought one to share – and also check to see if you’re allowed to have one.

5. Power Strip
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You MUST have a surge protector or power strip for your dorm room. This is one of those things you don’t think about until move-in day and then you have to send your dad out to Walgreens to spend $30 on one.  You’re definitely going to need a power strip to make room for all those chargers, computer cords, desk lamps, refrigerator, etc….

6. Dishes
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Most dorms have a community kitchen where students can experimentally cook pasta to their hearts’ content…. so don’t forget the dishes!  My husband tells me how he started college without any dishes and found himself one night contemplating reheating his Chinese leftovers on the rotating microwave dish.  (ugh!)   So make sure to grab an inexpensive, but microwaveable set of dishes that includes:

  • Plate, Bowl, Cup and Coffee Mug for in-room dining (Cereal, sandwiches, etc..)
  • Pot & Small Skillet for those home cooked meals down in the community kitchen (Think Spaghetti, eggs, grilled cheese, etc…)
  • Manual Can Opener
  • Spatula, Serving Spoon, & utensils
  • Dishwashing supplies (Scrubber, towel, soap)

mrcoffeee-12cup

7. Coffee Maker
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A coffee maker is a must for college students.  In my opinion, it’s better to skip the Keurig and go for the traditional pot variety so that it can do double duty as a hot water maker (for Ramen Noodles), hot tea, hot cocoa, etc… (This is another one you’ll need to check to see if it’s allowed)  Plus – a normal coffee pot will only run you $10 – $20.

8. Shower Set
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If you’re lucky enough to score a suite, you’ll also need a shower curtain and bathmat, as well as a couple sink top accessories.

9. Wall Decor
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Decorate the depressing walls with some pieces of flair, just remember, you need to be able to take it off easily when you move out.  Here are some ideas beyond just posters:

  • A Peel & Stick Dry Erase Board is the easiest choice – it can go right over your headboard and peel right off when it’s time to move rooms
  • Command Hooks are also great for things like hanging up your headphones, purse, hat, necklaces, etc…
  • Plants make things feel more homey – a couple that won’t die on you are the Jade plant, the Aloe plant and the Spider Plant
  • Mirrors to bring in more light and check your dark, under eye circles ;)

 

laundryhamper

10. Laundry Supplies
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Pick a laundry basket that won’t take up much room and is lightweight enough to haul up and down the stairs.  These pop-up hampers are great, and inexpensive.  If you’ve put risers under your bed, you may be able to slide a shallow laundry basket under there and hide it completely!  Other than that, you’ll want:

  • Detergent and Dryer Sheets
  • Tons of quarters (FYI – a stack of quarters fits great into a Mini M&M’s container!)
  • Febreze – for the times you go awhile between laundry days, or your roommate does…

 

NOTE: You may be noticing that I’ve left off television and alarm clock.  Well – these days it seems like laptops serve pretty well as TV’s and Cell Phones have taken the place of alarm clocks – so why add to the expense if you don’t have to?  But if you DO decide to get a tv – that’s another one you’ll definitely want to wait on until you see if your roommate saved you the hassle.

Ways to Save at Kohl’s | 13 Secret Shopping Tricks!

Ways to Save at Kohl’s

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Kohl’s is a great place to shop for bargains if you know what to look for, and here are several ways to save at Kohl’s that you may not know about!  Check out these 13 “secrets” for how to save when shopping at Kohl’s.

1) Join Kohl’s Loyalty Program for FREE $5 Coupons


Before you make any purchases at Kohl’s, you’ll want to join the Yes2You Rewards Program so that your shopping can earn you money!  Simply put, for every $100 you spend at Kohl’s, you’ll earn a $5 Rewards code.  Just sign up here to start racking up points ($1 = 1 Point) as well as get some fun $5 coupons in your inbox.

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Yes2Mondays are awesome.  Each Monday, Kohl’s sends out an email entitled Yes2Monday (search your inbox for it easily) that includes a special offer.  Once in awhile it’s a coupon for $5 off $5 Purchase, which means you can get something for FREE if you choose!  Other times it’s an offer to earn double the bonus points.

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2) Stack up to 4 Coupon Codes

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If you didn’t already know this, prepare to have your mind blown. You can stack up to *4* Kohl’s Coupon Codes together one purchase!  Find all the current coupon codes that are available in Kohl’s Today’s Deals section and then decide the best way to stack them to save the most money.  You can stack up to *4* of the following discounts: [Read more...]

How to Save: Yearly Sales Cycles

how to save yearly sales cycyles

Image Credit: FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Besides a grocery store sale cycle, are there times of the year when certain items are on sale?

Absolutely! Grocery stores are smart. They know that there are certain times of the year when shoppers are keying in on specific goods and they want to grab as much of your business as they possibly can. So why not offer a great price on something they already know you’ll be looking for? When you think about it, it’s a fantastic idea. Cookout supplies around the 4th of July, baking staples during the holidays and even candy on Halloween.

It’s all about anticipation. In this case, the anticipation of shopping habits. The store knows from experience, and shopping trends, when different items will peak throughout the year.  By matching their best prices to times of peak demand they stand a better chance of bringing shoppers through the door and earning their business.

This is a cycle you can work to your advantage! By staying on top of what items tend to go on sale during certain times of the year, you can stock up and save your family impressive amounts of money. Right now try focusing on those key items you’ll soon be tossing into lunchboxes day after day. Things like pudding cups, fruit snacks and Lunchables can be expensive, so buy when the time is right and have them ready and waiting when you need them most. Also, keep track as to which of these items can be frozen. Things like lunchmeat freeze great, making it easy to take advantage of a good sale when you find one.

Another thing to keep track of is produce. Fruits and vegetables are at their peak at different times of the year. If you can buy when the market is flooded, and then either can or freeze your produce, you have the chance to save money while still offering healthy options for your family.

Right now August is upon us and that can only mean one thing…..back to school! With that in mind let’s take a look at a few items that always tend to be on sale this time of year.

Sales to Watch for During Back to School:

School Supplies

  • Pencils, Crayons, Markers, Scissors, Rulers, Folders, Glue, Paper, Notebooks & Other School Supplies

Breakfast Items/School Lunches

  • Pudding Cups, Lunch Meat, Lunchables, Bread, Cold Cereal, Waffles, Juice Boxes

Disinfectant

  • Clorox, Purell

Clearance

  • Insect Repellant, Sunscreen, Charcoal, Pool Toys, Outdoor Furniture, Pools, Picnic Supplies

Seasonal Produce

  • Veggies: Avocado, Green Beans, Beans, Corn, Cucumber, Eggplant, Onion, Bell Pepper, Summer Squash, Tomatillo, Tomatoes, Peaches, Gravenstein Apples, Berries, Figs, Grapes, Melons, Peaches, Bartlett Pears, Plums, & Raspberries

 

Couponing is a great way to save money!  Whether you save 5%, 15% or 50% you are still saving your family money.  Having a hard time getting started?  Buy my new book, “Couponing for the Rest of Us” on Amazon in paperback or Kindle.  You can even read the first chapter online FREE!

How to Shop Around for Car & Home Insurance

insurance

There are many ways to save money besides using coupons. I understand that for some, couponing can be overwhelming or feel like a waste of time. Also, depending on what season of life you are in it may not be feasible. I have been looking at ways to cut overall unnecessary monthly spending.  At this point reducing our cable bill really isn’t an option because my husband basically only watches sports.  What next? As I took inventory of our monthly expenses I noticed that our car and home insurance took a large part of our monthly budget. It had been a long time since we had shopped around, so I was ready for the challenge. As a mortgage broker, my husband is constantly helping his customers shop around for the best insurance rates. He talked to several of his friends in the insurance business to help me develop a list of questions to ask when shopping around for the best rates. Keep in mind when shopping for home and auto insurance cheaper isn’t always better. Most importantly, you want to be adequately covered in the event of an accident. I have included several questions and key areas of consideration to keep in mind when shopping around.

General Questions:

  1. Do you offer a discounted “bundled” insurance or multi policy discount? Most insurance companies will offer a discount when you bundle both your auto and home insurance together.
  2. Annual or Monthly rates – Depending on what you prefer make sure you are comparing apples to apples when shopping around.
  3. Can you quote several different deductible options? Oftentimes the higher the deductible the lower the amount of monthly premium. Depending on your current financial situation most people save money by opting for a higher deductible.
  4. Do you offer a discount if I have remained claim free for an extended amount of time?
  5. Do you offer discounts for seniors (if applicable)?
  6. Do you offer a 24 hour claims service?

Car Insurance:

  1. Information to have handy – current policy, drivers license, and vehicle registration number.
  2. Liability Limits – Find out what your state minimum liability limit is and consider if it would be enough to cover an accident. Your insurance company isn’t liable to provide coverage outside of your liability limits. Therefore, if you are in an accident that you are at fault you could be sued for the remaining amount.
  3. Consider your driving habits – Do you have a history of car accidents, or a long commute? My husband used to be on the road all day driving from appointment to appointment, now he works at his office which is less than a mile from home. When he reduced his commute our payment decreased.
  4. Does your coverage include other people driving my car?
  5. Does your coverage include uninsured motorist and underinsured?
  6. How is personal property value calculated in relation to my policy?
  7. Does the policy coverage include comprehensive damage (damage as a result of a non car crash).
  8. Determine if it’s important to you if in the event of an accident that your insurance coverage uses original manufacturer parts. Depending on the model and age of your car, this could be an issue. Many policies cover aftermarket parts to keep costs down. My car is 11 years old so personally this is not an issue for us, however when our car was brand new we felt otherwise.

Home Insurance:

  1. Does coverage include actual cash value or replacement cost?
  2. Please explain the coverage on wind and hail. (After 2012 tornadoes in Tennessee some insurance companies implemented coverage limitations on wind and hail. Even if you don’t live in Tennessee make sure to have the agent clarify coverage.)
  3. Some insurance companies offer discounts for dead bolts, smoke/fire alarms, and home security systems, don’t forget to ask.
  4. Renovations – if you have recently completed renovations on your home that increase it’s worth make sure that you are covered for improvements.
  5. What level of ALE (additional living expenses) does the policy you are quoting cover? In the event that you cannot live in your home due to an insured event or disaster it’s important to understand what and how much your policy covers in regards to ALE.
  6. Does this policy cover flood/hurricane/tornado damage?
  7. Does the policy cover home and land? Even after a disaster or accident the land your home is on will be there and doesn’t necessarily need to be covered.
  8. Are my personal possessions covered (jewelry, electronics, lawn equipment, etc)?

If you are in the market to purchase a new home or refinance your primary residence or investment property and live in TN or Georgia, make sure to give my husband, Gary Trenum, a call. He works for a local mortgage company and understands the importance of saving you money. He can be reached at 423-284-4082 or www.garytrenum.com.

How to Save Money on Vacation

How to Save Money on Vacation on time2saveworkshops.com

Reader Question: Vacations have gotten so expensive. Do you have any simple money savings tips how to save money on vacation?

Absolutely! I understand how expensive a vacation can be. At the same time, vacations are meant to be fun and an escape from our normal routine. With that in mind, I’ve included simple money saving tips below that can help you save a significant amount of money without sacrificing family fun! [Read more...]