29 small ways to save money (that can really add up)

If you know me, you know I’m all about that saving money life. I’m always looking for ways to save, even if it’s only a few bucks here or there. I’m always researching before I buy things, looking for sales and coupons for everything from groceries to high ticket items. I fully believe that the little ways I commit to saving each month really adds up. Here are a few tips I’ve learned through the years, and hopefully they can help you too! (Warning: some of these are VERY small ways, and may not even seem worth the effort, but I promise they pay off. And create frugal habits.) ūüėČ

  1. Order water at restaurants

I am appalled that restaurants get away with charging over $2 for soda/tea. I can’t rationalize paying that much when I can get a giant soda on the way home at QT for less than half that. Also, I like drinking water with my meals anyway. Soda is more of a special treat that I don’t have that often. If you’re going out for some alcoholic drinks, that can also get pricey, but I’m not gonna tell you never to do that. ūüėČ Just maybe don’t go crazy and remember it’s a lot cheaper at liquor stores, so you can drink more when you get home.

2. Make your coffee at home

I don’t drink coffee, so I can’t really speak personally on this, but I hear that coffee adds up quickly, especially if you’re going through the Starbucks drive-thru multiple times a week. Buy some quality coffee and creamer and make it at home most mornings. That way going to a coffee shop is more of an occasional thing.

3. Bring your lunch to work (or school, or wherever you’re goin’)

Eating out adds up so fast. If you work full time or are in class during lunch time, I suggest packing your meal so that you’re not stuck hungry with a Chipotle 5 minutes away (trust me, I know the temptation). I typically pack a turkey & cheese sandwich with a vegetable and a fruit. But you can pack whatever you want, as long as it’s saving you money! Also, I have a snack drawer at work so that I know I have options if I get hungry in the afternoon.

4. Follow your favorite stores on social media & sign up for their e-mails

The best way to find out about sales and coupons is to get updates from the companies themselves! I follow the stores and restaurants that I frequent so that I get firsthand information and possibly exclusive deals. But, make sure you don’t sign up for every store in the world so that your inbox is full of junk. Then chances are you’ll never sift through the emails anyway.

5. Sign up for loyalty rewards programs (but only if you’re a loyal customer)

Most stores and restaurants have some sort of rewards program these days, whether it’s a company credit card with perks or a point system. For example, I’m a MyPanera cardholder, which means that every few visits, I get a coupon for a free item (the coupons differ each time). I go there enough that it’s worth it to have that card. Think of places that you go to often and research if they have rewards programs you can benefit from.

6. Shop at secondhand and discount stores

Duh. Obviously I’m going to say this, I live for thrift stores and garage sales and all those sorts of things. But seriously, if you’re looking for a new kitchen table or a piece of exercise equipment or some kitchen dishes, check out your local thrift stores before heading to a retail store. It doesn’t hurt to look, and a lot of times there can be stuff that is in pristine condition. You’d be surprised at the things people donate. Also, discount stores like Dollar Tree, Big Lots, Aldi, etc. are good to check out.

7. Check for coupons before your grocery haul

Before I leave for Walmart every weekend, I check the Sunday paper and coupons.com for coupons that I can use. But, be careful, just because there’s a coupon for something doesn’t mean you need to buy it. Only use the coupons if it’s something you were going to buy anyway, or something that you can stock up on.

8. Don’t sacrifice quality just to save money

I’m all about saving money, but I’m not about sacrificing quality when it matters to me. For example, I buy name brand shampoo and certain foods because I can tell the difference. But I usually only buy those things when I have a coupon. If you have to spend a few more bucks to get better quality, do it. It’ll probably actually save you money in the long run because it will last longer.

9. DIY when you can

If you can do it yourself, then you should weigh that option against buying it. For example, I wanted some bracelets to wear to work, so instead of buying some already made, I went to Hobby Lobby (with a coupon of course) and bought beads & string. I made them for a lot cheaper than I could’ve bought them. There are also great DIY ideas on Pinterest for home decor, storage, crafts, etc.

10. Shop the Facebook Marketplace/OfferUp/LetGo/Craigslist 

This kind of goes hand in hand with #6. Look for secondhand options before buying retail if it makes sense to do so. Some things I specifically check these sites for are furniture, decor, electronics, etc. Obviously check for any flaws before purchasing. And, don’t be afraid to negotiate price on some items. Can’t hurt to try!

11. Use apps like Ibotta & Shopkick 

I’ve used Shopkick for awhile now. Basically, you check in on the app when you enter a store and it gives you points. It also gives you points for scanning specific items in the store (you don’t have to buy it, just pick it up and scan it). When you earn enough points, you can buy gift cards to lots of different stores. I don’t personally use Ibotta, but I’ve heard from many people that it’s easy and rewarding. It’s kind of the same concept, but you scan your receipts into the app instead of checking into the store.

12. Utilize your local library

If there’s a book you want to read (or a movie you want to buy), check your local library instead of spending money on something you’re not even sure you’ll like. Even if it’s not available that day, you can put it on hold. Then after that, if you really want your own copy, go for it. ūüôā

13. Paint your own nails

Manicures and pedicures are so expensive!! It’s definitely an occasional treat for me. But I do like to have my nails painted, so I invested in some quality nail polish and other manicure-related things so that I can do them at home every week. Buying a $7 bottle of nail polish makes much more sense to me than paying over $20 for someone else to paint your nails on a regular basis. They even make at home gel kits now too, so if you’re into that stuff you can go nuts at home.

14. Do your research before you purchase a big ticket item

Need a new laptop? TV? Couch? Dishwasher? Mattress? Car? Lawn mower? Whatever it is, do you research before you go out and buy it. Check online for sales. Compare pricing at numerous stores. Look up reviews for the specific product. Check the warranty stipulations. Make sure what you’re buying is good quality and a fair price.

15. Make a list of free (or cheap) things to do when you’re bored

You and your friend want to hang out, but you don’t know what to do. You and your boyfriend want to have a fun Friday night, but you also don’t want to spend a lot of money. There are numerous situations where having a list like this would come in handy. Just type a list of free (or cheap) things to do in your phone, so that it’s always handy when you need it. For example, mine includes an art museum, park, movie night with store bought snacks, game night, festivals that are coming up, etc.

16. Only pay for cable if you’re really going to use it¬†

Cable is so expensive. If you’re going to use it often, I don’t blame you for paying for it. But if you can get by with Netflix, I’d suggest it. This also goes for the home phone… if you can just have your cell phone, do it.

17. Grab free promotional items when you see them

I haven’t bought a pen in years because of this. If you see a promotional item that is USEFUL (key word), then pick it up! Pens. Water bottles. Tumblers. Notebooks. The list goes on.

18. Don’t buy something just because it’s cheap

“Ooooooh, ________ is on sale!” Don’t be that person. If you buy something merely because of the fact that it was on sale, then the marketing geniuses behind that scheme did their job. It’s also the same with clearance items. Be careful. Only buy something that you genuinely need or were planning to get soon anyway. Don’t fall into the trap!

19. Stop buying everything at Dollar Tree

Dollar Tree is great for some things, but not all things. There are many times that something is a dollar at Dollar Tree, but 97 cents at Walmart. Those pennies can add up quick.

20. Cook more, eat out less

I think this one is pretty self explanatory. It’s cheaper to buy bread, cheese, and meat to make sandwiches for lunch every day than to grab something at a restaurant every day. Especially when you have a big family, buying in bulk can become your best friend. If you plan and prep your meals for the week, cooking isn’t such a hassle.

21. Sell stuff you don’t use

Purge your house. Go through your closet, storage, kitchen cabinets, etc. Get rid off the stuff you don’t use by selling it. Facebook Marketplace, OfferUp, and Craigslist are great places to do so. Or, if you gather enough, have a garage sale.

22. Carpool

If you’re going somewhere that’s quite a few miles away, consider meeting friends in a central location and going together. Take turns doing that and you’ll save a few bucks in gas. And it helps the environment, so that’s cool right?

23. Make a meal plan every week (before you go grocery shopping)

If you have a plan, you’re much less likely to buy food that goes to waste because you didn’t eat it in time. Know what meals you plan to prepare for the week and try to coordinate so that they use similar ingredients, especially the perishable foods. This assures that you’ll buy exactly what you need, and will help you not buy random things that you don’t need since you have a list to go off of.

24. Make a budget

Well this seems obvious. Because it is. If you designate a certain amount of money to spend on certain things, you’re more likely to spend less. For example, I have a budget that’s split up for groceries, gas, eating out/entertainment, clothes, savings, etc. Putting away money to save firsthand is always a good idea because then you know how much you should spend.

25. Buy gifts when they’re on sale

If you’re someone that gives gifts often, consider buying them in bulk when you see an item on sale. For example, when Bath & Body Works has a clearance sale, stock up on lotions and candles to give to friends for Christmas.

26. Shop clearance at clothing stores

Clothes can be expensive. That’s one of the first things I learned when I became an adult and had to buy my own things. But it forced me to look for affordable options, including sales and the clearance rack. You’d be shocked at the great stuff you can find there. Check it out sometime!

27. Bring your own snacks to the movie theatre 

Two words: giant purse. You can fit a lot of snacks in there, even drinks. Because I’m not trying to pay $18 for one skittle and you shouldn’t either.

28. Use a reusable water bottle

This is a very small thing you can do that will add up over time. Drink water out of a reusable water bottle instead of a disposable one every day. It will save you a few bucks a week by not buying a case of water.

29. Make your own greeting cards

Get some cardstock, markers, and anything else you want, and make you own greeting cards. It’s pretty easy, and I hear people like homemade cards more anyway. Because paying $4 for a card is dumb. Unless it’s really funny then maybe.

Aaaaaand there you have it. I hope at least some of these tips can help you! Let me know if you have any other tips that I didn’t think of.

Thanks for reading!

-KT

My Top 10 Favorite Finds From Dollar Tree

I have a love/hate relationship with Dollar Tree. I love it because you can find GREAT deals on some quality products. But, I hate it because sometimes stuff isn’t always cheaper there and it’s easy to get caught up in the fact that something is “only $1!” when it’s $0.88 at Walmart.

A new Dollar Tree just opened up by my house, so I decided to go since I haven’t been to one in awhile. I was impressed with how much it’s improved since I last went to one! With that being said, I browsed the entire store, and found some good stuff. Here are my top 10 favorite finds from the trip:

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  1. Glass Decor 

These are SO CUTE!!! And for only a dollar… heck yeah I’d decorate my house with these. This location had many different designs in clear, blue, red, and green. Great quality for a great price!

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2. Blank Cards

I always buy my cards from Dollar Tree or the dollar section at Target. These are only a few of the designs they had… and they’re really cute! I love writing letters so these are perfect for me.

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3. Gift Bags

This is also something that I also always buy at Dollar Tree. I am AMAZED at how retail stores get away with charging $3+ for gift bags. At Dollar Tree, the smaller bags come in packages of 2 or 3 which is also nice. They have lots of variety for different holidays, and also plain ones. And don’t forget tissue paper, bows, gift wrap, and any other gift packing needs! They’ve got it all.

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4. Dish Drying Mats

These are just adorable, and I prefer hand washing my dishes most of the time, so I use them often. I’ve never personally bought one from Dollar Tree, but they felt like they were pretty good quality!

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5. Adult Coloring Books

I think adult coloring books are cool and all, but I’ve never actually had the time/patience to color one. Also, they’re pretty expensive in general so buying one for $1 seems way more practical for me (since I probably wouldn’t actually use it that much). They had a good variety!

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6. Removable Wall Stickers

They have lots of options – both for kids & adults! They aren’t that big, but pretty good deal for $1.

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7. Wall Pictures

These were probably my favorite find of the trip. There were so many options, and I looked through ALL of them. I even bought one for my bathroom, and I plan to go get more! It’s a plastic frame, so not the best quality, but I just hung it on my wall so I don’t see the big deal. It looks great!

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8. Journals

I feel like I’ve said this about everything so far… but these are so cute! It was so hard not to buy them all. They make great gifts, too.

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9. Teacher’s Corner

For all the teachers out there… I’m not really sure how much this stuff costs at other retail stores but this stuff seemed like a good deal! Correct me if I’m wrong, though.

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10. Tupperware

Now… I must say, this isn’t ALWAYS the best deal. It depends on what you’re using it for. Personally, I only like using my tupperware a few times before throwing it out. So in that case, the 3 packs would be a good deal. They aren’t as good of quality as the name brands, so keep that in mind. If you’re looking for something better quality, this isn’t for you. Walmart has better quality ones for a very affordable price, just depends on what you’re looking for!

So, there you have it. There were many other great finds, narrowing it down to 10 was hard! I plan on blogging about Dollar Tree more in the near future, so be on the lookout! Thanks for reading!

-KT

How I Started Selling on eBay

Hey y’all! You probably know by now that I’ve been selling on eBay for a few months. It seemed to happen¬†pretty randomly and suddenly, so I thought I’d share how I learned about this opportunity and decided to give it a shot.

Before January of this year, I had NO clue that re-selling was a thing. I found out about it while I was scrolling through Instagram. Since this blog was founded around the idea of saving money, I follow some couponers on Instagram. Somehow, I “accidentally” followed a reseller and began watching her stories and reading her posts about this self-employed job that she had. I was so intrigued that I sought other similar accounts, and before I knew it, I stumbled upon an entire reseller community on Instagram. Like… these people go to thrift stores/retail store sales/garage sales/the internet… and find stuff to resell and make a profit. Why had I never thought of that? One of my favorite hobbies is thrift shopping, so when I found out I could make money doing it, I knew I had to give it a shot.

So… it’s winter break of my senior year of college. Instead of sleeping till noon and binge watching Netflix, I was researching all the ins and outs of this adventure I wanted to embark on. Turns out, there’s a TON of content on the internet about selling on eBay/Amazon/Poshmark, so all I had to do was dedicate the time to learn. Since I was eager, it wasn’t hard at all. I followed the experts on Instagram, watched Youtube videos, and invested a couple hundred dollars of my own money to get started. (Investing that much isn’t necessary, but I wanted to jump in full throttle, and I had the means to do so.)

I officially started selling in January. It was a hard month of learning as I went and failing along the way. However, I felt mostly prepared because of the extensive research I did beforehand. After only a few months of selling, I invest in a professional photo setup and a nice printer because I knew this was going to be a long term thing.

So, yeah, that’s how I got started. I stumbled upon an Instagram account and the rest is history. I’ve been selling on eBay for about 5 months now and I love it! I’ve learned so much and I’m still learning every day. I’m re-investing a lot of my profit back into my business in hopes of growing it even more. I upgraded to an eBay store this week, which was a huge step for me. I’m excited to see what the future holds! I don’t ever think I’ll do this full time, but it’s a fun side hustle to be involved in.

If you’re looking for a way to make a little extra money on your own time, and this sounds like something you’d be interested in, I highly recommend it! It’s fun, low risk, and there’s lots of room for growth. If you have questions for me specifically, feel free to ask. Otherwise, Google and Instagram can be your best friend!

Thanks for reading!

-KT

Garage Sale Hoppin’ Tips

“Hey KT, what’s your favorite season?¬†

“Garage sale season.”

But forreal. I love getting up at 8am and going to garage sales – both for myself & for my reselling business on eBay. Most of the time, it’s cheaper than thrift stores. (Can we talk about how thrift stores are becoming more expensive? Well, by expensive I mean like $4 for a shirt. But still. I guess that’s a conversation for another time.) ¬†Also, you can bargain with some people and the stuff is usually higher quality/better condition than thrift stores.¬†

With that being said, if you’re¬†planning to visit some garage sales this summer, here are a few tips that can help you!

  1. Plan your timing strategically.

Originally, I was going to say “get there right when the garage sale starts.” But that’s not always the best strategy, it depends on what your goal is. For example, my mom typically goes around noon when people are more willing to negotiate. She buys furniture and decor super cheap to repurpose, so getting to the “good stuff” first thing in the morning isn’t necessarily important to her. But, if I’m going for name brand clothing, I’d want to get there first thing so that I get the best selection. So just make sure you have a plan that fits your goals.¬†

¬† ¬† ¬† 2. Don’t be afraid to bargain – but don’t lowball.¬†

I’ve bargained at garage sales more times than I haven’t. There’s nothing wrong with making an offer, and most people expect it. However, I won’t make an offer if it’s early in the sale or I think it’s priced fairly. If I’m buying a handful of stuff, often I’ll just ask if I can buy everything in my arms for $20 (or whatever a fair deal is). That way, they don’t have to sort through all the pricing and I get a bargain out of it. However, don’t be offensive and offer something ridiculously low. Unless it’s like, the tail end of the sale and they’re just begging to get rid of things. Just assess the situation and be wise.¬†

¬† ¬† ¬† 3. Don’t buy it just because it’s cheap.

This tip also applies to thrift stores, sales, etc. Don’t buy something just because it’s a good deal! I fell into this trap when I first discovered thrift stores/garage sales, and I’m glad I’ve snapped out of it since then. To counteract the temptation to buy cheap things I don’t need, I make a list of the things I’m looking for. The list doesn’t have to be super specific, for example… “I’ll check the clothing, books, dishes, and furniture when I go.” It can be as vague or as specific as you want, just make sure you know your limits.

      4. Plan your route the night before. 

A lot of garage sales are posted on Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace, and other platforms the night before the sale. This is beneficial especially if you’re looking for specific items. This can help you get to the right sales at the right time! Also, be on the lookout for neighborhood garage sales.

¬† ¬† ¬† 5. Wear a crossbody purse or fanny pack (good thing they’re back in style).

Pretty self explainable. You’re gonna need your hands to sift through/hold stuff. Sorry, no carts or baskets at garage sales. (But if you want, bring a reusable shopping bag to hold stuff).

      6. Be a baller. 

Grab some coffee and a donut beforehand. Sport your favorite shades and a fanny pack. Go kill it out there. Be a nice human. It’s fun if you make it fun!

…Just had to add that last tip. ūüėČ Hope you enjoyed my tips. I know they’re pretty basic, but they are essential! Let me know if you have any tips for me… I’m always open to learning new things!

Thanks for reading!

-KT

KT’s Healthy Breakfast Bowl Recipe

Hi guys! My friend asked me how to make the breakfast bowl that I referenced in my last blog, so I thought I’d go ahead and make a blog post about it for you all to enjoy. ūüôā Here’s how I make it…

Time: 25 min.

What you need:

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  • Eggs
  • Unsweetened almond milk
  • Frozen (or fresh) potatoes
  • Bacon
  • Natural orange juice
  • Pepper
  • Olive oil
  • Aluminum foil
  • Small frying pan (for potatoes/eggs)
  • Spatula
  • Small cookie sheet (for bacon)
  • Whisk
  • Mixing bowl

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Step 1: Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Put aluminum foil on the cookie sheet and then the bacon. Stick it in the oven for about 20 minutes. Make sure to do this step first, since the bacon takes the longest to cook!

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Step 2: Put the frozen potatoes on the frying pan, with some olive oil. (You can totally cut up fresh potatoes too, which I do sometimes, but this way is less time consuming). Let the potatoes cook, occasionally stirring them around. While they cook, prepare the eggs by mixing them with unsweetened almond milk and pepper.

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Step 3: When the potatoes are cooked, but them in a bowl and start scrambling the eggs! When the eggs are done, also put them in the same bowl.

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Step 4: Take the bacon out at about 20 minutes, or when it looks like it’s done to your liking. Wipe the grease off with paper towels if you want (I suggest it). Then break it into smaller pieces and mix it in with everything else.

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Step 5: Add any spices you’d like, pour yourself a glass of orange juice, and enjoy your breakfast!

Like I’ve said before, this is one of my favorite healthier meal options. I like to make it after a good workout. I have it multiple times a week because I love it so much!

Anyway, thanks for reading – catch you next time!

-KT

Eating Healthy & Saving Money

Hey y’all! A lot of you suggested that I write a blog about eating healthy and affordably at the same time. Many people will tell you that’s impossible, but I promise it’s not. I’ve been doing it for years! You just have to know where to buy certain products and how to meal prep effectively.

I will preface this blog post by saying that I meal prep for about 2 hours every weekend. I do this because I prefer cooking my own food instead of buying canned soup, boxed macaroni, ramen, etc. It may be a few pennies more expensive – but it’s so much healthier! Although I like to meal prep, I’m also a college student, which means sometimes my meals are on-the-go. So this blog will feature both types of healthy eating options – cooking and on-the-go.

I’ll start with some of the things that I meal prep most often. I usually pick 2¬†meals from the lists below. I know it doesn’t leave room for much variety throughout the week – but I’m only one person and my groceries will go bad otherwise.

  • Vegetable soup: This recipe includes 2 small cans tomato sauce, 1 can green beans, 1 can corn, 1 can carrots, 1 can peas, 1 can black beans, and whatever spices you desire.¬†I buy all of the ingredients at Aldi, so it’s right around $5 to make enough for the week.¬†I make the soup on the weekend and store it in a giant tupperware bowl in the fridge, so I can easily heat it up all week.
  • Turkey chili: Click here for the link to the Pinterest recipe I found. It’s simple to make and a perfect thing to have on hand to heat up in the winter.
  • Quesadillas: This recipe includes 100% whole wheat tortillas, fiesta¬†blend shredded cheese, black beans, frozen chicken breast, and salsa/sour cream/guac/whatever toppings you want.¬†I cook the chicken in a crock pot over the weekend and shred it, so that I can throw a quesadilla on my panini press in minutes.
  • Breakfast bowl: I love having breakfast for dinner! All you need is 1 red potato, 3 eggs (and some milk if you’re scrambling), part of a green pepper, and some spices of your choice. Cook them up and throw them together in a bowl. (Cut up the green peppers ahead of time during weekend meal prep).
  • Keep extra cans of vegetables in your cabinets – it’s cheap and easy to heat up some green beans to go along with your dinner! (I usually use half of a can and then put the rest in the fridge for the next meal).

If you’re a college student or have to bring your meals on-the-go frequently, here are some options for you. (Note: you’ll need to buy some sandwich bags, plastic silverware, tupperware, and plastic cups for these options).

  • 100% whole grain frozen waffles: I know this doesn’t sound like a good on-the-go option, but I promise it is! I throw them in the toaster for 3 minutes before I have to leave for class, and then wrap them in a paper towel so I can eat them on the way. I eat them plain, but I know some people aren’t fond of the wheat taste, so putting peanut butter on them is also a good option!
  • BLTs: I put deli turkey, bacon, tomato, lettuce, and provolone cheese on my sandwiches. I recommend cooking the bacon and cutting the tomato during meal prep. Stick it in a plastic bag and you’re good to go.
  • Salad: This is where the plastic tupperware and silverware come in handy. I throw lettuce, chicken, bacon, avocado, cheese, tomato, and whatever else I’m feelin’ in the bowl and shake it up with some dressing. You can obviously make whatever salad you want, but make sure to meal prep the meat and other ingredients!
  • Smoothies – My smoothies always include strawberries, banana, frozen blueberries, unsweetened almond milk, and ice. I put it in a plastic disposable cup or a travel mug to drink on-the-go. Cut the strawberries up during meal prep!
  • Cereal: Duh. Walmart has an excellent selection of organic cereal that doesn’t break the bank. I put this in on-the-go because most of the time I throw some in a sandwich bag to eat¬†on my way to class. Milk is overrated anyway, right?

Here are some healthy snack options and miscellaneous items that are affordable as well!

  • Carrots & hummus
  • Fruit (apples, bananas, grapes, cantaloupe… just a few of my favorites!)
  • Pretzels
  • Nuts (almonds, cashews, pistachios, peanuts)
    • Yes, I know they’re not the cheapest. But they’re pretty affordable at Aldi! And if you catch them on sale. Gotta always be on the look out.
  • Naked Juice
    • I buy the giant jug at Walmart every week for like $6 and drink a cup every morning!
  • Fruit strips
    • They have all natural ones at Aldi and most health food stores. Better than grabbing a granola bar!
  • Lara Bars
    • Not¬†as cheap as granola bars, but they won’t break the bank. They often have manufacturer coupons at http://www.coupons.com.
  • Dark chocolate (when you need to splurge)
  • La Croix
    • It’s an acquired taste… but now that I’ve acquired the taste, I love it! Target often has them on sale. Aldi also has an off brand version.
  • Tea

Okay guys – I mentioned meal prep a lot! I did that on purpose – to show you all how important it is! Eating healthy is hard and expensive if you don’t meal prep. I promise that taking 2 hours out of your weekend will save you so much time and money during the week! If you have questions about meal prepping, please ask me. I’m happy to answer them. Basically meal prepping just means cooking¬†and cutting what you can ahead of time. It increases the likelihood that you’ll actually follow through with your meal plan for the week and won’t just let the stuff go bad in your fridge.

Okay – this blog post is long enough. ūüôā Thanks for reading! I’ll catch you next time.

-KT

 

 

8 Tips for Smart Thrift Shopping

I was planning on going to a thrift store sale on Monday and writing a blog post about my findings, but I ended up¬†not being able to go. Since I’ve been itching to write about thrift shopping, here are a few tips I’ve learned about it over the years!

1. Triple check items for stains, rips, cracks, and other imperfections. 

It’s easy to miss small stains or holes in clothing if you don’t examine it closely enough. Look at it before you start carrying it around so that you don’t forget. Oh, and smell clothing as well. I know that sounds weird, but if you smell anything beyond the typical thrift store smell, you may not want to buy it. Make sure to also examine glassware for cracks and chips, as they can be easy to miss at first glance. Quickly flip through books before purchasing them. I don’t mind pen and highlighter marks (I actually think it’s cool to see what someone else found important), but you may not want those marks.

2. Know what you want/need when you walk in.

This isn’t like a grocery list, because you can’t guarantee that thrift stores will have exactly what you’re looking for, but having a general game plan is important. I typically know the sections I want to visit and what I could use more of. For example, last time I went, I specifically looked for dresses, flannels, and jackets because I knew my wardrobe would benefit from more of those. I also looked at the kitchen items for my future apartment.

3. Only buy items that are on sale.

I know it’s a thrift store, so things are cheap already, but I’m always about getting the best deal possible! Most thrift stores have some sort of sale every day of the week, so it’s important to know those before you start shopping. My favorite thrift stores (City Thrift & Red Racks) have 50% off everything sales at least once a month, and that’s typically the only time I go. My mom scored a small table for 49 cents the other day at Goodwill because it was a certain color tag. SCORE. Proud of you momma.

4. See the potential in items. 

Most people don’t clean their stuff before giving it to thrift stores, which means it may not look like it’s in the best condition when on the shelf. This doesn’t mean it’s not worth buying!¬†I’ve purchased countless kitchen items that needed a good scrub, but looked brand new after I¬†washed it! My mom constantly buys furniture that looks old/dated/banged up and re-paints it to look flawless. A lot of people bypass perfectly capable items because they are dirty – that’s your chance to give them a second look and figure out if they’re really worth it or not.

5. Don’t be afraid to dig.¬†

Thrift shopping is not easy. It takes time and muscles. It requires sifting through racks and racks of clothing only to find a few items that you *might* buy. It also requires digging through shelves to find out what’s behind all of the stuff that no one is buying. It’s a bit of a hassle sometimes, but it’s worth it! (Mini tip: Bring a friend to make it more enjoyable!)

6. Try everything on (yes, everything). 

Even if you’re 100% certain that it’s your size and you have the exact same one in a different color at home, still try it on. You never know, and a lot of times people take clothing to thrift stores because it fit weird. I’ve made the mistake of not trying on something as versatile as a rain jacket, and getting home only to realize that it doesn’t fit the way I¬†thought it would. Trust me on this tip – you’ll thank me later!

7. Don’t try to buy everything at thrift stores.

I will always recommend thrift shopping, but I will NEVER recommend trying to fill all your needs with gently used items. Things I don’t¬†typically buy at thrift stores include athletic¬†apparel, jeans, shoes, intimates, blankets, bathroom items, pots & pans, and cloth furniture. I hope most of those are self-explanatory. ūüėČ There are still ways to save on those items, maybe just not at thrift stores.

8. Look over items again before you check out. 

This is a MUST. I always do this before I purchase my items. I examine each item one last time and ask myself, “Will I really use this?” It’s easy to get caught in the trap of buying something just because it’s cheap. No matter how cheap something is, it’s still not worth it if you’re not going to use it. If you’re not 100% certain you want it, don’t get it.

I hope these help you! The art of thrift shopping is definitely something that you learn over time – and I’m still learning! Let me know if you have any tips that you want to share with me!

Thanks for reading!

-KT