Sunday, July 29, 2012

Black Hole in Your Wallet?

It's easy to spend money on things I don't need. A common phrase I've been hearing among friends lately: "I can't believe how fast I go through my money!"
A typical recreational activity among girls is to go mall shopping every weekend. I enjoy the mall, but if I'm spending a lot of time there it's like I'm living my life to shop, instead of shopping to live my life. I don't want to get to the point where I realize that I wasted too much time collecting clothes instead of wearing the beautiful things I already own. It gets scary when I pull out a shirt or dress that I completely forgot about.

Lately I've been focusing on using coupons, clearance racks, and thrift stores as the main strategies to save money on clothes and accessories, but to be honest there is a better way.

Stay out of the stores.

Studies have shown that the more time you spend in stores, the more likely you are to buy more items. And who wants to spend every weekend at the mall? If you're like me, chances are you have what you need already, and even if you need to buy a new clothing item or two, you don't need to go out and buy it right away. Sometimes we tell ourselves we need something when we really just want it. If you haven't been shopping in ages or hate to go shopping, maybe you really do need a few things, but if you keep finding yourself buying clothes then think about the following thought:

Spending more money won't make you happier.

If you are thinking of buying something, ask yourself some questions.

Is this really a good deal? Do I need this? Is it going to be exceptionally flattering on me? Can it be worn different ways? Will it last a long time? Am I being seduced with special packaging, lighting, scented perfume, and tissue paper? Can I imagine buying this used; stripped of the special lights and the cute little gift bag?

If you really want to buy something, wait a week to make sure you really want it. Stay out of the store and just think about it for a while. If you still want it after a week, if you can afford it, and if it passes the test of being practical, flattering, and a good deal, you are probably good to go. Meanwhile:

Make yourself a cup of tea and sit down with a good book.
Get a good friend to go hiking or out to the beach; enjoy the nice clothes you already have out in nature.
Exercise; we buy things when we feel unattractive or stressed.
Learn how to cook a new dish.
Write a list of all the possessions you own that you are thankful for.
Light some candles and have a bubble bath.
Organize a clothing swap party with friends for free clothes and girl time.
Donate your unwanted and unworn clothes, this weirdly results in feelings of contentment. 
Clean your room! This works because you find clothes that you forgot you had. 

There is absolutely nothing wrong with treating yourself and enjoying beautiful clothes, but don't let shopping rule your life: put it in it's appropriate place and you will start to live a more fulfilling life. You will also enjoy the rarer shopping trips more because of it!


Sunday, July 22, 2012

The Joys of Black and White

I love the color of the bathroom tile with the red pants!

I found my cute brown leather shoes for three dollars and fifty cents at a secondhand store; they looked like they had never been worn before I bought them. Don't be afraid to buy "used" shoes. Often people will buy nice shoes for a special occasion and then give them to charity after wearing them one time because they never end up using them again. Of course, only buy new-looking shoes; if it looks worn it's not really a good deal for you or the health of your feet.

I love to wear black and white with a rich color, you just can't go wrong, especially if that color is red! I wore this outfit with my little faded denim jacket and a pearl bracelet for church today (with comfy leather flip flops; it was warm outside!). You can pair black and white with many different colors, so this look is a good bargain for your basics because you can wear it any time of the year.

This would be a great time to mention the benefits of cleaning out your closet every few months. I did this last school semester and I found this black and white shirt I had bought a couple years ago when I was applying for jobs. I thought it was boring at the time, but when fashion changed I rediscovered it and have been matching it with colorful pants and high-waist jeans. The best bargains are when you find new ways to wear the clothes you already own.

-Rachel <3

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Coupons, Coin Jar, and The Little White Dress

If you go to a dance, you will probably see many black dresses. Don't get me wrong, black is great, but white is fabulous too. You will be sure to stand out!

I was in the mood to go shopping (deadly!), so instead of taking money out of my paycheck, I took my coin jar down to my local Coinstar and traded the coins in for a Gap card. I could have traded the coins in for cash, but if I do this I have to give Coinstar a percentage of my coins, so I always choose a gift-card instead. I went down to Gap on Wednesday because they usually have additional clearance sales on this day, and I found a gorgeous, white strapless dress that can be worn for many occasions (the dress came with optional straps too, perfect!). With the extra 40%-off sale, the dress came out to about $20, which is amazing for the quality of the dress and the many ways it can be worn.

Never ever settle for a cheap dress. You could have taken the same twenty dollars and bought a cheap, thin cotton dress that will wrinkle and become worn-out looking quickly (not to mention, most cheap dresses tend to cling to the skin in the wrong places). I buy one or two dresses every summer, and now I have a beautiful collection of dresses in my wardrobe that will last a long time because I waited for quality. I can always find a nice dress for about $15 or $20 at Gap and other places.

That's not all that happened this week, I also found a free pair of sterling silver and cubic zirconia stud earrings with a coupon. I waited for the ten-dollar Kohls card to come in the mail, and I found these earrings on sale, so I walked away with this beautiful pair without spending a single penny. I lost my other silver stud earrings, so I'll be wearing these lovely earrings all the time! 

Also, this weekend Bath & Body Works is giving out a coupon through your email so you can walk into the store and get a little bottle of lotion for free. Today is the last day the coupon is good for, so my sister and I will be heading over to the mall to use our coupons. Maybe we'll see you there! 


Rachel <3

Sunday, July 8, 2012

My Crazy Weekend, AKA the Helix Piercing Adventure

So, last week I took a break from posting blogs for the Fourth of July; I hope you all had a great week! I decided that for the rest of the summer I will only be posting a blog on Sundays, instead of doing both Sundays and Wednesdays. Working full time takes it out of you!

A Classy Helix Piercing

Yesterday I was very brave.
I made an appointment at Kenny Curtis and got my helix pierced!                                           
In case you didn't make the connection with the picture, this is the upper part of the ear. To keep it classy I'm going to have a single helix piercing in my right ear, and I chose a tiny sparkly earring so it matches all my outfits while I wait for my ear to heal.

What does this have to do with saving money? Well, I decided to go to a professional because cartilage piercings are harder to do (piercing guns are bad for the cartilage area, so Claire's was out of the question). I paid a little more money to have it done right so I wouldn't have wasted the money in the first place. It was only thirty dollars at Kenny Curtis (located in Marina), and that included the earring as well.

I've been wanting a helix piercing for a while now; I waited a long time to make sure it was something I really wanted. I think Rosie Huntington-Whiteley inspired me with all those cute cartilage earrings in Transformers 3. My fun, quirky, older swing-dance teacher has one too; I think I figured if she had one I could be brave and get one too. 

Yes, I almost passed out afterwards from shock, but they had a padded bench for me to lie down on and lots of cold water to drink, thank goodness. Also, if you're going to get your cartilage pierced, take someone with you who can drive you home because you probably won't feel up to driving. I sure didn't. My dad came with me and I felt a lot more comfortable with the whole experience. I almost went by myself, bad idea!

The actual piercing of the ear didn't hurt very much, and it only aches a little bit right now. The woman who pierced my ear was great (her name is Devin); she made sure I knew exactly where I wanted the earring to go, and she gave me lots of good advice on how to clean the piercing (apparently rubbing alcohol and hydrogen peroxide create scars!). I am extremely happy with my piercing and I do not regret it one bit. I am excited to find pretty earrings for my piercing after it heals!

(Images found on Google)