Category Archives: priority

7 Items to Buy at the Dollar Store

I love saving money. Duh.  But I also love quality items. So how do I meet the balance for these two? I shop around. I know it takes more time to get a few items from one store and a few at another but it saves you so much in the long run!  I didn’t want to overwhelm readers with a huge block of text so I will save my “What not to buy at the dollar store” post for later this week. For now, here are 7 items you should always try to buy at the dollar store:dollar

  1. Pregnancy Tests-YES THEY WORK. I have a friend who is a reproductive endocrinologist and she said their office ONLY uses dollar store tests (her favorite brand there is New Choice).  Apparently they are actually more sensitive that a lot of tests on the market, picking up a positive at 25mIU/ml while most drug store versions are sensitivity of 50 mIU/ml. So save your $10 and get the dollar tree version!
  2. Floss Picks-The Dollar Tree by me sells these for, obviously, $1 but the pack is a pack of 40 which is a great deal! Even publix brand is $2.29 for a pack of 45 so the dollar tree equivalent is a much better deal.
  3. Facewash/acne treatment-I buy certain face products at the dollar tree, especially since our dollar tree sells name brands. For example, our store sells Acne Free brand so I get my face washes there (saving over $3 from Amazon’s price). I also get my acne spot treatment stuff here and my apricot scub. I don’t get my face cream here because creams stay on your skin for 10ish hours so I want my cream to be really good.
  4. Wrapping Paper– At first I was hesitant to believe that the dollar store wrapping paper was a better deal. But then I did the math per square foot and it is in fact cheaper! Not only that, you don’t have to commit to as much paper per roll, you can get more variety which I prefer.
  5. Greeting Cards-Holy cow when did greeting cards get to be so freaking pricey?? I went to Target and the cards on average were $5.99! THAT’S BASICALLY $6!!!!! So if you have a $5 giftcard to someone you have to spend more than the gift at the store to put it in a card.  Nope, not at the dollar store! And they have cute and funny cards, it’s not the main store rejects.
  6. Balloons-When I was in high school I actually worked at a dollar store. Specifically, the Dollar Discount. Also when I was in high school, it was trendy to get a bunch of mylar balloons to put on your friends’ lockers when it was their birthdays. Working at the Dollar Discount I immediately found that I was saving 75-90% on balloons because each mylar was $1 versus Publix where they are $4.99 or more! So if you have an occasion that calls for balloons, definitely head over to the dollar store.
  7. Seasonal Decorations (Halloween Decor, Easter, etc)-Around the holidays I get headbands with reindeer antlers on them, halloween I get front door decals, and easter I get headbands with bunny ears! The same headbands with animal ears are sold at CVS for $4.99 so you save BIG getting these items at the dollar store.

 

6 Hacks to Vacation on a Budget

Sorry for the late post folks, I have been traveling (for pleasure, not work) a lot lately!

That being said, I did a lot of frugaling on my trip and snagged some free meals, discounted meals and gift cards along with other swag along the way.

SO, shall I dive in or first tell you about my trip?

Aw shucks, thanks for showing so much interest, it was great! I love the west coast and had such a blast hiking and site seeing and gambling.

Okay, brass tacks on how to save money while traveling.

  1. Marriott Vacation Resorts-Marriott Vacation Resorts are timeshares that Marriott basically wants you to buy. What you get is an amazing rate at one of their resorts with all the perks. I am in NO WAY affiliated with Marriott (gah I wish they paid me!) but for us the deal we got was too good to be true but it turned out great! The Grand Chateau is right next door to the MGM Signature, a 5 minute walk from the main strip and much quieter than the MGM Grande or Venetian. The building is newer so everything is upgraded. The rooms are amazing with huge bathtubs and a full kitchen. 

    lasvg_phototour15

    What we got:

    We got 4 days, 3 nights at the Marriott Grand Chateau on the strip, $50 Marriott gift card (to be used within the Marriott) and free valet parking (versus the regular $25/day) We used the gift cards for 2 meals and snacks which was great!

    What we had to do: Sit through a 90-minute one-on-one with their salesperson who tries to get you to buy a timeshare. Ours was not pushy at all and was okay with us saying no.

  2. Grocery Shop and Eat in-When we arrived at our Marriott Villa (which included a full kitchen) we went straight to the grocery store and got oatmeal, peanut butter, powerade, fresh fruits and salad fixings.  We ate in every morning and some afternoons and saved a lot of money and didn’t feel icky eating out for every single meal. Win-win!
  3. Fancy does NOT Mean Quality-After a fun day of gambling my husband and I decided to go to a fancy-pants steakhouse called Andiron. The apps came out looking and smelling great! Minus the hair in one of them. We assumed that when we informed the server and he took the plate away they’d remove the charge (even though we had eaten half before finding it).  Alas, nope, there it was, $8.99. It’s not a lot of money but it’s the principle! Don’t give me some nasty, hair-plagued dish and charge me for it! So I flagged down the server and asked him kindly to please remove and he responded “Oh my gosh I thought I did, I’m so sorry!” and voila! Charge removed. Don’t feel like just because the place is fancy you cannot ask for things.
  4. Get a Rental Car-I love using Lyft, don’t get me wrong, but when we decided to leave for a week I started doing the math. Lyft from point A to point B on day 1, day 2 points A,B, C and D, etc. I decided google “Enterprise Coupon Codes” and found a rental car for 6 days for $176. That’s less than $30/day to drive wherever, whenever. Plus when I showed up I asked for a free upgrade with a smile and they gave me one! Woohoo! So for $30/day we got an SUV and were able to drive everywhere on our own.
  5. Las Vegas SpecificTix 4 Tonight– Through work I get some pretty stellar discounts and through the Marriott Vacation resort you get stellar discounts but the best show ticket prices were at one of these stands outside the MGM Grand. We paid half the price of the Marriott discount rate!
  6. Las Vegas SpecificGamble for Comps-I am an Mlife Pear member and love the Mlife Perks! With Mlife rewards you can earn comps for gambling which is win-win.

Tier Levels. New members start at the Sapphire Tier Level and achieve Pearl status at 25,000 Tier Credits, Gold at 75,000 Tier Credits and Platinum at 200,000 Tier Credits. The premium level, NOIR, is by invitation only.

Highlights of each Tier Level include:

  • Sapphire – Discounts on rooms, shows and participating retail shops, access to pre-sale tickets to events, concerts and fights, exclusive personalized offers
  • Pearl – Tier Multiplier: 10 percent bonus on points and Express Comps, 10 percent discount at participating retail shops, buffet line passes (Las Vegas only)
  • Gold – Tier Multiplier: 20 percent bonus on points and Express Comps, priority hotel check-in line, VIP line access to nightclubs and pool day clubs
  • Platinum – Tier Multiplier: 30 percent bonus on points and Express Comps, priority Valet and taxi service, at least 15 percent retail discount at participating retail stores
  • NOIR (Invite Only) – Tier Multiplier: 40 percent bonus on points and Express Comps; complimentary limo service to/from airport; guaranteed room, show and restaurant reservations

Using your MLife Card every time you gamble you earn freebies and discounts along the way!

All around I had a blast and despite a few meals that didn’t go our way I got some free meals which made it okay 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Top 3 Travel Rewards Credit Cards

When it comes to traveling I hate spending money. Yes, even more so than day-to-day life. Every time I dine out while on a trip my brain begins adding the bill to the flight, the hotel bill, the stupid resort fees and valets.

I began doing some research to find out how to make the most out of my every day shopping to put money/points towards vacations because let’s be honest, we all live for an amazing vacation.

I did not want a card that gave me 1 to 1 reward points per dollar spent. That is a waste of credit space and money. I did want a card with a nice, juicy sign up bonus.  I also have to travel for work so I have a couple of preferred hotels and my preferred airline is Delta.

Based on this information I came up with my top 3 travel rewards cards.

  1. Chase Marriott Visa–I may be bias but the Chase Marriott Visa is my favorite in terms of sign up bonuses and points earned. When I was booking my honeymoon, my husband and I each separately signed up for this credit card which has an 80,000 point sign up bonus. With those 160,000 points we were able to book a week at the Marriott resort in Kauai (because with Marriott when you book 5 nights, the 6th night is free!).  You get 5x points on Marriott locations and 2x points per $1 spent on restaurants, car rental agencies and on airline tickets purchased directly with the airline (versus Kayak or something). Everything else is 1 point per dollar.  Not only that, you get 1 Free Night Stay at a Category 1-5 hotel every year. We use this every single year! I travel a lot for work so I am also able to accrue more points that way, too. The first year there is no annual fee and after the first year the fee is $85.
  2. American Express Gold–The sign up bonus for this card ranges from 30,000 to 50,000 points. I waited until the bonus was 50,000 to sign up. The miles earned per dollar are mediocre (1 mile per dollar spent) except when you buy flights through Delta on this card. That’s when you’ll start to see the points rack up. You’ll earn at least 7 miles per dollar spent, You also earn 2 miles per dollar on in-flight purchases and you get a discount on those purchases (seen as a statement credit on your next credit card bill). My favorite features are that you get priority boarding so you feel like a baller and your first bag gets checked for free! So if you and your significant other each have a card, each of your bags gets checked for FREE! That’s huge! The first year there is no annual fee and after the first year the fee is $95.
  3. American Express Hilton- I really like the ROI on this card in regards to pints. With this card you get 7X Hilton HHonors Bonus Points for each dollar of eligible purchases charged on your Card directly with a participating hotel or resort within the Hilton Portfolio. This is higher than the 5x points with Marriott. Not only that but you get 5X Hilton HHonors Bonus Points for each dollar of eligible purchases on your Card at U.S. restaurants, supermarkets and gas stations. Finally, you get 3X Hilton HHonors Bonus Points for all other eligible purchases on your Card. While all of this is more than the Marriott, I find that Marriott rewards are easier to redeem. BUT this card has no annual fee which is a big perk!

Keep in mind that I travel for work so I have certain preferred airlines/hotels. These cards might not be the right ones for you but for me and my lifestyle they work.

Stay tuned for more frugal finds!