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Get Your Deal On

January 1, 2010

Wednesday, we closed the office 2 hours early in pre-celebration of New Years Eve and I knew just where I was headed with my extra time.

The Borders Express store in the mall near my home is going out of business, meaning some of the books were marked down to 60% off.  Earlier in the week I had received my Border’s reward bucks via email, so I knew I had at least $5.00 to spend.  After 57 minutes of browsing, I came out spending almost $57.   


Lani Diane Rich’s A Little Ray of Sunshine and Julie Cannon’s True Love & Home Grown Tomatoes were two books I had looked at several times on my breaks at the store, and I was able to pick them up off the bargain books rack for a mere $2 each.  [extra excitement points for both Amazon average reviews being 4.5 and 4 stars out of 5, respectively!]


I also picked up Bob Greene’s The Best Life Diet. I really like reading books like this, even though I don’t follow a specific diet at all- I just try to eat as many fresh, whole foods as possible and enjoy treats in moderation. (though you wouldn’t guess it as I’m on my 3rd glass of wine for the night 🙂  Welcome to drogging.) This was another great deal – $2.50 for the hardcover.

I also had the opportunity to pick up a few books that were on my Christmas wish list this year.


I had been wanting to read Valerie Bertinelli’s book, Losing It, for quite a while now, especially since her second book was released earlier this year.  This was also a $2.50 pick up.  I also paid 50% for both Everyday Food’s Great Food Fast ( I love most anything Martha does, after all) and Alicia Silverstone’s The Kind Diet.  You can expect reviews on all of these as I make my way through them.

The most exciting purchase of the day though, was another cook book I picked up for 40% off; Mother’s Best which features recipes from Mother’s Bistro & Bar in Portland.  When I came across this book I sat on the floor and flipped through it for 15 minutes before deciding I should just splurge on it as a “happy end of 2009!” gift for myself. [and by splurge, I mean $16- such a great deal]


I am CRAZY about this book.  The photos are fabulous. Each section has a beautifully illustrated heading page. Every recipe includes a section titled “Love Notes” which gives tips, tricks, and history about the ingredients, the cooking style, or the recipe itself.  Every recipe looks amazing. Making my way through this book is going to be an event. [and my photos don’t do this book ANY justice]


Also I picked up some Burt’s Bee’s Wax for $1.75 and this adorable flip flop owl keychain for $2. [in case you’ve not yet been made aware, I have an affection for all things owl. I wish I went to Hogwarts so that I could have an owl for myself.]

100_1916 100_1915

While at the mall I also made a few more stops.

At Express, I picked up this very comfy, bright blue yoga jacket for less than $12.00.  As the cashier suggested, “you can’t even get a hoodie at Wal-mart for this cheap!”  I’m not ashamed to say I plan on lounging in this most of the weekend. It’s super cozy and the sleeves are actually long enough for my tall girl/lank arms, which is something I sometimes have issues finding.  And I love that the color is so vibrant!

express hoodie

I also stopped in Hallmark to see about finding clearance Christmas cards for next year, but no dice.  However, this canvas print that I’ve been eyeing up since this summer, but was too cheap thrifty to pay full price. It was marked down to $9.75 and I knew I had to grab it for my new “blogging area”.

100_1895100_1901Doesn’t it fit perfectly with my adorably framed Jenna Cole photo 
and Ace, my netbook? I also have a little table to the right of this round table that holds my other blogging necessities.

I also stopped at Starbucks to get my latte on, while on my way home (in preparation for no-dining out January) and found a small travel coffee press on clearance for $7.  I’ve been wanting to invest in a coffee press for several months, but have been putting it off because I didn’t want to spend a lot of money.  This one was a great deal, and cute to boot!  Plus, the fact that it’s a travel coffee press makes it extra special. 


Sometimes I go shopping and I can’t find a thing, and other times I just can’t stop spending.  Do you ever feel that way?  I am happy that I found a few things that I’ve been wanting for quite a while (and a few that I found a great deal that couldn’t be passed up!)

Here are a few tips on how to stay thrifty all year long:

Take your time to shop the clearance racks. I have a few friends who think it’s a waste of time to look through shelves or aisles that aren’t organized well, and clearance areas in stores often messy and a bit chaotic.  Some of the very best deals I’ve found were buried deep and took some digging- definitely worth the few minutes I spent stacking things up or going through each item in one specific section.

Don’t be afraid to get “dirty”. I’m never shy to kneel or sit on the floor when I am looking through items in a bin on the floor or the bottom shelf (as long as I’m not in anyone’s way). 

Read your Rewards Programs. There are two kinds of rewards programs; those you pay for and those which are free.  Only spend money on the reward programs that you know you will benefit from.  For example, Barnes and Noble, FYE and Starbucks all have “memberships” which offer deals on purchases for an annual fee.  However, there are also a lot of stores that offer free rewards programs that you may not even know about .  Borders and Hallmark both offer free rewards programs that give you “bonus bucks” if you spend a certain amount in a certain time period.  It’s a wonderful feeling to get an email from Borders telling me I have $5 to spend. 

Pick your mailing lists. Nothing is worse than opening your inbox to 75 “junk” emails, but there is something to be said about signing up for those annoying e-advertisements from your stores.  Lots of stores send special coupons exclusively to their email subscribers. A few of my favorites: Gap/Old Navy/Banana Republic send friends and family passes for additional percentage off,  Journeys/Shi send $20 off coupons several times a year, and Bath & Body Works has helped me increase my CO Bigelow lip product collection with their “free lip product with any purchase” coupons (spend $1 on a nail file, get a free $8 lip gloss!)

Don’t go over board. At one point when I was at Express, I had four different colors of the yoga jacket in my hands.  I was seriously thinking about getting all four of them, telling myself that I “work out so much more now so I need them.”  Ha. I snapped out of that rather quickly, told myself I had to decide on one, and made my way to register spending $12 rather than $48.  The same thing happened at the book store- if you can believe it the seven books I left with are less than half of the books I had in my arms before making my way to the register.  I talked myself into making a wiser decision than spending away my entire life savings

After Holidays Sales. And I’m not just talking Christmas!  If you can look outside the holiday thought box while shopping after specific holidays, you can find great deals.  Some holiday items are marked down right after the celebration even though they can be used all year long without notice- pink vase from February, black and silver cake stand from October, and so on.

Know your splurge.  You are worth a splurge every once in a while, the key is to know your splurge.  What purchases are worth a splurge to you?  Tina recently discussed splurging on clothes and mentioned that sometimes you need to look at a nice piece of clothing as an investment.  For example, a $200 winter coat is an investment if you consider that you may wear it 120 times a year, and the coat may last 2-3 years.

What’s the best deal you’ve gotten for yourself lately?  Did you go shopping after Christmas to get great deals? What are your favorite places to find deals? Share your secrets!

6 Comments leave one →
  1. abbynormally permalink
    January 1, 2010 9:35 am

    Yes! I wish I went to Hogwarts too! But it doesn’t have to do with owls, it has to do with the fact that I am Hermione Granger. But owls are cool too!

    My way of starying thrifty is my husband! He’s “frugal” (I say stingy!). I’m not a spendthrift, but I’m more willing to drop money here and there on little things, and it adds up. He knows where every penny is and ways to save. Sometimes it’s annoying, but it really is a good quality of his. Opposites must attract?!

  2. January 1, 2010 11:27 am

    oh my GOODNESS I am completely jealous of your haul from the mall!!! I have been dying to get the kind diet and am so envious of your deal!!!
    Good for you for hunting out the deals- I don’t think of it as overspending when there are deals to be had! I am the same way- either I get a zillion things or nothing… no in between!

  3. January 3, 2010 2:46 pm

    I got a fantastic cookbook for Christmas, “The Comfort Table,” by Katie Lee. The recipes are great and the photos are gorgeous!

    • January 3, 2010 3:00 pm

      I LOVE HER! I used to go read comfort table at Barnes and Noble on Dowlen and be inspired! 😉

  4. Kayla J permalink
    January 3, 2010 7:33 pm

    Owls seem to be the it thing these days! I love them as well. I love going into Forever 21 – they have tons of owl shirts and jewelry and such.

  5. January 4, 2010 10:26 pm

    Heather, I love your blog. 🙂 You’re so cool and such a sweet person. 🙂

    Just thought you should know that.

    and p.s. I’ve so been into Owls lately too! 🙂

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