Penny Pinchers

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Thred UP! Review

By Julie Norman
Monday, November 10, 2014

A few weeks ago I blogged about ordering some clothes from Thred Up!, an online consignment shop.  Well, now that the clothes have arrived I thought I'd give a final review:

The clothes were shipped in a heavy-duty polka-dot shipping bag and were neatly wrapped with tissue paper.  The signature "Thread Up" clothing tags were attached with string, not those ridiculous plastic things! I was happy to see that.  The clothes were in great shape.  I found one teeny tiny hole on the underside of the sleeve of the Gap Body wrap sweater that I bought, but other than that everything was perfect!

I'd definitely use Thred UP again, though I'll still try to stick to the local consignment shops the most. There's no shipping fee with them ;)

Here's a selfie of me in my new J Crew sweater from Thred Up:


Yes! The holiday savings continue!

By Julie Norman
Monday, November 3, 2014

Last night, while the BF was at a work meeting, I had 2 hours to work on some Christmas presents.  The first was a calendar that I make every year using either Shutterfly or iPhoto.  This year I decided to stick with Shutterfly because it's much faster than my current iPhoto program.  I got SO lucky.  There was a Halloween sale going on: 30% off EVERYTHING until EOD on November 2.  So I got my act together and got that calendar finished within an hour.  I used the 30% off sale code and then remembered that there was also free shipping on orders of $39 or more.  Since I like to have one of these calendars for myself every year, I ordered 2 and used THAT special code too! Check out my savings:

Money spent so far towards the BF's Christmas? $24.


Homemade Christmas

By Julie Norman
Thursday, October 23, 2014

Don't even start with me about it being "too early" to post Christmas-related posts! I have to ship presents to Georgia before my mother's birthday on Dec. 20th, so planning starts early, especially when homemade gifts are involved! This year we all agreed that expensive gifts were ridiculous and that we should all cut back.  To me that meant, "get busy making something!" The problem is that I"m not super crafty.  Someone else can pour layers of lentils and dried beans in a glass vase and it'll look gorgeous.  If I do it it looks like I poured beans in a vase.

SO I turned to anyone's source of thrifty craft ideas for the holidays: Pinterest!  Below is a screenshot of part of my Homemade Christmas board.

My mom's favorite drink is a cosmopolitan (too much Sex in the City watching!).  So I thought a cool gift "box" for her could include a few different cosmo mixes, some recipes on pretty cards, and that watercolor print in a frame (probably from Goodwill).  I might even throw in some chocolates to eat while she's sipping a drink - or a cool martini glass if I can find one!

My sister loves Citrus, so Citrus soaps, salt scrubs, etc are on her list.  I found some awesome tins on the Container Store website for a cheap price that I can order to store the scrub in.  She also has a dog whom she loves very much and little miss Luci the dog will get homemade dog treats for Christmas.

Anyway, my point is that there are lots of crafts and ideas on here that anyone can do.  Spice mixes might be a little more costly, but I think the key is to just be careful what types of rubs you're making.  Garlic and onion powders are very inexpensive, so you could put together several homemade ranch dressing mixes for people.  Or do a fancy sugar or fancy salt, like one I found for chili pepper salt. Those aren't quite as pricey and people will still love them!

Follow my pinterest board if you want for more ideas!


Online Consignment Shopping

By Julie Norman
Friday, October 17, 2014

You all know I love a good consignment store.  What do I love even more? Finding one online! Don't get me wrong, shopping local is GREAT and should be encouraged, but sometimes life just gets in the way and shopping gets put waaaaaaay on my back burner. Then I stare at my clothes thinking, "This is IT?" So I found this online site called

It's the largest online consignment and thrift store and has quite a few benefits: You can design your personal "store" so that you only see items in your sizes, price ranges, etc. You can join their "Thred Everyday" program and get FREE shipping on all of your orders, and you can also sign up for emails from them touting special deals, new clothes, etc.  They stock mostly designer and high-end brands: everything from J Crew and Gap to Juicy and DKNY.

I'd been poking around this site for a while.  I even went so far as to put some items in my cart.  Then I'd back out and just leave the stuff there...eventually ThredUp figured they needed a better way to entice me, so they sent a 25% off coupon! Consignments AND 25% off? So today I visited the site and purchased 3 items: a skirt, a sweater and a body wrap cardigan. Here's the confirmation email i got from them.  If the final cost of those three brand-name items doesn't get you, the SAVINGS based on their original in-store prices certainly will!


Bargain Pot Luck Dish

By Julie Norman
Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Disclaimer: Everyone's bargain potluck dish will be different.

This weekend we were lucky enough to get to go to our friend's baby's FIRST birthday.  We've watched him grow, crawl and walk and we were super excited to get to see him taste his very first birthday cake.  Baby L's parents had planned a chili potluck: they provided the chili and the cupcakes/cake and we all brought side dishes.  My first thought was: tomatoes. We've had an abundance of them this year and so I knew whatever I made would involve those.  I also had plenty of basil growing in the backyard so I decided to make a caprese salad.  Because all I would need to buy was the fresh mozarella this would be a pretty cheap potluck dish! Keep in mind that the rule of thumb is that your potluck dish serve 8 people.

I ran into City Market on the way home and saw that the large packages of fresh mozarella were on sale for $5.  Score!  At home I pulled out a disposable aluminum pan and set about slicing tomatoes and cheese and washing basil.  In the end, I only used half of the fresh mozarella which means my potluck dish only cost me $2.50!

Now obviously if someone had to buy all of these ingredients it would cost way more than $2.50.  The point is to think about what you have and work from there.  Do you have a few too many over ripe avocados?  Guacamole!  A can of chickpeas and some tahini you thought you'd never use again? Hummus! Maybe all you have is a huge bag of apples you recently got at applefest.  Those apples are the start of plenty of great, simple salads OR the start of a lovely apple and cheese tray.  Gluten free folks will love you for that one.  So the next time you're invited to a potluck, look around.  You never know what you might already have on hand.  Starting with what's at home is one of the best ways to save money.

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