I have been blogging a lot about Why Debt Sucks in my first week running the site. Now I’m taking a quick break to share some of the many ways I save $$ when I do need to go out into actual stores (or more frequently, virtual stores or store services that come to my doorstep) and buy stuff. As Cheap Yuppie Mom, I look for ways to save MONEY and TIME (because Time.Is.Money when you are a busy working mom). Double bonus if I can save BOTH Money AND time by doing something, I consider this a Super Dealio. (By the way, I hate shopping in actual stores, because kid reasons). Plus, shopping in stores and/or endless Internet browsing can lead to Nasty Wallet-Busting Impulse Purchases. (Impulse buying is especially bad on the Internet, so if you can set yourself up for some service-based deliveries that send you flat amounts of stuff based on established preferences, that can help cut down on your impulse buying if that is a problem for you.) One of these days I will do a blog post about Obscure Makeup From The 90s Internet Rabbit Holes. . .
Here are a few of my faves for this week:
Hollar. This is basically an online dollar store that can have much better stuff than the actual dollar store near your house. I go here to shop online every few months to stock up on things like soap, shampoo, cleaning supplies, and other odds and ends for the household that can be (unnecessarily) expensive in regular stores. I do not like the crap my local Dollar Tree sells, and I am usually able to get higher-grade stuff via Hollar—granted, it might have discontinued packaging, an unusual overstock brand from Europe or something, but I do not care about that. I have not been disappointed with anything from this shop, and I usually save about 70% versus what I would pay for similar items at my local Walgreens or grocery store. You can also qualify for free shipping and store credits based on what you order (bonus!). For example, I ordered all the soap, shampoo, and myriad other toiletries/cleaning items my family needs for the next 7 months in my most recent Hollar order, and it cost me less than $25 before tax. (This stuff would easily cost me double that, or more, at the local store) Nothing I bought on a very large Hollar online order cost more than 2 measly bucks. Here is proof, screenshot and all (Mind you, I only got HALF of my order into the screenshot, you are not even seeing everything I got for 25 bucks.)
Stitch Fix (Not always cheap $, depends on what preferences you set, but great for time-savings if you are like me and have trouble finding the right size in stores, and Time. Is. Money.) Stitch Fix can be either very expensive or very cheap, it all depends on how you choose to use it. (Guess which way I use it?). I set my cost preferences to Middle or Low, send feedback to my stylist after every fix about what I like and don’t like, and I NEVER take the whole Fix. These folks try to trick (aka bribe) you into taking all 5 pieces they send by giving you a “Whole Fix Discount” if you do, but it’s not really a discount due to high markups on the costlier pieces (like jewelry and shoes, which are WAY overpriced on Stitch Fix). If you strategically keep the lowest-cost item (or two, MAX) that you like from each Fix and then discipline yourself to return the rest, while giving your stylist very nit-picky feedback so they try to be extra-nice to you in order to keep your business, you can actually get better stuff at a lower cost than department stores. Anything above that really doesn’t save you any dollars (if anything, like most subscription box services Stitch Fix gets expensive over time because they are designed to trick you into buying MORE, MORE, MORE). Also, I only get two Fixes per year. (Spring and Fall; you can set your Fix Frequency settings to as few as 1 per year, though the folks at Stitch Fix will try to talk you out of it). This strategy does me just fine, especially since I live in a northern climate where most of the year is cold. They also recently added underwear options, and while a lot of their underwear is overpriced designer stuff, you can do well if you pick one item (usually foundation garments or socks) that they offer at a house-brand discount. (I only buy foundation garments once every year or two, if that).
Schwan’s. Not always cheap $ versus other grocery types, but they sell high-quality food that is delivered to your house/easy to cook at home, so a) encourages you to eat in more (cheaper than dining out) and also SAVES TIME, because Time.Is.Money. The Schwan’s guy delivers to my house every other Thursday and I can skip orders if I’m well-stocked already. They are an old-school company with salespeople (like the old-school milkman) who get to know the people on their routes and learn their tastes and preferences. The items are sold frozen and in bulk, and while they are premium quality, are cheaper on a per-unit basis. I also have found I am cooking at home more because many of their items are easy to prepare, and their frozen veggies are great. (They also have amazing ice cream and frozen scone dough). I also like Schwan’s because they are US-based (Minnesota), make all of their own products in the USA (also in Minnesota), and employ people at a living wage. (I like to support companies that are socially responsible).
Fragrance.Net. If you like to use/wear higher-end perfumes, cosmetics, and salon-grade shampoos, this is a good place to get that stuff CHEAP. They stock a lot of discontinued/hard-to-find items, and sell older inventory that can no longer be sold in prime retail due to arbitrary “freshness” guidelines in premium stores, but honestly—this stuff is just as good (Or better, since many retail shops now have very limited perfume/cosmetics selections, and what they do have is overpriced). The shelf life of most perfumes is literally decades, and cosmetics can be fine for years as long as they aren’t opened. This site has a great selection and also offers lots of coupons, I have gotten stuff at up to 90% off retail. (Paying retail is dumb. There will be other posts to come on that). And just because I’m both cheap and a mom, doesn’t mean that I don’t like to look and smell fabulous, because guess what? I do! (Perfume is also a weird hobby of mine. Seriously, perfume hobbies are a thing.) This company is also US-based, in Upstate New York, and has warehouses in Wisconsin, giving a lot of US people good jobs.
Until next time, I remain your Cheap Yuppie Mom.