Category Archives: Bargains

My New Favorite Chairs + a Rad Website

I love the “industrial farmhouse” look. Metal + old school furniture vibes and chippy paint makes my heart go pitter-patter.

Throw in a little color (preferably aqua or teal, of course), and I’m in decor heaven.

Which is why I just about flipped my lid as I was browsing Anthropologie’s extra 40% off sale this past weekend (it ended yesterday; sorry) and spotted these gorgeous pale blue metal bistro chairs.

For a very reasonable price.

bistro chair

Remember that big farmhouse table I mentioned that Shaun will build for the dining room in the new house?

Well, it will be surrounded by these beauties.

Yup. I bought them. She says so calmly as if she hadn’t feverishly clack-clacked away at her computer like a lunatic, having her husband read out gift card numbers to her (I’ll explain in a sec), checking every couple of seconds to make sure they hadn’t disappeared from her cart, and only fully exhaling when she’d received a confirmation email that the purchase had gone through.

Because good deals on Anthro’s website go fast, y’all. Like, faster than a toddler who just noticed you left the back door open. (FREEEEEDOOOOOM).

Sure enough, within in an hour after I ordered, they were all gone.

In FACT,  sadly, the day after I ordered them, I got an email notifying me that they had canceled 4 of them. Figures. But! I get to keep 6, and I was already planning to mix and match them, so I’m still calling it a win (even if I did spend an hour on the phone with a very confused Anthro employee trying to explain to him that the amount I’d been credited back was not equal to the cost of 4 of the chairs plus their tax…and could he please remedy that?).

But back to what a good deal they were.

I’ve never bought a single stick of furniture from Anthro before for obvious (E.X.P.E.N.S.I.V.E.) reasons, but these were considerably cheaper than anything comparable for the size/quality. I checked. These were $78 + tax/shipping each (they were on sale and then an extra 40% off). Wayfair and Joss and Main have the exact same chair in various colors–although not “sky,” so they wouldn’t have won me over anyway for $180+ EACH.

Here’s the where the best part comes in.

Have you heard of Raise.com?

It’s a site that sells gift cards at a discount–sometimes nominal (think 7%), sometimes quite substantial (some restaurant cards are discounted by 30%).

Well.

They sell Anthro gift cards too. So, we scooped up a few of those at 15% off, which means we were able to take 15% off the top of the extra 40% off of the already sale price.

Insert an incredibly awkward victory dance around my living room, in socks no less, and you pretty much know how I felt about that.

Ultimately, what that means is that I am getting each chair shipped to my door for $72 (tax + shipping included).

We’ve also used Raise.com for Lowe’s gift cards (which provide up to an extra 10% off the top of building supply purchases–which quickly adds up when you’re making large purchases like lumber for framing an entire house).

My kids’ favorite place to eat out is Chick-fil-a, so we stocked up on cards at about a 20% discount.

Marshall’s/TJ Maxx are also faves for buying gifts, inexpensive sandals for the girls, and feeding my ever-growing throw pillow addiction (just kidding, babe! nervous giggle), so an extra 18% off for one of their cards was a no-brainer.

And that barely scratches the surface of all of the brands that they offer.

And no, Raise.com is not sponsoring this post. I just like finding (and sharing) easy, money-saving hacks.

If you’re so inclined to try them out for yourself, you can use this link for $5 off of your first purchase (I get one too–win, win).

Update: a reader expressed concern because Raise has some bad reviews, but I just wanted to clarify that our experience has been very good. There have been a couple of bum Lowe’s gift cards, but our money was promptly refunded, and we have already used all of the ones I mentioned above with zero incident or problem.

Oh, and stay tuned for Wednesday when I show you 3 different possible design boards for the look I’ll put together using these chairs in the new dining room. (My husband likes to lift an amused eyebrow at my design-loving, gun-jumping self, considering that decorating the dining room is likely many, many {many} months in the future).

Until then, Happy Monday, y’all! Or at least Decent Monday (just in case, “Happy” and “Monday” seemed a little too incongruous to be included in a sentence so close together).

dear monday

The only thing that could make me like this meme more is if they had actually included the comma that should be after “you” and made it grammatically correct. #nerd

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Wardrobe Wednesday: Clothes Mentor Strikes Again

On Friday, I asked your opinion about what I should do about my deep and abiding longing to change up my hairstyle (okay, so it was more like a recent impulse, but still).

And pretty much every single person said, “CHOP IT!” With the prevailing reasoning being, “It’s just hair. It’ll grow back.”

So, after I spent an hour or so soothing my long hair’s hurt pride at y’alls being so willing to see her whacked, I went and got my hair chopped. Okay, so actually, I already had an appointment that day which I had made over a week before with the intention of getting my bangs trimmed and my ends tidied up.

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(One last shot of the my long-haired self right before The Big Chop)

When I marched into my stylist, Hollie’s, salon and answered her usual, “What are we doing today?” question with, “Hacking it all off,” it’s no wonder that she stuttered a little as she said, “Uuuuh, a-a-all off?” (What can I say, I was feeling drastic).

But when I showed her the inspiration collage that I showed you last Friday, she was all, “Let’s do this thang!” (We say stuff like that in Texas). And so we did that thang.

And you know what?

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I luuuuuurve it!

I think my favorite part is the way it angles from shorter to longer from the back to front.

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{Top: Actually a dress from Banana Republic, $13, Skirt: Clothes Mentor, $12, Shoes: Urban Outfitters, $20}

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But let’s stop talking about my hair for a minute (oh, yes, please, Abbie!) and discuss that rockin’ skirt, shall we?

I bought it on the same trip to Clothes Mentor during which I scored all of those fantastic designer jeans because, well, it was just too happy to pass up. I was drawn to it immediately, but it was two sizes too big (on the tag anyway). So, as I stood there deliberating and desperately wishing it were my size, the manager said, “You know, I love that skirt. It’s a Neiman Marcus exclusive, and I only get a couple like that in every year. You should buy it!”

Call me a sucker for a clever sales pitch if you want, but the truth is that I didn’t need much convincing. It’s incredibly well-made, and to find something so unique and fun for only $12 is such a rare thing that I promised myself that I would find a way to alter her if need be.

Turns out, the need didn’t be. Instead of hitting me at the waist, she sits at my hips, and the natural fullness of the skirt works well in a larger size. 

Plus, I wore it on a date with my husband and the twins, and I really think it’s the ideal date-with-children (now there’s an oxymoron) skirt since a) it’s not fitted, thus allowing for maximum breadstick consumption, and b) it has approximately 52 different colors and patterns, both of which are great for hiding spills and baby drool.

And then was this little ditty

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{Top: Target, $12, Skirt: Clothes Mentor, $15, Shoes: Clothes Mentor, $10}

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I do believe that this skirt is how the first one is *supposed to fit. But it’s not nearly as conducive to carb consumption, which would make me sad, except that I wore it to church, where the only things I ingested were a tiny bit of communion bread and grape juice. You better believe I loosened up those zippers for lunch, though.

And now, since I feel that a recap is in order for this rather rambly post, here’s the takeaway, folks:

If you have a really great haircut you want, go for it. After all, as one reader so eloquently put it: “I think we get way too caught up in the vanity that is the strands growing from our dermis–eww.” (Ew, indeed).

Oh, and if you have a Clothes Mentor near you, go for it too. There are some fantastic deals to be had.

And now, my friends, it is time for me to return to the real world where laundry and dirty diapers await me.

It’s been fun! See you tomorrow!

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5 Things Thursday: Oh, What a Dollar Can Buy!

Well. I know one thing about you guys now. You like jeans. A lot. All but one of the 7 pairs were gone in an hour yesterday. Wow.

So, I’m thinking that maybe I should post some more designer jeans, huh? If you have a size/brand that you’d like me to keep an eye out for, I will gladly. Just shoot me an email, and I’ll do my best to find you a good deal! (I always thought “personal shopper” would be an awesome side job).

And since we’re on the topic of great deals, I thought I might share 5 finds that I scored recently for—wait for it—one dollar. Every single one of them is something I either a) wanted already or b) have a totally awesome place for even though I wasn’t already hunting for it.

1.

An adorable decorative bowl from Hobby Lobby. It has a little chip in it, but I plan to use my friend, Mandy’s, succulent hack to fix that, which is perfect since the poor little plant has been languishing in it’s ugly plastic sleeve since I bought it.

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2.

These pretty, matted paintings were $1 each at Goodwill. I love the soft, yet vivid colors and the charming scenes, and I’ve got a little section of wall that’s just begging for something just like this.

dollar deal

3.

The next three things were bought at an outdoor tent sale at a local Mommy and Me consignment store. Everything there was $1, and I scored lots of great deals for Della and even some friends who are having babies (who don’t care if they get gently used awesome baby clothes as gifts).

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I can’t wait to see Della’s reaction to this princess-y dress. She big fat loves all things tulle and tutu-ish (she asks for “my skirt” to wear over her p.j.s every night before bed). I’m saving it for her birthday in November because it’s still a tad big for her, but I’m thinking it will be a huge hit. And since it only cost $1, I can definitely afford to splurge a little on the wooden kitchen I hope to get her to go with this next find.

4.

That would be an oh-so-cute wooden Kid Craft stand-mixer for only one smackeroo! Della looooooooves to help me cook, so I’m thinking she’ll be pretty excited to have some gear of her own.

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5.

And, finally, we have the coup d’état, the piece de resistance, the dollar deal to top all other dollar deals:dollar deal3 

That would be a pair of Joyfolie shoes in very good condition. FOR. ONE. DOLLAR. I spotted them from across the parking lot as soon as I got there, and I literally ran (while holding two car seats; so, really more like shuffled rapidly) over and snatched them up, all while casting wild glances around for possible rival swoopers. I was ready to pull out my BODYCOMBAT moves (I’ve always wondered what would happen if I’m ever attacked; would I seriously throw down or land one punch and be like, “Ow! Real hitting hurts!” I’m guessing the latter). Fortunately, no one got in my way, and the feverish BARGAINOFTHEYEAR haze cleared from my mind before anyone got hurt.

If you’re not familiar with Joyfolie, you should be, if for no other reason than that Jessica’s lovely shoes are fun to drool over, even if you can’t (or aren’t willing to) afford their price tags.

I actually wrote about them as my inspiration for making reversible baby booties, and I even got to get my hands on two pairs that Jessica was nice enough to send me at a steep discount for twins.

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You better believe I was doing a major happy dance over all my awesome dollar loot. $5 for shoes, a princess dress, a toy, a bowl, and some art ain’t too shabby if you ask me.

What’s the best dollar deal you’ve ever scored?

Also, if you have any tips on finding one of those really cute wooden play kitchens for a great deal, I’m all ears! (I’m looking for something along these lines).

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Try-it Tuesday: Retail Haggling—the art of paying what you want (and not a penny more)

Today’s Try-it Tuesday is a little bit of a left-fielder because it’s neither a craft project, a DIY how-to, nor a recipe.

Instead, today, I’m going to tell you how I use my haggling skills to get amazing deals at retail stores.

Some of you may be scratching your heads, wondering what in tarnation I’m not talking about.  So let’s start with the basics.

Haggle: (verb) to bargain or wrangle (over a price, terms of an agreement, etc).

Did you know you could do that at a retail store? Or have you always assumed that the price on the tag is the price. The end.

To be clear, in most retail scenarios, this is true. I am not recommending that you march into your local GAP, pick up a cute sweater, and say to the closest sales attendant, “I like this, but I’ve only got $20 in my wallet. I know it says $68, but how’s about I give you my twenty, and we call it even?”

You will get nothing from this…except laughed at…or, worst case scenario, tossed out of the store.

However, when it comes to items that a store is motivated to move, there is wiggle room. And sometimes, in very rare cases, it’s more like shake-your-fanny-and-do-the-twist room.

You may be thinking something like, “So…basically what you’re telling me is that if I want some store’s leftover junk, then I might get a bit of an extra discount if I ask for it.”

Sure. Probably.

But what I’m talking about today is getting items that are still available for full-price elsewhere for itsy-bitsy fractions of what you would have to pay for them normally.

Case in point:

Below are pictures of the loot that I scored at the Pottery Barn outlet where we stopped on our way back from San Antonio yesterday:

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So, for $455 worth of retail items, I paid a whopping $75 (tax included).

Most of that was because I was buying items that were already marked at 75% or more off of the retail price.

But that last item…the capiz pendant…oh, baby, did I score there.

Here are my general tips, and then I’ll tell you the story of the light:

1) Find an item on clearance that you actually want and can use. (I’ve definitely been guilty of the, “Hey, it’s cheap, so why not?” attitude and then regretted it).

2) Thoroughly check the item for any defects. If you find any, decide whether you can live with them.

3) Decide how much you want to pay/think the item’s worth.

4) Find a manager and ask him if he can do any better on the price.

5) If he tells you a price you think is worth it…great! Walk out the door with your newly acquired, deeply discounted item.

6) If he tells you a price you’re still not willing to pay, give the item one last lingering look, thank him kindly, and start to walk away…slowly.

7) 9 times out of 10, if that manager is motivated to move the item, he will stop you and ask you to come back and tell him what price you had in mind.

8) Tell him that number. He will often counter with a number that is somewhere between yours and his original “best deal.” Again, if it works for you, take your item to the front and pay happily. If it’s still not low enough to be worth your while, thank him kindly and walk away, for real this time. If the manager really wants the item off the floor, he will stop you again and meet your price. If he thinks he can sell it for more, he won’t, and you will be confident in the knowledge that you tried your best but didn’t spend unnecessary money.

9) When in doubt, play the husband card. Let’s face it: a lot of managers are men. And when they hear a woman saying that she can’t/won’t pay more than X amount for an item, they will usually try to convince you that you really do need/want it more than you say you do. So, I’ve learned to simply say, “I completely understand why you can’t go lower. But my husband would not want me to pay more than__________.” For some reason, this seems to be effective on both male/female managers.

10) Emphasize that you can take it “right now.” Something about those magical words seems to be extra-motivational for managers who might be thinking, “I could probably get more, but how many more conversations like this will I have to have before I finally sell this thing 2 weeks from now. Ugh.”

Here are the specifics of how I got my chandelier (the very chandelier that I had been drooling over every time a new Pottery Barn catalogue showed up in my mailbox for the past year) for 1/7 of the original price.

While happily browsing the Pottery Barn Outlet with Adelaide strapped on the front of me in the Baby Bjorn, my eyes locked onto the box with my beloved capiz pendant inside. There was only one. I checked the tag: $89.99. It was originally $199.

capiz pendant

Proof that it still has a home on the Pottery Barn website for full price.

Honestly, my initial thought was, “I’d be soooo tempted if I had a specific place for it, but $90 for something that I don’t need is too much.”

Then, the guy working that section walked up and asked if I needed help.

Per #3 from my list from above, I made a quick mental note of what I would be willing to pay ($50, btw) for the dream light I didn’t technically need but could think of at least 5 places I’d love to put it and asked him if he could do any better on the price. He looked at the tag and said he could do $69.99.

Better, but still too high for me and my chintzy self.

Did I want to look at it?

Yes. I did. If only to see what I couldn’t have in person and run my fingers along its loveliness.

Well, lo and behold, when we took it out of the box, some of the petals were damaged. Not the kind of damage you could really see without looking closely, and it was almost all at the top where someone had taken it out of the box and then smooshed it back down.  And nobody sees the top of a light fixture like this one anyway. So, per #2 on my list, I decided I could live with it.

He looked over the damage and said, “Well, because of this, I could come down to $49.99.”

Well, my goodness. There was the $50 price I had decided on in my head. But that price had been for an undamaged item and a total “wish” price since I hadn’t expected him to come down to it to begin with.

Did I want to see it lit up?

Why, certainly. (This guy was super-nice, by the way; maybe I should always have cute baby girls strapped to the front of me when I go shopping).

By the time he had put a bulb in it and plugged it in, I had adjusted the price-in-my-head for the damage and decided on a plan of action.

I gazed lovingly at the beautiful, glowing light and said, “I love it. I really do. But unless you can do something crazy low like $30, I think I’ll have to pass. I don’t think my husband will go for my buying a damaged light we don’t need unless it’s an absolute steal. If you can do $30, I will walk out with it right this second.” 

And then I shut. my. mouth.

That poor man spent the next 5 minutes talking himself into giving me that light for $30, and the only things I said were, “Mm hmm,” “I totally understand,” and “You’re absolutely right.”

This is important. If you want a price, and you sense that a manager might come down to it, do not argue with him about why you should only have to pay what you want. Just put it out there, be quiet, and be kind (which is pretty good life advice too, now that I think about it).

If they’re going to meet your price, they will respond to your politeness. If they aren’t, no amount of wheedling or bickering will change their minds, and you will have made a bad impression for future battles discussions if it’s a place you frequent.

True story: when we were building our house, we got everything from wool rugs to light fixtures to faucets to toilets to…you name it…from our local Lowe’s for anywhere from 75-90% off—all things we needed and would have paid oodles more for elsewhere and usually with much nicer brand-names than we would have normally chosen because of the original price-tags—because we haunted the clearance aisles on a biweekly basis, and we got to know the manager. Really well. In fact, I’m pretty sure every time he saw me coming, his first reaction was to groan and his second was to wrack his brain for things he might be able to sell me at rock-bottom prices so that they weren’t sitting around his store floor.

His name was Ben. He was professional, he was honest, and in a very platonic, non-husband-threatening kind of way, I loved him.

But even if you never meet your Ben, don’t be afraid to ask for great deals.

Yes, you will run into the occasional manager who acts like you’re trying to rob them simply by asking, but most of the time, these are reasonable individuals who would rather sell at a lower price to you, the nice, polite, smiley lady with the cute baby today than at their top price to a less motivated customer a week from now.

Hopefully, you’ve enjoyed my novel (I might have gotten a little carried away) on retail haggling and find the courage to “try-it” sometime soon.

I would love to know…have you ever scored an awesome retail deal using nothing but your wits, your determination, and maybe a few eyelash flutters?

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