Thursday, July 30, 2009

Affordable Doggie Daycare

Recently, because of some neighbor complaints, I was tasked to find affordable doggie daycare options. Several months ago, I figured out that a dog walker was the cheapest route to go, at $15 per 30 min. walk the lowest rate via Craigslist walkers. Unfortunately, the neighbors complained about Jack's barking, so I had to find a solution that wouldn't break the bank.

Most commercial facilities charge about $35 per day. They are indoors, concrete pens with a few couches and plastic playground equipment. Urban Dog was the most convenient choice, very close to my home, at $37 a day with a doggie camera that you can use to spy on your furry friend.

After exhaustive searches online, I came across Paws Penthouse. It's a private home, no cages or kennels, a nice back and front yard with staff who watch the dogs all day long. At $25 a day, this was the most affordable place. If you go 5 days a week, it's only $20 a day. This place looks better than the pictures. It's a lovely home with a nice front and back yard, all very secure, very homey. They charge $50 a night for boarding. So far, Jack seems happy at Paws Penthouse!

Paws Penthouse

I am sure there are other homeowners out there who run doggie daycares, but they must be more word-of-mouth vs. advertising or online. Vets, dog owners at dogparks are all good sources for information. Ask around!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow? Conair Hair Accessory Grab Bag $2.99!

I was at my local Westwood CVS Pharmacy earlier today, picking up travel sized shampoos for my trip to San Antonio. On the way out, I noticed an end cap of Conair Hair Accessories. It's a grab bag of goodies that every woman should have in her hair emergency kit. Each one was a little different. The entire goodie bag was only $2.99, much less than I would pay for the elastic ponytail ties alone (which by the way are totally fab!).

  • 30 Elastic Ponytail ties in assorted colors
  • 2 Brown with rhinestone ponytail ties
  • 1 fabulous claw clip (which I am wearing now) stays in your hair and looks great!
  • 1 black and silver headband (which actually looks super cute!)
  • 1 jeweled barrette (not really my style, but I'll hang on to it)
  • All for only $2.99 at your local CVS!
Drop by and banish bad hair for under $3!

Make Me Chic Sale 7/17 - 7/20, Starting at $5

Make Me Chic just announced a special sale on shoes and clothing starting at only $5. There are some adorable sandals on sale for about $7, including gladiator style flats and ballet shoes. These chic gladiator sandals are only $8 and they have a ton of others and an assortment of to choose from - ranging from thong sandals, to cute ones with ankle straps.

Stock up on hot summer sandals here for a fraction of the price.
These cute gaucho pants come in white, black and green and are only $9.

Shoe Sale At Sierra Trading Post Today Only

Sierra Trading Post is featuring 60-90% off footwear on select items, with free shipping! Check out the site and filter through the shoes by style and size. Additional savings are shown as a sale price with a line through it. This sale was sent to me via the dealflyer. Also note, with some items, when I checked out, even more savings applied than what was listed. I'm not sure why, but try it out. I grabbed a pair of these comfy Dansko sandals in a neutral butterscotch, for my vacation. Sensible shoes that aren't too terribly ugly. Dansko Daria Sandals listed as $120, on sale for $62.36, only $48 when I checked out.

Email me if you want the dealflyer forwarded to you to ensure you can take advantage of the savings.

A few of the bargains include:
Vanelli Loic Sandals: originally $90 and on sale for only $27.96
Unisa Paolo Dress Shoes: Originally $74 and on sale for $34.06
IOS Athena Sandals: originally $59 and on sale for only $11.21
Double H Kendra Sandals: originally $150 and on sale for only $17.56
Rogue Mariposa Sandals originally $90 and on sale for only $38.96

Too many great deals to really post on both men and women's shoes! Check it out and grab a bargain.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Taking Your Time to Find the Best Deal

I usually don't buy big ticket items unless I get a killer deal. How do I do it? You have to put in some time to research it and be patient. Here's my tried and true deal ritual!

1. Take a baseline of lowest prices without any rebates or sales. A good way to do this is to go to Google Shopping, enter in key words, the more specific the better and sort by lowest price. Be sure to click on the links to check it out and make sure it's legitimately offered at the price in the preview and not a part or accessory.

2. Visit Slickdeals and Fatwallet. Go to their hot deals forum and search for keywords. This is a mecca for deal sharing. People will tell you where to buy things, how to price match, what rebate are offered, link to reviews of products, etc. It takes some getting used to, as far as finding your way around, but it's an invaluable site. Fatwallet also allows you to set up deal alerts when posts are made with your keywords.

3. If you are OK with buying used, check Ebay and Craigslist. You can save shipping charges and taxes if you buy from these sites.

4. Make sure you know of all rebates offered and any instant savings. Do a google search of the product name and the word "rebate" to ensure you aren't missing any manufacturer or seller rebates, also do one with the merchant name and "coupon code" if you purchase from an online vendor. I also sometimes click through on Google Shopping because some vendors offer instant savings or "hidden" savings that don't show until you add the item to your cart.

5. Buy from a reputable vendor, save your order #s and confirmations. Don't forget to follow through with rebates. Scan all submitted documents for reference and add a reminder on your calendar to follow up with rebate submissions at a future date per the guidelines included on your rebate.

6. Look for cashback websites. These are websites where if you have an account, then click on a retailer through their Cash Back retailer directory, you earn a percentage of your purchase back to you. After a window of time, you can transfer the funds to your Paypal account, bank account, etc. Fatwallet offers cash back, as well as BigCrumbs and Mr. Rebates.

Online Shopping - Made Simple

With years of experience buying birthday gifts, clothes for work, clothes for leisure and all sorts of specialty items, I wanted to share my comprehensive list for bargain online shopping sites. Suggestions are welcome and look for updates.
From household items, shoes and apparel, this is a great site and a breeze to navigate. There used to be plentiful online coupon codes, but nowadays they are scarce. Shipping is a flat $2.95, so bulky and heavy items are no longer out of reach. Imagine buying a TV stand or couch and it shipping to your house for only $2.95! The UPS man will hate you, but talk about convenience! I bought my lovely Philips LCD TV from Overstock and the price still holds up after all these years. Users are pretty good at submitting reviews, which is very helpful in making decisions. You can learn a lot about fit, comfort and quality by scanning the reviews.

I purchase a lot of my bedding and shoes from Overstock. Great quality and prices. Returns and exchanges are relatively hassle free.

Sierra Trading Post
This is more of a sporting good and sportswear site. Think Bass Pro Shops or REI. They have incredible bargains on athletic shoes, hiking sandals and some comfort-based fashion shoes. With brands like Ecco, Columbia, Merrell and Teva, you can't miss. Also another site where avid reviewers share their two cents so you can make an informed decision. I also have found great outdoor dog supplies (portable bowls, backpacks, leashes, etc.) Their products are high quality and their prices can't be beat. Returns and exchanges are relatively hassle free. Online coupon codes are pretty easy to find. Once you purchase, they include a card in your shipment for 35% off your next purchase.

This is a great website for women's fashions. A small, but good selection of clothes for work, shoes and evening gowns at reasonable prices. The quality is pretty good for what it is. A girlfriend of mine bought some super cute sweaters from this site.

Make Me Chic
They offer a very trendy selection of shoes, accessories, dresses and lingerie. You can find cute dresses for around $20 each. Some of the items are kind of "hoochie-mama", but amidst all the glitz are some great timeless finds. A lot of people buy their shoes, although their selection may strike you as "stripper-esque," keep digging, there are some cute bargains. When I made my purchase, they advertised free shipping on $50 or more. Now we'll see how the quality measures up. Update on my purchase soon!

Karma Loop
They offer a youthful collection of edgy street wear for boys and girls, veering towards the "juniors" age. Their prices range from the reasonable to the higher end, but their site is easy to navigate and they have a great selection.

This is THE site for vintage clothing, handmade jewelry, purses and art. It's a veritable hipsters paradise. Great photos, easy to navigate, with one of a kind finds ranging from rockabilly frocks to flapper duds. If you're looking for some unique mod outfits or something wearable for a costume ball or Halloween, this is the place to shop. It's an online marketplace that allows you to buy and sell instantly, without the auction hassle.

The Popular and Somewhat Obvious... Auction Sites and Classifieds
Everyone knows Ebay and Craigslist. One great site if you're looking beyond your local Craigsliste area is You can set the mile radius that you are willing to look and negotiate with sellers to ship items. I found my nifty Yamaha Vino 125 scooter all they way in New Jersey this way.

Christina Tran gave me a great tip on another classified sites called Bonanzle, check it out!

Target, Kohls, Old Navy and JC Penney all have awesome deals online for clothes and home decor. Always google for the name of the retailer and "online coupon" to take advantage of instant coupon codes! If you're a AAA member, your card entitles you to a number of online shopping discounts.

Labels for Less
A lot of people rave about Bluefly, but I haven't been all that impressed. True, they have big brand names, but their prices are not fantastic. You could probably do better looking through clearance racks of high end department stores or cruising Loehman's and Nordstrom Rack. What I've bought from Bluefly hasn't been all that impressive, so I personally am not a big fan.