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SHOPPING HACK: How I Paid Only $47.31 for $100 shoes

I’m actually really impressed with myself for this one!

Last week I got my tax return, so I have some money to buy things that I’ve been needing/wanting.  That doesn’t mean I’m going to go out and spend all of the money without looking for the best possible deals though.  My brown dress shoes for work are getting a little ratty and smelly, so I went looking for a replacement.

I’m going to break this down into a few steps.


I went to a discount shoe store, Off Broadway, to find some good brand name shoes for a discount.  I like going to that store because they have TONS of options to choose from that I wouldn’t find otherwise at most department stores or single brand store.

I tried on a bunch of different shoes and was looking for something under $80.  I found this pair for that actual price and they fit perfectly and I liked the way they looked.

While holding the shoes considering the purchase, I figured I’d look online for better prices.  They were the same exact price on Amazon, so I figured since I know the fit that works I’ll go home and think before spending $80 plus tax.


This is the easy part that everyone knows about.  I just Googled the shoe brand and style then clicked on “shopping” under the toolbar to find Google’s shopping comparison.  I saw that the lowest price was still the $80 one, but this was on a few sites where it was listed for sale.


Last Christmas I went home to New York for a few days.  My brother mentioned sites like Cardpool and Saveya that you can buy discounted gift cards from.  He was skeptical but tried it and it worked.  This seemed like a good time for me to try this out.

I looked at all of the sites that were selling these shoes for the same discount, or at least close to what I saw at Off Broadway and Amazon.  Then I cross-checked them with the gift card sites and saw that JC Penny had a lot of highly discounted gift cards and the shoes were on sale for 80% off, coming to $80.


So at this point I found a cheap gift card for JC Penny from Cardpool, saving 20% right there PLUS the 20% sale price of the shoes.  I got to the checkout to make sure the sale was going to be right before I bought the gift card and then my Honey Chrome extension offered to use some promo codes.  I totally forgot I even had that extension installed!

Honey ran through 10 different codes and landed on one that saved me $20.  Now I’m at $59.99 for $100 shoes, but then tax and shipping come into play.

Shipping was another $7.95, but I had the option to avoid that and pick up in store, so I obviously picked that.

With tax the total price of the $100 shoes were now $65.39.  That is $35.61 in savings…SO FAR!


I saw a card for $52.31 that somehow hit the exact $65.39 gift card.  In other terms, I was able to buy a $65.39 (exact price I owed) gift card for $52.31.

Then on the checkout page I saw the option to use a coupon code for Cardpool.  Then straight to Google!

The first result from RetailMeNot got me a code for $5 off as a first time customer.

$5 off, now I only had to pay $47.31 for the gift card!


$100 shoes – 20% discount at JC Penney = $79.99

$79.99 – $20 Honey promo code = $59.99

+tax = $65.39

$65.39 gift card for $52.31 – $5 promo code


Online Tricks for Frugal Back-to-School Shopping

Online Tricks for Frugal Back-to-School Shopping

It’s only July and your kids would rather not think about their education just now, but a frugal parent is frugal the year round. There many reasons to both worry and rejoice. One of the challenges of preparing your kids for school is avoiding overspending on school supplies. The economic climate is still unforgiving, and splurging on back-to-school (not) basics as seen on TV is not an option.

On a brighter note, the back-to-school period provides many opportunities to save some cash. Coupons, discounts, promotions, you name it.  Outlets and retailers know that shopping spree is just around the corner, so they try to show the customers they need look no further than their own storefront.

The secret code

back-to-school-183533_640Back-to-school shopping requires a solid plan as a foundation. A good place to start is the list of necessary supplies that many schools make available to kids and their parents. Once you get hold of it, you should come up with ways to save money. The late summer is the best time to look for a bargain.

The chances are, your kid brought home some supplies at the end of the last year. See what you already have, and whether it can be used again. Set a budget and make the effort to stick to it. Kids are not the only ones who should do their homework- it’s your turn now.

Last-minute shopping can be stressful, but know that finding frugal deals doesn’t take much time.  Some weekly ads end up at your doorstep, and others you can find online as coupons. Pay attention because some of them have a quantity limit, while others may require a mail-in rebate. You can subscribe to email lists of preferred retailers as well.

Also, you can rely on coupon codes, or special discounts that internet retailers provide. Note that the codes are often not in a plain sight, so not everyone can take advantage of them.  Check coupon codes designated for specific popular websites. Amazon is still the most popular online shopping platform, even though the Chinese Alibaba is gaining up on it at a shocking rate. Still, keep your eyes on Amazon’s promotional codes. Another great place to stay on the lookout for digital coupons are any parenting blogs that you might be following. One thing is for sure- there is no shortage of digital coupon promotion during the back-to-school shopping season.

Two for one, all in one

pencil-602440_640Some things you can still do the old-fashioned way, in case you missed some good online bargains. Visit local stores and check if they offer back-to-school sales. Before the school year begins, you should be able to find many special promotions such as “two for one” deals. Go through the ads and circulars, and see what products have shipping and tax included, which is always a good deal.

Doing the shopping during tax-free days also helps to save some green, and that’s a good time to buy some back-to-school clothes. Make sure you pay a visit to thrift shops, since you can pick some cheap and high-quality merchandise. There are also some nice online stores you can check out. And don’t worry, second hand doesn’t mean damaged or anything like that. Ever since that Macklemore song, it means swag. Sort of.

On the sunny side of the street

The shopping frenzy might be a kid’s favorite part of going back to school, but try not to spend a fortune. Choose the time you go shopping carefully, and hit stores that offer discounts and promotions. Get the best bank for your buck, don’t try your luck. Explore online shopping and always strive to find the best deals around. With coupons you can score many products for less, and end-of summer sales are all around you. So, is it just me, or has the summer just gotten a little sunnier?

Frugal Pet Care Hacks

If you own a pet, you probably feel a deep connection with it. I myself perceive my pets as family members in a way. My two dogs are my friends and I take care of them like I would take care of my own children. They are very special to me. I try to give them the best possible living conditions in my home. But taking care of two dogs doesn’t come so easy or cheap for that matter. So here is some advice that I hope will be useful for all of you pet owners out there.

Pet care money saving tricks

cat-205757_640If you want your pets to be healthy and happy, you will have to provide them with nutritious pet food, vaccinations, regular visits to the good old vet and some grooming and de-worming treatments. All of this takes some serious money spending but there are tricks for saving money that can be real life savers. First of all, before ever getting a pet think about visiting pet rescue centers. I got one of my dogs from a dog rescue center, and one I picked up from the street myself. Purebred dogs can cost a fortune. If you go to a dog rescue center you will be able to adopt a beautiful dog for free. These dogs are usually alone in the world and did not have an easy time, so if you decide to adopt, you might save their lives by providing them with a loving home. Emotionally, this is a more satisfying approach to meeting with your new pet. So, if you want to get a dog for free and be humane at the same time, try this option.

As far as food is concerned, you should not buy great quantities of food that is very cheap and of bad quality. You will just give that extra money you save to the vet later. You can browse the Internet for better pet food that is healthy and nutritious and give your pet recommended doses only. Stock up on good quality pet food on sales you can find on the Internet and in pet stores, and always try to be informed of these sales. This is also a way to save money. A wise move is to take your pet to the vet occasionally, if its mood should change. Mood swings are usually indicative of a pain they may be suffering, and waiting it out makes the scale of damage greater, the pet more uncomfortable, and treatment more expensive.

As for obligatory medication – de-worming and such, any vet’s office has special offers every couple of months. With both of my dogs I managed to score a cheaper vet’s office session where they were de-wormed and received their microchip implants in one go.

Home grooming and accessorizing

dog-garden-girl-4273-825x550Grooming your pets in pet saloons can be very expensive. You pet doesn’t need to have a modern haircut or have its fur died. Let’s face it, this is not natural for your pet and it can be an expensive and unnecessary luxury. Your pet should be clean and its nails should be trimmed and this is the only grooming your pet really needs in order to be healthy and happy. You can do all of this at home by yourself.  That is unless you have a poodle, or another breed whose fur grows incessantly. Poodles require haircuts, but owners can give them, themselves. My mother has a poodle, and she trims her fur at home – not for cutting expenses, but because the dog is a rescue, and very wary of strangers, and we still haven’t found a professional groomer/dog whisperer for the job.

There is also the question of accessories for pets. Should your pet be covered with clothes, jewelry and bling? Vets say that it is not natural for them to be dressed at all times or covered in dog jewelry. It makes them nervous, anxious and unhappy. So spending your money on these things isn’t really a good idea. Your pet needs a collar and a leash, and everything else is up to you. However, if you live someplace where the winters are harsh, and your pet has short fur, you will be needing a coverup of some sort, to protect it from the cold. An old sweatshirt should do the trick, and if the dog is a smaller breed – the leg of a pair of sweatpants.

Top Black Friday Coupon Codes

It’s that time of year again!  Whether you are buying gifts for friends/family or you’re just ready to buy some stuff for yourself at a crazy deal, you’re likely to find a good discount this Black Friday or Cyber Monday.  The good news this year…lots of these rock bottom prices are going on from Thanksgiving until the first week of December.  Some…not all!

2014 Black Friday/Cyber Monday Deals

Alienware Computers



  • Get $100 off single GPU upgrades, $200 of Dual GPU upgrades, and $300 off triple GPU upgrades on select Alienware PCs! Free shipping!




Auto Parts Warehouse



























Chicago Steak Company


Coffee Wholesale USA


Disney Store


Entertainment Book


 Guitar Center


  • 15% off Single Item $99 or more
    • Coupon code: BLACKFRIDAY.
    • Deal ends November 30, 2014






New Balance








Discount Amazon Prime Membership $49

The regular Amazon Prime membership can certainly pay for itself over the course of a year with all of the free shipping offers and also all of the other offers that I’m sure a lot of people don’t realize they are getting.

An Amazon Prime account usually costs $99 per year, up $20 over the 2013 price.  But, there is a way you can get the account for just $49.  I’ll call it the student hack.

Amazon Prime Student accounts only cost $49 per year, and you technically don’t need to be a student to get it.

If you are currently attending a college, you should have an email addrss from your university that ends in .edu.  Also, lots of colleges let you keep your .edu email address after you graduate.

To get this discounted Amazon Prime rate, all you need to do is sign up with your .edu email address from the college that you attend now, or graduated from.

Amazon Prime Student benefits include:

  • Free two-day shipping
  • Free release date delivery of video games
  • Unlimited photo storage
  • 30 minute exclusive access to Lightning Deals and special discount events on
  • Free access to books on Kindle First
  • Ad-free listening to millions of songs on the Amazon music library
  • Streaming of movies and TV shows with Prime Instant Video

Another “hack” you can use to get free stuff with prime, is the not so urgent shipping option.  Sure, Prime is great for getting free 2 day shipping, but if you aren’t in a hurry you can get free shipping (delayed a bit) and get a $1 credit for purchasing books, ebooks, music, and streaming movies.  You can bank all of those credits and get completely free books and movies, technically.

Sign up to Amazon Prime Student here..

Food Network Oktoberfest Discount

Groupon is making it easier for you to get into the Food Network New York City Wine & Food Festival’s Oktoberfest event in New York this October!

Prices from Groupon are only for a limited time and will either jump up or disappear.  Right now you can use this deal to get each ticket for $99.

Tickets will gain you entry into this fun event that offeres a 30,000 square foot beer garden in Long Island City.  You’ll be able to feast on German specialties like sauerkraut, schnitzel and strudel (and beer obviously).