Saturday, June 13, 2009

Retail Therapy: Catalog Envy

If you're like me, a stack of glossy catalogs arrives at your house almost every day. Whether it is Williams-Sonoma with its array of shiny pans or Hanna Andersson and her line of cozy clothes, catalogs can fuel our need for things we don't really need. Call me crazy but catalogs that come to my house go directly to my recycling bin. I can't need the red Kitchen Aid mixer with the dough hook and pasta attachment if I don't stare at it on page 17. And the last thing my dear daughter needs is another dress. While my method of immediate recycling may sound severe, it gives me a greater feeling of contentment with what I already have when I can avoid paging through attractive displays of what I don't have. No catalog envy = no needless spending.

Cheap and Cheerful wants to know: How tempting are catalogs to you? Do you have an effective method for reducing catalog envy?

Deal of the Day: Boots Body Scrub

Are your feet flip flop ready? Or maybe your piggies need a pedi before they make their debut? I love body scrubs that are also tough enough to tackle my toes. After all, how many scrubs does a woman need in her medicine cabinet? Boots, sold at Target, offers a fantastic line of scrubs; my favorite is the Olive, Bergamot and Walnut scent. Priced at $9.99, your feet will look fantastic without draining your piggy bank.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Deal of the Day: Tiny Prints

Colorful stationery is so much fun. And I might be a little bit addicted to monogrammed items. So when I find pretty mongrammed cards at a great price, I get excited. Tiny Prints never fails to deliver -- so many cute products and prices starting at $.99 per card. Not to mention, the site often offers free or discounted shipping. (And free shipping is another thing I might be a little bit addicted to, but more on that another time.) Even if you aren't in the market for new cards, the site is fun for browsing!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Beg, Borrow and Steal: Swap much?

'Tis the season for summer reading! Longer days and lazier schedules create a mood for stacking up a nice collection of books near your favorite cozy spot. There's nothing I like better than cracking open a book and a Sprite Zero while reclining in a comfy lawn chair. (Well, this actually doesn't ever happen but I wish I did.)

So, how will you amass your summer selections? Instead of buying books at your local Barnes and Noble or checking them out from the library, why not organize a book swap with your friends? Simply fill a bag with books and arrange a central location for the swap. (I don't know about you but the local frozen yogurt spot would work just fine!) Everyone who brings books goes home with their bag filled with fresh titles.

There are two things I love about this idea: No "library pressure" (a.k.a the three week time limit to finish the book) and No cash out of your pocket. (Well, maybe $3 for that frozen yogurt!) Happy Reading.

Cheap and Cheerful wants to know: What's on your summer reading list for 2009?

Under Construction

We're just getting started! Cheap and Cheerful is an official "work in progress".
However, to keep you reading, we wanted to highlight what we hope will be some of the regular features of this site.

Jennifer will write about the following:
Retail Therapy: Why and How to curb your impulse buying
Grocery Game: Getting the most for your money on food
Beg, Borrow, and Steal: Who says nothing in life is free?

Margaret will cover:
Fashion Fix: Repurposing clothing and accessories to create fresh new looks from your own closet
Savvy Shopper: Great clothing, accessories and make-up with more bang for your buck

We will both tackle:
Deal of the Day: Highlighting great bargains and sweet steals
Favorite Things: Cheap and Cheerful's favorite items that are worth your money everyday of the year
Monthly Cheap and Cheerful Challenges: July's CCC will be swearing off single serving items for 31 days. Are you game? More details to follow.

Plus, we'd love to hear what YOU would love to see. Please post a comment with your ideas.

Grocery Game: Adios Trader Joe's

Breaking up is hard to do. But Trader Joe's and I had to bid each other adieu about 6 months ago. The relationship was growing sour. Four resuable bags filled with "treats" for $100!?!

While TJ's is a trove of tasty treats, it can also be a trap for overspending. The $2.99 clamshell of strawberries from Trader Joe's just can't match up with four pounds of strawberries for $4.99 at Safeway.

My philosophy about breaking up with stores that break your bank is "Out of sight, out of mind." If you can't gaze at the lovely Chocolatey Cat Cookies, you can't be sad when they don't get plopped into your shopping cart.

Cheap and Cheerful wants to know: What is your "soft spot" store and how do you sidestep the spending trap that the store presents?

Deal of the Day: Flip Camera

Have you been looking for a great deal on a Father's Day gift?
This may be your ticket: the first "generation" Flip Video camera is on sale for 63% off.
Check it out:

Granted, Flip has just launched its HD version of this same camera, thus the attractive price cut.
But, if you're like me, and just want to catch family moments on film, this camera will do the job nicely. We've got the 60 minute version but I've never filled up the memory before uploading videos. After all, it's pretty easy to plug the camera into your USB port and follow the instructions on the pre-loaded software.

Anyway, I'm no company spokesperson but I love my Flip and I know a cheap and cheerful deal!

Retail Therapy: Need this?

Let's just put the obvious out there: Shopping is fun. Getting a coveted item of clothing, a new set of golf clubs, the latest electronic device, or a tube of red lipstick makes us feel good. When you're out shopping and caught up in a wave of the "gimmes", it gets hard to differentiate between needs and wants. After all, the dress is cute, right? And it's 20% off, right? So what's the harm in throwing it in your shopping bag?

Well, there's no harm if it's in the budget. And there is absolutely no harm if you really need it. But there you have it ... the two big questions you have to ask yourself before you hand over the debit card: Do I need it? Can I afford it? If you answer "No" to either one, put the item back and move on. Each time you resist an impulse purchase, you are one step closer to sticking to your budget. (And maybe even one step closer to a cuter dress that is an even better deal at a time when you can afford it and do need it. Delayed gratification can be your friend!)

More on Retail Therapy to come ...

Money Mantra #1: Buying Cheap

"If you buy cheap, it is always cheap." -- Ike

Saving money isn't just about getting a great price on an already inexpensive item. After all, would you want a pair of Mossimo heels if you could get an equally fabulous price on a pair of gorgeous Kate Spade pumps?

Being a savvy shopper takes some time but it comes with some awesome perks.
Part of this blog will be dedicated to sharing our savvy shopper techniques with you.

But for today, our new money mantra is "If you buy cheap, it is always cheap."
Keep this in mind: Those Kate Spade pumps will last several years while a cheap imitation may only last a season. We'll help you avoid "buying cheap" so you can invest your hard earned dollars in a quality item at a competitive price.

More later ...

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Deal of the Day: Land's End Backpack

Check out this adorable kid-sized backpack from Land's End.

You can't beat the $9.99 price. And it comes in red, green, blue, and orange.

Personalize it with your favorite pre-school graduate's name and you've got a great gift for under $20. You can find this sweet deal at:


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