I’m on a No-Buy

I really need to be more diligent with updating my blog. I wanted to start taking more photos and updating my Instagram, and I’ve just failed. I wish I could say that my life is more exciting and that I have a lot of events to take photos of, but to be truthful I spend most of my time at work or at the time. Next weekend begins the nearly five week long of endless calendar events, so I’m hoping more photos on here will be possible.

I’ve been packing up my apartment now for the past few weeks and I’ve already moved a lot of my belongings out and over to Jake’s house. For some reason though, I don’t feel like I’m getting any where with packing. With packing comes many donations and decluttering. I’ve been trying to get rid of anything I do not use or need, makeup included. I actually threw out makeup on Sunday that I would have never used, big steps here. In turn, I’ve put my self a on a “No Buy” at lease through June, if not July; essentially I’m not allow to buy anything makeup or beauty related, besides essentials. Don’t worry, I failed within the first week, but I’m returning what I purchased because I need to learn my lesson. A ‘no buy’ can sometimes align with a ‘project pan,’ however I’m not that motivated right now.  I do need to go out and purchase some makeup remover, and if I finally finish the bottle, my Urban Decay Setting Spray which absolutely a necessity, especially this time of the year. Aside from that and any travel items that I’ll get for next weekend’s road trip, there’s no new makeup purchases for the next few weeks.

So the purpose of being on a no-buy is to save money and save space. I don’t want to continue to buy products just to move them in a few weeks. I’m hoping to stay on this kick through out the month of June, no promises for the rest of summer.

Major Budgeting

Well unfortunately, I was in a car accident this past week.  I am a-OK, minor sores from the seat belt and jolt, but I am alive and well.  The car on the other hand, is not doing too great.  The car went into the ditch and is well totaled, but what can you do.  I saw the accident happening before I could do anything so I relaxed, grabbed the wheel, and closed my eyes.  I was the most worried about what my mom would think as it was her car.  Sadly, she passed away about a year and half ago and I know she would be happy I’m in one piece, but I did feel bad for a minute.  These things happen and there’s nothing anyone can do about it.  I’m thankful to be alive, unharmed, and have the means to purchase a new car so I can continue to work and make up for what has been lost.

So now that I’ve purchased a new car and I’m back to a major budget, what do I do with my healthy eating habits?  I’m currently on Pinterest looking for some healthy, vegetarian friendly meals.  I purchased a new programmable Crock Pot a few weekends ago and I’d love to use it more for weekly evening meals since it turns over to warm after a set time.  And with slower cooker meals, there’s always left overs for lunch.  Lunch meals are always my main point of concern because I’m the most hungry then.  My dinners tend to be lighter and packed with smaller portions of healthy options, such as cottage cheese, frozen veggies on the side, pretzels, and small leftover.  Often, I run after work and I’m not home until about 6:30 p.m., eating around 7:00 p.m.  I know that doesn’t sound very late, but I’m usually settled around 9:00 p.m. and in bed by 10:25 p.m., right after the weather reports.  Now I want to budget all my meals and say goodbye to any social life for a few weeks.

I have shopped at Aldi’s many times in the past two years, and I honestly enjoy it quite a bit.  I’ve read reviews online that talk pretty poorly of the store, but if you go in with a level head and keep your eye on the good stuff, you can come out with a lower grocery bill.  I will admit, that if you purchase the more processed, sugar, or carb foods your bill will be lower than what I generally pay, but don’t get pulled in by it.  You can get healthy food options at a fair price at Aldi’s.  For me it’s worth it to go and get the basics: eggs, almond milk (unsweetened even!), cottage cheese, quick oats, salad, brown rice, frozen veggies, and fresh fruits and veggies when they’re in season.  You’ll have to “splurge” a bit on frozen salmon, shrimp, or chicken breast (for Jake), but it’s a few dollars cheaper than the big box grocery stores; still worth it!  I can’t speak for the fresh meats as I don’t buy them, but do check it out and see if the price is worth buying.  It can be difficult to purchase the more specifics foods, like certain vegetables, quinoa, healthy dips, vegetable broth at time, and canned soups.  A lot of stock at Aldi is dependent on their weekly shipments and often, popular food sell fast.  The best time to go is right away when the store opens, even if it’s a weekend.  Because the store is smaller than most, you’ll be through within a half an hour for week of groceries.

Learning the skill of basic cooking will go far when you’re on a budget.  I couldn’t do more than scrambled eggs when I moved out, but my ability to look at a recipe and feel confident in making the recipe and have it turn out tasty has gone through the roof.  Even Jake has taken a notice to my cooking skills, and he worked in a restaurant kitchen year ago.  I’d like give my cooking skills a go with hosting a small gathering in the coming year, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

For now, I’m budgeting, meal planning, and keeping my neck and hip relaxed with a heating pad.  Please don’t be fooled by all of this talk of healthy eating and gym time, I do indulge in chocolate or sweets if I crave them, but I do try very hard to eat as healthy as possible.  I’ll be sure to update in a few weeks on my budget and meals.  Remember cutting season is nearly upon us!  And with it, spring which brings safer driving conditions.  Everyone be safe!

Beauty Royalty Programs – The Breakdown

I’m all about saving money and one of the best ways to do that is to join a store’s royalty program.  As many of us are, I’m a member of countless programs.  There’s so many cards in my wallet for stores, I’ve had to add some to my coupon book.  With the iPhone’s new passbook though, I’m able to keep a few in my phone, a digital copy if you will.

So here’s a breakdown of the beauty royalty programs I’m a part of.  I’ll also tell you which ones I prefer, including which drugstore I prefer to shop at.

CVS Pharmacy Extra Care Card

I think that CVS, its royalty program, return policy, and employees are the best.  For a drugstore makeup junkie like me, this store is near perfect.  You can almost always find a BOGO offer on what you’re looking for.  Or they have Extra Bucks Rewards.  These are their rewards to us the shoppers for shopping their.  The first way to earn these is to just shop.  For every $1 you spend in the store, you get about 2% back at the end of the quarter.  You’re able to track this on your account via their website or phone app.  Sometimes these can be given right back to you at the register.  For example, if you spend $10 on L’Oreal makeup, you could get back $3 in Extra Bucks right away.  You can use Extra Bucks to earn more Extra Bucks if you want as well, however, being a retail worker myself I try and refrain from it unless I’m dying for a particular product.

Finally CVS has a great return policy.  You can pretty much return anything you’ve tried and been dissatisfied with.  I feel bad doing this because there’s nothing they can salvage from a used product, but when you can’t test a product or color you have to do what you have to do.  I’ve never had an issue returning something at CVS; they even take back hair products if you didn’t like them.  Please see an in store employee for a full return policy.

Ulta Beauty

If you’re familiar with Ulta’s reward program, you’ve likely been victim to some of it’s restrictions while checking out at the register.  While I agree that the products you can’t use the coupons on many products, it’s still a great way to save some money.  The first thing to do is to sign up for the royalty program no matter how often you shop there.  The reason being is because Ulta will start sending you $3.50 off a $10 purchase coupons in the mail.  If you need to buy staple mascara and eyeliner, that’s a $10 purchase right there.  Wait!  There are restrictions to their coupons.  You cannot use the coupons on their “prestige cosmetics and skin care,” “hair artistry brands,” fragrance, salon services, and some other stuff.

So while you can’t use that $3.50 off your Urban Decay Naked palette purchase, buying the product there still does something for you.  For every $1 you spend in Ulta, you earn a point.  100 points is $3 off ANYTHING in the store, even their prestige items.  You can rack these up for more points, but be aware unless you’re platinum status they do expire every quarter kind of like at CVS.  Easy ways to start accumulating points at Ulta are buying your basic there: cotton balls, cotton swabs, nail files, nail polish remover, moisturizer, hair care items, pony tail holders, etc.  Wait until you get to 100 points then use it on that Urban Decay item you wanted!

Sephora Beauty Insider

If you’re someone who buys a lot of higher end products and few drugstore products, then you probably love Sephora’s Beauty Insider card.  You get a point for every $1 spent, and then there are different rankings that you can redeem points back at.  These points last the entire year and if you spend $350 in a year you reach the VIB status, for even more discounts and perks.  I’m not there yet, nor will I be anytime soon.  I’m not the most fond of this reward program just because I don’t buy a lot of higher end products.  I usually buy enough there before my birthday in November to redeem 100 points at the same time I get my birthday gift and that’s fine by me.

Walgreens Balance Rewards

I’m not going to lie, I have no idea what the benefits of this reward program are.  My card isn’t on my account that I made on the website.  I just signed up for it a few days ago to get the sale price on an item I wanted.  To me it looks very confusing.  The rewards levels are in the thousands, which I don’t really understand.  If you shop at Walgreens for the deals, I’d say sign up for it so you start earning, but I’m going to have to look into this a little more to fully understand it.

Target Debit Card- Pros and Cons of having this

The Target Card is not a royalty program, I want to make that clear.  But there are pros and cons to having this card set up straight to your bank account.  For me, I used to work at Target so getting the extra 5% off was a great incentive.  It still is if I’m making a large purchase, so I’ve been swiping it a lot this holiday season.  The cons of the card is that it seems to take days for the money to come out of your account and even more time for the money to go back into your account if you return something.  I’ve taken this card out of my wallet so I don’t just go to Target while running other errands, which I know everyone has been victim too.

As I said, my favorite drugstore is CVS by far for its rewards and ads.  I can’t beat it really.  CVS is less than two blocks away from me making even more convenient for me!