Monday, September 30, 2013

Dog Supplies On Seasonal Clearances, Say What!?


I just got back from celebrating my first year anniversary with my husband in San Angelo, Texas. My husband is in the military and he is currently at his technical training location, so we have been separated for months. Along with being separated from me, he is also separated from his puppy. To keep him involved with his dog we always go shopping and buy the dogs treats, chew toys, or toys when I go up to visit.

I, personally, am not a fan of Petsmart. In my experience they are more expensive then Petco, and they carry grocery store dog foods not the higher quality ones that are available at Petco. Since we were on foot for the weekend we first went to Petsmart as it was closest to our hotel. We didn't find anything at Petsmart although I noticed they were having sales on live animals... kind of sad actually.

After touring Petsmart we moved on and went to Petco a couple of blocks away. Petco is having CLEARANCES, music to my ears! I saw a variety of dog supplies on clearance, treats, chew toys, toys, clothes, vitamins, hygiene supplies, anxiety and behavioral aids, and even puppy milk! While not every item was on clearance there was a clearance option in every isle if not several!

Due to space constraints (flying, not driving so it had to fit in my bag), I only bought 11 items. I personally picked up:

  • Newmans Own Organic Dog Treats Salmon/Sweet Potatoe $1.98 reg $7.99
  • Newmans Own Organic Dog Treats Lamb $2.18 reg $8.99
  • Petco Rawhide Strips 16 oz Mint $5.98 reg $11.99
  • Petco 8oz Beef Rawhide $3.48 reg $6.99
  • (6) Nutrident Complete small Dental Chews .28 reg $1.29 
  • Nylabone Romp'n Chomp Treat Chew Toy $2.98 reg $11.99
-I spent $19.79 on my purchases, I could have easily spent that much on just the rawhide strips! I saved $37.41 with the clearance pricing! 

I was SHOCKED by the fact that dog supplies goes on seasonal clearances; as my neighbor said "Dogs are year round!" If the stores want to put seasons on treats and toys however I think you should follow Fido's lead (left) and make out like a bandit! Quality pet treats and food add up, so stock up on Newmans or Nutro Organic treats now! 

*Pictures are not my personal photography and I claim no rights to them.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Budgeting: The envelope method


Dave Ramsey, the man is famous and wealthy for giving common sense financial advice! Don't get me wrong, I love Dave Ramsey, he realizes where most peoples weaknesses and pitfalls are and outlines strategies to overcome their financial bad habits. One of the strategies he suggests to keep people on track with their budgets is the use of cold hard cash divvied up into envelopes.

To say the envelope method is "the Ramsey method" or give him credit for the idea would be off base. I know older folks who have never heard of Dave Ramsey who did this. Ramsey however did make the concept more popular or widespread. While Dave Ramsey's books are ultimately mostly common sense apparently that is something most of us are lacking when it comes to our finances. I aspire to be a financial adviser, and its not so I can tell people all about complicated sophisticated products that they can't understand, its so I can help them reach goals that seemed unattainable or a distant dream like becoming debt free, becoming a home owner, paying off a mortgage, car loan, student loan, developing a budget, and yes investing for the future! It was actually one of Dave Ramsey's books that made me aspire to become a personal financial consultant and made me more passionate about finance.

The Envelope Method

  • Develop a budget
  • Label envelops based on budget e.g groceries, gas, rent
  • Put the amount budgeted for each category in the corresponding envelop
  • Spend ONLY whats in the envelop for each category
Pretty simple, right? As in so simple it shouldn't need explanation... =)

The envelop method works great for two reasons. It is very easy to overspend just sliding a debit/credit card, the money is more of an invisible number. The main reason this method works so well is you can tell how much you have spent and how much you have remaining by whats in the envelop, you can't accidentally overspend when your using cash, once it is gone, its gone!

You can get your whole family involved in the envelop method, explain it to your children, let them have a say in how the "family fun" money is used. Give them individual clothing envelops and watch them develop into savvy shoppers! In researching for this article I found a fun way to be creative with your envelops that can be fun for your family. Blogger Amy Bayliss wrote an article about how to get creative to make some really unique really beautiful spending envelops (pictured). You can link to her blog here:

I know first hand how the envelop method works as I used it when I was a server. Since I was paid in cash and lived with my then boyfriend I just paid my share of the bills to him and cash and paid my mom to buy my car (which used to be hers). I paid all of my obligations early and in full using the envelop method and was never short or never spent more than I could afford to... that is the beauty of using cash, no overdraft fee's, no over drafting period! Using the envelop method also insured I didn't blow my money or overspend in one category, it allowed me to pay my mom off really soon while meeting my other obligations. 

The reason I chose to write about this today is because after I quit serving and starting college and no longer had a cash based income I diverted from the envelop method. I hate driving anywhere, let alone to the bank to withdraw money for envelops, however I am paying for it. This month we are OVER budget, no we don't have insufficient funds, bounced checks, or a negative balance, however we also won't be able to meet our savings goal this month! We are hoping to buy a house soon, and we are also going on a trip so saving is important! 
Next month I am back on the envelop method. Spending just doesn't seem as real or as big of a deal when your just sliding a card and dealing with numbers on a screen, it just seems like its play, some video game. Cash in my hand, yeah, I'm not as willing to part with it! I will do an update post to let you all know how on track I am for my budget next month.

FYI: This month I was overbudget mainly due to sending money to a relative who had just moved to a new city and had everything they owned stolen (someone hotwired and stole the whole uhaul). I am more than okay with sacrificing some savings to help family! Other than that I admit my husband and I did make some purchases we should have waited on. I bought clothes this month, then a steam cleaner since his dog is having accidents, he bought who knows what LOL! This was not my ideal month but no one is perfect and its the first month since I have made the budget that I will not be meeting ALL of my savings goals.

Monday, September 23, 2013

What to buy in September


I always see articles titled similar to mine, telling readers what the hot buys of the month are. Working in retail for the first time I can say I certainly know what the hottest deals are for September. I have scooped up many great clearance items. Here is your list of items to buy in September, this year and every year!

    • Garden Supplies
      • I bought all three of the planters shown, they cost me $13.99, $17.99, and $1.99 respectively... the picture of #3 is a slight variation to what I bought as mine hangs on the wall (for the front of your house), mine is also wrought iron in appearance. These items originally cost $49.99, $59.99, and 1.99 respectively.
      • I have seen tiki torches, outdoor patio sets, outdoor fire pits, it was all clearanced out! So start buying for next year and rake in the savings!

    • Summer Apparel
      • Since the summer season has ended you can find fabulous steals on clothes for anyone in your family. There are baby shirts for $1.27!! I even found some teenager jeans for a cool $1.80 (similar to those on the right)! I personally picked up the cheap jeans as a gag gift, I personally think they are horrid, my mom however liked them so I to buy a 2nd pair for her. I also got great deals on toddler clothes and nightgowns! No matter how old your children or you are, you can always buy for next year; or if your like me then you wear certain "summer" clothes all year round!

    • Summer Shoes
      • This ties in with apparel but most open toed shoes will go on sale or clearance this time  f year!
    •  I got some super cute shoes (the ones on the right) for only $4 when all the promotions and discounts were applied, regular 16.99

    • Toys
      • I personally didn't buy any toys but I saw all kinds of things at steep discounts: pool toys, sidewalk chalk, and just regular everyday toys like Vtechs are being marked down to make way for the newest toys for Christmas!

    • Summer Sports Gear
      • I also didn't buy any sports gear but at my store we had golf clubs that are originally $29.99 marked down to $1-$5, I also spotted tennis rackets on sale, and bow and arrows for archery!
    • Swimwear
      • With summer coming to an end that signals the end of stores carrying or selling swimwear, all bikini's, monkinis', one pieces, board shorts, life vests, and goggles can be obtained at great prices!
    • School Supplies
      • While not all the school supplies was marked down or clearanced out I did manage to find pens, pencils,folders, and little notebooks for smaller children clearance out to a cool .50, these were great for a couple toddlers in my family, and came in designs depicting various disney characters! I also found some folders for me (in college) that were more grown up but for the same low price!