Empowered Purchasing

It is crazy to think about the amount of money we spend every day. I spent a lot of time not thinking about it until I realized that was a big mistake because having a savings, an emergency fund, etc is important. So I started to save money but now that I am in a position where I haven’t been earning money (maternity leave) I have had to think extra carefully about money and where it is going. Furthermore, who is it supporting?

As someone who is trying to eat healthy and clean, I can’t rightly say that it makes sense for me to spend my grocery money at a big chain like Walmart or Target or even a small chain like Key Food because they don’t have a lot of organic, non-GMO and chemical free options and the options they do have are extra expensive. Although it would certainly be convenient (as these types of stores are everywhere) – if I start shopping with them I will pay more for organic produce and I will be supporting an organization who doesn’t have the same goals as me.

So I have revolutionized the way I shop. Once a week, we stop at a Farmer’s Market for fresh produce and occasionally meat, fish and dairy products. My money supports local farmers who work hard for their money. The produce is less expensive than it would be at any store and it so much better. Seriously, the difference in an onion is absolutely insane – and it’s just an onion – forget about other fruits and veggies. If I can’t make it to the Farmer’s Market or need some stuff that is prepared, I’ll head to Trader Joe’s or Fairway. I won’t buy anything without looking at the ingredients. Here is a reference I use: http://www.collective-evolution.com/2014/09/27/10-of-the-worst-food-ingredients-to-never-eat-again/ but in general if you don’t know what it is, can’t pronounce it, it is probably not good for you. I know it can be a bit more expensive to shop in the organic aisle but if we keep voting with our dollars, organic goods (no pesticides, not genetically modified, etc.) will become the main stream and the prices will go down.

Next time you make a purchase, think about who and what you are supporting and maybe it will change your mind. I know it has saved me plenty of money just by considering it.

Cartwheel

Last night, B broke our French Press. It was very sad because ever since I started using a French press, I will never use a coffee maker again (unless I have to). The French press is wonderful for a variety of reasons:

  1. Combined with an electric tea kettle, you can make coffee very quickly.
  2. The coffee tastes much better, richer, etc.
  3. It is so much easier to clean than a regular coffee machine.
  4. If you make coffee in the morning and have leftovers, you can store it overnight and it’s equivalent to drinking cold brew DELICIOUS!
  5. It takes up very little space on your counter, which is great because we have limited counter space in our current apartment.
  6. It is inexpensive $20 and you have a brand new French press!

Armed with the need to replace our French Press and to stock up on food, we set out for Target. But this time, I was determined to benefit from using Cartwheel. I have yet to speak of my love of Target but it’s about to come out – Target is so wonderful, I love being in there and being able to buy a bunch of things (now new goal is only things I need) the prices are affordable but I have always felt that their sales were very limited.

The second Target came up with an app for the iPhone, I downloaded it. You can bet that every Target trip I made, I used the coupons available on the Target app. But, much to my dismay, they hardly ever applied to what I was buying. Later on, I downloaded Cartwheel but because I never took the time to understand how it worked, I never benefited from the app either.

Anyway for those of you who are avid Target shoppers and didn’t exactly think through Cartwheel, I am about to explain its glory to you.

  1. Go around Target with your shopping list and get everything you need. *I am advising you not to indulge here because a. I want to save you money and b. I want to discourage the idea of buying things you do not need. 
  2. When you are finished, pull out your phone and open Cartwheel.
  3. Press the little search button on top and then click scan bar code.
  4. Proceed to scan all of the items in your cart and if they have a coupon code, it will pop up and ask you to add to your list of 10 savings.
  5. If you have more than 10 deals, you are going to have to do some math on which will be most beneficial.
  6. If you know what you want ahead of time, and know exactly what you are buying you can front load your Cartwheel before getting to the store, but since I often do food shopping at Aldi, I was not sure what my options were going to be at Target.

Last night I was able to save on more than half of the items in my cart. I felt spectacular and now Cartwheel will be my best friend for any future Target runs. Happy Tuesday and Happy Shopping ! 

moving on up

Hello Everyone,

I must apologize for my hiatus. Being pregnant and dealing with moving and decorating a new apartment plus a new promotion, really put this on the back burner for me. Since I recently moved, I would like to share some tips about NYC apartments, moving, and re-decorating!!

My fiance and I had to break our lease because we are having a baby and wanted to be closer to help (aka our moms!). Unfortunately this meant breaking a lease with a property management company.

When I posed a question to my facebook friends about “tips for breaking a lease with a property management company” I received many answers along the lines of “good luck”. I was not happy about the idea that this could seriously be an expensive situation, if they decided to charge us a fee. Luckily a friend brought up the point that if we live in a rent stabilized building (which we were) the building benefits from our breaking of the lease because they can charge the next person more money and take a loss on our taxes. So during the month of April, we let them keep our security deposit as last months rent and we were able to get away without paying any extra fees!!!! win win win 😀

Some advice for other pregnant ladies out there: if you are planning to move during your pregnancy. I was moving at 6 months pregnant and in retrospect it would have been better to either move or earlier or have more time on both sides – make sure you leave yourself enough time to move between the two places, even more time if you want to paint your new apartment or have to do any work on it. (We took about 4 days) We certainly did not leave enough time and it definitely made me more stressed and tired than it could have been.

As we are going to share a home with our first child, it was really important to me that our new apartment had a relaxed and home-y feeling. Part of this was deciding which colors I would like to paint the rooms of the apartment. This is also a daunting process if you are painting yourself/with friends and not with professionals.

  • take your time choosing paint colors – painting can get expensive and you do not want to plan on painting again and again
  • use neutrals or color schemes that are flexible – the best aid in this is pinterest. You can check my decor board to see what I was looking at. But it is nice to have a good idea of the look and feel you want your home to give off
  • BUY SAMPLES!!! – I cannot recommend this enough – the samples are worth whatever they cost! If you use Behr from HomeDepot – they are only about $3 each but I know especially Sherwin Williams runs a bit more expensive around $9 a sample. I was so set on getting a color from the living room but the second I saw it dried on the wall I knew that it was just NOT what I was looking for. You do not want a paint the walls of your house a color that you don’t like because it will just bother you until you repaint it & spending the money on a sample is much better than spending it on a gallon or 5 of paint!

In terms of decorating, it is so easy to just look at any catalog and decide I want this, this and this and pay for whatever ridiculous price they are asking. Since I have been living out of my mom’s house for over a year I have realized something – if you are able to do so – going to estate sales/craiglist, etc. for your furniture is so much better. I bought a beautiful bedroom set last year for the cost of $100 and making my fiance drive me in his pick up truck to get it! Also, do not buy too much stuff for your apartment in the beginning because you will find things over time that you like and before you know it you will have no room for anything anywhere.

 Any suggestions on moving? painting? or decorating?