Friday, October 11, 2013

Frugal Friday: Rock Bottom CENTSable Beauty Prices

The a few weeks ago (Rock Bottom Prices Part One and Part Two), we’ve talked about rock bottom sales on all your grocery store items. So, this CENTSable Beauty post is going to follow along the same lines. We’re going to talk about some rock bottom prices for makeup, and in some cases why rock bottom may not be the best choice.

My first tip on finding a good sale on a product you’ve never tired is to wait until it’s at least 50% off its regular price. That being said, if you find a “holy grail” item, I completely understand paying a little more for it. Just remember, when it’s on sale and you have a coupon, stock up!

I’m still looking for a favorite drugstore primer, but my current “best” is Rimmel Fix and Perfect ($7.29). Because I’m still exploring brands, I have been using the strategy above, and waiting until a brand is at least 50% off.

I have two favorite foundation at the moment, and they’re extremely far away in price. Revlon Photoready ($13.99) and Rimmel Lasting Finish 25 Hour Foundation ($7.49). Rimmel has more coverage, although Revlon seems to wear better throughout the day. What would make the difference? Revlon’s sales tend to be better (Rimmel’s sales tend to stick around 30% off) and the coupon tend to be higher value. Combine this with the fact that you get more product in the container, Revlon tend to win this battle, even though it has a higher regular shelf price.  If you like a slightly lighter foundation, but still love the coverage, Angela's favorite is the Mayballine's FitMe Stick Foundation.  Great for covering dark spots without feeling heavy like some of the full coverage foundations listed above.

I have shadows from nearly every drugstore brand, and most of the time they are relatively the same in quality. With shadows, because I tend to OVER-purchase, I limit myself to only buying shadow if the sale is 75% or better. I also prefer shadows that are sold in a pallet versus single shadows, although that’s just a personal preference. Just in case you’re curious, my favorite pallet is Almay Intense i-color Eyeshadow Powder, Bold Nudes for Blues 412. I wear it almost daily to work, although I get much more colorful during the weekends.

I’m cramming these three in the same category for one reason: a lot of people don’t see them as necessities. Blush? Most people I know have 1 or 2 colors of blush and wear the same product for years before they purchase another one. Concealer? This one I think a lot of people use, but it’s one of those items that deserve a little more money thrown at it. A cheap concealer, or just a concealer that doesn’t work with your skin type, can make you look older and can actually emphasize the areas you’re trying to conceal. My advice? Find a concealer that works for you and don’t worry about the price. Look for sales and coupons, but don’t feel bad about buying it full price if necessary. Highlight? I sometimes feel like I’m the only person that uses this. If you do, I use Physicians Formula and got it free at CVS over a year ago. I use it every weekend and I haven’t even made a dent. It’ll last for a lifetime.

The cheapest brand I’ve found that isn’t’ too dry, is NYC. Liquid pen is $3.69 and pencil is $2.39. They often have sales that can be combined with coupons. Another good liner is the Physicians Formula Smokey Eye Trios. With sale and coupon combinations, we can get it up to 80% off at times, and the black eyeliner is the creamiest I’ve ever tried.

This is another product that I would pay a little more for a brand I liked. My current favorites are Maybelline’s The Rocket ($7.49) and Rimmel’s Volume Scandaleyes ($6.99). I’ve recently gotten Mililani, Ulta brand, and Revlon for under $5, but I would have rather paid more for a product that I enjoyed.

I treat lipstick and lipgloss like I treat eyeshadow. I have a little from every brand, and I either love it or hate it. However, just like eyeshadow, I limit myself to not buying more lip products until it’s at least 75% off. In case you’re interested, my favorite gloss is Revlon Super Lustrious Lipgloss and my favorite lipstick is Fergie Wet n’ Wild Lipsticks (MUST wear lipliner... the "bleed" like crazy) and Mayballine SuperStay. My LEAST favorite is Revlon ColorStay Suede lipstick (drying and starts flaking!).

Leave me some comments below about your favorite makeup products! Any you think I should try next?

Friday, October 4, 2013

Frugal Friday: It's Flue Season!

After my family doctor mentioned that they would not be ordering as many of the flu vaccine because so many of the pharmacies are now offering them; I decided to start looking at who is doing flu shots, and where I can find the best price. Who is offering additional benefits to getting it done there?

Tom Thumb offers 10% off coupon towards groceries. Also, if you transfer a prescription, you earn a $25 off $50 groceries. Brookshire’s locations are offering $25 flu shots plus you earn 100 Bonus Your Points. If you have pharmacy rewards at Target, the flu shot counts towards your reward.

CVS only offers vaccines at their Minute Clinic, so you will need to find out which locations have Minute Clinic. I believe that all Walgreen’s are now offering vaccines. It does not appear that Wal-Mart offers vaccines at the DFW locations. Select Target locations offer the flu shots.

Only CVS and Walgreen’s listed the prices for their vaccines. They offer more than just the flu shot. Here is the list of the prices. Remember there are now different types of vaccines available.

Use this list as a reference for flu shots if you do not have insurance.

AGE                SHOT TYPE                  WALGREENS  CVS
ages 2–49         Flu (FluMist Intranasal)         $39.99        n/a
ages 65+          Flu (Fluzone High-Dose)        $54.99        $49.99
ages 2+            Flu (Influenza)                      $31.99        $31.99

Hopefully this will help you in finding the best place for you and stay healthy this winter!

Friday, September 27, 2013

Frugal Friday: Homework Help, When Parents CAN'T Help

So, it’s the end of September. School has been in full swing for over a month. By now, you've seen those progress reports. You've started getting the questions from your kids. Those questions that make you feel like you are the dumbest adult on the face of the earth. I mean seriously, how do I not understand my kid’s math? Never fear. There are free online options to help you.

Khan Academy is my favorite. The founder of Khan Academy started this as a helpful uncle trying to help his nieces in another state. He recorded tutorials to help the girls. Others began to find them and use them, and the rest is history. I've used it for my family. It has really helped to make sense of high school math and science. I searched for other free tutorial sites. I have to say, they are not easy to find. I found Learn To Be, which allows you to request an online tutor. This could be good if you just need explanation and might need to ask follow up questions.

I was disappointed to see so many only offer “free trials.” I wanted to be able to give you a list of free homework helper sites. Once you have a subject you are struggling to find the correct answer, you will have better luck getting a site that can help you.

You will love Khan Academy. It’s free, no strings, no gimmicks. My kids school has issued iPads and several of the teachers are using Khan Academy in the classroom. Khan offers special sections for teachers to use. It’s all about being frugal. You shouldn’t have to pay for tutorials when there is at least one exceptional tutorial site available. Check it out, let me know what you think!

Friday, September 20, 2013

Frugal Friday: Rock Bottom Prices Part 2

Last week, we talked about rock bottom prices on our most common food products. This week, we’re going to talk about some non-food items! The great thing about some of these products is one item could last your family for weeks, so it’s not as much of a necessity to stock up before another sale comes along. This makes getting bottom dollar for every day products that much easier!

Here are some examples of good sales on personal items:
  • Shampoo/Conditioner: Under $1 for lower quality brands (VO5 or Suave) and $2-$2.50 for higher quality brands (Herbal Essence or Aussie)
  • Body Wash: $3
  • Bar Soap: $1 for 3 pack
  • Deodorant: $2
  • Toothpaste: $1
  • Toothbrush: $1 for single pack, $2 for multipacks
  • Floss: $1
  • Mouthwash: $1.50-$2
  • Toilet Paper: $.20 per roll
  • Paper Towels: $.25 per roll
  • Razors $5 for handles
  • Shaving Cream: $1
  • Shaving Gel: $1.50 
Most of your makeup is going to vary by brand, so I try to make sure it’s at least 50% off and I have a coupon before I buy something. This strategy also goes for specially soaps and beauty serums (think face cleanser, hair masks or moose). It needs to be at least 50% off of its regular price.

Prices are always subject to change, but this list is a good starting point. Of course, coupons always make that price a little better!

Friday, September 13, 2013

Frugal Friday: What's Our Rock Bottom Price

In a recent post (read here), I explained how you need to start pricing the items you would be on a regular basis. I always say that a sale isn't always the best price. Cereal is always on sale, but that doesn't make it worth the price. So I've compiled a list of what I consider the maximum price I would pay for items.

  • Beef: Hamburger meat - $3 or less, other beef or steak $5 or less (I don’t buy a lot)
  • Beverage: soda $1 – 2 ltr, case $5, fruit juice $2, coffee $6 (but that’s because I am brand specific) tea 24 count tea bags $1
  • Breakfast: hot cereal $1, cold cereal $2, breakfast bars $2
  • Butter 1 lb. $3
  • Canned foods $1
  • Chicken: Never pay more than $2 a pound. And often, you can find it under a $1. 
  • Dairy: Eggs $1, milk $2 (both can be purchased at Aldi at this price or less) cheese $3
  • Deli: lunch meat $3, bacon $4, sausage $3, hot dogs $1
  • Dry pasta $1
  • Frozen dinners (single serve) $2 for larger size $1 for smaller size
  • Frozen pizza $4
  • Frozen veggies $1
  • Jarred pasta sauce $1.50
  • Produce: In general I prefer to stay under $1.50 per pound. By buying the fresh produce that is on sale, you can generally keep it under this price. 
  • Rice $1 per pound
  • Seafood: Shrimp - $6 or less, Tilapia (frozen) $3 or less. I don’t buy a lot of other seafood products. But I've seen lobster tails for $6. 
This list isn't perfect. And you will find prices change all the time. But hopefully as you start your frugal living journey, this list will help guide to towards saving.

Friday, August 30, 2013

Frugal Friday! How To Shop At Target

My new favorite store for groceries is Target. If you have a Super Target nearby, check out their prices on groceries. Because my Target isn't as close as other grocery stores, I didn't really pay attention to the grocery items. I would go in for clothes, personal items, etc. Especially when they offer gift cards.

Recently, I really started looking at their grocery prices, what coupons they offered, what cartwheel is available and is there a gift card. I was surprised to discover that their prices are better than the grocery stores (in most cases). Often when they have a sale, they offer a Target coupon and a Cartwheel to combine with it. I was so surprised to see how much I could save on produce, meats, frozen foods, and pet items.

Target offers a variety of ways to save. 
  • Printable coupons at 
  • Mobile coupons at or their mobile app 
  • Cartwheel mobile app 
  • Text coupons. 827-438
I love that I can use Target coupons and cartwheel on Target and manufacturer brand items.

Here’s how it works: 
     Find an item on sale 
     They will deduct the Target coupon 
     Next they will deduct the percentage of savings from Cartwheel 
     Finally, they deduct the manufacturer coupon

Here’s an example: 
Market Pantry frozen chicken. $6.99 for 2.50 lb bag. 
Printable coupon for $1.50 off two Market Pantry frozen chicken products 
5% off of Market Pantry frozen chicken via Cartwheel 
2 @ $6.99 = 13.98 - $1.50 = $12.48 - .62 cents (5% Cartwheel) = $11.86 or $2.37 per pound.

Also Target will price match other stores. You will need to have the ad, using a phone to show the ad won’t work.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Frugal Friday! How To Begin Couponing and Savings at the Grocery Store!

Step ONE: Pick a few stores that are close to you. Start following their ads each week. They should have a sales cycle of around eight weeks.

Mine is Aldi, Albertson’s, and Target (sometimes Walmart and Kroger)

Step TWO: Make a list of the items you like to buy on a regular basis

I always look for deals on hamburger meat, chicken, and steaks. I LOVE pasta. I like to have Wolf brand chili, lunch meat, and lots and lots of cheese. I keep yogurt and frozen dinners for my husbands lunch.

The condiments that I usually try and find are any brand of mayo, and Heitz ketchup

Step THREE: Start taking the time to pay attention to the prices of the things you like to buy all of the time.

Things that I like to keep under a dollar
  • Pasta
  • Soups
  • Chili
  • Yogurts
  • Eggs
  • Frozen veggies
  • Fresh produce
  • Things that I like to keep under two dollars
  • Breakfast cereal
  • Milk
  • Chicken
  • Frozen dinners
  • Beef, I try to keep it under $3

I like shopping at Albertson’s because they double and triple coupons (triple up to .35, double up to .50), Aldi because their prices on eggs, milk, and cheese are usually lower without coupons. Target because their sale prices are very competitive and they usually have Target coupons and cartwheel deals that increase the savings.

Once a grocery store ad comes out, look at the items you prefer to buy. Is it the best price? Cereal is on sale all the time. But it is only under $2 every couple of months. So once you know if the item the best price you’ll see for a couple of months, add it to your list. If it is a manufacturer item (ie Pillsbury or Kraft) and not store brand, use an online coupon database to see if there is a coupon.

Take your list, and the coupons, and go shopping!!

Make your weekly menus based on the items that are on sale. Maybe you normally buy frozen chicken breast. But if the fresh chicken breast are sale cheaper, go with fresh. But if they have frozen on sale, and there is a coupon, buy the frozen. You have to ask yourself, which gives me the best overall savings.

Plan the menus based on meats, produce, and other items on sale.

When you do see that it’s a good price, and if there is a coupon, buy enough to last for two months. (if you would normally buy a box a pasta per week, buy 8 of them to last you until they go on sale again)

Plan your other items the same way. You may have to no longer be brand exclusive. I no longer buy Tide because its usually not a good deal. But I am happy to switch around other brands. For those items that I have to buy a particular brand, (dog foods, coffee, etc) I try and stock up more.

Because certain items like bread, milk, eggs are not shelf stable, I check to see who has the best price. Because I’ve check a few different locations that are close to home, its usually not a big deal to go to that store for that item. Some weeks, all I need to do is make the quick trip to Aldi to get my basics because I have a stock pile of everything else I need.