lucky bandit: frugality
Showing posts with label frugality. Show all posts
Showing posts with label frugality. Show all posts

Sunday, April 23, 2017

thrifting tips

lucky bandit blog katelyn carter space koi

I'm a big fan of thrifting. Not only for the savings but for the opportunity to find some great quality items that are sometimes unique. If you've ever wanted to start thrifting or just get a bit more efficient at it, here are some tips that I utilize whenever I go.

Keep a running list and know what you like.

I typically keep a mental list of things I'd like to look for at the thrift shop. I've been hunting for a denim jacket for forever, but I've yet to find one I like, so that stays on the list. It's a lot easier to go in with a plan than to wander around looking at every piece in the store (unless that's what you want to do). I know that I tend to go for oddball patterns, stripes, and sweaters, so I visually scan and find most things that way. I do have days where I just go through the racks, but on quicker visits I've gotten it down to an art.

Learn your fabrics.

If you're looking for clothing, learn to identify fabrics just by sight. When I was sourcing for vintage a lot, I'd learned what polyester and linen looked like just by walking by and seeing them. Granted, there are exceptions as rayon can look really similar to cotton, but with a general knowledge of knits and such, you can easily find things you're looking for.

Have a buddy.

I'm fortunate that my two best friends are thrifters, too! Jess and I meet up for thrifting trips and always find some amazing stuff. It really helps to have someone with you for when you pick up that odd piece and want an opinion on it, or you need someone to talk you out of an absurd wall hanging.

Don't always go by the tag size.

Clothing sizes vary wildly and so do folks' laundry habits, so don't always go by what the tag says. Don't be afraid to try things on or hold them up to your body. Look through all of the size racks and remember, especially if you're looking for vintage, that a size 14 could really mean a modern size 4.

Follow thrift store etiquette.

Don't take things from others' carts, replace items where you got them or on the fitting room return rack, don't bombard the workers that bring new carts of merchandise out, don't eat in the store and then touch merchandise with your greasy hands, and be polite.

If you have any more tips, leave them in the comments! :)

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Thursday, April 13, 2017

thrifty thursday #11

thrifty thursday frugal tips lucky bandit blog

  • I started making my own lunches and packed it up in my reusable Thirty One lunchbox that my mom gave me for Christmas one year.
  • When I was out visiting my mom, we snagged fruit from the hotel's breakfast. The banana I had was about to go, so I peeled and chopped it and froze it for smoothies.
  • I've really been shopping the pantry at home lately and I've made up quite a few meals without spending a dime for extra ingredients. We have a bunch of older spices that I've been hitting pretty heavy to get rid of them, too.
  • For lunch at work, I finished the last two slices of a mushroom pizza instead of ordering fried rice even though I really wanted fried rice.
  • Yesterday I made $3.55 via rebate apps Checkout 51*, MobiSave* (*use code AKHJYJNZ), and Berrycart*.
  • My mom signed up for Mobisave, so I got a $1 from the referral!
  • I've got my other half saving his receipts, so I go through his grocery receipts for potential rebates and to scan them into Receipt Hog* for points for PayPal money.
  • While out at Target, Annie's mac and cheese was on sale for $.99 per box, originally $1.79, and I used two $1 off two manufacturer coupons, which brought them down to only $.49 per box!
  • In the same Target trip, I picked up this set* of adorable popsicle molds for only $4.48 on clearance. They'll be a nice treat for the little guy this summer.
  • With SavingStar, I cashed out $5.88 to my PayPal. They feature mainly name brands that I don't buy, but occasionally I'll get a bag of chips or take advantage of the fresh produce offers.
  • Sunday night I made a quick and thrifty pantry sauce to top the rest of my spaghetti squash - lots of minced garlic and spices, some wrinkly cherry tomatoes, the rest of a bag of meatless crumbles, and then I poured some gazpacho I received free with rebates over it. It cooked down nicely and I didn't have to open another jar of tomato sauce!
How have you saved pennies lately?

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Thursday, April 06, 2017

thrifty thursday #10

thrifty thursday frugal tips lucky bandit blog
  • I like to reuse packing materials whenever possible for both the cost and recycling factor, so I pilfered a few smaller plain boxes and single sheets of bubble wrap from work and I added a few mailers I received from things in the mail to my packing supply pile.
  • I earned $4.00 at the grocery store last night via ibotta* and didn't even know I had the rebate unlocked. It pays (literally) to go through and unlock them! My grocery store sends the rebates automatically through my rewards card, so I just put my phone number in at the store and boom! No uploading receipts.
  • Fifteen cents was added to my PayPal via Mobisave (use code: AKHJYJNZ) for buying no-chicken broth*! It might not seem like much but fifteen cents is fifteen cents.
  • When I was out visiting my mom we stopped by the Eddie Bauer store where everything was 40% off, and though I didn't find anything, I saved her $10 with my Adventure Rewards certificate.
  • I'm sick again and I bought the Family Dollar brand cold medicine and saved quite a bundle. I checked the ingredients and the off brand actually had higher levels of the medications I needed.
  • At the store last night, I earned another $.75 via ibotta*!
  • Today I shopped the pantry and made goulash with meatless beef crumbles, jarred sauce, and some rice noodles that were in a mac and cheese box that had no cheese packet. Filling and delicious!
  • I've got a spaghetti squash roasting in the oven and I plan to meal prep this week and get a few lunches out of it. Yum!
Any tips? ♥

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Thursday, March 09, 2017

thrifty thursday #9

thrifty thursday frugal tips lucky bandit blog

  • Since I'm working on building my reselling business, I decided to invest in a nice rug as a backdrop. I managed to score this rug* at Kohl's. It was on sale for $59.99 and I used a $10 off $50 coupon, then a 15% off coupon, and put the total of $44.79 on a giftcard I got for Christmas!
  • I cashed out another $10.00 via Mintvine*! That was with pretty minimal effort, too.
  • My coworker and I stop by a local restaurant on most Mondays for burger night. We get $2 black bean burgers with the purchase of a drink and it's always a nice little treat, plus there's always enough left for lunch the next day.
  • Speaking of lunches, I finally stocked the work fridge with lunch supplies so I'm not tempted to order $10 minimum delivery. I do miss my breadstick bites, though.
  • I cashed out $24.65 with ibotta* today and was paid instantly via PayPal! I made $5.40 at my local grocery store just by using my rewards card - no receipt uploading required!
  • Via Checkout 51* I made $3.00 during that same local store visit. Yay, free money!
  • I signed up to ship some clothing to swap.com, and I'm hoping to get a couple bucks for them.

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Thursday, February 02, 2017

february no spending challenge

lucky bandit blog katelyn carter

For the month of February I decided to challenge myself to a no-spend month to start the new year off on the right foot. I did a trial run in January and I think I'll do pretty well. I've really been needing to save up some money and my spending habits (a snack here, Taco Bell there, cheap beauty products at Ross) have gotten a little out of control. So here we are! Hopefully this challenge will reset some of my bad habits. I gave myself a few rules:
  • Buy only necessities. // I consider necessities as food, medication, bills, and gas. Obviously things come up, but no spur of the moment eating out or going by Target and picking up random cosmetics.
  • No stockpiling beforehand. // I have an ungodly amount of cosmetics/personal hygiene products/cleaning supplies. I need to use the older suckers up so I can replace them completely with cruelty free and vegan versions.
  • Declutter. // I have too much stuff in general, so if I can't use it when I'm not buying new things, why do I need it at all? I'm hoping to use this time to declutter and get rid of things.
Things I most definitely won't be buying:
  • Bath & Beauty // As stated above, I have waaaaaay too many products.
  • Books // I could read for years and not buy a new book.
  • Clothing // Either wear it or get rid of it.
  • Fast Food // It's not even good for you.
I'm hoping to not only get rid of a lot of things, but to put a little money into savings, too. I have my Thrifty Thursday series of posts as well, to document my little money saving victories.

Have you ever done a no-spending challenge? If you have tips, leave them in the comments!

Thursday, January 19, 2017

thrifty thursday #8

thrifty thursday frugal tips lucky bandit blog

  • I took advantage of this Raise app offer via KCL and scored a $10 Target giftcard for only $4.60!
  • Speaking of giftcards, I received a few for Christmas that I'm definitely going to use the crap out of!
  • While in Tennessee my mom and I stopped by her local grocery store and I scored twenty pounds of potatoes for less than five bucks! I've been telling everyone about this awesome deal! They were $4.99 and bogo free so I brought two bags home.
  • Goodwill was good to me this week - I picked up a wide, three drawer Sterilite set for only $4.99, and they normally retail for $15+! I'm going to organize my eBay stock with it.
  • I picked up three bags of black turtle beans for almost nothing, so I'm gonna be eating lots of soup. Maybe with my loads of potatoes?
  • I had an order through Legging Army* and earned a few dollars of commission. These leggings are seriously the best!
How have you saved (or made) a dollar lately?

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Thursday, December 22, 2016

thrifty thursday #7

thrifty thursday frugal tips lucky bandit blog
  • I cashed out my consignment shop earnings and made $8.60, which I then turned around and applied to three sweaters I'd found, making my total out of pocket only $8.95! Now I have three more sweaters to wear with leggings and more clothes out of the house and to new homes.
  • I've got over $14 in my Mintvine account, and I can cash it out once the points are approved. Yay! I JUST cashed out $10 of it, and received it within a week!
  • When I went Thanksgiving dinner shopping I added $4 to my ibotta earnings, $.10 to my Paypal account via Mobisave (use code AKHJYNZ), and $2.00 added to my Checkout 51 account balance.
  • I ordered two books that had been on my TBR list on Paperback Swap for only $0.49!
  • I snagged a 4 foot faux Christmas tree at the local thrift shop for $3. I didn't want to put up our prelit trees this year with the litter of kittens in the house.
  • PrideBites is sending out FREE dog toys - just pay $3 for shipping!
  • When I went to visit my mom, I used some coupons at the outlets and saved a bundle on Christmas gifts!
How have you saved money lately?


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Thursday, November 10, 2016

thrifty thursday #6

thrifty thursday frugal tips lucky bandit blog
  • I've been skipping my energy drinks every so often, so I've been saving quite a tidy little sum by drinking my 20¢/cup World Market coffee instead.
  • I cashed out another $10.01 via Mintvine - it's a quick and easy little income. Try it!
  • I received a $5 Amazon giftcard from the Panel App - I cashed in my points there, too.
  • Last week I ordered some shipping supplies from Amazon and since I didn't need them right away I opted for longer shipping and received a $5.99 Prime Pantry credit to use later. Score! Six bucks AND my package arrived three days earlier than scheduled. Thanks, Amazon!
  • I made $4.50 in two days with ibotta - I bought four items and got $2 for meeting the terms for a monthly special! And a bonus: If you use my link to sign up and redeem an offer within two weeks, you'll get $10 and I'll get $5!
  • I discovered a new grocery rewards app, Mobisave. They send you the money via PayPal as soon as your receipt is approved! I made $1.60 Friday and $.30 the next week! Use code AKHJYJNZ when you sign up! :)
  • Between my grocery rewards apps, I only paid $1.49 for Go Veggie Cheese. Normally it's $3.49!
  • I sold a couple more things on eBay, so that's a few more dollars in my pocket and more stuff out of our house.

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Thursday, October 13, 2016

thrifty thursday #5

thrifty thursday frugal tips lucky bandit blog
  • I picked up a clearance pack of five thin pizza crusts from World Market and made pizzas through my weekend - only $1.75 each including toppings!
  • Friday I made $.25 with ibotta when I bought zucchini, $.50 on pasta sauce, and another quarter on shampoo. (If you join with my link, you'll get $10 and I'll get $5!)
  • My Sheetz card has earned me a free cookie and a free 6" sub...I'll save it for when I don't feel like cooking.
  • I cashed out another $12.24 from Mintvine. Check it out!
  • My eBay earnings in the past month have been pretty good - I sold another three items last week.
  • I stopped at a local farmer's booth to see if he had tomatoes - he didn't, but I picked up four green bell peppers and a pound and a half (five) of yellow squash for a grand total of $2. He was so nice, the vegetables are locally grown, and a great deal!
  • Tonight I really wanted Taco Bell on my way home, but instead I came home and cooked said $1 squash. I still have three more squash left so I'll have another meal.
  • Free coffee? Sure! I didn't quite bring enough coffee one day, so I stopped by Sheetz with my mug and since all of the coffee machines were blinking, I got a free cup! I never expect it and tell them out of courtesy, but today they insisted I take the free cup.
Do you have any money saving tips? :)

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Thursday, September 01, 2016

thrifty thursday #4

thrifty thursday frugal tips lucky bandit blog

  • I skipped getting my morning energy drink a couple days this week. As a caffeine fiend this was hard, but I saved a few dollars.
  • Somehow a two liter of lemonade showed up in our house and it was incredibly processed so it was super sweet. I'm the only who would drink it and didn't want to waste it, so I filled up a travel cup halfway with lemonade, then cut it with water. So I stretched the lemonade AND made it more tolerable!
  • My mom gave me her old Keurig, so I try to find deals on k-cups. I snagged this box of 18 at World Market for 55% off of $9.99 with an additional promo that brought them down to $3.60 - only twenty cents per cup!
coffee k cups saving money lucky bandit blog katelyn carter
  • I didn't have to buy any new books or school supplies for the fall semester. Win!
  • I've been hemming and hawing on a dress I bought from Target on clearance a while ago. I decided it wasn't something I'd get a lot of wear out of, so since the tags are still on, I'm going to return it for a store credit.
  • My little pile of "books to take to the secondhand store" is growing, so hopefully I'll be able to take them down soon and get some store credit. I've not had luck on eBay, so I'm going to try my luck there.
How have you saved money lately?

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Thursday, August 04, 2016

thrifty thursday #3

thrifty thursday frugal tips lucky bandit blog

  • We went to another movie night at my best friend's husband's business - this time they played Home and it was so adorable. A free date night!
  • I checked out more movies from the library and put a couple books on hold. I'm really knocking out some of my reading list, and for free!
  • Tuesday morning I cashed out my ibotta earnings and received $21.75 in my PayPal account! If you sign up through my link, you'll get $10 and I'll get $5!
  • I also cashed out my Mintvine earnings for $10.34 on Monday, which is 1,034 points, and I'm already back to 278! It's so easy to earn money with them - I only joined a little over a month ago, and only use it sporadically.
  • AND I just cashed out on Swagbucks for a $15 Amazon giftcard! July has been a good rewards month.
  • The consignment shop by my work is accepting fall clothes starting Monday - I'm really hoping to get some more clothes out of here!
  • I stopped by the book store where I have store credit (Christmas gift) and picked up a few books. I don't need any more books, but as I slowly make my way through my stash I hope to sell some back to Amazon and the local store.
How have you saved money lately?

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Thursday, July 07, 2016

thrifty thursday #2

thrifty thursday frugal tips lucky bandit blog
  • In a thrift store trip, I snagged a clear Sterilite cd bin for $.99. It needed a good scrubbing, but they're normally way more than a dollar so I grabbed it. Since all my cds are in a case, I'll use this for something else. I also came out with a jar with a screw-on lid that'll be perfect for fresh garlic for $.99.
  • Our pot belly pig likes to push the throw pillows across the room, so I bought him some just for him to play with. How much? Three dollars a piece at the thrift store. I kept something out of the landfill and got a good deal on pig toys! ;)
  • Before we left for the beach, I stocked up on two bottles of wine and got back $1.00 each on them automatically via ibotta, making them the same price or cheaper than the normal brand I buy. Then in two days a week later, I made $5.50 buying things I'd already be buying. Win!
  • I made a frugal alfredo dinner Monday night at $1.96 per serving - we already had some of the ingredients, and we both got lunches out of it! AND the sauce was made from scratch, so no nasty preservatives or extra sodium! Way better than restaurant alfredo, I thought.
  • Friday I cashed out my consignment shop account for the last two months and walked out with $11.25. It's not much, but I just drop off my clean clothes, they do the leg work, and I don't have to worry with eBay! And the ladies are always great to talk to whenever I go in.
  • Wednesday I was treated to lunch by my dad (thanks, pops!) and then stopped by the library and picked up a couple DVDs and Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton.
How have you saved money lately?


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Thursday, June 09, 2016

thrifty thursday #1

thrifty thursday frugal tips lucky bandit blog

Thrifty Thursday is going to start being a post about ways I've saved money throughout the week. I love reading money saving tips. My mother and I talk about them all the time, so I thought this might be a neat way to document some of the ways I've saved a buck. Here's how I saved:
  • I've been continuing to fill up my thirteen year old Nalgene bottle instead of buying bottled water. My school put in bottle fillers last year, so that helps because my one class on campus is three hours and fifteen minutes long.
  • Instead of tossing the cottonballs that got dropped on the bathroom floor, I put them in my nail polish bin to be used to remove polish instead of using them for toner for my face.
  • I made $0.50 automatically via ibotta when I bought kale and broccoli from Food Lion. No receipt upload needed when you enter your MVP card into the app, so I saved a few seconds, too.
  • Instead of buying new school supplies for the summer semester, I'm going to finish using the many half used notebooks I have around the house. And pens. You wouldn't believe how many pens I've accumulated. (Update: I found a brand new notebook in my storage box that was purchased for a quarter on clearance!)
  • This month I made $8.75 at the consignment shop within walking distance of the parking lot for work, but I opted to wait to collect until next month to try to accumulate a little more cash.
  • The movie we wanted to see isn't at the theatre that we have tickets for (a birthday gift from my mom), so we're going to wait instead of using them on something we might only slightly want to see.
  • My best friend's husband's business puts on a movie night during the summer every other Saturday night. They set up a projector and screen and play family friendly movies outside. So we spent our Saturday night supporting them and seeing a free movie!
  • I received a mobile BOGO coupon for Chipotle, so we had a nice take out meal at home consisting of two bowls, chips, and salsa all for $9.73. If you scroll to the bottom of their site, you can sign up!
So there's a few ways I saved a bit of cash. It's not much and I'm sure incredibly boring to some, but now I can keep track of how well I'm doing!

Are you a frugal blogger? Leave your links below! ♥ 


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Tuesday, September 29, 2015

couponing 101 - part one - what is couponing?, finding coupons, & organization

Do you use coupons? If not, you should! They're easily obtained and can save you a lot of money just by themselves. However, with minimal effort, you can maximize your savings! I am one of those "couponers" - I've gotten things for free, and I've even been paid to take items out of the store! I'm starting a couponing series to help others save money. I'm far from an expert and by no means "extreme", but I'll share some of my tips so you can save money, too!

This is the first of a series of couponing posts. It will cover what couponing is, how you can obtain coupons, and how to organize them.

COUPONING 101: PART ONE what is couponing? finding coupons, organizing coupons lucky bandit blog

What is couponing, anyway?
Couponing is a term used to describe shopping with coupons and saving significant money (properly, of course). You can use coupons to maximize savings and get the lowest price possible for things you buy on a regular basis.

Obtaining Coupons
There are many ways and places to obtain coupons.
  1. Newspapers
    Your local Sunday paper should have a sales paper/coupon insert section. Sunday papers range in price and are usually a bit higher than other days of the week, but the cost is usually minimal enough to pick up two. If you happen to live between two major cities like I do, you may have access to two different papers - they can have different offerings, as coupons are regional.
  2. Online Coupon Websites
    There is a plethora of printable coupons to be had! I get most of my coupons by printing them. Keep in mind that there is a two (2) coupon limit per device (i.e. laptop, desktop, tablet, smartphone). If you try to cheat the system, your IP address will be blocked. These are the sites I use most frequently, but there are many others.
    1. Coupons.com
    2. Redplum.com
    3. Smartsource.com
    4. MamboSprouts.com
  3. Store Websites
    Sometimes stores will have pages on their website where you can print coupons. Some stores will even let you stack a store coupon and a manufacturer coupon together on the same item! There will be more on that later. :) These are the store sites I use most often.
    1. Target.com
    2. FamilyDollar.com
    3. DollarGeneral.com
  4. Individual Company Websites
    Many company's websites (i.e. Zevia, Amy's, etc) have a "coupon" page, where they sometimes offer coupons specifically for their products. If you love a certain brand, check out their website!
Other than these options, there are many other ways to get coupons! However, photocopying, selling, and buying coupons is illegal. And don't steal them from newspapers. In part two of this series, I'm going to have a piece on coupon fraud, etiquette, and policies, but in the meantime you can check out the Coupon Information Center for what's prohibited when it comes to coupons. The gist of it (but read it anyway!): only use coupons on the intended items, don't buy or sell coupons, obey coupon policies, and generally be smart and don't try to cheat the system.

Organizing Your Coupons
Now that you've got all of these coupons, what the heck do you do with them? Organize them, of course! This will help you tremendously when you go to the store to save money on your shopping. There are many ways to do this, but I'll just highlight some of the most popular ways.
  1. Accordion Files
    You know, those little files in the dollar section of Target that come in all the pretty colors. I personally use these to organize coupons that I know I'll be using on that couponing trip. You can organize them however you would like in these, and they stay unwrinkled and according to whichever categories you put on those little tabs.
  2. The Binder Method
    My way of organizing coupons that I won't be using immediately or on that trip is with a zippered binder filled with baseball card protectors, business card organizers, and photo organizer sheets. It puts the coupons all in eyesight by page divider separated category so that when I'm planning a trip I can easily find what I'm looking for.
How you organize your coupons is really up to you. If you want them all in a folder uncut, go for it! Whatever works the best for you is what matters.

Now that you've got your coupons and have them organized, stay tuned for a little tutorial on how to use them. Part Two will be up soon! If you have any questions, feel free to email me!

Thursday, September 17, 2015

shopping vegan & cruelty free beauty at Ross & Marshall's

Finding vegan and cruelty free products in an area that hasn't exactly grown with the trends or times can be tough. Finding budget friendly products can be even tougher. I recently took a stroll through Ross while looking for birthday gift ideas. The beauty section caught my eye and I needed moisturizer, so I decided to give it a look. Boy, was I glad I did! After finding a few vegan and cruelty free items, I decided to walk next door to Marshall's and see what they offered. I wasn't disappointed! Around my area, these items aren't readily available at the local store. Most of the time you have to take a hike and pay a fortune to get certain things. Check out what I found for a steal!

shopping vegan and cruelty free beauty at ross and marshall's katelyn carter

At Ross I found the Yes to Tomatoes Acne Gel Cleanser, and before I go any further, this stuff is MAGIC. The last two months my face has decided to go back in time to puberty and it's been a blotchy, pimply mess. In just THREE DAYS of using this cleanser, the inflammation has been greatly reduced and I haven't had any more blemishes crop up. So glad I picked this one up. I paid $5.99, but at my local Target it's a few dollars higher than that. You can find some here for a little cheaper than I paid, but I didn't want to wait for shipping!

The California Mango and Jojoba Extreme Creme is so thick and creamy! My skin feels fab after applying. I paid $3.99 and saved about $5. Another plus: it states on the bottle that it has a vegan formula! You can snag some on Amazon here.

Juice Organics is a brand I haven't heard of since it's not common in my area, but I'm glad I found their Pompeptide Facial Moisturizer. I saved almost 50% on this one paying $6.99. The formula is thick but not weighted and it doesn't make my face greasy or shiny. Win! Grab some here.

At Marshall's there were a lot more products, so reading ingredients took a fair amount of time and I gravitated towards brands I wasn't familiar with so I could try some new things. I first found the Andalou Naturals Deep Conditioner, and since my hair is super fine and majorly frizzy, I thought anything would help. And compared to $9.95, paying $5.99 was a steal. I've used it once and I could definitely tell a difference in my hair already. It's so soft and smooth! Definitely give it a try.

I've been trying out natural deodorants and I found Mill Creek's Cool Lavender stick. Since I can't smell, I can't really gauge how well it works, but I don't stay sweaty and I haven't been told I smell, so I supposed that's good. Haha, deodorant reviews are obviously not my strong point. I paid $3.99, which is cheaper than Amazon if you include shipping. If you'd like to try it, find it here!

Lastly, I picked up some Alba Botanica Even Advanced Moisturizer. Lord knows I need some evening out. I paid $8 off the clearance rack, and didn't remember I'd already bought the Juice Organics moisturizer until I got home. Oops. I like the formula, it's light and airy and soaks in well. I'd recommend this for those with blotchy complexions.

Here are my tips for finding what you need or for finding new products to try:
  • Have a general knowledge of vegan and/or cruelty free brands - or have access to Google.
    I have a very general knowledge of these things. I'm not as familiar with beauty product ingredients as I am with food ingredients, so it was tough. I stick with the same brands over and over, but after not seeing results I decided I needed to try new things. I was that person Googling in the aisle. No shame.
  • Don't be afraid to branch out.
    Bottle says vegan but you're not sure about the product? If the price is right, give it a try! You may find a new favorite.
  • Accept that stores like this can be hit or miss.
    The odds that I'll find those exact products again are slim, but I have the knowledge that I didn't pay the full retail price for products I may or may not like. I can try them at a discounted price, and if they work, I won't feel bad about spending full retail on them. However, always check the shelves for things you know and love!
If you have any awesome finds or some tips you'd like to share, leave them in the comments!

Monday, August 10, 2015

latest thrift haul - back to school on a budget

I start the fall semester in a little over a week, and right now my budget for new clothing for school is almost nonexistent. Therefore, I hit the thrift store one day while I was in town and managed to grab some pretty nice pieces. If you're not a thrifter, I've included affiliate (and non) links to similar items if you're interested! Take a look!

katelyn carter latest thrift haul back to school on a budget

Here's the entire load of clothing I found - just from taking a look at colors and fabrics that caught my eye. 

Oversized Vintage Oatmeal Cardigan - similar: 1, 2, 3

Brown Old Navy Long Sleeved Cardigan - 1, 2, 3

Blue Plaid Vintage Turtleneck - 1, 2, 3

Plum Plaid G.H. Bass Button Up - 1, 2, 3

Coral Lace Front American Eagle Racerback Tank - same brand, or 1, 2, 3

Grey Mossimo Tank Top with Detailing - same brand or 1, 2, 3

Yellow and Pink Vintage Lily Printed Scarf - 1, 2, 3

Boston Proper Multi Colored Houndstooth Mini Skirt - I didn't include that multi-colored houndstooth skirt in the breakdown, however, as I listed it on eBay. It's from Boston Proper and is in excellent condition! It was just a tad too big for me. (similar herehere, & here)

katelyn carter latest thrift haul back to school on a budget

I am really too in love with the colors of this button up. I love it, and it's just long enough to wear with leggings and a chunky knit scarf! The two tank tops are for wearing under cardigans - I don't have a lot of nicer tank tops (only plain camis), so I'm excited to pair these with oversized sweaters!

katelyn carter latest thrift haul back to school on a budget

katelyn carter latest thrift haul back to school on a budget

You can never have too many lightweight cardigans. They're so useful - I've been trying to build my collection without spending a fortune, so this little brown one from Old Navy was a steal. This little plaid turtleneck caught my eye immediately - I think it'll work nicely with a chunky belted cardigan and boots.

katelyn carter latest thrift haul back to school on a budget

This is a nice square vintage scarf. Not so much for the upcoming fall months, but I like the print.

katelyn carter latest thrift haul back to school on a budget

This sweater!! It's SO chunky and perfectly oversized. I tried it on and since it's 100% wool (I know, not vegan - I will buy leather and wool secondhand, but I won't fund new items being produced), it felt so warm. I cannot WAIT for the temperature to drop so I can wear it.

Have you been thrifting lately? Show me your finds!!

Saturday, July 25, 2015

thrifting vintage fashion tips

The "thrill of the hunt" is real! Do you thrift? Thrifting can have many rewards, both in the way of great deals and retail therapy. Heather from Spunky Real Deals, Ashley of Frugal Coupon Living and I teamed up to bring you some thrifted vintage posts this week!

If you're looking to start thrifting, here are some tips to get you started!

thrifting tips vintage fashion katelyn carter lucky bandit

You don't have to go to a vintage store or online to find great vintage pieces to add to your wardrobe. With a little time and patience, you can easily build your collection of vintage clothing and accessories at your local thrift store!

Here are some things I've learned:

Scope out local stores.

Chances are, you're probably surrounded by a lot of thrift stores, secondhand shops, or donation based stores. (If you're like me and not directly in the city, there are probably some within an easy driving distance.) The best times for clothing is around the change of seasons - people are cleaning out their closets. For vintage clothing, stores near elderly communities are usually more lucrative, as the clothing has normally been worn and just been replaced with newer styles.

Do a little research.

With a little studying, you'll be a vintage finding pro. Once you have a grasp of what to look for, it will be easier than ever to find items. Definitely check out The Little Guide to Vintage Shopping, it helped me a lot! Here are some basic tips I've picked up:


Get to know fabrics, structure, and colors.

Polyester was very popular for clothing of the vintage nature. Normally, this fabric can be picked out by eyeballing it. Thick knits, plasticky polyester, beaded and sequined pieces, and thin cotton fabrics can be picked out easily once you have the hang of it.

Older clothes weren't all made for "hanger look", meaning they were meant to look good worn, not on a hanger. The structuring is different. This one takes a bit of time to get the hang of, so really study photos and vintage pieces you may already have. Silver steel zippers are another thing - most newer items have plastic or colored zippers.

Colors can give away a piece as well, but since retro clothing has made a comeback, that's not always the giveaway it was. Once you've defined an era of which you're looking for clothing, you can usually get an idea of the colors that were popular then. I tend to float toward 70s styles, which have a lot of muted greens and purples, and rich oranges and reds.

Accessories are fairly easy to spot. Most of us know the styles of older bags, and I don't have many tips for those - I'll honestly say that I don't shop for vintage bags often, and I Google these mainly.


Check tags - and know their meaning.

Union tags are a fantastic giveaway for vintage clothing. You can find a list of union tags here for research on the different tags and how to identify the era the garment is from.

Designs on tags are often a big clue for vintage items - those kitschy, glittery, or retro looking one usually mean jackpot! A lot of times the tag in vintage items isn't at the back of the neck - be sure to check along the inner side seams!

Just like with any hobby, it takes time to learn something. Vintage fashion is no different, but can be easily learned!

Google is your friend.

If I'm in doubt of whether a piece is vintage, I instantly turn to Google. An item doesn't have to be vintage for me to buy it, but sometimes all I really want is to pick up older stuff.

Brand names can be gold. Normally, a quick search can tell you about the company in question and you can make a quick decision. If you're holding an item where the company is still around, it may take some quick sleuthing and clever keywords. Instead of 'brandx scarf' try 'brandx vintage scarf patterns' to quickly find older styles.

Location can give you a clue as well. I found a few Hawaiian shirts that were made in Hawaii - a quick search revealed they were true vintage, and in excellent condition.

Keep a list and have a goal.

Trying to find cigarette pants but keep forgetting when you get to the thrift store? Or a red scarf for the upcoming holidays but get distracted by the coats? Keep a list - just one in your phone will do.

I am guilty of this. I get so caught up in the search that I forget what I'm actually looking for. If I go in with a goal - say, a blue pencil skirt - I'll look for that first. If I don't find any (or do!), then I can resume my normal perusing.

A lot of thrift store tip guides will say to quickly scan the whole store for gems before really looking at racks. If that's how you want to do it, go for it! I personally take the 'fate' route. I'm a very habitual person. I start at one part of the store and make my way around. If I find something, great! I'm meant to have it. If someone snatches up something before I get there, I wasn't.

You don't have to wear everything.

There are so, so many uses for vintage clothing and accessories! Don't limit yourself to just wearing them. If you find a fantastically printed secretary dress that has a irreparable hole or stain but is in otherwise good condition, scoop it up! You can upcycle the fabric into a wall hanging (throw it in an embroidery hoop or staple it over a canvas!) or sewing project. That skirt's too big? Refashion it! If you find a skirt for $4 but it's a few sizes too big, you'll still have less in the garment with tailoring than if you bought one new, and most likely a one of a kind piece.

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Finding vintage items can take some time to perfect, but it's a rewarding and interesting experience. You're finding history! With every piece you'll fall more in love with the eras from which the clothing came. Have fun with it!

Be sure to check out Heather's thrifting vintage fashion post (what a great dress!) at Spunky Real Deals, along with Ashley's vintage inspired post (love those pumps!) over at Frugal Coupon Living!

Thursday, July 02, 2015

things that i won't spend money on

I'm a frugal person. I will admit my faults, however, and say that I am an impulse shopper. I spend way too much on little things like bottled water and granola bars at gas stations. With that said, there are a few things I won't pay for.

things that i won't spend money on katelyn carter lucky bandit saving money

// Sodas at Restaurants
I really hardly ever drink sodas to begin with. I mean, maybe one a week. Water is always my drink of choice. However, if I get a craving for a Diet Coke, I refuse to pay anywhere from $1.50-$3.25 for liquid sugar, especially how often I eat out. I'll take my water, please. If you want to break it down, if you eat out three times a week for a year, at $2.25 per drink, you're spending $351 per year on SODA. That's just for one person!

// Designer Sunglasses
Do I like Ray Bans? Yes. Would I break Ray Bans? Just as easily as the $9 sunglasses I got from Charlotte Russe. I can't justify $100+ for something I know I'm going to end of throwing in my purse, slinging off the dashboard, or flinging off my head while laughing hysterically at something.

// Cable Television
The last time I had cable television I literally watched Roseanne all day and then watched Seinfeld and the King of Queens at night. I had zero use for it other than those shows. Completely pointless to pay $60 a month for three shows. I nixed it and I haven't felt left out or lost, and I keep that money every month.

// Gym Memberships
Let's face it - I don't work out. I go to yoga (which I absolutely love), which is $10 a class (or less with a punchcard) with no commitment or minimum classes a week, and I don't feel obligated to run on a treadmill or try to get some use out of the facilities beyond yoga. Don't get me wrong, if a gym setting works for you then go for it, no judgement. It's just not right for me.

// Satellite Radio/Subscription Music
Why is this even a thing? The radio is free. Yeah, there's annoying ads, but there's also a scan button. Perhaps it's different if you have a long commute or travel for a living, but I don't need constant music to the point where I pay for it.

// Full Price Books
I read a lot. Way too much to pay full price for every book I purchase. I read a lot of free ebooks and purchase majority of my books at thrift stores for a fraction of the retail cost. If you ever want to read a new book, just wait a few weeks and you'll probably be able to find it at your local thrift store. I've gotten so many mainstream titles for $1-$1.50! If a friend has a copy, ask to borrow! There's no point in paying $20+ for a book unless you absolutely must have it at that moment (i.e. a vacation read, favorite author must have). Who knows, you might find some other books you've been looking for!

Is there anything that you won't pay for? Or anything that you will pay for? Let me know in the comments!
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