Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Budget 2: Supper Club, Discount Sites, & Consignment

It's been a while since I first mentioned budget. Well, in my attempt to achieve some sort of life balance, I've sorely neglected my blogging duties. I apologize for that. Anyway, the next items to mention are Supper Club, Discount Sites, and Consignment Sales!

Supper Club
We used to do this more and I hope to start it up again. Essentially, Supper Club is where you get together with friends and share a meal. This achieves many purposes:

  1. You share the cost of a meal with friends. 
  2. You get to spend time with friends socializing. 
  3. You exchange recipes if you choose. 
  4. You try new foods.

We typically alternate homes where we have the meal. Who ever hosts is in charge of the main entree. If you are a guest, then you bring a side item. This is the same concept as meeting friends for dinner. The only thing is that with this, you plan in advance, you prepare your meal, and instead of paying (in our case, $60+) for the meal, you pay less than a fraction of that. If you plan it around themes of food: Italian, Mexican, Indian, Japanese. I really like this because we can do this with other families who have children. This way, we both don't have to pay for childcare and the children entertain themselves! If you are feeling especially sassy, feel free to bring a bottle of wine to share with your friends. Drink responsibly, but also, you can discover new libations. Single folks, you guys can do this too! Hang out with your friends, share a meal, and still have room for leftovers to take for your lunch the next day.

Discount Sites
Make use of sites like Groupon, LivingSocial, BuyWithMe, and others. There are a lot of great deals to be had for quite a bit less. Groupon has introduced a GrouponNow feature that allows for the deal to be used that day. No worries if you don't use the GrouponNow deal. You are just refunded the money. The only drawback to these is that you MUST use your vouchers before they expire! Otherwise, you are just wasting money. (Guilty party, right here!) Another win is that they have a Causes page which focuses collective giving for a specific charity. People can partner together to make their micro giving a major grant to help fight the highlighted charity.

Also, you can utilize discount sites like Zulily, BabyHalfOff, HauteLook to purchase items you like, but at significant savings. Of course, you don't get to pick what items are on sale and when, but they are still a good deal. While shipping isn't a whole lot, it does stink to have to constantly pay it when making a purchase, especially if you purchase items with a large-ish subtotal. I guess that's how you can get spoiled with free shipping. Truth be told, having to pay for shipping has prevented me from completing many purchases, which in and of itself is good because I probably didn't need whatever it was to begin with!

Consignment
When I became a mom, I discovered just how expensive children can be. I wanted Mari to be clad in all sorts of cute fashions and designs, but when I read the sticker price on many things, I was in for a total shock! There was no way I was going to be able to afford the cutesy boutique clothing I'd come to adore on my budget. I remembered thinking, how do people afford to have more than 1 or 2 kids! And then I discovered stores like Kid-to-Kid and Once Upon a Child. You can later imagine my excitement when I discovered Divine Consign.


Sidenote: There's another one called JBF, but I don't like to participate in that one. The two times I tried to shop with them, I was rudely turned away and vowed to not return. There are plenty of other consignment sales in my area that I can shop and not have an issue. That's my own personal experience, so don't let that influence you in any way. I'm just telling you how it was for me.

Divine Consign is a twice a year consignment event. Unlike the previously mentioned stores, which are open year-round, DC's shopping sales are awesome. You can shop for gently used or new items for a fraction of the price! They have some incredible stuff there. Some of my favorite pieces for my girls have been purchased at this sale. I have graduated to consignor, so the goal now is to break even when I shop. I have yet to meet that goal, but I have come close. Once upon a time, I budgeted about $200 for clothes for each season, with an extra $30-$50 for a coat/swimsuit. This was when I paid full-price for clothes and shoes. Now, I have been able to whittle it down to a little less than that amount for both girls, including the coats and other accessories. I now have a great appreciation for hand-me downs, even though I hated them growing up. I will totally sympathize with Tesla! The beauty of these sales is that I'm almost always guaranteed to find a brand-new items with tags still attached! Many of these articles of clothing are from the specialty boutiques too. Not just limiting to clothing, they have furniture, toys, books, carseats, sports equipment, feeding/bathing tools...pretty much anything you need for a baby up to when they are 10, you can find it. This is a big win for me!

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