Tag Archives: saving

Early Holiday Shopping Tips & Tricks

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Early Holiday Shopping Tips & Tricks

Hiiii everyone! If you’re like me, then you like to get your holiday shopping done nice and early. I’ll tell you what, there is nothing better than clearing off your Christmas shopping list in November so that you can relax and be merry all December long. I recently began my shopping for my friends and family and even buying for just a few people has let me breathe a huge sigh of relief.

But, sometimes, holiday shopping can seem like a bit much – especially if you have a large family or group of friends to buy for. And, believe me, I get it. I have a pretty substantial list of people to shop for and that’s why I ball on a budget more than ever during the holiday season with the following tips:

Make A List/Budget:

The very first thing that I do when I prep for holiday shopping is the obvious starter of making a list. I go through everyone in my head that I need to buy for from family to significant others of the family to my boyfriend, BFFs, and colleagues and then write them down accordingly. Then, I include some basic ideas of what to get for each person by their names.

Once I have a good idea of who I need to shop for and what I would like to purchase for them, I set a budget. Normally, I have a pretty set in stone price range that I would like to stay in that applies for everyone. But, there could be certain people that you might want to shell out more or less from depending on the situation. Are you surprising your parents with a holiday gift basket? Awesome, ball out. Do you have a white elephant gift to buy for the office party? Spend a little less. That way your budget will still end up balancing out in the end.

Shopping lists and budgets provide a great guideline for completing your present purchasing in a (Somewhat!) stress-free manner. But, don’t let the price points that you set make you go too crazy! Going over budget is fine if the item is worth splurging on and you know that the giftee will love it. Like I said, there are always deals and hacks to utilize to bring yourself back within your spending limit. Like the following:

Steals, Deals, & Freebies:

My number one rule of shopping is to always get something extra out of your purchases. Whether that be points on a credit card, a free gift, or a BOGO style deal in store, always always shop smart. Do your research on the promotions that your favorite stores are running in store or online. Is a huge Black Friday sale happening? Maybe wait on that big screen TV, then. Is the deal that you can get online even better than what you could get in store? Then you better grab it before it goes out of stock.

Being aware of what promotions that the stores are running is just half of the trick. A good way to go about whether to wait for Black Friday deals or to purchase now is to think about what sales the store ran last year. I worked four Black Fridays in a row and the stores that I worked at ran the same promotions every year and they still do now. So, if those deals are worth waiting for, hold off until Black Friday or Cyber Monday. If not, and a good sale is running already, buying it now is just fine.

The next thing that you should be concerned with, are the deals that you can get with your credit or store rewards cards. Sometimes, it’s worth applying for a credit card just to do your holiday shopping on it. For example, if you apply for an Amazon credit card and get approved, you get a free fifty dollar gift card to spend on the site. Other credit cards will reward you with points or store credit when you use them. Can your cash do that?

And, finally, always compare in store and online prices before you purchase! Some stores will price match if it is cheaper online. And, other stores, like Sephora offer deals that you could never get in store. I spent fifty dollars on their website and got free shipping, two free samples, and two free really nice gifts for spending a certain amount of money. You should try to get the most bang for your buck whenever you’re shopping and free gifts for yourself never hurts!

Ready, Set, Gift Sets:

Gift sets are the bread and butter of my holiday shopping. They are a crowd and wallet pleaser and they are so fun to assemble. Some stores offer stellar pre-made sets that have a lot of product for not as big of a price tag, and those are great, too. If a family member or friend has a more eclectic taste, gift sets are an excellent way to go, because you can give them an assortment of odds and ends that will speak more to their uniqueness than a gift card. Or, if you’re shopping for nieces or nephews, hit up a Five Below and create a goody bag on a dime. And, always remember, that a nice basket or container is part of the gift so pick something nice that can be used again. 🙂

What are your tips and tricks for holiday shopping? Who has their holiday shopping finished already? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

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Lil Red Loves: Libraries

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Lil Red Loves: Libraries

Hi! Something that I’ve been fond of for as long as I can remember but, even more so this year, is the good ol’ local library. In my neck of the woods, there are plenty of different libraries to go to that have instilled in me a love for reading from story time as a youngin up until now as a twenty something. And, what I have learned this past year, is that libraries aren’t just for checking out books and movies.

Frequenting the libraries in the greater Akron area has become a staple in my day job, as they offer wonderful, educational, and fun programs that are all completely free. My clients and I love visiting different libraries and always end up reaping the benefits that the programs and events have to offer. From gaining knowledge and new hobbies to receiving totally free books like the ones below, the library is definitely the place to be.

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The libraries in my area offer everything from reading with therapy dogs to GED classes and murder mystery dinners. I have been to excellent music concerts with clients and showings of recently released movies in a huge auditorium. I’ve also attended yoga classes, escape rooms, and lessons in meditation all for the cost of absolutely FREE.

Just last week at North Hill Library’s meditation class, there were cardboard boxes full of free books for the taking. Mysteries, romances, fiction, and nonfiction alike were all there to be sorted through and there was no limit to what we could select. My client and I had a blast looking at all of the choices and I ended up picking out all of the above horror style murder mysteries (My favorite!) to take home with me. Will I like all of them? Maybe not, but that’s no harm done, because I can always donate it so that someone else can have what might be their new favorite page turner.

Lil Red will always support establishments that better the community and I am thankful that mine has so many excellent libraries to choose from, because they do just that. Libraries are inclusive to every single person in this world and there is much to be learned and a lot of fun to be had during your next visit to the neighborhood library!

Who else makes good use out of their local library? What type of programs does your library offer to the public? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Dollar Tree Deals

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Dollar Tree Deals

Hi! We all know that Lil Red loves to shop but, the trick is, is that I am all about the discount stores to save copious amounts of cash while I partake in my favorite hobby. In today’s post, it’s all about the Washingtons, because I began my Christmas shopping early at the Dollar Tree and got six fairly decent sized candles for a dollar apiece. Check it out:

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The beauty of discount stores, aside from the immense amount of savings from shopping there, is that no one is the wiser when they receive their presents. I plan on attaching sets of three of the above candles with a festive bow as part of gifts for friends and family and, for all they know, I could have gotten them at Target. Not only is the size of the candles relatively big for a dollar deal but, they smell amazing, too! The Pineapple Upside Down Cake is my favorite and I know that it will be a hit for my giftees. 🙂

What is your favorite discount store? Who has started their holiday shopping already? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Featured Image By: Gephardt Daily

Five Below Find

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Five Below Find

Howdy! Something that I’ve grown very fond of as of late are discount stores. Dollar Tree, Dollar General, Five Below – you name it, and I like it. Ballin on a budget is my lifestyle choice and these stores live by my motto of “why pay more if you don’t have to”. From office supplies and snacks to holiday decor for a dollar, sometimes I feel like I’ve hit the jackpot when I stop into a discount shop. Just the other day at Five Below, for example, I walked away with this darling hair bow for three bucks and I’m sure it would have costed at least ten at Claire’s! Take a look:

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This beautiful black bow with the long streamers ties in perfectly with my sweet goth aesthetic and I cannot wait to wear it. My hair definitely needs to grow out a bit more and, once it does, I will be pairing it with half up and messy bun styles ASAFP. The beauty of discount stores is that no one needs to know the price that you paid for a good find. For three bucks, I found a new accessory that would have costed me triple the price elsewhere and you just can’t beat that!

What is your favorite discount store to shop at? What is one of your best discount store finds? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Featured Image By: Five Below

TJMaxx Beauty Haul

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TJMaxx Beauty Haul

Hello everyone and happy Hump Day! I was so happy on Saturday, because my mom and I finally got to go to TJMaxx together after about TWO MONTHS of not going. With a scary long stay in the hospital last month and just getting back on her feet, sweet JANE was definitely not able to hit the shops like the good old days. But, that changed this Saturday and we had a wonderful little jaunt to our favorite store. I got a fabulous new fall and winter staple, which you’ll see tomorrow, and some new beauty finds. Take a look and let’s discuss:

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The Haul:

  • Unknown brand Radiance Crystal Cleansing Foam: $4
  • Vital C Vitamin C Brightening Serum: $8
  • Alpine Silk Rosehip Day Cream: $7

Grand Total: $19

Whenever I am in need of new skin care products, I almost exclusively purchase from TJMaxx. This is so crazy to me, because less than a year ago, I was still ordering skin care from The Body Shop and spending a buttload on some of the same products that I can buy at TJs. Without a sale, the prices at TBS are even more than the nineteen bucks that I paid for three products, and that’s just shameful to me. Of course, I’ll utilize a good TBS sale every now and then, but TJMaxx is truly where it’s at for skin care and beauty products… and also everything else! 😀

One of the items that I’ve been buying for the better part of a year is the Vital C serum. I pay eight dollars for a bottle that lasts me two and a half months. Meanwhile, at TBS, their Vitamin C Skin Boost that I used to use costed thirty dollars a bottle! I finished up my Vital C on Sunday, so I was so happy that they had it in stock at TJs, because I don’t know what I would do without it. A little radiance goes a long way, and my skin care routine would be nothing without some Vitamin C.

I also purchased a new moisturizer from New Zealand, which will be nice to try out. Because I have a very normal skin type, I can get away with experimenting with new products. I have heard wonderful things about skin care with rosehip in it in the past, so I’m looking forward to giving it a go once I finish the moisturizer that I’m using now.

And, finally, for funsies I tried out a Korean cleanser, because I’ll be needing a new one soon. The TJMaxx that I was at had an entire section of Korean skin care and I decided to change things up by going with the Radiance Crystal Cleansing Foam. Like I said, a little radiance goes a long way, so we’ll see how it works out!

I am really happy with the amount of products that I got for just under twenty dollars and am confident that I couldn’t get that value elsewhere. TJMaxx always does me right, and it was awesome to have a long awaited shopping trip with my mom! ❤

Who is a fan of Korean beauty products? What is one of your skin care staples? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Sephora Shopping Steals

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Sephora Shopping Steals

Hi everyone! I regret saying this, because the last thing I need is another store to obsess over – BUT, I am definitely doing that over Sephora! Seriously, their online deals are FABULOUS. I recently got an email saying that if you spend over twenty-five dollars on Too Faced products, then you could get a free mini lip paint with your purchase. I needed to reup on my Better Than Sex mascara, anyways, so I figured that I might as well get it online.

After spending just five minutes on their website, I decided that I will be doing all of my shopping online from now on. You get three free samples with your order, free shipping if you spend over fifty dollars, and there is almost always a promotion to get a freebie gift with your purchase if you spend over twenty-five dollars. Shopping in store is fun, but you get nowhere near that value when you are in person. And, why not get free stuff if you have the option to?

I’m lucky, because I haven’t fallen too deeply into my Sephora shopping to be spending a small fortune on beauty products. Normally, I just get my sister’s prezzies from there for gift giving occasions and stock up on my BTS mascara. But, that doesn’t mean that I shouldn’t get maximum savings when I do so. If I ever feel the urge to explore makeup more closely, I will definitely shop in store and then make the purchase online.

I ordered a Sephora Play bag to get myself over the fifty dollar free shipping mark, so maybe the day will come sooner than later where I feel like experimenting with more of the products at Sephora. And, if that ever happens, it’s nice to know that I will be getting a lot of bang for my buck by shopping with Sephora online!

Which stores offers the best freebies or rewards programs? What are some of your savings tips for when you shop Sephora? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

New Kasper Topper Coat

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New Kasper Topper Coat

Hi everyone and welcome to another wonderful week here on lifewithlilred! I’ve been bad…real bad…Because I ended up ordering more stuff on TJMaxx! But, in my defense, I want to finish all of my fall clothing shopping before I move into my apartment so SUE ME FOR IT. My purchases included two drop dead gorgeous BCBG dresses, which you will see tomorrow and Wednesday, and this lovely topper coat by Kasper seen below. Let’s discuss:

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  • Suggested Price: $149
  • TJMaxx Price: $40
  • Total Savings: $109

My favorite pieces of clothing are definitely coats and jackets. I love how something that you literally just throw on can transform an outfit in its entirety. From moto jackets and peacoats to blazers and trenches, they each hold a special place in my heart. But, I’ve never owned a topper coat until now. Do I know exactly what it is? NO. Do I love it, anyways? HELL YES!

This little number by Kasper is going to look so freaking posh come fall and winter and I cannot wait to wear it for the first time once the weather cools down. I love the black scales peaking out from underneath the white netting, its length, and the elbow length sleeves. And then pairing it with black, thigh high boots and a large statement bag with your OOTD? Forget about it.

From the work Christmas party to throwing this topper on and running your errands, my new Kasper coat will serve its purpose well once the temps get chilly. Can fall get here now, or?

How would you style this topper? Better yet, what the hell is a topper?! I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah