Save Some Dough This Holiday Season

As the holiday season is now upon us, it’s time to start thinking about the parties, the food and of course all of the holiday shopping you’ll be doing. Today, I am going to share with you ways to save during the holidays and throughout the rest of the year.

9 money-saving tips for the holidays

1. Use a credit card that gives you cash back. I recently signed up for Bank of America’s BankAmericard Cash Rewards™ Visa Signature® Card and get money back on my purchases. The deal: “1% cash back on purchases, 2% at grocery stores and 3% on gas for the first $1,500 in combined gas and grocery purchases each quarter. Plus earn a 10% customer bonus when you redeem into a Bank of America® checking or savings account.”

Bank of America is also having a promotion going on right now that if you spend at least $500 in purchases within the first 90 days of opening an account, they’ll give you $100. I already received a check for $115. If you’re going to be spending, might as well use a card that will give you cash back.

For more information about the BankAmericard Cash Rewards™ Visa Signature® Card, click here.

2. Take the time to find the best price when shopping. Once you’ve found it, do your online shopping through Ebates. I do most of my shopping online and a majority of the time, the stores I shop at are on Ebates so I get a percentage of my purchase back. If you shop online, you should have an Ebates account.

Some of my favorite stores on Ebates: Amazon, Nordstrom, Sephora, Country Outfitter, Living Social, Groupon, Lulus, Babies R Us, Gap, Piperlime, ASOS, Vine, Victoria’s Secret, Expedia, Crate and Barrel… see, there’s a ton. Plus, if you get your friends to sign up for Ebates, you can get even more money back. Going to sign up? Do me a favor and sign up by clicking here.

3. Drive less or at least carpool. Save gas by planning out your driving schedule. Plan to do all your week’s shopping in one day, directly after work, using Google Maps to find the best routes between stores.

Carpool to work. Carpool to family get-togethers and holiday dinners. Carpool to run errands. Hitch a ride with a friend or offer to drive this time and they drive next time. The less driving you do, the more money that stays in your pocket.

4. Know where your money has been going and figure out where you can cut your spending. and the Mint iPhone app are great for tracking your income, spending, mortgages, 401k and more. Mint also lets you create your own budgets and will notify you through email or text if you’re getting close to overspending. Speaking of your 401k, are your retirement finances in order? If not, it is never too early to start planning for your retirement savings. Not sure where to begin? Take a look at this useful guide to IRA vs 401k from SoFi: Finding the right retirement savings plan for you is vital and preparing now can help you to enjoy your golden years as best you can.

5. Take advantage of your local grocery shop coupons, apps, and deals. I do most of my shopping at Fresh & Easy and Safeway. Both stores have great apps that have deals and coupons to save you even more money on your groceries. Before you leave to shop, write a list of what you need and take a couple extra minutes to load your grocery rewards cards with coupons.

6. Go through your closets, garages and storage units and find belongings you no longer use or want. Sell your unwanted items on Amazon, Ebay, ThredUp, Twice, or any of these in this list compiled by to get some cash back.

7. Any items that are not resell-able, donate to Goodwill and get a tax receipt. Save a little bit of money come tax time and feel good that you cleared up some space in your house. You can collect your receipts and tax or financial documents together and keep a digital record of them using paperless office software (like this – that allows you to scan important papers so you don’t lose track of anything.

8. Put on a sweater! Decrease your heating bills during the winter by packing on the layers. Utilize that fireplace. If rising energy bills are eating into your finances, you might also want to consider switching energy provider or finding a more affordable energy plan. Comparing Gexa Energy plans with other similar plans can help you to find an energy provider who can meet your needs and budget.

9. Instead of buying everyone on your list store-bought gifts, opt for making homemade gifts for family members and friends. There are many great tutorials on Pinterest for almost any kind of gift you could think of. This year, I’m going to make batches of Sriracha Caramel Corn (recipe via Clever Girls blogger Damn Delicious) for my family and package it up nicely. Homemade gifts can be fun to make, are made with love, and will save you money. Plus, who doesn’t want Sriracha Caramel Corn? Have you tried it? It’s (damn) delicious!

Alt Design Summit: A Mecca For The Creative – Part 2

Besides meeting a fabulous group of new friends, Alt provided a central place for like-minded people to get creative and feed off of each other, though not in the vampire-y, post-apocalyptic-way. It isn’t often you get 500 awesome designers, fashionistas, crafters, stylists, decorators, social media smarties, artists, photographers and bloggers all in one location at your disposal.

Read more

My Summer Bucket List

  • turquoise bucketBBQ cheeseburgers
  • Go camping (As you know, I love spending time outdoors! I really want to go to Iceland so that I can rent a campervan from somewhere like Camping in Iceland just sounds like so much fun!)
  • Make watermelon mojito popsicles
  • Watch a movie at the drive-in
  • Go on a picnic
  • Have an ice cream social
  • Get tan
  • Attend a few outdoor summer concerts
  • Go on a hike
  • Swim in a lake
  • Go on a road trip
  • Move into a nicer, bigger apartment (a cottage would be ideal!)
  • Paint more pictures
  • Help my mom paint her bedroom
  • Have a pool party
  • Go ziplining at Mount Hermon Redwood Canopy Tours
  • Redesign my blog
  • See a old movies that have always been on my list but have never seen:
    • Aliens
    • The Crow


Do you have a Summer Bucket List? What’s on it? Please share.

24 by 24: 24 things to do before I turn 24

Setting goals are important and without writing them down on paper [aka blog] I’d probably forget and not stick with them. So here’s my 24 by 24 list:

  1. Post this list on by blog by January 31. completed on 1/30/2010!
  2. Attend South By Southwest.
  3. Redesign my blog and make it pretty.
  4. Go on a weekend getaway with just the girls.
  5. Visit a national park or monument.
  6. Be craftier; make at least 1 new project a month.
  7. Visit my grandma in Marin more often. She always has the best stories.
  8. Get out of debt (damn you school loans!). As of 1/16/2011, my Net Worth was –$713.88. By 24, I want to be out of the negative. Update: I sold my old car and leased a new one, so my net worth is embarrassing now.
  9. Learn to cook a new main dish for dinner and perfect it.
  10. Attend a networking event at least once a month.
  11. No more impulse shopping. Make a list every time!
  12. Blog on 52 Bands in 52 Weeks more frequently.
  13. Read one book a month.
    1. January –  Half in Love: Surviving the Legacy of Suicide by Linda Gray Sexton (client)
    2. February – Engage by Brian Solis
    3. March – Does This Make My Assets Look Fat by Susan Hirshman
    4. April – Trust Agents by Chris Brogan
    5. May – tbd
  14. Sign up for Bikram yoga again and do the 10 day challenge.
  15. Find a relative in another country and learn enough about them to write a short story. -great suggestion from @VictorCanada.
  16. Bake delicious cupcakes that look aesthetically pleasing. [insert picture here]
  17. Take a road trip.
  18. Put down the cell phone more often. Or better yet, turn it off sometimes.
  19. Donate blood.
  20. Learn how to make fried rice like my friend Gabie’s mom makes.
  21. Ride on a zipline.
  22. Cook a four-course meal (and share with a good friend).
  23. Call someone I haven’t spoken to (in at least 90 days).
  24. Play golf. So I can say I did it. And hopefully won’t have to ever again.
  25. FINISH THIS LIST BY THE TIME I TURN 24 on May 5, 2011 (yes, my birthday is Cinco de Mayo and it’s awesome).