What to Buy (and Avoid) in September

Did you know that there are certain months that are better to buy particular items than other times of the year.

Here are the best and worst items to buy in September:

  1. Summer Apparel and clearance: Summer apparel and summer clearance are great buys during and after Labor Day weekend
  2. Patio Furniture: The end of summer is a great time to buy Patio furniture and the like if you haven’t made a purchase yet!
  3. Grills: Grills are now in low demand and now make a great buy if you need one!
  4. Apple Products: New apple products are expected to launch soon so it’s a great time to buy older models for a great deal
  5. Coffee Deals: The end of September is National Coffee Day and expect to find great deals on coffee around that time!
  6. Jewelry: There’s not much going on in September for romance so jewelry is a great buy in September.

Here’s a few things to avoid in June:

  1. Large Appliances: Large appliances go on sale this month, but wait until Black Friday if you can for a really great deal
  2. 2016 Car Models: Everyone wants a big, shiny new car which is why the prices are so high. Instead look for a 2015 model for great discounts
  3. Fall Clothing: New clothes typically don’t have great deals yet, wait if you can for a better deals on fall clothing

Do you have any suggestions of items that are great to buy in September? Any items to avoid buying this month?

How to Save Money Eating Out

save money eating out

Eating Out can definitely take a toll on a budget, but sometimes dining out can be the best option especially if you are traveling or need a break from the kitchen!

Before I kept track of my expenses, dining out definitely took out a very large chunk of the budget and it was the easiest (and hardest) to cut when I  started to save (more) money.

However, just because eating out can be expensive doesn’t mean it has to be. Here’s a few tips and tricks to save money while eating out without breaking the bank.

1. Enjoy Early Bird and “Happy Hour” Specials: Many restaurants will have various specials and deals, especially during off-peak times. Make sure to check out Boston on Budget’s Cheap Eats page to find restaurant specials every day of the week from $2 burgers, $1 tacos, and much more during off peak times and more!

2. Find deals through Daily Deal Sites: Daily Deal sites like Groupon and LivingSocial are great resources to find restaurants deals on your next visit. The offer will vary depending on the restaurant itself, but it’s a great way to save a little money at local gems. Make sure to read all the terms though because some dining deals may have some restrictions like no weekend dining, certain menu items, and more.

3. Check out Restaurant.com for local restaurant deals: Restaurant.com is a great source to find dining vouchers for $25 for $10, $15 for $6 or $10 for $4. Also look for Restaurant.com promo codes to save even more money on the vouchers! You usually need to spend a certain amount at a restaurant and there may be some restrictions but it depends on the restaurant itself. However, Restaurant.com is an easy to use site and you can always switch restaurant vouchers if the restaurant goes under or you change your mind. (Tip: Make sure your birthday info is on your account because you will receive a free $10 gift card for your birthday!)

4. Use restaurant coupons on your bill: Many local and national restaurants will offer coupons and they can be found in the paper, the mail or online. For a huge list of printable coupons for restaurant chains, please head here. Also, some restaurants and third-party sites will give you a coupon for just getting started. For example, Grub Hub will give you $7 off for signing up when you a referred through a friend.

5. Sign up for loyalty clubs: Signing up for loyalty clubs is a great way to find specials and offers from your favorite restaurants. Many restaurants offer a loyalty or e-mail club and they will e-mail specials and promotions right to your mailbox. Even better, some restaurants will thank you with a coupon and/or a birthday meal when you sign up. Bar Louie, Boston Beer Works, Solas, The Chateau, and Not Your Average Joes are just a few local places that have special offers for e-mail club and/or loyalty club.

6. Split the meal: If you are familiar with the portions at a restaurant and they are quite large, you may want to consider splitting a meal with a friend, if possible. Also, consider ordering a few appetizers instead of a full meal and splitting them between the table. Dine at establishments that offer half off appetizers and look for items like wings, sliders, and chicken fingers that can be just as filling and delicious as a full entrée.

7. Dine at the bar: Sometimes bars will have a different menu or specials at the bar and dining at the bar can be a great way to save money. Also, a lot of happy hour specials and deals mentioned on the Cheap Eats in Boston page need to happen at the bar, so grab a bar stool at a restaurant instead to find better deals.

8. Buy an Entertainment Book: The Greater Boston Entertainment Book has may coupons to restaurants, attractions, retailers and more and does come with a price tag ($10-$30 depending on the sale). However, there are a lot of coupons for restaurants, bars, fast food, and more that can help save money over the course of the year.

9. Take advantage of rewards: Takeout delivery app Foodler offers users to earn points to put towards future purchases as well as other sites and applications. Also, credit cards are also a great way to earn rewards by receiving cash back and bonuses on your restaurant purchases. It’s always great to get a little something back in the future for your food purchases!

These are just a few ways I try to save money eating out in the Greater Boston area and can be applied to anywhere– even on vacation!

When possible, I like to pick the restaurant because I can control what deal to take advantage of and the best way to save money. However, when dining out with friends for a birthday or another occasion it is not always possible.

To help save money, I like to go on the restaurant’s website beforehand and to see if there are any saving opportunities. If not, at the very least, I will look at the menu and try to figure out the cost and what I may order beforehand to get a rough idea of the experience.

Do you have any tips to save money while dining out?

*This post contains affiliate links, please see my disclosure policy here if you have any questions.

 

5 Things to Wait Until the Last Minute to Buy

Money Saving Tips

Have you heard the early bird gets the worm? In a lot of instances that can be the case when it comes to making purchases, but in these five instances it is better to wait until the last minute for the best deal.

1. Sporting Events & Concert Tickets

If you didn’t score tickets at face value when tickets went on sale for your favorite sporting team, band, etc., waiting until the last minute is a good strategy to get tickets at or below face value. Sometimes the venue will release more tickets through their ticket agency like Ticketmaster at the last minute and different ticket agencies are trying to sell last minute tickets. Individuals who also can’t make the event may also try to unload their tickets at the last minute and may be willing to sell it below ticket value because it is better to get something for the tickets than nothing.

Try Craigslist, Ace Tickets (aff. link), as well as other ticket agencies to see if you can get a great last minute deal– or even at the venue itself when the event kicks off. Keep in mind that some online ticket sellers will erase all their seats an hour or two before the show starts, so pay attention to ticket trends to find the best deal for you.

2. Seasonal Items

Holding off until the last minute (or until the season or holiday is over) is a great way to save money. Seasonal items are most expensive when items are in-season or the season beforehand when it is most in demand. If you can hold off or stock up for the next year, getting seasonal items at the last minute when they are on clearance is a great way to save money.

3. Meat and Grocery Items

Buying certain grocery items and meat at the last minute is a great way to save money. Meat and other items found at the grocery store are marked down a lot when it nears it’s expiration date. This is a great way to get food at a deep discount if you are going to eat it very soon or are able to freeze it for later.

4. Flea Market Items

If you are heading to a flea market or yard sale, head there at the last minute if you are looking to get the best buys. Items are deeply discounted because sellers do not want to pack up the items nor throw them away, and would like to make a little something instead. Inventory may be less, but the deals are best at the end of the day.

5. Farmers Market & Produce

Similar to flea market items, you can receive the best deals at a Farmer’s Market at the end of the day because sellers would like to get rid of the produce. Although produce isn’t always delicious at the last minute, but you can find good deals right before they expire. However, heading to a Farmer’s Market at the end of the day is a great way to get delicious produce at a great price.

Do you have any things to wait until the last minute to buy that I may have missed?

 

 

What to Buy (and Avoid) in May

Did you know that there are certain months to buy certain items that are better than other times of year.

Here are a few things to buy in May:

  1. Mattresses: May is a great month to buy Mattresses, especially near Memorial Day Weekend
  2. Spring Apparel: Summer Apparel is out and look for discounts on Spring Apparel to make more room for summer wear
  3. Hot Dogs, Condiments, Chips & Other BBQ Foods: Cookouts begin in May and look for deals for all your favorite BBQ foods
  4. Party Supplies: Cookouts, Graduations and other parties are popular in May leading to more sales
  5. Thrift Store Finds: A lot of spring cleaning leads to better finds at the thrift store this month (Read: Thrift Stores in Boston)

Here are a few things to avoid buying in May:

  1. Flowers: Flowers and other stereotypical Mother’s Day gifts are more expensive due to higher demand in May
  2. Jewelry: Jewelry has less deals this month due to Mother’s Day, wait until the summer
  3. Laptops: Wait until summer to find better deals on Laptops before school starts

What other items are good or bad finds in May? Do you agree with this list?

Where to Find Coupons for Groceries

Where to Find Coupons 4

Have you ever wondered where to find coupons to use at the grocery store and more? I’ve actually been asked a few times at the store where I’ve printed off coupons online and wanted to share my favorite sources with you just in case you were wondering as well.

The Sunday Newspaper:

The Sunday Newspaper typically has coupon inserts every Sunday and is a great first step is finding and using coupons. I usually buy the Boston Herald for $2 because it is cheaper than The Boston Globe, but you can find coupon inserts in other local newspapers as well.

You may want to check out a Newspaper Coupon Preview before you head to the store, because the amount of inserts vary each week. For example, on holiday weekends (like Easter, Christmas, etc.) you won’t find a single insert but the following week may have 4. You can also have an idea what coupons are coming which is nice if you want to buy a few or not.

Online Printable Coupons:

eCoupons:

Mobile Coupons:

Let me know if I missed any of your favorite ways to find and print coupons!

 

How to Make Your Own Healthy Hand Soap

Make Your Own Hand Soap Recipe

An unwritten goal of mine for 2015 was to use less harmful chemicals since I now have a newborn in the house, as well as other perks natural cleaners bring.

However, green and organic products are really expensive and I’m on a tight budget especially since my household expanded.

I decided to make (some) of my own cleaning products so I know exactly what ingredients are included as well as to keep costs down.

I like to keep things fairly simple so I don’t spend a lot of time making cleaning products. The biggest (and my favorite one) is hand soap. We go through a lot of hand soap so I purchased Dr. Bronner’s Castile Soap on Amazon and reused a foam pump we had. (I recommend a foam pump, since it may be too watery otherwise).

Here is the recipe for easy and green hand soap:

Fill the foam soap dispenser 3/4 full of filtered or distilled water and then add 1-2 tsp of castile soap to the top.

That’s it. It takes maybe 30 seconds.

I usually use 2 tsp of Castile soap because my husband likes it more soapy, but you may like less. Feel free to play around with the mixture to see what works best for you.

I bought a 32oz bottle for $16 or so and I figured if I use almost 2 tsp at a time, I’m spending around .16 per soap dispenser. I didn’t include the cost of changing my water filter from time to time, but the cost would still be less if I went to the store and grabbed soap for $1-2 a dispenser.

At less than .20 for hand soap and using less chemicals, I really enjoy spending the extra 30 seconds to make my own hand soap.

Do you make any of your own cleaning or house products? Why or why not?

Do you have any recipes to share?

*This post contains affiliate links. Please see my disclosure policy here.

What to Buy (and Avoid) in April

Did you know that there are certain months to buy certain items that are better than other times of year.

Some of things that you’ll want to buy the most this month will be at the highest price because everyone will have spring and warmer weather on their minds this year!

Here are a few things to buy in April:

  1. Snow blowers and more: Hopefully we won’t need any more snow equipment and retailers want to make room for new seasonal inventory so look for deals on winter equipment like snow blowers and shovels… if there’s any left at this point after this crazy winter.
  2. Sneakers: April is a great time to buy sneakers and athletic shoes because retailers will be encouraging shoppers to get outside soon
  3. Easter Items: Ham, eggs, baking supplies and more are on sale in the beginning of April and look for candy, decorations and more to be on sale after Easter.
  4. Natural and Organic Items: Look for natural and organic products on sale in April for Earth Day. This is a great time to purchase organic foods, natural cleaning supplies, reusable water bottles, and much more.
  5. Tax Freebies: The end of tax season is upon us and April 15th tends to bring freebies such a free massages, food, and more. You may even see last minute deals on tax software if you’ve waited this long.

Here’s a few things to not buy in April:

  1. Mattresses: The next big mattress sale is most likely memorial day weekend, so wait a month or two to buy a new mattress
  2. Patio Furniture and grills: If you can, wait a few months to make these purchases since demand is high for these warm weather products.
  3. Spring and summer clothes: Wait a little longer to buy warm weather clothes as people are refreshing their outfits for the nicer weather.
  4. Baby Gear: There were great prices on baby gear at the beginning of the year and you should see less discounts and deals for the month of April

What do you think of this list? Do you agree or disagree with the above?

Either way, Happy Spring! :)

Shop Thrift Stores in Boston

Thrift Stores BostonShopping at Thrift Stores can be a great way to save some money and score some great deals on clothes, accessories, and much more! However, not all thrift stores are created equal and inventory can vary on the store or even visit.

Below are a list of thrift stores in Boston or in the Greater Boston Area to check out and hopefully score some great finds!

  1. Boomerangs: Locations in JP, West Roxbury, Central Square and the South End
  2. Urban Renewals: 122 Brighton Ave, Allston, MA 02134
  3. The Thrift Shop of Boston: 17 Corinth Street, Roslindale, MA 02131
  4. The Garment District: 200 Broadway Street, Cambridge, MA
  5. Buffalo Exchange: Locations in Allston and Somerville
  6. Second Time Around: Locations in Boston, Brookline, Cambridge, Needham, Newton, Wellesley
  7. Closet Connections: Locations in South Boston and JP
  8. Redress Boston: 395A Washington Street, Brookline, MA 02446
  9. Raspberry Beret: Locations in Cambridge, Reading, and Wakefield
  10. Found: 255 Elm Street, Somerville, MA 02144
  11. The Closet: 175 Newbury Street, Boston, MA 02116
  12. Odds & Ends Thrift Shop: 62A Summer Street, Somerville, MA
  13. Sister Thrift: Locations in Watertown and Burlington, MA
  14. Salvation Army: Multiple Locations
  15. Goodwill Store: Multiple Locations
  16. Savers: Locations across Massachusetts including West Roxbury, Saugus, Norwood, Danvers, and much more!

Do you like to go thrift shopping in Boston? Do you have any favorite spots or tips to share?

Did I miss your favorite thrift shop in Boston?