Tag Archives: discount

October Spending: A Belated Halloween Fright

My October spending is spooky. But thanks to a $5k surprise bonus and a random $1k return of deductible for a year-old car accident that wasn’t my fault my finances evened themselves out this month, and I managed to save a generous portion of my income as well. Go me. Still, I could have saved a lot more if I were smarter with my spending. Here’s the breakdown of how things shook out last month:

Income: $7400
Auto: $972
Rent: $632
Shopping: $537
Travel: $438
Bills: $292
Food: $266
Entertainment: $189
Personal Care: $74
Health: $35
Fees: $24
Other: $31
Left over: $3,687   Continue reading October Spending: A Belated Halloween Fright

Are New Restricted Shopping Sites Worth the Splurge?

Sales aren’t for cheapskates anymore. With the economy still in a state of despair, sales are the new black. Sites like Bluefly and Overstock have long offered last season’s designer goods at steep discounts, but those just don’t feel exclusive and urgent enough to get buyers to to splurge right here, right now.

Enter “restricted” shopping sites. These sites claim to limit entry to friends of people already on the site (which means they are restricted for about a day and then everyone gets in.) But their real sell is that they offer designer goods at steep discounts for a very limited time. It’s the buy now or forever hold your cash philosophy. And it apparently works. People love to think they’re getting a good deal. Sites like Gilt, Ideeli, Rue La La, OneKingsLane and others are making bank convincing shoppers if they don’t get in on a sale they’re going to be miserable forever.
I’ve long believed that a sale is only as valuable as whether or not you actually need what you buy. In my previous life, I was guilty of shopping the sale rack and feeling pride leaving a store when I got a “steal.” And that “steal” often ended up in the back of my closet, never to be worn.
Designer goods tend to either be beautiful or just plan odd. Trends don’t last. There is a reason an item is on sale. If you’re going to shop a sale, whether that be at the mall or on a restricted shopping site, know what you are looking for “before going in.” This way you won’t end up with credit card debt from buying a whole bunch of “great deals.” These sites are probably best shopping for gifts since you can spend less for more expensive goods. But in shopping for yourself, don’t get caught by the lure of the sale.
For more about these sites, check out the latest post by the Cranky Consumer on The Wall Street Journal.

10 Ways to Save Money on Laser Hair Removal

The last post I wrote was supposed to be about 10 ways to save money on laser hair removal, but turned into more of a ramble about my last year shopping around for the best prices. Thought it’d be best for my readers if I summarized exactly how to save money on laser hair removal treatments…

Free Consults are Your Friend
Go to at least 3 places for a free consultation. If you can, go to 5+ places for a free consult.

2. Get it in Writing
Get everything in writing, especially prices and package deals. Find out how long they’re good for.

3. Paying Up Front? Ask About Discounts
Ask about financing plans. Places that offer financing plans pay a ridiculous fee to the medical credit companies. See if you can get that fee discounted off your price if you pay up front (one clinic offered to take another 10% off each package if I paid cash up front.)

4. Play Hard to Get

Let the clinic know you’re shopping around. Make them have to sell you on why you should pick them, instead of letting them take you for all you’re worth.

5. Negotiate Your Package
Find out if you can purchase a package of 6-7 treatments, instead of the normal 5. Even though this will cost more up front, this will save you money in the long run. You will need more than 5 treatments unless you don’t have a lot of hair, in which case, why are you bothering with laser hair removal to begin with?

6. Research Your Laser

Make sure you go somewhere that has a laser that’s right for your skin type. The Alexandrite, Diode and YAG lasers are all good for different skin & hair color combinations. Use the wrong one, and at worst you can hurt your skin, at best you’re not getting the most effective treatment, which means you’ll be disappointed with the results and have to pay for even more treatments for it work to your expectations.

7. Wait for Specials
After you get full pricing information in writing, wait for package deals. Most spas tend to offer good deals in the early summer, as this is when their clinics slow down. Sign up for mailing lists so you know when the deal is available. There are sometimes good deals at other times throughout the year, depending on how the economy is doing. I’ve seen some great deals lately, in the fall.

8. Purchase Multiple Packages for Best Savings

Buy multiple packages at once. You have a lot more wiggle room in terms of negotiating price this way. Only do this if you feel like you can pay up front and know you like the place and who will be doing the treatment on you. I recommend purchasing a single package or just one treatment to get a real idea of what the treatments are like before diving into packages costing thousands of dollars.

9. Follow Treatment Timing

Make sure to go back for your follow-up treatments in the right intervals. Waiting too long or not long enough will make your treatment less effective. Ask your practitioner how long you should wait for each body part.

10. Get a Free Zap or Two

You can’t get your legs free if you buy arms, but you might be able to negotiate your feet and toes and bikini line in a “full legs” package. My underarm hair removal package now, unofficially, includes the small bit of hair between my breasts in the center of my chest. It’s only about 10 hairs, but it’s the worst as it shows up in all my outfits. I mentioned this to the RN doing my armpits while she was treating me and she said “I’ll just zap them for you.” Even if the clinic does not condone freebies, you might be able to get a little more for your money by asking. Do this before paying for your package and then it’s official, and make sure to get it in writing. Note – this won’t work for places that charge by the laser pulse or for time spent on treating.