6 Simple Ways to Shop Smarter

What if you could not only save while shopping but make money? Keep reading to learn how I changed my shopping habits for good…

If you’re like me, you love to shop. What I didn’t love was the credit card bill that came weeks later reminding me how much above my means I had spent. I tried shopping less but when I saw something I had to have, I couldn’t resist. This cycle would continue to repeat itself and continue to leave me with buyer’s remorse.

Then, after making these easy changes (and sticking to them), I not only began saving money when shopping but actually started making money. My hope is that by sharing the process I follow, you too will shop smarter. Now, let’s go shopping…

Step 1: Calculate Cash Back from Spending

 When I first started to change my habits, I knew I needed to figure out exactly how much I was spending (as painful as it is). After looking through the bills I determined I was spending over $800 every month on stuff I wanted, not needed.

Most of that spending was online and when I started looking for ways to still shop but spend less, I came across Ebates. They’ve given their members over $325,000,000 in cash-back for shopping at the stores they already do. Now when I shop, they deposit my cash back directly into my account. It’s actually that easy.

Registering is completely free and they even give you a $10 Welcome Bonus. If you’re already going to buy from these stores anyways, you might as well get cash back for it on Ebates.

Step 2: Save Smarter, Not Harder

While Ebates gives me cash back for most of the stores I shop at, I didn’t find absolutely everything. Any by everything, I mean shoes. Yes, I too have a shoe addiction and I needed to find a smarter way to buy them and other stylish pieces.

Before, I was spending almost $50 for a new pair of shoes. Not only was it an expensive habit but I wasn’t even happy with the shoes I was buying. When I became a VIP Member with JustFab it was the best of both worlds. Not only did they completely customize my online shopping experience but I started spending 50% less on a pair of shoes.

It was so easy to get started, all I did was answer a few questions about the styles I like and instantly got access. Plus, they gave me a Buy 1 Get 1 Free coupon, free shipping & exchanges just for signing up.

Step 3: Spend Less Money on “Needs”, Get More For “Wants”

When I set out on this journey I was only interested in saving money on my “wants”, I didn’t even think about my “needs”. After some trial and error, I realized there were plenty of ways I could reduce spending on “needs” which gave me more for my “wants”!

At first, I tried my local dollar store. Some of the things I found were good but most of it was garbage and I ended up having to buy from the full-price places anyways. When I discovered Hollar.com is when the serious savings started. Not only do they offer Free Shipping but they have $1 stores for almost every category with name brand products that I actually use.

Needless to say if I don’t find it on Ebates or JustFab, Hollar.com is my next and final stop.

Step 4: Make Extra Cash for “Wants”

I realize that for some, in order to shop smarter you need the resources to do it. There have been plenty of times where I’ve been short on cash and shopping wasn’t even an option (or put me further into debt). As a college student, in between jobs and plenty of other times I had to be resourceful not only in saving money but making it too.

In the past, I would look for jobs around town but it was almost never worth the effort. One day while on my computer I found Swagbucks.com and signed up. I’ll be honest that at first I was very skeptical but after I started completing some actions on their site, I was receiving “Swagbucks” right away. In the first day I made 500 Swagbucks and received a $5 Amazon Gift Card! Now whenever I’m a little tight on cash and want to shop, I just spend some time on Swagbucks.

Step 5: Save Cash Where You Already Shop

If you’re anything like me, you have days when you go to Target for toothpaste, and walk out with a birthday card, a dress, a few groceries, throw pillows, a small area rug, a nightstand, and completely forget the toothpaste! One day the cashier pointed out how much I could be saving if I opened a Target REDCard. REDCard holders save 5% on all purchases – which would have equaled $13 that day (the day I decided a nightstand, rug, and all the other items in my cart were must-haves). Add that up over the years, the savings are immeasurable. I signed up instantly and my savings to date equal $228.63!

On top of the 5% savings every day, I now receive Free Shipping on all online purchases, as well as 30 extra days for returns. This really helps for my impulse buys when I just need to have that top!

Step 6: Don’t Find Good Deals, Find Great

There’s something else you don’t know about me. I. Love. To. Travel. And while the steps above are great for you day to day shopping needs, you need to be finding those great deals when you get the travel bug.

Last year, I took the most amazing trip to Mexico. The kind of trip I never thought I would have the chance to take. After spending hours each day trying to find the best deal (while coordinating with 3 other girls) on hotels and flights, a friend suggested downloading the Priceline app.

I know what you’re thinking and yes, the same Priceline with William Shatner and the silly tune. Believe me though when I say, I have never been on a trip like that while paying as little as I did. With the Priceline app, it not only made it easy to book everything but the savings were incomparable. If traveling is anywhere on your horizon or you just want to look at the options out there, I promise you won’t be disappointed with what you find on Priceline.

One final note before I get going: The one mistake I made through this all was never really getting started. I dabbled into a few of these options but never fully embraced it. Don’t let that happen to you, get started right now, no excuses!



Storage Solutions: How To Make The Most Out Of Your Closet

When you look at your closet, what do you see? Are there rails of neatly ordered clothes, ordered by season, color and style? Or, instead, is everything thrown together in a heap, knotted in piles in a vague attempt to make it fit inside the shoebox that is your bedroom? Dealing with limited closet space is something that happens to many people and while getting used to poky living spaces is all part and parcel of young adult life, there are a number of ways in which you can get the most out of your closet.

Want to expand your storage, all without actually moving home? You got it.

Freestanding Racks

Log on to any interiors Pinterest page and you will likely find yourself surrounded by images of perfectly curated bedrooms, dotted with industrial standing racks and metal works. While once an object of fashion shoots and retail storage space, freestanding racks have fast become one of the most popular interiors objects, helping thousands of people to get past their limited closet space. Simplistic, minimalistic and easy to move, the freestanding rack is one of the least obtrusive ways to make your space go further, wherever you are. Better yet, they are a great way of showcasing your seasonal wardrobe and making the most out of your clothes.

Wardrobe

Investing in a really great wardrobe or armoire is one of the simplest ways in which you can make the most out of your storage and keep all of your clothes in one neat spot. Great for storing hanging and folded objects, the furniture can make finding all of your clothes incredibly easy and will also keep any clutter well hidden from prying eyes. Tall, narrow and perfectly formed, the wardrobe won’t eat up much of your space, leaving you the room to do what you want with your home.

High Storage

So often, we don’t make full use of the storage available to us and rather than looking elsewhere in our homes for potential space, we expand onto the floor. If you look upwards, however, you might be surprised at what you can find. Making use of high ceilings can be a great way in which to expand your storage options and, simply by installing a few high level shelves, you can double the amount of space your have in your room and increase the look and feel of your bedroom. More floor space and higher ceilings? Now there’s something that we can all get behind.

Shoe Racks

More often than not, it is our shoe collection that eats up all of that valuable closet space, taking away room that could be used for other, more delicate items. If you’re finding your shoe collection growing at an alarming rate, then you might want to think about open storage and moving your footwear out of the closet. Investing in pieces like racks, ladders or cabinets on which to store and display your footwear can massively increase the amount of closet space you have at your fingertips. Better yet, you have an even better excuse to show off your collection!

Seasonal Storage

Can you separate your winter woolies from your summer dresses? If the answer is no, then you might need to start thinking about seasonal storage space. Storing out of season items in boxes or cabinets away from your closet is a great way to make use of the little space that you have, making searching through your current collection much more easy. If you want to go really streamlined, you can try rooting through your wardrobe at the end of every season and donating any pieces that you know you won’t get any further us out of. The less clutter that you have, the better use that you can get out of your closet space!

With expanding wardrobes and decreasing living spaces, it can often feel like your storage is getting the better of you and that eventually, you might be forced to live under a clothes volcano. By simply shifting around your living space, searching for hidden nooks in your room and getting a little experimental, however, you can massively increase the size of your storage. Thought your clothes were getting the better of you? Think again.

Seeing Clearly: The Benefits Of Choosing Contact Lenses

With the rise of technology, more and more of us are finding ourselves glued to a whole range of screens throughout the day and over time, our eyes can suffer from all of the adverse effects of a life bathed in a digital glow. Now, more than ever we are in need of vision correction treatments in order to go about our everyday lives, using eye wear as a way of seeing more clearly.

With glasses, however, comes supplementary care and upkeep and over a period of time, maintaining the quality of your pair can start to feel like a real drag. Luckily, there is another way to see more sharply and forgo uncomfortable eyewear: The contact lens. Formulated to make seeing easier for those with visionary issues, contact lenses are on the rise and with more than 100 million people using them everyday, they are fast becoming the most practical and affordable way of correcting the way you see the world.

Why should you make the switch, though? It turns out, there are many ways in which contact lenses can make your life a whole lot easier. As well as treating eyesight-related problems like short sightedness, astigmatism and long sightedness, the lenses are one of the safest and most affordable ways that you can correct your vision, without the hassle of having to take glasses on and off. Improving your eyesight without the need for bulky frames or lenses, contact lenses also make adapting to sports and fast paced activities much more manageable. In many cases, users keep their lenses in while they exercise, free to work out without fear of the contacts dislodging, fogging up or slipping off. That’s not worth sniffing at.

Comfortable, breathable and convenient, contact lenses can improve the way you see the world and make your life a whole lot more easy. Still not sure? You can try it for yourself. With Alcon Multifocal, you can sample a free trial of contact lenses to see how they work for you. Choosing from either their AIR OPTIX or DAILIES packages, you can instantly improve your vision and always be in the moment. Better yet, you can also receive regular reminders to visit your local health care professional, making monitoring your eyes into the future a real breeze. Are you seeing clearly now?

Register for your free trial here:

Black Out: How To Conquer Your Next Digital Detox

Phone, laptop, tablet; there are countless ways with which we stay connected to the world around us, whether or not we want to. Many of us have become so tuned into our digital devices, that they have started to take priority in our lives, drawing away our attention when we should be focusing elsewhere. Despite the multiple ways in which technology like this can help us, persistent and long term use can also have a detrimental effect on our levels of stress; when we don’t turn off our phone, our brain can also not switch off.

If you find yourself getting a little nervous each time your phone buzzes or thinking constantly about your work, then you might be due a digital detox. A period of time in which all digital activity is banned, detoxes like these are designed to help people really relax and rest from the online world. Free from the distractions of technology, we are able to appreciate the moment in which we find ourselves and the people with whom we spend our time. If your phone has been beeping just a little too much lately, it could be time to turn it off and focus on yourself. Afterwards, you might just feel remarkably refreshed.

Take It Slowly

If the thought of switching off all your devices for a prolonged period of time fills you with dread, then try taking a few baby steps towards your first digital detox. Turning off your phone a few hours earlier each night and avoiding checking things like emails and social media platforms can really help you to get into the habit of detaching yourself from your devices. Switching off earlier in the evening can also have a significantly positive effect on your mental wellbeing and stress levels, making it easier to fall asleep and get a better night’s rest.

Learn How To Entertain Yourself

So much of what we do after work and during the weekend is connected to some kind of screen that without one, it can be hard to know how to spend our time. Before you switch off entirely, try looking into a new activity or hobby that doesn’t involve any digital activity. Taking part in sports activities, creatives classes or simply reading a book can be a great way of shifting your focus and making living without digital devices for a period of time much more easy. The more things that you have to do without technology, the less you will need to check it.

Limit Your Social Interactions

While social media platforms are a great way of catching up with far flung friends and sharing interesting content, they can also trick us into thinking that we have been much more sociable than we might in fact have been. Cutting your presence on platforms like Facebook and Twitter to once during the morning and the evening is a great way of reconnecting with reality and will encourage you to see your friends in real life. The less you are using online platforms, the more that you will connect to the world around you.

Turn To Paper

If the alerts from your calendar and organizational apps are starting to get the better of you, it might be a good idea to cut out the digital planner entirely from your life. Using traditional paper planners and calendars can help you stay just as on top of your life, without the constant need to stare into a screen. Leaving your planner somewhere that you can see it will ensure that you don’t miss any of those important appointments.

Hide Your Phone

While you might need your smartphone during the day to keep in touch with those most important to you, you will rarely need it over the course of the night. If you have a landline for emergencies, you can try hiding your phone in another room while you sleep so that you won’t be woken up by incoming alerts and messages. Alternatively, you can sleep with your phone facing down so that you can still hear it ring but won’t be distracted by the glow of emails during the night.

Taking time away from technology is something that the majority of us aim to do but actually going through with it can sometimes prove a little more difficult. If you want to aim for a full digital detox, try taking these steps to prepare you for your time away from technology. When it comes to switching off, you might be surprised at just how easy it is.

Open Minded: How To Effectively Organize Your Life

Becoming a more organized person is something that most of us might aim to do but actually going ahead with it can often feel a whole lot harder than we imagined. With work commitments, social outings and day to day chores taking up chunks of our time, actually getting down to work and planning out a new project can seem like the last thing on our minds at the end of a long week. In reality, however, getting organized is one of the simplest things that we can do and, once we get to grips with it, is something that can be easily incorporated into everything that we do.

Whether you want to start a new project, tidy up your home or restructure your day to day life, getting organized is a great way to shed light and clarity on a messy situation and after doing so, you might wonder why you didn’t get things in order sooner. Are you ready for a clearer life? It’s time to get your organizational hat on.

Use Your Calendar

While you might be a stickler for using paper diaries and calendars, it is often difficult to remember to take them with you wherever you go and in many cases, the notebooks just end up going unused after a few weeks. Luckily, however, there is another way around the problem; your mobile phone. Using your phone’s diary or calendar to set yourself alerts and plan in upcoming events is a quick and easy way to stay on top of your life and clearly see how you are spending your time. Most phones come with the option of balancing multiple calendars and sharing them amongst different people, so it is very easy to separate your personal, work and social lives with the click of a button. Looking ahead to see what you have planned in makes thinking about the weeks ahead much easier and also gives you the room to plan in time to work on a new project or relax.

Stick It On A Wall

Often, visual prompts can remind us of events or activities long before they take place, making managing future weeks much easier. Attaching a reduced wall calendar to your office or bedroom space can give you a clear idea of the entire year and allow you to mark important dates for the months to come. You can try using a symbol system for recurring events, making looking at each week in a single glance a great way of quickly reminding you what you have coming up down the line.

Make A Tick List

For the organized person, there is no greater pleasure than ticking a “to do” task off a list and once you start taking part, you might find it really helpful in your journey towards structure! While setting yourself giant lists for the week to come can seem daunting, noting down brief points for the day ahead is a great way of staying on top of your tasks and seeing how far you have come during the day. As with the other tips, you can try separating your list into social, work, and personal sections and list down a number of things you want to achieve during the day, or over the course of a week. Listing things according to priority is also a great way of staying on top of your tasks and will ensure that you get the hard things out of the way first. After that, it’s plain sailing!

There’s An App For That

Thank to the rise of technology, there is an app for practically every element of your life, making organizing that much easier. Staying on top of your travel, your shopping list and your social life can all be done in one place and, as you keep your phone with you all the time, it is incredibly easy to see what you have planned or to do wherever you might be. Apps like Citymapper make getting around any place really simple, listing all the travel options and how long it is likely to take you. Bring, on the other hand, makes your weekly shopping list accessible in one place, listing your most recently used items so that you can clearly see what you regularly buy. If you want to keep a note of activities to try in your city, however, Dojo is the perfect app. Listing cafes, exhibitions and all kinds of events in your local city, the app lets you create shared or individual lists, letting you get a hold of everything you have planned.

Write Your Life

We are often hit by so many thoughts throughout the day that by the time it comes to the end of the week, we might have forgotten many of the things we meant to do. Keeping mental notes is all well and good but if you want to ensure that you remember an important idea or thought, then noting it down is a great way to go about it. You can try keeping a small notebook in your handbag or even use the memo app on your phone to stay on top of things. Knowing that important things have already been noted down will keep your mind clear and make working on the present task much more simple.

5 Recipes For A Home Cooked Date Night

While Valentine’s Day might be over and done with, there’s no reason why you can’t prolong the sweetness of the holiday by indulging in a little home cooking. During the winter months, partaking in a little after-work dating might seem like the last thing on your mind, cosy nights in taking precedent when it’s cold out. If you want to socialize without venturing outdoors, however, your kitchen might hold all of the answers. After all, there’s nothing more impressive than whipping up a home cooked dish for a date.

Although we all have a list of tried and tested dishes that we turn to on date night, sampling something new can help to change things up and bit and introduce you to a whole new type of menu. Once you try these recipes once, you might not venture out for food again.

Asian Chicken Vegetable Soup

Let’s face it, when it’s blowing a storm outside, you need something comforting to put in your belly and there’s no better way to do this than with a bowl of home cooked chicken soup. While you might have your own family recipe that you swear by, this variation on the dish adds a little oriental spice into the mix, resulting in a soup that is both comforting and incredibly delicious. Stuffed with Asian vegetables, slow cooked stock and the most tender chicken you will ever taste, this is a dish that you might want to cook all of the time, date or no date.

Marinated Rib-Eye Steak

Sometimes, however, you really want to pull out all of the stops and if that’s the case, then you can’t go wrong with a side of steak. This rib-eye steak is quite possibly the best around, slowly marinated with lemon, garlic, chilli, rosemary and soy sauce. When you cook it in the pan, expect that marinade to get nice and sticky and really crisp up. You can serve this solo or with a healthy dollop of homemade pesto for a real flavor explosion. Your date will never forget it.

Seared Scallops

If you want to pull out all of the stops, then tackling seafood is a surefire way to get your date’s attention. Served with a side of herby butter, these seared scallops taste just as good as they look and won’t leave you slaving away in the kitchen. With the recipe calling for any variety of herbs, it is up to you what flavor combination you serve up with your scallops, although sage, tarragon or thyme might work the best. Completed with some seasonal greens, this is truly the dish of kings and it won’t cost you much extra time, either. Sneaky.

Roasted Sweet Potatoes

Some flavor combinations are simply so good that they deserve some kind of medal. These roasted sweet potatoes are exactly like that. Slow roasted in the oven and topped with a mixture of cheese, chilli and spring onions, the potatoes pack a serious flavor punch. While they’re great on their own, you can also try adding in an extra side of bacon or grilled fish if you’re looking for something a little more meaty. A no-nonsense recipe, these sweet potatoes practically do all of the work themselves, leaving you much more time to focus on what really matters.

Lemon and Asparagus Pasta

Nothing shows affection like a huge bowl of comfort food and if you really want to show how you feel, then you can’t do it better than with pasta. Accompanied by fresh asparagus and a creamy, vegan sauce, the recipe requires very little effort and can be whipped up well in advance. Using entirely natural, non-dairy ingredients, the meal is actually a lot more healthy than you would think, making the question of going back for seconds a little easier to figure out.

Thai Fish Parcels

If you want a cook-in-one recipe, then you need this fish parcel dish. Steamed in individual bags, all of the ingredients are cooked at the same time; all you need to do is prepare them beforehand. Topped with a Thai marinade, the dish is packed full of ginger, coriander, soy sauce and chilli. Even though it might still be cold out, you can pretend that you’re in much sunnier climes.

No Boys Allowed: Essential Podcasts For The Every Girl

Listening to and learning from great women is something that we all aim to do in our lives. With tell all biographies from the likes of Lena Dunham and Amy Poehler making the publishing rounds, getting to the heart of what makes our favorite women tick has become easier than ever. In a few hundred pages, we can get up close and personal with the things that helped them to become who they are and by revealing their innermost thoughts they show us that they, too, experience all of the same insecurities as the rest of us.

Inspiring women are not just writing about their lives, either, and thanks to the rise of the podcast, it is easier than ever for us to understand some of the most successful in the world. While a medium spanning every topic imaginable, the podcast has taken off in a big way for women’s listening and now, there are a number of shows which are simply unmissable. If you’re new to the world of podcasts, never fear; follow this listening guide and rest back in the sweet knowledge that everything you hear will be hilarious, heart-warming and just a little bit honest.

Slumber Party With Alie & Georgia

Let’s get to the heart of the really good stuff. Since taking off in 2009, this two-women podcast has taken off in a really big way and now, it has given way to its own cult following of eager listeners. Recorded in California, the podcast does exactly what it says on the tin, with the two hosts discussing crushes, education, breakups and everything in between, usually with a special guest. The episodes are always hilarious and touching in equal measures, and will change the way that you listen to the radio. If you can’t get enough of the duo, you can also follow their exploits on the Cooking Channel, where they just got their own show.

Throwing Shade

If you’re looking for something with more of a political edge, however, you will turn your attention to Throwing Shade. A feminist podcast, it focuses on all things LGBT and female related, discussing current news and events around the world. If you’re worried that the issues discussed sound a little too specialist, don’t be; the hosts both contribute to Funny Or Die and always spin their issues with an incredibly entertaining edge. As each episode is topical, you can start the series wherever you like, meaning there’s no better time in which to start than now.

I Seem Fun: The Diary Of Jen Kirkman

Recorded from the bed of host Jen Kirkman, this podcast is as intimate as they come and feels like you’re having a chat with a friend in your pajamas. Spanning topics as diverse as acts against feminism and extreme iTunes reviews, the podcast jumps from one theme to the next, just as you might in conversation. Jen herself is funny and cynical in equal parts, making listening to the podcast a real joy.

Girl On Guy

Taking a popular theme and spinning it on its head, Girl On Guy sees host Aisha Tyler interviewing a different creative each week, who is usually a guy. Parodying the popular “comic interviews an artist” format, Girl On Guy presents the phenomena in a different light, with Aisha lightly poking fun at the genre of podcast. While the episodes do go into the creative industry, they do so in a conversational style, making listening along feel like you’re talking to your friends.

Ronna & Beverly

It’s not just about non-fictional podcasts, however, and across the board, there are a great number of series which use fictional characters as their backbone. Ronna & Beverly follows exactly this format, detailing the lives of the two eponymous Jewish mothers. While they often bring in celebrity guests for interviews, they also run through their elaborate 40 year history that forms the basis of who they are and what they think. If you grew up missing the Jewish mother you never had, this is the podcast for you.

Whatever the genre or topic, there are a great deal of podcasts out there to meet any kind of listening style. Getting advice through the lives, thoughts and careers of these women, you can take a little inspiration along with you wherever you go. All that’s left to do is subscribe, load up your phone and go along for the podcast ride.

Easy Ways To Change Your Shopping Habits

While starting afresh is traditionally done at the beginning of a new year, there’s no reason why it can’t be done a few months down the line. More often than not, the trials and stresses of January mean that, by the time you’ve managed to recover from the holiday season, focus on work once more and re-route your way in efficiency, you’re far too exhausted to tackle any new task you set yourself at the end of December. Changing a significant part of your life can be best done once the dust has settled and you have time to give your all to the new project.

Being smarter with the way that we shop and spend money is something that many of us endeavour to do but in many cases, it is much easier said than done. With a lifetime of bad habits stacking up against us, we are often our own worst enemies when it comes to saving. Changing just a few small habits, however, can drastically change things up and before long, you might just notice a few extra pennies stacking their way up in your account. Just because you shop more smartly, it doesn’t mean that you can’t splurge from time to time.

Know Your Triggers

While we might aim to be sensible in the kinds of purchases that we make, there are certain areas in which many of us are helpless and, no matter how strong our resistance might seem to be, we just can’t help splashing the cash when faced with something we want. Identifying the areas in which you are more likely to spend money is a great first step in understanding how exactly you can avoid such impulse purchases. If shoes are your thing, try and avoid looking at shoe shops or online sales until you really need a new pair. Likewise, if you’re a sucker for makeup, make a list of the current items that you have and browse new purchases only when you’re sure you need a replacement. Avoiding what you can’t control is the first way to shop a little more carefully.

Change Your Routine

If you find yourself at the mall every weekend like clockwork, try changing up your routine to include new activities. Surrounding yourself with tempting purchases is one of the worst ways in which you can try to overcome your spending habits, so getting away from it all might just give you the perspective you need. You can try visiting friends, journeying to a nearby town or picking up a new hobby. Once you fill the gap that shopping once took in your life, you might be surprised by how much you don’t miss it at all.

Leave Before You Purchase

Although avoiding shops when you’re trying to save is a great idea, you will have to go shopping eventually and when you do, it pays to be smart about your approach. If you are looking to make a specific purchase, allow yourself sufficient time to really think it through before going ahead with it. Even if you find the perfect item, leave the store before buying it and come back an hour or so later. If you still feel the same way about the item, then you know that it is something that you genuinely want to buy; if you’re not sure about it, leave it and move on to something else.

Shop With A Specific List

Going out with only a vague idea of what you want to buy is a great way in which to get distracted and come back with arms full of shopping bags. While it might be hard at first, making yourself a specific list of items can be a great way of controlling your spending habits and only purchasing what you really need. If shopping lists like these don’t work for you, you can try taking out a specific amount of cash and leaving your credit cards at home. Shopping like this will mean you will only spend what you absolutely want to and won’t splurge on unnecessary items.

Take It Slowly

Changing all of your shopping habits at once might feel like a tempting idea but if you pile on too many techniques at once, you risk failing before you’ve even really begun. Habits take time in which to really take over and breaking old ones can often take even longer. Committing to one shopping method is a great idea in order to give yourself the time to get used to spending less and approaching your retail experience with a different head. The more comfortable you get with the new habits, the easier that picking up new ones will become!

What about you? Do you have any secrets about how to change your shopping habits? Comment below and let us know your best tricks!

Valentine’s Gift Ideas for Him (And Secretly For You)

Valentine’s is a perfect day to gift your beau something special. But hey, there’s no rule stating you can’t reap the benefits from your romantic gesture. Here are some gift ideas that you both can enjoy this year.

Brewery Tour

If your gentleman enjoys a good craft beer, set up a date to visit a local brewery. Local breweries generally offer tours with inexpensive samples. You and your man will enjoy sampling various beers and leave feeling like a beer snob. Check out CraftBeer.com to discover breweries near you. If you don’t have a brewery in your area, create your own craft beer tasting. Visit your nearest Whole Foods Market and select a mix of beers you both would be interested in trying. While you’re assembling your buffet of beer, grab some snacks to compliments the beverages.

His Childhood Board Game

Prior to V-day, stealthily ask your BF what his favorite board game was as a child. Pickup the game and present it to your special guy right in time for Valentines. Pour some wine and you’ll enjoy reliving your youth through classic games. The fun doesn’t have to halt after Valentine’s. Schedule an ongoing game night and invite friends to join in the festivities.

Donuts

You can’t go wrong with a box full of his favorite donuts. And with so many punny donut-themed cards available, you can easily tie in this sugary treat with V-day. Check out Etsy for cute cards like “Donut forget I love you” or CafePress for just the right card to express your love for him and breakfast desserts. If he’s the right guy for you, he’ll share his savory gift without you having to ask. A win-win!

Record Player

The vinyl renaissance is among us. If your man doesn’t already have a record player, it makes for the perfect Valentine’s gift. Urban Outfitters offer a variety of players in an array of colors. Pick up a few records of his favorite artists or set up a date for the both of you to browse a record store. You’ll enjoy record shopping together for years to come.

Netflix and Chill

A Netflix and Chill night can never be overdone with the one you love. If you don’t already share a Netflix password, jot down your account info on a thoughtful card proclaiming that you’re ready to take things to the next level. If he has an account of his own, you can gift him Chromecast. Although Chromecast has been around for a few years, it’s still a foolproof gift to those who have yet jump on the bandwagon. Connect Chromecast and he’ll be able to cast Netflix, Hulu, and a variety of other streaming shows from any device to his TV.

Date Night in a Jar

Date Night in a Jar is an adorable and affordable way to put the spark back into a relationship that’s gone on autopilot. To make this simple DIY present, decorate a mason jar and jot down a variety of date night ideas on popsicle sticks or colorful note cards. If you’re in need of inspiration, checkout the Budget Girl’s blog on this fun idea. Your significant other will love this gift because he won’t have to come up with romantic ideas and you’ll love it because you’ll have full approval of every date!

New Year, New Gear: Workout Gear to Keep Your Fitness Goals Alive

We’re a month into 2016 and you’ve already blown your New Year’s resolution to hit the gym? Don’t cancel your gym membership or give up that ClassPass! It’s not too late to adjust your course from McDonald’s to SoulCycle. Motivate yourself back into the gym or studio with fabulous fitness gear.

Here are 5 sites for gorgeous fitness attire that will inspire you to turn the treadmill into your very own catwalk.

Bandier

Bandier is a utopia of chic activewear. The site offers a meticulously assembled collection of designer fitness ensembles. With a variety of unique styles and designs, you’ll want to wear your Bandier outfit to barre class in the morning and brunch with the squad later that day. As if their fabulous collection wasn’t enough, Bandier even curates and shares their own workout mixes on Spotify. You’ll have the perfect soundtrack to go with your athleisure gear.

Stride Fitness

Your workouts may be serious, but your outfit doesn’t have to be. Stride Fitness Apparel offers comfy graphic tees with memorable one-liners and notable characters. Fandom shirts include Star Wars, Freddy Krueger, Tomb Raider all with a witty fitness-related twist. Rock the “Don’t Talk To Me When I’m Stretching” tee and never worry about awkwardly being hit on while at the gym again.

Fabletics

If you need motivation to stay active, take one look at Kate Hudson’s inspiring physique. She combined her love of fitness and fashion to help create Fabletics, an athletic apparel company that offers high-quality gear with budget-friendly prices. VIP members will receive discounts on pieces through a subscription service. Take advantage of Fabletics current deal that offers new members their first outfit for $25. Keep in mind that if you sign up as a member, you will be charged monthly unless you opt to ‘Skip the Month’ between the 1st and 5th day of the month or you call to cancel your membership.

SIX:02

When I first came across SIX:02, I had no idea it was part of Foot Locker. SIX:02 is Foot Locker’s women’s only fitness destination, but don’t confuse it with Ladies Foot Locker. SIX:02 is a sexier brand that offers styles that are both trendy and functional. They’ve also partnered with some of your favorite fitness gurus and influencers on limited collections to inspire your new gym look.

YOGASMOGA

YOGASMOGA took traditional yoga styles and engineered textiles to create high-grade performance gear. My favorite feature of their proprietary fabric is their advanced moisture management, meaning moisture and bacteria escape the fabric quickly and easily. In addition to their smart textiles, their ethics align with the philosophies yoga teaches. YOGASMOGA offer eco-friendly products manufactured in the US, so you’ll not only look good but feel good about sporting their products.