Show Me the Money

 

By: Azure Stilwell

Saving money

Anyone who knows me knows I love a great deal. I enjoy saving money whenever I can, so I rely on a few apps and websites to get me great savings.

Ibotta: An app that allows you to unlock various grocery or retail items by watching short videos, answering a multiple choice question or simply pressing unlock. It only takes a few seconds to unlock each item. Once they are unlocked you simply go grocery shopping, scan the items, and take a picture of your receipt. Money is then added to your account and can be taken out when you reach $20. My favorite ways are regal cinema gift cards and itunes. I have saved hundreds of dollars over the last year and half using this app.

Saving’s Catcher: A Walmart app that allows you to shop at your local Walmart and then upload your receipt. The app/website then compares all local stores (usually 50 to 90) for a better price. If one is found you get the difference back and can add it to a bluebird card that can be used at any Walmart or an e-gift card for Walmart.com. I used my savings from this site to pay for almost all of my son’s Christmas gifts two years ago. I have used it countless times to purchase birthday presents for others.

Saving Star: An app that allows you to upload store cards for automatic savings when an item is purchased. You simply add the available items that you want to your account and then shop. Upload your receipts for places that don’t have a card, like Walmart. With this app I have my funds added to PayPal.  For me this one takes a little longer to earn money because you sometimes have to buy in bulk but it has still been worth it.

Finally, the www.kelloggsfamilyrewards.com site allows me to upload a receipt via my cell phone whenever I purchase a Kellogg’s item. I have gotten tons of iTunes cards, movie tickets to AMC, and free kids books. This is the easiest site for me to use and I rack up lots of points with all of their bonuses.

I hope these resources help you save some money, too!

Wardrobe Woes

By: Chaunte McClure

It never fails. When the seasons change, I’m always trying to figure out what I wore the year before and I solemnly declare that I need more clothes. I became frustrated one morning last week because one, I wasn’t doing a good job coordinating my outfits for the weather and two, I was starting to feel like I was wearing the same clothes over and over.

wardrobe woes

Fall can obviously be a little unpredictable. One day it’s in the high 70s and the next day it’s 30 degrees cooler. Two days last week I dressed the opposite for the weather – a sweater on the warmer day and short sleeves on the cooler day. (No, I did not see the forecast!) Remember, I love fall but it’s a little difficult to organize my closet because I’m wearing fall and summer clothes all in the same week. It seems as though I didn’t make a mental note earlier this year that I’d need more sweaters and long-sleeved shirts.

To help end my wardrobe woes, I decided to make a trip to the mall to do what I no longer enjoy doing – shop. It is so tiring and a bit stressful, but I had a need, so I went with an hour to spare before closing. I only had plans to go in the one store where I can buy clothes that fit me well.

I found about six items, and then I had to decide if I’d try them on. Did I mention I don’t like trying on clothes? Well, I don’t. It’s such a hassle, but how else would I know if they’ll fit if I don’t undress, try on, stand in front of the mirror, turn around for a rear view, pull the clothes off and do it all again if there are more pieces? I contemplated before entering the fitting room. Either try them on while I was there or risk having to make a second trip to the mall to return what didn’t work. To the fitting room I went and the associate even wrote my name on the white board next to my room. That was a nice personal touch.

After about 40 minutes of shopping, I came home with two tops, one sweater and one blouse, and a pair of slacks. Well, that really doesn’t take care of my needs, but it’s a start. One of these days I’ll be able to afford a personal shopper and I won’t have to make circles around a store looking at clothes on the same racks or tables multiple times.

Just in case “Santa” reads the Every Woman Blog, let me mention that sweaters, slacks and long-sleeved shirts are on my Christmas list. I’ve been nice.

Why I Love Melissa McCarthy

By: Crissie Miller Kirby

I love Melissa McCarthy. I think she’s hysterical and extremely talented. I loved watching her in Gilmore Girls (albeit I didn’t watch it until it came on Netflix), in The Heat with Sandra Bullock and in Bridesmaids. Yes, she can be a bit vulgar and crass; but I still honestly think she’s a great actress and I can’t wait to see the Ghostbusters remake that is currently in production. But, this isn’t the main reason I love Melissa McCarthy.

Melissa McCarthy is not, if you haven’t noticed, built like most other Hollywood stars. She’s a full figured woman; what society has deemed as “plus sized”. Maybe I love her because I, too, am what society considers “plus sized”, and I think we “larger” woman should unite. In all actuality, I think that all women should unite because being a woman has never been an easy title to bear, much less one to bear with other titles and labels attached. I’ve never been what one would call a “little girl” and I’m not sure that I ever will be. I’ve shared those shopping trips where I am relegated to going to a different section of the store to buy my clothes, and, nine times out of ten, if I see something cute in the shopping-606993_640 2“regular” sizes, it won’t be available in the “larger” sizes. (Let me stop here and say that I completely and whole-heartedly subscribe to the idiom that just because something is made in a certain size doesn’t mean one should wear it, nor should one always think that “just because it zips, it fits.”) It would be great if clothing and department stores, along with society, would realize that “birds of a feather” don’t always flock together; women are friends with other women who may not be the exact same shape and size as themselves, and maybe, just maybe, we would like to shop together. This leads me to why I really love Melissa McCarthy . . .

As one who wanted to be a fashion designer before her acting career took off, McCarthy has now designed a line of clothing that will be available to women of almost all sizes. She has also requested that her clothing not be housed separately from other women’s clothing simply because of the size of said clothing, nor did she want it labeled “plus size”. She’s taken a very personal stand against something that many people overlook on a daily basis; that larger women are people and want to dress fashionably too. We don’t want to wear clothing that hides our size. Many of us are proud, confident, and successful women; in fact, I’d say the vast majority of us are because the average woman wears roughly a size 12-14 (14 is typically the start of the so labeled “plus sizes”). While this may seem like a very minor issue or even a non-issue, if you’ve ever been shopping and just left because your choices were pretty much limited to a muu-muu, then you understand why this is an important issue. However, every day it seems that, as a society, we talk out of both sides our mouth on the issues of size and clothing, etc. We talk about changing the perception of young girls feeling the need to be model-stick thin and to be confident in themselves, regardless of size, etc; however, on the other hand, we teach them, by simply segregating clothing sizes in stores, that being above a certain size isn’t desirable by having minuscule plus size sections with frumpy, dowdy clothing options that often tend to flow right on in to the maternity section. How can we expect our next generation of young women to feel when we send mixed signals like this? (I won’t even, right now, touch the clothing choices that are presented to our girls.)

Melissa McCarthy gets it. And that is why I love her.

Now . . . it would be great if someone could pass the word to plus size clothing manufacturers that not all plus sized women are close to six feet tall, that’d be great! Imagine being 5’ 2” and buying petite length jeans that still have to have 4-6” cut off . . . oh, but that’s a blog for another day!

Swimsuit Fit Guide + 5 Figure Flattering Swimsuits

By: Staci Rutherford

Memorial Day marks the official start of summer in my book, which means that it’s time for a new swimsuit!  How many times have you set out to buy a swimsuit and ended up frustrated, overwhelmed or disappointed?  I usually avoid shopping for swimsuits but this year, I decided to do a little research before venturing out so I know exactly what style to get for my figure.  Yes, I research almost everything because knowledge is power.  If I can identify my body type and understand which swimsuits are the most appropriate and flattering, shopping will become less stressful and more fun, as it should be.

Nordstrom has a fantastic swimsuit guide that I want to share with you.  You are not limited to only the swimsuits outlined below, however, I thought this was a great starting point for anyone who wants a little more direction before hitting the stores.

Straight – Little definition between bust, waist and hip measurements.

Prints, patterns, horizontal stripes and strategically placed seams can create the illusion of curves. Look for underwire styles and close-together, padded cups to enhance and lift a small bust. Or try thicker, textured fabric on top to add fullness without padding.

Pear – Fuller at the hips and bottom and smaller on top.

Suits with detailing on top or at the waist will draw the eye up. Straight and high necklines visually broaden the shoulders to balance out proportions. Wear a paler shade on top with a darker bottom. Sheaths and skirted suits also work to cover trouble spots.

Hourglass – Curvaceous, with full bust, defined waist and full hips.

Wide strap tops and underwire bras with soft cups offer best bust support. Many tankinis and sport bikinis also flatter curves and provide lots of lift. To minimize cleavage, opt for a straight or higher neckline that conceals while providing a pretty silhouette.

Apple – A rectangular shape without a well-defined waist.

Banding will give the appearance of a waist as will chevron or diagonal stripes. Look for tummy control and side panels, side seaming and shirring to create curves. Classic styles and solid colors are the most slimming. Sheer cut-outs offer a sexy peek of skin.

Full Bust – Bust measurement is fuller than hips and bottom.

High necklines help minimize the bust, while V-necklines draw the eye downward for a slimming effect. A keyhole back or sport style with an additional back closure will provide good support for a fuller bustline. Halters with bra cups provide more coverage. High-cut armholes can minimize side bust exposure.

Now that we have discovered some of the common body types, check out some of my favorite figure flattering swimsuits that I found online.  If it is more convenient for you to shop for a swimsuit online, make sure shipping (and returns) are free, and whether there is an option to return or exchange items at the store.  Try to avoid any “all sales are final” deals because there is always a chance that you won’t like what you buy online.

LOFT Floral Print One-Piece Swimsuit in summer plum, Price: $79.50 at www.loft.com

Swim Solutions Bandeau Floral Printed Ruched Tummy Control One Piece, Price: $94.00 at www.macys.com

Merona 1-piece swimsuit in pink/black floral print, Price: was $34.00 one sale now for $12.24 at www.target.com

Lane Bryant Pinpoint one piece swimsuit, by Miraclesuit Price: 156.00 on sale now for $109.20 at www.lanebryant.com Robin Piccone Ikat Swimsuit in emerald, Price: $122.00 at www.nordstrom.com

If you find a swimsuit that you love, please share the details in the comments section.  Next time, I will feature my favorite swimsuit cover-ups, which are perfect for lounging by the pool or strolling along the beach.

The Best Things in Life are FREE

By: Roshanda Pratt

A show of hands, how many you of you like FREE stuff? I know this momma certainly does!  I am not one of those extreme coupon types, at least not yet.  However, after a working mama shared with me how she cut her grocery bill of $242 down to about $12. Yep, I’m sold.  She also told me we should not pay for toilet paper nor paper towels.  Say what?  According to her, toilet paper should be Free, nada, zilch. That sounds great seeing my children go through toilet paper in our house like it is FREE. Speaking of Free… Let’s get to the topic at hand.

I am one of those women who tries things out first before recommending it to others. You can be assured the links I give below are trustworthy.  Many of my freebies comes from blogs in which I have become Facebook fans with.  My first deal was a one year subscription to ESPN for my husband for about $4.  Next, I scored FREE paint from ACE hardware when they were giving away paint every Saturday during the month of March. My first quart of yellow paint (my favorite color) called “Sunshine” actually covered my whole laundry room.  Whoohoo!  But that is not it.  Recently, my husband and I were able to enjoy an Artisan pizza from Domino’s for you guessed it, FREE.  And to work out that pizza I earned a FREE stability ball from FITstudio by just signing up for fitness news via email.

However, there is more, Yes, so much more.  I received this beauty in the mail last week.  A FREE beauty bag of cosmetics, skin care and hair products from Target.  To get it, all I had to do was “like” Target on Facebook when they were offering a sign up for the beauty bag giveaway. I hear they do this giveaway ever so often, so keep checking back on their Facebook page.And look at this! A box of goodies from Valspar Paint. The company was giving away certain amounts of free paint of any color choice to online Facebook fans. The gift box features a small can of paint, paint roller/pan and coupons to use in the future.I can not begin to tell you how euphoric it is to get something really good for FREE. I want to share the joy with you my friends. Below I have a list of sites, I follow either via Facebook or blog for daily super deals. Again, these are sites I am familiar with and have used with no problems. If you get a really good deal or snag a Fun FREE item let me know, won’t you?

Have a fabulous time!

Ro 🙂

Here are the sites for FREE stuff:

http://www.freebie-link.com/

The site touts you can find freebies, coupons and more!

https://www.facebook.com/FrugalLivingandHavingFun?ref=ts

On this Facebook page you can freebies, coupons, how-to’s, etc.

www.FrugalFreebiesandDeals.com

Jen says she can save you $54.79 or more daily.

http://www.chachingonashoestring.com

Living large on a limited budget; Sweet who couldn’t use that!