Friday, March 27, 2009

Bedding Bargain

My sister-in-law posted a good deal she found on her blog. Check it out:

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

San Marcos, TX Outlet Malls

Every time I shop in San Marcos, I have a fabulous time. Why? There are 2 huge outlet malls, Prime and Tanger, right next to each other with some of my favorite outlets (ie, BCBG, Lucky, Pottery Barn, Restoration Hardware, Kenneth Cole, Tommy Bahama, Crate and Barrel, Janie and Jack, just to name a few...). Plus, it's a few hours away, so I have to make an overnighter of it...a chance to get away. I have never come home disappointed.
My favorite shops:

My daughter, Meredith, shopping at Tommy Hilfiger in her new Papaya shirt.
The "loot" after we returned home.

Here's what I got at BCBG.
The shirt's original price was $108.

Jasmine Vanilla Aromatherapy Soap from Bath & Body...probably what heaven smells like.
The pricetag on my 12 oz bottle at home shows $6.00. These are 25oz each.

My salad plate supply at home had dwindled to 5 due to various child-precipitated breakages. These coordinate nicely with what I already have.

These Banana Republic tops retailed originally for $45 and $35. I also got a leather belt for $4. Score!

My daughter, Claire, in her new outfit from Janie and Jack, a children's clothing store with the most adorable clothes!

I guess I have a thing for red Kenneth Cole shoes.

These Lucky jeans fit perfectly and are so comfortable. They were marked down from $128.

  • Know your budget. This may be a repeat, but it's so key, especially when taking a big shopping trip like this, on a weekend FULL of great deals. I could have easily dropped 2 or 3 times what I had planned.
  • Take care of your bags. This is mostly a note to self. I bought a couple of things for my daughter at Tommy Hilfiger. I noticed she had fallen asleep in the stroller, so I knelt down to adjust her blanket. That's when I set my bag down on the floor, and it wasn't until I got home that I realized it was missing. Here's the happy ending: I called the store, they found the bag, and they are shipping it to me (gratis) today. Talk about customer service! I will definitely shop there again.

Monday, March 23, 2009

$5 at Old Navy

Old Navy has baby stuff (0-24 mos) for $5, not necessarily clearance stuff, either. I haven't found an exact date for the end of the sale....My tipster (thanks, Marji!) thought early April. And it's only in-store, not online.

Go here for a coupon that gives you $5 off $25. Then each item is even less than $5!


  • Remember...if you don't NEED it, it's not a good matter how cheap it is.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Bargain Huntress Faves: Overall Shopping Experience

Hands down the Outlet Malls in San Marcos, TX. I'm headed there tomorrow, so stay tuned...

Check 'em out in the meantime:

Prime Outlet

Tanger Outlet

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Your Bargain Huntress: Airfare to Seoul, Korea

Linda writes:

"What price can you find for us going to Seoul/ICN from : Portland, Seattle, LA or SF. What are the options and prices for May 5-8, return May 19-21. They want $4,000 each on Singapore airlines."

Using and, here's what I found in about 10 minutes for roundtrip airfare to Seoul, Korea (ICN):

From LA: $924
From San Francisco: $675
from Portland: $979
from Seattle: $865


  • Go with your gut. If the price seems too steep, look somewhere else. If you don't know where to look, come to me, honey...

Friday, March 13, 2009

Indoor Gardening: Plant Propagation

Wanna know how to get 5 (or more) houseplants for the price of 1? Follow along:

Meet schefflera arboricola: "popular for its tolerance of neglect and poor growing conditions," (wikipedia) which is why I like it.

Start with one plant. Cut a stem (or a few) below at least one joint.

House the stem in water for a few weeks.

Soon it will look like this:

and this:

Supply checklist: potting soil, pot, stems. Check, check, and check.

Fill the pot with potting soil about 2/3 full.

Insert stems.

Fill the pot with potting soil up to about 1" from the lip of the pot. Press the soil.

And, voila! Now you have 2.

After a few more weeks, you can start the process again.


  • Most house plants will work. Here's another article with instructions on how to propagate house plants.

  • Use the cut stems to decorate your house. While you're waiting for the roots to grow, you can use the stems as greenery for your home. Just find some nice looking vases to keep them in.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Discount Do

Here's proof, in my opinion, that a great haircut doesn't have to break the bank.

I had been shelling out $60 a haircut at a salon for "good" haircuts. My friend, Amie, got good reviews from some of my other friends. Amie graduated from beauty school (what's the pc name?) 7 months ago, but had a baby 5 months ago, so she set up shop in her home and only charges $15. I can go 4 times as much for the same amount of money! Or I can save a few dollars and splurge on something else.


  • Ask around. If you see someone with a haircut you like, find out where it was done.

  • Take a picture. I like to look through magazines or surf the web for just the right do. I've learned from experience, it is extremely difficult to communicate verbally exactly how you envision your hair. Fortunately for me, my hair grows fast...

P.S. If anyone who lives by me wants Amie's number, shoot me an email.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Panasonic DMR-EZ48VK DVD/VHS Player

My parents found this dvd recorder/vhs player at Costco for $279 and asked me to do my Bargain Huntress thing for them.

Step 1:

Go to to check their review of this item.

Step 2:

Since cnet rated this item "very good," and it has all the features my parents want, I skipped searching for another dvd player that might be comparable or better.

Step 3:

Search this item with Google Shopping using the exact item description found in the title of this blog post.

Step 4:

Weigh price options (including shipping) with seller reliability. It turns out that the best price for a brand new one (ignoring the sellers that got poor ratings) is at Costco.

Step 5:

Check,, and, since not every item out there shows up on Google shopping. The dvd player was listed on ebay (by a seller with stellar feedback) for $144.95 + free shipping. The caveat--it's refurbished. However, that just means the packaging was slightly damaged or opened. It was not rebuilt or repaired. Furthermore, the seller offers a 90-day warranty (the same as Costco). My parents decided refurbished would be acceptable.

Step 6:

Order it!


  • Double check. Before you hit the "buyitnow" button, be sure it's the exact item you want, in the condition you want. (Note to self: Double check the shipping address, too. I accidentally shipped it to my home instead of my parents'. That means this Bargain Hunt is costing me $15 in shipping to get it from my house to theirs. I could kick myself!)

Friday, March 6, 2009

Almay intense i-color mascara Black Pearl. Quite possibly my new favorite mascara.

Check out the self-portrait. But please excuse my wrinkles (ouch! it hurts to say that.)

I love the way this mascara, in one coat, l-e-n-g-t-h-e-n-s my eyelashes, but leaves them looking natural and without clumps.

Where's the best deal? Most places carry it for $7.50.

  • has it for $4.19 + free shipping

  • I bought mine at Ulta. Almay products were buy 1 get 1 free. Plus I had a coupon for $3.50 off a $10 purchase. So the $6.89 package of mascara ultimately cost $2.65.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Budgets are the New Black

So says my bank's latest magazine.

We're all about buying the best bargains here at "Bargain Huntress," right? But if you're living paycheck to paycheck, chances are you won't have the money to snatch up the next great bargain. Furthermore, buying in bulk is a great way to save a lot of money in the long run, but if the money's not there, you're stuck buying smaller packages that cost more per item.

So here's the reader's digest version of the article in my bank's magazine:

Know your goals. It may be saving for college or a remodel; it may be getting out of debt; it may be building a rainy-day fund. "The [goals] give you something to come back to each time you're tempted to fall off the plan."

Know where your money is going. Keep track of EVERY expenditure for a month. Then you can decide where you can make changes in order to meet your goals. I use MSMoney at the moment; I previously used Quicken; and I'm looking into some of the (safe) freeware that's available, like

Know where your money should go. Here's a breakdown of what your budget should look like:

  • Housing: 35%

  • Transportation: 15%

  • Other debt repayment: 15%

  • Savings: 10%

  • Life: 25%

Make some changes. According to the author, the easiest way to make changes is to go to the ATM once a week and take out all the money you'll spend each week and don't go back. "Someone asked me what you do when you run out of money....And I said, 'Hello!' You don't spend any more.'"

Share the (new) wealth. Once you have a system down, recruit others to make changes, too. (Bargain Huntress: I thought they were going to suggest helping others less fortunate. I say do that, too!)

Here are some options for money management software:

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

...With sugar snap peas and cucumbers, and cantaloupes all in a row.

Liz, you're the winner!!! (with a score of 2/9) I'll pretend the rest of you answered silently so I don't feel like a loser that I only got 1 comment.... :)

Here are the answers:


These watermelon sprouts actually came from a piece of watermelon that was left on the dirt for a while. A few years ago, a watermelon vine came up in the grass where my children had spit seeds. We ended up with about 7 or 8 huge and delicious watermelons.


  • Save on grocery money by planting a garden. Last year we planted cucumber seeds ($1 a packet) and had cukes all summer long (at the grocery store they cost $0.50 to $1 each). I bet we harvested close to 100 cucumbers--that's a ROI of about 5000%!

  • Start small if you've never gardened before. It's not hard, but if you do too much to start with, it can be overwhelming (I know from experience). Guess who planted the cucumbers? My 6-year-old, by himself.

Guess My Garden

Bargain Huntress, quite self-professed, how does your garden grow?

First, let's see if you can guess...

Monday, March 2, 2009

Bargain Huntress Faves: Clothing

My top 5 favorite places to find great deals on clothing:

1. Consistently offering great deals on clothing and accessories for the whole family,
carries designer brands, such as BCBG, Lucky, Seven for All Mankind, etc. at affordable prices.

2. Similar to TJMaxx,

offers clothing and accessories at even lower prices (see below), if you can look past the outdated store fixtures.

3. You'll find the latest trends for affordable prices at

4. Love shopping at Nordstrom's but don't love paying their prices like me? Then go to:

I just wish one was closer.

5. The best end of season clearance sales are at

I stock up on clothes for my children at Old Navy and usually end up paying an average of $2 or $3 an item.

Ones to watch:

I haven't shopped there yet, because H&M doesn't have a store nearby yet, but I hear they have great trendsetting clothing that are inexpensive.

Another store I haven't shopped yet, but they have a huge selection of designer clothing at discount prices. I hear they have great sales, too.

Speaking of Ross, I wandered in on Saturday and exited with some great deals:

Super sexy Steve Madden heels: $9.99

Red Mondani (by Bill Blass) purse: $12.99

Queen comforter: $2.49!

Here's the proof. I could hardly believe it myself.


  • Be selective. Sometimes it's tempting (for me, anyway) to buy something just because it's so cheap. Then it sits in my closet unused, because I don't really like it or it doesn't really fit. If you won't use it, it's not a great deal after all.

  • Scour the racks...if you have time and are in the mood. Sometimes the best deals are hidden--clearance items in the wrong place, clothing that is discounted because it's sized wrong, etc.