Aug 28, 2011

Yard sale find photo

Photo taken at a local yard sale in Seattle, Washington by Thrift World friend, Caryn Nelson Adams.

Aug 22, 2011

Salesmen: It's all about the numbersAndriod

Yesterday I went into T-mobile with my sister and brother-in-law to join a family plan together to save money. I had heard that T-mobile just unleashed some brand new "value" plans that allow you to pay only $10/month for a smart phone data plan. Competitors charge $30/month for data. Clearly this is something for a thrifter to be excited about.  In fact, the plans are way cheaper than any other plan, but an unsuspecting customer might end up leaving the store with the value plan but not saving a penny over other plans. Why? I call it salesperson trickery.

Our salesman's name was Jeremiah, and he was really excited we were signing up for a new plan under him. He even told us quite frankly that he makes his money off commissions, but Jeremiah was very disappointed when we didn't buy new phones from him. T-mobile's new values plans are super cheap but don't give a discount on new phones, in fact you have to pay full price. For me, this isn't a problem.  I'm so used to buying used phones from friends, Craigslist, and Ebay, but for the normal consumer, this presents a large problem.

Jeremiah desperately wanted up to each put down $100 up front and then just add a "mere" $15/month to our phone plan to pay off  our new phones. When I picked up a $200 phone, he told me he "wouldn't feel comfortable" selling me that phone because it doesn't have enough frills.  He calculated we were saving over $400/year on our plan, so why not put that saved money toward the best new phones...right? Wrong, Jeremiah.

Our phone plan currently will cost us, in total for 3 people, a total of approximately $105 = $35 per person per month. If I were to buy the latest Android phone, I would pay $100 up front, then $15 per month until the phone is paid off. The problem with this deal is that, over the 2 year period, I will have paid over $400 for the phone...this completely cancels out any savings I would have made by choosing the cheaper plan.

Salesman always disguise the overall costs, telling you how much money you already saved and how little you'll need to pay per month Do yourself a favor: DO THE MATH. A little here, a little there doesn't seem like month, but over time, that little amount adds up, and in this case, its a largely deceiving amount. Too bad the poor guy didn't know what he was dealing with.

Dear Jeremiah,

I understand salesman speak and I see through your lies: I did the math and I don't buy it. Good luck with your monthly sales and commissions (with no help from me).


Aug 18, 2011

Saving Money on Higher Education (written by Amanda Leeann)

Today, I am taking part in Blog Swap day with 20 Something Bloggers! This means I write a guest post someone's blog and they write a guest post on mine. Be sure to check read her guest post (below) and then read my post at Amanda's Musings posted here.

Hi all! I’m Amanda, and Angela has agreed to let me take over her blog for a day!

While I don’t run a blog about thrifting, I do consider myself a thrifter. For instance, today I wore a 50-cent {no, I’m not talking about the rapper} belt to work and got more compliments than you could shake a stick at. But I digress.

Yesterday, I started my fourth year of college. Guys, college is expensive like whoa. But there are ways to cut costs. & thus I am presenting:

Amanda’s Guide to Saving Money on Higher Education

1.   Community College
I know, I know. It sounds lame. In all honesty, it is kind of lame. What’s not lame is that {at least in my experience} one semester at a community school is less than half what a semester costs at a state university. If you’re worried about your degree sounding lame, don’t be. I had a counselor tell me “you’re only as good as your last degree” and it’s true. While I do have an Associate of Science from a smaller school, I will ultimately have a Bachelor degree from a state university, but with much less debt.
      Used Books
Text books are a rip off. They change a few page numbers every couple of years and then act like they’ve done everyone a favor by having a new $100 book to buy. I don’t think so. If you have to have a specific edition, try sites like Amazon, Chegg, etc. I type a book’s ISBN number into Google and see what pops up. Many professors know books are expensive and don’t require the newest editions. If this is the case, buy the older edition! The leg work is more in the beginning {changing page numbers on the syllabus} but for the savings, it’s worth it.

3.   Scholarships
Make sure you ask about EVERYTHING. I transferred in January, and only just found out about a transfer scholarship I should have been getting that I didn’t even know existed. The hassle of financial aid offices is overwhelming and annoying, but there’s always the chance you could be rewarded.
The university I attend offered small scholarships for summer classes this year. While class in the summer is kind of lame, saving money isn’t. Check to see if your school offers any such things for summer or mini-term classes.

College is expensive. A higher education isn’t going to come free for most people – I have to think of it as an investment when I start to be paranoid about the loans I’m accruing. But there are ways to save money. It can be a lot of legwork, and time consuming – it takes much more time to type in ISBN numbers and compare prices on the Internet than simply going to the campus bookstore and handing them your class list. While a college education can’t exactly be thrifted, it can be done for cheaper. As long as you stay away from private school. 

For more blog posts by Amanda, and to check out my guest post on her blog, go to Amanda's Musings!

Aug 3, 2011

Get all your hairs cut for less

I'm lucky. I happen to have a friend who is a hair dresser. This is called the best case scenario. 
If you don't have a hair dresser friend or family member and don't want to pay typical hair styling prices, there is another option out there.

In my town there is a beauty school which offers discount hair cuts, hair dying, hair styling, manicures, pedicures, and more for way, way less than you'd pay normally. 

Sure, there is some risk involved in getting your precious mane cut by an student ultimately practicing their trade on your head. But, at our local beauty school, after the cut is done, a teacher always comes by to check on the finish product and makes adjustment as necessary. I have gotten my hair cut at our local beauty school several times in the past...the only damage done? $8 measly dollars and an acceptable haircut. If you want to save a few bucks and you're willing to take the risk, you will save a few dollars, just call your local beauty school for pricing.
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