My Best Frugal Lifestyle Money Savings Secrets That Save Me Thousands Each Year

My Biggest and Best Kept Saving Money Secrets that Help Me Save Thousands Each Year

Here is post I wrote on my Women's lifestyle blog, The Makeup Equation.  I wanted to share this post with all you lovely people because I think everyone can benefit from learning how to save money and keep more extra cash.   I hope you enjoy it and that it helps you save extra money in your life.

Today I want to talk about some of my best kept secrets that save me thousands of dollars each year.  Saving money is key when it comes to being financially successful.

Here are my top four secrets for living a frugal lifestyle and saving serious money.

1. Grocery Shop at Aldi.

Aldi is a discounted grocery store chain.  There are many products that are at least $1.50 less than the same equivalent product at a more well known grocery store.  When you are saving $1.50 on a cartload of groceries, this translates into some serious savings.  If you have children, you know how quickly food disappears and how much a full cart of groceries can cost you.  Aldi is a huge blessing for anyone that shops for food for children.
Melissa and Doug

The key to shopping at Aldi is knowing which products are worth buying and which products are not.  Here is a list of what I always buy at Aldi and what I never buy at Aldi.  The products I always buy are as good, if not better, in quality than other mainstream grocery store products.  The products I never buy are products that didn't taste right to me when I bought them, therefore I didn't buy them again.

What I always Buy at Aldi:

-Eggs - they are only 79 cents a pack at my Aldi! The cheapest I have ever seen eggs anywhere else is like $1.50 a pack at Walmart. This is huge savings !
-Milk - $2.59 at my Aldi, compared to $3.59 at Walmart
-Cereal - $1.20 at my Aldi, compared to $3.50 at Walmart, again, huge savings!
-Sliced Cheese
-Crackers, Potato Chips, Pretzels, Graham Crackers
-Bread - All Types
-Polish Sausage
-Yogurt - 39 cents per single yogurt, another huge savings item
-Sparkling apple ciders and other juices for Thanksgiving and Christmas gatherins

What I never buy at Aldi.

-Fish, frozen or fresh
-Hot Dogs

2.  Buy Kids Clothing At Yard Sales

National Holiday Gifting Preview

Sometimes I feel like there is a stigma against shopping at yard sales.  This should not be!!  I have found amazing deals on like-new looking children's clothes and shoes at yard sales.  I have also gotten some amazing deals on children's toys and even electronics at yard sales as well.  I buy the majority of my kids clothes at yard sales every spring, and it saves me thousands of dollars.  Not only are the prices much cheaper than the store, I am able to buy higher name brands that I wouldn't normally be able to afford.

Melissa and Doug

I only buy clothes that look like-new, and trust me, there are tons of them.  So many times mothers will tell me that their kids grew out of the clothes right after they purchased them, or that their kids didn't want to wear the style or color of clothing.  Going to yard sales in relatively upscale neighborhoods is a secret to finding big deals on like new items in my experience.

3.  Buy As Much of Your Jewelry From China As Possible. 
This is one secret that I really wish I had known in my early twenties when I was dating my husband.  It's painful to even thinking about the amount of money my husband wasted on jewelry for me.  Ladies, if you can fake it, I say do it!  The technology has gotten so incredibly good these days that it is getting very, very hard to tell a fake from the real thing.  China sells tons of authentic looking jewelry to retailers in the US that then mark up the price and sell it to the consumer.  Why not buy directly from the supplier, i.e. - China?  Ebay is one of a few amazing websites that allows the consumer to buy directly from the supplier.  At the end of the day, 95% of things sold in US stores is made in China, so why not buy directly from the supplier and cut out the middle man mark up??

If you are looking for fake diamond items with a gold finish, key words to search for are, "white gold plated", "gold plated", and "cubic zirconia (cz)".  Moissanite is another type of fake diamond gem.  Although moissanite will be more sparkly than cubic zirconia and look more similar to a real diamond because of the extra sparkle, it will also cost you a lot more than cubic zirconia.  I have tons of cubic zirconia jewelry items and I am extremely happy with their sparkle and overall look and quality.

I prefer to buy gold plated to silver plated because silver tarnishes and can look tacky, where as gold plating does not tarnish and stays bright forever, as long as you don't go swimming with the jewelry or get it really wet or in contact with chemicals.  If you are looking for a silver color, just buy white gold plated, not yellow gold.

You can also find cheap fashion jewelry that you see in US retail stores for literally almost pennies on Ebay, you just have to browse around a find a seller with lots of really good reviews.  As a rule of thumb, I generally try to only buy from sellers that have a 99% customer satisfaction rating.  I try to avoid ever buying from a seller with anything under a 97% customer satisfaction rating.  Read a sellers reviews - the positive, the neutral, and the negative - to try to get a feel for the quality of the seller and the product.  Although sometimes it can take a month for items to arrive from Asian sellers, it often takes a week or two.  If you end up not receiving item or there is something wrong with it, most sellers are great about refunding you quickly.  And if they don't, Ebay will.  All you need to buy from Ebay or other international sites is a Paypal account, its literally that easy!  Paypal is a super safe and trustworthy site that protects you in all transactions.  

Here are a few fashion jewelry items that I have bought for cheap and love and wear all the time:

1.Gold Plated Arrow Necklace Fashion Necklace

 2. White Gold Played Cubic Zirconia Cross Necklace

 3. Vintage Heart Yellow Gold Plated Ring Big

4. Square Flat Top Large Oversized Sunglasses Aviator Womens (this seller ships lightning fast!!!)
Other items I have also purchased directly from Asian suppliers or Ebay with successful results include scarfs, a big bounce house - see my post: review of big kids bounce house purchased of Ebay for cheap, silicone iphone cases - see my post: unique, cute, funny, girly iphone silicone cases, and soap molds - see my post:  where to buy cheap silicone soap molds for soap making gifts.

4.  Avoid Debt Like The Plague

I understand that this is very hard today in today's society.  Unfortunately, it is very hard to live decently in today's world without getting a loan or two because some many necessary items like cars and homes are just so incredibly expensive and have inflation type prices.  That being said, if it is possible, try to avoid loans.  My husband and I buy used cars that are sold by owners instead of buying new or used cars from dealerships that we would need loans for.  Also, if there is any possibility of getting a loan from family members, please explore it.  The heart of the matter is that interest will eat away at your savings like nobody's business.  The key to becoming financially successful and independent is not having loans with interest that eat your money.

Finally, I leave you with the biggest secret to financial freedom and being financially successful:

Tithe to church.  Faithfully tithe from your earnings to church and watch God pour out blessings on you.  Once we started consistently tithing a tenth of all money we had coming in, we were astounded at the ways we were financially blessed.  You will not be disappointed if you give it a try.  You will instead be completely shocked and blessed.

Editorial Fall

Christmas 2016 Gift Guide for Unique, Girly, Cute, Funny Silicone iphone Cases

Gift Guide for Unique, Girly, Cute, & Funny Iphone Cases.

As I mentioned in my posts on my beauty blog The Makeup Equation -  the post where to buy silicone soap molds for cheap,  and the post on my review of buying a big bounce house off Ebay - I love to buy directly from the supplier to cut out the middle man markup.  Ebay is an amazing site that allows you to buy directly from the supplier, which is often times China.  When you buy directly from the supplier, you will see that the savings are unbelievable.  Although chinese sellers often allow for a month for the item to arrive, I generally get my items in 1-2 weeks.  All you need to buy off of Ebay is a Paypal account, which is completely free to set up and just guarantees your buyers that they will be paid if you don't have the funds.

Today I want to talk to you about a super awesome seller that I have bought some amazing iphone cases from for fractions of what they would cost in the US.

This seller's profile name is " 7dft3ordcvo8"  and has a rating of 99.2 % out of 2,392 customer reviews. When I purchased my lipstick case it was $5, but this seller has now reduced the price of their beautiful case to $2.84 with Free Shipping.   This is a big discount and the prices are likely to go up again as we approach Christmas time.  Here I am below loving my lipstick phone case.  I have had TONS of compliments on it!!

Below I feature some of the most popular iphone cases this seller features.  I include a link to each one I feature where you can view the item.  This seller has tons of awesome iphone cases so please feel free to browse the other cases they have even if they are not featured, there are so many nice ones to choose from.

1. 3D Cartoon Ice Cream Silicone Soft Back Case for Iphone

Melissa and Doug
2. 3D Cartoon Ice Cream Blue Silicone Soft Back Case for Iphone

3. 3D Cartoon Hot Dog Silicone Soft Back Case for Iphone

4. 3D Cartoon Lipstick Silicone Soft Back Case for Iphone

Lan Airlines US

5. 3D Cartoon Chill Pills Silicone Soft Back Case for Iphone 

6. 3D Cartoon Spray Paint Silicone Soft Back Case for Iphone

For more great iphone cases and skins, check out this sellers other items!! Buy them now will they are less than $3 before they spike in price during the holidays.  Wishing you a joy filled Christmas 2016!

Editorial Fall

Review of Big Kids Bounce House Purchased Off Ebay For Cheap

My Review of A Big Bounce House I Bought Off Ebay For Cheap.

Here is Christmas post brought to you by The Makeup Equation, my women's lifestyle website.

Want to get the kids something great this Christmas that will be a big hit and also a total surprise?  What child doesn't love a bounce house?  You can use your bounce house for birthday parties and cold long days indoors.  Also great to put on the yard during the spring and summer.

Melissa and Doug

But isn't buying a big bounce house super expensive?  This is exactly what I thought when I first started looking at buying my kids one.  If you look at any of the major retailers, you will see that most big sized bounce houses will cost around $500. 

Well guess what, here's a secret -I got a big bounce house for my kids and I only paid $196 dollars.  Want to know how I did it?? Read on!

To get a bounce house for cheap, you need to buy directly from the supplier - i.e. - China.  How do you buy directly from China?  Ebay!! Ebay is an amazing site that allows the average consumer to buy directly from the supplier, which, in most cases, is China.  If you are not familiar with buying on Ebay, you will need to set up a Paypal account, which is completely free.  You can only make purchases on Ebay through Paypal.  There are no fees and it's just like using a credit card.  It just guarantees your seller that you have the funds to pay for your items because if you don't, Paypal will cover it for them. 

I purchased this bounce house from a seller in China named "leadingliving".  Leadingliving has a 99.7% positive rating from 24,601 customer reviews.  You can view this seller here: leadingliving.  I took a chance on this seller and purchased this bounce house for $196.  The item came exactly as described and also included a blower as described.  To my pleasant surprise, everything worked perfectly! A year later, the bounce house is still going strong and my kids birthday parties are a bast because of it.  It has taken a lot of abuse and bouncing from all our family friends and it is holding up great.  In my opinion this house was worth every single penny.

Currently this seller offers the exact bounce house I have for $217 right now and that includes free shipping.  Here is the exact item I bought from leadingliving:  Mighty Bounce House Jumper Castle Inflatable Bouncer with Blower. You simply need to make a "bid", entering the amount they are listing it for, and if nobody bids higher than you, its yours! 

Lan Airlines US

I would recommend this seller to everyone as they shipped it quickly - I think it took a week from China to my house in the US - and the item was professional quality and as described.  Why buy the same bounce house from a retailer that will charge you a middle man mark up when you can buy the same thing directly from the supplier for way less?? For me, the choice was easy.

The kiddos playing in the bounce house during a birthday party. 

Melissa and Doug
Me and the little tyke using the bounce house last summer
National Holiday Gifting Preview

Talk about giving your kids a present they will never forget!!

Guess Factory

Editorial Fall

Top Unique Gifts Women Want for Christmas 2016 A Gift Guide

The Top Most Wanted Unique Gifts Women Want For Christmas.

Here is another wonderful post brought to you from The Makeup Equation.

Another year has flown by.  How it goes from the beginning of summer to almost Christmas time I truly have no idea.  I feel like as a mother of three time just escapes from my hands.  And yes, Christmas 2016 is just TWO months away, ahhh!!  Are you guys ready??

Below I have listed seven unique gifts that every woman, including myself, would LOVE to get.  This list applies to you if you have a wife, sister, adult or teenage daughter, sister-in-law, and more in your life.

1.  Ornate Bird & Tree Design Black Metal Wall Mounted 6-Tier Large Nail Polish Rack / Organizer Display - MyGift®

Does the lady in your life have a lot of nail polish? My husband has given me two nail polish racks, and I still need a few more, I have that much nail polish!  If she is like most women, she could probably fill a few boxes with nail polish.  Why not give her something beautiful that she could display them with that is also big enough to hold her entire collection?  This is a 6-tiered wall rack with 4.8 out of 5 stars from 71 reviews.  Currently $79.99 and eligible for free shipping.

Melissa and Doug

2. Essential Oil Carrying Case for 30 Oil Vials. Fits 5ml, 10ml and 15ml Bottles. Sturdy High Quality Nylon Textile Exterior in Royal Red and Flexible EVA Foam on the Inside.

Is the woman in your life into essential oils?  Chances are she probably owns a few oils at least.  Why not get her a sturdy and beautiful carrying case that will fit whatever size bottles she happens to have?  If you want to buy this now, you will save a great deal of money as it is currently ON SALE RIGHT NOW!! This item normally retails for $59.99 but as of the writing of this post is now $22.99, though I have no idea how long this will last.  Getting things on sale is definitely an advantage of doing your Christmas shopping early.   This item is rated 5 out of 5 stars of 47 reviews.

3.  Glow Kit - Moonchild - Anastasia Beverly Hills

Up to 80% off Getaways
This is a best selling, brand new highlighter product that does just what it claims - highlights the skin and makes the face glow in beautiful shimmer!!  Men!! Listen up!! Highlighting is in trend right now, and this is a MOST WANTED product!! I know this is one of the things that is on my Christmas list this year.  This product currently can only be bought directly from the Anastasia Beverly Hills (ABH) website, no other retailer sells it.  I do not know if this will change. Currently retails for $40 bucks.

4.NYX Matte Liquid Liner MLL01
NYX Matte liquid liner in black makes a GREAT stocking stuffer.  This is an excellent product to do a winged liner with because of how thin the tip is.  As winged liner is also super in trend right now and has been for a while, the lady in your life will probably enjoy this product.  You can order it directly from Amazon, and can sometimes find it at ULTA stores also when it is in stock. 


5. Rhodium-Plated Silver Round Cut 6mm Cubic Zirconia Tennis Bracelet

Tennis bracelets have always been stunning and beautiful on a woman's wrist, and large round cut style tennis bracelets are especially popular and on trend right now.  The tennis bracelet I listed here is actually ON SALE AND 57% OFF RIGHT NOW!! HUGE SAVINGS HERE!!! Normally this retails for $139.99, right now it is $59.58.  The 7.25 inch length is currently in stock.  This is the most common wrist length and will fit most women, however please always make sure to measure her wrist before you ever order a bracelet.  This is rated 4.4 out of 5 stars by 296 customer reviews.

6. Sephora Gift Card.

Get the woman in your life a gift card so she can pick out whatever makeup she likes.  This makes a great stocking stuffer, white elephant gift, and gift.  You can never go wrong with a gift card.

7.  Toilet Paper Shelf.

I found this super cute idea on Pinterest from "The Family Handyman".  I would love to have a shelf like this in all of my bathrooms that I could decorate and put reading material on.  As a woman, I know that I constantly feel like I need more shelves.  Why not build your special lady a shelf or two this year?  Gifts don't always have to be expensive to be great!

I hope this post has helped give you some fresh ideas on some unique gifts you can give all the special women in your life! Merry Christmas 2016!!

Guess Factory

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