Manolos Don’t Have Shoestrings

Truth: Travel requires money and saving money requires self-sacrifice. Sacrificing one’s personal interests or well-being for the sake of others or for a cause; in this case a cause. For most people sacrifice is a four letter word, but I’m here to tell you that it doesn’t have to be.

I haven’t always had a grasp on money saving, in fact, during college and a few years after I had a serious Carrie Bradshaw complex. I spent my hard-earned money on all things designer, bar tabs and a studio apartment in the city – life was fabulous, or so I thought at the time.

It wasn’t until we decided to travel that I realized I needed to tighten my shoestrings if I was going to contribute to making our dream a reality. Jordan loves to take credit for helping me see the error of my ways. I give him partial cred. 😉

Key learning: you can take the credit cards away from a girl, but you cannot kill the fashionista who lives inside.

All jokes aside, saving isn’t always easy but I’ve found some creative ways over the past few years to do it AND live it up at the same time. Without further ado I present to you my top five tips for saving without sacrificing.

  #1- Consign, Consign, Consign
$0 – cheap

I love shopping and despite my greatest efforts, I cannot seem to break this bad habit. This is why I love consignment stores. I discovered consignment shopping as a freshly independent, drivers license wielding and part-time working 16-year old. In Bellingham, consignment stores had everything I needed to perfect my hippy chic community college student look. Oh boy.

Over the years I’ve traded loads of clothes, shoes and handbags for gently used clothes, shoes and handbags that were new to me. Consignment stores are a great place to sell clothes, trade up or just shop for cheap. A couple of tips for success:

1- If you’re selling, check out the store’s website to see what styles they’re looking for. If they don’t have a website, check out pinterest.com for current trends. If the clothes you’re willing to trade don’t resemble what they’re looking for, bring them in anyway. Never try, never know.

2- Wash and iron your clothes before bringing them in.

3-Look for the discounted items; they’re typically just out of season. I don’t know about you, but in Washington we can wear a tank-top or a sweater year round. Layers. Huzzah!

4-For real money saving, challenge yourself to take home only as much as you can trade for.

My favorite consignment store in Seattle is Crossroads in Capitol Hill and Crossroads can be found across the country. http://crossroadstrading.com/buy-sell-trade/consignment/

#2- Vacation Rentals
Cheap – however much you want to spend

Anyone else remember when the only way you could get a good deal on vacation accommodations was to know someone with a timeshare or be lucky enough to have a vacation home?

With the evolution of the interwebs, all we need now is a site like http://www.vrbo.com/ or https://www.airbnb.com/ to take us far and away to places we’d never be able to afford but for the weekend. And this, my friends, is awesome.

We recently found a great deal for a weekend trip to Sun Peaks, BC in Canada for around $30 per night each (and this wasn’t even at maximum capacity!). The condo had two bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, private hot tub, fully-equipped kitchen and an X-box. Did I mention it was ski in, ski out? Highly recommend. http://VeitchsVilla.directvacations.com

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#3- Costco Pre-Funk
Cheaper than the liquor store

When going through my Carrie phase I never let $9 cocktail prices keep me from a night out, but I quickly found that was one of the quickest ways to drain my name brand wallet. It’s no secret that pre-funking is a great way to avoid buying as many of those expensive drinks, but let me take it one step further and blow your mind.
If you are lucky enough to live in a state with privatized liquor distribution, do yourself a favor and get a Costco Wholesale membership. You’ll make back the $55 membership fee after your first couple of liquor purchases.

If you’re familiar with Costco, you’re familiar with Kirkland Signature brand. Similar to Trader Joe’s it is the store’s generic brand, but the products are made by quality companies and just being sold at a lower price point. Like Lexus and Toyota. Same same, but different. And here is where I blow your mind.

Costco sells a 1.75 liter bottle of Kirkland Signature Vodka, imported from France, five times distilled and reportedly made by the same distillery that makes Grey Goose for under $40! Compare that to around $65 for 1.75 L of Grey Goose.

Cosmo anyone?

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Pardon the selfie, but look at how huge this bottle is! Less than $40!!

#4- Dine-in
Cheaper than a restaurant and healthier!
For those of you who are averse to cooking let me just say, it isn’t science! If you can read a recipe, you can cook. We have so much information at our fingertips online, so find something interesting and go for it.

We are semi-obsessed with Asian cuisine, so we regularly shop at Uwajimaya for unique ingredients including sashimi grade fish for sushi, rice paper and noodles for fresh spring rolls and curry paste for Thai-style curry dishes. YUM-O.  http://www.uwajimaya.com/

Home cooking can transport you to other parts of the world in your own home. In addition, it can get you one step closer to your next destination with real savings. It’s simple math. If you spend $10 a day on lunch/coffee/snacks/what-have-you five days during the work week that is $200 a month. That’s 10 days in SE Asia, I kid you not.
Lastly, home cooking will help you get that beach bod quicker. I am newly obsessed with Nikki Sharp who has a great lifestyle program with tons of information about the benefits of certain foods, healthy alternatives for unhealthy cravings and a robust recipe book leaving nothing to question. So easy to follow and great results! http://www.staysharpbestrong.com/

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#5- Pamper yourself
$0 plus tip
In preparation for our wedding I pampered myself more than usual, afterall, brows don’t shape themselves and nails aren’t naturally French-tipped.

During the process a friend told me about Noir Lash Lounge in Bellevue where lash extensions are the only service provided. This isn’t something I ever would have considered but A. it was for the wedding (and I’m only getting married once) and B. it was FREE!
How can it be, you ask? Noir Lash Lounge has a training program and those trainees are required to log a certain number of hours before being certified. I know this sounds sketchy, but I’ve had mine done by a different trainee on each visit (3 times) and I have never left unhappy. It takes about an hour to have a full set put on and they last for approximately three weeks.
Again, highly recommend. http://www.noirlashlounge.com/home

If you have fun money-saving tips please share in the comments!

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