Archive for the ‘Frugal Living’ Category
Spring is in the air, so it’s time to lighten things up a bit with pastels, softer fabrics and flirty sandals. We here at Zenni had a look at this season’s trends and decided to put together a simple, gorgeous ensemble that’s perfect for springtime . . . and all for under $100! Check out what we came up with and let us know what you think in the comments below.
Badly chosen eyewear can ruin your look before you even get started, which is why we began our spring ensemble with these adorable Zennis ($6.95). A lovely pink translucent frame picks up the pink on the dress, harmonizing with the lighter colors of a spring look while also drawing attention to your beautiful eyes.
The next element of this look is a simple shift dress that offers a study in contrasts: Warm pastels take on new life in a bold Aztec-themed print. The result is Southwest glam that isn’t too heavy-handed.
In addition, the shape of this dress makes it an incredibly versatile piece: While the skirt is a little short for work, you can still wear this on your days off with a baby-blue cardigan for shopping and strolling around town. Even better, this Tribal Print Zip Back Shift Dress from Body Central will only set you back $24.98 . . . a serious steal.
These gladiator sandals, only $24.00 from Maurices, rock this look without overwhelming the dress. Pastels can sometimes be tricky to match, so your best bet is either an exact match or a pale/light neutral. These sandals kick things up a notch with gold metallic studs.
Bonus: In addition to being incredibly cute, the flat heel and straps gives the whole outfit a decidedly beach-y look, even if you are strolling down a city street.
Lest you think that this outfit is getting a bit too casual, our stylist comes to the rescue with this adorable, but quite proper, clutch in pale pink with beige trim. At only $27 from Dorothy Perkins, the bag even has a zippered pocket for your wallet (a good thing, considering the money you’re going to save on this outfit) and a pouch for your cell.
Thursday, April, 17 2014 by Lainie Petersen
While shopping for glasses can and should be fun, if you’re constantly replacing them because of loss or damage, you’re wasting money. What to do? Develop good eyeglass care habits and learn a few basic repair and adjustment skills, and your eyes will be happier and your wallet fuller:
1. Buy More than One Case
Eyeglass cases protect your glasses against all kinds of damage, including lens scratches incurred while your glasses bounce around in your purse. Unfortunately, since we wear our glasses in many different locations, its easy to leave an eyeglass case behind on a sink, in your desk drawer, or even in a different purse than what you’re now carrying. If you buy several cases and keep them in the locations where you are most likely to take off your glasses (at home, at the office, in your favorite handbags and backpacks) you’re less likely to leave your glasses unprotected.
2. Buy an Eyeglass Cord
Hate losing your glasses? Buy an eyeglass cord. This lets you wear your glasses so you don’t lose them, and keeps them out of your pockets where they are more easily damaged.
3. Learn How to Adjust Your Glasses
Don’t assume that there is something wrong with your glasses just because they aren’t comfortable or don’t seem to “fit right.” Just about everyone needs to adjust their glasses: This video by one of Zenni’s opticians can show you how to do it yourself.
4. Learn Basic Eyeglass Maintenance
If you can learn how to do your own repairs, you won’t have to spend time and money on getting your glasses fixed. Buy a simple eyeglass tool kit for a few bucks online or at the drugstore.
5. Clean Your Glasses Carefully
Smeary lenses are the pits, but resist the urge to use a napkin or your hoodie sleeve to clean them. Fabrics and paper products can scratch the lenses, costing you money when you need to buy a new pair. Microfiber cloths are inexpensive and many come in small sizes that you can tuck into your glass case or wallet for easy use. Never use household cleaners or vinegar on your glasses: They can strip the lenses of protective coatings. A mild dish soap and water solution works just fine, though you can also buy eyeglass cleaning solution at pharmacies.
One More Thing
While it’s important to take care of your glasses, it’s also to pay attention to indications that you may need a new pair. If you find yourself leaning forward to read your computer screen, or holding books or objects closer to or further away from your face than normal, it may be time for an eye exam. Be observant of symptoms of eye strain: Headaches, dry eyes, eye redness, and back/neck pain can all be signs that you may need a new prescription.
Thursday, January, 30 2014 by Lainie Petersen
Frugality isn’t about being cheap, it’s about carefully thinking through purchases so that you save money over the long term. Being cheap sometimes costs you more money than buying a useful product or service, because you don’t get to reap the very real benefits that the product or service offers.
Take health and wellness purchases, for example. While it’s certainly easy to spend way too much money on fad diets and gizmos, not all health related purchases are a bad deal. Identify your health concerns and needs, figure out how to address these needs in a way that fits your budget, and then invest in the equipment or services necessary to help you meet your goals.
Here are some health and wellness products and services that can help you get off to a great start with a frugal and healthy lifestyle:
1. Nutrient Count and Food Log Apps
Accountability is a key component of achieving and maintaining a healthy weight. Many weight-loss programs require weekly weigh-ins and meetings with either a support group or counselor to help you stay on track. Unfortunately, participation in weight loss programs can be pricey. Yes, some insurance companies provide discounts on weight loss programs, but many don’t, making this option unaffordable for those on modest incomes.
However, there is another way of staying accountable: Record your daily food intake using one of the many free low-cost food logging and nutrient count apps that are available. These apps work with just about any diet and nutritional strategy, including calorie-controlled, high-protein, low-carb or low-fat diets. A popular free option is MyFitnessPal, which lets you set your weight and nutrition goals and then add foods consumed throughout the day. MyFitnessPal keeps track of your food intake and exercise, letting you know how many calories you can still consume and stay on your weight loss (or maintenance) plan. You can even participate in MyFitnessPal discussion boards for tips, motivation and support.
2. Good Walking Shoes
Walking and running are effective exercises that are free to do: Just step out of your front door and get moving. Still, neither exercise is without risk: Slips and falls, along with strain on your joints, can derail your walking/running routine quickly. By investing in quality footwear, you’ll stay healthy and comfortable, making it easier to stick with your exercise program and meet your wellness goals.
3. Zenni Eyeglasses and Sunglasses
Wearing quality eyewear is important. Not only do eyeglasses help you see better, but wearing the right prescription can help you avoid the symptoms of eye strain, which include neck and shoulder pain, headaches and eye redness. Even if you don’t need prescription lenses, sunglasses and goggles protect your eyes against injury or damage caused by UV radiation.
While you could spend a lot of money on designer eyewear, Zenni offers you an alternative. You can get stylish, high-performance eyewear for a fraction of the cost of what you’ll find in stores.
4. Stationary Bicycle
Make no mistake: Walking and running are a great way to get aerobic exercise for free, but if you live in an area where bad weather makes regular outdoor workouts difficult, you are going to have rethink your exercise strategy. Gym memberships are great if you can both afford them and have the time and ability to get to the gym regularly. If monthly dues are too much for you, or your work schedule makes it hard to regularly schedule workouts, you’ll have to figure out how to get your exercise at home.
One option is a stationary bicycle, Unlike treadmills or at-home stair climbers, quality stationary bikes don’t have to be expensive, with many models starting at less than $150. Even better, they don’t use electricity, don’t have motors that can break down and don’t typically require a lot of maintenance. There are even some models that fold up for easy storage, something that stair-step machines and treadmills can’t do.
5. Cooking Classes
It turns out that your most frugal dining option, cooking for yourself instead of eating prepared food or going out to eat, is likely your healthiest. When you cook your own meals, you control what goes into them. You also control portion sizes. If you don’t feel confident in the kitchen, sign up for a cooking class in your area. Professional instruction can save you money by teaching you how to shop as well as preparation and cooking tips that allow you to cook delicious food quickly. Looking for inexpensive cooking classes? Park districts, grocery stores and specialty gourmet shops are typically good bets.
What are some of your favorite frugal health purchases?
Wednesday, January, 1 2014 by Lainie Petersen