Never Overpay for Eye Wear Again

47c94-2016-08-042b20-36-16Buying glasses can be a costly affair. At least a hundred dollars for the frames, then you have to add in the cost of the actual prescription lenses…My mom paid up to $400 for a pair for me when I was just a kid. It isn’t fair, why should people who are born with bad eyesight have to empty their bank accounts to buy something to help them see? I literally couldn’t go to school without my glasses/contacts because I am blind as a bat.

Glasses are expensive around the world. Even when I was living in China, it cost a couple hundred Yuan, which is a lot in that currency. In the UK, for an adult, it could cost a hundred pounds. I tried to keep my eye bills cheap by buying Walmart frames, but it was still pricey.

Then a friend told us about the sight Zenni Optical. She said she bought frames for only $6.95. I thought it was one of those internet scams, or they were some badly made Dollar Store glasses. I didn’t bother looking into it, until after my mother ordered her first pair (bad eyesight runs in the family). They were awesome! Super colorful, and with the glass lens, plus shipping, she still paid less than $20.

The way it works is you have to already have a valid eye prescription. You copy it into their system, and then you have to measure your own head so you know the width you need for the frames. Then, you go through their huge selection and pick out your favorite. Not all the frames cost $6, those are the older styles or the ones that didn’t sell out yet. But, even for a on trend frame, you are only looking at $12-$20. I’ve bought a $12 frame, UV protected lenes, for around $25. It is affordable! And because it is so cheap, you can purchase multiple pairs to go with different outfits or styles. Color coordinated glasses is something I never dreamed I could have with my limited budget.

42246049_236112797253370_2217672660681228288_nZenni also does sunglasses. Now, I wear contacts 80% of the time, and only use my glasses when I wake up and before going to sleep. However, my mother uses her 24/7. While driving, she needs sunglasses. She tried buying the oversized ones that were in style in the mid-2000’s and wearing them over her prescription glasses but they weren’t comfortable. She also tried the clip on sun glasses, but they don’t really work either. But, her Zenni sunglasses (which were less than $10) have lasted her for years.

My family uses nothing but Zenni, so if you are vision impaired like I am, I suggest you use NOTHING but Zenni. Also, Zenni didn’t pay me to do this, I’m just sharing the #doitcheap philosophy by offering up a good glasses website.

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How To Get FREE TV

40854025_239718670047988_5278440134482591744_n.pngIn the US free television no longer really exists. You can get PBS and some channels, but only if you have a satellite or an antenna. And you know what I mean by antenna, the two metal rods that sit on top of your TV and you point them in a certain direction to better reception.

Well, in the UK there is so much free TV! Honestly, I don’t think people need to pay for cable in the UK because the free channels have so much to offer. Channel 5 plays drama, movies, cooking shows. Channel 4 has reality tv, documentaries, and soap opera. BBC has movies, documentaries and obviously some of the worlds best news. All 3 of these channels (and several more) are all free! Once a year you do have to pay for a tv license, which is basically to have access to anything on your tv. But the cost is minimal, I don’t know any household that doesn’t have it. Stations like Channel 4 or ITV are able to keep the cost to consumers so low by charging for commercials and some brand endorsements. Certain shows will say they are sponsored by a toilet paper brand or beer.

Why is it that the UK can offer so much free entertainment, but the USA can’t? America is supposedly a very wealthy country, we can afford to have the world’s largest military. But simple thing like health care or TV can’t be free? I can’t find any  logic for why the UK offer’s its residents so much and the US offers so little.

So, do you want to find a way to get these free channels? Most of them offer their shows online with streaming. You can gain access to all of them (except BBC) by creating an online account with your social media like Facebook. They might have a lock for people watching from outside the UK, but you can easily get around that by using a VPN. A VPN is basically a work around where it tricks a website into thinking you are in the UK or a certain country, when you really are not.

I’ve included a list of the free channels you can check out below, and some of the shows I like on them.

BBC: I love the docuseries on here! The Sex in Britain one is very compelling.

ITV: It is terrible, but I love to watch Bridezilla’s.

Channel 4: You have to watch the Great British Bake Off! It is homely cooking with friendly competition.

Channel 5: Rich House Poor House is such an interesting show! It forces two families to swap lives for a week so the rich can see how it feels to live on the bread line.

How To Save Your Money Post-Holiday Season

20161204_102554The holidays are over!! For those of us who are always on a budget, it is the best and worst time of the year. The best because of free food and gifts, but the worst because we have to purchase things for our loved ones. I know that once Christmas was over, I breathed a huge sigh of relief.
I’ve gradually learned to start buying items earlier and earlier in the year. If you really want to save money on your 2018 Xmas, you need to start shopping now! All stores (in UK and USA) are discounting their holiday stock to get rid of it! There will be cheap lights, ornaments, and holiday themed decor galore in the shops. So, if you like to have a blinged out Christmas house but you are poor, then buy now, decorate later!
Not only are Christmas decorations on sale, but so are a lot of stocking stuffers and gifts. Children’s toys are marked down, winter clothing, knick knacks, basically anything that the stores put out in December is now on sale. Even though we are in the middle of the cold season, stores will soon begin selling spring and summer wardrobes. This means that long sleeve tops and thick winter coats are all on sale. TK Maxx is selling some of their coats for 50%. Winter boots are also a thing to keep your eye out for, because now is the only time a low budget can afford to buy them.
Take advantage of this!! If you need to buy a loved one some jewellery, now is the best time to do it. Most jewellers are doing 30-50% off in an effort to move the extra items they purchased. If your wife has a birthday in the year 2018, save yourself some money and hassle and buy it now.
The last thing to purchase now is all the left-over holiday food. I don’t mean old ham or turkeys, but the Christmas themed bags of candy, candy canes, hot chocolate, junk food. This isn’t so much a money saver in the UK, because they don’t have much holiday food (except mince pies) but in the US, Target, Walmart and your local grocery store will be filling shelves with these holiday treats. I used to wait till the day after Christmas and take the money I had been given to buy in bulk all the candy I couldn’t usually afford.
Take my advice and brave the malls and shops now!! You will (hopefully) have some holiday gift money that you can spend to buy gifts, food, and clothes you will need later in 2018. In the long term, this will save you loads of cash and stress!

 

Top Tips To Make Black Friday Shopping Easier For You!

recite-rbrji5It may seem unusual to post Black Friday shopping advice two days after the event, but gotta live it to write it!
People in the UK aren’t as familiar with Black Friday as Americans are. Most think it is weird and unnecessary. In trying to explain it, I had to start at my first Black Friday. I was a junior at university, I had some money, and it was the first time I wasn’t wrapped up in family stuff over Thanksgiving. My friends and I decided to go out shopping, just to see what we could find. I ended up buying a set of stacking diamond rings for $100. It was an insanely good deal, and I still have the rings. It was my first big purchase for myself. I think that is why I’ve always viewed Black Friday favourably.
Before moving to England I worked in retail for a year at Kohls (a department store like Debenhams but cheaper). It was by far one of my favorite jobs ever. My first real day at work was actually Black Friday. And it wasn’t utter madness like you hear about in the media. People waited patiently in line, they weren’t rude or demanding. It was busy, but not unruly. The crazed mobs are the exception to the Black Friday rule, from what I have seen, people are prepared to wait in long lines and spend hours shopping because they know they are getting a good deal.
In the US, the major department stores do amazing Black Friday deals. They release their ad a week or two in advance, so customers can prepare a list. The stores deliberately stock large quantities of the discounted items because they know they will run out. There is always extra staff, and you can usually get an additional discount off the price advertised. For example, I got a Black Friday deal of a full sized heated blanket for $30 with an extra 15% off. Major steal! I think that if you are determined, in the US you can get some really good bargains on Black Friday. The cost is that you will wait in lines and the stores will be busy, and you will be giving up an entire day just to snatch the savings (worth it if you are truly a #doitcheap person like me).
Black Friday in the UK is not nearly as good. None of the stores have any good discounts. What New Look and M&S fail to realize is that American stores do so well during Black Friday because they deliberately order certain goods to sell cheap on the day (so they aren’t losing money). Where as in the UK, they just discount the full priced items, and not by much. I checked a bunch of stores in person and online to see if I could get any Xmas gifts on the cheap in the UK on Black Friday. I got no deals.
The only worthwhile site for Black Friday in the UK was Amazon. I bought a phone for $20 cheaper than I could find it elsewhere and my husband got headphones for $20 cheaper as well. But unless you need to make a big tech purchase, even the Amazon Black Friday deal’s aren’t that great. Many of them are only slightly discounted.
So, my overall Black Friday impression. In the UK it sucks. The British just haven’t evolved to the smart selling techniques of America. Don’t be tricked into buying any British “Black Friday” deals. However, in the US, Black Friday is a gold mine, if you have the patience or are happy to buy online and wait a week. I bought almost all my family’s gifts online during Black Friday and I saved at least $200. But, I had to do a lot of research, price comparisons and digging through websites to find the best deals. If you are prepared to put in the effort, than Black Friday is a must do for the #doitcheap shopper.
Added bonus (from someone who has worked in retail) about a week after Black Friday a lot of stores will put clothing and home goods into their clearance areas. They need to clear out Black Friday goods and left over autumn products to make room for the December Christmas items. So, check out Kohls or Macy’s clearance rack the week after Thanksgiving and you will probably find some good stuff.

How To Build Your Butt The Cheapest Way Possible

Host: Vicky Justiz
Video: Exercises For a Rounder Butt!
Exercise Type: Booty, Booty, Booty!!! I thought it was about time I reviewed some of my go-to booty videos. My butt is probably the part of my body that I have worked hardest for. One day I just decided I wanted a big ol’ booty to match the big boobs I was born with, and it literally grew from there. In this video these exercises are all designed to build up your side butt, the muscles that we tend to forget about most.
Review: I am always coming back to this routine! It only takes 5 minutes but if you focus in on your body and really put in the effort, your ass will be sore by the end, I promise! I will usually do it at the end of my workout, after I’ve done like some abs, or a HIIT round, just to really burn out the glute muscle. Personally, I don’t find the moves as demonstrated quite hard enough. If you are just starting out on your bigger butt journey, than stick to the moves as they are done in the video. However, if you squat a lot (like me!) and you have stronger muscles already, then I suggest you take it up a notch! I like to add a clingy band to most of these moves, because they increase the resistance and therefore work my butt more. You could also add weights to your ankles to up the ante, or hold weights in your hands for the side to side squat step to work it more. I don’t have much to say about this trainer. She doesn’t get on my nerves, but she isn’t very inspiring. However, it is only a 5 minute video so you shouldn’t need a lot of encouragement to push through.
Favorite Move: It is so hard for me to choose a favorite! I love the first half of the moves, and only like the second half. If I have to pick just one, I would say the side-to-side squat step is the best. To do this move you squat down as low as you can, then step one foot out and bring the other one to follow, then repeat on the opposite side. It’s ok if you can’t get too low at first, because it requires a lot of quad strength to hold the squat and do the step at the same time. I do add a resistance band to this one, and I swear you can physically see the muscle strain.
Hardest Move: I wouldn’t say any of these moves are super hard, it is all about what you make of them. If you use a band or add weights or even just move slowly to control your muscle’s, then the hardest move would be the squat with a side leg raise. This move requires balance and focus to make sure you don’t just swing your leg around like a piece of rope. If you do that it won’t benefit your side butt. You want to make sure to squeeze your butt as you pull your leg to the side. Like I have said before, the more you focus into your butt muscles the more you will feel this routine.

 

Rating: 10/10. There is nothing wrong with this video. The moves are straight forward, and not too complicated. The trainer doesn’t talk too much, and I didn’t swear at all! The best aspect of this video is that the difficultly level is really left up to you. If you are just beginning than you can follow the trainer exactly. If you want to make it harder than there are options for that. I think that you could even do this video as a circuit and repeat it twice through to get an edid you see the joke I made there, it was puntastic)

ven better workout. If you only have 5 minutes between getting home, and making dinner, then you can do this workout! You don’t need to be in fitness gear, this could be done in jeans, and that might even make it harder. Seriously, I swear this video has helped me get my butt and that is probably one of my most noticeable assets. (

Get Mean So You Can Save Money

I’m sure we are all familiar with the phrase “Nice people finish last”. Now, I don’t think that’s always true, as I made clear in last post. You can get free stuff by being kind and helpful. But sometimes, to get things for free or at a discount, you have to get mean.
image from pixabay.com
Have you ever ordered a meal at a restaurant, and they got things wrong? Your food was undercooked, overcooked, or you got the complete wrong thing? You could just accept that, and eat it anyway. But, if it is at a chain restaurant (like Frankie & Benny’s, Chili’s, etc.), you can probably get something for free out of it. You can have your meal completely paid for, or get the drinks for the table covered. It doesn’t have to be limited to your food being messed up either. I once went to a restaurant, and it took 30 minutes to bring us drinks, and over an hour to take our food order. Needless to say, we  got some stuff for free that night. The biggest issue I believe people (especially Brits) have, is that they are afraid to ask. Don’t be afraid to ask, or even demand, that a restaurant gives you a discount or free stuff if they messed up. Trust me, they would rather give you a free burger and have you come back again, than lose you forever as a customer. Besides, what’s the worst that can happen? They say no if you ask for it to be comped?
Other times, it isn’t as easy as saying, you messed up my salad, can you give me a free soda. Sometimes, you should get really angry. This works best when you are dealing with online booking situations. If you book a rental car, and you turn up and they give you a smaller car than you ordered, you can demand a discount. They might try to say no at first, but they will eventually give in. (This rental car situation has happened to me, instead of a discount, I got a free upgrade to an even bigger car!). You can also do this with hotels as well. If your room isn’t cleaned, or you got a smoking room when you requested non-smoking, then ask for money back!You just have to stand your ground.
image from pixabay.com
If your flight is late, and you miss a connection, then that is definitely grounds to get something out of the airlines. My plane was late into Las Vegas, and I missed the last flight out to Seattle. I had to spend the night in the Vegas airport. So, the airline gave me free first-class seats, and food vouchers to places in the airport. (In a similar situation, an airline put me up for free in a hotel). Another time, an airline charged me twice for a ticket. After calling them, demanding to speak to a manager, then lodging a formal complaint, I got $150 in gift cards to the airline. Airlines and airports are an ideal place to get seat upgrades, free food, free hotels, and some extra air miles.

 

The key in all those situations, was not taking no for an answer. Companies will always try to just apologize and then brush you to the side if they mess up. Some people will accept that and just complain quietly to their friends. But, I never accept it. I know that companies have budgets set aside to manage screw ups, and employees have a certain amount of leeway to give upgrades, discounts etc. So, if a company messes up, I make them give me things. If they say no at first, I ask to speak to their boss. If they say no, I threaten to write a bad review for them online. (A bad review can mean a lot of lost business for a company, especially if there is a good human-interest story attached to it). Usually, after I refuse to back down, I get stuff for free. And I never feel guilty or like a bully. The companies messed up, they need to correct their error. Plus, I’m poor so I never feel bad about getting something for free. 
 
 

Be Sweet and You Can Get Free Stuff

 
I have another post about getting free things! If I get something for free, I find that down the line I love the thing more than I would if I paid for it. I think that is a result of being poor and knowing the value of items. 
 

Method 1: Say yes to everything! Store employees are always approaching me to do surveys, fill out a quick form etc. Usually people brush them off because they are in a rush, but I’ve been one of the people who asks customers for surveys and if they do fill them out, I’m happy to make it worth their time! Just the other day, I filled out a survey and I got a free ice slushie at the movie theatre and 2 for 1 popcorn. Many fast food restaurants have surveys at the bottom of receipts to get discounts or free burgers! If you don’t believe me that saying yes to surveys, forms, etc. gets you free stuff, then listen to this. If you are shopping and you buy ten shirts that cost $10 each, your total will be $100. If an employee offers you 10% off for answering a few questions, that will save you $10 off your total bill. That means that by filling out one survey, you would basically get one of your shirts free! I hope you believe me now when I say you need to say yes!

 

Method 2: You catch more bees with honey than with vinegar. It’s an old wife saying that is completely true! If you go out of your way to be nice to employees at a store, they will be more willing to do you favors. Be extra polite in the ice cream line, and you can get more free samples, or a bigger scoop of ice cream. Chat up the barista and they will put whip cream on your hot chocolate at Starbucks for no extra charge. Free samples and extra’s might not seem like much, but when you are broke, the little stuff counts. I promise, if you are nice to people than you will get extra discounts and free stuff thrown your way.
image made at recite.com
Method 3: Don’t be afraid to ask for things. (People often feel uncomfortable asking for free things, but they shouldn’t!) Ask for samples at makeup stores. Sephora gives you free samples to try out products before making the commitment of buying them. I don’t recommend you use this for all your makeup needs, but if you want to try something new, or just need a certain shade for one occasion, then it’s a great bet! You can also order a way to try samples of shampoo’s and cleaning products. If you have a baby, signing up for parenting blogs can get you offers on diapers, and some diaper companies will give you one or two free new products to try them out and garner interest. On top of all that, in magazine inserts you can get sample face masks, perfumes, etc. These are luxury items I can’t afford. I don’t buy face masks, but I save the ones from Cosmo and Glamour and use them when I need a little spa day.
Method 4: Lend a helping hand. Doing favors for other people doesn’t only give you good karma (which I am a strong believer in) but usually leads to getting you free items. If you lend someone your soap, they might return it in full, by buying you a whole new bottle. Does someone need help moving? Help, and you can get a free meal, plus you get your exercise! I’ve exchanged car rides from the airport for a box of chocolates. You will find that people give you stuff if they feel like you have put in effort for them (otherwise they will feel guilty for taking advantage of you).

 

My biggest advice, be extra nice to employees at food places and retail shops. It will always pay off with discounts and free things. Kindness to others is free for you to give. Offer to do favors for people, and they will return it by giving you stuff. But, don’t be afraid to ask for what you want as well.