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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Buy This If You Are Renting or In a Dorm

Screenshot (21)I don’t frequently do reviews, unless something truly warrants my attention. But, hands down the best investment I have ever made is a foam mattress topper. I have moved every year since I was eighteen. I’ve lived in three different states, and two different countries.

The one thing that has stayed constant in all that is, I move into furnished houses/apartments. I don’t move furniture, just clothes. And all of the beds in the places I have moved to have been less than heavenly. Usually, they are old, threadbare, and covered in stains. For a lot of these years, I’ve been a poor university student, or struggling graduate. I could not afford to buy a new mattress every time I changed homes. So, for five years, I just accepted having a bad back from constantly sleeping on terrible mattresses.

Then, one day I got smacked with the worst food poisoning of my life (and I’ve lived in East Asia so that says a lot) and I was trapped in a bed where I could feel every single metal spring. It was agony. In a haze of vomit, I rush ordered a foam mattress topper off Amazon Prime. It cost me £50 and was the only cheap, highly rated option that had next day delivery.

From the minute I put it on my ancient bed, everything turned magical. It was like laying on a cloud. I’ve moved three times since I bought the mattress topper. And the only thing I have always brought with me is this foam pad of heaven. The foam mattress topper is nearly two years old, and it hadn’t worn down. The eggshell like top is still visible, and there are no dents from my partners larger frame.

No matter where I live, from now on, I will always buy or bring with me a foam mattress topper. They can compress into a box, and it ensures I always get a good nights rest. For any university student, or anyone renting a house that comes fully furnished, this is an investment you will NEVER regret. Plus, you can find them for fairly cheap, and it will save you loads in coffee and chiropractor costs because you won’t have a bad back or lack sleep due to your bed arrangement.

How To Get The Chic French Fashion Look

20170509_203029As an ESL teacher, I work with all nationalities. I’ve recently begun to teach French students, both male and female. Everything the fashion magazines say about them is true, they are so stylish! Did I mention my students are 14?

They don’t wear a lot of accesories, or even wear a lot of labels. Honestly, they wear jeans and sweatshirts, or jeans and plain t-shirts. But somehow, they add little chic touches that turn an outfit that would look boring on me, into something that looks fashionable. For example, today one student was wearing mom jeans, and a very baggy t-shirt. Her hair was a mess, and her only accessory was a nose piercing. Yet somehow, it looked so cool!

Teaching these kids early in the morning, I can promise they put zero thought into their clothing. They do not think about their outfits, I don’t think the French style the conscious choice we non-French people assume. Rather, I think it is both bred, and SOLD into them. By this I mean, their parents dress in very simple, casual styles. So, they do too. And the stores in France sell more monochrome, structured, casual items. So, they buy them. I know this is true because I’ve shopped in French stores.

The whole nature vs nurture debate has established that who we are as people is molded by our parents and our environment. Applying that psychology to fashion, it means that the French teens wear the clothes sold in their shops and worn by their parents. Therefore, I purpose that French fashion is not a purposeful style. Rather, it is simply a look that is sold, and told to them.

This isn’t exclusive to France. In Washington, people wear a lot of North Face and polar fleece hoodies. Why? Because it is what the stores sell, and what parents tell you to wear to keep warm. In New York, stores sell edgy clothes, and parents tell their kids to dress in the latest NYC style. Breeding and location is what makes an intrinsic local style.

The French teens are chic casual because it is all they can know. So, I envy them a little less…but I also wish my stores sold me less bold prints and more perfect white tee’s.

What are your thoughts???

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.

A New #doitcheap Method for Getting Free Stuff

 

As much as I strive to buy stuff on the cheap to maintain my fabulous lifestyle, sometimes certain things are just out of the question. Like new furniture, as cheap as IKEA is, can’t nobody pay for that shit! Especially me.

Pre-internet, if you wanted free stuff, you had to be on the ball searching the ads in newspapers. People usually posted them with free stuff and it was first come, first serve. But thank goodness, we live in the 21st century and don’t have to sift through pages upon pages of black and white print. Instead all the stuff people want to get rid of is posted in one convenient place, the internet!

There are a few rules to follow when retrieving free stuff off websites. 

1. Be safe when you go to retrieve furniture or items from a stranger’s home. Take a buddy, keep your phone on you, make sure someone knows where you are, etc. Basically, don’t be an idiot and you will be fine.
2. Be prepared for the free stuff to be in less than perfect condition. After all, most of the stuff will be pre-owned. But with a little TLC you can probably fix any issues your free item may have. Paint is a magic substance that can cover scratch marks, and throw pillows can hide furniture stains. Just get creative with it.
3. Don’t assume you will instantly find the free thing you are looking for. It may take you a few day’s to find the ideal free couch. So, don’t jump on the first free couch you see, in the free game, patience is a virtue.
4. It never hurts to keep your eye on the free sites at all times, in case something cool comes up! Sometime people give away building supplies like wood pallets that you can turn into lawn furniture! Or maybe you will discover a book shelf you didn’t know you needed, but you really do!The internet is like digging for buried treasure, you never know what you might unearth.

Gumtree



Craigslist








Facebook Marketplace



Here is a list of website where you can definitely find all sorts of free things

UK: Gumtree Freebies
-you can find all sorts of stuff on here, and you can personalize it to your location. Currently on offer, office chairs, desk chairs, wooden pallets, and a dog.

USA & some international locations: Craigslist
-click on your country, then your local(ish) area. Under the ‘For Sale’ section, click on ‘Free’. In Las Vegas there is currently free paint, televisions, and dirt.

Worldwide: Facebook Marketplace and Buy and Sell Groups
-On Facebook Marketplace you can set criteria to cost $0-$0 and all free items will be listed (you can input your town name to make it more specific). But beware! You will need to weed through the fake free ads! I never said free was easy.
-On the Buy and Sell Groups you can join a group that is more personalized to what you want, ie. Horse Tack, Cars, etc. Again, you will have to go through and find the free stuff!

It takes effort to maintain the #doitcheap lifestyle, but you can all do it, and your bank account will thank you for it.

My Friday Freebie:
No. 7 self tanner. No. 7 is a popular UK beauty brand. This was given to me by a collegue who doesn’t tan. I’ve never tried something like it, so this should be interesting! I’ll make sure to share my #doitcheap tan experience!