Saturday, April 16, 2011

Gigi Hill Exclusive FREEBIE & Tips on this Great Lifestyle Line!


I’ve got a closet full of bags, totes, purses, etc. and I have nothing to carry that really works well with what I have. The main problem? Nothing inside those cavernous containers organizes my goods well unless I have to buy a separate liner/insert to wrangle all my goodies. I knew I had turned into my mother when I had about a pound of change in the purse I just cleaned out. I remember (fondly!) once a week cleaning out her purse and then getting to keep anything that wouldn’t fit in the change section, I was rich! I swore I would never let my purse look that way and know I am a mom and I’ve discovered….Gigi Hill, so my purse doesn’t have to look that way!

Gigi Hill is an amazing new company that features stylish, versatile and organized handbags and handbag accessories. I’m telling you, these ladies did their homework when designing this amazing product line. You get what you pay for and you won’t be disappointed! Fun finds with a hint of vintage thrown in the mix make for a very chic line that coordinates well with your busy lifestyle!

These bags are sold exclusively through consultants or through home purse parties! This is a new line that is just being introduced nationally and you can be a trendsetter as they are just being released to the public My good friend, Tonya Reichenberger (many of you have joined her on Facebook) has become a Gigi Stylist! I hope you will join her on Facebook, schedule a party or check out what they have to offer… won’t be disappointed!

I love to share great deals, good finds and quality items that simplify your life. This post isn’t a screamin’ hot deal alert, but it is the kind of item that I like to invest in for the long run because over time I won’t need to replace the product (saving me money!). Sometimes you just can’t argue price vs. quality when a product can truly simplify your life and this product will do just that!

Now, I wouldn’t be doing you any favors if I didn’t share how you can get your hands on this product at a bit of a discount right? I am the person who won’t pay full price for anything….so here goes!

My Top 5 Tips For Buying Discounted Products From At Home Party Consultants:

1)Host a Party! The best thing about doing this is you get FREE and REDUCED prices on all kinds of great items! It’s a chance for you to hang out with friends and score some great deals on a wonderful product. Don’t need a particular product? You give gifts don’t you, it’s worth it to host a party to have gifts for your friends/family for inexpensive or free! Stretch those gift dollars! Gigi Hill has a great incentive party plan, host 3 parties in a year and get a $150 gift card! This is a great incentive and would go towards some nice gifts for you or a friend.
2)Go to a party! Hostesses get the best party perks, but guests are typically offered a decent discount on a particular product for the nightly special too. For April, customers can get a rolling Audrey bag (in cow print) for just $135, down from $225! If you are looking to build a bag/suitcase wardrobe this is a great deal.
3)Catalog Party, it’s not a lot of work for you, but the benefits are good! Take a few catalogs to work with you or show some friends (set up small display in your workspace), you get the benefits of host credit, but you didn’t have to host an actual party.
4)Tell your consultant what product you are interested in adding to your collection and ask them to advise you of upcoming specials/deals on that product. Gigi Hill does exclusive fabric colors that do change. They consistently keep fabrics that coordinate so they may offer a special on a fabric/color that is running low or that is not selling as fast. Take advantage of these company sponsored discounts!
5)Barter/Trade….I love to trade goods/services with friends in exchange for products I need! If you have a friend who sells or represents products with an at home business or who owns a small business, they may be interested in bartering with you for products or services you need. I love to barter my marketing/design skills, organizing strategies or money saving tips…I get things that I need using the skills I possess to land a great deal and my friend does too!

Exclusive Deal for Facebook Friends/Blog Followers:
Schedule a Gigi Hill party in May with Tonya and get a FREE small Scarlett bag just for having a party! This is a FREE $20 gift for you in addition to all your other hostess benefits and credit towards your 3 parties/$150 gift card promo! You can't go wrong sharing with friends, connect with Tonya on facebook!

Also, don't forget you can scoop up the Rolling Audrey in cow print for just $135 (regularly $225) through April and the Rita Wallet (a great starter staple piece) is on sale for $35 down from $49! These are limited time deals, so contact Tonya if you want to purchase any of these good deals!

You can scroll to the bottom of my blog under links for the Gigi Hill direct link! Happy Browsing & Buying!

Happy Saving & Partying!


Saturday, April 9, 2011

Clothing....Ways to Save!

Hello Savers!

I need clothes. I love clothes!! I buy clothes (only on sale!). Why? Because I can. And you can too!

These tips have been learned through my own savings education, working retail, understanding retail clothing cycles, basic customer service strategies and planning ahead. I hope you will use and think about these tips the next time you are looking to save money!

I admit, my past is filled with the joys of clearance clothing racks. My mom and I often joked (many years out of high school when I could see the humor in it) that I never had a prom/homecoming dress that didn't come off a major mark down clearance rack. I guess you could say I started the cheap clothing spotting early in life. I didn't care that my dress might be the "only one worn at my school", was it really worth the $200 price tag when I got my sporty little (well puffy sleeves weren't little...ha, ha) for just $20! Oh yes, I could spot a bargain a mile away! Those of you who grew up here will remember Emporium....I bought 80% of my school clothes on their annual before school sidewalk sale, I knew I could get more for my $ and did! My best deal EVER was a pair of Guess jeans for just $12 back in early 1980. I will never forgot my moment of coolness when I showed up at school in what was probably $60+ jeans that I had purchased in Seattle (they were ahead of the fashion trends in Springfield, OR) I was able to be ahead of the trends at a steal (and those of you who knew my dad, paying for fashion wasn't at the top of his list!), I never had the coolest clothes, but I will never forget my Guess jeans (or the great dad I had!!)

Anyway, funny past stories, aside...I learned about how to buy clothes for cheap at a young age and have perfected it into a bit of a science which I hope to share with you today!

I spent 3-4 afternoons a month shopping 2nd hand too. I loved that! I will say, my experience with second hand shopping (with Craigslist and eBay on the move) is that these stores don't have the quality they once had, so this post is about 1st purchase merchandise.

My Top 5 Retail Tips:

1) Buy in the off-season and plan ahead. Need a coat in the fall? Guess what, so does everyone else! Supply and demand warrants top dollar right when you need something, but wait a month or two and they clearance out quickly! Retail moves in 2-4 cycles (dependent on area/season). In Eugene, our stores aren't huge, but companies change stock quickly so we see sales happen fairly quickly on items as new merchandise comes into stores. If you see something you like, chances are that it will be on sale in a few weeks, so wait! I always buy my daughter's clothes almost a year ahead of time. I know what she likes and we keep a fairly simple wardrobe (lots of dresses/skirts) so that it is easy to stock ahead. I keep 2 boxes for extra clothes in my closet so that I can add to it as I find items that she will use! If space is limited, gather what you can and always stock up on staples (socks/underwear) when you find them on good sales, they will always need them! The nice thing about Oregon is that our weather is such that items can be layered and worn most of the year, so even if you don't quite guess size correctly, chances are it will get worn at some point. Examples: I buy Christmas dresses at Macy's for the following year (in 1 size up), coats/lightweight jackets (whenever I see them on sale in a size up), basic pants/tops in a size up for the following year as I see them go on sale. My child doesn't always have the most current styles (sometimes!), but you can't if you are really looking for the best deals. When school rolls around or a new season, we might buy something "current" with a good coupon so she can have something currently released mixed in with good staples purchased on sale. If your child likes a certain clothing line...stock up on their basics. My daughter loves Gymboree's basic pull on cotton knit pants, I buy every color when I see them at $4.99 or less because they are a great basic and will get used!

2) COUPONS! For clothes? Yes, you better believe it! Almost every retailer offers coupons at one time or another...some more than others! The best ways to get coupons is to sign up on Facebook as a fan, sign up for email newsletters from your favorite stores, open a store credit card (they give customers their best deals), sign up for mall e-newsletters (which feature multiple store deals), sign up for the catalog and sign up for any "rewards" plans offered by stores. These rewards programs (are usually free) and open you up to more coupon opportunities. For Gymboree, you get to shop 1 day early on sales and you get additional coupons. Many national retailers are also starting to put their coupons in magazines...woo-hoo! Parents, Parent & Child, Real Simple have all featured Gymboree coupons recently!

3) Know your stores & associates! I typically shop about 5-6 stores. I know their stock and sales cycles and I know what days mark downs happen. How do I know? I ask! It's free (but the extra savings offers are priceless!) information that most associates will openly share with you! Shopping a handful of stores is helpful because you know what you like, the more you shop the more coupons you typically will receive (helps to pay with a card and PAY OFF), paying with a card gives them more info to track your purchasing and coupons follow! It's also important to know final sale (.97 ending and no returns-Gap)so you can plan your purchases well, but also to know return policies because most stores offer a refund if an item goes on sale within 7-21 days. If the price drops and you have your receipt they will credit you the difference. Especially important when making a large item purchase! See a full price item you like? Ask the associate when mark downs happen! Looking for a basic piece that isn't on the floor (remember Eugene is limited to sizes at stores), ask if they keep back stock of items. Recently, I asked at a store about items in sizes I needed and was told because of my repeat business, though the merchandise wasn't going to be made available to the general public, I could have a look at the items. It helps to become a "regular" at the stores you like to shop at for access to items not seen by the public. It never hurts to offer an exchange of a comment card, call to manager, etc. if they will provide an extra level of customer service. As a past retail associate, I would give my best and most friendly customers access to perks, coupons, etc. in exchange for a kind compliment to my's worth the request and Macy's/Gymboree/Gap are superb with customer service requests!

4) Clearance Racks/Special Sales
Stores have 2 sections in each department. The front of each section is the new, full price merchandise. The back sections are the sale/clearance racks. I don't even look at the full price, if no sale sign exists it's off-limits for most of my shopping trips. I head right to the clearance rack with my coupons as I can get more bang for my buck! I am a Macy's card holder and 1/month I get 4 coupons, 2 being $20 off a $50 purchase. Do the math..these are golden! I took my husband shopping the other night as he needed to stock up with my 2 high value coupons. He hadn't shopped with me for awhile (we went to Macy's) and he was shocked at how well we did! I broke my goods into 2 lots of $50 so I could use both coupons. The associate was happy to ring separately. I saved $40 alone on the coupons and as each item we purchased was on sale, saved close to $120 off regular price! Macy's has a 1 day sale each month...BEST time to shop this store is the day of that sale when most clearance racks are an additional 50% off! This is amazing and deals can be had in all departments!

5) Pace Yourself, Shop Small...Shop Often!
It's easy to want to get sucked into a great deal and want to stock up and do if you have the cash to do it or put it on a card and pay off at the register (or when you get home!). No deal is a good deal if you are paying interest on the purchase! Visiting your stores you love often helps you grab bargains when they first happen, it also gives you "regular customer" status at your favorite stores which might earn you favor with your favorite associates! Tucking a few things away here and there over the year make for money savings throughout the years! This also allows you to pace your budget with what you need. Buying all your clothes at the beginning of school isn't the way to go...tucking items away as you see them is fun to unpack them when the time comes and you know you got a good deal because you bought them on sale!

A couple of notes on stores/quality:

Buy the quality you can afford. I have lots of friends who will never shop Gymboree because it is too expensive...however, what are you paying for? Quality to some extent, stain resistance, etc. It's worth it to pay for quality in the long run because you will end up having the piece for longer! I don't buy anything at Gymboree ever full price, but I have gotten some killer deals there because I planned ahead (earned Gymbucks), used their coupons (which are awesome!) and really sought out good deals and paid what others would pay at a lower end store, but the items will last longer!

Great stores for quality/customer service: Gap, Gymboree, Lands End, LL Bean, Mini Boden, Hanna Andersson. (Hanna has an outlet in Lake Oswego that I visit several times a year...great deals and amazing quality! Gymboree has an outlet at Woodburn that I also can earn Gymbucks there, but only redeem at regular retail stores, but it's a sweet deal!).

Stores that offer great coupons, quite often!
-Macys (newspaper coupons on 1 day sale, credit customers, mailers, facebook)
-Old Navy (online, facebook, credit customers, in store offers)
-Mini Boden (buy 3 get 1 free promos, must sign up for catalog to get this offer!)
-Lands End (facebook, catalog sign up...lots of good offers, free shipping!)
-AAA customers, pick up a coupon book at the customer service counter at Woodburn for some sweet deals!
-Gymboree (best to buy during Gymbucks promo or large coupon 30% off times)

This is a drop in the bucket of what I have learned, but I hope to share more tips with you in the future and that you try out some of these tips!

Enjoy & Happy Saving!