Author Archives: femmefrugality

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year to Buy Wedding Jewelry

Great insider tips for the best time of year to buy wedding jewelry!

It happened right before Thanksgiving.  I got a card in the mail from a jeweler that had somehow found out I was getting married.  Come in to the store and we’ll give you some free earrings, no purchase necessary.  All I had to do was come in between Black Friday and Christmas.

So I did.  Of course.  While I was there, I figured I might as well look at wedding bands as I hadn’t yet gotten one for the fiance.  He hadn’t gotten his ring size yet, but the jeweler showed me the selection and told me I should definitely buy before Christmas.

She told me during the holidays jewelers freeze their prices, regardless of how gold or silver performs in the stock market, and then they put on all these fabulous sales.  After the holidays the sales stop, and they resume pricing their products based on the current value of gold/silver, etc.

I walked out with a coupon, but ended up not going back because the prices were far outside of my budget.  This is my second go around with the whole marriage thing.  The last time I got married was before the housing bubble burst and the price of precious metals comparatively skyrocketed.  So what I had been expecting to spend versus the reality I had just been confronted with had really hit home.

About halfway through the crazy holiday shopping season, we were out as a family at the mall buying the gifts that we still needed to fill in.  We stopped at a different jeweler to get him sized.  He saw some rings he liked, and the prices here were a lot more affordable.

I asked the woman waiting on us if what the other jeweler had told me was true:  would prices go up after Christmas?  Was this really the best time of year to buy?

She told me yes, and confessed that they would continue to have 40% off sales, but that it wouldn’t be on as wide of an array of products and that they would resume following the stock market when pricing their products.

We looked around the mall a bit, and found that the jeweler we had started with had the best prices for their selection.  So we headed back.  I handed the girl at the counter the business card of the woman I had been talking to before; I wanted to talk to her again so she could get the sale she had earned.

She took the card from me, put it under the desk, and started to show me Tungsten rings.  She was talking the fiance into it, too, despite my vocal protests that I didn’t want to spend that much money on a ring that (in my opinion, which may be completely wrong,) is a fad.  On top of that you can’t resize it.  I wanted gold or silver, and I wanted it in my price range.

She refused to show us the rings I asked to see, and lost a sale.

Time went on.  It was the night before Christmas Eve and I was freaking out because I was going to miss the best time of year to get these sales.  So I went on-line, fully intending to price compare and find a store that had a good selection for when I went in person on the morrow.

Of all places, I found it on Sears website.  A ring almost exactly like one he had seen and liked in a “real” metal, and in my price range.  And it was a comfort-fit, which is a bonus the fiance won’t even understand, but he’ll unknowingly appreciate it.

It said it wasn’t available in store because it was shipped by the original jeweler directly.  I checked out the original jeweler, and they had the ring for less on their website. Plus I found a coupon code for 5% off (which can be huge when you’re spending hundreds,) and free shipping.

I held my breath as I pressed the “Complete Purchase” button. I had gone mad. I was purchasing jewelry on-line based off an internet picture, and then having it shipped to my house hoping the mailman wouldn’t just leave it out on the street.

But I did it anyways. I was not going to have to go out on Christmas Eve.

So a few days ago it came.  All my fears were laid to rest.  It was exactly like the pictures.  (Though I can’t take a good one.)  The post office actually left me a note requesting that I pick it up rather than leaving it in the mailbox or on the street.

I couldn’t be more surprised that I didn’t hit a snag or problem. It’s at least as beautiful as the pieces we saw at all those other stores, and so much more affordable.

If you’re comparing pictures online, it’s a good idea to look at sites like James Allen. They provide a 360 degree view of their products, so its easier to see what you’re getting than with simple 2D pictures.

Since I had already seen pretty much the same exact men’s ring before, it made it easier for me to create a mental composite from 2D. Had I not, or if I had been shopping for an engagement ring with a diamond, the 360 degree view would have been something I mandated from my online jeweler.

I did some price comparison after the holidays.  I didn’t save any money by freaking out on Christmas Eve.  I didn’t spend more, either, though.  Prices on the products I was looking at were pretty  much the same.

I did some research independent of jewelry store salespeople and found that the best time of year for jewelry spans pretty wide:  October to February.  (Valentine’s Day anyone?)  So I did well.  I just didn’t need to stress quite so much about my timeline.

Brick & Mortar vs Online Retailers

Since this article went live in January of 2014, there have been several articles floating about the web citing summer as the best time of year to buy wedding jewelry. I’d like to present some context to that argument in a 2017 update.

The first thing to note is that at brick and mortar retailers, this may be true. Shopping online, though, can save you anywhere up to 50% over these in-person retailers–no matter the time of year.

When I asked Oded Edelman, Co-Founder and CEO of James Allen, about the difference, he explained it in this way:

“We take a consumer-focused approach to our promotions in order to make the experience as positive as we can during key times throughout the year. Our research has shown that the majority of engagements happen in the four months between Thanksgiving and Valentine’s Day.”

“Typically brick and mortar retailers have entirely different cost structures thanks to holding inventory, overhead costs, etc,” he continues. “Their operations structures as well as their marketing tactics are very different, which may lead to higher costs for the end consumer.”

This means the biggest sales at online retailers, at least at consumer-oriented businesses like Edelman’s, do indeed happen between October and February.

 

A Very Feminist Gift Guide

This post is in collaboration with Etsy.

This is so awesome. Definitely loading up my Chirstmas shopping list with a lot of these frugal feminist gift ideas!

The holidays are just around the corner! In fact, today’s Cyber Monday, which means you can grab some great deals–like this one on an AncestryDNA kit.

While you should definitely check out the deals today, I wanted to put together a gift guide that could last beyond the clickiest holiday all year. So today we’ll be looking at some gifts for the feminist in your life–all for $25 or under

I’ll give you a nudge to check out the book in the side bar for starters, but after that you’ve done that, here are some more great gifts at a great price.

Immigration Teewe are all illegal on stolen land

Price: $18.95

Personally, I’m mostly super white. My family was among the huddled masses that sought refuge in this country, and it’s something I’ve always been grateful for and proud of. While America has never initially loved its immigrants, I was raised in an America that was proud of its status as a melting pot.

But the fact that my family thought this was a safe and good country to come to hinged upon the fact that the white people who had come before them had robbed and slaughtered this land’s native people. Throughout our history our country has denied its native people so many rights, including the right of citizenship on its southern border. As people native to this continent attempt to come here seeking asylum from violence and persecution, we need to remember that we are all illegal on stolen lands.

This shirt from Ava Rose Apparel reminds us of just that.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg Mug

ruth bader ginsburg gift

Price: $9.59

Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Pioneer. Women’s advocate. Dissenter at large. With this gift from She Mugs, your feminist can start her morning with caffeine and a reflection: What would Ruth Bader Ginsburg do?

In This House We Believe…In this house we believe black lives matter love is love science is real feminism is for everyone no human is illegal kindness is everything

Price: $7.00

Seriously considering downloading this printable from littlegoldpixel for the walls of my own home. It makes me more than a bit sad that these ideals aren’t standard across American homes. Because of that, though, I want to make sure they’re reinforced with my own children. Odds are, your feminist holds these values, too:

  • Black lives matter.
  • Love is love.
  • Science is real.
  • Feminism is for everyone.
  • No human is illegal.
  • Kindness is everything.

The Fearless Girl

The Fearless Girl Statue

Price: $5.95

It could be because I’m a huge money nerd, but I find the Fearless Girl statue so powerful. Although it may have been placed by State Street Global Advisors in an attempt to distract from a lawsuit they had going on regarding pay inequities among its female and black employees, it’s also true that when women sit in the highest levels of financial corporations, the companies perform better. Even if there is a hint of irony, the statue stands for equal pay and representation, even in the face of great discrimination.

You can gift this powerful message via this photo from Modern Memory Art.

Beyonce iPhone Case

beyonce iphone case

Price: $7.99

Icon and legend Beyonce used her album Lemonade to feature the poetry of black women, express righteous anger and then an altruistic capacity for forgiveness, reinforce that black lives matter and that we need to do something about it culturally, and that women–especially women of color–have the power to economically take charge of their own lives despite facing a myriad of oppressions.

Celebrate all that goodness with this clear iPhone case from PipeszCases as you’re shopping this holiday season.

Frida Kahlo ClockFrida Kahlo Clock

Price: $17.00

Frida Kahlo was a Mexican artist who explored so many intersections. From gender to race to colonialism to socioeconomic class, she covered all the bases in truly powerful ways. This clock from RachelClock memorializes her with a line of her poetry:

“Feet, what do I need them for if I have wings to fly!”

Narrative of Sojourner TruthNarrative of Sojourner Truth

Price: $7.99

If you’ve got a reader on your hands, you’ll seriously want to consider ordering the Narrative of Sojourner Truth from AffordableBooks. Truth was arguably America’s first intersectional feminist, and the pages of her narrative cover her years as a slave, an abolitionist and a feminist.

Michelle Obama Side Eye Pingrl trbl michelle obama pin

Price: $4.00

When I asked Twitter about putting together a feminist gift guide, Veronika from Debts to Riches recommended vinyl pins from GRL TRBL. I immediately started falling in love with the self-described “kitschy” feminist products by Afro-Latinx artist Emerald Pellot. When I came across this Michelle Obama side eye pin, I knew I had found my favorite to feature. Obama is a hero in so many ways, but her obvious disapproval at the last presidential inauguration was everything. She expressed what so many of us were feeling while somehow still remaining classy as hell.

Indigenous Women Teeindigenous women resisting colonialism tee

Price: $25.00

Colonialism and patriarchy often go hand in hand, and there is no shortage of strong women who have resisted at every turn. This tee from NalgonaPositiveShop celebrates a few of these heroes:

  • Malalai of Maiwand. Not only did Malalai lead forces against British troops in Afghanistan in the 1800s, but she did it as a teenager.
  • Nehanda Charwe Nyakasikana. When white people came to colonize Zimbabwe, this spiritual leader also became a political leader of the resistance.
  • Haunani-Kay Trask. As Americans, we often conveniently forget that we are still practicing colonialism. Trask is a Hawaiian woman who continues to fight for her people’s culture and autonomy.
  • Teresa Magbanua. When the Spanish and Americans came to the Philippines, this school teacher made the shift to military leader. Because women can truly be bad-a.
  • Tarenorerer. A lot of us know about the current oppression of the LGBTQIA+ community in Tasmania, but the truth is that oppression in this region stretches back even farther and has its roots in British colonialism. Tarenorerer was an indigenous women who led a guerilla band in revolt against the invasion.
  • Rani Abbakka Chowta. Chowta was a Toluva queen who successfully fought off the Portuguese for over 40 years, protecting her people’s autonomy.

Confidence Poster

carry yourself with the confidence of a mediocre white man

Price: $14.99

When society tells you you’re not worth as much–whether that be via your pay or because of how you measure up to the real way society largely defines value for women: looks–you start to internalize it. When you don’t have to live up to those standards, e.g. you’re a white man, you inherently have a lot more confidence. This poster from Murkantile Designs reminds us that we, too, can be confident with a dash of humor.

Ancestry Deals for Black Friday/Cyber Monday Weekend 2018


ancestry deals

Hey, everyone! There were quite a few of you interested in the Ancestry DNA kit when I wrote about it last week, so I just wanted to let you know that there’s a sale going on this weekend. It really is the best one they have all year, and this year the discount is even steeper than last. You can get 50% off AncestryDNA Nov 22-26. This offer unfortunately can’t be combined with the free shipping offer (which you can get by using code FREESHIPDNA.)

Fifty percent off is the steepest discount I have ever seen for AncestryDNA. If you’ve been thinking about trying it for a while, now is the time to do it at just $49.

I’ll be writing about my experiences with their other services for genealogy soon. (Spoiler alert! They were super positive!) But these deals only last until Monday, so if you want to get a jump start, you can get an Ancestry.com subscription for 50% off through Cyber Monday.

For the purpose of the sale, these prices will be available 12am Eastern time starting 22 Nov and go through 11:59 pm Eastern on 26 November. That means all the West Coasters can actually score them starting at 9pm Pacific time on Thanksgiving and ending 8:59 pm Pacific on Cyber Monday.

Hope this helps! Happy Black Friday!

Update on Ancestry Deals

Cyber Monday has come and gone, and so have the biggest deals.

However, if you’re still shopping for the holidays, you can get 20% off Ancestry gift subscriptions here and/or 40% AncestryDNA here.

I’ve been tracking this sale for years, and these are the steepest discounts I’ve ever seen Ancestry offer. By shopping now, you are getting a great deal: AncestryDNA for just $59. As a point of reference, $59 has been the Black Friday price in years past.

If you buy a kit and feel comfortable, please come back and share your story in the comments! We’ve had a lot of interesting reader AncestryDNA stories, and would love to hear yours, too.

Family Day at the Mattress Factory #Pittsburgh

This post is in collaboration with The Mattress Factory.

So excited to check out all the free art programs this weekend at The Mattress Factory in Pittsburgh!

In case you’re not down with long lines and waking up super early to take advantage of all the deals this weekend, I wanted to take a minute today to let my Pittsburgh fam know about a cool event going on this weekend in the Burgh.

It’s called Family Day, and it’s happening at the Mattress Factory–which is a place all Pittsburghers should check out if they haven’t already. It’s probably my favorite museum in the city.

Family Day is free with the price of admission (and don’t forget that admission is heavily discounted if you or someone in your party has an ACCESS card!) and will highlight some of the museums art programs for all ages. All the programs are going to be free with the price of admission.

Mini-Factory

Here’s the Mattress Factory’s description of this program, which typically runs from 10a-12p on the second and fourth Saturday of every month:

“Let your early learner’s creativity run wild, with art and play activities, designed specifically for children ages 3-5. From confetti cannons to turntable drawings, Mini-Factory activities emphasize experimentation and encourage children to explore ideas inspired by Mattress Factory Artists.”

Normally this program costs $5 per participating child, but this weekend you’ll be able to participate for free.

ARTLab

This program runs from 1p-4p on the first and third Saturday of each month, and is included in the price of your admission always. This is the program is more geared towards adults than the others, but anyone can participate:

ARTLab is a hands-on, drop-in, interactive program designed for visitors of all ages. During ARTLab, participants are invited to explore, play and experiment with projects inspired by current exhibitions, artists and ideas. “

INSTALL: Afternoons @ The Factory

This free program runs every Wednesday from 4p-6p and is geared towards kids in third to fifth grade. While the program is free, you do have to register beforehand in order to participate:

“Spend your Wednesday afternoons hanging out with the fabulous folks at the Mattress Factory! Meet artists, explore the museum’s galleries and create your own art installations. Put your creativity helmets on and get ready for fun at the Mattress Factory!”

Teen Art Cooperative

This is a super structured program for teenagers–especially those who want to go into the arts professionally. It runs on a year long schedule between October and May, meets every Thursday and regular participation is a must:

TEEN ART COOPERATIVE is a year-long program for teens focused on collaboration, creative practice and exploration. This program is for self-motivated students who are interested in learning about how a museum operates as well as how to sustain a life of creative practice [translation: be an ARTIST].

Teens are given the support and space they need to develop new ideas, experiment with new materials and collaborate with each other. They will work closely with local artists and museum staff to learn about contemporary art in a direct, hands-on way, developing new skills and exploring creative resources and careers.

Over the course of the year, Co-op members become artists in residence, guest curators, exhibition installers and event planners. Students utilize the resources of the museum and Pittsburgh’s creative community to culminate in a collaborative art event of their own design.”

Guess what? This program is 100% free. But since the time commitment is such a strong part of the program, it isn’t a bad idea to get out to Family Day this weekend to check it out and make sure it’s a good match for your teen.

Family Day at the Mattress Factory

Like we talked about above, all of these programs will be on display this Friday, November 23rd from 11a-4p. You will have to pay admission to the museum, and prices are as follows:

  • Regular Admission: $20
  • Seniors & Students (including K-12 students): $15
  • Veterans: $10
  • Children ages 6 and under: FREE
  • CMU, Pitt, Point Park & CCAC Students: FREE with a valid student ID
  • Northside Residents: Half-off regular admission if you live in one of the following zip codes: 15212, 15214 and 15233.
  • ACCESS Families: If anyone in your family has an ACCESS card, up to four people in your party get in for $1 per person.

This weekend is a big deal, but all the discount options make admission to the Mattress Factory worth it any time!

Have fun, friends! And if you go, tag me in your Twitter or Insta photos! I’m @femmefrugality on both.

 

Bravely Freelancer Guide

Wow, this guide is really helpful. I actually feel like I can open up my own freelancing business now!

I’ve been working as a freelancer since I was 19. There were definitely breaks in there of unemployment and W-2 employment, but it’s a business model I’ve been familiar with since a relatively young age.

I mean, you think you’re familiar with it. But then you find out a new “con” of switching to an LLC. Or realize you forgot to record expenses last month and now have to go back and pour over bank statements. Or you finally recognize that you’re worth more than you are charging.

Setting yourself up as a freelancer doesn’t have to be hard, but you should understand that you don’t know what you don’t know. You don’t always know the questions you should be asking, and you need someone to guide you through the process.

I feel like very few of us have had that mentor. Instead, we’ve just learned along the way.

Bravely Freelancer Guide

Bravely Freelancer Guide is that mentor. It was created by Kara Perez from Bravely who is making awesome things happen in the female money space, especially in her hometown of Austin, Texas.

The guide and accompanying educational videos go over oh, so many things you should know before you get started. That includes:

  • Deciding between an LLC and Sole Proprietorship.
  • What you are and aren’t allowed to do as far as banking goes.
  • How to price your services.
  • Why emergency funds are so crucial to freelancers–and how big they should be.
  • How to pitch potential clients.
  • Statements of Work.
  • Invoicing.
  • Keeping Profit/Loss Sheets.
  • The exciting world of quarterly taxes.
  • How long to hold onto business documents.
  • Lots more!

I learned some new stuff from this guide that I’m going to start implementing. Like I found out there are probably some documents I’m still holding onto that I don’t need anymore. So I’ll clear out some room in my drawers. I’m even reevaluating my pricing structure for my services once again.

The Education You’ll Be Grateful For

Almost every last freelancer I’ve talked to about getting up and running has said two things:

“I just wish I had someone to teach me all this stuff at the beginning.”

and,

“Why didn’t I take the plunge and do this earlier?!”

It’s not so much that there’s a lot to know when you start your freelancing journey–it’s moreso that you don’t know which questions you should be asking. But a lot of people get so intimidated by the unknown that they never get started.

Kara does a beautiful job of putting those questions and their answers together in a simple, easy-to-digest way. It will help you actually launch your freelancing business without experiencing that overwhelm. Highly recommend checking it out today.

 

Freelancers: What is one question you wish you had asked when you were getting started?