Category Archives: Ways to Save Money

Sailor Moon Gift Guide (On A Budget)

This post is in collaboration with Etsy. Purple to pink faded background. Sailor moon holding a wad of cash and looking at it.

I’ve been living my best 90’s life lately, and that includes a renewed obsession with Sailor Moon. Today, we’re going to take a look at gifts for the Sailor Moon fanatic in your life. Because inflation is bonkers, we’re also gonna keep you on a budget. Check out these Sailor Moon gifts for under $30 on Etsy!

SPOILER ALERT: There’s even a budget binder for each of the Sailor Guardians! Where personal finance and fandom meet. Be sure to keep scrolling until you spot it!

Sailor Moon Nails

Whether you want decals or press ons, there’s not shortage of Sailor Moon nail options.

Sailor Moon Nail Decals

Sailor moon nail decals with Serena, Luna, Queen Serenity, etcPrice: $6.29
Get it from: Markynail

Bling Drill Sailor Moon Nails

Pink press on nails with sailor moon symbol charms attached.Price: $16.87
Get it from:
BamboNailsArt

 

Sailor Moon Wigs

Is your giftee big into cosplay? You can’t go wrong with a Sailor Moon wig. And they’re more affordable than you may initially think. Check out these options under $30.

Sailor Moon Cosplay Wig

Blonde wig for Tsukino Usagi cosplayPrice: $29.45
Get it from:
kckwanapparel

Rini/Chibiusa Wig

Pink wig rini style chibiusa stylePrice: $29.34
Get it from:
kckwanapparel

 

Sailor Moon Earrings

For cosplay or everyday use. Whether you’re fighting evil by moon light or joining up with the Spectre Sisters. Sailor Moon earrings for everybody — even if you’re on a budget!

Sailor Saturn Earrings

Sailor Saturn Earrings for Sailor Moon cosplay. Beautiful, prism like pennants.Price: $16.00
Get it from: StarBucketDesigns

Koan Earrings

Black earrings in the fashion of Koan from Sailor Moon (aka wicked lady aka black lady)

Price: $25.00
Get it from:
PearlsandPaperRoses

Tuxedo Mask Gifts Under $30

Oh, Darien! You seem way more problematic when I watch the old seasons in 2023, yet you remain iconic.

Tuxedo Mask Enamel Pins

Two tuxedo mask enamel pins held in the palm of a hand. One is normal colors, one is faded pastels. Price: $10.00
Get it from: MidnightMoonPins

Vintage Tuxedo Mask Doll

Tuxedo Mask clip-on figurine, in original box. Text reads: "Ages 4 & Up Sailor Moon Tuxedo Mask Collectible Clip-On IRWIN"

Price: $10.95
Get it from: WrenLane



Sailor Moon Eye Shadow

Move over Colourpop! This eye shadow is great for cosplay — and it’s affordable. TBH there’s a couple of these I’m tempted to try out for everyday use, too.

Colourpop Alternative. Glitterly cosplay Sailor Moon eye shadow for Sailor Mars, Sailor Mercury, Sailor Jupiter and Sailor Venus.

Price: $16.00
Get it from: Yinnabelle

 

Sailor Moon Nightlight

This night light is the absolute cutest. It does ship from Canada, so give yourself a lead time on your order of at least 10 days. (E.g., if you want it in time for Christmas, I’d scoop it up by December 14 at the absolute latest.)

Sailor Moon nightlightPrice: $26.66
Get it from:
kitschculturecanada

 

Sailor Mars Choker Necklace

The 90s kid in me would buy this for everyday use. But also, extra cosplay points for Rei.

red velvet sailor mars necklace with gold metallic star in the centerPrice: $15.00
Get it from: MamiMooni

 

Sailor Moon Cat Planter

Luna, Artemis, and Diana ALL make their appearance with these planters that double as pencil holders. Which Sailor Moon sidekick would you choose?

Sailor Moon mini cat planters. Diana is the only one actually being used as a planter. Artemis and Luna are being used as pencil holders.Price: $11.99
Get it from: HoneydabCo

 

 

Not LEGO Sailor Moon Minifigs

These technically aren’t LEGO minifigs, but they’re so close that you could’ve fooled me. You can choose from the following Sailor Moon minifigs from FigMasters — all of them are a mere $2.49/each:

  • Sailor Moon
  • Sailor Jupiter
  • Sailor Mercury
  • Sailor Venus
  • Sailor Neptune
  • Sailor Uranus

Image of Sailor Moon minfigs from an online shop. Top row L to R: Sailor Mercury, Sailor Moon, Sailor Mars, Sailor Venus. Second row L to R: Sailor Neptune, Sailor Jupiter, Sailor Mars, Sailor Moon. Last row L to R: Sailor Mercury, Sailor Jupiter.

Sailor Pluto Budget Binder

WUT?!?! It’s serendipitous but it’s true: There exists in this world a series of Sailor Moon budget binders. While I’m partial to Sailor Pluto, there’s one for each of the Sailor Guardians. Inclusion of the garnet rod FTW.

Red budget binder with black, glittery lettering that reads "Sailor Guaridan Pluto Est 1991" You can also see her garnet rod and the astrological glyphs for the 8 planets in our solar system other than Earth.Price: $27.00
Get it from: SirensTailCreation

 

5 Ways to DIY Custom T-Shirts with Style

This post is brought to you and written by an outside writer.

Woman sitting at a bar with her back to the camera. It's modern day, but she's wearing 80s style jeans with a white shirt tucked in. On the back of her shirt is blue and orange checkered text reading 'Choose Love'.

The days of summer are upon us, and it is time to break out your old t-shirts and add a shirt or two to the mix. According to Printful T-shirts, there are a few different ways to customize old shirts and create new ones. You can do this at home with a few things from a craft store or go online to create digital designs.

These five ideas can add style to your summer wardrobe without doing too much damage to your wallet.

1. Stamping Techniques

You can revitalize an old t-shirt by using a stamper to put a design on the shirt. Designers make these stampers out of material that they have lying around. You can use an eraser or even an old take-out box.

The steps are easy:

  1. Draw your design on the stamper material with a pencil.
  2. Cut around the design with an X-Acto knife. Now you have your stamper.
  3. Apply acrylic paint to your stamper.
  4. Press the stamper onto your shirt.
  5. Let the shirt dry for 72 hours.
  6. Iron the shirt on low heat.

A design made with a stamper won’t last forever, but it is a fun way to liven up your wardrobe.

2. Paint Directly on a Shirt

If you have a steady hand and plenty of artistic skill, you can always draw a design right onto your shirt with acrylic paint. Be sure to put your shirt on an ironing board. You may want to sketch out what you are drawing first. It is best to stick to a very simple design when you do things this way. You could also buy several cheap shirts in case you make a mistake.

Once you have painted the shirt, let it dry for at least 24 hours. Seal the paint with an iron on low heat. Keep the iron moving so it does not burn.

3. Use an On-Demand Printer

One of the best ways to custom-design your shirt is to use an online on-demand printer. All you have to do is visit the printer’s website and upload your original design. They will print it on the t-shirt of your choosing. They will send it out to you right away,

Although on-demand printing may cost a little more than paint, the shirts can save you from artistic failure and last a long time.

4. Embroider the Collar or Bottom of a Shirt

The very best on-demand printers will offer an embroidery option. They will have a state-of-the-art sewing machine that applies flawless stitches to the article of clothing of your choice. You can give a plain black t-shirt a major upgrade by adding flowers to the lapel, collar, or bottom of a shirt.

5. Make a Humorous Shirt

Some of the most popular t-shirts in history have been funny ones. Whether you use paint or print, funny shirts are always a big hit. You can use your favorite humorous movie quote or show the world your sharp wit on a shirt.

A few original shirts will add flare to any wardrobe. If enough people give you compliments, you may want to start selling your shirts. (<– Side hustle alert!)

 

How to Score High-End Perfume for a Whole Lot Less

This post is brought to you and written in part by an outside writer.

Picture of pink and white flowers arranged around a perfume bottle on a marble table. Black text reads 'pay less for luxe scents femmefrugality.com'
Friends, you know we have been all about fighting inflation around here lately.

That means looking for extra ways to make money.

It means negotiating and reducing your recurring bills in any way possible.

And, of course, it means shaving back the costs of the consumer goods you purchase.

Today, I want to show you a way I recently found to get the quality of luxury perfume without getting hit with a massive sticker price.

Luxury-adjacent perfume for less

Those who know me know that perfume is not something I’m likely to shell out full price for. It’s just not important enough for me to have luxury in this portion of my life on a regular basis.

So you know when I do buy luxe, there’s gotta be some kind of sale or deal involved.

I think I might have found the biggest deal of all when it comes to perfume. Dossier is a perfume company that offers scents that mimic the original luxury lines. The name on the bottle is different, but the scents are nearly identical and high-quality to boot.

Think brands like Versace, Dior, and YSL, except in a simpler bottle and at a fraction of the price.

For example, you could pick up a bottle of 50 mL bottle of Floral Honeysuckle, engineered to mimic Gucci’s Bloom, for just $29.

Bloom comes in 100 mL bottles for $155. If you really needed the whole 100 mL, you could purchase two bottles of Dossier’s Floral Honeysuckle for just $58 – or 63% less.

Eco-conscious perfume

One of the biggest benefits of Dossier perfumes is that the company tries to conduct business ethically. Their products are 100% Vegan and Cruelty-free. This means that the fragrances are made without using animal-derived ingredients, and that the brand does not conduct any animal testing.

The company goes further with its environmental consciousness by making their bottles out of 100% recycled glass, and their boxes out of 100% recycled cardboard.

Perfume etiquette for time and place

Okay, so I’m not gonna lie. I didn’t know there was such a thing as perfume etiquette or best practices – other than don’t ever wear AXE and try not to lay anything on too thick.

But someone wiser than me cued me in to the things you should consider before wearing perfume on a trip, so I guess it’s important to think about before you buy!

Here are the tips. Lemme know what you think:

  • Climate and weather: The climate and weather conditions of your destination can greatly impact your perfume choice. For example, a heavy, musky scent may not be suitable for a hot and humid climate, whereas a light and fresh fragrance would be more appropriate. Similarly, a floral scent may be more suitable for a spring or summer destination, whereas a warm and spicy scent may be more appropriate for a fall or winter destination.

 

  • Cultural and social norms: The cultural and social norms of your destination should also be taken into consideration when choosing the right perfume. Some cultures may have different attitudes towards fragrance, with some preferring more subtle scents, while others may embrace stronger, more pungent fragrances. It’s important to be mindful of the social etiquette and customs in different destinations, such as avoiding strong fragrances in religious spaces or in public transportation.

 

  • Personal preferences and comfort level: Your personal preferences and comfort level should play a significant role in your perfume choice. The fragrance you wear should make you feel confident and comfortable, and should reflect your personal style and preferences. Take the time to experiment with different scents to find what works best for you, and don’t be afraid to try new fragrances and explore new scents while traveling.

And if you’re a newb to this whole perfume etiquette thing like me, you might be surprised to learn there are rules depending on the time of day you’re wearing perfume:

  • Daytime activities: For daytime activities, it’s best to choose light and fresh scents. Citrus, floral, and green scents are all great options for daytime wear, as they are bright, energizing, and not too overpowering. Look for fragrances with notes of lemon, bergamot, jasmine, or rose, which are all light and fresh scents that are well-suited for daytime wear.

 

  • Nighttime events: For nighttime events, you might want to consider choosing a warmer and more intense fragrance. Spicy scents are great options for nighttime wear, as they are rich and warm. Look for fragrances with notes of cinnamon, vanilla, patchouli, or musk, which are all warm and intense scents that are well-suited for nighttime wear.

 

  • Special occasions: For special occasions, you might want to choose a fragrance that is elegant and sophisticated. Floral and woody scents are both great options for special occasions, as they are refined and sophisticated. Look for fragrances with notes of rose, jasmine, sandalwood, or cedarwood, which are all elegant and sophisticated scents that are well-suited for special occasions.

Getting Higher Quality Perfume on a Budget

When I shop for perfume, $25 — $50 is my maximum range. So the fact that I can now score a much higher quality product that’s so close to luxury brands, all while still staying on budget? That’s pretty thrilling.

Have you ever tried Dossier? Tell us about your experience in the comments.

Free Entrance to National Parks in 2023

This is incredibly useful and is going to save me some money! It tells you how to get into national parks for free--in the US and Canada.

Over four hundred of America’s national parks are free everyday.  But nearly 125 of them aren’t.  Luckily, the park system does offer free days, so you can go enjoy our beautiful country while remaining completely and totally frugal.

National Park Free Entrance Days for 2019

Prior to 2018, there were weeks-worth of free National Park Days. But in the years since, the number has been cut down to just five days.  If you want to visit on a free entrance day, you’re going to have to plan a little more carefully.

Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

Fees will be waived on January 16, 2023 in honor of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.

First Day of National Park Week

Before 2018, there were five free days in the month of April recognizing National Park Week. Ever since, though, you only get in for free on the first day of the celebration. This year, that date is April 22, 2023.

Great American Outdoors Act Day

To celebrate the 2020 passage of the Great American Outdoors Act, you’ll be able to gain free admission to parks on August 4, 2023.

National Public Lands Day

Admission will be free on September 23, 2023 in honor of National Public Lands Day.

Veterans Day

You can get into national parks for free in celebration of Veterans Day on November 11, 2023.

Which National Parks require an entrance fee?

I’ve been lucky to travel a good bit in my time. National parks always bring such a sense of awe and wonder. It’s one thing to wander around in the woods in your backyard. It’s a completely different thing to spend time in pristine, protected wilderness.

Some of my favorite national parks that will be waiving their fees on free days are:

There’s a ton of others, too. I was surprised to find the ones in my own back yard that I never knew existed. To find some near you, you can check out the National Park Service’s website.

Free Entry to National Parks Year Round

If you fall into any of the following demographics, you can get a free national park pass. You only need one per vehicle to get into the park, so if anyone in your family falls into one of these categories, you could theoretically get the entire clan in for free.

  • You are a US citizen with a documented disability.
  • You are a 4th grader. Eligibility starts on your first day of fourth grade and ends on your first day of fifth grade.
  • You are a member of the military or a military dependent.
  • You are a federal lands volunteer with at least 250 hours under your belt.

You can learn more about each of these programs here.

Not-Free Annual Pass

Depending on how often you visit national parks, it might make sense to invest in an annual pass. there are different prices for different parts of the population.

Annual Pass – $80

This is the pass for the vast majority of the populace. You’ll have to pay an $80 annual fee, and you can get it if you are:

  • An American citizen between the ages of 16 — 62.
  • An international visitor.

If you’re just visiting one park that has a per-car fee, this pass might not save you money. But if you’re doing multiple entries or visiting multiple parks, it might keep some cash in your wallet.

Senior Annual Pass – $20

If you’re age 62 or over, you can get the annual pass for just $20 — which is far more likely to save you money over the $80/year option.

Senior Lifetime Pass – $80

Want the senior pass to last beyond this year? You can pay $80 once and hold it for the rest of your life, which is a pretty great deal. You can only get this pass if you’re age 62 or older.

Getting into Canadian National Parks for Free

The first way to get into Canadian national parks for free is via a Canoo mobile app. This method is reserved for those who have become Canadian citizens in the past year, or immigrated to Canada in the past year.

The second way to get into Canadian National Parks for free is to be young! Anyone under 17 years of age can get into national parks for free all the time. Find out more about the youth program here.

We’d love to hear about your national park experiences! Tell us about them in the comments section.

How I’m Fighting Inflation

As of writing, the latest inflation numbers put us at 7.1%.

That’s down from the pandemic peak of 9.1% in June of 2022.

When I first started this blog, we were three-and-a-half years out from the initial start of the Great Recession.

Frugality was all the rage. A lot of the Millennial ‘influencers’ you see around got their start writing about how the heck to scrimp by under the adverse circumstances of our youth.

I’m not thrilled that we’re here again. It was always inevitable that we would end up back here eventually, but the circumstances this time are pretty frustrating.

Woman punching towards the camera with pink hand wraps on. Fist is in focus. Woman's face isn't.

How I’ve Been Combating Inflation

As inflation has risen, I’ve changed up the ways I do things to try to assert power over what could very quickly spiral into budgetary devastation.

So here’s what I’ve been doing. I hope it inspires you to pursue creative ways to give yourself some wiggle room, too.

 

Went the Summer with no AC in my car: $750

Right in time for summer, the AC went out in my car.

I was hoping it would be a simple fix. But after taking it to the mechanic, I learned it wasn’t.

There were cracks and canisters and labor — the price of which had recently gone up thanks to rising inflation.

Going through with the fix would cost me $750.

I decided to keep that money in my bank account instead.

My hair resented me for it.

But I didn’t really care.

IT WAS $750.

 

Took advantage of checking account bonuses: $700

I had a few payments come in from new clients this year. Before I got those initial ACH deposits, I researched bank account bonuses.

Good checking account bonuses are a few to several hundred dollars. The requirements to earn the bonus tend to come with:

  • ACH deposit requirements. Occasionally you’ll run into one that lets you do transfers to qualify, but it’s not as common for checking accounts.
  • Debit card transaction requirements. Not all bonuses comes with these, but when they do, you’re usually getting something like $2 for each debit card transaction.
  • Time requirements. Usually these deposits or transactions have to happen within 30, 60, or 90 days of opening the account.

I also did one savings account this way. Even with Fed rate hikes, I’m still likely to earn more money through a high savings account signup bonus than I am through interest — even with rates above 3%. I ended up getting the high rates and the bonus, so that was a win.

This worked with the way I have my money allocated. Yours may look different.

 

Lowered my internet bill: $360/year

I filled out the super easy application for the Affordable Connectivity Program and started saving $30/month on my internet bill.

Legit! It took less than 48 hours to apply — and that was over a weekend.

You can qualify for this program based on income. And income limits are higher than you may think.

But income is not the only way to qualify. Check out all the ways you can qualify to start getting $30+ off your internet bill, too, with the Affordable Connectivity Program.

PRO TIP: On top of the ACP, make sure you’re negotiating your internet bill every time your contract renews. It’ll save you even more money.

 

Went through my online subscriptions with a fine-tooth comb: $360/year (so far)

It is super important to go through your checking account and credit card statements every month for so many reasons.

One of those reasons is to make sure you’re cancelling any auto-renew subscriptions you’re not actually actively using.

A lot of times we forget about these subscriptions while the company keeps billing us in the background. But staying aware of all your charges is a great way to remind yourself where you can cut expenses.

This was especially important to me since the pandemic started. In 2020 and 2021, I had allowed myself to spend a little bit more on these subscriptions. After all, we weren’t really spending money on entertainment elsewhere.

 

Taken advantage of free Covid tests through insurance: At least $800

We still take COVID-19 seriously in our house, so we go through a lot of tests. Especially on those occasions where we decide it is safe to socialize with others.

We get our Covid tests free through insurance. I have no idea if or for how long this will continue. But for now, you can get up to 8 tests per month for free through private insurance, and 2 through Medicaid.

 

Booked Travel on Points: $1,000+

2022 was the first time I had traveled since before the pandemic. I had a lot of travel credits through various programs. Some of them could be renewed by making a purchase I was going to anyways through the reward program’s shopping portal.

Others were expiring for various reasons. So I used them. On work trips. On family trips.

And they saved me oodles of money. I got far more than $1,000-worth of accommodations for $0.

 

I am almost winning this battle against inflation.

If I take the numbers I was paying before the pandemic and account for inflation, it costs about $4,250 more to run my household on a bare-bones budget than it did back then.

The math is imperfect here. But that’s a very rough, probably underestimate.

My inflation-fighting measures saved me at least $4,000 last year. Though there is one trip I might not have taken if I hadn’t had expiring travel points on hand. So take that for what it’s worth.

Overall, I got pretty darn close to neutralizing inflation in 2022.

But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t feel like I’m getting KO’d by it every single day.