Stay Consistent To Earn Points
My husband travels A LOT for work. It sucks, but the one great thing that comes out of it is that he consistently flies, drives, and stays with the same companies so he racks up tons of points that we can use for our personal travel! For flying he uses Southwest, which I love because they allow 2 free bags and still give snacks (no shame). Last year he even got so many points that I had a companion pass and could fly anywhere with him the whole year for free! We used this a TON. Unfortunately he did not qualify for that again this year, but for our trip to the East Coast coming up in October we got over $1200 worth of plane tickets for free with his points!
Utilize Sites That Surprise You
Hotwire is the most popular site that offers "hot deals", but I've seen other travel sites start to offer this. Essentially, hotels can predict when their slow times will be and offer through third party travel sites discounts on their hotel but do not disclose what the hotel is until you have paid. This is in case someone wants to book this hotel intentionally and still pays the full rate. The down fall is that the stay in nonrefundable, but if you are certain you will be traveling at this time it is not a big deal! They still give you an idea of where the hotel is and how many stars it is rated, and will even tell you what hotel the last person who booked this deal got. And 100% of the times for me we have gotten that hotel! We got an amazing hotel in South Beach, Miami for half the price with this!
Plan Ahead And Use Groupon
Looooove me some Groupon. Whether it is for activities, spa services, getaways, or a dinner for two, you can always save some money if you look ahead. 99.9% of Groupons require a reservation and/or certain dates that it can be used, so make sure to read the fine print and look ahead for excursions you want to do. Currently looking up jet ski and boats rentals for our upcoming Florida trip!
Overbooked = Your Friend
True story: A couple of years ago, Bjorn and I were flying back from Europe and had a layover in New Jersey. We were flying United (I know I mentioned earlier we stick to Southwest, but they don't fly to Germany!) and our flight from New Jersey to LA was cancelled. They rebooked us for a flight the next morning, but low and behold the flight was overbooked. We already had to take off an extra day of work because of the initial cancellation, so when the United worker went over the intercom and offered $500 in United credit to take a later flight we decided to go for it. Not only did we get a combined $1000 in United money + food vouchers while we waited, but they also bumped us up to first class for our next flight! It was 4 hours of luxury and I didn't want to get off the plane! Not only was the flight back amazing, but we used our United credit towards another first class flight in the future. If you are not under a time crunch I recommend taking a desperate airline worker up on their offer.
Sometimes You Need To Pay Up
Sometimes when traveling, it pays to cough up more money. Example #1: read the fine print when renting a rental car. Most rental car companies don't allow additional drivers unless you pay for them (Budget does allow married couples though!) so if you are wanting to share the driving duties make sure to pay the extra money. If something happens while the other driver is behind the wheel you will have to pay all the damages! Also when it comes to rental cares, some will charge a "loss of use" if something happens to the car and it needs repairs. I.E. you will be paying the day rate for the car while it is being repaired! The auto insurance we use for our personal cars also covers rental cars, but we recently found out it does not cover "loss of use" so you may want to pay for the additional coverage offered by the rental car company if they charge a "loss of use" fee.
Example #2: if for any reason you think your trip may for the slightest reason not happen, you may want to pay for the travel insurance. Most airline fares, especially international that are not purchased through the airline directly, are nonrefundable or you will not get back a certain percentage. We have paid as little as $20 to refund our $1000+ flight in the case something happens.
We all know how tempting those Target and H&M clearance racks can be. A trendy $3 piece sounds good at the time in the forgiving store lighting, but once you get home you notice the loose ends and cheapy fixtures. Yes they are inexpensive but enough of these pieces add up, so it is important when shopping low end stores that you take the time to review the piece and avoid certain mistakes in order to ensure this item will look like you spend 100x more than what you did!
Target Who What Where Polka Dot Wrap Dress [new, $12] Chanel Ballet Cap Toe Flats [secondhand, $190] Gucci Club Master Sunglasses [new, $140] Kate Spade Oversized Stud Earrings [new, $9]
1. Inspect the Material Tag
With any clothing I buy, I always try to stick with natural materials like 100% cotton or linen. I feel they hold up much better over time with wash and wear. If you aren't going with natural materials, try to stick with items that have 100% same material. The rayon/polyester/nylon/spandex pieces rarely hold their shape, and are subject to pilling.
2. Avoid Cheap Fixtures
With tassels + sequins + flower embroidery, the more materials you are dealing with the more likely it will be to notice that the piece is cheap. Another detail that is a total no go for me is when a top or dress has a belt/wrap detail and there are tiny thread loops to hold them in place! Higher end pieces are better made and will typically have loops of actual material, so this is a total give away your item is cheap-y.
3. Stick with Classic, SImple Pieces
Similar to my previous point, when shopping lower end stores I tend to stick with low key, simple pieces that don't scream trendy. H&M, Target, and Zara (for example) tend to regularly update their lines with what is most popular and trendy in fashion at that time. I think the more trendy and detailed the item the more likely it is to come off as cheap. Stick with simple pieces that can be dressed up!
4. Pair with higher end items
When I'm rocking a Target or H&M dress, I like to also mix in some higher end pieces out of my closet to pull the outfit more together to look more high end. I've invested (and been gifted) a few pairs of neutral, high end flats that
5. Try On To Ensure Fit
This goes for low and high end pieces! An ill fitting piece will never look as nice and expensive as a great fitting item. When you are already shopping cheap, make sure the item fits you well and works with your body type, otherwise it is very hard to make frumpy look expensive. Also, you are so less likely to return an item within the allowed time frame once you get it home. Waste of money!
Thanks for stopping by! Feel free to leave any questions or your own advice below!
It would be so nice to have a 1000 sq ft walk in closet full to the max with super chic clothing (that naturally gets renewed every season) but that is just SO not plausible for 99% of us. There are a handful of clothing items that I have found super important for a versatile and classic wardrobe without breaking the bank! I am also sharing some pieces from my own Poshmark closet for similar items if you need to revamp your own wardrobe on a budget!
Dark Wash Skinny Jeans
Classic Button Down
United Colors of Benetton Navy Size S
Brooks Brothers Pink Size 12
James Perse Black Size 2/M
Michael Kors White Size S
Little Black Dress -- LBD
Belted Trench Coat
Well Made Tee
Ann Taylor Loft Lace Tee M
Banana Republic Navy Stripe Tee S
Joie Soft White French Tee L
Michael Stars Black Tee O/S
Catherine Malandrino Green Blazer Size L
Loft Navy Blazer Size 2P
Calvin Klein Tan Blazer 8 NEW
Banana Republic Cream Flower Blazer 2
J Crew Blue Sequin Dress 6
Free People Burgundy Bodycon M/L
Parker Blue Design Dress L
Free People Black Boho Dress S
Neutral, Well Made Handbag
Ladies and gents...makeup is EXPENSIVE. I think it is an injustice if that I NEED makeup (i.e. I have acne, I look like I got no sleep, or I'm just ugly) that I must also spend A LOT of money on it. I don't wear much makeup everyday, but the items I've found that I like/work for my skin/ last all day cost an arm and a leg. That is why I've been on a mission to find the best cheap dupes for my favorite high end makeup items. Enjoy!
Nars Tinted Moisturizer Dupe
Nars "Orgasm" Blush
YSL Tint-In-Balm Lipstick
Dior Diorshow Iconic Overcurl Mascara
Yay for cheap, good quality beauty! Share your own very favorite high end dupes with us below in the comments!
It's been two months since I took Fancy Free Blog & Boutique full time, and it's safe to say I am working double the time I did in my regular 9-5. From hitting up 4-5 thrift stores in a day to listing and photographing items then spending a few more hours on content for the blog, it feels I could use a couple more hours in the day!
If I'm going to do any sort of self-care, it has to be at home while I'm working and it has to be easy. Because I'm an avid coffee drinker (due to aforementioned hectic work from home schedule) I have looked into teeth whitening systems, but the professionals are just too expensive and my experience with at home whitening systems has been messy, and I just did not follow through. Remember those strips? Tasted gross, never stayed where they were supposed to, and left a messy residue when you took them off!
I was excited when Smile Brilliant reached out to me about their at home teeth whitening system because it was different from others I have tried. First of all, they create for you a custom clear tray made from molds of your teeth (think Invisalign!) to snap on when you are whitening, so you know there will be no mess and everything will stay where it belongs. The prep takes only seconds; you just dispense the whitening gel into your molds, snap them on your teeth, and get back to whatever you were doing! Plus Smile Brilliant works to get your teeth back to their natural color, so you don't have to worry about the system stripping your tooth enamel and causing pain in the future. I am not joking when I say I noticed a noticeably whiter smile after just the first few uses. I literally wish I would have known before how easy at home teeth whitening systems could really be!
I am very excited to be giving away ONE Smile Brilliant at home teeth whitening system to a reader ($150 value!) Click HERE to sign up! You can also use code FANCYFREEBLOG15 to get 15% off your Smile Brilliant order. Find out for yourself why whitening your teeth at home doesn't have to be difficult or take a lot of time!
Live for luxury? No trust fund, no problem!
Join the fancy free journey as we seek the
finer things in life, sans millions.
- Marie Claire, September 2016