Sunday, August 21, 2011

Bragging about...PARKING

Cities are great.  Parking is not. 

I love my city, but I get some serious road rage when looking for parking.  In fact, given the choice between looking for parking and sitting in traffic, I'd choose the latter.  I hate driving in circles, getting honked at, and ultimately paralleling parking on a hill with a doorman staring me down in case I inadvertently bump my neighbor (thank goodness for the bumper bully).  But I digress.  

Wouldn't it be great to just drive right into one of those fancy indoor garages without paying an arm and a leg?  

Well, check out  It is by far one of the best sites online.  Pick your city, then narrow down your options by neighborhood, address, cross-section, or attraction, and find COUPONS for AMAZING deals at local parking garages.  Just roll your mouse over the different parking garage locations on the map, compare prices, pick the cheapest one, print, and GO!!!

Oh and did I mention - THERE'S AN APP FOR THIS AS WELL!

Plus, helps you with parking at airports as well!  So now you can actually afford to drive yourself to the airport! 

Try it.  You'll love it. 

Got any Parking Saving Tips to Brag About?  

Speaking of furniture...

Bragging about...FURNITURE

When you move to a new place, you often face one of two challenges - your existing furniture doesn't work or you need more furniture for the space.

After paying either your down payment or your security deposit, depending on whether you're buying or renting, you probably don't feel like shelling out more cash for that dresser you desperately need. At the same time, you don't want your new place to look like a garage sale with a mess of mismatching furniture.

Plus, furniture shopping is EXHAUSTING. My tip on bargain hunting - pack snacks, a water bottle, and a book. This way you can easily energize and when standing on long lines, you'll have a book to distract you.

So, here are my tips on how to get QUALITY furniture at a fraction of the cost:

1) For those great accent pieces, side chairs, or benches, go to Home Goods or TJMaxx. They sell gorgeous pieces at 1/3 of the cost or less!! The catch - you have to shop early and often to find those deals, so don't get discouraged if you go on an off day and don't find anything to your liking because they get new inventory EVERY DAY!

- Sometimes the pieces are slightly damaged, so you have to assess if it's an easy fix. Something like a knob can easily be replaced at Home Goods itself because they sell a set of knobs/handles. Chipped paint, easy fix. Broken wood, keep walking.

2) Love Crate & Barrel but hate the prices? Check out their floor sample sales. Often priced 50% off or lower, you can get that desk you've been eyeing with just a little bit of TLC - again just a quick touch-up and you're good to go.

If that doesn't do the trick, check out CB2. CB2 is Crate and Barrel's lower priced store that offers quality, trendy furniture that is perfect for new home owners and apartment goers alike. For example, you can get the latest drumshade angled floor lamp for $130 less than Crate & Barrel.

3) For fun basic furniture pieces, try West Elm but be sure you're aware of the sales. Like Crate and Barrel, they offer a sale section in the back, floor sample sales, and serious discounts when opening a credit card. I know, I know. But 10% back when you're purchasing a new dining set is KEY! Plus, you earn West Elm bucks every time. Sooo, worst-case scenario: Get the credit card, purchase what you need, and close it shortly thereafter.

4) For bedroom sets, side tables, and coffee tables, try Only buy things with at least a 4.5 rating and over 10 people's reviews. Then, go ahead and get that nightstand for only $150 a piece - brand new! You end up with quality furniture for IKEA prices!

5) For TV stands and mud room benches, try Target. Target offers modern, do-it-yourself furniture that resemble West Elm and Crate and Barrel. A little frustration with furniture assembly and you get a lot of bang for your buck.

6) For home decor accent pieces, dare I say it? Go to IKEA! Just browse their showrooms, get ideas, and go downstairs to pick up the pieces!

Once you've filled your space, kick back with some HGTV and marvel at how your home looks pretty damn good - good enough to be on TV.

Got any Furniture Steals to Brag About? 

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Chase Freedom Credit Card Review – $100 Bonus


Most people have a love - hate relationship with their credit cards.  They love charging them, but hate paying them.

Plus, these days everyone seems to have at least 4 credit cards.  Then you get married, and you've got 8 bills to pay.  That many credit cards not only makes it more daunting to pay off, but also harder to keep track of spending, thereby increasing your total spend.  On top of that, it makes it easier for bills to fall through the cracks and pretty soon you have late fees racking up.

My golden suggestion: The Chase Freedom Credit Card.  (And no, they're not paying me to write this.)

1) If you're married/have a partner, get the same card in both your names.  This way, you have one card to pay for both of your expenses, thereby eliminating the need for yet another bill.
2) Plus, where possible, charge it (with the disclaimer being that you need to be able to pay off your monthly bill).  The rationale for doing so: CASH BACK REWARDS
  • 1% back on all charges with no max limit (i.e. - the more you charge, the more cash back you get)
  • Extra 5% each quarter on "bonus" categories.  While they change each quarter, the bonus categories include groceries, gas, and home improvement stores, to name a few.  The cap: max of $1,500 cash back each quarter
  • Plus, if you have a Chase Checking/Savings Account, you can just have the Credit Card company deposit your cash back earnings DIRECTLY into your account, thereby forcing you to SAVE that money (and avoiding the hassle of checks). 
Sure, there are a lot of credit cards out there offering rewards.  But in my experience, they are just not worth it:

  • Credit Cards offering Airline Miles make it too difficult to even use with all the blackout dates and hidden fees.  Plus, these cards often limit you to which airline you can use, and often times you can find a lower rate on another airline.  
  • Credit Cards with Rewards Points to redeem online actually charge more  than what the product should even cost.  Plus, it forces you to purchase products they offer vs. a Cash Back Credit Card that gives you hard cash that allows you to buy what you want, from wherever, or better yet - allows you to SAVE that money.  
And yes, there are many cash back credit cards, but here's what I've learned: 

  • While the Citibank Dividend World MasterCard is very similar in that it offers a no fee, 1% cash back on all purchases, and 5% back on select categories, this credit card limits your cash back to a maximum of $300 in one calendar year  

So the way I see it, if I'm going to use a credit card anyway, I might as well get paid to use it. ;) 

Got any Credit Card Deals to Brag About?