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Friday, September 6, 2013

Cheap Splurges

So, It's been forever since my last post.  I did not give up, I have simply been so busy enjoying life this summer and enjoying the time I've been back home. I just haven't felt the need to blog. I think that for me, this blog is for my enjoyment and the enjoyment of others. It's good to have a schedule if you plan to blog to make a profit, but this is just something I enjoy so I don't want to put restrictions on it. Hopefully in the process some people will follow me or check out my blog and get awesome money saving tips! (Okay, rant over).

See me at Newport, just soaking up the rays?

Hopefully this post will ignite an interest in you so you can take my ideas and customize them into your own to help you save money, be more proactive about finding local deals, and just getting out in your community and finding what interests you.

This summer's highlights have been....

                 Enjoying in my favorite city Portland!

I went...

1. Coffee tasting at Portland Roasting with my mommy

We are super attractive in our hair nets! 
Broke Girl Tip: Look for free events in your area, like Open Houses or Grand Openings of small or local businesses. Portland Roasting is having an open house on September 20th where you are free to check out their new tasting room! It doesn't hurt to try something new, especially if it's free. Businesses love the extra attention during a start up, and you may end up really liking their product.

Here's the link to Portland Roasting so you can check up on the upcoming Open House:


2. Got Voodoo Doughnuts (oh yes, the good stuff)

Not my picture. (I ate mine too fast to snap a shot) Belongs to:

Broke Girl Tip:  Don't be so stingy with money while visiting a new place. Novelties like these famous doughnuts might cost more than store bought, but how often do you really buy doughnuts anyways? How often are your going to come across a Maple Bacon bar, or a Mexican Hot Chocolate doughnut? Chances are only if you live in Portland. So I say go a head and get a novelty item or two, just don't go over board and enjoy that one delicious doughnut, because a healthy person like you doesn't give in hardly ever to food like that. In the long run you'll be happy you checked out a place you can't find anywhere else.

To find locations of Voodoo:

3. Got my hair cut at Aveda Institute (yay for student discounts!)

Broke Girl Tip:  Beauty schools are a great way to feel posh at a low price, but don't go to one if you are looking for a drastic change, go to a professional. You have to remember that these stylists are still students learning their trade, it may take longer than a normal hair salon visit because they really want to get it right. Don't be afraid to speak up and tell the stylist exactly what you want and don't want, and be sure to also tell this to their instructor who will check up on the appointment as it's going on. Also you don't have to buy the expensive products they might "push" onto you, it's part of their training to know products. I had a great experience, and love my hair cut because I got something simple and manageable. If you are a student remember your ID, you get a discount at Aveda!

Here is a link to Aveda's website:

4.  I perused the isles of Powell's. (Can anyone say Amen for discounted books?) Plus, anyone looks cool in a book store, that's a known fact. And I found a really great author.

Broke Girl Tip: Go to a used bookstore in your community to find great deals on books and boredom busters. Most places have reading nooks where you can literally just get a book and start reading it without buying it first. It's like going on a date with a book, if you like it you buy it dinner and take it home.

The funny thing is that I did not actually get this book. I got "Me Talk Pretty One Day" by Sedaris. I'd love to read this one next.

Spent time with Grandma:

 (She helped me with making my own curtains) and getting fresh vegetables from her garden to make layered ratatouille was a big plus for grandma-granddaughter bonding time.

Broke Girl Tip:  Growing your own vegetables is the cheapest and most healthy way to get your greens in. If you don't have your own garden perhaps plant a windowsill herb garden (herbs seeds are way less expensive than buying new jars each time), or go out and do U-pick on seasonal fruit and vegetables. It's also good to use the savvy saving tips family members can provide. Spending time with a relative could open your eyes to new ways they have learned to save over the years.

Went shopping with my Cousin:

        We went to H&M and American Eagle where I got some much needed clothes.
They had a Labor Day sale with finds from $5. A lot of people might not think American Eagle is a good place to save money, but their jeans always fit me right and last! I'd rather spend $26.90 (what I paid for some really stellar jeans) than $15 some other place and have saggy bottom jeans in a week (sigh). A&E also just had a great 40% off sale, and if they don't have your size in store, they have next day shipping of your size (can you say convenient?). All jeans are currently under $30.

H&M's website:

American Eagle:  

Caught up with my friend from high school:

        We donated food to the animal shelter and pet the cute kitties. Then we got dollar tacos in downtown Hillsboro! I find that volunteering for Animals shelters or just getting that much needed pet therapy is a great way to catch up with friends. You can donate food, treats (usually only a couple of bucks), or your time (ask if they need help filling up water and food dishes). I love feeling good and giving back while hanging out with someone.

To find local animal shelters in Oregon check out this resource: 


Have a great rest of the summer (Mine goes until the 30th, when school starts) and remember these money saving tips no matter the time of the year.

- Check for local free or discounted Open Houses or Grand Openings.

- "Splurge" on inexpensive novelty items, but stick to your budget and give yourself a spending limit before checking out trendy places.

- Go to a beauty school that has a student discount or great low prices if you want a simple trim or cut.

-  Peruse a local bookstore or library and don't feel obligated to buy anything. Make a day of it and just relax and sip down a coffee or tea while reading a book.

- Spend time with relatives and learn how they grow or make things. My grandma is famous for her homemade jam, she gets all her fruit straight from her trees!

- Go to an animal shelter for a day with a friend and give the animals some attention. It's fun because the both of you can talk about how different and adorable all the animals are!

Some other resources to save money:

Portland Perks (A great resource for local deals)

-  For student discounts:

Thanks for sticking though this post! Hope you liked it and got some great ideas on saving.

Arr! Add some comments thar below

Friday, August 2, 2013

Homemade Natural Scrub

This summer I have been going crazy over making homemade body scrubs! They are very budget friendly (I had a lot of the ingredients already in my cupboard), a great last-minute gift idea, and an easy naturally pampering spa-like experience. In my quest for going all natural and organic, I find that these beautiful scrubs are a great alternative for anyone who is sensitive to harsh ingredients in regular body washes, or soaps.

Here's an example of my favorite Lemon-Lavendar Scrub
 I think it looks lovely. So want to make your own?

Here's what ingredients you'll need:
  •  Sugar (you can add raw sugar for a courser scrub)
  • Olive Oil (Or Coconut oil)
  • Lemons (about 2-3 large)
  • Essential Oils (I used Lavender) 
  • Lavender blossoms
  • Raw sugar
  • Rose water (use sparingly as it thins the scrub)

Here's what equipment you'll need: 
  • Large Bowl
  • Mason or other glass jar
  • Measuring Cups (optional)
  • Large Stirring Spoon 
  • Gratter 
  • Lemon Juicer (optional)

What you'll do: 

  1.  First you'll measure out your sugar. Regular white refined sugar works just fine. I used approx. 2 cups, which filled about 2 mason jars (not quite to the top) into your large bowl. 
  2.  Next, add your olive oil, light olive oil works best because it does not leave a strong scent and it does not discolor your sugar. I used about 1/4 of a cup of olive oil. If you are using coconut oil, melt on stove-top and then add to sugar. Again, exact measurements do not matter much here. You will stir the oil and sugar until the sugar becomes fully covered, but not saturated. You do not want a very runny mixture because when your jar it and let it sit, the oilve and sugar will separate. It will be in a "clumpy" state.
  3. Next grate your lemon zest into your your olive and sugar mixture. Use as much or as little zest as you like. Mix thoroughly.
  4. Now cut lemons in half juice or squeeze your lemons into the mixture, and stir.
  5. Then, add your essential oils. About 10 drops makes a lasting scent. Add your "extras" now, like lavender blossoms, or other essential oils.
  6. Scoop into you jar of choice! 

I got this jar from the dollar store, and used the yellow mesh that the lemons came in to "wrap" it. I made my own tags from note cards. I gave this particular one to my friend for her birthday. 

There are so many scrub recipes out there! Get creative, make up your own! You just have to remember the three things to a perfect scrub: 
  1. Exfoliant (Sugar, Brown Sugar, Coffee grounds, Salts, etc.)
  2. Binder aka Oil ( Olive, Coconut, Almond)
  3. Scent ( Essential oils, fruit, spices)
Experiment and tell me what you've come up. How I came up with this simple scrub was lots of research and experimentation. Don't give up if one scrub turned out sub-par, practice really makes perfect in this case. 

Here are some places I got inspired, check them out and tweak their recipes as well: 

  1. Coconut lime scrub-The Idea Room 
  2. Coconut Rose Scrub- Lezoemusing
  3. Lip Sugar Scrub-Stockpilingmoms
Tell me your trials you've had with body scrubs and what you've done to make your own unique scrubs. 

- "Broke Girl" Bryanna

Friday, July 26, 2013

Goodwill Finds

     In high school the only reason I would go to the Goodwill was if I needed a costume. I seriously thought that they didn't have anything else to offer. I was so wrong. Moving into an apartment last year was an exciting thing, anyone's first apartment is, but the dilemma that now faced me was where do I get everything? I remember my high school economics teacher asking our class where we were going to buy furniture and other things for college when we graduated. Many students proudly said Ikea or Target. My teacher urged us to all go to Goodwill to find things. I remember thinking how gross it would be to have everyone's used stuff. Back then I really had no concept of money. I didn't spend a whole lot, but I still didn't understand it's value and how hard you have to work to earn it. Thankfully now I can say I outgrew that phase and am the proud owner of many things from the Goodwill, thrift shops, and yes, even the dumpster.
    In this post I want to show you a few of the truly great things that Goodwill has to offer, and tell you what is best to buy at Goodwill, and how to save your money by bargain shopping at Goodwill. This post is especially useful for people going to college for the first time, moving out, or moving into an apartment for the fist time, but anyone can benefit some saving some pocket change!

1) Pots and Pans:
Rachel Ray Cookware

 Pots and Pans are sometimes a hit or miss at Goodwill, like a lot of good things, but you if you don't mind mismatching cookware you may be able to piece together a really wonderful and useful set of cookware. I was extremely lucky and managed to find the entire collection of Rachel Ray cookware (one pan is not shown) in pretty good condition. The hardest part about buying used cookware is finding a matching lid. As you can see the large pan in the back has a mismatching lid, but it fits, so no harm done! My grandma went shopping with me that day and bought a lot of what I have now, but we got the set for probably $30 all together. I looked online to see how much this set would normally cost, it was $300! That's right, $300! Don't believe me? Here's your proof: Rachel Ray Cookware-New. I was shocked to find out I got all of the cookware in great condition for literally 1/10th of the original asking price. So don't be afraid to dig around to find some cookware that is in good condition and make sure you find a lid that fits! Also pots and pans would not be necessary for students that are going to move into a dorm, since you will have dining halls at your convince. I have never lived in the dorms for financial reasons (too spendy pour moi) so if you love to cook, or are moving into an apartment I would highly suggest checking Goodwill first before you buy cookware.

2) Kitchen Gadgets

Glass lemon juicer 

Blender a lot like "Magic Bullet"

    Certain kitchen gadgets can be found in good condition and will last you a long time. The glass and plastic lemon juicer was $2.99 and I love it because it is durable and versatile (who says just lemons?). Other lemon juicers go for about $15. The next one is my blender. I have a love-hate relationship with "bullet" like blenders. They are really only meant for one or two people, which is annoying if you have guests over, but great if you use it for your morning smoothie. They are also really small which is great for an apartment's counter space, but not so great if you love to puree or like big smoothies. I had purchased an almost identical version at Target before, but it broke. I was then pretty happy to find this baby tucked away in it's original packaging with all it's parts. The parts for the old blender work for this one too :) Normal magic bullets go anywhere from $49.99 to $99.99 (Target: Magic Bullet).

Tip: If you cannot find something in it's original packaging or are not sure if an appliance works there is a place where the electronics are that has a power chord for testing products. If you can't find it ask an employee for a demo, and if they know anything about it's condition when it was brought in.

So many kitchen tools!  

    I have managed to find yet again some more things that have come in their original packaging. Above (1st pic) is a drawer organizer that came with some spatulas, measuring cups and spoons, and clips.  I know that it is very rare to find things like this in a Goodwill, but you can get creative and find each of these things separately. I also found some ice cube trays for a dollar each!
    Silverware organizers are almost always at Goodwill, no one cares how ugly your organizers are because chances are they will never see them. I also found all of our silverware ( in a bag) for about $5. The up side is to super cheap silverware is the good price, the downside is you probably won't get a full set. As you can see we have way less butter knives, and a plethora of spoons.

3) Apartment furniture and decor:
Book Shelf

Picture Frame

The bookshelf (yeah it's full!) and the picture frame were also Goodwill finds. Furniture can be so expensive! Buying new is a big mistake, I got a cheap futon from a friend, and found a couch in the trash...yes the trash! Summer is the best time for finding furniture because that's when everybody is moving out.  If you live in a college town like me, check your Goodwill every week at the end of the term and sporadically in the summers because that is when you are most likely to find more quality and a larger selection furniture.

Lamp and Lampshade

Desk and cork borad (messy I know!)

The desk I have is also from Goodwill, as well as my newest favorite addition my Eiffel Tower lamp and pretty patterned lampshade. I got the lamp a week before I went back and found a good lamp shade, and that's how things are sometimes! You just have to wait, or have to mix and match. The lamp was $7.99 and the lampshade was $3.99. At Target the exact same lamp is $44.99 (Eiffel Tower Lamp). 

4) Clothes/ Accessories 

   I really need to work on my photography skills! Anyways, I'm sure most of these items wold look better on, but I did not want to do an impromptu fashion show today. If you really look through the clothes you can usually find something that catches your eye, not always, but sometimes there are some good quality finds. The shoes I found still had a price sticker on them for $149 and I got them for about $10.
The lace cardigan and belt were steals! Belt $3.99, Cardigan $6.99. 
TIP: When buying clothes make sure you check the color of the tag. If you look at the top of the clothes rack there are signs that have certain days which give you extra discounts. For example, one day everything that had a yellow tag was 50% off.
 When clothes shopping also check for stains, holes, and things that are unacceptable to you. Never buy something unless you will actually wear it. Some thrift shop finds are funky and cool, but do not translate into everyday wear unless you are a daring person. Try on clothes before you buy them. Goodwill's have dressing rooms, use them! 

Hope that this post has been helpful and educational! Tell me about your Goodwill of thrift store finds and other tips you use to bargain shop. Let me know if you have any questions about moving into an apartment in college, or moving to college. I'd love to hear your money saving tips, and Good thrifting to all!

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

DIY Room Goals

Any college living is a change. You have to pack up your belongings and downsize what you love most to fit into your small dorm or apartment. Often the main way college students choose to decorate is posters. This is because they are cheap, can be removed easily, and come in any and everything you could have an interest in. I've never really been a big fan of posters, ( I only have one in my room) but I can see why they are a great way to decorate. Basically I have a lot of empty space in my room (on my walls) from lack of posters, and other normal college decor.
As an avid pinner, I saw some really cool ways to spice up your walls. Basically you need to get some canvas boards, paint, trace paper, and mod podge. Here is an example of what I am talking about: 
You can really personalize this anyway you want. I am thinking of doing a bit of everything I like, and trying to add some color to my scene

The next DIY goal I have is to make real curtains out of a shower curtain I found at the Goodwill. Right now it's hanging up on my wall with tacks, and it covers my Friends poster.
As you can see there is a theme, black and white. Ugh...drab. I love the classy look, but I need some color in my life! I love the Goodwill for so many reasons, I mean as a young teen I scoffed at the idea of buying old clothes, but now I'm at the Goodwill all the time. Maybe Mackelmore made the Goodwill cool again, but as a broke college student I go there because it's awesome, not because it's a fad. If I'm cool because I shop there all the better!  Some of my best stuff is from there! (Maybe I'll make a post about Goodwill shopping?) Anyways, I got this lovely showercurtain, as well as this lamp and lamp shade from there.
Thank you for reading! And if you have any DIY tips, and ways to add color into your life please share! I'd love to hear how you changed your place from drab to posh on a tight budget.