I wanted to send a special Happy Veterans Day to all the veterans out there!

Very special thank you to my once A Marine, Always A Marine husband, Dad, Uncle, and Grandfather (who fought in WWII)!

As a member of the Armed Forces, Veteran’s Day is extra close to my heart.  If you know a Veteran, wish them a happy Veteran’s Day.  If you are a Veteran, take this day and enjoy it!  Serving in the Armed Forces is no easy feat, so if you have served you have done one of the most honorable things ever. Know that you made a great sacrifice, no matter what branch you were in or how long you served.

Semper Fidelis & Happy Birthday to all fellow Marines out there.  Hoorah!


New PicMonkey Fall & Halloween Themes

I have posted about how awesome PicMonkey is before, but they just came out with a new Fall theme a few weeks ago. If you’re like me, then you look forward to updates for just about anything. I’m really feeling the new Fall theme and everything that comes with it. I’ve already used some of the elements on my blog here and here. However, what I’m most excited about is the six, yes, six Halloween themes that PicMonkey has.

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Shopping: 5 Tips for Saving Money & Scoring Great Deals

5 Tips for Saving Money & Scoring Great Deals at Your Favorite Retailers | NewMamaDiaries.blogspot.com

Welcome to part 1 of my Money Matters & Budgeting series!

I thought I’d piggy-back off my recent haul post with a follow-up on how I score such awesome deals while shopping.  I have always been an avid shopper, but I also have an immense background in working in the Retail industry.  So, I’m here to give you some industry insight and give you tips on how to save.

  1. Utilize coupons. – This is numero uno when it comes to saving in retail stores.  Almost every store offers coupons at some given point, if not weekly or monthly, at least seasonally.  Most stores allow you to combine coupons with the current promotions they are running, with the exception of clearance items most of the time.
  2. Shop during big holiday weekends. – Stores, again, almost always run huge promotions on holidays.  It doesn’t matter what holiday it is, because retailers attempt to capitalize on all of them year-around.
  3. Look for %-off entire collection/store promotions. – These are some of the best promotions to shop, because again you can oftentimes use coupons, giving you an even bigger discount.  This discount can range from 45-60% off sometimes, because you combining the coupon with the store promotions.
  4. Sign up/Apply for store credit cards. – Okay, let me preface by saying I do not advocate applying for store credit cards!  I try to avoid doing this at all costs.  However, if it’s a store I shop at often or plan to, like Victoria’s Secret, Bath & Body Works, and now Old Navy (I plan on buying baby’s clothes there a good bit.), then I will make an exception. i.e. Old Navy ran a 30% off entire store promotion this past weekend.  I ended up getting 45% off my entire purchase, because I applied for their card which gave me an additional 15% off my purchase.  I got everything for almost half off!  Note that I treat the store card like cash, because I refuse to pay interest.  This is how they make their money and you end up not saving.  Even with a store card, be mindful of how much you spend, so that you can pay the entire balance off when your statement comes.  The card does allow you some flexibility with applying payments, such that you can break your balance up into two payments.  This is typically what I do, and it works great for me, because I get paid from my job twice a month.
  5. Take advantage of frequent buyer programs/mailing lists. – Any opportunity you get to receive perks for spending money in a particular store, you should take advantage of it.  Depending on the store, these are free to sign up for or attached to the perks of being a credit cardholder for that store.  A lot of time frequent buyers not only receive additional discounts, via coupons in their email or mail, but after so many purchases you get free items or awesome discount. Ulta and Sephora for example have free programs, that do this and offer some really nice free items and discounts on their products after you spend so much money. Sometimes, even if these programs have a cost to enroll in, the discount you receive whether right then or over time pays for the price of the enrollment.

As with anything use discretion, read the fine print, and ask questions while shopping!  Don’t let the associates swindle you into buying or signing up for anything that you do not want or aren’t comfortable with.

Of course don’t forget to check out the clearance racks for additional bargain buys.  You may or may not be able to use coupons or store promotions might not apply, but oftentimes clearance items are so well discounted that you’re still getting a good deal.  Trust me on this, store’s don’t like to carry excess inventory, so by the time something goes on clearance, they want it gone.  They ensure this happens, by discounting it anywhere from 30-60%, sometimes 75% off the original price.

Do you have any shopping mantras that you stick to?  How do you get the best deals and save the most money? – The list is ever growing, so let’s hear it!


4th of July Inspired American Flag Necklace

4th Image
IMG_0621Jewelry-making is one of my fave hobbies.  I haven’t talked about it much here, because I have been focusing more on lifestyle things to post on, versus my artsy-fartsy side.  If you look at the top of my blog, there is actually a link to my Etsy shop where I sell these pieces. 

I have always been crafty since I a very young age.  Around age 8 or 9 I learned how to crochet, by 11 I was painting glass and candle-making, and in college I began card-making.  Over the years I have re-visited many of these activities when time permits and to keep my skills up.  Mostly recently, I got into jewelry-making last summer.  I don’t exactly remember what sparked my interest in it, but one thing is that I love jewelry, so it comes natural.  I have spent so much money over the years in retail stores buying cute accessories, and now I make them.

I try to keep my Etsy shop updated with new pieces monthly, but unfortunately I haven’t had the time or inspiration the past few months.  Well, with the 4th right around the corner, I got some motivation.  I decided to create an easy Americana flag inspired piece.  I chose a chain necklace with a small America flag pendant, because I’m all for understated pieces.
This piece is cute and dainty, and appropriate for all ages.  I love simple, easy pieces like this, because you can throw it on with just about anything.  This piece is available in my Etsy shop now!


This post is also featured on my Sweetz Shoppe Jewelry blog/website.  Its where I post all my new creations and update readers on what’s in my shop and what’s coming up.
Happy 4th! Enjoy your BBQ, time at the beach, your time with family and friends, or whatever the holiday brings for you. And…last but not least enjoy some FIREWORKS, even if you watch them on tv!

Happy Bumping!