Tuesday, February 4, 2014

eBay Saved Searches

For the past 5 years or so, my secret shopping weapon has been the eBay saved search.  The feature allows users to subscribes to highly customized searches that deliver daily emails with active listings that match the chosen criteria.  

My eBay shopping strategy goes a little something like this:

1. Identify a full-priced (or ridiculously expensive) item on a retailer's website. 

2. Start an eBay search featuring the item's name.  Start filtering by size, color, and price.  Typically, I set a price cap of $20 - $50. 

3. Wait and review email results.  Sometimes it's a matter of days.  Sometimes it's a full year.  Sometimes the item never becomes available.

4. Pounce.

It's a tedious but effective process that requires quite a bit of patience.  But given the fact that it's Frugal February, I figured that it's time to hit the reset button.  As of 7:30 am this morning, my saved search page is now a barren wasteland.  It's for the best, really.  Most of my searches were a bit outdated and were delivering daily digests of ruffled, unflattering items.

Thanks for the good times, saved searches.  Maybe someday we'll meet again.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Frugal February Pregaming

Knowing that my second annual Frugal February was on the horizon, I definitely spent a good part of January pregaming, both in the online and in-person realms.

My eBay history for the period between January 1st and January 31st is a bit shameful.  While I picked up some quality items, I may have gone slightly overboard.

Let's review, shall we?

Sidney Jacket from J. Crew
Retails for $248
Purchased for $80 (new with tags)

With this purchase, I fell victim to my own strategy.  I've been eyeing this jacket for months, but knew there was no way in hell I could justify spending $248 on a blazer.  And so, I set up a eBay saved search, set the price parameters, and waited patiently.  When it popped up in my subscription feed for $85, I submitted the lowest offer possible and snagged it.  Fits like a dream, too.

Plaza Coat in Wool-Cashmere from J. Crew
Retails for $325
Purchased for $122 (pre-owned)

In Fall, I decided that I had way too many winter coats and cut my collection from from 5 to 2.  However, back in October,  in my haste to secure a classic and versatile camel coat, I accidentally purchased a Lady Day Coat in a lovely but bold rust tone.  It's amazing how a tiny color shift can make a huge difference, but the coat I purchased was a bit too bold and autumnal.  I'll be reselling it on eBay once I have its replacement, which is due to arrive this week.

Blythe Blouse from J. Crew
Retails for $110
Purchased for $12 (pre-owned)

Despite last month's big-ticket purchases, I still let my budget-conscious conscience prevent me from going too crazy.  I very rarely spend more than $20 on an item, and the rest of my purchases for the month were no exception.  And hey, I really needed a black blouse!  It was a steal!

Linen Tippi Sweater from J. Crew
Retails for $72
Purchased for $10 (pre-owned)

Up to this point, every purchase has made at least a little sense.  Here's where it starts getting weird.  Sure, I love J. Crew's Tippi Sweater, but I, as a general rule, don't wear pink.  Out of all the items in my wardrobe, maybe 2 to 3 are pink, and all are the result of strange, impulse-driven eBay shopping. So...why?

Tressa Watercolor Shampoo in Hazelnut
Retails for $15.50
Purchased for $13 (new, never opened)

And this is the point where I lost my mind.  I thought that since I now spent an entire ten bucks on a pink sweater, I needed to dye my hair a non-clashing color.  And so I stripped out the dark red, dyed ash brown over it, and have spent the last month fighting a losing battle with my hair.  This shampoo was supposed to prevent brassiness, so of course I had to have it.  (It doesn't, by the way.) 

Other purchases include a vintage leather tote, a skirt that is neither in my size nor my preferred style, a pair of toe alignment socks, and teeny-tiny stud earrings in the shape of bees.

In short, I am in dire need of a monthlong retail detox.  Seriously, after January's aimless shopping spree, what more could I possibly need?

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Frugal February Redux (Now With Fitness!)

The Premise

I intend to hard reset my spending/shopping/eating/fitness habits and creativity by forcing myself to do more with less in the month of February.

And, as always, I intend to use awkward and unnecessary alliteration when referring to this endeavor, because that's how I do, yo.  (That being said, I'm going to drop the incredibly stupid "FAB-ruary" and just use the actual name of the month)

The Rules

1.  From February 1st to February 28th, I shall not purchase a single item of clothing*, accessory, new home decor item, or makeup product.  I shall make do with my well-stocked closet and depend heavily on the miracle product known as coconut oil. 

2.  When possible, I should attempt at finding new ways to wear my most neglected items of clothing. Successful ensembles shall be posted on my blog.  Should the use of the item result in really awkward and unflattering ensembles, said items of clothing will be delivered to Goodwill and/or Freestyle Clothing Exchange on Saturday, February 22nd, 2014.

4.  The purchase of one used/thrifted furniture home decor item under $40 is allowed, but only if I intend to refurbish it within the month of February.

5.  During this period of time, I am allowed to buy a purchase a single, medium-sized caffeinated refreshment of my choice go out to lunch with my fab lady co-workers once per week.

6.  I shall attend a minimum of two yoga, pilates, or other fitness classes per week.  I will avoid overdoing it and burning out (as I sometimes tend to do).

7.  I shall attempt to slowly lose the 5 pounds of holiday weight that I was unable to shake over the month of January.  

8. February meal plans will include lean protein, fruits, and vegetables in reasonable portion sizes. 

The Participants (will be edited as participants join)
  • Me
  • My cats (they're awesome at not spending money)
  • Maybe some friends that I can sway on Twitter.