RealAdviceGal

Author Archives: RealAdviceGal

December 11, 2015

How to Pick the Perfect Gift?

Disclosure: I was recently asked by The J.M Smucker Company to create some unique tips for using Dunkin’ Donuts Coffee and I wanted to share it with you.

How to pick the perfect gift?

Dunkin' Donuts Coffee

I have been told for many years that I am an expert in gift giving. I guess it is a skill, but I like to think it is from being observant and listening to people. We all know I like to shop on a budget, so I go for thoughtful gifts over expensive gifts. I remember in college one of the best gifts I ever received was a silver coffee pot. It was from a second-hand shop and given to me by a friend of mine that I taught school with; I still have it 20 years later. It was sweet since I do drink a lot of tea and coffee. It was fancy, and it was something I didn’t have. It was also a gift that came with a great book. I find that there isn’t anything better than a good cup of coffee, comfy couch, and a book. Now that I am out of college I actually take the time to look for the right coffee. There are so many varieties, Americano, latte, decaf, espresso, French vanilla, caramel, hazelnut and more.Continue reading

December 9, 2015

So many shoes who knows what to do?

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Payless for IZEA. All opinions are 100% mine.

How to pick out the perfect shoes

I know you have heard that women actually have too many shoes. I say that is a fallacy. You can never have too many shoes, just not enough places to wear them all. I used to worry about my shoe issue, but that was before Payless. I can pick up two pairs for the price of one in a department store. They are on trend, and they do not break my budget. I had such a hard time deciding between the gold ones and the red ones that I bought them both. I mean why chose when you can afford two?

I will show you how your shoes can change your look. I will also remind you to head into Payless because you will be pleasantly surprised by what you can find. I have been stopped three times now by people asking me where I got my shoes. They almost fell over when I said Payless and then when I told them what I paid. They kept saying “for real”. Yes, for real I am the Real Advice Gal, and I tell the whole truth and the shoes I was wearing were Payless and they look “AMAZING!”

This is a normal outfit for me dark jeans and a silk blouse. You can see the difference in the outfits as I change the shoes.  It is an easy way to update your clothes that you have in your closet. You can make them very fancy for the holiday with little more effort by  slipping on something fabulous. I selected the  Payless black booties first because  I had them. Then I added a pair of red sparkle heels at my daughter’s insistence and a pair of gold pumps. They all changed my look from frumpy to fabulous. I will also admit I love wearing heels so I can look my husband straight in the eyes.

It isn’t hard to change your shoes and update your style. It is easy, affordable and fun and all done at your local Payless store or online. I buy my whole family shoes at Payless because there is something for everyone. They have sneakers, dance shoes, to shoes that you can wear out dancing.

I like to use the clothes I have in new ways. You can switch out your shoes to update your look. It is the easiest way to take your outfit from day to night and drab to dapper.  We all know people look at our shoes, so why not give them something to not only look at but compliment you on.

You can buy the shoes I bought online or in the store. I just love them. The only question is which one do you like best?

KLAUDIA OMBRÉ GLITTER PUMP RED

JOLLY SHIMMER PLATFORM PUMP SILVER/GOLD

MIKI PLATFORM BOOTIE BLACK

Make sure to check out Payless on Pinterest to see more of their fab shoe styles and fashion inspiration.

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December 9, 2015

Mimo Smart Baby Monitor Review

Mimo Smart Baby Monitor Review

Mimo Infant Monitor Review

You would think by child #3 I would be thankful for every moment that the baby is sleeping, but because my first two children had colic and GERD they were not very prone to sleeping consistently. Actually, they hardly slept at all! Due to their sleep issues, when #3 arrived and (gasp!) actually slept, I freaked out. Who knew that the more he slept the less I would? The crazy thing about having multiple children is that you suddenly realize how fragile they are as infants. Your older children suddenly seem bigger and sturdier.

This is where the Mimo Smart Baby Monitor comes in and this is how it works.Continue reading

How to Score Designer Gifts for Yourself

What if I told you my favorite designer gifts didn’t cost me anything?  Take, for instance, my newest designer purse.   No, I didn’t steal it. It was a gift from myself. What if I told you I like to use my Chase Freedom card to earn rewards for myself? One way to achieve financial success is to spend your money more effectively. It is imperative to use your rewards to your advantage. I shared how I use the Chase Freedom Mobile App to help me keep my spending on track. What I didn’t share is why that is so important. Consider this, you have money to spend that you have budgeted for the holiday, but the problem is you didn’t budget for yourself. I mean, it is the time of year to indulge, but we must stick to a budget!

I am going to share a couple of tricks that help me do just that. The trick to being debt free is using your money to get everything you want.

score-designer-gift

Tips and Tricks to Score Designer Gifts for Yourself

I have my money set aside for others … so where am I finding this chunk of change for my purse?

1) Well, that is easy. Chase Freedom pays you back on the purchases you are making. Chase Freedom will offer cardholders 10% cash back on up to $1,500 in new purchases from Amazon.com, Zappos.com, Diapers.com and Audible.com through December 31, 2015. Learn more about the offer here. I spend $500 during the holidays on the sites above so that is $50 right there. 

2) The tracking of your money. It helps you stay within your budget, and it can help you spend less of your budget. The less you spend on them, the more you can spend on you! I saved $35 using this method. I was able to cut my costs on certain gifts by having my list in front of me with the money I had to spend on it. I simply put the amount I didn’t spend in another column for me.

3) Using rewards credit cards like Chase Freedom gives you rewards to use later. A survey commissioned by Chase Freedom found that 77% of shoppers who have rewards credit cards say they are likely to treat themselves to something special with the rewards they earn buying holiday gifts for others. I suggest using the rewards you earn after the holiday season so you can get the item on sale and then you can use the rewards you earned gifting others. That is a win-win! P.S.: Buy yourself the gift that everyone else forgot and the one you really wanted as long as it is in the budget. If not the rewards do not vanish; just keep using your Chase Freedom card to continue towards your goal. I used my card like I normally do for gas, groceries, movie tickets, dining out, and car repairs (I had budgeted for them). That helped me out with more cash towards my all “about me gift.”

4) You can use the new mobile app to make purchases with your rewards. If you get money off of a product that you were already going to buy, you can save the cash back in a rainy day fund or in my case, a pair of shoes to wear in the rain. For me, I went to a store that Chase Freedom partnered with and was able to purchase a purse using cash back rewards, and pay at point of sale with the Chase Freedom Mobile App. I think it is important to have a goal and since I budget and manage my money, I see no reason not to splurge on a gift for myself. I am not alone according to Chase Freedom’s recent survey.

5) Budget and you can buy what you want. I looked at last years’ spending on my credit cards and bank statements and created my new budget using that data. I looked at my cars, house, and potential medical costs and put those amounts away for each month. I prepare and as a result, I can splurge. It is perfectly acceptable to save for something you want but do not need. Chase Freedom gives you the tools to do what you have to do with what you have to get what you need and want.

Chase shared this fun infographic with me. What do you think are they true or false?

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  • 85% of holiday shoppers surveyed ‘gift themselves’ while shopping for others
  • 69% of those surveyed who gifted themselves while holiday shopping for others did not have buyer’s remorse and half (48 percent) of them even felt a sense of happiness
  • 60% of holiday shoppers who have a credit card that offers rewards or points are likely to spend their rewards on gifts for others.

The survey reveals that men and women buy themselves:

  • Trendy items (Male 28%; Female 42%)
  • Small luxury items (Male 27%; Female 42%)
  • Electronic or appliances (Male 42%; Female 18%)
  • Holiday decorations (Male 20%; Female 37%)
  • Game for a group (Male 24%; Female 13%)
  • Fad items (Male 10%; Female 12%)

The only question I have for you is how fast can you get the designer gifts you want for yourself using your credit card rewards? Make sure to share all your designer gifts!

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Chase Freedom for IZEA. All opinions are 100% mine.

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December 3, 2015

Holiday Baking Made Easy with Pillsbury™ Purely Simple™ Baking and Frosting Mixes

Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of The J.M. Smucker Company. The opinions and text are all mine.

Pillsbury™ Purely Simple™ Baking and Frosting Mixes

Holiday Baking Made Easy with Pillsbury™ Purely Simple™ Baking and Frosting Mixes

I would like to take a moment to share my mom failures with you. I think we all start out with the best intentions. We want to bake something with our kids, and it will be fun. We go to the store with them. We come home having missed out on an ingredient we needed. We go back to the store. We buy the ingredient and thirty dollars more in things we do not need. We get home, and we are tired, and we do not feel like baking. We do so because we have promised up and down that today is the day we will bake together. We start the process; then someone loses something in the bowl. We fish it out. We remind them not to stick their hands in the bowl. Then we decide our warning is falling on deaf ears, so we decide to give them their own bowl of flour and water to stir while we make the real thing. Then we hear the proverbial whoops. We look down, and it appears to have snowed in our kitchen. We have one child using the flour to make handprints on the floor, isn’t that neat? Neat? It is the exact opposite of neat. It is a mess. We keep stirring and mixing hoping the kitchen will last through this epic event. We then hear “he took my spoon!” We remind to share. We say come help mom. Okay! Then they begin to help mom by fighting over who is going to help mom. We become annoyed, this is supposed to be fun. I am trying to cook cupcakes from scratch. I spent all this time buying the ingredients and putting them on the counter, measuring everything, so it was right, and then I had the sequence of who was going to do what. Well, that was great in my mind but the reality is flour hand prints on the floor, counter, and even my bottom has one.Continue reading