Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Top Tightwad Tips for Summer Dates - 2011

The relaxed days (and nights) of summer are a good time to reconnect with your sweetie.  But there is no need to book an expensive vacation or go all out for a pricey dinner and a show to rekindle your romance.  Here are some ideas that are low on cost but high on romance:

Take Advantage of Summer Weather:
  • Go for a walk, hike, or bike ride together (I especially like the idea of riding a tandem bike). As an added bonus, the exercise will make you feel fitter and sexier!
  • Rent a rowboat, kayak or a canoe.
  • Drive to a pretty spot for a picnic. Set up your blanket on the beach and watch the waves roll in; perch on a hilltop and enjoy the view; or just go to a local park and enjoy being outdoors together.
  • Take a local walking history tour. 
  • Pick strawberries, then take them home and feed them to each other.
  • Visit the zoo at night - not only are the animals are more active in the evening hours, but the place has an entirely different feel after dark.
  • Go to a carnival or state fair and ride the Ferris wheel and have your palms read.
Stay Inside and Enjoy the Air Conditioning:
  • Complete a simple project together (like making a scrapbook of your vacation photos).
  • Go to your local public library, check out some poetry books and read to each other.
  • Bring out the board games (Twister is always a sexy choice) or video games (we especially like wii boxing to get those competitive juices flowing!).
  • Go to a comedy club on amateur night.
  • Sign up for the mailing list of local art galleries - and then attend their art show openings, for free wine and hors oeuvres plus, of course, the art!
  • Paint coffee mugs at a paint-your-own-pottery place.
  • Head to an ice skating rink and strap on skates for some icy fun.
Totally Free:
  • Attend weekend open houses and imagine what it would be like if you owned the place - just check the listings in your local real estate guide.
  • Many communities offer outdoor movies and concerts for free -- check local listings and attend them all!
  • Find a fountain and throw in 10 pennies, taking turns making wishes.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Tightwad Tips To Make Cheap Clothes Look Luxe

My favorite way to save money on clothes to shop mega-sales (read about my recent coups at Talbots and Coldwater Creek at http://toptightwadtips.blogspot.com/2011/03/talbots-shopping-at-target-prices.html and http://toptightwadtips.blogspot.com/2011/04/sale-on-top-of-sale-plus-coupon.html).  But sometimes, the prices at places like Target and H&M beckon, too.  But how do you make outfits from discount stores look like those from the chic-est boutiques?  The trick is to choose your purchases carefully.

More magazine published some tips and tricks for making the most of your inexpensive purchases.  Here they are in a nutshell:

  1. Make thin fabrics appear more substantial by wearing slips and camis underneath.
  2. Mix and match items at different price and quality levels.
  3. Keep your color palette simple -- too many colors in one outfit can appear garish and cheap.
  4. Make sure your cheap clothes exude quality with neutral or rich colors (inexpensive brights, neons and shiny metallics rarely look luxe) and well-made, flat seams.
  5. Some items, such as those with fancy beading, embroidery and other embellishments, don't translate well at rock-bottom price points, so either trade-up or opt-out.
  6. Basic black is one of the best color choices at the lowest price points.
  7. Some things, like "status bags" in polyurethane, won't fool anyone.  If you are buying a bag from a discounter, make sure it is simple without too much hardware or branding for the most polished look.
  8. Choose natural fabrics like cotton, silk and linen -- they look more luxurious than many synthetics.
  9. The fit must be right (not too tight, too short, or oversized) to be convincingly upscale.  Tailoring can help, but be sure to factor the cost of any extensive alterations into your purchase price.
  10. Good basics, like t-shirts, khakis, jeans, and white button-downs, are easily found at mass market retailers.
  11. Look for classic color combinations (think black/white) -- their very crispness will make them look more expensive.
  12. Faux leather, haircalf, ponyskin, etc. is best left to small accessories like a skinny belt.
  13. Always consider whether the item flatters you -- if the cut or color is wrong, don't let yourself be tempted, even if the price is a steal.
  14. Some "throw-away" fashion (think of this summer's canvas and hemp espadrille trend --these shoes will always fall apart in the first sudden shower no matter how much you spend on them) is absolutely a must at low, low prices.
  15. Make the item better with higher quality buttons, a different belt, etc.
Want to see the original story?  Click over to http://www.more.com/cheap-clothes-look-expensive.