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Episode 23: Last-Minute Mother’s Day Gifts

Wednesday, May 6th, 2009

CORRECTION FROM THE VIDEO: I goofed up the Angie’s List membership discount.  Here’s the real deal: click here and use coupon code SAVETEN for $10 off a 1-year membership. If you are already an Angie’s List member, then you will be able to save $20-$30 off a 1-year gift subscription.  Sorry for the mistake!

We’re now just 4 days from Mother’s Day. If you haven’t already gotten something for Mom, it’s time to spring into action, and that is what we’ll talk about in episode 23 of BargainJill TV.

I like to set expectations, so let’s get one thing clear right now. You’re not going to find free shipping offers in time for Mother’s Day. They’re gone. But there are still lots of great sales to take advantage of. So let’s walk though some good options.

I used to work at fine jewelry stores during college, and love talking about jewelry, so I’m going to start off today talking about sparkly things for Mom. As we mentioned several days ago, SuperJeweler.com offered BargainJill readers an exclusive coupon code for an extra 10% off orders of $100 or more, and that is still in full effect when you use coupon code bargainjill.

SuperJeweler has a page of specials for Mother’s Day, with prices from just $29. In fact, for $29 you will see this pretty and petite .03 ct diamond heart pendant crafted of sterling silver. It’s small and sweet and definitely budget-priced.

For $79, this classic 1/4 ct diamond heart pendant in 10k gold is another good bet.

If you are a man watching this video, and you are married, and you have kids, that means that your WIFE qualifies for some special treatment on Mother’s Day, too.

For something really special, how about this beautifully-priced pair of quality 1/2 ct diamond stud earrings? They retail at over $800, are on sale for $295, but with the bargainjill coupon code, they are just $265! And the quality of these diamonds is spot on for bright, sparkly stud earrings. They are rated SI2 to SI3 in clarity, which means that they are very clean to the naked eye, and this is superior to the standard clarity that you usually find for earrings at a jewely store in the mall. Trust me. And the color rating of H to I is also a good place to be for earrings. They’ll appear nice and bright and have great sparkle with these specs. I’m amazed at the price on these earrings. I’ve loved them at $295, so $265 is pretty fantastic. These definitely have the BargainJill stamp of approval. I wouldnt mind a pair myself, frankly.

SuperJeweler always offers a FREE gift of jewelry cleaner, FREE gift wrap, FREE appraisals on all items over $200…and they USUALLY offer free shipping, (and they still do) BUT, since we’re so close to Mother’s Day, the standard free shipping might not be fast enough, so SuperJeweler recommends using 2-day shipping for $9.95 if you order today, Wednesday the 6th or if you order on Thursday, you’ll need UPS Next Day shipping in order to arrive on time, and that will set you back $17.95. So don’t wait around before you order.

Flowers are obviously a clear winner amongst Moms and who knows flowers better than Martha Stewart? Martha is working with 1-800-FLOWERS and has her own branded line of bouquets which she has designed, and Martha is offering us 15% off right now with promo code MARTHA47.  Martha’s bouquets strike me as very pretty, elegant and old-fashioned, in mostly muted pinks or purples.  I was impressed by the designs. They are not the typical teleflora stuff you usually see. The arrangements remind me of an old-fashioned rose garden. Bouquet prices largely range from about $50-$80 for the Martha Stewart designs. So they aren’t outrageous, but they are also not the cheapest. If Martha and her flowers are out of your budget, no worries. 1-800-FLOWERS is offering 30 gifts that cost $30 or less. My top pick in that list would be the bouquet of 24 multi-colored roses for $29.99. Beware that that price does NOT include a vase. Many women have plenty of vases laying around from previous bouquets and would be fine without one more vase in their life, but if you’re not sure about your mother, pay another $10 for a vase.

Ok, so we’ve covered the classics with jewelry and flowers. Here’s a non-traditional gift to surprise Mom with. I think that a subscription to Angie’s List would be appreciated by any woman who could use some help around the house – like landscapers, handyman services, maid services or even an auto mechanic or veterinarian. Angie’s List is an awesome database of contractors and other professions with reviews written by regular people who have used their services. So, your mom could find some great info before hiring someone to paint her house, mow her yard, etc, etc. I have a subscription to Angie’s List and it has really helped when I’ve hired people. Sometimes it’s overwhelming to even know where to begin, and Angie’s List gives you plenty of information to select people to hire with a nice level of confidence.

If you are already a member of Angie’s List, you can save $20 to $30 off a 1-year Angie’s List membership that you gift to someone else…like Mom. If you’re not yet a member, save $10 off any 1-year Angie’s List membership by using promo code SAVETEN during checkout. Membership prices vary based on the city where the work will done. For instance, before the $20 to $30 discount, LA is about $50 per year. Tucson and Austin are $57. Pittsburgh is in the high 60’s and Houston was $82. So, that should give you a general idea of what to expect. Overall, I think that it’s an interesting gift idea. It’s really practical and would be an appreciated gift for the right woman. And the fact that it can all be done online means that you don’t need to worry about priority shipping charges.

I hope that gives you some ideas for the moms on your shopping list, and remember to place your orders today, especially if there’s shipping involved.

That’s our episode for today, check back again next week for a new video, and in the meantime, enjoy the deals we post to BargainJill.com daily. Bye!

Episode 22: Linens ‘N Things Rises from the Ashes

Wednesday, March 25th, 2009

I’m baaaaaaack.  It’s my first BargainJill episode in a while and it feels good to be back at it! In episode 22 of BargainJill TV I talk about Linens ‘N Things and its rise after bankruptcy, I’ll introduce you to BestBathStore.com in case you haven’t already heard of them and their all-natural bath goodies already, and we’ll have a look at some crazy shoe sales that 6pm.com is running this week.

Like a phoenix that spontaneously combusts and rises again from its own ashes, a brand new re-birth of Linens N Things is equally fun to watch. In May of last year, you may remember, they filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, closed a bunch of stores and then started liquidating everything they had left. By late December, they still didn’t have a buyer, and all brick and mortar stores were closed while the website, LNT.com, kept chugging away, liquidating the last few items through mid February of this year. At that point, I thought that Linens N Things was officially closed.

But no! It turns out that they just re-launched their website!

How can it be? Well, apparently a joint venture headed up by two companies called Hilco Consumer Capital and Gordon Brothers Brands bought the Linens ‘N Things name, all of Linens N Things domain names, its wedding and gift registries, a few other odds and ends…and apparently their email newsletter list because that’s how I found out. From what I can tell, this same joint venture also bought Sharper Image and the Bombay Company when they were having financial woes of their own. I am praying that this is just a typo, but I read an article that says the Linens N Things name was bought by the joint venture for $1 million. Million with an “M”. Seriously, I’m pretty sure that anyone in San Francisco with more than 2 bedrooms paid that much for their HOUSE. I mean, maybe a few of us should chip in and see if Circuit City wants to sell THEIR name to us. I need to get into this racket somehow. That’s just crazy.

But, anyway – here’s the scoop: LNT.com will carry the same sorts of products that you’re used to seeing from the old Linens N Things and you’ll even see a revival of some of the house brand products that used to be made specifically for Linens N Things. But… don’t hold your breath waiting for your local Linens N Things brick and mortar location to open back up any time soon. Not gonna happen. Company officials say that brick and mortar stores are a possibility, but really the website and some strategic partnerships with other brick and mortar retailers are their main focus right now. One interesting thing to watch is the store-within-a-store concept that the company has hinted at. So, who knows. Maybe Linens N Things will join forces with a big retailer and basically “be” the linens department for an entirely different company. Like Footlocker. Just kidding.

Anyway, go check out the new site at LNT.com. The prices seem alright. The selection is pretty solid. I could be wrong, but I think that one of their own employees went through the site and gave tons of items 4 and 5 star ratings. That’s really cheesy, but whatever. Just make sure that you don’t make any buying decisions soley based off of one person’s 5-star rating. But you wouldnt do that anyway.

I’m now going to move the bargain spotlight onto 6pm.com.

I think they’re insane, and I think I love it! If you or anyone in your family needs shoes, this is the store, and this is the week to do it. Today, Thursday and Friday, some certifiably crazy person in the 6pm Marketing deparment decided that each day they’d offer a certain brand of shoes, all for $19.99 per pair that day. Today, Wednesday, you can get ANY pair of GoLite shoes for $19.99. Tomorrow, which is Thursday March 26th, you can get any pair of Naturalizer shoes for just $19.99. And on Friday, you can get any pair of Tsubo shoes for …$19.99. It’s awesome.

Today’s deal on GoLite shoes should appeal to any men or women who are looking for shoes for hiking or trail running. Update: All womens styles are now sold out! These shoes are usually on the pricey side with retail prices from about $80 up to about $115, so, at $19.99 definitely jump on this deal. The GoLite Storm Dragon shoe for men is pretty well stocked in sizes 7 through 12 1/2 and it comes in two different color combinations: night/sun or twilight. They retail at $112 and usually sell for $56 at 6pm.com, but again, grab them today for $19.99. 

Sizes for many of these styles are reeeally limited, especially for ladies, but fear not women, we’ll have our day in the sun tomorrow when Naturalizers go on sale for $19.99. I counted over 600 styles. And they’re all going to be $19.99. Shopping party at my house tomorrow. And then Friday, less exciting but equally good savings on Tsubo shoes.T hey do shoes for men, women and kids and they tend to be comfy, stylish athletic-type shoes but they also have a bunch of styles that dress it up it up a little. So remember to hit 6pm.com today through Friday to make sure that you’re not missing out.
OK, onto our next topic: I just recently learned about a small company called BestBathStore.com and wanted to share it with you. They make all natural bath and skin care products that they make by hand in their facility in Woburn, MA. They create soaps, lotions, bath salts,lip balms, even a shampoo and conditioner, and a bunch of similar bath and skin-type items. And even beyond their great natural products, BestBathStore is very committed to the environment and to animal rights. They perform no animal testing with any of their products, and they definitely walk the walk in terms of using green energy and recycleable and biodegradable packaging with the items they sell. Right now, they are offering BargainJill customers two exclusive discount codes: use promotional code: Jill15off for 15% off any order, or use promo code Jill10 for $10 off any purchase of $55 or more. I figured out the math and the $10 off coupon, Jill10 is the best deal for orders between $55 and $65 while the 15% off code, Jill15off, is a better deal for any other sized order.

While you’re looking around at BestBathStore.com, take a look at the highly-rated Acne Facial Bar for $5.95 before discount.

Or, if acne is not an issue for you, check out the Dead Sea Body Bar. It’s pretty interesting. It’s an all-natural, exfoliating bar that contains Dead Sea salts, Ground Luffa and Apricot Seeds, and Walnut Husk to smoothly polish your skin, and essential minerals of Dead Sea mud as well as moisturizing oils to help detoxify and refresh your skin. This bar is also well-liked by reviewers on the site and sells for $5.95 before the discount. I think that’s an excellent price given the quality of the ingredients list.
For an extra treat, choose from one of the many all-natural bath bombs. For the $6.95 price, you get a LARGE 9oz bomb filled with skin moisturizing goodness and essential oils that will help you forget the worries of the day. And just in case, pour yourself a glass of wine before your bath. It never hurts.

Thanks for checking out today’s episode of bargainjill TV. I’ll see you again next Wednesday!
Have a great day! Bye!

Episode 21: Kohl’s Sale and Financial Markets

Wednesday, October 22nd, 2008

So I just got back from a shopping trip to Kohl’s. I mentioned about a week ago that they’re having their Lowest Prices of the Season sale, and I’m mentioning it again now because the sales are AWESOME and it all ends in a few days on October 27th. I found some great items that followed me home. The Apartment Nine Pleated Top in purple easily made it into my shopping bag. In addition to purple, it also comes in other colors, including black, teal, magenta and brown. It’s made of a nice, soft blend of polyester and rayon which is machine washable. It retails at $34, but like me, you can grab it for $18.

The Apt. 9 Tweed Trapeze Jacket just might be my proudest purchase from today…and Kohl’s better not raise the price on it before you’ve seen this video. I bought this Apartment Nine Tweed Trapeze Jacket in brown for just $27.99. That’s over half off the $60 retail, and I certainly don’t feel like I’m wearing just a $28 jacket. It’s available in sized 4-16, unless you’re interested in the GREY tweed, and in that case, it’s available in sizes 4-14. All Apt. 9 clothing and shoes are 40-55% off during this sale, and I think I bought one of each.

In other deal news, while I was on my hiatus, all heck broke loose in the financial markets, Britney spears started wearing a bra and China walked in space. Britney Spears wins the prize for most shocking news story. However, the whole financial situation is having an impact on the shopping landscape, so I care. In June, I talked to you guys about Linens ‘N Things filing for bankruptcy protection. They closed a few stores and looked for someone to basically buy them out and keep operating the stores. Guess what? No qualified bidders, so Linens ‘n Things is now closing their doors for good and everything is up to 30% off, both in stores and online. Remember that all sales are final, and go check it out while there’s still plenty of good inventory left.

Incidentally, the bankruptcies don’t end there, and I’d bet that there will be more after the holiday rush. Mervyns is also declaring defeat and will stay around through the holiday buying season and then walk off into the sunset. Circuit City is also getting dangerously close and is on our bankruptcy watch list. They’re thinking about closing 150 stores to avoid filing for bankruptcy protection. But it’s not all doom and gloom. Online sales are still on the rise with people wanting to save time and gas money, and this means that heavily brick and mortar national stores are having a tough time of it. But with this chaos comes opportunity. Big Lots, for instance, has just announced that they are heading online so that we’ll be able to buy overstocked odds and ends for rock bottom prices without leaving home. Also good news is the fact that retailers are planning on starting holiday sales quite early and plan for big discounts in order to get us excited about spending. So, this is all very good news for consumers. And the next time I get in trouble with Jack for shopping too much, I will just remind him that I am fulfilling my patriot obligation to our nation’s economy.
Have a great day! Cheers!
Jill

SmartBargains Exclusive Saving: Extra 15% Bed and Bath

Friday, August 22nd, 2008

Today in episode 20 of BargainJill TV, we talk about an exclusive deal for BargainJack and BargainJill customers from SmartBargains.com, and we’ll look at few different deals on air mattresses.

SmartBargains.com, a website which, of course,  is home to low prices on anything from Bed and Bath to Apparel and Shoes for men and women, to stellar home and kitchen bargains is offering bargainjack and bargainjill customers an exclusive discount of 15% off bed and bath items.   To receive this discount, you must follow the link in the previous sentence, click “Buy It Now” to be taken to SmartBargains.com and then search for Bed and Bath items from there.

As soon as SmartBargains offered us the exclusive bed and bath deal, I immediately knew that I wanted to do an episode on air mattresses knowing that SmartBargains  is rarely matched on their price and selection of HIGH QUALITY air mattresses.  I stress the words “high quality” for a reason.  Are all air mattress created equal?  No way.  In fact, it’s even much worse than I realized before I started researching for this episode.  You have NO IDEA how many air mattresses are rated ONE star out of five stars.  Some manufacturers produce utter rubbish.  So in today’s episode, I’m separating the wheat from the chaff,  and am only showing you air mattress which are tried and true after real customer reviews…which in this category is absolutely critical.

Let’s start off with a bang with the Cadillac of air beds, the  AeroBed Raised Quick-Inflate Bed from SmartBargains for $125 for the twin or $150 for the queen.  Now, after the exclusive bargainjack and bargainjill 15% discount, you’ll pay $106 and 25 cents for the twin and just $127.50 for the queen.  Overstock has a raised aerobed for over $30 more and several other sites have raised aerobeds for as high as $300 for a queen.  So this is a very solid price for what you’re getting. If you look around you won’t have a tough time finding lower-priced air mattresses, but remember that quality here is the big differentiator. This is the highest scoring raised airbed that I was able to find anywhere, and usually, it was the highest scoring by a long shot.  This bed is rated 4.5 stars after 144 reviews.  It inflates in under 3 minutes  thanks to a built-in pump, and standard sheets fit this bed.  The big buzz is the 20” height of the bed, which puts it at about twice the thickness of standard aerobeds.  This makes it ideal to use as a guest bed for visitors who are old enough to appreciate the extra height when getting in and out of bed.  The height also makes this a great, inexpensive choice if you’re trying to stage an empty guestroom to sell a house.  This aerobed earns its metal in comfort and durability.  You can certainly pay less for lower quality, but personally, I want the peace of mind knowing that my guests wont have to wake up every 2 hours to refill their bed.  If your in-laws already hate you, don’t push it while they’re visiting.

If you need a simple but comfortable queen-sized inflatable mattress, and don’t necessarily need it to be raised, the AeroBed Guest Bed Instant Air Mattress is a good choice.  It retails at $157, is on sale for about $70 and thanks to the extra exclusive 15% off, you can pick up this bed for just $59.50.  This bed, like the raised bed has tons of excellent reviews.  To be exact, it scores 4.5 stars after 166 reviews and THAT is pretty amazing for an air mattress.  With the included pump, this mattress inflates in under a minute.  It has a built in raised pillow area at the head of the bed, includes the patented coil system that aeorbed is known for, and sports a velvety, flocked top for extra comfort.  This is a perfect extra bed to pack for yourself of your kids while you’re traveling.  It’s great for an apartment or dorm for overnight guests.  And I think the jury is still out on whether or not this is appropriate for camping.  Some reviewers say it was great for camping, others said it should be used for indoors only.  …Which leads me to the next mattress which is definitely designed for camping…

The Coleman Queen Sized Air Bed is ready for the trail and it is available from Walmart for just $27.  With this model, you need to buy the pump separately.  Walmart has a hand pump for about $11 and a rechargeable pump that would also work for camping for about 26.  As for the air mattress, it’s rated about 4.1 stars after 21 reviews.

Remember that the 15% off discount at SmartBargains applies to the entire bed and bath category, so if you’ve already hit your air mattress quota, go take a look at SmartBargains great low prices on towels and sheets.

Super Sparkle at SuperJeweler

Friday, August 8th, 2008

Today’s Featured Deals:
1/2ct Diamond Studs in White Gold (SI2-SI3 Clarity, H-I Color) for an AMAZING $295.
Popular 1/4ct Diamond Circle Pendant in White Gold for $100.

1/4 Carat Hoop Earrings in White Gold and the same style in Yellow Gold for $79.

We’re here in Arizona visiting my parents, celebrating their wedding anniversary today and also attending my cousin’s wedding today.  All of this marital bliss takes my mind straight to diamonds, so today’s episode features some killer deals on a girl’s best friend, diamonds!

I’ve said if before – I’ll say it again.  SuperJeweler owns the key to my heart when it comes to deals on diamonds.  In my early 20’s, I worked in fine jewelry sales for a couple years.  I KNOW diamonds.  I know the ludicrous markup applied to diamonds.  But, I LOVE  diamonds.  So after I moved from jewelry sales job and into software industry, I really missed my employee discount on jewelry and basically went years buying almost nothing.  I just couldn’t stomach the full prices, or even the “sale” prices at jewelry stores.  A few years passed and jewelry shopping online became a real solution for me.  You definitely have to be careful to buy from a credible jeweler and KNOW what quality of diamonds to expect when the delivery guy shows up at your doorstep.
There are more than a few reasons that I love superjeweler, but let me walk you through the highlights:
1)      Price.  Price. Price.  Their sale prices range from good to phenomenal, and there are always SEVERAL amazing prices to choose from everytime I hit their site.
2)      Quality.  To me, quality doesn’t necessarily mean a flawless diamond for every occasion, because frankly, I don’t want to PAY for flawless diamonds in every piece of diamond jewelry I buy.   SuperJeweler offers a great range of diamond qualities which translates into a price for every budget.    My favorite part is that they very clearly mark the color and clarity of their diamond jewelry so that you understand upfront the real value of their deals.
3)      Free appraisals on all items over $200 by a third party lab, the World Gemmological Laboratory.
4)      Free shipping, free gift wrap if you’re buying a gift, and unconditional 30 day money back guarantee.
The first deal that I wanted to tell you about today is on SuperJeweler’s  best-selling pair of ½ carat diamond stud earrings.  The price is just $295!  I challenge you to find a better deal for the same quality of diamonds.  These are rated H-I in color which means that you can expect these to appear colorless.  D is the very brightest color, and further down the alphabet closer to J or K, you can start seeing more of a yellow tinge to diamonds.  So Basically, the H-I range of these diamonds means that they will look perfect on your ears and the only way that you’d know they’re not a D or and E is if you actually put them side-by-side with a brighter diamond…which only happens in a jewelry store, so there’s no reason to pay more than you have to.
As far as clarity is concerned, these are rated SI2-SI3 which means that they are completely clean to the naked eye and you’d need 10x magnification in order to see any imperfections.  I think that for earrings, this is an EXCELLENT clarity.  In fact, I usually recommend buying a higher quality of diamond for an engagement ring than I would for earrings…just because the engagement ring will get ogled by yourself and others at a much closer range.  And as far as these earrings go, I think that they fall in the perfect sweetspot of quality to price on COLOR and they EXCEED my normal expectations for the CLARITY of diamond stud earrings.  I did a quick check on Overstock.com for similar diamond studs, and Overstock’s CHEAPEST 1/2 carat studs are $50 more than these and the quality is not even close.  A pair that is actually comparable in quality is about $500 at Overstock.  That’s DOUBLE the cost of this $250 pair from SuperJeweler.  So, if you’re looking for a great pair of studs to wear everyday or just for special occasions, I highly recommend this pair based on the amazing price and the excellent specs.
If you’re looking for some great sparkle on a budget, SuperJeweler’s item of the week may be just the thing.  The 1/4 Carat Hoop Earrings in White Gold are a killer price at $79.  These are about ½” long which means that they’re great for everyday wear.  If you’re looking for large hoops, this is NOT your pair, since these are more of a modest size, but these offer great bang for the buck on something that you can wear all of the time.  Super Jeweler usually offers these earrings at $100 and they retail at $179, so the $79 sale price is awesome.  The yellow gold version is also available for the same great price.
Another item that I have to mention is the super jewelers all time best selling item, the 1/4ct Diamond Circle Pendant in White Gold.   This necklace retails at $399 , normally sells at superjeweler for $179 and is on sale right now for a fantastic price of just $99.75.
Remember that free shipping is always included with your SuperJeweler order.
Have a great day and an excellent weekend!
Cheers!
Jill

Get Down, Get Down

Thursday, July 31st, 2008

Until midnight tonight, Overstock.com is offering 10% off of one of my favorite categories: down bedding.  There are a few warning signs to look for when trying to decide if some new down bedding is in order:
Sign #1: You arise in the morning and you feel 2 or more decades older than your actual age.
Sign #2. You toss and turn during the night and are acutely aware of the drippy faucet in your master bath.
Sign #3. Every time your AC turns on during the night, you lose sensation in at least half of your toes.

If any of these tell-tale signs apply to you, today is your lucky day.  Through midnight, Overstock.com is offering an extra 10% off their already famously-low prices on down bedding.  This includes comforters, featherbeds and pillows and the sale even applies to down alternative bedding.

A down comforter from Overstock that I love and have owned for probably a year is the 240 thread count white feather and down comforter.  It is on sale right now for $26 and 99 cents, which is just a remarkable price.  This comforter has been rated by almost 1500 people so far and scores 4.3 stars after all of those reviews.  So , here’s the real scoop with this comforter:It is not thick and fluffy.  It is not a snuggle up during the winter kind of comforter. It’s thin and lightweight, it fluffs up a little, but this is not the kind of comforter that will make your bed look like a giant marshmellow.

What this this IS is a great year-round comforter that works well in warmer and cooler weather, but it’s not necessarily for hardcore winter temperatures.  My husband hates thick, puffy comforters, but I wanted down or some kind of feathers so this comforter is great for us.  Several reviewers recommend buying a king size comforter if you have a queen bed and would like the comforter to drape further down the bed more like a bedspread would, which I think is a pretty smart idea.  This comforter is  filled with 95% white feathers and 5% down feathers and is a great way to top off your sleep, and at the $27 sale price, you can even deck out your guest bed or kids beds with this comforter which is available in sizes full/queen and king.

As I mentioned before, feather bed are also on sale, and the Super Snooze 5-inch Baffle Featherbed looks like a great bet. An excellent sale price of $89.99 means that it is 70% off the $300 retail and it comes very highly rated with 4.5 stars after 679 reviews.  And another great thing about this featherbed is that it’s available in all sizes from twin to California king, so you have no excuse for having any unfortable beds in your house now.  Go from lumpy matress to sleeping on a cloud.  Overstock is generously even throwing in a 230 thread count cotton cover to protect this feather bed.  Awesome deal.

For anyone looking for pure luxury in a pillow, the Silk 1300 Thread Count Goose Down Pillow should fit the bill nicely. The 650 goose down fill power is considered ideal for people who sleep on their sides, and the 51% silk, 49% cotten cover is perfect for anyone who wants to feel the goodness of down without the prick of feathers trying to liberate themselves while you sleep.  The price? $89 and 10 cents per pillow.  It seems high when you’re used to buyign your disposable pillows at Walmart, but it is defintiely a great price for this level of quality.  92% of reviewers would recommend this pillow and that’s an impressive statistic as far as pillows go.

Remember to take advatage of these deals today since they’ll be gone tomorrow.

Cheers!

Jill

I Need a Tan

Monday, July 21st, 2008

I don’t know about you, but I could really use a vacation. In episode 17 of BargainJill TV, we are going to stock up on items for a mid-summer getaway.

Alright, I can’t take it anymore. It is time for a trip to the beach. We’re about 3 and a half hours from the ocean, and I wouldn’t mind hopping in the car right now and heading for a beach house and a fruity drink. My husband is thankfully on the same page, so we’re in the middle of scraping together a last-minute 4-day weekend in South Padre.

And it’s such a good time to plan a vacation since so many summer essentials are on sale. I’m sure we’re not the only ones who will be planning a mid or late-summer getaway, so I thought that today we’d take a look at some sale items that are perfect for a summer retreat.

The obvious item that HAS to be mentioned is a great swimsuit. If you wear an extra small or small, you can get a great teeny weenie pink polka dot bikini at Target for a grand total of $11. Can you say “65 percent off”? The top and bottoms are sold separately, but they both score the same high marks with 4.5 star ratings for each. Round out the combo with the xhiliation Board Shorts in a complimentary Pink Heart pattern for $10.49. Target still has these in small and medium.

If the teeny weenie polka dot bikini is not your speed, check out the Isaac Mizrahi for Target® Piqué 1-pc. Swimsuit in French Blue in sizes S-XL. It retails at $35 but is on clearance right now for $24.49.

Also, once you’ve had your fill of swimming, throw on the Xhiliration Dress Coverup in Brown for just $8.99. That’s half off the $17.99 retail, and it comes in sizes Small through XL.

If you’re spending any amount of time at the beach or the pool, Lord knows you need a place to stash your SPF and your trashy romance novels, and Old Navy is the definitive source of discount-priced beach totes, like the Women’s Striped Straw Beach Totes on sale for a mere $6.99. That’s less than the cost of the trashy novel it will be toting around.

If your vacation has already come and gone or you’re not planning on getting away this summer, and you’re cursing my name under your breath as I talk incessantly about the beach…here’e what I have to say: bring the vacation to you. Target has a festive set of Bubble Glass Margarita Glasses for $40. This set of 6 is admittedly not on sale, but I’ve used them personally and bought them as a gift, and they are what a margarita set should be. The size is right and they are really hefty in terms of the thickness of the glass. And the fact that they’re bubble glass adds extra points for cool factor. They’re available in clear, amber, sage, plum and blue, and again, they’re $39.99 at Target. Beware that they are pretty large, so they’re fantantastic to drink from, but make sure that you have enough cabinet space on reserve before you order multiple sets.

Have a great day and happy vacation planning! Bye!

-Jill

Gas Prices Spark Major Savings

Thursday, July 10th, 2008

Gas is at about $4 and eleven cents per gallon. In episode 16 of BargainJill TV, we’re going to talk about how our current gas prices are impacting the way we shop.

I live in a two car family. My car uses 93 octane. My husband drives an extended cab pickup which drinks gasoline like a rockstar on a binge night. Has the price of gas affected us? Uhh…yeah. Yes it has.

Across the country, people are shopping more wisely…plain and simple. Retailers are absolutely feeling it and they are aggressively cranking out new strategies to boost their sales, yet, as an industry, they’re trying to be very covert about it. In back rooms and board rooms, corporate strategists and executives are acknowledging that prices to need to drop on consumer products before people will pull their wallets out, but at the same time, they’re not really promoting some of these deep price cuts since they don’t really want to cause any alarm about the current economy. So for many companies, the corporate line is that everything is just fine, while the reality is that unprecedented price cuts are in full effect to make sure that we keep buying. In my mind, we’re savvy people who understand the economy, so let’s just be open about the reality.A lot of major retailers are feeling the pinch and are closing some of their brick and mortar locations or are just abandoning any plans for expansion that were on the table. Ann Taylor is closing 117 stores, Gap is closing 85, Footlocker is closing 140 stores, and the list goes on. It IS disconcerting to see these closures, but at the same time, this is a cyclical occurrence that happens in any industry. It’s all about merchants reinventing themselves to match the new climate, if they need to. Businesses that are more centered around online shopping rather than on brick and mortar store sales will have less adapting to do.

With the cost of gas where it is, plenty of us have realized that we can save a nice chunk of money by doing more of our shopping online. By skipping a trip to the mall,you’re saving yourself not only the cost of gas, but also the cost of a Cinnabon and strawberry smoothie. That’s like 10 bucks right there. But to me, online shopping isn’t even about that. It’s about having the ability to compare prices in real time. It’s about knowing that Macy’s really does have the lowest price on that pair of jeans that want without having to walk or drive all over your tri-county area to verify that. Gas is money, time is money, and paying too much is the absolute worst kind of money.

The current economy has prompted retailers into starting their giant summer sales much earlier than they have in the past. You’ve probably noticed summer sale after summer sale for the last couple of weeks, while we usually don’t see this happen until later in July or early August.

A prime example: Old Navy has a great deal that runs through the end of today where we can save an additional 20% off clearance items with promo code EXTRA20. There’s a ton of jewelry, shoes and lingerie on sale in addition to the old navy staples like tanks and shorts. Sizes are limited so go take a look around.

Macy’s also has a great array of summer apparel on sale like the Alfani Pleated Cap-Sleeve Top which I’m wearing today. It’s made of fantastically slinky and comfortable fabric which is machine washable. This top comes in Purple or pistachio green in Sizes S-XL. It retails at $49 but is on sale for $36.75.

Also, the T Tahari Ruffled Sleeveless Empire-Waist Dress at Macy’s is a wonderful find for about half off at $49. The red is sold out, but you can still grab this dress in black in sizes S and M.

So, What have we learned today? Retailers are taking a big hit right now to keep us shopping. Sales are more generous than we’ve seen in a long time, and for those of us who are shopping online anyway, we can enjoy the sweet savings while shopping from home and keeping our extended cab pickups in the garage.
Cheers!

Jill

Rebuilding the Skeleton of your Closet

Monday, July 7th, 2008

Welcome back from the 4th of July weekend! I hope everyone had a great holiday.  After visiting relatives this weekend who are far neater than myself, I feel the sudden need to organize my cluttered house…starting with the closets. So in episode 15 of BargainJill TV, we’ll discuss the art of closet organization.

From a very young age, my mother told me that Jimmy Hoffa’s body was probably either in my closet or under my bed.  I was too young to know anything about teamsters or mob bosses, so I just assumed that Jimmy Hoffa was a guy who enjoyed mountains of shoes and layers of dirty laundry as much as I did.  My closets have always been a  disaster.  And I have this weird fascination with home organization products…which makes no sense.  I hate putting stuff away, but man do I LOVE to buy things that inspire organization.

And sometimes, it even works.  My latest kick is wanting everything in my house to have an actual spot where it belongs.  My husband and I each have our own closets, which is probably why we’re still happily married, BUT the closets are SMALL and they’re NOT very smartly designed.  So…I’m thinking of starting fresh with a Rubbermaid closet kit.  I’ve been eyeballing these things at Amazon.com and other places for over a year and I think it’s finally time to pull the trigger and REALLY get organized.

I’ve looked at a lot of closet systems, and I’ve weeded down the options to two different Rubbermaid closets kits.  The first is the Rubbermaid Configurations 4- to 8-Foot CLASSIC Custom Closet Kit in White (shown farthest left) and the other is the Rubbermaid DELUXE Custom Closet Kit in Titanium.   The Classic kit is 58% off right now and sells for $79.99 and ships free from Amazon and the Deluxe kit is 45% off and is on sale for $119.99 and it also ships free from Amazon. The main deciding factor here is in how much shelving and hanging space you need.  The Classic kit includes 12 feet of hanging space and 14 feet of stacking space, while the Deluxe kit includes 10 feet of hang space and 22 feet of shelving.  This means that the Classic kit actually has 2 more feet of hanging space but has a lot less shelf space.

If the vast majority of your closet is just clothing on hangers, you can save yourself about $40 and go with the classic kit.  On the other hand, if you have purses, folded sweaters and jeans, shoes and trinkets from your glory days taking up half of your closet space, the Deluxe kit is a great way to go.  The Deluxe kit comes in the nice titanium finish and is rated 4.5 stars after 110 reviews, while the classic kit comes in white, and scores a solid 5 star rating after 10 reviews.

So you can see why I’m still on the fence between these two, but either way, it’s going to be far better than my current catastrophe of a closet.  In fact, what I might do is put the classic kit it my closet so that I can have extra hanging space, and then install the deluxe kit in our guest room closet where we tend store a lot of boxes along with some smaller amount of clothing. And after reading reviews, I’m even halfway tempted to try to install it myself.  There’s no cutting involved thanks to the fact that they made the hanging bars and shelves expandable, and most reviewers think that it’s fairly easy to get a nice, strong and solid installation as long as you are armed with your trusty electric drill.

If you need to organize a smaller closet, check out the Rubbermaid Configurations 3-6′ Starter Kit for $50 from Amazon.

While you’re at it, i HIGHLY recommend purging all of your plastic and wire hangers and replacing them with wooden hangers.  I did this a couple of years ago and will never go back.  Amazon sells some wooden hangers via Target, but I prefer to buy these from Linen’s n Things thanks to the fact that the LNT Home 24 Pack Boxed Wood Hangers are priced well AND, very important, they have notches in them to help your spaghetti strapped and wide-necked tops from sliding off and ending up as carpet decoration.  A 24-pack costs $14.99 and if you use coupon code  JULY408 during checkout, you’ll receive 20% off of any one item. And that Linens n things coupon is good through the 12th.

Yay for closet organization.  I’m off to find Jimmy Hoffa.

Cheers!

Jill

Brandlet.com – Your New Clearance Rack

Thursday, July 3rd, 2008

We have one more day before the 4th of July! In episode 14 of BargainJill TV, we’ll look at one site that’s causing fireworks in the world of affordable fashion for women. (Video will be posted ~8am CST.)

I found a great new site for finding incredible deals on name brand women’s and Junior’s clothing.  The site is called Brandlet.com and through July 6th, they’re running a huge promotion where they’re featuring all kinds of great clothing for $20 or less.  AND…they’ve offered BargainJill readers an exclusive discount.  Use promo code JILL during checkout to score an extra 20% off your order of $75 or more!

Brandlet carries quality brands that are sold at Dillard’s, Macy’s and other stores in that same tier.  A few brands include BCBG Maxazria, Jones New York, XOXO, Style & Company, Ann Klein and countless others.  It’s VERY common on their site to see 45% off or more.  So there must be a catch, right?  Well, kind of.  Sizes are very limited on many items.  Some of the most discounted items are only available in one size. Like, they’ll only have a size 4 in a certain dress, and that’s it. But, if they have YOUR size in something cute, in my opinion, it’s worth a little bit of digging.  The whole site is kind of like an online clearance rack without the worry of snagged and torn merchandise…which is pretty sweet as long as you approach it correctly.

Sizes are so limited, that I recommend not even tempting yourself by looking at full categories of clothing without first refining the results by choosing your size.  You can do that by choosing any category and then scrolling down and choosing your size from the left column.

One shirt that caught my eye at just TEN dollars is the Cha Cha Vente Tan V-neck Twist Top.  This shirt is available in size Small, Medium and Large.  Cha Cha Vente is a common brand at Macy’s, so the retail price of $38 seems completely believable, but I’m happy to see it at brandlet for SEVENTY-FOUR percent off.  Again, this top is just $10.

If you’re a size 6 or 8, check out this fabulous Lotta Stensson Pink Silk Sequin Halter Top. It retails at $75 but is on sale right now for just $20.  That is a whole of quality and detailing for an incredible 73% off!  It’s made of 100% silk and is embellished with delicate embroidery, beds and sequins along the halter neckline and empire  waistline. Lotta Stensson shirts typically sell for over $50 or sometimes even over $100 on BlueFly.com, so I’m loving Brandlet’s prices.

So take a look at BrandLet.com and be sure to check out your sizes in each of their categories. During checkout, use promotion code JILL and get 20% off your order of $75 or more.

The dress worn in today’s video is the Daisy Fuentes Gathered Shift Dress from Kohls.  It retails at $54 but is on sale right now for $27. It’s available in black, royale, and ink in sizes S-L.

For those of you who will be traveling for the holiday, have a safe trip and a wonderful 4th!

Cheers!

Jill