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Life, Shopping,

Cheap Halloween Costumes Don’t Have to Suck

Every year, about two weeks before Halloween, I start to panic. Although I was practically a Halloween baby (October 29 if you want to make sure to write ‘HBD” on my Facebook wall), the best holiday of the year seems to always slip my mind. I also tend to struggle until the last possible minute to come up with a costume that is both witty and flattering.

Regardless, in the end it always works out. As of this writing, I’m not 100% sure what I’m going to be.

If you’re just like me, here’s a guide to finding cheap halloween costumes that don’t suck.

Cheap Halloween Costumes

  1. Pick a costume that can be easily assembled from thrift store finds
    cheap halloween costumes
    Whether you have a costume in mind or not is practically irrelevant, because you’re sure to find some excellent costume possibilities at a thrift store or Goodwill. For super-specific costume parts, add on to your thrift finds by going to a Halloween store.To give you an example, last year my boyfriend and I did Fight Club Halloween costumes. He was Tyler Durden and I was Marla Singer. His costume basically required a crazy shirt, aviators, and leather jacket – most pieces of which he already had. Mine was a crazy curly black wig and black dress. Pretty simple! And the costumes really came together.
  2. Make a costume out of accessories or makeup
    cheap halloween costumes
    Do you have animal ears? Maybe a tail? Boom, you have a costume.Some costumes can be put together almost entirely from how your face is made up. Or in the case of being a zombie, it’s also about the makeup wounds you create. Either way, you can use clothing you already have and just go heavy on the makeup.
    You may want to buy some clothes that support the costume better than jeans and a tshirt, but you don’t have to go crazy to make this work. Which leads me to my next idea for cheap halloween costumes…
  3. Buy clothing you can re-wear
    cheap halloween costumes
    One year, I decided I wanted to be a devil. So using a combination of the idea of using accessories to make a costume, plus the idea of buying clothing you can re-wear, I created a cheap and resuable halloween costume. To complete the look, I bought a hot red dress from Express that’s gotten plenty of use since and doesn’t look out of place!Whether you’re buying clothes you can re-wear for a costume, or are looking for specific basic pieces, Target and Walmart tend to be best bets for basics like plain colored tshirts and pants. I also like Express and Forever 21 for nicer pieces that you’ll re-wear.
  4. Use Mean Girls as inspiration
    As Caty so rightly stated in Mean Girls, “Halloween is the one day a year when a girl can dress up like a total slut and no other girls can say anything else about it.” I’m all about empowering women, but if you just want to let loose, to hell with the haters.One option for cheap Halloween costumes that will make you look hot on Halloween is Adore Me. Adore Me has sexy Halloween costumes for $20! It’s getting late in the game to order them, but is worth considering for the future!
  5. For next year – Buy your Halloween costume the day after Halloween
    One of my best friends used to work at Party City and I happened to visit her one year right after Halloween. I couldn’t believe my eyes. Costumes that were retailing for $40+ before Halloween were well under $10 as soon as the holiday was over. I picked up my costume for next year, saved it, and didn’t have to give Halloween a further thought afterwards.Besides stores like Party City, check out seasonal Halloween stores that pop up for a few months and need to liquidate their remaining merchandise after the Halloween season is over.

Here are just a few ideas for keeping costs down when it’s time for Halloween.

What are some good tips I missed? Are you doing anything thrifty for Halloween this year? Share in the comments!

chicago cheap ass
Life, Shopping,

Stop Spending so Much Money Online Shopping

While most of this blog focuses on Chicago deals and happenings, I wanted to take a step back and focus on deals in general. Or rather, shopping. Of the online variety. If you think my deal-scouting abilities can be contained within just one city, I’m about to blow you away.

Here’s my 5 step process to online shopping:

1. Get a credit card that rewards you.

I have 5 credit/debit cards in my wallet:

  • Chase Credit Card with Amazon Rewards
  • Victoria’s Secret Credit Card
  • Chase Debit Card
  • American Express Blue Cash Everyday Rewards Credit Card
  • Target Debit Card

Each one gives me specific benefits (minus the chase debit card, which is really just an ATM card). I won’t go into too much detail in this article, but if you’re not getting rewarded for your spending, you’re leaving money on the table. Just don’t become the type of person who uses their credit card as an excuse to spend more than you have. I never carry a balance more than I can easily pay off.

2. Check RetailMeNot for a coupon code and sign up for the retailer’s email newsletter

RetailMeNot Screenshot

RetailMeNot Screenshot

Here’s two easy opportunities to save big. RetailMeNot is a website that aggregates sales and promo codes from thousands of popular online retailers. As far as I’m concerned, if the promo isn’t on RetailMeNot, it doesn’t exist. Furthermore, many popular online retailers offer first time buyer promo codes between 10-25% off. Sign up for their online newsletters! You can always unsubscribe if you don’t want email spam. Or create a separate junk email account specifically for promotions and email signups.

On another note, if you have a favorite brand, Know their sales. Just like Victoria’s Secret has their popular semi-annual sales events, so does Lululemon and Athleta, who are otherwise notorious for almost never discounting their products. I found out about both by signing up for their email newsletters!

3. Activate cash back through Ebates

Ebates Screenshot

Ebates Screenshot

Ebates is not the easiest concept to explain, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t give it a try. Here’s the gist: You create an Ebates account and automatically get a $10 bonus giftcard. You enter your shipping address as part of your profile, because Ebates is going to send you a Big Fat Check when all is said and done. The next step is a habit you need to create. Before you purchase something online, you need to go to the Ebates website (Or install their browser extension to get a reminder whenever you’re on a partner’s ecommerce website). You click a button to activate getting cash back. Most participating websites offer 3-6% back, but frequently there are “double cash back” days. That cash comes back to you in the aforementioned Big Fat Check periodically, which is every 2 months or so. I just got one worth $140, after buying a Groupon Getaway by activating the Ebates cash back.

Sign up for Ebates by clicking this link!

4. Price compare on Amazon

I don’t think anyone will argue with me about the fact that Amazon is a great one-stop-shop for deals. Whenever I’ve got my eye on a popular product, I always use the Amazon app or website to find the best price. Here are a few additional tools to find the lowest price through Amazon:

Furthermore, depending on the product, consider buying from the “used” section on Amazon. If there’s a book I’ve got my eye on, this is often the lowest-price acquisition strategy.

5. Before you make a purchase, buy a discounted gift card through Raise

Raise Screenshot

Raise Screenshot

Raise is a gift card reselling marketplace that was founded by a Chicagoan! While there are other lookalike gift card reselling marketplaces online, Raise is my favorite because it’s so easy to use. While it’s a great resource for reselling a gift card you don’t want (helloooooo Christmas presents), for the purpose of this article, let’s focus on it’s value in cutting down your online shopping bills. Once your shopping cart is full, find a gift card that covers the value of your purchase. That’s why it’s important that you save this step for last. You can usually save at least $10 by ending your online shopping experience with Raise.

Online shopping is one of my favorite activities, and by using this 5 step process, I have more money to play with in the rest of my life.

Did I miss any steps? Let me know your online shopping secrets in the comments!