June 1, 2015
by Sara
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Hello, Fresh.


Beauty and a Budget blog

As you know, subscription-based services are all the rage right now. You know the ones – you sign up and a box of (insert exciting items here!) magically arrives at your doorstep regularly. From wine to clothing to kids activities and beyond, it seems like there’s literally a box for everything these days. I recently received some information on a brand new service called Hello Fresh, which delivers “farm fresh” pre-portioned ingredients with tested recipes so you look like a gourmet chef on a weekly basis. Pretty cool, right? If you want to give it a try (like I plan to do), here are some promo codes valid for 3 free meals. Once I try it out I’ll come back and post about my experience. If you use one of the codes, please come back and comment on your experience as well. Happy cooking!

Promo Codes (valid for one-time use, so hurry!)


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February 13, 2015
by Sara
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Etsy For Less + Giveaway!

Etsy - Beauty and a Budget

If you’re like me, you love Etsy but either a) get overwhelmed by all the options or b) feel like many things are overpriced – and then you have to add shipping. Or in my case, both of these. However, I’ve been able to find some pretty good deals by getting creative in my buying practices on the site. Here are some quick tips to finding a good deal on Etsy:

1) Negotiate. Who knew you could negotiate on those prices? I recently bought a beautiful vintage side table for half the asking price just by simply letting them know my budget. Chances are if they’ve had the item for a while, they’ll be willing to work with you.

2) Ship it cheaper. Don’t be afraid to ask about other shipping options if the shipping cost seems too high to make the purchase worth it. Larger items can be shipped via Greyhound for cheaper than other freight options – I’ve saved up to 30% on shipping this way.

3) Shop Local. If you don’t want to pay for shipping at all, click the “Shop Local” button to narrow down the location and pick it up in person.

4) Shop in Person. Did you know that you can find out what local events Etsy sellers will be at? Just click “Shop in Person” to find events – it’s also a great way to find local markets and events that you might not know about.

In honor of my Etsy post, a dear friend has agreed to do a giveaway from her Etsy store. And conveniently, she’s got geat prices on her handmade items, so its a win win! She’s offering one lucky random winner a handmade set of soap and lotion bars in your choice of scent. Visit her store at EveryDaylilyDesign and comment on this post with your email address to be entered to win. Winner announced February 27th, so check back to see if you’ve won!


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October 30, 2014
by Sara
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Halloween Freebies

Halloween – one of my favorite holidays, and not for obvious reasons. Actually, it’s the day AFTER Halloween that I love so much, because all the candy is 1/2 price. :) Seriously, I have a reminder set on my phone so I don’t forget. The things I do for chocolate.

But I digress. This year, there’s a bunch of freebies on Halloween, so I thought I’d give a quick rundown so you can take advantage of them.

1) Krispy Kreme: Get a free doughnut when you stop by in your costume on Halloween.

2) Outback Steakhouse: Free kids meal with adult entree purchase. Just mention the offer!

3)Carabba’s: Free kids meal with adult entree purchase through Nov 3rd 3pm-close. Again,seems like you just have to mention the offer.

4) Sonic: This one’s not completely free, but who can pass it up? 50cents corn dogs all day on Halloween. Whoop woop!

5)IHOP: Free scary face pancake for all kids 12 and under on Halloween. Just ask for it!

Got any other freebie tips for Halloween? Would love to hear them!


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October 10, 2014
by Sara
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Newest Obsession: Nordstrom Rack

Nordstrom Rack - Beauty and a Budget

Nashville ladies – unless you’ve been living under a rock lately, you know that we finally have a Nordstrom Rack in town! I’ve been waiting for this moment, a great place to buy quality, designer clothing for a fraction of the regular price. It’s been open for less than a week and I’ve already been there twice. :) Here are a few tips for maximizing your Rack experience.

1) Head to the back. Look for the “Clear the Rack” signs to find the best prices. They almost always have at least a few racks full of clearance stuff in an array of sizes.

2) Watch the wallet. Just because its at the Rack doesn’t mean its a great deal. So that $1000 dress is marked down to $495 – do you really need it? That’s still a LOT of cash, so don’t get too emotional about a discount.

3) Avoid the front register. The lines tend to be really long at the front registers, so find a kiosk throughout the store and they can check you out much quicker than at the front.

Not in Nashville? Find a Rack near you at https://www.nordstromrack.com/nrstorelocator

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September 13, 2014
by Sara
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Death by Cable Bill (Round 2).



If you’re a Facebook fan (www.facebook.com/BeautyandaBudget), then you know I promised to share my secret to how I lowered my cable bill by $20 a month a few days ago. And kept all the same channels plus a little more. It’s a yearly ritual for me and I blogged about it around this same time last year. Since I’ve got so many new readers, I thought it was worth sharing again, so here’s the link: Death by Cable Bill.

You can thank me later. ;-)

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August 22, 2014
by Sara
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Quick Tip: Shop Smart, Save Time

Ever wish there was one central place to find the best deals and store specials? Check out Istorez.com, a free online shopping site that helps you shop smart. They’ve even got an app to make shopping smart that much easier.

Got a quick tip? Email me at sara@beautyandabudget.com.

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August 11, 2014
by Sara
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National S’Mores Day (1 day late…..)

Okay, so if you forgot (like I did) that yesterday was National S’Mores Day, I’m giving you a reason to celebrate. Better late to the party than not at all, right? And seriously, we could all use another reason to eat s’mores. I love a good campfire, but I’m not always patient enough to build one so I came up with this easy, ooey-gooey recipe made right in your toaster oven.

I used mini chocolate chips – just push a hole into the top of the marshmallow and insert the chips. Toast until the marshmallow starts to puff and slightly brown on the top – but don’t toast too long…..I’ve learned the hard way that the marshmallows will completely flatten and become IMPOSSIBLE to clean!

Happy (late) National S’Mores Day!

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July 8, 2014
by Sara
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Free Food Week: Chic-Fil-A, Krispy Kreme, and more…

Photo: Krispy Kreme

Photo: Krispy Kreme

There’s a lot of free/close-to-free food happening this week. I think I might just have to take Friday off to have time to partake in it all. ;-) Here’s the list.

1) IHOP 56th Anniversary: Get a short stack for just 56 cents TODAY (!) to celebrate IHOP’s 56th anniversary.

1) Cow Appreciation Day at Chic-Fil-A: On Friday 7/11, wear a cow costume and get a free meal. Not sure its worth the effort (or public humiliation) for a free sandwich and fries. But heck, if you are “partially dressed” like a cow you get a free entrée…..so stick on some cow ears and let’s do this.

2) Free Slurpee Day: 7/11 is a special day at 7-Eleven, for obvious reasons. If you’ve got one near you, stop by for a free Slurpee from 11am – 7pm. They are actually doing freebies everyday through July 19th, check out details at https://www.7-eleven.com/7-Eleven-Day.

3) Free donuts at Krispy Kreme: If you haven’t had enough sugar, purchase a dozen donuts on 7/11 and get another dozen for 77 cents in honor of Krispy Kreme’s 77th Anniversary.

Happy free food week!



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July 2, 2014
by Sara
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Hotel Loyalty Programs: Which one is best?

Beauty and a budget, budget blog

Photo: Hyatt Hotels

In the height of vacation season, what better time than now to review the best hotel loyalty programs. I’ve expressed my love for Hotels.com in a previous post (located here), but there are other great programs as well. Rather than reinvent the wheel, I thought I’d share Smarter Travel’s extensive research. Did your favorite chain make the list? The quick list is below (in no particular order) - get all the details by following this link to SmarterTravel.com.
- Choice Privileges
- Hilton HHonors
- Hyatt Gold Passport
- IHG Rewards Club
- Best Western
- Marriott Rewards
- Starwood Preferred Guest
- Wyndham Rewards

Here’s to earning rewards this holiday weekend. Happy 4th!

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May 31, 2014
by Sara

Better than Bouillon: Easy Recipes & Giveaway!

I recently partnered with a brand I absolutely love and have written about before – Better Than Bouillon. Their concentrated paste bases are a staple in my kitchen and I’ve shared my Chicken Noodle Soup on the blog before (with the tastiest, easiest chicken stock you’ll ever make!). This time around, they sent me some of their unique flavors and I’m sharing some of my ideas to perk up your mealtime.

I’m also giving away some Better Than Bouillon jars so you can try them for free. Just comment on this post and you’re automatically entered to win – I’ll randomly pick 3 lucky winners on June 15th and each person will win 3 jars of their choice!

Lobster sauce

Lobster Sauce
(makes 6 servings)
1/2 cup half & half
1/4 cup water
1/2 tbsp flour
3/4 tbsp Better than Bouillon Lobster base

Mix all ingredients together over medium heat and stir constantly for about 5 minutes or until sauce thickens. Serve with your favorite steak (mine is a grilled filet from the family farm!). Voila, fancy pants!


Fish Fajita Tacos
(makes 4 tacos, so double/triple it if you need more)
2 Tilapia filets
4 soft corn tortillas, heated with olive oil on a skillet and set aside
Red, orange, and yellow bell peppers (2 large or 8 mini’s)
1/2 tbsp Better Than Bouillon chili base + a little more for the filets
Olive oil
Plain greek yogurt
Fresh guacamole
Diced tomatoes

Place two filets on a piece of tin foil greased lightly with oil. Cover filets with a light coating of chili base and fold the foil into a boat shape, sealing at the top. Cook on the grill until filets are done.
In a heated skillet, add olive oil, peppers, and Better Than Bouillon chili base and sautee, stirring regularly. Pull off the heat.
Plate corn tortillas with tilapia filets and top with peppers. Add plain greek yogurt (a great tasting, healthy substitute for sour cream), fresh guacamole, and diced tomatoes.

Easy-peezy huh? Don’t forget to comment on this post for your chance to win some Better Than Bouillon jars to create your own flavors!




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