Friday, February 26, 2010

30%-75% off at Macy's on Feb 27

I am rockin' a pair of baby pink jeans made of the softest fabric that scintillates ever so brightly decked with decorative buttons and fancy curlicues.

If that doesn't tickle your fancy, then check out how much I got it for.

$7. Original price? $36.

I know, I know. So maybe you wouldn't even dare accept this cutesy atrocity as a gift. But hey, it was preview day sale at Macy's today and flashy pink jeans aside, their deals will really knock your socks off.

Sale runs from 9am-11pm tomorrow.

Good night, my sinfully stingy San Diegans.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

affordable 7-hour day spa retreat for $318 in San Diego (or 5 1/2 hours for $225)

I scoured the ends of the earth (or San Diego, for that matter) for a day spa package that does not necessitate a month-long pledge of poverty. I stumbled upon interesting finds along the way. IPBS, for example, offers a two-hour massage for $110 (with a $10 off coupon found in the San Diego Reader). Anatomy Day Spa offers a 20% discount for 4 hour-long treatments (although the reviews weren't consistently spectacular).

My reconnaissance mission came to a conclusion when I unearthed what could possibly be the best day spa package San Diego has to offer. I was completely sold by its ridiculously low price and glowing reviews. Trusty ol' yelpers gave A Better Body Salon and Day Spa at Clairemont 4 1/2 out of 5 stars (based on 15 reviews).

So I was torn between the two: A Day For You (European Facial, 1 1/2 hour Massage, Body Scrub, Manicure, Pedicure for a total of 5 1/2 hours) for $250 minus the 15% discount if you hail from the male persuasion = $225. Not bad. Based on extensive research, a 5-hour spa package typically costs $450.

For the month of March, they are offering a 15% discount to male clients. I ended up booking a surprise 7-hour day spa retreat for my husband (it's his birthday) for $318 ($370 minus the 15% discount) which includes:

Deluxe facial - 1 1/2 hours, includes massage
2-hour massage - Choices are deep tissue, pregnancy (well he does have a slightly swollen belly heheh), table thai, swedish, refloxology, variety of oriental modalities (whatever that means)
Body Wrap - Essential Oil (probably smells good so I'll pick this for him), Fungo Mud (eeww), Contouring Body Wrap or Rosemud
Body Scrub - Pineapple and Cornmeal, Dead Seasalt or Seasonal Glo (depends on the season I guess?)
Manicure and Pedicure - includes paraffin soak and massage

$318 for a 7-hour massage!? That would've typically amounted to $700. How's that for a great deal? The bargain hunter strikes again! Hiiyyaaah!

(Plus, he'll have to top that gift, so I can't wait for our anniversary!)

Thursday, February 18, 2010

from san diego to asia on an empty pocket (survival not guaranteed)

Itching to fulfill an exotic Asian getaway to Japan? Desperate times call for desperate measures. Google Map suggests paddling 3,800 miles across the Pacific Ocean en route to Tokyo.

Even I'm not THAT stingy.

Monday, February 15, 2010

50% off at 39 museums in San Diego County

Care to see skeletons of giant sloths towering 15 feet on hind legs that once waddled around the Borrego desert ?

Dare to explore the realm of the morbid and the arcane, like, say, Egyptian mummies and shrunken heads?

Bask in the cerebral joys of museum wanderlust for the entire month of February is Museum Month in San Diego! Get half-off on admission tickets at 39 participating museums in San Diego County with a free museum month pass available at Macy's (no purchase necessary). Drag (lasso, if necessary) up to three friends along and they get half-off too.

Museum Month 2010. Because an insatiable appetite for learning is a burden no wallet should bear. =)

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Indulge in the pleasures of the flesh for $54 -- 60% off original price! (It's a couples massage, silly).

I am a reformed spa junkie. I was born and raised in the heart of a busy metropolis in the tropics where spas are as common as Mexican restaurants in San Diego. But here in the land of milk and honey, where coffee is often ordered to go and doing nothing is NOT an important part of living (booooo!), a body massage is about the cost of a month's worth of groceries. While the drama queen in me languished for a luxury beyond her reach, the bargain hunter kept an eye out for manna to fall from heaven. (It pays to have a split personality). So I need not elaborate why an ear-piercing squeal sent the dogs in my street on a howling frenzy at exactly one o'clock in the afternoon when I received this coupon in my e-mail.

Now here's the catch -- as I write this blog, I only have about 10 hours left to avail of this promo by purchasing it online. And the only way for YOU to avail of this amazing offer is if I send you a referral through email (yes, even the great and omniscient google is not privy to this conspiracy). Since the size of my online flock currently amounts to none, I am shamelessly dangling this carrot to any salivating cyber passer-by.

Here's what makes it funner. It's a 45-minute massage for each couple and you don't take it at the same time. While one is indulging in the pleasures of the flesh (not THAT kind) , the other observes and takes part in hands-on learning. Then you switch places. So it's not just a flop on the table and try not to snooze kind. You and your better/lesser half get a massage AND bring the magic fingers home with you.

(I've been trying to learn massage methods by reading up a lot on the subject, but these manuals should ideally supplement practical training. So this is a must-have for anyone who wants to use soft tissue manipulation to subdue a cranky and exhausted subordinate. What the professional masseuse will teach you in particular is the Swedish technique, which uses long and flowing strokes for a gentle and relaxing body massage.)

This spa facility in San Diego has had rave reviews so far and is on the $$ side. So if you want to avail of this amazing deal, let me know so I can send you an invitation/referral BEFORE TIME RUNS OUT!!! More importantly, begging for my blessing will uplift my downtrodden spirit so consider it an act of charity. It's nice to know that at least my blog is of use to someone out there.

Oh the drama of being me.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

dirt cheap bites the dust

I used to think that buying cheap, generic products at discount stores saves me more money in the long run. But once I started scouting for discounted items at specialty retail stores, I replenished my supplies less frequently and hence, saved a whole lot more. If the discounted item is still more expensive than its generic counterpart, I permit the occasional splurge on the following conditions: (1) if the likelihood that this product will ever go on sale again is comparable to how often my husband remembers to put the toilet seat down, and (2) if quality and longevity outweigh the price.

Cases in point:

$16 shaving cream from Body Shop (bought on sale at $4). My husband has been using this cream for – I kid you not -- a year and a half, and he still has about a quarter leftover! Plus, he shaves everyday. The cream is so rich and potent that a little goes a long way.

Lush Cosmetics Shampoo Bar – Prices range from $7.95 to $9.95. I am a huge fan of Lush Cosmetics. I purchase their products online or make a daytrip to Anaheim on special occasions. Their solid shampoo bars may cost a wee bit higher than drugstore brands, but it does wonders for my hair. A bar of solid shampoo lasts me 4 months (and counting) compared to a bottle of shampoo that lasts 3-4 weeks on my medium-length hair. A quick rub on the scalp (which shouldn’t take more than 3 seconds) creates just enough foam to shape your hair like Astroboy’s (or any other quirky character with weird hair).

$80 hiking shoes bought on sale for $30 at Sports Authority. When it comes to shoes, comfort and durability reign supreme. Price and style, a close second. I've learned my lesson twice. I once bought a pair of cheap rubber shoes for my husband and a few months later, the outsole ripped apart while he was walking! A heel once came off my leather shoe while I was sight-seeing at the park and I had to ask a brawny passerby to rip the heel off my other shoe to even my height out. Its short life expectancy didn't bother me as much as the dramatic and untimely way these dirt cheap shoes exhausted their mortal span.

The key is knowing when bashful deals come out of hiding, and that will be the subject of another post. Sometimes, all it takes is to prowl specialty retail stores known for upholding respectable quality standards for deals that prefer to keep their existence under wraps.

Next week, I’ll be filling you in on a great way to make that welcome transition from loyal window shopper to bargain hunter!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

books upon books upon books upon books

I dedicate this post to bookworms constantly on the prowl for a good read armed with nothing but a heavy wallet bursting with pocket change. I have a soft spot in my heart for bookworms on a budget. So drop those cereal boxes and follow my lead. Time to stock your library with books upon books upon books.

Living in the world of the written word does not come cheap. I used to spend an hour reading book reviews online before heading to Borders. Parting with your money to buy a book only to realize halfway through that it is not to your liking is painful, annoying and downright appalling. Borrowing books from the public library is a good alternative, but if, like me, you are often oblivious to the passage of time and on intimate terms with “overdue fine”, you might want to spare yourself the trouble.

I am an advocate of independent bookstores – home of great reads, used books, low prices and fascinating shopkeepers with a voracious appetite for reading and whose heartfelt recommendations do not sound eerily like the NY times bestseller list. But if your meager resources border on absurd, head back to the library and binge your budget on an eclectic collection of obscure titles, rare finds commercially out-of-print, and popular reads of a bygone era.

As you enter public libraries in San Diego, you will oftentimes find a haphazardly stocked bookshelf by the door with a box encouraging you to “Make Any Donation You’d Like!" My favorite is the South Chula Vista library where I’ve unearthed books of different genres from the 40s to the early 21st century that I never even knew existed. And these books are anything but ordinary.

If you’re looking for a little-known book that makes you go “woooow”, the kind of book that you spend a few minutes contemplating about after finishing it with a relish while trying to unhinge yourself from the suspension of disbelief with much difficulty (whew!) – then this is the place for you. The librarian hath spoken and the suggested courtesy donation of acquiring these books is 25 cents for paperback and a dollar for hardbound. It’s an honor system, really, and we bookworms are men and women of honor. This is our just reward.