Lego Store September Mini Build

Tragedy has struck our household. The girls’ beloved pet fish, “King Betta” passed away yesterday afternoon. He was a good first pet, though a bit nonchalant in his affections. Despite that, he will be greatly missed. Mini sobbed uncontrollably yesterday. It was absolutely heartbreaking. We tried to comfort her as best as we could, but she was inconsolable for the longest time. Mini would cry for a few minutes, calm down a little later and as soon as she seemed to be okay, she’d notice in the corner of her eye his bowl and start sobbing all over again. She would then calm down again and then notice the thermometer and measuring cup we used for his bowl. The tears streamed down her face. Unfortunately, we weren’t fast enough to gather all his things in one fell swoop. She finally cried till she fell asleep. Rest in peace, dear King.

King Betta at home

I want to give her time and space to grieve for her fish, but I’m unsure dwelling on his death all day would be helpful for her. So I’m considering this…

Today, September 2, at 5:00 pm Lego stores across the country are offering their FREE mini build (till quantities last). This could be the perfect distraction. It’s something I think she would enjoy.

Last time we participated in this event, we arrived 15 minutes early and still had to wait an additional 30 minutes before we were motioned into the store for the build. For many kids, school recently has started and the weather is still warm so lines may not be as long as my previous experience. That’s just my guess, though. For us, we may try to get there half and hour early to be on the safe side. We’ll see how today goes, how both girls are doing, especially in light of yesterday.

This month’s mini build is a Lego Racing Plane, maybe? The Lego Store has advertised it as being this plane for the past two months or so. The pic is included in the September Lego Store newsletter and is listed under Store News & Events (published June 30). However, on the Mini Build page, it shows September’s build as a pirate with a wooden leg. A plane, I think, would pique my girls’ interests, but a pirate, maybe not so much. You may want to inquire which one is the real build if you believe your child may be interested in one and not the other.  Perhaps, too, if you’re planning on calling, a store associate would have greater insight as to the timing of the line. This Lego Event is open to children ages 6-14. In my experience, most stores seem to be lenient on the age restriction. Your mileage may vary.

LEGO September Mini Build

Here’s hoping it’s the Racing Plane…

Lego Pirate with Wooden Leg
And not the pirate with wooden leg.


Has your family experienced the death of a pet? Any advice? Did you find it was helpful to give your kids some distraction or would you recommend letting your kids cry without interference and take as much time as they need?

Classy Gym Class Attire

Parents’ Magazine August 2014 issue, “Should You Let Her Quit?” Photograph by Priscilla Gragg


When I saw this pic from Parents Magazine, I thought how great would this be for a relaxed, yet slightly hipper gym look. Twice each week, for days where Mini has gym and art, I like being able to give her options that are easy, relaxed, more sweatpants-like and reasonably priced. There were a number of times last year when she’d return home with clothing with spatters of paint, glue, or marker that was supposedly washable but didn’t quite completely come out with the wash. It’s a tall order for a put-together look, I know, and for this reason they tend to be on the sloppier side.  Cue the graphic tees and sweatpants galore! So I was really excited to see a sweats look paired with a button-down, because I’ve never seen nor thought of doing that before!

So I’ve re-created the look here:

Dressy Gym Class

Button-Down: Old Navy’s Girls Plaid Flannel Shirt in Pink Plaid
Short-Sleeve Sweatshirt: Old Navy’s Girls Terry-Fleece Tee in Proton Pink Neon
Hair Accessories: Carter’s 6-Pack Pony Holders
Sunglasses: Janie and Jack’s Chevron Sunglasses in Rosy Pink Stripe
Shorts: Gap’s Gym Bermuda Shorts in Navy
Socks: Gymboree’s Pencil Knee Socks
Shoes: H&M’s Patterned Sneakers in Gray

Many of these items have already been marked down. Combined with current Labor Day sale, this can definitely fit the bill. Easy, relaxed, reasonably priced and put-together. Check, check, and double check.

Here’s the rundown of current sales from stores I’ve listed above:

Old Navy: everything up to 50% off in stores and online expires 9/1

Carter’s: Online Code-LABORDAY extra 25% off of purchases $50+ purchases exclusions apply, In-store Carter’s Rewards-Get $10 for every $40 spent

Janie and Jack: Additional 20% off sale

Gap: everything up to 40% off expires 9/1, Earn GapCash-Get $25 for every $50 you spend now thru 9/1

Gymboree: 40% off everything with savings up to 70%, check your inboxes if you subscribe for an individual 20% off coupon on your entire purchase expires 9/1

H&M: Labor Day Deals from $4.95 until 9/1

Do your kids wear anything particular when they have gym or art class? Do you have any items or tricks you add to class up those comfy clothes?

Back To School First Day Fashion

I wish I was one of those mamas where the transition back to school was easy. But change, at least for me, is never easy no matter how miniscule. Despite a few complications (DH i.e. Dear Husband out of town for a work thing, school posting class lists the Friday afternoon before school started on Monday, school supply lists given on the first day of school), the first day of school was A SUCCESS. Mini had a wonderful day even though she was “a little nervous” and is eager for what the rest of the year will hold.

For me, previous years I’d agonize days beforehand worrying about the big stuff like, “Will she be able to make new friends? Will she be able to stay in step with the rest of the kids who are mostly older? Will she know how to ask for help?” to the little that would still equally stress me out. “What clothes should she wear? Does this seem too fancy? Is this special enough? Is she going to be too cold? Or maybe she’ll get too hot.  How should I do her hair? Is her backpack big enough so all her stuff doesn’t get smashed down?” I know. I know. My brain is like a rat spinning on a wheel, only it’s out of control. Thankfully, I have a husband who’s able to help me rein it in and I pray A LOT. This is the low-key version. Trust me, you don’t want to see what the actual version is like. And honestly, this year I actually made it easier on myself. Sort of. This is what she wore:

Naartjie Kids BTS 1st day

Dress:  Naartjie Kids Mixed Print Cap Sleeve Dress in Tilly
Hair Accessories: Goody Ouchless Polybands Elastics, Multi Size, 250 ct.
Leggings: Children’s Place Lace-Trimmed Capri Leggings in White
Socks: Gymboree Bow Ankle Socks in Brilliant Rose
Shoes: Sears Joe Boxer Girl’s Amelia Glitter Canvas Slip-On Shoe

Planning THE outfit was easy since I thought Mini could wear the matching leggings also from Naartjie (a perfect set!) only to realize that it would be a really hot day. So we switched it up with the white capri lace leggings from Children’s Place instead. I should note that the color of this Naartjie Kids dress is much brighter, the shade of pink a lighter pink in real life than what is on screen. I’ve taken a pic that will hopefully show the difference between the stock pic and how it shows up in real life.

Naartjie Kids Mixed Print Cap Sleeve Dress Close-Up

And the socks aren’t an exact match since the ones we own aren’t available online. Same style, similar color, with the one pictured a bit brighter. For the shoes, we’ve owned them for awhile now. I like that these silver Toms-look-a-like-slip-ons are fancier than a typical casual shoe, but they work for recess as well. Who wants to sit out of recess because their shoes are uncomfortable or too nice to get dirty? They do run wide so if you have a chance to try them on before purchasing, definitely check in store.

Stores are starting their Labor Day sales early with many of them already announcing their mark-downs!

Here’s the run-down of current sales from the stores I’ve listed above:

Naartjie Kids: additional 30% off clearance (online prices reflect final discount), expires 9/1

Amazon: 50-70% Labor Day Savings on Kids’ Clothing, Shoes, and more only on select styles

Children’s Place: Online Code-LABORDAY2 25% off expires 8/31, free shipping on all orders TODAY only, earn Place Cash-get $10 off your purchase of $20+ expires 9/1

Gymboree: 40% off everything with savings up to 70%, sign up for their list and receive 20% off a purchase of $50+ coupon

Sears: up to 50% off school fashion, Online code-BTS20 extra 20% off

Are you the kind of mama who’s excited, carefree and believe getting ready for school to start is really fun? Or are you like me, tend to worry and mull over the details of what it all entails? And of course, what is your mini wearing for the first day of school?

Style for Less: Spring Into Fall

The first time I saw the Mini Boden catalog I knew I was gonna be in trouble. Why? Because deep down inside I knew that there was no way these cute, stylish clothes could possibly be within my monthly clothing budget for the girls. And you know what, when I looked at the tiny print at the bottom that corresponded to the chic styles, I saw that I was indeed right! Even if I purchased one of those rare, coveted Rue La La vouchers for $50 of Mini Boden clothing for $35, I knew it’d still be too high of a price tag for what I actually needed to buy for my kids. Then, of course, come the excuses. “They really are well-made and are definitely durable enough to last more than one kid. I mean quality has a high price tag. The re-sale value is great, just check completed eBay listings. Mini Boden re-sale is through the roof!” But (and there’s always a big BUT for me when it comes to this tier of children’s clothing) I don’t want to be THAT MOM constantly wagging my finger at my kids about not getting stains on their clothes because, “Do you want to ruin it for your sister” or “It’s gonna lower re-sale value.” Yes. I said it. Though, I’d try to never say this in front of them, it’d definitely be what I was thinking. Admit it. You thought it, too. I want to let my kids PLAY.  If their clothes get messed up because Mini or Li’l fell down or because, “It’s art class,” it’ll actually BE okay ’cause the clothes I bought won’t break the bank. Who has the time and energy to create their own eBay storefront anyway? Hmmm… maybe someday. So what is a Mom who loves Mini Boden gonna do? Hopefully, find some inspired pieces like this:

Inspired by Mini Boden

Fancy (All Mini Boden)
Top: Hotchpotch T-shirt $30
Vest: Cosy Vest $38
Pants: Heart Patch Pants $42
Shoes: Canvas High Tops $60
Total: $170

Mini Boden offers a  20% off code to their customers often enough that paying full price is usually not necessary. With that in mind,  the total for this outfit would be $136. Additionally, if you were one of the lucky few to snag the Rue La La voucher, the total would still be $121 after coupons and codes. Otherwise, you’d have to wait till sale and hope that none of the items sell out.

Top: JCPenney’s Okie Dokie Long-Sleeve Mixed Print Tee $5.99
Vest: H&M’s Pile Vest $24.95
Pants: Kohl’s Jumping Beans Heart Pants $8.99
Shoes: Carter’s Chambray Print Sneakers $16.99
Total: $56.92

The total for the savvy outfit doesn’t even include potential codes from these brands. The prices are based on current listed prices. Combined with coupons and codes the savvy outfit could be even more affordable.

Here’s the run-down of current sales from the stores I’ve listed above.

Mini Boden: Sign up for their email list and receive their current catalog. A 20% code will be listed on the back using your catalog number.

JCPenney: Online code-GOBUYIT 20% off with JCPenney card, 15% off non-cardholders using, expires 8/24

H&M: Currently there are no online codes, Sign up for their newsletter and receive 20% off 1 item of your choice

Kohl’s: Online codes-MARCHING if spending $100 or more, save 20%//BAND if spending under $100, save 15%//for every $50 spent, receive $10 in Kohl’s Cash expires 8/27

Carter’s: Online code-JPDM205 20% off a purchase of $40+, exclusions apply

Florals seem to be everywhere including at Mini Boden, Gap Kids, H&M and Carters to name a few. Funny thing is, it IS fall, right? I don’t know if it’s because last winter felt long, but this trend seems to be here for Fall 2014. What do you think of it? Do you like flowers in fall or are they only meant for spring?

Deal of the Day: Sweets Lunch Punch Sandwich Cutters

With the beginning of school soon upon us, I’ve been frantically running around buying the last few items to get ready. One of the biggest things is Mini starting this year as a “grader.” What does that mean? It means no longer having lunch at home with mommy, but at school WITH THE BIG KIDS. To make it fun for the both of us, we’ve been talking about making her lunches together. I don’t want to get carried away with the accessories (at least not at the beginning) so I’ve been looking for deals here and there. Along with the free Kitchen Buddies silicone cups, I found these sandwich cutters that I think Mini will love. They’ll be a great addition, if not for sandwiches in the long run, it’ll be a nice addition for making cookies. Who couldn’t use more cookie cutters, right?  Pottery Barn Kids is offering these cutters for $5 with free shipping instead of $15. Amazon has the same cutters for $14.50. I’m not sure how much longer these will be in stock, so if you’re interested I’d snap them up right away.

Sweets Lunch Punch Sandwich Cutters

Shapes included are a cupcake, birthday cake, gum ball machine, and ice cream cones.  Amazon includes 5 reviews of these  cutters.  One reviewer noted that it’s a little tricky punching out the sandwich out of the smaller holes, a small tool of some sort would’ve been helpful to pry the sandwich out. Other sandwich cutter sets, specifically bento ones, may include this type of tool, though I think a toothpick, thin spatula or chopstick would do. With these types of cutters, I’ve also read it’s helpful to use bread that’s smooth and soft instead of breads that are grainy, include large seeds, etc. If all else fails, try slightly heating the bread in the microwave to make it easier to cut out.

Do you have any favorite bento accessories you wish you bought from the start?

Deal of the Day: Kitchen Buddies Silicone Baking Cups

The first day of school is coming soon.  TOO SOON! That being said, we’ve been getting ready with deciding first day of school outfits, searching through Pinterest for ideas for what to pack for lunch (first time eating lunch at school!), printables  for that first day photo shoot, and ideas for gorgeous hair. I’m really liking the idea of packing bento lunches for my Mini, but am a bit intimidated by the whole thing.  We’re gonna take it easy and do a few to see how realistic it is to do this. This morning I began searching for bento accessories. Well, lo, and behold, Amazon came to the rescue because as I was searching I randomly found this great deal-a set of 12 Kitchen Buddies Silicone Baking Cups for FREE, if you have Amazon prime. Better yet, if you choose slower shipping you’ll also be able to get a $1 Amazon Video Credit for free as well.  Here are the details:

Just click on the link: Kitchen Buddies Silicone Baking Cups on Amazon

Kitchen Buddies Top Quality Silicone Baking Cups • Set of 12 • Standard Size • Nonstick Cupcake Molds / Liners • Lifetime Replacement Guarantee • FDA Approved & BPA Free • Go Paperless With Your Bakeware Supplies • Storage Container With 6 Vivid Colors

Add in the code: TNX5SUOG at checkout.

Will you be trying Bento Box Lunches this year? Any tips or tricks you’d like to share?

Owls on the brain

Gymboree Outlet recently released their version of the Bright Owl 2013 retail collection. Often times, the outlet versions tend to leave out many of the appliqués or additional details and use thinner, less substantial fabrics.  However, I’ve heard that for this particular collection, the re-makes are done well with fewer tweaks than previous collections, including a few special made-for-outlet pieces that are great additions. This collection is actually so well done that it has been flying off the shelves, so if you are interested in buying these particular pieces, please call your outlet ahead of time to make sure they are in stock.  I know I’ll have to be doing this as well since the outlets are a decent ways away. Don’t forget to bring a 20% off coupon with you. (Get one through signing up for their email subscribe list on the bottom of the homepage, Parents magazine, or using the Gymboree reward members only subscriber 20% coupon that was recently sent out by email because outlets ARE now accepting those coupons.)

Plus starting this Sunday, August 17th, all of you who may be from Connecticut may be interested to know, or most likely already know that it’s the beginning of tax free week.  This is when clothing and shoes under $300 per item will be sales tax free. So as you can imagine, I’m especially excited and am gearing up for my “plan of attack” on how to spend the kids’ clothing budget for this month wisely.

I’m really hoping that the Gymboree Outlet will still have this outfit in stock:

Gymboree Girl - Bright Owl 8/19/13


The kid girl Bright Owl grey and yellow collection is also available, but those particular colors aren’t the best for us, so I was when I saw this purple and pink owl shirt from Kohl’s I was instantly drawn to it.

Purple & Pink Owl

Hair Accessory: Gymboree Ribbon Streamer Pony Holder in Orchid
Sweatshirt: Naartjie Kids Lace Trimmed Stretch Fleece Hoodie in Ibis
Top: Kohl’s Jumping Beans Owl Tee
Tank: Old Navy Girls Rib-Knit Tank in Brink Pink
Jeans: H&M Slim Jeans
Shoes: H&M Patterned Sneakers in Gray

Hopefully, there will be a number of sales that are coinciding with tax free week.  I’ll give a run-down here of the current sales from stores I’ve listed items from in the above outfit.

Gymboree: Currently everything in store is $14.99 and under through 8/17. This stacks with the 20% coupon from August Parents magazine  - expires 9/30 OR 20% coupon + free shipping + double reward points for members from subscriber email – expires 8/17.

Naartjie Kids: Today only 25% off your entire purchase.  Free shipping $100+.

Kohl’s: Online codes– SAVEBIG30 (30% off for cardholders) OR THANKS4613 (15% off non-cardholders – expires 8/24) stacks with YESKIDS10 ($10 off $10 kids department – expires 8/17) stacks with AUGMVC (free shipping for cardholders – expires 8/17).

Old Navy: Online only: Save 15% or Add a pair of jeans & save 25% – expires 8/16, for redemption: click button (tap to redeem) found near top of homepage.

H&M: Online Code– 2233 (20% kids purchase over $50 – expires 8/19).

Lastly, remember to click through ebates if you’re shopping online.  Every little bit helps.

Will you be shopping during tax free week? Maybe making a special trip to the outlets?

Happy Shopping!

Style for Less

Inspired by HA

I love Hanna Andersson clothing for my girls.  They’re well-made with thick, quality fabrics, colorful and youthful.  Now that my older daughter is getting too big for toddler styles, many options out there tend to style kids her age with a much older sensibility.  She’s still little.  I’m not prepared for her to look like a tween quite yet.  And as much as I love Hanna Andersson, I usually can’t afford it on our budget unless it’s on steep discount.  Plus, their cuter styles tend to sell out including this pretty please fox tee. Though the Carter’s option isn’t exactly the same, it does have a similar feel and, I think, a great savvy pick.

How to wear the Carter’s peachy tee? I put it together with some trendy pieces including printed jeggings and a cargo coat.

Flowery Cargo Cat

Top: Carter’s Shimmer Kitty Tee in Peach $7
Jeggings: Carter’s Floral Stretch Twill Jeggings
Coat: JCPenney’s Joe Fresh Twill Cargo Jacket
Hair Clips: Carter’s 4-pack Patent Snap Clips
Shoes: Sears Joe Boxer Girl’s Amelia Silver Glitter Canvas Slip-On Shoe 

On the topic of style for less, today is JCPenney’s last day for its friends and family sale. So if you’re hoping to snag a cargo coat for your little one you might want to consider the one above. Through the end of the day, save an extra 25% off with online code JCPFRNDS.  Don’t forget ebates. Right now it’s double cash back time with JCPenney at 10%.

Though it’s still eighty degrees out, anyone else thinking back to school and dare I say fall?

Lego Store Monthly Mini Build LEGO Stores

Every first Tuesday of the month starting at 5 pm (till quantities last), Lego stores offer a free mini build for kids between the ages of 6-14. This month kids can build a Lego monkey and take it home for free.  My daughters loves building with Legos.  Just visiting the store to see all the new different sets and playing with some of the bricks in store makes their day.  It’s one of the fun, free activities we love to do while we’re at the mall, especially when it gets cold out. The monthly mini builds are a huge bonus, because who doesn’t like free?

If you’d like to see previous builds, has a page where you can find them here . Below are March, April, and May of this year’s monthly builds.

Lego Store March-May 2014 Monthly Mini Builds


If you missed out on a build, you can find instructions for previous months and many more building instructions for different sets here (just in case you misplaced a booklet or two from other Lego sets). Isn’t the internet awesome for precisely this kind of thing?

(A possible conversation with my daughter. Um, yeah.)
“Mommy do you know where the instructions are for Cinderella’s castle?”
“Aren’t they in your Lego box?”
“No. It’s not there. I can’t find it.”
“Can you build something else instead?”
“Why not?”
“Because I really want to build it now… Can you pleeeease help me build it, like the picture?”
*Cue heroine music*

Simply type in whichever set you’re missing, for example,  “June 2014 monthly mini build,” in the search bar and then choose the correct set from the search results.   Missing pieces from the set?  No problem. Lego makes it easy to buy them (for the most part).  On the left of the same page you’ll run across the menu where Bricks & Pieces are listed.  When you click on it, just type in the set number and it’ll make a shopping list of the bricks that compose the build.  The only problem with this, is that many times the monthly builds will include some unique bricks or pieces that are difficult or impossible to find after the date.  If there is a possible substitute the Bricks & Pieces will list those as well.

As for the age restriction, it really just depends on each individual store.  Some are lenient, allowing younger kids to participate with no questions asked, others not so much. At most stores, including ours, you’re required to do the build in store before taking it home. How long are the lines?  As you might guess, lines tend to be  much shorter in the summer than the winter. So it’s all definitely a your mileage may vary situation.  However, with all that being said, it’s LEGO!  So mark your calendars and get ready for some monkeying around! Sorry for the pun. I really couldn’t help it.  I mean just look at him!


Secrets to shopping GAP on a budget

Gap Kids Collaborations

Back to school fashion already?  Shouldn’t SOMEONE let the stores know that “P.P.S. It’s summer, you know?” Despite this, stores are already moving onto the next season.  I know it maybe a little difficult to make that conscious leap (much like experiencing Christmas during Halloween), but for me it did get me thinking, “If stores are selling fall clothing now, by the time the cold eventually strikes several to many, many months from now, how far will it all be marked down when I actually need it?”  I thought I’d do a series (so stay tuned!) on some tips and tricks that I’ve picked up while cruising through blogs and forums on how to buy from some of my favorite name brand companies that sell cute clothes for kids and their mamas.

One caveat: For Gap, my secrets pertain to buying online. The babyGap and GapKids at my particular mall are both rather on the small side.  With the few visits I’ve made in store, I’ve been disappointed to see how little they had in stock.

That said, here are my tips:

1. Sign up to become a “Bright Insider” aka join their email list. You can find the sign up at the bottom of the homepage at Not only will you receive a 25% off your entire purchase code that can potentially stack with other current sale codes, but now Gap will send you updates on current sales and coupons.

2. Sign up for the credit card. Which card of the 3 brands should you get? The GapCard. Now normally, I’m of the philosophy that retail store credit cards aren’t worth the bother; however I think Gap, specifically, gives decent benefits and rewards for being a cardholder.

  • Initial perks: Get 15% off your first purchase after credit approval and earn up to 2,000 bonus points awarded within two billing cycles.
  • For every $200 spent at any of the Gap Inc. brands, you’ll receive a $10 reward card that can be used in store or online. Reaching $200 becomes much quicker during double or triple points promotions that the brands (Gap, Old Navy, or Banana Republic) sometimes offer .
  • On Tuesdays, you’ll receive 10% off your entire purchase.  The generic online code is TUESDAYS. This promotion usually has many exclusions and often can’t be stacked with other codes.
  • During your birthday month, you’ll receive a 25% off birthday code. This code is generic for each month, so many have been able to use the 25% off code each month and not simply just once a year.
  • For certain promotions, cardholders receive exclusivity benefits such as early access to a sale, higher percentage off, or sometimes sales exclusively for them.
  • For big spenders, you’ll automatically be upgraded to Gap Silver when you spend $800 a year.  The benefits that come with silver only occur after you’ve spent $800 and only last within the calendar year.  Once that year is over, you’ll return to “normal status” and will have to spend the $800 all over again if you want to receive the same perks the next year.  Needless to say, this perk isn’t worth purposely spending $800 a year at Gap brands, but is a nice added bonus if you spend that much. Silver benefits include:
    • Free shipping for all online purchases. Generic code: SILVER or MYCARD
    • A one-time 15% off your entire purchase that can be used anytime.
    • Free basic alterations at Banana Republic.
    • Silver-only offers and shopping events
    • Toll-free silver priority line

3. Stacking, Stacking, Stacking, Stacking, Stacking Coupon Codes. Gap allows you to stack up to 5 coupon codes at a given time. Possible coupon codes to stack are:

  •  Email Sign-up Code or Birthday Code (I believe these can’t be stacked together and have always been either one or the other)
  • $10 reward codes/cards received from spending $200 previously
  • If you’ve reached Silver status, SILVER or MYCARD
  • Customer Service Codes. These are codes potentially given out by customer service if you called/emailed to complain about a problem with a previous order, an item you received order confirmation for ends up being out of stock, or other circumstances along these lines. These codes are considered of high value, though only 10%, because these are usually stackable with any other codes. There are usually no exclusions.
  • Once in a great while, Gap will have a promotion one right after another that coincide with a few hours usually in the wee hours of the morning allowing for the two codes to stack together.  This sort of stacking, though exciting, is not predictable and also have a high probability of being cancelled.  But it has happened on more than one occasion with a 40% code stacking with a 35% code and a 25% off birthday code. Sales forums such as will often include these one off stacking deals.

Gap Fair Isle Cardigan Hoodie – true black Reg. $58  35% 25% $5.63 reward free shipping 22.64 $1.54  was 7% off from ebates oct. 19, 2013

4. Cash Back Sites. There are many  to choose from. Personally, I’m a huge fan of Ebates. (I’ve included my referral link.) Though, I’m also a member of  Mr. Rebates and recently considered joining Shop at Home.

  • How do these cash back sites work?  They receive a fee from affiliated stores for referring customers to the store sites. As a result, Ebates passes some of this “referral money” they receive and gives a percentage of it back to the customers themselves. Often times, Ebates will list Gap Inc. companies between 2- 3% or as high as 15-20%. The percentages can change daily and may even differ between each of the Gap Inc. family companies.  It all sounds nice, but is it really worth the time and effort to join and click through Ebates each time you make a transaction?  Though, the percentages may seem nominal, the pennies do add up.  Just ask my husband.  He used to hate it when I would remind him to click through Ebates, thinking it was a waste of time till I showed him how much we’ve earned since joining.
  • When can you expect a check?  Every 3 months.  You can choose to be paid by check, Paypal, or another option may be available such as credit. If your accrued credit is less than $5.01 at the payment due date, the amount will rollover till the next pay period. $5.01 is the minimum payment.
  • I should note that there are a few restrictions.  This includes using coupon codes outside of those listed on the Ebates site.  However, my experience has been that they are very lenient on this.  In my seven years of being a member, there has been only one time when I didn’t receive cash back after using an “illicit” code.
  • So why the preference for Ebates?  I find that it’s a much cleaner-looking, user-friendly site that includes a well-made app.  Also, anytime, I’ve had trouble having my cash back credited to me due to a glitch or the affiliated store dragging out issuing the credit, it has been an easy process to have it verified by Ebates.  I am a bargain shopper at heart in the end.  So that bargain hunting nature still kicks in even when it comes to cash back sites.  Before checking out, I’ll usually look to see which cash back site is offering a higher percentage for the store I’m planning to purchase from.  It’s just makes good sense (pun intended, haha).
  • How do you use Ebates? Add to your cart the items you wish to purchase.  After you’ve finished, go to your cash back site of choice, search the store you’ve just shopped at, and click the Shop Now or click through button.  This will both open a ticket on the cash back site to verify your shopping trip and open a new window to the store’s website with your already filled shopping cart. Simply finish checking out. Within the next few days (it can be up to a month, though typically much quicker), you should receive an email verification with your cash back validation. I advise filling your cart first because many times these cash back sites have a limited tracking time, meaning that the cash back site’s referral is time sensitive.  If you’re perusing or it takes awhile to find the item you were planning to purchase, the cash back site could, without you knowing, have ended their tracking, though the store’s website and your shopping experience is unchanged.

4. GapCash. This is a newer promotion that Gap has only launched since October of last year. During certain allocated times, Gap will offer GapCash where they reward customers a set amount towards a future purchase based on how much they spend on their current purchase.  For example, if you spend $50 during a GapCash earning period, you’ll receive a voucher for $25 off $50 during a future redemption period. Details about how GapCash works can be found here. Previously, customers received GapCash based on amounts before promos.  However, they have now resolved this issue so that it now complies with what is stated on their site. If you’re thinking Gap Cash is the same as other similar rewards systems (like Gymboree *cough, cough*), you should bear in mind there are a few differences.

  •  If during the earning period you received a $50 or higher GapCash reward, “you have the flexibility to spend as little as $50 and still save $25.” Having said that, the rest of your GapCash value will be forfeited.
  • GapCash can only be used within the immediate Gap family stores i.e. babyGap, GapKids, GapBody, but excludes Gap Outlet.
    • I find this strange since I’ve heard of others earning Gap Cash from the outlet.  I’m unsure if this is an issue that will be remedied in the future or if it’s simply that earning is allowed at the outlet, but redemption is not.  If anyone has had experience with this, please comment below.
  • GapCash can’t be combined with any other coupons or promos.  Having said that, if you’re a Gap cardmember there are GapCash perks in store allowing you to combine GapCash with Reward Cards, first purchase discount, 10% Tuesday, and the welcome discount.
    • Last I heard, GapCash was still combinable with rewards online.  This is another irregularity that may change without notice.
  • If you return an item bought during GapCash earning, that would result in a lower total, your GapCash is unaffected by the return.

5. Wait for the sale. Because sooner or later that new arrival won’t be so new.  From my experience, there is almost always a sale at Gap and if there isn’t one currently, there will be one shortly, so unless you really need that one item, be patient because sooner or later it’ll get marked down.  As with all rules, there are always exceptions.  This seems to hold especially true when it comes to designer collaborations.  If the past collaborations with Diane Von Furstenberg or Stella McCartney are any indication, the Kate Spade New York and Jack Spade collaboration headed to Gap stores in November will sell out quickly with little markdown. You’ve been forewarned.  This collection will likely be out of our family budget unless I find a way to pinch quite a few more pennies between now and then.  If it’s as amazing as the predecessors, who knows, other stores may follow suit and will have similar offerings for less. With that in mind, even though it’s 80 degrees here now, are you as excited as I am for November?  

Gap Fair Isle Cardigan Hoodie - true black

In the meantime, as an example of how I used these tips, here is how I snapped up the Gap Kids Fair Isle Cardigan Hoodie in true black for a bargain:

Recent New Arrival Regular Price: $58

- 35% off regular priced items code (GAPFALL) posted on front page: $37.70
25% off email signup code: $28.28
remaining $5.64 discounted from a $10 rewards code I partially used : 22.64
Ebates at 7%: $21.06

Final price was $21.06 plus tax

Happy Shopping!