Wednesday, July 27, 2011

My Free Scores from July

Sorry for the lack of updates this past couple of weeks - I was visiting family. Next time I will write some blog entries in advance so it's not quite so obvious when I dissappear :( Oops! Anyway, back to your regularly scheduled blog entry. As it is almost the last day of July (which, BY THE WAY, is also the day that the Broke Student Giveaway ends - have you entered yet?) I attempted to compile all of my freebies to take pictures of them. The following is the best representation I could manage of the freebies I got in July!

I got a ton of samples from my local Sephora - they are so, so generous with their samples! I just asked for "hair samples" and they gave me a zillion. I also was lucky enough to snag that full-sized Tide detergent sample, that's going to be super useful this semester! And I took a survey about Tom's Toothpaste that ended up sending me an entire free tube!

Some of the samples are representative of free gift cards- like that Fashion & Textiles Careers Guide and the 100% Pure Moisturizer, which I bought with about $40 worth of Amazon Gift Cards from Swagbucks. Not pictured at all are the $20 worth of Paypal gift cards from Swagbucks as well. I also received a $40 paypal check from TreasureTrooper ! Ahh, I love paid-to sites.

There are also some samples pictured which aren't redeemed yet - like the JIF Peanut Butter To Go cups, which I need to get from Target, or the McDonald's Free Ice Cream Cone reward which I purchased from Recyclebank (for only 100 credits, which takes NO time at all to earn!) And of course, there are also other samples that I couldn't take a picture of at all - like the free Noodles & Company salad plus a shirt worth 10 additional free salads! But hopefully you get the idea.

All of these samples were written about on the blog, so if you have yet to catch a Freebies and Deals of the Week post, keep your eyes peeled! I post every sample as I find it on my Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Freebies and Deals of the Week! Back to School Edition!

HauteLook is selling lip balm, jewelry, watches and more with college logos on it today for CHEAP! They would make great gifts … you know, for yourself, or whatever. See if they have your school: Click Here

Free Trial Pack of O.B. Tampons: Click Here

Free Sample of Astroglide Personal Lubricant: Click Here

Free Travel Pillow from Sleep Number when you go into a store and find your Sleep Number! Print Coupon

Get a free sample of Garnier Moisture Rescue Refreshing Oil-Free Gel-Cream. Hurry, Wal-Mart samples go really fast. Click Here

If your Target has Catalina Machines (spit out coupons after purchase at register), then you may be able to pick up some FREE Chocolate! Here’s the scoop, when you purchase 1 Wonka Exceptionals 3.5 oz Single Bar, a catalina will print out a coupon for a FREE Wonka Exceptionals 3.5 oz Single Bar, then when you redeem the coupon, you will get yet another FREE Wonka Exceptionals Bar coupon and so on. For the price of 1 Wonka Bar, you can potentially get unlimited FREE Bars!

Free Burger from Ruby Tuesday when you "Like" their facebook page! They are giving away 100,000 -as of this writing, 30,000 are left! Hurry! Click Here

Between July 12th-18th Taco Bell is offering Crunchwrap Supremes for only $0.99.

Coupon for $50 off any tablet, laptop or desktop computer from Staples. Print Coupon

$50 off a $100 purchase from New York & Company! Very similar to Express - but more affordable - Ny&Co is great for business casual wear that you'll need for career fairs and interviews. They also have really awesome jeans! Print Coupon or, Print $25 off $60 Coupon

Starbucks Treat Receipts are back! When you make a purchase before 2 p.m., you'll receive a special stamp on your receipt that will allow you to purchase a grande cold drink for just $2 after 2 p.m. the same day.

Tax-free Shopping
Do you need to do some back to school shopping? Before you head out to the stores, make sure to check and see if your state has a tax free day coming up!

Alabama – August 5-7
Arkansas – August 6-7
Connecticut – August 21-27
Florida – August 12-14
Illinois – August 6 – 15
Iowa – August 5-6
Maryland – August 14-20
Mississippi – July 29-30
Missouri-August 5-7
New Mexico – August 5-7
North Carolina – August 5-7
Oklahoma – August 5-7
South Carolina – August 5-7
Tennessee – August 5-7
Texas – August 19-21
Virginia – August 5-7

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Broke Student Toolkit: Easy Budgeting with

We've heard about it before - the idea of "budgeting" your money, and keeping track of your spending. For most of us, it probably goes in one ear and out the other because it just sounds like a lot of work. Well, back in the day, it was. You had to do a lot of math and keep track of a lot of receipts. Gross. Lucky for us, we live in the age of technology - and this means that budgeting your money today is SUPER EASY. The site I'm going to tell you about today literally does the entire thing for you: it keeps track of all of your spending, categorizes it for you, analyzes it and alerts you if anything is amiss, such as spending more than you're earning. If you use the full functionality of the site, it can keep track of everything from where most of your money is going to your credit card and student loan debt. And it's FREE.

The site I'm talking about is It's an easy-to-use personal accounting website, essentially, and it's been making my life a whole lot easier. I can now log into the site and quickly see exactly how much money is in my account, where and what I spent that money on, and set budgets for myself. I'm going to give you an exclusive sneak peek into my account and show you EXACTLY what it looks like (DON'T JUDGE ME on my spending habits, promise?) Go ahead and click on the picture to make it bigger and check it out. I didn't have to do ANY of that myself. Every time I use the debit card attached to the checking account that I hooked up to my account, Mint automatically labels and categorizes the type of purchase I made. I can go and edit it if it's not accurate, but 99% of the time, it is! (Note that the only "Uncategorized" category is SmartyPig LLC- that's a sneak peek of next week's post!)

Now say I've used the site for a month or two, and I'm curious as to what I spent all of my money on - why am I so broke? Well, click on the picture to the right - that's a graph of everything that I spent my money on, added up and categorized for me -
AUTOMATICALLY. I didn't do this in Excel, guys. I just clicked the "Trends" tab. That's it! Using this handy little tool, I can see that in June, I spent almost as much on food and alcohol as I did on rent. Oops. I could also look at my net income - how much I made, minus how much I spent - and look at overall spending for whichever months I want. I can choose several different graphs to look at, to finally solve the problem of Why I'm So Broke (Food and "dining" - that means going to bars. No surprise there, let's be honest. Though I did cut my grocery budget from $100/month in June, to $40/month in July, so this month's should be much better. See, guys?? The site is already working for me!)

The other functionalities of the site are things I haven't had a chance to explore, as I'm thankfully free of credit card debts, student loans, mortgages, etc. But the site is very helpful in regards to those things as well. Overall, it's an EXTREMELY easy way to budget, and I think that the best way to save money is to know exactly WHERE your money is going! So I highly recommend this site to everyone and anyone. What are you waiting for? Go sign up at! BONUS: A lot of paid-to sites offer rewards for signing up on Mint, so you can actually earn some money just by signing up and using the site! How's THAT for a good budgeting incentive? InboxDollars pays $1.00 to sign up for the site, and Swagbucks pays 90 sb. Some others might as well, it's definitely worth checking out!ly

3 Cheap, Easy, Healthy Recipes!

Super Easy Pizza from Scratch

Pizza is one of those foods that, as college students, we seem to rely on constantly. Which is fine, except that it costs about $10 to order a pizza, and about $3 to MAKE a pizza. All you need to make a pizza is the crust, and then the rest is up to you. The fun of pizza is that you can put WHATEVER you want on it! I usually start with pasta sauce and cheese, and then just throw on whatever. I've used bacon, spinach, tomatoes, sliced deli meat and cheese, potatoes, Alfredo sauce, and yes, pepperoni. To make your pizza, you'll need to start with the crust. Contrary to popular belief, pizza crust is not difficult to make - you don't even need yeast. To make an easy, delicious thin-crust pizza to hold whatever crazy toppings you can think up, follow this recipe:

2 c. flour
1 tsp. salt
2 tsp. baking powder
2/3 c. water
1/4 c. vegetable oil

Mix flour, salt, baking powder and water. Knead on floured counter just until workable and spreadable, about 2 minutes. Put on pizza pan. With fingers, spread vegetable oil on crust (helps so tomato sauce won't soak into crust).

Now it's time to add whatever ingredients you want, in whatever order you want. Typically, the sauce comes first. Throw it all on there. Now, bake at 425°F for 20 minutes. That wasn't so hard, was it? Mmmm, pizza.

Brazilian Beer Marinated Chicken

This is a Broke Student approved recipe because the main ingredient is beer, and it doesn't take much work. Also, it's cheap. You could probably use any beer for this marinade, but it WILL affect the taste. For example, cooking chicken in Natty Light or Keystone is not going to magically make those beers taste like anything other than piss-water (sorry, I'm a hater). But, in the spirit of being a Broke Student, just use whatever you happen to have in your fridge, it'll probably turn out ok! To make this recipe as cheap as possible, buy some boneless, skinless chicken breasts when they are on sale, and check out your local Dollar Store to see if they have Dijon Mustard (that's where I got mine). This is the ~original~ recipe, so I've added my Broke Student notes off to the side. As a Broke Student, don't be afraid to tackle a recipe any way you can by omitting whatever you don't have and substituting whatever you do! Do remember to start this recipe a day ahead of time - it doesn't take much time at all to actually make the marinade and cook the chicken, but the chicken does need to marinade for several hours to allow the marinade to penetrate! Now, onto the recipe.

1 cup light beer (I used Corona, a pilsner works best)
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup Dijon mustard
1/2 tablespoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 small onion, thinly sliced
6 cloves garlic, thinly sliced (I used garlic powder)
1 tablespoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 bay leaf, crushed (I didn't have any, it was fine)
8 boneless skinless chicken thighs (Or however many you have - I used like, three, and just had a lot of marinade for them to soak in)

Whisk together the beer, oil, mustard, paprika and pepper in a medium bowl. Add chiles, onion, garlic and bay and combine. In a marinating container (such as a ziploc baggie) combine thawed chicken and marinade. I sliced up my chicken first, but if you want whole chicken breasts, that's fine too. Marinate in the refrigerator for anywhere from 6 to 48 hours. To cook, grill in a skillet or on a George Foreman counter top grill. You can use the marinade to baste (essentially, pour over) the chicken while grilling for the first portion of cooking. Don't use the marinade as a sauce though, it's not very food safe. You CAN use it to base some veggies, though! I used the onions from the marinade along with some sliced zucchini and basted it before discarding the marinade. I ate it with rice, and it was delicious!

Vegetarian Moroccan Stew

Also known as Tagine, this is a very basic Moroccan stew recipe that is delicious, healthy and cheap. Don't be intimidated by the ingredient list, this recipe is super easy and absolutely DELICIOUS. Basically you just throw a bunch of stuff in a pot and keep adding spices as it's cooking until it tastes the way you want it to. I used carrots and zuchinni because they were in season and cheap, plus a can of tomatoes (mine were Italian Seasoned, and that worked excellently) and some rehydrated garbanzo beans (feel free to use canned, but if you can find dried garbanzo beans, they are MUCH cheaper! To rehydrate dried beans, follow these instructions). Now, there is a pretty lengthy list of spices here, and I didn't have several of them, so I improvised. Just keep tasting and seeing how you like it. I happened to have some Garam Masala, an Indian combination spice, and that worked really well - Allspice would probably work too. Don't pay attention to the measurements, just do whatever smells and tastes good to you. Moroccan Stews are a little bit sweet and tangy, unlike a savory stew might be. So get creative and use whatever spices you have on hand. Also, don't be scared to use peanut butter - it creates such a delicious depth of flavor, and plus, cheap protein! You can play around with the recipe some since it is a stew - for example, you could add potatoes, or use more or less of any of the vegetables. Frankly, I tend to ignore measuring altogether for recipes like these. Now, the recipe:

1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 can of diced tomatoes
(Mine were Italian Seasoned)
2 cups (1/2-inch) cubed zucchini
1 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped carrot
1 tablespoon bottled minced garlic
(I got some from the Dollar Store - feel free to use Garlic Powder, or to omit entirely)
1 cup fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
2 tablespoons raisins
2 tablespoons peanut butter
1 1/4 teaspoons ground ginger
1 1/4 teaspoons ground cumin
3/4 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
2 (15 1/2-ounce) cans of chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained

1 (14.5-ounce) can no-salt-added stewed tomatoes, undrained
1 1/2 cups water
1 cup couscous

Heat oil in a large nonstick pot over medium-high heat. Add zucchini, onion, carrot, and garlic; sauté 5 minutes. Add the entire can of tomatoes and broth, and the rest of the ingredients; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 8 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally. Make sure as you add spices you taste periodically!

While the chickpea mixture simmers, prepare couscous. Bring water to a boil in a medium saucepan; gradually stir in couscous. Remove from heat; cover and let stand 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork.

Serve the stew over couscous.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

How to shop like Rachel Zoe on a college student budget (well, almost)

Ok, confession time: I have a lot of really nice clothes. As in, not only could you not tell by looking at me that I'm a broke college student who pinches pennies like it's actually my job, but you might mistake me for someone who has a pretty decent chunk of change. A peek inside my closet reveals a surprising collection of Calvin Klein clothing, as well as other high-end brand names and designers. I mean, OK, maybe it's not quite at Rachel Zoe's level (it's on ANOTHER level, get it? Anyone...? Anyone watch Rachel Zoe? ok. Moving on) but still, it doesn't quite seem to fit the profile of a self-proclaimed broke as hell freebie-loving penny-pinching tightwad such as myself.

So how on earth do I afford this? Well, of course, there's an awful lot of vehement justification - I'm a fashion design major! I NEED expensive, high-end clothing! I support my fellow designers! I'll need these for my future big-girl job! - but I do have a couple of tricks up my sleeve that help me afford my clothing habit. Here are a few tips for those of you who, like me, would rather own a $300 Betsey Johnson jacket than eat real food for a month (THAT JACKET IS SO BEAUTIFUL, you don't even know). Read on!

1. Every time I purchase something, I sell/donate something else. I don't have a lot of stuff in my closet that I never wear. As a fashiony person, I do spend time creating outfits each and every day. My rule is this: If I haven't worn it in 6 months, it might be time to get rid of it. If I haven't worn it in a year, it's DEFINITELY time to get rid of it. I try to make sure that the rotation of my closet is such that every item gets worn on a regular basis, and if something isn't fitting into that rotation, it gets the axe. I sell clothing online via LiveJournal and ebay, to stores like Buffalo Exchange and Plato's Closet, and donate it to Goodwill or the Salvation Army to receive the full value for the clothing back on my tax return (donating akes quite a while to see money back, but it pays out better, honestly). With the money from selling my other clothes, I can go and buy new things!

2. I spend a lot of time hunting around designer discount stores, thrift stores and consignment shops. I'll be honest - 50% of my closet (and my Calvin Klein collection) is from T.J. Maxx and Marshall's. These stores - and stores like them - sell designer clothing, not knockoffs, for a paltry amount of the original price. Whenever there's an error - the wrong button, an unfurnished edge, or perhaps just an over shipment - these stores receive the goods and sell them to us. You don't always know what you'll find in these stores, but you're bound to find SOMETHING good. I also love thrift shopping, but that's almost another entry entirely. To find something good in a thrift store, you pretty much have to spend all day searching, and know exactly what's a "treasure" and not just someone's old clothing. That said, I've found loads of clothes at the Salvation Army. The nicer an area is, the nicer the castoff clothing is. My boyfriend has been the recipient of several boxes of vintage designer button up shirts, most of which I ended up stealing back from him (for my Calvin Klein collection).

3. I shop at one-day designer sale sites, such as HauteLook. I have an entire entry on the wonderful site that is HauteLook, as well as entry on other sites like it. These websites sell designer and brand name clothing at drastically reduced prices during brief private sales to their members. Membership, although invite-only, is FREE, and the best part is that you get credits for referring your friends (when they make a purchase). Every time a good sale is going on, I get on facebook and bug all of my friends about it, and eventually, someone makes a purchase. Say this happens 5 times - that's $50 for me to spend on whatever I want on the site, entirely for FREE. HauteLook is my favorite place to buy high-end makeup products - they often have Stila, Urban Decay, Vincent Longo and Lorac sales, at around 75% off retail price.

4. I prioritize my spending habits - and abstain from buying frivolous purchases in favor of buying expensive things. Basically, you won't ever see me eating at a restaurant - even at a fast food one (unless, of course, I have coupons or there's a free deal going on, in which case you'll ALWAYS see me there). You won't ever see me buy a drink at a gas station, or even a t-shirt. Why is this? Because all of those $7 burritos, $15 t-shirts, and $2.50 sodas add up, and I use that added up cash to fund a big purchase on a high-quality item that will last for a long time and provide a lot of use. The basic items I do have - camis, t-shirts, etc - were either free or are about 4 years old and cost me less than $5. Everything else in my closet is some frou-frou designer brand name high-end silk crap that I saved up for by eating oatmeal for dinner every night for about 5 weeks straight.

Now, this is not something everyone can do. I mean, I really like oatmeal, and don't mind eating it every night, but I'm pretty sure I'm in the minority. But the concept works for other things, too. Say you're a foodie, or you like to travel. Or maybe you're a photography major and all of your gear is $500 minimum.
Well, maybe you go without buying clothing (save the absolutely necessities, like underwear) for 6 months. Or you buy yourself one bottle of alcohol and force yourself to drink only that for 6 months instead of going to bars. Then, after you're done living in squalor, you can splurge all that money you didn't spend on an expensive meal, or a plane ticket! Or that additional $500 camera. This is basically what I do - I prioritize the things I spend money on. For me, clothing is at the top of that list - and food is at the bottom. (Did you know oatmeal is only $.95/lb? I buy that shit in bulk. 1lb of oatmeal is a LOT.)

5. I shop smart. I have an entry with tips and tricks for smart clothes shopping. Before I go out shopping, I research coupons and sales. If I'm out and I see something I love that's too expensive, I leave it in the store and if I can't stop thinking about it, I buy it - if I forget about it, I didn't need to buy it at all. I pay close attention to return policies and ALWAYS leave the tags on my clothing - if I haven't worn it within 2 weeks of purchasing, I return it. I always ask if a store gives a student discount (and many do! I'm researching a list for a future entry, but do always ask - and if you have a military ID, many places discount for that too) and although I do try to take advantage of sales, I don't let them take advantage of ME: if a sale or coupon has a minimum purchase value, for example, I ignore it; it usually just makes you purchase more, hoping to get a better "deal," but you probably would've spent less in the first place if you didn't pay attention to the sale/coupon. It's not about how much you SAVED, but rather, how much you SPENT, so don't let the "$15 off!" signs compel you! There's a good chance that the store just marked it up $15 so they could say it's $15 off. Don't be fooled!

Well, there you have it: my tips for maintaining a rabid clothing addiction without spending more than you can afford. Now you know my secret, and if you happen to see me shoveling free samples into my mouth at the local grocery store (this is my lunch 5 days of the week, not even kidding) wearing a silk blouse and $70 jeans - well, now you know why.


P.S. If you're fellow fashion addict, please follow my fashion tumblr! While you're there, follow the BSG tumblr too. Not on tumblr yet? Join the party!

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Freebies and Deals of the Week!

FREE Oatmeal Squares Cereal when you "Like" their facebook page.

FREE Salad at Noodles & Company to the first 50 people on July 7th. You also get a free t-shirt which is apparently
good for 9 additional free salads Read more here.

FREE Lettuce Wraps all month at P.F. Changs! Print the coupon here.

FREE 2 Night Stay & 2 Breakfast Buffets at Grand Sierra Resort in Reno! ***You have to live at least 50 miles from the hotel. Valid 11/6-12/23/11. Some black out dates. Click Here for More Information

Monday, July 11 at 12:00am to July 12 at 12:00am 7-Eleven Stores are giving FREE 7.11oz Slurpees. RSVP Today on Facebook and you will receive a reminder to claim your FREEBIE.

FREE 1-year subscription to AutoWeek! Click Here

Free Ojon Haircaresample! Stop by Sephora inside JCPenney and get a free sample of Restorative Hair Treatment from Ojon--the ultimate do-over for damaged hair. Available while supplies last!

Recyclebank just added a great new way to earn 65 points quickly! Recyclebank is a site that gives out rewards based on learning about recycling and being green. Some of the rewards you can cash in include a FREE McDonald's smoothie, oatmeal or ice cream cone (only 100 points!) or even $25 gift cards! You'll be well on your way to your first reward if you follow these steps:

Earn 65 points easy with the Green Your Vacation contest.

  • Log into your Recyclebank account or sign up for free here.
  • Visit this page: (Copy/paste the URL)
  • Click each of the following items to get points:
    :: Book (5 points)
    :: Hotel Sign (10 points)
    :: Snorkler (10 points)
    :: Keys (10 points)
    :: Plate (10 points)
    :: Tote Bag (10 points)
    :: Aveeno Bottle (10 points)
  • Make sure you click on everything that moves in both "Travel" and "Beach" - they will both get you tons of points!

    FREE Blockbuster Express Kiosk Codes, valid on all $1 movies.
    Good through July 8:

    Good through July 11:

    FREE Loreal Youth Code Sample from Wal Mart! Click Here

    MYHABIT is Amazon’s new private fashion sale site featuring apparel, shoes, jewelry and accessories for men, women and children. MYHABIT features daily events from a hand-picked selection of designer and boutique brands up to 60% off with fast, free shipping and free returns. You can sign in with your Amazon information. Here are some promo codes - with free shipping, you might just find something for FREE!
    $10 off Promotion Code: use code MYHABITX at checkout until September 1, 2011.
    $25 off Promo Code: use code SUMMER25 at checkout until August 1, 2011.

    FREE blow-out and style from Ulta! Call and make an appointment for the times listed on the website.

    Print this Arby’s coupon to receive 1 free item from Arby’s Value Menu with the purchase of ANY item! PLUS! Sign up to become an “Arby’s Extras” member & get a FREE Roast Beef Sandwich coupon - click here. These could probably be combined for 2 FREE items!

    Are you Canadian? There are tons of great freebies for you too! Click here to see a list of this week'd Canadian freebies.

    It is reported that when you scan your CVS card at the Magical Coupon Machine that you will get a print out for a FREE Hersheys Air Delight Candy Bar.

    FREE can of Fancy Feast Gourmet Cat Food or Elegent Medleys from Petco. Valid until July 31/11. Print the Coupon

    FREE Sample of John Frieda Smooth Start Haircare products! "Like" the Facebook Page

    FREE Sample of Eucerin Moisturizer! "Like" the Facebook Page

    FREE 40-Item Sample Collection from The Broke Student's Guide! Have you entered our giveaway yet?

    Phew! Make sure you are following BSG on Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr to get daily updates on new freebies as soon as they are available!
  • Friday, July 1, 2011

    My Freebie Scores for the Month of June

    I got lots of freebies for the month of June! One quick note - that bag of Sunchips was supposed to be a visual depiction of the manufacturer's coupon next to it for one FREE bag of Sunchips, Lay's or Tostito's. I didn't realize it was actually for a much bigger bag, so what I actually got was the big bag of Tostito's! Anyway. Here's what I got for FREE in June:

    -(5) $5 Amazon Gift Cards totalling $25 from
    -(1) Check from InboxDollars for $35
    -(6) Travel Set of Macadamia Nut Oil Haircare using credits from HauteLook
    -(12) Honest Teas from CVS (Available until 7/2, Learn More)
    -(1) Pringles On-The-Go can from CVS (Available until 7/2, Learn More)
    -(1) Large bag of Tostito's (Coupon from writing to companies)
    -(2) Hershey's Air Delight Chocolate Bars from CVS
    -(1) Hands-Free Mobile Headset from
    -(2) Packets of Miralax
    -(1) Garnier Fructis Anti-Dandruff Shampoo Sample
    -(1) Gold Bond Body Wash Sample
    -(1) John Frieda Haircare Sample
    -(5) DHC Skincare Samples
    -(3) AG Hair Care Samples
    -(1) Brewer's Yeast Sample

    The best scores were the Honest Tea (12 of them! For free!) and other freebies from CVS, as well as the Macadamia Nut Oil set! I'm going to be hitting up CVS a lot more often in the future.

    So, did you get anything this month? Comment and tell me what you received, or post a pic to the Facebook!
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