So long, estate paperwork

My mom died two years ago this month. It’s hard to take in and easy to believe at the same time. The main reason her death feels distant, oddly enough, is because it’s been a long time – months – since I’ve had to deal with any of the stressful paperwork related to her estate. It’s been more than a year since I finished the gruelling and mundane work of emptying and selling my mom’s house. The post office notified me that my second year of mail-forwarding from her old address to mine was about to expire, and I realized I hadn’t received any mail in her name for months, and even the junk mail had all but stopped.

This doesn't feel like that long ago. 

This doesn’t feel like that long ago. 

So, two years? Yep, that makes sense. So many elements of her life and her death still feel so immediate to me, as if no time has passed, but that paperwork issue? Can’t argue with that. Time. Has. Passed. Closure by tax year. Closure, courtesy of the IRS and Canada Revenue form letters confirming receipt of the final returns. Closure as I shut down the bank account used to pay estate bills and put the paperwork in a box in my basement.

This has required an adjustment in my self-definition. First I was “recently bereaved” (which society only gives you so much time to be on any kind of public level) and then I was “dealing with the estate.” And now, I’m not. That’s over. Time to move on. 

I’m relieved to be done (and if you’re going through this and need to gripe, I’m here to listen) but I also realize that I felt close to my mom while I was emptying her house and doing paperwork. It was comforting to see her handwriting on file folders and lists. Administering her estate felt like one last service I could do for her, one final connection.

There’s countless other layers to unpack of course. But this is the one that strikes me now.

 

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Designer bags as status symbols

Giorgio Armani Weekend Saffiano Leather Top Handle Bag

Giorgio Armani Weekend Saffiano Leather Top Handle Bag

I confess, I bought a really expensive, really beautiful purse, the kind of handbag I never thought I’d own, the essence of a Shopping for Happiness purchase, and I didn’t write about it.

At first I didn’t write because I was more excited about the other thing I’d bought the same day – my pinstriped jumpsuit of delight. And I also didn’t write because I’d actually jumped the gun on the following month’s spending allotment – which is to say, I spent two months Shopping for Happiness money in ONE NIGHT. (Who or what have I become?!)  

I was pretty freaked out about this and I coped by deciding I wouldn’t use the purse until the following month, when I could legitimately have bought it under my program. (I didn’t wait to buy it in the first place because it was 50% off and the only one of its kind. Again, there’s a lot to unpack in that get-in-now sale mentality but this is not that story.) 

When I spent my budget early, I worried that I would re-spend the money the following month —  but I didn’t. Discipline + guilt go a long way. So, here it is: my Giorgio Armani bag.

It’s small, open at the top, and hard-sided – the opposite of the frankly sloppy oversized shoulder bags my mom typically carried. Those bags were stuffed with everything – receipts, earrings, loose bills, lipstick, reading glasses, medication, mail, pens, lots and lots of tissues.

I miss my mom’s bags! I really wanted to keep the last one when I was cleaning out her house but I was keeping so much and it had icky medical papers, etc. in it… so I didn’t. (Pause for brief weeping session. And…we’re back.)  

This purse will need years of use before it has as much personality as my mother’s shoulder bags. I can’t imagine my own kids reading much into it at this point as I’m still awfully “precious” about what I put in it. It’s gorgeous and exactly to my taste, but right now, I still feel a little self-conscious and conspicuously aspirational when I carry it. It’s almost as if…

…I bought a designer handbag as a status symbol.  

Me? Never! (Ha! Make that another high horse I’ve fallen off this year.) Can anyone relate?

And doesn’t it take you back in time to remember your mother’s handbags? 

For a moving article on the evocative nature of a mother’s purse, check out this New York Times article by Mara Wilson, “My Mother’s Last Receipt.”  Thanks for reading!

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Shopping for Happiness in the News

Red cover

It’s been a great summer for Shopping for Happiness. I mean, I’ve personally had a great summer (though between work, family trips and weekends dedicated to buying a dog, I haven’t been posting as much as I’d like). But my blog had a good summer too, catching the eye of several journalists who thought its messages about mindful spending and self-care would resonate with their readers. 

I’m really delighted to be featured in the October issue of Red, one of the U.K.’s top women’s magazines. Writer and editor Rosie Green interviewed me for her funny and personal piece,”How to Buy Happiness.”

I love Rosie’s account of her journey from carefree spender to guilty mom, whose every penny – even an inheritance and her mother’s Christmas cheque – goes “straight into a black hole bank account that goes on school dinners and council tax.” It’s not making her happy.

“I still want things. I just think I can’t buy them. And it feels life-zapping. It needs to stop.” – Rosie Green

Rosie commits to a week of mindful spending on the things that mean the most to her, with impressive results. You’ll want to read this article! It’s not online yet but if you’re in the U.K. you can buy the magazine, and elsewhere you can buy it from Zinio, or get a sneak peak here

Canadian journalist Rita Silvan, creator of the terrific financial blog Luck & Gravity, also interviewed me for a smart article on mindful spending for Tangerine. You can read it here

“Mindfulness can come with physical and emotional benefits. Not surprisingly, it makes us better at handling our money too — whether it’s saving, investing or spending.” – Rita Silvan

It’s interesting to me that both writers were curious to know what my husband thought of my spending experiment. I think it reflects the fact that society still considers it unusual or dangerous for a married woman to claim her own spending power. Of course, many men are perfectly fine with the concept. I like the way Rosie summed it up: 

We chat about our husbands and how, contrary to the image ingrained into our psyche of grumpy spouse tsk-tsk-ing at wife returning laden with carrier bags, ours are happy when we spend on ourselves (within reason). “I thought he would have a hard time with my project,” says Catto, “but he likes it if I feel good. It takes the pressure off him. And,” she says sagely, “nobody likes a martyr.” 

I’m delighted that these writers have made Shopping for Happiness part of the conversation they’re having with their readers around the world. It’s so hard for many of us to talk about our issues around money, but once we start, it’s such a relief that we don’t want to stop!

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Attitude is everything

My glorious guides: Heidi and Deja

My glorious guides: Heidi and Deja

There we were, dripping in diamonds. There must have been 100 tiny diamonds on each of my gold earrings, and another 150 on the matching bar necklace. My sister-in-law Heidi took the luxury even further, showcasing a movie-star-worthy ring with a giant rare pink diamond surrounded by smaller gems, plus a few ravishing diamond and emerald bracelets.

Pink diamond ring.

Pink diamond ring.

We loved it all. Could we buy it? No. That pink diamond ring had a price tag of $138,000; the earrings were a comparable steal at $3,600. No one at Deja & Co. Exquisite Jewelry in Saratoga, California was under the illusion that we would be buying the pieces we were trying on.

Love these! 

Love these! 

Still, Deja herself, the store’s gorgeous, gracious proprietor, treated us like Silicon Valley millionaires ­– or like her best girlfriends. She urged us to try on her favourite pieces, got excited when something looked great and made sure we were having as much fun as possible, no strings attached. We sipped Mimosas, took photos modelling the gems and spent upwards of an hour enjoying ourselves. Deja wrote down the items we liked best (in case we wanted to get them some day), and then we left, empty-handed and as happy and relaxed as if we’d just had a spa day.

It was a shopping experience like none I’d experienced, and I’ve got both Heidi and my Shopping for Happiness project to thank. Heidi had urged me to visit Deja during my trip to California – perhaps to splurge on one of the more affordable pieces, as she and her friends have done from time to time – but more for the joy of meeting Deja. She promised the store owner would show me a fantastic time. Like the Monterey Aquarium or the Iron Horse winery, it was one of those places a visitor just had to see.

Still, if I hadn’t had the year I’ve had with Shopping for Happiness, I probably would have skipped the store. It would have been hard for me to imagine enjoying “shopping” in a place filled with wildly expensive things I couldn’t afford. I also would have figured that any merchant in a store like that would make me feel guilty for wasting her time. 

I’m really glad I’ve opened my mind and questioned some of my old convictions. Deja has an exceptional attitude – and by changing my own attitude, I was able to appreciate hers. I’m looking forward to my next visit already (and to affording that bar necklace sometime soon).

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That ultimate outfit

It’s a Shopping for Happiness first! This week, someone stopped me on the sidewalk to tell me she loved my outfit. This has never happened to me before, but I wasn’t entirely shocked – because the planets aligned, I hit the sweet spot, my number came up on the lottery. In other words, I found my ultimate outfit. You know what I’m talking about – that outfit that is perfectly “you,” something that’s not only awesome, but exactly suited to your specific taste, figure and style. The outfit that makes you feel like your best self every time you put it on. 

This is it: A Maison Margiela pinstripe jumpsuit – sleeveless, with tuxedo-style lapels. It’s not everyone’s cup of tea, I’m sure, but that’s part of the thrill of the ultimate outfit. It suits you better than it would suit anyone else.

Pinstripes just speak to me. I like the classic blue style so much that I actually own a pinstripe bathing suit complete with lapels. (It’s essentially a pants-less version of my new jumpsuit and though it is 15 years old and pretty much shot, I can’t bring myself to throw it out). I even had a pinstripe maternity dress.

It’s not that I want to fit in with the bankers or play Nathan Detroit in an all-female revival of Guys and Dolls. I just want to look like my most sophisticated, confident and feminine self– that, is, me in pinstripes.

So when I saw this suit on the “get it before it’s gone” sale rack at Holt Renfrew, well, I had to try it on. I was half-hopeful that it wouldn’t fit because even at about 60% off, it would blow out a whole month’s Shopping for Happiness budget. Not even my wedding dress cost that much.

But when I tried it on I just didn’t want to take it off. I just kept thinking, “this is so me.”

I could imagine wearing it to an important interview, to a party, to work; with a tank top in summer or a classic white shirt in winter. What couldn’t I imagine? How I would be honouring my Shopping for Happiness project if I didn’t buy this outfit. This was surely what my mom meant when she wanted me to improve my wardrobe: to buy clothes that suited me and made me feel fantastic, not just things that fit my concept of “a good deal.”  

Looking at it logically, the price point was high but it wasn’t beyond the budget I’d set for this year. It just meant buying one thing I truly loved instead of buying a lot of less expensive things. So I bought it. I felt a little guilty, a little sick if I’m going to be honest…but I bought it, and I’ve been wearing it all the time.

Here’s the terrific thing about setting a budget for spending on yourself: it reduces (though in my experience, doesn’t quite eliminate) the tendency to judge yourself as good or bad based on the amount you “allow” yourself at any given time. Your budget doesn’t have to be $1,000 a month; it could be $50 a week or any amount that makes sense in your overall financial picture.

What’s important – and liberating – is that it’s a specific amount that’s devoted to you, over a specific (and renewable) time frame. It’s my theory that a budget can take the guilt and agony right out of that decision-making process so many of us go through when we’re shopping.

If you haven’t tried it, try it, even just for a week. You probably won’t spend more than you’re spending now, but you’ll definitely feel less conflicted.

That’s what I’ve noticed, anyway, and while I know that no one thing I buy – not even an outfit as fantastic as my pinstripe jumpsuit – will magically transform my life, this change of attitude seems to be doing the trick.

—- 

Have you ever tried on your ultimate outfit? Did you buy it…or walk away? How do you feel about it now? Let me know!

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Home Sweet Home: We are Finally Homeowners!

The next morning my husband returned from Michigan and we went out to take a look at the house. We fell in love and put in an offer that night.

The rest, they say, is history.

We went from having no plans to immediately move to closing on a house in the span of 35 days. Of course, there were some special circumstances that allowed us to do that, including the house already being empty and us having a month-to-month lease and no property we needed to sell before we could purchase.

As much as I love our new house, it is in many ways a fixer-upper that is in need of desperate updating. The house was built in the 70s and many parts of the house appear to have never been updated.

For instance:

Home Sweet Home: We are Finally Homeowners! is a post from: Shop Girl Daily.

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15 Companies Founded by Women to Check Out on International Women’s Day

Birchbox

Katia Beauchamp – Co-Founder  //  Hayley Barna – Co-Founder

Birchbox is one of the companies that started the subscription box craze here in the United States but they have emerged as a leader of the entire beauty industry. You can still get their trademark box of 5 deluxe beauty samples for $10 per month, but the Birchbox Store now carries many of the best beauty brands, as well as brands you won’t find anywhere else, and they recently launched their own line of beauty products.

Brika

Kena Paranjape – Co-Founder  //  Jen Lee Koss – Co-Founder

Brika is your store. At Brika you will find a fantastic selection of handmade items, as well as stories about those products and their makers. You’ll feel good about shopping at Brika and the bright and colorful store is fun to shop, too!

We most recently featured Brika in our list of 13 Best Stores for Purchasing Unique Gifts Online.

Carrie Hammer

Carrie Hammer – Founder

Carrie Hammer. All items purchased from the store are made to order so shipping takes 3-4 weeks. Most items are available in sizes XS-4X.

ClassPass

Payal Kadakia – Co-Founder  //  Mary Biggins – Co-Founder

Classpass is a membership that gives you access to fitness classes in more than 25 cities around the world. The cost of a monthly membership varies by city – in New York City you’ll pay $135 a month for 10 classes while Chicago costs $115 for the same plan, but in places like Nashville and Seattle you’ll pay $89. With Classpass, you can go to boutique fitness classes at places like Pure BarreFlywheel, and Rowhouse. The only catch? You can only go to one studio up to three times per month. This is annoying if you really love one location but awesome in that it gets you to try new things!

Gwynnie Bee

Christine Hunsicker – Founder

A photo posted by Lisa Koivu (@shopgirldaily) on

Gwynnie Bee is a plus size clothing rental company. Women can rent all types of clothing and the cost of the service depends on how many items one wishes to have out at a time. Gwynnie Bee carries all of the best plus size clothing brands and even has items that are exclusive to them, such as a new collaboration with premium denim company James Jeans. I rented the Kiyonna dress above for a wedding two years ago.

Click here to get your first month of Gwynnie Bee for free!

Jouer

Christina Zilber – Founder and Creative Director

Jouer. You can now find Jouer cosmetics featured at stores like Nordstrom and Birchbox, as well as on their own website.

Joyus

Sukhinder Singh Cassidy – Founder and Chairman

Joyus is an online marketplace where mini videos are available that showcase the highlights and benefits of many of the products being sold. They frequently highlight new fashion, beauty and lifestyle products, including tips from experts on how to wear and use the items being sold.

Mac & Mia

Marie Tillman – Founder

Mac & Mia is that it’s like Stitch Fix for children. You – or your child – takes a style quiz and then they ship out a box of clothing that will hopefully suit your child’s tastes. You only pay for the items you decide to keep. All items in the box can be worn individually, but they’re also chosen to be worn together. Basically, it’s a wardrobe in a box! Most clothing pieces have an average retail price of $35 and accessories cost an average of $12, but Mac & Mia’s focus is on finding quality items from companies that pay their workers honest wages and offer safe working conditions and all items are organic.

Miss Jessie’s

Miko Branch – Co-Founder and CEO  //  Titi Branch – Co-Founder

Miss Jessie’s for us curly-haired girls. I thought I was destined for a life of frizz before I found Miss Jessie’s Quick Curls, which I swear is a wonder product. The brand was founded by sisters Miko and Titi and named in honor of their grandmother.

Moda Operandi

Aslaug Magnusdottir – Co-Founder  //  Lauren Santo Domingo – Co-Founder  //  Deborah Nicodemus – CEO

Moda Operandi is a luxury online retailer that lets its customers pre-order items right after they walk down the runway. They also offer a curated selection of in-season designer items.

Of a Kind

Claire Mazur – Co-Founder  //  Erica Cerulo – Co-Founder

Of a Kind can be addicting because only a limited quantity of each item is available, which sometimes means that you have to shop fast! Each piece sold on the site is made specifically for Of a Kind, so the items you purchase will truly be unique! You will mostly find items for women, as well as home goods, at this online store.

Owl’s Brew

Jennie Rips – Founder/CEO  //  Maria Littlefield – Partner/President

A photo posted by Lisa Koivu (@shopgirldaily) on

Owl’s Brew is a company that makes tea-based cocktail mixers. The mixers can be paired with spirits, wine, or beer. The mixers are created using blends of tea, fruit, spices and herbs. I’m not sure when I first heard about Owl’s Brew, but it is something I’d been wanting to try for awhile and I got my chance this past weekend when I found the brand at Whole Foods. If you like cocktails, Owl’s Brew is definitely worth trying!

Passion Planner

Angelia Trinidad – Founder, CEO, and Designer

Passion Planner can be customized exactly to your needs. Use it as a traditional planner or to track your goals. Set challenges for yourself. Be inspired by the positive quotes inside the planner. However you use it, the Passion Planner may be just what you need to start chasing your own dreams.

Rent the Runway

Jenn Hyman – Co-Founder  //  Jenny Fleiss – Co-Founder

Rent the Runway

Rent the Runway is the original clothing rental company, allowing women to rent dresses that they may not want to purchase for just one occasion. Rent the Runway carries traditional and plus sized dresses. They also recently started carrying everyday clothing that’s available for rental. Even more exciting? They have opened up storefronts in New York, Washington D.C., Chicago, and Las Vegas!

We’ve previously featured Rent the Runway as a great option for new moms who need to dress nice but aren’t yet back to their pre-baby size.

Shoptiques

Olga Vidisheva – Founder

Shoptiques, which brings the best boutiques from around the world to your computer. Boutique stores partner with Shoptiques to sell their items in one large online marketplace, making it entirely possible to build an authentic Parisian wardrobe without ever stepping foot in France.

 

Do Tell: What other companies founded by women are there that offer great shopping? Please share!

 

15 Companies Founded by Women to Check Out on International Women’s Day is a post from: Shop Girl Daily.

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My Experience Using TrueCar to Purchase a New Car for Less

local new car pricing before you ever step foot in a car dealership. The graph above is based on what others in your market actually paid for the car so you can quickly see whether you are getting a good deal or not. (My condolences go out to those people paying above market value!)

Screen Shot 2015-07-28 at 11.00.43 PM

To be perfectly honest with you, I don’t love the next part of the process. While TrueCar is free to use, in order to get the dealership information you basically have to sign away your life. Or at least your phone number and email address. Even though TrueCar only gave me the information for three dealerships that had my preferred car available at an “exceptional” price, over the past 48 hours I have received countless phone calls from dealerships resulting in 28 voicemail messages. My phone has been ringing off the hook and I can only hope the craziness is going to stop soon.

Phone calls aside, the information TrueCar provided to me was invaluable! It gave me the names of a couple of local car dealerships, allowed me to view which cars they had in stock, and told me how much the car would cost. As you can see above, TrueCar let me know that Mid-City Nissan had the car I wanted in stock while Autobarn Nissan was only “looking” for a match. I ruled out the Autobarn based on this because I didn’t want to wait for a new car to be delivered.

TrueCar Eliminates Haggling

Once I had narrowed my search down to one particular dealership (Mid-City Nissan) I was able to bring in the price quoted to me via TrueCar and receive the car at that price… no haggling required! I repeat that: No. Haggling. Required. 

I went to the dealership last night at 7 p.m. and walked out at 8:58 p.m. with the keys to my new car in hand! The MSRP for my car was approximately $26,000 but thanks to TrueCar I paid quite a bit less than that, even after taxes, titles, and all of the miscellaneous fees were included. I left my husband at home to watch the baby and tackled purchasing the new car by myself and never once did I wish he was there with me. I felt like a boss.

The difference between buying a car last night and when I bought one back in 2007 was like night and day. This time the process was quick and painless and I never felt like the dealership was trying to take advantage of me. They honored the TrueCar price and never tried to get me to add any extra insurance or premiums to the car. It was as straightforward and painless as could be. (Of course, I also have to thank Mid-City Nissan for being awesome, too.)

Is TrueCar a Good Deal?

I know I don’t usually talk about cars, but I had such a great experience using TrueCar that I wanted to tell you all about it in case any of you will be in the market for a new car anytime soon. Most of the TrueCar reviews I found online were from car professionals, so I thought I’d share a non-car person’s perspective. We won’t be purchasing another car for a good long while*, but if we were I would definitely be checking the prices with TrueCar again! We got a great deal with TrueCar, but of course, you will want to take the time to do your research. If TrueCar tells you that you’re paying too much, you might want to look elsewhere or expand your search to include other vehicles.

When shopping for our car, I compared prices on lots of different sites and took rebates and any dealer discounts into account and TrueCar always had the best price. There’s a good chance that this worked so well in my favor because here in Chicago there are at least 25 Nissan dealerships within 25 miles of my house, and I have to imagine that the competition is fierce to attract customers. I cannot guarantee that the service would work quite as well if you live in an area with fewer dealerships.

Updated to Add:

We actually did purchase a new car in December of 2016 because we needed something larger for our growing family. I did use TrueCar again, at a different dealership, and had a similar experience, although this time we used TrueCar to purchase a used car. The dealership still honored the TrueCar value with no questions asked.

Click here to see if you can get your dream car for less!

My Experience Using TrueCar to Purchase a New Car for Less is a post from: Shop Girl Daily.

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My Favorite Etsy Finds – Part 1

My apologies for being MIA lately! Between the last month of this pregnancy, chasing around a toddler and two dogs and planning to move, I am so exhausted and have barely opened up my computer. I am very much looking forward to April arriving when we will hopefully be in our new home with a new baby and my energy levels should return to some semblance of normal (even if I’ll be a different kind of exhaustion).

Throughout the history of this site, I have always been a big fan of Etsy, and that’s even more the case now as I can finally start thinking about decorating rooms in a home and, let’s be honest, occasionally dressing two kids in matching clothing. It’s one of the only “stores” I’ve looked at and purchased from recently, so I thought today I’d share a few of my favorite finds from the site.

Framed Paper Doll Portrait, although the artist is only adding people to the waitlist at this point. Since our family will be complete after baby two arrives, I think I may need to have one of these made … and it will, of course, include our two dogs!

 

not drinking enough water, but I really need to work on this after the baby arrives. I’m thinking of investing in these Inspirational Water Bottles, which will keep me on track throughout the day. You actually get four water bottles, which means you can always have cold water and don’t have to immediately think to refill when one bottle is empty.

 

No Scrubs Doormat just makes me laugh. I’m probably going to have to find a spot for it at our new home.

Wedding Photo Box like this one would be the perfect place to store them. Double bonus? This design almost exactly matches our invitations!

 

Sleep Tight Cushion Cover is a must for his bedroom… and maybe for the new baby, too!

 

Cotton Candy Marshmallows are a must-have in my book.

 

Save Cursive Tee is a must-have for my wardrobe.

 

Home Sweet Home Embroidery.

 

House of Belonging on Etsy, and now I just need to narrow down which one I want the most. This Build a Longer Table Sign is a great option, this sign would be great for a child’s room, and this love your family sign is one of my all-time favorites. So many great options!

 

Our First Home Ornament will be on the list for this year… as well as another baby’s first Christmas ornament!

 

What are some of your own favorite Etsy finds? Please share — I’m always on the lookout for new items to add to my own list!

My Favorite Etsy Finds – Part 1 is a post from: Shop Girl Daily.

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Travel Hacks: 11 Tips for Buying Cheap Flights


3. Subscribe to flight alerts

If you don’t want to check your favorite travel websites day-after-day looking for flight decreases, subscribe to flight alerts that will let you know whenever cheap flights are available to your chosen destination. Check out sites like Airfarewatchdog.com or Yapta for cheap flight alerts.

4. Flexibility can be rewarding

Not having a specific date in mind for your trip can help yield big savings, as you can book your trip around when prices are the lowest. Some weeks are cheaper than others, as are some seasons. Flexibility can go a long way toward booking a cheap flight!

5. Travel during the off-season

If you’re heading to a vacation destination, prices are going to go up during specific seasons. For instance, you’re going to pay big bucks to fly to Florida in December or over spring break, but flights at most other times of year are pretty affordable. The same thing goes if you are traveling abroad. Last year we traveled to Costa Rica during their rainy season and not only did it not rain at all during the day but we saved money on our flights and accommodations because they typically don’t get as many visitors that time of year.

6. Fly during inconvenient hours

The cheapest flights are usually going to be available exactly when people don’t want to fly – first thing in the morning and late at night. Personally, I almost always try to get the first flight out of Chicago because it’s cheaper but also because O’Hare is a mess of an airport that’s prone to delays and I’ve never had a delay on an early morning flight (knock on wood).

7. Connections are your friend

Flights with connections are almost always going to be cheaper than direct flights. The downside to this is that your trip will most likely take longer, too, and you run the risk of more delays. If you’re in no big rush, however, booking a flight with connections is a great way to save some cash.

8. Fly into an alternate airport

Depending on where you’re flying, multiple airports may be available. For instance, if you’re flying into Chicago you can check the rates for both Midway and O’Hare. In New York City and Los Angeles, you have even more options. More airports means more flights and more opportunities for booking cheap flights! (Of course, you may have to keep in mind that your transportation from the airport to your final destination may increase if you switch airports.)

9. Check out multiple search aggregators

I find that I sometimes receive differing flight information depending on which search aggregator I use, so I tend to check as many of them as possible. CheapOAir.com is a personal favorite of mine because they usually have coupons available for $10-$15 off a flight, but I will also check Expedia, Travelocity, and Kayak. It’s not an aggregator, but some airlines, like Southwest, don’t list their flights on aggregators so you may want to check their sites separately as well.

10. Put Ebates to work

Did you know that you can use cash back shopping site like Ebates to make your cheap flight even cheaper? ‘Tis true and this is one of my absolute favorite tips for buying cheap flights! Ebates has partnered with sites like Expedia, Travelocity, Priceline, and Orbitz and you can earn cash back on your flights, hotels, car rentals, and more! The cash back amount varies by site. One thing worth noting: You will not receive the cash back in your Ebates account until AFTER your trip has concluded.

11. Join frequent flier programs

I used to think that everyone who flew semi-regularly made sure to join frequent flier programs, but it recently came to my attention that this is not the case. We have a good friend who has been busy traveling the world this past year and racking up mega frequent flier miles… only he never took the time to register! Not registering means absolutely no chance of accumulating enough points for a free flight. If you rarely fly it may not be worth it, but even if you only take a couple of flights each year it’s worth it to start building up a bank of points.

Do Tell: What other tips for buying cheap flights do you use?

 

More travel posts you won’t want to miss:


Travel Hacks: 11 Tips for Buying Cheap Flights is a post from: Shop Girl Daily.

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