Jul 01 2017

Using a jewelery rental/discovery service to expand your wardrobe

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This blog uses affiliate links and maintains financial relationships with various partners.

This year, I’m trying new things when it comes to style. I use and enjoy Stitch Fix, I’ve tried Trunk Club once and had a fantastic experience chatting with my stylist back and forth about what I’m seeking and sharing photos with her (I kept 3 pieces from my first trunk), and I’m using Rocksbox as a jewelry discovery and rental service.

Let me tell you more about Rocksbox.

How it works

Rocksbox has a monthly membership of $21 (get your first month free here with my affiliate link! Go to rocksbox.com and use code kaciebff36 ). Add items to your wishlist, fill out your profile, and leave a note for your stylist for what you’re seeking. You’ll get a box with 3 jewelry items to wear for as long as you’d like. Send it back when you’re ready, and you’ll get another box.

You can use the $21 monthly membership fee as a credit toward purchasing an item in your box. I was pleasantly surprised to see that in my first month, I still received that $21 credit (even though I hadn’t paid for anything yet!). I used it to keep a pair of Kate Spade stud earrings for a great price, I think $18 after applying my free credit. As such, starting your account mid-month will give you more credit to work with, as the $21 credit is posted to your account on the first of the month; not when your membership renews. The $21 credit expires if not used by the end of the month. Referral and birthday credit can carry over.

If you purchase all 3 items in a set, there’s an additional $10 off.

The quality has been nice for the most part. Some pieces I suspect I’m the first wearer. One necklace had a chain that had been repaired, and it had a piece that stuck out and that was disappointing. Another bracelet I received was nice, but looked a little tarnished. It happens. It’s jewelry. This is a rental service. However, the rest have been in fantastic condition.

My sets

I started my membership toward the end of May. I received box #1:

rocksbox 1

Since I wanted a statement necklace ahead of the wedding, I decided on keeping those earrings the same day and drove over to the post office to get my package back in the mail so my next one would arrive quickly. I’m finding the turn-around is fast. Once they see the tracking in the system, it is usually the same or next day that the stylist chooses the next pieces.

For the wedding, I shared a URL of the dress I was planning to wear and I described how I was planning to accessorize it. I had a few necklaces on my wishlist, and she sent two (I was glad to have options) and a coordinating cuff which she selected:

rocksbox 2

I wore the Monica necklace and that cuff, along with the studs I kept from the first box. The purchase price of the necklace was $63 and the cuff $94, and while pretty, there was no way I would get enough value out of keeping them. After the wedding, I packed it up and sent it all back for someone else to wear.

Set #3 was a great one and included some lovely Kendra Scott earrings, a simple silver chain necklace, and a Nakamol wrap bracelet. I used my June credit, a $5 birthday credit they added to my account, and a $25 referral credit to buy the necklace for I think $6 out of pocket. I loved the bracelet, but not the $62 price. So, I took a look at other bracelets they have in the sale section.

rocksbox 3

Sale shop

The sale items are gently used and there’s a disclaimer that items are worn and may have visible signs of wear. All sales are final. So…a bit of risk there. Still, I found a Nakamol bracelet in the sale shop that I liked even better, so I bought that (free shipping) and was happy to see it was in great condition.

The sale shop is only available to members, and I’ve seen some pretty steep mark-downs within.

In my free trial month, I received 5 sets. I typically put them in the mail on Monday (free shipping both ways, do it from your mail box), and I have received my next set by Thursday or Friday the same week. Now to be fair, I think if I wanted to cancel, I would have only been able to do 4 sets with enough time to cancel.

I’ve now received 6 sets. I don’t think I’ll always do a quick turn-around; some people wear their pieces more and spread it out. For me, I think it will depend on the set and if I am in search of something specific.rocksbox 6

I have 64 items on my wish list and they give you an option to prioritize 10 as your top picks. All but 2 pieces from all 6 sets have come from my wish list. The two that didn’t were thoughtful choices by my stylist. For my 2nd – 6th boxes, I’ve had the option to peek at the box and swap one item from a limited selection if I wanted. Check your email in case you have this option. I always peek, but I haven’t swapped an item yet.

Each box comes carefully wrapped and tied with a pretty bow, and all pieces are in individual jewelry bags. Some have a bubble wrap pouch for extra protection. All are inspected and sanitized between users. Included is a note from the stylist (mine have been different each time) sharing ideas for how to wear your pieces and sometimes remarking on past feedback I’ve shared. This is definitely a person curating these sets.

rocksbox 6 note

Returns are so easy. The box has a pre-printed USPS label inside. As soon as I open my package, I attach the label to the mailer, which you reuse to return.

Prices are shown on the item as you add it to your wish list, and my wish list contains pieces in the $30-100 per item range. Most of my sets all-in are in the $150ish or so price point. Less if I have account credit to use.

Note that you have to call a phone number to cancel (why, oh why?!). There’s an option to place your account on hold online (but, you won’t have jewelry on loan during that time period). There’s also a gift option and I’m wondering if I can buy myself a 3-month subscription to save $14.  Hmm.

Is this the cheapest way to wear jewelry? Nah. For that, thrift stores, garage sales, and the clearance rack at Target or TJMaxx would probably be cheaper. Would I find the same quality there? Not so sure. As such, I’m finding Rocksbox to be a good value.

Bottom line

I have been happy with the service and I plan to continue. I’m enjoying trying out various jewelry, and the rental/keep what you love option is great.

If you’ve been wanting to dabble in jewelry, or if you have some dressier events coming up, do your free month and take it from there! (The kaciebff36 code is my referral code; you get a free month and I get $25 in credit. Thanks!)

 

How about you? Have you tried Rocksbox or something similar?

 


Posted under Personal Finance | Comments Off on Using a jewelery rental/discovery service to expand your wardrobe
Mar 10 2017

3 time-savers I’m obsessed with right now

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This blog uses affiliate links and maintains financial relationships with various partners.

I’m busy (aren’t we all?), but also kinda lazy (maybe it’s just me). Here are three things that are saving me sanity, time, and in some cases money, and I’m super-thankful they’re in my life right now:

Stitch Fix

I’m now on Fix #4 and I’m obsessed!

I tried this styling service once back in 2014, but I wasn’t ready for it. Of the five items I received, I liked two. I sent them back because I thought they were a bit pricey for what they were (I think $48-58, if I recall?), and I ended up regretting returning them. I liked that top and cardigan, and I didn’t find others in store that were quite the same, either. Whoops.

On a whim this year, I scheduled my second Fix. I changed my style profile to reflect my current aims, and I went into it with the understanding that yes, these items are going to cost more than I would pay at Target. I’m paying for a styling service and their algorithm the mega convenience factor, and some nicer-quality items. I ended up keeping all 5 items in my second Fix and received a 25% off discount for doing so. A $20 styling fee with each Fix covers shipping both ways, and can be used as a credit toward any purchase in that Fix. Return it all and you lose your $20, though.

My total with 7% sales tax and minus the styling fee was $196. Yikes! Comes to about $40 per item. Some of these were Stitch Fix (affiliate link, thank you!) house brands, and others you can find at places like Nordstrom. I was glad to see “made in USA” on the label of one of my tops.

If you bank with PNC, activate the Stitch Fix offer on PNC Purchase Payback. I jumped in on one offer before it expired and got $10 back on my $20 styling fee, and activated a new offer that popped up for an additional $10 back (which applied toward my purchase). The timing of both worked out to $20 off that Fix, plus 1.75% cash back on my purchase by using that PNC Visa. If you don’t bank with PNC, try Cash Back Monitor to see current extra offers for new customers. Oh, and I would certainly appreciate it if you used my referral link! I’d get $25 credited to my account. Thank you!

I left feedback for my stylist, requested her again, and I turned around and scheduled my 3rd Fix since my wardrobe really could use some help. I was more picky about what I kept. I received pants, a scarf, and three tops. The pants were too tight and I didn’t like the color, the tops were cute but not on me, but I liked the scarf a lot. The scarf was the only thing I kept. You have the option of exchanging for a different size at no charge. The size was fine but I just didn’t love the tops or pants.

I pinned this scarf and received it in Fix #3. Kept! It has a large width and I can tie it in several ways.

I pinned this scarf and received it in Fix #3. Kept! It has a large width and I can tie it in several ways.

For Fix #4, I requested the same stylist. This Fix was another 5/5! I don’t expect that all of the time; I think 1-2 items kept is still doing well. I received white Kut from the Kloth jeans, Henry & Belle skinny jeans in a teal color, two tops (both USA!), and some denim shorts. Nothing was from my Pinboard specifically, although I had very similar styles pinned. The Kut pants are priced the same or better as what I’m seeing on Nordstrom.

I like the clothing I’m receiving and that I’m trying things that I wouldn’t think to pick out on my own, but still feel like me. I like that I do not have to set foot in a store. I really don’t have time to do that on my own, and if I brought kids along…I wouldn’t have the greatest outcome in terms of what I selected for myself. Shopping for clothing in a store just overwhelms me and I don’t enjoy it.

Henry & Belle Nicholas skinny jean. Stitch Fix exclusive wash. Super soft and feel great! Kept. Most expensive pants I have purchased, but the 25% off helped. Still most expensive.

Henry & Belle Nicholas skinny jean. Stitch Fix exclusive wash. Super soft and feel great! Kept. Most expensive pants I have purchased, but the 25% off helped. Still most expensive.

Further, in a store or online, I tend to gravitate toward huge sales and the clearance section because that’s my nature. In doing so, I might miss out on nicer things that sell out quickly. For example, my stylist sent me white cropped jeans, since she saw that I had pinned some similar and she said white sell out fast in their inventory. I believe that, as I have never been able to find white jeans that I liked on my own.

So typically, I browse online and order from some retailer and either keep it or return it on my own. I will still do this for some items, but it does take time to find what I want. Working with a Stitch Fix stylist and their data has them take care of that part, too. Oh, and have you seen the style cards that come with each Fix? They are yours to keep, and I think they are really helpful.

Check out my Stitch Fix Pinterest board to see some of the items I’ve received and what I’m saving as inspiration.

P.S., Stitch Fix now has a wider range of sizes: maternity, plus (as of February), and men’s.

 

One of my style cards. This top came in my February Fix

One of my style cards. This top came in my 2nd Fix. It is dark green (super soft fabric) and has a floral thing mixed-media going on at the bottom. Made in USA! Never would have tried it on my own, but I like it!

 

 My Instant Pot

Is the Instant Pot worth the hype? Oh, yes ma’am, it is. I got one when it was on sale last year for around $70ish, and if you set a price alert on CamelCamelCamel, you can be notified the next time there’s a price drop.

I haven’t yet found a cookbook that I love, but check your library to see if there are any good options for you. Here is a chicken and wild rice soup recipe that is delicious (my cousin shared this one with me). Keep your owner’s manual handy for a quick reference to cooking times.

I’ve used it to make rice, soups, stews, and just cooking up meat in a faster way. Frozen chicken breasts can cook up fast, and it regularly saves a day when I fail to plan ahead for dinner time. It is particularly good for inexpensive,  tough cuts of meat. I could never get stew meat as tender as I can get it in the Instant Pot when cooking it in my slow cooker or on the stove.

I make hard-cooked eggs in it, and what’s magical about using the Instant Pot is the shells peel without drama. No matter what tricks I try on the stove, peeling eggs ends up taking forever and makes the eggs look battered. Not so with the Instant Pot!

Mine is a 6-qt model, but if you have a large family, I think it is probably worth getting a larger size so you won’t run into capacity issues for really big cuts of meat or a big ol’ pot of soup. I tried doubling the chicken and rice soup recipe and the results weren’t as good. Do not overfill.

I haven’t used my slow cooker since getting the Instant Pot. Not quite ready to get rid of it, but…I think its days could be numbered around here.

Kroger Click List

I’m trying out Kroger Click List as a time and money saver. The first three pick-ups are free and after that, it is a $5 charge. I’m on my 4th pick-up and plan to continue.

You make your list online, use digital or physical coupons, choose your pick-up time, and pull in to a designated parking spot during that time frame. Call the phone number on the sign post in front of you, and someone will wheel out your groceries and load them in your vehicle.

I. Love. It.

I’m an Aldi regular, but when you think about how many times you’re handling an item at Aldi, it just is a bit time-consuming: Grab item from shelf, put in cart, load onto conveyor, bag items, put in vehicle, bring into house, put away. Ugh. Contrast that with Kroger’s service, and I’m bringing in the groceries from my garage I’m putting the item away.

Kroger’s prices are generally pretty competitive, and if I take care to schedule a pickup for when I’m already out running errands, it is a huge time-saver and sanity-saver. Not having to take three kids inside a store? Yeah, there’s cost savings there, too, when you factor in the impulse things  that inevitably make their way into my cart.

One weird thing — I ordered one pack of 12-ct chicken drumsticks. They gave me 3 packs, and charged me for all 3. I contacted customer service to let them know (and haven’t heard back). I can handle substitutions since they clear it with you when you check out, but I just don’t need that many chicken legs at once. Hopefully this was an anomaly.

Bonus time-saver: I can access previous purchases and quickly add regulars to my next cart.

How about you? Any sanity savers you’re loving right now?


Posted under Groceries, Personal Finance | Comments Off on 3 time-savers I’m obsessed with right now

Hey! I'm Kacie, wife and mother of 3. I write about my family's finance: how we save money, improve our spending, and plan for the future.

I hope I can inspire and encourage you to improve your situation. See disclosure.

I'm adopting a much slower-paced posting schedule, and treating this as a hobby blog now.

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