Friends & Family Purchasing Strategy

I’m going to make this short and sweet. Let’s start with a couple of facts:

The strategy I will explain below only works if Nordstrom and Bloomingdale’s have the exact same product available at time of purchase (includes sizes, colors, etc.).

Here’s how it works:

  1. Find an item you want to purchase (DUH!).
  2. Add the item to your cart on Bloomingdale’s website and apply the promotion code to be sure it’s applicable.
  3. Purchase the item from Nordstrom online and note your order #.
  4. Call Nordstrom customer service, give them your order # and ask for a price match. Tell them the competitor and promotion code you used.
  5. The customer service rep will confirm the promotion on the competitor’s website.
  6. Your order total will be adjusted/reduced.
  7. Wait for your credit to appear on your statement (usually 2-3 business days).

screen-shot-2016-12-02-at-11-13-51-amSo what does this mean? When it’s Friends & Family at Bloomingdale’s or Macy’s or Lord & Taylor or Dillard’s, it’s also Friends & Family at Nordstrom! Use this approach with ALL competitors, large and small! #shoppingqueen #winning #thatisall

Price vs. Cost

This morning I read an interesting article from Seth Godin’s blog. The subject, though not expressed in this way, is essentially was price vs. cost. Price as in the monetary commitment required to buy-in and cost as in the resources expended over time to maintain said item. Sure, it’s not a revolutionary concept; but, it can always be helpful to reflect on concepts in a different light or hear someone else’s perspective. The same thing is supposed to happen when you read scripture, right? 🤔

Here is Seth’s thought-provoking question: I know what the price tag says. But what does it cost?

Don’t just think of cost in terms of money. Cost can also be your time, stress, not doing something else (also known as opportunity cost). Lifehacker says, “More often than not, figuring out something’s cost is more important than figuring out its price.”

Here are a few examples:

  • You buy a dog that costs $500. The $500 price tag is a one-time expense, what it takes to buy-in. The cost, however is: dog food + doctor visits + dog-sitters + 15-minute walks each day over years, many years. The cost is on-going and can be more than 10 times the price.
  • You buy a luxury handbag that costs $500. The price tag is the same as the example above; however, the cost, in this case is nominal – maybe you need to clean it, have a few repairs, etc. but not very much in the grand scheme of things. The cost of the luxury handbag is less than the price.

Here’s the thing: as I am typing this post I am learning / acknowledging my own personal buying behavior and preference. I prefer high price, low-cost items. 💡 Meaning, I’d rather spend money up front (higher price) and have minimal cost. Some people prefer the opposite approach. Or maybe more correctly stated, our attitudes are different depending on what the “thing” in question is: a house, a trip to Paris, a steak dinner, a vintage car, a membership in a club or group, golf lessons. I do think most people have a pattern. Sure, you can bring value into this discussion but that’s subjective. Cost and price are quantifiable, very easy to measure.

So what’s the takeaway? The next time you consider the pice tag (“buying in”), take 30-seconds and think about what type of price-cost arrangement you are getting yourself into. Whatever your choice is, enjoy!

Better Banking

A rapper by the name Killer Mike (also an avid Bernie Sanders supporter) made a call to action on a 107.9, a popular Atlanta radio station last week. He said,

We cannot go out in the street and start bombing, shooting and killing,” the rapper said during the town hall. “I encourage none of us to engage in acts of violence that will cause more peril to our community and others that look like us. I encourage us to take our warfare to financial institutions.

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Screen Shot 2016-07-24 at 9.18.22 AMThe result? EIGHT THOUSAND 8,000 PEOPLE OPENED ACCOUNTS AT CITIZENS TRUST BANK IN ATLANTA. That figure was reported last week by USA Today and many mainstream news outlets. Similar results were reported in Houston at Unity National Bank, the only black-owned bank in the state of Texas and at OneUnited Bank, with locations in Los Angeles, Miami and Boston. Think you’ll see this on the news?? Don’t hold your breath! Need to finad a black owned bak or credit union near, you, check out this list on Facebook and be sure to follow the conversation on Twitter, #BankBlackBankSmallBankLocal

Now THIS is a movement! #startsomewhere #dosomething #anything #getmad #divertmoneyawayfromthesystem 🙌🏽

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Meat Quality & Health

This is a super random post about meat and health – charge it to me almost recovering from a sinus infection/cold… things still aren’t quite working the way they should.

7_0I am super picky about where I buy meats: chicken, fish, beef, pork, etc. While some people think Whole Foods is a rip-off, I absolutely do not want to buy my meat from any other place. Trust me, I’ve tried being more “cost conscience” by shopping at “normal” grocery stores like Kroger, Publix, Target and Wal-Mart. In the end, I always regret my decision which manifests at the exact moment I’m ready to cook – too much fat or a bad cut of meat always disguised by clever packaging. I do not like fat on my meat, any meat! And frozen meats/meals? Forget it! If I’m cooking, 95% of the time there will be no processed foods, especially meat!

The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has classified processed meat as a carcinogen, something that causes cancer.

Processed meat includes hot dogs (never), ham (only from the Honey Baked store at Thanksgiving & Christmas), bacon (sometimes), sausage (very very rarely, it’s never been my preference), and some deli meats (never). It refers to meat that has been treated in some way to preserve or flavor it. Processes include salting, curing, fermenting, and smoking. Red meat includes beef (filets only! clean cuts with trimmed/no fat), pork (probably too much, love pulled pork!), lamb (gag), and goat (double gag). (American Cancer Society). You can also check this BBC news article for more information on this. It’s a proven fact.

foodBeing sick always makes you re-evaluate your health. Let’s be honest: being sick sucks and all you think about is how you’re going to change your life (style) once you get well so you don’t get sick again. It’s an inconvenience and often can be painful. When you’re sick you have plenty of time to explore this concept in your mind and on the Internet. #guilty Out of sickenss comes the realization that we need to take better care of ourselves and it starts with food which can be medicine or poison. While I was sick I actually bought a book, It Starts with Food. Yes, this actually happened! There’s also a super amazing podcast by The Minimalists, Health (link) that I listen to it frequently. Yes, I know you can’t control all variables; but, we have to start somewhere! And sometimes over and over again.

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When I purchase meats at Whole Foods I can see exactly what I am buying. I see the cut and I know the quality. Sure, it costs a bit more (Whole Foods is often known as Whole Paycheck); but, every time I make a purchase I have zero regrets and I get to enjoy and quality healthy meal. You know what they say about health: pay now or pay later! I’d rather not take that risk. Here is Whole Food’s policy on meat quality standards:

  • Animals must not receive antibiotics, ever.
  • No animal by-products are allowed in feed, including feather meal or rendered fat.
  • Animals raised for meat must not receive added hormones. (Federal regulations prohibit the use of hormones when raising pigs, poultry, bison, goats, or rabbits.
  • For ruminants, time in a feedlot cannot be more than one-third of the animal’s life.
  • No crates, cages or tethers are permitted.  This includes, but is not limited to:
    • Gestation crates and farrowing stalls for sows
    • Individual hutches or tethers for veal calves
  • Cattle, pigs, chickens and turkeys sold in our fresh meat counter must be certified to the Global Animal Partnership 5-Step® Animal Welfare Rating.

Invest with Acorns

Screen Shot 2016-04-21 at 11.19.13 AMInvesting is complicated. So much so that many people don’t even bother. Acorns, a mobile investment app can help! Essentially, every time you swipe your card (debit or credit), Acorns rounds up to the nearest dollar value and automatically invests the change for you! The money goes into a separate account that is completely under your control, meaning you can make deposits or withdrawals at any time. The fees are super simple to understand/digest: $1 per month (or $12/year) for accounts less than $5,000, 0.25% for accounts more than $5,000. Student accounts are free and every Acorns account is insured up to $500,000 for fraud.

To get started, sign up here. Acorns also has a money blog, Grow Magazine.

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