First, I'd been saving the Amazon gift cards I earn from Swagbucks (that's a referral link) (and sometimes from Bing - another referral link! - and sometimes from other sources, including this blog) because I wanted to upgrade my phone.
I use Virgin Mobile because I like paying only $35 per month for unlimited text and data and 300 talk minutes that I rarely come close to using. (If I could afford more per month, I might consider another plan/carrier/even better phone, but I can't, and this works just fine for me.) I'd bought myself an HTC One V a little over a year ago using the same save-gift-cards technique, but it stopped working properly about six months in - as in, it wouldn't make nor answer phone calls half the time and often wouldn't load my contact list or send text messages. I said it many times - it's all well and good to be able to have a few apps on there or a good camera (and I do think the camera is good), but if I can't make phone calls, then the phone isn't really that great.
The phone for which I was saving was the flagship Samsung Galaxy S3 - once I saw that VM was offering it, I wanted it, but I was patient and I waited. And during Black Friday Week, Amazon finally dropped the price from a high of around $400 and an average of around $315 to $260 AND it included a free case! So I pounced. And after factoring in all the credit I'd slowly, carefully saved, I paid about $35 including tax for this fancy phone.
Imagine my surprise and annoyance when a week later, right before I went to bed, I received an alert from CamelCamelCamel (I'd forgotten to cancel it) telling me that at 10pm on Monday night my phone's price dropped down to $250 - which is a GREAT DEAL for this high-end phone, just...less than what I paid.
Happily, a friend of mine had clued me in that Amazon has a 30-day price guarantee. I simply emailed and asked for a refund and when I woke up in the morning it had been processed, bringing my out-of-pocket cost down to about $25!
I love this phone. Love love love it. Here's a link (a referral link) to this great deal on the Samsung Galaxy S3 for Virgin Mobile (be aware: you can only use the version of the phone to which I'm linking on VM in the United States). Once you get it, it's so easy to activate, and then you can pick the right plan for you!
Update 12/4/13: The price went back up but this phone is still AMAZING. Get it!
Next, boots. I have been wanting some knee-high boots for a while, and I set aside some birthday money specifically to buy some for myself. First I thought I would get these - Prize from Donald J. Pliner - but they were a bit more than I felt comfortable spending (though they are still on my wish list and if the ones I wound up buying - you'll see in a minute - don't fit, I suppose I could go back and get these instead).
Again, Amazon and Black Friday Week came through to save the day. I found these:
and when I bought them, they were marked down and there was a coupon code for 25% more off. They should arrive today and I will take pictures of them with my new phone! (Again, that's a referral link.)
Update 12/4/13: Sadly, these boots just didn't fit me the way I wanted. They were an amazing price and they're adorable, but they're going back to Amazon and I'm back on a quest for black boots.
Next, I had been drooling over one particular crafting tool for a long, long time - the Silhouette Cameo. I cannot tell you how many contests I'd entered to try and win one. This time around, after Googling "Silhouette giveaway" and entering the contests that came up in the search, I paid attention to what all the craftsy bloggers were saying - that a big Black Friday sale was coming up. I put up an alert on Amazon for the Silhouette Cameo starter kit, but on Black Friday when the deals were announced I found that - for a change - Amazon couldn't beat the deal being offered directly from Silhouette. You can find all the Silhouette America holiday deals here (though let me add that I'm a bit annoyed - I thought these deals were Friday only, and they're still available as I write this on the following Tuesday - I hate feeling pressured to buy something to get a deal and I could've waited - it hasn't even shipped yet! Oh well.). I am SO SO SO SO excited about this - I have some projects planned that I will share! (Look at me - first I'm pretending to be a fashion blogger, then I'm pretending to be a craft blogger, ha!)
Finally, I did some in-person Black Friday shopping with friends. I found a great deal on brown boots (to go with the black ones I ordered! the price in the link is likely more than what I paid - frustratingly, I didn't have the magic coupons with me, but they still were a great price and while they're synthetic, they are super duper comfy and cute!) and black clogs (to replace the Dansko clogs that I wear every day, although the reviews on these are making me worried and I'm debating returning them - the ones I bought are similar to but not the same as those in the link).
Look, here's an actual picture of my new brown boots on me:
|Bonus: I'm wearing one of the tops from my most recent thrifting post - I loooove it!|
Finally, Cuppow had a Cyber Monday sale. Cuppow? Oh, you need one of these. I got my first one from my friend Marissa as the best birthday present ever.
A Cuppow is a little plastic doohickey (made in the USA, BPA and phthalate free) that turns a glass mason jar into a travel mug. It's eco-friendly and made by a small, independent business. I loooove it. So I bought a bunch more - the one Marissa gave me is for wide-mouthed jars (and if you squint, you can see that my jar is etched with a picture of Massachusetts - the jar is from opal & ollie on Etsy) so I bought myself one that's for regular-mouthed jars too, and then I bought a handful to give as gifts to friends and teachers and therapists (because it's that time of year and my kid has a cast of thousands!). I may also use my new Silhouette to create stencils to etch mason jars myself or to add vinyl decorations to the jars (to add to the Cuppows as gifts).
NOTE! Cuppow has extended its Cyber Monday sale through Tuesday, December 3, 2013! Use the code CYBERCUPPOW for 25% off your order. If you buy four things, you get free shipping, so that's like buying 3 and getting 1 totally free! Also here's my referral link for a bonus $2 off your order (that link is valid until December 5 - please use it!).
I think that's all for now - watch this space for new pictures and new crafts! Happy Hanukkah and happy festive holiday season!