{Starbucks Deal} 10% Off a $25.00 + A Starbucks Secret Menu Recipe

Update: This deal has been extended through July 31, 2014!

Cute Starbucks Pictures

Photo Credit: We Heart It

Want your Starbucks for less?  Click here to buy your $25.00 Starbucks eCard for 10% off!!  This offer is exclusive to friends of She Makes Cents (SMC) and offered through the SMC Tuition Bites storefront.  I bought one yesterday and received my eCard via email.  I now have the choice to print out , use it right from my smart phone, or transfer the balance to a registered Starbucks card.  Since I have yet to register a Starbucks card (unbelievable, right?), I’m going to add the credit to an existing gift card and register it so I can start racking up points and free drinks!  I’m using mine to try some drinks from the secret menu I posted two years ago and a few new ones since then.  Just remember, the offer end on 3/31/14.

Cotton Candy Frappuccino, Anyone?

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Starbucks Cotton Candy Frappuccino

This item is very popular drink from Starbucks.  All you have to do is ask your barista for a Vanilla Bean Frappuccino with 1-2 pumps of Raspberry Syrup.  That’s it!  Sometimes I have even had the baristas offer their own twist of secret drinks and those have been delicious too.  It’s all about having fun, getting a great deal (like the 10% off), and trying something new.

 

What’s Your Favorite Drink at Starbucks?

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{Money & Relationships} Who Should Pay for the First Date?

You just met this guy. He appears to be as nice, intelligent, and handsome as your friend said he would be… and did I mention he is a gentleman too. After sort of getting to know each other as best you can over casual first date, the bill comes….Who Should Pay for the 1st Date

Who Picks Up the Check?

I have always adopted that paradigm that planning and paying for the first date is apart of the courting package. However, my parents didn’t raise a fool. Regardless of my expectation of the bill being taken care of, at least for the first few dates, I would never leave the house without cash tucked sweetly away in my clutch.  Offer to pay the tip at least by the third date and surprise him by planning and paying for a date on your own.  So for those of you who believe that the man should take care of the first date, does that include everything…valet tip to parking or does it end at the table? 

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Check out some of the comments already brewing on the official SMC Facebook Page.

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{Dirty Dozen Clean 15} 15 Foods That Aren’t Worth the Higher Price for Organic

A while back, I got a couple of questions from my some readers who are trying to eat healthier on a budget, especially in regards to organic food.  Yes, organic food is pricey but when you factor in the benefits such as more nutrients, no pesticides, and better taste, it’s worth the extra cost, in my opinion.  However, not all fruits and veggies are created equal and not all are worth of the higher price tag.  Let me introduce to you, the Dirty Dozen and the Clean Fifteen, an annual list created by the Environmental Working Group (EWG) that lists the fruits and veggies with the most and least pesticides.  This list will let you know which are the most important to eat organic and which are OK to eat even when conventionally grown.

According to EWG, they analyze pesticide residue testing data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and Food and Drug Administration to come up with rankings for these popular fresh produce items. All 48 foods are listed below from worst to best (lower numbers = more pesticides).

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Which Fruit or Veggie Surprises You The Most?

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{Eat Chic on the Cheap} Reserve by Groupon

She Makes Cents

Since my birthday this past August, I have vowed to make more time for my girlfriends.  I cannot begin to stress the importance of having a girl’s night and being able to have a chic dinner outing without busting everyone’s budget makes these type of social outings, that much more fabulous!  All of my girlfriends are foodies which is why I can not wait to try out the latest addition to the Groupon umbrella- Reserve.  Reserve lets customers book tables at some of the best restaurants in their city at discounts of up to 40 percent.  According to Groupon CEO Eric Lefkofsky, “this is the answer to a growing demand for upscale offers and exclusive experiences”.  The Reserve reservation platform gives customers a discount off their entire check without requiring pre-payment or vouchers. “Whether it’s because of a slow night or a last minute no-show, even the best restaurants have empty tables,” Lefkofsky explains.

Reserve reservations are live in 10 markets: Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Denver, Los Angeles, Miami, New York City, Philadelphia, San Francisco and Washington, D.C., with plans to expand to more cities in the United States and in key international markets by the end of 2013.

Would YOU Use Reserve for Delicious Discounts?

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{Eat On The Cheap} 7 of Atlanta’s Best Restaurants for Half Price

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This summer, we’re making it even easier for you to enjoy dining without breaking your budget. For three days only—June 19-21—you can purchase 50% dining certificates to your favorite Fifth Group restaurants.  The best part is… you can use them all summer and since most of these restaurants are known for frequent celebrity sightings like Reese Witherspoon and Owen Wilson, you never know who you may bump into.

Choose from:

• $30 of sophisticated Southern dinner and drink at South City Kitchen Midtown for $15
• $30 of sophisticated Southern dinner and drink at South City Kitchen Vinings for $15
• $20 of spirited Mexican dinner and drink at El Taco for $10
• $40 of neighborhood Italian dinner and drink at La Tavola for $20
• $40 of seasonal European dinner and drink at Ecco for $20
• $30 of modern Latin dinner and drink at Alma for $15
• $40 of contemporary seafood dinner and drink at Lure for $20

Go ahead, buy as many as you like; they don’t mind—you just have to use them by September 24. Click here to purchase yours! What are you waiting for?

The Fine Print

Certificates are not valid for use until July 1 and expire September 24. One certificate per two people per visit. Certificate cannot be combined with any other discounted offer. Once you complete your purchase, you will receive PDF certificates via email within 10 business days; these are what you must print and present to your server for redemption, not the actual email itself.

{Cinco de Mayo} Host Your Own Shindig on a Budget

As a brand, She Makes Cents is all about inspiring and informing you of ways to use your “cents” to live a fabulous life. So it’s time to start thinking about…well, some fabulosity. Now that the weather is warm and I have officially come out of hibernation, I keep thinking of ways I can get my entertaining groove back. Luckily the calendar is on my side as next week presents a few options for themed entertainment with the Kentucky Derby & Cinco de Mayo. While I LOVE the idea of playing dress up for a Kentucky Derby party, I am leaning toward a chic yet laid back Cinco de Mayo celebration. I plan on keeping the guest list intimate and executing a food and beverage plan that will keep costs down.  Working in the special events industry certainly comes in handy with my planning.  A fun taco bar, vibrant colored fruit, and of course, a signature drink will create a fun atmosphere for my guests! This is where presentation makes the difference between being the host of a cheesy get-together or hosting an event with effortless style!

Check Out My Inspirations Below!

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 Host Your Own Shindig on a Budget

1. Keep your guest list small & intimate.  I often find that I am able to be more apart of an event when there are fewer people.  The conversation is more engaging and it lessens the chance of people cliqued up and not mingling with new people.

2. Go Green. Don’t waste your money on paper invitations or Evites.  Instead, try calling people.  It’s more personal, your guests will appreciate the effort, and you are more likely to get an immediate rsvp. 

3.  Be Like Santa!  Make a list and check it twice.  Save yourself money and stress by making sure you get everything you need ahead of time.  Having to rush to the store to grab an extra bag of ice is never cool.

4. Select a Flexible Menu.  My taco bar allow guests to essentially make their own meal.  It’s cost-effective and this removes the chance of me forgetting that Lauren is allergic to cheese and Victoria hates onions just as much as I do.  An added bonus for this particular meal is that all the colorful ingredients can be stylized to create an awesome visual display on the table.  A signature drink or two (one with plenty of spirits and one without) helps keep your beverage budget down…especially compared to an open bar.

5. Added Touches.  I never host an event without background music, fresh floral, and a co-host.  Keeping your guests comfortable will keep your party going.  Don’t forget the little things such as stocking up on extra TP and paper towels, strategically placing trash cans throughout the house, citronella candles for outside, and thoughtfully positioned seating areas for guests.

What Is Your Favorite Entertaining Tip?

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{Eat on the Cheap} Healthy Eating on a Budget

I got this question in from a reader who connected with me through my about.me!

Hello there! I am curious, I am wanting to start using the envelope method but I’m wondering how to go about spending the amount given for me in the grocery amount when on a diet. Diets are super hard to stick to especially when you are on low budget. Any advice?

MyKudos to you for making two great decisions eating clean and trying not to go into debt doing so. The envelope system, by Dave Ramsey, is such a wonder tool that has helped me reshape how I think about money. Truthfully, it may take a few visits to the grocery store for you to figure out exactly how much goes into your grocery envelope. My latest goal that I have implemented into my own life is to set realistic goals. Once you figure out how much is realistic to spend for your budget, lifestyle, and family size, then you are really to maintain a consistent amount every check.

My second recommendation would be to plan your meals on a weekly basis and make a grocery list based on the meals you plan to cook. There are a number of sources that provide recipes to help you eat cleaner by planning your meals in advanced. Choose My Plate is a government website that helps you plan motivational menus on a 2000 calorie diet, provides tips to help you save, and suggests foods that are great for your diet. Here is an example of a sample menu for the week. Another great source is Pinterest, which is filled with thousands of recipes from people across the web who share similar tastes and goals as you. Now that you have an idea of what you want to prepare for the week, then it is time to make the all important grocery list. I really like this grocery list from MomAgendga and I recommend never stepping into a grocery store without a completed list.

Other tips to consider:

  • Never shop on an empty stomach…it often causes people to over shop and over spend.
  • Wear your most fabulous heels to the grocery store: Look good, feel good, right? Well, yes… but wearing your most fabulous heels (which often ends up being the ones that hurt the most) will force you to stay on track so you can get exactly what you need and get out of there so you can get home to more comfy shoes or…no shoes at all. It may sound crazy, but I keep my heels on after work ONLY on days when I have to run errands where I may be tempted to spend!
  • Get a shopping/accountability buddy: My good friend, Kema and I used to make our grocery lists and go shopping together. It made the experience fun, we used that time to catch up, and we helped each other stay on target and budget.

For other tips, check out these 10 tips from Choose My Plate on Eating on a Better Budget

What is your favorite budget shopping tip?

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{Super Market Spending Traps} Do You Fall Victim to the Spending Traps?

{Free Starbucks Tomorrow} Starbucks Refreshers

Photo: Business Wire

This week, Starbucks announced the availability of handcrafted Starbucks Refreshers™ beverages, a global breakthrough beverage innovation that delivers a distinctly new take on thirst-quenching refreshment while providing a natural boost of energy from green coffee extract and real fruit juice. On Friday, July 13 from 12-3 p.m. local time customers can visit participating U.S. and Canada stores and enjoy a free Tall (12 fl. oz.) handcrafted Starbucks Refreshers™ beverage, courtesy of Starbucks while supplies last.

Will you be making a Starbucks run on tomorrow?

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{Eat on the Cheap} Can You Feed a Family of Four for Under $10? She Can…

Love Bytes!!!

I wanted to take a quick moment and tell you about a blog I came across while blog surfing one Sunday called Budget Bytes. First of all, ALL of the food looks yummy, but what I LOVE the most is how Beth breaks down the recipe step by step, with pictures I might add, and how much it costs to make…especially compared to dining out. She reminds me of Sandra Lee from the show Semi Homemade on the Food Network.

Here is one recipe that I have been dying to try:

It has been in “my favorites” on my iPad for the longest. Maybe this could be a fun alternative to the traditional Memorial Day hot dogs and hamburgers?

Total Recipe cost: $7.98
Servings Per Recipe: 4
Cost per serving: $2.00
Prep time: 15 min. Marinate time: 4-24 hrs. Cook time: 15 min. Total: 30 min. (after marinating)

CHICKEN & MARINADE COST
2 lg. (1.25 lbs) chicken breasts $2.48
1/2 cup plain yogurt $0.25
1 Tbsp minced garlic $0.36
1 Tbsp lemon juice $0.32
1/2 tsp cinnamon $0.03
1/2 tsp dried oregano $0.03
1/2 tsp salt $0.02
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg $0.03
1/4 tsp ground cloves $0.03
YOGURT SAUCE (for sandwich) COST
7 oz. cup plain greek yogurt $1.59
1/4 tsp minced garlic $0.03
1/4 tsp dried dill $0.03
1/4 tsp salt $0.02
SANDWICH ITEMS COST
4 homemade naan, pita, or flatbread $0.64
1/2 head romaine lettuce $0.80
1 medium cucumber $0.69
2 medium roma tomatoes $0.63
TOTAL $7.98

STEP 1: In a small bowl, combine the ingredients for the marinade (yogurt, lemon juice, garlic, cinnamon, oregano, salt, nutmeg, and clove). Add chicken to the marinade, coat well, cover and refrigerate for 4-24 hours. If desired, slice the chicken into strips before marinating to maximize the flavor.

STEP 2: Prepare the yogurt sauce for the sandwiches. Open a 7 oz. container of plain greek yogurt and stir in the garlic, dill, and salt. Refrigerate until ready to use.

STEP 3: After marinating the chicken, grill until cooked through (I use a George Foreman, cooked for about 7 minutes).

STEP 4: Prepare the vegetables for the sandwich. Chop, rinse, and drain the lettuce in a colander. Wash and slice the cucumber and tomato.

STEP 5: Build the chicken shawarma sandwiches. Spread the yogurt sauce on your flat bread, top with the chicken and vegetables. Roll the sandwich closed. You can wrap the sandwich in foil to help it stay closed as you eat.

Check out Beth and all her wonderfully yummy recipes on her website Budget Bytes!

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