5 Ways to Save Money on Your Purchases That Don’t Involve Clipping Coupons


Easy tips for saving money.

How to save money

*Links with an asterisk are affiliate links. If you choose to purchase through those links, thank you for supporting Meadow Sweet Lane! xo

When I was 8 or 9, my favorite thing to do on Sunday mornings was to take the advertisements from the Sunday paper, sit on the floor, look through each ad, and clip coupons for the family. I loved it. I did it for years. In fact, I still do when I visit my parents (who still subscribe to the paper newspaper). Looking back, that’s probably one of the reasons I studied marketing in college. Seems like I’ve always had an interest in it!

I also still coupon, although I do it a bit differently today. As a busy mama the only true coupons I usually use are the ones in Cartwheel in the Target app and the occasional printable ones.

I’m always looking for ways to save though! Keep reading to learn some easy ways to save money on your purchases without needing to clip coupons!

5 ways to save money on your purchases that don’t involve clipping coupons

How to save money

Use apps


Honey is probably best known for its browser extension that tests out all available coupon codes for you at the click of a button. No more Googling “[store name] discount code” and trying to find one that works. Honey also makes sure you get the best price on Amazon and gives you Honey Gold (their version of points) that you can cash in for gift cards.


Ibotta is a great rebate app! You get cash back on things you actually buy. Just add rebate offers from the store(s) you shop at, purchase the items, scan your receipt, and voilà! Money back! You can transfer your cash to PayPal, Venmo, or gift cards.

Add to cart, but wait a day to fully Check out

If you’re not in a rush, this can be a neat way to get a discount on sites that don’t typically have sales or codes available. Some stores will send abandoned carts a discount via email to incentivize you to purchase. Depending on the store, this might or might not work, but it is worth a try!

Shop end of season sales

End of season sales are great because stores are trying to clear out old inventory to make room for next season, which means discounts for you! Spring/summer merchandise usually goes on clearance in June and July and fall/winter items usually goes on sale in January. I recommend shopping early on during the sales rather than waiting for steeper discounts because items that are popular and/or in your size might sell out fast.

Use Discounted Gift cards (big purchases especially)


If you shop at a certain store a lot, or are planning on making a big purchase, consider buying discounted gift cards. For example, you can buy a J.Crew gift card for $188 that’s worth $200, saving you $12. Or a $470 gift card that’s worth $500, saving you $30! The higher the dollar value of the card is, the more you’ll save.

Sign up for free store rewards programs

The key here is “free”. Some of my favorite loyalty programs are Madewell’s Insider, Nordstrom’s The Nordy Club, and being a Target RedCard holder. If you shop somewhere regularly, this should be an easy way to get discounts!

What are some of the ways you save money on purchases? Comment below!


5 Need-to-Know Ethical Clothing Brands


These companies are betting against fast fashion.

Photo by  Ian Keefe

Photo by Ian Keefe

I’m in the middle of a complete wardrobe revamp right now. I’ve learned a LOT about myself and my style over the past couple of years and my old wardrobe just doesn’t fit who I am anymore (hello nursing mom bod). So, I’ve decided to trade out my fast fashion clothing items for ethically-made, higher-quality pieces. Purchasing these items slowly over time is allowing me to curate my wardrobe to best fit my budget and lifestyle.

I’ll share the details of how to revamp your wardrobe in another post, but today I want to share five of my favorite ethical clothing brands!

*Links with an asterisk are affiliate links. If you choose to purchase through those links, thank you for supporting Meadow Sweet Lane! xo


Best for: Denim and sweaters

One of the best known ethical clothing companies, Everlane is changing the fashion industry with their commitment to Radical Transparency. Each listing has a link to view photos of the factory where the item is made, and the true cost-breakdown of each piece. While you can’t go wrong with any of their items, their denim, recycled polyester fleece jackets and sweaters, and $100 cashmere are outstanding!

Krochet Kids

Best for: Casual basics

Krochet Kids has an amazing mission. Not only do they provide job opportunities and anti-poverty wages to women around the world, but each item is hand-signed by the person who made it. You’re able to visit the profile of the woman who made your product, so you can learn her story and write a note of thanks! Shop here for fair-trade dresses and men’s and women’s casual tops, as well as winter hats.

Pact Apparel

Best for: Undergarments and leggings

Pact is a fair-trade company that sources only long-staple 100% organic cotton, which means no pesticides and fertilizers. Their Certified Organic Cotton consumes very little water compared to conventional cotton. Pact has amazing underwear, leggings, and hoodies for men and women, and organic cotton onesies for baby! Use this link* to get 20% off your first order!


Best for: Trendy pieces

With their own factory in Los Angeles, this brand creates products only from sustainable and up-cycled materials in a fair wage environment. Plus, each item comes with a description of its environmental footprint. If you love fashion, Reformation has stylish dresses and tops, including formal and bridal dresses!

Outdoor Voices

Best for: Activewear

Outdoor Voices is a great ethical alternative for purchasing activewear. They take great care in the selection of their factory partners, and are always on the lookout for better, more sustainable technical fabrics for getting sweaty in, like their recycled polyester made from water bottles and their sustainably-produced Merino wool. Use this link* for $20 off your order!

There are many more great companies out there, but these are some of my favorites. I encourage you to be a conscious consumer. Together, we can make a difference.

Do you have any favorite ethical and sustainable brands? I’d love to know! Share them in the comments below!


43 Life Lessons From a Father to His Daughter


"Tip of the Day" 

In celebration of Father's Day, today I'd like to share will all of you one of the amazing things my dad did with me a couple of years ago. 

One random day (February 19, 2015, to be exact) he texted me "Daily tip, don’t forget to put lotion on your hands, the skin dries quickly in the cold. I haven’t followed this tip and I have alligator skin now."

It was so unexpected. Hilarious too. But it was such good advice. I loved it! 

The "Tip of the Day" continued as he would think of little life lessons from his observations during the day and then text them to me when he came up with one. 

Some days life was too busy and he'd forget or I'd be at home visiting, so the texts didn't come every single day. But it continued for a good few months until I came home for summer break. 

I knew I had to keep a collection of the texts, because the advice was so practical. Always write down on a calendar the date a free trial program ends. Always leave extra time when you're catching a bus (or plane, or train, or automobile). 

Some of the tips had originated from funny situations. Remember that no matter where you are someone may be watching you. Look both ways if you are going to jaywalk across the street. Sometimes it is better not to say out loud what is on your mind. (Read the texts below to find out what the funny situation was!)

And some were just classic reminders. Always be a good neighbor. Always listen and respect how others see things. Remember to admit when you are wrong.

I loved looking forward to the Tip of the Day, and now that I've graduated and got married, I really cherish these pieces of advice. 

My hope is that by sharing these, everyone can glean some of the wisdom that a dad can give. Happy Father's Day!

Also, I hope he doesn’t get mad that I put his texts to me online for the world to see. Love you daddy! :) 

Circa 1997

Circa 1997

Wisdom from Dad

1. Daily tip, don’t forget to put lotion on your hands, the skin dries quickly in the cold. I haven’t followed this tip and I have alligator skin now.

2. Tip of the day. Always take advantage of freebies. So go to the Sidewalk Prophets concert tonight. Love dad. (Sidewalk Prophets had a free concert at my college)

3. Tip of the day. Always be a good neighbor, or they will all sell their houses. All of the houses around us are for sale, or just sold last summer

4. Tip of the day. Standing up to a bully can hurt sometimes. Case in point, I succumbed to pressure from Charcoal and gave him milk, but when he didn’t share with Lily I moved the milk away from him. He proceeded to hiss and took a swipe at me. (Charcoal and Lily are our two cats)

5. Tip of the day. Always have all documentation on hand when starting your taxes. That way you won’t be a pest to others. Sorry for bugging you last night.

6. Tip of the day. You can move back home again and be happy. Case in point, Kevin Garnett coming back to the T-Wolves (Timberwolves). So remember there’s no place like home

7. Tip of the day. Always listen and respect how others see things. They may have a different perspective on things. Case in point, the photo of the striped dress you sent Hannah (which was black and blue).

8. Tip of the day. Enjoy the weekend because Monday comes up fast.

9. Tip of the day. Remember to admit when you are wrong. Case in point, yesterday the weather people made it sound like we were going to not be able to go to work today. Then this morning, no snow! It is snowing now, but not enough to cause problems.

10. Tip of the day. Make an effort to interact with people who might not usually be your type of person. Since I started playing basketball with the guys I have discovered that I have things in common with some of the guys that normally I wouldn’t speak to.

11. Tip of the day. Always proofread anything you send out. I just came across a document someone emailed out that said, ‘Levee of absent’. It should have said ‘Leave of absence’. And this went out to senior people in the bank. Don’t rely on spellcheck!

12. Ok tip of the day. Always write down on a calendar the date a free trial program ends. Companies like Amazon take advantage of forgetful customers to make money. (He forgot to cancel Amazon Prime that he signed up for during Christmas. And I forgot to cancel Amazon Student, paid on his credit card. So he paid $100 for Amazon Prime that we hardly ever use)

13. Tip of the day.  Don't underestimate the potential of any person, sometimes the people you didn't think could do anything right do the improbable. Case in point, in the NCAA basketball tournament many top-seeded teams lost to mediocre teams.

14. Tip of the day.  If you don't feel good in the morning, don't try to go to class. Hannah did but now mom has to go get her because she is sick. 

15. Late tip of the day. Always be prepared for any unexpected surprises. I had my day all planned out at work today, but then spent all day putting out fires. (not literal fires, unexpected surprises)

16. Tip of the day.  Always read the road signs to make sure you don't drive in a bus only lane. There are 5 cars in the bus only lane downtown. The drivers look nervous as the buses buzz about.

17. Here is the tip. Sometimes it is better not to say out loud what is on your mind.  Long story, but recently some ladies were at Teavanna along with their kids. The ladies had tea, but the kids got a little wild. Teavanna asked them to leave and on the way out a worker told them to “next time go to McDonald's!”

18. Tip of the day. Look both ways if you are going to jaywalk across the street, a police officer may be watching. I saw a person get stopped for doing that this morning. (Turns out, it was actually dad who got stopped!)

19. Tip of the day. When you are having difficulty solving a problem it often helps to get away and clear your mind for awhile. Then try again later.

20. Tip of the day. Remember that no matter where you are someone may be watching you.  I am sitting in my cubicle and I look out the window and the window washers were looking in! That’s my tip for the paranoid person.

21. Tip of the day.  Always look at the calendar to know what the date is. BTW me and mom decided you need a better car, so we will be buying you a brand new one this summer, what kind do you want? love dad. (What an evil joke to play for April Fools)

22. Tip of the day. Always be optimistic. Remember all baseball teams are tied for first place right now, so the Twins have a chance this year! (It was opening day for baseball)

23. Tip of the day. Always remember that you have a savior that redeemed you on the cross. (The only tip that makes sense today). Love dad. (It was Good Friday)

24. Tip of the day. If you sign a contract to make a lot of money make sure to follow all rules so as not to jeopardize the deal. The [Minnesota] Twins signed a real good pitcher for this year, Santana, but he tested positive for a performance enhancing drug and is suspended for 80 games.

25. Tip of the day. You are never too old to start learning something new if you are truly interested in it. Hannah is taking violin lessons and seems to be enjoying it.

26. Tip of the day. Watch the weather forecast in the morning so you will have an umbrella with you and won't wait for the bus in the rain.

27. Tip of the day. Always go to any government agency early in the morning or else you will wait in line for a long time. I went to the Hennepin County government center to buy the license tabs over lunch hour and I waited forever for my number to be called.

28. Tip of the day. Variety is the spice of life,  break out of a rut once in a while. I did this by not going to Jimmie Johns today. Instead I got a sub from Ebert and Gerberts! (For as long as I can remember, he went to Jimmie Johns every single Friday for lunch)

29. Tip of the day.  Always leave extra time when you're catching a bus (or plane, or train, or automobile), otherwise you will be running across the road hoping cars don't hit you.

30. A tip of the day. Don't get too disappointed if things don't go well in the beginning, stick with it for a while and see if things get better. The [Minnesota] Twins need to follow this advice, they are 1 win and 6 losses to start the season.

31. Tip of the day.  When you start to feel overwhelmed or burned out from too much work, take a day off to recharge yourself. That is why I am taking a vacation day tomorrow, yay me.

32. Tip of the day. In the spring when you see it snowing just think of it as "chunky rain". It will keep you from being depressed. BTW it snowed here a little bit today.  Love dad

33. Tip of the day.  When interviewing for a job be calm and really listen to the questions so your answer makes sense. Last night we interviewed another candidate and unfortunately, she interviewed badly. Nice and bubbly but kinda scatterbrained.

34. Tip of the day. Even as you get old you sometimes get the urge to do stuff only the younger generation does. Case in point, last night old man Torii Hunter tried to steal home. He was out but it looked like he was having fun just attempting it.

35. Tip of the day. When the boss is away, employees will take advantage.  There is another finance group that sits near my little department and the managers were all out today. Around 3 this afternoon almost all of the people in this group left. Early weekend for them!

36. Tip of the day. The instructions for assembling a product are almost always worthless.  Better to rely on the pictures and your own good sense. Me and mom spent a long time trying to understand the instructions for hanging new blinds in the kitchen. Finally we just went ahead and did it our way and it turned out to be so easy. Love dad

37. Tip of the day. If you are going to riot make sure your mom doesn't recognize you on TV.  There is a video of a mother slapping her son in Baltimore because he was in the riots. I say good job mom. I don't know how to link the video to my text sorry.

38. Tip of the day. Always have alternative routes in mind when driving in Minnesota during the summer.  Road construction season has started and roads that were open in the morning might have a lane shut down later. Driving home from work yesterday was bad due to construction all over.

39. Tip of the day. If you install a security camera, make sure to change the default password, otherwise you may get hacked. 

40. Tip of the day.  At a certain age, adults need to stop dressing up as their favorite cartoon character.  Downtown Minneapolis was full of people for the Comic-Con Convention and it was weird seeing adults in costume. Plus it was Star Wars Day as well.

41. Tip of the day. Think warm thoughts on spring days that only have a high temp around 50. It is freezing here,  and drizzly. Love dad

42. Tip of the day. Sometimes it's better to not contradict your boss, but rather go with the flow. 

43. Tip of the day. When rain is forecast park your car on the top level of the parking ramp to get a free car wash. This tip isn't valid if hail is forecasted. Also bring an umbrella with you.

What life lessons have you learned from your parents? Share them in the comments below!

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