Tag Archives: shopping

From a Marqeta Mom: Marqeta Means More

Hey friends!

My recent post about Marqeta & and the cesspool of deep discounts was reposted on the Marqeta blog.

Check it out:

From a Marqeta Mom: Marqeta Means More.



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Filed under Family

Marqeta Means More

I’ve been talking about saving money a lot lately on this blog. Well, a lot for me!

Discounts, deals, extreme couponing… I don’t know if it’s just the economy or a fad or a cultural shift or all of the above, but you can’t shake a stick without hitting an offer for a deal or discount. I first became aware of it when Groupon hit Portland, I guess about two years ago. Brian had been getting their emails for a while, but we hadn’t joined any deals. I was co-chairing the Beaux Arts Ball at the Portland Art Museum, and the week of the event we got a call from Groupon asking if we would put the event on Groupon. Tickets to this fundraiser were $125 each. Groupon wanted us to offer the tickets for $50, then they would keep $20 and the Museum would get $30. $30 a person would not even cover the cost of food & beverage at a party like that. I couldn’t understand why they would think we wanted a hundred extra people at the event that would end up costing us money. At a fundraiser!

Since then, I’ve taken advantage of a few Groupons and Living Socials etc. But I always worry about the merchant. I want to ask them if they’re getting screwed, and if getting all these extra people in their doors is really paying off in the end.

People seem to be addicted to these specials and deals, though. It’s part of our culture now, and I’m not sure we realize the value of the services or goods we’re purchasing. I’m all for saving a buck when I can, but feels like the opposite of a market bubble. A market cesspool? It can’t last because it’s not sustainable.

Along comes Marqeta, with a whole new model that works for both merchants and consumers.

Marqeta is like a multi-merchant rewards card. Think of as your Starbucks Gold Card, but for multiple merchants. You commit to spending a certain amount with various merchants, and they all give you more to spend. Some current offers in Portland:

Commit to spend $125 at Finnegan’s Toys & Gifts, get an extra $25.

Commit to spend $50 at Pizza Smizza, get an extra $10.

And all of it is on one card! I used my card just like a debit card, and I didn’t have to worry about keeping track of coupons or printing out a piece of paper.  The Marqeta model is also good for merchants, because it’s not costing them nearly as much to make these offers. Instead of discounting, they’re just giving you more, and the fees they pay to get involved are much much lower than Groupon and friends.  I really think this thing is going far, since it’s much more sustainable in the long run than the reverse bubble/cesspool of deep deep discounts.

Here’s the challenge for us as consumers: Marqeta is so new, that your favorite grocery store, boutique, jeweler, hardware store, pet store, etc, needs to hear from you that they should join the Marqeta merchants. Tell Marqeta what merchants they should be talking to. I keep hoping for Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s!

Sign up for your card here. It’s free and easy, and you don’t have to assign a funding source until you’re ready to take an offer. Then recommend merchants. Better yet, link up your favorite merchant on their Facebook page (so the store will see it, to!).

I’m curious to hear your thoughts about this reverse market bubble, and where you want to shop with Marqeta!

Happy shopping,


Disclosure: I am a Marqeta Mom Ambassador and am compensated for my time, but as always, all opinions are my own.


Filed under Home

Holiday Budget: don’t blow it!

I don’t actually go shopping very often for anything other than groceries or things for the kids. I think about it quite a bit, but I rarely take time to do it. Mainly because I have other things to spend my money on than fun things for me. I get most of my clothes from naked lady parties and my fashionable friends’ castoffs.

So whenever I have an excuse a need to actually go buy things – like presents for other people – I inevitably find a lot of things I want to buy for me.

So how does one stay on budget with all of this temptation?

Easy: I don’t use credit cards.

I make a list of all the people for whom I am buying presents, and jot down ideas for each one {Actually, I have a running list going pretty much all year}. Then I figure out how much I have to spend based on – wait – this is radical – how much money I actually have. I know this seems crazy and weird. And maybe even un-American. But there you have it.

This year, I plan to use my Marqeta card to do as much of my shopping as possible. Marqeta is like a pre-paid debit card, where you commit to spend a certain amount of money at a merchant, and the merchant then gives you additional dollars to spend. For example, I load my card with $125 for Finnegan’s Toys & Gifts, and I get an additional $25 to spend there. Who doesn’t love free money? One of their merchants is a kitchenware/household goods store – and it looks pretty good, with everything from kitchen gadgets to toys.

All this won’t stop me from actually taking a day to go shopping downtown with Dayl, mind you. It’s too much fun and such a rare pleasure!

How about you? How do you stay on budget during the holidays?

Cheerfully and frugally,

Mamavation is a community dedicated to healthy living for women.

Disclosure: I am a Marqeta Mom Ambassador, but as always, all opinions are my own.


Filed under Fitness

My Icebreaker Haul!

I took time out of a busy day to squeeze in a trip to the Icebreaker Friends and Family sale last week. I scored some awesome deals, of course! The total retail value of my 8 items was $400. I got them all for $120!

My pile! Two tops for me, one each for Brian & Anna (sorry, Eric!) and four pair of socks.

I was hoping for some base-layer pants, and/or pants I could use running. I couldn’t get to the sale until early afternoon, so if there were any bottoms there I missed them. At the time, I thought… “Oh well!” But after my rainy rainy run yesterday, I’m convinced I need to just invest in some at full price!

I got so incredibly wet, running in the rain for 45 minutes. But remarkably, my inner layer of Icebreaker (the red sleeveless athletic top in the picture above) was dry! Can you believe it? Before I took my outer layer off, I would have sworn that I was wet all the way through. Two layers of Icebreaker seems to do the trick. So yes. I need pants! I love the new running top, not only for keeping me dry, but also because it has a pocket on the back. Ostensibly for an Mp3 player, but I used it for my phone. It kept my phone dry, which is always a concern. If you do want to use it for an Mp3 player, check out the cool loop at the back neck for keeping your ear buds corralled!

I think my very best score, however, was this great sweater for Anna. It was only $15, and I’m kicking myself for not buying several more of them.

Anna in her new Icebreaker sweater, Eric being Eric.

When I showed her the sleeve detail, she looked a little confused:

But then I explained that the thumb holes made so her hands could stay warm while she plays on the monkey bars… and her face lit up! I think she was just delighted that I’m willing to be supportive of her monkey bar addiction.

This sweater is officially called a “Tech Top” and it retails for $70!

Anna wore it all weekend, so now I’ve got to do some laundry, quick. The really great thing about all Icebreaker products is that not only do they repel body odor and are breathable yet warm, they are totally NOT itchy! It’s amazing, really.  I don’t know how they do it.

Sustainable, comfortable, and incredibly utilitarian. And cute to boot!

To quote my dear old friend Carol, “BUSWAD!” (Bundle Up, Stay Warm And Dry)



Filed under Fashion, Fitness