Welcome back to What’s In Your Cart, where we ask noteworthy readers and followers on @KinjaDeals and @ItsTheInventory about their favorite products, their shopping habits, and their deal hunting acumen. This week, we’re chatting with Jamie Lisanti, the Special Projects Editor at Sports Illustrated, with a focus on fitness, food, fashion and lifestyle. She’s also the producer (and periodic co-host) of the tennis podcast Beyond the Baseline (editor’s note: one of Shep’s favorite pods). When she’s not writing and editing, she’s probably watching sports, traveling, working out or cooking something (fairly healthy) in the kitchen.
Would you consider yourself a deal hunter? Do you look for deals on products that you’ve decided to buy, or do you buy most products because you saw a deal?
Yes, I would definitely consider myself a deal hunter or bargain shopper. I truly believe you should never pay full price for anything, except if it’s an immediate necessity, like for health reasons, or if you want to eat sushi. (Please don’t eat half price sushi.) If there is a product I want to buy, I’ll add it to my cart or search around for a coupon code, or simply wait until it goes on sale. Most of the time, I try not to buy things just because they are on sale, but sometimes it’s hard to resist, especially during end-of-season clear-outs or discounts on items I may not need at the moment, but know I’ll use eventually. Also, it’s important for me to find out how much the item is really on sale for: is it a small discount or a huge markdown off the original price?
What’s the best deal you’ve ever gotten?
To be honest, I can’t think of one specific purchase that ranks as the “best deal ever.” But one thing that makes great online deals even better is a cash-back promo. I typically use Ebates, but RetailMeNot is also another option, and I think some credit cards re even offering cash-back deals at certain retailers now. I really feel like I’m getting a super deal if, say, my items are already discounted by 50% and then I can also get 10-12% cash back on my purchase. This is especially great for big purchases like furniture and other items. The checks don’t come until later, but it’s nice to replenish the bank account a bit when they do.
Favorite place to shop online? How about in person?
I’m a big fan of ASOS—the two-day shipping; easy (and free) returns and big selection specifically for tall people are all amazing. Target—both in person and online—ends up taking a lot of my money. I also live near a Costco and it is possibly the greatest place on earth. And shopping at Costco online (especially for travel) is actually really great as well.
What’s the biggest purchase you’ve ever made online? Was it worth it?
A couch! I sat on hundreds of couches in dozens of stores in my search for a living room sectional, but in the end, I ended up buying this Macy’s Radley sectional in the gray color. A friend had a similar Macy’s couch so I went for it. It’s super comfy—I highly recommend!
What’s something you bought recently that really exceeded your expectations?
I got an Instant Pot for Christmas and I actually love it more than I thought I would. I don’t eat a lot of meat, and when I started looking up Instant Pot recipes, I found a ton of chicken and beef options, so I was feeling a little discouraged that it might not be everything I expected it to be. But it’s been great this winter for making quick soups and veggie chili and I love that I can cook a whole spaghetti squash or sweet potatoes in only seven minutes.
Also: I was totally against voice-controlled smart home devices at first. I thought they were a little weird and I didn’t really see any use for them. But a friend gifted us an Amazon Echo Dot and now I actually appreciate that Alexa can turn on the lights, play music and set a timer for me while I’m cooking.
Do you own any Instant Pot accessories, or do you just use what it came with?
Just the Instant Pot lid…does that count? Just so you can put things away in the Instant Pot pot or cover the food once its done cooking/on keep warm.
On the flipside, what was the worst purchase you’ve made recently? Anything you had to return?
I’m always ordering clothes and shoes and returning them, either because they don’t fit or don’t look the same as they did on the site. When I shop online, I definitely feel less committed to actually keeping the item vs. when I shop in person. It’s a bad habit for sure, but that’s why they have free shipping and free returns policies, right?
What’s the best gift you’ve received recently?
I was gifted the Dyson hairdryer back in May and it is absolutely amazing. One of the things I hate most is having to blow dry my hair, which is long and on the thicker side, so it takes forever. But this blow-dryer cuts down the drying time by a lot, and it’s definitely made me hate the task a little less. (Though if anyone wants to volunteer to come blow-dry my hair a few nights a week, let’s talk.)
If you can remember, what’s the last purchase you made through Kinja Deals or The Inventory?
I can’t remember exactly when, but I’ve purchased a few Anker products—specifically, a longer and more durable iPhone charging cord—when I’ve been alerted of a big sale via Kinja Deals.
Do you like to collect credit card points when you shop? What are your go-to cards?
I’ve had a United Mileage Plus Explorer card for a long time so I’m always using that for groceries and other purchases, and I’ve racked up a ton of United miles on there. I also recently opened a Chase Sapphire Preferred card—the sign-up bonus and travel rewards are great!
Do you subscribe to any physical subscription services? Amazon Subscribe & Save? Meal kits? Wine of the month?
I like to throw a scoop or two of the collagen peptides from Vital Proteins into my smoothies, and they have a great subscription option when you place your order—when you subscribe for auto-shipments, you save 20% on your first order and 10% on the rest. So I get a shipment from Vital Proteins every 4-6 months.
What are three items that you couldn’t live without?
My contacts (and contact solution) or glasses. I literally cannot see anything in the morning when I wake up, so I definitely can’t live without one of these things.
My iPhone, for sure. I got the new XS when it came out because my old phone’s screen was completely shattered.
Aquaphor or Vaseline (the cocoa butter one is my favorite). I have super dry skin, so I always carry a small tube or one of those mini tubs with me.
What’s something you buy a lot of for your work that might seem strange to an outside observer?
It’s not necessarily for my job, but I commute about an hour or so to work every day. So I end up going through a lot of travel coffee mugs, because they get easily banged up, scratched and worn out after schlepping them back and forth on a daily basis. But I don’t just buy any insulated mug, I’m sort of particular. It must be able to keep coffee hot, of course. No handles or loops, or crazy colors. I also prefer tall, big mugs—like 20 oz. or so—and it needs to have a snap-lock lid so I can put it my purse without worrying about it spilling. I’ve had way too many incidents with sub-par lids.
This is the one I’m using now, though now that I’m looking it….it’s time to buy a new one!
Are there any items that you want to buy, but just can’t pull the trigger on? Anything you keep abandoning in your cart?
I’ve been eyeing this GHD curling iron. I don’t need it—I have one that works just fine. But Costco sometimes has it for $119, which is an awesome deal, so I really want to buy it. But it’s been sitting my cart for a few weeks.
What are the last three items in your Amazon order history? Bonus points if you include a screenshot.
WODSuperStore Skinny Fabric Resistance Bands: For myself, for the gym. I had rubber ones and they got all stretched out, so I decided to try these fabric ones. They work great!
Humixx Starry Series iPhone Xs Case: For myself, for my new iPhone. I don’t even know if I like it, to be honest—I ended up getting one as a gift so I’ve been using that one instead.
2 Pairs of Men’s Thick Heat Trapping Insulated Heated Boot Thermal Socks: For my fiancé, because he always complains his feet are cold.
Okay, now what are the last three items in your Amazon browsing history that you didn’t end up buying?
An adjustable exercise bench, a Breville Nespresso machine, and a small garment rack for clothes and shoes, to use in my bedroom.