Current Projects

  • Couponing like crazy!
  • Turning Junk into Treasure!
  • Saving Plastic Bottles from Landfills!

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Best Beginner Tips Series #3: Be Willing to WAIT

Good morning, friends! πŸ’₯

  Today we are going to talk about WAITING! In our consumer society, this is a very difficult, but incredibly worthwhile concept to adopt. You want to save money? You want to spend less? Great! Stop buying!
πŸ™Š I know, I know. That is nearly impossible, especially with a family to take care of. So let's start a little less drastically than a commitment to being purchase-free.

What is it you think you need? Do you really need it?? The shoes you are looking at--do you NEED them? Or just WANT them? Do you already have shoes at home? Do they serve your purposes?
How many pairs of black high heels do you really need?

We are bombarded daily with the latest and greatest and told relentlessly that we NEED this or that RIGHT NOW!

9 out of 10 TIMES, YOU DON'T NEED IT!!!

Now, when your kid's sneakers have holes in the toes, that's a different story! Especially if school is in session; those are a NEED. But do they have other shoes or sandals that are sitting in the closet not being used? Is it summer time? Maybe they can get by with flip flops while you save for high quality school shoes that will last?
If not, look for a good deal.

 A good deal is not always the cheapest thing possible. One of the most important new concepts that you need to be adopting (we'll talk more about this in the next post) is the commitment to INVEST in quality rather than wasting precious dollars on quantity.

Shoes, coats, gloves, cars, perfume, socks, underwear, jeans, shirts, appliances, etc., are all worth investing in, if you are going to buy them.

πŸ’– Rather than buying the least expensive option in order to save money, save up for the best option, one that will last the longest--saving you money in the long term.

This can be very difficult at first, as you are trying TO SPEND LESS, NOT MORE. I get that. This is where the WAITING comes in. If you don't NEED it right now, then WAIT!!! Cut out your daily Coke or Starbucks, skip your weekly Dominoes pizza night, wait for that new movie to come out on video. Put those funds into your savings or money market account, LEAVE THEM ALONE, and when you have enough and have found a good deal on a quality option, THEN go and get the item that you NEED!

The Be Willing to Wait mantra also applies to food and household goods. I know, I know. Food is a priority! You need to feed your family! But are you approaching this need in the most financially-effective way possible?!

As I noted in a previous tip, stocking up on items that you use consistently will help you save a lot of money over time, but what about while you are waiting for the next Kroger Mega Event or Associated Foods Case Lot Sale??

Well, time to open the pantry! That almost-expired box of hamburger helper at the back of the cupboard? Time to use it! Those buckets of wheat, beans, and rice?? Get them out and soaking!

$$$ --Before spending more money, use up the things you've ALREADY spent money on!!! Get creative!!! Hop onto Google and find some new recipes! Institute and enforce this dinner rule: Eat What's on the Table, or Don't Eat!-- $$$

A dependence on convenience foods is not only unhealthy, but also deprives our families of new food experiences, broader tastes, and the opportunity to experience appreciation for what we have and how truly lucky we are. Let them learn that lesson!!!

πŸ’©πŸ’©πŸ’©What about toilet paper?!?! This one is going to come down to how badly you really want to SPEND LESS! I'm a toilet paper snob myself. Having had lots of digestive problems in the last decade, there are just some things that I'm not willing to negotiate on. Soft, multi-ply toilet tissue is one of them! But this might not be such a deal breaker for you and your family.

πŸ’©πŸ’©πŸ’©If not, can you get by with left over baby wipes or Kleenex while waiting for a great deal?? Are you willing to go old school (and incidentally more environmentally friendly) and resort to newspaper? Believe it or not, toilet paper as we know it has only been around for several decades. Millions of people got by with less luxurious means for millennia and you can too! Do some research, see your options, and be aware of septic considerations.

πŸ™€What about cleaning supplies?? Bottles of soap and detergent can really hit the pocketbook, especially if you aren't hitting a great deal or using coupons. While waiting for a sale or coupon, but out that box of baking soda and economy size bottle of vinegar. You'll find hundreds of recipes online for homemade cleaning products that will likely get you by with ingredients you already have on hand. 

This could also be a more  long-term commitment that will help your family save money and cut costs. Check it out, try a few recipes until you find one that works best for you.

But I NEED SOMETHING RIGHT NOW!!! ***And I don't have cash...***

Alright, so you've thought it through and you have no other options. It's an emergency or an essential need. Have you found the best possible deal? Have you done your research? Looked for rebates or discounts? Okay. Good job. Now, let's consider our options.

πŸ‘ΊCredit cards..... I shudder even mentioning them but they do have their place! Accidents happen, emergencies come up, and credit cards come in really handy! 

If you must use one, consider a few important things first! What will this expenditure cost me over time? How soon can I pay it off? Which of my cards offers the lowest interest rate? Do I qualify for any special deal 0% cards? Would my current credit company give me a lower rate if I got up the nerve to call and ask? How about balance transfers? Any deals available?

I don't generally recommend acquiring more credit cards to most people. It is just too easy to get carried away and lose track of how much one is spending. In my own life though, my husband and I have played the credit card rewards system successfully and have benefited greatly from it. Many cards offer bonuses or gift cards just for signing up; others for spending a minimum amount of money in a specified time period. 

πŸ‘‰The key here is to pay off the card as quickly as possible, BEFORE special 0% rates expire, and to cancel the card as soon as it isn't NEEDED, to avoid falling into the bottomless credit pit that plagues our country.πŸ‘ˆ

For instance, I bought school books yesterday for my current college semester. While looking on Amazon, I noticed that I again qualified for a 6-month Amazon Prime FREE TRIAL and quickly signed up, saving myself money on shipping. 

I also noticed, at check-out, an offer for a $70 gift card for applying for the Amazon credit card. I went ahead and applied for it, was approved, and then used the gift card for my books. I only had to spend $8.00 out of pocket for those books and will cancel the credit card after the first statement, even though it doesn't have a yearly fee. The interest rate is higher than I like and I just DON'T HAVE A FURTHER NEED FOR IT.

To sum up:
Wait!!!If it isn't an emergency or an absolutely necessary expense, WAIT!!! 

Find or make a way to get by while you cut other unnecessary costs, saving as much as you can, until you have the money in hand to buy the best quality item to meet your needs. 

Case in point:
I gave my kids a doll house for Christmas. I had been planning to buy or build one but then a neighbor advertised one for FREE. I grabbed it--yay!!!--and only had to wash, paint, and decorate it!
The one main thing I didn't get for the house was a kitchen.
I couldn't find a good enough deal on one I liked and couldn't justify paying for one.
πŸ’ƒGood things come those who wait!!!πŸ’ƒ

I found this fabulous Barbie kitchen (regularly $30-35) at Kmart today, on sale for $22.99. I knew I was getting a $10 coupon for picking up some prescriptions (Earn $10 for every 5 Rx's filled) and had decided that I was willing to spend $13 for the kitchen and would put it away for an Easter or birthday gift.
How thrilled I was to find out at the register that I had in $27 in rewards available!!!
The kitchen was COMPLETELY FREE, with no need for coupons, plus I got a few other little household things free as well!!!
You really will be rewarded for your self-control and patience! 
Put that faithful money-saving energy out into the universe and it will come back to you ten-fold!!!

πŸ™ˆAnd, in an effort to practice what I preach, instead of going to Joanne's after Kmart--I wanted to use their 40%/1 regular priced item coupon that expires today--I decided to just go home. I still need the hot glue sticks and paint brushes that I planned to buy, but I know that a better coupon will be coming along shortly and not only that, I have our prescription deductible to pay for now--yay for the new year!--and that is far more of a necessity than crafting supplies!!!

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Best Beginner Tips Series #2: Store Coupons, Rewards, Best Customer Bonus

πŸ’šHappy Sunday!πŸ’œ

Today we are discussing Beginner tip #2 for cutting household expenditure!

Store Loyalty Savings!!!    


πŸ™Œ Almost all of your grocery stores now have loyalty programs. Some of them are great, some are so-so. All of them offer special prices on varying items from day to day and week to week. 

Some, like Kroger (which is the corporate name for MANY different chain grocery stores)....

πŸ‘‰Gas rewards, Best Customer Bonus coupons (paper in the mail and Digital Coupons), Friday Freebies, and amazing clearance savings on everything you can imagine!πŸ‘ˆ

πŸ’ƒHere are all of the great coupons that have come to me in the mail in the last 30 or so days in these booklets and magazines. The more often you shop with Kroger, the more great bonuses you will get!!! This includes coupons for COMPLETELY FREE products that you buy on a regular basis. (The ones I get most often are FREE cereal, peanut butter, and toothpaste.)
Also in this image, are CATALINA PRINT COUPONS that print at the register when you check out. These can be regular coupons or actual dollar reward coupons to be used on your next purchase as rewards from specific brands for buying their products. (This changes regularly, so I recommend keeping up on what Catalina dollar rewards are available).πŸ’ƒ

"But I don't want to clip coupons!!!"  No problem!!! 

Kroger also has a very convenient digital version of this program. You won't get all of the same coupons as you did in the mail, but you will get lots of great coupons that you can load to your rewards card and they will automatically be deducted at check out. KROGER DIGITAL SAVINGS

 You will also get your FRIDAY FREEBIES online. Check every Friday for that week's freebie, download it, and pick it up within two weeks. 
Most Kroger stores will have that week's freebie located in a convenient, conspicuous spot near the front of the store. 

πŸ’–NOTE** Even if you don't like clipping, organizing, and carrying around loads of paper coupons, I'm betting that when you get those first FREE toothpaste coupons in the mail, you'll be so excited that you'll be willing to clean some clutter out of your purse to make room for a small envelope of Kroger coupons!

😎As mentioned above, Kroger also offers all kinds of fabulous CLEARANCE throughout the store on a daily basis. 
You will find clearance bakery products, usually located in the same place all the time.
All perishable items are clearance marked before their sell by dates, rather than just being thrown out and wasted. 
This includes meat, dairy, eggs, produce, etc!
You will also find at least one clearance end cap in all Kroger stores that I've ever been in. Usually at the back end of the store. Check it out!!!
πŸ‘ΌCoupons can be used on clearance items!!! Imagine the savings!!!! I get SO MANY FREEBIES this way!!!

πŸ’ͺAssignment!!! Here's your homework for today: Check out the rewards program for your favorite grocery store! See what your store offers in digital savings and get them loaded to your rewards card before your next shopping trip!!! Watch the savings pile up!!!

Friday, January 6, 2017

Best Beginner Tips Series #1: The 3-6-12 Month Rule

Hey kids! 
Long time! It's been BUSY around here. I've had a request for my best tips for cutting down household/grocery expenditures, and am thrilled to be sharing! Stay tuned for more posts--apart from this series--as I try to catch up on all of the great deals, coupons, and dumpster/street finds from the last little while!
I am going to present these tips in a series, with one tip idea per post, with plenty of details, math, examples, and motivation per post.
Take them one tip at a time, even if I put out a few of them a day. You DON'T WANT TO GET OVERWHELMED!!!


Tips for Beginners!

1. 3-6-12 Month Rule: When your grocery store advertises a great deal on one of your staple products, purchase enough for at least 3 months. If it is an item that you use regularly, you will likely have cycled through it all in 90 days, just in time for it to come on sale again!

πŸ’– Bonus Tip!
Certain products will hit their best prices at certain times, based on seasons, events, or when they are going to be most popular. *For instance... Chocolate Chips, Brown Sugar, Powdered Sugar, Cake Mixes, and Frosting all hit their absolute lowest prices leading up to Christmas. Check their expiration dates and get as many as your family will use by that date. Be realistic. DON'T GET CAUGHT UP IN THE EXCITEMENT OF THE DEAL! 

"But I don't have space!"  "I don't want to stockpile!"  Well, this is totally understandable. I have a very small home and have recently embraced minimalism. What this comes down to is creativity and more importantly, how badly do you want to save money?! 
Get rid of all the dusty crap under your bed or your kids' beds.  Slide your cases of frosting under the bed skirt. Just don't forget you put them there!

Okay! Not frosting! πŸ’ How about something like GREEN BEANS?!

**The Math! πŸ‘€
1 can of green beans: regularly $.89- $1.00.
Sale price: $.39 each.

Say you use 3 cans per week. In three months, you will use three cases of beans, or 12 cases in one year. If you only buy them when you do your weekly shopping--at full price--you will spend around $100 per year on green beans, plus tax.
Now, if you're willing to clear out all of Junior's under-bed cobwebs and broken toys, and buy 3 cases of green beans every three months, you will spend just $56 + tax per year!!! It adds up!!!!

πŸ‘ŒThis applies to almost every household product (excluding perishables). Don't want to fill every nook and cranny with canned goods and bottles of fabric softener?! No problem! Just pick a couple of items at a time to stock. Even doing that will provide significant savings.

***Example: πŸ’¬
Take your green beans--that's about $50 in savings per year or $250 in 5 years.
Now add to that something like deodorant. I scored Sure brand deodorants for $.19 each with coupons during a sale. These same products are regularly around $2.69 each. They store for a LONG time and take up very little space!

 ***The Math: πŸ™‹
Let's say you go through two deodorants per month. That's about $.50 after tax with the coupon deal, and about $6.00 per year.
At regular price, you're paying about $70 after tax for your hygiene. That's a cool $64.00 added to your savings!!!!

"But I don't want to clip/pay for/ask neighbors for coupons!"  No problem!!! Let's say you just wait for a good sale and get 6 months or a year's worth of deodorant then!

The Sure deodorant was on sale for $2.19 each, a savings of $.50 over regular retail. With 2 needed per month, let's buy our year's supply by NOT eating out this whole month. We'll pay about $53 + tax for our year's supply. That's STILL a savings of around $17 for one year, $85 for 5 years.

So far, just with sale-grabbing and stocking these two items, we've put $67 in the bank this year. πŸ’‹

Now let's add a bigger ticket item to make it more exciting! 

Toilet Paper!!!

I found a great deal on Quilted Northern 6 packs of Double Rolls for just $3.50 at Fresh Market a few months ago. I also had $1.50/1 coupons that I used on them, so I paid $2.00 per package.

I saw that same package at the store today on a crappy sale for $6.99. Let's say I skipped that other amazing sale because toilet paper takes up a lot of room, or I didn't have a lot of coupons. Okay, well, everyone's been wiping their butts and now we need to go shopping!

Let's say we use 4 of these packs per month. Hopefully no one gets diarrhea... At this "sale" price, we'll flush $28 + tax per month, or around $336 + tax for a year, down the toilet.

If we had bought them at the super cheap coupon price, we'd have spent only $96 for the whole year!!

"No coupons!!"  No problem! πŸ’ƒ

If we had just bought them at the awesome sale price, we'd still have spent just $168 for the year's worth of clean bums! That's HALF the amount we'd have spent on the crappy sale price!!!

So, our year's savings so far, with NO COUPONS, just sale-grabbing, is now $235!!! Fun question:

How would having an extra $235 help you and your family??? An extra car payment? A night at a fancy hotel to rekindle the magic with your lover? Or a fun new dress and shoes?! πŸ’… πŸ’‘ πŸ‘Έ

πŸ‘‰So the important thing is to grab 3,6, or 12 months worth of items that you USE REGULARLY when they are on a really great deal! πŸ‘ˆ
**These kinds of items will often be shown on the front page of your circular or placed near the entrance or main thoroughfares of your grocery store.**

If you are already out of the necessary item, yes, you might have to go out and pay full price right now, and that just stinks. πŸ’©πŸ’© But as soon as you see that awesome sale price, STOCK UP! It's worth it!!!

***If you can hold off on something, do!!! And wait for that great sale price! πŸ’ͺ

If you consistently sale-grab, you will never run into this problem again.

PS. That $235 in savings for one year adds up to $1,175 over 5 years.... extra house payment anyone?? Or mini vacation?? Or even better, invest it in a high-yield account and earn some interest! Retirement will be here before you know it! πŸ’€

πŸ’£Final word for today's post:
Start small. Take it one step at a time! Start with one or two items. Take an hour and clear out under the beds and make room before you bring home your cases of green beans so that you aren't overwhelmed when you get them home!

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

My week off!!

Hey kids, I am busy enjoying my week off of school! The fam and I have been doing lots of deep cleaning and getting projects done, then rewarding ourselves richly for our efforts. I wish I had more than a week. There's just so much to do!!
My oldest and I have gone diving a couple of times this week and we found some goodies! It's the final push for our public schools and you can tell by the bins!
 Awesome old drafting chair.
 Ironing board.
 A tutu, a hats, some books and little frames.
 A bunch of pajama /craft time t-shirts.
 Here's the doozy! The following couple of pics are all of the Swiffer refills and Lever 2000 soap bars, dishes, and sponges, all individually wrapped, that one of our schools chucked. Pretty sad but they have at least beat the landfill.
 Also two of these perfectly good blue laundry baskets.

 Not sure if I showed you guys this office chair last time. Very good condition!
A couple of doors.

We'll be heading out hunting at least two more times this week. Stay tuned! 

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Kroger Event Trip #2

So this is way late but I have been super busy! This event does continue through Today so get yourself over there!!!
It was one of my best hauls even with an awful cashier! ***Word to the wise: at the Provo Smith's, don't go in Marie's (middle age, brown hair, glasses) line if you have coupons. She made up her own rules and has no idea how to treat loyal customers or people in general. I will be putting in a formal complaint when I have a minute this week.
Anywho, back to the good stuff! I don't have time (finals week) to give you all the prices but I will highlight the amazing stuff!

Oxi Clean detergent. 99 after $3 coupon!
Bic razors FREE after $2 coupon!!
Crest toothpaste FREE after $2 coupon!!
Bic Atlantis Pens $.19 after coupon!!!
Coast bar soap FREE after $1 coupon!
Alcon eye gel (clearance) FREE after $3 coupon!
M&M's single serve FREE w/customer appreciation ecoupon!
Betty Crocker Decorating items (clearance and sale) FREE after $3/2 coupon!

So many great deals!!! Sorry I don't have time for specifics today but I will for my next and final event haul!

Monday, August 8, 2016


Hey kids. I'm trudging through finals week and haven't had time to post my fabulous Kroger hauls. I don't have time for much this week but I HAVE to show you my dumpster finds for the week!

 Halloween costume and embroidered cloth
 Books, terry cloth velcro bath robes, Halloween accessories, snow scraper, toy
 Really nice office chair, brand new trampoline net (plus poles and protective covers; not shown), waste basket that just needs to be cleaned.
Crate, basket, white wire organizer pieces, and these three FABULOUS wooden ladders that I am going to make into a garden arch!

Good times! Good finds!!!

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Fresh Market Deals!

Don't miss out on these deals at Fresh Market!
32 oz Shredded cheddar cheese 3.99!!
32 oz block cheddar cheese 3.99!!
Powerade 2/$1
Western Family large bagged cereal 1.79!!!
Goody Ouchless Ponytails .99 ea
-.50/1 Goody Ouchless products= .49 ea!!!!!
16 oz Peanut Butter 1.25
5 doz. EGGS 5.99

Some great deals!!!