Saturday, April 30, 2011

Door Knob Repair Savings

Jason realized one of our door knobs wasn't working the other day and tried to find out why. After working on it for a while he realized that spring inside the middle piece has stopped working (the part connected to the strike plate).

Our knobs were still working fine and the lock was already keyed to match the other locks on the house so we really didn't want to have to replace the entire unit. We did a little research and found that on average a new locking door knob set is around $30.00 and the just the replacement part that we needed was around $12.00 ordered online.

I put the broken part we had in a bag and carried it with me as we shopped different places so that we could match the mechanisms and manufacturer up. Then I had the idea to check the Habitat for Humanity Resell Store. We found an exact match for our broken part in great working order and get this......we spent $.25 for it. It was priced at $.50 and they were having a 50% off sale that day. So we were able to fix the door for a whopping $.25 saving us $29.75 off the cost of a new door knob plus having to deal with a second door key or the expense of having all the locks rekeyed to match again; and we saved $11.75 over the cost of a new replacement part online.

I love being able to save money on things that really don't interest me that much so that we have more money to spend of the things we enjoy. This was just one example of that, anyone else have a similar story?

Friday, April 29, 2011

Fun day at Legacy Yardsale with Jason

Jason and I went to the Legacy Park yardsale today and had a good day. Well, I can barely walk now, but it was fun and we got some cool stuff. Below is what we came home with and what we paid:

Roomba vacuum  $20                       Wooden Vase  $2.00
Purse  $1.00                                     Measuring Cups $.50
Wallet $.50                                       Talking Bingo $1.00
Shirt  $1.00                                       Backgammon $4.00
Baking Pan $1.00                             Antique Sewing Case $4.00
Set of Dominos $1.00
Mirror  $2.00
Black Vase $4.00                   TOTAL SPENT: $42.00

We may go out again tomorrow.......if I'm able to get out of the bed in the morning! Legacy Park is a community with 13 subdivision inside it, all having their yardsale at the same time! I'm beyond tired but it was a very fun day spent with Jason, so well worth it.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Following the Neon Signs

I admit it, I love yardsales. I don't fully enjoy having a yardsale because they're hard work, but I love the smell of a yardsale on Saturday mornings. I always said that I could probably write a book on yardsales and of course the title would be "Following the Neon Signs" because good yardsale signs are on neon poster board.

Whether you call them yardsales, garage sale or tag sales, they're all great ways to save money. Some of the best clothes that I have owned have came from yardsales at pennies on the dollar for what the clothes would have cost in a store setting. Plus, there is the adventure of not knowing what you will find. It's a cheap way to treasure hunt and to also find items you need or want for next to nothing out of pocket.

Some of my favorite types of yardsales are below:

Community Yardsale- one stop shopping, many homes in one location. Less driving & more deals.

Divorce Yardsale - person having yardsale is selling ex's items for almost no money for spite (sounds terrible but you get amazing deals) See picture below, bet you thought I was making this one up.

Charity Yardsales - sellers usually aren't emotionally attached to the items so they sell them low.

And of course, last but not least, The World's Longest Yardsale - 4 days and over 600 miles of sales!

You can of course also make money with yardsales by having your own. One of the main things I recommend when having your own yardsale is to advertise. It is well worth the $5 or $10 to put your listing in the local newspaper and put out good signs. You get a lot more traffic with advertising because the hard-core yardsalers like myself use the newspaper listings to plan out our shopping day and only hit the non-advertised sales if there is time or we happen to pass by them. My second tip is to make your sign easy to read. Don't try to put too much information on the sign, a person driving by can only read so much as they pass your sign. I recommend only putting things like "Yardsale, 123 Fourth Street, 8-2" and an arrow pointing the way. Your shopper can see the great things you have to sell once you get them there. Also, use dark markers and neon poster board! I can't tell you how many signs that I've seen on cardboard written in regular ball point pen. You just cannot read those driving by. Neon paper makes them easy to spot and the dark marker with large letters or numbers makes them easy to read quickly. Last tip on the signs, don't put them out until the morning of the sale. True, you have to get them out really early, but if you put them out the night before the dew will cause them to warp and/or fall apart before you even get started the next morning.

Jason and I are on vacation this week and are headed to a huge community yardsale on Friday. I will post some of our treasures later. We're also having a yardsale on May 7th in our neighborhood and I'll let you know how we did on that too.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Saving Green by Reducing, Rusing & Recycling, Part 3


Now let's say you're standing over your trash can to throw something away, have you checked to see if it can be recycled? A lot of people I know would say "no" here. Where we live there are not a ton of items that will be taken for recycling but I bet people would still be suprised to find out what you can recycle.

In our area that is cardboard, glass, metal, # 1 and # 2 plastics, and paper. When we started actually sorting our trash we were shocked at how much of our trash could be recycled. Since we do separate our trash we don't have to go to the dump as often either. A little side note on this....we actually take our trash and recycling to the dump instead of paying for trash service. We're lucky to live only about 3 miles from a waste center so we're also able to save money that way.

It honestly doesn't take very much time and why wouldn't you do it. I look at recycling as cleaning up after myself. I try to treat the Earth with respect and not send things to the dump that can be recycled. I don't want any more of my items than necessary sitting in a landfill for hundreds or thousands of years just because I was too lazy to throw them in a different bin than the trash. We only have so much room for trash and can only bury so much of it before we run out of room or suffer the consequences of the stuff getting into our soil and water supply.

We only have one Earth, be nice and let's clean up after ourselves.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Saving Green by Reducing, Rusing & Recycling, Part 2


Most people of middle age and younger these days have almost no concept of reusing. When an item is no longer useful for the purpose you bought it for, you chunk it in the trash. Why not instead take a minute to ask yourself, "is there any other purpose that I can use this item for or perhaps repair it"? You would be amazed what you can convert items into or how simply some things are to fix. It is true that not everything can be fixed easily or would be suitable for repurposing but why not try before simply discarding it? Old denim can be quickly made into quilts, purses, bags and many other items just to name one example of repurposing. It can actually be fun to see just how creative you can be with this. I've even recently had a post about making a toilet bowl brush out of an empty 2 liter bottle.

I would love to hear some ideas from you about things you've reused or repurposed!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Save Green by Reducing, Reusing & Recycling, Part 1

In honor of Earth Day today, I thought I would write about saving money through reducing, reusing and recycling. While Jason and I are concerned with being responsible with resources, we are also very concerned about conserving our money. I tried to write this in one article but I think it would be easier to read if I separated the sections out into three articles.


We live in a world now of being wastful. It's disgusting how people just consume everything at alarming rates with little to no concern about the money or product they're wasting. By reducing just the waste of the items and resources that we use we can not only be better to the environment but also keep more money in our pockets. For example, if you aren't wasting paper towels by using whole sheets for small jobs then you won't use need to buy as many paper towels. There you save the trash going into the landfill and also the cash going out of your wallet. Another thing that has always make me just shake my head is why we cut down perfectly healthy trees to use for toilet paper. We literally cut trees down to flush them! There are plently of toilet paper companies out there that produce a recycled toilet paper that you would never know the difference. It doesn't feel like cardboard or sandpaper and most of the time isn't even one-ply. Try it, you might be surprised.

I'm not saying that you shouldn't use what you need, but many times we grossly overestimate our needs and take more of things than we actually need. It would be great if people would just think about these things instead of being so oblivious to the expense to both themselves and the environment. I mean, do you really enjoy spending your money on toilet paper, paper towels, etc? I know I don't. I have many other fun things that I would rather spend our money on.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

The Yarbrough Salon

Another way that Jason and I save money is to do almost all of our hair care ourselves at home. I cut Jason's hair and he helps me with coloring mine. I haven't had any training with cutting hair but just dove right in when we got married and for the most part I've done a pretty good job. Yes, we've had a minor mishap or two but nothing that was too bad. You can also get books from the library on cutting hair and there are lots of videos on the internet as well.

I'm not quite ready to give up coloring my hair yet but I will not pay $60 - $100 or more to have someone color my hair when I can do it myself at home. Most of the time I can get hair color for little to no money. I'm sure the product in the salons is better quality that what I get in the stores, but is there honestly a big enough difference that it's worth me spending $100. NOPE! I've never been made fun of because of the results of my doing my own color and have actually gotten complements so I must be doing okay and saving a ton of money.

About the only thing that I do go to a salon for is getting my hair cut. I can't talk Jason into cutting my hair, but I do try to save money on this by not going to the high-priced salons. I'm also growing my hair out now, so I also haven't needed to go to the salon in a while. Maybe if I end up with a simple enough hair style I can talk Jason into trimming it for me. I doubt it, but it's worth a try.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Sometimes you have to spend money to save money

I know this sounds like really bad math, but as much as it pains me to say, it's true. I use coupons to save money on all kinds of things we need and use. One of the sources that I use for my coupons is the Sunday Atlanta newspaper. In fact, I have 2 subscriptions to the Sunday paper because as any couponer knows, you need two of the same coupon to really make the most of Buy 1 Get 1 deals. We also have the newspapers delivered to us to save lots of time and aggravation of having to go out for the papers. We've done that in the past and it's very frustrating to drive and get there too early, or too late for the paper delivery and go home empty handed.

My subscrition renewals just came and each subscription was $153.00 for 52 weeks. That's 2.94 per newspaper! I can get them at the store for $2.00, so $2.94 is crazy and I have two subscriptions so that's even more crazy. All I had to do was call the subscription department and ask if there was a lower rate for me. In no time at all they offered me a rate of $114.00 for 52 weeks. One phone call saved me $39.00 per subscription for a total of $78.00 and all I had to do was ask! The rate of $114.00 for 52 weeks brings the price of each paper down to $2.19. That's still a little more than the store price, but with the price of gas and someone actually bringing the papers to me, I will happily pay the .38 cents each week delivery charges for my 2 newspapers.

If you are wondering if I save enough with coupons to warrant spending the $228.00 per year on the subscriptions, yes I do. I went to Publix twice this week and was able to save $94 with coupons and that was only 2 trips. That savings almost pays for one of the subscriptions right there. So while I DO NOT enjoy spending the $228 to get the newspapers I know that I will quickly recoup that investment and save tons of money with it.

Remember, it doesn't hurt to ask for a better rate - nicely. The worst answer you can get is no, but you may be surprised at just what a savings you can get just by asking.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Publix Trip from 4/13

I was able to get all this stuff yesterday at Publix for only $51.21 and saved $68.53. Not bad at all for honestly not a lot of effort. Plus I was able to get a lot of staple items. Anyone else have a brag photo? I would love to see them and hear about your trip.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Fun stuff to do on a budget

One thing that Jason and I have started doing is game night. It's usually on Friday nights and I pick up take-out on the way home. We take turns picking board games to play and I don't have to cook. It's nice getting away from the television for a while and reconnecting. The take-out we pick up is usually not very expensive or I have a coupon for it (I know, big surprise). We already had a good supply of board games so we didn't have to spend any money on games. We might also work on a jigsaw puzzle or something as well.

We rent movies from Netflix for around $10 per month but that allows us to get movies through the mail as well as instant movies through our video game system.

Reading is another cheap activity. You can check out books for free at the library or pick them up very cheaply at garage sales. If you purchase the books, you can read them and then put them in your own garage sale.

Speaking of the library, you can also check movies out for free at your local library most of the time. Granted they won't be the latest movies out, but you can find "how to" videos, children's movies, workout videos and much more without spending a penny.

Playing with your dogs is also a great way to entertain yourself plus it's good for everyone involved.

Gardening is another fun way to pass the time (or so I've heard). To be honest, I do not like working in the yard at all, but I know a lot of people who love it. It's good exercise and makes your yard beautiful. You can get supplies fairly cheap unless you have specific needs with your gardening. In fact, I see people on all the time giving away free plants or supplies.

Personally, I also like to sew. I make quilts or other projects and sometimes even sell them. So this is a hobby that can also make you money. I try to get my fabric either with coupons or from garage sales. I also use old denim and other materials and repurpose them.

What fun things do you do on a budget? I would love to hear from you.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Use your savings to help others

I was able recently to get dog food from Publix very cheap and plan on donating it all to the local humane society. I know a lot of the animal shelters are desperate for supplies right now, so if you can save enough to be able to donate it is greatly appreciated.

Publix had a certain dog food for 2 for $5 (or $2.50 per bag) and I had coupons that took $2 off per bag making them only $.50 a bag. I had enough coupons to get 10 bags to donate and only spent $5 out of pocket. I try to keep an eye out for great deals on pet food to be able to continue donating to the animals as much as I can.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Want Free Soft Drinks?

I honestly haven't paid for soft drinks in a couple of years or more. How you say? Well, we participate in the Coke rewards program. There are Coke reward codes on the boxes that hold can drinks and under the caps on bottle Coke products. For example, a 12 pack of can drinks will get you 10 points and each cap is worth 3 points. You go to the website and enter in your codes (up to 120 each week) and then you can use your points for all kinds of things (magazine, entertainment, Coke products, sweepstakes entries, etc). We use our points to "purchase" certificates for free 12 packs. Using these certificates we are able to get free soft drinks and have for the last couple of years.

I even take it a step further and try to save my certificate for really good sales to make the most of them. Publix will normally run their 12 packs on sale for "Buy 2 get 1 free". I can then use only 2 of my certificates but end up with 3 free 12 packs! I will also use them for CVS sales where you get extra care bucks with Coke purchases. So not only do I get free Coke products, but I also get "bucks" to use on other products at CVS.

The codes are on all Coke products but you can also check the website out to see what different size products are worth in points and all the products that you can find the codes on. Sometimes Jason and I will take our dog Sofie to the local ball field and find tons of caps from Powerade bottles just lying around. We're not very squimish, but we do wash them off. Another place that we sometimes find codes in at the dump. No, we don't dumpster dive! But we do recycle our cardboard and when we put our cardboard in the container, we sometimes find Coke product boxes that still have the codes attached. SCORE!

This may all sound silly and/or gross to you, but to us it's a very easy way to get free products that we would normally have to spend our money on. If we're not having to spend our money on things we can get for free, then it frees it up for use on other things.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Haul from CVS during lunch today

After coupons and extra care bucks, I was able to get 5 boxes of baggies, a bottle of contact lense solutions, box of SlimFast snack bars, dental floss, dish detergent, deodorant and 24 bars of soap for only $18.75 out of pocket! I did all this at CVS during my lunch hour with time to spare.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Making money with recycling

Another way to make a little extra money is recycling. In my area that's mostly with aluminum cans. Jason and I save our cans at home and I also have a container at the office to collect cans there as well. Now, you're not going to get rich this way but it's a rather easy way to earn a little extra money. Jason likes to wait until we have several large bags of cans and then take them to the recycling facility. There, they weigh the cans and pay us on a per pound rate. The rate changes with the demand for metal but even an average pay rate will usually get us around $25 to $30. I would say that we probably get around $120 to $150 each year from the cans. That's not too bad for trading in something that would just otherwise go in the trash and that we have no money invested in.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Penny for your thoughts

Have you ever noticed coins lying around on the ground? I think almost everyone would have to say "yes" on this question. How many times do you pick them up? Jason has a delivery route for a chip company and is in and out of stores and store parking lots most of the day. He finds a surprising amount of money just lying around. You might be surprised to find out that he finds around $100 to $150.00 each year just lying around on the ground. Just for fun, Jason keeps up with how much money he finds year to year. Most of the time he finds coins, but there are a good many times that he also finds paper money. One time he even found a $100 bill lying in a mud puddle! The next time you're walking around and see some coins on the ground, pick them up. They add up rather quickly and who couldn't use a little extra pocket change?