Tuesday, May 31, 2011

I really love Publix!

I went to Publix today on my lunch hour to work a little coupon magic and think I did pretty well. Below is a breakdown of what I was able to get. I had coupons for a lot of the items that I got, in fact, the cokes and sweet potato fries were competely free with coupons.

8 - 12 packs of Coke (all free by the way with Coke rewards coupons)
4 - cartons of Breyers Blasts Ice Cream
1 - bag of sweet potato fries (also free with coupon)
1 - bag tater tots
2 - packages of cheese slices
1 - turkey breast wrap (for my lunch since I spent entire lunch at Publix)
3 - organic apples
4 - 5 pound bags of sugar (20 pounds total)
2 - bottles of vitamin D3
4 - bottles Kraft salad dressing
2 - large bottles of Heinz ketchup
4 - cans Publix green beans (Sofie is on the green bean diet)



The picture doesn't include the turkey wrap since I ate it for lunch before taking the picture at home.

I paid $43.54 out of pocket and saved $92.05 all during my lunch hour. I love saving money !!!!

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Buy Used and Save the Difference

True, there are certain things that you always want to buy new, undergarments come first to mind. But for a lot of items, you can find them used and save the difference for yourself. Why not let someone else take the hit of the new price for you?

I don't get all my clothes used, but I will tell you that most of my nicer pieces have come from yardsales. Some of my favorite pieces of furniture are also second-hand. I look at yardsales and thrift stores as treasure hunts. You never know what you will find and sometimes it's even unique. I love finding interesting, unique items that aren't items you can just run out and find in a store. It makes them special. I also find a lot of new items too though. Who doesn't love brand new items at yardsale prices? I sure do, the more money I save the more giddy I get. Again, the more money I save, the more I can put towards paying the mortgage off and being debt free.

Plus, the treasure hunting is fun. You get to meet interesting people and even get in a little exercise. You also get to see items with any kind of second hand shopping that you wouldn't normally see or maybe didn't even know existed.

We also enjoy going to auctions when we have the time. Think climate controlled yardsale with a snack bar! It's neat to see all the different items and have a chance to take part in how much the item is sold for. Again, I have gotten some awesome deals this way too. There have been several times that I have found items I really wanted and started bidding and had nobody else bidding. I end up with the item for next to nothing!

The next time that you have an item that you need, be it a car, furniture, clothing, lawn equipment or whatever, why not check out some yardsales, auctions, thrift stores or even Craigslist to get the item you need and save some money to boot.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Breakfast for Jason Update

I posted before about making muffins for Jason to carry for breakfast on the days he works. Well, I have a small update, or mini update you might say to that idea.

I bought a couple of mini muffin pans at a yardsale for $1 and made Jason's next batch of muffins with the mini muffin pans thinking it would be easier for him to just pop a small muffin in his mouth versus dealing with the crumbs and size of a standard sized muffine. It worked great! He says it is a lot less messy and easier to eat. I even take the papers off after they've cooled so he doesn't have to deal with those either.



I just thought that I would give you the update in case you're making muffins too and want to try it. If you're not making the muffins for an on-the-go family member, I'm betting the smaller size would work well for children as well.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

New Life for an old Bathroom Vanity

As I have mentioned earlier, I have gotten some cool items from freecycle. One of the things I have received is a old bathroom vanity in pretty rough shape. I don't have a before picture but here's picture of a similar style vanity to give you an idea of what I'm talking about.



The one I received did still have the top and of course had a bunch of holes in the back part of the cabinet where the pipes had been. We didn't need a vanity when I got this, but I had great plans for it.

First I took off the top sink/vanity part and replaced it with a piece of MDF measured to my needs. I covered the MDF with thin batting and reflective silver ironing board material.

Next I painted the cabinet part black and added sturdy wheels to the bottom so I could roll it around. Since the side and back were pretty much trashed and the paint wouldn't help, I put fabric around the back and sides.

What I had now was a rolling ironing cart with storage! I sew and quilt so I made sure the top was at least 45 or 50 inches wide so that a standard cut of fabric could be ironed straight with no overlap. I have lots of storage inside for rulers and other odd shaped items and love having the rectangle shaped ironing surface instead of the normal narrow-ened ironing boards. No more weird ironing lines!

You can find these vanities all the time for free or very cheap, and could make any kind of cart with it.....a rolling kitchen cart, the ironing cart, a mobile planting station, changing table (with the right modifications), tv stand, and those are just the first ones that popped in my head.

Here's a picture of my finished project. What do you think?

Friday, May 20, 2011

Freecycle

I would like to introduce you to another way to save money and either receive items or get rid of things that you no longer need. It's similar to a site like Cragislist but instead of listing things for sell, people list items that they would live to give away - free recycling - freecycle.

It's free to join and you sign up by your city or nearby cities that you wouldn't mind driving to for pickup. Basically, someone list an item (or items) they have to offer for give away. You send a reply email to that person and let them know that you're interested. If that person picks you for the item, they will contact you on when and where to pick the item up. You will be very surprised at the quality of items that you will see being given away.

So far, I've received a nice fiberglass kitchen sink, a kid's bicycle trailer, mirrors, bread machine, bathroom vanity (more on this item in an upcoming post), clothes, baker's rack, dining room table and more that I'm sure I'm forgetting. I've also listed and giving away a lot of items.

When you sign up there is usually a short list of rules for the site such as:

- your first post must be an offer
- the first week of the month you can't post "wanted" items, only offers
- no wildcat post (this is where you post an item and say first one here gets it)
- no items for sale or similar post.

It's really very simply and fun to do. To get started, go to http://www.freecycle.org/ and click on the button at the top left of the page that says "browse groups". You can then select your state and local cities or counties to join.

It's a wonderful way to get your unwanted items out of your way and also get some new things that you can use, all for free.

Gift from Kroger

I went to Kroger also at lunch because I had gotten a receipt coupon the other day for the floral department and it expired on 5/18/11. The coupon was for $5.00 off any floral purchase. I looked at the cut flowers but didn't see anything that fit the bill. Then I saw some little dish gardens that had been marked down to $3.35!


I didn't see anything else that I wanted so this was my only item at checkout. I handed the cashier my coupon fully expecting her to reduce it down to the price of the plant, but she gave me back $1.42 in cash!!! They paid me $1.42 to take this lovely plant off their hands and I was happy to do so.


Thursday, May 19, 2011

Actually had a good trip to Walmart

If you've been to any of my coupon classes, you will surprised at the title of this article. In the past it has been difficult to save money with coupons at Walmart, but I admit their new coupon policy is pretty cool.

I did a small test trip today and was very pleased with the results.


In the photo there is a t-shirt, 3 boxes of Crystal Light Energy and 2 bottles of NYC nail polish.

$7.00     T-shirt
$2.00     Crystal Light
$2.00     Crystal Light
$2.00     Crystal Light
$1.72     Nail Polish
$1.72     Nail Polish

$16.44   Total for items shown.
-  9.72   Coupons given
$ 6.72   Out of pocket !!!

I may have to add Walmart into my rotation with the new coupon policy. I noticed that my store not only takes competitor store coupons from CVS, Target and Kroger but will also price-match as well.

If you haven't taken a look at the coupon policy yet, it's worth a look.

Swagbucks

If you haven't heard of Swagbucks yet, you are in for a wonderful treat. Swagbucks is a search engine that awards you points or "swagbucks" for doing routine searches and other easy to do task (such as surveys, polls and games). You can then use these swagbucks to purchase merchandise or gift cards.

I normally use mine to get Amazon gift cards, in fact so far I've gotten about $120.00 worth of free items on Amazon with my gift cards.

You will also see a new feature on the blog called a widget from Swagbucks. You can use it on my site to check for extra swagbuck codes and other fun stuff.

Swagbucks is a very easy and fun way to earn some free items and I've even heard of people using this to pay for their Christmas purchases. There are many tutorials on the site to help you with all the different ways to earn bucks and it's safe which is also very important.

If you have any questions, please let me know and if you're not already a member please sign up through the widget on the page (I get some goodies if you sign up with me and you will too when sign people up).

Good luck with your swag!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

CVS trip for 5/18/11

I had some extra care bucks to use and needed some mascara so I headed to CVS at lunch today.


I got an assortment just to try them out and also used the new extra care bucks that I earned from the mascara to get the powder.

Here's a breakdown of what I got.

$17.97          3 L'oreal Mascara at $5.99 each          
$  9.29          Maybelline Pure Stay Powder     
            
$27.26          Total                       
             
Less my coupons and extra care bucks I was only out of pocket $4.18!!! I saved $23.08.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

CVS Haul for 5/12/11

I went to CVS today on my lunch hour and did pretty well. I really didn't get a large amount of items but the items I got were pricey.



Here is a breakdown of my trip:

Revlon Custom Eyes Shadow                                       $  8.99
Revlon Color Stay Quad Eye Shadow                           $  6.99
Aleve, 200 ct.                                                              $16.79
Zyrtec, 5 ct.                                                                $  6.29
Carefree 20 ct.                                                            $   .99
4- packs of Stride gum                                                $ 4.00
2-bottles Herbal Essences Shampoo                            $ 5.97


                                       Total before anything            $52.49 (with tax)
After I turned in all my coupons my total was                $21.10
                                           Initial savings                  $31.39

But wait, there's more, I also received $13.00 in Extra Care Bucks so that brings my out of pocket down to $8.10 for $52.49 worth of merchandise. Plus I have the extra care bucks to use on the next sale to hopefully be out of pocket next to nothing. Can you imagine paying $52.49 for what I got? I know some people do, but not this chick!!!
                              
HAPPY DANCE, HAPPY DANCE !

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Saving Money with Breakfast for Jason

Since Jason leaves the house so early and doesn't really have time (or desire to spend the money) to stop for breakfast or lunch, he carries all of his food for the day with him, except dinner. Another of the small things that we do to save money is to make things for him to take for breakfast. They do have to be portable, not require heating and not be too messy. Muffins do the trick here. I can get them usually for around .30 cents a box or free with coupons (oh coupons how I love thee). On Sundays, I quickly whip up a batch of muffins for his weekly breakfasts. I normally make 12 regular size muffins and that gives him 2 muffins per day for 6 days.


Once they're cooked and cooled, I put 2 muffins per baggie and then put those baggies into a gallon-sized larger baggie to keep them fresh. When we make his lunch each weeknight, we only have to grab a baggie for the next day's breakfast. They're packaged and ready to go.



I figure that even cheaply going through a drive-thru for breakfast would cost around $2.00 (without drink) so this saves us an average of $12.00 a week just on this small item. Plus he gets some yummy baking from the oven.

Just in case you're wondering, he also carries his lunch, snacks and drinks with him as well. He doesn't eat out any during the day which also saves a ton on money as well.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Thank you to all my shoppers

We had our neighborhood garage sale today and it turned out pretty well. I had to get up at the insane hour of 4:00 a.m. so that my husband could help me set some larger items out before he headed off to work. I can't really function at that time of the morning. It's cruel and just wrong. Ok, getting my big girl pants back on to stop the whining.

I was able to get just about everything out before my first customer arrived at 7:15. From there it was pretty busy until around lunch time. After that, I had periods of quiet time (this means me slumped over in a chair glassy-eyed) between customers. Jason arrived back home around 2:00 to help me pack the remaining items up for donation.

I have to say, it was a lot of work but I did really well. Below are some photos of my items and my awesome helper.







Friday, May 6, 2011

I am on a coupon high!

I went to the grocery store today and was able to 20 boxes of pasta and 2 packets of taco seasoning for $0.00. That's right, zero, nada, zilch! The items would be have cost around $40.44 but with store discounts and my beloved coupons, I got it all for free.




If you are wondering if I've gone carb crazy or we eat pasta everyday, no, but the expiration dates on the pasta isn't until 2013 and 2014 so we just won't have to buy any pasta for a long time. Even more surprising is that I was able to get healthy pasta, so it wasn't just junk either.

I must admit, I was giddy leaving the store and on a coupon high. I love being able to save money like that.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Will post more soon

I'm sorry that I haven't posted much this week. I'm trying to get ready for our neighborhood yardsale that is this Saturday. I'll take some photos of my stuff and let you know how I did.


If you're local, Applewood Farm Subdivision in Taylorsville is having our Spring Community Yardsale this Saturday from 8-2. Come out and get some great deals.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

My Modest Stockpile of Items

A lot of people have started watching the new television show "Extreme Couponing" on TLC (myself included) and I wanted to set the record straight that not all extreme couponers practice hoarding. It's one thing to acquire ridiculous amounts of items and then donate to those in need, but it's another to keep more than your family could use in several lifetimes for yourself. I do have stockpiles of items but I try to keep my stock to what we can reasonably use and if I am able to get more, then I donate the extra items.

Trust me, if you get 100 or more bottle of bbq sauce, you're soon going to get tired of it. If you're not hoarding the items, you both leave some of the shelves for other couponers and also help out people in need. Below are pictures of some of my stashes. I store my stockpiles according to category and what part of the house they are more useful instead of one giant wall. No, I don't get giddy or even light-headed when I look at my toilet paper. It's just toilet paper, not the secret of life.


Toilet Paper, Paper Towels and Tissue

More Paper Towels


Some of my extra grocer items


Dishwashing Liquid, Laundry Detergent and Fabric Softener


Q-tips, Feminine Items, Body Wash and Deodorant


Shampoo, cotten balls and shaving cream


Mouth wash, toothpaste and razors


Last but not least, plenty of soap.










Great Tip on Recycling from Reader

I just got a great tip from a reader that I wanted to share with everyone. Thanks Stephanie, keep them coming.


Stephanie said...
This might need to go to your recycle post, but my friend Paige sends wine corks, Frito-Lay chip bags and several other items to a company called Tera Cycle. They take items that we consider trash and remake them into useful items. One example is they turn Capri Sun drink pouches into purses and book bags.The cool thing is that Tera Cycle pays for these items to be shipped to them as well as paid Non-Profits and schools for the items, its not much, but with the small budget that the Non-profits and schools have every little bit helps.



This sounds great and with no cost to you, why wouldn't you at least try to recycle this way? I know that Frito now uses biodegradable bag material on a lot of their bags but you could still keep them out of the landfill for a while and get a totally different use out of them in the meantime.