Monday, October 31, 2016

Goals Update: October 2016

October was definitely the calm before the storm.  November is gearing up to be a super busy month full of work, teas, family get togethers, shopping, cleaning, baking, decorating, and just the general everyday craziness as well.  I did make some progress in October, and I am hoping to keep the momentum up for the remainder of the year.  I am right on track for most of my goals, but probably 1 or 2 are not going to make it, but we will see, I'm trying to be hopeful - wish me luck!
So, here's how things are going so far for the year...

  • Lose 20 lbs (about 1.5 lbs a month) I have lost 15 pounds!  I didn't lose any more in October, but I also didn't gain any, so that's good.  Things are getting busier at work, which means more walking and less snacking, so we'll see if that helps in November!
  • Exercise 292 days - In October I exercised 27 out of 31 days.  For a total of 252 for the year.  I'm right on track with this goal! 
  • Drink at least 70 oz of water everyday - I have been trying really hard to keep up with this, but hot tea is definitely calling my name, and I am indulging much more than I like to. 
  • Coupon and deal shop to stick to my $350/month budget - I shared my budget update for October here.  If you click over, you can see all of the great things I was able to stock-up on while still staying $41 under budget!  This included diapers, vitamins, soup, and a variety of other items.
  • Earn at least 6 - $25 Amazon gift card through Swagbucks - I did not earn another gift card in October, but I'm very close.  Only 2 more to go for this year to meet my goal!  4 Down, and 2 to go.
  • List at least 10 things per month online or 120 for the year - I did not list anything in October.  I am pretty sure I am not going to make this goal for this year, but we'll see.  January - Check (23), February - no check (0), March - Check (43), April - no check (1), May -no check (0), June - no check (0), July - no check (0), August - no check (0), September - no check (0), October - no check (0)
  • Set up at 6 Flea Markets/Shows to sell our wares - We set up at a flea market at the beginning of October, and we did fairly well.  Our last one for the year is in November.  Total for the year =5
  • Completely declutter the entire house - Finished in September.
  • Finish my 2016 project list - I have my project list update posted separately. I finished up a few more projects in October.  There's only a couple left!!!

  • Post at least 3 times a week - I was able to post 3 times a week in October.  All totaled I posted 41 times in October!!!! 
  • Do a 31 day series in October - Finished!  This is such a huge amount of work, but I so enjoyed sharing my tips with you all.  It makes me feel so accomplished :-)
  • Set up a Facebook page for my blog - Not yet, I am hoping to get this done in November.
How is everyone else doing with their goals?
Anything new or different you are trying this year?
Share some of your goals in the comments...

31 Days of Money-Saving Tips: Day #31 - Save What You Can, When You Can

Over the past 31 days I have shared so many different ways to save money, but today's tip is an umbrella to them all.  You need to save what you can, when you can.  So, in other words, don't worry about that lady down the street who has a crazy garden, cans everything in sight, hangs her laundry, and extreme coupons - worry about you and what you can do to save money.  Everyone saves money differently, and 'you need to do you,' or so the saying goes.  Don't compare yourself to others, or feel like you should be doing so much more than you are; the day will come when you are a Super Saver, but for now just do what you can.  Every little bit helps, so pick a couple of tips and focus on those for awhile.  Once you've got them down, pick a few more.  Build your money-saving arsenal of tricks like a fort - set a good foundation, and then build on top of it one block at a time.  You are not going to save a million dollars in a day, but those dollars add up, so just keep on keepin' on!

I hope you all have enjoyed this 31 Days series, as I have so enjoyed sharing these tips with all of you!
Leave me a comment down below letting me know what your favorite tip was, or share some of your own money-saving tips.

Photos for this series are from Flickr.  They are pictures that are under the license of ‘commercial and mods allowed.’  Edits were done by me.  The licensor does not endorse me or my use.

31 Days of Money-Saving Tips: Day #30 - Upgrade Instead of Buying New

One money-saving tip that I have discovered over the years is that upgrading is almost always cheaper than buying new.  Now I don't know if this can also be applied to things like insurance, or cars, but I know that it definitely applies to home decor.  As you can see in the picture above, I am a devote lover of spray paint, and I feel as though it can make almost anything better.  Instead of going out and buying new lamps, or frames, or end tables, spray paint your old ones for a fresh look at a fraction of the cost.  I have done this with knick-knacks as well.  Now, what about things that you can't spray paint?  Well, see if there is another way that you can upgrade them instead of buying new...
  • Make or buy new pillow cases instead of a whole new throw pillow
  • Keep your same wreath on your front door and just add a few flowers from the Dollar Tree instead of buying a whole new wreath
  • Change out the hardware on your dresser or desk instead of buying a new piece of furniture
So, instead of buying new, see if you can upgrade the existing item instead.  Not only is it 'greener,' but it can save you some green as well!

Photos for this series are from Flickr.  They are pictures that are under the license of ‘commercial and mods allowed.’  Edits were done by me.  The licensor does not endorse me or my use.

Sunday, October 30, 2016

31 Days of Money-Saving Tips: Day #29 - Preserve in Season

Going along with yesterday's tip to grow your own, preserving in season can also save you money.  Now, don't think that just because you don't have a garden or a massive amount of plants that you can't still take advantage of this money-saving tip.  We haven't had a garden the past couple of years, and I still manage to preserve quite a bit.  It is a fact that produce is cheaper when you buy it in season.  A quick Google search can tell you what is in season where you live, and this will change throughout the year - not everything is in season at once.  Here in Maryland, Fall is the time of year for pumpkins and apples, and there are great prices to be had on both.  We don't really preserve pumpkin in this house because I can get it for $0.89 a can at ALDI, which is cheap and I'm lazy.  Now, apples on the other hand, we make into 'cooked apples,' and can them.  This way I can serve them with pancakes or in pie.  We've also done applesauce in the crock-pot and canned that. 
The price breakdown goes like this...
1 bushel of #2 grade apples $19.98
Brown Sugar and Spices - Free (I keep them year-round, and this really doesn't take that much)
Jars and Rings/Bands - Free (I reuse them every year, and got them free from yard sales)*
Jar Lids - approximately $2 for a box of a dozen at Wal-mart*
We spend one whole day washing, peeling, coring, slicing, cooking, and canning the apples.  When it's all said and done we have about 20 or 21 quart jars of pie filling.  Now, quart jars equal about 1 and 1/2 cans of pie filling from the store, which even at ALDI runs about $2.89 a piece.  That is a savings of $66.72 or 77%!!!
Did I grow these apples?  No, but I bought them in season, at a great price, and preserved them to have for later.  
I know what a lot of you are thinking - 'that's great Laura, but I don't can' - not to worry, you can still preserve like a champ!  That is why freezers were invented.  Especially chest freezers.  If you don't have one, I serious recommend finding a great deal on one during the Black Friday sales.  During the summer as things like bell peppers and onions go on sale for great prices I buy a whole bunch, bring them home, and wash them up.  The bell peppers I slice and flash freeze on a cookie sheet before adding them to a labeled freezer bag.  This keeps them from sticking together so I can just shake out a few instead of a huge clump.  The onions I either slice or dice, as I like to have some of both in the freezer at all times.  The diced ones I run through the food processor, and then measure them out into 1 cup balls (which equals about 1 onion) on saran wrap, roll them up, and put them all in one large, labeled freezer bag.  The sliced onions I try to keep in onion-shape, if that makes sense, before I roll them, and pop them into a different labeled freezer bag. 
Did I grow either of these vegetables?  No. 
Did I can them?  No. 
Were they still preserved in season, and saved me a bunch of money?  Yes!
So, don't get caught up in the logistics of it all, just preserve what you can in season, however you need to.

*You can get a case of Jars/Lids/Rings on Amazon Here (affiliate link) the price is comparable to Wal-mart

Photos for this series are from Flickr.  They are pictures that are under the license of ‘commercial and mods allowed.’  Edits were done by me.  The licensor does not endorse me or my use.

Budget Update: October 2016

October f-l-e-w by.  It feels like just yesterday the days were filled with heat and humidity, and today is just a beautiful, crisp day.  Not that I am complaining in the least; I LOVE Fall and everything about it.  It just seems that the days are zipping by at such great speed.  Is it just me?  Maybe.  So, anyway, we're here to talk budget, not weather.  October was a great month budget-wise.  I did a lot of pantry and freezer cleaning out to make room for our pork order coming in early November, so I didn't need to buy a lot of meal items at the store.  I took this shopping reprieve though and used the money to stock up on things like vitamins, lotion, canned goods, and amazing finds from the Dollar Tree.  #dontjudge  I came out under budget, and I'm happy with the deals I got, and that's really all the matters.  
So, below is how my spending broke-down over the month of October...
  • Week #3: $76.56 oop, Earned $15 ECB's, and $25 Amazon Gift Card from Swagbucks

Total OOP: $334.97
Total Earned: $82.45
Total Remaining from October: $41.17
*Use this link to sign up for Checkout51, upload a receipt, and get a $5 Bonus!
**Use this link to sign up for Ibotta and get a $10 bonus!

Weekly Spending Report: 10/23-29/2016

This week was just the basic 'oh, we're out of a bunch of stuff and need to go to the store' week.  I didn't stop into CVS because the deals weren't really that great.  We are still eating our way through the freezers and pantries, so I really only need breakfast, lunch, and snack foods.  I was super shocked to find out that after I totaled up for the month, we were under budget!!!  Yeah!  I shopped at ALDI and Giant this week; you can see what I picked up below...
  • Monday's ALDI Trip: $50.37 oop (included, but not pictured are 8 gallons of H2O), Earned $0.10 Mobisave Rebate (Tortilla Chips)
  • Monday's Giant Trip: $18.27 oop, Earned $0.10 Mobisave Rebate (Soup)

Total OOP: $68.64
Total Earned: $0.20
Total Remaining from October: $41.17!!!

Linked to I Heart Publix, and many more... 

Saturday, October 29, 2016

31 Days of Money-Saving Tips: Day #28 - Grow your Own

This money-saving tip is pretty self-explanatory, but if you have the ability to grow your own food, it can save you a LOT of money.  We have only ever had small gardens, but the savings is always impressive.  We've grown squash, tomatoes, green beans, bell peppers, potatoes, lettuce, mint, sage, and onions over the years.  The savings comes during the harvesting of course, and the anticipation of doing so can be killer, but it's so worth it.  Even though we were still purchasing dairy, meats, and bread, we didn't need to purchase many if any produce or canned goods.  It seems like such a small thing, but over the weeks, the savings really adds up.  Don't feel like you can take advantage of this tip just because you live in an apartment, or have no space for a garden.  You can grow things like green onions, lettuce, and herbs in your window sills.
So, even if you only plant 1 thing, growing your own is still saving you money.

Photos for this series are from Flickr.  They are pictures that are under the license of ‘commercial and mods allowed.’  Edits were done by me.  The licensor does not endorse me or my use.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Household Project List 2016 - October Update

I feel like October just flew by, just like that, gone.  Things have of course been busy here, as usual, but not as crazy as in September.  We did set up at a flea market, we had our fall event here at the museum, and I'm gearing up to serve tea this weekend, but we've been trying to just chill out and enjoy the crisp weather before it gets bitter cold.  Which here in Maryland, will be here before you know it.  I didn't get a whole lot done this month, but there is very little left on the list - YAY!!!  Even if everything doesn't get crossed off by December, I am still SO pleased with everything I have been able to accomplish this year!  I am hoping to get maybe 2 more things done in November, so wish me luck!
Here's how the list is looking so far...
  • Bedroom: 
    • Declutter 2 Dressers, 1 Chest of Drawers, 2 Nightstands, 1 Closet, and Under the Bed -- Finished in February
    • Steam off the crappy boarder - I'm hoping to get to this in November
    • Re-glue the wallpaper seams - Completed in September
    • Change the wall art - I'm still on the hunt for a shelf.  I'm debating between a wreath or two cross-stitch pieces for behind our bed.
  • Hall: 
    • Declutter Hall Closet, Desk, and Coat Closet -- Finished in February
    • Sell desk, and move in a bench -- Finished in April
    • Build another shelf in the hall closet -- Unneeded, crossed off in February
  • Bathroom:
    • Declutter the Bathroom Cabinets and Drawers  -- Finished in February
    • Touch up the paint - Finished in June.  Completed during renovations.
  • Living Room:
    • Declutter 8 Cube Baskets, 1 End Table, and 3 Dresser Drawers -- Finished in March
    • Finish adding pictures to our 'mural' wall - Finished in June/July. 
    • Paint the letter 'R' on our 'mural' wall -- Finished in January
    • Find new art for behind the futon - I am still saving up for my picture.  I haven't found one at the thrift store yet...
  • Kitchen:
    • Declutter 35 Cabinets, 1 Pantry, 1 China Cabinet, and 11 Drawers -- Finished in March   
    • Get a new trashcan -- Finished in February
    • Steam the wallpaper off our microwave table, and repaint it - Crossed off in September, we are going to build a new one next year.
    • Paint the windows/sills/trim - Finished in June.  Completed during renovations.
    • Clean out the chest freezer and defrost it -- Finished in March
  • Nursery/Office:
    • Declutter the Closet, Dresser, Desk, Chest of Drawers, Bookcase, Sewing Table, and Cedar Chest - Finished in September
    • Go through the CD 3-drawer organizer and combine into a large CD case - Finished in June.
    • Install new curtain rods and tie backs; Hang new curtains - Finished in July.
    • Make a new curtain for the closet; Hang - We've decided to go with closet doors instead of a curtain since Howard will be in a 'big boy' bed soon enough.  Closet doors we can put a safety lock on, a curtain we cannot. 
    • Buy new Lamp/Shade for the Dresser -- Finished in April
    • Re-glue wallpaper - I have started on this and have decided I need a better glue.  The wallpaper glue and roller I used for the other rooms in the house just isn't cutting it in here.  The paper is peeling much worse in this room though, and it's just so dry it doesn't want to stick.  I've tried everything including superglue, so if you have any suggestions, please share!
    • Bring in new chest of drawers (#2) - Finished in September.  Here's the picture I promised you all...
    • Build new shelf (or two) above the desk; Add books to shelves -- I finally found a little shelf!!!  I know that it isn't centered, that's because I'd like to get two little things to hang beside it and make a little mural wall like I did above Howard's chest of drawers.
    • Paint the windows/sills and the closet door frame - Finished in June.  Completed during renovations.
  • Laundry Room:
    •  Declutter Desk, 3 Drawer Stand, Bookcase, and Closet (including stored Christmas decorations) -- Finished in March
    • Touch up paint from renovation - I have started this and plan to finish in November.
    • Hang art -- Crossed off in May. 
    • Wash box of new-to-us toys - Finished in July.
    • Buy an IKEA cube system, assemble, and organize -- I haven't been able to make it to IKEA yet this month, so I will probably not get there until sometime in November.  I am hoping to knock this out soon though - I need an organized laundry room stat.
 Are any of you working on some household projects this year?
What are you getting accomplished? 

31 Days of Money-Saving Tips: Day #27 - Go Multipurpose

An easy way to save money is to purchase items that are multipurpose.  This saves you from having to store and spend money on multiple items - that's a win win in my book.  Using multipurpose spray for cleaning is an obvious choice, but there are lots of options out there...
  • Vinegar can be used in recipes, to soften your laundry, or to clean your floors and drains
  • Baking Soda is used in baking, but can also deodorize your fridge, and scrub your tub or toilet
  • Toothpaste can not only clean your teeth, but also your car's headlights, and it's good for bee stings 
  • Dish Soap will not only clean your dishes, but also your floors, and just about anything else that needs a good wash
  • Rubbing Alcohol will disinfect a wound, as well as your doorknobs, light switches, and toilet seat, plus you can use it as deodorant
 So, as you can see, there are LOTS of multipurpose things around, you just need to be a little creative.  Pinterest and google will also yield tons of ideas for items that can be used in multiple ways.  So, to save money, instead of purchasing multiple items, purchase multipurpose items, to get the most bang for your buck.

Photos for this series are from Flickr.  They are pictures that are under the license of ‘commercial and mods allowed.’  Edits were done by me.  The licensor does not endorse me or my use.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

31 Days of Money-Saving Tips: Day #26 - Don't Waste

We've discussed repurposing and reusing things so that they aren't wasted, and how that saves you money, but it's just as important to just not waste things.  Just like throwing out containers that can be reused or repurposed, throwing away food that went bad before you used it is wasteful.  And being wasteful is basically like throwing dollar bills in the trash.  I don't think anyone really wants to do that.  If you don't think you will get a chance to use something before it goes bad, do something with it - freeze your leftovers, take your limp broccoli and roast it for dinner tonight, make bread from your overripe bananas - but don't let it rot and then have to throw it in the trash.  This applies to things that aren't food as well - squeeze your toothpaste flat and make sure you get every last bit, rinse out your laundry detergent bottle to get one more load, cut your lotion bottle in half and get several more applications. 
Basically before something goes in the trash or the recycling, make sure it's had a nice long life and is completely empty or all used up.  By not being wasteful, you save money because you are making sure to get your money's worth

Photos for this series are from Flickr.  They are pictures that are under the license of ‘commercial and mods allowed.’  Edits were done by me.  The licensor does not endorse me or my use.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

31 Days of Money-Saving Tips: Day #25 - Reuse

We've addressed repurposing things that can't be fixed in order to save money, but going along with that is just reusing things.  Now, obviously you can't reuse something that's broken, but what about things that are just going to end up in the recycling can?  Why not reuse them instead of buying new things.  Most of these items just need a quick wash and they are ready to be used again.  Let me give you some examples:
  • Wash out your empty Parmesan cheese shaker and use it to hold baking soda.  This way you can easily sprinkle it on whatever you want cleaned or freshened.  I use mine for scrubbing the tub, and toilet, and for freshening up our carpets.   
  • Wash out your empty margarine/butter/Cool Whip tubs and use them to hold leftovers.  This is especially nice around the holidays when you want to send food home with family members, and now you won't have to worry about getting your favorite Pyrex containers back.  
  • Collect your junk mail envelopes and use them for your grocery lists.  You can write the list on the back and stick the coupons inside.  You can also use them for scratch paper when you need to make a note, or give them to your toddler to play with.  Howard loves envelopes.
  • Wash out empty ketchup or salad dressing bottles and refill them with homemade.  Salad dressing can come together rather easily, and this gives you a way to easily pour them.  You can also use them to hold paint, and even maple syrup.  This is especially handy if you buy the big containers of syrup - those things are heavy and can easily spill.
  • Use any kind of old clean food jar (glass or plastic) to store hardware or craft supplies.  They are usually clear so you can see what's inside, and they come in a variety of sizes.  Think peanut butter and mayo jars, spaghetti sauce jars, and baby food jars.  We use ours for nuts, nails, screws, and buttons.  
  • Keep your empty astringent, detangler, and hand soap bottles and just refill them.  I make simple homemade detangler with just hot water and little squeeze of conditioner, and it works great.  My homemade astringent is just as easy and only takes three ingredients.  And we all know it's cheaper to buy the big refills of hand soap and have a reusable pump to refill.
 So before you toss things into the recycling can, see if you can reuse them to save money.  You might be surprised at what can be used again with just a little soap and imagination.

Photos for this series are from Flickr.  They are pictures that are under the license of ‘commercial and mods allowed.’  Edits were done by me.  The licensor does not endorse me or my use.

Monday, October 24, 2016

31 Days of Money-Saving Tip: Day #24 - Repurpose What You Can't Fix

Yesterday we talked about trying to fix things before spending the money to replace them, but what about the things that can't be fixed?  Well, before you throw it out, try to repurpose it.  This concept doesn't work with everything, unless you are super creative.  I'm not, but I can give you a few basic examples:
  1. Take a stained T-shirt and cut it up into cleaning rags
  2. Use your old curtains, or tablecloth to make some new throw pillows for your sofa
  3. Use your old shower curtain liner as a drop cloth when you craft or paint
  4. Break the lid to you favorite sugar bowl?  Turn it into a one-of-a-kind vase
  5. Take your old scratched-up Tupperware and use it to organize your drawers or things like nuts and screws
... and the list goes on and on.   How does this save you money?  Well, by taking something old and making it into something new, you no longer have to buy the new item you were in need of.  If that makes sense.  Let's take the T-shirt example - you can no longer wear the T-shirt, so you cut it up for rags, now you don't have to buy rags to clean with.  They do actually sell rags for cleaning.  I swear, it's a thing.  Basically instead of spending money on something new, you are using something you already had, which is free.  Repurposing takes some thought, but once you get the hang of it, you will start to repurpose almost anything, which will end up saving you a good chunk of change!

Photos for this series are from Flickr.  They are pictures that are under the license of ‘commercial and mods allowed.’  Edits were done by me.  The licensor does not endorse me or my use.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

31 Days of Money-Saving Tips: Day #23 - Try to Fix it First

Going along with performing maintenance to save money, is trying to fix things before buying new.  If your fan broke, instead of replacing it, try fixing it first.  You might get lucky and all it needs is a cleaning, or maybe some grease.  If not, are you really out anything?  Nope, and if you can fix your fan, you've saved yourself the money of a having to buy a new one.  This really depends on how handy you are, but it can be applied to other things besides appliances.  Did you loose a button off your favorite flannel?  Buy a new one and sew it on instead of buying a new shirt.  Got a hole in the knee of your jeans, tear up the other knee for an intentional distress denim look.  Or cut both legs off at the knees and cuff them up for a nice pair of Bermuda shorts. 
So, instead of running out to buy a new whatever when your old one breaks, try to fix the old one first, and you might just save yourself some cash.

Photos for this series are from Flickr.  They are pictures that are under the license of ‘commercial and mods allowed.’  Edits were done by me.  The licensor does not endorse me or my use.

31 Days of Money-Saving Tips: Day #22 - Keep Things Maintained

Did you know that owner's manuals can actually save you money?  The much overlooked owner's manual contains everything you need to know in order to maintain your car or slow cooker or hair dryer.  It also usually has parts numbers so that you can order replacement pieces.  This generally isn't the case for electronics like cell phones and computers because the technology is updated so frequently, but for most other appliances you definitely want to reference the manual.  You Tube is another place to look if you are a more visual person.  Just be specific in your search to make sure you have the correct brand and model.
So, why is all this important, and how does it save you money exactly?  Well, say your blender is missing a blade, instead of going out and buying another blender for say $25, you can contact the company and order a replacement blade for around $4.  You just saved yourself 21 bucks.  The manual will also tell you how to keep things up and running, how they can be cleaned properly, and if they need to be greased or oiled.  Not only do things run better when they are maintained correctly, they also last longer.  If you keep the back of your hair dryer clean, the motor inside will run better and not burn up because it couldn't get enough air.  This doesn't just go for small appliances either.  Make sure you are vacuuming out your dryer vents and the coils behind your fridge at least a couple of times a year.  We were given a fridge once that the owner thought was broken and was destined for the garbage.  The real problem was a LOT of dust.  We gave it a good cleaning, let it sit for a few days, and low and behold, it worked just like new. 
Basically if you maintain things, it keeps you from having to buy new things, which cost money.  So, cleaning and maintaining what you already have, saves you money. 

Photos for this series are from Flickr.  They are pictures that are under the license of ‘commercial and mods allowed.’  Edits were done by me.  The licensor does not endorse me or my use.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Weekly Spending Report: 10/16-22/2016

This week I kept my spending fairly minimal.  I didn't really need anything from ALDI, so I decided to stop into the Dollar Tree instead.  It had been a few weeks since I have been in to look around and see what new things they have.  There were a few things that I had on my list like shelf liner to use in some drawers, but I also was pleasantly surprised to find some new stickers and snacks for Howard.  Overall I think I did pretty good.  Here's how my spending broke down this week...
  • Tuesday's CVS Trip: $30.20 oop, Earned $15 ECB's ($5 Huggies, $10 Benefiber)
  • Tuesday's Giant Trip: $12.17 oop
  • Tuesday's Dollar Tree Trip: $12.48 oop
  • Tuesday's Baugher's Trip: $2.99 oop (no picture, just a mini pumpkin and 3 tomatoes)
  • Saturday's Dollar Tree Trip: $18.72 oop
Total OOP: $76.56
Total Earned: $15
Total Remaining for October: $109.81

Linked to I Heart Publix, and many more... 

Friday, October 21, 2016

31 Days of Money-Saving Tips: Day #21 - Buy Used

My most favorite way to save money is to buy used.  This is mostly because it involves shopping at thrift stores, which are some of my favorite places to shop.  There are always deals to be had, and you see so much interesting stuff - some things worth buying, and some things just worth looking at and wondering what people were thinking.  I definitely recommend taking a list with you so that you don't get side-tracked by all of the shiny things and great prices.  Because most things are an amazing deal, it's very easy to talk yourself into buying something you didn't need when you walked in the door but now are going to die without.  We do not buy everything used, obvious second-hand stores do not sell things like food and toiletries.  I'm also very particular that everything I buy must be able to be washed and sanitized properly - if it can't then I don't buy it.  In addition, I don't buy things like under garments and shoes, but that's just my personal preference, they do sell them if that's your thing.  I have not only found clothing for my son, but also my plus-sized self.  My husband has trouble since he is tall and husky, but he does sometimes get lucky.  I am in LOVE with the household items - I have found such beautiful and unique decor, baskets, and storage over the years.  Howard's favorite section, by far, is the books.  He knows that if he is good he can pick out a few 'new' books before we leave, and at $0.49 a piece you can't really go wrong.
So, the next time you are in need of a new shirt, DVD, book, or wine glass, try to buy used first.  Buying second-hand is guaranteed to save you at least half if not more than buying new, and that's a great way to save money!

Photos for this series are from Flickr.  They are pictures that are under the license of ‘commercial and mods allowed.’  Edits were done by me.  The licensor does not endorse me or my use.

Frugal Finds: October 2016 Edition

This month we took a day trip up to Hanover just to get out of the house, and to take yet another trip to the thrift store!  I always check the clothes while we're there.  Howard doesn't need much for fall or winter, but he's hard on pajamas, so they are always on my radar.  We also found him these AWESOME activity flash cards by Crayola.  The letter ones have the uppercase and lowercase letter on front, and the back has lines to practice writing them.  There are also a few cards with connect the letters activities on them.  The number cards are similar, and they came with a boat load of dry erase crayons.  This soon-to-be homeschooling mama thought that was a real steal!  I'm also always on the look-out for baskets, this one is HUGE, the picture does not do it justice; it is going to be absolutely perfect for Howard's ever-growing Mega Blocks collection.
1 pair 3T PJ Pants for Howard $1.99 - 50% off Sale = $0.99
2 pair of 5T PJ Pants for Howard $2.99 each - 50% off Sale = $1.49 each or 2/$2.98
Dino Book for Howard $0.99 - 50% off Sale = $0.49
3 Kids DVD's for Howard $2.99 each - 50% off Sale = $1.49 each or 3/$4.47
ABC and 123 Dry Erase Activity Flash Cards for Howard with Dry Erase Crayons (all Crayola brand) $3.99 - 50% off Sale = $1.99
1 Hardback Book for Joe $0.99 - 50% off Sale = $0.49
1 Lock for Joe $4.99 - 50% off Sale = $2.49
1 Large Basket for Mega Blocks $4.99 - Did not get rung up = FREE!
1 Fall Tray for Decor $1.99 - 50% off Sale = $0.99
+ $0.66 Tax
Grand Total OOP: $15.55!  
Saved $36.49!!!

We also made a stop at a flea market this month.  We did lots of looking, but I decided that there were a few things that needed to come home with me...
Beautiful tray I am going to use to store my washi tape in $3
Horse Picture for Howard's room $0.25
Box of ornaments for our Christmas tree $5
Total OOP: $8.25 

Thursday, October 20, 2016

31 Days of Money-Saving Tips: Day #20 - Make Your Own

Today's tip goes hand in hand with cooking from scratch, but making your own doesn't have to begin and end in the kitchen.  There are so many things that you use in your house that you can make.  And making your own can save you some serious dough.  Pinterest and Google can help you to find recipes or instructions to make just about anything.  Some things that I make that are super simple include floor cleaner, multipurpose spray, face toner, laundry detergent, and shower cleaner.  Do I make everything myself?  Definitely not, I have neither the time nor the patience.  But I make what I can, and for most other things there are sales and coupons to help me save. 
So, the next time you run out of something, do a quick internet search to see if you can make more yourself instead of having to purchase it.  If you do this just once a month, the savings will really add up, and before you know it you'll be making you own everything, or not. 

Photos for this series are from Flickr.  They are pictures that are under the license of ‘commercial and mods allowed.’  Edits were done by me.  The licensor does not endorse me or my use.

31 Days of Money-Saving Tips: Day #19 - Cut Back

We've discussed a lot of different ways to save money so far this month, all of which will help cut back on your spending.  Another way to cut back though is to just use less.  Cut your dryer sheets and dish sponges in half to get twice the amount for the same money.  I do both, and even though they are smaller, they get the job done just as well.  Use less soap, shampoo, and detergent.  Even if it's only a 1/2 teaspoon, it adds up over time, and you and your clothing will get just as clean.  When cooking make sure to use the correct measurements of the ingredients.  Yes, the more butter you put in to something the better it will taste, but neither the recipe nor your waistline really need it - trust me on this.  So when you are making something or buying something, ask yourself if you really need that amount?  Will less work just as well.  Buying in bulk can sometimes save money, but if you really only need 6 hot cocoa packets, then the box of 50 is really a waste.  Which means you wasted food, but also your money. 
So to save money, cut back on what you can, when you can, and just use less.

Photos for this series are from Flickr.  They are pictures that are under the license of ‘commercial and mods allowed.’  Edits were done by me.  The licensor does not endorse me or my use.

31 Days of Money-Saving Tips: Day #18 - Go Reusable When You Can

I know, reusable bags don't really save you money, however, other reusable items can.  Think about things you use everyday that are disposable, and thus have to be purchased over and over again, costing you money each time.  Replace these items with reusable options to save money.  Things like plates, cups, and silverware, napkins, cleaning rags, lunch boxes, and even your coffee cup all come in reusable options.  It does cost a little more upfront, and obviously these items need to be washed in order to reuse them, but plenty of people have done the math and reusable options always win out as being cheaper in the end.  Not only that, but it's better for the planet. 
So, to save money, and the Earth, choose reusable options when you can.

Photos for this series are from Flickr.  They are pictures that are under the license of ‘commercial and mods allowed.’  Edits were done by me.  The licensor does not endorse me or my use.

Monday, October 17, 2016

31 Days of Money-Saving Tips: Day #17 - Freeze Your Leftovers

We've discussed cooking at home to save money, but what do you do when you make too much?  Well, you could pack it for your lunch the next day.  But, what if you've already ate it for 2 days and you need a break?  Well, freeze it for later.  I LOVE to take leftovers and make little homemade TV dinners with them.  You can get some really nice containers (like these or these) from the Dollar Tree just for this purpose.  You could also invest in some nicer Pyrex ones if you like.  It's totally up to you.  So, basically I take my leftovers and divide them out into these little containers, let them cool, label them, and then into the freezer they go.  When I need to pack lunch for work, I just grab one and stick it in the fridge when I get there.  When lunchtime comes I pop it in the microwave, and in about 2 or 3 minutes I have a nice hot, home-cooked meal to enjoy! 
What if you don't have enough leftovers for a meal?  You should freeze them anyway.  I have made different soups and chili's almost completely using bits and bobs from the freezer.  Vegetable soup is an easy one.  I take a freezer bag and whenever we have just a few tablespoons of a vegetable left, I add it to the bag.  Once it's full, I dump the bag into the slow-cooker, add some vegetable or chicken stock, a diced onion, and maybe some pasta or rice (which can be frozen too), and you've got dinner.  It's really that easy.  You can really re-purpose almost any leftover, but that's a post for another day. 
So, how does this save you money?  Well, first of all the food you made is not going to be wasted.  You are finding a new purpose for food that some might throw in the trash.  Secondly, you are getting a night/day off from cooking by just reheating the leftovers.  That's saving you money spent on the electric used to cook another meal, and it's saving you time from having to do it. 
So, freeze your leftovers to not only save yourself some money, but to save time too!

Photos for this series are from Flickr.  They are pictures that are under the license of ‘commercial and mods allowed.’  Edits were done by me.  The licensor does not endorse me or my use.