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Cardinal Rules of Frugality

14 Dec

Frugality, what is it really? To me being frugal means saving every penny possible, yet living the highest quality life possible on our income.  We are working very hard to save as much money as possible yet still enjoy the small luxury items in life.

Rule 1: Always Plan Ahead

Weather it be shopping clearance racks at the end of the season, packing a snack so you don’t hit the vending machine or mapping out gas station fill ups for your next road trip, planning ahead can save you a good amount of money.

Earlier this week the trivia question on the radio station was “The average person spends $7000 a life time on this.. ” the answer was vending machines, yes $7000! That is a lot of money. On average vending machine prices are about 4x the price of picking up the item in bulk at Wal-Mart, even without using coupons.  Here is a hint: If you are a vending machine junkie stash a few cans of soda or bottled water and snack items in your desk or in the car.

Are you wanting to upgrade Christmas decorations? Don’t do it now, wait until the day after Christmas to hit up Target or Wal-Mart for sales. Everything will be 50% off the day after and continue to go down until its all gone. Another thing to look for on sale is the gift packs, yes they make great gifts but some of them are very practical. Check out the Gillette Razor pack, witch includes a razor, shaving cream, body wash and a couple other things for just $10, after Christmas they will be $5 (The razor alone is about $9.) This goes for all holiday and seasonal merchandise. Plan ahead and never pay full price again.

Rule 2: Reuse, Recycle & Reinvent

At the risk of sounding like my grandma, there are just some things I will never throw away because I know there are alternative uses for them. Here are some ideas just to get you started, but really the possibilities are endless.

Coolwhip or butter containers– I think all my Grandma’s “tupperware” containers consist of these- now I am not that extreme, but they do work really well when I want to take food somewhere and don’t want to worry about keeping up with the nice (aka pricey) containers that we got as a wedding gift. They are also really great to store small pieces (screws, craft items, crayons, etc.)
Baby wipe containers – If you are a mom of little ones you surely have an excess of these, they are great for bigger craft items and if you get really frugal try making your own wipes and storing them in there.
Zip Lock Baggies- As a child I remember my grandma washing these out and keeping them (she still does!) I don’t go to that extreme but I do keep re-use some Ziplock bags but I toss the really dirty ones.
Old Bath Towels or T-shirts- These can be used for a variety of things from crafts to cleaning. Cut them up and throw them in a spare drawer for those big messes or send them to the garage for hubbies messes (no more ruining your dish towels with greasy hands.) Watch out for my upcoming post for a craft to use these in!
Pringle Containers– These are the perfect size to store paint brushes and colored pencils in. You can wrap them in decorative paper or leave them as they are.
Grocery Bags– Everyone knows that these are the perfect size for bathroom trash bags, but really how many bathroom trash bags do you need? Grocery bags also have other uses, one of my favorite is packing material-instead of newspaper or packing peanuts, I use plastic bags.  Are you crafty? Try crocheting a reusable shopping bag with “plarn” string made from recycled bags-its a DIY project that is completely free! Can’t beat that.
Old accessories/furniture: Are you updating your house? Changing color scheme or style? A can of spray paint can bring a whole new look to old outdated furniture. Before you send it to the junk yard think about what it would look like in a different color – trust me its worth the $1 can of spray paint! I had 2 very old and dated brass glass top tables, a $1 can of black spray paint later and they were back in style and I got so many compliments off of them. Fast, easy and cheap!

You get where I am going with this, there is another use for just about everything. Next time you walk to the trash can take a good look at the item you are throwing out and think about what else it could be used for-could it save you money from purchasing something else to do that task?

Rule 3: Don’t Buy just to save money

Just because something is on sale does not mean you need it. If you wont use it, even if it is a really good deal, leave it on the shelf and keep the money in your pocket.  A good deal is only a good deal if it was something that you would have bought (or would have liked to buy) anyways.  No since in buying 10 packs of diapers if you don’t have kids or 30 pounds of cat food if you don’t have a cat – of course you can always donate, keep that in mind.

Rule 4: Take what is given to you

Weather it be hand me down cloths or extra produce when you can get your hand’s on something for free always jump on the opportunity. If a friend offers you their old clothes instead of turning them down take them, sort through what you want and sell or donate the rest. If a neighbor has a garden and offers you some extra produce, even if its something you don’t normally eat take it and try it, who knows you might love it. Also check out your area’s freecycle or the free section on Craig’s list, remember one man’s trash is another man’s treasure.. what do you have to loose, it’s free!

Rule 5: Never Pay Full Price

I follow this rule on 95% of my daily purchases. You can find coupons or shop sales for nearly everything in your life. Yes we all know about grocery and household coupons but did you know there are restaurant coupons and on restaurant.com you can get $25 gift certificates for as low as $1.  What about car service-yup most shops offer coupons on their website or facebook now, just today I god $10 off of my car alignment just by doing a little research before making the appointment. Going to the movies? Look for your local $1 or second run theater or check out your regular theater for coupons – mine offers a free large popcorn for joining their emailing list and sends me a coupon on my birthday and other random coupons.   For clothing shop sales and discount stores such as TjMaxx and Ross Dress for name brand items, if you are planning on a trip to the mall check out their website for a list of available coupons and visit individual stores websites and facebook pages for additional discounts. I also frequent the dollar tree and Big Lots for certain purchases and I always check out the clearence section whenever I am in a store, you never know what you will find.  The one thing that I have had trouble saving on is gas- yes I price shop but that is about as good as it gets for me on this. Any suggestions?

There you have it, my top 5 rules of frugality, what are yours?

Weekly Menu — 11/13 through 11/20

13 Nov

Weekly meal planning has really helped cut down our food budget, especially the eating out section of it.  Here are my meal plans for this week, the goal was to cook stuff I don’t normally cook and to cook mainly from my freezer and stock pile:

 

Sunday:
Brunch: Pancakes
Dinner: Chicken Noodle crock pot creation — Basically I tossed 3 diced roma tomatoes, 1 cooked and cubed chicken breast, 1 tub Philly cooking cream, some chicken broth and cooked egg noodles in my crock pot and sprinkled with a handfull of Italian blend shredded cheese. We are at the office so this will be nice and warm when we get home.

Monday: Sweedish Italian Country Ribs, see the recipe here We have had these in the past but its been a couple of years. They are so good and cheap since country ribs often go on sale for less than $1 a pound.   Will serve with Baked Potatoes (russet for me, sweet potato for Eric)

Tuesday: Pizza Pasta With Breadsticks  only I will leave out the Italian sausage as I don’t have it in my stash.

Wednesday: Steak Quesadillias — Philly Cheese steak patty, green peppers, shredded cheese and tortillas. Easy peasy and cheap too!

Thursday:  Chili– might have to buy some celery for this.. or I might leave it out

Friday: Grilled Steaks with Roasted Red Potatoes and a veggie

Saturday: Craft Show where my in-laws live so we will most likely eat with them.

 

Stay tuned for pictures.  These are all meals that I don’t commonly cook so I am excited to see some new things.

 

Coupon Poll

11 Nov

Let me know..

Cheap Veggie Tales .. $3.99 shipped!

11 Nov

I love a good deal, and when I find one I have to share.

Get one of 5 veggie tales DVDs for free, just pay shipping!

Head over to Veggie Tales

Add one of the following to your cart(it only works on these 5):

  1. Happy Together
  2. Girl Power
  3. Silly Little Thing Called Love
  4. Abe and the Amazing Promise
  5. Esther
Use the coupon code “VEGGIECFA” to get the DVD for free, just pay shipping. Mine arrived in about 2 weeks. This would make a great cheap Christmas Gift or donation item for your local church.
I could not get the coupon code to work on Happy Together so I did not link it. They also have a bunch of movies marked down from $14.99 to $6.97 for their fall sale.  They also offer free shipping on orders of $30 or more- Buy 6 DVDs (5 @ $6.97 plus the free one) for for $34.85 or $5.81 each.. not a bad deal if you have a veggie tales lover.
I recently bought the Girl Power one for my nice for Christmas.. I upgraded to priority shipping and paid $4.11 but I wouldn’t suggest it because I think they shipped it the same method as the slow way as the postage on the package was $1.27.. but I wont complain.. $4 for a DVD is a deal in my book!

Christmas…

11 Nov

Its the beginning of November and the stores are filled with Christmas Trees, decorations and Christmas music, and its no surprise that this year the decorations started coming out BEFORE Halloween. Don’t get me wrong, I love Christmas and I never minded that the decorations made their appearance before Thanksgiving, after all we have to be ready to decorate the day after Thanksgiving, but before Halloween is a bit absurd-nothing like rushing the season..  anyways I continue back to my original purpose of this post.. my Christmas list & budget.

It seems that my Christmas Shopping list gets bigger and bigger each year, but with the big move this year and me not working we are trying to stay on a budget — (Plus we want a new TV for ourselves!)

Here is the list of everyone I have to buy for:

Mom & Dad
Rick & Joann (inlaws #1)
Jami & Marty (inlaws #2)
Grannie (My mom’s mom)
Iris & Jack (My Grandparents)
Staci & Jeremy (Eric’s Sister and her Hubby)
Spencer (^ 4 month old baby)
Ryan & Kari (my brother and sister in-law)
Kinzlie (^4 year old nice)
Ryder(18 month old nephew)
Jake (17 year old brother)
Jace (15 year old brother)

Thats a total of 18 people.. with a budget of $15 a person… thats a total of  $270!! Yikes! I am going to do my best to cut this budget down.. like WAY down. I would like to see it around $150.. not sure if that is doable but I will sure try… I have spent a bit already…

$11.97—3 subscriptions to ESPN Sports Magazine for a year @  $3.99 each .. this is over $100 value.. this will be for my 3 brothers and I am looking for a little something to go along with it .. maybe something homemade or nice razors from my coupon stash..

$8–1 year subscription of Rachel Ray and Taste of Home for Grannie. This is a great deal for 2 magazines and she loves to cook so I know she will love them. I am thinking Ill add a jar of my homemade canned salsa-it was my first venture but I remember watching her do it as a kid and even if the salsa itself isn’t good she will love the effort 🙂

$4.11 — Veggie Tales DVD, it was free just had to pay shipping, for my niece Kinzlie, its a triple header about girl power.. the case is hot pink <3! Check out my post on how to get this deal 🙂 I will probably add some homemade hair bows and coloring books from the dollar tree (she’s into cutting, coloring and gluing right now)

$8 — Plush Tiger Winter Beanie for Ryder.. a little more than I would like to have spent but it was an impulse buy.. My hometown mascot is the Tigers so I know he will get use of it during those chilly football games next season as my little brother plays Varsity football and they go to all the games.. plus I know he will look so darn cute in it! I’m thinking about ordering him a veggie tales DVD and calling it good.

 

Not sure what I will be getting for everyone else.. hopefully some good deals come my way or my creative brain gets to work :)!  Whats on your Christmas list this year?

 

 

 

 

Black Friday

11 Nov

If you are anything like me you are all about getting a good deal. My husband and I start planning our black friday wish list in the summer and we love the push and shove of Black Friday – 2 years ago we waited in the freezing cold for 3 hours outside of Target – we did manage to snag 4 32″ LCD TVs for $250 each- (they were my parents christmas presents to my brothers and me) and yes it was totally worth it!

This years Black Friday Wish List:

Flat Screen TVwe have one “old fashioned” TV left to replace, we are either going to rotate the 32″ to the bedroom and the 22″ to my craft room and buy a 40″ or buy a smaller one for the craft room – it will depend on what deals are coming out. 

Wii or XBox with KinectWe aren’t big video game people but we don’t have cable so this will be a great form of entertainment and exercise for us – does anyone have a preference of one over the other? and why.. 

Audio Bar for living room TVthis is pretty high on my husbands list

Kitchen Aid MixerI have wanted one for years, just waiting on the right deal to come around 🙂 

and of course I want an iPad but that wont be happening this year, maybe next year. 

Wal-Marts Black Friday ad was released last night and there are quite a few deals that match up with our wish list. Wal-Marts black friday specials will be starting at 10pm with some of the bigger items starting at midnight and even more at 8am – it could be a long night for us.

here are some things that have caught my eyes:

Emerson TV 32″ — $188  40″ — $248

Sansui TV 19″ — $98

Digital Picture Frame — $20 — I think that this would make a great gift for my parents and in-laws, load it down with pictures and send it their way, I know I would love one!

Wii Blue Console — $100

XBox 360 with Kinect — $200 w/ $50 wal-mart gift card

V-Tech Toys — $10 (I have a 4 year old nice, a 4 month old nephew and an 18 month old nephew)

Rival Waffle Maker — $2.84 — just because 🙂

15 Piece Picture Frame Set — $12.96

Samsung Audio Bar — $98

Memory Foam Bath Mat $6.97

There are also tons of other deals to be had at Wal-Mart, I can’t wait for the Target ad to come out and then we will decide where we will be going or if we will have to divide and conquer.

So tell me… what is on your list? Where will you be shopping this year? Will you be camping out at o-dark-thirty to get the good deals?