Friday, June 17, 2011

Kroger Trip 06.17.11

Here's what I got...just a couple of items for the stockpile.
35 Vitamin Waters - Free
15 packages Huggies baby wipes - all free except the one in the tub, paid $0.50 for it.

Retail value - $70.77.  My total was $2.57 (mostly tax), total savings of 99%.  We are stocked up for a while on these items now!

Hope your shopping trips are as successful!  Happy Couponing!


Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Thrift Store Tray Makeover

I love using trays all over the house.  They are the perfect quick and easy fix to a boring table or counter.  A friend and I found these trays for her house at the local thrift store and got them for $5 for both.
While we were getting set up to paint, I grabbed an old candlestick from the house that I have been wanting to do something with and threw it out there to be painted too.
So a little spray paint, distressing and/or antiquing glaze later and here you have it...

 I tried the smaller tray in a few places throughout the house trying to find the perfect spot for it.  I kept thinking of great uses for it!  And then I remembered it is not staying here but going to live in my friend's house...BOO! So now I need to go back to the thrift store and find some more I can keep!

 And here is how the candlestick turned out.  Nicely, I think.

What do you think?  Not bad for $5 and 30 minutes. 

What fun project are you working on? 


Sunday, June 5, 2011

Kroger 06.04.11

Here's what I got:
4 Lunchables - on sale for 2/$4; I hade 4 $1 off 1 coupons; final price - $1 each
2 packages Kraft Big Slice cheese - regularly $4.75, on sale for 2/$5; I had 2 $1 off coupons; final price - $1.50 each
5 packages Mahatma rice - on sale for $1.25 each; I had 5 $0.50 off coupons which doubled; final price - $0.25 each
12 Nestle Crunch bars - on sale 2/$1, I had several $1/2 coupons and Buy 2 Get One Free coupons; final price - FREE

Total value - $40.67.  My cost - $7.63.  Savings of 84%.


Dining Room Buffet Makeover

The buffet in my dining room needed an overhaul.  I bought it on craiglist a year or so ago and painted it.  I also used leftover fabric from the dining room chairs (we had them recovered at the same time I got the buffet) and decoupaged the fabric on the doors.  I don't like it.  I have hated it since I finished it, but other projects took priority and it has been sitting waiting for me to redo it for a year.  I finally cleaned it out and got motivated to repaint it. 

Here it is before. 
This paint color just didn't suit me.  I kept putting color on top of color trying to get just the right mix.  Nope.  So we are back to my new favorite...antique white (how did you guess!?!?!)!

In the process...
And the final product...
I like it so much better now!

One of my 2011 goals was to organize my home.  What a dauntng goal.  It seemed so unreachable.  I have really put alot of effort into making this happen.  It's not the organizing of one area, say a closet, or a room, but really more a combination of a million little things - like adding a basket to the shelf in the pantry to hold the chip bags or getting my gift tags orderly in a box (see it here). 

Now that I started couponing a couple of months ago and building a stockpile, I haveto be creative in the use of space I have in order to for everything to have a place and stay organized and orderly.  As I emptied this buffet, I realized that I haven't used the things stored in it for...years.  More than half of the space was filled with the China we got when we were married.  We have never eaten off of it.  Not once in 11 years. 

Now, I know I can't get rid of the China.  I intend to hand it down to Lilly one day.  But right now, in 2011, when Lilly is 6 and we NEVER use it, why is it taking up the space in my buffet?  The space I need for things we  use.  Good question.

So I packed up the China in a plastic container and put it in the attic.   I now have organized my coupon inserts and have them tucked neatly in the drawers, dated and ready to be pulled out when I need a coupon from them.  The inserts have been in stacks (organized stacks!) on my dining room table since I started accumulating them while I tried to figure out where to keep them.  I cannot stand for everything around me to not be perfectly in place and it has been driving me crazy that I had no where to put these things.  I think this was the motivation I needed to finally drag this buffet to the driveway and paint it.  I didn't want to empty it and organize it full of new things when it was still on my to-do list of it moved to the top of the list.

And now, it is the happy home of coupon inserts.  And my dining room table is pretty again. 
I feel so accomplished! Two items marked off my list!

Once more before and after:

I encourage you to look around you and think of ways to better use your space.  There is hidden potential everywhere!  I think of the people that live in New York in tiny apartments with no closets and make it work.  I used to feel like this house wasn't big enough for the four of us, but with a little effort, I can find space everywhere and can organize my home.   It's taking a while, but each little thing makes a difference. 

Do you like the buffet?  I do. 


Friday, June 3, 2011

Quick Walgreens Trip 06.03.11

I ran in Walgreens this morning for a couple of items:
The waxing strips are usually $4.99, on sale for $2.99, and I had a $2 off coupon (you can print at  Final price - $0.99
The nail polish is on sale for 2/$4, and I had a $2 off coupon for liking the Rimmel page on facebook (the max amount of coupons has been given now), and I had a buy one get one free coupon from the All You magazine.  Final price - FREE

If you haven't seen an All You magazine before, I highly recommend getting a subscription.  This is a new find for me and I love it!  It is packed full of coupons, quick and easy meal plans, and tips and ideas for saving money.  They are only sold at Walmart, and after I bought and read the first one, I ordered a subscription.  There were $100 worth of coupons in that one edition and it cost $1.88.  The meal ideas and other tips are great.  Very worth it!

Happy Couponing!


Thursday, June 2, 2011

Save-A-Lot Trip 05.31.11

I found a great deal in a surprise place this week.  I have never shopped at Save-A-Lot in my life. I know they have mostly off-brand items and I have just never had a reason to venture in there.  When the weekly ads come out, I always toss the Save-A-Lot ad to the side and go straight for Kroger and Walgreens ads.  This week my husband says, "So, does Save-A-Lot take coupons?  They have Butterball turkey bacon on sale for $1."  What?  $1 for bacon??  I went through my catalog of coupons in my head and remembered that I had a coupon for Butterball turkey I called Save-A-Lot and they DO take coupons!

I looked through the ad and saw that they also had Hamburger Helper for $1.  I had coupons for that too.
I ran up there (there's one a mile or so from the house) and here's what I scored:

34 packages of Butterball turkey bacon - on sale for $1; I had 34 coupons for $0.65 off; final price - $0.35 per package
6 boxes of Hamburger Helper - on sale for $1; I used 2 coupons for $0.75 off 3 boxes; final price - $0.75 each.  I have a lot more coupons for this, but we rarely eat Hamburger Helper and it's still $0.75 a box!  It would need to be much cheaper for me to stock up...
1 bag of popsicles - no coupon but needed them for the kids to take to school; cost  -$1.99
1 bag of French bread - we needed for dinner that night; cost -  $1.99

Total cost - $22.92, savings of 78%.  I just got 34 packages of bacon for less than $12.  What in the world will I do with 34 packages of bacon, you ask? 

Eat a lot of bacon. 

I will now start checking the Save-A-Lot ad each week.  While in there, I noticed they actually have quite a few name brand items for which I would have coupons, like Kellogg's cereal for example.  The cashier also told me that if you go to their website and register, you will get a printable coupon for $5 off your next purchase of $25 (before coupons).  I wish I had known that before I went, but I will definitely get it and hang on to it until the next deal comes around.  Check it out for yourself!


Monday, May 30, 2011

The Birdcage

Across from the little table I redid here in the entry hall is a metal birdcage we've had for several years.  I love the vintage feel the birdcage brings to the entry. 
It needs to be ightened up a little, though; don't you agree?  A couple of coats of paint and we have a new birdcage!
Better?  I think so.

I have a newly purchased lamp from the thrift store that I will be giving a makeover soon to replace the outdated one on the table.  I like the antique white on the birdcage way better than the brown.  It was so dark and gloomy!

What do you think?

Thanks for stopping by!  I'm off to the next project!


Sunday, May 29, 2011

Sweet Pictures for a Sweet Girl

I have been trying to think of something fun and inexpensive to do on the wall above Lilly's bed for a while.  I have some old frames that used to be elsewhere in the house hanging there with pictures of her and her friend, her cousin, etc.  While I do like them, I really put them there as a filler until I decided what I really wanted there.  They have been there for over a year now, so I guess that tells you that I haven't put much effort into figuring out something.  I finally got around to it. 

Here's the wall as it looked with the framed photos on it.
I did at least try to fancy them up by spray painting them white, using cute scrapbook paper for mats, and hot gluing ribbon around the frame of one. 

I thought and thought about what kind of pictures to put here instead.  I went through her list of favorite things - should I do high heels, horses, butterflies, purses, the cast of Glee?  Should I use something trendy like birds?  I knew whatever I went with was going to be a cheap project.   First of all, she doesn't keep her room clean EVER (I seriously had to clean it for a couple of HOURS to get it presentable for these pictures).  I am not going to put nice expensive things in there until she starts taking better care of her stuff.  Second of all, if you can decorate without spending too much money, you change it when you get tired of it or when you want to try something different and not feel bad about it.  You aren't married to your decor if it's cheap!

I settled on ice cream and a cupcake for the pictures.  I got these two horrible looking things from the thrift store for $10 each.  Ugh.
Lake wanted to paint so I put him to work.
Next, I cut out an ice cream cone and a cupcake and glued them on posterboard cut to size.

I took cut up pieces of scrapbook paper and taped them on to the mat in a random pattern.

And here they are.
I moved the framed photos to the other wall above the bed.  Lilly said she wants me to fill the whole wall with photos.  We may add a few more over time. 

Here is a peek at the rest of Lilly's room.

These were taken before I changed out the pictures.  The bed is from a thrift store and has been painted several times.  She has cheap bedding right now because I knew it would end up with fingernail polish and marker spots all over it (which it has).  She had very expensive bedding I handmade with Calico Corners fabric when she was still in her nursery, but until she is out of her destructive phase, we will stick with something inexpensive. 

The dresser is from craigslist and was cherry wood when I got it.  When I said I was going to paint it, people thought I was crazy.  It was pretty.  But I wanted everything in this room to be turqouise or purple, so the cherry wood had to go.  I replaced the drawer pulls with looped ribbons.
The little white bedside table is from Pottery Barn, but I got it on craigslist for a mere $15.  Score!  I gave it a fresh coat of paint before putting it in her room.  I love the shape.  I decorated the lampshade on the lamp with fabric and ribbon; click here to see that blog post. 

I bought the chandelier for her nursery and it was white with light pink flowers then.  It got a bright purple makeover for this room.
We also scraped the popcorn ceiling and made it smooth before we redecorated.  I love smooth ceilings.  We are slowly going room by room and getting rid of all the popcorn. 

So that's Lilly's room.  At this very moment, it looks nothing like what you just saw...the floor is covered in crayons, Barbie clothes, and Lilly's shoes.  I am patiently waiting for her to grow out of this...


Walgreens Trip 05.29.11

I got a LOT of deodorant at Walgreens today.  We won't need any for a long long time. 

Here's what I scored:
Scott paper towels - on sale for $3.99 each, I had 2 $1.50 off coupons (printable from their website), final price - $2.49 each (best I've gotten yet on paper towels!)  These are only on sale for 2 days at this price. 
Reynold's Wrap  foil - on sale for $1.99, I had $1 off coupon, final price - $0.99.  Only on sale for 2 days at this price.
Jif peanut butter- 2 jars on sale for $2 each, not the best deal but we needed peanut butter.  I heard that peanut butter only goes on sale with coupons twice a year.  I have yet to see a peanut butter coupon.  Patiently awaiting so I can stock up!
3 boxes Poptarts - on sale for $1.99 each, I had a $1.00/3 boxes coupon, final price - $1.67 each
4 packages Oscar Mayer lunchmeat - on sale 2 for $5, I had 2 $1/2 packages coupons, final price - $2 each
3 tubes Aquafresh Kids toothpaste - on sale with Walgreens in-ad coupon for $1, I had 3 $1 off coupons, final price - FREE
8 Degree deodorants - on sale for 4/$15 with a $5 Register Reward, I had 4 $0.75 coupons, and 4 buy one get one free coupons, I had to do this one in 2 separate transactions to get RR twice, final price - $0.25 each
6 Right Guard deodorants - on sale for buy one get one free, I had 3 buy one get one free coupons, final price - FREE
2 Act popcorn - on sale for $0.25 each, fillers so I could use my Register Rewards at checkout
2 Dunkin Doughnuts coffee - this was my splurge for the day...on sale from $10.49 to $5.99, I had 2 $1.50 off coupons, final price - $4.49 each.  More than I ever pay for coffee - but this kind won't get cheaper than this and it's GOOD!

Total retail value - $144.47, my cost - $43.00.  Savings of 70%.

Happy Couponing!


Friday, May 27, 2011

Tips for Saving Money Making Lunches

We make our kids lunches every single day.  We don't let them buy from the school cafeteria because the lunches they serve are ridiculously unhealthy.  We generally put in their lunches either a lunchmeat or peanut butter sandwich, a piece of fruit, a snack like Chex Mix or baked Goldfish, and sometimes a small dessert, like a cookie (only one!).  We often will cut up blocks of cheddar cheese and carrots and put a small baggie of each in as well.  We put Caprisun Roaring Waters in for their drinks.  I read alot about what are the best products to put in your kids lunches in the Eat This, Not That for Kids book and try to stick to those items.  It surprised me how many products say 25% Less Sugar! or Made with Whole Grains! but they still were one of the worst of that product available.  The labels can be very deceiving....

We spend quite a bit of money on the kids' lunches.  Not near as much as we would spend if they bought lunch at school every day, but still quite a bit.  I have been brainstorming lately on how we can save money but not sacrifice the healthiness of the items in their lunch. 

Here are a couple of things we are starting to do differently. 

I mentioned that we use Caprisun Roaring Waters as their drinks.  We never use the regular Caprisun; it HAS to be the water ones.  The kids don't know the difference, as these taste the same as the regular Caprisun, but the regular ones have twice the sugar - 16 grams per Caprisun!  Yikes!  Caprisuns (water or regular) cost about $2.49 a box and will often go on sale for $1.99. I have never seen a coupon for Caprisun.  They recently went on sale as part of the Mega Event at Kroger and you could get them for $1.49 per box.  We stocked up when they were this price, because I think that's as low as they are going to ever get.  We spend about $125 a year on Caprisun.

Well, I tried something new this week.  I bought these Wyler's drink mixes at Walgreens.  I needed a filler so I could use Register Rewards to check out (see my couponing blog entries to know what I am talking about).  These drink mixes are flavored like lemonade and rasberry, and my kids tried them and loved them. 

I checked out the nutritional info and guess what?  They are so much better than Caprisun!  Even the water ones!  Here's how they measure up:

  • Wyler's - 5 calories, Caprisun Roaring Water (RW) - 30 calories
  • Wyler's - 0 carbs, Caprisun RW - 8g carbs
  • Wyler's - 0 sugar, Caprisun RW- 8g sugar
  • Wyler's - 20% daily Vitamin C, Caprisun RW- no Vitamin C
My kids usually moan and groan when I try to get them to drink a bottled water.  Now they are asking for them in their lunch so they can mix their own lemonade. They think it is fun.   

Here's the best part (other than my kids are drinking healthier): they are on sale at Walgreens this week for $0.59 a box (usually $1 a box).    I went back to Walgreens and stocked up (of course!) about 4 months worth after I added up all of the benefits of my new find.  Something to note - some of the boxes have 8 packets in them and some have 10 in them.  I got all boxes with 10 - more for the money!

We have the kids saving their water bottles and bringing them back home, which we are washing and refilling with filtered water from the refrigerator so we don't have to buy any more bottles of water either.  Using these instead of Caprisun in their lunches will cost about $34 a year. 

  • Saving $90 or so a year
  • Healthier for my kids (they are drinking a whole bottled water a day now!)
  • Recycling the bottles
Now, on to the next money-saver I have just discovered...

We spend about $80 a year on ziploc bags.  I hate to think of how much plastic we are throwing away.  I recently ordered resuable bags for us to use instead of ziplocs.  I got a sandwich bag and a snack bag for each of us (me included - I take my lunch to work most days).  They can be wiped out or put in the dishwasher.  They are Lunchskins brand and they are supposed to keep the food fresh.  We should be able to use them for cut-up fruit or carrots, snacks like goldfish, chex mix, etc.  If I find that we need more than one snack sized bag for each of us after we try them out for a while, I will order another set. 

How cute are those?!?  I also thought about how many paper towels we go through by putting one in each lunch each day as a napkin.  So while I was ordering these fun reusable bags, I also ordered a 4 pack of reusable napkins.  We are going to start using them this week (they just got here).  We will wash as needed, but I don't think we will have to wash them more than once or maybe twice a week.  How often do kids really use their napkins anyway?  To be determined...if I am washing them constantly, I will order another set.   

I can't say how much we will save by using the napkins instead of paper towels, but I know we will be saving.  And it really just makes me feel good that we aren't being wasteful by throwing away tons of paper towels and not recycling. 

I should see a significant reduction in the number of ziploc boxes we need to buy too.  I hope we will save at least $50 of that $80 a year.  Small differences, but think about if you could find 10 different ways to save $50-100?  That's a lot of money!  I found two just this week by putting a little thought into the kids' lunches, so I know there are opportunities in a lot of items we buy. 

In case you are interested, I bought the reusable bags and napkins from  I did compare the price on the bags and this was cheaper than Amazon and several other sites I checked.  It was about $15 for a set of one sandwich bag and one snack bag.   

Please leave a comment if you have other money-saving or healthy tips for your kid's lunches.  I'd love to hear them!