Posts Tagged ‘ frugal living ’

10 Free Holiday Cards from Tiny Prints (just pay shipping!)

Thursday, November 6th, 2014

Tiny Prints 10 Free Holiday Cards

UPDATE:  Just found out that this deal is both for ALL customers, both new and former users.   Yay!

Check out this awesome offer from Tiny Prints!

Through November 12, 2014, new customers can get 10 Free Holiday Cards from Tiny Prints when they use coupon code 10FREECARDS at checkout.  Shipping starts at $5.99 (economy shipping).  If you order more cards and your order is $49 or more, you should also be able to get free shipping with coupon code FREESHIP49.

Get 10 Free Holiday Cards from Tiny Prints

Tiny Prints has beautiful, high quality cards.  I’ve used them in the past and was super happy with their products.

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Our $200/mo. Grocery Budget: What I Spent & Saved This Week (10/26-11/1)

Monday, November 3rd, 2014

Some of you have wondered where I get my printable coupons. Here are the main coupon sites that I use: Coupons.comCoupon NetworkSmart SourceRed PlumIbottaSnap, HopsterCheckout 51, and Saving Star.  Manufacturer websites and Facebook pages are another great source.

Favorite buys:

  • Better than free Nestle chocolate chips
  • Blue Diamond almonds for $1.33 each
  • Banana for $0.02
  • Free Trident gum
  • Free Colgate toothpaste

Total Spent: $68.37
Total Saved with Coupons: $15.75
Total Saved with Sales: $57.47
Total Saved: $73.22 + $85.03 in gas savings

Giant: $126.74
Saved with Coupons: $6.75
Saved with Sales: $55.80

Not pictured: 1 gallon milk

Wow, this was a crazy, crazy week at Giant!  Yes, I  bought a ridiculous amount of chocolate and other flavored chips.  But this deal was just too good to pass up!  Basically when all was said and done I made $1.75 on them!  It was one of those deals where I felt like I was a bit nuts to buy so many and yet it’s something that I will use and they don’t expire until 2016 sometime so I decided I didn’t have anything to lose.  I do a lot of baking over the holidays so I’ll go through quite a few bags then.  And I got some white chocolate chips too and will use them to make several snacks that use them.  I also may end up selling some of them to family and friends for $0.50/bag if I don’t use them fast enough.

The Blue Diamond almonds were another great deal.  They ended up being $1.33/can or the equivalent of paying $2.66 for the larger size bags.  Those bags cost $4.99 at Aldi so this was decent savings!  We love almonds.  I use them in various recipes, on salads and of course for snacking too.

(If you aren’t familiar with how the gas deals work, basically you earn so much off a gallon of gas when you purchase a certain number of specific items.  This time I earned $100 worth of free gas for purchasing the Nestle and Blue Diamond products.)

We typically buy milk from a local dairy, partly because it’s cheaper (just $2.50/gal.) and partly because we like it better.  But this week, my husband forgot to stop and get it on his way home from work so I ended up buying a gallon at the store.  Wow, it made me realize how much we save typically by buying it from the farmer direct!  I was thankful for an Ibotta offer that least helped me save a little bit.  I also grabbed a banana for $0.02 after Checkout 51 savings.


  • Store brand 2% milk $4.22
    - used $0.25 Ibotta offer
  • Banana $0.27
    - used $0.25Checkout 51 offer
  • 42 Nestle chocolate chips $2.50 each
    - used three $2.25/5 Nestle coupon that printed at register on previous transaction
    - $30.00 in instant savings for purchasing the Nestle
  • 18 Blue Diamond almonds $3.00 each

Got Back:

  • $70.00 in gas rewards savings for purchasing the Nestle
  • $30.00 in gas rewards savings for purchasing the Blue Diamond

Rite Aid: $0
Saved with Coupons: $4.00
Saved with Sales: $1.67

I used $0.70 in grocery cash to pay for this purchase.

This summer I took a break from shopping at drug stores and am just getting back into it again.  My toothpaste stockpile had dwindled to just a couple of tubes as a result so I was glad to be able to get a free tube this week.  Actually, it was a moneymaker of $0.59, which is even better!  And I got the gum because it was Saving Star’s Freebie Friday item, meaning it was free after Saving Star credit.  I didn’t realize it until I was at the store that they had it on sale for buy one, get one free, so I ended up getting both packs for free!  Yay!


  • Colgate Total $3.41
    - $1.00 Colgate printable coupon
  • 2 Trident gum $1.29 total (on sale buy one, get one free)
    - $1.29 Saving Star rebate

Other Coupons Used:

  • $3.00 in UPRewards (Rite Aid coupon that print at register for purchasing specific items)

Got Back:

  • $3.00 in UPRewards for purchasing the Colgate (can be used on next purchase of any item)

Aldi: $26.66
Saved with Coupon: $5.00

Not pictured: 2 packs of Romaine Hearts

I wasn’t planning on shopping at Aldi this week but had another $5/$30 coupon to use at the new Aldi store, so I figured I might as well use it and stock up on things that I typically buy there.

They had several things on markdown including the lettuce and spinach which I happily bought.  The Romaine hearts and Parmesan cheese were my contribution to a family meal with my husband’s family.  I haven’t made Caesar salad in a while and it was good!  I’m going to have to get more ingredients to make it again soon for us.


  • Croutons $0.89
  • 2 Romaine hearts $1.99 each
  • Spinach $0.99
  • Mustard $0.89
  • Sour cream $1.29
  • Parmesan Shredded Cheese $1.99
  • Baby Lettuce $1.00
  • Coconut flakes $1.29
  • Celery $1.69
  • Ketchup (high fructose corn syrup free) $1.29
  • Apples $1.99
  • 2 Black beans $0.59 each
  • 5 Great Northern beans $0.59 each
  • Tortillas $1.19
  • Powdered sugar $0.99
  • Brown sugar $0.99
  • 2 Canola oil $2.39 each
  • Salmon, canned $2.29

Credits: $85.03

The last couple of weeks I’ve been buying various items that are part of the Giant gas deals.  Basically, you get points for purchasing the products and then you can redeem those points for gas.  I was able to get $85.03 worth of gas for free as a result.  And since I only buy the grocery items that are part of these deals because they either get me free gas or make me money, I put the savings back into my grocery budget.  (To see the details of these purchases look at my previous Giant purchases under my What I Spent & What I Saved posts.)

How to Buy Baby Food on a Budget
How to Buy Baby Food on a Budget
How to Buy Baby Food on a Budget

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Declutter Challenge: 7 Items a Day, 6 Days a Week for 4 Weeks! (week 4)

Saturday, November 1st, 2014

New here?  Check out what inspired this challenge and what the “rules” are.

I feel like doing a little dance!  Not only because I actually stuck it out and finished the challenge but also because as a result I got rid of over 168 things in the last 4 weeks!  And yes, that  feels like a huge accomplishment!

While I loved the feeling of freeing up space and making some money in the process, I have to admit, it did take up a lot of time some days to go through things.  Because often once I started sorting through things I’d end up reorganizing or rearranging things in the process.  And for that reason, I’m kind of ready to be done.  But I’m not actually quite done decluttering.  I haven’t touched my clothes yet and I really want to go through a couple of boxes in the attic as well.  So I hope to do that in the next several weeks.  Other than that, I think I went through the majority of the house and got rid of the things that we didn’t use, didn’t like or didn’t want.  And it feels good.  We gained more space in our house, became more organized and I learned a lot about myself along the way!

I was excited to make over $70 during this decluttering challenge!  And we should make another at least $25 in the spring (based on previous yard sale experience) from all the things that I added to our yard sale pile.  Definitely a nice added bonus to this whole process!

Here’s a breakdown of what I’ve earned so far from selling things that I got rid of.  $5 of what I made this week came from some books that I collected during week 2 and finally sold this week to a local bookstore.

Week 1: $36.72
Week 2: $11.50
Week 3: $13.25
Week 4: $12.00
Total Earned: $73.47

 DAY 1:
* 3 dishes
* Journal
* Doily
* 2 note pads

I love dishes but have more than I really need or use.  I added these 3 to the yard sale pile because they were ones that I didn’t like that well anyway.  The journal, doily and note pads were all things I found in random places and were all things that I no longer used or wanted.  They note pads I gave to the children to use and the journal and doily got put with the yard sale stuff.

DAY 2:
* 4 blankets
* cookbook
* book
* Lava soap

The baby blankets were extras that I wasn’t using.  One was actually stained a bit, so I cut it into rags.  The other 3 are getting donated to a local organization that is helping refugees in Iraq.  On Monday I plan to go through some of our clothing to add a few more things to my donation for them.

The cookbook and book were put with the yard sale stuff.  The Lava soap is something that I think we used to use some to wash our hands when we were thick in the middle of remodeling.  But honestly, I don’t remember for sure what we used it for!  I do know that my husband’s grandmother is the one that introduced it to us and I think she gave me this bar.  But we don’t really use it anymore and if our hands are really dirty we typically use this awesome little Fuller Brush Hand and Nail Brush to scrub them and are good to go.  So I figured someone else might as well make good use of it and it got added to the yard sale pile too!

DAY 3:
* baby clothes
* snowman
* fabric scrap and doilies

We have a corner up in our attic guest room/office that is a storage area and it’s been several years since I really went through it and purged.  To be honest, I wasn’t even totally sure what was in every box and tote.  This was a few of the things that I found when I started nosing around.  The baby clothes were clothes that my mom had given to me that I had worn as a baby.  But there were plenty of other ones that were nicer than these and while I want to keep a few, I decided it really wasn’t smart to keep them all!

The snowman and doilies will be yard-saled and the fabric was tossed since it wasn’t really enough to do much of anything with.

DAY 4:
* CD
* diaper bag
* purse
* lotion
* magnets
* silverware

I found another CD that we don’t really listen to much and sold it on the online local yard sale for $1.00.  I also sold the diaper bag for $6.00.  I really liked the bag but have another one that I’m using that is more girly.  The purse and lotion were added to the yard sale pile and the magnets were tossed- they were random little ones that came from who knows where!  I think maybe one of the children found them and put them on the fridge.  But I didn’t agree with their sense of importance!

A friend had given me the silverware (it’s real silver) to use for some DIY decor things I had thought I would do.  But I’m finally facing the fact that I am simply not much of a DIYer and will probably never get those things made, so I’m going to sell it our yard sale instead.

DAY 5:
* fabric

I spent more time in the attic and found a bunch of fabric remnants from previous sewing projects.  Since these are all at least a yard or more I figured I’d try to sell them at our yard sale.

DAY 6:
* binder
* doily
* page dividers

I spent some more time in the attic and this time came across some binders full of assignments and class notes from my college days.  I threw the majority of the stuff away- I mean really, have I looked at it or used it in the last 8+ years since?  Not most of it!  So I kept only a few of the most interesting assignments and a few other random things that I thought might be useful.  It all nicely fit in a small binder which seemed like a more reasonable amount to keep.  Actually, I later went and emptied about another 4 binders full of stuff!  It really felt good to free up more space for things that we truly need it for.  And since we live in a small house with not a lot of storage space, that is pretty important!

And yet another doily.  I don’t know why I had so many of those!  I think that maybe some of them were given to me by a couple of older ladies that I knew and spent time with when I was a teenager/young adult.  But I’m simply not a doily person so they were serving no purpose here other than cluttering up our space.

What keeps you from decluttering?  What things do you have a hard time letting go of?

Home Organization: Kid's Clothing Storage
Home Organization: Kid's Clothing Storage
Home Organization: Kid's Clothing Storage

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Our $200/mo. Grocery Budget: What I Spent & Saved This Week (10/19-10/25)

Monday, October 27th, 2014

Some of you have wondered where I get my printable coupons. Here are the main coupon sites that I use: Coupons.comCoupon NetworkSmart SourceRed PlumIbottaSnap, HopsterCheckout 51, and Saving Star.  Manufacturer websites and Facebook pages are another great source.

Favorite buys:
* Better than free Dole Squish ‘Ems
* Free Tresemme conditioner
* $0.25 Lindt truffles
* $31.55 Visa gift card moneymaker!

Total Spent: $74.49
Total Saved with Coupons: $21.00
Total Saved with Sales: $12.44
Total Saved: $33.44

Giant: $12.95
Saved with Coupons: $5.00
Saved with Sales: $2.10

I bought the Dole with a rain check and after coupons and gas rewards they were a $3 moneymaker!  Not something I would typically buy, but my kid’s think they’re fun and for better than free?  I’ll take them!

The Visa gift card was also a gas rewards deal.  If you bought a $500 Visa gift card you got back $37.50 in gas rewards.  There is a $5.95 activation fee per gift card so after that cost, it was a moneymaker of $31.55!  I decided to get one to use on future grocery purchases and then roll the savings into my grocery budget.  However, for sake of keeping things easy to follow, I didn’t record the $500 here as an expense, only the $5.95 activation fee.  I did this mainly because I was afraid it would get too confusing later when I showed purchases as costing $0 because I paid with the Visa gift card.  So instead, I’ll just show every purchase that I make using the gift card here and record it that way.   Not sure if you followed that or not, but long story short, I’ll still be recording the $500, it will just be over a longer period of time as I use it to purchase things.


  • 6 Dole Fruit Squish ‘Ems $2.00 each (bought with rain check)
    - used $0.50 Dole coupon from Sunday newspaper coupon inserts (doubled to $1.00)
    - used three $1.00 Dole printable coupons
    - used $1/2 Dole printable coupon
  • $500 Visa gift card + $5.95 activation fee

Got Back:

  • $10.00 in gas rewards savings for purchasing the Dole Squish ‘Ems
  • $37.50 in gas rewards savings for purchasing the Visa gift card

Rite Aid: $3.41 + $0.59 grocery cash
Saved with Coupons: $16.00
Saved with Sales: $10.34

I haven’t shopped at Rite Aid for a long time!  This summer was rather busy with canning and just life in general and so I decided to skip shopping at CVS and Rite Aid for the most part.  I wasn’t sure when I’d jump back into going there, but when I happened to see that I could get super cheap Lindt chocolate and free shampoo this week, I thought maybe it was a sign!

The Tresemme was free after coupons and sales.  They were out of shampoo by the time I went so I grabbed two conditioners and plan to exchange at least one, maybe both of them later for shampoo.  The Lindt truffles were just $0.25 each after coupons and sales and I just couldn’t pass that up!  I like chocolate but I wouldn’t say I’m a major fan but these truffles are a different story.  Or maybe I should say that these Lindt dark chocolate truffles are a different story.  They are absolutely amazing!  Creamy, rich and just melt in your mouth.  And no, I get nothing for telling you this- just sheer love for the chocolate!  : )  I’m keeping the bags of dark chocolate ones and plan to gift the other two bags.


  • 2 Tresemme conditioner $4.00 each
    - used $5/2 Tresemme coupon from Sunday newspaper coupon inserts
  • 4 Lindt truffles $3.00 each
    - used 4 $2.00 Lindt printable coupons

Other Coupons Used:

  • $3.00 in UPRewards (Rite Aid coupon that print at register for purchasing specific items)

Got Back:

  • $3.00 in UPRewards for purchasing the Lindt truffles (can be used on next purchase of any item)
  • $3.00 in UPRewards for purchasing the Tresemme (can be used on next purchase of any item)

Sharp Shopper: $3.96

I was driving by a Sharp Shopper, not the one I typically shop, but a Sharp Shopper nonetheless, and stopped to see get some Oreo wafers for a dessert I wanted to make and also quickly scanned the dairy department for deals too.  Unfortunately this location doesn’t carry the Oreo wafers so that was a no-go, but I did find some low fat cream cheese for $0.99.  I’m planning to use it to make Cream Cheese Potato Soup and also these yummy Chocolate Chip Cheesecake Bars.


  • 4 Cream cheese $0.99 each

Darrenkamps: $2.99

This was a total bummer of a purchase.  I made some homemade yogurt and had it in the oven culturing overnight.  The next morning I made some granola and as I was mixing it up I thought about the yogurt and the fact that I should take it out.  But I got interrupted by the kiddos several times and turned the oven on for the granola, put it in and went on to the next thing.  It was at least a good 30 min later, maybe more before I thought about the fact that the yogurt was still in there!  By that point, the temp of the yogurt had gotten high enough that any good bacteria was dead.  The yogurt was still edible but I knew there was no way that I could use it as starter for my next batch.  I happened to be going by this local family owned grocery store the next day so I stopped to get some plain yogurt to use as starter for a new batch.  I assumed they’d have some small cups of plain yogurt, but no, they only had this big huge container for a whopping $2.99!  So much for cheap homemade yogurt!  Really, it’s okay.  I was mostly just annoyed at myself for creating so much extra work.  But if that’s the biggest problem I have in life, then I’m a very blessed lady, right?

Oh, and when I made that second batch of yogurt that evening I made sure and stuck a nice yellow Post-it note to the oven saying YOGURT in big letters to remind me that it was in there!  And yes, it worked.


  • Dannon yogurt $2.99

Centerville Bulk Food: $51.18

I stocked up majorly at our local bulk food store in hopes that I won’t have to go there again for a while.  I just don’t get by there very often any more and I hate making a special trip.  I got lots of oatmeal for $0.56/lb., some raw sugar, cornstarch, unflavored gelatin, cocoa powder, honey and a couple of apples.  I don’t remember the prices of everything and since it’s an Amish store they don’t have computerized registers and the receipts don’t list it all neatly.  But I do know that the 5 lbs. of honey was $15.39 and also their cocoa powder is way cheaper than anywhere else I’ve looked.  I got a big huge bag of it which should last me a long time, unless we drink copious amounts of homemade hot cocoa this winter, which I guess is rather a possibility since we love hot drinks around here!

Misc.: $0

* Sweet Potatoes
Someone had a big huge box of sweet potatoes at church for people to enjoy so I grabbed 3 of them.

How to Buy Baby Food on a Budget
How to Buy Baby Food on a Budget
How to Buy Baby Food on a Budget

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Declutter Challenge: 7 Items a Day, 6 Days a Week for 4 Weeks! (week 3)

Saturday, October 25th, 2014

New here?  Check out what inspired this challenge and what the “rules” are.

Whew!  This week ended up being busier than I expected and it made it harder to get decluttering done.  But I did manage to still get at least 7 things collected each day, so I was grateful for that.  I tell you though, if I didn’t know that I had to “report” here, I would definitely have fallen of the bandwagon this week!  So thanks y’all for helping to keep me motivated even if you didn’t realize that is what you were doing!

And can you believe we’re heading into the last week of this challenge?  I’m starting to get a little bit worried that I won’t actually be able to come up with enough stuff for this final week!  But I have a few spots in our attic/storage room to go through yet….oh and I haven’t touched my clothes either come to think of it!  So maybe I’ll be fine after all!

Here’s a breakdown of what I’ve earned so far from selling things that I got rid of:

Week 1: $36.72
Week 2: $11.50
Week 3: $13.25
Total Earned: $61.47

And here are all the things that I got rid of this week!

DAY 1:
* 2 folders
* baby shoes
* pancake/egg shapers
* Scrabble game
* old sheet

I have no idea where the 2 folders came from, they were just randomly in with some office type things.  The funny thing is, I actually needed a couple of new ones so it was perfect!  I put them to good use and threw out an old one that was getting tattered.

The baby shoes were given to me as a baby gift when we had our first daughter almost 3 yrs. ago.  They never fit her because she has such wide feet, but I kept them thinking that I could use them if we had another baby girl.  Well, that happened but our next daughter’s feet were big and wide too and the shoes didn’t work for her either.  So, I decided there was no use hanging on to them any longer because apparently we just are going to have babies with big feet!

The pancake/egg shapers were a gift as well and while I’m in love with the idea of using them, I just simply don’t actually get it done.  Seriously, I think I used them all of one time in the almost 8 years that we’ve had them.  Do you ever do that too?  You know, keep things thinking you’ll use them but never actually doing it.

The Scrabble game was an extra that I had to use as decor (the letter tiles that is).  But I got tired of the box taking up space in our game cupboard so I finally got smart and took the tiles and little trays out and am going to donate the board to Goodwill.  Don’t know if anyone actually will want just a board but figure they can always throw it out.  For what it is worth, I did check on Ebay and there actually were people buying Scrabble boards on there.  Which reminds me of a random tip.  Did you know that you can actually search on Ebay and see if an item has sold and what it’s sold for?  It’s super helpful if you sell things on Ebay because you can kind of gauge if there is any interest in the item before you list it.

The sheet was one that had a small tear in it and it was definitely time to just retire it, so I cut it up into rags.  Rags made from sheets are the best for cleaning windows and mirrors!

DAY 2:
* flavored water
* tin
* baby blanket
* book
* lip gloss
* heel file

The flavored waters were free from a grocery deal that I did several months ago.  I thought my husband would drink them but he never did.  So I asked if he would want to take them to work and sell them to the guys there, which he did and they sold for $0.50 each the day that he took them!

The tin, baby blanket, lip gloss and heel file were all just random things that I no longer needed or used.  They either got tossed in the trash or put in the Goodwill box.

And the book?  Well, here’s a case where being sentimental was an issue.  A good friend gave it to me years ago and had written lots of little notes throughout.  I very much appreciated it and it blessed me but obviously, it wasn’t something that I kept reading and re-reading.  Finally I realized it was rather silly to keep holding onto it- kind of like keeping a greeting card that a friend gave you for years and years.   Initially I was going to erase the notes, since they were all written in pencil and then give it to Goodwill.  But then I realized that it really, wasn’t worth my time.  (There were a lot of notes!)  I’m all for reusing, recycling and not wasting but sometimes it’s simply okay to say it’s enough and let it go at that.  So, as wasteful as it seemed, I just ended up throwing the book away.  That may not seem like a big deal to you, but to me it was!  But it also felt freeing.  I’m not sure how to explain it but maybe simply that I’m slowly realizing that it’s all about balance.  And this felt like a small step in becoming more balanced.  I don’t know if that makes any sense or not!

DAY 3:
* CD and tapes

I’ve been seeing these old tapes that we never use and kept thinking I’d do something with them and never did.  Silly really, because it only took a couple of seconds to collect them and put them in the Goodwill box.  I also grabbed a CD that we never use.

DAY 4:
* cookbook
* yarn
* 2 boxes stationary
* old baby blanket
* lace doily

Everything but the yarn went in the yard sale pile.  The yarn was from a baby blanket I had started years ago and never finished.  I initially was going to sell it but it dawned on me today that my mom would gladly finish the blanket for me since she recently started crocheting again.  I don’t plan to use it but would love to donate it to the Sweet Pea Project.

DAY 5:
* Family Fun magazines

Family Fun is a great magazine and I loved getting it for free for a couple of years thanks to some promotions they had.  I kept these old issues thinking I would use them again for more ideas but again, it was wishful thinking.  I’m going to be speaking about saving money at a local mom’s group in several weeks and plan to take them along and hand them out to the ladies there, at least if they are interested.  If not, then I’ll recycle them.

DAY 6:
* 3 boxes cards
* bunch of kid’s clothes

Random fact about me: I used to work for American Greetings and Hallmark servicing their greeting card racks in numerous stores.  Sometimes I got discontinued products for free and these boxed cards were from that.  I came across them in a box in the attic and decided to yard sale them.

I went through some of my totes of kid’s clothing and pulled out a few things to get rid of.  Actually, I got rid of more than what you see here, I just didn’t feel like trying to pile it all on the picture!  Mostly it was coats and jackets but also a few pairs of pants and some shirts.  I have more that I could get rid of I’m sure and I hope to go through all their clothing later this winter to organize it better and will purge more then.  I posted some of the items on the online yard sale group and made $12.25 on them!

What did you get rid of this week? 

It Worked For Me: Organization Inspiration
It Worked For Me: Organization Inspiration
It Worked For Me: Organization Inspiration

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