Sunday, December 21, 2008 did it go???

Well I thought it went great!! I stuck to my budget! Here's the breakdown:

Beginning Budget: $75
The following are updated totals. My amounts before were "guess-timates", but I have included ALL aspects of doing the birthday party.
  • Gift: $35
  • Invitations: $0 FREE using Evite
  • Cake & Ice Cream: $2.64 I got the cake mixes free with coupons, I made the icing myself (had all ingredients but the confectioner's sugar and Jello pudding). I also had a coupon for free Turner Ice Cream. I got the "Happy Birthday" candle set free from Wags and then found the other set at the Dollar Store- perfect because it had 3 candles in it: a #1 for the big cake, and 2 stars for each of their cupcakes. As for the cake decorations, they were FREE. A big thanks to my sister for helping me out there!
  • Food: $13.18 I purchased Velveeta and Rotel tomatoes for the dip, Tortilla chips & sausage, cheese and Bisquik for the sausage balls.
  • Drinks: $1.69 This was the price for ice. I used an arrangement of soda I have been getting free (even PAID to "buy") from Wags all week!! I put the drinks in a large tub filled with ice. Added some color to the mini buffet.
  • Plates/Cups/Utensils: $5 from the Dollar store

  • Gift Bags for adults: $2 I put 2 gourmet chocolate bars in each (FREE) and a party blower, so all I paid for was the bags and the blowers.
  • Decorations: $0 for balloons. I did notinclude the cost of the balloons since I actually bought them for their 1 year pictures and repurposed them. I also took all of their birthday cards and put them in a picture holder I already had- instant center piece!!
GRAND TOTAL: $59.51! That's $15.49 under budget. Guess I'll get myself a birthday gift with that, lol!
Here's the boys in action eating their (delicious) homemade cake. YUM!

The boys had a great time and got some wonderful gifts: books, Step2 wagon, a play kitchen, 2 new big boy car seats (kind of for mom, too) and a xylephone!! WOW! And as for the cake...they loved it. So funny how different their personalities are, and it really came through during the cake eating process! Levi grabbed his with both hands and shoved it in! Noah on the other hand had to analyze it first. He poked at it, wiped at the icing, then picked it up, pulled it apart and made a little cupcake pile. Finally, he got a little taste and decided it was time to dig in as well! When it was time for ice cream, same sort of thing, but poor Levi realized that it all shouldn't go in at once- brain freeze! But it was so much fun, I was pleased at all I did myself and the boys never got fussy.

Thank you to all those that gave us birthday wishes!! I hope you got some great ideas from here!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Decorating on a Dime

But first...
HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO MY BOYS, NOAH & LEVI!!!!! (oh, and to me, too!)

Now back to our regularly scheduled blog posting: Decorating on a Dime...

Or closer to a dollar- I am making a trip to the $1 Store to check out their party supplies. I went and purchased the following:

Plates $2
Cups $2
Napkins $2
Spoons $1
Decorations $0
Balloons- $6 (These are for their 1 year pictures tomorrow, and I'll reuse them at the party.)
Goodie Bags $2-for the ADULTS, not the children!! Includes gourmet chocolate (FREE) and favors

To decorate other areas, I am simply using their toys. We will have other children there, so having toys out to play with will be a great way to keep them entertained. It will also be a thrifty way to decorate!

Budget: $75
Gift: $35
Party Supplies: $15
Food: $?
Subtotal: $50

$25 left to spend!!!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Throwing a Melt Down Free Birthday Party

Here are a few tips I got from to throw a stress-free, 1st birthday party. Even if it doesn't all go to plan, have fun and enjoy this special day that only happens once in their lifetime!!

Keep it short -- about two hours. Little kids can't keep it together for more than that.

Don't make yourself nuts baking, decorating, and hand-making everything. It's a big event for you, but it's not like your child is going to have a clue what's happening. So do the one or two things you enjoy and are good at, and farm out the rest.

Pay your nanny or favorite babysitter to be on hand -- her familiar face may help comfort your baby if she's overwhelmed by all the family and friends.

Don't bother with elaborate games or activities. These are 1-year-olds we're talking about. Approach it like a big play date instead.

Ask a friend to take photos or video the event so you can be in the pictures, too.

Set up two snack tables -- one with kid-friendly foods, like Goldfish crackers, and another that's higher up and out of reach with nibbles for the adults. Remember that some of the food you like can be a choking hazard for babies (carrots, popcorn, nuts, etc). I'd also like to add some foods aren't recommended for children until a certain age due to allergies, such as nuts. Keep that in mind!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

The Menu

Well, besides presents, this is where the budget usually goes downhill... Hopefully with a menu plan, it will keep that from happening! Here's what's on the menu:

Rotel Dip with Chips

Sausage Balls?? Maybe...I just LOVE these things!!

Fruit Plate or Salad


Ice Cream

Punch or Other Beverage Item

I am trying to keep the snacks kid friendly, with the exception of the chips and dip. After all, it is for the kids, right???

I have .55 off coupons for Velveeta block cheese which will get doubled. BUT Kroger has Nice and Cheesy which is, well, nice and cheesy. The chips will be from Aldi. They are .99 a bag! GREAT price for those!!! If I'm lucky, I'll find some of those free sausage with the purchase of links coupons... I'll need a few other ingredients for those, too, but not much.

The fruit I will buy and cut it myself. That will save quite a bit!! I won't have to buy too much because me husband received a gift basket with quite a bit of fruit in it; it will keep it from going to waste and save money, too!
As I mentioned, I am making the cake myself. I bought the mixes this morning and paid $0!! I love my new coupon addiction! The icing will be homemade buttercream icing, for which I already have all the ingredients. I have a coupon for a free gallon of Turner ice cream; it's the only perk I've received from my cable company, lol! As for the candles, I bought the ones that spell Happy Birthday! just like in the picture above. I got them FREE from Walgreens last week. They were a filler item so I could use my $5 Register Reward.
As for the punch, I'm still looking for a low sugar option. I guess that's what they call water-

Well, I'll keep you up to date! Tomorrow is decorating on a dime. Hmmmm....what a great name for a blog!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Birthday on a Budget: Party Invitations

Invitations can get expensive, especially after you add the stamp. So what have I done to resolve this?? I used Evite. Evite is an on-line invitation generator. The great thing is, you can retrieve addresses from your hotmail, yahoo or google account. Another nice thing about it is saving paper and stamps. Oh, and ANOTHER nice thing about it is the RSVP set up. Guests can reply to your evite and RSVP on the spot, whether they can make it or not. Once you get a final count, it will also help you generate number of servings needed for food, beverages and cake. Evite will also automatically send out reminders to your guests as well, and if you choose, send you a notice when someone has RSVPed. How cool!

Now I will probably send out a few paper invites to immediate family, and so I will also have one for the boys' scrapbook. I am probably going to try to create my own and print it on card stock. You can also look at the $1 store and the $1 section in Target to find some great invitations!

Birthday Budget: $75

Spent $35 on gift

Invitations $0

Friday, December 12, 2008

Get PAID to Decorate from Walgreens!

Well, if giving me money for spending "money" at Wags wasn't enough! I say "money" becasue I am only spending pocket before coupons today %47+. After Qs, $1.08!! THEN I got a $5 Register Reward. I just didn't think it could get any better.

WRONG! I was at my Wags tonight and they had all lighted Christmas decor 50% off, including the items on page 69 of the Easy Saver. I bought the Lighted Crystal Gift Boxes and added fillers to get my total to $25. So it went something like this:

Lighted Boxes $29.99, 50% off= $14.99
Fillers = $15.01 (rough estimate)
Minus my Qs ($15.00) I got free after coupon items: Sure deo, Nivea travel size, etc
Minus previous $5 RR for $25 purchase
Less $10 Rebate
Plus 10% for adding to my gift card
PROFIT of $1!!! Plus I got the $5 for spending $25 again. I just count that as paying for my tax on this purchase :)

Some other things I noticed:
3x5 Digital Frame Clearanced to $39.99
- $20 rebate (page 56 ES)
Plus extra 10% for putting in GC
= Great Digital Photo gift for only $17.99

7" Digital Frame Clearanced to $59.99
- $20 rebate (page 56 ES)
Plus extra 10% for putting in GC
= Another Great Digital Photo gift for only $37.99

I hope you can find the same deals!!

Walgreens Toy Sale!

If you are looking for a few toys, now's a good time to visit Walgreens. Going on today and tomorrow their $6.99 toys are buy 2, get 2 free! Great way to get your total up to $25 to get that $5 holiday register rewards. You could put a few extra toys under the tree, or better yet, donate them. Happy shopping!

To Theme or Not to Theme?

Everyone loves a theme to a birthday party. Really, it could make decorating for a party quite easy. The problem? It can get expensive and out of hand. You start with the idea, then buy the plates, cups and hats. Then you need goodie bags filled with favors. And what about the games?? And the balloons?? And the table cloth?? Before you know it, you are having a breakdown because you can't find the right color of red to go with the red streamers hanging in your daughter's hair!!!!

Okay, that may be a little over the top, but it shows how being so stuck into a theme can really make you lose site of the real reason to have a party: the birthday child, or in my case, children (oh, yeah, and mom, too!)

So what am I planning to do? Well, the boys are too young to tell me what they want in a party, so I am keeping it simple. Close family and friends on the invite list, snack foods, cake and ice cream and a simple theme or, um, non-theme.

The boys have a lot of music toys since their dad loves music. So what I've decided to do is use some of those toys to decorate with. I'll go to a dollar store and get a solid color table cloth, plates, cups and napkins.

Now, about the invitations. Those thinga are about $5 for 10! Then add stamps, and things could get pricey there, too. Check back to see my ideas on how to do invites inexpensively without missing out on the cute designs out there.

For their cake, I am going to make it myself. I haven't chosen on a specific design, so I'll just see where an idea takes me. I will reserve enough cake batter to make each boy their first individual cake: a cupcake.

So there's the plan. Keep an eye out to see how I do.

8 days and counting!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Birthday Present: FOUND!

As thrifty mamas, I'm sure you have visited Free-Cycle or Craigslist. If not, you should!! I was looking for a possible gift, and boy did I find one!! I got the Fisher Price Incrediblock with 25 extra blocks for only $35! The Incrediblock alone is $50-$60 and extra blocks are about $30. The toy is educational, provides hours of fun AND is big enough for both of them to enjoy together. I also avoided the cost of gas. The person selling it works up the street from me and is going to drop it off for me. SCORE!!!


Birthday Present $35

TOTAL left to spend: $40

Wow, this is going to be a challenge!!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Birthday on a Budget!

My twins are turning one next Saturday, December 19th. That's actually my birthday, too, but I think my thunder may be stolen, lol. That's okay because I've had thirty-one of them on my own!
Since it's holiday season, money will definitely be tight. And since I'm going to try to be thrifty, I've decided to give you an inside look on my birthday planning. I would like to get this party for two, um three, done for less than $75, including invites, snacks, cake and gifts. I'll be using items from my stockpile and stored up craft items. Let's see how I do!!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Money Maker at K Mart!

The only good deal I found on my K Mart Super Doubles run this morning!

As I wandered through the aisles disappointed that ALL the good deals were gone, I went to check out some of the cleaning supplies. The Pledge multi-surface wipes were on sale for 2/$7. I had $1.50 off Qs, doubled to $3, so I got them 2/$1!! BUT a $1 Cat printed out for EACH one!! I made $1. So I bought more, and rolled the cats. These did not double at my K Mart, but I bought 3 cases of soda with my $1 OYNO coupons! FREE SODA!!
Here's the fine print: it seemed to only be working on the blue packages (multi-surface wipes) even though both were marked 2/$7. The other kind (allergen free) wasn't even ringing up correctly. And again (unfortunately!!) these did not double.
I found my coupons at Kroger. They are blinkies!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

WHOA! Bliss Chocolate for CHEAP!!

So after my CVS run, post to come on that, I stopped by Kroger. We're headed out of town for Thanksgiving, and I needed to grab a few things. On the way out of U-Scan, I noticed some Hershey's Bliss marked down to $1.10???? Well, I was pretty sure I had $1 off Qs in my car, so I checked. YEP! So I bought 6 bags for $1.06! On my way out to the parking lot, I found a dollar. It was 3 am and no one else in site. So I guess I got them for 6 cents!
I don't know if it's just my Kroger, but it's worth checking out. And where did I get those Qs? They were blinkies at CVS.
Good Luck, ladies!! Happy Thanksgiving!! Have fun and be safe on Black Friday!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

I'll Take That!

So you want more free stuff, huh?? Me too! I was at Kroger last night and this is what I got for free:

Select 2nd Gerber baby food is 2/.99. Catalinas are printing out for .50/2 2nd foods. Once doubled, These are FREE!

And guess what's back?! The J & J Catalinas. I bought 3 Buddie Bars last night, used the $3/3 coupon from the insert and got a Cat for $3/3 J & J purchase. So keep rolling them and get lots for FREE. These would make great stocking stuffers or fillers for gift baskets.

Monday, November 24, 2008

The Price is Right: FREE

This time of year it's hard to save money, but here's a great way to do it. Don't pay for stuff! No, don't steal it! Follow my lead!

FREE Cranium Pre-School Game! These are on sale on Target for $4 through Wednesday. Use a $5 off ANY Cranium game peelie to get it free! Thank you to The Thrifty Mama for posting about this awesome deal. Target also has a $5 off STORE coupon that can be used with the $5 off peelie to get Cranium Cadoo for $5. I also found a great stocking stuffer: Cranium Zigity. It's $7.99, but only $2.99 after the $5 peelie. I went a little Cranium crazy and bought 2 pre-school games (free), Cadoo ($5), Cariboo ($6.99) and 2 Zigity ($2.99 each). Really not that bad: 6 games for $15.97!!

Crystal's blog is one of my favorites. Have I mentioned that before?? Check out her Black Friday deals HERE. They are awesome!! Plus, she is giving everyone else a chance to post the deals they've found, so it's like having a team of shoppers!!! She also gives some great advice on shopping safely on Black Friday. Read them HERE. There are some really good tips, and she reminds us of some obvious ones, too. Like don't take the kids! But if you're like me, shopping is a break from the kids!!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Well, a week has gone by AGAIN

I'm so sorry, ladies. I can't believe a week has gone by and I have neglected to post yet again! How do you ladies do it?? I'm even sneaking a post in while I sit at my desk at work just so I could let you know I haven't forgotten about you!

I will be following along with Crystal at The Thrifty Mama and contributing ideas to the Thrifty Christmas Roundup. Just take a look at this cute ornament:

It's very easy to do! And I will have some ideas as well. For starters, if you formula feed, or know someone who do, save the cans!! Or just about any container will do... We'll be using them for a project, so just a heads up!

Well, that's all for now. Hopefully I'll get the hang of this! I was doing so well, and then life happened!

Monday, November 10, 2008

I'm Organizing My Life...& My Blog!

Hello! I have really enjoyed my new way to vent creativity. And I'd like to thank all of you for your encouragement. I know it can be disappointing for you to come check things out on here, only to see I haven't posted for a few days. Many things contribute to my MIA posts, but I think with a little organization, even the unexpected won't throw me off my groove! I frequent The Thrifty Mama A LOT, and I mention her site SO MUCH that some of you may think I get some kind of kick back!! Well, I don't, she just has such awesome deals, I find myself staking her site. (Hey, Crystal). But she is very organized and she also posts multiple times a day to be sure you get all the deals! I'm hoping I can at least post daily!!

But I digress...
The point of today's post is to let you know what to expect from my site from days to come. That way if something comes up you want to keep an eye out for, you know what day to check back. Don't get me wrong, I'd love regulars, but I know time is money!!! An since I got started because I was trying to save money, well, you see where I'm going with that one. This is a work in progress, but here are the beginnings of what I have in mind for the new daily line up:

Monday Makeovers:
Have a design problem you need solved?? Let me at it! Email me or post in the comments section your dilema. I will try and solve it for you! This will include FREE room makeovers!! More details to come on that!



Thrifty Thursdays:
Just a posting of the week's deals I found, to help lead you on your way!



This will actually be "ME" time. I will not do new postings, not regularly anyways. It IS the 7th day (Sabbath Day!!) so I will spend it with the Lord and my family, not that I only do this on this day, lol.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

I found the Starbuck's Chocolate!!!!

I went to Target to see if I could find the Starbuck's chocolate everyone was talking about... I did!! There was another girl there that aparently reads the same blogs I do. She grabbed ALL of them right in front of me. I found one on the top shelf because I was 2 feet taller than her. I should have "taken her" for the others, but I just figured kharma, if you know what I mean! If I ever grab the last of something, and someone else is next to me, I ask to make sure they aren't looking for the same thing. Just in case!! If so, I always share.

So I came across another flavor at the registers and thought I'd check to make sure those weren't clearanced as well. No such luck. BUT, I saw some of the others mixed in with them! So I went to each aisle and found 20 more!! Now, had the girl offered some of her loot to me, I would have done the same. Instead, she saw me with them and said, where did you find all of those????

So, offer to share, and the favor will be returned!! I donate a lot of the items I get from my savvy shopping. Try to do the same!

My total OOP at Target was $4.xx. I had a coupon for free doggie food or $7 off the larger bag. I also had a $3 off Target coupon on the same food, so I got a bag of Iams doggie food for $2! The Mighty Dog was also a free coupon. No overage on the candy bars like some of you reported. BUT, I did get Starbuck's chocolate for FREE!!! Yay!

Stay tuned for some new features on my blog. I hope you will like them!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Gnu Give Away on the Thrifty Mama!

It's kind of a catch 22 for me... I want to win, but to get an extra entry to win, I'm listing about this great give away from The Thrifty Mama. Her site is already awesome and now a great give away! She is natural and thrifty. To be honest, she is the very person that taught me my thrifty ways. Thank you so much, Crystal!!

I Heart Kroger...and Target...and Wags...and...

Kroger is having their Mega Event Sale and it is SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO awesome! If you buy 10 of certain items, which you can mix and match, you get an extra $5 off your order. Pair this with coupons, and you've got yourself some free items with possible overage! It's a limit of 3 offers per transaction, so you may have to do it a couple of times. Is it worth it?? OH, YEAH! So I made a run, or 2 to Kroger. Then stopped at Wags to take advantage of their awesome diaper deal.

I've had some requests on my OOP. This isn't exact, but here is an idea of what I spent:

Target: $6.xx

Petco: $3.08

Kroger $6.89

Wags: $15.xx

I saved WELL OVER $130!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Basement of Bargains

It's been about four months since I started down my thrifty road. What a difference it has made! I don't feel like I have to rush out to the store to buy things when we have suddenly run out. That saves me time, money and gas...and frustration, too! I'm lucky enough to have a basement where I can store my growing stockpile. We call it the mini store. When we run out of something, my husband will say, I'm going to go to the store and grab some! He'll walk down to the basement and come back with it and a HUGE smile on his face. He thinks it's as fun as I do!

I stock pile almost everything. Cereal, crackers, taco shells, brownie and cookie mixes, juice, soda, chips, condiments, granola bars, tuna, pudding, DIAPERS!!, wipes, water, make up, toiletries, toilet paper (too much to picture!), cleaning supplies and SO MUCH MORE!

Here's a look at what I've established. I tell my family, if you need anything, let me know, and I'll see if I have it! My MIL takes care of our twins, and she finds stuff all the time! I happily share it because there is no way we could use it all in time. But I get it for free, sometimes even get PAID to take it, so why not?? I DONATE what we do not or cannot use. It's a great way to help out in the community and feel like I am contributing when I can't give money.

How do I do it?? With lots of fun and a little time. Check with me, and I'll help you do it, too!

Here's the FOOD Stockpile:


CLEANERS Stockpile:


It's amazing what coupons can do if you plan it right! MOst of this stuff I got for FREE or just pennies. And I didn't even picture ALL of it!! I won't have to buy toilet paper for the rest of the year, at least!!! The only thing I still buy regurlarly is milk, meat and dawgie food. It's such a nice feeling that I can fuel my addiction to saving money on food, something we need, and not just finding a good bargain. There IS a difference!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Super Saturday Shopping!

I know it's Tuesday, but I got such great deals I had to share!! I made 3 trips: Wags, Target and Schnuuks. I spent $76.xx. Sounds like a lot, but when you see what I saved, it was definitely a great shopping day! This was stuff I needed, or at least the twins needed!

Schuunks $33.xx OOP, saved A LOT! ;)
Pack of Luvs Dipes
4 Beechnut Cereals (I am going to donate these, they were FREE)
40 Jars of Beechnut Babyfood
1 Gerber Graduates Wagon Wheels (this was an accidental purchase, but the boys LOVE them, also why they are not pictured)
2 Smoked Salmon (my husband CANNOT resist these. And I never have a coupon!)
2 Bumble Bee Salmon Prime Filets...DEAL! 2/$5, used $1/1 (x2) AND got a $1.50 OYNO!!

Wags $7.13 OOP after rebate, saved $76.28
4 Packs Dipes
3 Tombstones clearanced 1/2 off
Cemetary Sign
4 Packs Gum
2 Almay Mascara
*I'll get a refund for the mascara of $7.69*
Target $36.13 OOP, saved $45.48

4 Clorox Wipes
2 Clorox Spray
7 Fusion Razors (Clearance and Qs expired that day!)
Cabinet Locks
Sponge Wipes
Huggies Wipes
Baby Shampoo
Large Bag of Dogfood (not pictured)

Monday, November 3, 2008

Button Adorned Pillow

I know I have gotten a little behind in my button series. I'm sorry about that; I have had some health issues in the family. But I'm back on track! Here is the next idea for those extra buttons you've collected!

All you need is a plain pillow cover. You could use a pillow, but sewing the buttons on may be a little more challenging! But then again, you could use a glue gun or fabric glue to attach them!
And if you're feeling REALLY crafty, simply sew a cover!
Arrange the buttons in a pattern: grid as shown, square, circle or just an abstract arrangement! Sew or attach in another fashion. Stuff the case if it was a cover, and you're done! That's it! Not much to it, now was there? Now find the perfect spot for your new accent pillow and sit back and relax!
Stay tuned for a more "organized" blog. I am going to have specific days for certain features. Hopefully this will help my posts be more regular and my readers will have something to look forward to!
Have a great day!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Late Nite Wags Run

I wasn't sure if I was going to take advantage of the Wags $5/$20 that came out last week. And I was told by a Wags employee that this handy coupon, or one similar to it, will be released every week. So, I guess we'll see! Here's what I got:

Transaction 1

4 Bags M & M's $10

Venus Embrace Razors $8.99

All Free & Clear $6.98 (too good of a deal to pass up)

Rimmel Foundation $7.49 (I really like this stuff!)

Coupons used:

2 x -$1 M & M's

2 x $1 off M & M's ES Q

$4 Venus (Vocal Point Q)

2 x $1 All Detergent

$1 Rimmel

$5/$20 Wags Q

Total before taxes: $17.45 (OOP a little higher because I got the 2nd All)

Transaction 2

Venus Embrace Razor $8.99

-$4 coupon

OOP $5.45

I will get rebates on the M & M's ($5) and the Rimmel ($7.49). I got $8 in RR for the razors (that's why I broke into 2 transactions)

The razors will be stocking stuffers and I'll use the M & M's to make cookies!! YUMMY!!!!!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

I got Tagged??!!

How exciting...although I'm not quite sure how it works! But thank you SO much for the acknowledgement and the opportunity to tell you a little more about me.

I've been out of town, so this is the first chance I've had to respond to the 3 people tagging me: Coupon Clippin Mama B, That's Just Nifty Thrifty and $aving Makes Cents. Thank you, ladies!

7 "Unknown" Facts About Me
1. I am a first time mom of identical twin boys.
2. I know how to fly a Cesna Airplane. That's FLY, take off and landing are totally different!
3. I am a buyer for a modern furniture store and often "star" in our commercials. Ha, my 30 seconds of fame...
4. I have been published in local & national magazines (Goal I set in college as a class assignment. Think I'll get the extra credit??)
5. This isn't necessarily a positive thing, but it's a funny story and a lesson learned. First time I got really intoxicated, I threw the front of A LOT of people. Like I said, lesson learned!
6. I am a painter. I have a hard time "finishing" my pieces.
7. I love driving my "toaster"...a Scion xB. I figured with number 5, I could go easy on the last one.
I am tagging the following:
So Cal Saver
Newlyweds! (she has twin boys a month older than mine!)
Just a side those I tagged, and you've already been tagged by another, I give you "permission" to sit this one out :) No need to keep going round in circles on it!!
So, there you have it. Thanks again!!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Light Up Your Life

Many of you guessed a lamp shade for this project. Great guess, but that's later in the week (thanks for the idea!)- I chose this as the first project because it is so easy, and you probably already have these things around your house. This is also a great way to repurpose some items in your home and give them new, I mean life!

Materials Needed:

Candle, any color

Ribbon (some you saved from Christmas last year?)

A button (or two, or three, or...)

Glue Gun

I actually picked up the candle at Target when they had all their Christmas stuff 90% off. So it cost me 30 cents. It had a silver ribbon around it with a snowflake charm. I removed the ribbon and charm, which I used on a necklace; 2 items for the price of one! I cut a piece of ribbon long enough to wrap around the candle. I hot glued one end, then wrapped the ribbon around, folded the end under to create a clean edge, and hot glued it in place. I then took a button and hot glued it in the middle of the ribbon seam. And that's it! I had a plain white pedestal I received as a gift and placed the candle on top of that.

The great thing is, the ribbon can be easily removed and replaced with another color. So, if you change your color scheme, the season changes or it's a holiday celebration, you can swap out the ribbon to match your decor.

More ideas on the way, so if you like this one, come back and check the others out!!

Let Me Push Your Buttons

...into a design masterpiece! I'm talking about those buttons you get with a new shirt or pants, attached in a little baggie. Seems mine never fall off, and when they do, I can't find them! I usually complie them in a baggie, like the one below, but I was starting to gather quite a collection! So I started thinking... just what can I do with all of those?

So this is a new series; I hope you enjoyed the last one. The designs are simple, and can be done by yourself or with the family. I also like to use things I already have so I'm not spending more! That defeats the thriftiness of it all. But I will say, something new is nice every now and then!!

Get all your buttons and spread them out, and pick a few favorites. You won't need many (the first project only requires one button!) but it will give you a better way to save all of them!!

Come back tomorrow and I'll shed some "light" on this series! That was a hint, by the way...

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Halloween Decorating

It's been a few days since I posted my series on decorating for Halloween frugally. I would LOVE to see pictures of how it turned out!! So much so, that I'm starting a new contest!! That's right, not only did you get decorations for free or close to it, you'll win something out of it!!

Please email me pictures of your "haunted houses". I will host a picture gallery, then annouce a winner. In the comments, let me know you're entering and if you enjoyed the series. Should I do more like it?? And was it fun for your children, too?? I'd love some feedback!

The prize will be announced in the next few days. I am out of town, and doing this on a time-limited computer!! Thank you everyone!


Tuesday, October 21, 2008

The Customer is Always Right...

...except if she's using coupons! I rarely have trouble using coupons. It's not worth the time and effort to get up a great scenario only to have it ruined when the cashier tells you your coupon is only valid on the 6.0 ounce toothpaste, not the 4.0 ounce tube. why is she being so difficult?? Well, it's not really her, per say, but the advancement of computers. Now, registers will select the product the coupon is valid for, and link them together. Not that you would intentionally try to pull one over, but it's hard to do these days!

So why do I bring all this up? No, I didn't try to use a coupon for an item I didn't have, I merely wanted to get some good deals with the coupons I DO have for the items that match them.

Let me start off by saying I NEVER have issues at CVS. I have respected the cashiers telling me "no", until I have learned the ropes, and they know that. So my transactons always go smooth as silk. Until Friday night.

I asked if I could use a Walgreens coupon from the Easy Saver on the SoBe water at CVS. The manager (in the office), yells 'NO!". We don't take ANYTHING from Walgreens. Well, considering they are RIGHT ACROSS the street, maybe you should. So I said okay, well, I have manufacturer's coupons from tearpads at Walgreens I'll use. MANUFACTURER'S coupons. Well, they say Walgreens on them, not only valid at Walgreens, just "Walgreens" printed on them. The cashier scanned them, and theywent through just fine, but wait, it says Walgreen...

So she calls over a- manager?? I don'tknow if she was the maager or not, but the lady refused my coupons. She commented, tese are copies anyway. Um, NO. I'm not committing coupon fraud over 40 cents and 3 ECBs. THEN she starts looking through my other coupons. These are are copies, too. I said, "you are allowed to take those. I verified it with CS. If they scan, they are valid. I shop here once or twice a week. the cashiers know me, and I am NOT going to risk being able to shop here for 40 cents! You have a great rewards program, and I want to be able to take advanatge of that. NOT take advantage of you." She just says, Hmmm, then gets to my Excedrin coupon and my CVS Excedrin coupon:

"You can't use these together."
"Yes, I can. One is a store coupon, and one is a manufacturer's coupon."
"Well, this one says "do not double". If you use them together, that's doubling."
(laughing on the inside). "No, that's not doubling. If you doubled that one to $4, that's doubling. The CVS one is for $3, so together they are $5. I'm stacking them, not doubling. CVS allows that."
"Well, I just don't think you can do that. And THIS one is a copy."

ARE YOU KIDDING ME??? So I said, "forget it. I'm not getting any of this stuff." I looked at the cashier, apologized for wasting her time, then looked at the "manager" and said. I have NEVER had any trouble with using coupons. I am familiar with the coupon policy here, and I follow it. I will just call customer care on Monday, and we'll get it straightened out."

Then I realized my CVS papertowel coupon was expiring the next few days. I'll be out of town, and they are FREE, so I went back inside to get them. The cashier apologized and said the other lady is from out-of-town and won't be here long. I told her I understand them being cautious, but like I said, 40 cents isn't worth it. No biggie, I'll be back!

So avoid this trouble. How? Take the following steps prior to coupon shopping...
  1. Be sure the item stated on the coupon is the item you are buying.
  2. Check the expiration date! This is a minor detail that often gets overlooked, but most registers will catch it, or the cashier will.
  3. Email the store you frequent and get their coupon policy. I would even print it out and keep it in your coupon binder.
  4. Keep transactions small, if possible, so not to overwhelm you or the cashier when using so many coupons.
  5. Make a list of the items you are buying, with prices and even coupon amount you are using. this comes in very handy when working up scenarios.

I knew the coupons I was using and the items I was getting matched up. I knew I was in the right. But me walking out and refusing to buy ANYTHING when I was given a hard time struck a cord with the troublesome lady. She started to back pedel, and I refused to buy anything. When I went back in to get the papertowels, I just said, I know this coupon is okay, I got it here!

And if you need help with all this coupon stuff at CVS, you'll want to visit The Thrifty Mama's site on how to shop CVS. NOW is a great time to start because she is starting from the ground up!! Take a look HERE.

Thanks for hearing my vent, and GOOD LUCK!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Baby Food Bargain

I left for work yesterday on a mission- to get baby food. As a mom of twins, it's hard to gauge what they are going to eat in a week! But with my trusty binder in hand, off to the store I went. I stopped at Shnucks, formally know as Seesles's by Albertsons, because they will sometimes run specials on my favorite type of food, Beechnut. Well, sure enough, the 2nd foods are on sale for 40 cents a jar! Typically they run about 55 cents, so i was pleased. They also had several flavors on close out. So I snagged a few jars, along with the Green Giant Steamers on sale 10/$10, a family sized tub of Mosse Tracks ice cream and some Uncle Ben's rice. I used a couple Beechnut coupons I received from them (just call and ask!), $1 Green Giant Qs from this past Sunday's insert and a coupon for free Uncle Ben's cajun style rice that was mailed to me. Then I decided to stop at Kroger to get more deals, including the new Glade money maker!
The latest money making deal is the new Glade deal. It's as good as the last one, and you can get the details from The Thrifty Mama; just scroll down until you see the Glade deal!

So I grabbed up more baby food, Glade Oil warmers, Johnson's Buddie Bars, Tums Smoothers and a Febreeze Noticeable starter kit.

Here's a pic of my haul. The only thing not pictured is the ice cream (I left it at work to thank evryone for letting me do a quick run on my lunch break) and the Glade warmers. Frankly, there were just too many to put on the counter!!

Not too shabby for a total OOP of about $6! All of this was free after Qs: GG vegies, Uncle Ben's rice, J & J Bars, Tums Smoothers and the Febreeze kit. I actually got overage from the Tums and Febreeze! The Tums were on clearance for .84, and I had $1 off Qs. The Febreeze was $7.99, and I had a $5 Q from the paper and another $5 Q loaded on my Kroger card from the P & G website. (Thanks again, Thrifty Mama!) Kroger has a TON of stuff on clearance right now in the pharmacy section, so check it out. You could get great stuff for free or close to it when you pair it with coupons!!

As for the Glade money maker- I bought 8 this morning. I paid 27 cents OOP and walked away with 8 warmers and $32 in catalinas for money off my next purchase. AWESOME!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Part 3: Cottonball Creepy Crawlies

I'm sure many of you remember making spider webs "the old-fashioned way", besides collecting spiders and having them do it! I'm talking about using cottonballs. Just unroll them, and gently spread the cotton out! Best thing about this decorating idea is that most of this stuff you will already have!!

1. Gather your materials: large cottonballs, 4 toothpicks for each spider, black paint, redish fingernail polish and double-sided tape.

2. Put some of the black paint on a paper plate or even a regular plate. It will wash right off (just clean it in a reasonable amount of time). Leave to dry.

3. Unroll the cotton ball.

4. Find a home for your web. Bricks work great because the cotton snags on it. If you don't have brick, use the double-sided tape to hold the web in place.

5. Break the toothpicks in half. Stick each piece in the cottonball body. Four on one side and four on the other. Using the nail polish, paint 2 eyes on the spider. Place the spider in its new home; you may need to secure it using the tape.

And there you have it! Spiders and webs. What did this cost me?? NOTHING!


Saturday, October 18, 2008

Part 2: Cereal Box Cemetary

So you scored some great deals on cereal. With the cost of cereal getting ridiculously high for air and sugar filled puffs, and milk costing more per gallon than gas, it's good to get all you can out of it! So here's my plan for you...

Making Cereal Box Tombstones

1. Put rocks, sand, rice or other "heavy" substance in the box to anchor it. Glue the open end of the ceral box closed. You could tape it, but the paint make not stick to it.

2. Paint the box with black paint: acrylic or spray paint. It doesn't even have to be solid black. Mine is a deep brown with navy blue. It gives it a little more depth than black. But then again, I couldn't find my black paint, so I just used what I could find!! Let it dry.

3. Paint on an epitaph with white paint. Use clever names like this one: Lota Bones. (lot of bones, lol). You can even water down the paint a little and with the box standing up, paint RIP. The watery paint will run, making it a little creepier...

4. Make several and place throughout your yard. If you don't have anything to put in the bottom of the box, tape a sharpened pencil to the back, with half of it protruding past the box, and stick it into the ground.

Remember these won't be waterproof!!

Glad in Glade WINNER!!

Congratulations to Managing Mommy! She is the winner of the Glad in Glade contest. I will be mailing your prize package out next week.

THANK YOU to all those who participated, and I will have another contest soon!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Halloween on Almost a Dime: Part 1, Frugal Phantoms

Well, with Halloween quickly approaching, I am running out of time to decorate, my favorite part!! And with 2 babies, I ran out of money a long time ago!! So here are a few, family friendly ideas for Halloween. I'll start with one idea today, and give 2 more, one on Saturday, the final on Sunday. By Monday, you'll be ready for Halloween!

So what do you do with all those plastic shopping bags you get after unloading your groceries? Well, if your local grocery store doesn't take them to recycle, offer you a discount for using your own (mine just started!!) and you don't have a dog (these make great bags to pick up doggie "mines" when walking in the neighborhood), use them to decorate for Halloween!!

Grocery Bag Ghosts
You can really use any bag, but your children will probably stress to use white ones. They are ghosts, you know!! The bags in my area that are white are Target, Kmart, CVS and Walmart.
1. Take one of the bags and lay it flat. Cut off the handles at the edge of the opening on the bag.
Save one of the to tie around the neck. The other will be part of the stuffing.

2. Cut the bag along the seams to make 2 pieces. (I didn't cut my handles off on this one, but do it as mentioned in step 1).

3. Wad the piece with the print up into a ball, trying to hide the print "inside" the wad. You will be able to see some of it, but not much. Put this in the middle of the other bag. Lay the bag over the ball, cinch at he bottom of the ball and tie one of the handles around it to hold in place.

4. With a permanent marker, draw on eyes and a mouth if you want one! Then, using fishing line or even dental floss (that you got FREE from CVS, lol), tie it to a tree limb or hang from your house. It won't take much string, only about 12".

Waterproof AND you could save them for next year!! They look great when you have several im a tree. Best thing is, you could make DOZENS of them, and it hasn't cost you anything!! BOO!

Stay tuned for the next thrifty tip on Saturday!

So You Want to Shop CVS?

I stumbled across CVS after becoming a frugal shopper. I learned all I know now after watching other mamas save and get things FREE at CVS! What is a CVS? What makes it such a GREAT place to shop??? Why would you drive to another state just to shop there?? (It's really only 10 minutes away, but SO worth it!)

You can get all these answers and more by clicking on the box below. The Thrifty Mama is the queen at shopping at CVS; I bow before her, lol. When I get ready to take a trip there, I always check her site first!

Thanks to my frugal shopping, I haven't bought diapers in a long time! I know I say that a lot, but for you mamas that buy them, you know what a money saver that is!

So a take a look there, learn about: how to get things free when they have a BOGO sale and you have a BOGO coupon, getting a free $30 GC, the cool thing about ECBs, oh, and what all those abbreviations are for!!!

I blew all my ECBs last week, but on things I needed, so I'm basically starting over. I'll be following along with her, too!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

$avings Makes Cents is Giving Away a Carpet Flick!

Jump over to $avings Makes Cents, and register to win a Swiffer Carpet Flick! It's too bad I don't have carpet because I would love to win this. Of course, I haven't been throwing any wild parties lately, so I don't have a lot of confetti lying around the house. I am going out of town this weekend... no wild parties at my house unless I win this thing!!

And don't forget about the Glad for Glade contest HERE. You can also find it in my "Floorplans" section. Have fun and get FREE stuff! Gotta love that!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Recycling and Repurposing

The best way to be thrifty and contribute to preserving our Earth is to reuse items. My sister bought this cute sign for us when she found out I was pregnant. She knew my husband would love it because it is made from reclaimed wood from a pier; he longs to be on the seas one day, sailing across the ocean. He's trying to convince me to go with him... lol (small fear of water is the only thing that would keep me away). I love it because it is giving an item new life, and keeping it from finding a home in a landfill. I tease her it's the reason we had twin boys; otherwise the sign wouldn't have been as appropriate! I only knew I was pregnant at the time, not carrying two!!

This would be easy to make. Find a piece of scrap wood, it's better if it has been sitting around a while because that adds to the character of it! Drill 2 small holes in the top (one on the left, one on the right) to thread a piece of wire or string through it. This will allow it to be hung anywhere!Do a wash over it with any color paint you choose. To create a wash, you can add a glaze to the paint, but water would work just as well, and it's free! Let it dry... then paint your phrase and littles pictures on it. No need to be an artist, the simplicity adds a childlike effect to it. After the paint is dry, thread the wire or thread into the holes, and pick the perfect spot to hang it. Your little one could help you with that, too!
Have a good phrase to use? Leave a comment to help some other moms out!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Find the Glad in Glade

Get it?? Glade...

I was putting away my Glade oil warmers (again), and it got me to thinking- what is everyone else doing with theirs? I have mine stacked, stored, even hanging from the ceiling in my basement! Then another thought came to mind- I should have a catchy little contest to see who has the best Glade stockpile or who can come up with the best idea to "use" these. Hence, the name! You'll be glad you bought all those Glades (or that I did)!!

To get things started, here are pics of my crazy stash. I have 36 gel warmers, 36 oil warmers, 12 Wisps, 8 oil candles, 8 oil candle refills, 4 of the 4 oz candles and 12 Fabric refreshers. Take a look!

So, take a count, better yet, some pictures and enter my contest! Subscribe to or follow my blog and leave a comment.

And what's the prize you ask?? Well, since I am trying to be thrifty and helps others at it too, how about a great start or addition to your coupon collection? Your prize pack will include 50 coupons and 2 Glade gel warmers and 2 oil warmers (your choice of fragrance from what I have). Also included will be a couple of those BOGO Glade Oil warmers everyone is crazy over right now. Why do you ask?? Because it's free money!! If you don't know what I'm taking about, take a look HERE at The Thrifty Mama.

I'll be drawing a winner this Friday, and sending your prize to you on Monday!

Good Luck, and I hope you have a great time participating!