Wednesday, December 31, 2008
Here are the deets:
Every Tuesday morning 10-11am
Bring your coupons and your grocery list and trade or beg for the coupons you want
I have devised a plan for having some extra coupons and I'm hoping to put it into action this weekend
I will have the address next week for you
Oh and by the way, I hear an awesome sale at Albies is coming soon... I have no details yet, but I'll tell you when I do.
Monday, December 22, 2008
(She is very tricky to con me into it, btw.)
Anywho... I'm going to do a "Christmas shopping done by July" class in January.
We will talk about budgeting for the holidays, the plan of attack and how to hold to a budget while still getting good crap for Christmas. I think people will enjoy it.
I don't know when it will be, I think the churchy ptb will tell me when to do it, but I do think I'll do it at a place where laptop computers can be used. Should be fun and to be blunt, I don't friggin' care if you church it with me or not, I'm cool with anyone coming by if you want to try the early Christmas shopping experiment this year. It's really quite nice, promise! I've been doing it for years!
So, there you have it. More on this as the time approaches and I know the actually date and such.
Okay, this will be on the 29th of January (I believe that is the date that I was given) and will most likely be at my house. If there is a bigger signed up turnout than I forsee, it will move to the church 2 blocks away from my house and I will give the address.
Here is what I'm going to cover:
Why start Christmas shopping now
Who to put on the list and why
How many gifts to give kids and whatnot
When and where to buy depending on the gift genre
How to maintain a LOW budget
The cool thing is that you can apply this to lots of other parts of your budgeting life, but I'm a believer in practical application and baby steps to becoming a true frugalista.
So, there you go. I'll be posting more classes soon!
Thursday, December 18, 2008
Monday, December 15, 2008
Saturday, December 13, 2008
They have my favorite brand of cds, the Mommy's Touch pocket diaper with snaps! Woot!
Mama's getting a few replacement diapers for Christmas...
Oh and check their sale price on Babylegs... not too shabby!
Shirts for 2.50! The long ones!
Dresses for under $10
Shoes for $10
Hats (I got a floppy one and yes I know I can't pull off hats. Can't blame me for trying.)
There were some casual sport coats for $25 or less, winter coats, sweaters aplenty and more crap than I can tell you of. Totally awesome. Had I not been wearing a baby, chasing a 3 yo and holding coats for the baby, 3 yo and 6 yo (who was an angel) I would have really gotten into it. But, alas, children keep me on my budget.
Anyhow, go party! Think of me... wishing I was there too!
Thursday, December 11, 2008
Monday, December 8, 2008
If you are good on groceries, try stocking up on medicine. There are a ton of sales on cold and flu meds right now, and they last for years. Plus, you will be soooooo happy if you don't have to go out late on a Saturday night and spend $7 on some cold medicine you could have in your storage that only cost you $2.
Also, now is a great time to go halfsies with a pal on a Sam's Club or Costco membership. Or ask your mommy and daddy for a membership. If you are still working on getting that food storage put together, buying bulk flour, sugar, rice, beans and popcorn kernels can be a life saver.
On that thought... watch for 18 gallon rubbermaid (or any brand really) totes. Great for holding 25lb bags of sugar, flour, etc.
Tis the season to worry less about food items (if you can) and more about bulking up on meds and such. (But watch for a General Mills sale... yoplait, gm cereal, fruit snacks...)
Thursday, December 4, 2008
In a nutshell, if I can.
Last year Congress passed the Consumer Products Safety Improvement
Act. At the time I cheered their decision, after all who wants tainted
lead toys flooding our markets? However, as they time has come to
implement this new law, it appears that there is some serious
misunderstanding going on.
As of February 2009, all products intended for use by children must
have been tested for lead. This includes products like wraps, where
the fabric is extremely unlikely to contain any lead, and if it does,
it would certainly be well under the limit. Nevertheless, each
different colorway must be tested by the manufacturer, and/or the
importer and/or the retailer, at a cost of $150-$500 per test. This
also includes handmade wooden toys with only a pinpoint of paint for
the two eyes. It doesn't matter if you know that the paints you use
are lead free. You must have the test results on file from a
government approved to lab to prove it. There are no exclusions as of
yet. The law states that there can be exclusions, but since they have
not been established, everyone who does not have the test results on
file will be non-compliant come February. Non-compliance can have
penalties of up to $100,000 per incident and felony jail time.
Not only is the testing ridiculously expensive, and required even in
cases where common sense would say otherwise, but the labs are too
few, and too full, and cannot possibly meet the demand between now and
February. (That is the situation we are in. We have already had our
rings tested due to European standards, but those test results don't
count because they were not done by the approved labs.)
If we do not make a HUGE uproar, then starting in February you will
not be able to buy WAHM diapers, WAHM baby carriers, handmade wooden
toys, homeschool supplies, cute Etsy clothes, or anything else made by
a micro business (soft star shoes, etc). Well, I suspect that a black
market will spring up, but everyone will be in serious danger should
they be found out.
Please, join the facebook groups, sign the petitions on ipetition,
write to your congress people. I absolutely want them to do something
about lead in toys and dishes and other dangerous children's products,
but they have got to find a way to do it that does not put responsible
small businesses under, further endangering our economy.
Please let me know if you need more info.
For more info:
Look, I love a deal. I really do. But, I also love the opportunity to buy handmade products (see I get deals on lot of stuff so I can spend the money on boutique type items.) I also have a business that will no longer exist if this happens, so I worry there too.
For those of you who make little blankies, bibs, diapers, etc... Sell fabric, patterns... it will affect you too. Please let your voice be heard.
Here is what I am telling local news outlets:
My name is Kimber Tower. I am the owner of Ball Baby Carriers LLC in Rigby Idaho. Some of you have interviewed me before, some have not.
I wanted to pass along some information that is currently spelling disaster for my business and every small business in the US that makes children's products. I have attached many links with more information for you in the interest of not writing a novel.
Long story short for me as a baby carrier business: I will have to test every fabric I use to make carriers, every thread, tag... essentially anything I use to make a baby carrier; for lead. This will cost me about $100-$500 per item. I use over 100 different fabrics and threads, so you can see how expensive that would be. If I don't comply I could face fines of up to $100,000 and felony jail time. This will include my current inventory, so unless I liquidate before February 10, 2009 I will either be selling contraband or I will have to sit on all that merchandise. Either way, I will be out of business.
Many are calling this "National Bankruptcy Day" and for good reason. This won't just affect me. This will affect small businesses who sell on ebay, etsy... the grannys at you local craft fairs, boutiques, fabric stores... the list goes on. And for the buyers, they will no longer be able to get darling hand created items that support their small local businesses. Some popular products in you local baby stores include: Cloth diapers, baby carriers, babylegs, hats, bows, blankets, diaper bags, etc.
Please, please look into this and how this will hurt our local economy. People need to be aware of what will happen if changes aren't made.
I am happy to talk to anyone further about this, but I will tell you honestly, I am not an expert on it yet.
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
I went waaaaay over budget this month. And, I plan to go in one more time! Blargh!
But, I have a good reason if that helps.
I'm buying turkeys to fill my freezer.
Let me really super duper break it down for you. I talked about it in my previous post, but I wanted to cover it more as Thanksgiving is almost here and I am hoping this will inspire someone.
Meat is expensive. Truly. But, most of us are carnivores and crave it. On my extremely conservative budget every month, it is really hard to make room for cheese (which is why I buy it in bulk when it goes on sale, then I shred it and freeze it so not a drop goes to waste), milk and eggs (which is why I now use powdered milk and eggs unless I luck into an amazing deal and then I buy in bulk and freeze it--- yes this can be done) and meat.
But, I knew Thanksgiving was coming and I knew there would be ways to get cheapo turkeys.
Here is my clever plan. I have to give mad props to Amanda and Wildman OConnor for teaching me the ways of the turkey.
Here is what they do (and I shall be doing):
- Cook yourself a nice fancy turky dinner.
- Eat it.
- When you are stuffed (tee hee hee) carve the rest of this bird up.
- Put the meat in jars.
- Dump some water and a bit o' salt in the jars as per the Ball Blue Book of canning (aka the canning bible). Really, use water, it will turn into broth!
- Pressure cook the crap outta it (again, as pur the Ball Blue Book)
- Put it in your basement for your munching pleasure.
- You should get at least 20 of the pints(? think that's the size I'm envisioning) of meat.
- Now take the carcass (lets be honest, you didn't do THAT great of a job getting all the meat off of the bones) and put it in a ginormous baggie.
- In a few weeks when it's frosty and you are hungry, pull that carcass out and toss in a pot o' water.
- Make some tasty turkey soup!
- Make that turkey soup, but just add things like carrots, onion, peas, celery... nothing fancy.
- Put aside just enough for dinner (we'll come back to it, promise)
- Now can the rest of it and you have homemade soup whenever you want! Just dump in a pot, toss in a handful of pasta (you have a bunch in your storage, I just know it!) and when it boils you get to eat it! Cheaper than Campbells and tastier too!
- Finally, your soup for din din. Make some homemade noodles (recipe below) and eat!
Homemade noodles recipe (from my granny J)
1 or 2 cups of flour
just enough water to make a dough that isn't too sticky, but that you can roll out
mix and roll it out
cut it into skinny strips and plop into your soup!
Cheap, easy and for me it tastes just perfect (I'm not much of a seasoning gal)
I plan to make one turkey a month for the next however many months there are turkeys in my freezer. So, while I slowly empty my freezer (which makes it cheaper to run) I will be restocking my food storage with cans of turkey and soup stock and slowly adding more meat when it is on great sales. And I'll be able to be picky about the sale and NOT go over budget again (fingers crossed, knock on wood).
Look at all the meals you made for your family from one cheap turkey! (See my post below for how to get that turkey cheap!)
That is all.
If you spend $25 before coupons on ANYTHING, you get a turkey for as low as $.38/lb!
Couple this with the Green Giant steamers that are FREE if you have the coupons (which I had a ton of).
25 Green Giants + 1 big turkey = $6 cash!
That is an amazing deal!
Even if you don't have the Green Giant coupons to do this, here's another cheapo deal!
Buy 20 pillsbury cakes (they are on sale for 10 for $10 plus when you buy 10 you get $5 back, no coupon required, so that is $.50 a mix)
Then get 5 Land O Lake butter with canola (they are 10 for $10 plus they have attached $.55 off coupons to them so they are $.45 each)
Now grab a huge turkey.
Total will be around: $12 something plus the $6ish for a turkey so $18!
That is an awesome deal!
Remember, you can freeze the butter and the cake mixes can be used to make cookies AND muffins (I'm hunting for the directions for the muffin thing).
They have the Land O Lake coupons at the Albies and also a ton more of the cream cheese coupons as I gave them a ton of my leftover coupons yesterday (and still have more for those of you who wanted them!)
Find Wayne, tell him you NEED a cheap turkey and he'll help you out!
Oh and on the turkey... buy extras. Why? Because they are easy to can! Here is what I will be doing:
Once a month we'll have a turkey dinner. After we're done we will carve that turkey and can the meat (very very easy, toss meat in jar, add water and a pinch of salt and pressure cook following the Ball Blue Book).
Then we will take the carcass, bag it and freeze it. When I want to make soup I'll just pull it out, toss it in a pot and have soup! Then we'll can that too!
Think of all the extra meals you can have with one turkey! Totally a money saver!
Now, go fill your freezer with turkeys! And say thank you to the amazing people at Broadway Albies for the hot deals!
Thursday, November 20, 2008
I have some $1 off 3 and some $.50 off 2
Email me at kimberlovesadeal at gmail dot com if you want some at my cost. I think I paid around $.10 per coupon!
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
Sunday, November 16, 2008
Saturday, November 15, 2008
They hide my muffin top (you know, the fat that rolls over your waist line of your jeans... shudder), they make it easier to pull on my tighter jeans and they help keep the pooch from having 3 kids under wraps.
I paid out the yin yang for my Spanx... and now I'll have to buy more!
People, worth it.
Might I suggest the leggings because those are hawt?
While you're there, check out the storewide sale on all undergarments! Woot!
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
Went to the doctor and had to get a prescription (thanks sinus infection from hades). Decided to make it work for me.
- Clipped the Rite Aid ad that gives you a $30 gift card for any new prescription or transfer
- While that was going, went back to Broadway Albies. Used some of the Walgreens coupons on my Betty Crocker products to get my $30 in product for the $15 coupon back. Guess how much I spent with my Walgreens coupons? $6.88 Plus I got the $15 coupon
- I go pay my $5 for the prescription and get the giftcard.
- Now I've "made" $45.
- Next I go to Freddy's and spend $14 on cheese (killer deal), and some beans (again, killer deal).
- Now I've spent 20.88
- So, total I came out ahead $24.12.
- Next time I go to Albies I have $14 in anything coupons waiting for me and I have $30 for Rite Aid deals!
ps. I'm not even including my savings yet.... watch the sidebar!
Yesterday in my medicine induced haze I left Freddys with all 3 kids (shockingly) and no groceries. Yup, left them in my cart and went home. 15 minutes later I realized my mistake and called the store in a panic. Bless them, they sent out employees to scour the parking lot for my cart, but the groceries were gone. I drove back in hoping they would be found, but they weren't. So, I was gearing up to pack the kids and go home (just so mad at myself), when the customer service gal looked at my receipt and said, "You didn't buy much, go pick it out again and go home."
What an angel.
Proof that there are great people everywhere.
So, one reason to shop at Freddy's... they are really kind people.
Limited time on this!
Important Note: No coupon code is needed. Prices will not adjust to sale prices until you click "checkout". You can view sale prices prior to paying.
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$2.10 per year (new or renewal)
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We accept PAYPAL, Check, Money order, and all major Credit Cards. No automatic renewals.
Personally I get Rachel Ray (got a hot deal on it last year) and I LOVE that magazine. Plus it comes with coupons...
Wednesday, November 5, 2008
This sale is amazing. AMAZING.
If... you stick to your plan.
I stuck to mine and here is how it went:
Before tax: 52.17
My savings: 281.61
Some of what I bought:
All laundry detergent for 1.17 (1.67 without a coupon!!!)
Reddi Whip $1
Betty Crocker cake mix $.50
Breyers Ice Cream $.50
BC cookie pouches $.45
Green Giant frozen veggie boxes FREE
Suave deoderant $.17
Vaseline Lotion FREE
And more and more and more!
The Broadway store was insane! I followed my usual routine and got in line after the 1st person (knowing her transaction would take about 20 minutes) and finished shopping from the line with a friend behind watching my cart. I was in at 5:30am and home by 7am.
The store was a mob scene by 8am!
The average spending vs savings appears to be $80 spent and $290 saved.
People this sale is through all of Albies in one form or another and even without coupons is very worthwhile! Run!
Hey, if you go, please comment on here your spending, savings and number of items for my curiosity!
Monday, November 3, 2008
The lists are up at hotcouponworld.com (NW forum) and pinchingyourpennies.com (Utah forum)
I will have extra qs of some items, so feel free to check!
This is THE sale to go nuts on!
And the chicken will work Wednesday!
The IF Broadway store will be doling out the extra qs at 5:30am, 8am and in the evening. I have been told that they will ration them per customer, so be warned!
Remember to play nice and don't jostle me if I'm wearing the baby!
Saturday, November 1, 2008
But, in the past year I have actually started working on my hair every day because of Serenity Spa and more specifically my stylist Brandi. I love her. She is honest about what will look good or not so good, she is fun to talk to and she always gives me a haircut that is different from what is around me (and I really don't want the typical mommy cut ever).
The holidays are coming people. It's time to get your hair done.
Here are some deals going on right now at Serenity:
15% OFF at Serenity Salon Spa & Tanning
Get ready for the holidays at
Seriously, worth the money to look good and have your hair done fantastically.
Plus, HUGE bonus to me, this business is run by mamas who care about their customers, employees and the community. And they're awesome people to boot! Support them, seriously!
Oh and if you go in, beg for Brandi (she is so the best) and tell 'em Kimber sent you! They will treat you awesome, I promise!
Friday, October 31, 2008
The code is MCBOOK add at check out.
It's good for $30 off any MyCanvas book now through
Their 8x8 20 page book is $30
So, free book plus $7 shipping!
Got it today and WORTH IT! Hardcover book, great quality, I am thrilled and ordering a bunch more!
Thursday, October 30, 2008
- ConAgra Foods Inc,.Holiday Bonus Save $10 on your next shopping trip when you purchase $20 or more in participating products in a single transaction.
(some of the ConAgra Items: Pam cooking spray, Peter Pan peanut butter 2/$5.00, Orville R. Popcorn, Chef Boyardee, Crunch and Munch 10/$10, Hunts tomatoes 10/$10 - also part of the spend $50 get $10 in free meat!, Swiss miss cocoa-10/$10 right now!, Hunts Spaghetti sauce, and more!!)
- Save $15 on your Thanksgiving shopping trip when you purchase $30 worth of participating products in a single shopping trip-Knorr, Breyers, Hamburger Helper, Progresso, Ragu, Pillsbury, Cheerios, Best Foods,.
These are all on right now. Come see us.
That's the email.
But, here is one BIG deal I see right now:
Hunts tomatoes: Buy 50 for $50, get a $20 coupon on your next order PLUS $10 in FREE MEAT! That is $30 free for you right this second!
Now, all of these deals will be working together on Wednesday. Plus meat will be on sale.
If you want in on this action, here is what I suggest you do:
Watch here and I will post more whenever I get new info.
Email Wayne here:
And tell him you want on the list (do me a favor and tell him that Kimber sent you).
Put aside some grocery money because this deal is going to be messy, complicated and totally fun!
I am so excited it actually hurts! Yay!
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
Check this out. Gotta either stay up late or get up early for it!
For the first 250 people every day until November 1st, you can buy 1 ticket and get 1 FREE!
Must use a mastercard to buy the tickets!
(I suggest matinee for maximum penny pinching)
Now we can go to the movies for cheap before Christmas!
Friday, October 24, 2008
If you bring your kids in costume to Sizzler next week, from Oct 27th to Nov 2nd, you get up to 2 free kids meals (10 & under) per one adult entree purchased.
Dr Slaughters House of Terror will turn into Dr Slaughters House of Enchantment!
(fairies, superman, happy nonscary stuff)
October 25th from 1-3pm
At the old Fred Meyers Building on Yellowstone
costumes are optional
Kids ages 0-9 (must have a grown up with them)
this is totally FREE!
Thursday, October 23, 2008
You will need:
a bunch of pasta (I use whatever I have on hand)
a cup or 2 or broccoli
a cup 1/2 ricotta cheese
Some extra virgin olive oil
Boil the pasta
Steam the brocolli
Toss it in a pan with chopped garlic that was cooked with the evoo
Toss the ricotta over that and stir until hot
Season however the frick you want to.
Ricotta (1 container) $3
Total $4.75 IF YOU DON'T BUY EVERYTHING ON SALE!
If you buy onsale:
Ricotta (1 container) $3
On sale total:
(really, I paid that for those items)
Plus, this fed the family and will do leftovers for at least 2 meals for everyone. It made a TON!
Go Daddy domains at $1.99!
The code is MCBOOK add at check out.
It's good for $30 off any MyCanvas book now through
Their 8x8 20 page book is $30
So, free book plus $7 shipping!
I ordered one last night and I can't wait to get it! Think of grandparent gift here!
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
First off, on Monday I went to Walgreens and bought $10 skippy peanut butters. With my coupons I got them for $75ish per jar. I got a register reward coupon (if you want to call it that) for $5 off my next order. I also bought jello, spices and a few other things, but they don't matter as much.
Then I did another transaction of 1 childrens Dimetapp and 2 Robutussins and got another register reward for $10.
Total I spent $30
So, today I went to albies and did the General Mills sale. I had coupons for everything I bought and I also bought some soups for Sam. I used my 2 register rewards PLUS a coupon from Broulims for $10 off when you spend $25 on General Mills products (ooooh, tricky!).
My total was actually -$.58, but I don't keep overage.
Sound complicated? It was, but totally worth is as that made ALL those groceries (about 50ish items overall) from both Walgreens and Albies only $30 TOTAL.
And that, is how you grocery shop!
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
Seriously, if I see one more jar of plum jam I might lose it. And prunes and prune juice just don't do it for me.
Here is a great use for plums that will honestly make your family love you forever:
Take your plums, wash them, half them and fill sandwich bag sized freezer bags with them.
Stick them in your freezer.
When you feel like it, make plum pie.
Plum pie is easy. Get a box of tapioca and follow the pie filling instructions for the blueberry or cherry pie.
Toss in the pie crust of your choice.
Enjoy AWESOME pie.
There you go. No more crappy plum jam.
Thursday, October 9, 2008
To save on power:
unplug everything. If you aren't using it, unplug it.
You could in theory unplug your fridge and/or freezer at night too. As long as it is shut, it'll stay cold.
I was given and idea about putting motion sensors on your freezers and I'm going to be further investigating that...
To save on your wash:
Use cold water all the time
Dawn gets out the worst stains
Use half of the amount of detergent you are told to use (and the same goes for dishwashing soap).
Also, clean your lint trap! Wash it and everything!
Any other ideas?
Take an old adult black tee shirt, turn inside out if there is writing on it. Shred the bottom and the sleeves. Find a bandana or scarf that is black or otherwise “scary” and used as a belt. Buy a witch hat at the store.
White, grey or even tan sweats underneath. You could even use thermal underwear is you are brave. Wrap with ace bandages or for the authentic look, toilet paper.
Cost: $5 (for a lot of toilet paper)
Take a white sheet you don’t need every again and cut an entire HEAD HOLE. Paint your child’s face white or great and grey their hair too (white shoe polish works great, but is a nightmare to get out. I prefer clown white stage makeup, available at costumer shops.
Cost: For the clown white: $5
Daddy or Mommy:
Let them pick some clothes out of your closet that you don’t mind having ruined. For mom, toss on a lot of make up and pearls, something silly. For Dad, paint on a beard, maybe hand them a newspaper or remote to carry around.
Rock star costume:
Let them pick out of family member’s closets for ideas. GET PERMISSION! Use kool aid and dye their hair a funky color. Make a guitar out of cardboard.
Other ideas for getting costumes:
-Go to the DI and look for some fun clothing.
-Borrow from people who have kids in dance class. There is a wealth of costume ideas there.
-See if Grandma has old clothing too.
One important tightwad rule is that occasionally spending the big bucks is needed in order to save money in the long run. It took me a few years to truly catch on to that principle. But, now I swear by it. I still throw up a little in my mouth when we buy something that’s more than $30 and/or less than 50% off, but financial lessons of the past always soothe my stomach and my bank account. There are some ground rules to this philosophy…
Everything must earn its keep. We’re pretty firm on this rule. From the couch to the kids, if something isn’t earning its keep, it’s at risk of being sold on EBay (ask my daughter if you don’t believe me). This is a tough rule because tightwads are also usually packrats, so you really have to cling to this rule in order to not fill your life with unnecessary clutter. My rule goes like this: If it hasn’t been used in a year, it goes. Simple. Occasionally I’ll break this rule for things like baby clothes or gear (i.e. the stroller I haven’t used in two years) and other items that WILL have a use down the road, but the exceptions are rare. On purchasing, I like to determine how much I need to use something before it has earned its keep. I’ll use a friend of mine as an example here. Now, she’s Canadian, so we give her leeway in the common sense department (said with love people), but the woman buys a new purse every six months! I buy a new bag… hardly ever. Let me compare the last bag purchase of hers to my last purchase. Her bags average $50, even on sale. She uses them daily, so it’s costs her $.27 per day to use that bag. My last bag purchase was a great sale on a $55 bag. I got it with two other bags for $15 total. I gave the other bags away as I didn’t need them, but I’m still saying this one bag cost me the full $15. For six months this bag costs me .08 to use daily. I love this bag and will be using it for at least another year or two or more, so in two years it will cost me $.02 a day to use this bag. I can deal with that. See the difference?
Think ahead and prevent. This one has been a hard rule to learn. As poor newlyweds Sam and I did not take the best car of our car. We had the oil changed maybe yearly and NEVER had any tune ups. So, when our transmission went out, we really had no one to blame but ourselves. We spent twice what our car was worth fixing it than we would have had we just taken care of the car. Not a mistake we will repeat again. Yearly medical check ups are another way to prevent a bigger bill. Yes, it’s expensive to see the dentist, but a cavity is easier to fill before it’s a root canal. Not only is the tab higher, but the time off with work, extra child care… that bill can climb.
Another example (and lesson in my own stupidity): I had a lovely kitchen aid mixer given to me when I was first married. It was used, but still worked great and had many accessories. I never used it and it sat on or under my counter collecting dust for years. Finally, a friend of mine kidnapped it and it has been loved ever since. This never bothered me until this year when I decided to really focus on baking to save money and live more healthily. When I looked over the wasted money we’d spent on cheap hand mixers and other kitchen items that had broken almost immediately after being purchased I realized I could have bought that kitchen aid twice over! True, it wasn’t earning its keep when I had it, but it was free and I had the storage space. A big example of a costly mistake from not looking ahead on my part.
Take some time to research. This is a pain, but worth it. Because you’re thinking ahead, you should have time to research a purchase. Don’t buy the first product you come across, make sure you get the best product for your money. If I buy something that runs more than $50, I expect it to last me 10 years or more. That limits me when I purchase, but again, saves money down the road.
As I went on my quest to buy a mixer, I researched a lot of brands. I had a list of appliances I wanted for cooking and I had to find one that could do most, if not all those tasks and had a price tag I could stomach. In the end, I found kitchen aid really was my best bet… if I could find a good deal.
Find a deal if there is one to be had and buy with cash! This is my favorite rule. I love deals. I believe there is always some sort of discount or bonus to be had; we just have to be patient and/or creative to find it. For me, I used eBay. I found a refurbished model from a reputable seller (research people!) for less than half the price I would pay at a store, including shipping! And, it was in the price range we could afford! Woot!
We had also budgeted for this purchase because we don’t believe in using credit for a consumer purchase like that (for the record, everyone is different, but unless it’s a necessary car or a house, we only buy cash or we don’t buy at all), so we spent the money and a few days later, my beautiful kitchen aid mixer had arrived!
Commit to the lifestyle change. Now, this goes back to the first rule. You bought the product, now make it work for you! Some products that have earned their keep for us include our chest freezer (we can buy bulk meat and save a bundle), my sewing machine (it more than earns its keep), our children (they have washed the lower half of my walls every week since they were old enough to hold a rag and rub it all over) and of course, my beloved mixer. I’ve had to make a conscious effort to use the mixer, but it saves me so much money. I bake bread weekly, we bake cookies instead of buying at the store and soon we will be able to grate our cheese (therefore making bulk cheese purchases more worthwhile) and veggies and grind our own wheat! And we keep coming up with more ways to use that mixer!
If you do the research on any expensive item (and only you can define expensive), find the deal, commit to using it, you will find that these big ticket items will save you more money in the long run and make themselves and worthwhile and even beloved members of the household. If you’re a freak like me who talks to and names appliances, that is.
(recipe courtesy of Mandy Miller)
-1 large bag of frozen peas
-1 cube of butter
-1 cup of flour
-1 large container of half and half
Chop up your spuds and boil them just like you do when you are making mashed potatos. Cook your peas in another pot on the side to be added later. In another pot, combine the butter, flour and half and half to make a white sauce. When the potatos are ready, mash and use the white sauce to help with the creaminess. Then add the peas and mix together.
This will serve at least 10 people and freezes great. Also great as a topping for Shepherd’s Pie or mixed in with homemade chicken soup.
Store bought cost: $5
Veggies from the garden cost: $3
I’m going to admit I’m not an expert at school shopping since my oldest is just now starting preschool. But, I am fantastic at buying clothes dirt cheap, so I’d like to pass on some ideas to you.
First off, take an inventory of your child’s clothing. I like to lay out everything by season and size. I pick through and see what has stains/holes/etc and I put them in my salvage pile. These are patched if possible, converted to quilts, or dust rags, etc. Now, I see what will fit for the entire year. That goes in front of me. What is almost or already too small goes in the box I’ve got at my side labeled “Child X’s clothing, age X.
Time to go shopping! Make your list. If your kids are old enough to help, give them a copy of their list and the amount of money you will spend.
I have 3 main ways of shopping. A few notes about my shopping style. I try to buy clothing a year to two years in advance. I also only buy in the off season. Because I’m buying in advance, I have a lot of time to browse this way. Just bear this in mind.
1. In the stores
I don’t buy anything until it is on the clearance rack that has that lovely “take an additional 30-50% off”. I have trained myself to ONLY shop in that section of the store and not even look anywhere else. I have a self imposed limit per article of clothing. If the clothing isn’t in my price limit it needs to be lined with gold or actually be able to put itself on my child. Otherwise, it is not worth it to me. I check all my return policies and keep my receipts for the amount of time I can price adjust them. Then, I watch for sales. If I shop at Sears (just a random store) and 28 days later I see they are having a sale on something I bought, I take my receipt in and get credit back for the difference. Sometimes I just take all my receipts in with me and have a cashier check them for me. I have saved over $40 in one store at one time doing this.
When I shop online (and I do a lot) I again, ONLY look at the clearance or outlet sections of the store. I also search for online coupon codes. If I don’t have a code, I don’t shop. I make lists of sites where I have found great deals and I check them regularly for sales. If they don’t have the size I need online, I call the bigger store (the brick and mortar store). For example, I once called The Children’s Place in
3. Garage Sales
Before you squirm, remember, soap washes things. That’s why we use it. I always haggle--- unless I can tell that a family NEEDS the money. If I find a place with pretty good clothing, I will give them my number, offer to buy whatever is left after the garage sale and usually they will call me with a great deal on all of the rest of it. I buy it, sort it and keep what I want, then I use the rest to trade other people for things I need, or I sell on ebay.
A few more tips:
-Buy what will last. If you buy cheap quality, it will wear cheaply.
-Kids will live with what you can afford. If they don’t like your budget, let them use their allowance or do work for you to earn money for what they want.
-Trade with friends and family when you can. I trade clothing with a friend of mine as our girls are different ages. We just initial the clothing and when it is outgrown it is returned. Just don’t loan anything extra special if you want to keep something for posterity.
-Barter! Have a friend can some food for you in exchange for clothing, or trade some boy clothes for girl clothes.
-Control yourself. Yes, it’s cute, but do you NEED it? If you don’t, walk away. The end.
-Take good care of it, even when it’s been outgrown. You never know when a surprise baby will show up or when you could trade someone for something good (i.e. 2 years of clothes for a used washing machine).
Using these three main methods and the above tips, I have clothed my children quite well for less than $200 each a year. If I can do it, so can you!
How much clothing does a kid need?!
(This is a minimal amount intended for people who do laundry once a week. With care, this should last a year.)
-2 pairs of jeans
-a pair of khaki and black pants
-a pair of fun colored dress pants
-1-2 pairs of “play” pants
-4-6 short sleeve shirts
-4 long sleeve shirts
-3 sweaters for layering
-2-3 “play shirts”
-4-6 church outfits (can be mix and match or total outfits)
-14pairs of white socks that all match
-1 pair of tennis shoes
-1 pair of brown and black shoes (these can be church worthy shoes)
-1 pair of boots
-2 lighter jackets
-1 heavy winter coat with a hood
-2 sets of mittens, scarf and hat
Online sources for discounts
Local sources for discounts
-Sunday’s Post Register
-Your local library (for money saving books)
-Friends and family who know of good deals
1 package of tortillas
1 can of salsa
1 lb of hamburger
1 can of kidney beans
1 can of black beans
½ lb of Pepper Jack cheese
-Cook your hamburger
-Toss in your salsa and drained beans and mix it up
-Lay a tortilla (or two) flat along the bottom of a casserole dish (8x11)
-Pile on a layer of meat and bean mixture
Put another layer of tortillas on, then mixture etc. until you’re done
Put dish in an oven at 250 degrees and let cook until hot (about 1 hour).
I actually used 2 smaller casserole dishes and froze one for later. The smaller portions easily feed a family of 5.
Total this cost me $5 to make, so $2.50 per meal or $.50 per family member (for a family of 5).
If you add more beans and cheese, this is great meatless too and even less expensive!
I realize this is a highly controversial topic and I know I could potentially out myself as a card carrying crazy lady, but we live in a day and age where I just can’t hide who I am anymore.
I’m a cloth diaper addict and I love it.
I spent a lot of time researching different kinds of diapers, how to care for them and parents’ experiences, good, bad and poopy. When we had our second baby, I’d made up my mind that I would attempt to cloth diaper. I just had to convince Sam.
I decided an ambush would be the best approach.
By the weeping, wailing and gnashing of teeth you would have thought I’d asked him to cut off his arms. But, he finally agreed to try a few out.
So, the diapers were purchased and the big day arrived. Immediate reaction? Love from everyone. Even Sam was sold. It’s been over a year and a half and we are loving cloth.
Now that you have a first hand account of cloth diapering, let’s get down to the nitty gritty.
This is important. The average baby goes through 10 diapers a day (unless you are waiting to change them when the diaper actually sags to their knees… but you wouldn’t do that, right?) Even with coupons and buying in bulk, you are probably spending about $.17 per diaper, so $1.70 per day. Let’s say you buy 18 cloth diapers. To buy the style of diapers that granny used, you would be buying prefolds. You would spend about $100 for the cloth, the covers and the other little odds and ends you need to buy. Within 1.75 months you would break even from what you would have spent on disposables. In one year you would have saved $586.55. I can think of a lot of things I could do with $586.55, how ‘bout you?
Now, let’s use the same equation but buy fancy diapers like what I use. I’m lazy and I wanted easy cloth, so I buy pocket diapers. Each diaper costs around $17 and I own 18 right now. I broke even in 5.35 months and saved $380.55 my first year. I plan to use these diapers with the next baby too (and any others that follow, so by the time I am done with diapers (let’s say in 4 years) I will have saved $3432.75 since I began cloth diapering.
This is where everyone gets freaked out. Let me say this once: Kids poop. It will get on you at some point. Soap is your friend.
Here is how my diapering goes. I change the diaper and carry the dirty one to my bucket in the bathroom. I use a garbage bag liner and a boring old laundry detergent bucket. I shake any waste off the diaper if it’s solid and I don’t sweat the rest. I toss it in the bucket and I’m done. I wash every 1-3 days. The wash routine is simple: 1 cold rinse. 1 cold wash, 1 hot wash and 1-3 rinses depending on my mood. Then I either line dry or use the dryer, again depending on my mood. That’s it. And before you get all grossed out about poop in your washing machine, think off the dirty gross clothes you wash and then wear in there all the time. Surely grosser things have gone in there and by the magic of modern technology, they come out clean. Hence the title washing machine.
Okay, take a large Ziploc bag and put it in your diaper bag. If you need to change a diaper when you are out and about, put it in the bag, then dump it where it belongs when you get home. That was rough, eh? Seriously, it’s the same as “regular” diapers except you aren’t adding to a landfill. Oh and you’ll never have to make a run for dipes again.
Sometimes the rantings of a crazy lady make sense.
More facts for you:
Cloth Diapering Facts
- 27.4 billion diapers are used yearly in the
- Disposable diapers are the third largest consumer item in landfills and in households with small children, make up 50% of waste.
- It is estimated that a disposable diaper takes 250-500 years to decompose
- Disposable diapers contain traces of Dioxin, a carcinogenic chemical that is listed by the EPA as the most toxic of all cancer related chemicals.
-Other toxins in disposable diapers include: Tributyl-tin (known to cause hormonal problems) and sodium polyacrylate (linked to toxic shock syndrome)
-Diaper rash was nearly nonexistent before the use of plastic pants in the 1940s.
For more information:
I have some decidedly manlike characteristics. First and foremost is my fondness of jokes about bodily functions. (Incidentally, this is the key reason Sam decided to marry me.) Second is my insane refusal to read directions when making anything. Sometimes this works in my favor (my chicken noodle soup is pretty amazing, many will admit) and sometimes it blows up in my face (the dresser I put together for my daughter falls apart every time a drawer is opened).
With this in mind, I was never talented when it came to sewing. I tried a lot, but after about 20 minutes of using every word I had picked up as a child during calf branding season, I would usually shove my sewing machine back into a corner and whatever “project” I had been attempting into the garbage. At some point I just decided that sewing was not going to be my talent in this lifetime.
One day I found myself needing to be able to sew in order to help my family financially. I had prayed often trying to find a way to help out while staying home with the kids and over and over again I felt that I should try to sew again. In desperation I sat in front of my sewing machine one morning and said and very heartfelt prayer along the lines of, “I don’t have the patience, talents or knowledge to do this, please help me to find all three.” Then I started to sew. My first project was not good. But, I finished it. My second was also not good, but again, completed. I continued to work and eventually I saw improvements. I took some lessons and asked for help when I needed it. I researched my machine online, types of fabrics and threads. I read sites about sewing techniques. One day I woke up and had an email about how professional my sewing looked to someone across the country. That was 6 months after I started. Now I sew professionally several hours a day, every day. (And occasionally for fun.)
What changed? Why was I suddenly able to sew well when for years I had been an embarrassment to the world of sewing? A few things factor in. Desperation is a powerful motivator. Patience can also help. But, what I found most important was constant prayer and keeping my end goal in site; helping my family.
Learning a new skill is not always easy or even enjoyable. But, if it will better your family in any way, it is certainly worth it. I have a firm testimony that the Lord will multiply our talents in any particular area when we have a righteous desire. Now, that doesn’t mean that if I start baking bread I’ll become a master chef down the road, but I will be able to learn how to make bread without burning down my kitchen or poisoning my spouse (unless that was the plan all along…).
Having said all this, what is your goal? What is a talent you wish you had? Do you want to cook more meals from scratch? Sew or just mend clothing? Or maybe you just want to figure out how to budget better or grocery shop more efficiently. These are all skills that could potentially greatly benefit your family. So, now I ask you this: What is stopping you from trying---no, what is stopping you from succeeding?
Back to sewing, here some specific steps I took in order to develop this skill:
1. Prayer. I prayed before I turned on my machine, when I was confused and often when I finished. I still do. Why? Because to be blunt, I need the divine inspiration to work that machine!
2. Lose the pride and ask for help. I hated this. But, I sought out knowledgeable sewers and begged for help.
3. Research. I love the internet. I can find free patterns, instructions and even people to help me with whatever I’m doing.
So, take the time, develop a talent you WANT, to have, and grow financially and spiritually!
[Ed. Note: please see the sewing instructions articles on page 4 for easy sewing patterns you can try.]
*Yes, I have done (or am currently doing) all of these tightwad habits, so feel free to ask me about any of them if they interest you! There are many other ways to be thrifty, I just wanted to make a small list to give you specific examples to think about on your own time.
(For my entertainment, we shall use the following Star Wars based levels: Paduwan, Jedi Knight and Jedi Master. Enjoy.)
(For those who need the training wheels)
- Keeping Cool Whip/Margerine tubs to use as tupperward
- Doubling a casserole and freezing it for later eating (can also freeze one person meal portions for lunchtimes)
- Tearing dryer sheets into ½
- Buy sale items
- Dry your razor after each use to extend the life of the blade
- Make your own baby food (just mash it up)
- Buy food on sale or in bulk
- Use coupons to buy a pizza at your favorite resturaunt
- Use half the amount of dishwasher/laundry soap/shampoo (did you know you only need 1 tablespoon of dishwashing soap to clean your dishes?)
- Make your kids earn their allowance (and pay them slave wages!)
Jedi Knight Tightwad
(A more advanced, yet still not extreme level of frugality)
- Putting fabric softener on a rag and putting in the dryer instead of a dryer sheet
- Make your own bread each week
- Make your own baby wipes with paper towels(ask me for a recipe!)
- Keep your receipts and get price adjustments at stores when items you have purchased go on sale
- Breastfeed (even if you haven’t had success in the past, this is still possible to accomplish with subsequent babies and FREE help is available in our area. Ask me where to go!)
- Use a clothesline in the summer to dry clothing
- Get cheap haircuts
- Grow a garden
- Buy a frozen Pizza instead of going out to eat
- Start a dinner coop and impose a budget
Jedi Master Tightwad
(I also call this the Black Belt Tightwad--- not for the faint of heart, but very rewarding financially and, at least to me, personally)
- Cloth diaper your baby (and use cloth wipes!)
- Wash and reuse baggies and bread bags (not if there was meat in the bag though)
- Make fire starters with toilet paper tubes and dryer lint
- Use a clothesline year round to dry clothing (one indoors and one outdoors--- the added winter benefit is that drying clothes inside like this can help humidify your home a bit)
- Cut your family member’s hair (like you can do worse than your 3 year old with the scissors)
- Grow a garden and can it, dry it, use every last bit of it
- Make pizza from scratch instead of buying a frozen one
- Dumpster dive
- Use cloth pads or reusable cups for your menstrual cycle (diva cups or mama pads are common brands)
- Take all your old stained unusable clothing and sheets, cut them up and use them instead of paper towels for your cleaning around the home
I ran this experiment about a year ago and so the info is no longer accurate, but the idea is good and I thought it would be useful to people who are trying to find ways to cut cost. The general idea is, do your research! Find deals by really looking at the entire situation!
Goal: To find the better all around price for milk throughout one month
Category 1: WIC (lower income provided food)
Category 2: Grocery store shopping
Category 3: Reed’s Dairy home delivery
Average price for 1 gallon of 2% milk: n/a
At 8 gallons of milk per month: n/a
Average price for 1 gallon of 2% milk: $3.29-4.02
At 8 gallons of milk per month: $26.32-32.16 (Averaged to $29.24 to compensate for when you can’t find a deal)
Average price for 1 gallon of 2% milk: $3.40
At 8 gallons of milk per month: $27.20
Add delivery fee 2x per month: $2.50
Total cost: $29.70
At this time, the clear winner is of course WIC. But, since not everyone qualifies, we have to look at the other categories. Category 2 is the marginal winner here. But, we’re not done with this experiment yet. We need to add in the outside factors. Two major factors include the cost of gas (which can be nonexistent if you walk to the grocery store--- plus the benefits of the exercise) and the cost of the “extra” incidental items that are picked up along the way. While I am not yet finished with this experiment, these are my unofficial findings so far:
Cost of Gas: $1
Cost of incidentals (on average) per visit to purchase milk throughout the month: $10
This increases the total monthly cost to: $51.42 (if you pick up milk 2 times a month)
Now Category 3 is the clear winner. But, Category 2 can still win if self control is learned and applied AND instead of driving to the local store, walking.
2 cups of mashed potatos (use the potato pearls from the LDS church cannery for ease and the cheapo factor)
1/2 lb of hamburger (or ANY kind of burger)
1 can of corn
Shredded cheese (however much you want)
Brown the burger
Dump it in a casserole dish and mix in drained can o' corn
Pour the mashed spuds over is and spread nice and smooth
Sprinkle the cheese on
Bake until the cheese is all melty at 400 degrees
Corn: $.50-free if you canned your own corn like we do
Total cost: $3
This feeds our family of 5 plus we have leftovers for lunch for the whole gang.
Tuesday, October 7, 2008
Friday, October 3, 2008
We love their dehydrated eggs! Taste great, awesome for cookies! Also the dehydrated strawberries rock!
Greetings from Honeyville Farms:
SUMMARY: "BIGSAVINGS" Discount Code good for 10% off your entire order* from October 3, 2008 thru October 8, 2008 at 6:00PM PST. Stock up and save!
We're living in some pretty crazy times right now. Everyone seems to be tightening the belt and saving wherever they can. Online food orders have surged in this time of uncertainty. That's why we're offering huge savings for a limited time only. From Friday, October 3rd, 2008 thru Wednesday, October 8th we're offering 10% off your entire order*. Simply enter the discount code: BIGSAVINGS during checkout to receive your instant savings on every item in your cart. This is a great time to stock up on your favorites or try something new.
Visit us at http://store.honeyvillegrain.
Director of E-Commerce
Honeyville Food Products, Inc.
(888) 810-3212 ext. 107
*10% off does not apply to shipping. BIGSAVINGS discount valid for INTERNET ORDERS placed from Friday, October 3, 2008 thru Wednesday, October 8, 2008 at 6:00PM PST. For assistance call (888) 810-3212 and ask for Internet Sales.
This message was sent by: Honeyville Grain, Inc., 11600 Dayton Drive, Rancho Cucamonga, CA 91730