Wednesday, June 30

The Coupon Game

I am learning slowly, the coupon game while shopping.  My sister told me awhile ago the trick is to not buy things with coupons when you need them, to buy them when you find a deal so that you later have it when you do need it.  Sunday I bought the paper and clipped my coupons, it was kinda fun actually, Ella helped.  I found a couple of online sites, recommendations from a blog comment, thanks for the tip!  Today I did some shopping and would love to share my deals...

  • Had a $2 off coupon from the paper for some Schick Razors.  Read online that Walmart carried these razors for $1.97 and sure enough they did.  12 pack of razors after coupon FREE. 
  • $2 off coupon for some Bic razors (pack of 4), had two of these coupons.  Walmart had them on sale for $2.88 price after coupons .88 each. 
  • $2.50 off coupon for Finish Dishwashing tablets package of 20.  Price at WM was $3.87 price after coupon $1.37.
  • Edge mens shaving cream was $1.97 on sale for $1.68 used a .75 coupon, price after coupon .93
  • Womens Skintimates shave gel was $1.97 on sale for $1.68 used a .75 coupon, price after coupon was .93
  • Colgate toothpaste $1.50, used a .75 coupon, price after coupon was .75
  • New Kellogs Cinnabon breakfast cereal at WM was $1.90 a box which is a good deal in itself, I had 2 coupons for $1 off each so price after coupon was .90 a box
I saved about $14 which was not a bad start in my opinion. Next I headed on over to Safeway as today a new ad was running.  The big deal I was going for and I had no coupons was they had all Pepsi and Coke products 12 packs on sale starting today for buy 2 get 4 free, yes you read that right.  Almost every available 12 pack was in this deal, from regular Coke and Pepsi to Dr. Pepper, Sprite, 7-up, Root Beer, Fresca and so on...and there was NO LIMIT. The regular price of a 12 pack is 5.99 so buy 2 for 11.98 and get 4 free.  Well here in Calif, not exactly free as we are charged a CRV fee on each pack.  Basically everytime we buy a can, a bottle, plastic, glass, aluminium we are charged a fee for recycling.  So "if" you return those items to a recycling center you basically get your money back, but how many people actually do.  So the CRV fee on each 12 pack came to .60.  Now normally we very rarely have soda in our home the summer we have camping trips, BBQ's etc so we do buy and drink it.  I bought 8- 12pks at 5.99 each and got 16- 12pks for FREE.  It would have cost me at regular price for the 24 -12 pks a whopping $158 and change and that is including the CRV fee.  My cost for the 24- 12pks with the CRV fee included was $62.32 so nearly a $100 savings and averaged out to a cost of about $2.60 a 12pk.  I have soda coming out my ears but I am guessing this will last us 6 months or more at least!  I also picked up some hot dogs and threw them in the freezer when I got home.  They were on sale for buy 1 get 2 free, Oscar Meyer so I got 3 packages for around $4.50 I think and saved almost $10 on those.  I am sure I could have found a coupon online for the soda and the hot dogs and did not even think about it till afterwards...maybe next time.

Monday, June 28

Something "FREE" you can do with the kids this summer!

I don't recall exactly how I found about this but really wanted to pass the info along.  Apparently they have been doing this for years and this is the first I am hearing about it.

Regal Theater Summer Family Film Festival FREE
We have planned a fun-filled summer of select movies for kids and parents. Regal has proudly offered this free summer fun since 1991. Oh, did we mention that it’s FREE!

Selected G or PG movies start at 10:00am every Tuesday and Wednesday during the festival. Tickets and seating are first-come, first-served and are limited to theatre capacity.

The Free Family Film Festival is safe, lots of fun and a great way for kids to spend a weekday morning in the summer. Tickets for our 2010 Free Family Film Festival are exclusively available at select theatres’ box office on the day of the show. check out the link to check your state and city near you...
Regal Theaters Film Festival click on your state and a list of theaters will come up and you can then find the nearest one to you.

I had to google a few of the movies but we are going as often as we can.  Even if they have seen it before it's a great way to get out of the house, enjoy some A/C, and have a little outing for FREE!

Friday, June 25

Grocery Shopping on a Budget

We are on a serious budget these days as things are very tight.  I am usually a good grocery shopper, only buy whats on sale etc...but today I tryed something different.  I first actually went through my cabinets and marked things on my list that we needed and really tryed to stick to that list.  Despite the fact that normally I am pretty good at shopping it never fails that I come home with something we already have and that is money I could have saved.  So after checking the cabinets and the local grocery ad, I checked online for printable coupons which took forever might I add.  I did not really find any great ones but I did try. 

My sister is an awesome coupon shopper but ...she also lives in Tennessee and they have double coupon days. California or at least the Northern part where I have always lived does not do that, oh how I wish they did!  So I took my list, my newspaper, my coupons and my calculator, yes my calculator!  I had a certain amount in mind I could spend but knowing we are having a bunch of people over tomorrow night for a BBQ I knew I would probably go over that with feeding extra people and providing beverages (it is potluck but are providing meat and a salad and a few desserts).

My grocery shopping trip today took nearly 2 hours!  I calculated every single item on my handy dandy calculator as I went along.  I even found that some items on sale were not such a deal.  Tositito's chips were buy one get one free for $4.99 but....if I bought a different brand for the same price I got twice as much.  I got everything on my list and of course a few things I realized I needed once I got there.  I waited until I was done with everything on my list to decide on the meat we were going to serve tomorrow. I could not find anything reasonable so I decided to check out and try and different store.  I checked out and I was only $10 over my initial budget, now granted I had not bought the meat yet but I had bought all the beer and soda's which is something that would not normally be on my list.

I ran across the street to another grocery store and was able to buy all the chicken on sale, some cheaper hot dog buns and some BBQ sauce, all were cheaper than the other store.  It was definitely worth the drive across the street. So all in all, I did pretty good.  I spent about $40 or so over my initial budget but....I consider that good considering in one night we will be feeding 10+ people and I know we will have left-overs!  And oh...I earned a 10 cent discount per gallon on gas by spending a certain amount of money.  Normally I would not be excited about that as the only gas station near that we can use it on is in a different town. husband just transferred his job to that town! So he can use the discount to fill up on his way home one evening, that all add's up!

Definitely a learning process and I hope to get much better.  I would love to have those coupon days and a dollar store nearby but we don't.  I do know that there is no way I could have shopped today with my kids in tow....(they are visiting my parents) I think grocery shopping may be one of those late night events I will have to start doing after the kids go to bed and the hubby is home. 

If anyone has any helpful tips to help save money, please, please do share!

Monday, June 21

Vintage Inspired Baby Album

I promised a good friend and former room-mate that I would do her baby's first year album.  Well, her daughter just celebrated her 3rd birthday a few weeks ago so I was bound and determined to get this done before she entered college.  In my defense...I did just receive the pictures from her in the last few months so I am not too far behind.  My kids are gone visiting my parents and have been for nearly a week so I thought this to be the perfect opportunity to roll up my sleeves, break out the supplies and get to cracking. 

I used a 8"x8 " format so the pages are rather simple as you just cannot fit all that much on each page, not to mention I need to be able to have the album many items, to many pages and it just won't close right.  All the papers and most of the embellishments are made by Melissa Frances.  I just love the vintage inspired lines she carries, and this baby line was perfect for my needs.  Papers, little tags with places for mommy to fill in the important information, cute little 3-D stickers with some bling, I am loving this line and it it working out perfect for a themed album.

Here are a few of my favorite pages so far but first I wanted to show you what my work space looked like after 2 days of scrapping! I hate when I let it get this messy while working as I spend half my time looking for things than I do actually creating. It is now clean and reorganized, even my husband walked by and one point and said " have yourself one mess there babe!"  This is why I cannot do this when my kids are around...

I did not take a picture due to privacy issues but I have found making these smaller albums that the "collage" prints you can have made are ideal for placing many many pictures on one layout.  I was able to create a collage of her "labor and birth" in a 5"x7" format and used 7 pictures on one 8"x8" page and there was also enough room to journal about the event as well. 

Sunday, June 13

Patio Goodness...

Tonight we got  home from yet another graduation party, can I mention here I "hate" the heat!!  95 degrees is just to hot, especially when you do not have air conditioning, Ok, so back to my story.  Melting in my home I decided to kick off my shoes and check my email, to which I found something being offered on Freecycle again that I wanted (see post below for explanation of Freecycle).  Items such as these, well, I am never the first to respond, but to my delight I was and when It cooled down this evening I went and picked it up.  A white iron patio set, table and 4 chairs in all its chippy goodness...

It needs a good washing or hose down but...I love it.   Two of the chairs have this lovely rose pattern on the back and also on the arms and the other two chairs have a vine pattern on the back.

The set is pretty chippy, and although it would only take a few cans of white spray paint to spruce it up, I am thinking for now it will remain as is. 

Best was FREE!!!

Don't you just LOVE free??

Sunday, June 6

Tote Bag Sew Along All Finished!

As you may have read earlier this month I took part in a blog sew along.  Trying to improve my sewing skills which I am doing slowly I thought this to be the perfect chance to do so...without having to buy a pattern and also because there were step by step instructions.  So for all my fellow sew along are my totes!  (yes, I made more than one).

This I made for a friend who has a in fact! Hoping she does not read this post before I give it to her. Notice I added the flower to the rim rather than an bow from the ribbon.

Inside lining

I did take a short cut and rather than hand sewing the top ribbon all the way around, I thread it through the belt loops and then ran a diagonal stitch through the middle of each strap end to secure it.  I did this on all the bags.

This next tote I made for my niece who just turned 13 a couple of weeks ago.  Fun tween prints and a perfect little bag for her sunscreen, Ipod, a book her swimsuit and such.

and finally this last tote I made for myself.  I added an outside pocket as I like to keep my keys handy. I backed it with a heavier fleece interfacing and it is lined, the top is gathered with elastic.  Not to thrilled with the "2" flowers, I should have only used one.  Note to self...when using fabric glue be absolutely sure of placement and whether you want it placed at all cause once you get it on the fabric there is no washing it off!!  Lesson learned...I changed up the pockets inside, and rather than using a ribbon on the top through the loops I made one using the coordinating fabric.  The ric rac on the bottom has been replaced with a wider grosgrain ribbon that was sewed on with the machine on both top and bottom of the ribbon.  My side panels were not matching well so this was the better alternative as the ric rac would not have covered the mismatched seams.

So there you have it.  Thanks so much to I Got The Notion for hosting this sew along.  I learned a lot and had a lot of fun, so thank you!!

Friday, June 4

Trash to Treasure

For those of you who have Freecycle in your area, don't you just love it?  For those of you who do not , Freecycle is a Yahoo based local web group where you post your want items and also offer items you do not want, all for free!  Several weeks ago we had several items we no longer needed, a bed frame, broken patio umbrella, yard fountain that needed a new cord, an old recliner chair, sheets for a twin bed we no longer had etc.  I posted my offers on Freecycle, interested parties email me back to which I respond with my address.  You put the free item on your porch and they come and get it, everything we listed was gone within 24 hours I am not kidding! Same scenario when you yourself reply to something being offered and you go and pick it up.  Since we have moved here I have acquired a love seat for the kids room and it was in "excellent" condition, patio chairs, tool box, hand me down clothes for the kids, and so much more.  It is a great concept to recycle things you don't want rather than taking to the landfill.  This week I responded to an add for a shelf unit.  Needing something by our front door to hold our keys, all my hubby's items that he nightly empties from  his pockets and such I quickly responded, you have to be fast cause the items can go in minutes.  This is what it looked like when I picked it up earlier this week:

with my handy dandy power sander it did not take all that long to sand it down and remove all the lacquer it had on it

I was not crazy about the top part of the unit, looked odd so I had hubby cut it off for me. I used a white interior semi-gloss paint that I also received off of freecycle (got about half a gallon...for free!).  I ran to Home depot and got 4 new knobs, cheap ones but pretty and a new paint brush.  Total cost of this entire project $11 and this is what it looks like now...

Not to bad for FREE!

So if you have never heard of Freecycle you "must" google and see if there is a message board in your area. Frrecycle has saved me a ton of money on purchasing items I need and also on money I would have spent taking items to the local landfill.  Remember...your trash may be someone else's treasure and vice versa!