Sunday, February 28, 2010

Keeping a cold somewhat frugal.

I've been hit with a nasty cold. Thankfully we have a BUNCH of medicine already. Rite Aid has done a major free after rebate on cold medicine for the past two years. We buy everything they offer.

No matter how frugal I am, I buy certain products when sick.

My must have cold items:
1. lotion tissues
2. Cepacol (this stuff actually numbs my throat)
3. Vicks vapor rub

When i first started getting sick Dh and I did a Walgreens deal for 3 boxes of lotion tissues. Because I had the good stuff from the start I didn't get the yucky, raw, peeling nose I normally get. While we were able to do a deal for the tissues, and already had plenty of Vicks (however it can be purchased from the dollar store if you need it) we did fork over $4 for the Cepacol.

Anyone else find cold medicine not helpful? Nothing i've taken ever makes me feel a lot better. I've been taking a few kinds because we have it. I don't think i would bother spending money on it. With my 3 must have cold items I could do just fine.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Bento super simple.

We took hubby's little to the aquarium yesterday. To keep expenses in check we packed a lunch. Hubs made sandwiches to go with the bentos. I kept the bentos simple and light.

My Bento

Carrots, hummus, dried mango. Bottome tier has granola bar, chocolate covered almonds, and wheat thins.

Little's bento, Big's bento.

They have the same things I did, with the addition of almonds. Next time I think I'll give the kiddo his carrot level before the snack level. He loves chocolate almonds and granola bars! :)

Monday, February 22, 2010

Budget Clothes, Thrift Store

The other day hubs and I stopped at the thrift store to look for items to make a homemade obstacle course for the dogs. (no luck) but I DID find this amazing skirt for $5! Its a Coldwater Creek skirt in perfect condition! I did forget to check the 'care' tag, and unfortunately its dry clean only. I never buy clothes I have to dry clean. But i thought about it and since I adore this skirt, i would have bought it anyways. I'll just be really careful and not wear it anywhere I eat. I tried to find a shirt that matches the green (looks blue in the photo) but I did not have any luck at that thrift store. I think this is one of those items you have to wear the item to find a match, its a very odd but beautiful shade! That is fine i have another shirt that should work while I'm looking for the perfect one. I LOVE this skirt, its pretty, lined, and flares nicely at the bottom.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Dollar Store Decor

The way I see it is discount stores are a big treasure hunt. Sometimes you have to dig through piles of junk to find something really exciting. Dollar stores have some great stuff, but little of it would get me really super excited. I buy lots of things from there. In fact if i have a general need for say staples, I'll look there first. Hubby and I went into our local Dollar Tree to buy a little candy for the movie. I found these awesome wall stickers in the kitchen section. They had some kid themed stickers, flowers, polka dots, and these gems.

It says: Family a gift that last forever. I put the sticker in the hallway above the photo college of our wedding.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Thrift store sale, final part.

Now i have all this individual pieces, how can I wear them?

Simple gray shirt ($2) dressed up a little with the purple scarf. ($2,50) It probably wont be tied like this, but I needed to tie it this way for the photo.
Blue tank ($3) with ($3.50) the jean jacket.

The same ($3) tank with the ($5) tan jacket.

Same blue jacket ($3,50) with the ($3) peach tank.

The tan jacket ($5) with the ($3.50) peach tank.

Of course there is way more that can be done with the new clothes. I'm thinking the purple shirt, blue jeans from this post with the blue jacket shown above. My much loved t-shirt from this post with the tan jacket above.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Thrift store sale part 4.

This tan jacket is awesome and will probably be worn a lot. I've been looking for cute jackets, thankfully i found them on half off day! Marked $10 it cost a mere $5.

This scarf is brand new, a mix of cotton and silk. It was marked $5, i paid $2.50. I LOVE scarfs, they can really jazz up a plain outfit.

This jacket was marked $7! Of course I paid just $3.50. The photo doesn't do it justice.

Originally thrift store price $22. But half off day cost just $11.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

2 tips to avoid fast food on busy nights.

Twice a week Hubby and I take water aerobics. Its an hour long class and we love it. The problem is we get out of the locker room right when we would be sitting down to dinner. And we're even more tired/hungry after an hour of swimming. Did i mention we drive right past a Mc Donalds on the way home? I use two strategies to keep us from grabbing a burger.

1. Pack a snack.
Even if we will be eating right when we get home i try to pack some almonds to eat on the way home. This keeps us from driving through for 'just 1 cheeseburger' to tide us over.

2. Swim nights are quick dinner nights.
I usually use the crock pot to have dinner ready when we get home. I'll also serve sandwiches for quick meals. Today i made our dinner (Mexican lasagna from an article in Healthy Cooking) in advance, to bake when we get home. I haven't tried this before but the recipe can be frozen, so I think this will work fine.

I hate stopping for fast food on the way home from swim. After working out and feeling great from all the stretching I don't enjoy eating fattening foods! I'm also too worn out to cook a full meal, but with some pre-planning its not a problem. Dinner is served, and NOT from a bag! :)

Thrift store sale part 3

This basic black skirt was marked $6. But due to the half off goodness, it was just $3. I wanted a long black skirt for church, to help keep me warm.

Since frugality requires foresight I checked over the capris. Marked $8 but I spent just $4.

This skirt is my prized find. Its brand new with tags from Macy's still attached. Their price was $118, the thrift store's price was $20. I forked over a whopping $10 for the brand new, linen skirt.

Thrift store original price $34. Half off day price is $17,

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Thrift store sale part 2

This gray sweater is far cuter in person. It didn't photograph well which is a shame, its awesome! Its originally $4 (a steal by itself!) but it was on sale for $2! This summery blue shirt was originally $5, but its half off day so it was just $2.50!
I think this was my favorite find. Its kind of a purple blue that looks great on me. I would never have paid the $10 it was marked. But $5? Oh yeah!

Original thrift store price $19. Half off day $9.50

Monday, February 15, 2010

Thrift store sale! Beware the mania!

Our local thrift store was having a 50% off day. It was advertised almost a week in advance, I had it on the calender. Because it wasn't just a regular one color half off day, oh no every apparel item was half off. I bought a HUGE bag of clothes for $50. One of the items I really love is a sparkly blue tank marked $6. But its half off so it cost just $3!

This black sleeveless shirt was marked $4 so it cost $2. It will look cute under a black sweater.

This pretty peach tank was $6, on sale for $3.

This white workout tank was originally $5 on sale for $2,50. For a Danskin tank!

Total before the sale $21, already a good deal. But $10.50 is definitely better! This is just a small taste of what I scored, more to follow!

Dollar Bento Gear

This weekend Hubby and I went to target for a coupon deal. While there I found these in the dollar bin.
They come in a package of 6 for a dollar. They are not as strong as the muffin liners I like to use, but they are a little stronger then Daiso's. I'm excited to use them!

Friday, February 12, 2010

Large tax return? How do you keep your hands off?

Twice a year Hubby and I get large amounts of money. He gets a re-enlistment bonus, and because of that his tax return is always quite large. When we were up to our eyeballs in debt, the majority of the money from the bonus and tax return would go to that. And while we enjoyed paying off the debt it always felt kind of like a loss. Here is this large amount of money and you do not get to spend ANY of it. Major bummer! What we've started doing (and it works quite well) is with each large sum of money we get a chunk to spend. We also get a chunk for clothes. This keeps us from feeling like we do not get to touch the money but still allows most of it to be saved. (or applied to the baby's loan!) We feel down right rich when we get the money, its 2.5 month's worth of spending money for us. I stashed mine away in my savings account in till there is something i really, really want to buy.

Using this method DH and I spend only 8% of our tax return on frivolous items. The rest went to the baby's loan, (60%) emergency fund, clothes and the small amount we had on our credit card from the foster baby's preparations. That 8% feels like a fortune to us, and both of us are incredibly excited about it!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Clothes for thrift store haters

I know you exist. Some people just can't stand the thrift store. It doesn't matter if they can find new, perfect condition items for just a few dollars. They are not going in the thrift store. I have several friends like this. No matter what I say they are not shopping the thrift store. Does that mean they are doomed to spend a fortune on clothes? Not if they are willing to employ patience and foresight. There is a lot of ways to buy new clothes for cheap. Online, outlet stores, and my favorite clearance. While it may take longer to find that perfect pair of jeans shopping this way if your patient you can find great savings. My recent JcPenny stop yielded 3 purchases. I love JcPenny clothes. They are well made, I can usually find something cute, and with clearance find great bargains. Total for these 3 items before discounts, $108.99. OUCH!

This color looks great on me. Its a simple shirt but layered under a cute jacket (that I'm still looking for) it will look cute. In till i find the perfect cheap little jacket, the green shirt will look fine alone. Originally $30 (gasp!) I paid $5.97

Its hard to tell from the photo how cute this shirt is. On the shirt is fitted but not tight. The color is perfect. I loved this shirt enough to fork out $8.77. Originally it was $44.

I've been looking for a pair of dark jeans for months! I couldn't believe my luck when I found this pair for $6.97. Originally $34.99!

The 3 items cost me $21.71. Originally all 3 would have been $108.99, that is a difference of $87.28. Even thrift store haters are able to save a fortune on clothes if they are willing to shop around and wait.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Thrift store clothing finds

Do you shop the thrift store for clothes? I do. I used to hate the thrift store as a kid, i refused to go in there. Now my mom cracks up when i tell her how much I love the thrift store. I totally do. Not only can you find cheap clothes, you can find really well made cute items. I once bought a pink gap angora sweater for $2. Can't beat that! I love to hunt through the racks looking for an amazing find. I try to look only at the tags that are half off, but sometimes I find something I love and can't pass up.

I'm young, mid twenties and I like to wear cute clothing. I do like to own a few trendy pieces of clothing. That doesn't mean I buy something just because its trendy. It has to be an item i like, a color that looks good on me, and a cut that flatters my body. Not to mention a good buy! I'm also a plus sized gal, meaning it is harder to find cute items. Harder, but not impossible even at the thrift store.

This brand new t-shirt was marked $7. I paid $3.50. I LOVE this shirt. The style is very flattering, the color is great and its super comfortable. I will wear this shirt a lot.

This sweater was marked $6, I paid $3. At first i almost walked away from this because its a bit funky for my taste. I took it into the fitting room (and I despise fitting rooms, everyone teases me about my fitting room hatred lol) and to my surprise it looked really cute on. On the hanger it looked like a shapeless lump, but on me its adorable.

This shirt was $2, full price. I couldn't pass it up! I LOVE skirts, especially in the summer. Its still a little cold to wear this but when it warms up a few degrees I have a feeling this baby will get a lot of use.

This skirt (with my loved top) was marked $7. I paid $3.50. Its hard to see in the photo but it has a line of pink running down the fabric. I'll have to try the skirt and shirt on to see if I can wear them together. I love the embroidery on the skirt, unfortunately the date covers it up a little.

This skirt was also purchased from the thrift store but I can't remember for how much. I love it though, I've been looking for a cute floral skirt for months. When I found it i ran over to hubby who failed to be appropriately excited lol. The skirt looks perfect with my loved shirt. I really cant wait for the weather to warm up enough to wear this!

Excluding the skirt these clothes cost $12. For two skirts, a tee shirt, and a sweater.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Valentines day on a budget

While hubby and i never did a huge, super expensive Valentines day we did budget considerably more for it then we will this year. Why? Because we're adopting from Africa! A baby will be our most precious gift and we're willing to sacrifice for her.

Normal budget
Hubby $100
Me $100
Dinner $20-$50
Total $220-$250

This year
Hubby $10
Me $10
Dinner $24 (church banquet)
Total $44

That is a huge savings people! What can we buy each other for a mere $10?
Hubby requested a Machete. A machete. For real. Not my idea of romance, but it pleases him so i guess its romantic.
I want flowers. Not cut flowers but flowers that come with roots. I love flowers. Depending on what kind hubs goes for he should be able to buy 2-5 pots for me.

I'm going to make a cookie cake for hubby using the cake decorating supplies I already have. He's supposed to make something too but I don't know what he has planned.

Our budget took a huge drop but I don't feel deprived at all, I'm enjoying the small budget. And the sacrifice? Totally worth it.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Sorry revenge card game review

Last night hubs and I spent 2 hours playing our new Sorry revenge game. It was awesome, fast paced, competitive and fun! I recommend the game for people who can do math quickly in their heads, otherwise the game would be slow. We had a blast playing our $2 game.

If you haven't bought yours yet, get on it! I heard the coupons have been reset, i might pick up a few more for gifts. . .

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Do you have card game players in your family?

I like to play the occasional game. My mom and husband LOVE to play card games. Against each other, loud and rude having a great time. When i saw this post for a .24 cent game I jumped on it! I purchased mine at Target and the coupon scanned fine even though the cashier frowned over it. Hubby and I talked it over and decided to go back for more packs. The deals were not quite as good $1.99 a pack but the coupon saved $4 off each one.
Before coupons the cards would have cost $23.21 (i wouldn't pay that!)
After coupons $6.21
The scrabble game will go into the gift closet for mom's Christmas.
I was excited to find these coupons in two of the packages. I hoped to roll them into more card games but the have the item's sku on the side. However they don't expire till 12-31-2012 (for real!) so i should be able to find a good deal to use the coupon!