Tag Archives: money saving ideas

Yard Sales 101

Okay folks, it is yard sale season.  I am gearing up for a good hunt!!  By now you should know me well enough to know that I am a planner when it comes to shopping.  Living on a budget has taught me one thing:  plan before you shop.  Although, yard sales are fun and inexpensive; a penny and a quarter can add up quickly.


It is wise to plot your course when yard saling.  You can find your local newspaper will have many of the sales listed in their classifieds.  Plan a morning route using the addresses listed.  I am a big fan of “neighborhood” sales.  I actually only shop at “neighborhood” sales now.. competitive pricing.  Some neighborhoods offer maps to the houses.


Stock up on quarters and ones..  And have a spending limit.  I usually only take $20-$40 with me.  Once the money is gone I am done… no excuses and no trips to the ATM.  I will say this though..I broke the rule once…shocking isn’t it.. I happened upon a bedroom suite for my daughter.  It was practically new and only $100.  I pounced!  Called Mark to hit the ATM!

Shopping List:

Oh yeah! That’s right you read it correctly… a shopping list.  I make a list of items that I need to either replace because ours is too worn out or things we wish we could have.. I am always looking out for certain things.  I know I’m weird but it makes the shopping less compulsive if I have a list.

This year’s list:

gallon size pitcher

picture frames sizes 11×14

king size bedding

twin size bedding

books to read on vacation

lawn furniture

Yard Sales are fun and they are a real economical way to shop.  I have enough stuff already so it is really hard to not buy things just because they are cheap.  But, trust me if you go looking with a list you will think twice about buying something compulsively because remember you only have so much money with you..  Oh and don’t forget to ask if they will take less than the sticker price.

Have fun!!

Earth Day

Why is it that we designate one day each year to focus on an idea?  Don’t you think the world would be a better place if we lived life as if every day was Christmas?  People would be singing and being nice every day.  In April, we celebrate our Administrative Professionals.  Suppose we celebrated our employees every day..don’t you think that  creating an environment that is respected and appreciated that job performance would increase??  How many of you celebrated National No Housework Day on April 7th??  If you look around my place, you would know I am still celebrating!!  There are so many days it is hard to celebrate them all… well, here’s an idea,  what if we lived every day in God’s Word..He teaches for us to love one another and to do unto others as we would for ourselves.  If we would just live our lives as He has intended every day would be Christmas… we would be singing His praises and loving God for Christ.  Our employees wouldn’t need a special day to point out the fact we appreciate them…because our Christ-like actions would already show them.   And as for housework… you know where I am going so I won’t even start..

So now today is Earth Day.  The day we are more “Green” focused.  I believe that was one of the first responsibilities God gave us:

Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” Genesis 1:26

He gave us “dominion” over this ONE Earth..shame on us for taking it for granted.  So instead of making it a point to be aware of going green..let’s actually do it.

And here’s a few ideas you can incorporate on a daily basis:

1.  Rid your home and routine of paper products like paper towels, paper plates, paper napkins.  You can use old worn out T-shirts for the towels.  Use real plates and linen napkins instead of paper.  It really makes a difference not only for the environment but your budget.

2.  Ban plastic baggies in your home.  Try out my earth-friendly baggie alternatives for packing lunches.  Use the bowls and corning-ware you got as wedding gifts to store food in the refrigerator.   I put plates over my bowls to keep food from drying out.

3.  Refuse the plastic bags from the grocery store and use cloth totes instead.

4.  Make it a point not to forget your cloth totes before heading out to the store.. I feel so guilty when I forget.

5.  Compost

6.  Set your thermostats to 78-80 during the summer and 65-68 in the winter.   You will be surprised in how much money you will save.

7.  Use your dryer less.  I hang out my clothes.  I know it isn’t for everyone but it is a good workout and I love the lower electric bills.

8.  Recycle… Recycle.. Recycle…  I have been plagued with guilt on this one..we do not have a convenient nor comprehensive way of recycling in my area.   It is time that it changes…there are three different recycling drop off centers in our county… in order for me to recycle paper, plastic and aluminum cans I will have to spend half a day driving from place to place because each area only accepts a certain  recyclable item.  The burning of gas and the inconvenience turns people off from recycling.. I am one of those turned off. .. and I am ashamed to admit it… Perhaps our local government needs to be more aware of  Earth Day.   Let’s call them today.. shall we???

9.  Drive less.. walk more…  Do I need to point out the obvious?

10.  Do your part.. parents teach your kids…kids teach your parents… God only gave us one Earthly home.

Challenge Update

On April 7th, I challenged you guys to clean out your freezer. You were challenged to make your meals from your freezer and see how long you can go without grocery shopping.  And in the meantime, you were asked to see how much money you have saved by eating out of your freezer.  I’ve been doing this right along with you!!

Here’s my freezer on April 7th:

freezer 001

And on April 16th:

freezer 002

In those 11 days I only purchased 1 gallon of milk, a tub of butter, and a dozen eggs.  I even skipped purchasing Angel Food for this month.  My normal Wal-Mart trip costs me $120 a week.  Those 11 days cost me only $5.30.

I sat down to do my weekly menu on the 16th.  I still had enough food to cover dinners this week and most of next week.  But, I was out of sugar, coffee, creamer, sweet-n-low, and kool-aide.  I couldn’t bake and, poor Mark, needed his coffee!!  $29.41 was spent for the groceries.  So now we are back on track and I can’t wait to share a picture next week of the freezer!

Remember the freezer challenge ends next week on the 28th.  Email me pictures and let me know how much money you have saved.   Someone will win a freezer cookbook!!

Happy eating!!

Movie Nite

Okay, I must admit the guys over at Wal-Mart’s marketing department are doing a pretty good job at reaching customers with the best-value, do-it-yourself idea.  I agree with the ideas behind the DIY entertainment, cooking, and projects galore.  However, I like to prove my point that you don’t necessarily have to purchase as much or anything to entertain, cook, and to do a project.

I saw a commercial recently for WM (Wal-Mart) about a family enjoying a night at home watching movies instead of going out to the movies.  Again, I agree wholeheartedly with the at home concept.  Doing my weekly shopping, I noticed in the “big” aisles where they normally have off-beat “Now Lower Priced” displays, WM has displays that coincided with their recent commercials.  And there I was standing in front of a display for the movie nite commercial.

As you can see the DVD’s are $10, popcorn $3, and Pepsi $1….. Totaling  $14.  A far cry from the cost of the movie theater.  Around here tickets are $8.50 and a popcorn/drink combo requires a second mortgage.  I can’t even begin to quote you a price because we never get it at the dollar theater.  I am assuming it is close to $10.  So you are roughly spending $34 for 4 tickets.  Add in a tub of popcorn and a drink (shared of course) and your cost is $44. So, yes, WM’s movie nite is a lot more affordable.

So, I compared our weekly movie nite cost to WM’s.  A DVD movie is free from the library.  If we can’t find anything from the public library, we turn to our personal DVD collection for a good  movie.

I make two large pizzas:

Jiffy Pizza Dough Mix (2 boxes) $1.04

WM brand pizza sauce $1

Pride Farm Turkey Italian Sausage (1 lb.) $1

Cheese $4

Onions and Bell Peppers (1/2 each)  $.88

Total for 2 pizzas: $7.92

Around here we drink iced tea which costs mere pennies to make.  So far, the Dettra movie night has cost us roughly $8.  At that price, you can even afford a box of Dollar General popcorn that only costs $1.50.  And if you really want soda, WM’s brand of soda is just $.58 for a 2 liter.   Plus,  if you can’t find a movie at the library, visit your local RedBox for a $1 movie.

So have yourself a wonderful Movie Nite!!

God Bless…..

Crazy Week Pitfalls

Oh My Goodness!!!  Last week was definitely one of those crazy weeks.  I was so busy that my weekly shopping was being pushed out-of-the-way for more important obligations that needed my attention.  We were still doing fine with meals for dinner.  Thank God for Angel Food Ministries keeping my freezer affordably stocked!!  However, our lunch and breakfast items were running extremely low or completely out.

Drastic measures were being taken.  I began stopping at the little corner convenient store near our home  for bread, milk, and other foods to tie us over until I could manage a grocery trip.  I spent $5 for a gallon of milk.  $3 for a loaf of bread.  Each purchase was dipping into my weekly budget of $120.  We even had to make a fast food drive by while getting from one event to another only because we didn’t have bread or peanut butter to make sandwiches.   I am ashamed to say that I completely fell for the “crazy week pitfall!”  And it was quite pitiful I might add.

So yesterday I had a window of opportunity to sit down to make out my grocery list.  We had just picked up our Angel Food so we were good to go with dinners for the next four weeks.  I sat there and planned out the meals like I always do.  I checked my pantry and refrigerator for items that needed replenishing or for items I had to make the delicious meals I was planning.  I was on top of everything.

After the planning was done, I did my regular estimating of the cost.  $129 was the total.  OUCH!  Nine dollars over my budget.  But then remembering the stops throughout the week, I pulled out my receipts and started adding up what was already spent for the weekly Angel Food cost and those items purchased here and there all week.  Oh dear…..I only had $65 left of my weekly allowance.  A far cry from the $129 I just estimated.

At this point, I had a choice.  I could have just gone with the $129 menu or start over.  I chose to start over.  I reevaluated my list.  Cutting out things that we could wait another week for…..that elminated $30.  So then I looked at my menu of wonderful yummy meals and redesigned it.  Now, I was at a grand total of $85.  I worked and reworked that menu and couldn’t get it under $85.  That is $20 over my weekly allowance.

So, anyway, I was off to the ATM to get cash.  I could only get out $80 or $100.  Missing the old days of increments of $5, I selected $80 knowing that something was going to have to be sacrificed.  Armed with my list and $80, I set out to shop.

One trick I have learned while shopping is to use a calculator.  I have it in my hand the whole time I am putting things in my cart.  Adding a running total of the purchases in the buggy helps me keep within my alloted cash I have on me.  Plus this keeps me from having to guess how much I am spending and from the embarrassing, “oh dear, I don’t have enough money….let’s put back….”  Been there??

Another trick is I round up to the nearest dollar to compensate for the taxes.  I punch in $2 for a product that is priced $1.02.  This trick really helps out a lot. I would rather be way off on the calculator than way too short of cash at the register.

Well, as I was shopping and tallying up my expenditures, I was making decisions as well.  Like, for example, peanut butter….Mark loves crunchy, Justin doesn’t and Joellen can’t because of braces….well, instead of buying both I just got creamy.  Mark will live for a week without crunchy.  Instead of toothpaste that costs $2 I chose the $1 smaller one.  I know that the $2 bigger one will eventually cost me less because it will go further but I didn’t have the wiggle room this week.  Clean healthy teeth was my goal.  Those little last minute decisions paid off.

I spent $70 on the nose. I had $10 to spare.  I was only $5 over my budget. Needless to say that the smile across my face at the register was worth the hard work.  So a lesson was learned, when you get in a crunch for time and think that it is worth stopping at the convenient store for necessities, the price paid will only end up costing you in the long run.