Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Gift Giving

“Strange” you think to yourself as you read begin to read this post. “Why do a post on gift giving? Christmas is over and it’s February for crying out loud!” Well, you will begin to notice a pattern when it comes to my theory on spending: think ahead. Always keep an eye out for potential gift items. For example, you are out shopping for new pajamas for your little girl. You hit a terrific sale and get the perfect pjs for $2! While pawing through the rack, you notice some adorable outfits that are 90% off. These outfits are for a boy, however, and are only in size 0-3 months. Go ahead and buy several and stash them away. The next time you’re invited to a baby shower, you’re all set! I love doing this because I can give so much more! Instead of only giving a $20 outfit, I can give the outfit ($2) along with diapers and shampoo or a lullaby C.D. I have never regretted buying gifts ahead- even when I don’t yet know who will get them! I was digging through a clearance cart at Kroger last week and found 3 boxes of children’s Disney books on C.D. They were originally $14.99 and were marked down to $3.75. I bought all three, getting 2 gifts out of the way for a niece and nephew and leaving an extra gift for later. I also bought a $5 margarita mix on clearance for $1.50 for part of my brother-in-law’s birthday gift. Our family gift limit is $5 per person, so I still have some money left over to round out his gift. So don’t forget to always keep gifts in mind- even in the grocery store. You never know what treasures you’ll find!

Monday, February 22, 2010


Our grocery budget is $50-60 per week. When great deals are scarce and my $50 doesn't buy much, I just get the essentials and rely on the things that I have saved from better weeks. When deals are abundant, I buy extras and put it away for the inevitable "lean" grocery week. Grocery shopping is all about thinking ahead, but not just from week to week. Plan ahead by buying several of the same item when it's really cheap, even if you don't need it right now. It's a good feeling to use up a bottle of laundry detergent and not have to go out and pay $7 for a new bottle. By looking ahead and buying multiples when the price is right, you'll never have to be forced to pay through the nose!

This was a good grocery week at Kroger. Sales were not anything to write home about and I bought nothing on clearance. Today, coupons were the stars of the show. Here is what I got today for $53.88. By the way, I saved a whopping $31.00 by using my coupons and doubling up on Kroger and manufacturer's coupons!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Top 5 Favorite # 3- Post It Notes!

My number 3 pick is the humble Post-It note. No, I'm not being paid by 3M to endorse this wonderful product. (Although I wouldn't complain if they did!) Here are some of the ways I love to use them:
• Perfect for an impromptu love note
I once left them all over the house before going out of town. Here are a few examples if you need some ideas. (Please excuse the corn factor- I love puns!)
”I’m flushed with pride when I think of you.” (I placed this one on the toilet)
”I’m in a pickle without you.” (You guessed it- on the pickle jar in the fridge!)
”You’re a top-drawer kind of guy.” (This one was on his underwear drawer.)
”You turn me on.” (light switch)
• If you're forgetful like me, keep them nearby to place reminders on the mirror, fridge, etc..
• I adore the tiny Post-It strips. They are perfect for marking pages in magazines and cookbooks so that you don’t have to dog ear the pages.
• Keep some in your purse for those inevitable “give me your number” moments.
• Make your grocery list on one and stick it to the handle of the cart
• When you get an important document in the mail but can’t get to it right away, leave it in the stack with a bright Post-It on it so you can see it easily.
• Post-Its can be found in office supply stores and just about everywhere else.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

This Week's Golden Egg

This week's Golden Egg award goes to a lovely little trio I picked up at CVS today. I paid $3.23 and received $2 back in extra care bucks.
Retail Price:
My Price:
Tums $9.99
Tums 75% off + $2 coupon= $0.49
Aussie Spray $2.99
Spray $2.99- $1 coupon= $1.99
Gillette Shave Gel $ 2.59
Shave Gel 50% off + .55 coupon= .75
Total: $15.57
Total: $3.23 Plus $2 back in extra bucks!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Favorite # 2: Essential Oils

As promised, I will now reveal the logic behind my number 2 pick: essential oils. Since essential oils are extracts from plants, their scents simply capture the essence of the plant from which they came. One of my personal favorites is lavender- it's like burying my nose in one of my lavender plants in the summer! There’s a reason they’re called “essential!” I’m still discovering new ways to enjoy them! Here are a few ways I've been using them so far:

• Mix a few drops into Epsom salts for a relaxing bath. Add 2 or 3 drops of food coloring and place in a decorative container or jar for a quick gift.
• Add several drops to distilled water and a splash of rubbing alcohol for a refreshing body or linen spray.
• To freshen a trash can or diaper pail, put several drops on a cotton ball and place inside the can.
• Put a drop on top of your lightbulbs. The warmth of the light will release the scent and freshen the room.
• Mix into unscented lotion for a custom scent.
• Some personal favorite scents include peppermint, orange, and lavender.
• You can find essential oil at your local health food store for about $2-5 a bottle. A bottle will last a long time since you will only need to use a few drops at a time.

Here is how simple it is to make a scented bath soak with epsom salts:

Curious about epsom salts? Check out the amazing benefits of epsom salts at:

Saturday, February 13, 2010

My Top 5 Favorites for Under $5

Don’t you just love a good top 5 list? It’s a tangible acknowledgement of the cream of the crop. A valuable, no nonsense recognition of greatness! With this humble introduction I give you the upper echelon of my most favorite products which I now deem essential to my well-being.

1. Spray Paint
2. Essential Oils
3. Post It Notes
4. Baskets
5. My Pet Paring Knife

I'll start today by singing the praises of my number one pick: spray paint!

Let’s just think of it as “furniture makeup”. Take a pock-marked, unsightly piece of furniture whose battered facade could give scar-face a run for his money. Add a little spray paint and presto! Your unsightly item has a new face and a useful new life.
Here’s a list of things in my house that once needed a little “makeup”:

• Light fixtures- turn shiny brass into black, chrome, or bronze. (Do this outside and out of the wind.)
• Shutters- use a paint specifically designed to bond to plastics.
• Plastic planters- turn a faded pot into a work of art with a textured or hammered finish spray paint.
• Picture frames- spray paint odd frames to form a coordinated grouping. Not sure what color to use? Black or white is always a classic!
• Tables and chairs- I’ll post pictures later of my current chair project!
• Lamp bases
• Cribs & beds- I made a matching set from yard sale finds by painting them all white.
• Baskets- paint them to match the occasion. Red or green for Christmas, metallic for a wedding, or to match a party scheme.
• Mirrors- use painter’s tape and newspaper to cover the mirror while you spray paint the frame.
• Spray paint comes in a variety of colors and textures. Make sure to read the label and use on the recommended surface. Spray paint can be found at any home improvement store. Watch out, you are going to be hopelessly addicted!

Here are some things around the house that were at one time most unsavory characters!