I found a great lamp at Goodwill last week for a whopping $4.50. The low price was probably due to its 1980's fake brass sheen. (It it were an oil-rubbed bronze finish that puppy would have been so much more!) Anyway, five minutes and a bit of black spray paint later, I have what I've been looking for: a respectible floor lamp that's perfect for my front porch! You can see its $179.00 cousin here: http://www.potterybarn.com/products/adair-floor-lamp/?pkey=cfloor-lamps
For many of you, yard sale season has officially begun. I'm happy for you, really. And I'm also a very, very deep shade of green! Can you tell it hasn't started where I am???? Anyway, here's what you need to stay ahead of the game: (Unless you are a man, in which case I would recommend ditching the purse...)
Purse: long strap allows you to jump in and out of the car without taking it off your shoulder. Unlike a change purse, it cannot be left behind if it is still riding on your shoulder. No, it doesn't win points for style, but your bargains will!
Ibuprofen: for those headaches that come with the terrain.
Lollipops: if you have little critters in tow, these are a good idea.
List: keep a list of measurements for furniture and other items you are looking for either for you or for someone else.
Glasses/sunglasses: you need your eagles eyes to spot those deals.
Energy bar: keeps your blood sugar from tanking- the show must go on!
Mini-measuring tape: please tell me I don't have to explain this one...
Plenty of $1 bills, quarters, nickels and dimes
Your game face
**I will post more at a later date on techniques for getting the most for your moolah.
My favorite nail polish is the loud coral color you see on the right. By the end of winter I'm just dying to add a splash of color to my toes! The problem with this is that after months of hibrinating under thick wool socks, my feet look more dead than alive. Painting my toes in the bright coral color only serves to heighten the pallor of my mayonaise-colored feet. (Yuck- bad word picture!) By kicking off toenail-painting season with a pale color and working my way up to the brighter colors that belong on tanned tootsies, I (along with everyone else) can avoid the shock of seeing cadaver-like feet that cry out for negative attention!
*Can you tell what brand of polish is always on sale?!
My daughter would often rather "help" me around the house than play with her toys. This can prove to be a challenge for me, especially when I'm cleaning. So if you're like me and you need a little breathing room while you work, this should do the trick. Give your child a rag or old washcloth and a spray bottle filled with water and a few drops of essential oil. Designate the rag and bottle as theirs so they feel responsible for them. Now when you are cleaning, give them something to clean too. Some ideas include wiping down cabinet doors, baseboards, stove door fronts, or the floor. The essential oil not only smells great, but helps your little one to feel that they are really cleaning- not just playing with water. You may be surprised when your little one's play cleaning improves and you can even see results!
Have out-of-towners visiting? Dazzle them with a fun DIY yogurt breakfast! Set out an assortment of fruits along with plain yogurt, honey, and/or sugar. Place your blender nearby so guests can whip up their favorite combinations. Top yogurt with homemade granola for a filling and fun breakfast.
*This is great for picky eaters to "customize" their own breakfast. Kids also love it because they can choose and add their favorite combinations.
When your child graduates from crib to bed, don't put that crib mattress in storage! Stash it under your child's bed for an instant trundle bed. When company comes to visit, just pull it out and presto, you have 2 comfortable places for little ones to sleep. (This is so much easier than dragging out and inflating an air mattress.)
This has been a great week for clearance. The Kroger in my area has a plethora of discounted cough and cold medicine and well as candy and toothpaste. Funny combo, huh? Almost all of the medicine and candy that I saw were good through 2012. It looks like I'm stocked for next year's flu season and ready for Easter...bring on the baskets! Among other deal news, there is a rebate floating around that may be of interest to you: $15 off any $100 grocery purchase. I've see the rebate on a tear-off pad attached to the frozen food case at CVS and I've heard other sightings of it in the beer section of Food Lion. The thing I love about this rebate is that you aren't limited to certain items and you can use with the receipt from any grocery store. So get out there and grab some savings!
While your zeal for gardening isn't yet compatible with warm weather and frost-free nights, do a quick inventory of your gardening tools. Find a place to store the tools together so you don't have to hunt for them before each job. Now is the time to sharpen dull blades and replace or fix broken tools. Buy a fun mistinted paint and paint wooden handled tools to avoid losing track of them. Make your plant markers to save a step when you're ready to plant those seedlings. Construct your trellises and supports for climbing plants. Buy a new pair of garden gloves! (This is one of my personal favorites.) When it's time to plant, you will be ready to go with a neat and tidy army of supplies. Ok, now to avoid being hypocritical I actually have to do this!
The Gap is having a promotion for $25 off a $50 purchase! All you have to do is enter your cell phone number and you will receive a text from The Gap with a code. Submit the code at checkout to claim your savings. The offer is valid March 10-16 and can be used on clearance merchandise too! My sis told me about this deal and tried it, so I know it works. Click on the link to enter your number: http://s.gap2550.com/coupon.html
Using real eggshells in your spring decor is a beautiful way to perk up your home. They look lovely resting in a basket, bowl, or in a nest of twigs. I love to use them as fillers in tall vases. You can dye the eggs pastel Easter colors, make them all robin's egg blue, or use brown eggs with no dye for a natural look. Here's a crash course on egg-blowing 101:
Dye eggs first
Let the eggs come to room temperature
Pierce the long ends of eggs with a long needle or cake tester
Swish the needle inside the egg to break up the yolk
Choose an end and blow out the contents*
Once the contents are out, rinse the egg out with water several times.
Place shells in microwave on high for 15-30 seconds.
*You can use a small drinking straw, turkey baster, ear bulb syringe, or your mouth!
(Warning, if you blow with your mouth, you will become lightheaded!) Also, I'm not even going to warn you about Salmonella, since you are a smart bunch and know not to go around ingesting raw eggs!
This process is somewhat tedious and may seem like it's not worth it, but once the eggs are finished you can keep them forever! Store them in an egg carton for next year.
I enjoy keeping certain ingredients in my pantry that are fairly expensive. I can't bring myself to pay what the grocery stores are asking, so I just have to find it elsewhere. Here's a breakdown of where to find the items above:
All Bran cereal- Big Lots for $2.50 a box ($4.28 at the grocery store)
Pure vanilla extract- Big Lots $3.00 for a 7 oz. bottle ($12.00 grocery store)
2 pack of children's toothbrushes- Dollar Tree $1.00 ($4.29 grocery store)
14 oz. jar roasted red peppers- Dollar Tree $1.00 ($3.99 grocery store)
Total Grocery Store Price: $24.56 Big Lots/Dollar Tree Price: $7.50
*Big Lots does not always carry the same items, so these will vary from trip to trip. Dollar Tree always has the two things I bought in stock.
Food Lion is starting a great promotion today! Get 25¢ back for each Food Lion brand item you buy up to $10 back per transaction. The promotion is on until March 16th, so you have 2 whole weeks to shop. So look for smaller, individually packaged items that will cost less money to earn that 25¢ per item. The money you have saved will print out like a coupon with your receipt for store credit towards your next order.