Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Bargain Shopping at Victoria's Secret

I admit that I feel a little funny airing my (new) undies out for the world, but I wanted to show a more specific example of how get free or nearly free underwear. Today, Victoria's Secret is offering a free pair of undies in honor of their fashion show, no purchase necessary.  It's the pink pair on the upper right, if you're interested simply print the coupon here

In order to make my trip to the mall more worthwhile I decided to use the $10 off any PINK purchase that I got for being a PINK member.  I also used this coupon for a free pair of undies (valid through Dec 7) with any PINK purchase.  The clerk said as long as my original PINK purchase wasn't free after the $10 off coupon I could get the additional free undies. 

 I promptly found the black pair for $10.50, which qualified me for the free pair, so that brought my total for all 3 pairs for $0.55.    I'm not 100% sure that I'll be keeping all of these, but they'll make great stocking stuffers & are helpful as I prepare to size up during pregnancy.  Not too shabby at all!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

And Little Baby Is...


A girl!  As the oldest of three girls I have to say that I am beyond thrilled to have two little lovelies.  I'm halfway to having a house full of Little Women!  Plus, my frugal heart jumped with glee at all the hand-me-downs & gender specific items that will get to reappear for round two.  Sisters!  I'm so excited! :)

Friday, November 25, 2011

Function Over Fashion--Staying Warm During Winter

I am generally freezing by nature.  We keep our thermostat at 68° in the winter (high, by some frugal standards), which means that frequently, when the sun goes down I'm cold.  While many, many frugal sites will just suggest layering I'm going to give you some practical & somewhat unfashionable specifics.

Wear a scarf--It's doesn't have to be a fashion scarf, it could be some hideous hand knit monstrosity.  It doesn't matter, covering your neck can make such an immense difference.

Poncho love--This warm & lovely blanket fashion statement is back in style.  Be still my beating heart.  Need I say more? 

Tuck in that shirt-- Keeping your stomach protected from little drafts can make such a big difference.

Invest in some slippers--Generally the thicker & more foot area covered the better. 

Wear a hat--This makes my head itch, but if you're a hat lover, consider this as an option. 

Bust out your bathrobe--I know a lot of people might this is bizarre, but I don't have a sweater that goes all the way down to my ankles & keeps me warm.  I do believe if I had a Snuggie perhaps I'd wear that around the house.  Anything in the name of warmth.

Wrap up under blankets--We always sit with afghans while on the couch, but most nights, once Emerson goes to bed we head back to our bed & sit under the covers while reading, watching tv, or working.  I honestly think the only times when I'm warm in the winter are when I'm in our cozy bed.

My philosophy in the winter is function, not fashion.  While I'm at home I don't care if I look like some sort of bag lady as long as I'm warm.  That's what home is for isn't it?

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Old Ink Cartridges Turned Cheap Toilet Paper

A little while ago I found out about Office Depot's ink cartridge recycling rewards program & give it a shot.  Basically, for every ink cartridge you recycle per quarter Office Depot will rebate you with $2 of store credit.  There is a little bit of fine print:  you have to spend the equal amount that you will get back in rewards during that quarter, & they won't credit you unless you recycle at least $10 worth (5 cartridges) per quarter.  

I recycled 6 cartridges for a credit of $12, but I had to spend at least $12 in order to get the rebate.  Make sense?  I decided to spend  $14.99 on 24 rolls of Office Depot's 100% recycled toilet paper.  

At the end of the quarter I got my $12 rebate and went back and bought another pack for $14.99.  Grand total I spent  $17.98 OOP or $0.37/roll.  Most recycled TP goes for around $0.70/roll, so this is a really good deal.  Previously I have used my swagbucks to purchase some recycled TP, & we still have some, but this will help my swagbucks go towards cheaper items & it should help our grocery budget as well.  Plus, I'm getting paid to recycle!

Whether you use/want the rewards, if you have old ink cartridges lying around, please look into recycling programs.  It's a great way to help the environment & potentially help your pocketbook as well. 

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Saturday Shopping

Today we went shopping at Target for a few essentials.  We wanted to stock up on their pasta sauce that was on sale for $1 a jar (my stock up price), but I ended up splurging on a few things & finding some deals along the way.  Here's the breakdown:

  • Pasta Sauce--  $1 x 12 (not pictured)
  • Seattle's Best--On clearance from 9.39 to 4.68 - $2 coupon = $2.68/bag (Our Target no longer appears to be carrying Seattle's Best & is clearancing out the remainder of their stock, I got lucky enough to get their last 2 bags, so hurry & check your store too!)
  • Folgers--On sale for $8.99-$1 newspaper coupon= $7.99 (Now's the time of year for newspaper coupons so stock up!)
  • Schick Intuition (this was a major splurge, but it's my favorite razor & they rarely have coupons)--$9.79-$3 Facebook coupon=$6.79/pack (ouch!)
  • Tiny Bonz dog treats (Merry Christmas to all the dogs in my life!)--$2.99-$1 Target Coupon-$0.50 newspaper coupon= $1.49/bag
  • Forks (E's new fav)--$4.08-$1 magazine coupon=$3.08
Grand total:  $54.24

Not my most fabulous shopping trip, but we stocked up on some essentials & I shouldn't have to buy coffee, razors, vitamins, pasta sauce, & stain remover for the next six months to a year.  When I look at it that way it's not too shabby at all.  

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Halloween on a Budget

I do realize that it is not halfway through November & Halloween has long since passed, but we've just finished celebrating it.  Poor Bug had a fever on Halloween night, so we had to wait until she was healthy & we were home from all of our out of state travels to partake in any festivities.

We got Doodlebug's costume used at our local Growing Kid's Sale for $10.  It included the headband and some little shoe covers (not pictured), which was a pleasant bonus. I bought her little leggings for $1.08 after coupons at Kohls, & her Pooh bucket was an Easter gift from her grandma.  That brings the grand total for this ensemble to $11.08, which is cheaper than the $30+ Carters wanted for similar costumes. 

I'm coming to the realization that I'm too cheap to spend $10+/ child once we have more than one, so perhaps I will try the homemade thing at that time.  For now, buying used & purchasing other items cheaply is working out just fine & looks pretty cute, if I do say so myself! 

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

My Life As A Lab Rat

Not the brilliant rocket scientist type, the much less glamorous consumer test panel type.  A year ago I signed up to be a part of Johnson & Johnson's consumer test panel.  I've been selected for studies twice & I've found it to be a surprisingly fun way to try a new product & make some extra money. 

E's test panel Johnson & Johnson Natural Body Wash
My first test was actually on Emerson for Johnson & Johnson's Natural Baby Body Wash.  It was rather simple, they sent me was full sized bottle in the mail (score!), I used it on her 3 times in a week, took a brief survey on the product & we got paid $10 cash.  Piece of cake!

More recently I was asked to try a dandruff shampoo for women (which ended up being an Aveeno dandruff shampoo).  They sent me a slightly smaller bottle, I used it 3 times, took the survey & made $20 cash.  And I got to pass the leftovers to my dad, who blessed me with that lovely little genetic quirk. 

Currently Johnson & Johnson doesn't appear to have open enrollment, but they do have a study for dry shampoo that pays $50.  You have to be able to make it to their lab in New Jersey to test the product, but if you'd like the info leave a comment & I'll forward the email. 

Loreal does have an open enrollment at the moment & you can qualify for their test panel by taking a short survey.  I haven't tested anything for them at this point, so if you have let me know how it went. 

If you've never heard of consumer test panels, or haven't tried them they're worth a shot.  I probably only get selected once every 6 months, but it's minimal effort for some bonus cash & toiletries. And who doesn't like that?

Thursday, November 10, 2011

How to Recycle Anything

My friend Hillary sent me a link to Real Simple's (LOVE Real Simple) list of how to recycle anything.  It is a huge comprehensive list & extremely helpful to any recycler. Check it out here.  

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Let's Go To The Mall (with Robin Sparkles!)

I'm not much of a mall person.  In general, nothing gets me crankier quicker than to go shopping for "pleasure."  However, today we needed to get our oil changed & tires rotated, so to the mall we went & I was on a mission to get some freebies!

Free Victoria's Secret Undies (2 from previous trips) & a NARS sample

Our first stop was to JC Penney's Sephora to get a FREE Nars eyeshadowy something or other.  I'd post a link, but the sales associates were a little hesitant to give me the sample because they weren't sure they could give them to customers who had simply googled the coupon online or if it was exclusively for JC Penney cardholders.  Despite being made to feel like I was a thief, they gave me the sample anyway, which will make a lovely stocking stuffer for one of my sisters.

Then on to Victoria's Secret where I redeemed a coupon for a free pair of undies. I belong to the online club Pink Nation & about once a year I request a catalogue & as a result I get bi-monthly coupons for FREE undies.  I haven't had to purchase undies in years & am ever so thankful to Victoria's Secret for the freebies.

Lastly we got take out at our local burrito place using a groupon type coupon from the local paper.  We got $15 worth of food for $5 & I brought our own take out containers to cut down the waste.  It was cheap & delicious.   

All & all it was a great day of shopping & our car is now ready for our next roadtrip.  Not a bad way to waste time while getting an oil change. 

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Kashi Peanutty Dark Chocolate Granola Bar Review

When I was given the opportunity by Mom's Meet to review Kashi's Peanutty Dark Chocolate granola bar I was thrilled.  I love Kashi & all of their products so I figured I was sure to love this too.  I did & Emerson  also LOVES them!  They're her first experience with chocolate & peanuts, so I wasn't sure what she'd think, but she'd eat them every day if I let her. 

E giving her very best pose while eating a graonla bar

While the granola bars are sweet, they're relatively low in sugar, made without high fructose corn syrup, have 7 whole grains, and packed with protein & fiber!  It's nice to have a convenient snack that doesn't make me feel guilty & they're the perfect snack for grocery shopping or while taking a long road trip.

They retail for $3.89/box nationwide, which I have to admit is a little high for my budget.  While they are delicious, unless I can combine a coupon & a sale & get them for $1 or less, I probably won't be buying them.  Doesn't make them not delicious, just makes them a little pricy for my blood.  Just sayin'.

**I received this product for free from the sponsor of the Moms Meet SM program, May Media Group LLC, who received it directly from the manufacturer. As a Moms Meet SM blogger, I agreed to use this product and post my opinion on my blog. My opinions do not necessarily reflect the opinions of May Media Group LLC or the manufacturer of the product.

Monday, November 7, 2011

A Peek At My Frugal Bathroom

Once upon a time I shared a peek at my frugal shower, and I wanted to share other aspects to my frugal/green bathroom.

I've got a crowded toilet tank--Adding items to your toilet tank displaces water when your toilet fills, resulting in less water used per flush.  We already have a low flow toilet, but I have added a 1 liter bottle, a brick, & a hang it & save pouch my mom gave me from Scott toilet paper.  Even if you only tried one of these items, you would be saving water & money, while getting the same necessary flush.

I don't buy air freshener--I know a lot of uber green people suggest not using air freshener at all, but it's better for my marriage if some smells are covered up. ;)  Instead of buying aerosol cans of air freshener or matches, I've begun using my unused body splash.  It only requires one spritz, so it last a long time, & I'm using up stuff that has just been sitting around.  Win, win. 

I've minimized the cost of paper products--I've started using my Swagbucks to purchase toilet paper made from recycled paper.  It's great for the environment & because I'm using my swagbucks, it's a help to our budget.  Additionally, I use hankies when I'm at home instead of Kleenex & have cut my consumption entirely.  I've had that little sample box of kleenex in my bathroom for months & I've yet to use a single tissue.  I still have to keep some on hand because JC uses at least a box per cold, but at least I've cut down on my usage.

I'm always trying to find more ways to cut down on our budget & footprint, & I'm finding the more I think about it the more ideas I come up with.  I just don't know that I'll be buying a composting toilet any time soon...

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Make It Do: Backseat Car Organizer

Organizer for $11.99

I suffer from insomnia quite often.  It's absolutely obnoxious, but it is also a time in which inspiration usually strikes.  Last night when I couldn't sleep I got to thinking about our upcoming travels & how nice it would be to have some sort of an organizer in the car.  Then I got to thinking about a roll up travel case my OBGYN gave me & figured I could use it for that purpose. 

The top zippered portion has grocery bags & paper napkins.  (They're napkins leftover from our wedding 3 1/2 year ago--the last time we bought paper napkins!  haha)

The mesh portion has hand sanitizing wipes & Kleenex (from a sample, naturally).  

The bottom zippered portion has hand towels & extra bibs. 

All & all I think it should work nicely hanging in the car.  Not too bad for free. 

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

You Can't Take It With You

So my uncle died.  We've been expecting it (he had terminal cancer) the future...and it just happened, quite suddenly.  It's one of those things where I felt relief that he's no longer suffering, but selfishly heartbroken. 

When it came to thinking of what to write about my uncle Ron, the most impressive thing I could think was that he lived a very simple life.  He was a man of immense faith, was very generous, & always believed that God would provide for him.  He didn't worry about or attempt to acquire many possessions.  He was just happy with what he had.  As long as he was surrounded by people he loved, telling long winded stories, he was content. 

More than anything I find my uncle's contentment inspiring.  I tend to obsess about things & worry instead of taking a moment to have the faith that it will all work out as it's meant to.  I need to remind myself that he died without much to his name & was one of that happiest people I ever knew.  And that, is a life lesson I could certainly benefit from learning.