Monday, March 29, 2010

Prepare Yourselves

Major updates coming soon! First of the tax refund money has been spent on bedroom furniture and is on order. Finally broke down and purchased wood hangers. I need some more and have a few other small things going on in the closet, so I'll post the makeover when that's done as well. I'd say I've had a pretty great birthday!

Friday, March 19, 2010

Talk Me Out of It!

I was in the evil store today. The big, blue, has-everything store. My prescription is there and I'm too lazy to move it! Plus the tech that works there recognizes me (and almost had to defend me to another pushy customer) and that makes me happy. Anyway, they're in the middle of remodeling plus putting all of the spring gardening equipment out, so I had to take a swing through that section in case there was something I just couldn't live another couple of weeks without (there wasn't). Then I thought I'd check out prices of shelving we're considering for the garage (they didn't have what we are really looking for). Apparently, all roads lead to the housewares department. Now, let me take just a moment to rave. Wal-Mart has stepped the style up. Their Canopy line is amazing! I asked for the nightstands as a trial run for the rest of the line. Everyone on The Nest raved about it, but it's Wal-Mart so I wasn't sold just yet. Granted, we're not very hard on our furniture, but those things are SOLID. The bottom part of the shelf isn't perfectly flush (we could probably rubber mallet it down, but that's not a big deal for us) and the drawers didn't slide easily (the guides were a little too high. I sanded the bottom of the opening down and they're fine now), but we are still really impressed for the price. Which, by the way, you can have shipped to your local store for FREE. That's right, F-R-E-E. The down side is getting the boxes in the car since, like I said, these pieces are solid, thus heavy. We will be purchasing the rest of it when our tax refund finally comes (ETA is early April).
Anyway, I took that little tangent to get to this: Canopy now sells bundles of wooden hangers. You know, the ones that are in high-end boutiques on What Not to Wear. The ones that, if you hung a ratty t-shirt on, it'd look good. I've been considering getting some for our closet, just for the pretty factor. The thing is, these suckers are expensive. Target has a bundle for cheap, but they're only sold online and shipping would cost more than the hangers. IKEA has a small bundle for cheap, but the nearest store is on the north side of Cincinnati. While I'm not opposed to turning it into a road trip with the girls, I still feel dumb driving over an hour for hangers! Imagine my surprise when I saw a bundle of 20 hangers at Wal-Mart for $12. TWELVE dollars. That's 60 cents per hanger. Still sounds like a lot for something you get free at the dry-cleaners, but wooden hangers are better for your clothes and, like I said, make your clothes look pretty! Before anyone comments, yes, the website says $20, but in store they are $12. The thing is, we'd need several of these bundles and I don't know that I can quite justify that. We'd only need 3 or 4 bundles (or $36-$48). It's a line I trust, plus Wal-Mart will take anything back. But it's still a decent amount of money for hangers. Advice? What the heck are you thinking wasting money like that? Totally use whatever birthday money comes your way for it, even though I've got a shopping list a mile long?

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

I have found Happiness

and it is called "impending Spring." I sat out on our patio yesterday with my laptop and soaked it all in. The air just smells like Spring. I took a picture of a robin that landed on a fence, but I haven't uploaded it.
File-Turdus-migratorius-002.jpg This will suffice :) Nothing says SPRING IS COMING like these guys hopping around.

The only problem with "impending Spring" is that it quickly leads to "impending swim suit season." I've always had issues with my tummy and being cooped up with junk food all winter has NOT helped that. The good news is I've been really good at taking walks this week. I'm going to start the Couch to 5K running program. The only reason I haven't done that this week is all the rain that was forecasted. Which, of course, hasn't happened during the day. Oh well. I'm being active. Next up is curbing this self-control since I tend to be in the mindset of "I worked out today. I can justify a cookie (or leftover candy or whatever)." Baby steps though. Baby steps!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010


So I have realized I have a problem. I'm addicted to coupons. My last post was about the amazing deals I scored, but only part of that was actual sales. The rest was a coupon I had. I rarely go shopping without coupons anymore (although the most shopping I've done lately is at the grocery store). If you know my in real life, you know I come by this honestly. My daddy is notorious for being...thrifty...frugal...oh heck, he's cheap. People joke that his wallet creaks as he opens it. However, I actually thank him for being cheap. His philosophy was to save on the everyday things so you were able to splurge on big things. We went on some awesome vacations (on frequent flyer points of course :) ). I didn't have to work for my clothes or gas to school and church. Dad retired early and now they take amazing trips together. Most importantly, he taught me those lessons. Our church recently offered the Dave Ramsey Financial Peace University, but I didn't see the point. I've skimmed his book and there's nothing I didn't know or already do, namely spend money we don't have. Admission: I didn't realize until at least college that there were people that not only didn't do this, but were never even TAUGHT that idea.
Anyway, back to my coupons. I have some tips for those out there who may struggle with non-thriftiness.

1) Only get coupons for products you already use...

2)...but don't let that stop you from trying something new. I could clip that weekly coupon for Activia yogurt, but I know husband doesn't like yogurt period and honestly, after a few bites, it makes me gag as well. I may have saved 25 cents, but I had to spend $1-something for something we'll end up throwing away. However, if we ran across a coupon for a new flavor of Ben & Jerry's, we just might. After all, you won't be paying full price!

3) Make a routine for going through coupons. When we are getting ready to go grocery shopping, we make a list of our staples, ingredients of the weekly menu (we plan for 2 weeks), and anything else we're running low on. Then we go through our coupons. We toss anything expired and set aside anything that's on the list. If we find a coupon for something we use, but won't go bad (paper products, etc.), and it's about to expire, we throw that in, too.

4) Sign up for store mailing lists or loyalty cards. I created an e-mail exclusively for those e-mail alerts stores are always pimping. I check it when I think about it. Most of the time they don't fit in the "something I need" category, but every once in a while, you can catch a sale plus % off! Kroger's has loyalty cards that get extra savings on (usually) Kroger brand stuff. Also, I finally signed up for Speedway's Speedy Rewards. I haven't earned enough points for anything good yet, but it's the gas station closest to our house, so we'll be there a lot.

5) Finally, take a minute and price compare. What good is 30 cents off name brand something when the store brand is 50 cents cheaper than that? HOWEVER, there are cases when it's worth to have name brands. I call this the Oreo Theory (since name brand Oreos are significantly better than generic). Toilet paper. I won't scrimp on my TP. We have to have Charmin and I prefer the mega-rolls. But paper towels, eh. As long as the job can get done, I'm not picky. Oreo theory is a post on it's own though. So we'll leave this with a simple price vs. quality comparison.

If you feel so inclined, you could even start saving the difference coupons saved you. Kroger's (and other stores) will print what you saved by using their Plus card at the bottom of the receipt. If you use cash, put it in a jar, credit could go in a savings account. Then treat yourself to something special.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Super Saturday Sales

I love alliteration! It's one of my favorite literary devices, next to onomatopoeia. Has anyone ever tried to spell "onomatopoeia?" Spell check was not at all helpful. Sorry, I'm back. So sales on Saturday. I know, today is Monday. But the weekend was crazy busy and slightly stressful, so I didn't get around to sharing with the world beyond Facebook about my deals. I got over $170 worth of clothes for $60-something. I KNOW!
Old Navy was having a "fun"damentals sale, so most of their basics (which is what I needed) were cheap. The best part was I didn't realize some of my stuff was on sale until after it was rung up! I almost ran back and picked up a skirt I put down because I was worried about my total. However, my birthday is this month...gentle hint. I have it on my Amazon wish list :) another subtle hint.
Anyway, I got tank for $5 in green, brown and white. jeans from their "Dreamer" line for $19. I need to hem them, but that's the story of my life :) This denim skirt. It's a little long, but I actually think it looks cuter, especially when I put some wedges with it. And this skirt, only in khaki. Another staple that makes me want Spring NOW!

Plus, I had a 15% off coupon, so my deals were even better!

Then we went over to the mall, although I was totally OK with not since I scored such a great deal at Old Navy. But we had a rough budget set (and nowhere near met) and I still was looking for a few other things. I found a few other tops at New York & Company, a sweater on clearance for $8 and an embellished shirt for $10. Plus, I got a coupon for $s off my next purchase. Yes, please and thank you.

Still no black flats yet, which are one thing I desperately need, but I have a coupon for DSW good for the month of March, so I might head out to Hamburg one day and see what I can see. They also have an Off-Broadway that I L-O-V-E. All in all, a happy Saturday evening!