Monday, August 31, 2015

Stockpiling Isn't for Me Anymore, Part 5

So doing less stockpiling has been working much better for me the past 3 months. I can now see it was like an addiction. I would visit a website and see that there was this deal, that deal and the other deal, and I would get like an itch to go and get that deal too. I don't want to be part of the problem of clutter, overconsumption, wasted resources and competitiveness that does no social good in my community.

Some benefits I have found so far of cutting back on stockpiling and deal chasing:
  • Shopping does not take as long to do.
  • I spend less time driving around town.
  • I get less anxious about whether the store will have "the deal."
  • I waste less time on deal-hunting websites.
  • My house is less cluttered.
  • Things don't fall on me from the shelving units!
  • I am less embarrassed about the state of my basement.
  • I think my husband is less frustrated.
  • I am spending less per week on groceries, household products and toiletries.
  • Putting things away and getting things out doesn't take as much time.
  • I can find what I need on the shelves.
  • I'm not wasting things because they have expired or launched themselves off the shelf to crash into a pile of glass shards and grape jelly (see previous stockpile post!).
  • I feel like I'm being a better steward of resources and money.
I'm still using some coupons. I'm still price comparing and getting sale items. I'm just not stocking my house enough to last in case of a nuclear war, flu pandemic or sudden shortage of cotton from which tampons are made.

Frugal August

  • I repaired a hole in my oldest daughter's winter coat, rather than buying a new/secondhand coat.
  • We used coupons on some school supplies.
  • I redeemed lots of super awesome $2 off any produce and $2 off any dairy purchase coupons. Sometimes the coupons "rolled" and I got new sets when using some! In all, I was able to get around $200 of free produce and dairy foods! Plus, anything in the dairy aisle was included, so I was able to even get bagels, cookie dough, pudding and eggs with the coupons.
  • We swapped some craft supplies.
  • Our kitchen faucet broke. It was under warranty and the company sent us a new one after my husband called to file a claim.
  •  I entered and won a contest, which I didn't realize would include a $100 gift card that we used on school supplies, socks and underwear and one outfit for each kid!
  • I shopped for the rest of the school needs during the tax free holiday, which saved an additional 7.5 percent.
  • I used up assorted ingredients around the house for meals.  
  • The kids redeemed a few of their summer reading club coupons for food and activities.

August Decluttering

  • A bag of glass jars that has been waiting for my mother in law, was finally given to her!
  • We donated 1 bag of clothing and household items to the National Kidney Foundation.
  • I filled a bag of hygiene items to give to a local refugee organization.
  • I stuck with buying fresh items from the grocery stores. I did not add to the food stockpile and instead used boxed and canned items up.
  • I swapped a few bags of craft supplies that we didn't want for things that I'll use. 
  • I threw out SEVEN bags of trash from my oldest child's room! :(
  • With school starting, I was able to get our school supplies out of the basement and into my kindergartener's and third grader's classrooms. 
  • I donated a bag of yarn nests to the Ohio Wildlife Center. It was odd scraps of yarn and colors I didn't want to use for other projects.I also donated 4 bags of items from their wishlist.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Super Savings Saturday: Meijer, Target, Sam's Club

Target: I got 3 Glade candles, 1 pack Stayfree, 1 Simply balanced almond milk and 1 Archer farms gelato. I spent $5.60 after coupons, cartwheels and Redcard. I saved $.05 for bringing my own bag.

Meijer: I loaded mPerks for $5/1 scarf, wallet and handbag. I found clearance items and the mPerks made them free! I also got raspberries, fresh spinach, romaine, bananas, watermelon, bread, plastic wrap and cornbread mix.

I also stopped into Sam's Club this week, and got 1 pack of our favorite gourmet cheese, 1 container of chocolate milk powder, 1 onion powder, pumpkin bread, popcorn shrimp, sausage, a coloring book, a shirt, underwear for the kids that was on clearance, cauliflower, yeast, 3 gallons of milk.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Book Review: Goodnight Ark

Goodnight Ark is a board book meant for babies and toddlers. It's the traditional story of Noah and the ark, but with a rhyming format that makes it a little more fun to read.

I liked the pictures, as they are really detailed and would capture the interest of a preschool aged child as well, like the geckos that are climbing the barrels. There were a few odd things though... I doubt Noah had access to canned cat food for his adventure. Oh well.

This sturdy book should hold up to most silly little ones chewing on it!

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for writing an honest review. I did not receive any other compensation.

Book Review: Paper Goods Projects

Paper Goods Projects by Jodi Levine is a fun arts and crafts idea book that offers projects that make use of recycled and upcycled items that most people probably already have at home.

What I liked the most about this book is that the ideas are really flexible about supplies. You can do these projects with your 5 year old and not spend a small fortune at the hobby store. The finished results are cute but you don't have to spend hours fussing around with things, either.

All of the projects have photos. Most of these ideas would require parental help with things like hot glue guns, but I think any school age kid and parent could easily do these together on a rainy afternoon.

There are ideas for holidays as well as any occasion. I thought the coffee filter paper flowers would be really cute for Mother's Day, for example.

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for writing an honest review. I did not receive any other compensation.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Garage Sale Shopping, Finds & Tips

I enjoy visiting big rummage sales as well as the occasional smaller garage sale. I like the bigger sales because chances are better that I'll find what I'm looking for as far as things with kid's clothes and household items go. I also like the fill a bag for $ that sometimes happens.

This summer, I had the opportunity to visit about 5 large rummage sales and two or three smaller garage sales. I won't drive all over the city and I make sure I'm familiar with the area before I leave.

Some other tips:
  • Bring small bills. It's easier on the seller and gives you better negotiating power.
  • If you're buying a bunch of the same sort of item (like an armful of kids' clothes), make an offer. Even if there is a posted price of $1 per item and you have 15, make an offer of $10. Chances are good that they want to get rid of it and will sell it at a bulk discount. And even if they say no to your offer, you don't really lose out. Now offering $2 for 15 items is not nice and I don't do that. I make reasonable offers!
  • Go early if you have specific needs. If you saw an advertisement that they have your mother's pattern of china and she needs the sugar bowl, get there right away.
  • Go late for the best deals. Stuff will be picked over but prices will be as low as they get. Your crazy offers might get accepted so the sellers don't have to pack it up and store or dispose of it.
  • Eat at home. You want a focused mind :)
  • Bring your own water.
  • Bring hand sanitizer. After touching all that stuff, your hands will get gross.
  • Bring baby wipes. See above.
  • Make sure your car's trunk is cleaned out. Otherwise, those four boxes of yarn you found won't fit.
  • Bring a map, your smartphone or GPS so you don't get lost.
  • If you don't need it, it's still a waste of money even if it is cheap!
This weekend, I spent $26 and got new Columbia boots, a long sleeve shirt and a skirt for my 8 year old, 2 t-shirts for my 5 year old, 2 pajamas and 3 shirts for my 2 year old, 1 shirt, 1 sweater and 3 jeans for me... and 113 full skeins of yarn and a bin of leftovers/scraps (enough to make granny squares, etc)!!! I took ALL the yarn the seller had. She was thrilled, I was happy. I had the trunk space. I got a bulk discount. For the clothes, they were marked rather high at the rummage sale. I had a certain amount of cash left and I offered it. They took it.