If you do stuff, stuff gets done.......

If you do stuff, stuff gets done.......

Monday, July 31, 2017

Frugal July part 6

hello everyone.  Since July is almost over, I'll wind up this blog series with a few things from the last few days.

We had a family party this weekend to break in our new patio and celebrate my husband's birthday.
One son brought his bounce house and it's pool attachment.  The children had so much fun jumping and going down the water slide.  My son rents this bounce house out and he says it's more than paid for itself.  It's been enjoyed by his children and at several family parties too.

We bought a small wading pool for the 3 smallest grands but 2 of the bigger grands had a lot of fun in it too.

The party was in the backyard but our home was pretty dirty afterward.  I did a bit of straightening Sunday but most of it got done today.
Here is my home list, as well as my CVS and Dollar General list.
If you look close at my wrist, my Fitbit says I'd already walked a little over 3 miles this morning.

At Dollar General, I only used digital coupons on their App. 
I used a $2/$10 purchase, $2 Tide, $3 Downy, a buy 2 get 1 free for both the applesauce and breakfast  pastries. 
My total came to exactly $10. 

This haul is from CVS. It was a lot more complicated than the Dollar General but I got so much more.  I used newspaper coupons, personalized coupons from CVS, app coupons, printable coupons from PGEveryday.com along with a $5 ExtraCareBuck from a few weeks ago and some of the gift certificates earned through swagbucks and MyPoints.
Thr original total was about $109.  But after all my coupons, deals and about $40 from the gift certificates, I spent NO cash at all.
I got back $20 in CVS Extracarebucks, $1 from Checkout51 and .25 from Ibotta.

This closes out our thrifty July.  I'm planning on August being mostly frugal too. 
We will see though,  we make plans but we don't know for sure what will happen.  

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Frugal July (sort of) part 5

Hello everyone,
we've had a very pleasant but busy summer so far.  I'm guessing most of you are just as busy.

A frugal activity with the grands that was a big hit was making "moon dough"

It's very simple. Just stir together any kind of hair conditioner and corn starch until it is a dough consistency.   It's just a little trial and error to get it right,  for us when the dough was too wet,  I sprinkled cornstarch on the table and kneaded the dough in it and that got it just right.
The moon dough molds  very easy and is great for cookie cutters.
I like that it is a soft feeling dough and didn't dry out my hands like traditional salt based Play Dough does.
If you have a mess after,  the crumbs wipe right up.  They don't adhere to the table or floor at all.
Our moon dough is white because I couldn't find any food coloring in my pantry.  The grands were shocked as they think I have everything.  One of them later told Grandpa to please take Grandma to a store that sells food coloring.
And yes,  I have since bought a box of food coloring.

I only did one deal at CVS a couple weeks ago
3 boxes of trash bags,  1 toothpaste and 8 bags of snacks - after coupons was $14.65
I paid with a gift certificate earned from Swagbucks and got back $5 ExtraCareBucks.

I have been pretty faithful about working on the 100 Day Sewing Challenge from
Below is list of the what I worked on each day I sewed.

One completed project was this floor length summer dress for the oldest granddaughter.  
I used a pattern from my stash and just lengthened the skirt.  The fabric is a batik with seashells on it and was in a tub of fabric my dad bought at a yard sale a few years ago.  
I also made this top for me to wear to an upcoming Luau birthday party for our 2 youngest grands. They turned 1 and 2 in July.  This is called a Rhapsody top and the pattern is from LoveNotions.com
The fabric was from my stash and something someone gave me a while back.  

This a shopping deal from our recent military commissary trip.  
The commissaries have a reward card that is just coupons.  You can only use each coupon once but its easy as there are no paper coupons to deal with.  The Tide had a $5 coupon ($7.99 minus $5)
The Downy was $4.34 minus a $2 coupon.
Then I got back $2 for them from a reward app called SavingsStar.
I know most of my readers are not military but many stores are offering these electronic coupons now.  I told you about using them at Dollar General and CVS has them now too.
If your stores in your area offer E-Coupons,  it may be worth your time to check them out.

My son got this really nice treadmill for me a few months ago and I've been trying to walk at least an hour every morning.
This room is supposed to be a bedroom but we keep all the grands clothes and toys in here,  with some stockpile items and the treadmill.  One of the perks of being empty-nesters is being able to use spaces in the home however it suits us.

There is nothing frugal about the next topic - Lice
Lice showed up on some of the grands but its
a mystery as to where they originated as none of the grands are in school right now.
It was all new to us and after a couple of missteps, with products that don't work,  we found a solution.   Using a really good nit comb is key.  All the live bugs and eggs have to be removed.
If you've never dealt with lice,  they are no fun.  But if you have children in your life,  you might want to do some research *just in case* you ever have to fight lice.
This Fairy Tales brand kit comes with a really good lice comb as well as some removers.  It can be bought at Ulta and Amazon.  This kit is a back up that I'm keeping on hand, just in case its ever needed again.  Fairy Tales worked for us and it has excellent reviews on both Ulta and Amazon.
There are other products and methods that fight lice,  this is just what worked for us.

Some surprising lice facts are they don't jump or fly,  they just crawl from victim to victim.
Surfaces do need to be cleaned but lice don't live on surfaces very long.
I learned from a second cousin whose children also had lice that there are professional companies  that do lice removal.  She said the company did lots of nit combing and the children slept with olive oil saturated hair that was wrapped up for several nights.

I hope none of you ever have to deal with lice - eww- but it's good to know facts and what you're fighting if you ever do need to  

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Frugal July part 4- Easiest Couponing ever!

I went to Dollar General today. I've been seeing posts by others about using the Dollar General app and the digital coupons.  I had free time so I went and checked it out and tried it.
I've been couponing pretty much since I married in 1980 and this was truly the easiest couponing I've ever done.  

I got all these great household products at Dollar General sale prices combined with their digital coupons and their Saturday save $5 on $25 any purchase coupon.  

I'm sorry this photo is dim
total was almost $40 but came down to $18 after coupons.

To shop with coupons,  first get the Dollar General app and register it with your cell phone number.
Then look in the DG digital coupon section and select any of the coupons you will think you will use.  

After you shop and the cashier rings up your purchases,  you will enter your cell phone number into the keypad where you also scan credit cards and such.  
The register will deduct your coupons and you pay the discounted price.  

that's it!  No paper coupons to clip,  no wondering if you cashier dislikes coupons, etc.  

the only disadvantage I see is you just use 1 like digital coupon so you couldn't get, say 5 of the Tide pods and use 5 digital coupons.  

My receipt had a place to do a survey and get a $3/15 coupon.  
They seem to have the $5/$25 every Saturday.  

I liked this easy couponing and I plan to do it again,  as long as I see sales that match with digital coupons for things we use.  I think you can use paper coupons at DG too,  but you cant use a digital and paper coupon to purchase 1 item. 

So, if your town has a Dollar General,  try the app.
So far,  I think its Great!  

I also looked on Ibotta and got back .75 cents 

Friday, July 7, 2017

Frugal July part 3

hello everyone.
Two of our grandsons were here one day this week.
They had so much fun at one of our city's splash pads.
They also played at the playground right beside the splash pad.  
Both of these are part of a public city park.  They are well maintained, clean and free 

I didn't plan this trip to include lunch but the boys remembered that  lunch is served everyday here by the school as part of the Federal summer nutrition program for all children 18 years and younger.
They really wanted a sack lunch so stopped there too.

This day's sack lunch was a peanut butter sandwich, string cheese, apple sauce, juice and milk.  It was getting hot so they took their lunches home and we ate inside.

I like those yogurts that come in a 2 section container with yogurt in one and a crunchy stir-in in the other section.  I got them awhile back on special but in general, they are rather expensive.  So I thought I could just buy a carton of yogurt and add some crunchy stir ins myself.
I took those 2 grandsons to a grocery store that has a bulk food section,  I planned to get things like granola and trail mix
but they had other ideas,

Can you guess which toppings I picked out and which ones the boys picked out? 
To keep it frugal,  I did the scooping and kept the amounts of the boypicked topping very small.  

Even after they ate all their sack lunches,  they both ate some yogurt with gummy bears and sour worms mixed in.  I guess all that playing made them very hungry.

Food Prep
We will have company this weekend so we planned some very easy meals.  My husband helped me prep all this produce
- 2 fruit trays and a tub of watermelon chunks
-a dish of greens for salad and a tray of chopped veggies to top salads
-a tray of toppings for burgers or sandwiches
- chopped cheese

Several of you commented on my lunchmeat keeper.  I bought mine years ago at Goodwill for $1.  Tupperware has made several models of it and this is the current model.  I think it's bigger than mine and that would be nice but I'm not going to spend $27 on it.  But if I see it on sale, or at a thrift store or yard sale, I probably will.

100 Day Sewing Challange 

On day 2 - I sewed 20 rags from old towels 

For Day 3- I sewed a cover for this box of paper
sheets that we keep  on top of the microwave.  We use a sheet to cover up food so it doesn't splatter all over the microwave insides.

It looks a lot better covered, doesn't it?

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Frugal July part 2 and a challenge

 good morning everyone
From the comments on my last post, it seems a lot of us are watching our budgets so here are a few more of the frugal things from our home

We went to Walmart to get spray paint for our metal patio table set.
We saw pineapples and cantaloupes were marked .97 and since we really enjoy summer fruit, we picked out these.
 But at the register, the cantaloupes scanned for $1.88 each.  We told the cashier and she changed it. 
This Walmart is mostly correct, except the produce department has wrong signage too often,  
So...... I watch prices and watch the register. 
I haven't been in CVS is weeks but I had a few deals I wanted to do,

After coupons and a $2 quarterly CVS ECB,  my total was $1.56 and I paid that with a gift card.
And I got back a $2 ECB.  So I guess this was sort of a .44 money making deal.  
I haven't been to CVS because the deals do take planning and I've done so many deals there in the past,  I am just stocked up on everything at home. 

My parents had some nice candles but they can't burn them st their retirement home. 
So, they gave them to me.  I'm not crazy about burning candles but I do like to scent our home with wax melts in wax warmers. 
Did you know if you put a jar candle in the freezer, that it will slide right out of its container?

I froze this one, un-jarred  it, and then cut it into chunks.  It is highly scented and these wax chunks will work perfectly in my wax warmers.

I read on Patsy's blog  about a 100 day sewing challenge she is doing.  It's perfect for me as I want to sew and have so many supplies on hand.

A Working Pantry
I'll keep track of my progress on my iPad.

My first day of the challenge, I sewed curtains for this front window in the dining room,  the previous  pink toile curtains were nice but they clashed whenever I put seasonal decorations on the dining table.   Pink toile just doesn't work with fall pumpkins or summer Red White and Blues. 
So I put the toile ones on the craft room window and sewed these brown pindot ones with some brown bead trim on the bottom hem. 

Monday, July 3, 2017

Frugal month kick-off (crazy long post)

Hello everyone,  In my mind, I intended to start  frugal posts on July 1st.  But I've been busy doing things around home and just didn't find the time.  So......here is my first  frugal July post and it will probably ramble on and on

Our ultra-frugal mode actually started about June 25th or so.
My husband had been out of town and was coming home.  I did not prepare regular meals while he was gone but I was more than ready to have real, regular food by then.
Our fridge was kind of empty as far as fresh things go but I found a head of iceberg lettuce,  some tomatoes and onions in the pantry.
With that, I made a taco toppings plate,  a tossed salad and a sandwich topping plate.
We like to add cheddar cheese as a garnish to lots of food.  I used to hand grate cheddar or buy it already grated.   Now,  our favorite cheese is Tillamook extra sharp cheddar in sandwich slices.  I use that cheese now instead of grated cheese.  It chops up nicely and has so much flavor.  For us,  this is thrifty as the Tillamook cheese is a good price at the military commissary.
From the freezer,  I got out a package of Smokies hot dogs and sliced ham and refilled our 3 tier Tupperware deli keeper.  
once the ham thawed,  it shut all the way.  Sandwiches are easy to make when the meat and cheese are stored together and there is box of prepared sandwich toppings.  

We were low of fresh fruit that day too.  There were 4 jumbo oranges so I peeled them and put them in a bowl for meals or snacking.  They were delicious! 
Sometimes the fridge is really empty but sometimes there are enough ingredients to still make a number of good meals even though it looks empty.  

Now on to some frugal decorating...
I wanted to spruce up our garage door.  So I looked on Pinterest for wreath ideas.  
I used just supplies on hand for this tied wreath.  
The fabric strips are cut to 14.5 inches by 2 inches and just tied on the Styrofoam wreath form.  

And this is the garage door- all clean and decorated.  No one really will see this unless they enter our home through the garage but my husband and I like it.  It is sort of a Welcome home to us when we come home.  

no idea why the next several lines appear to be links and are underlined.  

The home sweet home sticker is from Dollar Tree.  It was so easy to put on and looks good. 
My husband thought I had hand painted it.  

The front door needed a paint touch up.  I found the can of paint the builders used 17 years ago when they first painted this door.  After a good shake,  that paint was truly as good as new.  So it was easy to give the door a fresh coat of burgundy paint.  
I tried a Dollar Tree sticker here too but can you see the problem?  They apparently look best on a light covered surface.  

It did peel right off without tearing or removing any paint.  
I then put it on the inside of that door.  It sticks and looks fine but I'm not sure I'll leave it there.
it seems a little odd to say "welcome"  as people would be exiting.

I don't plant to buy many groceries as our freezer and pantry are both pretty stocked.
But we really enjoy salads and summer fruit so I will buy those.
This is what we bought at Sprouts middle of last week- all of that fruit has been so sweet and delicious.
The meats were on sale.  I think the bacon was $1.99 and the baby back ribs were $2.49 a pound or about $6-7 a side.  My husband has smoked 2 of them and they fed us 3 meals and we shared several helpings with my parents.

Today,  I cooked up a big batch of pasta sauce.  We like homemade sauce better than storebought because mine is not as sweet as most jarred sauces.
I don't have a specific  recipe to share but here's how I do it.
In the bottom of each crock pot,  I put diced onion in about 2 teaspoons of oil and let them cook on high about an hour. 
Then I carefully added the tomato sauce in increments as I didn't want to shock the hot crockpots with room temperature ingredients.  Once the tomato sauce was in,  I added garlic salt, black pepper, oregano, basil, Italian seasoning herbs and a little sugar- all to taste.  Maybe a tablespoon of all the herbs in the small crockpot,  double that in the big pot.  I also divided 24 ounces of tomato paste between the 2 pots.  Let it all simmer for a few hours.  

I pack it in meal size containers and freeze.  
I'm not sure homemade sauce is cheaper than jarred sauce.  It might be but it is frugal to have easy meals on hand that can be cooked quickly when meal time sneaks up on you.  
I've made this sauce, taco meat and chili in big batches for years and it has been so handy so many times for quick meals.  

Now on to doing fun things......
all towns are different but most of them have at least a few free or low cost fun things to do.  My town has a great library,  2 free splash pads  and 2 huge Transformer statues.
This is Bumblebee,  made from all kinds of vehicle parts.  He doesn't really do anything except look awesome.  Its really fun to pose for pictures under his legs.  
His buddy Optimus Prime lives on the other side of town and we will visit him this summer too.  

How to make a little money.....
I've dabbled in a several online rewards programs over the years.
The 2 I've done the longest are MyPoints.com and Swagbucks.com   I looked over my accounts and saw I had quite a few points and cashed them both in,  I had enough to get 3 $25 gift certificates to CVS.
I also do Walmart Savings catcher when I think about it.  I had enough there to cash in $12.

I also like Ibotta
You don't have to do anything for Ibotta except shop.  They have rewards for some "any" purchases like bananas or bread.
The bigger payouts are for name brand items- everything from foods and beverages, to health and beauty things and even some restaurants and online stores.

If you have a smart phone or tablet that has a camera,  Ibotta is easy.  Just scan through the list of refunds and check what you bought.  Then take a photo of your receipt and sometimes of the items UPC.  When you've earned $20,  you can cash out for Paypal or Walmart or Amazon, etc.
I had enough to cash out last week for $26.25 Paypal.
If you haven't joined Ibotta,  I'd love for you to use my referral code if you do sign up.
I think you get $10 just for being a new sign up.

You wont get rich doing online reward programs but it is nice to earn a bit every now and then

and if you're still reading this far along,  thank you
I plan on doing more frugal posts as July goes on.