Thursday, February 10, 2011

Yummy (future) Money Saver

As you probably know by now, I am - or at least I try to be - very thrifty. My latest venture with grocery thriftiness turned out so fantastic I had to share.

I love fruit but it can be pricey. I also love popsicles but they tend to be unhealthy. My solution? Frozen "cutie" mandarin oranges.

I bought a bag of "Managers Special" Cuties - there were like 15+ Cuties for $1. For those unfamiliar with Managers Specials, this is something that is available at Kroger for a quick sale for a reduced price. There was no way I was going to eat through the bag of 15 Cuties so I decided to put my favorite kitchen tool, my freezer, to work. I had no idea going into it how the Cuties would turn out.

The end result turned out delish. Because they were frozen in single layers they are really easy to eat individually and there is absolutely no issue trying to separating them when you want a few

I snack on them and use them in smoothies and I know they will be a great treat in the hot Texas summer months ahead. I am not a parent but I would think these would be fantastic, fun, healthy and easy snacks for kiddos.

Before freezing:

1. peel (these suckers are super easy to peel by hand)
2. separate them
3. lay the pieces in a single layer on a pan that fits in the freezer. Be careful that they are in a single layer, otherwise you could have some issues separating them when you move them to storage bags

Layered and ready for the freezer

4. to freeze more cuties at a time, separate layers with a sheet of wax paper and place them on top of each other

Frozen and ready for storage

Leave them in the freezer till they are hard frozen then put them in freezer bags until you need them. If you have problem with them sticking to the bottom of the pan, just use a hard spatula to pull them up.

YUMMY! Ready to eat!

What you are your favorite cost saving ideas?

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Wedding Invites Have Arrived

SO EXCITED! Updates to come!!!

For now, here is a sneak peak of one aspect of the invites...

So far I have punched holes, folded and glued. Now they need to the adorned!

Team wedding invite put togetherers, get ready for a night of glue, rhinestones, buttons and tool. And of course, drinks!

Monday, February 7, 2011

String Around Your Finger :: Roses

Its time to prune your roses!

Its easy to remember the time of year to prune because its always around valentines day. I knew this week and next is going to be SUPER busy so I pruned a week early. Nevertheless, please let this post serve as your string around the finger reminder to prune your roses this week.

There are tons of videos to show you how to if you are uncertain or just need a confidence booster. Here is one that its really popular:

The main thing I got from the videos I watched was reassurance that I really can't kill the rose bush and the reminder that they need to be cut WAY back.

Now that my roses are done I need to get on the next garden task, which is... you tell me! What should I be doing in the garden/yard this time of year?

Happy pruning!

Thursday, February 3, 2011


Sidenote: I just realized how long this post got and I apologize in advance.

I LOVE LOVE LOVE CVS! About a year ago I was told about the gloriousness that is shopping at CVS. I had always thought that CVS, Walgreens, ect. were more expensive because of their convenience. I was totally wrong. I had no idea the great deals and sales that they have weekly. I coupon regularly but I'm no where close to an extreme couponers like on TLC. Like NO WHERE close at all (for example I only take 1 Sunday paper, but I rarely non-necessities without a coupon).

I have had some great CVS shopping experiences throughout the year and I still get shocked by how low some of my receipt totals are. Today was one of my personal best shopping days and I absolutely had to share.

This is what I bought (regular prices with the CVS card are next to the items so that you can see what the products would cost without coupons):

3 -12 packs of Sprite 3/$9
2 - Planters Mixed Nuts, 11.5 oz 2/$6
6- Candy Bars single size) $.89 B2GO (buy 2 get 1 free)
1 - Dove Visible Care Body Wash, 11.1 oz $1.99
1 - Physicians Formula Powder Palette $13.49

My total should have been about $34

I brought the following coupons (and included where I got the coupon):
$5 CVS emailed coupon (because I have a CVS card and gave them my email address - these come almost every week, usually on Thursday afternoons)
$1 Dove newspaper coupon
$0.99 Planters newspaper coupon
$0.89 Candy bar coupon - these were actually a BOGO (buy one get one free) coupons. I combined this with CVS's B2GO sale so that I only had to buy 1 and I got 2 free. I had two fo these coupons so I paid for 2 candy bars and got 4 free)
$10 CVS Extra Bucks Coupon - I got this coupon 2 weeks ago when CVS had a Pepsi sale. If you spent $20 on Pepsi you got $10 to spent later at CVS. This was a free $10 to spend however I wanted at CVS
$5 CVS Extra Bucks Coupon - I got this coupon 2 weeks ago when I bought some medicine. It was a spent $15 get $5... see above for a more detailed explanation
$10 Physicians Formula Coupon - this came out of the price scanner/coupon ejector at CVS. You scan your card everytime you go to the store and it prints coupons for you. Some are good (like this one), others aren't. I always hold onto the coupons that are printed because they usually last about a week or two and CVS may put the product on sale so you get it even cheaper.

My actual total, minus coupons was $0.29. That is not a typo, and yes you read that correctly. My total was twenty-nine cents for everything in the picture above. Amazing right!?!?!?

Not only was my total $0.29 but I left with a total of $12.00 in CVS buck to use on my next trip to the store. These came from:

Coke/Planters - Spend $15 get $5 CVS bucks
Physicians Formula - Spend $10 get $7 CVS bucks

Couponing takes time but is TOTALLY worth it as you can see from above. I use and to find the top deals at the stores each week to help plan my shopping. These websites are free to join and really do the work for you in terms of lettering you know savings and putting together shopping list.

Since couponing I pretty much stopped buying things that I do not have a coupon for it and/or if it is not on sale. I always buy name brand products, just when they are on sale. This means I buy a couple of the items at a time and store them until I need them. I recently got cans of Hunts Chopped tomato's for about about $.30 cents each. I about about 9 cans because I will not spent $1.50 for these when I know they will be cheap in a couple weeks.

A couple strategies to use when couponing:

- I find that drug stores have the best deals. I prefer CVS but some people like Walgreens. I do not. Choose which works best for you. When I first got into couponing at drug stores I would go to both stores. I no longer to this because its just way too time consuming. The only time I go to Walgreens now is if they have an AMAZING sale that I can't miss or if I need a product that they have on sale that isn't on sale at CVS.
- I also shop at Kroger because I like it more than HEB and they double and triple coupons. You can find some great deals at Kroger when you use coupons because of their nice doubling policy.
- Subscribe to the Sunday paper. Cut all coupons and sort them by category. I sort my coupons by teeth care, paper/ cleaning, hair/body, baking, refrigerated, frozen, snacks, pet, make up, etc. There may be more but I do not recall the others off hand. Some websites recommend that you keep all your coupon in their packets and the website will tell you where to find the coupons based on where and when it was published. I do not do this because I like to have my coupons with me for things I forget but this strategy may work for you.
- Cut all coupons because lots of times you can get items totally free - if you do not need them you can donate them to a shelter. Several times I have seen and coupon for something and not cut it out because I thought I would never use it. It seems like whenever I do this CVS always has it on sale so that I could have gotten it free or even used it as a money maker (see next tip). Its frustrating because I know someone could have used this free product. It takes like 3 extra seconds, just cut the coupon out.
- When you combing a coupon with a good sale, some items will be money makers. For example, if I have a coupon for $1 off a package of gum and the gum is on sale for $0.75 stores will typically roll that extra $0.25 off into your over all bill. Get it?
- Buy several of the same item when they are one sale and you have coupons for them. Put them in a closet until you need them.
- Put your CVS bucks to use for you. Every week CVS has sales where if you buy a certain amount of a particular product you will get money back (CVS extra care bucks) for your next time shopping in the store. For example, 2 weeks ago there was a special that if you spent $20 on Pepsi you got $10 in CVS bucks. I got 6 packs of Pepsi for $20, and saved my $10 coupon. Today I went to the store and there was a sale where if you spent $15 on Coke or Planters products you got $5 back. I used my $10 coupon from last week to help pay my bill this week and I left with $5 to use next week. Next week I will be sure to spend that $5 on more products that earn me extra bucks. Get it?
- You can't be product specific. Or you can, you just will not get nearly as many deals and great buys. Sure, I like a specific type of laundry detergent but I am more than happy to switch if I can get a different brand (normal sized) for $2 or so.
- Read the Ads carefully. You have to get the exact item included in the Ad or you won't get the sale price
- Watch the prices the cashier rings up. If its wrong (nicely) tell them.

Thats the basics of couponing. I can not believe I did not do this sooner. If you have any questions about couponing let me know and I will help if I can.

Also, if you get the Sunday paper and do not want your coupons I'll take them!

Happy shopping and saving!

Wedding Spotlight :: Bee

As my wedding day approaches, I am growing more and more thankful for the people that are involved in the wedding and for the role that they have had in my life. Over the next couple of weeks I plan on highlighted some of these special people on the blog.

First up is Bee.

Note: This baby is not Bee's, she is Hannah, my friend Amandas baby.

Bee is a thoughtful friend that I always know I can count on. I met Bee about three or four years ago; she was in a relationship with Joe's brother, Carlos. Carlos passed away in 2009 but thankfully Bee has stayed in my life. Bee moved to Texas from California and it was very amusing watching her adjust the the different culture of our great state. Don't let her tiny size fool you - girl can eat! Bee will be a bridesmaid in the wedding.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Happy Birthday Kyle!

Today is my older brothers big day. Big as in a full 30 years old big. Thanks for being such a great big brother Kyle, I love you!

I tried to find a recent picture of us but couldn't... so... now, a look back...

Together we are always able to have a good party...

and can smile through Christmas pictures...

thankfully our days of squirming in Maifest costumes are over...

Happy birthday big bro! Hope your 30's decade is the best yet!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Rooster Trivets

I bought these trivets for $0.30 at a garage sale this weekend because... well, why wouldn't I buy 3 trivets with roosters on top for only $0.30? I thought I could surely come up with something fun to do with them.

They are cast iron - a sharpie is next to them for size.

I am thinking of putting some different fabrics in the open areas and/or perhaps spray painting them a fun color and hanging them on a wall. Do any of you have other idea? I'm all ears!