So it’s been like one million years since I’ve gotten a chance to blog! My apologies for such negligence. 2018 Goals…don’t be negligent! 🙂
One of my favorites lately has been making my own homemade granola! It’s been fun to try something new…lets me switch things up whenever I’m feeling the urge…and it’s super simple!
I stumbled on this post on pinterest awhile ago that gave a recipe of sorts to begin with and I’ve tweaked it a bit since. I sort of have this rule that I won’t pay more than $2.00 for a box of cereal so I’m always looking for ways to stretch that food budget. Making cereal myself seemed to be a good next step!
The recipe suggests different ideas for spices, nuts and fruits, and sweeteners! So depending on what’s in your cupboards, you can mix and match! For my first go at it I picked up some almonds, raisins and coconut from a bulk foods store. I’d like to check prices better the next time I stock up. It’d be good to see where to find the best deals on ingredients!
I chose to use cinnamon as my spice, almonds as my nuts, raisins as my fruit, honey as my sweetener, coconut oil as my oil, and shredded coconut.
It was super easy to mix everything together…but not as easy to spread it out on the rimless pan I used…or to get it off the pan without spilling it! I might have to add a new baking sheet to my list to be looking out for.
You basically get it in your pan, and then just bake it at 350 degrees! The recipe called for it to bake for 30 minutes, but I’ve found that I like it best at about 20 minutes.
The “end result” picture here was actually in for more than the 30 because I sort of forgot to set a timer….which is something I do on a regular basis. Add “setting timers” to my 2018 goals as well! So I wouldn’t do that again! 🙂
In addition to changing the amount of time in the oven, I also started adding the shredded coconut after pulling it from the oven. I just didn’t care for the taste of the coconut once it was toasted.
For me, the recipe lasts a good few weeks! I just keep it stored in a container in the cupboard! I typically just eat it with milk, but I think it would be a great addition to yogurt as well!
So I shared a few weeks ago about the house and the move…and a few have asked to see the inside – some before and afters!
But I honestly haven’t done much inside that’s photo worthy (besides scrubbing the place from top to bottom) because the house will need to be rewired…which will require the walls to be cut into…which will require drywall to be patched…which makes painting before that pointless.
Twist my arm! I’ll have to put off the joy of painting. So sad! 🙂
The only room I’ve done anything to is my bedroom, and I didn’t start out with the intention of even painting it right away. You see what had happened was…
The ceiling light fixture was just a bare bulb, and I wanted a ceiling fan. So while wandering through Home Depot one day, I found a ceiling fan that I liked the look of, and it was marked down!! Winner! So I bought it. I don’t even honestly remember why I was in Home Depot that day, but I do remember that it had nothing to do with anything in the lighting department…so clearly I was wandering around day dreaming!
***Side note…the darn ceiling fan ended up missing screws and the instructions said to put the blades on while the stinking round thing (technical term) was already hanging. Poor choice! It was definitely not a one girl kind of job…but I got the dern thing up there (after quite a bit of swearing and tears and, probably, some alcohol). It clicks while running, but it works! And that’s all I have to say ’bout that!**
Here are some before’s of the space. Yes! The walls were yellow! The back of the bedroom door is still yellow, as I’ve yet to touch up the doors and trim. And yes! That is a huge neon green stain on the carpet that the previous owner hid with the draping of some bedding…which I’ve chosen to hide with a throw rug! 🙂
In addition to a horrible light fixture the room had a terrible drywall job done on the ceiling (as do some other rooms) so I decided to texturize it to cover it up. Well it seemed smartest to do that before putting the fan up. So I did just that, but I didn’t buy enough of the first brand of joint compound product and had to buy a second brand…and they didn’t dry the same color…which meant I needed to paint the ceiling. And if I was painting the ceiling, it made sense to paint the walls.
Hence- one room completed!
The next project in that room was building shelves in the closet. I wanted to use it as a linen closet and have had things piled up on the floor in there since moving in. None of the bedroom closets in the house have doors…so there’s that. And I’m a neat freak, which means that I hated having a mess of things piled on the floor.
The plan was to put in shelves that were deep enough to hold some crates to store things, so I used those to find my depth and then gave myself enough height between the shelves to have enough clearance. I wanted the lowest shelf to be high enough off the ground to store a box fan underneath. This random planning gave me enough space for two shelves. I figured that I could use 2×4’s on the side walls and across the back of the closet and plywood to sit on top.
First, I used left over caulking from another project to fill in the gaps in the wood paneling around the closet. The house is quirky – meaning that nothing is level or square!
I had a rebate card from Home Depot that I got from buying the paint for the room, that I used to get the the plywood and screws. The helpful folks at the store cut the sheets of plywood down to the correct sizing.
That left me with the 2×4’s! I was cleaning out some storage space at my parents’ house and came across some leftover 2×4’s from a project my dad had done, and because my dad couldn’t think of denying me, he let me have them…and he let me use his saw to cut the pieces! He’s a good guy like that! 🙂
After getting all the pieces cut, I began the install process. I put them up using the plan I’d originally mapped out and then slid the plywood on top! The entire inside of the closet needed painted along with the shelves, and since I had some nice matte white paint from having to paint that ceiling, I used that to finish it up!
Originally the project was only going to cost me about $3.00!! But, the first box of screws I bought to attach the 2×4’s to the wall weren’t long enough (rookie mistake)…and I killed my drill in the process and had to run out to local hardware store to buy another…which set me back $130. It wasn’t quite the cheap project I’d planned, but the drill will be so much more useful than the last. The fact that I even know anything about features I want in cordless drills is pretty great! 🙂 And my family might have been impressed that I even knew how to use dad’s saw! Here’s to gaining more life experience and trying to be frugal along the way!
Admittedly…I don’t do a ton of laundry and I don’t do laundry very often…Jealous? Yes! I know!
But when I do…I still try to be frugal about it!
For starters, I make my own laundry detergent. I follow this recipe on the blog Cornerstone Confessions. Here’s the link! I cut the recipe in half though since I don’t use much. I’ve found that it’s easier to grate the soap if it’s hardened so I take the bars out of the wrappers when I buy them.
It’s one of those dump it all together and mix it up kind of things! I’ve had some issues with the baking soda and washing soda clumping up a bit from time to time…which can be hard to pound out. So if you have some tips on making the pounding out process easier, let me know! 🙂 Also, I don’t add any additional scents to the mixture with oils or anything so my laundry doesn’t come out with a particular smell like store bought detergent does.
The only loads I put in the dryer are blankets and towels. Everything else gets hung up.
I’ve used all sorts of things and spaces for drying. There was a large traditional clothes line at my first house. I hung a shower curtain between two shelves and put things on hangers at the rental. I’ve also used small clothing racks.
Now I have this super huge rack that my grandmother bought me as a birthday gift! We saw it a local amish store, and I went on and on about a friend that had one and how much I loved it! I can literally dry an entire load of laundry on it! It’s super great…even if it does take over my entire kitchen on laundry day!
Loads usually take around 24 hours to dry inside on the rack, but since it’s just me and the dog I don’t mind so much! I love that it saves electricity, but also, in the warmer months, I don’t have any extra heat pouring into the house!
I can’t say exactly how much I’ve saved over the years on the air drying and by simply making my own laundry soap, but what you spend on one bottle of laundry soap would pay for all the ingredients for me to make several batches of soap. I would guess that one batch (for me half the recipe) lasts around 6 months….The time investment is well worth the savings for sure!
Have any tips or tricks on saving some money on laundry day? Please do share!! 🙂
Just wanted to share a few quick ways that I’ve been frugal this month! The little things really add up to make a big difference in that budget!
#1 – Mending
I have this black pair of leggings that are great to use under those summer dresses that just aren’t quite long enough. I think I bought them from Old Navy so I’m sure I didn’t spend that much on them. They were starting to pull away at one of the seams so I got out my handy dandy sewing kit. I’m not so great at mending in terms of how the final product looks, but since this won’t be visible, it’s all about how well it works!
#2 – Cooking
I eat omelets almost every morning so I saved up some of the yolks and made pasta. The recipe I use is super basic – flour and the yolks! I just mix it up, cut it into pieces, and put it into boiling water. When it floats, it’s done!
#3 – Decorating
In the new house I have some open shelves in the kitchen that I wanted to put some baskets on to store jars in. I had two baskets to use – one that I bought at a thrift a few years ago and one that I think was from an old chest freezer. So I bought some bronze spray paint to make them match! I actually used my amazon rewards points to get the paint so it didn’t cost me a dime! I also painted a rod from one of the closets that I re-purposed as a curtain rod in the living room.
My best tip is that if something breaks or if you find yourself in need of something, stop and think about how you might fix it or if there’s something you might be able to re-purpose and use instead!
So just because you’ve already spent the money, doesn’t mean the savings have to stop! Great news, huh?!?!
First things first – keep your receipts. Some may call me “old fashioned,” but I do still keep my receipts and record them in my checkbook…and then I balance said checkbook.
But the fun ain’t over yet!
Next, I use the app ReceiptPal. With this app, you earn points for taking pictures of your receipts, and you can use the points to redeem gift cards. You simply snap a picture of your receipt. ReceiptPal will validate your receipt (there are some qualifiers for receipts for information that must be included like merchant name, date of purchase, items purchased, total amount spent). I paid for a few Christmas gifts last year from a Target gift card I earned! It was a great way to stretch those holiday dollars!
After that, I pull any Walmart receipts and use the savings catcher tool on the Walmart app. The tool looks to see if there are any lower advertised prices on the products you bought at other stores! You get an eGift card for the difference if they find a competitor’s offering is lower than the price you paid at Walmart! Honestly, I’ve never gotten any money back on this one…but I figure it’s worth a shot!
Finally, I take all the Kroger receipts and follow the link to their survey website. For filling out the survey you get fuel points…and because I drive right past their gas station frequently it’s a great way to save on gas!
It’s a super simple way to save! A few pictures and a few answered questions can go a long way.
I know there are plenty of other apps folks use to save and earn. What are some of your receipt tips and tricks?
The last few months have been jam packed with house hunting, deciding to purchase, freaking out because I’d decided to purchase, realizing I have too much stuff, and then frantically trying to get rid of said stuff!
That process was what brought about the yard sale I shared about awhile ago…as well as lots of online sales wheeling and dealing!
One of the great things about downsizing and needing to sell things was that any new (to you) house will need work…which requires money. I also needed to clear out the property I purchased because the previous owner left a good deal of furniture and things. Some I kept and some I sold.
So basically I jumped between selling furniture between two homes, in two different locations which was a little complicated at times! 🙂
I started by just putting together a big album of pics on my own personal facebook page. It’s much easier to sell to people that you actually know than to some faceless stranger over the internet. I sold quite a few things that way! My next step was to sell through craigslist and through facebook sales groups.
There were a few facebook groups for the county and for the city that list specific items people are selling or garage sale listings. These groups actually set up the most sales for me…but they required a lot of work. I was so frustrated with people flaking on appointments! But, ultimately, it made me some money so I had to take the good with the bad.
I also gathered together some of the clothing I no longer wanted/needed and sold some items on ebay. I seem to have the most luck selling athletic stuff there. Nike and Under Armour sell pretty well for me.
From all that selling I netted around $600! That put a pretty nice dent into some of the work I wanted to do on the house before moving in!
I also decided to keep some of the things in the house and just upcycle them or move them to a different space or use them differently!
As you can see here, the bathroom is teeny tiny. I absolutely couldn’t stand the retro medicine cabinet. The picture doesn’t quite do it justice. The area above the toilet had a second medicine cabinet that was much better. So I just took out the terrible one and put up the other in it’s place. The first had a light built in…so I found a sconce at the Goodwill Restore for $5 (literally!!!) and with some additional hardware from Lowe’s, I was able to get a new light up for about $11!
The new kitchen island is an old microwave cart! It’s actually a piece I took from mom’s. We think it came from my grandmother and is probably 20 years old. I just painted it with a green paint I had leftover from painting the front door of my first house! That was much cheaper than the $100 island I was looking at online!
There were a few other upcycled items that made the trip from that first house as well. Both were originally pieces of a set of stairs off the back deck. The stairs weren’t the right height so I replaced them and turned one piece into a coat rack and one of the stair treads into a small table. The bottoms of the table are from an old canopy bed!
I also got to use some light fixtures from the first house. I used one in the kitchen that is great because it allows you to direct the light, and the other I’ll use on the front of the house! I broke the one that was there! 🙂 Ooops!
HOME SWEET HOME
Now that everything is finally in and settled for the time being, I can start getting some before and after pictures put together. I’ve only really worked on one room so far (it’s a long story)…cause I’m thinking I’d rather enjoy the lake while the weather is nice. Winter will be the time to get back at it! Until them, I’m enjoying just living in one house…and the water (of course)!
We just got back from a great trip to Virginia Beach, and I thought I’d share some of the tips we’ve used over the last several years to save money on our beach trips. It’s always nice to get away, but you don’t want to spend so much in getting away, that you’re doubly stressed when you get back.
First, I’d recommend setting specific money aside through the year just for traveling. It could be money you set aside from your paychecks that goes into a separate account…my bank actually has a vacation club account that has some sweet features! Or you could use money from a specific side hustle just for vacations. The point really is to have certain funds designated just for that purpose so you have a budget to work with.
Next, when it comes to accommodations we’ve been exclusively using Airbnb. There are so many reasons we keep using it, but we started with Airbnb just for the money savings on places to stay. We’ve rented some amazing spaces. One trip we stopped for the night and stayed in a tipi! Yes! You read that correctly!
It was such a fun experience. You just never know what you’ll find. To be able to stay steps away from the beach for just $80-90 per night is remarkable. We’ve also learned that staying with Airbnb, especially at the beach, means that you get to be in residential areas where there are far less people on the beaches, and there are lots of restaurant options that are very unique. I just think the “tourist” experience is so different from being in the areas where folks are that actually live there!
Another tip is to look for deals on the attractions you want to take advantage of in the area! On this trip, we wanted to take a dolphin watching tour, which was something on my mom’s bucket list, and after taking a look at a few companies that offered the tours we found one that offered an early bird discount on tickets for the first cruise of the day! We saved $5 per ticket for just getting up and getting going early! Bonus…we saw so many dolphins!! It was so freaking cool to be up that close and to see them riding the waves as the boat left!
A fourth tip is to look for restaurant coupons before you leave. Because we’ve been to Virginia Beach before, we do have some restaurants that we like to go to each time and we know the area…so that helped in my deal search. I ended up finding an offer on Groupon, a few months before the trip, for a restaurant that we’d talked about, but hadn’t tried yet. I got a $20 gift certificate for $9! It was definitely a good call and saved us a little cash on food.
Another way we save on food is by bringing food for lunches and some breakfasts along. We just load up a cooler and have fixings for sandwiches and snacks! This also keeps us from having to stop for lunch on the drive there and on the drive back. I do wish we’d taken more drink options this last time. I paid for some rest area beverages a couple of times and could have bought a whole case of water for what I spent on two drinks. I guess it never hurts to have some variety.
So those are just a few ideas for some great ways to stick to your vacation budget! I can’t wait to go back to the beach next year! I can never get enough time in the sand! 🙂
I’m a little delayed in getting this post up…as I actually got the garden planted about a month ago! The last four or so weeks have been filled with many, many trips between the rental and the new house, but I’m finally all moved in and all unpacked (Thank you, Jesus!!). So it’s back to updating you on how our garden is going!
It was actually a mad dash to get our little seedlings in the ground. I was starting to get worried that the plants would be too weak if they stayed in the cartons much longer so we got the garden tilled. It took a couple of days to get everything prepped the way we wanted because of the sod in the new section. It wasn’t the easiest thing to till up. We had to take a few passes and then wait a bit for the dirt to try out before taking a few more passes. It’s not perfect, but I’m happy with it.
As you can see we added some plants since I put together the first design plan so I took the original layout and penciled in the things we added and the things I’d forgotten! 🙂 We added some squash, lettuce, and peas. We also put in a couple of store bought tomato plants to get to the goods a bit quicker! I planted one vegetable at a time and added the compost in the holes or trenches along with the seeds and seedlings.
The stepping stones I wanted to put in actually came from the new house. The previous owner had used them on the ramp into one of the sheds, but I didn’t really care for them in that spot. They are a rubber material and very durable. I think they’ll work well to give us access to everything.
I thought since it’s taken me so long to share, I’d also give you an update for how things look now! To keep the weeds down, I juggled between using mulch or straw…straw ended up being the more affordable route so we’re giving it a shot. As you can see everything is growing well! I’ve fertilized once with blood meal fertilizer so far. I’m not sure if we’ll need to add any additional fertilizer as we go …that will be a wait and see.
The only plants that didn’t transplant well from seedlings inside to the garden were the melons. I had to add more seeds in, which I don’t really think will be a problem. I also added a sprinkler to make things easier on mom in terms of watering. My hope is that she’ll be able to just turn it on and let it go and then turn it off…must easier than dragging the hose around.
There’s one thing that consistently pushes me over budget…eating out!
I don’t struggle to say no to grabbing a quick bite on my own…but I hate passing up an evening out with friends!
I’ve been trying to brainstorm some ideas for spending less on these social necessities I so love! I’m hoping to find a way to stick to my budget while still savoring the fun!
Here’s my plan…
…coupons…In our city we get flyers in the mail with coupons for all sorts of local places. We also have Entertainment books available with coupons for lots of nearby areas. The key will be to see what coupons I have before choosing a place to go. It seems like it’s always taking awhile to decide where to go anyhow…so this could make that process a little easier and be a way to save!
…ordering the cheapest meal…It used to be that you could get appetizers cheaper than entrees (Am I dating myself here?), but that’s not necessarily the case anymore. Honestly though, once I sit down with the menu I’m typically more concerned with what sounds good rather than with what has the best price. I suppose I could also try just ordering side dishes. Those are typically some of my favorite parts of the meal and ordering a couple of veggies has to be more affordable than ordering an entire meal.
…don’t order alcohol!…I know! I know! That should be a no brainer! Heck! I could buy the fixings for like 20 margaritas for the price I pay for one at some places. This one really needs no explanation.
…entertain at home….When I was house hunting I tried to look for a space where I’d be able to more consistently provide a space for entertaining. I’ve been renting a house that just doesn’t lend itself to that. It’s awkward layout works as a living space…but not for much else. So once I get settled in at my new place, let the parties begin! 🙂
I’ll keep you updated on my progress! Do you have any tips for saving when it comes to eating out with friends?
A little update on my goal of upping my work wardrobe game….
Shopping the Closet
So since I decided that I should do that adult thing (or is it??) and not just run out and buy stuff…more exciting but far less budget friendly…I started the process by “shopping” my own closet!
I got in the habit a few years back of picking out my outfits for the week on Sunday. It kept me from wearing just the same outfits over and over. Confession…I have A LOT of clothes…so much so that I turned a spare bedroom in my rental into a closet! Its sort of my thing. I firmly believe that you can never have too much to choose from! 🙂 So when I pulled this week, I stepped it up and tried to match some outfits with accessories!
Here are a few of the things I put together. It’s amazing how much an outfit can get pulled together by a great pair of shoes or a statement necklace!
I also put together I shopping list of sorts…hoping to narrow down what exactly it is I’m on the hunt for…
I’ve put some links in to show you just what I was aiming for! My style board on pinterest has some inspiration as well!!
So the list put a guideline of sorts around my shopping trips…kept my eyes on the prize which kept things as affordable and frugal as possible…of course!
My first finds were at a local consignment shop called Worth Repeating. I happened to go on a day when the entire store was discounted! Bonus!!
I paid $7.80 for the white button up! It was originally $9.75. It’s from Maurices and has a great stretch fabric. It fits so well!! Very comfortable!
The second patterned top is from Alfani. It wasn’t on my list, but I couldn’t pass it up. It was originally $9.75 and I spent just $7.80 on it! It’s super cute and stylish!
The third piece was the long silver necklace with the white pearls. It was originally $5.50, and I spent $3.52. It’s from Express so I think it’s a steal.
The next purchases on my list came from Goodwill! Very excited about these finds! I found a great blazer and some Ann Taylor (…I LOVE Ann Taylor!!…) dress pants. The plants are black, which isn’t exactly what I was looking for, but for that brand at that price and with that fit…how could I possibly pass up? They just need to be taken in a bit, and I’m good to go!
I scored the pants for $4.29 and the blazer for $5.99. The blazer is from Maurices and offers a trendy look and a good fit. My shoulders are a bit broad so blazers can sometimes be too tight across my back and can become uncomfortable. This one is slightly big…might be a good one to have altered eventually. You’ll also see in the picture a blue Gap shirt I picked up to try to flip. Goodwill has a $0.99 deal on Sundays, and it was such a good price that I thought it would be worth a shot!
My latest purchase off the list was some shoes! My favorite and the priciest by far! I searched through multiple sites trying to find a deal on what I was looking for. Most of the shoes that were the style I wanted were in the $40-$70 range. I ended up purchasing this pair from Target…and they had a buy one pair got one pair half off at the time. Of course, I didn’t pass on the chance to get a second pair!
I also got 5% off for using my Target red card! In the end I got both pairs for $44.81 and saved $16.20 on the purchase!
I think I’m well on my way to updating my look! Where do you look or shop for some wardrobe updates?