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?
This may sound super weird…but I really like trying out new vacuums. I really like vacuuming actually! Odd ball. I know. My mom is the beneficiary of such nonsense though so I think it’s ultimately a win!
Mom got a new Shark Rocket around Christmas last year, and somehow, months passed before I got to try it out, but once I did, I ended up vacuuming and cleaning all sorts of random things around her house. Once I started, I couldn’t stop without trying out all the different features.
Now I’m a Dyson girl all the way. I swear by the things! But this Rocket is really pretty epic!
It’s super light weight and so easy to maneuver! Look how it can bend around corners! It would be perfect for someone with mobility or stamina issues. It’s slightly self propelled so that really helps you move it along.
With one click you can switch to the hose feature…another click and you can from carpet to tile! Another click and you empty everything you’ve picked up into the garbage! Its chord is even a great length.
And for the hardest test of all, it works super well on dog hair…and shredded dog toys! 🙂 That’s a true test!
I really like it, and would definitely recommend the Shark Rocket! Mom’s floors are looking great!
I mentioned in last week’s post that I’m in the process of moving! I’ve been looking, mostly very casually, for probably about a year or so. The market here is a bit cray – definitely a sellers’ market, and houses go very very quickly for very high numbers.
At some point in the process, I felt the draw to just peek at what buying options might be like at the lake…and much to my surprise the value there was so much better.
So the prayer process began about whether or not this might be a step the Lord was leading me to take…and now I’m about to own a house near the water! 🙂
Naturally, I find myself in a mad dash to get rid of some things that cannot make the trip with me – hence, a yard sale!
Pricing was a little hectic, as the packing process has also begun and space is a bit limited. I started with just a pile of things as I sorted through each room and closet in the rental. I ended up deciding to create a $0.50 table and put the majority of the small items there. I also thought it’d be simplest to just make each item of clothing $1.00.
As I was getting ready, I read a really great blog post with some sale tips that I thought were really insightful! You can check out the post here. Some of the biggest takeaways for me were about having music playing to create a comfortable environment and about greeting everyone. I hadn’t really thought of a yard sale as a business opportunity of sorts (even though I know that’s essentially what it is), but the better you can serve your “shoppers” the better your sale will go! I also made sure to have bags available to anyone that needed one and offered to carry any purchases to my shoppers cars!
Frugal Tip #1
To save money on signage, I cut one of the smaller boxes I had for packing into two flat pieces and used those as signs. I live on a street between two roads that are pretty busy so I hung one on each end of the street. Very cheap and very effective! Two “shoppers” specifically mentioned seeing them.
Frugal Tip #2
I’m currently fundraising for a mission trip, mostly through selling pop and water…so I thought having drinks out at the sale would be a great opportunity to earn some for the trip as well, but I didn’t want to waste money on ice. I decided to get creative and fill some plastic cups with water to freeze and used that instead. It lasted pretty well in the cooler! However, temps were fairly cool – so I sold no pop! Doubly glad I didn’t buy the ice!
The Sale Results
My first purchase happened before things even started…I was actually still trying to set things out! I made $21 on that one alone. Though I think the lady asked me at least one question per dollar spent. There were definitely some real characters that dropped in…some arguing couples, a guy on a motorcycle that walked around with his helmet on (which made the banker in me have to fight not to ask him to take it off so I could see his face), and a stray dog that insisted on running back and forth through my yard. Cinder wasn’t thrilled with anyone of it! 🙂
In the end, I got rid of lots of stuff and made about $95! Not too bad for a quick one day sale!
I’ve also been selling items through facebook and craigslist too, so I’ll share more about that soon!
We’re definitely making some progress on prepping for this summer’s garden!
Look how far our little seedlings are coming along! We’re basically *THRILLED*!! I was doubting that it was going to work…as you might recall I was even thinking about talking to the seeds just to get them to start growing. The only thing that didn’t grow was the cauliflower, but I’m planning to soak the seeds first and then plant them straight into the garden soil. Maybe the second time will be the charm on those! 🙂
We haven’t gotten the garden tilled yet, but we do have the extension portion marked out…and we have a plan for how to lay out the plants. I did some research on companion planting that I tried to follow in the design. It seemed like a lot of the designs I saw, that were the most helpful in picturing how best to do it, left you with lots of plants intermingled. I feel like I’m too Type-A to handle that disorder though…I’m torn between the potential for a better yield and a total hate for disorder…not surprisingly the hate for disorder is going to win. A compromise of effectiveness and orderliness (which is always much nicer to look at in my fantastic opinion) is going to be called for. 🙂
We also have our compost ready just as soon as we get the soil prepped! I’m in the process of moving (I know!?!? Right!??! More details to follow.) and I won’t have the space to take my compost bin with me….which means I’ve already sold it…and I needed to clean it out. Therefore, we have some buckets waiting to be used.
While trying to clean out some flower beds at mom’s, I came across this hose that didn’t work anymore so I turned it into a couple of wreaths. Once we add some flowers or some gardening tools from the dollar store they will be super cute! I think I’m going to try to sell them on facebook or craigslist once I get it all put together.
Another upcycle is this piece from an old bed frame we had as kids. It’s been sitting in the basement for years. Time to let it see the light of day and to grow some veggies on it!
We’ve also started using this little milk jug as a watering can. The one we were using was letting the water come out with a little too much force for our little plants so we snagged this jug from Grandma’s!
I can’t wait to get things in the ground and really get the garden season started! I’ll update with pics as soon as we get it together!
Here’s a few quick things I do to pinch dimes in my everyday…my own little frugal tips, if you will! 🙂
Frugal Tip One..
This one I started because I thought it was a joke…really! I totally thought it would fail – regrowing lettuce in water. You leave a bit left on the romaine stalk, stick it in a bowl of water, and wait. I used butter knives to prop it up, but skewers would probably have worked a bit better! You just keep refreshing the water every few days! It’s pretty remarkable. It will just start growing up from the center. It’s fun, and it saves! Win win!!
Frugal Tip Two…
I rip my make-up removal cloths in half or in thirds. Some may say that the fact that I buy the things is a waste of money as compared to bottled soaps or homemade cloths…but the soap doesn’t work as well for me, and I’m convinced that tugging at the skin under my eyes will give me wrinkles (or will worsen the ones I already have…). And those cloths are from Walmart and come in box of like 125 for $10.00 give or take. So for me it’s worth it because it gets the job done and is easy on my skin. I just do my best to stretch it a little further.
Frugal Tip Three…
I let my shower water warm up by running a small stream out of the faucet and not a full stream through the shower-head. It takes just as long either way, and I waste far less water this way. In the city I live in, the price of water is equivalent to the price of gold…leaves me always looking for ways to conserve. I suppose this one is more about just being conscious about how much water I’m using at any given time.
Do you have any ways that you try to save money in the day to day?