Category Archives: All Things Thrifty

I Hate Coupons.

This is not a new revelation. Before I continue in my second and probably final post on the subject of coupons, let it be known that I do not like couponing. With that said, I made a binder yesterday. A coupon one. It cost me $25 to put together. Let it be known also, that I would have rather spent the cash on a pedicure, or a killer new pair of flip flops, or perhaps a dinner on the patio of Paesanos, an adorable new outfit for my little guy, or maybe…. Fact is this ~couponing works and it saves money with very minimal effort.

Since I am not working and I do have time on my hands, couponing is the least I can do to contribute to our family income and be a good steward of our finances. I have heard people talk about couponing sometimes like it is a hobby of some sort. I do not understand this. Personally, I would rather kick it at the gym or take up underwater basket weaving.

Deal #1

Target ~

6 frozen Archer Farms pizza and 6 2 liters of soda for $20, retail about $50.

We typically do frozen pizza on Wednesday nights since my husband works late and we don’t usually buy soda, but I do buy Coke Zero from time to time for my hubby. So, it’s all used. This was acquired by using a Target sale, coupons that peeled off of the actual package, plus a Target Web coupon.


Deal #2

Target ~

6 boxes of Kellogs Cereal and 2 CARS cars for $10.

Manufacturer coupon, plus Target Web coupon, plus Target sale, plus sticker on cereal for FREE CARS {retail 3.99 each} car = breakfast for several weeks plus stocking stuffers for Christmas for my little guy.

Deal #3

Walgreens ~

3 bottles of FREE aspirin. I have four kids and I homeschool. I use this.

This was acquired from sale + manufacturer coupon + register rewards (I think they are called).

Deal #4

Walgreens ~

Five pairs of free goggles. These are needed for the gym pool for my lovelies this summer.

They were acquired through register rewards earned from purchasing razors.

Deal #5


Staples ~

30 free adorable lollipops. These were acquired from a $3 off any purchase coupon from Staples.

We passed a Staples on the way home from last Saturday’s soccer game and I whipped out my coupons for each member of the fam. One per person. We each got 6 lollipops. My daughters seventh birthday will now be candy themed. The lollipops will provide fantastic decor for the birthday cake and favors for her little guests.

Deal #6

Target ~

Danimals, $.44 for 6.

Target sale + Target Web coupon + Manufacturers coupon.

I could go on but I will not bore you or myself. I have been couponing a month now and will continue. It is a mindset for sure. It does save money. You definitely lose some ability to buy what you want when you want it because it’s all about combining available deals, stocking up when things are on sale, and balance. Three things I can pull off because the outcome outweighs the effort. I’m in.

p.s. for those of you needing some additional material to mock or drool over, depending on which side of the fence you camp on, here is the BINDER. Go to Check out the beginners tab and on day 5 you can print out all these lovely sheets for free. Grab a binder and some sheet protectors and baseball card sheets and go crazy. Why the binder you ask? You have to save all these coupons. No longer is it just o.k. to have and use a simple coupon. You have to wait for the item to be on sale, potentially have a second deal (freebie with purchase or web coupon), and then and only then can you can use your coupon. Anything else, is just so last year.



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Extreme Couponing?

Yeah, you’re curious. Just admit it. I have watched it once. Have you? I have heard all kinds of reactions about this show and about couponing in general. What is it about things that we seem to always have to take them to the extreme? I have to admit that I love deals as much as the next person, but this show had me wishing that coupons did not exist. Yeah, saving money is great, but I think we can all agree that everything can be taken “too far”. Now, of course, what that “too far” is is entirely up to you. I will say, that I do admire the passion to save money. However, at the risk of sounding terribly judge mental, I personally don’t want 56 bottles of mustard in my home. However, if there is a middle ground somewhere????? Is it worth it?

Being incredibly budget conscious and living on a cash only system, I decided to check out this coupon world a bit more seriously. If I can save some money with a couple of hours of work a week, then I am all for it. My biggest problem I have right now with the idea of couponing is that we are making radical changes in the way we eat over the last year. I do not want 24 boxes of Frosted Flakes, even if they are free. So, finding a balance of getting huge discounts on products that I not only use, but want, is my goal. I committed to check it out for a few weeks, to see how it goes. Here is my “report” after about two weeks.

First Sunday ~ Yay it’s paper day. After church, I head to the gas station to get me a paper! I put the kids to nap, sit down with a diet coke, scissors, and a sharpie for note taking. In my lap is my paper, my ticket to savings galore. I open it up and NOTHIN’. Not a coupon to be found. I text my friend and reigning coupon queen…and there apparently is no coupons on Memorial Day weekend. Alrighty then.

Mid Week ~ I have spent about an hour checkin’ out Krazy Coupon Lady. Yeah it’s informative, but more importantly it’s slathered in a mustard yellow and aqua color schemed, scrolly pattern of deliciousness. I could study all the live long day, just about anything, if it is presented as pretty as this. My eleven year old is by my side every step of the way ~ her choice. We decide not to invest in the time and expense of a binder system and just make do with this little guy I purchased awhile back at Target. We label it together. It’s ready and waiting for coupons.


Second Sunday ~ I wake up to a facebook message from my friend, the coupon queen, telling me..”the paper is good, I am buying three”. I take direction well. I will buy three too. I head to the Dollar Tree at about 1 pm to buy my three papers that WILL have coupons this time and they are out. I curse the extreme couponing show yet again. Forget it, I am not driving around town to save three bucks on papers. I have my limits. They are loose, but still there. I pull into Chevron, buy my three papers for six bucks and head home to clip.

There are three inserts apparently. Smart Source, Red Plum, and Procter and Gamble. Somehow one of my papers has 5 PG inserts. Leaving me with 7 of the health and beauty type coupons. o.k. I’ll take it. My daughter and I clip and file and see why you need a binder. My cute little file, already won’t shut.

I spend some time trying to match up the sale ads, coupons, manufacter coupons, etc. keeping in mind all the policies and fine prints. I have a head ache. I am annoyed. I call coupon queen for the quick rendition of the basics. I get lengthy email in return and feel better. I hate details.

Tuesday Night~ I have been in bed with the flu for 24 hours. I feel better. I manage to find a couple deals at Target. I head out at 10:15 to test it out. EPIC FAIL. Everything that could go wrong has. I come home with nothing except a few lessons learned. These couponing chicks mean serious business. I am further annoyed, but I have committed. I will re figure and try again tomorrow.

Wednesday Morning~ Success!  for a newbie that is. $25.80 paid. $97.02 retail. That is a big savings! All stuff I use and needed.



Staples currently has a $3.00 off coupon. It is good off of any purchase. I printed four of them and went in with three of my kids. We each used one.

Purchase one ~ 100 straws/12 pencils ~ total .53

Purchase two ~ 100 straws/12 pencils ~ total. 53

Purchase three ~ 100 straws/12 pencils ~ total .53

Purchase four ~ 6 Secret Deodorant off the the clearance table. It was already marked from $1.00 to .50. ~total .00

and yes I agree…”Staples carries deodorant?”

Here is where I made the choice to get what I needed rather than hoard what was free. I could have purchased 24 deodorant for free, but I need pencils and straws, so I went with those instead.




a couple different designs of 20 count kids bandaids are ringing up $1.70. I had a manufacturers coupon for .55 and a Target generated coupon from online for $1.00. Combine this with the sale price and I now was able to buy 3 boxes at .15 a piece.


Target offers a $5.00 gift card for the purchase of 2 razors. Each razor comes with two additional extra blades. I had a $4.00 off coupon on the same razor. I actually had 6 of these coupons due to the extra PG inserts in my paper. So I was able to get $15 in Target gift cards and $24 savings from coupons. Voila!

These are not the razors my husband normally uses. They are actually quite a bit more expensive. However, with the discount, they ended up being cheaper than the ones I normally buy…by a lot.


So, I always wondered how this worked. It’s the perfect combination of stacking as many deals as you can together. I had to pay in separate transactions. I had all my stuff together and it wasn’t a big deal. In fact, at Target I simply put the items on the belt, already separated and told the cashier I needed to pay in separate transactions. At the end, he simply said…”very impressive, have a good day.” I thanked him and left.

Things I have learned:

1. Expect frustration. It takes a bit to figure out.

2. I like clearance shopping, not so much couponing. However, if I have the time and can save some money, it’s kinda like a part time job, right?

3. Read the fine print and then read it again.

4. Do your math~ sometimes the smaller sizes are cheaper than the bigger ones. Do not assume.

5. Everything in moderation people. Buy what you use or donate what you won’t!


I headed to one final stop to get some free toothbrushes and aspirin at CVS. They were all out. Not surprised.

I was out for 1.5 hours this morning doing this. I have probably put in 4-5 hours so far, figuring this all out. Not bad.

I will continue for a few more weeks and see how it goes. I do not want to be driving to multiple stores or stocking up on highly processed foods. However, if I can find deals like I did today on things that we use and save us money….then hooray!



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Changing Table.

We have a two story home and I am almost 40.

I think it goes without saying that I need a changing table both upstairs and down.

Craigs list provides multiple listings for old beat up changing tables for just a few dollars.

I purchased this white one, just a few miles from my house, that had been lovingly adorned with crayon drawings and little flowers.

I set out to create something far more agreeable for the corner of my husbands downstairs office.

I started out using the extra dining room paint (which is the most beautiful color Ralph Lauren ever created SHALE BLUE).

I picked up some fun fabric for just $3 and sewed a pillowcase type cover for the new pad that I bought for $17 at Babies r us.

The rest of the stuff I had on hand. I used Modge Podge to attach some scrapbook paper to the bottom to shelves and robbed other rooms for multiple baskets.

My kids actually asked why I didn’t just “buy one in the store, already done” (do they not know me at all?)….and my answer? that simply just isn’t as much fun.

I am linking up with



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$2 Bulletin Board.

Last Saturday an amazing thing happened. I went to 4 garage sales in search of the perfect frame and I actually found it. For TWO DOLLARS.

Brought it home. Dusted it. Stapled Chicken Wire to the back. Dug out some clothes pin.

Then it went to live on the wall in the classroom that is made up of all the other signs and pictures that have no where else to hang in my house.

Gotta love good deals.

I am linking up with:

BWS tips button

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Day 80. The Unexpected.

There we were mid morning. My doorbell rings and the neighbor says, ” I hear your homeschooling, Congratulations!” AAAAAhhhhh I linger for a moment, music to my ears. No questions on why, or how do you, or I never could. Just a congratulations. THEN, she says that the church on the corner has a school that is shutting down and they have gobs and gobs of books for free. She was on her way, after her friend told her. She said you just walk in and take them. I thought about it and kinda decided not to, since I am so new at this. I thought I would confuse myself with more curriculum choices. However, she stopped back by on her way home and said, really, GO!

Alright, I can listen well. We loaded up and went over to check it out. There was a ton! Very confusing to me on what and how to use it all. I still need instructions! However, I did find 12 different classic books and picked up 3 copies of each, so we can read them together. I also let the kids pick out some stuff. Oh their personalities shone through that freedom.

First Taylor, Quietly surveyed the room and picked a few books. All things that made her happy. Puzzles, problems, snoopy, rainbows, etc.

Then Emma, all drama all the time. They were SO heavy for her, she let everyone know the whole time we were there. However, it melted my heart when I saw what she was carrying. She chose 5 “Bibles”. A toddler Bible (she recognized the brand as we have one at home),  3 other books that have a Bible “look” to them, and finally another book that has a “Bible” look to it. BUT, it was in Chinese….her thoughts after reviewing her choice in the car was, “oh, this is going to be complicated”.

Finally Cameron. In utter amazement of the choices, he chose high school level physics, science, and experiement type books. He would have brought the room home and maybe I should have let him. However, I limited it to 7 books, and a giant box of baking soda lol. (Yes, really I said baking soda….they were cleaning out their science cabinets too). He asked why he couldn’t bring the acid home. Um, really Cam? I think that is self explanatory.

That, my friends, was quite a deal! I paid nothing. The perfect little trip was ended with impromptu pizza lunch!

Now there is just 90 school days left until summer.

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The Bell Will Ring….

Tomorrow it’s back to school….our LLOONNNGGG break is over….We eased into it today and did a little bit.

Our next part of math is reviewing money…so, I took advantage of the Christmas clearance at Target and we went on a little field trip. Each child got a dollar to spend. There isn’t much left at this time of year, but they managed to find lots of little treasures. That is real life practical math in play. When they figured out the mark down price and how much more they could buy because of the sale, they were incredibly pleased. They each paid on their own and got their own bag and receipt. While I was paying, I sent them over to the snack bar to sit and wait. They were all comparing their “savings” on the bottom of their receipts! It ranged from $7-$8. They were pretty pleased. I was dying laughing…it was adorable.
We stopped at Bj’s on the way home for an impromptu lunch. Yum. Cameron tried to negotiate that the children’s menu activity sheet should count for school work. Whatever. After chill time, we did some major cleaning around the house. ALL the millions of Christmas decor items are down and in the garage, about 50% packed up. The rest is going to have to wait, but at least it’s all out of the house.
We worked on some penmanship and spelling this afternoon and did a special project. I had the kids write down their 3 top field trip choices. I also had them write down what they liked and didn’t like about school. WOW interesting. Cameron thinks my school is harder then BCS. LOL. That could be good or bad depending on how you look at it. Both of the kids asked for more structure….EXCUSE ME? Are you kidding? They both want to have school be from a certain time to a certain time. Alright, I’ll play along….or try to anyway…
SO, tomorrow as requested the bell will ring at 8:47. Why? because I’m the teacher and I said so. School will dismiss at 12:01.
Off to lesson plan……
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I have been working on my closet project and tomorrow will have pictures up. I ended up building a vanity in there with some extra shelving from my armoire in my bedroom. I may skirt it tonight using my tree skirt. We’ll see.
For now here is my sneak peek chair that will sit at my vanity. I bought this chair last year off of craigs list for $5.00. I recovered it will some fabric that I had in my closet. It has been at the built in desk in our upstairs hall ever since. I stole it for my closet.
$.96 cents for spray paint and $3.25 for a yard of delicious stripe-y fabric from the Calico Corners Outlet in Sac….and Voila! A cutesy little white distressed chair for me to sit in. It was my first time to try rubbing the candle wax on the chair first, to aid in the distressed look. It rocked. My photography skills are lacking, but its fab…and seriously for less then $5.00 (o.k.$9.21, if you count the original chair purchase price)…My heart skips a beat when I see it…
What hobbies do you have that make your heart go a flutter?
and more importantly….DO YOU DO THEM????
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Children’s Place Outlet.

I have never found deals quite so amazing at any other store than this one. When the kids were in toddler sizes, I frequently would buy items for .66 cents a piece. It’s hit or miss, but when it’s on they are great deals.

I ended up at the Children’s Place Outlet in Folsom yesterday and they had lots of rounders for 1.99 and 3.99. I purchased $340 worth of clothes for $80. Several t shirts for next summer and some winter things too! Good enough for me!
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