Monday, December 30, 2013

New Years Resolution


Sitting on my blog page and thinking about how long its been since I have posted and how much has changed I realized what time of the year it is. We are wrapping up one year and headed for the new year. It's a time of hope, and yet every new day, week, or month could have the same significance. Our lives can change overnight. In nine months we can create a new life!

Despite the fact that I don't completely see why the new year bears so much more significance than any other time period I can say I am absolutely excited for the new year. Its a great time to restart, a clean slate, another chance.

This year I'm not making any New Years Resolutions. I'm looking forward to the New Year with hope and excitement because of all the things I plan to do in it. Life is constantly changing, and as people so do we. Next year will hopefully be the year my husband and I buy our first house, conceive our first child, the year my husband starts college and the year I graduate with my associates degree! There really is so much to look forward to!

What about you? Are you making New Years Resolutions? Do you ever keep them? Sound off in comments, thanks for reading =)

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Christmas Cleaning


Christmas seems to be the time when we all think about being charitable. Whether its due to some "Christmas Spirit", or the charities that are in full gear around the holidays who can say. Many of us over extend ourselves at Christmas buying gifts for those we know and love. I can't begin to guess how many gifts my mom bought this year!!

Yahoo Shine is one of my favorite online haunts and I found a couple interesting blogs on their recently, one was about a present free birthday party and the newest one was a present free Christmas. I, personally, reject the idea completely. I would feel sorry for a child who didn't get any presents for their birthday or Christmas, after all aren't their charities who operate to give gifts to children who otherwise wouldn't get any? (There are, my mom has participated for a few years now in gifting to them).

Anyway on to my topic: Christmas Cleaning

In my online readings I came across two people mentioning a similar idea: pre-Christmas cleaning/donations. One said that they tell their children they need to get old toys together so Santa's elves can recycle them and make new toys (wonder if these people are eco friendly?), the other mentioned having their children gather up unused toys and clothes to donate to children in need. This action encourages their children to be charitable, and makes room for their new presents. For the children who receive the gifts, used or not, I'm sure many of them are happy. Libraries, Daycares, Churches, etc would also generally be happy for gifted toys and books!

Friday, November 22, 2013

Renting Versus Buying


Many of us are in love with the dream of homeownership but should you really buy, or is it smarter to rent? Although there are always factors out of our control which can make home ownership risky (like major repairs, a down housing market).. there is a calculator by bankrate that allows you to determine at what point its smarter to buy than to rent.

The option to buy or rent is highly personal though, so lets look at the pros and cons of each.

1) Landlord usually does maintenance
2) Ability to move more freely (even if you have a lease many landlords will let you terminate early)
3) Less risky
4) Less upfront costs

1) Build equity ( you are no longer "throwing money away on rent" )
2) Customization
3) Tax breaks
4) Roots
5) Security- rent isn't going to increase!
6) Your own Rules
7) No Pet Fee's, Pet Rent, or Pet Restrictions

If you have read my other blog entries you know that I can't wait to buy! I know there is some risk especially since we may be moving in two years... but I have found a couple houses that I believe would be good to buy even if we did move because A. the price is great B. they are in a good location and C its hard finding a place that will accept our dog. Using the bankrate calculator I determined it was much cheaper to buy then to rent, in fact it would be a better move financially for us in less than 10 months! Many cities its cheaper to buy than to rent, what prevents people is being able to get together money for a downpayment.

What is your opinion? Did I miss any pro's or con's? I left neighbors out because you can get crappy ones no matter where you live, I know from personal experience but I also have good ones!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

NON GMO Fruit and Vegetable Juice


I found this great product at my local grocer: R.W. Knudsen Juice.I got three different flavors of the juice, it is labeled "Nature's Peak" and I got the tropical veggie blend, berry veggie blend, and orchard veggie blend. These juices are half a serving of fruits and half a serving of veggies.

I went on to the R.W Knudsen website and they state they have more than 125 different natural and organic juices, fruit beverages, and specialty items. The products are all made without preservatives, additional sugars, or artificial flavors.

The best things about this juice? Organic AND part of the NON GMO PRODUCT! You read that right! No GMO's! It is also 100% juice. Oh, and I got it on clearance for just .49 rather than the regular $3.99!

I have bought all the juices and just finished the tropical veggie blend. I am not a huge fan of juices in general, there is only one maybe two juices I have tried that I have really liked. This juice was okay, but not necessarily my favorite. My favorite juice has to be a raspberry cranberry blend. This juice contains pineapple, carrot, mango puree, sweet potato, and banana puree.

Tent City USA


Many of you are wondering about the title right now. Tent City is a documentary on Netflix about well Tent City, a community of homeless that was created in Nashville, TN. I would recommend to everyone to watch the documentary. We have so many homeless in our community and to me this is the answer!

  • Tent City was a purposeful community
  • The residence of tent city helped each other
  • The community was safe
  • There was little to no crime
  • There were rules to live in the community e.g. no drugs and no fighting
  • The homeless were banding together trying to build a better future
Ultimately I can't imagine being homeless. How scared would you be? Sleeping on the streets, and in tents? Communities of homeless like this would actually serve to protect the homeless and help them. Community is a great thing, and really we don't NEED money. Look at Amish communities, they are largely self sufficient. If our homeless got together and formed communities they could also become more sufficient. Rather than have a homeless epidemic we could give them land to form a community like Tent City and allow them to build structures, grow vegetables and fruit, and do their part to improve their situation! 

Homeless people aren't wanted. It's sad but its true, watch the documentary. The town of Antioch including a PREACHER all protested their very being there! Can you imagine a whole town protesting you simply being there? Giving the homeless a place where they can feel safe and build a community is a great answer!

Monday, November 18, 2013

Conscious Box Review


Well my conscious box finally arrived today, and if you don't know what that is you can refer back to my earlier blog post which includes a free coupon code for it. The box is smaller than I expected but done really cute, a box inside a box then tissue paper over the product (as shown below).

Obviously for a box that size your not getting a lot. I had read that mostly you would get samples then you would get one or two normal size products. I didn't get any normal size products. What came in Novembers box was

  • IMG_9089.jpg
  • Relax-All sample (2 pills inside)
  • Herbal M Zap (2)
  • Reboot sample (drink to combat oxidative stress)
  • MRM Veggie Protein diet supplement bar
  • Raw Milk Cow Cheese sample
  • Smarty Pants sample (6 gummies= 2 days)
  • Sunology natural sunscreen sample
  • Goddes Garden Organics SPF lotion sample
  • Better Botanicals Apricot Eye Therapy Sample
  • Mighty Leaf Organic Tea (3 pouches different flavors)
  • Wholesome Sweetners (various packets probable 10+) 
Ultimately I'm not impressed with the selection because I was hoping for more products than foods and supplements. I am not super brave with my food choices, I will try new foods but I prefer to introduce new foods slower, as in not 8 new flavors in two days. 

I also don't find this to be cost effective for me. The items provided in the box are not items I would regularly purchase if at all. The point of the box is to introduce you to new products that are environmentally friendly, however I paid around $8 in shipping and the only items in the box I could see myself purchasing are the wholesome sweeteners and sunscreen. I also think most of these samples could have been obtained free and different health or eco stores. 

Bottom line, if I think I paid to much and I just covered shipping with my free coupon code I can't recommend you SUBSCRIBE to this service. 

If you have tried this or another subscriber service I would love to know your thoughts. I will also try to review some of the products from the box.

House Hunting, Obsessed with home ownership


The Great American Dream, homeownership complete with a perfectly manicured green lawn and a white picket fence. This picture was found using google search, and it represents a generic American Dream Home. As individuals we each have different criteria for our dream home, while the picture above is nice and makes me think of happy leave it to beaver families it isn't my dream home... trust me I have given it a lot of thought.

I have been obsessed with owning a home since I was around sixteen. My goal is to have a house bought and paid for by time I am 30, 33 at the latest. I know, I know, many of you are shaking your heads right now and thinking yeah, good luck. First of all, thanks for wishing me good luck, and second let me explain my motivations for homeownership.

  1. My Background- growing up I had little stability. We moved almost every year, sometimes multiple times a year; as such, my parents were always changing jobs and we had little financial security. Although our bills were always paid I was always told we didn't have money so I couldn't do sports couldn't have this or that, so from a young age I worried about money and security. As an adult the need for a security net has intensified as I contemplate motherhood.
  2. Financial Security- our biggest monthly expense is housing. While buying a house isn't always the best idea I can find houses in my area where the mortgage is significantly lower than my monthly rent, I did the math and the monthly mortgage, taxes, pmi, homeowners insurance, and additional cost for utilities together should equal roughly our current monthly rent. For us there are houses available for what we are paying in rent. When you buy your own house your building equity and eventually you will own the house meaning no more mortgage payments and no more PMI (this should disappear when your equity goes to 20%). 
  3. Freedom- Homeownership gives you both more and less freedom if that makes sense.
  •  I am a little bit of a free spirit, having grown up moving everytime something got tough for my father. I don't mind moving, as long as I'm moving towards something a good job opportunity for example. Being a homeowner makes moving a lot harder because you have to sell the house before moving, rent it out, or continue paying the mortgage payments which isn't always feasible.
  • Being a tenant is a little bit like living with your parents, except now your paying for the privilege of living there. Being a tenant you still have to follow someone else's rules, no painting, pet limitations, in some cases visitor/tenant limitations. Being a homeowner gives you much more freedom. You can add an addition, remodel, refinish those hideous cabinets, paint the walls, there are much less restrictions!
  • Homeownership also provides a degree of financial freedom, you know your mortgage payment will never go up unless you refi, or have an arm, whereas rent often increases yearly. Once you have paid 20% of your home value you drop your PMI lowering your monthly payments and giving you more money, and once your mortgage is paid off you don't have monthly housing payments. Renting you never cease having to pay monthly!
     4. Family- My husband and I want a home to start a family in. We also want to start a family, near our              family so our children get the benefit of extended family growing up (something I didn't). Honestly this           isn't my favorite state/area but for the sake of a child and being close to family we would make it work           here for a while.

I have been looking at buying a house for at least a year and a half, in all fairness my husband and I probably had more income then since we were both working. Now that I'm in college I don't work all the time, and although we have been making it work and had extra money for savings I'm wondering what our finances will be like when he gets home (he has been at basic and technical training for the military). My husband is guard, meaning he isn't guaranteed a full time position. If he doesn't get the position we are hoping for then it is back to his old job (for the time being), which is a pay cut. 

Looking at houses off and on for that long makes me somewhat obsessed, especially if you knew how much research I have done about the process and how much time I have spent looking at houses, loan programs, first time home buying programs, loan rates, closing cost information, potential commute times, mortgage costs, etc. The crazy thing is we haven't gotten preapproved and we aren't even sure we will be buying here. Having a good secure career is more important with regards to family planning then being close to family. 

Ultimately, being a planner type personality it makes sense that I am obsessed with buying a home. I am a simple girl, I married young because all I really want in life is love, family, and security. I don't need the best of everything, I shop smart, and I don't want for a lot. I don't need a lot of material things. I don't need to keep up with the Joneses. My motivations behind wanting to be a home owner are transparent. 

Ultimately I will keep watching property virgins, house hunters, and other hgtv shows. I will keep looking at houses for sale in our potential markets and bookmarking ones that might work for us. We will keep saving up our downpayment.

Anyone else obsessed with homeownership? Comment below =)

Thursday, November 14, 2013

What is your dog worth?


IMG_0559.jpgWhat is he worth? He is half wolf, so that raises the value correct? What about his coloring though? What about his size?

I always find it appalling how we place value on animals. What makes one animal worth more than another? It isn't training, or some special attribute or skill, it is almost always looks or size! Teacups are worth a lot because they are so small, purebreeds are worth a lot because they are "pure".

Is how we value animals not how we once placed value upon people? By looks? Black dogs are put down more than any other color, simply for their looks. African Americans similarly were discriminated against for their appearance. Are we so shallow to discriminate against animals based on appearance?

I think its sad when I look at animal classifieds and see what people think animals are worth. I think animals should be worth the same amount universally, unless they come with training and then I can understand paying extra for the training. In some ways its sad that animals have a value at all, they are alive and we feel the right to own them!

Shadow and Nina aren't our property, they are our companions. Our dogs are part of our family, yes I discipline and train them but I also spoil them and they are happy. I don't see how people view them as disposable, and I don't see how people can assign arbitrary values based on shallow characteristics.

Shadow is over a year old. Shadow is half wolf. Shadow chews on my lipgloss tubes, eats my candy bars wrapper and all, eats my underwear especially the expensive ones I have only gotten to wear once, will take things out of the trash, STILL has accidents inside, and has ruined 5 blinds. Shadow also jumps the fence if I don't take him out on a leash in the FENCED in yard, and will pull really hard if we don't use a prong collar when walking him. Shadow has severe seperation anxiety and destroyed an entire bathroom ripping up the flooring and scratching up the doorframe. He used to bark non stop when we left, and even a bark collar didn't deter him. Shadow has ripped up carpet around the door within the last six months. Shadow has an allergic reaction to cheaper foods (which we wouldn't have been giving him anyway if we realized how bad it was, we didn't know not to buy ANY brands available in a regular grocery store), so we have to buy him more expensive foods.

With all of his problems do you know what? Shadow is also a very loyal loving dog, he would hurt a fly and a spider but he has NEVER displayed any aggression towards a person or another animal. He loves to play and he thinks he is a lap dog. He forgives us for losing our patience with him (you would lose your patience too!), and he loves sharing your food. Shadow does tricks for a good boy, no treats needed!

Shadow is worth every penny we spend on him every month. I can't imagine trying to sell him, or breed him. Any loyal loving dog like him is priceless! How can you put a value on such a pure innocent forgiving loving animal?

Monday, November 4, 2013

Tiny House Movement


The tiny house movement, as many blogs and articles as I have read on the subject none of them seem to define the movement... while its quiet obvious it is a shift towards smaller houses the reasons for the movement have been vast. I was actually inspired by the movement. I think its amazing that people live in such small places, but the design and organization of the small houses are so good that in many cases they don't seem as small.

I actually discovered the tiny house movement by accident. I was reading a local paper that offered "cabins" for really cheap. These cabins were of course storage buildings rather than meant for habitation but I sent my mom a picture as a joke seeing as how she has always wanted to own and live in a cabin. I began to wonder if it would be possible to turn the cabin into an actual house, I had seen small efficiency apartments and tiny dwellings online in stories, I hadn't heard about the movement yet... when I started googling to see if it was actually a possibility I came across the movement.

I have to say I am shocked. People who participate in the tiny house movements are really creative, many of them have built their own tiny houses themselves, they find ways around local government red tape known as permits and building codes, they figure out ways of fitting everything in small spaces and making it work for them and their family, and many came up with creative solutions for their toilets, and appliances as well.

Since I was a little girl I have always thought I would buy a bigger or at least modest size house, although I'm not sold on the tiny house movement because I will be starting a family in the next few years I can't say I'm completely opposed to it either. My mom currently has over 1,000 sq ft trailer house and its just her. She also has a shed. Why does one person need so much space? In America we all seem to think we need big houses and I'm wondering if this movement isn't a step towards a better, more environmentally friendly lifestyle.

Well its easier for us to think less space might be great for others but we need more I encourage you to consider the possibilities. How much room in your current house are you utilizing? How much wasted space is there? How much junk do you have that you truly don't need or use?

There are many arguments I have read in favor of smaller houses:

  • Easier to clean
  • Cheaper to maintain
  • Cheaper on utilities
  • Closer family
  • Cheaper to buy
  • More Relaxing
  • Helps you figure out whats important
  • Frees up money for vacations, etc
  • You accumulate less clutter
  • You buy less
  • No or few unwanted guests
  • Self sufficiency
  • Financial Freedom
  • Forces you to be organized
  • Environmentally Friendlier
What do you think? Would you ever live in a small house? How small is too small?

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Clinical Works Mineral Bath Soak Eucalyptus Mint


I rarely take baths. Don't get me wrong, it's not that I don't bathe, I'm just more of a shower girl. When I do take baths I like something extra, whether its bubble bath, candles, bath bombs, or bath soaks. In my current rented bathroom the options are limited. I don't have the beautiful garden tub I'd like... in fact my tub is part of my shower which isn't my ideal bathroom layout at all! Having a mixed shower/tub pretty much nixed candles, which leaves the other options. 

While the dollar store isn't my favorite store I can't complain about the price of just about anything in there, yes something aren't worth a dollar... but those things probably aren't worth buying at all. One thing I found in there that is more than worth a dollar were these Clinical Works Bath Soaks. I personally have tried and am out of the Body Relaxing Eucalyptus Mint. I use 1/3 to 1/4 the container every bath. 

The Clinical Works is 98% naturally derived. While that is the only eco statement I can make I would bet its still better than several other options on the market. The container is also both reusable and recyclable. I personally loved the scent and found it relaxing and aesthetically I like the look of the container and especially the product. Obviously the price is a highlight too at only $1 per container.

I decided to review this when recycling the container because until I find a better environmentally friendlier alternative this will be the only bath salts in my house. Can't argue with the price or results, especially since it makes my skin smoother after a bath =) I also think its a great stocking stuffer for Christmas, especially when put in more decorative glass containers.

Concious Box - FREE COUPON CODE!


Your probably wondering why I titled this blog post Concious Box, unless of course you already know what it is or did a quick google search before deciding to read this post (or found it using a google search =) ). Concious Box is a subscription service that sends its subscribers samples of various environmentally friendly products, that are non toxic, BPA and GMO free, and there is a vegan and gluten free box option!

This is post one of two because this post is just to introduce and explain the conscious box while my next post on the subject matter will be a review (once I receive my box). I have never really heard much of a grab box type subscription but apparently its a thing. With a quick google search I came across many subscription sites that offer to send monthly boxes containing surprise items following a certain theme. Barkbox for example sends out dog products monthly for a $29 a month subscription fee.

When considering purchasing a product I like to first read the reviews. On Conscious box they seem to be stacked from most favorable to least... not kidding! I found a few bad reviews... at the VERY bottom of the page. The main complaint is the products included in the conscious box are samples you could get for FREE at healthier food/ organic stores. Another complaint was that so many of the items were "sample" size and they didn't feel that sample was enough to determine the value of the product or if it worked well. There were also many glowing reviews praising the fact they are able to find and try quality products through this subscription service.

As promised in the title I do have a free coupon code for you, which is the reason I'm trying it. On my personal facebook I have liked a few different eco friendly pages and one shared this coupon code with me and I'm now passing it on. The code is simply onefree or follow this link and its already inputted for you.

If you try it I hope you like it but I'm not making any promises because I haven't tried it yet. I have no idea if its a good buy or not, but with the coupon its only $8 for shipping to try. There should be between 10-20 products in the box and I read it will be mostly samples with a couple full sized products and some coupons. Fingers crossed its a great service and if you have tried it or another similar service comment below and let me know!

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Focusing on the Frugal


If your a frequent reader of my blog, or even if you have only read a few posts you may have noticed a common motif: frugality. Although I blog on frugality I don't want to be known or thought of as cheap, stingy, or a penny pincher. I simply think that frugality is a wise choice, as a wise man once said "its not about what you earn, but how much you keep".

Being cheap to me implies people who buy things based almost solely on price. These are the people who have things they don't need or want but they got it because it was cheap. They also won't buy things that aren't cheap even if it means they or their family do without or have a pretty much uncomparable alternative.

The names stingy or Penny pincher bring to mind someone similar to scrooge. They generally have the money but won't spend it regardless. Think of the people at yard sales who see something comment about how its a good price then take it up and haggle for a yet lower price... or better yet, think of people who are very rude at the checkout line when the cashier inquires if they want to donate to March of Dimes, St. Jude's, Children's Hospital, etc. I'm not saying you have to say yes, but I categorize the people who respond rudely about it as stingy.

Being frugal is part of who I am. I wasn't quiet poor growing up, bills were always paid, and we never had to worry about having enough to eat or a place to live. Although we weren't poor we most certainly weren't rich. We didn't get the expensive clothes, cell phones, spending money, etc. My mom was always very frugal and it rubbed off, and its not a bad thing.

Being Frugal isn't about doing without, its about waiting for sales, looking for discounts, and considering comparable options. I won't claim there is nothing I do without. I have price points of what I will pay for certain things and what I won't... however my Christmas list is pretty small because honestly I have everything I need. I have an amazing husband, two loyal pooches, and I'm pretty content.

I blog about frugal finds because I hope it rubs off on people like my mom did on me! I think so many people use up so much money that they could have used better elsewhere. Me being frugal and living under our means allows us to save for a house of our own. It gives us security knowing there is extra money we can put aside for savings. It's a beautiful thing!

Loving Lingerie


I'm sure I have men reading my blog and this blog post might throw you for a loop, however as women readers know lingerie can be expensive. The most well known lingerie stores are probably Victoria's Secret and Fredricks of Hollywood. My last trip to the mall included a stop at Victoria's secret where I purchased a bra and three panties, however after making those purchases I found MUCH better deals on equally cute merchandise in another store.

Rainbow is a women's clothing store with boutiques in some malls. I love them for their great clearance specials. You can get really cute clothes in here for super cheap. I found some ultra comfortable black jeggings in here for $5. They are made of some kind of a cloth material which makes them so comfortable but they wear like jeans. I have to say jeggings are one of the best inventions ever.... anyway off topic...

Last week while shopping with my mom we went in there to see what they had. Next to some priced down leggings they also had a matching lingerie set on clearance: $2 for the bra and $1 for the thong. I'll admit I was a little skeptical. I make it a point not to spend much money on bottoms because our dogs enjoy to eat them every chance they get, especially new expensive ones! I know, I know, it may be a little TMI but its a natural, expensive, and pevish dog behavior I haven't been able to completely break yet. My dogs don't eat my bra's however so its a different story for them..

Well for $3 for a matching set I decided I had nothing to lose but I was curious what other lingerie they had. If I liked the set then I might decide to buy more full priced here in the future. It turns out even full price is really cheap here. The bra's are $7 and the matching panties $3. $10 for a set full price! I bought 2 additional bra's on sale 2/10 then two clearance panties that were only $1 each since I wasn't a fan of the matching choice (and I'm sure I have matching =) ).

I have already worn everything pictured except the purple thong and I don't really notice a difference in quality or comfort comparing these items to the items I bought from Victoria's Secret the same day. I was debating picturing those too, but I decided against it and will blog about my reasons in my next blog.

Anyway what are your thoughts on the subject? To personal, not a fan, or your a total discount diva?

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Making my rental feel like home: Decorating


Let me preface by explaining a little bit about myself. I am twenty years old, married to an incredible guy who is currently in the military at tech school, and I have lived with him for two years. Growing up I rarely had chores, the men did all the building/construction stuff, and the only DIY project I tried (staining some cabinets) was a total fail.

Since moving out on my own only recently have I bought picture frames and only within the last month have I EVER put anything on the walls! With the rentals we have lived in, first apartments and now a privately owned townhouse we have never been allowed to paint or customize anything. One of the aspects I'm most looking forward to of home ownership is remodeling, I want to make the house we buy ours in every sense!

For now we are renting and that means restrictions. A piece of advice, if your rental lease doesn't mention painting then don't ask just paint! I learned that with this rental! Although we can't paint or refinish the cabinets etc here we can still put our touch on things. Decorating is what makes a house a home, the look, the smell, and the feeling you get when you walk in the door... and for us the animals =)

IMG_0486.jpgI hardly think of myself as a decorating pro, although I must admit I'm rather pleased with my .10 place setting and $3 centerpiece. (Shown on the Right) Since we don't really have room for a dining set in our rental we eat at the bar and I scooped up the barstools for $25 each at a yard sale, they came with a table that's outside pending me posting it to freecycle tonight!

Another find that adds to my house was a brand new $50 headboard and footboard that I just put together today... unfortunately the railings that came with it were the wrong size so I will have to buy new ones, still for $50 I ain't mad =)

In addition to being able to view my new headboard you can also see the picture above it which I picked up for just $5 at biglots, the frame on the nightstand was only $1 and the lamp was probably expensive because it was a gift from my husband aunt =) You can also see two candles that are only $1 each. I'm hoping for new bedding for Christmas =)


Now to explain these photos/costs. 
The first elephant picture is also in our room it was a steal at Big Lots for only $2. 
The Life is Beautiful wall decal was only $1 at the dollarstore and its positioned above our computer desk.
The Family Frame was only $3.74 on clearance at Walgreens and I paid .15 cents there to have the pictures printed, I could have got them full size for 2.78 each but I left the white border and saved money! 
The pumpkin candle holder was less than $2 and I got 2, they were purchased from Bath and Body works.
The picture shown in the last picture is a dollar store find and super cute although you can barely see it. The main new thing here is the window treatments which match my sofa and tie the room together while offering additional privacy. I paid under $30 for the draperies and the curtain rod. I have a 59' by 59' window and I got 40' by 64' curtains and an extendable cheap rod! 
The last two pictures in my kitchen were only .25 at a yard sale. I love the apple!

I know it doesn't seem like much but it has made a difference. This is our temporary home, but for now it is home and hanging things on the wall has given me confidence and a warm feeling. I know it sounds corny but hanging things up and personalizing this space does make it feel more like home.

What do ya'll think, sound off in the comments section!

Saturday, October 26, 2013



I love social movement projects and challenges. I have read and blogged about the SNAP challenge. Depending on who is taking/sponsoring the challenge it has many rules. I am going to take the challenge for one week next month and I am making my own rules!

Originally I planned on taking the challenge for a month, but with next month being November and travel plans and Thanksgiving I don't feel like being a martyr or feeling like I'm cheating by eating out when I'm visiting my husband for his birthday (he is in military training school in another state).

If you have read about various people doing the SNAP challenge you will see they almost all have different rules! Some of the rules I don't agree with on the basis of practicality. I am doing the challenge because I want to reach a deeper understanding of the program and recipients. We always hear people complaining about people abusing the system then we hear people say that the government doesn't provide enough welfare. This is a politically motivated challenge for me, I want to see if after taking this challenge I think SNAP should be raised or lowered.


  • $100 a month grocery spending per adult
    • or $25 a week per adult
  • No fast food or hot foods
  • Food in the cupboard can be consumed
  • Daily Food Journal and estimated costs of food and nutritional
    • nutrition info will be done based on a free app I like
  • Coupons MAY be used
  • Tax does NOT apply
Yes, my rules are much more lenient than others I have read. SNAP was designed to be supplemental, not to cover a full months grocery expense, therefore although I am sticking to the allotted monthly SNAP I don't think it saying anything negatively about the system if I can't get my full months groceries on $100.

People on SNAP can and do eat food they already have in their cupboards. I didn't stock up for the challenge and I still will estimate the cost of what I eat in my journal whether it was bought for the challenge or already in my cupboard. 

People who checkout and pay with EBT can also use coupons. There are store coupons and the Sunday morning coupons. Honestly I'm not a big couponer so I probably won't use any but I could if I wanted to because people who depend on SNAP can and should!

I was going to limit shopping to my city, but where I live now only has a walmart (which I don't shop at). I was going to do this limitation because if your driving an hour for groceries or store to store for the cheapest deals then your using a lot of gas money on this challenge and really that is probably something someone on SNAP shouldn't be able to afford... but I have a huge aversion to driving so I WON'T be going anywhere out of my way, I'll go to stores nearby whenever I'm out for something else or with someone!

My subtotal before tax will be what I calculate as far as my spending goes. Many of you might not know this but when you pay with EBT its tax free. The government isn't taxing its own transfer payments. If I am trying to simulate using EBT and depending on it then I shouldn't include tax.

My other rule is that I use myfitnesspal. My goal is to eat as healthy as possible on the SNAP challenge, I am no nutrition expert however I frequently hear people saying they can't afford to be healthy etc. I want to see the validity of their statements.

As far as my personal opinions on SNAP and welfare in general... I am all for helping people but I am not for enabling. I will leave it at that to avoid being misunderstood.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Clothing Clearance!


As you may know I work in retail, more specifically I work as a cashier. I see all the best deals in the store as they float down my line, waiting to be cashed out and taken home. This time of season all summer apparel is clearanced out. Where I work the apparel is now 80% off the MARKDOWN! That is huge!

I have been resisting the baby clothes for some time. I missed out on some cute clothes because of it but that is okay, do you know why? We don't have a baby! We also aren't currently pregnant! We have suffered through two miscarriages and we are ready to start a family. When my husband comes home from military training we are going to try again! I may be a little crazy, buying when I'm not even pregnant yet but I figured if we don't get pregnant and have it actually work out this time then I will just donate the baby clothes! I got them for a great price and I wouldn't feel bad giving away brand new baby clothes to a mother in need, if anything I'd be happy I could pick them up at such a low price and help... in fact I picked up boy and girl clothes so that is what we plan on doing with the gender that we don't have!

Baby Boy Clothes
The most expensive item was $1.79 and if you notice some of these come with multiple items, such as 2 shirts and socks, or a shirt and shorts!

Baby Girl Clothes
Just one picture! Surprisingly I got more baby boy clothes than girls, which is funny since I have always wanted a girl! =) Again the most expensive item was $1.79 and the dresses come with bloomers =)

IMG_6351.jpgNot the best picture... However the most expensive item was the leopard swimsuit which was $4.89. I also got the two dresses for around $3 each, white dress capri's, a shirt, the cute blue tube top which is my favorite for $1.49, a blazer and another shirt?

IMG_2256.jpgGifts for the hubby! The dress shirt was only $1.99, the shorts were $3.49 and the blue shorts are swim trunks which I picked up for $2.63

On this shopping trip I saved $391. I saved about 85% AND I got $10 back in rewards with the loyalty card! My total was $78.53 and I bought 42 items. I will be returning a couple that you didn't see pictured which will bring down both my total and the total amount saved off of retail.

Extreme savings without Extreme Hassle, Preparation, or Coupons! Don't get me wrong, I'm all for coupons, that is how I got the $10 back in points... I'm just saying its not difficult to save money. The most crucial aspect to finding good deals is to go often and go before you NEED an item. If you need something then you will pay what it costs, if you don't need it or not yet then you have the room to look for good deals on that item!

What do you think of my haul?

DIY Picture Frame


I found a picture frame at a yard sale for less than fifty cents. I liked everything but the pink color, however I figured I would either accept it or spray paint it. I found a better solution.... 

Before:IMG_5295.jpg AfterIMG_2420.jpg

Much better once I colored it right? Sharpie's are super cheap, less than $2 for a sharpie. This is a cheap way to change the look of a metal frame, I haven't tried the sharpie on other surfaces but I'm sure it would work just as well. The sharpie doesn't rub off at all and I think it looks great!

My husband laughed at me when I told him I was coloring. He asked "How old are you", well what do ya'll think of my coloring? In the future I plan on picking up more cheap frames to redo.


I have to admit, it's a little bit sad how proud I am of this. This is probably my first every DIY project, and yes it was just coloring with a sharpie but it turned out great! I'm very afraid of messing things up, so I'm more timid when it comes to DIY its nice to see my first project turn out well!

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Government Shutdown, whose to blame and how will it effect us?


Politics, not my favorite thing and not my area of expertise. I find politics interesting and aggravating. I feel like America would be much better if it was our friends, our neighbors, and the people like us with our interests at heart running the government rather than the wealthy elite.

Since 1977 there have been 17 government shutdowns. The government "shuts down" when congress can't agree and pass a spending budget for the upcoming fiscal year. Without a spending plan in place it is a felony for agencies to spend unauthorized tax payer money. Although government shut downs are generally resolved within 3 days, the longest government shutdown in the history of our country was 21 days in 1995.

Between celebrity gossip and personal drama many citizens today don't actively participate in politics. I can't blame them, after all I am one of them. Our "free" country where everyone can be what they want to be has blocked out the average joe from politics. If your not wealthy, don't have a lot of contacts, and aren't affiliated with either the Republicans or the Democrats you don't stand a chance at getting into office!

With only two major parties in our political system we only have two parties to blame. I have seen many people who are blaming the Republicans for the government shutdown. They aren't passing bills that fund Obamacare, I for one applaud that. The majority of AMERICANS don't want Obamacare. In several articles I have read Obamacare is said to have raised the cost of health insurance, or is a "tax on the young and healthy". Using myself as an example (and I'm not particularly healthy), I go to the doctor about once a year, if that. My last doctors visit was $300. For health insurance I could pay $300 a month! It doesn't make sense for people like me to have insurance when it costs us so much. Not to mention the government currently spends BILLIONS of dollars in medicare/medicaid on people with NO life expectancy, yes I learned this in my college Econ class!

As an American Citizen I think our politicians should be concerned with what we want and how we feel about the issues. When the majority of the public doesn't want a bill passed it then it almost never should be. The only exceptions I can see are in the case of protecting animals from extinction, abuse, etc (as with the wolves in some areas), and environmental issues.

I personally think it is the Democrats to blame. The Republicans have offered bills for the budget that defunded Obamacare and Obama has said he won't pass a bill that doesn't fund his "Obamacare", then turns around and says he is "open to negotiations" and that the Republicans are "holding America hostage". The majority of Americans don't want Obamacare, its not just the Republicans its the nation!

The government shutdown is already effecting the economy, we just can't see it yet. The furlough means people aren't getting paid. When people aren't getting paid then they aren't spending money. When people don't spend money then jobs cut hours or lay off employees. Do you all see the picture now? While the shutdown isn't effecting us as a whole yet it is effecting our neighbors and its just a matter of time before it spreads to us, like a sickeness!

What are your thoughts on the shutdown?

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Garage Sale Finds Day II


I recently posted a blog about great finds when I stopped at a yard sale in my neighborhood on my way home from the store. The next day I decided to go out yard saling with my mom to see what other great bargains we could find. I have taken some pretty bad pictures of my finds, however they were pretty awesome!
The elephant was a lamp, however it was broken so I plan to use it as a candle holder, it was .75. The vases? were only $1.50 for both and they are gorgeous. I paid $2 for the larger decorative ornament. 
All of the vases pictured were yard sale finds, they were .50 each!
I paid $3 for the center piece here! I love it, it is one of my favorite finds! You could spend more for just the decorative balls without the center holder. I paid .50 for the little knick knack box and $1.50 for the candle holder with the leaves on it!
Pictured above are an abundance of NEW clinique products! I paid only .25 for many of clinique products. For $2 I got a $52 dollar youth renewal Clinique product! I also paid only $1 for the Clinique powder which was my color! I spent $2 a piece on the brand new mens razors! I got both perfume and nailpolish for .25! I got physicians formula concealor again in my color for $1. Then spent .50 on the Almay! Again all NEW except the eye makeup remover (pictured), which I figured would be fine!
At one yard sale we found the first two seasons of Ceasar Milan the Dog Whisperer. I'm a big fan of him, having dogs I'm training. These were both new, one was completely wrapped still. We paid $5 for both! I also bought the books for just .50 a piece!

I HATED garage sales as a child. I thought it made us poor or seem poor that my mom went to yard sales. As and adult I LOVE garage sales now! Spending less money on things doesn't make me poor, in fact, it means I have more money because I'm spending less while still getting these great items!

What are your thoughts on yard sales and what are your favorite buys, if your a shopper?

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Dollar Store Steals

As the title implies I was recently at the dollar store for the first time in a LONG time! I was killing time waiting for the animal shelter to open so I decided to look for some of the best bargains, here is what I found:

  • (2) New Choice Pregnancy Test
  • Container
  • Eye Mask
  • Measuring cups and spoons
  • Usb Cable
  • (4) Makeup bags
  • Dog Shampoo
  • Picture
  • Skinnutrients Set
  • Rimmel eye shadow palette
  • Facial scrub
  • Leash
  • USB adapter (car)

As stated I bought all of these items at the Dollar store, more specifically the Dollar Tree, so each of them were just $1.

For a car charger for my Iphone it costs at least $13, this adapter allows me to utilize my current charger in my car for only $1.

Rimmel sells for at least $5 in stores, this one was just $1. It is also one of the better store brands.

Pregnancy Tests Retail for around $5+ per test, at the dollar store they are only $1 per test! The dollar store tests are also very accurate and since they are cheap you can take more than one if you need to reassure yourself!

The Measuring Cups and Spoons come in white and black. Since my dog got ahold of some from my last set I decided I would just buy a whole new set, all for $1! You can spend much more on colored "fun" sets, but the dollar ones work great and save money!

You can NEVER have enough USB cables or leashes, so I grabbed one. For a dollar why not?

My FAVORITE find was the makeup bags. They came in great patterns and they are super cute. After leaving the store I realized they are also a great gift idea. For $1 you can't go wrong with these. My mom picked me up four more, even though I had only asked for two! These are great, because you really never have enough makeup bags! I have four and between all my makeup and my nail polish it still wasn't enough! These little bags are also great if your going on a trip to put the travel size toiletries in! 

The dog shampoo actually wasn't something I was planning on buying. I spoil my dogs a little bit and I like to make sure what I'm giving them is a good product. Unfortunately at the moment they don't have ANY shampoo so I figured shampoo formulated for dogs is better than my shampoo.

Skinnutrients isn't a brand I am familiar with, however when I saw a complete skincare set for $3 I couldn't pass it up. The parts are sold individually for a dollar each with step 1, 2, and 3. It has a facial wash, clarifying lotion, and then a moisturizer. If this is a great skincare line then I will be thrilled, if not it was $3 to try out!

Since I spoil my dogs they have MANY treats. To avoid the treats getting hard or going stale I needed a container for them and I would rather a dog specific container rather than using my dishes, voila for a dollar I got a plastic doggy paw print container!

Many of the pictures at the dollar store look cheap, this one I don't think does! I like it alot actually, and where else can you find a decorative picture for $1?

The eye mask I bought is cute! I love zebra print, and since I have a hard time sleeping unless the room is pitch black it also should help! In addition to sleep I can think of other ways it could be creatively used ;)

The last item on my list was the facial scrubber. Exfoliating is very important and these should gently exfoliate to get rid of dirt, impurities and blackheads!

Although I'm not a frequent dollar store customer I will say I think I saved quiet a bit by buying these products here rather than anywhere else. The dollar store sometimes means sacrificing quality for quantity but there are MANY items that are as good or better quality in the dollar store, after all I picked up RIMMEL there! So next time you are driving past a dollar store and have some free time then stop in and see what deals you can find!

Friday, October 4, 2013

Yard Sale Finds


Today on my way home I saw my neighbor was having a yard sale. I don't go out "yard sailing" as some people do... my mom and aunt being in that group, however I'm not to go to yard sales either. Since this one seemed rather large I decided to stop by, and I'm glad I did.

When I stop at yard sales I am looking for a few things: antiques, dog toys, dog supplies, art work, books!

Today I spent $12.00 at this yard sale and I bought:
  1. Dog Kennel SM
  2. (3) Dog Halloween Costumes
  3. LG Dog Halloween Bandana
  4. (4) Books
    • Chicken Soup for the Cat and Dog Lovers Soul
    • Chicken Soup for the Pet Lovers Soul
    • Chicken Soup for the Soul
    • Mary Higgins Clark- Midnight is my time
  5. Elvis Calender from 2011? still wrapped in plastic
  6. Teddy Bear on Raindeer Musical Holiday Decoration
  7. Rocking Santa Musical
  8. Small Santa Stocking Stuffer
  9. Christmas Tree Plushie
  10. Stewie
  11. (2) Picture Frames

The Kennel I bought is the smaller one on the left (pictured above)! It is for my little dog Nina (not pictured). I constructed it wrong so the door goes inwards but its just a project for my hubby when he comes home, and luckily Nina is small enough the inwards door doesn't cause an issue!

IMG_3519.jpgThe doggie costumes were bought for a shelter nearby! They are currently at max capacity and that means euthinization if homes can't be found. Some creative volunteers or workers came up with the idea of a costume contest for the dogs. This allows the dogs to get more attention and lets be honest they just look so adorable in costume! The skull frilly dress is getting some dogs and cats rehomed I bet! Finding these costumes for under $1 each allows me to make a difference. Every animal rehomed from a shelter saves two lives, the rehomed animals and the animal that takes its place at the shelter! I am super thrilled to have found these and be able to provide them to the shelter!
Shadow my dog with the bandana looks amazing right =) His bandana was .10! Happy Halloween =)

The books are not pictured, I provided the title and they are in good condition. I paid .50 each for them which is a great way to add to my library... and given my dogs history of chewing up books I won't go completely nuts if he gets a hold of them!

Naked Stewie is a halloween plushie I bought as a cheap dog toy for my dogs. As you can see they already stripped his diaper off. Dog toys in my house last 3 days max so I don't mind buying them plushies at yard sales on the cheap!
Last but not least are my Christmas Decorations. Being newly married and having lived with my husband for less than two years without children we had NONE. I love Christmas and decorating and the lights, but with a puppy in the house and knowing we were spending Christmas with family we didn't have a problem not having decorations. Finding these for $1 each or less was GREAT... unfortunately my mom is already trying to get me to give them to her, and the small Santa is a stocking stuffer. By Christmas I'll be lucky if we have 2 =)

Shopping at yard sales is a good way to save money, pick up unique or antique items, be eco friendly (reuse), and have fun! Have you been to a yard sale lately and got some great finds? Sound off in the comment section =)