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 =)

Location, Location, Location: What to think about when buying OR renting a house!


Location- Whenever house hunting couples are constantly inundated with the advice to focus on location! "Make sure the house is in a good neighborhood", "It might be a great house but your stuck in that location", "the proximity of the house to X will drop the value when you go to resell". There are thousands of phrases people give as advice to first time house buyers about location, well now its my turn!

I don't know when I will be buying, because at this point we aren't sure where we will wind up! I am considered moving to a different rental when my lease ends however do you know why? LOCATION! All the house hunting shows and the real estate market show us that you get more for your money the further you are from the "prime locations", whether that means a move to the burbs or just moving to a smaller city near the main hub.

The problem with moving further from your job to save money on rent is how substantial the savings are. According to mapquest my 24 mile trip to my college costs me about $3.34 each way. That turns into $6.68 per day that I drive to campus. Next semester I plan on going in 5 days a week and getting a work study job, then it will be $133.60 a month. This is just driving to school/work and home, it doesn't include ANY other driving, or my husbands driving!

Beyond the cost of gas for the commute we should consider the time cost. If you live thirty minutes away from your work, or college, then that is a minimum of an hour commute each day, more if traffic is bad! I am not a city girl by any means but I also can't justify wasting so much time commuting. There are locations that aren't in the heart of the city closer to my college, and my husbands job!

When your looking for a place, whether your buying or renting, you should be considering location in multiple ways. Location is often referred to in terms of neighboorhood or area safety, we all want to feel safe in our home! My point as far as location is the cost of transportation the further you commute. Reducing your commute also leaves you with more time for your family, friends, hobbies, etc! If you have a job that you see yourself staying at buy or rent nearby!