Wednesday, September 30, 2015

$50 Grocery Haul Week 2


A little while ago my husband challenged me to limit my grocery spending to just $50 a week, I accepted and this week I have to say it was EASY! We still have a stockpile of food from before the challenge started, so the grocery items I'm picking up every week are in no way the only foods we are eating this week.

My total for this week was around $35

Macaroni Salad $1.25
Potato Salad      $1.25
Yogurt               $2.89
Popcorn Chk     $0.79
Baked Beans     $1.49
Sirloin               $6.87
Org Romaine    $0.99
Org Baby Bella $0.99  x4
Total:                $19.55

Dollar General
Milk                   $3.69
Mini Wheaties   $2.00  x3
Hot Cheetos       $2.50
Total:      abt     $15.00

Again this is not at ALL enough food for two people for a week. I have snacks, breakfasts, and two dinners. The food this week is all supplemental to what we have in the freezer, fridge, and cupboards; In the future shopping trips will get harder to stay around the $50 mark since our current resources will dwindle.

Everything purchased from Kroger this week with the exception of the Yogurt was manager's specials!

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

How to get houseplants cheap and improve your indoor air!


We all know, or should know, that plants clean our air! With the products and pollutants that are brought indoors, we should all think about the quality of our indoor air... and not just at home: According to a 1995 federal government report, an estimated 50 percent of the nation's schools have problems linked to poor indoor air quality. If air quality in schools is bad then it is probably also bad in other indoor places, like at our jobs and in our houses

I'm 30 weeks pregnant now, so having a healthy environment for her is on the top of my mind; I want to do everything I can to keep my baby happy and healthy! Until a few weeks ago I thought I was doing good, then I read this which caused me to rethink just how healthy our home is. There are a few changes I'm making in our home now, but the one I'm here to discuss is PLANTS!

There are many articles out there that discuss the best plants to clean the air. I read a few prior to starting my quest to procure plants on the cheap, but ultimately plants are better than no plants whether they make a list or not!

Plants can be VERY expensive, especially if your buying quiet a few. It is recommended that you have 1 plant per 100 sq ft of space for air purification. For my house that means 15 house plants! Assuming an average cost of around $15/plant I could easily spend $225, and that doesn't even include any pots if any need repotted, nor soil, or food. As you all know I'm cheap so $15 a plant was out, what was in was clearance plants!

 I found most of my indoor clearance plants at Lowe's! I have to admit I usually prefer Home Depot, but when it comes to clearance the best place to go is the place with the best employees! The images you see aren't from my Lowe's, although I wish they were since those reduced plants seem to be in GREAT shape... usually here at least, if a plant is marked down then it is in rough shape, either sickly or cosmetically!
At Lowe's I got:
Bromelaids     $5
Orchid             $3
Palm Tree       $3
Palm Tree       $1
Succulents 4   $2.02/ea  (were supposed to be $1, but I was charged wrong and missed it!)
          -In addition to the houseplants I got a few perennials that had been marked down for outside.

At Kroger I got:
Orchid        $2
Dracaenea  $3

In total I spent around $25 on ten houseplants, impressive since the Bromelaids themselves retail for $18; Four of the houseplants even came with nice pots! We did have to buy pots for the palm trees, we were able to get them on clearance for $11/each, and I needed something to pot the succulents in. For the succulents I chose a decorative dish from the store for just under $3!

My total to add 10 plants to my house: $50!

I'm still planning on getting more plants, an aloe vera for sure! I think my Dracaenea actually is three plants in one pot, which means I might have gotten 12 plants for $25, so I plan to find out and if so repot the extra plants!

Now well I am the clearance queen I want to spend a minute to discuss other ways to save money on houseplants (and what you need for them).
1. Clearance (but we already discussed this one)
2. Propagating your own, if a friend or a neighbor has a plant you like you might be able to get a clipping free and grow your own plant from it... I'm not a green thumb so I haven't done this
3. Getting Free Plants/Pots- sometimes people or businesses throw out plants that are a little worse for the wear, these can sometimes be revived with care (or neglect if they have been overwatered).
4. Garage Sales- I got the pots shown on the right cheap at a yard sale
5. Using alternative items as pots- many inside pots don't have drainage holes anyway so there is no reason you can't use another item as a pot. The pot I wanted for my succulents was $30, the dish I bought was $3!
6. Make your own Pots- pots can be made from clay, wood, concrete, etc. Although many people don't go the DIY option it is a cost saving and creative alternative to shelling out for one at the store.
7. Growing your houseplants from seed/bulb

Update 10/08/2015
Since posting this I have got more garden supplies on clearance at Dollar General. Nothing pictured was over $3, the smallest planters were .30! The boot planter was only .80!!

Walgreens discontinued Ology


A few weeks ago I ranted about how Walgreens discontinued the Ology toilet paper, the only toilet paper we have used in our house in the last two years. Well guys, they didn't just discontinue the toilet paper. Walgreens has discontinued their WHOLE Ology line.

This was pulled from Walgreens website:

I choose to live well, therefore I choose Ology.

Everyday products free of harmful chemicals are a little way to start a big change. Let Ology be a part of your happy, healthy home.

The Ology Mission

We believe in living life well and making positive choices. That means avoiding toxic ingredients. It means seeking out sustainable raw materials and including natural ingredients. It's all about leaving behind a healthier, happier world for our children and grandchildren.

Ology products do not contain these harmful chemicals.
  • Ammonia
  • Chlorine bleach
  • DEA (diethanolamine)
  • TEA (triethanolamine)
  • Parabens
  • Phthalates
  • Formaldehyde
  • Nonylphenol ethoxylates
  • Triclosan
  • Plus, no dyes or artificial fragrances.

100% Tree-Free                                         No Animal Testing                       Cost Friendly & Effective
Ology paper products are made                 We don't test on animals               Affordable products that 
from fast-growing sugar cane husk            or use animal byproducts.               work.
and bamboo.

Now nowhere on the website or in a press release have I found anything from Walgreens admitting they have discontinued this line. Even online as of today, September 29, 2015, I still see all of this advertising stating how much Walgreens cares about the welfare of the planet, animals, and consumers, yet they discontinued their green line and in the Walgreens stores near me there are no other green options to replace Ology!

This post to call attention to the fact Walgreens used this line to generate goodwill and publicity for their company! I was elated when I found this line, it made it easy for people to be environmentally friendly, and to get healthier products for their home and families!

I hope if your reading this that you share it, make it a blog, vlog, post, etc! Walgreens should receive backlash for discontinuing this line just as they received positive press when they made the right decision by starting this line! When our only choices are bad for our health and the environment we ALL lose, right now the only products at the Walgreens near me are bad. I believe every store should stock healthy, environmentally friendly options. Please share this, and if you can't or don't use social media then just write in to Walgreens!

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Spending $50 a week on groceries: Week 1


My husband and I had a discussion a few days ago that I was overbuying groceries, which leads to wasted food and money. A few months ago I took a SNAP challenge, where I could only spend $50/week on groceries for the two of us. Chris proposed that I try once again to spend only $50/week on groceries, Challenge Accepted!

... and Challenge Failed! I went over budget, coming in at $59.81. The savings on my Kroger receipt only shows $14.05, but it doesn't take into account any markdowns (just sales).

With my $59.81 I got
Hiland Milk (no hormones)
3x Raman Noodles
Organic Banana Bunch
Shredded Mozzarella Cheese
3x TTNO Frozen Pizza
On the Vine Tomatoes
2x Grannie Smith Apple
Soft Tortilla Shells
3x Lunchables
Kraft Mac N Cheese
Yogurt Raisins
Campbells Bean w/bacon soup
2x Raspberries
Swai Fillets
Frozen Okra
Managers' Special
Top Round Steak                         3.93
Stew Beef                                    5.34
Romaine Lettuce Bagged           .99
Ground Beef                               1.99
3x bags of 3 count bell peppers .99/each
Bag of apples                              .99
Snack Pack                                  .35
Clby Jack Cheese                        2.09
Deli Turkey Breast                     3.59

In manager's specials I would estimate I saved an additional $24 or more. The bell peppers I got were red, orange, and yellow which are normally around $1.69/each! Overall I saved about $38 off of $60, not bad!!

These groceries, along with everything in our house needs to last for a week. This week is going to be both the hardest and the easiest. This is the hardest because when you start disciplining yourself its always harder at first, whether it is exercise, a new diet, or a new budget! This is the easiest week because I still have a BUNCH of food in the cupboard/freezer!

The new sales ad comes out tomorrow so well I already shop around the ad, I'll need to start shopping around my cupboard as well! My trick for saving money is shopping on Tuesdays or Wednesdays (it is usually the best days for markdowns), now I just need to look at how expensive the meals I make are!

Friday, September 18, 2015

Rhea Lana Haul


I have heard about Rhea Lana and Duck Duck Goose since my aunt's had children twelve years ago. If you haven't figured out by my blog posts yet, I LOVE a good deal! I'm like the ultimate jew, I hate paying retail for almost anything, for me most thrift/resale stores are too expensive!

I scoured online for Rhea Lana Hauls. I had heard good things about them, but I also heard about their lines... I wasn't down to wait in line unless I was getting REALLY good deals. Today is one of Rhea Lana's final days at a location near me, and they happened to be right next to another store I was shopping at. Since it is one of the final days today is Rhea Lana's 50% off day, so I decided to check it out.

Here is my haul:

In total I spent $23, here is what I got:
6 cloth diapers
3 receiving blankets
Eddie Bauer Head Support
NWT Old navy fleece pants
2 Christmas sleeper pj's
3 Sleep sacks
An I love Daddy sleeper
Christmas Dress

To the right you can see my receipt.

I am SUPER thrilled with my haul, but I wouldn't have bought these if they weren't 1/2 off. The retail for these new would easily be over $100, for $23 I'll take used ones (in great condition!).

I have NO idea what day 1 of Rhea Lana's looks like. That is supposed to be when you get the best deals and it IS when you get the best selection... it is also the busiest! My friend was in line for 3 hours at Rhea Lana's, my time was like 10 minutes.

Rhea Lana's will be at another location near me next month. I'm considering consigning some clothes, but I'm not sure if it is worth it. Thoughts!?

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Dirt Cheap Haul


The weekend before last I headed out with my mom, one of our stops was Dirt Cheap. If I'm in the area near Dirt Cheap I always stop, there is no telling what there is in store!

Since it is September many stores are putting their summer merchandise on clearance, surprisingly Dirt Cheap is no exception. For those of you who are unfamiliar with Dirt Cheap they say their prices are 40-60% off retail and then they have additional sales on top of that. Their clearance summer apparel for women/teenagers came out to just $1/per item! I found quiet a few clothing pieces for me, and my mom got a few too!

My Finds:
 In the picture above you can see I got:
3 Pairs of Shorts
- one of these the black pair (hard to see) are from Motherhood Maternity!
Girls Elsa Leggings
Champion Workout tank with built in bra
5 Shirts (most of these are from Rue21, so cute but not high quality but for $1 they are good!)
This picture shows off the dresses, romper, and two maternity tops I got!! I was astounded to see these were also just $1!
On the very left are the two maternity tops, also from Motherhood Maternity. Their clothes in store are usually in the $30-$40 range per piece and even used can cost some dough! I will probably sell the very first one as it isn't really my style, but I love the white one!
The third item in is a romper. I'm a huge fan of rompers personally but I'm not sure if I will like the style pattern on me... fortunately I have until next summer to figure out (and give birth and get into the size to fit it)
The 3 items on the right area all dresses! 2/3 are Lily Rose dresses and the last is a Lauren Conrad, these all sell at Kohl's and retail can be $40 and up per dress!!

I'm super excited by these finds! The retail of these items would easily be over $250 in store, I paid less than $20!

My mom also got some great finds like a LONG SLEEVE maternity shirt for just $1, some dockers shorts $1, and some capri's!

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Kroger Haul


I know I have discussed in past posts why I love Kroger, but today is a great example. Kroger's sale prices and their manager specials make them the best grocer around for my shopping!

At Kroger I picked up:
15 cans Campbell Soups $1/ea
Organic Milk $1
Chocolate Organic Milk $1
Organic Yogurt (big container) $1.25
4 boxes Organic Baby Bella's .99
Kefir Strawberry Milkshake $1.00
Organic Yogurt (small) .25
Olay Shaving Cream $1.25
Berry Juice .99
Organic Spinach .99

Everything listed above is manager's specials except the soup. The soup was on the buy 5 save $5 deals, and doesn't expire til next December! I was planning on buying 30 but many of them were already gone in our favorite flavors.

Since I'm sharing all my manager specials I do want to say that I don't wind up with this kind of haul every week, and the store I go to is actually a SMALL Kroger! I have 4 Krogers nearby-ish, all about the same distance away and by switching up which Kroger I went to I was able to judge them all based on what was important to me

1. Manager's Specials - I love to get a good deal
2. Product Freshness- I HATE to spend money on "fresh" fruit/veggies for it to be bad in a day or 2
3. Selection- I like buying Organic as much as I can (and if I can afford it)
4. Butcher/Bakery/Deli/Flowers- Having fresh fish, chicken, beef, baked goods, etc is always great
4. Location- It is always preferable that the store is in a good location
5. Employees- Friendly employees are always something that is appreciated
6. Store Size

The above 6 criteria are in no specific order but are all things I consider when shopping.

The store I go to now doesn't have the friendliest employees, is small so not a huge selection and no butcher or florist, and is in somewhat sketchy location! I love this store for: its small size, being pregnant that is a huge plus, the fact the produce is always fresh, even the markdowns last several days, markdowns go hand and hand with fresh produce/product but in addition to it meaning the store keeps their selection fresh it also saves me a LOT of money!

My favorite find of the day was the baby bella's. One of my pregnancy foods is sauteed baby bella's and to buy them full price for the organic ones is like $4/box, $3.29 for non-organic! I eat one box of these sauteed per sitting so I'm saving quiet a bit on these (not to mention I'm cheap so 4 at retail wouldn't be in the budget)!

My biggest tips for getting a great haul are:
1. Check out different stores (no not every shopping trip, but establish which ones are best)
2. Determine what days are best/when the store does markdowns
-in general Tuesdays and Wednesdays are the best days for deals, around 1!

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Our Dog Food Picks


I previously wrote an entry on how to choose dog food. To paraphrase when choosing dog food:
1. Check Ingredients, the first 2/3 or 3/3 items listed should be a meat/fish
2. Check it isn't perfect but is a good resource
3. Check for recalls, this was one thing I left out of the other entry but is important!

I, personally, love giving my dogs a variety of food. We always switch up the food with every new bag we need to buy. With a 65 lb dog and a 25 lb dog we generally buy the largest bag available, from 25-30 lbs, which lasts us over a month. If you chose to buy your dogs different food then it is important to transition them over.

Our dog food brand picks are:
Chicken Soup

Two of these brands are made by Diamond, which some people have a huge problem with. Fromm is independently owned and has NEVER had a recall; Unfortunately my little dog didn't like the bag of Fromm we tried so next time we will try a different flavor of Fromm.

I'm sure there are other great brands/lines out there but these are all moderately priced ones. For a large bag we usually pay around $45.

If your buying your dog food from the grocery store please PLEASE go to and type in the dog food and see the rating and why it is rated so low. When I first got Nina I gave her Purina and thought I was giving her good food, changing her and more importantly Shadow over to a better food made a big difference!

Kohls Cash and Kmart/Sears Rewards Program


A couple of weeks ago my mother in law gave me $10 Kohl's cash she had but wasn't going to be able to redeem prior to it expiring. If you have Kohl's cash you can't use trust me someone else can so please do what she did and give it to a friend/coworker etc.

If you shop at Kohl's you know they always have a clearance section where something can be snagged for under $10, and if you can't find anything for yourself you can always buy something as a gift for someone, or donate a new piece of clothing to a woman's shelter, homeless shelter, or foster child! Another great use of $10 Kohl's cash are the books and stuffed animals by the front door, from the "If you give a Mouse a Cookie" line of books, which are again great for gifts or donations!

I personally managed to snag a cute shirt and some workout shorts for just .09 out of pocket. My total saved on these two items was a whooping $65.92! Being pregnant I really needed some new shorts, with my expanding waistline and the still hot temperatures, so getting new ones along with a shirt that will work great during my pregnancy and after for just one dime was AWESOME! Seriously DO NOT waste the Kohl's cash!

Item# 070W004172339001
Description: Two-Inch Coffee-Color Embossed Vinyl Blinds

UPC: 044294115729

Sold by: Kmart

Return Policy

Tracking Number: 1Z4E1Y0379003075


Merchandise Subtotal$37.98
Shipping ChargeFREE
Total Due:35.68
Total for SYWR ending in ************16.53
Total for Master Card ending in ************                                                                                                                                 19.15

The other store rewards program I wanted to mention is SYWR, the rewards program for Kmart and Sears. As you can see above I saved $16.53 with this program, $15 was surprise reward points! I was elated to get $15 off FREE, I don't shop at Kmart or Sears often so I didn't spend $1,500 to earn it nor shop certain sections of the store to earn the reward points they just will give out the surprise points at random!
The order above is my order, but I have redacted some info since this post is public, as you can see I only paid $19.15 for 2 Bali Faux Wood Blinds. Kmart had the best price on the blinds at $18.99 each and with the rewards program I pretty much paid for just one of them!

I used to work at Kmart and saw one lady with over $100 in Rewards Points since she and her husband had just bought appliances at Sears. The rewards program is worth it, and it is completely free to sign up for!