Since I have been trying to not buy anything “new” this year, my kids have found that between the thrift store, yard sales, and the occasional treat from a grandparent, this whole buying things used idea has its perks. One of the things that my son has been wanting since last Christmas was a Imaginext Batman playset. I explained to him that I was challenging myself to only buying used items for the entire year and that if we could not find one at the thrift store or yard sales, he could get a new one for his birthday or Christmas. Well after searching at the thrift store for the past 10 months, we found one for $3!!! To say that he was excited would be an understatement, he kept telling everyone that he hit the jackpot:)
**Ben also found a WWE wrestling ring ($3) and two Star Wars action figures ($2) on this trip as well…so maybe he really did hit the jackpot.
My daughter is playing Aunt Tilly in It’s a Wonderful Life this December and needed two 1930’s era outfits appropriate for a middle aged lady. The director strongly urged everyone to search at the thrift stores because they usually have tons of antique clothing for great prices. We had a relatively easy time in coming up with two outfits that would work for my daughter. We found a dark dress that will work for a wedding/funeral scene and a frilly blouse matched with a conservative skirt to wear for all of the other scenes. **Both costumes were less than $10 each, so we were very happy to pay that price:)
We have been enjoying our local library a lot these past few weeks and we love that they try to keep up with all of the most popular new releases that have come out lately. Two new releases that I was excited to find at the library this past week were Deborah Harkness’s Time’s Convert and the new Bess Crawford mystery, A Forgotten Place. **If you enjoyed the Twilight series, then you must read Deborah Harkness’s All Souls Trilogy beginning with A Discovery of Witches. If you enjoy historical mysteries, the Bess Crawford mystery series will be right up your alley:)
4. Essential Oils
FYI: If you mix your own essential oils blends, you will save a ton of money! This week we have been using thieves oil to treat a cold and a new blend that I mixed together to inspire tranquility and lower anxiety. **Both seem to be working well, so we are coughing less and more peaceful this week. I used clary sage, lavender, lemon, and geranium in the tranquility blend and this is the easiest recipe that I have found for thieves oil.
5. Repaired a zipper
Last week my zipper on my wallet came undone and I thought it was a lost cause until my daughter said that it looked like it just needed to be zipped back on, so after a little wrestling, they zipper zipped back on and it is as good as new….Thanks Emma:)
We had a pretty good week for finding things at the thrift store. Ben “hit the jackpot” as he likes to say:) He found two full size action figures for $1.99 each, a Phineas and Ferb t-shirt for $1.99, and an Avengers t-shirt for $1.49. Emma found three hardback books in a series that she enjoys for $1.50 each. I found a copy of Mansfield Park to use for a unit in our High School English class next semester for $1.
2. Kroger finds
Kroger had a lot of great deals this week again. I stocked up on ribs and pork loins for $1.39/lb and one pound blocks of cheese for just $2.50 each.
3. Repaired clothes
I mended a pair of shorts for my husband and took in the sides of a shirt for myself.
4. Halloween decorations
My children decorated for Halloween with items we reuse each year and we watched Hocus Pocus to get in the spirit:)
5. Canned goods
I used home canned pumpkin to bake pumpkin bread for a bake sale….this is the recipe I always use….the only substitution I make is to use brown sugar instead of the suggested white sugar. This recipe always gets a lot of compliments!
This week I found a few great deals on Walmart’s clearance aisle. I picked up two boxes of granola bars for $2 each and two bags of sushi rice for $1.50 each. **The sushi rice was an especially great deal for around here, considering Publix sells a small container for $7!
2. Made my own curriculum
We are starting our second 8 week section of homeschool this week, so that means that I have been writing out assignments, questions, and tests for the past few weeks in preparation. Considering that this saves me hundreds of dollars a year, I try not to complain too much:)
3. Packed snacks and drinks
We had a church picnic this weekend and decided to bypass all the delicious food trucks, by bringing our own food and drinks. **I did buy the kids a snow cone so they did not feel too deprived.
Our Honda dealership sent us two separate coupons in the mail over the past month for future services. I did not know which one would work out the best for the types of service we needed, so I sent both with my husband. Apparently they let him use both coupons since we technically had two services done and saved $90.
5. Free online classes
My daughter is taking Spanish and Sign language as foreign languages this year for high school credit, so we have been searching for ways to supplement her textbooks. We have been using Duolingo for Spanish practice this year and that has been working out very well, but we needed an option for sign language as well. Luckily my daughter’s sign language teacher recommended a site called ASL University that offers free sign language lessons that my daughter can use to supplement her textbook and co-op classes. **I am always happy to tell people that it does not have to cost a fortune to have a well rounded homeschool education…especially if you put in a little time and effort:)
We received our Book It package in the mail this week and my son is now very excited to start earning pizzas by simply reading books this school year…who doesn’t love pizza??
2. Packed snacks and lunches
I think packing snacks and lunches to take while we run errands or go to the park, has to be the biggest money saver in our household. Our favorite snacks to eat on the go are string cheese, nuts, chips, and granola bars. **Also, I have noticed that if I have a snack and a cold drink waiting in the car, my son tends to fuss less when its time to leave somewhere fun. Please tell me your kids have thrown fits when its time to leave the park too!!
3. Kellogg Free Book Program
I noticed on a box of cereal that the Kellogg’s company is giving away a free book for each box of cereal sold. The customer can either choose to donate the book or keep it for their child. Since we are book lovers in my house, I am planning on giving these five new books as Christmas gifts this year. **To sweeten this deal, each box of cereal was only $.99 at Kroger this week.
4. Decluttering = $$
My husband has been decluttering this week and decided to sell off a lot of his beer making equipment. Luckily, there is a huge beer making community in North Alabama, so everything is selling rather quickly. **As a bonus, he has also met a lot of beer making enthusiasts, who have promised to send him some samples as a thank you.
I made sure to download numerous e-coupons onto my Kroger card before I left for the store this week (I usually forget half the time!) This alone helped me to save almost $10 on my grocery bill.
What did you do to save (or make) money this week??
We have been learning about plants in my son’s science class for the past few weeks and when I stumbled across how to turn cuttings into new plants with only water and a jar, I knew that we had to try it out. **This is a Pothos plant and it is the easiest, most resilient plant out there, so if you have a black thumb, this is the plant for you. Proof: I forget to water it half the time and it still produces beautiful foliage year round, with no shedding! This plant will go into my son’s room after it fully roots because he has been wanting one for ages and this one can grow alongside him.
2. Fun impulse buy = loads of laughs
We were killing time in Target when we came across this adorable costume for our dog Sadie in the Dollar aisle for just $3. We knew we had to have it when my son mentioned that it looked just like the costume from one of his favorite children’s books, The Hallo-wiener by Dav Pilkey. Our dog also happens to have a little Dachshund in her, so it made it all the more hilarious. **If you have not read this book to your kids, you are missing out! Its an adorable story of a Dachshund who is forced to wear a hotdog costume for Halloween and endures a lot of teasing for it. Luckily, the costume helps him and his friends out of a sticky situation later in the night, so there is a happy ending after all.
3. Dollar store prizes
I grabbed a great selection of Dollar Tree toys to add to my son’s homeschool reward box, for you guessed it, just $1 each. Our biggest score this week was finding all four of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles on keychains. My son was especially excited about these because he said that all of the cool kids had key chains on their backpacks…..I do not know where he got this information from, but at least he was happy:)
4. Car wash
We decided to wash our car at home last week and saved $6. While it was a little messy and hot, the kids had a blast and my car is no longer covered in sap, so that was a frugal win.
5. Free homeschool resources
We are going to read Frankenstein next in Literature, so I was happy to find two free study guides online that I can adapt for us to use, instead of buying a new Progeny Press study guide for $20. A little bit of work = a lot of savings:)
Kroger had a great deal on Kool-Aid Jammers (69 cents each….I got 10!) and I found that our favorite brand of yogurt was marked down to half off due to the cardboard packaging being damaged, so I happily scooped up all three packs.
2. Dollar Tree
To make our week go a little smoother, I sometimes resort to bribery:) Every Friday, if my son has behaved well and not complained too much during homeschool, he is allowed to pick out a prize from our goodie box. I have found the Dollar Tree (or the Target dollar aisle) is the best place to find fun little bribes rewards for cheap. This time around, I let my son pick out a few things to add to the box and he has been eagerly waiting all week to pick out his prize. **His favorite prizes so far have been fake mustaches, candy, gum, silly putty, and magic towels.
3. Plane Tickets
We are taking a trip later this year to Denver and I know from experience that flights get more expensive the closer you get to your departure, so I jumped online and found the cheapest ones available (cheap is a relative term)
4. “New” Dresser
As you may know, I have been trying to not buy any new items this year, so I was pleased when my mother offered to let my son have an old dresser that she decided to replace. We had been hanging up the majority my son’s clothes and keeping folded items in little baskets in his room, but now that he is getting bigger, the basket system was not working as well. So this was a nice frugal surprise:)
Every once in awhile Kroger will offer catalinas which are basically coupon “money” good for future purchases. This month they are offering $2 off a future purchase for every $10 you spend on Kroger brand breakfast items. Since I buy a lot of oats and cereals for the food bank, I should get quite a few of these over the next month:)
2. Thrift store finds
This week we found a shirt for my daughter for $2 and a study guide for the entire Chronicles of Narnia book series for just $3. **The thrift store is one of the many resources that we utilize to find quality homeschool materials each year.
3. Huge box=free entertainment
We had a large item shipped to us this week and of course my son claimed the box for his personal use. By personal use, I mean a pretend store, bear cave, superhero hangout, etc. Hours of free entertainment:)
4. Perks of a Private Library
My son is getting into the fun age of where reading is more than something he has to do for school, so he has been enjoying books that my daughter had bought when she was his age 7 years ago. This is frugal because we do not have to buy the same book twice (which has happened to me before) and its a blessing because if my son has run out of library books to read, he has a nicely stocked private library to choose from.
5. Rocket Languages
My daughter is taking Spanish as one of her high school classes and while we have a good textbook, the pronunciations are sometimes hard to teach. Luckily, our local library offers Rocket Languages to all of its patrons to use for free. This has really helped her to learn the correct way to pronounce all of the new words she has learned so far. **It is a little more structured than Duolingo, which is another free language site, so it is another nice option to have.
Our local Life South blood bank was handing out a free movie ticket with every blood donation this weekend, so I received one of those along with a free Whitt’s BBQ sandwich coupon and a t-shirt. **Funny story: After bragging to the lady about not getting woozy after donating blood, I actually almost fainted! When I got home, I laid down to rest for a little while and when I got up, it felt like I was on an elevator going down….fun stuff. Next time I think I will drink the juice that they always so nicely offer me:)
2. I love the library!!
After going through a dry patch in my reading life, I stumbled upon a new historical mystery series that I actually really enjoyed. A bonus was that my library has all 13 books in the series AND they were all in stock, which never happens by the way. **They are all apart of the Sebastian St. Cyr series by C.S. Harris (just in case you enjoy a good murder mystery)
I also picked up two copies of A Tale of Two Cities, which is coming in handy while Emma and I are doing our Progeny Press study guide (that I found for $.50 at the thrift store) which will also count as a 1/4 high school credit. Cheap homeschooling is not a myth!
**Additionally, I picked up thee historical romances and one contemporary romance because clearly I do not have enough to read…
3. No spend week
I am currently in a no spend week, so I have only bought groceries and nothing else this past week. Little frugal challenges like this, help to keep my spending in check and save a little money along the way.
4. Used Christmas gift cards
My children received McDonald’s gift cards for Christmas this past year (which I always seem to forget about), so I am taking them out for dinner this week as a fun (and free) treat.
My sister and mom have a huge collection of DVDs that they let us borrow whenever the mood strikes us. Some of our recent favorites were the Big Bang Theory, The Middle, and Modern Family….yes we love comedies:)
I received a coupon for a free Venus razor in the mail (I get these once a year for some reason??) and I also was gifted two coupons for a free pork sandwich at a local barbecue place. **My frugal hack for the sandwich is to turn it into a complete meal by adding it onto a baked potato at home and loading it full of cheese and sour cream:) Emma loves it!
2. Homeschool prizes
My son sometimes gets the wiggles when we are doing homeschool, so I remind him that if he doesn’t complain or wiggle too much, he gets to draw from a prize bag at the end of the week. I try to pick up cheap little toys as I find them, so this week I noticed Kroger had Imaginext blind bags on clearance for $.90 so I scooped up five to add to my stash.
3. Mish-mash meals
My husband has been on a business trip for the past week, so I have not cooked more than two dinners all week (soooo nice!) This is frugal because it helps us eat up leftovers and random items that we are finding in the pantry/freezer. It also saves time and energy for me:)
4. Kroger deals
I found good deals on macaroni and cheese, Beanitos, gluten-free pizzas, and cheese this week at Kroger. I also am trying out the Kroger brand trash bags to see if they will be sturdy enough for our family. **I have always bought Glad trash bags just to be safe, but I am willing to branch out now and will save $4 a box in the process.
5. Credit card reward points
I earned $18 in credit card reward points this past month and paid zero dollars in interest, so technically they are paying me to use their card:)
Aldi had a great deal on blueberries, $1.79 per pint, so I picked up five to add to my freezer stash. **These low carb blueberry pancakes are delicious!
2. Thrift Store Finds
This week everything I found was for Ben. He picked out a new pair of swim trunks for $3 and four new, collared shirts for $2 each.
3. Group Swim Class
Our local community pool offers swim classes year round, so I decided to sign up my six year old because he is resistant to me teaching him (surprise, surprise). They have the option of private classes ($20 each) or group classes ($7 each)…..I chose the group class:)
My father recently had a cow butchered (which he so nicely shares with his daughters), my quarter weighed in at 100 pounds. At just $2.50/lb (steaks, roasts, and hamburger meat included) I should be good on beef for awhile.
5. Quick Fix
The bottom tray of my gas grill has started to develop holes, but instead of tracking down a replacement part, I simply lined it with aluminum foil and it is as good as new.