Margaret Ann’s Country Cobbler

My sweet friend Margaret Ann was gracious enough to visit us again last Friday, and made the absolutely yummiest homemade Country Cobbler to share. 


 If you missed the video you can watch on Facebook here.
 

As I shared earlier, we met at Bible Study this year, and the minute I heard her sweet Southern accent I felt all-of-a-sudden-at-ease in a group of women who were completely new to me.

 

Isn’t it funny how a kind voice can do that?

 

Once we got to talking, I realized she cared about so many things that I just loved too.

 

Margaret Ann’s been a wife, mom, teacher, realtor, culinary school professor, chef . . . and she’s even owned two restaurants in Rome, Georgia.

 

In fact, one of the scenes from the movie Sweet Home Alabama was filmed in her restaurant Magretta Hall. 😉

I knew you would love Margaret Ann too, so I was thrilled when she offered to do a few “cooking classes” with us here on PPP. 

 

She taught us in the Dinner’s Done Facebook group she taught us how to make omelets (I learned so much from her!), and the recipe she shared this week for cobbler is out of this world.

 

Like really ~ WOW ~ I wasn’t even positive I liked peach cobbler when she mentioned sharing this recipe with us, but now that I’ve had it I’m hooked! 

 

 

 

(Note: I DEFINITELY recommen watching the video to see all of her tips – she had so many tricks that I’ve never read in a cookbook. Thank you Margaret Ann!)

Margaret Ann’s Country Cobbler Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups of fruit (peaches, strawberries, blueberries, etc…) (and some of the juice)
  • 1 stick of melted butter
  • 1 cup of flour
  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 cup of milk

Directions:

  1.  Pour the melted butter into a 7×9 dish.  Add the dry ingredients (right into the dish) into the melted butter and mix up a bit.
  2. Next pour one cup of milk on top of the ingredients and mix that in just a little bit.
  3. Add strawberries on top of the mixture with a little bit of the juice (don’t mix it!)
  4. Pop in a 350 degree oven for 25 – 30 mins.

 

Margaret Ann’s Biscuits & Sausage Gravy Recipe

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How To Shiplap On A Budget

This is a guest post from my friend Misty & Tim who created this faux shiplap wall in their family room. I LOVE this idea!  Here’s a peek at how they transformed their space for under $150. 

 

Let me start by saying that we have lived in our current home for almost 14 years.  Two years ago we changed out our dark kitchen counters for a light granite, and I just loved how much it brightened up the space!

 

Since then I’ve been trying to decide how to change up the look of our family room that is open to the kitchen.  I’m always slow to make these decisions because I don’t want to get it wrong then have do more work to fix it.

 

 

I’m a huge fan of home makeover shows, and my favorite (of course!) is Fixer Upper.  If you’ve ever seen it, you know all about shiplap!  I finally made up my mind that I wanted to find a way to add the look of shiplap to my room and keep it on a budget I could live with, just in case I ended up hating it.  I decided that doing just the one wall behind our entertainment center would be perfect because that’s where everyone is usually looking anyway.

 

 

I did a lot of research online for faux shiplap and found a bunch of tutorials and different methods.  I kind of combined several different ideas and went with it1

 

Finding the kind of plywood sheets that I wanted was the first step in the process.  Also, I wanted to have the sheets cut into strips at the store to save on time at home.  Depending on the store you may have to pay a small fee for this, but it may be worth it for you.

 

The main thing to consider about the wood is the thickness.  If you have crown molding and/or baseboards, you will want the thickness to match up the best you can.  I wanted boards that were about 1/4 inch thick.

 

Measure the area of your wall to determine how many sheets you need, and measure the height of wall to determine how wide to have the strips cut.  Most likely your strips will not work out to be a perfect fit from top to bottom.  I had the majority of ours cut into 6 1/2 inch strips, but the bottom row was only 5 1/2 inches.  Always put the oddball strip at the bottom because your eye will not be drawn to it as much.  I found the perfect wood at my local Home Depot.  I bought 9 sheets at $11.99 each. This took us  2 trips because I measured incorrectly & didn’t buy enough the first time.  The employees were more than willing the cut the sheets and didn’t even charge for the cuts!  Here is a picture of the sticker on the back of the wood.

 

 

 

 

Besides the wood, the other tools we needed were a nail gun with 1 1/4 inch brad nails, and a saw to cut the boards to length.  We used a circular saw.  You can use a hammer and nails if don’t have a nail gun.  We also used a stud finder & level to mark the studs to make sure we nailed into them as much as possible.  Some people use an adhesive on the backs of the boards, but we didn’t want to do that.

To start the application, we used a full length strip at the top of the wall just below the crown molding.  We used nickels for spacers between each row of boards.  When we got the to end of the first row, we needed to make our first cut.  As we continued down the wall, we made sure to use cut boards in a staggered pattern so that the seems on each row did not match the seems above or below it.

One more thing you need to think about when doing this kind of project is that your outlet plates will not fit with the extra thickness of the wood.  You will need to get outlet spacers.  I found these at Home Depot for about $3.  They were hard to find in the store so take the picture with you!  You can also order them here.

Once the wood was on the wall the real battle began!  My husband and son wanted the keep the wood it’s natural color.  It did have a very nice look, but I really wanted a lighter, whitewashed finish.  So I did a few test boards and the boys decided they could live with it:)

 

 

Here are the products I used to create the finish.   I used cheap white craft paint with water for the first layer. Then went over that with this Waverly liquid wax to add a protective coating.  I applied all of the layers with a soft cloth.  You can get all of these products at Walmart in the craft section.  The large wax was about $9 and the smaller was about $5.

I used a combination of clear & white because my store only had one bottle of white.  Here’s a close up of the finish.  I love how it has an aged look, and you can still see the wood grain!

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DIY Spring Wreath

 

I am soooo in love with this project and couldn’t even wait to share it with you! 

I’ve fallen in love with several tulip wreaths I’ve seen on Pinterest, but wasn’t sure how hard it would be to make one.

 

Turns out, it’s not all that hard, just time consuming.

 

All you need are lots of tulips.

 

Seriously

 

A. lot. 

Here are the supplies you’ll need:

  • round styrofoam wreath
  • 10 yards satin ribbon
  • tulips – I used the only ones I could find at Hobby Lobby and bought 15 ~ I needed almost every single one!

Just wrap, and wrap and wrap the ribbon around your wreath form and tuck tulips in before hot gluing.

Like in the video, here.

 

 

You really can do this in about an hour, and the results are pretty impressive.

 

I really do just love this one!

 

I’d love for you to join me over on Pinterest (I love that place!)  If you have a blog and have done a little fluffing in your home, I’d love to see it, so leave your link in the comments section. Also, if there’s a craft you’ve seen on a website that you’re hoping to make, feel free to share that link as well (I’m always looking for new ideas!)

 

See previous Friday Fluff Up projects and ideas . . . and Happy Fluffing!

 

Looking for more DIY? Here you go…

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Marshmallow Flower Cupcake

Looking for more penny pinched recipes? Here you go!

I’m soooooo excited about this little project I made today! 

 

 
Over in our Dinner’s Done Facebook group, one of the members shared her pictures of these simple Marshmallow Flower Cupcakes and I was soooo impressed.

 

(I’d sure love for you to join the free group if you haven’t already!) 

 

 
I wasn’t quite sure how big a job they would be, but it turns out they were super simple, and such a great project to make with my kids.

 


While they are a little more time consuming than the video shows (ahem), they really are pretty simple and require hardly any fancy skills.

 

I love that. 🙂

On a side note, I’m working on my videography skills (who on earth knew I’d ever need videography skills???) and have had fun trying out making videos mostly to share on Facebook.

 

(You can see a few of my favorites HERE, HERE and HERE.)

 

While they’re wayyyy more time consuming than I realized they would be (isn’t everything?), it’s always fun to learn a new skill, so I’m having fun along the way! If you have a fantastic Spring craft or treat you’d like me to try out, leave me a comment and I just might make it too. 😉

 

And, if you’d like to see me make these cupcakes live on Facebook, head on over HERE (and also take a peek at what I dumped in Mrs. Potts this morning ~ my kitchen smells amazing right now!) My goal is to be on Facebook Live this week at 9AM Eastern Time Monday, Wednesday and Friday, and I’d sure love for you to join me there. (I so enjoy chatting with you!)

 

Looking for penny pinched Spring ideas? Head on over HERE for more. Goodness, I just love this time of year!

 

 

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Be Our Guest DIY

I am sooooo pleased with how this little project turned out!

 

 

As I shared in the video below, my neighbor’s dad cut out the signs for us to use, so all I had to do was paint the board with acrylic paint and then use my Silhouette Cameo to make the lettering. 

I love it. 😉 

 

It’s hanging in our guest bedroom just waiting for a few guests to come visit, and I couldn’t believe how easy this project was to do.

 

(You can see the rest of our guest bedroom over HERE ~ I love this space!)

 

Success!

 

(Watch me make it here in the video ~ and if you’re interested in the Menu Plans I use that I mention, go HERE to check those out too!)

 

 

I’d love for you to join me over on Pinterest (I love that place!)  If you have a blog and have done a little fluffing in your home, I’d love to see it, so leave your link in the comments section. Also, if there’s a craft you’ve seen on a website that you’re hoping to make, feel free to share that link as well (I’m always looking for new ideas!)

 

See previous Friday Fluff Up projects and ideas . . . and Happy Fluffing!

41ead435-7bbb-48b9-b68a-326599b6fa26

More rooms we’ve updated in our home . . .

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Margaret Ann’s Biscuits & Sausage Gravy Recipe

My sweet friend Margaret Anne was gracious enough to visit this morning, and made quite possibly the best biscuits and gravy I’ve ever eaten to share with you. 

 

good. gravy. 😉


We met at Bible Study earlier this year, and the minute I heard her sweet Southern accent I felt all-of-a-sudden-at-ease in a group of women who were completely new to me.

 

Isn’t it funny how a kind voice can do that?

 

And once we got to talking, I realized she cared about so many things that I just loved too.

 

Margaret Ann’s been a wife, mom, teacher, realtor, culinary school professor, chef . . . and she’s even owned two restaurants in Rome, Georgia.

 

In fact, one of the scenes from the movie Sweet Home Alabama was filmed in her restaurant Magretta Hall. 😉

I knew you would love Margaret Ann too, so I was thrilled when she offered to do a few “cooking classes” with us here on PPP. 

 

Last week in the Dinner’s Done Facebook group she taught us how to make omelets (I learned so much from her!), and today she’s showing us how to make homemade biscuits and gravy.

 

Or as she calls it, ” thickening gravy.”

 

That you can lather with a little butter too. 😉

 

Honestly? They were all just a little heaven sent. 😉

 

The biscuits and gravy were perfection.

 

And if it were up to me, you would come right over to my kitchen and we’d let her serve us up biscuits and gravy all day long.

 

A girl can dream, right? 😉

If you’d like to make biscuits and gravy too, here’s what you’ll need to get started:

 

(Note: I DEFINITELY recommend watching the video to see all of her tips – I had no idea the importance of incorporating the shortening, and she had so many tricks that I’ve never read in a cookbook. Thank you Margaret Ann!)

Margaret Ann’s Biscuits & Sausage Gravy Recipe

*Makes a small batch of about 8 biscuits, but doubles beautifully.

Biscuit Ingredients:

  • 2 Cups of All Purpose Flour
  • 1 Tbsp Baking Powder
  • 1/2 Tsp Baking Soda
  • 1/2 Tsp Salt
  • 1/3 Cup of Crisco Shortening (or softened butter works too!)
  • 3/4 Cups of Buttermilk (or 3/4 cups of milk mixed with 1 tablespoon vinegar or lemon juice, let sit on the counter for 15 minutes to sour the milk)

 

 

Biscuit Directions:

  1. Whisk together the dry ingredients
  2. Cut the shortening or butter into the dry mix with a pastry cutter (or you can use a couple butter knives if you don’t have a pastry cutter)
  3. Work the dough until there are no chunks of shortening left (watch video for exactly how long to cut the dough)
  4. Add buttermilk, and stir into the mixture with your hand until you have a nice dough
  5. Sprinkle a little flour onto a clean surface and place the dough in the middle
  6. Knead the dough with the palms of your hands (not using fingers) by pushing it down a few times and then folding it in half.  Repeat 4 or 5 times and then pat it into a mound.
  7. Roll out to a thickness of about 3/4″
  8. Tap a cookie or biscuit cutter in flour and cut out the biscuits (Number will vary depending on the size of your cutter)
  9. Place on a greased or sprayed cookie sheet and brush a little melted butter on top
  10. Bake between 400 – 450 for 10-15 minutes.  *Because all ovens are different you’ll want to just check for when they look just right to you!

Gravy Ingredients:

  • 1 Lb of Pork Breakfast Sausage (Jimmy Dean is Margaret Ann’s favorite)
  • 4 Tbsp Flour
  • 1 Cup Milk

Gravy Directions:

  1. Cook and crumble the sausage over medium heat (Do NOT drain)
  2. Turn heat down to medium-low
  3. Sprinkle a couple tablespoons of flour over the sausage and stir it in, cooking it for another minute
  4. Add 1/2 Cup of milk and stir around as it begins to thicken up.
  5. To stretch your gravy further or thin it a little, just keep adding more milk until it’s how you like.

 

The best part is that by making them from scratch, you’ll save a bundle, most likely using everything you have right in your pantry. 

I’m hoping I can get her tricks down soon and make a batch for my bunch (but for today, we have just a few biscuits all ready to try for after school snacks.)

Let’s just call it their lucky day. 😉

Let me know how the recipe goes for you, and share any other tips in the comments. I can’t wait to hear from you!

Here are some tools that you may want to pick up if you plan to make biscuits often:

Non-Stick Pastry and Baking Mat

Pastry Cutter and Biscuit Cutters

Rolling Pin

Flour Sifter

Nonstick Cookie Sheet

Wilton 3-Tier Cooling Rack

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$29 Sideboard Makeover

Note from Laurie: My friend Cheryl is in the process of making over her living room, and goodness, I LOVE what she’s done! She was sweet enough to share with us here on PPP ~ take a peek . . . 

Wow . . . 

 

Just . . . wow!

 

I’m in the middle of a living room makeover (we finally updated our couches after 10 years) and after a tense afternoon of tax preparation . . . this was clearly NOT the time to buy more furniture. 🙂 

 

Our search for sideboards has been going on for M O N T H S ~ all around the $500 range.  This had me thinking . . . why not just paint the one we have now?

 

 

$29 can of chalk paint & wipe-on poly (optional – this was in the garage from previous projects)

 

If you haven’t use chalk paint before, it is amazing. 

 

No prep.

 

No sanding.

 

Just, paint!

 

 

I went to Lowes and bought a $29.00 can of chalk paint, painted this beautiful sideboard to match my new furniture and in just a few hours it was done.

 

Before . . .

 

 

 

After . . .

 

 

I’m thrilled with how it turned out!!  I can’t wait to show you the rest … ALL on a penny pinched budget (I’m learning a few things here at PPP! 🙂

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Love chalk paint? Here are a few more ideas you may want to check out . . .

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I’d love for you to join me over on Pinterest (I love that place!)  If you have a blog and have done a little fluffing in your home, I’d love to see it, so leave your link in the comments section. Also, if there’s a craft you’ve seen on a website that you’re hoping to make, feel free to share that link as well (I’m always looking for new ideas!)

 

See previous Friday Fluff Up projects and ideas . . . Happy Fluffing!

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Valentine’s Dollar Tree DIY


My friend Cheryl made this super cute craft using supplies from the Dollar Tree, and I just love the way it turned out! Take a peek . . . 

I saw this idea over on Pinterest, and just fell in love!

 

Here’s what you’ll need to get started:

  • Styrofoam Trees
  • Conversation Hearts
  • Glue

That’s it.

 

For real.

 

 

 

This is such a fun way to fluff up your home for Valentine’s Day.  My 10 year old just loved sorting and creating these trees with me!

 

 

 

These candle holders were collecting dust in a cabinet so I used them to set the trees up high and think they worked out  perfectly!

 

 

 

 

Happy Fluffing!

 

 

 

 

 

Have you made any fun decor for Valentine’s Day? I’d love to hear what you’re up to ~ leave a comment to share! And if you’re looking for more penny pinched projects, here you go . .  .

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35 Deals You Need to Buy at the Dollar Tree – Valentine Edition

 

You know I love shopping The Dollar Tree for just about anything, well Valentine’s Day is no exception! Here are a few steals you can’t miss when you’re there:

 

1. Stuffed Animals

2. Valentine Mugs

3. Valentine Globes

4. Valentine Balloons

 

5. Valentine Wrapping paper

6. Valentine Gift Bags

7. Valentine Bobble Heads

8. Hot Chocolate

 

9. Valentine Candy Containers

10. Valentine Ribbon

11. Valentine Candles

 

 

12. Valentine Paper Plates

13. Valentine Paper Napkins

14. Valentine Glass Flowers

 

 

15. Heart Vases

16. Heart Candy Dishes

17. Valentine Glasses

18. Valentine Vases

 

19. Valentine Door Hangers

20. Heart Shaped Doilies

 

21. Valentine Garland

22. Valentine Decorations

 

23. Chocolate Valentine Candy Hearts

24. Individually Wrapped Valentine Candy

 

25. Valentine Window Stickies

26. Valentine Cards

 

27. Valentine Card Kits

28. Valentine Pencils

29. Valentine Pencil Sharpeners

30. Valentine Erasers

31. Valentine Boxes

 

32. Valentine Stickers

33.  Valentine Table Decorations

34. Valentine Table Clothes

35.  Valentine Duct Tape

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Love shopping the Dollar Tree? See a few ways I’ve used Dollar Tree finds in our home:

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(FREE!) DIY Valentine Tree

 

Looking for a fun, frugal, and free DIY? Here you go! 

 

Gather up some branches from your back yard, construction paper, scissors and tape.

 

Put the branches in your vase (I put corn in the bottom of my container so the sticks stayed in place.)
Cut out a few hearts and tape them on your branches.

 

Done.

 

So simple, so fun, and you won’t feel one bit of guilt when you throw this craft away on February 15th.

Success! 🙂 

 

Have you made any fun decor for Valentine’s Day? I’d love to hear what you’re up to ~ leave a comment to share! And if you’re looking for more penny pinched projects, here you go . .  .

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DIY Baby Banner

I’m so stinkin’ excited about this little project!

 

 

As I shared over HERE, we’re hosting a baby shower for a couple in my husband’s office tomorrow, so I got to crafting this morning.

 

Here’s what I used . . . 

 

  • Brown yarn
  • Clothespins
  • Silhouette Cameo 
  • Fabric strips (bought coordinating fabric square at Hobby Lobby, then cut into 1″ strips ~ cost was $6 after Hobby Lobby 40% off coupon)
  • Cricut Iron On Material $9.74
  • Pre-cut banners from Michaels, $4
  • Total = $19.74

 

I made the banner using the directions in this tutorial . . .

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Then used my Silhouette Cameo to cut out the letters for the top banner . . .

 

 

 

 

Success!

 

Now ~ as I shared in the video we still don’t have any idea what we’re actually making for dinner at this baby shower, so if you have any suggestions I’m all ears. 😉 And, if you have any other suggestions for craft projects I’d sure love to hear those too ~ Happy Friday!

 

bestbabyshowergift

Looking for more frugal baby shower ideas?

Need some frugal gifts for mom?

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The Only Way to Organize American Girl Clothes

theonlywaytoorgainzeagclothespinterest5

 

So . . . this idea is just genius. 😉

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My friend Jamie gave me this suggestion for organizing American Girl Doll clothes ~ and goodness, it makes life so much easier!

 

Last weekend my girls set to work, and in about 12 minutes that mess was fixed. 

 

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Success!

 

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These over the door organizers are also awesome for cleaning supplies, snacks, gloves, mittens, hats, Legos, toys, you name it. 

diy cleaning supplies organizer

So.

smart.

 

If you’re looking for an organizer, Amazon has these for just $8.99 right now, and I love how easy they make it to store just about anything.

 

And, if you have other suggestions on how to organize American Girl clothes (or other toys too), I’d love to hear them ~ leave a comment to share!

theonlywaytoorgainzeagclothesfb1

 

I’d love for you to join me over on Pinterest (I love that place!)  If you have a blog and have done a little fluffing in your home, I’d love to see it, so leave your link in the comments section. Also, if there’s a craft you’ve seen on a website that you’re hoping to make, feel free to share that link as well (I’m always looking for new ideas!)

 

See previous Friday Fluff Up projects and ideas . . . and Happy Fluffing!

 

secrets to thenew American Girl Rewards Program!

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The Best Baking Supply Bargains

 

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Now that we’ve almost finished our 12 days of Christmas baking series (download your free grocery list and cookbook over HERE) I thought it would be fun to share a few of my favorite ways to package all those goodies up!

 

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I found most of my supplies at Hobby Lobby  . . .

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wrapped them up with inexpensive ribbon,

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and found a few bargains at Michael’s & The Dollar Tree too.

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I love those stores. 

 

 

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Here’s how the math on each container added up: 

Big red and white carry out box 66¢ per box

Santa tin $1.75 at Hobby Lobby

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Tiny box containers at Hobby Lobby 20¢ per box

Sliding Boxes from Hobby Lobby 50¢ per box

Polka Dot Sliding Box Containers from Hobby Lobby 75¢ each

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Plastic bags 12/$1 at the Dollar Tree 8.3¢ each

Merry Christmas tag from Hobby Lobby 5¢ each

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Merry Christmas Box $1 at Hobby Lobby

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Christmas Tin $1 at the Dollar Tree

Green Christmas Santa Box $1 at Michael’s

Merry Bag and Santa Hat tag 15¢ at Hobby Lobby

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Polka Dot and Striped Bags 12¢ per box

Chalkboard Clothespins 13¢ per box

Gift Card Holder 50¢ each

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Be Merry Box 75¢ per box at Hobby Lobby

 

Hope this helps you pinch a few extra pennies this Christmas, as well as spoil someone special you’re thankful for this year. Enjoy!

the ChristmasEdition

Looking for more bargain DIYs?

 

dollartreegiftstogive20163

 

I’d love for you to join me over on Pinterest (I love that place!)  If you have a blog and have done a little fluffing in your home, I’d love to see it, so leave your link in the comments section. Also, if there’s a craft you’ve seen on a website that you’re hoping to make, feel free to share that link as well (I’m always looking for new ideas!)

 

See previous Friday Fluff Up projects and ideas . . . and Happy Fluffing!

 

Interact with 570K+ Penny Pinchers on Facebook and Twitter or Subscribe to Passionate Penny Pincher by email to keep up with all the penny pinchin’ deals!
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Dollar Tree Christmas Centerpiece

 

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Need an inexpensive Christmas centerpiece for an event this Christmas season? 

This is for you. 

 

 
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Here’s what you’ll need:

  • a grapevine or greenery wreath $1 at the Dollar Tree
  • red candle votive $1 at the Dollar Tree
  • 2-3 berry twigs $1 at the Dollar Tree

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Just take the berries and place all around the wreath, light the candle, and you’re done.

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I used a blanket scarf as my table runner (this weekend only they’re $12.95, shipped at Cents of Style when you use the code BLANKET16 at checkout.)

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Done!

 

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the ChristmasEdition

Looking for more Dollar Tree DIY?

 

dollartreegiftstogive20163

 

I’d love for you to join me over on Pinterest (I love that place!)  If you have a blog and have done a little fluffing in your home, I’d love to see it, so leave your link in the comments section. Also, if there’s a craft you’ve seen on a website that you’re hoping to make, feel free to share that link as well (I’m always looking for new ideas!)

 

See previous Friday Fluff Up projects and ideas . . . and Happy Fluffing!

 

Interact with 570K+ Penny Pinchers on Facebook and Twitter or Subscribe to Passionate Penny Pincher by email to keep up with all the penny pinchin’ deals!
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Dollar Tree DIY

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Need an easy Thanksgiving Centerpiece? Here’s all you need:

  • Glass Jar from Dollar Tree $1
  • Twine from Dollar Tree $1
  • Glue gun and lots of glue gun sticks


Before . . .

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After . . .

 

dollartreediy1

 

Done!

the ChristmasEdition

Looking for more Dollar Tree DIY?

 

dollartreeetchedglass9

 

I’d love for you to join me over on Pinterest (I love that place!)  If you have a blog and have done a little fluffing in your home, I’d love to see it, so leave your link in the comments section. Also, if there’s a craft you’ve seen on a website that you’re hoping to make, feel free to share that link as well (I’m always looking for new ideas!)

 

See previous Friday Fluff Up projects and ideas . . . and Happy Fluffing!

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5 Reasons You Need to Get an Amazon Prime 30-Day Trial NOW

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If you’ve been considering signing up for an Amazon Prime 30-Day Trial – now is the absolute BEST TIME in the whole year to do it.

Not later on this month.  Not sometime before Christmas…

THIS.  WEEK.

Why?

Folks, Black Friday is coming, Lightning deals are coming, Cyber Monday is coming – it’s all about to hit and I want you to be able to save some serious money during these sales!

5 Reasons to Get an Amazon Prime 30-Day Trial NOW

****NOTE****If you’ve already done your trial and are waiting for the membership fee to drop – don’t miss this!!

Amazon announced Wednesday they will offer a 1-DAY discount on Prime memberships TODAY, 11/17/16.  For only 24 hours the cost of a 1-year Amazon Prime subscription will drop from $99 to just $79!

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1 . FREE 2-Day Shipping

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve ordered last minute gifts and the Amazon Prime 2-Day shipping saved the day.  As we start getting closer and closer to Christmas – this will come in SO handy to put presents under the tree and send gifts to family around the country.

That’s why now is the BEST time to get a 30-Day Free trial – from now until a week before Christmas you’ll be scoring free shipping on just about anything you could possibly be shopping for!

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2 . Cheap 1 -Day Shipping

For only $3.99, Amazon Prime members can upgrade to 1-Day Shipping.  (The cost for non-members is $9.95.)  In my opinion, that’s pretty reasonable for 1-Day delivery!

Plus if you live in select cities around the country – you may actually qualify for same-day delivery, which is just nuts!  Those lucky ducks can get things delivered by 9pm (isn’t that incredible, really?)

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3 . Early Access to Lightning Deals

Amazon shoppers who are Prime members will also get a 30-minute early access to select lightning deals.

Additionally, certain Amazon sales are ONLY available to Prime Members – you don’t want to miss those with all the Black Friday and Holiday Deals about to hit!

You can find out more about Amazon Lightning Deals and Black Friday sales in general in my post 5 Secrets to Shopping Amazon on Black Friday.

 

 

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4 . Books, Movies and Music Streaming

Kids will be taking a break from school, family will be visiting, and some of us will be traveling.

It’s a great time to use the Free Kindle library, stream movies and tv with Amazon Instant, or make a holiday playlist on Prime Music.  Check out the selection of great movies and shows here!

 

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5 . Convenience!!

I’m telling you guys – I use Amazon for just about everything – it helps this busy momma stay sane sometimes!

Save yourself trips to the store for just about ANYTHING with Amazon Prime.  It makes a crazy time of year a little bit less crazy – because there is such a wide variety of things you need at your fingertips. (And they all come right to your door!)

Grab extra cookie sheets for holiday baking, or a new turkey-roasting pan.

Restock on pantry items like paper towels and dishwasher detergent.

Even schedule in a Christmas movie night and the popcorn to go with it!

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Check out my weekly post here on how to get an Amazon Prime Pantry Box filled with good deals and shipped for free 🙂

 

 

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Not sure if Amazon Prime is worth the money? Go HERE to make an informed decision, but if you’re even thinking about it, remember it’s on sale 11/18/16 for 24 hours only. Love that! 

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See more Amazon Deals, and remember when you subscribe and save to 5 or more items in one month, you’ll also save an additional 15% on all of your subscribe and save purchases.

 

 

This post contains affiliate links.  See my disclosure policy to learn more.

Join Amazon Prime for one month free – Watch Over 40,000 Movies for free plus get free shipping on thousands of items

 

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How Much Do Real Families Budget For Christmas?

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A friend of mine once asked: “How much do real families budget for Christmas gifts for their children?”

 

Yikes.

 

If there was ever a question I didn’t want to get into at Christmas, that would be the one. 

 

It did get me thinking though—and after sixteen Christmas mornings with a few of the cutest kids running around our home, our family has learned a thing or two.

 

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1. Decide when your children are young what Christmas will look like for your family.

 

Goodness, I wish I could tell every momma of a one-year-old that they simply don’t need to spend more than $20 (at the very most!) on that little one.

 

Babies have as much fun with the boxes as they do the actual presents . . . and my bet is a few family members will add a bundle of gifts to their Christmas treasures.

 

By choosing to purchase less when they’re little, you’re paving the way for your child’s future expectations.

 

If you shell out $500 in gifts to a four-year-old, just imagine what their expectations will look like when they’re fourteen.

 

Start simply.

 

Be different.

 

Determine when your kids are young that Christmas will be about more than dozens of gifts under the tree.

 

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2. As your children get older, continue to keep it simple.

Remember the thirty-two bins of toys you hauled to the thrift store last summer?

 

That may have been because your kids simply received a few too many gifts on Christmas morning.

 
Instead, choose a few items that your child will love and let the rest go. Before making a single purchase, consider if the gift will end up in the bottom of the toy bin in a week or two.

 

If so, your child probably doesn’t need it to begin with.

 

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3. You don’t have to keep up with the Joneses. (Really.)

Be okay with doing things differently.

 

Inevitably, on Christmas day when neighbor kids race outside with Christmas treasures, my kids have occasionally felt a wee bit disappointed.

 

“Why did Santa like them better than me?” 

 

That, folks, especially with young children, is a tough one.

 

Our answer has been that Santa checks with parents before he hands out the Christmas gifts, and since our children know we choose to live differently, they seem satisfied with our answer.

 

(And trust me, if you saw our home, you’d have no doubt that our kids have plenty.)

 

Rather than trying to make Christmas special for your child by keeping up with someone else, encourage them to make Christmas special for another child. 

  • Adopt an Angel Tree child and let your kid choose gifts for them.
  • Donate food to a local food drive and let your child help do the shopping.
  • Fill an Operation Christmas Child Shoebox to send to children who may get nothing else this Christmas.

 

And on Christmas morning, be the parent who plops down on the floor to help build that new Lego set. (Your undivided attention will be more valuable to your child than any Christmas gift. I promise!)

 

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4. Christmas will change as your family changes.

What Christmas morning looks like this year in our home is different than what it looked like fifteen years ago.

 

Our finances have changed and our kids have changed, so we’ve made adjustments along the way.

 

For Christmas this year, we’ll spend around $125 on my nine-year-old, thanks to some incredible deals I’ve scored shopping early (and she will have plenty).

 

Christmas for my sixteen-year-old will look a little different, though, and he’ll probably get a few things he needs, in addition to some fun gifts. (Gifts for a sixteen-year-old just cost more. I haven’t figured out a way around that!)

 

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5. No matter their ages, set a budget for each child’s Christmas.

 

Don’t be tempted by a last-minute deal to fill up space underneath the tree. Instead, decide your limits ahead of time, and stick to them this year.
Don’t go beyond your budget to make Christmas special for your children.

 

Instead, make Christmas by creating lifelong memories, choosing unique gifts just for your kids, and making your home just the place your children want to be on Christmas morning. 

 

Especially if your children are little, think small because that sets the expectation for the next year.

 

Determine to make Christmas special by enjoying family traditions, and know that the choices you make today pave the way toward financial freedom in the future.

 

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Dollar Tree Gifts to Give

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Grab my list of 101 Stocking Stuffers under $1 or less over HERE! 

Dollar Tree Gifts to Give

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Y’all know I love gifting from the Dollar Tree . . .

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So here are a few ideas.

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Grab a bucket from the Dollar Tree or One Spot at Target, and add the words “JOY” (I made mine with my Silhouette Cameo Cutter and contact paper.)

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Make this cute snowman using candles and ribbon from the Dollar Tree (the bell ornaments are from the Dollar Tree too.)

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So simple, and perfect to give as a teacher gift this year with a gift card attached, or even for kids to make as a class project!

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You can also set your table using this cute scarf (seriously folks, I’m addicted . . . )

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And you’re all set. Success! 🙂 

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Looking for more Christmas fun at the Dollar Tree?

 

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I’d love for you to join me over on Pinterest (I love that place!)  If you have a blog and have done a little fluffing in your home, I’d love to see it, so leave your link in the comments section. Also, if there’s a craft you’ve seen on a website that you’re hoping to make, feel free to share that link as well (I’m always looking for new ideas!)

 

See more previous Friday Fluff Up projects and ideas . . . and Happy Fluffing!

 

Interact with 353K+ Penny Pinchers on Facebook and Twitter or Subscribe to Passionate Penny Pincher by email to keep up with all the penny pinchin’ deals!
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Best Cookie Jar Ever

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Oh my.

 

I’m so excited about this.

 

Like. I. *love*. this.

 

And I soooo hope you do too!

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This last week my mom was in town visiting and we stopped by Hobby Lobby. They had their glassware marked down to 50% off (remember, almost everything is marked 50% off at Hobby Lobby every other week, and if it’s not marked 50% off, you can always use a 40% off coupon. You’re welcome.)

 

So, because I absolutely love playing with etching cream (remember I’ve used it before HERE and HERE), I decided to grab a jar to work on, and made a few fun gifts! I was struggling with what to put on those jars, then it dawned on me that it would be so fun for my own kids to have my cookie recipe written down for them. 🙂

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You can print your free recipe cards for my chocolate chip cookies over HERE if you’d like ~ they really are the best. 🙂 

 

Here’s what I used (as well as my mistakes – I may actually re-do this tutorial next week because a few readers helped me learn along the way!)

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First, you need etching cream and a few glass jars (these are huge – the smaller one was $12.50, I think the larger one was $20 but it was a gift for my mom who wanted a bigger jar.)

 

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I used my Silhouette Cameo (I love this thing!) to cut out the words on vinyl adhesive . . .

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(Here’s a peek at me practicing some of the letters on the Cameo . . . if you don’t have a Cameo though, you could easily make this using a stencil pattern or stickers in a pattern you love!)

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Then I removed the backing from the vinyl and attached it to the glass, and painted with etching cream.

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(Note – I learned from folks over on Facebook live that your’e supposed to actually wipe off excess etching cream before peeling the vinyl off ~ I had no idea and am going to have to try another jar that way!)

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Then my mom started fluffing those jar gifts using a few fun items from the Dollar Tree 🙂

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These super cute bells and berries were from the Dollar Tree (the spatula was $2 at Hobby Lobby . . . )

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And for the record ~ this would be SO much better to give as a gift with those homemade cookies in the jar, however it was the week of Halloween and I could not possibly bake one more sweet in my house to fill this jar. You get the idea. 😉

 

I found the ornaments on clearance last year at Target 90% off, the snowflake ornaments were $1 at the Dollar Tree for a pack of two, and the Merry and Bright sign was from Hobby Lobby for $3 (this small jar was from Walmart for $4)

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And we attached a Dollar Tree star (I love those big stars!) to the the large jar with “grace” which headed home to my mom’s house.

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Overall, I’m so pleased with these little projects and am going to make a few of the cookie jars as gifts this Christmas (I’m so excited!)

(And, if you’d like a video tutorial how to use etching cream, here you go. It didn’t work perfectly on the Dollar Tree plastic containers, but hopefully it will give you an idea of how etching cream works!

Are you working on any homemade gifts this Christmas? I’d love to hear what you’re making ~ leave a comment to share! 

 

 

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Looking for more Christmas fun at the Dollar Tree? 

 

 

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I’d love for you to join me over on Pinterest (I love that place!)  If you have a blog and have done a little fluffing in your home, I’d love to see it, so leave your link in the comments section. Also, if there’s a craft you’ve seen on a website that you’re hoping to make, feel free to share that link as well (I’m always looking for new ideas!)

 

See more previous Friday Fluff Up projects and ideas . . . and Happy Fluffing!

 

Interact with 353K+ Penny Pinchers on Facebook and Twitter or Subscribe to Passionate Penny Pincher by email to keep up with all the penny pinchin’ deals!
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101 Items To Buy at the Dollar Tree This Fall

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Getting ready for fall but don’t want to bust your budget? 

 

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Be sure to check out the Dollar Tree before heading somewhere else! Here are 101 items to buy at the Dollar Tree this Fall . . .

 

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For Halloween parties

  1. Halloween paper plates
  2. Halloween table cloths
  3. Halloween cups
  4. Halloween placemats
  5. Halloween candy molds
  6. Halloween treat bags
  7. Halloween paper straws
  8. Halloween plastic rings
  9. Halloween candy bags
  10. Halloween candy buckets
  11. Halloween creepy plastic creatures
  12. Halloween cookie cutters
  13. Plastic candy containers
  14. Fankenstein plastic cups with lids and straws for kids

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For Fall parties

  1. Fall plates
  2. Fall glasses
  3. Fall bowls
  4. Fall placemats
  5. Fall cookie cutters
  6. Aluminum baking dishes

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For Halloween decorating

  1. Glow sticks
  2. Felt pumpkin decorating kits
  3. LED strobe lights
  4. Silly string
  5. Pumpkin carving kit
  6. Helium balloons
  7. Halloween centerpiece
  8. “Fright” tape for Halloween yards
  9. Halloween paper lanterns
  10. Outdoor halloween decor
  11. Extension cords

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For Fall decorating & crafting

  1. Fake pumpkins
  2. Fall leaves
  3. Candles
  4. Candleholders
  5. Mason jars
  6. Scarecrows
  7. Fall ribbon
  8. Fall flowers
  9. Fall centerpiece
  10. Thanksgiving platter
  11. Metal wreath rings
  12. Grapevine wreaths
  13. Raffia
  14. Foam blocks
  15. Foam wreaths

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For costumes

  1. Princess tiara
  2. Princess wand
  3. Princess gloves
  4. Cheer pompoms
  5. Chef hat
  6. Chef apron
  7. Fairy wings
  8. Fairy skirts
  9. Feather boa
  10. Witches hat
  11. Witches broom
  12. Spider tattooes
  13. Fake nails
  14. Plastic necklaces
  15. Baton for baton twirling
  16. Hair ties
  17. Plastic rings
  18. Toy binoculars
  19. Cowboy hat
  20. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle Shell
  21. Ninja sword
  22. Ninja vest
  23. Camouflage hat
  24. Fake mustaches
  25. Light up swords
  26. Finger lights
  27. Spider tatoos
  28. Pet costumes
  29. Stuffed animals
  30. Poster board for costume
  31. Cardboard boxes if needed
  32. LED lightup necklaces
  33. Construction paper
  34. Tape
  35. Scissors
  36. Halloween makeup
  37. Makeup remover wipes 🙂

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For “boo” bags (print your free “you’ve been boo’ed” letter HERE)

  1. candy
  2. toy rings
  3. deck of cards
  4. coloring books
  5. glow sticks
  6. bubbles
  7. sidewalk chalk
  8. play-do
  9. yo-yo
  10. silly string
  11. fall craft kit

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Halloween Candy

 

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NOTE: Check the price on candy, some of the Dollar Tree prices can be high when you count per piece. For example, right now at Amazon you can get candy for a slow as 5¢ per piece ~ make sure you’re not paying more than that before buying!

  1. Tootsie Rolls
  2. Blow Pops
  3. Starburst
  4. Whoppers

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Miscellaneous Stuff

  1. Fall cards
  2. Halloween cards
  3. Large project board

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Looking for more ideas on what to score at the Dollar Tree while you’re there? Here you go:

How to Decorate for Fall at the Dollar Tree

8 Frugal Ways To Decorate For Fall

8 Frugal Ways to Decorate for Fall

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33 Deals You Need to Buy at the Dollar Tree (the Christmas edition!) 

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Dollar Tree Pumpkin Craft

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Looking for an easy Dollar tree craft this October? Here you go!

 

 

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Supplies:

  • Small faux pumpkins (watch for these at the Dollar Tree)
  • White craft paint (check the Dollar bins as well at Target or Michael’s)
  • Krylon looking glass spray paint
  • (2) Foam paint brush
  • Mod podge or liquid glue
  • Black glitter

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1. Lay a couple sheets of old newspaper down on your craft surface

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2. Use your foam paint brush to paint your pumpkins white and let dry

 

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3. Next take your pumpkins outside, lay another piece of newspaper down, and spray your pumpkins with your spray paint and let dry

 

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4. Now paint the bottom half of your pumpkins with your mod podge and immediately cover with glitter (best to do the glitter over the garbage or outside)

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5. Let your pumpkins dry, shake off any excess glitter, and display

 

Looking for more ways to decorate for fall on a penny pinched budget? Here you go:

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DIY Butcher Block Sign

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I’d love for you to join me over on Pinterest (I love that place!)  If you have a blog and have done a little fluffing in your home, I’d love to see it, so leave your link in the comments section. Also, if there’s a craft you’ve seen on a website that you’re hoping to make, feel free to share that link as well (I’m always looking for new ideas!)

 

See previous Friday Fluff Up projects and ideas . . . and Happy Fluffing!

 

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Stitch Fix Review

This post may contain affiliate links. See my disclosure policy to learn more.

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Sooooooo, I’ve been curious about Stitch Fix for quite awhile, and was scrolling through Facebook a few weeks ago when I saw a friend on Facebook recommending it. 

 


I wasn’t sure it was for me, but have such a hard time finding time to shop (and honestly don’t like clothes shopping all that much), so decided to try it out.

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loved how easy the process was ~ I was able to put in my style profile, share what types of clothes I liked, how things fit me, and share an idea of what I’m looking for on my profile, and I got a $20 credit just for trying it out. 

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So when my Stitch Fix Box arrived Tuesday, I was pretty excited to open it up.

 

 

Honestly? I liked almost everything in there, and it was very much my style.

 

But.

 

At the end of the day, I’m a really frugal girl, and the prices were just high for me. (In fairness, you can keep include on your Style Profile your current spending preferences, I just completely missed that.)

 

Here’s what came in my box . . . 

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Black top $48

After much debating, this is the only thing I kept ~ since I had the $20 free credit for trying it out, I decided I’d keep it for a conference I’m attending next week.

 

Jeans $88 

These jeans were very comfortable, however a little too loose, and way too long (like, 4″ too long, and I’m 5’7″!) At $88 for the pair, even after hemming and especially since they were a little on the baggy side, I just couldn’t justify them.

 

Checkered Scarf in picture at the top of the page $34

Not bad, but I know I can find one I love just as much for half the price at TJMaxx.

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Blue flannel top – $48

I have a very similar top that I bought from the Gap for $20 (really, almost identical), so I definitely couldn’t justify the cost. This one also had buttons up the back and was open from my waist down, and I just didn’t love that look (I’m pretty traditional and don’t need anything accentuating my booty!) 🙂

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Grey striped sweater $48

Just didn’t love it ~ returned.

 

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My thoughts?

 

loved the convenience of it all. Having clothes chosen for me that really did fit almost flawlessly and delivered to my home was great. If I worked outside our home I could definitely see how this would be such a benefit for me.

 

I also LOVED (like, LOVED) that returning is super simple – I literally am just going to drop it in the mail, the shipping is pre paid, and I don’t have to do a single thing (which is why I’m still signed up for next month’s Stitch Fix Box.

 

But.

 

At the end of the day the clothes were on the pricey side, and my penny pinching soul just can’t do it. I am going to update my preferences for pricing next month and will be curious to see how it works out ~ I’ll let you know when my next fix arrives.

 

Would you like to try out Stitch Fix? Sign up through this link and you’ll get $20 deducted off your first styling (which is like trying it out for free) when you purchase any one item, AND if you keep everything in your box you’ll save an 25% off everything in the box.

Here’s exactly how it works:

  • Sign up HERE
  • You’ll be charged $20 for your Stitch Fix Styling
  • Your box will come when you schedule it
  • If you keep ANY items in your box, the $20 you spend for the styling will be put towards your purchase (so it’s like getting $20 in free credit!)
  • If you keep your entire box you’ll save 25% off the entire purchase
  • Invite friends on Facebook or via email (or even text messages) to sign up through you and you’ll get $25 in free referral credit ~ love that!

 

One thing to note – you have to send your clothes back in 3 days, so be sure to be aware of that prior to ordering!

 

This post may contains affiliate links. See my disclosure policy to learn more.

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Silhouette Cameo: Iron On Glitter Projects

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Want more? Watch this video to see us at work. 

Soooo, I haven’t had much time for fluffin’ in our home lately, but we’ve had our Silhouette Cameo pulled out for the last few weeks and are determined to make some cute shirts before we go to Disney later this fall! (Our 16 year old’s high school band is playing at Disney, so we’re planning to tag along!)
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A friend mentioned that she uses Iron On Glitter paper to make super cute shirts and I was determined to try it out. (The glitter paper is much cheaper at Amazon than we found at Hobby Lobby and  Michael’s, so it’s worth ordering if you’re doing something similar anytime soon!)

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Here’s what we made using a few fun t-shirts, bows and more at Hobby Lobby, Walmart and Amazon . . .

 

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We found the onesie and chevron print diaper cover at Hobby Lobby as well as this bow . . .

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The headbands were from Walmart (I think they were 4/$3?)

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The girls wanted matching Disney tees to wear so we picked up the tees at  Hobby Lobby for $3.99 (these took a bit of work, but finally turned out perfectly!)

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And we used this huge pack of cheer bows to make a few cute bows (we had to even make one for our OSU-Buckeye-neighbors ~ I need more red bows because those are my favorites I think!)

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So, there you have it ~ no major space updates in our home the last few weeks, but we’ve gotten a good start on one of our favorite projects. If you’ve been debating a Silhouette Cameo I really do love mine (but wait for a sale – I paid $199 for mine and have seen it drop once to $179, so crossing my fingers we see that one again soon!)

 

 

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Note – I learned how to make these iron ons by following the directions over HERE ~ if you have other tips I’d love to hear those too!

DIY Butcher Block Sign

See more previous Friday Fluff Up projects and ideas . . . and Happy Fluffing!

I’d love for you to join me over on Pinterest (I love that place!)  If you have a blog and have done a little fluffing in your home, I’d love to see it, so leave your link in the comments section. Also, if there’s a craft you’ve seen on a website that you’re hoping to make, feel free to share that link as well (I’m always looking for new ideas!)

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Goodwill Chair Makeover #2

I tackled just a little painting today. 😉

 

Before . . .

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After . . .

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As promised in the video, here’s what I used:

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Now this chair has a partner to match 🙂

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Looking for more ways to work with chalk paint? Here you go:

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I’d love for you to join me over on Pinterest (I love that place!)  If you have a blog and have done a little fluffing in your home, I’d love to see it, so leave your link in the comments section. Also, if there’s a craft you’ve seen on a website that you’re hoping to make, feel free to share that link as well (I’m always looking for new ideas!)

 

See previous Friday Fluff Up projects and ideas . . . and Happy Fluffing!

 

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Hobby Lobby Happiness

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Remember two years ago when we just moved in and my daughter was determined to have an IKEA platform bed?

Yup. me too.

 

Making that bed though was quite near the death of me, so I finally gave in and decided it was well worth the money to start fresh.

 

(Y’all, getting that bed made up with clean sheets was an Olympic sized feat ~ so much so that I had to muster up everything in me to keep any potty-words from coming out.)

 

(Seriously.)

 

(It was ridiculous.) 

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So a few months ago we bought Caroline a set of full mattresses (hoping she would occasionally let her sister snuggle up at night), and found a headboard similar to this one online. (I can’t remember exactly where we purchased it, but I wished I’d realized it was really meant for a queen size bed not full/queen. The board is a little wider than the bed, but it’ll do!) 

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Her dresser was the one I had growing up that we re-painted several years ago, and for now we brought up these garage sale nightstands from the guest bedroom. (Honestly, we don’t have guests all that often so it makes more sense for her to use them!)

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Then I remembered this frame I’d found on clearance for $3 years ago (we’d actually moved it with us), and realized for just a few dollars we could update it to match perfectly.

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We found fabric at Hobby Lobby along with a large piece of cork board . . .

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cut the cork board to fit the frame (clearly Caroline and I aren’t expert cutters, but my sweet hubby came home and tidied things up a bit to make it work)

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I stapled the fabric onto the board . . .

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Caroline spray painted the old frame . . .

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And for about $8 the bulletin board was done!

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I found the flowers, lamp, and dishes at Hobby Lobby as well (all on sale for 50% off this week . . . )

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As well as the signs to hang above her bed. (We’re actually waiting on one more anchor to go on the left side ~ our store was out but we had one shipped and it’s on its way!)

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(She was in love with the anchor idea – I’m not totally sold on that anchor pillow but for now it works!)

I’d still like to find some inexpensive curtains and shades for those lamps (those lamps have been re-painted about 16 times, but I think with a new shade they’ll do?)

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(Not that it matters too much – but Caroline isn’t allowed with a computer by herself in her room – however I was in there with her taking these pictures while she was watching the Olympics, and she used the computer to hide!) 🙂 

 

And we may repaint those nightstands one day in a brighter color but for now they’re just fine.

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We haven’t spent a bundle on the room, but it is so much better and should fit her through college. (I love that!)

If you have a room that’s needed some fluffing, a trip to Hobby Lobby might just get you all set up too. 🙂

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More rooms we’ve updated in our home . . .

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*HOT* Sale On Blue Host Ends TODAY: Start Your Blog Today!

Blog

If you’ve ever considered starting a blog (or website for your business), don’t miss this.

 

Right now, Blue Host is offering their web hosting for just $2.95 per month (which is an incredible deal.) 

 

This is oh-so-worth it if you think blogging may be for you! I cannot begin to tell you how thankful I am for blogging (it’s how I make a full time income as a stay at home mom), and I highly recommend it not only as a source of income, but even just as a place to keep an online journal of your every day life. Honestly, I never dreamed I would love blogging the way that I do but I’m completely hooked!

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Curious why I think blogging is worth it? Here are my top 5 reasons to blog:

  1. To earn an income from home. (Honest. I make a full time income here on PPP which is beyond crazy to me. Learn more HERE.)
  2. It allow you to interact with other folks across the internet, and create a little “home base” online for family photos, stories and more.
  3. It helps you become a better writer. I am so not someone who would consider themselves a writer, but blogging each day makes me re-think the way I use words. While writing still isn’t my strongest gift, working at it each day stretches my mind creatively.
  4. It creates a place for you to think of others. I love that blogging (especially for a profit), forces me to think of ways every day to help other people outside of my home. I know that PPP is a better blog to follow when I write posts that really do benefit my readers, so I’m more creative in coming up with helpful content each day. (I love that!)
  5. It builds your confidence. I struggle so much with having self-confidence, but blogging has helped me realize I’m really good at things that I never even knew existed. It’s taught me business strategies, internet savviness, social media awareness, and so much more. I love the marketable skills blogging has given me, and would never in a bajillion years thought I would love it the way that I do!

 

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Once you’ve signed up with Blue Host, check these posts out:

Let me know if you have any questions ~ so excited to for you to get started!

This post contains affiliate links.  See my disclosure policy to learn more.

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DIY Tiered Tray

 

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Check out how one of my readers created her own version of the tiered tray from our recent post, 25 Days of Thrift Store Makeovers Day 19: Picture Frames ~ I love this!  I asked her to tell me just how she made it so I could share – and here’s what she did. Love it!

 

After seeing this idea, I wanted to try and make one myself. I found 2 sturdy frames at a thrift store for $7 and a large wooden candlestick at another thrift store for just $1.

 

I was able to knock the wall mount off the candlestick and just sand down the spots where it attached.  After wiping the dust from all three pieces, I used a leftover jar of sample paint to freshen them up.  (Can’t beat free!) 🙂

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The next step was adding the bottoms to the frames.  

This project used pieces of pallet wood, but that was going to be too thick for my frames.  I ended up using strips of lattice wood I had leftover from another project which just happened to already have that “weathered” look since they had been outside in the weather for almost a year 🙂

The thickness of the lattice wood was the perfect match for the frames.  It was also easy to cut down to size with a small saw.  After cutting them down, I glued the strips  into place with a little E6000 Adhesive.

 

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The next step was adding the candlestick to each tray.  You’ll need a drill and a few long screws for this part.

The large end of the candlestick already had a hole in it (where the candle would normally sit), so I drilled a pilot hole into the center of the bottom tray and used a long screw to attach the large part of the candlestick to it.

For the smaller top piece, I drilled a hole into the top tray and used a screw from the top tray down into the top of the candlestick underneath. Before attaching the top tray to the bottom candlestick, drill a pilot hole for another screw to go up into the top candle stick.  The holes will need to be close together so the screws will be hidden by the candlestick pieces.  (You could also use glue for the this part!)

 

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That’s it!  Pretty simple. 🙂 I think it turned out great and only cost about $8 ~ yay!
I’d love for you to join me over on Pinterest (I love that place!)  If you have a blog and have done a little fluffing in your home, I’d love to see it, so leave your link in the comments section. Also, if there’s a craft you’ve seen on a website that you’re hoping to make, feel free to share that link as well (I’m always looking for new ideas!)

 

See previous Friday Fluff Up projects and ideas . . . and Happy Fluffing!

 

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DIY Platform Storage Bed On A Budget

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My friend Misty created this platform bed for her son, and I LOVED the idea! Here’s a peek at how she made it for under $100. 

 

My son turned 13 a couple of months ago, so I decided it was about time to get him out of his twin size bed that he has been in since he was 3!  The only problem was that the old bed had a lot of storage under it, and I did not want to give it up.  I started looking online for options to purchase, which were all too pricey, so I headed over to Pinterest to find ideas.  Here are a few of my favorites pins:

My favorite idea was the first one.  He has links to videos showing the entire process of his build, and I really liked the idea of using cabinets for the base. However, even Ikea cabinets would blow the budget, so I started my hunt for used kitchen or bath base cabinets that I could recycle.

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I thought they would be easy to find at thrift stores, but after a couple of weeks searching all the local thrift stores, the Habitat ReStore, and Craigslist, I had not found enough cabinets to match up to build the base.  On to plan B…I found these Better Homes and Gardens Square 4-Cube Organizers at Walmart for only $37.96 each.

 

I liked that these had a 100 lb. weight limit on the top of the cabinet.  I had also seen so many cute pallet wood projects on Pinterest, so I decided to go with the new storage units and the old pallet wood for the rest of the base.

 

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The next step in the hunting & gathering process was to find the mattress for the bed.  This was important because I needed the exact measurements, including the thickness, to determine the platform size of the base. I wanted the mattress to have a flat transition from the slats to top of the storage units so the mattress could overlap the top of the storage units.  I went with this mattress on Jet.com (also available at Amazon) which had great reviews and only cost $125 (after coupon).

 

I will say I enjoy building things and doing projects on my own, but I couldn’t have done this without my handy husband.  Fortunately we had most of the tools we needed and borrowed the rest so we didn’t have to spend anything on that.  We also had a lot of wood left over from rebuilding our fence a few years ago, so most of the 2×4’s we used came out of that.  We did have to buy three 2x4x96″ studs to run the length of the bed frame and six 1x3x96″ boards for the support slats. We also had to buy screws and a couple of 2×4 hanging brackets.

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You can also see in this picture that we decided to add a small headboard, which was not in my original idea.  We added it to provide a backstop for his pillows and a shelf for his alarm clock.  We used some of the longer old fence boards to create the headboard. After this step we added the 1×3 slats to the frame to support the mattress evenly and put the assembled storage units into place. (I did not permanently attach them to the base.)

 

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For the footboard, I used an old pallet.  I just measured the opening between the base posts and cut the pallet to fit. I’m planning to add a folding desktop to the footboard in the future…

 

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The last part of the project was creating a door to conceal the storage area.  I used a scrap piece of plywood for the back of the door then cut pieces of pallet wood to screw to the front creating a really rustic look.  We had already positioned 2 support posts to the base of the bed where I wanted the door to go.  We attached 2 hinges between one of the support posts and the door.

 

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All in all we ended up spending right at $100 for the materials to build this bed, not including the mattress!  My son loves it, and I’m happy to still have a place to hide the Legos and other stuff that he isn’t quite ready to get rid of yet. 🙂

 

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Dollar Tree DIY

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Not gonna lie. This didn’t turn out as my favorite Friday Fluffin’ project ever.

 

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(I really do like this one. And this one. And even this one. But today’s? Not my favorite.)

 

But.

 

I think the idea is good, so I’m sharing it and betting you’ll do it better than me, so maybe it’ll inspire you to just get crafting! 🙂

 

I saw this super smart idea and thought it would be so simple, then Reagan determined that she wanted them pink, and my main goal kind of got lost in the shuffle. So for a $3 craft project with my kids they’re fine, but I’d love to hear if you can come up with something even cuter.

 

When I was racing through the Dollar Tree I didn’t catch that these three plates all the same size (definitely better), and I love the stickers that were used. I was in a hurry (like always!) and made these stencils on my Silhouette Cameo since I didn’t have stickers at home, but I love the idea over here so much more.

 

(I also love this clever way to use these plates. So stinkin’ cute and what I’ll try next time!)

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All I did was grab three plates at the Dollar Tree for $3 and used spray paint I already had on hand. 

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Then I cut the words using my Silhouette Cameo (you could easily use stickers from the Dollar Tree or Hobby Lobby if you don’t have a Cameo), and painted the inside.

 

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The one thing I did LOVE using were these Command Hooks They handled the weight of the plates perfectly, and are easy to remove without putting holes in the wall. Love that!

 

If you have a few minutes this weekend this would be such an easy project, just put a little more forethought into it than I did. 🙂 And don’t forget to swing by the Dollar Tree for some crazy fun deals on 4th of July Decor ~ so fun!

 

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Looking for more Dollar Tree?

 

See previous Friday Fluff Up projects and ideas . . . and Happy Fluffing!

 

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Dollar Tree Organizing

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I love the Dollar Tree

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Really, I do. 🙂 

 

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Earlier this week I hauled my nine year old with me to see what we could find (see tons of other items I found at the Dollar Tree over HERE), and when I realized those little storage bins fit our closet shelves perfectly I knew I had to go get more. 

 

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So yesterday I went back to the Dollar Tree one more time, and they had exactly 8 more in the size I needed to quickly tidy up my closet. I threw away and donated things we no longer needed, and in about 30 minutes this mess of a closet was cleaned up.

 

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Success!

 

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Similar bins would have cost me $8-$12 each at the Container Store, so I was just thrilled with my little find. (I even hunted down similar ones on Amazon and noticed these priced at 2/$14.99 ~ crazy!) I paid a whopping $9 total ~ I love that.

 

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If you’ve got some organizing to do this weekend, you might just make a trip to the Dollar Tree to see what you can find.

 

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I found these in the laundry storage section of my store (not in the organizing bin section like I expected), so be sure to keep your eyes peeled for them if you go look! I also found several more projects to craft while I was there, so stop back next week for more Dollar Tree fun. 🙂

 

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Looking for more ways to organize at the dollar tree?

 

See previous Friday Fluff Up projects and ideas . . . and Happy Fluffing!

 

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You Need To Do This Today.

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My girls are determined that we’re going to get our annual pedicure (I can only stand to pay for it once a year ~ they’ve been patiently waiting!) so this will be the fastest Friday Fluffing you’ve ever seen.  They helped me tackle the project this morning to earn cute toes! 🙂 

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My closet has been in some serious need of attention for the last few months, but much like our mudroom it’s been put on the back burner.

 

So today I set aside a few hours and did a ton of cleaning out. It’s not all that Pinterested (really, who sees our closets?) but it’s so much better. And, I’ll save a bundle on summer clothes because now I know what I already have. (See how we updated this closet last year for FREE ~ love that!)

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Ack!
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After . . .

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Other than swapping the mirror and our little rolling cabinet, all I did was tidy things up a bit. James still needs to finish up his side, but mine is done!

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And here’s what’s heading to our local free store. I didn’t even take pictures with anything other than my iPhone, but this project is just about done, so that’s my win for the week. Success!
I’d love for you to join me over on Pinterest (I love that place!)  If you have a blog and have done a little fluffing in your home, I’d love to see it, so leave your link in the comments section. Also, if there’s a craft you’ve seen on a website that you’re hoping to make, feel free to share that link as well (I’m always looking for new ideas!)

 

See more previous Friday Fluff Up projects and ideas . . . and Happy Fluffing!

 

Interact with 500,000+ Penny Pinchers on Facebook and Twitter or Subscribe to Passionate Penny Pincher by email to keep up with all the penny pinchin’ deals!

 

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Mudroom Makeover (More Than A Makeover)

 

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If you’re here just for the deals scoot on to the next penny-post ~ this one’s a doozie! And, know that I know SO MANY OF YOU have hardships so much greater than mine, I feel almost silly even sharing this here. But maybe you’re in a funk too ~ and maybe this one’s just for you. 

 

Good gravy.

 

This week as I was debating what home project to tackle as our regular Friday Fluff Up, I started dreaming up ideas for our mudroom.

 

I really wanted this, or this, or even this, but the truth is the space isn’t huge and I don’t have any business right now spending lots of money on it, so it just needed some TLC.

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Since my husband’s heart attack just over a month ago, I’ve allowed clutter and gunk and schoolwork and coats and hats and heart attack papers and all of it to just take over that space.

 

(If you know me well you know that’s just not the norm for me ~ but goodness it’s turned into a disaster!)

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I just didn’t want to deal with the mess, so I rounded up my youngest and spent a few hours shopping, dreaming up ways to make that space just a wee bit more Pinterested before coming home and setting to work.

 

As I started muddling through, I realized that it wasn’t any new fancy stuff that tiny space needed.

 

It was a much needed attitude shift.

 

You see, since his heart attack I’ve (we’ve all?) been in this sort of funk.

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I didn’t want to deal with the paperwork.

 

I didn’t want to look at insurance claims.

 

I didn’t want to read through mounds of heart attack literature.

 

I didn’t want to learn a million-bazillion ways to control his cholesterol.

 

(For the record, he’s really changed his diet on his own and we’re all working even harder to eat the right foods ~ I just didn’t want to read any more about it!)

 

I didn’t want to be the 40-year-old wife of a 45-year-old husband who’d had a heart attack.

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There. I said it.

 

I wanted to stay a regular mom with a regular life and regular kids and a regular-not-so-much-struggling life.

 

I’m betting you get that.

 

And honestly? (if I’m being real-real-deeply honest here?)

 

Ever since moving two years ago I’ve just kind of been in a funk. (Y’all who know me best know that’s the case ~ I can hide it on the outside but here in my heart it’s tough to hide.)

 

So I just let the piles keep climbing.

 

I let the shoes take over the floor.

 

I shoved the paperwork on top of the cabinets. And hid some inside the closet. (eek.) And just decided if it was all stuffed somewhere I didn’t really have to deal with any of it.

 

I just didn’t want any of this turn of events. 

 

I didn’t want my life to look different.

 

I just didn’t want to deal with the mess of it.

 

In my heart or on my countertops. 

 

whew.

 

So when I came home with all my cute stuff from Home Goods and Michael’s Wednesday night and realized it wasn’t any “fluffing” that needed to happen, but rather just a good case of me being real about life, I determined to get it together.

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I de-gunked.

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I sorted through the paper work.

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I made files named “James’s heart stuff.”

 

I saved files about medications I really care nothing to know about.

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I pulled up my big-girl-panties and decided to deal with what the last six weeks have doled out.

 

ooch.

 

Do you know what?

 

It feels better.

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The space is cleaned out. I’m still the same regular mom that I was a month ago. We still have the regular life that we had months ago. My husband didn’t really age a million years like I feel he has.

 

We’re just us.

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And we’re going to be okay.

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You may have so. many. struggles. so so much bigger than mine.

 

You may be dealing with a debilitating illnesses, the long-term sicknesses of a child, or the loss of something or even someone so very precious and dear to you.

 

And like me, you may think that if you just shove the clutter all away none of this stuff will really be real.

 

But, precious one, you and I know it doesn’t work that way.

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If you’re drowning in stuff because you don’t want to deal with the real issues, I encourage you to pull up those big girl panties with me and  just de. mess.

 

De-clutter.

 

De-gunk.

 

De. funk.

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You will feel better.

 

You will find order.

 

You will be no less precious than you were before the mess.

 

Because even when life doesn’t hand us what we choose, we still get to choose what we make of it.

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Make your life beautiful today.

 

If that means you need a de-cluttering and a de-gunking and a de-funking, come along with me and find beauty right where you’re at.

 

If you’re in a hospital room holding the hand of a loved one, tidy things up a bit and make that that space for them just feel beautiful. But most importantly hold on tightly and let them know they’re loved.

 

If you’re home in the summertime and your kids have taken over your home (ahem), take a break from the crazy and head outside to pick some fresh greenery, then come on in and sweep up the floor.

 

If you’re at work and the clutter on your desk is overwhelming you, clean off that space, put up a favorite quote and stay motivated in your work today.

 

And if you’re the sweet momma of a tiny one who hasn’t allowed you to have a shower in too many days to count, find a safe spot for that baby for twenty minutes, hop in the shower and make yourself feel beautiful today.

 

You can find beauty wherever you are. I just know you can. 

 

I’m thinking of you folks right now who walk beside me or even through something so much harder, and am praying a beautiful day for you no matter what life hands you today.

 

Make today a beautiful day. 

 

 

 

 

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101 Free Things To Do With Kids This Summer

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Looking for a few FREE things to do with kids this summer? My kids are already getting a wee bit bored, so finding free things to keep us busy is always a welcome diversion. Here’s a peek at a few free things to do with kids to keep your kids busy too this summer . . .

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  1. Make a summer bucket list
  2. Visit the library
  3. Make homemade sidewalk chalk using what’s in your pantry
  4. Freeze Koolaid in ice trays to make popsicles
  5. Attend Vacation Bible School in your hometown
  6. Find a bowling alley that offers kids to bowl for free
  7. Create a yarn obstacle course (my kids love this one!)
  8. Make Homemade Snow Cones
  9. Bake cookies
  10. Play flashlight tag
  11. Find a local bike trail
  12. Try this Ivory Bar Soap experiment
  13. Make a homemade sprinkler
  14. Volunteer
  15. Sign up for a Lego Store free Mini Build 
  16. Set up a backyard obstacle course
  17. Visit a local splash pad
  18. Build a homemade fire pit
  19. Go on a picnic
  20. Make summer snow
  21. Visit a thrift store
  22. “Paint” the driveway
  23. Have a tea party
  24. Make homemade sidewalk chalk paint
  25. Host a lemonade stand
  26. Sign up for free Lowe’s Build and Grow Clinics
  27. Check out free Home Depot Clinics
  28. Go to a free Michael’s Store Clinic (these range from free to $2 per class – go HERE to learn more)
  29. Take advantage of free summer reading programs
  30. Visit a state capital
  31. Visit a park
  32. Lay out a blanket and watch for cloud shapes on a pretty day
  33. Go on a nature hunt
  34. Make a sidewalk “city” out of sidewalk chalk
  35. Collect sea shells at the beach
  36. Play jump rope (my kids love this chinese jump rope)
  37. Have a water balloon fight
  38. Paint rocks
  39. Set up a car wash
  40. Have a pillow fight
  41. Have a movie day – close all the curtains and make popcorn
  42. Go to a concert in the park
  43. Build a homemade volcano
  44. Play hide and seek
  45. Set up indoor tents with old sheets
  46. Even better, set up outdoor tents with old sheets and enjoy summer reading time outside
  47. Plant a garden
  48. Decorate a cake
  49. Make homemade milkshakes
  50. Visit a local Farmer’s Market
  51. Go window shopping in a nearby town
  52. Download the skyview app to find stars in the sky at night
  53. Catch fireflies
  54. Go fishing
  55. Learn a new card game
  56. Clean out a closet with kids and donate to local thrift store
  57. Find a 4 leaf clover
  58. Get a free map at a rest area and check off places you’d like to visit nearby
  59. Use the Video Star app to make a silly movie
  60. Have a bike race with friends
  61. Go geocaching
  62. Play hopscotch
  63. Bake cookies to take to your local fire station
  64. Bake cookies to take to your local nursing home
  65. Build ice castles
  66. Visit a stream and hunt for minnows
  67. Set up a bike wash station
  68. Dig for worms
  69. Play dress up
  70. Have your kids set up a yard sale to earn money
  71. Find a new hiking trail
  72. Host a “craft” day – give kids tons of supplies to craft with and let them have at it
  73. Visit all of the local parks in your town
  74. Make a pinecone bird feeder
  75. Play board games outside
  76. Go birdwatching in a local park
  77. Make homemade play doh
  78. Make a bubble bath outside by filling an outdoor pool with bubble bath and water
  79. Fly a kite
  80. Attend a free story hour at Pottery Barn Kids
  81. Earn a free book from Barnes & Noble
  82. Sign up for Apple Camp at your local Apple store
  83. Print free coloring sheets at Crayola
  84. Make paper airplanes
  85. Create a scrapbook
  86. Send a letter to troops overseas
  87. Pack a care package for troops overseas
  88. Use a free Redbox code to get a free DVD or video rental
  89. Go on a factory tour – go HERE to find ones in your area
  90. Visit the mall and play at the indoor playground
  91. Have a spa night and paint your nails
  92. Stop by the McDonald’s Playplace and get $1 ice cream cones
  93. Make shadow puppets
  94. Have a family soccer game in your back yard
  95. Let your kids play in the mud (eek!)
  96. Have your kids practice their reading skills at Starfall
  97. Let kids practice math skills at CoolMath4Kids
  98. Take advantage of free apps at Smart Apps for Kids
  99. Let your kids enjoy a free Auntie Anne’s Pretzel 
  100. Get free Dippin’ Dots when you sign up for their email club
  101. Stop by Coldstone and enjoy a free ice cream creation when you purchase one

What other free things do you like to do with your kids? I’d love to hear them ~ leave a comment to share!

 

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Best Baby Shower Gift Ever

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I could not wait to share this darling gift my cute niece received this weekend at her baby shower! One very (very) smart momma gave her what I think just might be the best baby shower gift ever.

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She found a super cute heavy duty file folder . . . 

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And made darling labels for everything Baby Cash’s mom (isn’t that a cute name?) will need to hang onto those first few years.

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Genius.

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Here are the labels she included (made with a label maker): 

  • Birth Certificates & Social Security
  • Keepsakes
  • Milestones
  • Pediatrician Visits
  • Immunization Records
  • Other Health Records
  • Insurance Paperwork
  • Nursing/Feeding Info
  • Manuals
  • Receipts
  • Miscellaneous

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I just loved this and thought you might too ~ such a wonderful gift idea!

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Looking for more frugal Baby Shower Ideas?

 

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7 Ways A Fitbit Will Change Your Life

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(Note: these work for me because I work from home, but if you’re in an office all day I’m sure your days look very different than mine! So, think about ways you can force yourself to walk a few minutes each hour while doing office projects, cleaning off your desk, walking to take care of an errand during lunch, etc. I’d love to hear your thoughts!)

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If you’ve been looking for a Fitbit Charge sale – this one’s for you

I *LOVE* my Fitbit Charge  – you can see why here  – (I have the Fitbit Charge 2 now, which I also love!), but the Charge doesn’t go on sale very often. However – right now on Ebay you can get the Fitbit Charge for just $49.95 Shipped. (This is new, not refurbished, however the package may be slightly damaged).

In response to Shannon’s 7 reasons she broke up with her fitness tracker, I had to share my thoughts on this one too. Like Shannon I’ve had many (many!) days where I’ve let those numbers on my Fitbit drive me nuts, but I’ve slowly come up with a moderated way to let it help me be my best without driving me crazy.

 

While I exercise almost every day (and have for twenty years), as a blogger I sit a lot throughout the day. Once I finish my workout in the morning and get the kids off to school, I usually head to my office and sit down to work 6-8 hours straight without leaving the computer.

 

However, using my Fitbit to remind myself to get moving has seriously changed our home life. Here’s the thing ~ while many of us work on computers every day in our current culture, our bodies just weren’t designed for that. We were designed to be up and moving, so my Fitbit is just a friendly reminder to get that moving in. 

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Curious how it’s changed my life (and honestly our home life too?) Here’s how:

 

1. I complete our laundry. (Every. day.)

Ever hour on the hour between 10 and 3, I force myself to get up and tackle a household chore that helps me sneak in 1,000 steps. The first one I start with each morning is a load of laundry, so my typical routine is to pop a load in the washer as soon as I get showered in the morning, move it to the dryer as soon as I hear it beep, then on my first hourly 1,000 steps I head upstairs, fold laundry and put it all away. 1,000 steps completed (and my laundry is done by keeping up with one load a day!)

2. My house stays tidied up.

During my second 1,000 step round (usually at 11 AM), I walk through the house and pick up anything that needs to be put away. If it needs to go to the basement I take it there, because I’ve got to get those extra steps in and it needs to be put away anyways.

3. Dinner plans get made.

Around 12 o’clock I figure out what’s for dinner, hop off the computer, and get everything I need ready for dinner that night. Today I’m making a slow cooker recipe, so by the time I got my ingredients together, chopped everything up, popped it in Mrs. Potts and cleared the kitchen, I’d almost hit another 1,000 steps. Not only am I getting my steps in, I’m taking care of something I could so easily skip ~ such a win each day!

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when I got 40,000 steps in on my birthday ~ ummm, yes, I was a little obsessed!

4. My plants stay watered & our sinks stay clean.

I am the worst about keeping our plants watered, but every day around 1 o’clock I take a few minutes to get those plants watered. While I’m at it I use Lysol Wipes to wipe down all the sinks in our home, easily eeking out another 1,000 steps.

 

5. The trash goes out & the mail comes in.

As you can imagine around 2 o’clock I’m ready not to hop off the computer with kids coming home all too soon, but I force myself to hop up, walk around to all the trash cans in our home and get all the trash thrown away. While I’m up I force myself to get up to another 1,000 steps  so I grab the mail, and look for anything else that needs to be done while I’m walking around. It’s amazing how much easier it is to keep your home tidy when you force yourself to move each day!

 

 

6. I’m always glad to park far away at the grocery store (as long as the weather’s not bad!)

Stuck with a parking spot way far away from the grocery store? No problem! I easily add an extra 1,000 steps at the store, and those far away spots just help get in a few more steps.

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my personal post on FB last weekend ~ we’ve always tried to walk when we have a few minutes at night, but I loved that someone actually stopped us as we went when holding hands last week!

7. Any chance I get for a walk with my husband in the evenings I take.

We have so many crazy nights hauling kids around to activities, but my husband and I try to take advantage of quick walks whenever we can. He has no idea I’m using them to sneak in those extra steps, but it’s a win-win for both of us.

 

{*BONUS* I’m also way more willing to help my husband with yard work because it helps me add in a few extra steps ~ such a simple way to make ourselves go and do the things we need to do each day!}

 

I no longer sync my Fitbit and do challenges with other people (I realized that made me way too obsessed!) and have never worn my Fitbit as a sleep tracker . . .  I honestly just use it to make sure I’m up and moving throughout the day, because I know my life can be so sedentary. While I’m incredibly fortunate to work at home, even in an office all day consider spending some time just making yourself walk to run an errand, taking a break from your computer every hour for a quick walk around the office, or do something to keep you moving each day.

 

For me, while I have definitely had days where I’ve allowed myself to be consumed with my steps, just using it to keep myself up more often throughout the day has not only helped my health, it’s helped me balance in my life. Having our home kept up with each day is huge and the health factor is just a fun added benefit! I really do believe our bodies were designed to move so much more than they do, so this is such a great way for me to cross a few things off my to-do list each day, and take care of myself too.

 

This is the Fitbit I use if you’re interested ~ I love it and have had it for over a year ~ highly recommend this one if you’re looking for one! I’d love to hear if you’ve seen success from using a Fitbit too ~ leave a comment to share. 

 

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Right now eBay has a sale on the Fitbit HR ~ just $49.99 shipped (which is the best price I’ve seen since Black Friday!) 

 

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In case you’re interested, we’re starting a new 21 Day Fix Challenge group next Monday (May 16th). We have over 100 ladies in the group (several have lost 20-30 pounds+!), and would love to have you ~ go HERE to sign up if you’d like to join us! (Note: this will likely be my last round to start until the fall, so I’d love for you to join us if you’re interested.)

 

 

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How I Save $100 On Groceries (Every Week!) In 30 Minutes Or Less

How I Save$100 On Groceries (1)

Save on Groceries

I know that saving on groceries sometimes seems impossible.

 

And like it’s more work than it’s worth.

 

But I promise, you can easily save with a few simple strategies, and could literally slash  your grocery bill by $100 or more. It can take as little as 30 minutes each week to prepare for, but saving $100 in 30 minutes make your hourly rate $200 per hour.

 

Not too shabby, right? 🙂 

 

Here are the strategies I use every single week to save on my groceries, even when I’m short on time. 

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1. Make a menu plan and grocery list. (15 minutes)

I love Eat at Home Cooks Menu Plan and grocery list, and she even has a slow cooker option and whole foods choices available. You can also make your own menu plan, but doing this one step alone will save you as much as $50 each week ~ so worth it for the 15 minutes in time it takes! (Her plans start at just $1.15 per week or make your own for free. So worth the little bit of time investment it takes!)

 

2. Shop Your Pantry. (3 minutes)

Before heading to the store, shop your pantry, fridge and freezer to see what you already have at home and cross those items off your list. (Easy, right?)

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3. Check your store’s sales ad for loss leaders. (3 minutes)

Prior to heading to the grocery store, always take a peek at your store’s local ad to see what their “loss leaders” are. Loss leaders are deeply discounted sale items that the store offers to convince you to walk in the store (so they’ll take a “loss” on that item.) Have your stock up price list in hand, so you’re guaranteed that the big sale item your store is telling you about really is a big sale.

Curious what’s on sale at your local stores? Go HERE to see a complete list of stores sales ads AND coupons that match up with the weekly sales ad at your favorite store.

 

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4. Print high value coupons before you leave home. (3 minutes)

Take just 3 minutes to check out this week’s best printable coupons and see if any are on items you regularly buy anyways. Print them out right before you go, and make sure to check your store for digital coupons as well before you shop.

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4. When  you shop, don’t be brand specific. (3 minutes)

If you need a certain item for a meal this week, buy whichever brand is on sale at the best price per ounce. For example,  ifDel Monte tomatoes are “on sale” for $1.25 this week, but the store brand is 73¢, go with the store brand.  From what I can tell, tomatoes are tomatoes (at least when you’re choosing between Kroger and Del Monte), and there’s no way my family will have any idea whether I use the Del Monte or Kroger brand in our recipes this week.

 

Now, there are some items which a certain brand really does seem better, but if you can give yourself a little freedom to try out the less expensive item, you might save quite a few pennies each week just for going with the sale item! And, if you really do love your Charmin or Quilted Northern (toilet paper seems to be one of those areas where people love their brands?)  watch Amazon or the drug stores for a really good deal.

Save $100 on your grocery budget

5. Watch for easy coupon & savings deals at your regular grocery store and double check your list. (3 minutes)

Always watch for items on sale throughout the store, especially if your store offers digital coupons. While you’re shopping, keep your eyes peeled for items that are deeply discounted, and load digital coupons that match up with those sales if your store offers digital savings.

Recently I noticed orange juice was on sale for $1.49 at our store, so even though we had some in the fridge I grabbed it because I knew that was a great price. And I always watch for deep discounts on things like shampoo, toothpaste, and personal care items, because some weeks those items are deeply discounted. It takes just a few extra minutes to walk down those aisles, but can save a bundle when I take the time to do it!

And, while you’re at it, always, always, ALWAYS double check your list one last time before you leave the store. While you may not want to walk back for one more thing, it will save you the time of making an extra trip, and is so worth it. There’s nothing worse than getting home and realizing you’re missing that one extra ingredient, so be sure to double check that list before you check out!

 

 

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BONUS TIP: If time allows, shop 2 stores.

Folks, this is huge and I know may not work for everyone, but is well worth it for our family. I typically shop Kroger each week for major sales and loss leaders, but also make a trip to Fresh Thyme (or a similar store) for meat and produce at least every other week, saving our family a bundle.

 

If you have an Aldi, Fresh Thyme, Sprouts, or even possibly Trader Joe’s in your area, I highly recommend a trip once a week (or at least every two weeks), to stock up on meat and produce. 

 

Their sale prices are significantly lower than anything I’ve seen at local grocery stores (unless your grocery store has a rockstar sale), and it’s pretty easy to get in and out in a few minutes. I don’t shop anything else at those stores at all (really, only produce and meat), but it saves a bundle and is well worth the extra trip at least every other week for our family!

 

Do you have other tips on how to save on groceries even when you’re pinched for time? I’d love to hear your tips ~ leave a comment to share!

How I Save$100 On Groceries (2)

Looking for more ways to save on groceries?

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