Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Things I Don't Buy Cheap

     I know some of you are thinking I am a total cheapskate, and you're mostly right.  I like to find a deal as much as anyone, but there are some places I just have to draw the line.  Many people buy generic to save money, and I do this as well, but there are some things I just have to splurge on.  In most cases, when it comes to toiletries and such, if you have a coupon, you'll probably be ahead buying the brand name, anyway.  So what do I NEVER buy cheap?  Here is a small list I've compiled.

1. Appliances. Any time I have ever cheaped out on an appliance purchase, I have been sorry.  Just ask my husband, who is still bitter about a refurbished coffee pot I bought years ago.  The thing spilled no matter how carefully you poured it, did not even make hot coffee, and the burner turned off after about 13 seconds.  He has since replaced it with a Bunn, and it brews a pot of coffee in three minutes flat. (Hold applause.)
     Same goes for our washer and dryer.  I was a broke college student when I bought them, so I didn't have much choice, but they never really got the clothes very clean.  I had to run stained clothes through several times to make them look nice.
     Even if you purchase the mid-grade appliances, this usually makes a huge difference.
2. Q-tips. I am obsessive compulsive about cleaning my ears.  I know that's a little weird.  I have to clean them every day as soon as I get out of the shower, and I do the same to my kids.  Wacky, I know.  The last thing I need is for the off brand product to fall apart in my kid's ear.  Either the cotton gets loose, or I am stabbing their eardrum with the cheap little stick thingy.  No way.
3. Kleenex.  I will only buy Kleenex or Puffs brand tissues.  Ever had a huge sneeze, and your snot goes through the tissue onto your hand?! Enough said.
4. Pop. (Or soda for you Southerners.) I will not be purchasing "Mountain Thunder" or anything like it anytime soon.  After I have gotten used to the real deal, the taste buds protest anything else.
5. Candy.  I will not buy generic candy.  This applies mostly to chocolate.  I need the quality stuff.  The generic stuff always seems so waxy, and if I'm gonna spend the calories, it had better be worth it.
6. Cooking products.  Ever spend an hour making fudge only to have it not set up right?  Okay, me neither, but I've been told it can happen.  (Truth be told, I've never even made fudge.)  You get the point, though.  I like Domino sugar, and King Arthur flour.  It's not that much extra, so I want what I want.
7. Toilet Paper. The cheap stuff just doesn't do it.

     To steal Walmart's slogan, if you save more, you live better.  And because I save money clipping coupons, shopping sales, and by scrimping on many things, I can splurge every now and then on the things I really want.

So what do you splurge on?  What are products that you would  never go generic on?  Comment below!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Awesome Deal for Ebay on Groupon

      Ever heard of Groupon?  It's a website that offers a daily deal.  Some are good, others so-so, but today's is great!  I love Ebay.  I love getting a deal, and it's a great site to make that happen.  Now back to Groupon.  They list deals by cities, but many of the deals are for online purchases, so it doesn't matter where you are. So here's the deal: $7 for a $15 gift card to Ebay.  Basically, you are getting $8 FREE dollars to spend on Ebay.  The deal is listed under Ann Arbor, MI.  What are you waiting for? Use this link to check it out:

Amazon Mom Does It Again!

     I think my steal of the week will have to go to Amazon Mom.  I just bought a 96 pack of diapers for $3.99 plus FREE shipping.  How?  Fisher Price brand diapers (size 3) are currently $19.99, but drop down to $13.99 with the Subscribe and Save service.  Then, I used a coupon I found in Baby Talk for $10 off my total purchase.  Voila! $3.99 diapers (or $.04 each for you math heads)!

Resurrection Eggs Tutorial

     Easter is fast approaching, and this is such a great opportunity to explain Christ and who He is to our children.  One great educational tool is Resurrection Eggs.  You can buy them at your local Christian bookstore, but you probably have almost everything you need on hand to make them yourself.  Here's what you do.

Start with an empty egg carton and twelve plastic Easter eggs.  Each egg will hold a different item to symbolize something in the Easter story.  Write each bible verse below on a slip of paper to read with each egg.
The first egg will have a silk (or real) leaf to symbolize Palm Sunday, when Jesus rode into Jerusalem.
A very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, while others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road.  Matthew 21:8

The second egg will have a piece of bread in it.  This symbolizes Jesus' body, which would be given for us.
While they were eating, Jesus took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to his disciples, saying, "Take and eat; this is my body." 
Matthew 26:26

The third egg holds three dimes, as a symbol of Judas' betrayal of Jesus.

Then one of the Twelve--the one called Judas Iscariot--went to the chief priests and asked, "What are you willing to give me if I hand him over to you?" So they counted out for him thirty silver coins.  Matthew 26:14-15

The fourth egg will hold a piece of knotted rope or twine.  This symbolizes when Jesus was bound and taken by the authorities.
They bound him, led him away, and handed him over to Pilate, the governor. Mathew 27:2

The fifth egg holds a thorn.  You can use a twig or a picture to represent the crown of thorns that was placed on Christ's head to mock him.
The soldiers bound together a crown of thorns and placed it on his head. John 19:2

The sixth egg holds a piece of purple cloth to symbolize the cloth that was put on Jesus during the trial to mock him as, "King of the Jews."
They stripped him and put a purple robe on him. Mark 15:17

The seventh egg holds a cross.  You can make a cross from toothpicks, or buy a plastic one.
So the soldiers took charge of Jesus. Carrying his own cross, he went out to the place of the Skull (which in Aramaic is called Golgotha). John 19:17

The eighth cross holds nails.
 There they nailed him to the cross. Two others were crucified with him, one on either side, with Jesus between them. John 19:18

 The ninth egg holds a piece of sponge.  
There they offered Jesus wine to drink, mixed with gall; but after tasting it, he refused to drink it.
Matthew 27:48.

The tenth egg holds a strip of linen.
Joseph took the body, wrapped it in a new linen sheet, and placed it in his own new tomb, which he had recently dug out of solid rock. Matthew 27:59

The eleventh egg holds a rock to symbolize the large stone that was rolled in front of Jesus' tomb.
Then Joseph rolled a large stone in front of the tomb and went away. Mathew 27:60

The last egg is EMPTY!
He is not here. He has risen just as He said. Matthew 28:6

I hope your kids love this awesome lesson.  It helps keep the focus on Jesus, and less on Easter egg hunts and candy baskets! ;)

Monday, March 28, 2011

I Heart Mason Jars

     Originally used only in the kitchen, these vintage Mason jars hearken to a time of yesteryear, where women would spend hours canning in front of a hot stove to save enough food for their families come wintertime. They remind us of a day when things were made to last, when beauty and character were as important as function.  I just love these jars, and I'm honoring them here.  See below the many uses my fellow Etsians have found for these fantastic pieces of American history.

This jar has been turned into a soap dispenser, and would be perfect for your country kitchen!  Check it out at ShaneLilyRain.

This little jar has been made into a soy candle by DreambytheLake.

This beautiful light fixture was upcycled by BootsNGus.  It is awesome!

SimplyUniqueStuff uses this jar as an art piece, filled with classic and elegant seashells.  This would be beautiful anywhere in your home!

Here's how I use these great jars in my home:
I use them as canisters on my kitchen counter.  Here they hold coffee beans, creamer and Splenda.  They match my aqua color theme perfectly!

I also have this little cutie holding ribbon remnants in my craft room.  Decorative and functional!  Don't you just love the tobacco container next to it?  I scored it at a flea market for $5!  I love old tins and containers!

Do you have any ideas I missed?  How do you utilize jars in your home?  Comment below!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

More Scrapbook Fun

One the title page, I used browns and oranges to coordinate with the colors in the photos, such as the bright life jacket my son is wearing.  I cut out the words, "Gone Fishin'" with my Cricut machine using the Plantin Schoolbook cartridge. I then inked the edges for a distressed look.  I also cut out leaf shapes with my Cricut machine.

I had my photos printed by I used the distressed feature from their website on the edges.  They actually have many cool features to choose from.  I usually wait to edit my photos on their site.  It saves me a step, and their choices are decent.

Here is a little bow I used to spruce up the page a bit.

I like to label the event using tags.  This way, years to come, I will remember the details of the photos, yet the captions fit in with the rest of the design.

This is the full spread.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Etsy Sellers: You Have To Get This App!!

     I just installed an application on my Etsy account that is so sweet, I just have to pass it along.  So what is it?  It's a little something called  This service, which is completely FREE, keeps track of your Etsy sales for you.  It's like a mini bookeeper.  It is even smart enough to take out Etsy fees, and Paypal fees, so you can see exactly how much you are making.
     But wait, there's more!  It will also keep track of your Etsy expenses for you (i.e., supplies, shipping materials, etc.).  This way, your personal dashboard gives you a complete report of what money you are actually making.  This is a great little tool to help with pricing and end of year taxes.  I LOVE this little gadget!  Head over to to install yours, and get crackin'.  They even have a great little video you can watch so you know how to do it all!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Scrapbook Fun

     Okay, my scrapbooking negligence is pitiful.  My youngest son is one, and I still have no scrapbook pages done for him!  I am just getting around to finishing ones for my oldest who is four.  I need to get with it.  Here is one page that I am pleased with, and sums up a time when my son seemed to be maturing at lightning fast speed.  I love the contrast of black, white and red.  It really makes black and white photos pop.

 First page
The letters were cut out on my Cricut machine, using the "Stamped" cartridge.  If I haven't mentioned it before, I have a love affair with my Cricut machine.  It is seriously the best invention to hit crafting since, well, EVER.  I use my machine all the time, and if you don't have one, you are missing out. (I should be a spokesperson for these for real!)  You can find deals on the more basic machines for under $100.  I have the Expression, which cuts bigger shapes and letters (up to 23" high), and it is awesome.  I scored it on Black Friday a few years ago for $200.  Put it on your birthday wish list immediately, or just treat yourself for no reason.  You deserve it!

 Second page

Full spread
 A close-up of some detail

My little man

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Scripture Jars: A Tutorial

     These little jars are the perfect gift for a special friend, or just to keep around for yourself!  Each jar is made to hold 30 scriptures of any topic.  That way, you have a month's worth of encouraging words--one for each day!

     I found my jars at Michael's.  They were around $3, and had many options for size and shape.  First, I googled the type of scripture I was looking for.  This proved to be much easier than searching for each passage in the bible.  I would simply type, "Bible verse love," or "Encouragment scripture."  You get the idea.  I then copy and pasted onto a word document, and put the scriptures in various cute fonts.  I formatted my page to be in two columns.  This will save on paper.  I found thrity verses, and printed them on various colored paper.  You can use any color combination.  I chose pinks and purples because they are cute, and people associate these colors with love.

     The last step is cutting the scriptures into little slips of paper, and decorating them.  I used my hot glue gun to adhere cute little buttons and ribbon.  I then topped off the jar with a gingham ribbon, (Who doesn't love gingham?) and made a tag with the jar's theme.

     These jars make awesome gifts for teachers, friends, family and more!  Some other themes you might consider: Grief, Promises of God, Hope, Faith and Encouragement.  The Bible has so much practical advice.  You could make one of these jars for just about anybody!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Steal of the Week: All this for $3.65!

     Here is my deal scored at Walgreens this week, and there's still time for you to get it, too!
**Note: My Wagreens offers a 15% off discount on Tuesdays for military personnel and their families, so my deal may be slightly better than what is available for most people.  The prices listed below are reflecting that discount.  However, this is still a great deal!
 Here's what I scored:

4 Gatorades @ $.59 each                                                      $2.36
6 Bubble Mailers @ $.28 each                                               $1.70
GE Lighbulbs                                                                         $2.54
Clearasil Facial Wash                                                             $2.97
      -$1 manufacturer's coupon
      +$2 Register Reward
2 Right Guard Deodorants                                                      $7.64
      -B1G1 FREE coupon
      -B1G1 FREE sale
Irish Spring Body Wash 2/$6 Sale                                          $2.55 (after discount)
      -$.50 man. coupon
Irish Spring Deodorant 2/$6 sale                                            $2.55 (after discount)
      -$.50 coupon
      +$4 Register Reward when you buy 2
Dial Lotion                                                                             $4.24
      -$1 man. coupon
      +$3 RR
Nabisco Crackers (begged for by my boys!)                           $2.80
1% Milk                                                                                 $3.69

                - $11 Register Rewards from last trip                  
TOTAL OUT OF POCKET (with taxes):                               $12.65   
Register Rewards received:                                                     $9
Total paid:                                                                               $3.65!!

Reminder:  You may be saying to yourself, "But I don't need three mens' deodorants." Stockpile these items, and when you have a substantial amount, take them to a local shelter.  Paying it forward is as rewarding as getting a sweet deal!                                   

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Cheap Diapers: How to Work Amazon Mom

     One great way to get cheap items for your kids is by using Amazon Mom.  They offer a service called Subscribe and Save which saves you 30% off the top of all the items you need: formula, wipes, diapers and more!  You will even get FREE shipping!  This is a great way to score some sweet deals on your basics.
    But wait!  There's more!  Amazon regularly puts coupons in Mom-ish magazines, such as Parenting and Baby Talk.  This month's Baby Talk has a $10 off coupon good for anything on coupon mom!  Don't subscribe?  It's easy to sign up for FREE.  Just head over to to sign up, and get these savings, and many other great coupons.  Free issues of the magazine are also available to take in hand at Babies R Us and Burlington Coat Factory.
     Here's one scenario:
          Buy a box of Luvs size 1 diapers (264 count), regularly priced at $35.54.  With Suscribe and Save, pay only $24.88.  Use $10 off coupon to pay only $14.88 with free shipping! That's only 5 cents a diaper delivered to your front door!

     Subscribe and Save is a service that allows you to get repeat orders of the baby products you use the most.  If you do not wish to repeat your order, simply log in to your account, and cancel the service.  It is very easy to do. Note: Don't cancel subscribe and save until your order has shipped.

UPDATE: There is also a $10 off coupon in the March issue of Parenting.  Be the next person to follow this blog, and I will send you a coupon code to save $10 on Amazon Mom!  Just comment with your email below, and follow We Can Do It Girls!