Crafting · Frugal living · Home decor · spring

Spring Home Touches

I have a favorite You Tube channel that I love to watch. White Cottage Company always leaves me encouraged and inspired! Mary has such great ideas for decorating her home. Recently she showed how she took Dollar Tree fencing and made it look like wrought iron! I couldn’t believe my eyes! I had been looking at Hobby Lobby for a piece like this and it was very expensive! After watching Mary, I wondered if I could replicate what she did. I knew I had to give it a try!

First I purchased four pieces of fencing from Dollar Tree. I clipped off the side pieces where it would attach together. Then I used a white trim paint to paint the front of the fencing. It took me ten minutes per section.

After it dried, I used a piece of sandpaper and roughed up the edges so it would look like the iron was a little worn.

I was gluing three pieces of fencing together, so I used clippers and removed the stakes that would be on the bottom row, but I left the other two with those long stakes. They are what I used to glue the pieces together. If you look carefully at my close up, you can see those long stakes. I used a hot glue gun to glue the rows together and clamped them while they dried. ** NOTE: I think I’ll purchase E6000 glue and reinforce it to make sure it’s sturdy.

The other touch I added in my living room was this framed wreath. I had a picture there that I knew was too small, but couldn’t find something I loved to put in its place. On the day when I was wanting to add the wrought iron fending and also “fix” this wall, I simply prayed, “Lord, would you help me to do this quickly and use things I already have?” I love seeing how God answers those little needs that matter to me. He helped me to know exactly where the fencing would look best, and then brought to my mind this wreath and also the frame – both things I had on hand!

Another project I’m working on is getting longer drapes so I can move my rods up higher! All in God’s time!

My addition of spring touches cost me only $4.75 and a little bit of time! I hope this will inspire you to

  1. Craft something for your home.
  2. Pray about how/what to add.
  3. Use what you already have on hand!

What will you add to your home to freshen it for spring?

Saving money on groceries

How Reverse Menu Planning Saves Money on Groceries

Last week when I shared about ways to save on groceries, my strong admonition was to buy what’s on sale. Today I want clarify and detail what that looks like.

The bread and avocados were grocery store mark downs and made for a delicious breakfast this week!

Of course you want to look at the store’s sites/ads and see what items they have marked down this week. This enables you to purchase items when they are marked at a lower price. You can establish a menu around those items, BUT WAIT!

When you’re at the store, go deep diving into each section of the store looking for their Marked Down items. This would be their
Clearance aisle, the corner of the meat section for meat that’s ready to expire, and also items on shelves that have sale stickers on them.
Kroger and Ingles are two places where I often see these kind of sales.

For example – A couple weeks ago I walked into Kroger’s produce section and found these bags in a large cooler…

The date was for a few days out! They also had the salad bowls for 25 cents! I purchased what I knew we could enjoy before they went bad. Obviously, I hadn’t known to add this to my list, but it was nice to incorporate that into my menu planning when I got home!

Often I find bananas marked down, or yogurt, or beef. Then I go home and make up my menu using those items. If I needed a cake and I found the bananas marked down, I’d make this Banana Cake, rather than one that calls for all kinds of extra ingredients that I would have to purchase at full price.

wp-1474754354927.jpg

This is called Reverse menu planning (thanks for the term, Money-Saving Mom!). I’ve been doing this all my homemaking life, I just didn’t know what it was called!

This kind of shopping and PLANNING is totally opposite of not having a plan and then running to the store to buy needed items for a recipe.

Reverse menu planning is buying what’s on sale and/or marked to clearance, then using what I have on hand to make up the week’s menu.

Here’s a sampling of what’s on my menu next week because I went shopping and got these items when they were marked down!

I always have frozen and canned vegetables on hand for side dishes, though I do purchase fresh fruits and veggies at regular price.

If you are in a place where you only order groceries on-line, you can still get the benefit of the advertised sales, and that will help your grocery budget. But if you’re able to go into the store, keep your eyes open for those good mark downs and don’t be afraid of them. They’re still good for purchasing and consuming!

Have you heard of Reverse Menu Planning? Maybe like me, you’ve been doing it, but didn’t know what to call it?! Tell me about a deal you scored recently!

Frugal living · Traveling · Vacation tips

Seven Ways To Reduce the Cost of Vacation

 

vacation tips a

Like most families, we’ve pretty much always had to be very frugal and wise with our money.  It’s so ingrained in me now to shop the bargains that I just can’t stand to overspend on anything.  I want quality at a bargain price!  (Thanks, Mom!)

Going on vacation is no different – it has to be done wisely, but we can still have the BEST time when we get away, and we also enjoy some splurges,at a fraction of the cost!  Here’s how we do it:

  1. Go to your destination at times when it isn’t peak season.  One place we stayed this month was going through some renovations, so we got a reduced price.  The renovations were on the outside and never even affected where we were.  I can still swim in the pool while they paint the outside walls of the hotel!
  2. When eating out at the restaurants that everyone has raved about,
    • Go at lunch time.  The portions are plenty and the price is greatly reduced.
    • Share a meal.  90% of the time, we share an entree.  Most restaurants serve way more food than one person can eat.  We like the same things, so we generally always share a plate and go away completely full!
    • Avoid the appetizer.  If they bring bread to the table, let that be the starter for your meal.
    • Drink water.  At $2 or more for a beverage, that can add lots to your bill!
  3. Eat the other two meals in your condo.  We usually stay in a place where we can cook.  I’ll fix simple meals, but delicious food for breakfast and supper meals.
    coffee
  4. Buy snacks and water bottles at the grocery store and keep them in the car with you when you’re out. Having an occasional treat can be planned for by taking advantage of the next tip!
  5. Look for specials that are running at your favorite restaurants.  Krispy Kreme, Dunkin Donuts, Sonic, and lots of other places have specials from time to time.  Search the Internet and see what deals you can find.  Starbucks had half price Frappes when we were at the beach!  That was a great treat on a hot day!
  6. Avoid the tourist-y shops.  They are way more expensive than most stores.  If I need a hat, sunglasses or sunscreen, I run to TJ Maxx, rather than the Beach Shop!
  7. Do things in the area that are free.
    • Bring your own or rent bikes to enjoy the paths in the area.
    • Museums, parks, libraries, outdoor music, gardens, beaches, pools -the list is long of all the things you can find to do that cost nothing extra!

We felt like we truly splurged, but we spent a fraction of the money we could have had we not used our strategies that have become our favorite way to travel!

Were you surprised that not one of the suggestions was to stay with relatives?!  If you do stay with family, only stay a night or two!  “Fish and company stink after three days!” =)

Happy vacationing!

Denise

Frugal living · Shopping

My Favorite Things From Dollar Tree

What isn’t to love about a store that sells everything for $1?! We have a couple of really nice Dollar Tree Stores in our area (let’s face it, some aren’t so nice!).  The stores are well-stocked, clean and orderly.  Like any store, you have to know what items are great deals and what itmes are best to purchase elsewhere.  I thought you might like to know my favorite things I pick up when I’m there!

  • Books – I recently got two books about backyards and gardens that are full beautiful pictures, recipes and great ideas that I can’t wait to implement in my yard!

687234df-a188-4407-bf1a-6ca5e8dd21db-241-000000016248ff9b_file
Can you believe this $20 book was at the Dollar Tree?!

  • Cotton Balls
  • Nail polish and polish remover
  • Elf Make-up (when available)
  • Puffs 2-pack purse tissues – these are never with the other purse size packages of tissues.  I usually find them with travel-size items.
  • Organizing bins – I love the colors and sizes
  • Greeting Cards
  • Craft items
    • Scissors
    • Craft sticks
    • Styrofoam balls
    • Stickers for card making
    • Glue sticks
    • Hot glue sticks
  • Package envelopes for the mail
  • Helium Balloons
  • Gift Bags – The ones I showed here came from Dollar Tree
  • Seasonal decor for decorating my children’s classroom at church

I’d say that’s a pretty good list of reasons to check out Dollar Tree, wouldn’t you?

What do you pick up at The Dollar Tree?

Denise Signature 150 px