RSS

Tag Archives: another use for

After-Christmas sales are great for everyone!

Since starting this blog, I have really started to think outside the box about ways to save money. Upon reading one of Kosher on a Budget’s posts, “Why I love (the day after) Halloween,” I realized that it is easy to save on regular items you use everyday even during a holiday sale (and one I don’t celebrate for that matter). Previously I would only buy things from an after-holiday sale that I might use for my classroom. Now my eyes have opened to many possibilities. See my post on “Shop those Easter sales today.”

This post-holiday, I did really well at Walgreens and Target, and found a few last-minute items at Dollar General and Schnucks (our local grocery store). Here is what I found (on Thursday for Target and Walgreens and Friday for Dollar General and Schnucks):

WALGREENS:

100_8175

∞ Holiday candy: Who cares if the candy is wrapped in red and green? Still tastes as good!

I got two bags of Hershey’s Kisses (regularly $3.49/bag, on sale 50% off, also had a $1.10 coupon off 2 bags) = $1.19/bag. I also got two bags of Nestle candy (regularly $3.49/bag, on sale 50% off, also had a $1 coupon off 2 bags) = $1.24/bag.

∞ Stocking stuffers: Great place to look for small toy items. You’d be surprised – not everything looks Christmasy or has to do with a holiday character.

I found some small figurines by a brand I had never heard of. They may not be Legos, but for $1 each (50% off $2), they are great for our prize box.

∞ Holiday cards: Why buy them for full price? Instead I stock up each year for the next.

I normally do a photo card to friends and family, but I never seem to get them out on time. So it is always nice to have some Christmas and Chanukah cards on hand to put with a gift, food item, or send to someone if I need to. I got two boxes of cards (15 ct) for $.99 a box (50% off $1.99). Can’t beat that!

∞ Decorative items: You never know what you might find that can have another use.

I found plastic cups with snowflakes on them that were 3 for $1. With the 50% discount they came to $.16/cup. I got 25 for my students for next year (no matter what age I end up teaching) for only $4! I can use them to put their holiday treats in! This price beats the four-pack that I have seen sometimes at the dollar store.

∞ Baking items: Last year I found a cookie decorating kit (normally $9.99) for $5! It came in handy for decorating the boys’ cupcakes for their last birthday. See my post “Superhero kids’ party on a budget.”

TARGET:

100_8177

Target is my favorite place to shop for after-holiday sales because they always have a pretty good selection after most holidays.

Holiday food items: The same rule applies here as before – color or decor doesn’t matter much to us if it tastes good. This is also a great time of year to find special flavors only available during the winter season. I found:

- Two seasonal Pringles flavors: Cinnamon Sugar and White Chocolate Peppermint (each 50% off $1.52, also had a coupon for $1 off 4 containers; bought one at full price because son wanted BBQ = $.51 for each of the seasonal flavors)

- Holiday cookies: At 50% off $2.99, I got a nice after-dinner treat for $1.49 a package. These cookies were $1 to $2 more at the grocery store, even on sale!

- Limited edition ginger cheesecake sandwich cookies: We had tried these a few weeks ago and almost everyone loved them. Now at $1.68 a box, they are an even better deal!

- Baking items (peppermint icing): We enjoyed this seasonal flavor on cake this past Shabbos. It was a nice change of pace. I really should have bought two because it seems like the parve icings don’t go on sale as much as the dairy ones! The icing was $.94 a can (50% off $1.89)!

- Holiday candy: I love the new mint m&m’s and except for during the winter holidays, they are only available as a small pack or the stand-up pack size. I always get a few when they go on sale at CVS. I didn’t have a coupon, but at $2.09 a bag (normally $2.99), it was still a good deal! (Target’s holiday candy was only 30% off.)

Decorative items:

- Foam shapes: I always love to get the seasonal craft kits and foam shapes when they go on sale. In fact, just a week ago, I bought one set for Chanukah during that post-holiday sale. These are great to hang onto for the coming year for crafting at home and school. This year my students made ornaments with a set I had bought on clearance last year! (They were 50% off $5 = $2.50 each.)

- Shower puffs: Again color is not important, but at $.99 each for a shower puff, I get a nicer puff than I could get at the dollar store! I found these last year as well.

DOLLAR GENERAL and SCHNUCKS:

100_8181

I found a few more items when shopping at these two stores. The holiday decorations are to use on my classroom window (50% off $1 = $.50 each) and the jello pudding was a pumpkin spice flavor. Sounded really good, especially for $.80. The Ghirardelli seasonal chocolate was 50% off $5 = $2.49 a package, and also included some interesting seasonal flavors like peppermint and pumpkin spice!

I had hoped to find some cake or cupcake mixes (for last-minute baking) or some holiday candy (for goodie bags for my students) this year, but no such luck. Chocolate was in abundance, but I worried about saving chocolate for a year!

I hope this post gives you some ideas on how you can save next year at the after-Christmas sales and maybe at some other post-holiday sales!

Happy New Year!

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Seasoning shortcuts

I have gotten a few requests for the actual recipes that I mentioned in my post earlier this week on “Don’t buy it, make it homemade – Part 3.”  I thought I would share three seasoning recipes from my favorite saving money book series, “The Tightwad Gazette.” These books are what started me on my journey to save on my family’s expenses. There are three volumes in this series and one complete version with the best tips from all three.

TACO SEASONING MIX

♦ 4 t. chili powder
♦ 3 t. cumin
♦ 3 1/3 t. paprika
♦ 2 t. onion powder
♦ 2 t. garlic powder
♦ 1/8 – 1/4 t. cayenne pepper

* This recipe is twice as strong as store-bought, so use half as much as your recipe calls for.

ONION SOUP MIX

♦ 3/4 c. instant minced onion
♦ 4 t. onion powder
♦ 1/3 c. beef bouillon powder
♦ 1/4 t. celery seed, crushed
♦ 1/4 t. sugar

* To use, add 2 T. to 1 C. boiling water; it makes a stronger flavored mix than a regular mix.

SEASONED SALT

♦ 8 T. salt
♦ 3 T. pepper
♦ 2 T. paprika
♦ 1/2 T. onion powder
♦ 1/2 T. garlic powder

I also have two recipes for making your own chocolate syrup and pancake syrup. However, since we have not tried them yet, I will save them for another time!

To read more about saving money by making foods from scratch, see my posts:

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Coupon “re”-organization

For the past many years I have organized my coupons in small vertical photo albums that hold three photos on each side (see my post “Organizing coupons” for details). This worked great because I could just slide my coupons in the slots and I could see six sections at once. I didn’t need to fold many (except the Target coupons which are a bit bigger) and I could see the whole coupon. I could open them in the basket of the shopping cart and they were lightweight. I was using more coupons and could easily compare deals while in the store, versus how hard it was to find what I needed when I used an expandable small coupon holder. My husband and I often got compliments at stores on what a great idea they were.

However, we needed three of these such albums to hold all of our coupons: one for groceries, one for toiletries/supplies/household items, and one for store coupons and amusement. It was a pain switching between albums while at Target and sometimes they wouldn’t stay open in the cart basket. The pockets were also ripping a bit and it was sometimes hard to get a small coupon out, since you could only reach inside the pockets sideways.

So I decided to make a leap to try the cloth zipper binder method that so many couponers use. I decided against the decorative coupon holder/bags, because I am sure my husband would not want to carry something that looks like a lady’s purse! I bought a 3″ 3-ring Case-it zipper binder from OfficeMax, not as cheap as they later went on sale for at Target; but my husband couldn’t find any at our local Target.

I then researched page protectors/coupon holders and decided that I liked the three slot holders best because it would be similar to what I was used to. I found a great deal from Hobbies Depot for a pack of 100 for less than $20 (and no shipping charge).

They arrived the other day and much to my dismay and surprise, they were one-sided! I had no idea they were like that. My friend and fellow couponer, Jessi, assured me that I had not bought the wrong thing; they all were one-sided.

Thus, my dilemma – how to maximize my storage capabilities and still have a system similar to what I was used to (6 sections to see at once).

In comes my patient, helpful, and intelligent husband, who obliged by listening to my problem. Then he came up with a brilliant solution! Adhere the page protectors back-to-back so that we had slots on both sides! I found some double-sided removable Scotch tape in my office supply stash, and applied 5 small strips to the back of one protector and attached it to the back of another protector, so that each had the pockets facing out and the tops the right way.

Perfect!

The only downside is that our “coupon” albums had a white backing behind the pockets so that you didn’t see through to the other side. We thought about maybe putting a piece of paper between the two page protectors, but this would have made a lot of extra work (with needing to tape twice for each set of pages) and more weight for the whole binder. We will just have to get used to it!I did steal a few ideas from Laurie at Passionate Penny Pincher, thanks to her video tutorial on her coupon organizing. I used a few plastic sleeves that have diagonal or horizontal slits in them. You can get them with or without divider tabs. These I used to hold coupons that I don’t need to necessarily see laid out at a store like automotive, amusement, home repair, medical, etc.

I am so excited to use my new binder! I love that it has a pocket for the coupons I have pulled for the checkout and dividers to hold sale fliers, etc. I even plan to put a copy of my price list in the front. I normally keep it in my purse, so that even if I am shopping without coupons, I have it handy. With the price list in the binder, my husband can use it, too, and it will be easier to flip pages.

* For more information on couponing, see my posts “Coupon websites – updated!” and “Don’t throw out your expired coupons!” My friend and fellow blogger, Mara, at Kosher on a Budget, has lots of great information on couponing in her series Couponing Basics.

Let me know what your coupon organizing style is and how you have made yours work!

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Clever trick: Replacement closet doors

From the day we moved into our house, our older son’s closet doors have not worked right. The doors hit each other in such a way that the handle/knob on one side was bent back. We could never get to the middle part of the closet directly because the doors overlapped. Then the doors came off track and we couldn’t fix them.

Luckily, my neighbor and good friend, Bella, had a great solution. She hung curtains in place of the doors. Her daughter picked out a color to match her bedroom decor and voilà, perfect solution.

Well, when the door came literally off its track and hinges, we had no choice but to do something. We couldn’t afford new doors and installation and certainly didn’t want the same doors put back. So we opted for this great trick.

We went to Lowe’s and picked out some dark, all-purpose curtains that would stand up to a child pulling on them. We got the hardware and rod to hang them on. It ended up taking my husband only 15-30 minutes to put the whole thing up. Here are the results:

Now we can easily get to everything in the closet and it looks nice!

Do you have any tricks you have used to cheaply fix a home décor problem in your home? Please share in the Comments section. If you want to send a picture and description to me, please email me!

Related posts on organization and home décor:

 
4 Comments

Posted by on June 21, 2012 in Family ideas, Other savings tips

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Making the most of your Sam’s Club membership

English: Logo for Sam's Club

Most of us belong to Sam’s or Costco or have a AAA membership for towing and car repairs. But did you know that these membership programs have more than their advertised benefits? Why not take a look to see if you are really getting your money’s worth and all the extra perks available. Here is what I found out about Sam’s Club Services (through this link you can find links for all of these headings). I have highlighted some of my favorites in RED. Stay tuned for details on Costco and AAA.

Discounted cell phone plans – available in store and online

Special events – product showcases and author signings, scroll down to Your Club Happenings on this link

Health & Wellness Services – pharmacy, optical center, hearing aid center, free health screenings (vary by location), The Prevention Plan software for purchase

Financial Services – SBA Small Business Loans, Sam’s Club Credit Card, Sam’s Club Discover Card, and check printing

Electronics and Technical Assistance

    • Tech ExpertsReceive free, member-exclusive assistance with any television, home theater, digital music player, camera, camcorder or computer you purchase at Sam’s Club.
    • EcoNewrecycling program for old electronics, if your item qualifies you can get a Sam’s gift card for the trade-in value!
    • Service Plans – you can purchase plans for replacement, service, or watch and jewelry care for products purchased at Sam’s Club
    • Delivery and Installation of products purchased at Sam’s Club

Personal Services – photo center and tire and battery center

Business Services – Click ‘n’ Pull and Fax ‘n’ Pull services, merchant payment processing, and business stationery

Have you taken advantage of any of these services? What was your experience? Share in the Comments section!

Related articles:

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Clever trick: Color-coded backpack tags

My triplet boys started carrying a backpack last school year, to carry extra clothes and their swim stuff (once a week) to daycare. For that first year, they really didn’t care whose backpack they carried. Now they definitely want to make sure they have theirs. Most of the time they refuse to help each other!

The backpacks are all navy, a third birthday gift from their teachers from two years ago. It can be very hard to figure out whose backpack I have picked up and to give them to each boy to carry out of the house or into school. I do have their names on the front, but you have to pick them up, turn them around, look closely… It adds too much time to our morning routine.

I was desperate to find a solution. I know it sounds like a silly problem, but it was driving me crazy!

I thought about nametags/luggage tags, but I remember our older son’s falling off quickly and breaking. Plus, to find luggage tags in three different colors was proving difficult, after searching several stores and online. I even looked online for patches or reflective tape. Again not enough choices of colors.

Then it hit me. I had a perfect cheap solution. I had bought Veclro cord organizers/wrappers from OfficeMax for just $3 a few weeks back. There were 10 in a pack (red, yellow, blue, purple, and black). I attached one to each of the top handles of the boys’ backpacks and VOILA!

The colors go along with how we marked their bottles, sippy cups, etc. when they were babies and toddlers. Except instead of one of the boys getting white, he got yellow.

Now it is so much easier for me and the boys to know whose bag is whose! This trick will also work in the future if I am unable to find four different colored backpacks!

Related posts:

 
2 Comments

Posted by on June 11, 2012 in Family ideas, Other savings tips

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

I love Vistaprint! Great freebies!

You may have heard of Vistaprint. They are a printing company that offers free business cards. Perhaps you have never ordered them or just thought that business cards were all they sold. However, thanks to Mara at Kosher on a Budget, I have been aware of many other deals they offer.

Every few weeks (it seems) they have anywhere from one to several products for free. You pay only shipping. There are many possibilities of what you can create from their products to take advantage of these freebies. I have included pictures of the items I have made.

Address labels are more than just for labeling envelopes. They can also be:

 Labels for your kids’ stuff: You can use their whole name and choose one of the larger font sizes to fill the label. Then use it to mark water bottles, school supplies, etc.

∞ Labels for anyone in the family: You can use the Caricatures style and make labels for the whole family. I need to mark water bottles and school supplies for all four of my boys, so I thought this would work well, instead of having to purchase a separate set for everyone. I made caricatures for each of my family members, included their names, and then put the text as “Property of the Kornblums.” Then I can just circle the caricature for the person the item belongs to!

∞ For invitations and reply cards for a special event: Decorate your label specially for a particular event. Use them for a large event such as a party, graduation, wedding, etc.

∞ Family book labels: I like to put a label on the inside of each of our books (kids’ and grown-up) that says “Property of the Kornblum Family.” This way if we lend out something, the borrower will know who it belongs to. Or if we leave something somewhere, the finder will know who to return it to.

∞ Teacher book labels: I have bought similar ones for my classroom books that say “Property of Mrs. Kornblum’s Classroom Library” and for my teacher resource books – “Propery of Mrs. Rachael Kornblum.”

∞ Thank you gift labels: Other ideas include gift labels which would say “Thank you! From (name).” These would work well for teacher gifts and party favors.

Business cards are not just for promoting your business or blog. They can also be:

∞ Gift labels: I made some (on Inkgarden) with our initial at the top and then the text “From the Kornblum Family / (our first names on the next line).” I can then use them in place of a card or sticky label on a gift (birthdays, Shabbos invite, etc.).

Sticky pads, notepads, and spiral notebooks are not just for notes. They can also be:

∞ Personalized gifts for teachers: Add their name alone or “From the desk of (name)” on the pad. Or come up with a cute saying for the front cover (if choosing the spiral option).

∞ Personalized gifts: These can also make great gifts for a birthday, graduation, new job, Father’s or Mother’s day, birthday gift, etc.

Postcards are not just for advertising a particular event or your business. They can also be:

∞ Thank you cards: Choose the artwork you like and use the words “Thank you! From (your name or family members names).”

∞ Kids’ birthday gift thank you notes: Include text like: “Dear _____, Thank you for coming to my party. Thank you for the ________________. Love, ___________” Then your child can fill in the blanks, making this a personal thank you that he or she helps with.

∞ Birthday cards: I send a lot of cards every month and this can add up in cost. So I thought it would be nice to have a few birthday postcards on hand. I chose a birthday design and then added the words “Happy Birthday! Love, (our names).”

∞ Moving notification cards: Use these to tell people you have moved.

For the latest info on current specials and freebies from Vistaprint, check out “Kosher on a Budget.”

Have you created any other neat ideas on Vistaprint? Share them in the Comments section.

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Recycle your ink = Earn money

This image shows a canon S520 ink jet printer.

I am always trying to find new ways to throw out less and either recycle, reuse, or give away items. For ink, I used to order prepaid envelopes or find a school that recycled ink as a fundraiser. Now OfficeMax has expanded their recycling program to include all ink and toner cartridges. They previously only accepted specific kinds.

Now you can recycle any types and get money in return. You will earn $2 MaxPerks Rewards for each cartridge you recycle. You can get rewards for up to 10 cartridges a calendar month, but you can recycle as many as you want. Your rewards can be used for in-store, online, and phone purchases the following quarter after you earn them.

I love the MaxPerks program and have earned so many great rewards and coupons through it. Even if you don’t have a business, there are plenty of great products for home, families, and gifts at OfficeMax. They also have an affordable copy center. They frequently mail coupons to their MaxPerks members, offer bag discounts in the Sunday paper, and even sometimes have coupons in their sale fliers (like last week)!

For other ways to earn rewards for shopping, see my posts “Get rewarded for shopping – updated!” and “Get rewarded for shopping = Part 2.”

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Shabbos Shortcuts

Shabbat Candles Deutsch: SchabbatkerzenThere are many times we are down to the wire in preparing for Shabbos. Here are a few tricks and tips that have served us well.

No time to cook a chicken dish?

Grill! My husband loves grilled chicken and if you are using an electric grill it cooks much faster than a regular recipe in the oven. For us, it frees up the oven so we can cook other things, which ultimately means Shabbos cooking in less time. Plus, in the summer, grilling means the house gets heated up less from cooking in the oven. 

Need a dessert in a hurry?

We love Rice Krispy Treats (click on the title for a kosher recipe from CookKosher). We can eat a pan in one Shabbos! Using store brand cereal and the marshmallow fluff, they are cheap, quick, and yummy!

Out of Shabbos candles?

Tea lights work well in a pinch. They won’t burn as long and certainly don’t look as nice. However, when we are out (or can’t afford a new box of candles), these work well. I set them right on top of my candlesticks.

Need an extra dish?

Pull one out of the freezer. If we can, when we make kugels, we make two and freeze one. The second gets made in a disposable aluminum pan, so it is easy to put in the freezer. Be sure to put it in a freezer bag, too, to avoid freezer burn and the foil coming off the top!

Another quick idea is to open a can or frozen package of vegetables. It may not be the fanciest side dish, but certainly for us and the kids, it works.

For more Shabbos tips, see my posts:

* Do you have other shortcuts or easy recipes you like to use when you are out of time getting ready for Shabbos? Please share them here!

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

What are you doing for Earth Day?

The Earth flag is not an official flag, since ...

Earth Day is April 22 and cities around the world are sponsoring volunteer efforts, fairs, festivals, and speakers. To find out what is going on in your town, here are a few resources. If you cannot find a listing for your town, you may need to do a Google search for your city and “Earth Day.”

Earth Day Network:

This organization “works with over 22,000 partners in 192 countries to broaden, diversify and mobilize the environmental movement.” You can search for events in your area, find actions you can take, and more.

Environmental Protection Agency’s Earth Day website:

Includes search tool to find EPA events in your area, a video, pledges and actions to take, a Greenquest game, and a daily email list with tips.

St. Louis Earth Day:

If you live here in St. Louis, check out all the events and resources on the St. Louis Earth Day website. Note that at the Recycling Extravaganza you can recycle medicines, as I mentioned in my post “Recycle your unused medicines.”

* If you haven’t already begun to take small actions to protect our Earth, see my post “Countdown to Earth Day.”

Related articles:

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

 
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 111 other followers

%d bloggers like this: