Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The Cheaper Alternative: Tomato Soup

What you need: spaghetti sauce and 1 cup of water


What you do: Add spaghetti sauce to your desired consistency and mix in water. Stir and heat.


Voila! You have some tomato soup. Experiment with the different flavors of spaghetti sauce out there. One jar will yield way more bowls of soup than one can therefore saving you $$$. :)

Monday, November 10, 2008

$5 Centerpiece

I love our house we moved into a few months ago. I decided to keep the same kitchen theme which is Mary Engelbreit. If you've never seen any of her stuff, you have to google her name and peruse. I would describe her art as a mixture of cute with a dash of whimsy.

Anywho, I wanted a centerpiece for our table, but as usual money is tight. LOL I made one for $5 by shopping a sale and using what I already had. The vase was one of those that came with a flower delivery I received sometime ago. The "runner" was actually the valance I used at our previous home. As you can see, the window is huge in our kitchen so it was way to short. I got the berry stems at Hobby Lobby for 50% off. Total cost was $5 Here is the result:


If you don't have much money to spend, go digging around and see what you already have. And remember, you can always do a spray paint job if you need to. Just open up that creativity part of your mind and let the ideas come freely!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Creative Recycling: Leftover Prescription Medication


I know y'all have to be like me and clean out the medicine cabinet every once in a while. Usually I wind up chunking medications that have just sit there and expired because I hated to throw that half full bottle away. Well, I have just found out there is hope for some of it!

If you have any medication that you feel might be useful such as antibiotics, etc., call your local church and physician offices and see if they collect leftover medicines for mission trips to other countries. If they don't collect them, ask if they know another church or doctor's office that does. This is a great way to not waste good medicine and help those less fortunate in the process! Also, some offices may even take leftover medications for some of their own patients who are bound financially.

So next time you discover you will not use all of your prescription, call around and see if you can find it a new home. Who knows, you could save someone's life!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Monday Night Dive Report

So I've recruited another PIC and 3 of us went out scavaging last night. Here is what we found:

-K(Mart): Lots of Halloween costumes and items. Just grabbed a bunch of stuff and left leaving some behind. I guess we'll sell or donate them. I'm not sure yet.

-B(ig) L(ots): Expired baby cereal, and a couple of bags of the suckiest tasting generic cheetos I've ever had. Also, a plastic storage container with a small crack in it but still very usable. Lastly, a very nice ceramic plant holder with the broken piece inside making it a super easy fix.

We found nothing else at the other locations. :( Overall, it was an ok night.

What Would You Like Tips On?

If you want to find an inexpensive way to do something but can't figure out how, let me know. I'd love to help! I'll at least give it a try so just let me know. Anything from decor to shopping, I'll try to find a frugal way about it. Just click on the envelope under the "Contact Me" section to send me your question. Thanks and I hope to hear from you soon! :)

Monday, November 3, 2008

The Lowdown

I am by no means a store dumpster diving expert. But I don't mind sharing my tips and techniques. I'll break it down with who, what, when, and where.


The who stands for you and where you live. You've got to check the laws in your local area. They are different everywhere. Here, in Statesboro, Ga, it is not against the law to dumpster dive unless there is a sign on the dumpster telling you not to do so. We consulted with a police officer from our church to verify this information. The only signs posted on the dumpsters I've seen so far is "No Public Dumping". If the dumpster is locked, move along. That means they don't want you going through their trash.


What do you need? A good flashlight for starters. It is best to get a small bright one. You don't want your arm to start getting tired while you're looking through stuff. I got a cute pink (what can I say, I'm a girly girl mm'k?) mag lite at Wally World for about $8.50. Make sure it is a bright enough to light up the dumpster. These two things make a huge difference, trust me.

Second, bring something with you to be able to acquire items out of your reach. A potato rake has worked best for me so far. You also might want to bring a few boxes or bags along in case you hit the motherload. Many times there will be boxes around, but just in case, bring some of your own. May you hit the motherload my child. hehe

The best time to go is after store hours. You don't want to run into any employees. If you can't do it after store hours, then I'd say take your chances but make it snappy...very snappy. I've been both in the morning and at night, and so far, I like going at night best. Me and my PIC (partner in crime), usually start at 10 pm. If you do go in the morning, make sure you go around 5-5:30 am. The reason for this is because a manager or employee will get to the store early to get it ready to open. And as I said before, you don't want a run-in with a worker.

I haven't had that happen yet, but I did get to Goodwill at 6:30 a.m. one day, and there was a car already there. That's why I like evening dives better. Everyone is ready to get out of there and go home!

From what I've read of others and from my own personal experiences, K(mart),
G(oodwill), J(oannes), and L(owes) are good producers. Also, the big office store chains. It just really depends what you have in your area. Just make sure to dive at stores where the dumpster is in the back or concealed and not out in the open. If you're seen, people will call in and complain. Even though it may be legal in your area, doesn't mean it is condoned. So be fast, as incognito as possible and most important, have fun! Enjoy your treasure hunt. :)

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Black Saturday!

Today is Black Saturday because its the day after Halloween. Next year, it will be Black Sabbath. Har har! Ok, it's early and I'm loopy.

I just wanted to remind all of you striving to be frugal folks to head to your stores today to stock up for Halloween next year. Take advantage of the costume section if you still have a child young enough that you have to decide what they are going to be. I don't know if I'd risk it with an older child because a year is a long ways away and they like to change their minds!

Another thing to take advantage of are the party favors. Perfect for upcoming birthday parties or if you like to give each of your child's classmates a little treat bag for Christmas or Easter.

One thing that makes for a successful frugal lifestyle is thinking ahead! So go to the stores today for 50% off and take advantage of the treats and home decor! Don't forget to check back next Saturday because they should then have the everything else marked down 75%. Leave a comment about what you got today!

Friday, October 31, 2008

Stay tuned...

After my dumpster diving experience post, I've had a couple of people to want more details. So keep an eye out and I'll give them to y'all within a day or so. I'm having a garage sale tomorrow, so I'll be busy preparing for that. I'll have some things in there for sale that I found in the store dumpster's too. ;)

Program Review: Swagbucks


I'm not much for the search engines that you have a chance to win a prize. I don't know why, maybe if I won something good, I would be "turned on" to it. However, while perusing through a message board, I saw someone with a link to Swagbucks in their signature. I had never heard of it so I had to check it out of course.

If you like Mypoints, then you'll like Swagbucks. They are alike in that you earn points or bucks, and then get to cash them in for a prize. They have good prizes to choose from, or swag as they like to call it. It is majorly a search engine, but you can also earn swagbucks by shopping and recycling your unused cell phones.

Here's what I've found so far. You can win at least once a day by searching and it usually only takes a few searches to do so. Sometimes, I'll do a couple of searches and if I don't win any swagbucks, I'll wait a while and come back later. Generally I do my searches there until I win, and then go back to good ole Google. I'm really liking it so far and have 175 Swagbucks to date. I haven't cashed in for a prize yet, so I don't know how fast they are with redemption. Whether you love or hate search engines that promise prizes, you should definitely give Swagbucks a chance.


-Good reward selection
-Guaranteed at least 1 Swagbuck per day
-Very similar to Mypoints in many ways
-Several options for earning your Swagbucks


-Swagbucks may take some time to accrue
-Since I haven't redeemed my bucks yet, I'm not sure how fast they are with sending your prize
-May have to do a bit of searching to win for the day (break it up though if you don't win immediately)


I give this program an 8 out of 10

If you are interested in signing up for Swagbucks or checking it out further, click here.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

I took the plunge...literally!

So I finally found someone with big steely balls to come dumpster diving with me. As you'll recall, I wrote a post about the next generation of dumpster divers a couple of weeks ago. I wanted to experience this myself and write about the results.

Well, I can say this for sure...many useful items are being trashed and wasted. Our biggest producers so far have been the K(mart), G(oodwill), and L(owes). What did we find you ask? "Lots!" I answer. K(mart) had many NIP items that were on clearance that they just tossed instead of marking down further or donating. We found snacks (which tasted just fine by the way), Cars birthday party hats, baby wash, lysol spray, napkins, t-shirt, make-up, headbands, a pack of diapers, and I could go on and on.

At G(oodwill), we found vhs tapes, knick knacks (perfect for yard sales), a stroller, and some toys. Remember, they are no longer accepting toys and strollers because of recalls so it goes straight to the dump. So for the love of pizza, please don't donate any of that to G(oodwill) or its going straight in their dumpster and I have proof. LOL

Perhaps my biggest score so far was at L(owes) and I almost didn't see it. It's just a $250 microwave that you can use as a convection oven and grill too. Apprarently, it would start smoking on the convection function. After the hubby took a look at it, he noticed it was only some oil or grease on the heating coil and after it burned off, it didn't smoke anymore. Here is a picture of my prized treasure find:


So far the hubby has cooked 2 whole chickens and a shoulder of ham in it. If this doesn't convince you I don't know what will. Also at L(owes), we found packs of the expensive energy saving lighbulbs with one broken bulb in the pack but the rest of them in the packs were just fine. Why oh why do we live in such a wasteful society? I'll keep you updated on my finds. Unfortunately, L(owes) moved their dumpster so it may be a while before I am able to find some bangin' stuff there again. :( I will keep on keeping on though!

Monday, October 20, 2008


Sorry for my absence. I have been dedicating my time to finishing the house...getting it organized and completely unpacked. Almost there! I've also been focusing on my weight loss. It is a slooooow process. And don't you just hate PMS time? I'm all bloatey shmoatey so the scales were not friendly this morning. My plan over the next few weeks is to incorporate my blog into this process, but for the moment, the house and my goals to organize and lose weight have to come first. Thanks for your patience as I try to do a complete 360 on my life. LOL

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Easy Peasy Inexpensive Butterfly Valance

My toddler gal's room theme is flower fairy princess. I decided on this because we can incorporate a lot into the theme (flowers, butterflies, fairies) and therefore save money in the decoration process. We moved into this house about a month ago and I am still working on the finishing touches to her decor.

I was in the Dollar Tree a couple of weeks ago and saw these cute fairy wings that looked just like butterflies. A light bulb came on and I thought to myself, "These would make great wall decorations for Grace's room". And you know you can't beat the $1 each price. Needless to say, my idea evolved as I laid in bed that night tossing and turning. I swear I get some of my best and creative ideas as I'm lying in bed.

The idea evolved into making a butterly valance. I had been on the lookout for a couple of cute valances for her room, so why not give this a try? I did a trial run on a tacky gold curtain rod I already had and it was a piece of cake. (Got glitter all over our bed and DH thought I had been out raving behind his back hehe) Yesterday, I finally settled on those mega cheapo metal curtain rods. The total cost for this butterfly valance was $6. Here are the results along with how I attached them to the rod.

Here is a pic of the attachment. I put it on just like you would put a ponytail holder in your hair:


All three attached:


The finished product:


I think it turned out pretty cute and you can't beat the price. :o)

Monday, October 6, 2008

A big thank you and some feedback requested

I would first like to thank Tightwad Mommy from Kizoodle and Laurie at Tip Junkie for spreading the word about my Random Acts of Kindness Christmas project.

Next, I'd like to know if I need to change anything. I noticed no one has signed up nor shown interest, so I want to make sure I haven't confused anybody. Please let me know if I need to change anything.

If you're having a hard time thinking of what you could offer or don't want to pay a lot for shipping, how about gift cards? They only take one stamp. Or some packs of stickers for someone to give their little one as a stocking stuffer would also be cheap to ship. 2 stamps at the most.

Anywho, I'm open to feedback and constructive criticism not only to the RAOK Christmas project but also my blog as a whole. Let me know if you have any suggestions, tips, or a frugal subject you would like for me to blog about.

Thanks so much and I appreciate every single one of you who take the time to stop by and visit.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Do you use SmartSource coupons?

Check out CouponBabe's blog post about bringing a letter with you if your retailer refuses to take them.

I thought that was very interesting! I myself am slowly trying to use more coupons. But that is another post all in itself. I will say I have never printed coupons to use at the grocery store, but I know a lot of you do. I will be writing my view on coupons very soon, so stay tuned. (Hey, that last sentenced rhymed!)

Random Acts of Kindness - Christmas

I would love, love, love (don't make me say it again :P) for everyone with a blog to participate in this. With the economy being so hard on so many of us right now, I thought it would be nice to help someone with at least one Christmas gift. I, myself, have quite a few things that are brand new, never used, and would make someone else a great present. The problem is that the items I have for gift giving wouldn't be good for the persons I give gifts to each year. So why not let someone else give them to a person they love and therefore, helping them kill 2 birds with 1 stone.

Bird 1 = finding a present for someone.
Bird 2 = saving a little money in the process.
Stone = your best friend.

Ok, here is how it will work:

Step 1: Make a post on your blog and link to this post so your readers can find out about the program.

Step 2: In your post, list item(s) you have to offer and any stipulations with shipping. (yes, you will be paying for the shipping...this is a RAOK all the way round.) For example, if you can only ship in the lower U.S. states, please indicate so.

Step 3: Put your name and link to your blog post in the Mr. Linky's box below. (This is very important. It is essential for people to view offers and maybe even get some ideas!)

We can keep this going until close to Christmas. Be sure to mark your offered items claimed when they find new homes and edit your post if you want to add a new item in a few weeks or as often as you'd like. The more the better!

I will keep this blog either stickied or constantly linked to. :) Also, make sure your readers know the way you would prefer to be contacted if they are interested in any of your items.

For the lookers, please only request items that will definitely make a great gift for a loved one in your life. And if you can participate to "pay it forward", please do. Blessing others, blesses you. It's good for the soul and faith in humanity.

Givers, remember...It's better to help someone who doesn't need it, than not to help someone who does.

Let's get this thing rolling! I'll start. Click on the mail image to contact me. :)

My Offer Gift List

~New Beth Moore "Get Out of that Pit" book

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Creative Recycling: What to do with leftover/unwanted baby cereal

I'm sure many of us had kiddos that absolutely refused to eat baby cereal. My daughter was one of them. No matter what kind of cereal it was, or what I mixed it with, she would not eat it. I had about 3 full boxes and I wound up giving them away.

I saw this post today from calebs_mommy at Kizoodle, and I just had to share. I thought it was an awesome idea.

GREAT Idea...what to do with all that left over baby cereal

My son never ate this stuff...and I had tons of boxes of it. I
found a website called that gives a great recipe for baby
cereal pancakes

These are whole wheat and delicious and so good for your
little one. You're able to use 2 cereals at once. I also used blueberries with
it instead of the banana. I've made them many times and will continue till all
of my baby cereal is gone.

Be sure to add the 1 tablespoon of baking
powder per 1 cup suggest this at the bottom of the page and is not
included in the recipe...but makes them fluffy and not that spongy texture.

ENjoy!! My son is 12 months and still loves them!!

Go to and search for baby cereal pancakes. A big round of applause for calebs_mommy everyone!

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Program Review: Pampers Gifts to Grow Rewards


I think I heard about this about a year ago and decided to give it a try. The program was supposed to stop in March of this year, but because of it's popularity, Pampers extended it to March of 2009. I've been pleased thus far as a member. To date, I have redeemed points for 2 family night Blockbuster gift cards, a $10 Starbucks gift card, and a $10 gift card.


-Pretty good reward selection
-Codes available on lots of Pamper's products
-Fast delivery of redeemed reward
-Good customer service (I had a problem with a code and received a prompt response along with a new code)


-Shipping/handling charge on everything but gift cards and coupons (I think this is ridiculous)
-Points take some time to accrue


I give this program a 7 out of 10

If you are already a member of Pampers Gifts to Grow, here is a universal code for 1 point:

If you are not a member and would like to sign up, click here to go to the Pamper's site. And don't forget to enter the above code after you've signed up!

The Next Generation of Dumpster Divers


Believe it or not, dumpster diving ain't (yes, I'm Southern :P) what it used to be. I don't know how I happened across a dumpster diving message board one day, but I decided to check out their "Finds" forum. Holy moly, was I surprised.

See, these people weren't DD at trash dumpsters you see on the roadside. They DD at store dumpsters. The stuff they find is unbelievable sometimes. I can't believe how wasteful our society is. The fact that America has so many in need, and to see perfectly good 'stuff' thrown out all for the sake of a buck, really saddens me.

However, I see the DD'ers as redeemers of sorts. LOL Rescuers in plain (and probably a little dirty from diving) clothing if you will. I'm not an expert on the subject...yet. Yes, I am planning to try out store DD very soon with a partner in crime that shall remain unidentified. I will definitely report our experience(s).

I'll leave you with a link to a site with lots of info and tips on getting started. Remember to check your local laws concerning DD. I will not be held responsible for your bail money. You dive at your own risk. ;o)

Mary, The Dumpster Lady

Monday, September 29, 2008

Goodwill Online!

Goodwill just keeps surprising me. I knew about their auction site which I was planning on posting about this week. Now this morning I find out they have an online store. I haven't checked it out thoroughly, but I'm sure you could find some good deals...if not now, eventually. They have a flat shipping rate of $7.99 which is good if you order a lot. Not so good if you just want to order one little thing. Pros and cons as with anything but worth checking into. :o) You never know what you might find at a bangarific price. So without further ado, I give you Goodwill Auctions and G Too. G Too sounds gangsta, don't you think? hehe

Friday, September 26, 2008

Walgreen's $5 off $20 Coupon


It is valid today and tomorrow. Be sure to check out their clearance section since the fine details doesn't mention it is it when that happens! I have gotten a few Christmas gifts for the kids already this year from the Wallygreens clearance. Let me know what you find.

Click here to print coupon.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Friday Freebies!

Please be responsible when requesting freebies. Only request what you can and will use. Remember, these samples along with shipping, cost the company money. Let us make sure we don't take advantage of their generosity. :)

Sundance Organic Tea Sample

Bertolli Premium Sauce Sample

Kashi Cookie Sample

Cesar Canine Cuisine Sample

Walmart Samples

"Renting is just throwing your money away!"

Sigh...I can't tell you how many times I have heard that since the spring of this year. With DH's new job and rising gas costs, we decided to try and move closer to the church to save on fuel costs.

I got to work. I constantly checked the classifieds of our local paper, craigslist, and asked friends to keep an eye out. We were advised to look into buying since the market was definitely a buyer's market. We did try, but were unable to do so.

You see, DH and I were not taught how to be wise with money while growing up. We made lots of mistakes that cost us. We learned our lesson thank goodness. We learned it the hard way, but we are wiser nevertheless. Isn't it funny how it takes much longer to correct the mess than to make it?

Our choices were simple: 1.) buy a house or 2.) rent a house.

As I said before, buying was out. DH's credit was around 12 points below the approval score. So that left us with renting. I was very disappointed. I really got my hopes up that we would be able to buy, but if you can't do it, you just can't do it.

During this time when I would be talking to someone, they would say "Oh renting is just throwing your money away." I beg to differ.

First, I don't think paying for a place to live can be catergorized as throwing money down the drain. We're talking about providing a roof over your children's heads here people. LOL I know when you own a house, the value will increase (in most cases) over time. But if you think about it, there are many things we purchase/pay for in our lives that don't accrue value. For example, your vehicle. It loses value as soon as you drive it off the lot. However, we don't say financing a vehicle is throwing your money away do we? Of course not. Transportation is a necessity especially in towns that don't provide public transportation services.

Second, you have to remember that more goes into buying a house than just a monthly payment. If you don't have a certain percentange down payment, they add mortgage insurance to that monthly total and usually add in the property tax as well. Next, you have to think about homeowner's insurance. Another addition to your monthly mortgage payment. Last, if something breaks, it is your sole financial responsibility to fix it. If you're struggling to make ends meet or trying to get out of debt, renting may be the wiser choice.

Third and lastly, it just plain sucks to hear something like that. I know those who said it to me were not intending any ill will. But it sort of brings up feelings of guilt and shame. You feel guilty because you got yourself in the present situation and although you are doing your best to rectify those mistakes, it is still your fault. Shame comes into play because you feel sort of embarrassed that you can't get a loan for a basic, low cost home. The house were looking at was priced at $149,000 and had been on the market for almost a year. We were hoping to be able to purchase it for $140,000 at the most. And we couldn't do that time anyway.

Things do work out though. We are back in the subdivision we used to live in that is right next to the church. And what is even cooler is that the house we are renting is has always been our favorite house in the neighborhood. Our landlords are very nice and have offered to sell it to us after a year. As my friend Beth says, there is season for everything.

Basically, I have said all that to say this...please don't tell someone that they are throwing their money away because they are renting instead of buying. If it is said to a person in my situation, it sort of hurts. There are also people who prefer to rent instead of own and that is their perogative. Paying for a place to live is not wasting money as long as you are being wise about what you are renting. After all, a person living alone really doesn't need a 3 bedroom house. But I shall digress...

The Big Change

This year has been full of changes for us. The main change, which then rippled down and caused other changes, was my husband becoming associate pastor at our church. In taking this job, he will now make between $10-15,000 this year compared to last. Oy vey!

We had to make an adjustment somewhere. If we stayed at our current monthly bill status, we would would be in trouble very soon. We decided he needed to sell his truck. It was no longer a necessity since he wasn't doing construction anymore. That would free up $500 plus the insurance per month. We took the money from the truck sale and applied it to a loan at our bank which reduced the monthly payments.

So, we have been a one vehicle family since February. Our Jeep Liberty is paid off so we don't have a car payment to worry about. Having a single vehicle hasn't been nearly as bad as I would have thought before we actually did it. There have been times of inconvenience, but we've managed to work through them.

P.S. Our church's website is If you want to laugh, click on Podcasts (located near the middle of the page), the click on GCC Videos on the right. The first two are humorous videos made for sermon intros and the 3rd is a video my husband put together after his mission trip to Romania this summer. It is very moving. (He actually did all the videos...I figured I better give him credit so he doesn't punish me. hehe)

Monday, September 22, 2008

The New Look

I hope it is appealing. It is not what I had in mind originally, but I am pleased with this for now. Check out the link on the very bottom of the page. This chick makes really awesome blogger templates which is where I got this one. :) I still have the sidebars to do, but will work on that as I get a chance. I'm still trying to get unpacked and organized from moving a few weeks ago along with other life demands. Moving can be a pain but I really feel at home in our new place and neighborhood. It just feels right if that makes sense. Stay tuned...

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Update on the Revamp

I tried to my banner on my own, but I just couldn't get it the way I liked. So I'm getting someone who is very talented to do it. However, it will be a few weeks before they can get it done. Which really works out since we'll be moving in a week and I'll be busy getting settled. Plus, I want to have a yard sale before we move so we can lighten our load. Just wanted to give y'all a quick update!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Guess what?

I'm coming back. I've got new meds! Praise Pfizer! Anycrazy, I'll be redoing the look and such so stay tuned. Plus FYI, being frugal is more important than ever to us. My husband went full time with our church at the beginning of the year and we all know what a lucrative job being an Associate Pastor is. hehe We are now living on $10-15,000 less.