Saturday, October 19, 2013

Kitchen Redo

Before and After from the beginning...before we moved in we painted the walls grey and the countertops a darker grey (like dark concrete). The countertops were painted with Rust-Oleum countertop paint ($20)...this stuff is pretty easy and has stood up to a house of 4 for over a year now, but I would definitely recommend it only as a temporary update while you save up to redo the countertops as it will get chipped buy knives very easily. Also, be warned, it smells really bad until it dries! Pretty amazing what a little paint will do! :-)

This update: $30!!

Next up, a tin tile back splash. This was super easy and only $30! I just cut to size and attached to wall. I didn't even have to glue them, they slipped right in under the cabinets. Which will be great if/when I get bored and want a change :-)

OK, so far that's $60 from those two projects. Now to update those cabinets!!

To add some personality and pop I added trim to frame out each door, changed out the drawer pulls to brushed nickel cup pulls, and to make it look cleaner I removed the pulls from the cabinet doors. Oh yeah and a good coating of fresh paint...once again thanks to Rustoleum! (no I'm not being paid lol...I just love how easy and affordable their stuff is!)

Break Down on this project:
Rustoleum Cabinet Transformations = $75
Drawer Pulls $20 for 6 (x2) = $40
1/4" x 1-3/4" x 8' PVC Moulding = $4 (x13) = $52

Total = $167 (actually $127 because the drawer pulls were a gift at my house warming way I'd spend that much on them, you know that!)

So there you have it...a complete kitchen update for under $200!!

Friday, October 18, 2013

Pirate Birthday Party

We had a pirate birthday party for my youngest this past weekend. Since the present I was getting him (a Kindle) was pretty expensive, I needed to keep the price of his party down. Here's how I did it...Food Table...Salty Dogs (hot dogs), Golden Nuggets (tater tots), Fish & Chips (potatoes chips and goldfish crackers), and Pretzel Planks
  • Table Cloths - $2
  • Plates - $2
  • Cups - $2
  • Food Signs - $0
Tip: For the tableware buy one or two patterned items (i.e. cups, plates, or napkins) and buy matching solid color tableware. I chose to match the red and white in the cups I found at Target for less than $2. You can get the matching solid color tableware for $1 at the Dollar Store or Walmart. That's 50 cents per place setting, rather than at least $1.30  each if you were to buy all matching themed tableware.  

White cupcakes, vanilla frosting, and crushed graham crackers for sand

Treasure Hunt: Fill a bucket or kiddie pool with a bag of play sand and bury jewels for the kiddos to dig out. This was a lots of fun and the treasure they dig out is theirs to keep.

Bought a pirate hat at the dollar store, some red material at the fabric store,  eye patches came with the swords (the ones in the picture were actually a gift that a party goer brought), and took 2 black scarves from my closet that the boys tied around their waists, so cute!

My main tip is "keep it simple, less really is more". The kids had a blast and we spent less than $50 on everything (including food for everyone)! 

Friday, April 5, 2013

Best Money Saving Apps

I really have to give a lot of my money saving credit to my phone...I LOVE my smartphone!! It saves and makes me money on a regular basis. Below is a list of my favorite money saving/making apps:

Retail Me Not
  • Browse Top Coupons, Popular Stores, and Categories listings
  • Get deal alerts while shopping at your favorite malls
  • Get thousands of online and in-store coupons to your favorite stores
  • Save coupons for later
My experience: I don't buy anything without checking out this app first! I was at the mall buying my 4 yr old an Easter outfit when I found a 25% off coupon for Children's Place plus all dressy clothes were already 30% off. I scored a polo, khakis, and fedora for under $20! Plus, a $20 off next $40 purchase coupon; two days later I ordered 3 pairs of shorts, 2 tees, flip flops for $20.50 with free shipping that I also found on RetailMeNot...sweet! 

Target's new coupon app! save an additional 5 - 30% off many, many products. Plus if you have the Redcard (credit or debit) you save another 5% off everything!  

  • Collect kicks by visiting stores and browsing lookbooks on your phone
  • Redeem points for gift cards (I have already earned $100 in gift cards!)
  • Receive special discounts and coupons for participating retailers.
Choose products, go shopping  snap a photo of barcode, snap a photo of receipt, collect rebate; it's that easy.

SnipSnap Coupon App
Never leave a coupon at home again! Take picture of your coupon and never have to take paper coupons with you. Even browse and use coupons that other users have posted.

Groupon and Living Social

Find local and goods deals right on your phone. Most deals are 50% or more off the regular price. Find deals for everything in your life; carwashes, restaurants, cupcakes, mani-pedis, massages, photo books...and on and on.

Safeway Just for U
  • Build a customizable shopping list
  • Easily view Safeway's Weekly Ad for your store on the go  
  • Load savings on the go with Just for U digital coupons and personalized deals  

Do you use money saving apps on your mobile device? 

What are your favorites?

Monday, March 4, 2013

My 3 Store, $55 Shopping Spree

I started out just shopping for some new black pumps...well I did end up with some awesome black pumps, and some leopard print ones, and a wok, a spring form pan, a stoneware casserole dish, some food...I think you get the idea. My trunk was full and I had only spent $55!!

We started the evening with a 20% coupon from Payless that I had found on my phone's RetailMeNot app (my new favorite app!) That really was my only planned stop for the night, that is until I saw all the people coming out of BigLots and I mentioned to my mom how crowded they seemed. She told me it was their 20% off night...ok so you know where we're going next ;-)

At Payless I scored a pair of black pumps (originally $32.99, on sale for $22.99) and leopard pumps (also originally $32.99, on sale for $10!). Take an additional 20% off and I walk away with 2 pairs of awesome pumps for $28.51 total (including tax)!

So next we head to Biglots, the we pick up food and a spice rack that I've been eyeing for awhile, but you know I won't pay full price for anything. The cheapest I've ever seen it was $8.99, at BigLots it was $5 and tonight was an additional 20% off your entire purchase. Left BigLots spending only $13.70. 

I recall making a comment like "Hey wanna go to Ross? Hopefully our good luck will continue there too." Well continue it did indeed...after browsing the store for a while and not really finding anything that I needed, we happened upon the clearance aislet at jsut the right time...the associate was marking everything in the aisle down for final sale. And wow, this was even a new one to me...when they mark them down to sell, they mark them WAAAAY down! I grabbed ...

...a Wolfgang Puck 12" Stainless Steel Wok for $4!!!! (out of curiosity I Googled this after I got home and found they run about $40!)

...A Le Creuset stoneware casserole dish (retails for $30) only $4!

...A spring form pan (usually $10) only $2!

...Also a under cabinet organizational drawer for $2 and a ceramic napkin holder for $1! 

*Phew* That was fun! All in all, I spent $55 and got some long awaited kitchen goodies and 2 awesome pairs of shoes! :-D

What is the best surprise deal you ever found? I'd love to hear 'em!

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Home decor

Refinished my 12 year old son's baby dresser to match my espresso bedroom for $41!

I had used my son's dresser that used to be his changing table/dresser for 12 years, but now I wanted to update my bedroom with a more modern dark wood. This dresser had served me so well and was solid wood...very hard to find nowadays, so I didn't  want to let it go to waste and I definitely didn't  want to buy cheapy dresser for $100 that was just going to fall apart in a year. 

So I decided to try my hand at refinishing it!


  • Rust-Oleum Furniture Transformation Kit $35
  • Hardware $6

I love this Rust-Oleum product!! It was so easy, looks great, and there's plenty to do this dresser plus at least one night stand (definitely worth $35)! I did this project 8 months ago and there's still no chips or scratches! Did I say I love this stuff?! 



 In my bedroom...

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Travel on a Budget

You can travel cheap...if you know how...

My bf lives on the East Coast, I'm on the West...needless to say, we've gotten pretty good at finding cheap plane tickets. Here are a few of our key tips:

  1. By late...prices seem to drop 3-5 weeks prior to the travel dates. I know this can be scary but if you can take the chance, take it, it could save you a bundle!
  2. Search constantly...prices can change dramatically in a heart beat, especially in the middle of the night and early morning.
  3. Buy low, buy quick...don't think about it! Once I saw tickets for $222 roundtrip and I waited an hour..boy did I regret it when they went back up to $350 as I was purchasing them!
  4. Shop on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays...this tends to be when airlines put tickets on sale.
  5. Travel on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays...historically these are the cheapest travel dates.
  6. Check nearby may be surprised how much you can save by driving an hour, but keep in mind the cost of gas and possible parking fees.
  7. Sign-up for frequent flyer brother travels home for free from Nebraska to Cali often through his Southwest Rapid Rewards credit card. Frequent flyer memberships are free, so why not join?
  8. Check out additional fees that may apply, like luggage. Most major airlines allow a free carry-on item, but if you need more luggage, it's usually around $25 per bag each way and I've heard they are going up for some airlines.
  9. BE FLEXIBLE! Traveling a week or even a day later may save you a load of cash! 

Want a nice Valentine's Day weekend in Hawaii? Why not go a week later? Put that $100 savings towards a really, really nice dinner, or upgraded hotel room:

Fri Feb 15th - Mon Feb 18th - $490
Fri Feb 22nd - Mon Feb 25th - $397

Want to go in June instead? Try taking one extra day off work and save $200:

Tues June 11th - Sat June 15th - $660
Mon June 3rd - Fri June 11th - $463

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Remodeling the Second Bath Was Uber Cheap!!

When I bought my house I looked for one that did not need much work but also wasn't perfect so I could put my own touches on it. The two major places I wanted to update were the two small bathrooms, so I immediately started shopping!

I visited every home improvement store within 10 miles of my home and started stalking the clearance aisles. I kept in mind the features that I wanted and needed. For example, the vanity needs to have drawer and if you've ever shopped for vanities you will find out that drawers don't come cheap!

One Saturday afternoon we were stalking the clearance aisles as usual when I stumbled across a great vanity. It included the sink and a drawer...perfect!! But there was one had no price. Now please learn this lesson from me, a girl who once got a beautiful Targus laptop bag for $1, which normally retailed for $60, simply because there was no tag on it and no one else had bothered to check the price, so it just sat there on the shelf as the price went down every week! ALWAYS check the price!! So learning from that lucky experience, I found a service rep and asked him for the price. "Well, it was $240, but usually they go down at least 50% when someone returns it." (OK so $120...not bad, right?) Well we continued to talk and by the time he finished filling out the replacement price tag, he decided to drop the price to $80!! 

With that great price I was able to afford to do more than I had originally planned :-) 

Here's how it broke down:

  • $80 vanity with sink top from Lowe's
  • Already loved bathroom accessories, so I purposely matched new pieces to that look
  • $1 knobs for wall cabinet from Habitat for Humanity
  • Accessories from Ross (Target brand) $15
  • Glass tile $12 per sq ft, but such a small section, a splurge was totally within the budget
  • 3 wicker baskets with cotton liners only $12 at Walmart

$80 Vanity
$12 Tile
$15 Mortar and Grout
$10 Shower Curtain
$5 Tooth Brush Holder
$12 Wicker Baskets
+$2 Hardware

Yep, that's right...Under $150 to redo the bathroom!!

$2.87 at Lowe's

$1.00 at Habitat for Humanity