Category Archives: Our Frugal Stories

Saving Money at Home Depot on a new Wooden Gate


My mother needs a new gate for the fence around her house. She no longer owns a dog so there is currently just a gap. We are going to visit for Easter and we are bringing our puppy. We could have brought his movable ‘play pen’ aka huge movable fence but then I realized, why would we try to find a work around when it might just be easier to fix the gate?????

I found the gate and supplies we need at Home Depot for the lowest price. I figure that we are probably going to spend about $50-75 which isn’t bad for a home repair/Easter gift. I might also throw in some paint that I know she needs. But I still wanted to pay less! I knew that someone close to me had recently received a $100 Home Depot gift card as a gift and didn’t currently need it. I offered to trade them for $75 in Amazon gift cards that I will be getting for free from Swagbucks and rewards points on my credit card. They agreed! I also joined the Home Depot e-mail list for another $5 off of $50 coupon. This would save me $30 or 30%. I’m excited to by saving money on something we needed to buy anyways. Not mention that the gift cards I traded were free to begin with.

A Very Simple and Frugal Christmas 2016

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We had a very simple and frugal Christmas this year. We thought we were doing to be out of town for Christmas day so I kept the decorating simple with our reusable tree and a few favorite decorations. This has the added bonus of protecting most of our holiday decorations from the puppy. The tree didn’t fare so well as you can see from the above picture. This was our first Christmas with just the two of us and the fur babies and it was also our 8th Christmas together.

On Christmas day, we slept in (a gift in itself because we are usually up so early) and then we opened presents. Many of our gifts to each other were practical and fun including a Kindle (on sale for $33 on Cyber Monday), a keyboard, work shoes, a scarf, new stove plates, a new phone, sewing supplies and clothes. We watched a lot of Project Runway on TV and went to a beautiful local park with the puppy where we saw a fantastic rainbow. Not traveling this year saved us a lot of money so we had a lovely steak dinner with asparagus and loaded potatoes (from ALDI). Overall, a really great day!

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Here are some things we did to make the holiday more frugal:

– Not buying any decorations! We already have too many. If I want any more I will sew them on my sewing machine

– Not buying any wrapping paper. We have some remaining gift bags from last year and I bought a red lined curtain at the thrift store for a few dollars that I have been using to make gift bags.

– Not buying many gifts in general. My sister and her husband are due to have a baby any day now and they are not exchanging gifts this year which makes life very easy for us. And we have given them lots of baby stuff already and will be sending more too J

– We also usually have a $10 gift limit in my family so the family members that I am giving gifts to won’t be expensive.

– I bought Shugar Soap at Dollar Tree (but they sell for a lot more online) for my coworkers and printed little Thank You notes. They cost $1 and smell absolutely amazing (You seriously want to take a bite). They are also entirely vegetable based, chemical free and made in the USA. I missed some of my coworkers who had already gone on break so we ended up with some extras to give to someone else or use in our home.

– I will be making some gifts and I have already bought the sewing supplies I need. Although my sewing skills aren’t up to making all gifts yet there will be a few I will sew. I doubt I will ever do 100% handmade gifts because it’s not always what everyone wants or needs, it’s not always cheaper, and it doesn’t ever save time but I will enjoy making a few that I believe my loved ones will want.

– Some of our gifts are from thrift shops. We don’t require that they are always new.

– We are Amazon Prime experts. When it’s cheaper online with free 2 day shipping. It’s a win, win.

– I got my mother a Kindle Fire on sale on Cyber Monday for $33 and we already exchanged gifts with her since she will be out of state for the birth of my nephew.

– Playing Christmas music and watching Christmas TV is free.

– I had some gift cards that I had never used and I used them to save money this December and to purchase gifts.

– We own a tree that came with lights and we will use it again this year. Our puppy decided to eat the light cord off but maybe we can fix it. If not, we will add lights we already own for free.

– I bought the puppy toys at Dollar Tree last month when I found some good ones and frankly he already has too many. My dad’s dog will get a bag of milk bones. We have a box and our puppy doesn’t like them.

– Make all of the returns that have been sitting around the house waiting for me to find the time to return them. I will use the store credit to save money and/or make gifts.

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While you are at it you might want to check out some other frugal Christmas posts including:

30 Ways to Save Money This Holiday Season

Frugal Christmas Shopping

Ugly Christmas Sweaters!

2011 Christmas In Review

Our Frugal Christmas

Austin Goodwill Outlet Haul

This past Saturday I was spending time with a friend who had mentioned she had started selling some old jewelry on the site Postmark and was interested in eBay too. I was telling her my experience about the Goodwill outlet in Austin, Tx. We were a short drive away so we decided to go. I had only ever been to the Goodwill outlet on one other Saturday night. This time it was super busy and hot. We did still manage to find some good stuff. Here is what I found:image6-14

I plan on selling this brand new Stephen Colbert book on eBay and keeping the Jim Gaffigan book. Ive already started reading it! Books were 4 for $1.

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I picked up this Little Golden Books out of curiosity. Turns out they really don’t sell for much on eBay but i might just list them anyways!

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A story book from 1981.

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We found so many old interesting books this visit. I believe the maroon book is a 1961 reprint from 1879, the blue book is the complete collection of William Shakepshere published in 1926, and the small brown book is a shorthand dictionary from around 1916!

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I found both these mugs to sell on eBay. If I sell just on I will make enough money to pay for my whole shopping trip!

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Lastly, I found four small like new Ikea plates I was going to buy a few months back, but for some reason decided against. I found two pyrex bowls, one anchor bowl, and a vintage Welchs Looney Tunes jar from the 80’s.

I also found a Maxi dress from Charminig Charlie (at least $40 in store), a pair of Jessica Simpson maternity shorts (at least $34 at Motherhood Maternity), and a cute tank top. My total was $10!

Recent Salvation Army Thrift Store Finds

Every Wednesday the Salvation Army Family Store near my house has a 50% off clothing sale. I think most Salvation Army stores across the country do this. When I was living in Florida the stores participated in this sale too. Ive been trying to go every Wednesday since one of my goals this year was to only buy my clothes from thrift stores. Here are a few of my finds. Some for me and some will go up on eBay!

 

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Victoria’s Secret Yoga Pants $2

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A Gap T-shirt Dress $1.50

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Romeo & Juliet Couture Shirt $2. This brand can be found at Nordstrom. It is one of the new to me items I have bought to wear to my new job!

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A sleep dress by Maidenform $1.50

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A cardigan from The Limited $2. This is for my new job also. As you can see the back is almost transparent.

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An As u Wish dress $2. This dress is from Dillards.

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Kenneth Cole Reaction Flats $5.99. Also for my new job!

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$2 Massimo dress for my sister. I actually own the same dress just in a different size. It is the perfect go to summer dress!

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.99 Cent Wide Mouth Ball Mason Jar. I’m not sure if this is a good deal of not, but I am trying to redo my pantry and use glass jars instead of plastic.

 

The next few items are things I found I am planning on selling on eBay!

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A PJ Salvage pajama top.

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I bought a grab bag full of stamps for $2.99. There were 17 total. Here are a few.

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Blanket Binding found in the grab bag.

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I didn’t buy this couch, but I thought it was a really nice couch in great condition. They were selling it for $400.

What have you found thrifting lately?

Frugal Review

1.My husband has a month free membership to high intensity work our class. He has been going about twice a week and comes back drenched in sweat!!
2.Last weekend my husband and I went to the discount movie theatre to see Krampus. Although it lacked most of the frills of the new movie theatre in our area, you can’t beat $2.50 for a movie ticket and the movie was actually really good!
3.I baby sat this morning for a friend and made some extra money.
4.I sold my first three items on eBay this week and have listed a few more!
5.Although it is around 45-50 degrees everyday here in Austin, TX I have yet to put on my heat. So far I’ve gone the past three months without using my A/C or heat! It has also been fun exploring my new town in nice weather!

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A local park near my house! Texas is much more beautiful than I thought it would be!

-Candy

 

Goals for 2016!

Goals for 2016!

1.I am only going to buy my clothes from thrift stores. The only exclusion ,of course, will be undergarments.
2.Only buy items that bring me joy! I will not buy stuff just because it is on sale!
3.Research products before I buy them especially makeup!
4.Buy items that will last a lifetime that I will not have to throw away in a few months.
5.Work out at least 30 minutes a day! Lately I have been doing my own version of yoga/ pilates in my living room!
6.Read more and not just articles on the internet!
7.Become more inventive/ willing to experiment with food!
8.Research alternative living spaces/ tiny houses and if possible start to save $$!
9.Sell more stuff on eBay! I recently sold my first item. It was only listed for 1 day!
10.Go caving!!! I live about an hour and a half from San Antonio which has beautiful caves!

Posted by: Candy

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Two of my recent thrift store Vision cookware finds. I intend to use theses until they fall apart!

As you can see below they can be quite expensive!

Goodwill Outlet Shopping Trip and Haul- Awesome Thrift Finds at the Austin Blue Hanger Goodwill Outlet & Shopping Tips!

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We went to the Goodwill outlet with no expectations since we had never been before. My sister was visiting me in Austin, TX my new home so we decided to go to this infamous thrift store, where most items are $1.39lb. Yelp reviews were basically 50/50 between this place is awesome and this place is hell. To us the Goodwill outlet is paradise enough so that we went twice in two days! The above picture shows some of our finds including a cast iron Le Creuset cast iron skillet, bags of clothes, a rolling duffle, and a sewing machine. Scroll down to see more from our two trips!

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Shopping Tips:

1. Have lots of time to browse. Take a picture of the price chart to reference.
2. Bring gloves, hand sanitizer and a reusable bag at minimum. To be super prepared bring these additional items: measuring tape, a luggage scale, a screwdriver. Don’t be intimidated by the shopping conditions
3. Do not touch carts parked within yellow lines on the floor. This is designated space for shoppers to leave their carts while they shop for more treasures.
4. If you decide to park your cart in a safe place find a throw or scarf to drape over it so no one will be able to see your finds. Also watch for sneaky shoppers just in case.
5. A section will be closed when they switch out the old bins for new ones. People then line up waiting for the new bins which cannot be shopped until the rows are finished. Once an associate gives the go ahead to shop there will be a stampede for bargains! We watched this spectacle a few times before we braved the crowed. The rush can be compared to a runners high! (It is much easier to navigate this crowd with just a bag)
6. Grab anything you think you want to buy and put it in your cart or bag. You can go through it later.
7. Bring a buddy who knows your taste and isn’t easily intimidated.
8. Know the sizes of your family/ friends because you never know what you might find.
Have fun it is going to be crazy but you will find bargains!

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Our Finds:

2015-12-22 20.22.42A slightly dirty Coach purse (check back soon to see how we try to clean it up)
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Lots of expensive glassware 20 items for $1.99 including a large pyrex casserole dish, pyrex pie dish, pyrex bowl, two corning ware dishes with lids, 3 vision cookware lids, 3 blue mason jars, a pyrex measuring cup, cafe du mode coffee cup, and a stainless steel water bottle!

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This real leather satchel / laptop bag Solo brand. We paid $2.99 and it’s still currently selling online for over $120

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The above really cool brown shelves and picture

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The above seatbelt brand purse that is currently selling on eBay for $50-100

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Really nice children’s books 5 for $1

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The above generic magic bullet for $1 and it works!

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This storage trunk for $2.99

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A rolling laptop bag for $2.99, everything else was weighed @ 1.39lb

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Damage from our first trip including a giant wicker basket for $1 and a free Ikea comforter from another Austin thrift store. Several purses and tons of clothes!

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A floor steamer for 99 cents and it works! An ikea lamp and a bag of corks for DIY projects.


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All the Vera Bradley bags we found over two days. We found more, but decided not to buy the other purses.

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Little girls dress up clothes 1.39lb. These will be a Christmas gift for a friend’s daughter.

Overall, we had a blast at the Goodwill Outlet. Not for the faint of heart, but great for pirate thrifters. 

Have you ever been to a Goodwill Outlet and what did you find?

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Throw Pillow Transformation- Frugal Decor!

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I’m really excited about my throw pillow transformation! I pulled a couple of pillows out of my sister’s donation pile after her yard sale. They were shabby and didn’t match my decor but for about $3.25 including shipping on Amazon.com I was able to buy these beautiful bright pillow covers! They are listed as burlap so I was worried they would be scratchy but they are actually soft! I couldn’t be more thrilled!

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Click my referral link below to buy your own! These are so cool that I also sent a couple to my long distance BFF and I wasn’t even the one who had to ship them which was a nice added bonus!

WayHomeDecor Cotton Linen Decorative Throw Pillow Case Cushion Cover Cute Elephant 18 “X18 “

 

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Saving Money on a Cross Country Move

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Since my last post my husband and I moved to Texas. We flew into town for my husband’s interview on June 18th. That weekend we were determined to find an apartment if he got the job. After looking at 12 apartments we found the one. We flew back to Florida awaiting the news whether or not he got the job. Well he did and he started on the 3rd of July! We had been thinking about moving to Texas for a few months and in that time we decided we would be taking the bare minimum of household items. After a very successful yard sale (read about it here) and selling things online. I was able to get rid of our furniture.

Here are a few frugal things we did to save on our cross country move.

  1. We decided to attach a hitch to our Honda Accord and tow a 4×8 trailer. Whatever didn’t fit in the trailer stayed behind. Renting a Uhaul to tow our car would have been around $1500 where as a trailer and permanent hitch was around $400.
  2. We only took one piece of furniture. The rest was kitchen stuff such as our crockpot, toaster, waffle maker, and George Foreman grill. We also brought household items such as canvases and other items that hold sentimental value to us.
  3. Our apartment offered a $99 deposit/application special because my husband works for one of the big tech companies here.
  4. We bought out couch from Big Lots. My husband actually arrived in TX a few weeks before I did and he found our sectional couch for $700. Now we have never spent more than $45 on a couch before so $700 is a lot, but compared to other furniture stores this was a steal.
  5. Initially, my husband slept on an air mattress he bought from Walmart. He priced matched with an amazon deal and saved money on the mattress. Now we have a mattress for company to sleep on too!
  6. We bought our mattress from Ikea. We live 5 minutes away from Ikea and a mattress store. We decided to check out the mattress store first and upon seeing that the cheapest mattress set was $1500 we made a bee line to Ikea. Our mattress was around $350.
  7. Downsizing from a 3 bedroom house to 1 bedroom apartment has saved us money on utility bills. Our rent is actually more, but in the amount we are saving in electricity it works out to be the same.
  8. For signing up with our electric company they gave us a 2 night stay in select hotels across the country. I still need to do some research into this deal, but if it works out expect a post about it.
  9. We are slowly buying furniture/ decor for our new home. Since getting rid of all our possessions we really do not feel the need to buy items for our house that do not have a purpose.
  10. We discovered grocery stores we did not have in Florida and have learned how their sales work. For example, I do most of my grocery shopping at HEB, but about every other week Sprouts has boneless skinless chicken breasts for $1.88 lb. My husband and I basically only eat chicken breasts so I stock up and freeze the chicken.
  11. HEB also has self-serve spices. This has saved me lots of money because I can buy the exact amount of spice I need for a recipe without buying a whole bottle. Usually it only costs around 10-20 cents for a small package of whatever spice I need.

42 inch Flat screen TV from Goodwill for $120

2015-07-24 18.12.07So I have written about how we bought our 46 inch TV for $150 but recently the screen died and that was our only TV. When we moved in December we decided that we really didn’t need or use our bulky tube TVs and if we wanted to watch TV in another room we could do it on our laptops/computers.

My sister and brother-in-law were nice enough to let us borrow one of their TVs but then they moved and it was time for us to buy our own TV anyways. Well coincidentally my sister and I went to Goodwill and they had just put our the above 42 inch TV for $125 dollars. I still have a student discount so I was able to get 10% off! That basically took care of the tax so the total was $120! It also happens to be the exact same size as our 46 inch TV so maybe it has a wider border around the screen or maybe they were wrong about the size.

I’m going to be very honest and say that there was one minor problem with the TV. There was a line that appeared in the screen after 5+ hours of use a few times but that has completely stopped which is odd. I’m not naive enough to think that this problem won’t reappear at some point but for now it’s gone and its been gone a lot longer than it appeared. The TV came with a remote and has all of the right HDMI plugs and everything. Honestly, I can’t say how much we love this TV! And the price was right! I am determined to stop buying new when possible and I didn’t expect to find a flat screen TV but I’m glad I did.

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