Thursday, August 15, 2013

Trash to Treasure: Candle Lantern to Bird Feeder

I'm throwing a few little Trash to Treasure projects out here. If you're frugal because you have to be or because you want to be, this is where I find myself hating to spend money, on things that are not necessities but luxuries and costly ones at that. So I find ways to use things that I stumble across that other people have no use for and I can turn into something super cute.
A friend of mine had this high quality candle lantern sitting on her porch collecting spiders and webs because one of the glass panes had broken. I sometimes forget that not everyone has the creative gene or the patience to repurpose such treasures. So what shall become of ye oh lantern...

The first thing I did was knock out the remainder of the glass pane. There is a door on the opposite side of the broken window allowing easy access for whatever I do to this broken side.

Once I knocked the glass out, I decided to bring out some popsicle sticks and see if I couldn't get a little picket fence going. I then glued the pieces together and sprayed them with a similar bronze color.

I then visited my dollar store and picked up some moss, one of those little mesh paperclip cups, some decals, and a solar stake light. The light was just small enough to fit inside the handle opening and I used no shortage of hot glue to secure it! :) Finally I placed the decals on the windows, the paperclip cup in the center, supported it with some moss, added some seed, and put it out to solar charge! Here's the final result.

I may take out the bird seed cup and see if this will be used as a nesting box for a little mommy bird. :)

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Search Engine with Perks

There are so many options for a search engine these days. Some are better than others but I only know of one that has a perk to it. Have you tried Swagbucks yet?
As you use Swagbucks, there are ways to earn points. You can take a poll, look through offers, watch videos, search online, play games, shop, and a bunch of other options. There are a number of things you can use your points for; purchasing goods, playing games, getting gift cards, and more. I don't see it as a particularly strong search engine but to look for fairly normal things or to even use it as a launch pad and type in the sites you already go to, it's fine. You can collect your points and redeem them when you want.

My personal favorite are the Amazon gift cards. If you're diligent about your point accumulation you can make a decent dent in your holiday shopping bill! How can you complain about getting a little something for doing things you do online anyway? :)

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

DIY Apothecary Jars

Apothecary jars aren't cheap. But they are very attractive and I can't help but gravitate towards them when I do see them. So with a little Pinterest inspiration, I set off to create my own. I did not do a good job with the photo documentary part but you'll get the idea.
Dollar Store Shopping list:
2 Candle stick holders
1 medium votive candle holder
2 jars in different sizes
Amount: $5.00
On hand:
Spray paint of choice
E6000 glue
Optional: Chalk board paint
First, paint the tops of your jars and the candle sticks with your colored paint (if you're using one). Now, on the short jars, they did not have a 'handle knob' on it so I made a really poor one with a couple of different sized glass beads and glued them on before I painted. Let them dry overnight because we can not have soft paint there.

Painted candle stick with separate votive holders

While those are drying, use the chalk board paint to make a label area on each one, if the design allows.
Finally, use a good amount of glue and secure the candle stick to the bottom of your votive holder and/or jars. Once it's dry, you should be all set.
I used a textured metallic bronze on the one, and an oil rubbed black on the other. I love them both!  

Monday, August 12, 2013

To Join or Not to Join the Email List

Many companies now have email lists and 'clubs' and 'memberships' that you can sign up with. At first glance you might think, "No thanks! Limiting the spam here!" But you may want to think again. Some companies have great perks! For example, an email subscriber only sale, a BOGO coupon, a free donut, coffee, or how about free chocolate covered strawberries! Oh yes, I am serious!

Visit all of your favorite brand sites and all of your favorite restaurant sites and go ahead and sign up for those email lists, clubs, and memberships. Did you create that separate email address we talked about? I told ya you'd thank me! Come birthday time I get to having some fun cashing in on free stuff! :) Here are a few restaurants to consider:
  • Dunkin Donuts - Gives a free donut
  • Starbucks - Gives a free cup of coffee
  • Panera - Also free coffee
  • Olive Garden - Currently running a 25% off coupon for lunch. Sign up
  • Outback - Follow this link and get a coupon for a free mini milkshake right now.
  • The Melting Pot - This is where those strawberries are. I know they offer them on anniversaries but I think they offer them for birthdays too!
Where do you go out to eat? You may be missing some free goodies!

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Saving on Meats by Buying in Bulk

We all know saving on meats is next to impossible. We just don't get coupons for those unless they are attached to other products like bananas with Nilla Wafers and ground beef with Kraft cheese, etc. So how can we lower our meat bill if their are no coupons?

First is the obvious, buy on sale. You'll see BOGO sales once in a while or 3-day sales and those can help. You can also shop your local bulk buy stores like Costco or Sams Club and get some there.

My personal favorite, however, is a bit different. It's ordering it in 40lb cases but the price can not be beat. The price is lower than anything in the stores but you have to buy a 40lb case. It's completely antibiotic and hormone free but you have to buy a 40lb case. There are no preservatives, no chemical additives, no water dilution and it's not frozen but you have to buy a 40lb case.  If you have heard of them before I highly recommend you check out Zaycon Foods!

Zaycon offers a small variety of foods and each food item is available only a couple times a year. You will have to package it into normal size portions but again, the price and the quality are really unbeatable. So ask a neighbor or family member to share a case with you and order away! :)

Repurpose Your Trash Boxes into Storage Boxes....

Saving money efforts are only as good as our imaginations. So I will be sharing my repurposed, upcycled, and cheap creations along the way.
It never really dawns on us to use our 'trash' from things like cereal boxes, or in this case, dog treats. But I had been keeping these boxes and using them for silly things like a lint bin in the laundry room when I clean out the dryer. When I went to the Dollar Store, I saw this cute black and white rose contact paper for shelves, drawers, and the like. I got a roll of it not knowing what I would use it for. Well, I used it and here's how it came out!
The contact paper being white didn't offer 100% coverage and to do it again I may just spray paint the box with a coat of cheap white paint first since there is some shading that can be seen. Also, I would do this indoors instead of outside while my husband mowed the grass. Hind sight... right? :)
The lid I painted technically twice. This one had depressed lettering in it so I first used a textured paint I had on hand to basically fill in the lettering. Then once that dried, I used a flat black. But you could also fill in lettering with good old Elmer's and then paint over it once it's good and dry. I haven't exactly figured out what I'll be using it for, thank you notes and cards maybe?

But overall, this came out adorable! I will be doing up some magazine boxes here soon so I'll post that project as well!

Friday, August 9, 2013

There's An App For That...


Coupons come in more varieties than your printer and the Sunday paper. Did you know there are a variety of other avenues in which you can save? Let me introduce you to two of my favorites.

The first one I want to introduce you to is SavingStar. It allows you to add your member/savings cards to your account and activate e-coupons that instead of coming off your bill, are added to your account. What's fun, is that these coupons have no connection to any other coupons you might have. So just once you can actually use two manufacturer coupons on one item. The only unfortunate thing is that the coupons are only single coupons. You can't buy 6 and use them 6 times. You just get one. But every little bit is nice!

If you don't have an app friendly phone, don't worry! You can still create an account online and benefit that way too! Just click the logo above to get started. Once you reach the low minimum of $5 in savings, you can get a pay out!

The next one is one of my favorites: Ibotta. This is a fun app that allows you to earn money by answering a question, learning a fact, watching a video, etc. on an item that you have already purchased that currently has an offer! Earn anywhere from $.50 to $2.00 per product. Good deal! But you'll need your receipt to photograph as proof! So don't throw it away too quickly. And this one also has a low payout of just $5.00.

There's a couple to get you started. There are others out there but these are the two that are in the lead! Have fun!

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Flattered and Thanks!

After the last post, I received a few responses stating they constantly use this blog as a reference for both themselves and to help their friends and family. I had no idea! Well I best revive this and keep up the obligation I didn't know I had! ;)

So the question I ask myself is, I've covered most of the coupon how-to's, where do I go from here? This is where I stumped myself as a newbie blogger before and why you haven't seen anything since. I allowed this blog to continue to be a guide for folks and it apparently has served that exact purpose but truthfully, I didn't know what else to blog about in the great world of coupons. The Idiot's Guide to Couponing was just that and only that and this chick was tapped out in her navigation.

But now evolution and inspiration are back and... well, I think I know the next steps. Saving 'outside the box (of coupons)'. So in the days and weeks ahead, I will post other ways to stay FRUGALLY RESPONSIBLE! I'm thinking this will include some recipes utilizing stored foods, preserving foods and canning, crafting and upcycling, maybe even gardening, some great finds in online deals, and whatever else this cheap skate... I mean frugally responsible girl thinks is penny saving. Oh the options are endless.

In the meantime, if there is something you ARE lacking from other saving sites, please drop a comment or an email and let me know!

Happy saving my friends!

Do you?

I am thinking of reviving this blog and was curious if anyone is still on it or still reads it. If so, the coupon madness will begin again! :)