Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Trolling at Target

I originally started shopping at Target because they have (in my opinion) prettier stuff than Walmart for about the same prices. But, I've recently learned a few tricks that have helped me get some killer deals at Target. It isn't all essentials, but there's nothing like getting exactly what you want on the cheap. Basically, there are 2 things you need to know to shop Target effectively:

Tip 1: Scour the endcaps that aren't facing a main aisle, basically, the hidden endcaps. Clearance stuff gets put here and you can find some awesome deals.

Tip 2: go to Target's coupon policy allows you to redeem 1 manufacturer's coupon AND 1 store coupon per item. I wait until I have both coupons and the item is on special (look at the weekly ad) and then I snap it up: I can usually get Nivea body wash for about 50 cents, Garnier facial moisturizer for about 2 bucks, and toothpaste (typically Aquafresh) for free-50 cents. If you're watchful, you can also find great deals on shampoo&conditioner, coffee, and other pantry items, too.

So, here's where #10 (a ridiculous amount of situational awareness comes in):

I noticed in Target's weekly ad this morning the the TargetHome curtain panels were on sale for $12 each.  We needed 4 panels for our living room, so that would have been $48 bucks, which would have been decent on its own.

But, Target had a coupon online for the same curtains, "Buy One, Get One 50% Off." So, off we went, expecting to get our curtains for $36 bucks- an awesome deal.

Buut, when we got there, I checked the endcaps, just in case. And there they were. 4 panels, marked down from 24.99 each to 7.48 each. 

All four panels cost us $22.44 after coupons. Not too shabby. Sorry for the picture quality, btw.

So, that concluded #9 of my top 10 list for cheapo living. Next up: #8- online shopping.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

This Is How My Brain Works

I get asked (a lot) how we can afford for me to stay home with our two kids on a military salary (hint: it a'int the commissary!) So, I figured I'd share my "top ten list" of cheap living strategies over the next few weeks. None of this is rocket science, just stuff I've learned through trial and error. If any of this helps you find a little extra money in your budget, great! So, without further ado, and yes, I/m kind of working backwards....

 #10: A ridiculous amount of situational awareness
So, what does that mean?

That for me means:

 a) the grocery store I frequent is offering 4x the gas rewards on each dollar spent on gift cards this week

 b) the grocery store offers home depot gift cards

 c) we really need mulch for our flower beds right now...and it's on sale this weekend for Memorial Day @ Home Depot

 d) there is a $5 off a 50 dollar purchase coupon in my inbox from the Home Depot garden club newsletter

So.... 1st, I bought 2 $25 dollar Home Depot gift cards and received 200 points in gas rewards, which equals 20cents off per gallon. Combined with my grocery reward, I'll actually get 30cents off. Getting 30 cents off per gallon means I've saved $6 for the entire fill up on my 20 gallon tank. That may not seem like a lot, but it gets better.

 2nd, The mulch we like is 4 for $10 dollars at HD, so with my $5 off coupon and gift cards, I can get 22 bags, which should more than take care of our needs.

Does that make sense? By anticipating our family's needs and planning carefully, I can usually make our purchases do double duty for us. I shelled out 50 bucks, got a free $5 to spend, and saved $4 at the pump. My fifty dollars spent like 61 dollars. Roughly, 22% more bang for my buck.

 The big picture: let's assume you can do this (or better) with all of your cash. For the sake of argument, we'll use a 2,000 per month take home pay. Getting 22% more for each dollar means you actually have the buying power of 2,440 month. That 440 should about cover a car payment, or more :) But, I can almost always make our money go farther on everyday items...

 Stay tuned for #9, Trolling at Target. (yes, I know it's trawling, but I like trolls. They are short, like me, so it's "trolling.")

Monday, May 7, 2012

Cheap Chair Makeover

A while ago, we picked up this chair for 15 bucks off of craigslist.

I wasn't really sure what I was going to do with it, but I thought she had some serious potential with her wavy back and curvy legs;)Yes, please feel free to enter that sentence into the Top 100 Things That Sound Really Dirty but Aren't contest. The black paint had been applied pretty badly...also, it was oil based, so I knew I didn't want to try and sand it all off. After removing the seat, I scrubbed the frame down with deglosser and a green scrubby pad. The "upholstery" was just a very thin piece of muslin, so that had to go, too. I really didn't want to spend a bunch of money, either, so I painted it with some leftover teal and gave it a quick gloss to protect the finish form two adorable little children who shall remain nameless. After I pulled off the thin piece of muslin, I discovered that our chair was one of those chairs:

Yep, she was one of those fake needlepoint kind of girls. We sort of had one of those, oh, honey moments. And then we got over it and bought her some brand new fabric in a great shade of tangerine. A 50% off sale combined with coupon meant we walked out of there with a 1/2 yard of upholstery fabric for about 5 bucks.

I just centered the pattern on the seat and began my faux-pholstery, as we like to call it ;)Once centered, I flipped the seat over and used a staple gun to secure the fabric to the left side.

I started on the left since I am right handed- that meant I had my dominant hand free to really pull the fabric tight (like so tight you think it's going to rip) before I secured it. Then, just pleat the 4 corners and staple them:

sorry for the blur
Secure the front and back:

And, done!

The finished product:

Not counting drying times, I spent just slightly over an hour working on the chair. I originally planned to re sell, but I think I'm going to hang on to this one ;)

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<div align="center"><a href="" title="TDC Before and After" target="_blank"><img src="" alt="TDC Before and After" style="border:none;" /></a></div>