Pictures for LuLu’s Room-Guess How Much $

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How much do you think the 3 pictures for LuLu’s room cost? 
Similar pictures from Target would be approximately $75!  You’ll never guess…

All 3 pictures were $1.50!!!  Each picture was priced @ $0.50 each!  My MIL picked these up at a yard sale on Saturday.  See her tips HERE to get you started saving money at yard sales.

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My Goal Prices

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The prices listed below are what I typically pay for a product.  I used an asterisk to note the items that I can usually get for FREE. Toothpaste at $0.24 each is a good price. I might purchase 1 or 2 depending on how many are in my stockpile. I won’t purchase a lot until I can get it for free since it is an item than I know I can get free if I’m patient.  I tend to really stockup on an item if I can get if for less than the price listed.

I’ve listed a few items simply as free.  Frankly, I can remember the last time I actually paid anything for those items.  If I did I must have run out or needed to bump up my total for a promotion.  I guess a good price on BBQ sauce would be less than $0.50 and a small bottle of dish soap $0.25.

These are prices that I pay in the Hampton Roads area of VA.  Prices vary by region but hopefully this will give you an idea of the prices I shoot for in my shopping.  Keep a record of your spending to see what prices are right for you.

  • Paper Towels $0.29*
  • Tissues $0.25*
  • Deodorant $0.50
  • Toothpaste/Toothbrush $0.25*
  • Razors $0.49
  • Shampoo/Conditioner $0.50*
  • Body Wash $0.50*
  • Personal Products $0.25*
  • Laundry Detergent (50oz, 2X conc.) $1.99
  • Cat Food-dry (3lb bag) $1.99
  • Granola Bars $1
  • Fruit Snacks $0.50
  • Rice (small bag or flavored box) $0.25*
  • Pasta $0.10*
  • Cheese (shredded and block) $0.50-$1.99 (we eat a crazy amount)
  • Lunch meat $1
  • Crackers $0.50*
  • Chips $0.50
  • Packaged Cookies $0.50
  • Yogurt Cups $0.25
  • Yogurt (4 pack) $0.50*
  • Condiments $0.25*
  • Taco Shells $0.75
  • Salad Dressing $0.75*
  • Frozen Veggies (Bag) $0.50*
  • Canned Veggies $0.25
  • Cereal $0.50*
  • Canned Tomatoes (15 oz) $0.50 (usually less)
  • Organic Cereal $1
  • Boxed Baking Items (cake mix, brownies, etc) $0.50
  • Cake Frosting $0.25*
  • BBQ Sauce FREE
  • Dish Soap FREE
  • Seasoning Packets FREE
  • Cat Treats FREE


Let me know if there are other items you want me to add.

Leave a comment if you have other prices for items listed or even not listed, I’d love see it!

See My Goal Prices: Meat

Checkout Southern Savers list HERE

This post is linked to Madame Deals, Coupon Teacher and Couponic Stimulus

Photo credit: Wendyusuallywanders


May Grocery Tally

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I know this is rather late, but I wasn’t here to get it posted.  I came in way under budget this month!  You would think it was because I wasn’t here for a week but I actually splurged on a lot of things for the kids before we left-mostly without coupons.  Gasp! My grocery bill was about $35 less.

I really didn’t do too much shopping in May.  I’m waiting to go over budget when I restock some of the items that I’m out of or running low on, but overall my pantry is pretty stocked.

My weekly budget is $75. See past months HERE

Total Shelf Cost $551.33
Total Saved in Coupons $313.20

Total Spent $149.36 
Savings 72.91%
Average per Week $37.34

What to do with my extra $150?!?!

How did you do in May?


April Grocery Tally

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April was a 5 week month for us.  I still stick with our $300 month grocery budget even if I have to stretch another weeks worth of food out of it.  I was really impressed with myself this month.  I usually run out of money to buy milk and bread :)
I stayed out of the store and only purchased items that we needed or were a great price.  It helped that I only made 1 Harris Teeter Triples trip and the WAGS and CVS deals weren’t really what I wanted.  I did deplete my meat supply a lot, so I think my mother-in-law will take me to the commissary for meat this month.  I may need to use the leftover money from April to supplement that. We’ll see…
Total Spent: $270.79
Total Saved: $519.08
Rebates Owed: $5.00
Amount Remaining in Cash Envelope: $29.21
Weekly average: $54.16!!

I also submitted for PG Coupon Booklet Rebate and Free Land O Lakes Coupon Rebate

How did you do?
How do you handle 5 week months?

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Shopping Yard Sales

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I asked my mother-in-law to contribute a post about tips for shopping yard sales.  She is a veteran yard saler who has been scouring neighborhoods for the past, well, I might get in trouble if I tell you that ;)

Yard sales are a great way to find household treasures, tools, sports equipment, baby furniture, toys and clothing at a bargain price.

  1. Know your area, location is important. A neighborhood with young families equals infant, toddler or   children’s clothing and toys. Children’s clothing and toys resale easy and are usually in excellent condition.
  2. Map your area; mark the newspaper ad with your yard sale choices. Check the map for directions or enter the addresses in your GPS. Number each yard sale in the order you will visit. Usually it is best to start closet to your home traveling to the furthest yard sale of the day.
  3. Let’s make a deal, most yard sale families are eager to move their items. So offer less than they are asking, remember to be reasonable.
  4. Before you head out to find your treasure, take measurements with you. Know how much space you have if you are looking for a furniture item, know the size of the frame, mirror, or clothing you are looking for, this saves guessing or passing up a deal.
  5. Take small bills with you, having plenty of ones, fives and tens makes it easier for you to bargain, most families do not like checks so cash is a must.

Now enjoy the hunt for that treasure.

-I wanted to add that she was telling me yesterday about a yard sale she went to that was way over priced for scrapbook materials.  The prices were just under retail value.  As with everything, don’t just assume it’s a great deal just because it’s from a yard sale.  When I shop yard sales I want a steal, which to me, is the whole point.  The new Gymboree jean skirt she got “LuLu” for $0.25 was a steal!

Diana is a mom to 3 boys and Nana to 4 kiddos.  She is a military wife who loves to find a good bargain.  When she’s not a grandchild’s baseball or soccer game; she can be found scouring yard sales or the mall for rock bottom deals. 

This post is linked to Madame Deals and My Coupon Teacher

Photo Credit


What Do You Do With Your Mail-in Rebate Money?

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photo from

I was asked the question recently, “What do you do with your mail-in rebates.”  I always try to your questions and comments, so here it is.  I love to get “free” items after a rebate or get money back for items I’m already purchasing.  That said, I do have to be very careful how many rebates I submit for each month.  You do have to pay the money out of pocket and wait 6-8 weeks on average to receive your rebate check in the mail.  I am very strict about my $75 per week budget.  Once the money is gone, it’s gone!   A recent mail-in rebate I submitted for was FREE Olay Quench Lotion after rebate. I did have coupon, so I “made” money on the deal.   That money is now gone from my cash envelope and it won’t return.  Submitting for mail-in rebates is factored into my grocery budget, so the money doesn’t get added back in to the grocery fund once the check is received.

The exception is rebates from other funds.  I submitted for a $9 Hasbro Game rebate from Toys R Us recently.  That money came from the gift fund and it will be replaced once the check is received. 

I do the same for extra grocery money.  Extra cash left at the end of the month is pulled and goes for the same types of savings or spending as mail-in rebates.  Once upon a time I’d lowered my grocery budget to $400 a month.  I kept it that way for a long time and gradually decreased it to our current $300 month budget.  With a budget that high, I frequently had a lot of extra grocery money left-I was just scared to officially lower the budget.  I put a lot of money away during that time.  I consider anything left over as extra because I’ve already factored that money out of our total monthly budget.

Checks received from mail-in rebates and extra grocery money is currently being added to the emergency fund.  My husband works in the construction industry which has been hit hard by the recession.  We want to prepare even more in case things don’t work out well for the company he works for.  I’m hoping to hit my goal soon! 

A few things we have put rebate and extra grocery money into are:
Vacation fund
“LuLu”‘s new bedroom furniture
Student loan pay off
House renovations
Garage freezer (still looking for)
Meat stock up fund (still haven’t needed to use)
Fun kitchen gadgets from Pampered Chef
Extra dinner out-no kids :)
Busch Garden’s passes

Pay off consumer debt
Whatever you’re currently saving for-new tv, house down payment, etc
Shopping splurge
Summer camps/sports for kids
Adding more organic foods into diet
Gym membership

Your imagination is the limit!

What do you do with your mail-in rebate checks or extra grocery money?

*I’ve used quotation marks on some words because the money isn’t exactly free if I have to pay for it initially and I can’t actually make money for the same reason.

Enter the Surface Hair Care Product Giveaway

This post is linked to Madame Deals, Melissa’s Bargain Blog, and My Coupon Teacher


March Grocery Tally

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Monthly Grocery Tally
I still can’t figure out where March went.  At least we have nice weather coming our way!
I just finished entering all my receipts into the Savings Tracker and was pleasantly surprised to see we were slightly under budget this month.  I know the extra money is still in my cash envelope, but it’s nice to see on the spreadsheet.
For those of you who missed the first post in February, my grocery budget is $75 week.  You can also learn more about my families spending habits from February’s Grocery Tally.
Total Spent: $282.94
Average per Week: $70.74
Rebates Owed: $13.99 – $6 Tilapia and $7.99 Olay Quench
Total Shelf Cost: $820.59
Total Saved: $551.64
Percentage Saved: 67.22%
Have: $5 Target Gift Card, $4 RR, and $11 ECB’s
How did you do this month?
Please note that all families are different, some might spend less and some might spend more. I know I certainly don’t have the lowest grocery budget out there. Do what works best for your family and if you want to lower your monthly spending, we’ll work on it.


Easter Baskets on a Budget

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I’ve been meaning to get this up, but I’m rather behind on my shopping lately.  This is what my kids will be getting for Easter.  I’ll be adding sunglasses for each kid just because they need them and $2 each.  My kids love cash :)
We use the same Easter baskets and grass every year.  Why purchase it again? 
Bubbles from The Dollar Tree ($2)
Crest toothpaste and Oral-B toothbrush from Target (FREE)
Connect 4 for “LuLu” ($2.11*)
Operation for “Monekeyboy” ($2.11*)
$2 cash each ($4)
Candy-as “filler” for Walgreen’s (?)
Sunglasses (TBD)
Even after the sunglasses I’ll have spent under $20 for 2 Easter baskets.
*I factored $2.11 for each game because I spent $15.32 OOP-$9mail-in rebate.  I’m not counting the $5 gift card here because the items I purchase later will be free. Anyways, makes since in my head.
Other (better) baskets I’ve done:
Sand toys with summer sandals (after summer sale)
Swim suits with beach towels (after summer sale)
Other Budget Ideas:
Clearance toys
Bath toys
Art items-crayons, markers
Water balloons
Play doh
Treats such as fruit snacks
Pool toys
Flip Flops
Sports theme such as baseballs or shin guards for soccer–why didn’t I do that this year!
I don’t like getting things I consider junk that will just get thrown out or forgotten.  I’d rather get something useful for the kids or treats such as a few pieces of candy.  Other years I’ve done a summer theme.  I think themes make it more fun when that’s possible to incorporate.
My kids had more Easter candy that I’d picked up from Walgreen’s but my husband ate it!  I’d also stashed FREE buddies soaps from Target, but he gave those to the kids! (Me shaking my head)
What are your kids getting for Easter? Other Easter basket budget tips?
This post is linked to Madame Deals


How We Saved Cash for Appliances

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One day I woke up. I realized credit card debit was NOT a way of life. I’d always thought, “Doesn’t everyone have student loans, credit card payments, and car loans?” I realized the answer was NO! Once I finally had my eyes open, a friend introduced me to the wonderful world of Dave Ramsey. I’d always thought that what he taught wasn’t for the real world. I’d thought it was his money making scheme. Oh, how wrong I was! After listening to the cd’s, I had a new mission in life. NO DEBT! Now, I’m not there yet. We have a mortgage and I’m okay with that, for now.

I was a little worried when we decided to move to get “Moneyboy” in a better school. The house my husband loved needed a LOT of work. We’d been putting money away for the impending move and knew that some work would need to be done on any house in our price range. I’ll have another post(s) about our DIY adventures soon. The point of this post is that we were able to get most of the work done I wanted except for the kitchen. I can handle old cabinets and counter tops. It was the appliances that had me crying. I’d never had a refrigerator without ice and the stove always smelled like gas (it wasn’t leaking but I still smelled it). To top it off, we were now out of home improvement money.  Yes, some of you are thinking I’m spoiled for wanting automatic ice.

The solution? We started saving. We were able to save enough cash in 2 1/2 months to purchase a new refrigerator (with water and ice in the door!), a new smooth top range and an over-the-range microwave. Oh yes, I’m spoiled now!  How did we do it? We saved extra grocery money, pulled in the budget, hubby worked side jobs and overtime and we used our Christmas money from family.

We had a lot of time to shop around and research the best appliances over those couple of months. We looked online, checked consumer reports, and drove to every store imaginable in the area. We had picked out the appliances way before we had the money to purchase them. Once we did have the money; we waited another 3 weeks for another sale to come around. We saved an additional $500 by knowing our prices and holding out for the good sale.

Patience, hard work and persistence will get you what you want without going into debit. Putting the appliances on the credit card would have been much easier but not nearly as rewarding.

Have you saved for big purchases lately?