Monday, July 8, 2013

Helping You Save a Buck

Like a dollar not the deer ...

I hate shopping at Wal-Mart! I cringe every time I walk into the place. I saw a documentary about the company a few years ago and that turned me off of the superstore. I heard they're apparently trying to turn things around ... maybe I need to find a newer documentary. 

Even though I prefer to buy American made things from local stores, Wally World has become a necessary evil in my life. The reason I shop there is 2-fold.
    1. When I get out, especially when I've got all 3 in tow, I need to get as much of what I need in the same
    place because there's really no telling when I'll get out again. So ... convenience.  

    2. The prices. I'm a cheapskate ... not ashamed of it. 

Okay, so here's where the good part comes in! My wonderful sis-in-law told me about price matching at Wal-Mart. They will match a lower price at any other local store. Woohoo! Ever since I made this discovery, I've added a step to my grocery list making process. I check pretty much every store in the local area for better deals. Takes me about an hour. But I think it's worth it! 

Many times Wal-Mart really does have the lowest price. But I'm usually able to save at least $25 this way. It's worth it to me since I go through at least 2 gallons of milk and 3 pints of strawberries a week.  

So I've decided to share the love! After my weekly grocery trip, I'm going to post things I've bought that I price matched so everyone can benefit from my research. A good example of the deals I find: Strawberries are almost always .99 a pint at Aldi. They're usually $1.98 at Wal-Mart ... half off! YAY! 

Since I'll only be posting about the deals I've found on my trip, I'll tell you how I do it in case you want to do your own legwork. :) 

1. I've bookmarked every grocery store I can think of in the area: Tom Thumb, Aldi, Albertsons, Kroger, The Dollar Store, Dollar General, CVS, Walgreens, Brookshires, Target, Sprouts, & HEB (Having them bookmarked just makes the process easier)
2. Make out my grocery list.
3. Get on my computer and pull up each store's online weekly ad paper & look for the items on my list. Sometimes, if I see a really good deal I'll get something not on my list but I'm not about buying 42 travel size shampoos for only $1.29. I just want a good deal on the things I already buy.
4. When I find a better deal at a different store, I write the better price, the item info (brand, size, etc) & the store I found it at next to the item on my list. 
    Note: If Tom Thumb has 16oz of cheese for $4 but I can only find the same cheese at Wal-Mart in 8oz I'll
    say 8oz for $2 ... get it? 

    Note #2: I try to stay pretty true to the exact size & brand. However, if the Tom Thumb brand cheese is
    on sale I'll relate that to the Wal-Mart brand cheese. Sometimes the cashiers except it, sometimes not.

5. When I shop I'll get whatever's cheaper ... Wal-Mart or the other store. When at the register, I tell the cashier right off that I'm price matching. Then I group all my price matched items together (just makes it easier). When the cashier comes to an item I'm pricing matching I tell him "That cheese is $2 at Tom Thumb."

Although someone could very easily take advantage of the system, I don't. I stay very honest to it. Even though I'd LOVE to tell them milk is on sale for $1 somewhere. :( 

Tune in later or my deal postings!

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Laundry Room ReDo

We've been living with my folks for almost a year (can't believe that!). It's been an adjustment in many ways. For me, it's been hard not having my own house/space. My parents are wonderful about sharing their space but when it comes down to it everything is still my mom's kitchen, my mom's decorations, my mom's furniture, etc. 

Me and mom have chatted about some areas we'd like to declutter and give a face lift. Top of the list: the pantry and laundry room. Mom was out of town for part of this week so I decided to surprise her with a laundry room redo! 

It was my first real redo and I had such a good time doing it! One lesson I learned was don't cut corners. Just do things they way they should be done. It may take longer but not as long as doing something half-assed and having to go back and fix it. :o) Here's what I did and how I did it.

This is the worst before pic ever! I forgot to take a picture before I moved everything to the garage. Picture this: a table taking up the whole wall on the left, making it impossible to stand in front of the washer. You actually had to stand off to the side to load/unload it. ANNOYING! On the table was wire racks filled with extra food, lightbulbs, cleaners, Eve's backpacks and crafts. It was stacked at least 5 1/5 feet high. Bulk papergoods, trashbags and pet food spilled out from under the table. Because of that whole monstrosity, you really only had about half (if that) of this empty space to walk in. It was basically impossible for 2 people to do anything but stand in there. Get the picture?? Oh and I didn't address the homemade hanging clothes bar (you can see part of it above the cabinets). This room was once my mom's sewing room so my dad installed that for her then. Ever since we moved in, it's been home to about 100+ hangers (usually empty) and some clothes hanging up to dry. It made it even harder to access the washing machine and the items on the table.

Here's the almost completed after. I picked a color for an accent wall (I'm pretty much in love with that blue color right now!) and then I revolved everything else around that. I organized and cleaned out everything in the cabinets, sanded, primed and painted them. A tip: when buying white paint, make sure you have WHITE PAINT and not a base for them to add color to. I bought wall decals at Joann's and put them on the washer and dryer (thanks Pinterest!). I just happened to find a $20 4.5x6 rug at WalMart in the perfect color. I snatched that guy up right away! I hung a white rack to hang Eve's backpacks and lunch boxes from and the white bins house her crafts and poopoo prizes.

The finished, finished product! I took off the old cabinet hardware and added adorable lollipop looking knobs I found at Hobby Lobby in my perfect shade of blue. I wanted most of the cleaners to still be super accessible so I put them on that thin rack between the dryer and the wall.

Definitely a fun experience! It was a little intimidating at first and I learned alot along the way. Bu more importantly, I learned that I can do it! Stay tuned for the pantry redo.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Beer Broccoli Cheese Soup

I discovered greatness! I was going to make broccoli cheese soup for some friends and my husband, half jokingly, suggested I make it with beer. I've seen Cheddar beer soup recipes before so I thought, Okay, I'll give it a shot!

It turned out so delicious! Here's what I did:

4 big heads of broccoli
1 Guinness beer (some recipes I've seen say not to use stout beer when cooking but I use beer because I want to taste it. So I go with dark.)
1 block Velveta (next time I'll use cream cheese to eliminate the fake food)
1 big handful of shredded Cheddar cheese
1 cup half and half or cream or milk
1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt


Steam broccoli. In a separate pot melt cheese in the beer over medium heat to create a yummy cheese sauce. When the broccoli has steamed and the sauce has sauced, drain broccoli. By mixing half broccoli half cheese sauce in your blender, blend everything until creamy. At this point I put everything back into the pot to season. Just season to taste. I used salt, paprika and turmeric (because I heard The Doctors say its super good for you and should be added to everything!) I wasn't sure if I was going to add the cream and the yogurt but I ended up incorporating it after seasoning the soup. I guess you could add it to the sauce making process. Enjoy!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Latest Goings On

 Eve LOVES putting things on the babies' heads. Today she thought Noomi needed a spring hat.

It's almost time to break out the play yard. These guys are getting around fast!

I think it's hysterical when they crash in random places like this. Justin always has the touch. 

Justin and Eve decorated a cake for Justin's birthday. Eve picked the color/flavor of course.