7 WAYS TO MAKE THE MOST OUT OF YOUR GARAGE SALE

It has been two months since I have written, but I am back in action and ready to go!  I have been so busy these last six weeks preparing for a massive yard sale.  My husband and I decided about six months ago that we would start living more plainly.  What do I mean by that?  Mostly, we would be eliminating all the extra stuff from our lives….

Did we really need three sets of dishes?  Four cake pans…. thirty plus regular glasses.  Honestly, as we started purging things, I began to feel more free.  We decided to have a yard sale to rid ourselves of what was weighing us down.  The 1,400 square foot house we loved was filled with every day, normal American clutter.  All together this sale took six weeks to plan and execute.  Here is how we managed to make almost $2,000 in one weekend selling all of our unwanted/unneeded things.

SEVEN STEPS TO A SUCCESSFUL YARD SALE:

1.  PLAN, PLAN, PLAN!  This is the most important part of a yard sale.  Don’t plan it in one week, plan it weeks out.  This will leave you with the right amount of time to go through each room, the garage, the attic, the basement and so forth.  We took six weeks to plan out our sale and we could have easily taken another two!

2.  PRICE EVERYTHING:  As you go room to room, be prepared to spend hours pricing items individually.  I would say I spent somewhere around 15 hours pricing every item that went into our sale.  I had free things that got marked as such and items starting at five cents.

3.  HAVE AN ASSORTMENT OF PRICES:  Don’t be that person who has a garage sale and everything is outrageously priced.  Nobody wants to pay top dollar for your used stuff.  Granted, there are times when things should be marked accordingly (furniture, tools, items never used).  Our most expensive item was priced at $50.  It was a new set of pots and pans that had only been opened so that people could check them out.  They were still wrapped and in the box.

4.  SIGNAGE:  We live off a very busy, high traffic road.  We put two signs going down each side of this road plus arrows leading onto our road.  We started the first set of signs about 15 streets away and one more in the middle.  We used the same signs, with the same wording, and same colors so people would know it was for the same sale.  People commented on how they felt like they had to stop because our signs were so good!  

6.  VARIETY:  Due to the fact that we were trying to become minimalists, we had such a great variety of things.  One of the few things we didn’t have, that people like at yard sales is kids stuff.  SInce I couldn’t provide that, I brought in outside resources.  I had a friend who put her kid stuff in so that I could essentially complete my list.  Things that I found sold the best: tools, kitchen gadgets, office/party supplies.  The variety portion also made it super awesome because we separated each section into different tables.  When people asked if we had _____, we could direct them to a certain table!

7.  ADVERTISMENT:  Between social media, Craigslist (CL), phone apps, and other means, advertising for your sale should cost you little to nothing.  A few days before our sale I posted on CL and Facebook, made and posted signs, and used word of mouth.  I also downloaded an app on my Android called Yard Sale Treasure Map.  It was $1.99 and I am not sure if it actually helped, but for the cost, it was worth trying out.  Most people said they had seen our signs on our road and came because of them, but this was because we talked with them about what brought them here.

My mother helped out a ton at our sale, while my husband did most of the heavy lifting.  Every person who came we talked with, asked if they were looking for anything certain, and were willing to give multiple discounts to people who spent more!  On the last day we did a buy more, save more program.  We told people to fill a bag of clothes or books for $1.  We were willing to negotiate any of the leftovers during the last few hours because we didn’t want to have to haul it to the junk yard or Goodwill.  At the end of the weekend, the stress was totally worth the $1800+ we made!

If you are thinking of having a sale of your own follow these guidlines to make the most out of what you have.  Plan away, tag as many things as you can, and just have fun!  Our house is much less cluttered now, which is fantastic because I have less to clean now!  Good luck!

E

7 EASY SUPERBOWL SNACK IDEAS!

Hello football lovin’, SEAHAWKS fans!,

Are you throwing a Superbowl party this year?  Have no idea what is on your list of things to make, but are wanting football themed ideas?  I think I can help you with that!

Check out some simple and awesome ideas that you can use to make your party a smashing hit (and one that people will want to copy!):

Football Deviled Eggs

http://www.mymommystyle.com/?p=6697

Of course, you will want these to be on something blue or green, and nowhere near red… but for the sake of a picture you get red.

Also, this is not the recipe I use for my deviled eggs, but the main idea was getting the eggs to look like a football!

Chocolate covered Strawberries

I think there is little explaining needed here, but just in case.  Steps to make these:  1.  Buy strawberries.  2.  Melt chocolate chips.  3.  Dip strawberries in chocolate.  4.  Use white icing to make lines as picture shows!

BEAST MODE POPCORN!

Beastmode Popcorn Intro

http://ourbestbites.com/2014/01/popcorn/

This treat will take a little more time perhaps, but I am sure your guests will LOVE the work you have done!

FOOTBALL CUPCAKES

Double Chocolate Football Cupcakes

http://www.the-baker-chick.com/2011/09/double-chocolate-football-cupcakes/

In order to make these cupcakes better, you will want white frosting that you can color BLUE & GREEN… because obviously you are hosting a Hawks party (if you aren’t… you should be!).

SOFT PRETZELS (FOOTBALL SHAPED!)

Soft Pretzel Footballs

http://www.hungryhappenings.com/2014/01/Superbowl-snacks-soft-pretzel-footballs.html

Little needs to be said for the way American’s love soft pretzels!  YUMMY!

OREO TRUFFLES

Football Shaped Oreo Truffles :: Recipe on HoosierHomemade.com

http://hoosierhomemade.com/football-shaped-oreo-truffles/

Uhhh, so cute… so yummy!  Someone keep me away from the Oreo truffles.

TOUCHDOWN RICE KRISPY SNACKS

Chocolate Kickers Cereal Treats

http://www.wilton.com/idea/Chocolate-Kickers-Cereal-Treats?cmp=pint2013&icid=0108chocolatekickers

These can be made to look WAY better by simply making the white lines, blue and green!  In case you haven’t caught on yet, I am most definitely rooting for the Seattle Seahawks to win!!!

I will unfortunately be working this year for Superbowl (waaaaah!).  If you don’t have plans, feel free to visit me at Buffalo Wild Wings where I started working (second job… bored housewife).  I won’t be making treats but will be anticipating the photo’s of all the things people made into football shapes!  Might I suggest that if your table is of rectangular shape… you turn it into a football field?

Easy Football Field Party Table by { anightowlblog.com }

http://anightowlblog.com/2013/01/easy-football-field-party-table.html/

There are obviously so many yummy things to be made for such an eventful day… and please remember to be safe!  Don’t drink and drive, a cab is significantly cheaper than a DUI.

Enjoy,

E.

Two Ingredient Floor Cleaner

Hello my fellow frugal friends,

In my quest to discontinue the use of store bought cleaners, I have been waiting until I was out of Swiffer wet mop refills to start making my own floor cleaner.  In a few short minutes you can whip up your own floor cleaner using my two favorite ingredients.  Do you want to take a guess as to what they are?  …. Vinegar …. and water.  What a fantastic combination!

To make the mixture, use 1 cup of white vinegar for every 1 gallon of water.  Make sure to ring out the mop so it isn’t dripping wet.

        

You can use a spray bottle if you want to spot clean an area.  In this case, head to the Dollar Tree for a spray bottle.  If you need a bucket, same thing- Dollar Tree to meet your needs.

Friends, keep in mind, there is no reason to continue to waste your money buying store products that cost $5 when you can make this concoction for next to nothing.  I personally buy distilled white vinegar by the gallons so that I can use it for whatever I need, whenever I need it.  If you head to WinCo you can buy the big jugs for less than $4 and it can be used to clean a number of things, like cleaning your bathroom when added with blue Dawn dish soap.

Here is to starting your year saving money and spending more on what’s important in life!

Until next time,

E.

2 Ingredient Mint Chocolate Bark

Hello fellow frugal friends,

I’ve got a treat for you… Simple, tasty, and a crowd pleasing bark!  Basically, all you need is chips, pretzels, and an oven!  This has been a hit for many years, and I never tell anyone the recipe… because if I did what would they need me for?  But, for you guys, all of you who I may or may not know, here is what I have for you= )

IMG_20141224_115448256                                                  (Sorry about the bad picture…)

This is the main thing you need!  Winter blend Toll House chocolate chips!  It’s a mixture of dark chocolate and mint chips.

What you need to do to get those to turn to this:

IMG_20141224_121535272

-Turn your oven to 325 degrees.  It must be completely ready to go when you put these in.

-Put chips evenly dispersed on a foil lined cookie sheet.  Bake for 2-4 minutes until chips get shiny.  The closer your cookie sheet is to the top of the oven, the quicker it will be ready.  I usually open the oven at 2.5 minutes and use a knife to see if it spreads like a butter.

IMG_20141224_115642314

-Once it is ready to spread, take it out, spread it until it is creamy and smooth.

-Add pretzels (or nuts) to your hears content.  I prefer lots of pretzels for the salty effect.  Then I take a fork and push them in so they stick once they are cold.

-Cool for about an hour in the fridge.  Once chilled, break into pieces & enjoy!

This might be the easiest dessert to make and people LOVE it.  They rave about this simple delicious item, and think I worked very hard on it.  I have let them believe for three years… But now, I share with you the joys of easy treat making!

Enjoy friends,

E.

**PS.  I found this recipe on the back of the chocolate chip bag.  All credit to Toll House!

Welcome to the New Year… Some Post Xmas Sales

Hello my fellow frugal friends,

I know it has been a few weeks since I have given you something good, but man oh man, did the holidays overwhelm me this year!  Last holiday season I was so busy with school I didn’t get to do much for those that I loved.  This year, I thought I had so much time to do all these fun things for my family… but then, I ran out of time.

My family got goody boxes- fudge, caramels, chocolate covered pretzels, mint chocolate bark, and other yummies, but I didn’t get to make them the stuff I really wanted to try (homemade Bailey’s primarily).  I received some very nice things like an ice cream maker, Seahawks stuff, and gift cards for good food!  I hope your time was as enjoyable as mine.

Now that the holiday’s are over, all the department stores are here to give you discounted holiday gear!

Dollar Tree:  50% off all holiday stuff

Top Foods (Haggen):  Christmas decor marked down…. Not cheap enough for my taste, but there is some really cute stuff that I will keep my eye open for a better

Fred Meyer:  Holiday clothes up to 75% off.

IMG_20141231_160219748

75% off Totes gifts… These would be great for next years stocking stuffers or white elephant gifts…and at such a discounted price.

IMG_20141231_160201446

Rite Aid:  They have toys up to 50% off and same with Christmas decor.  This is a place I will be back at, because last year this is where I got most of my toys for donation from.  They quickly go from 50%-75% off so if you are interested in what they have, keep checking back to see when it drops (as soon as I find out I will let you guys know)!  They have so much stuff left over- blankets, toys, lights, decorations, & CANDY : )

IMG_20141231_133338872_HDR

IMG_20141231_133426807

IMG_20141231_133442838

In addition to the Christmas stuff they had left, they also have some make-up on a great sale!

IMG_20141231_133638709

I am not a big fan of Wet n Wild, but I got $1.19 mascara (BONUS) and they had cover up for $0.99!!

Walgreen’s:  Do you have a thousand photo’s from Christmas and New Years that you want to get printed?  Walgreen’s has $0.09 prints on all orders over 100.  This deal is good until 01/07.  Use code PRINTTHEM9.

Gymboree:  Right now you can get up to 75% off clothes online!

There are so many good things going on right now  : )  If you find something good, let me know, I love to hear from you!

Until next time.

E.

DIY Christmas… Making Presents on a Budget

Hello fellow frugal friends,

You’ve got 20 days left until Christmas is here!  Are you done shopping?  Have you even started?  So many procrastinators in the universe, which isn’t the worst thing in the world this year.  I’ve found some easy and awesome DIY Christmas gifts that you can make for family and friends.

1.  COOKIE IN A JAR:  This would be a great gift for your kids to make to give to family members.  These are super easy and cute!  Here is a link to see what it would look like:

http://madeinpretoria.wordpress.com/2011/12/20/12-days-of-christmas-diy-chocolate-chip-cookie-mix/

2.  CARAMELS:  There are so many different ways to make caramel.  These are a little more time consuming (at least the ones I have made in the past), but people seem to love these as a gift!  Try this recipe… it looks yummy!

http://tastesbetterfromscratch.com/2014/04/homemade-caramels.html

3.  CANDLES:  I am going to try to make some candles this year if I can muster up the time.

http://www.livingwellspendingless.com/2013/11/18/diy-cinnamon-candle-gift-handmade-holidays/

4.  DESIGN A WINE GLASS:  Head to the Dollar Tree and pick up some $1 wine glasses… then go to your local craft store and buy spray paint that works with glass… Also… get some rubber bands and then check out what you can do with these things!  (Note:  I tried this once, but I didn’t get the kind that worked with glass and it came off…so make sure you get the right kind).

5.  MINT SUGAR SCRUB:  I have always wanted to make some sugar scrub to give out but have yet to do it… this is top on my list & it has a five minute prep time.  This would allow you to make NUMEROUS gifts in one and with little time and effort.

http://lovegrowswild.com/2013/11/diy-mint-sugar-scrub-holiday-gift-ideas/

6.  HOMEMADE LIQUEURS:  This is what I am going to try to do for my over 21 friends/the ones who drink.  Homemade Bailey’s…uhhh, yes please.  This one may be a little more spendy, but your adult friends will LOVE it I am sure!

http://afarmgirlinthemaking.com/2014/10/homemade-baileys-just-time-christmas-gifts/

7.  HOMEMADE BODY BUTTER:  What lady in your life wouldn’t love homemade body butter?    Mom’s, young ladies, grandma’s, and aunts… all will want this!  Check out this site for a recipe:

https://hensandhoney.wordpress.com/2014/01/12/how-to-make-luxurious-body-butter-with-just-three-ingredients/

8.  MONOGRAM PLATES:  These would be great for kids to help with and there are so many different ways you can make a cool plate!  You can go to the Dollar Tree to pick the plates up and go to town with your creative side!

http://lemontreecreations.blogspot.com/2010/08/monogram-table-setting-and-other-ideas.html

There are so many wonderful, endless options on making your own gifts for the holidays.  These are just a few I thought were super awesome, easy, affordable, and require little effort!  Basically, you can be lazy AND give good Christmas gifts!  If you have any other neat ideas, let me know!  I would love to add it to the list, but if it’s spendy… you know the answer ; )

Have a good night… and if you do one of these, I want pictures🙂

E.

To Shampoo or Not to Shampoo??

Hello friends,

Depending on how long you have been following my blog, you may have read that I don’t use shampoo and conditioner.  I quit in February.  Instead I use a mixture of baking soda/water as my “shampoo” and apple cider vinegar as my “conditioner”.  Over the last ten months, my hair has felt fantastic.  There have been so many positives to my discontinued use of regular shampoo/conditioner.  But basically I have come to this dilemma…. in the months that I have been doing this I have managed to get my husband to quit gagging after I get out of the shower (from the smell of ACV) but he still wishes I would use regular shampoo and conditioner.  Apparently, that is all he wants for Christmas!  I have yet to decide if I will continue my path or give in to my husbands request, but I thought I would put out there a pros/cons list, in case you have felt like trying this method out.

PROS: (to using baking soda/ACV)

-Cost is significantly cheaper:  In ten months I have used less than one gallon of ACV (less than $5) and about $3 in baking soda.  10 months of shampoo is probably $30 give or take.

-My hair feels great!

-ACV helps with dandruff… so during the dry months, I don’t need to feel like I shouldn’t wear black.

-I know all the ingredients in my “shampoo and conditioner”.

-It is quicker to get in and out of my hair than the regular stuff!

CONS:

-It does take a little extra effort… really though, just like a minute extra.  I have to decide today is hair washing day, and then put the ACV and the baking soda in two cups.

-The smell… I personally like the smell of ACV, but it took a bit to adjust to my hair smelling like it until it was dry.  My husband on the other hand…. still not a fan.

-It strips the color out of my hair faster…  which doesn’t mean I will see my hair lady any sooner (because I am lazy), it just means my hair won’t look as good for as long… =(

Decisions, decisions… Life is tough.  Even though I only started using ACV/baking soda ten months ago, before that I hadn’t bought shampoo & conditioner in over a year from having a stock up… so do I start back up?  Do I give into my husbands request?  I mean, it really is a simple request.  I thought I would share this dilemma with you all share my goal of spending less.  But the main question of this post is if it is worth continuing when your S.O. doesn’t care for one of your frugal ways?!?

When I make a decision, I will let you know.

E.

Cyber Monday Today, Here is What is Going On

Hello fellow frugal friends,

Christmas is right around the corner and if you are at all like me, you stayed in on Black Friday!  With technology these days, why leave my house to get trampled when I can wait until the following Monday after Black Friday and score deals online, that get delivered in a package to my house?  Here are some deals you will find online today!

Petco:  Hey, pets need presents too!   30% off today (no code needed).  For every $25 you spend you get a $5 eGift card- giving you extra savings for your next shopping trip.

Walgreens:  25% off sitewide on regular priced items.  Use promo code GIFT25.  Free shipping after $25 spent.  It looks like you could potentially get a new FitBit for $75 today (regularly $99)… start the new year out with a healthy new habit.

Macys:  15% off using code CYBER.  Some items qualify for an extra 10% off in savings.  Clearance is also an extra 20-40% off today.

Target:  BOGO 60% off on clothing, shoes and accessories; no promo code needed.  10% off house items using code CYBER10.

Discount Magazines:  3 magazines for $12.  5 magazines for $18 or 10 magazines for $30.  There is over 100 magazines to choose from.  You could potentially knock off a lot of people from your Christmas list for pretty cheap if you got them all a magazine subscription.

Costco:  Mugs starting at $6.99. Photo books start at $19.99.

Gymboree:  50% off sitewide PLUS free shipping with no min. purchase required.

JCP:  Take 30% off $100 purchase or more.  Use code CYBRMNDY

Sears:  Tons of random deals throughout the site.  Up to 75% off fine jewelry (code GIFTS).  25% off clothing and accessories (code CYBER25).

AE:  40% off plus free shipping with code CYBERDAY.

GAP:  40% off your online purchase at Gap, Banana Republic or Old Navy using promo code CYBER.  Free shipping if you spend more than $50.

Entertainment Books:  I love these things.. You can totally beat the savings if you remember to use them.  Today only- $19 for the 2015 book plus free standard shipping.  Each additional book you purchase today is $15.

Wal-Mart:  Up to 50% off.  Free shipping once you spend $50.

Hope you all can find something you are looking for today at a great price : )  There are plenty more places participating, but if I went through them all, it would be Friday before I finished so here is a jump start.

E.

Why I Chose the Prepaid Cell Phone Carrier I did

Hello fellow frugal friends,

A few months ago I made a post about ditching your cell phone contract, but I myself had not gotten to that point.  I wanted to be there, I really did, but it just hadn’t worked out that way yet.  I couldn’t decide which prepaid plan to switch to, if it was worth cancelling my current contract early, and so on.   Well, the day finally came where I got my hands on a Verizon phone for such a great price, that it prompted me to do the switch.

WHY DID I CHOSE VERIZON?

That’s the biggest question I think you will want answered, and I wish I could say it was because they had the best price.  We all know the entire purpose in my life is to get the best price, but this time, I did it for other reasons.

A.  I had an ALMOST new phone in great condition that I got for the perfect cost I was looking to spend.

B.  I’ve only had two carriers since I got a cell phone- Verizon or Sprint.  They each had their good and bad qualities.  Verizon has better service, and while I don’t talk much on the phone, it is super annoying not to be able to have a conversation with someone when I want to.  And no, we do not have (or want) a house phone.

C.  For $60 a month, I get 2 GB data and unlimited everything else.  I have had unlimited data for so long I am kind of afraid I will go over and not have data at the end of the month.  This would be devastating… HOW WILL I FACEBOOK WHILE I AM AT WORK?  If this happens a lot, I will probably switch back to Sprint.

D.  The process was so simple and the employee was so helpful.  This is my eyes, is a huge plus.

E.  While I cut my contract early (I owe Sprint $120), it is as if I am paying one full month at Sprint.  For 2 phones it was $160.  So… it is worth cutting the cord IF, and only IF, you have the means to pay the bill outright and not put it on a card that will accrue interest.

If you haven’t read my post about all the options you have when it comes to pre-paid phones here is the link:

https://mrsemcsdealoftheday.wordpress.com/2014/09/20/cancel-your-cell-phone-plan/

I am excited about saving $100 a month.  Each carrier has it’s own perks so find the one that suits your needs!🙂  I hope this helps you cut the cord.

E.

My Thanksgiving Bill….

Hello my frugal friends,

Now, more than ever, is the time of the year where you should be trying to save as much money as possible.  If you haven’t already bought Christmas presents, then don’t waste your money spending hundreds of dollars on a good thanksgiving dinner.  I have put off buying Thanksgiving food this year because I didn’t feel like any one store had decent prices, let alone amazing deals.  I won’t lie, I am a little disappointed in stores this year.  Not only is this a day for family, friends, and thankful eating- BUT THE HAWKS ARE ON!  Deals should be through the roof and out the door, but they aren’t.

Last year, I found out the week of Thanksgiving Albertson’s was doing a deal where if you spent $XX in gift cards you got money back to shop, so when I found out they were doing that deal again, I thought I would check them out.  This year, you can buy Visa, Mastercard, or AMEX gift cards in $100 increments and get a coupon for $20 off your next $50 food purchase.  You do have to pay a fee, which  makes it so you really only get $10 off, but that is still 20% of your food bill, so I was not going to complain, and I bought Visa cards so I can use them like I would my debit card.

I bought $200 in gift cards, and received two coupons for $20 off $50 in groceries… which meant that I had to do two orders.  I wanted to get as close to $50 on each as possible (didn’t quite work on one…)  Here is what I got for this price:

IMG_20141124_121236852

Above:

2-turkeys (14-15 lbs)*

2- 10 lb potatoes*

2- 4pk butter

1-Cool Whip*

1- Ranch packet*

1- Pie crust*

1-Ricotta cheese

1- Hunts tomato sauce

1-onion*

1- Sour Cream*

1- Chicken Broth*

IMG_20141124_120624196

3- 20 pack of Coke products

2- Wavy Lays*

1- Shredded Parmesan cheese*

1- baking soda

1-olives

1-chicken broth

1- Nestle morsels*

1- 18 ct eggs*

1-Bottle of vino ; )   (Who can cook without it?)*

2- Boxes of Cheese Nips

2- Wheat Thins*

1- Oreos

1- Stuffing bread*

6-apples

1- Head of Romaine*

1- Celery bunch*

misc cans, sugars, pickles…

So… both pictures totaled up to be $81.60 after all said and done.  In those pictures is missing one of two turkeys, and two of three cases of soda… so don’t forget to think about that when you look at what I got for the price. Anything with an (*) is going to be used for Thanksgiving meal… I didn’t star the soda, because it won’t all get used then, but that is what I bought it for.

Here are some deals I got from there:

-Honeysuckle turkeys are BOGO free after you spend $35 on groceries that don’t include the turkey and are priced at $1.19/lb.. so I ended up with 29 pounds of turkey for $18.80.

-They had left a sign up (more like ten) that said if I purchased 2-20 packs of Coke products, I would receive 2 boxes of Cheese Nips for free-so I didn’t actually pay anything for those.  We don’t really eat cheese nips, but I wanted to get soda for our guests, so this was the best deal.  It was $10 for two cases of soda, and two boxes of crackers!

-BOGO free on Lays chips (hence two bags instead of one)

-Many of the name brand stuff ended up being cheaper than house brands if you used the coupons in the paper)

-10 lbs potatoes for .99 (limit one per transaction)

I hope this helps you with any last minute shopping that you need to do! Happy Thanksgiving friends…🙂  Can’t wait to start on Christmas stuff!

E.