Saturday, December 11, 2010

Bargain Hunting: As Good as Sex?

From Shape Magazine (Dec. 2010)

"Bargain Hunt Your Way to Happiness

"The next time you're in a bit of a slump, hit the holiday sales. It turns out, scoring a good deal during a shopping trip can be as pleasurable as feeling sexually aroused. Researchers from the University of Westminster in England measured the brain waves of 60 people and found that the idea of getting a discount excited them just as much as being turned on."

No wonder I love it!!! See ya! I'm going to the mall...

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Coupons Update

So...after a month of coupon-ing like gangbusters, I re-evaluated my commitment. I certainly got a LOT of great bargains. In fact, I spent $200 more on groceries during the month than I usually do. (If my husband happens to be reading this...Oops! Sorry, honey!) My cupboards are full, and I probably don't need to buy toothpaste until I'm either ready for dentures or dead. However, I gave into the temptation to buy a lot of stuff (especially snack foods that I rarely purchase) just because I had a coupon.

I'm not totally forsaking coupons, because I got several items totally free! My new strategy goes like this:
  • Only use coupons on items I need or regularly use.
  • Track my budget carefully.
  • If there is an item that is free or less than $0.25, go ahead and get it.

Here are a few examples:

Photobucket I don't normally buy refrigerated biscuits, crescent rolls, etc. But I got all these for $1 and my kids love them as snacks.

Photobucket I rarely buy frozen entrees. But this one was so cheap, I snagged it for my "hungry man," who is 14 and on the cross-country team right now.

We always need toothpaste. These were on sale for $1 a piece. I had coupons for $1 off Crest toothpaste. I thought I was getting 6 tubes for free, but sadly, 2 of my coupons were expired. Lesson learned. Still, 6 tubes for $2 is not bad.

  • Determine for yourself how much your time is worth. My coupon skills improved, but only slightly. So it still takes me quite a bit of time to figure it all out.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Speaking of Ulta...

On another trip to Ulta, I got all this...

for less than $10! I shopped the sales (several cosmetic lines were 40% off); then I stacked several manufacturers coupons with an Ulta store coupon. Score!

  • If it's not in your budget to buy beauty products, it's not a bargain.
  • Don't be tempted to spend money on frivolous items just because you have a coupon or there is a sale. Another sale or another coupon will always come around.
  • However, it might be a great time to snag some stocking stuffers if you have a teenaged daughter like I do.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Ulta Extreme Wear Cream Eye Shadow

My favorite place to shop for beauty items has been Ulta ever since I first discovered it about 7 or 8 years ago.

My new favorite eye shadow is Ulta's own brand of cream shadow: Extreme Wear Cream Eye Shadow. My little sister, who also functions as my fashion and beauty guru, suggested I try them. I bought two to try....I loved them so much I had to go back for two more.

My favorite colors so far--
#106: Almost Famous
#100: Rising Star
#104: Premiere
#102: Socialite

Ulta sells them for $8 each. I happened to get them when they were on sale: 2 for $8. I also had a store coupon, so I scored them for about 2 bucks a piece. Nice!

  • The cream shadow wears lighter than it looks in the bottle.
  • After swiping the shadow across your lid, don't wait too long to blend it. The cream shadow dries quickly and stays put (what I love most about it!).

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Extra 50% Off at Loft

Here are my picks:
Reg. $29. Now $10

Poplar Wash Modern Slim Leg Jeans
Reg. $59 Now $15

Petite Sunday Flutter Dress

Reg. $89 Now $10

Beaded Bangles
Reg. $19 Now $6.50

  • Visit your local store for more selection and possibly even better deals.
  • If you find great bargains on summer items, you will have something to look forward to wearing next spring and summer.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Very Low Cut T Shirt

Did you know that besides being an adept bargain huntress, I am also an excellent seamstress and fashion designer? See below...

I'm getting tired of my summer wardrobe, and I have a few old t-shirts lying around that I don't really wear anymore.

(Like this one)

So I took my scissors, and cut a slit in the t-shirt from the neckline to just above my belly button



  • Check out a real seamstress and fashion designer at no big dill.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Coupons...Are They Worth It?

Lately, my sister-in-law has been sharing with me her killer deals. For instance, last week she got a bunch of toys at Target on clearance. Many of her deals involve coupons, but you know how I feel about coupons. On the other hand, she puts forth a convincing case with all the freebies (and almost freebies) she gets. She shared with me one of her secrets: A lot of the deals on this website involve coupons, so I thought I'd give it a try.

I scoured the Tom Thumb weekly ad for deals and store coupons ("sc" in coupon lingo). Then I went online to find matching coupons from manufacturers (aka "mc"). When I finished my list (this whole process took about an hour--I'm a newbie), it contained about 12 items....

Here we go...

While in Tom Thumb, I gathered my groceries within 10 minutes. However, my sojourn at the self-checkout lasted almost twice that. Thank heavens for Natalie! She should get employee of the month.

This is what I ended up with for $40.

A majority of the food I bought fits into our family's nutritional scheme. A few items, however, are ones I never would have bought without the coupons--gushers, refrigerated cookie dough, etc.

The breakdown:

Fiber One granola bars: $0.49
Nature Valley granola bars: $0.49
Gushers: $0.75 per box
Golden Grahams: $0.99
Trix: $0.49 (I never buy these, which is why they got devoured in less than 24 hours.)
Multigrain Cheerios: $1.74
Honey Nut Cheerios: $1.99
Refrigerated crescent rolls: $0.59
Pillsbury Sweet Moments: $0.59
Refrigerated cookie dough: $0.59
Freschetta Pizza: $3.50

My receipt noted $27 in coupon savings...not bad.

Several of the cereal boxes you see in the picture above I happened to find on a 50% off stand, so I snatched up a bunch--no coupons involved.

Yet to be determined:
  • Is it better to avoid the self-checkout when using a stack of coupons?
  • Will my overall grocery budget shrink? Or will I spend more on items I don't need?
  • Is my time worth the savings? (I'm not sure it is, but I'm not quitting yet. Hopefully I will become more efficient.)


  • has a tutorial for newbies like me. Check it out.
  • Check to make sure the coupons actually save you money. You can usually get store brand items quite a bit cheaper. This time, though, using store coupons with matching manufacturers' coupons, I got a better deal on name brand items.
  • You can borrow my rules of thumb: If snack items are under $0.10/oz, it's a good deal (especially if it has some nutritional value). When cereal is under $0.15/oz, that's a good price (under $0.10/oz means it's time to stock up!).

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Additional 40% Off at Dillard's

Starts today....Ends Saturday.

  • Read this post to get tips for shopping at Dillard's.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Gift Certificate Code @ Shoebuy

I just received this $10 Gift Certificate at, but I'm not going to use it. So I'm giving it to you! (First one to use it wins!)

Here's the item you asked for:$10 gift certificate Gift Code


Redemption Link
Click here to redeem your coupon

Expires Sep 28, 2010

Redemption Instructions:

Your $10 Shoebuy Gift Certificate Code is:


This Gift Certificate expires September 28, 2010.

1) Click the following link to shop at Shoebuy: Click Here To Shop at Shoebuy and Use Your Gift Certificate

2) Proceed to check out by clicking on the "Check Out" button in the Shoebuy shopping cart; and under "Payment Information" check Gift Certificate and enter the Gift Certificate Code.
*Please note, this is not a promotional code. It MUST be entered into the GIFT CERTIFICATE field within the checkout to be redeemed.

3) If your purchase exceeds the gift certificate value you will be given the option to pay for the balance with a credit card.

Terms and Conditions:
Can only be redeemed through the website. Not redeemable for cash or other gift certificates, and not transferable to orders already placed. Not valid with use of Shoebuy discounts. Only one gift certificate allowed per order. Shoebuy is not responsible for lost or stolen gift cards. This Gift Certificate expires September 28, 2010.
Have a question about your gift?
For more information, visit

  • Act quickly! It expires today.

Friday, September 24, 2010

$15 Credit at One King's Lane

...just for signing up!

Click here to sign up. It's free! You will automatically receive a $15 credit on your account. It can be used towards shipping, too. Thanks again to for the heads up. Here are my favorite items:

Large Square Bamboo Bowl, Onyx
Retail price: $35
One King's Lane Price: $15
Free with account credit! All you pay is shipping.
Small Shallow Round Bowl, Slate
Retail Price: $30
One King's Lane Price: $12
Free + a little left over to go toward shipping!
Set of 4 Jasmine Teacups, color: Pure
Retail price: $20
One King's Lane price: $12
Free + a little left over to go toward shipping!

Lunch Cooler, Silver
Retail price: $30
One King's Lane price: $15
Free with account credit. All you pay is shipping.
  • Sign up here first to receive your account credit. Then go shopping.
  • Check product description for dimensions and other specs to make sure you know what you're getting. When you see "Large" in the title, you might be thinking the item is 18" in diameter, when it might be 11".

Thursday, September 23, 2010

4 Movie Tickets for $15

Go get your lipstick and your sexy stilettos. You're going to have a date night! You can get 4 movie tickets for $15 through Register for an account to receive a $5 account credit. Then find the daily deal (4 tickets for $20) under "Seattle."
You'll get 4 movie tickets for $3.75 each. I haven't seen that price at a movie theater since leg warmers were in fashion.

  • This deal is only good today, so hurry!
  • Find more great deals on You can find your local affiliate in the drop-down menu (top right). (That's where I found this deal.)
  • Use this deal with the deal. You'll be an inexpensive date...but not a cheap date. Promotion Code

  • Read the fine print. Most restaurants require a minimum purchase of $35.
  • Don't forget to tip on the total bill before the discount is applied. Some restaurants add it in automatically anyway.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Old Navy Price Cleanser

Just stopped by Old Navy today. All clearance is an additional 30% off.

My local store still had a lot of clearance...even in baby and toddler clothing. They are usually the first to get picked over.


  • Hurry!
  • If you just bought clearance items within the last 2 weeks, you can take your receipt in for a price adjustment.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Daily Shower Spray

My shower is a beast to keep clean! Using 4-inch tile with white grout, the builders must have decided to play a sick joke on the housekeeper. So I often spend my shower time scrubber in hand, especially in the spring and summer.

A daily shower spray, like Clean Shower, appeals to me as a solution. Not a bad deal for $3.

Wanna go even cheaper? Make it yourself. You probably have everything in your house already.

Daily Shower Spray (from

For a 24-oz spray bottle:

1/2 c rubbing alcohol
1/2 c hydrogen peroxide
6 drops Dawn dish detergent
1 capful (about 2 tsp) Jet Dry
fill to 24-oz with water (distilled or purified if you have it)

It takes about 5 minutes to gather supplies and mix them together.

alcohol & peroxide = $0.50
dawn = $.03
jet dry = $0.20

Total = $0.73 for 24 oz (75% savings)

My 24 oz bottle lasts about a month for my shower that has approximately 75 sqare feet of surface area that needs spraying (I don't spray what doesn't get wet) twice a day (after every shower). Whereas previously my shower got all nasty after 3 or 4 days, with the daily shower spray, my shower only needs a little touch up here and there after an entire month.

  • "Don't make up a big batch to refill because the H2O2 doesn't last very long and turns into good-old H2O. The H2O2 dissolves proteins (like sloughed skin and body fluids), the alcohol and Dawn dissolve oils, the Jet Dry suspends the minerals."
  • The daily shower spray doesn't work on clear glass. But I have gathered ideas I will share soon.
  • But it does clean stainless steel appliances, too. "Spray and wipe with microfiber cloth or paper towels. No streaking! I tried at least seven other cleaners before hitting upon this inexpensive method."--By digby from PA (from

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Dyson DC-14

My dream came true--I got a Dyson DC-14! My old vacuum doesn't suck at all, which is precisely the problem. I have had my eye on the Dyson DC-14 for a while--did the spreadsheet a couple of years ago. The lowest price I have found is $399, and they rarely go on sale. That's why I haven't bought one...until now.

Why did I finally pull the trigger? My old Bissell and I got into a devastating argument--he wasn't pulling his weight. So I told him, "One of us has to go. It's either you or me."

The deal I found on my new Dyson came from Craigslist. The story goes: the couple got 2 new Dyson vacuums as housewarming gifts from their parents, but lost the receipt and couldn't return it, so she sold it to me for $250. The box was still sealed, and I called Dyson to register for my 5-year warranty. I can't wait to vacuum!

Here it is after assembly (which was a snap).

Before I say goodbye to the Bissell, a head-to-head competition--Bissell vs Dyson DC-14.

Brand new, completely empty Dyson canister.

A thorough vacuuming by the Bissell.

A follow-up by the Dyson.

Look at all that crud the Dyson picked up that the Bissell didn't. Granted, the Bissell is older and worn out. However, my parents and a few others did the same test and got the same results.

The Dyson DC-14 really sucks! Which is why I love it.

  • One friend of mine found the same Dyson at Kohl's for about $199. It was 40% off, and she had a coupon to use as well. There are Dyson deals out there. You just have to watch like a hawk.
  • Be careful meeting someone selling through Craigslist (or the newspaper, ebay, etc). I never go by myself and always arrange to meet somewhere public in daylight.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Free Museum Day!

Saturday, Sept. 25th, Smithsonian magazine hosts its 6th annual Museum Day. Museums all over the country are offering free admission, although some require a ticket. Click on the link to find a participating museum near you.

For those local to the Dallas/Fort Worth area, the Fort Worth cultural district will have 8 different museums open that day for free from 10am to 5pm:
  • Fort Worth Museum of Science and History
  • Amon Carter Museum of American Art
  • Kimbell Art Museum
  • the Modern
  • National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame
  • Fort Worth Botanic Garden
  • Fort Worth Community Arts Center
  • Log Cabin Village

Click here or more info.


  • Be prepared for some crowds. Everyone loves a freebie.
  • Keep the outing totally free and pack your lunch.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Magnavox H2160MW9 DVD Recorder

You don't have to order cable or satellite to enjoy the benefits of a DVR. The Magnavox H2160MW9 HDD and DVD Recorder allows you to record television using a tuner.

Last fall we ordered a fiber-optic tv and internet service package that included a DVR--our first ever. We got instantly hooked on the DVR. However, I didn't like the fact that my children stayed GLUED to the television. So after a few months we cancelled the television service.

Then World Cup rolled around, and my husband really wished we had the DVR to record the World Cup games during work hours. That's when I went to work and found the Magnavox DVD Recorder. (Over my shoulder he just called it his "World Cup Savior...everything [he] hoped it would be.")

We're saving $70 per month on the television service, but still get the convenience of a DVR.


  • Amazon's price is the best deal I can find on the internet right now.

  • All you need is a digital television and an antenna. You can buy an antenna on the internet, or follow this youtube tutorial to build one (my 13-year-old son built ours, and it works better than the store-bought one we had before).

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Homemade Fabric Softener

You will need:

2 C hair conditioner
3 C vinegar
6 C water

Add 3 C vinegar

Add 2 C hair conditioner (find the cheapest--I paid a little over $1 for 2 C)

Add 6 C water

Mix/shake, then pour into a container with a lid.
Use the same amount you would use for regular fabric softener.

vinegar: $0.52
conditioner: $1.12
Total cost: $1.62 for 2/3 gallon, which will last for 44 loads

At the store you'll pay about $3.45 for 44 dryer sheets or $7.13 for 44 loads of Downy. That's a savings of at least 50%

  • Lower the cost even more. Soak a sponge in the fabric softener. Squeeze out most of the excess. Throw it into the dryer with your load instead.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Homemade Furniture Polish


Homemade Furniture Polish

"This is an excellent furniture polish and most everyone has these two products in their home. Use equal parts of olive oil and vinegar (like 1/4 cup olive oil and 1/4 cup vinegar). It cleans and shines at the same time!"

By laniegirl from IA

Monday, August 9, 2010

San Marcos...Again

I've only been a few times. It's not hurting anyone.

I didn't really mean to go to San Marcos again. It just happened.

I have quit shopping a bunch of times already. I can quit anytime I want--I don't have a problem.

My family thinks it's weird that I sleep with a shopping bag under my pillow and wake up thinking about shopping, but I know what I'm doing....I can handle it.

Is 9 am too early to start shopping?

Anyway, check out our back-to-school fashion show:

The original price of everything we purchased totaled $1056.

We paid $258. We averaged 75% savings.


  • Never pay full price. Nuff said!

  • My frugal husband would not let me forget to factor in the cost of the hotel, gas and meals. We minimized that cost by driving/lodging with friends and bringing some snacks of our own.

  • Or you can call it a family vacation with a side of shopping.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Save on Groceries by Growing Your Own

We have succes in our watermelon patch this year.

Here are the next babies to pluck.

Look at the size of this watermelon complared to my babies!


The pack of seeds cost me $1. Watermelons half this size cost $4 at the grocery store right now. We have at least 8 watermelons growing at the moment. Our ROI is roughly 3000% (if I got my math right).

  • It's not too late to grow a garden depending on where you live. Right now is the perfect time to plant fall tomatoes in Texas. Use this fall gardening guide for more information.
  • Gardening is easier than you think. One year we got lots of big watermelons from a vine that started from seed spitting. Another year I gave my 6-year-old son a packet of cucumber seeds and sent him to the garden. We had our best cucumber plants that year. Give it a try!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Clearance at Children's Place

I stopped by The Children's Place yesterday.

Here's what I found:

Overall that's 80% savings. These will come in handy when my soon-to-arrive nephews/nieces come along.
  • Don't be afraid to backtrack. I initially bought twice as many items, thinking they were lower-priced than they actually rang up at the register. When I got to the exit, I turned around and returned the items that weren't "bargain huntress worthy." It helped my budget and saved me a return trip later.
  • Note to The Children's Place (just in case they're reading...): Please make your sale signs less confusing. Half the items on a "$2.99" rack are not actually $2.99. You get away with it, because the sign says, "select styles," but you frustrate your customers.

Monday, July 26, 2010

GE Toaster

Sometimes it's not worth the spreadsheets, the time spent deliberating, the trips to several stores, and the visits to a multitude of websites.

Sometimes, you just go to Walmart, choose your favorite, and make the purchase.

Case in point: a toaster. Prices range from $20 to $300, but if you're not in the market for a gourmet toaster, the time spent researching is not worth the savings. There are thousands of toasters out there--all very similar, and all priced competitively.

Here's my new one:

$35 @ Walmart. Works great!
  • Small kitchen electrics in general are not worth a "bargain hunt."
  • Some GE Appliances @ Walmart include a 2-year warranty where you can bring it back to the store if it breaks within the two years--a nice little bonus.