Monday, March 24, 2014

Walmart's Savings Catcher

So, I'm sitting here watching the news this morning, and they start discussing Walmart's new program to "help me save more money"!  Walmart now offers a program called the Walmart Savings Catcher.  Here's the breakdown of Walmart's new program.  You go to Walmart, and make your purchase.  Instead of price matching before you go, or while in store, you can now make your purchase without doing so.  You then take your receipt, and enter the receipt information into the Walmart Savings Catcher website.  It will them price match against it's competitors, and if they find a higher price anywhere else, they'll reimburse you on a Walmart gift card.

If you would like to find out more information, or tey it for yourself, just head over to the Savings Catcher website.

UPDATE::::  Since apparently my local store (the brand new Super Center) is not participating, the Savings Catcher would not take my receipt.  

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Spring Cleaning: Getting Ready for Spring!

Spring is almost here (FINALLY!).  As the days get longer, and it starts to get warmer, we tend to “wake up” and have the urge to get things done.  I don’t know about your house, but during the winter, the kids are playing inside most of the time, and things get broken and dirty.  I like to get started on my “spring cleaning” early so that when the weather does get really nice, we can be outside instead of inside cleaning!  I compiled a list of things my family needs to tackle now that spring is around the corner.

Spring To-Do List:

Examine the house.  Yep, inside and out.  I like to check for leaky pipes, potential basement leaks, anything outside that could have been damaged during the winter.  I make a list of everything that needs to be repaired and cleaned so there is no question about what needs to be done.  I noticed that water wasn't draining away from my home properly, so this year I plan to correct that problem.

Yard work.  I know, I know……but you see, we haven’t had to do yard work all winter.  This year I have to rake up leaves, dispose of my dead flowering bush, prep the garden, and lay down mulch.  I consider cleaning the gutters as part of yard work, so the hubby shall have the honors of doing that (I hate being on the roof).  This also includes starting you seedlings if you garden (I've got flowers, cabbage, and collards ready to go!).

Decluttering and organizing.  I told my hubby this year we need to find a home for every item in our house.  If it doesn't have a home, it’s getting tossed, donated, or it's going to be listed on Listia!  We also toss out (or donate) old and broken toys.  We love to create and craft during the spring and summer, so anything we can save for that, we do.  I also like to take time to clean out and reorganize the pantry (which becomes cluttered after Christmas baking).

Switch to spring.  Yep, switch to spring…..that’s what I said!  I don’t know about you, but there are certain colors and items that are season specific in my home.  I like to brighten things up once spring rolls around.  Switch out the bed sheets, switch out pillows and decor, and pull back the drapes.  We put away the winter clothing and bring out the spring clothing.  Spring is usually the time of year we paint.  I mean, the house is getting organized and cleaned, so if painting is on your list, do it now!  I literally switch my house to spring!

DEEP CLEAN!  Like I said, you've probably been in your house for the majority of winter, which means dirty germs lurk everywhere!  Mop, scrub, dust, polish, disinfect………do whatever you need to get your home clean.  I start from the top and work my way down.  Best way to tackle deep cleaning is to focus on one room at a time.  That way you don’t see it as the entire house that needs to be cleaned, but rather that small area of the house.

Focus on healthy.  I'll admit, I eat one too many helpings at Thanksgiving, and one too many Christmas cookies around the holidays.  Now that the weather is getting nicer, clean up your diet too.  Fresh fruits and veggies are going to be in season soon, so freshen up your diet!  We love hitting up our local farmer's market for fresh, local produce, cheese, honey, and even meat!  We also take advantage of the pick-your-own produce farms (can you say fresh berries......yum!).    

Now you just need to light a candle, grab an iced tea, and read a book while the sun shines down on you!  Happy spring cleaning mommies (and daddies)!  

Monday, March 10, 2014

Personal Priorities: Saving Money in 2014: UPDATE

Ok, I'll admit, I've been slacking on posting about my New Years Resolution!  If you follow me on Facebook, you'll know I got off to a rocky start in January.  Made an impulse purchase that really upset me in the end.  However, we pulled it back together!  We now make sure we put money into savings every single check.....before any money is spent.  I'm not going to lie, money has been on the tight side, but for good reason.  Last August I noticed we owed $14,000 on our car (which is going to be 4 years old with less than 50k miles on it this August).  That didn't sit well with me.  So every extra dollar we could afford, went to paying down the car.  As of today, our car is 100% paid off!  Now we can focus on bulking up our savings.  Never have I been more excited!  Our saving has also allowed us to take our first family vacation this year (3 more months!).

So what have I been doing to save money so far:

  • Paid off the car
  • Couponing: the past 2-3 months have been all about stocking up.
  • Selling our kids old clothes: thank you JBF!
  • Putting more focus on my garden: the more fresh produce I can supply for my family, the better.
  • Cleaning and organizing: finding new uses for old items, making sure we aren't buying what we already have.
  • Turned the thermostat down by two degrees and shortened showers.
  • Taken advantage of free events and classes for the kids (and us adults!).
So there you have it.  Combine that with how I've already saved money, and we've got ourselves some great savings around our house.  Let's just hope the next few months will prove easier in my mission to save more (while doing more).  Wish me luck!

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Girl Scout Camp: Crackle Candle

Remember last month when I went to Girl Scout camp?  Well, they taught us a bunch of different crafts that we could go back and do with our troops.  I just so happened to take the candle making class, which focused on 4 types of candles......including this crackle candle.  Now, since I made this at camp, I don't have a step by step photo tutorial, but lucky for us, this isn't hard at all!


Wax (Tip: save the last bit of wax from your candles to melt down.  You can add this to the wax you buy at the store to save money)
Small taper candle (We used a small taper candle only about 3 1/2 inches tall - or as tall as your carton)
Milk/juice carton (We used recycled milk cartons from school lunches - when opened all the way, they were about 4 inches tall)
Ice (Crushed)


To start you'll want to melt your wax.  TIP: Melt your wax in a crock pot.  It will melt evenly, stay melted for long periods of time, and when you're finished and it's cooled down, it will pop right out for easy clean up (and yes, the camp instructor told us we can then turn around and make chili in the same crock pot!)  While the wax is melting, make sure your milk cartons are clean and dry.  You'll want to make sure to open the top all the way.  Take a taper candle, and hot glue it into the bottom of each carton.  This will be your wick, so make sure it is centered.  The next steps go very fast, so be ready to move it.  Next, you are going to make sure the ice for all of the candles is crushed and ready to go.  Have each girl fill their carton with crushed ice.  Fill it up to the top of t he candle, but be sure to leave the wick exposed.  Next, have each girl (one at a time) fill their carton up with hot wax.  Grab a ladle, and pour it over the ice as quickly as possible because the ice will start to melt.....which will cause the crackle effect.  Let the candle sit and cool.  Once it's hardened all of the way, pour the water out, and remove the carton.  The kids will have fun seeing what happened to their candle!