Thursday, June 25, 2015

Things I Got for Free. Haul #2

See Haul #1 here.

What's pictured?

  • Blue spatula
  • Cashew milk
  • Candy bar
  • Deodorant samples
  • Disposable razors
  • Shaving gel
  • Bath poof 
  • Body wash
  • Face wash
  • Lotion
  • Coffee
  • Baby rash cream
  • Seasoning
  • Top 'ems
What isn't pictured?
  • Chocolate truffle bar
  • Sriracha ketchup
  • Hot dogs
  • Box of fruit bars
  • Cheese slices
  • Organic tortilla chips
Estimated value of above items: ~$38

How did I get them for free? A mixture of choosing from the list of available free samples when I placed orders on, the weekly free item from Kroger stores, and being a BzzAgent.

What have you received for free lately?

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Declutter Challenge Weeks 2-4

(More than) two weeks ago I started the declutter challenge. I went out of order, but each day had a different total item count. Here's what I got rid of before I stopped:

April 8th:  7 items one glove, one receipt, one coupon, one bottle of essential oil, two cans of soda, one postcard.
April 9th: 20 items two boxes of magazines, one shirt, one charm, one key chain, one hair tie, two rubber bands, two pairs of scissors, ten paperclips.
April 10th: 19 items two pins, one pen cap, one pen refill, one rubber band, one razor blade,one pencil, one hook, one card, one broken pen, three tacks, two nails, two tags, one business card, one index card.
April 11th:  17 items 5 cans of soda, four necklaces, one pair of gloves, five packages of candles, one package of knee highs, one pair of unmentionables.

I stopped because I had a health emergency situation, and after that ended I was too far behind to catch up.

Initial Thoughts:

It's almost absurd how when I'm looking through things I haven't seen in years that I feel resistance to get rid of them. Things that have not served me in any way, and I suddenly don't want to part with them!

The amount of crap that I've been holding onto --intentionally and unintentionally-- is crazy!

Total number of items gone: 111!

After Thoughts:

As fun as these number challenges are, since this isn't the first challenge I failed...I've come to the conclusion that these challenges just aren't for me, and that's okay. What's important is the desire to have and want less. At this point in my life I just need to declutter at my own pace.

Overall I have been decluttering for over a year. Sometimes it's slow going, but I always keep going. I can see vast improvements. My living room takes less than 5 minutes to pick up my toddler's toys and books at the end of the day. It takes about 10 minutes to hang/fold my husbands clothes, my clothes, and the towels. (it takes 45 minutes to put my toddler's away because he loves playing with his clean clothes)

I did enjoy keeping track of what items I purged. It's motivating, eye opening, and kind of terrifying. I plan to post occasional updates with my decluttering. I still have several trouble spots (linen closet, pantry, kitchen, laundry room, etc.)

What have you decluttered lately?

Monday, June 1, 2015

Meal Plan for May 31st - June 6th


Breakfast: Oatmeal and coffee
Lunch: Chips and salsa, leftover yogurt parfait
Dinner: Scrambled eggs and pressure cooked yellow potatoes


Breakfast: Oatmeal and coffee
Lunch: Leftover hamburger surprise, mashed potatoes, and corn
Dinner: Salad


Breakfast: Parfait and coffee
Lunch: Sandwich and chips
Dinner: Burgers and salad


Breakfast: Parfait and coffee
Lunch: Leftover burger, chips
Dinner: Salad or ?


Breakfast: Oatmeal or muffins and coffee
Lunch: Homemade pizza
Dinner: Roast, potatoes, and carrots


Breakfast: Oatmeal and coffee
Lunch: Waffles
Dinner: Leftover roast, potatoes, and carrots


Breakfast: Parfait and coffee
Lunch: Leftover pizza
Dinner: Leftover waffles

What is your meal plan this week?

Last Month's Frugal Efforts.

While waiting for the price to go down on a water table for the toddler I used things already on hand for him to have "water fun" outside. He loved it!

Using up the free body wash sample I received. I also used up a free coffee sample.

I have had a wireless mouse for my laptop on my Amazon wishlist for a couple years. It just so happened to be a Deal of the Day so after using a gift certificate earned from Swagbucks I saved 72%!

On Mother's Day my mom took the toddler and I to the playground for free fun. He had a great time! He loved the slide and the play fire truck.

Instead of buying my mom a Mother's Day card I had my toddler make one.

I made waffles to use up the yogurt I got on a Manager's Special.

My husband and I enjoyed the free Lindt milk chocolate truffle bar we received from the grocery store.

There's a new movie coming out soon and instead of paying to watch it I put a request on it at the library. It will be a pleasant surprise when it's available to watch. It's not a movie I'd pay for.

My mom's Mother's Day gift was paid in full from using a gift certificate redeemed via Swagbucks.

I started planning the rest of the year's special occasion gifts and cards. I bought my sister's birthday card (20% off) using PayPal credit from Ebates. I'm going to have everyone sign this card instead of them each getting her a card.

I looked into Amazon Mom's 20% off diapers and Subscribe and Save. I can get diapers there for $0.17 each instead of the $0.24+ each via Costco. I previously though you couldn't get cheaper diapers than Costco.

I also found organic low acid coffee for $9.12lb. That's a lot cheaper than I was paying elsewhere.

Oddly enough my new smartphone from Republic Wireless is $10 a month unlimited everything, whereas my previous Verizon flip phone cost $20 a month for unlimited texting plus $0.25 a minute. Plus with the smartphone I can take great pictures of my toddler, which brings me joy, I can read even more by using the free Kindle app, I can use a free notepad app to take down things to look into later, etc.

I fell off the meal planning bandwagon a little bit, but I'm going to get back on. My husband neglected grocery shopping for a little bit so we really ate down the food we had on hand. This works out because now we can be more mindful of our food purchases.

I discovered the perks of Amazon Subscribe and Save of 15% off (with 5 subscribed items) plus coupons = major savings. I can change up the subscriptions each month, and many of the items are paid for via gift cards.

I "bought" several free Kindle books. I borrowed many ebooks from my library. My toddler has been enjoying the free kids music videos via Amazon Prime.

I made sure my husband used all possible coupons when he went grocery shopping.

I dragged out the drying rack from the closet, put it outside in the sun, and dried my huge king sized comforter. I've had a hard time getting it properly dried using the dryer, but hanging it outside worked like a charm. I hope to get back into hanging clothes to dry this summer. (toddler logistics)

I have an upcoming dental surgery, and as luck would have it I was able to get on my husband's dental insurance at his work so now I'm double insured, and I won't pay nearly as much out of pocket. Huge savings!

I have been listening to Dave Ramsey's radio show for free at work and via an app on my phone.

And I did the usual of taking my coffee, snacks, and meals to work.
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