Sunday, July 31, 2016

July Decluttering Efforts.

I didn't have a specific number in mind for this month. I was and am very busy with school work so I decided to go with the flow and see what I could accomplish. Below are the items I decluttered for the month of July:

  1. x2 lip glosses
  2. gum container
  3. key chain
  4. baby book
  5. x3 salt/pepper shakers
  6. x2 spices
  7. x4 books
  8. x1 coat rack
  9. x1 pack of outlet covers
  10. x4 toddler pants
  11. x4 toddler shirts
  12. x1 toddler pj set
  13. x4 toddler shorts
  14. x1 batter dispenser
  15. x4 toddler spoons
  16. x2 toddler boots
  17. x4 curtain panels
  18. x7 free samples
  19. x1 candle burner
  20. x3 candle holders
  21. x1 pack of chalk markers
  22. x2 swim suits
  23. x1 jacket
  24. x1 bag of coffee
  25. x1 purse
  26. x2 packs of pudding
  27. x1 mouse pad
  28. x6 shirts
  29. x3 skirts
  30. x1 box of baby clothes
  31. x2 dresses
  32. x2 trench coats
  33. x79 pieces of baby clothes
  34. x2 curtain panels
  35. x3 packs of baby socks
  36. x1 pillow
  37. x3 wash cloths
  38. x1 bath mitt 
  39. x7 magazines
Total items decluttered: 170 items

I also focused on using up things like candles and bath/body stuff. I have more candles to burn, but I made a big dent in my old collection.

Next month will be interesting. I finally discovered a place that will do a pick up so all I have to do is put everything outside by 7am. I'm so excited. I was discouraged by every organization that didn't do pickups in my area. One day I came home to a postcard from a company that is willing to come out! They're scheduled to come three days after my school quarter ends so I'll do a mad scramble to declutter. I won't set a number goal for August either.

What have you decluttered lately?

Monday, July 25, 2016

Last week's frugal efforts.

I learned from youtube that I can use my Bronner's soap to make foaming hand soap. This will save me tons of money because my husband is a big fan of the Method brand. One 3-refill bag of Method foaming soap is anywhere from $2.50-$5 on sale, and I can get a 32 ounce of Dr Bronner's soap for $16 (or less on sale) that will last forever. Score! I silently tested it, and my husband approved. This is huge!

I got free clothes for my son from Schoola. If you use this link you'll get a free $20 credit and free shipping. If you create a collection you get a free $10 credit. They might send you a 50% off coupon when you sign up that you can use as well. Schoola is an online consignment shop for kids and mother's clothing items. A portion of all proceeds goes to schools. When someone sends in clothing items as a donation they get to choose which school they want the proceeds to go. You can help raise funds for your local school by sending in gently used or new kid's and women's clothing items.

My son went to the free library story time.

I put up my new blackout curtains in the living room that I paid for mostly with a free Amazon gift card from Swagbucks and points from my Amazon Visa card.

I took the survey on the Fred Meyer (Kroger) receipt for free Fuel points.

We recycled cardboard, glass, plastics, etc.

I brought coffee, water, and food to work.

What did you do to save money last week?

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Thursday, July 21, 2016

Moment of Pause #11

That moment when the kitchen counters are cleared of clutter and are clean. The sight of a burning candle that was a gift. (no it doesn't really smell like M&Ms) I always feel a sense of accomplishment when my counters are clear.

What made you take a moment of pause today?

Monday, July 18, 2016

Last week's frugal efforts.

I did not renew the zoo membership. The last two years we didn't use it enough to justify the cost. We'll get it again in the future when we can go regularly.

I upped the automatic principal payment on the mortgage.*

I upped my 401k contribution by 10%.*

I took advantage of Amazon's Prime Day sales. I got kid clothes, books, a few gifts, and a couple misc. things I would've bought anyways all at a great price when all discounts considered. I also got a discounted gift card to an online kid's clothing store that I'll save until I can inventory the little one's clothes again.

I found some new Youtube channels to watch. They are so inspiring and motivating.

I used one of those toothpaste contraptions (2 for $1 from years ago) that pushes out all the toothpaste so the tube is completely flattened. This was about a week's worth of toothpaste saved.

I loaded up my Kindle with free ebooks from the library.

My son finished his reading chart for the library's summer reading program, and they let him take another one home.

My son went to the free library story times.

I started looking at DIY Christmas inspiration on Pinterest.

I received some free and deeply discounted items to review.

It was on my to do list to call the local garbage disposal company for quotes on garbage and recycling pick up. The inlaws scored a cheap hauling truck from one of their friends, and they offered to do our dump runs for us.

*After playing with some amortization calculators and different tax scenarios it made me more excited to save as much as possible. It will force me to be more mindful of my purchases and think along the lines of "do I want to spend X amount on that thing or would I rather put that amount towards the mortgage and cut off X amount of time off the loan?"

What have you done to save money recently?

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Moment of Pause #10

The toddler and I went for a morning walk before the sun could melt me with its hot rays of lava. I saw this tree. The branches are covered in moss. Some of the trees around it don't have moss at all. I don't know why, but I've always been interested in looking at (or watching?) trees with moss. I was also curious about who cut all those various branches and why.

What made you take a moment of pause today?

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Moment of Pause #9

That moment when you're outside after a rainfall breathing in the fresh, cool breeze and the smell of the flora lingers in the air. There's nothing like it.

What has made you take a moment of pause today?

Monday, July 11, 2016

Last week's frugal efforts.

We attended a free lavender festival, but we did spend a little bit of money.

We attended a free puppet show at the library...for about five minutes. The little one couldn't keep still.

My son went to the free story time at the library. Because of his age he can technically go to two different age groups. They did a craft in the older group.

My mom brought over some outdoor tables, chairs, and a picnic table that are kid sized. My toddler was thrilled.

My husband brought a couple loads of our recycled things to the recycling center. This includes cardboard, plastic bottles, aluminum, tin, and glass bottles. We take the time to set aside things that can be recycled instead of just throwing them away. Garbage costs money, but recycling is free.

We cleaned out our ancient deep freezer! It's currently standing empty and unplugged for the first time in 5 years. I'm anxious to see how this helps our power bill. We were able to fit all our frozen food into the side freezer of the fridge. I'm hoping we can keep the deep freezer empty until this fall when we buy a side of beef from a local farmer.

I fixed the magnetic eraser for the fridge whiteboard instead of buying a new one. ($2.74 + tax saved)

I bought a video game expansion pack with my free Amazon slow ship credits.

What have you done to save money lately?

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Target Dollar Spot Haul - Toddler Learning Tools

We ran into Target to get some coffee creamer, and I stopped at the dollar spot. I rarely go to Target. I was thrilled to see some learning supplies for Pre K - K since I was planning to venture to the Dollar Tree sometime this summer to get learning stuff anyways.

I got 7 work books:

Beginning Sounds
Reading Readiness
Numbers 1-12
Math Concepts
Same or Different
Printing Practice

There were other workbooks for older grades. Each workbook has two sheets of "reward" stickers that say things like "good job!" or "keep trying!"

I also got 3 packs of flash cards:

Shapes and Colors

We already had some number flash cards from the dollar store last year. The quality of these flashcards are okay, but the Dollar Tree flash cards are thicker. They also had flash cards for telling time, states, and numbers. Some of the flash cards were also Dr. Seuss themed.

I was really excited to see the lacing set. There are 8 cards with different food groups, although I didn't notice until I got home that the "meats" included a picture of a fried egg, and the vegetables included a picture of a tomato. There are 4 long laces, each a different color. There was a girly lace set as well as a robot theme, but I got this one to teach him food groups. He enjoyed doing the lacing last night and this morning. The cards are very thick and durable. Great buy for only $1.

I got 1 puzzle that matches the letter to a corresponding item, like Ee and Elephant. There are 14 pairs, which means they're double sided. They also have a hard time staying together unless they're laid down flat.

They had some other interesting learning tools, like a felt banner for shapes and colors, but I couldn't bring myself to pay $3.

Everything I purchased was only $1. If you know a way to get some learning tools for less please share!

Have you found anything exciting at your local Target Dollar Spot lately?

Saturday, July 9, 2016

July Goals

June was pretty busy for me. My classes this quarter are very reading intense so I have had little free time since I work full time out of the home as well. But then I find myself outside with the toddler doing spontaneous yard work. I didn't accomplish most of my June goals, and I don't want to get disappointed by not completing another big list so below is all I'm requiring myself to accomplish for July:

  1. Complete all homework on time and to the best of my ability.
  2. Get ahead on all the reading assignments.
  3. Keep track of meals eaten and try to plan weekly dinners at the very least.
  4. Declutter when possible.
  5. Try to strike the perfect balance of homework, housework, and quality time with the toddler and husband.
  6. Focus on the little frugal efforts.

If anything I'll keep a list of the things that I happened to accomplish. I read somewhere that it was pretty motivational to have a list of completed tasks vs. a list of uncompleted items.

What are your goals for July?

Friday, July 8, 2016

June Decluttering Efforts

My goal for June was to declutter 100 items. Below are the items I disowned:

  • 7 magazines
  • 2 pairs of toddler shoes
  • 29 books
  • 1 loom
  • 1 wood burning kit
  • 3 radios
  • 1 puzzle
  • 1 ice cube tray
  • 5 toys
  • 1 box of yarn
  • 1 box from laptop cooler
  • 1 ribbon
  • 4 bottles of shampoo
  • 8 mason jar lids
  • 4 movies
  • 2 cups
  • 1 mug
  • 2 bibs

Total items decluttered: 74

Darn. The month started out strong, but then I was overrun by schoolwork. I don't have a set number for July, but I will declutter as much as I can. Sometimes it's easier when a number isn't specified. I still have a ways to go until I reach that point where I feel "done" and move on to purely maintenance mode.

What have you decluttered lately?

Moment of Pause #8

My son and I were outside during a light rainfall, and he wanted to play with his chalk. When chalk is wet the color is more vibrant. Toddler graffiti: an innocent blend of shapes, colors, and letters.

What have you seen lately that made you pause?

Monday, July 4, 2016

Recent Frugal Efforts.

We visited a local U-Pick farm. We picked two containers of huge raspberries for $0.50 each plus some beautiful dahlias.

I was able to get a couple books for one of my classes from the library so I didn't need to buy them. For the textbooks I had to buy I rented them from Amazon for a cheap price, and when I return them they provide a free shipping label.

I took the survey on the Fred Meyer receipt for free Fuel Points. (gas discount)

I upped the automatic monthly deposit to my husband's Roth.

I set up an automatic extra principal payment on the mortgage.

I requested a few bags from so I can declutter unused clothing and shoes. They pay the shipping label, and it's tax deductible.

My toddler and I did some "landscaping" outside. Free exercise, entertainment, and time together.

I am using an expired coupon as a bookmark.

I spent less than $10 on my sister's birthday gifts. (inappropriate coloring book, set of 72 colored pencils, pencil sharpener, candy bar, and freshly ground coffee)

I got some free and heavily discounted things in exchange for reviews.

My toddler and I signed up for the summer reading program at our library. He enjoys signing his chart each day.

I had some points with Recycle Bank that I needed to use before they expired so I used a lot of to enter $300 gift cards drawings and used the rest for free magazine subscriptions. I kind of cringe at this a little, but I'm genuinely interested in their content, and when I'm done reading them I'll save them for crafts and give them to others to read.

My son got some books and movies from the library.

I turned the oven off a few minutes before the timer went off when cooking. I do this when boiling stuff on the stove top too.

I requested free ebooks from my library's website to read off the used Kindle Paperwhite I got off Ebay last year. It still works great.

I set up a temporary homework area for me from stuff I had around the house.

I brought food, coffee, and water to work in reusable containers for the most part.

I started using Swagbucks, Bing, Perk TV, and Inbox Dollars again because there are some things I want to buy for the house (blackout curtains and a push mower).

My mom brought over a toddler play set for the yard that she had for years. It has two slides, a tunnel, and a little fort. He loved it! She's bringing some old outdoor tables/chairs for him this week.

We attended a free local event celebrating Independence Day. There was free admission, free food, free game, free prizes, and free parking. It was pretty fun. My toddler loved the huge field. He had so much fun running with wreckless abandon.

What have you done lately to save money?
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