Thursday, January 21, 2010

Disneyland on a budget

We are headed to Southern California bright & early Saturday morning. I am so relieved to be flying instead of driving as we usually do. You can imagine what that trip (about 22 hours) would be like with kids aged 4, 3, and 7 months so flying is a definite improvement! We haven't flown in over a year and are finding that air travel has become more complicated and more expensive.

We are hoping to avoid most of these costs by careful planning and packing, but it's been a lot of work this week!

First of all we are charged $15 for the first checked bag and $25 for each checked bag after that. Hmm . . . There is a lot of gear that goes along with kids! How will we avoid these baggage charges?

Our airline will check the strollers and carseats for free. Phew! We don't need the pack'n'play because Ed's folks bought one for our visits. So we have to figure out how to pack 10 days worth of clothes, diapers, kid activities and food. We will only be with extended family for 3 days so we're on our own for food those 7 days. To save funds we are planning to take along most of our food and prepare meals in the kitchen at our timeshare.

Here's what we decided:

Each of the 4 purchased seats is allowed one carry-on bag and one personal item. The girls will each have a carry-on with their own clothes and toys as well as half of the baby's things. This worked pretty well since their clothes are small and we only packed 4 outfits for each of them. We will have laundry in our timeshare so I am taking laundry soap instead of extra clothes.

DH & I will share one more carry-on. This is a little harder since our clothes are bigger, we have bigger toiletries, and we want to take things like our Bibles and books to read (this is vacation after all). We aren't done packing ourselves yet, but I'm pretty sure we'll take our skinniest, no study notes Bible and limit our reading material. We also will only take one extra pair of jeans and 3 shirts. I think I'm going to be using the washing machine a lot!

The final carry-on bag will be for a late Christmas gift that is fragile, heavy, and bulky and our soft cooler full of frozen-solid meat for the week. Yes, you can take meat on a plane. In all, with travel to the airport, time at the airport, flight, and travel from airport the meat will have only been out of the freezer and in a cooler for about 6 hours. Usually it's still frozen when we arrive.

We are going to check one bag and pay the $15. This is a huge duffel bag full of the non-perishable food for the week like cereal, crackers, nuts, pb & jam, box dinners, instant potatoes, salad dressing, etc. We also have all the diapers in this bag. We were going to pack all this in a big suitcase, but realized we'd have to pay the $15 on the way home then, too. Instead we are using this army duffel bag that we can just fold up and tuck into a carry on for the trip home.

So that's our frugal luggage plan.

Now we have to figure out how to navigate the airport, including security, with two strollers, four carry-on bags, a laptop backpack, a diaper bag backpack, and my purse? Oh, and three kids with their blankies.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Albertsons Double Coupons

I went to Albertsons last night with my dear husband. We were actually on a date, but I couldn't miss out on those double coupons which expired yesterday. =^)

My camera is again failing me and rather than keep fighting with it and getting more and more frustrated I'll just tell you what I bought with the double coupons.

12 double rolls of Cottonelle - $5.49 sale ($1.00 doubled) = $3.49
Crest Pro-Health Toothpaste - $1.76 clearance ($1.00 doubled) = FREE + $.24 overage
Jiffypop Microwave Popcorn 3 pack - $1.00 sale ($.50 doubled) = FREE

I also bought onions & bananas which I need for the next few days before we leave for Disneyland, but I forgot to buy milk. I know! Now the question is should we try to live without it for three days or should I go pick up a quart and use it sparingly?


Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Throw the toy away or try to fix it?

Joanna dropped her toy car keys from her high chair the other day. I don't know what happened, but the ring that holds it all together broke in two places. I picked up the pieces and thought, "Rats! I actually like that toy. Oh well." I actually had the same toy for my older two girls and they wore it out. This was a replacement handed down from a friend.

After dinner I started to look at it and thought, I can fix this! So I busted out the super glue - I love super glue - and voila! A fixed toy!

I intended to show you before and after pictures, but my camera, while clearly showing me the broken toy in the view screen as I snapped the first picture, now only shows a red screen for that shot. My junky camera keeps me humble, right? The picture shows the repair-job. Almost as good as new!

If you have a broken toy, earring, or other item lying around waiting to get fixed, give it a try - you might surprise yourself! And if nothing else, that item will get off your counter, shelf, or dresser where it's been collecting dust and making clutter.

NOTE: I love to buy super glue at The Dollar Store. So often super glue gets messed up with the cap sticking to the tube or the tube getting stuck to the drawer or a number of other mishaps. (This happens to you, too, right?) Anyway, The Dollar Store sells a package of 3 small tubes for $1. These little tubes are great for one to a few small jobs and if something nasty happens to it, no problem, just toss it. This is much more frustrating to me when I have to throw away a tube that cost several dollars and I only got to use once.


Free Leapfrog Book

Here's a deal my friend, Kate, found. Thanks Kate!

Most of us have at least one leapfrog toy... and if you "link" your toy to you on their website you get a free board book!

You simply go here and sign up for the learning path (set up an account)... then you select which products you own and you get mailed a free book (ABS Animal Orchestra Tag Junior board book)!


Sunday, January 17, 2010

Albertsons Double Coupons

I was pleased to see 3 Double Coupons included in the Albertsons insert of the Sunday paper. Albertsons is also having a big 10/$10 sale with lots of match-ups with manufacturer coupons.

My favorite $1 deals include Calidad chips, Roma tomoatoes, sour cream, 7 oz. green chilies, powder parmesan, & Kleenex.

Here are some coupon match-ups I found, but I'm sure I also missed plenty. Any of these doubled would be great deals.
Hall's cough drops $1.00 ($.50 coupon from 1/10 insert)
Ken's dressing $1.99 ($1.00 coupon from 1/10 insert)
Swiss Miss cocoa $1.00 ($.50/2 coupon from 1/10 insert)
DanActive 4 pack $1.99 ($1.00 coupon from 1/10 insert)
Dannon Light & Fit 6 pack $1.99 ($1.00/2 from 1/10 insert)
Activia 4 pack $1.99 ($1.00 coupon from 1/10 insert)

The two Albertsons stores I frequent are also having substantial clearance sales right now which should net some great deals. For example, 12 double rolls of Cottonelle were marked down to $4.99 last week. In this weekend's USA Weekend there was a coupon for $1.00 off Cottonelle 12 packs. I am hoping there are still some of those clearance packages left so I can use a double coupon and get the 12 double rolls for $2.99.

Albertson's usually has a rack of markdowns somewhere in the store, but right now, with so many clearance items, there are lots of hanging red tags throughout the store, especially around paper goods and toothpaste. The Woodinville store has a markdown down rack back near the bakery, the Bellevue store has a rack right at the back end of the baby aisle, and the Redmond store has 3 big racks at the back left of the store near their organic section. I don't go to the Kirkland store often, but I'm sure they have a rack somewhere, too. Be sure to check these out!

Happy shopping!


Saturday, January 16, 2010

Cleaning the Carpets

My wonderful Mom and Aunt were here visiting for a couple of days this week. They come every few months for a visit where we end up doing a little thrift shopping and a lot of work around the house. Bless them, my laundry and ironing usually get all caught up, we move all the furniture to vaccum, and those things I've been "meaning to do" for a couple of months get done.

The big task I had been "meaning to do" recently was to shampoo our carpets. The carpets hadn't been cleaned since we moved in June 2007 so it was well past time, but there wasn't room in the budget to hire someone to come in. Thanks to my friend Shawna, who lent me her carpet shampooer (what a fun word!), to mom for buying the detergent, and Melanie for loaning me some giant fans for drying. Mom ended up doing all the shampooing which I am feeling guilty about, though I did get a short lesson in carpet cleaning. The carpets look great! I am especially pleased that the throw rug in the girls' room came clean. I found it at Value Village over a year ago for $7, but it's a $299 Pottery Barn rug! It was pretty clean when we bought it, but a shampoo did wonders. Yahoo for cute little girl rugs at low, low prices!

Friday, January 15, 2010

Target Toy Clearance

I hear that Target's baby gear & toy clearance has started. Head on over and see what you can find at 15-75% off! The sale is also happening online, but the deals are generally better in the stores and you won't have to pay shipping.

Let me know if you find any awesome deals!


UPDATE: Cheryl found a deal on this great kitchen playset:
for $32.48 - marked down from $129.99!!!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Seventh Generation on Sale at Fred Meyers

Fred Meyer has Seventh Generation products on sale this week for 25% off. This sale runs through Saturday, January 16th.

If you pair the sale with the $1.00/1 coupon from last week's mail insert you could get a sweet deal.

You can also print coupons on the Seventh Generation website here. You have to sign up for an account, but it is worth it to print $10 worth of coupons (print each twice)!


Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Great Idea for Hotel Shampoo

In case you didn't catch this already...

Do you have a pile of stuff that looks like this? Me, too! Let's use it up!

My mom shared a great Eleanor Roosevelt quote with me a few months back. It says "Use it up, Wear it out, Make it do, Or do without." This quote basically sums up my philosophy on spending (and why my socks have holes in them ;) ).

I decided to put this into practice with all the small-size and free samples I have lying around. I will be saving by finally using these items and even better, getting rid of a bunch of clutter.

This post is prompted by a great idea I heard today on one of my favorite blogs. The idea is to use Suave shampoo in your hand soap dispensers because it's much cheaper than handsoap refills and does the job. I got into my shower after reading that and saw all these little shampoos I'm trying to use up and thought "Yes! Shampoo in the soap dispensers, then no more tiny bottles in the shower!" So I thought I'd pass it along.


Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Free Subscription to Lego Magazine!

Here's a fun freebie if you have kiddos or are just a kid at heart. Click here to sign up for a free 2 year subscription to Lego Magazine. We just graduated my oldest daughter from Duplos to "real" Legos this Christmas, so I'm looking forward to exploring what this magazine has to offer with her.

NOTE: I would recommend signing up with your own information and not your child's. I entered my daughter's date of birth and had to go through extra steps to get "parent approval" even though I was the one filling out the information. =^)

A big thank you to Rachel at Surviving the Stores for this great post!


Monday, January 11, 2010

Shopping Trip $29.78

This was my big shopping trip for the month. We are leaving in two weeks for Disneyland, and this food should stretch until we go as far as dinners are concerned. I will probably have to do one more quick trip next weekend for more bananas & lettuce.

Here's what I bought:

Gallon organic milk $4.99
Gallon regular milk $1.99 (company this week & making potato soup)
4 bags lettuce $1.00 each
cottage cheese $.99
green onions $.44
V-8 soup $2.00 (1.00 doubled) = FREE
12 double rolls tp $4.99 (1.00) = $3.99
2 tubs sour cream $.99 each
1 Yo-plus 4-pack $1.49 (1.00 doubled) = FREE plus $.51 overage
2# cheddar $2.99
toothpaste $1.64 (1.00 doubled) = FREE plus $.36 overage
3 packages of bacon $.99 each
5# carrots $2.99
5# bananas $3.06

Overall I am sticking to my goal of $60 for the month of groceries. I plan to take at least $20 with us to Disneyland. We have a full kitchen and are planning to take plenty of food for meals so we don't have to spend a lot down there on food.

I really debated about the toilet paper because $4 is a big chunk of only $60 for the whole month. I have enough tp on hand for another month, but $4 was too good to pass up. Maybe if I extended the pantry challenge to the toiletries? No, that would be way too hard.

Here are my dinner plans for the next two weeks:
Frozen Pizza - family movie night
Spaghetti & Meatballs
Chicken in Sour Cream Sauce over rice pilaf
Baked Potato Soup
Soft Tacos
Pork Chops with Red Potatoes
Hamburger Helper
Lasagna & Garlic Bread
Cheesy Chicken Enchiladas

Thanks for reading!


Grocery Store Markdowns

I had great shopping trip to Albertson's this weekend where I found lots of clearance markdowns. I am always super-excited when I find markdown deals because the store has usually discontinued the item or the item is nearing expiration and the store just wants to get rid of it. This usually means a low price.

Most stores have markdown sections and/or markdown tags so you can easily locate these great deals.

DH: You can usually find markdown bins in the back of the stores. You can also find markdown shelf areas in the meat sections of most grocery stores. Also, you might be able to find a markdown bin next to a bakery where they sell baked goods that are going to go bad soon.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Camera Trouble

Woe is me! My camera seems to be malfunctioning so I can't post a picture of my shopping trip from today. I'll see if I can get it working again in the morning.


Pantry Challenge!

The pantry challenge was born several weeks ago due to a huge overabundance of food and a need to spend less cash. Here is what I wrote on our family blog about it (you can see why my dear husband suggested a separate blog):

"Most of you who know me well have seen my pantry. It's big and usually pretty well-stocked. This fall it started getting really full and I knew I'd have to plan lots of meals to start using stuff up. I also have a full size freezer in the garage that is full. This summer I froze lots of our garden tomatoes and am trying to save money buy cooking bulk beans and freezing them in appropriate portion sizes. I also started making/saving chicken broth and freezing it. All of this freezing is so I don't have to buy cans of beans, tomatoes, or broth.

I also feel way more secure somehow having tons of food on hand and we've had so much upheaval lately I think I let the stockpile grow and grow and grow to help me feel better.

So, I planned to start using stuff up in November, but we came home from a trip November 2 to find the water mess and then we had family visiting and two weeks of meals and snacks from wonderful friends at church. I was given lots of excellent, random leftovers from the church kitchen, too. Even though I didn't even visit a grocery store for nearly 3 weeks I probably only used 2 things out of our pantry & freezer. The food was flowing in abundance.

Here is a photo of the pantry & freezer from the weekend before Thanksgiving:

Wow, I actually feel a little vulnerable showing those pictures to whoever is out there reading this. It's like my secret stash, EXPOSED!

Anyway, we took a huge bag of food to church that weekend for the Thanksgiving baskets. You can imagine our surprise and delight when we found out that we were actually receiving one of the baskets. Even more hilarious is that we found some of our own donations included in the groceries we received.

This wasn't just a simple Thanksgiving basket. It was filled with all the Thanksgiving necessities (which I totally used) but came with two other bags full of groceries. Here is a picture of how generous the church community was with us:

So, what am I to do with all this food? First I gave a big box to someone who needed it. Next - I need to use up this good stuff! After some talking with friends I decided to have a Pantry Challenge - Here are the rules:

1) For the months of December and January I cannot add to my pantry or freezer.
2) New dry or canned goods must used for planned meals in the next week only.
3) Purchases should be primarily produce & dairy for the fridge.


1) Freezer meals received from my monthy meal swap can be added to the freezer. I can also purchase dry goods to make my freezer meals for the next swap only.
2) I can add up to five pounds of hamburger or chicken if I am down to one pound or less of either.
3) If I get things for free, they can be added to the pantry or freezer.

I am posting this challenge on the blog for accountability and for fun. I will post a picture of any grocery shopping each week so you can what I am buying and how little I spent because I'll be drawing on the vast food resources we already have.

So that's all. Now you know about my weird food-hoarding habit and how I plan to pare things down this winter. Thanks for your encouragement & support! If anyone else wants to have a challenge of their own, I'd love to hear that you're doing it, too. Please ask questions or comment so I know there is some accountability."

FYI after 4 weeks I am down to 35 boxes of cereal, 21 cans of soup, & 15 boxes of crackers.


Resourceful Friday

I am really hoping to post every day so I was disappointed that it didn't work out yesterday. I think if I post every day I'll establish the habit and it'll be a nice little break for me to have fun with my hobby.

All of that to say, please visit every day for a new post!

I ended up feeling sick yesterday with a 102.4 fever. Yuck! Thankfully it's down to 100.2 at which I can care for my family. 102.4=shivering in bed and being whiny to my dear husband and NOT on the computer.

I did do several resourceful activities yesterday that I thought I'd share. I'm sure all of you reading this know me, so this is just a day in the life of Katie.

9:15 Take Eve to Preschool
10:00 Check out consignment store in Issaquah & decide to leave a few things that are cluttering up the house and that I haven't managed to put on Craig's List in over a year.
11:00 Drop by rental house in Issaquah & bonus: I can write off the mileage
11:15 Latte and sorting coupons at Starbucks
12:00 Pick up Eve from Preschool
12:15 $3 lunch at McDonald's for both of us - 2 $1 burgers and split a $1 fries.
12:30 Thrift store shopping - bought a pair of Gap jeans in Eve's next size for $1.79 and a pair of pajamas for Naomi for $1.50. Naomi (3) is quickly catching up to Eve (4) in clothing size so hand-me-downs won't work for Naomi much longer. Eeek!
1:30 Library to borrow books
1:45 Post office to mail business tax return & bonus: I can write off the mileage
2:00 Home - spend time on some stuff for MOPS at church and start to feel sick
3:30 Take Joanna to JC Penney portrait studio - cheap & gets the job done. Paid with a gift card.
5:00 Return clothes to Children's Place and Macy's totalling $25 b/c I found comparable items at the thrift stores for $5.25 (also starting to feel really sick)
6:15 Make fajitas for dinner - I had a bell pepper that was starting to pucker, so it was an easy decision. 1 bell pepper, 1 onion, 1 chicken breast, olive oil - toss it on tortillas and voila! We also had salsa, sour cream, and shredded cheddar.
6:45 in bed for the night. I know!
9:30 finally took my temperature 102.4

So that's my resourceful day.

I'll post later today with my grocery shopping trip from today. I am doing a pantry challenge - which means I am trying to eat food out of my pantry and freezer and only buying produce and dairy to supplement.

More on that later today.


Thursday, January 7, 2010

Albertson's Cheerios Money Maker

After I just posted that big list of Safeway deals I checkout out the Albertson's ad. Albertson's has Cheerios on sale for $1.88 each this week. Their Tuesday ad includes 3 double manufacturer's coupons on the back page. If you printed any three of the $1.00/1 Cheerios coupons I linked to in the previous post, you could double them and get the Cheerios for FREE plus $.12 Overage each box.


Loss Leaders at Safeway

Usually the grocery stores advertise anywhere from 1-5 items at very low prices each week. So low, that they store might lose money on the products. These items are called loss leaders and are intended to get shoppers into the stores where we will presumably do some additional shopping. I tend to primarily only buy the loss leaders with a few other sale items depending on the week and how many stores I will visit.

I used to visit Safeway for their loss leader deals, but then they starting requiring a $10 minimum purchase to use the loss leader coupons. I could usually work that out, especially if I found a package of markdown meat. Then Safeway increased the minimum purchase to $20. I almost never spend $20 at Safeway so, sadly, I almost never get to use the loss leader coupons. Additionally, sometimes Safeway requires a purchase of a minimum number of the sale item to get the price. Grrr.

This week, however, I could easily spend the $20 because there are so many great loss leader coupons. The Sunday paper had an insert with 22 coupons and the Tuesday mailer had 14 more. My favorite deals this week at Safeway:

99 cent gallon milk
98 cent 18 eggs
1.49 Cheerios & Cinnamon Toast Crunch (must buy 4) use $1.00/1 coupons here, here, & here. print twice per computer.
$4.99 Always or Tampax - pair with a B1G1 coupon from Sunday paper to get two packages for $4.99.
$1.99 Coffeemate liquid creamer - pair with $1.50/2 coupon here to get 2 for $1.25 ea.
$1.99 String Cheese 16 count
$2.99 O Organics frozen pizza
and finally a $30 giftcard with any transferred prescription.

Thanks to Money Saving Mom again for the Cheerios coupon links.

Be sure to check out Safeway's ads for more deals on things you use. Happy Shopping,


Wednesday, January 6, 2010

50 Prints for 50 cents at Snapfish

This is a pretty sweet deal from Snapfish for printing photos, especially after the Christmas holidays. Enter the code NEWYEAR50 at checkout to receive your 50 prints for just 50 cents. This deal is only good through January 7, so hurry!

I saw this deal on MoneySavingMom and wanted to pass it along.

Updated notes: $4.28 after shipping (it won't let you pick up in store - Thanks Kracinda!).

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Albertson's Trip $3.52

I love double coupons!

I bought 2 pounds of shredded cheddar which would have been awesome all by itself for $3.52, but I also got:

6 cups of Dannon Light & Fit for $0.13/each
- one sale for 3/$1 ($.60/6 coupon doubled)
1 pouch of Beechnut Yogurt Nibbles FREE + $0.41 overage
- on clearance for $1.59 ($1.00 coupon doubled)
1 tube of Colgate Toothpaste $0.14
- on clearance for $1.69 ($.75 coupon doubled)

Yay for double coupons and not adding to my pantry or freezer!


Albertson's Coupons

Silly me! Here it is Tuesday morning and I finally looked at the Sunday paper. I was excited to see Albertson's had an insert with 3 double coupons and another coupon for their awesome cheese deal this week.

The cheese deal is 2# shredded for only $2.99. A good price on cheese is $2/lb, so only $1.50/lb qualifies as awesome. It's Albertson's brand in a variety of flavors - I will try to grab Montery Jack tonight since it's really hard to find at even $2/lb.

I don't usually bother buying cheddar when there is an awesome cheese sale because it's so easy to get for $2/lb. Fred Meyer's regular price is $4.49 for 2# of cheddar, too.

Also, don't neglect those double coupons. I get stuff for free and almost free with regularity using double coupons.


Monday, January 4, 2010

FREE $25 in Top Food coupons

I received a mailing this week from Top Food & Drug. It includes a $5/$25 coupon for each of the four weeks in January starting January 6th. It also includes an additional coupon for a free $5 in your Top Connection account when you spend $25. In total these coupons are worth $25 over the course of January and I will give them away to the first person who comments as a thank you for visiting the site and commenting!

I am not a Top Connection member - mostly because membersip is not required to get the sale prices. My understanding of how it works, though, is that all your purchases are recorded in your account and if Top puts any of those items on sale within 30 days of your purchase, they will refund the difference in cost to your account. Additionally, if you find a product is unsatisfactory, you can log on from your home to 'return' the item and receive a refund.*

Is anyone out there a Top Connections member? What do you think of it?

*I am sure that Top Foods has had to deal with gross abuse of this system due to people's dishonesty. I feel strongly that 'getting a deal' by lying or cheating the system somehow is never ok. Not only is it dishonest, but it makes the companies getting abused unable to continue offering great deals into the future. Just resist the temptation!

Sunday, January 3, 2010


Welcome to A Resourceful Home. I am hoping this site will encourage my family, friends, and maybe eventually more people to live within their means, make do with what they have, and honor the Lord Jesus in the process.

I am an unabashed deal seeker and I love to share my frugal finds with friends & family who can also benefit. Unfortunately all my deals and excitement over saving money have been clogging up our family news blog and my dear husband (DH) has encouraged me to start posting on my own money saving site - this is that site.

DH is also an entrepreneur at heart and will be helping. On that note I'll ask you to visit often, share your comments, and help to grow this community of savers.

I hope to post at least once a day about various resourceful living ideas. I also plan to populate this site with plenty of long-term content that will become a resource for visitors to the site.

That's all for today, but come back tomorrow for a great deal!