Super Stay At Home Mommy!

Adventures in the life of a stay at home wife and mom

From Trash to Treasure!

Recently, I snagged a couple little chairs and table on Craigslist for $5. I was looking for a little place for Linnaea to sit down and color, and this was perfect! There was just one thing wrong… The chairs were covered in cartoon characters (Dora and Spongebob, which we don’t watch here), and the table had a picture of a princess and was covered in scratches. Since they were going to go in our living room (the room Linnaea has officially taken over as her playroom), I needed them to look more presentable. So, I decided the easiest way to go about doing that was priming and painting the whole set. This ended up not costing me a penny! How did I do that, you might ask? Well, we had a little primer left over from a previous project. For the paint, I went to Ace Hardware on a weekend when they were offering a free quart! They do this occasionally, so keep an eye out and grab a quart next time you see the deal going on! You never know when you’re going to need some paint!

Here’s some before and after pics, I am quite pleased with how they turned out!

Before.... Even if we wanted to, we just couldn't leave the chairs this way. Linnaaea was terrified of the giant Spongebob eyes staring at her!

During... After a couple coats of primer

After! Her table and chairs set up in her little corner of the world 🙂 Total cost- $5! In researching online, I found that I saved anywhere from $45 to $100! (Depending on the set of table and chairs you get). Keep an eye out for deals, it pays off!

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Guest Post: Cost Per Trip

My lovely Mother-in-Law created a nifty budgeting tool that we wanted to share with you! She wrote up a great post about it, and I’m excited for you all to read about it and try it out! If you want your own copy of this great little spreadsheet she made (it makes everything so easy to figure out- you don’t have to do any math!) all I ask is that you follow my blog, and then post in the comments that you would like the link to the worksheet. I will send it to you via email!

Click to see a sample of the worksheet!

Gas prices are rising…AGAIN! They could reach $5-6/gallon within the year. OUCH! Those kind of prices can hurt even a well-thought out budget.

Gas is expensive, probably one of the most expensive items in a budget. Where do those gas dollars go?

It’s time to stop thinking about PPG (price per gallon) and start thinking about CPT (Cost Per TRIP).  If we concentrate on how much it costs to get from one place to another, it’s easier to make educated decisions about where (and if) we go.  If you determine it costs $8 to go to the utilities company to pay a bill, you might consider mailing in your payment, or even better, paying online, for an instant savings of $8.  If it costs $4 to go to the neighborhood grocery store, you might want to only go once a week (or less), resulting in more money in your pocket. Thinking about how much a trip costs always helps you make informed decisions about whether the PPT is worth that trip.

I wrote this Excel worksheet to make the process easy. Just input the correct information, and you will have a list of how much each trip you make costs according to the current price per gallon of gas. This worksheet is free, but please be courteous and don’t share with anyone. We would love to have them come visit us at http://www.superstayathomemommy.com and get their copy there.

-Cheryl Boynton

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Menu Planning

Weekly menu planning plays a HUGE part in saving money in our grocery budget. When Jason and I first got married we were terrible at grocery shopping. We walked up and down every aisle and tossed whatever looked good into the cart. Later in the week, I’d go to cook something, and realize that I didn’t have everything I needed for a complete meal. So, back to the store we’d go…. We ended up spending WAY too much on groceries.

When I became a stay at home mom, suddenly it was important to really budget our money. I needed to find a way to cut our grocery bill in half. It took some time and tweaking, but here’s what I do. (We went from spending about $150 a week for just 2 of us, to about $60 a week for all 3 of us).

To start, I go through the weekly ads from the different stores around us and see who has the best deals on meat. Typically, this is our biggest expense. So, whoever has the best meat prices is where we’ll do all of our shopping. I used to go to 3 different stores to get all the best deals from all the different stores, but I quickly realized that the time and gas that it takes to do that was not worth it. Not to mention, taking a 1 year old in and out of the car that many times is NOT fun!

Once I figure out what store I’ll be shopping at, I go through the rest of the ad and find out what other great deals they are offering. I write everything down, and then cross reference my coupons (I’ll post some coupon sites at the end of this blog to help out. I’ll also be doing a coupon blog in the near future, so stay tuned!)

Now that I know what the good deals are, I make a menu utilizing those items and whatever I have in my pantry. There are tons of menu templates out there, but I just make a list of meals I can make throughout the week. (If you need help with this part, I’ve posted a link to a great site at the end of this post!)

Now that I know what I’m cooking, I’ll make a list of whatever leftover items I still need. And, here’s the part where my OCD kicks in a bit. I then organize my entire list by aisle. Sounds crazy, I know. But when I do it this way, I insure that we only walk through the store one time (not back and forth finding everything on the list), and we’re less likely to pick up extra goodies (you know, all those traps they set on the endcaps! Those will make your grocery bill sky rocket!)

And now we’re set for the week!

If you need some more help, here’s some awesome sites I’ve found! And if you have any others that you love, let me know!

Couponing Sites:
Krazy Coupon Lady– in her blog, she matches up coupons with deals in different stores
Money Saving Mom– another savings blog
Coupons.com– printable coupons
 
Phone Apps:
Grocery Gadget– For Iphone and Android. This is an App you have to pay for, but it allows you to compare prices, import recipes, and search for ecoupons. You can edit on your phone or on the web.
 
Recipe finders:
Dinner Spinner– Also an app for your phone. You can enter what ingredients you have, and it will help you find a recipe! How awesome is that!
SuperCook– Another site that will search for recipes based on what ingredients you have
 
Paid sites:
The Grocery Game– Pay a monthly fee, and this site helps you match up coupons and deals in your area!
Plan to Eat– Pay a monthly fee, and this site helps you plan your weekly menus!
 
Lots of great menu planning templates here!
 

Happy Shopping!! 

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Sewing on a Budget

I am crazy about saving money! I’m a coupon clipper, bargain hunter, and get a thrill over finding a good deal. So, of course, when I started sewing I had to find a way to do it on a budget.

The first few projects I made I found myself spending WAY too much money. By the time you get the pattern, fabric, notions, thread, etc, it really starts to add up. I needed to find a way to make things cheaper- especially since I plan to make my daughter’s entire Spring and Summer wardrobe.

That’s when my wonderful mother-in-law stepped in and suggested “upcycling” (recycling) old clothes, sheets, etc. I couldn’t be more excited about the idea. We took a trip to Good Will and went crazy! I came home with a great stash and have been back a couple times for more. I’d say that I have probably saved at least $200 in fabric costs.

Just a small portion of what I've gotten at Good Will. I spent about $8 on all of this. I will probably get 2-3 outfits out of each sheet

It’s also amazing all of the notions you can find at the thrift store, too. I have a stash of bias tape, and am working on gathering up some buttons, zippers, and elastic too.  Many of the dresses we found to upcycle had buttons and zippers on them which can be reused too. The zippers take a little more effort, but it can be done! The savings probably isn’t as much here just yet- I’d say about $20. But every penny counts!

Patterns seemed to still be the part where I struggled and spent a little too much money…. However, searching the internet I found countless free tutorials that have been great. I also keep an eye out for deals at JoAnn’s. Just last weekend they had a deal for 5 Simplicity patterns for $5. I took advantage of it, purchased 10 patterns, and saved over $130!!!

Take a look at this score! Original prices range from $11.95-$17.95 a piece! I got them for a dollar each!

When it comes to thread costs, I keep it simple. Black or white thread can pretty much be used for any project. So, rather than buying new thread to match each and every project, I just always keep black and white thread on hand.

I’ll continue sharing tips and ideas, as well as deals I find!

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