Saving Money at the Grocery Store

 I  love to save money at the grocery store, but I have learned that you need to have a plan in place to save the most money.
 Grocery stores spend a lot money to research ways to get you to put extra food in your grocery cart.  Don't let them outsmart you.  Stick to your grocery plan.
Make your grocery list using weekly ads or go online and find what is on sale at your favorite store for the week. Be sure to note the day the sale ends. I shop several stores in town because we have local grocers that have deals the larger stores don't have. Also remember stores like Dollar General that have great prices on grocery items.
   
 Recently they had a sale on can goods for 50 cents so I bought 20 cans of corn, peas, green beans, and mixed vegetables.
  Sales run in cycles so stock up enough to last until the item goes back on sale.
 I Keep a Notebook in my purse with the grocery stores listed  and the sale items  under the name.  I also put the sale price in parentheses.  I pulled my list out the other day to tell my niece who had mayo on sale and how much it cost.

I will use coupons if I happen to have them but I don't purposely look for them. It doesn't make sense to buy 20 bottles of mustard because you can get it for a few pennies with a coupon.
 I want to save on items that can be used, and I want a well stocked pantry. Honestly, who has room for all that stuff?  If I see a good coupon online I can't resist, I will print it.  Most of my coupons come in the food I buy or something that comes in the mail.  I don't have  time to run down coupons.  If I have them, they are an added bonus.
  Stocking up is the secret to saving on groceries.  Don't buy anything unless it is on sale.
 Plan your grocery list with sale items and plan your menu around the food in your pantry and freezer.
I find it very important to use a notebook or smart phone to  list the stores you visit  and what you need from that store.  This is so helpful keep you from impulse buying and this way you never forget what you need.

The Jacket I Almost Didn't Buy

I have always been a cheap thrifty shopper looking for a sale, or a great deal on anything I buy.  I consider it a game and I love to win.
This turquoise jacket was on a clearance rack at Walmart for $5.00   My first thought was I have absolutely nothing to go with it.

I loved the 3/4 length shirred sleeves, and the fact that it would be a good piece for travel since it wouldn't easily wrinkle.

So I bit the bullet and bought it.  I have been surprised to find how many pieces go with this jacket. Everyone tells me it is my color so it makes me feel good when I wear it.
Well of course it goes with a white shirt, but look what a difference the perfect piece of jewelry makes. A light blue t shirt would look good or a graphic tee.
Then I found a dress that went with the jacket.

The necklace really pulls it together.  You can change the look more by wearing a belt.
But then I went to the thrift store and found this sweater that was the perfect match.
This photo doesn't do this sweater justice.  It is beautiful and matches the jacket perfect. All I wear with this set is a pair of turquoise earrings.
 The sweater was $3.50 with my 10% discount.  So this set cost me $8.50. I wear this with black pants and dress black shoes.  I'm so glad I took a chance on the jacket because I have had a lot of fun finding tops to go with it and I'm not done yet.  When I go thrift shopping I keep it and all my jackets in mind when looking for tops.
 
    

10 Tips To Make You a Thrift Store Rock Star

English: Goodwill Industries thrift shop, 4193...

 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
 I love to save money and Goodwill is a great way to do that.  Make it a game to see how much you can save. Here are  several tips that will help as you begin your thrifting journey.

1-Take a shopping bag in the thrift shop instead of  using a cart.  It can speed up the process and make it easier to navigate the tight aisles of a thrift store. If you need a cart, park it near the aisle and  take your items to it as you choose them.

2-  Evaluate each piece before checkout to make sure this is what you need or   want.  Also double check for stains, holes, are the  buttons all there, make sure zippers work properly and is there any discoloration anywhere.

3- Shop thrift shops in the upper middle class part of town.  They usually have better quality clothes and they have clothes that most of us  need for work or leisure. Don't discount the smaller towns though, my favorite store is in a small town.  It is awesome.

4- Thrift clothing has already been washed by the previous owner, therefore it won't shrink. A definite money saver.  I have washed so many new clothes to have them shrink 2 sizes.

5- Set a budget and stick to it.  Since things are more affordable, it seems acceptable to buy more than you normally would.

6- Shop seasonally.  After Christmas people will be making room for new items, After spring cleaning people donate.  Go to thrift shops right after peak time when everyone clears out their closets.  The changing of the seasons is one of the best times.  You may have to buy an item out of season but you will have it  washed and ready when it's time to wear it.

 7- Have at least 2 items in mind that you are shopping for.   Always have a plan  so you don't end up with regrets.  I have a running list that has about 10 items that I am looking for.

 8- Shop Goodwill online for lots of name brand items.  I hate paying shipping because it adds to the cost,and  I find the best deals by going to Goodwill.    I love the hunt.

9- Look for tags and original packaging.  Thrift shops sometimes get  overstock from large stores.  Many times I have seen identical shirts with tags.


10- To get that "thrift" smell out of clothes, add one cup of vinegar to the wash.  I also spray everything with Febreeze.  I sometimes spray them with a perfume I'm tired of but still like.

Another plus to thrift store shopping is, that most likely, you won't walk into a room with someone wearing the same thing you have on.  I once went to a function where 3 women were wearing the same dress. It must have been embarrassing for all. I know it was for me, because I was one of the three ladies wearing the dress.


Closet Organization Tips and Tricks


This week I organized my closet again.  (See my before closet in this post)
I arranged my clothes by colors,but I also wanted to to make them more functional.  I love the added space I have now and  everything is more  accessible.



 
On the top shelves I used 2 racks like this to maximize the space. I  stacked clear containers on one of the racks and the other rack I flipped upside down to hold my pocketbooks.  I have seen shelf racks made for this but mine worked just fine.

Under my hanging clothes I put a 3 compartment clear drawer for my sweaters and t shirts.  I also switched to slim velvet clothes hangers.  As you can see in the makeover, my clothes look so neat and I couldn't believe the space it saved.  I have a super small closet so every inch counts. 



Here are some closet organizing tips that have worked well for me.


  • I would never use a organizing system in my closet.  Here is the reason why.  Most of the shelves do not make good use of the space.  The shoe organizer never has enough room for those of us who love shoes, and anyway, who wants smelly shoes hanging out with our fresh clothes. Our needs change, so why not use baskets and storage bins that can be changed as necessary. 
  • Use clear bins to store everything.  I went to this system years ago and love that I can see what is in it without pulling it out or opening it.  It is a real time saver.
  • Put a hook beside your closet to hang the next days clothes.  Pick out 3 or 4 pieces for easy access in the morning.
  • Keep your most used clothes and accessories where they are easy to get to.  Put out of season and less used things on the top shelf of your closet.  Keep a light stool nearby so you can reach them easily.
  • Hang most of your clothes.  If you can't see your clothes, you are less likely to wear them.
  •  Keep organized with these rod organizer labels from Amazon.  There are 12 plastic dividers and 60 labels.  These are great for kids clothes.  You can separate clothes that can be worn to play in and clothes that are for school.  This way your kids can see which clothes they are able to play in and which clothes must be saved for other occasions.

 I am so excited about my newly designed closet.  I feel like I have clothes to wear to any event. It is less stressful knowing I have so many choices and can dress quickly.

Apple Cinnamon Crisp Recipe

I always look forward to Autumn and the delicious apples that come with it.  I love the smell of my house when this apple crisp is in the oven. My family says it smells like home when they walk in the door.  As I'm writing this post, the smell is awesomeThere is something special about apples and brown sugar.

  I used canned apples (just because I had them) and fresh apples. Here is the recipe I came up with.

Mix the following ingredients: 

Filling:
  • 1 can apple cinnamon fried apples
  • 3 fresh apples, small to medium size
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 3 tablespoons flour or cornstarch
  • 1/3 cup raisins
Prep a 9x9 dish with a non stick spray and pour ingredients into the dish.

Topping:


  • 1 cup steel cut oatmeal
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 stick of butter melted
  • 1/3 cup flour
Mix ingredients together until they crumble.
Sprinkle crumbles on top of the filling and bake at 375 degrees for 40 minutes.
 Great with a scoop of ice cream or cool whip.
This dish was not around very long.  My husband really loved it.

Fashion for Less

Since my weight loss I have had to get rid of a lot of clothes.  That means I've had to buy a lot of new clothes.  That can get very expensive since I still have weight to loose.  I decided to check out Goodwill.  I have been pleasantly surprised at the finds there.  Here is a jacket I found at Goodwill that is one of my favorites. 
I can wear this jacket with pants, skirts, and dresses.  Since I'm trying to save money on clothes, my rule before buying is the piece must be versatile enough  to make at least 3 outfits.   This sweet jacket was $3.99.
Jacket with Sleeveless Black Dress
 Here I used the jacket with a sleeveless black dress. I had a black necklace that goes well with it.  To change it up, you can use a solid scarf or change the jewelry.  A long silver necklace changes the look entirely.

Jacket with Black Skirt and Belt
   This jacket looks good with long black skirt and white shirt.  Add a wide belt and a necklace.    You can wear the shirt tucked or not. If you tuck the shirt, you can  add a wide black belt and still look slim.  A belt also works for  shirts that are not tucked.

Jacket and Pants with a Splash of Color

Here is a super slimming outfit.  Pair black pants, black shirt, and add a thin belt. Use different color belts and scarves.  You can also change the look with a different color shirt.  There are so many ways to wear this simple jacket.  This is why this is my absolute favorite piece.

This Jacket passed the 3 outfit test with flying colors.  I could make so many more variations.

Something else I learned at Goodwill is to group all my colors together.  I was amazed at the sets that just happened to appear.  This was the most important thing I did when I started buying clothes.  I also did my husband's closet the same way and we were shocked at the blue shirts he owned, so now we know not to buy blue shirts....ever again.  We are now focusing  on the colors he does need. We realized he didn't own a long sleeve white shirt.  It was quite the eye opener.
As you can see I love black, but I am adding some brighter colors like red, royal blue, and purple. The plus to this is they also coordinate with my black pants, black skirts, and black jackets.
 If you shop Goodwill, be sure to double check for holes and spots.  I have made a couple of purchases that I shouldn't have. But it is well worth it if you careful and check for flaws.

Inspiration for Fall Porches

Fall is my absolute favorite time of the year.   The colors are beautiful and I wish they would last all year long.  I have been gathering ideas for my porch.  Here are ideas that got me to thinking about dressing  my porch for fall.
Home and Garden
This wheel barrow with the welcome friends pumpkins is an awesome idea. I love pumpkins so much that my husband grew a field of them one year. 
 Our children were  young and I think this started their love of pumpkins too.  Their dad wrote
their names on a pumpkin.  It was so cool watching their names change as the pumpkins grew.   
  I also remember my sister and I  gathering our pumpkins in a wheel barrow. That was one of my favorite fall memories ever.
House of Hawthornes
 I love this fall arrangement  with the basket and  mums. And the cabbage in the tin bucket is just too clever.  This definitely says fall season is here. And how cute is the vintage truck with pumkins in the back.  It's the little things that make a difference.

Found on Pinterest
 How do people come up with all of these awesome ideas?  I don't even like roosters and I love this.  Oh my goodness, I will be looking for roosters the next shopping trip to Hobby Lobby.
 Love, love, love this entrance with the candles and pumpkins.  Two of my favorite things.  You can check out this very talented lady at Rattlebridge.


My Weight Loss Journey

I don't know why but I seem to be more successful at dieting when I start in the fall.  For 3 months I have been  the same weight.  This is both good and bad.  Good because I haven't gained weight and bad because I haven't lost weight.

This week starts another round of dieting and paying extra attention to what I eat.  I know that I will never be able to eat like I used to and I don't want to.  The thought of fried foods is nauseating, and sweets are too sweet.  These are positive signs that your eating habits are changing for the good.  


I have a beautiful dirt road to walk on,  but passing vehicles in  rural  areas make me very nervous, so I haven't been walking like I used to (and I haven't been losing like I used to).  Yesterday I decided to  walk a circle around my yard.  I timed myself for 30 minutes.  My pet babies always walk with me and sure enough they walked in circles with me.  They love running in and out of the woods as we walk.  It's amazing how motivated they keep me.

I've lost 43 pounds but it is time to move forward and get the rest of the weight off.  I just found a site with great recipes for weight loss.   They have a huge  section on salads, which I eat alot.  Their site is I Don't go to the Gym. I don't go to the gym either but I do believe in exercise and good eating. They have some very good tips to include movement in your day.
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