Monday, October 31, 2011

TMR Frugal Living Tip #81

Today's thrifty living tip is to be more creative in making your child's Halloween costume. I personally don't have anything against store bought costumes except that most are overpriced junk. Some years I have purchased a $10-15 costume from Wal-Mart that would basically fall apart during the first wearing. I have also bought better quality costumes from the Disney Store that would last several wearings, and then sell them used on ebay for more than I paid new. I would purchase them on clearance and sometimes spring for the extra accessories which completes those costumes. The problem now is my son is too old for most of the Disney costumes as those are for babies. *SIGH*

Most people are not going to sew a costume from a pattern, which can still cost a pretty penny in fabric and not to mention the time, unless of course you really enjoy sewing. I don't enjoy sewing so we have gotten more creative in putting together a costume for my son by just digging in his closet. There might be times I have to purchase an item to complete his costume, but most of the time I don't as he already owns most of it. I put up a picture of his homemade Halloween costume from last year. He was his favorite wrestler, Ray Mysterio, complete with the mask, a jacket, a Ray shirt (you can't see but it's under the jacket), a pair of jeans and tennis shoes. He used one of his toy wrestling belts to complete the costume. He already owned everything so cost to me was FREE! He actually received a ton of compliments from other kids and adults on his costume. I think the authentic mask was the true gem of this costume as a friend of mine gave this to my son. This was one of those expensive replicas they sell and not the cheap plastic masks.

This year he is going as a military man. I don't have a picture but he already owned a camouflage shirt, shorts, and hat. I have a pair of military issued combat boots that I wore when I was in the army many years ago that he can wear now at age 10! Since we are trick or treating, we are not bringing any toy guns. Everyone will know what he is supposed to be anyway. Again total cost to me= FREE! These creative costumes are actually his idea as he complains about how the store bought costumes are itchy and fall apart. I have taught my little grasshopper well. I would love to hear other creative solutions for Halloween Costumes. Happy Halloween and be safe tonight!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Get a Jumpstart on Christmas Shopping with a $50 Gift Card Thrifty Momma Ramblings Giveaway!

Christmas is right around the corner so Thrifty Momma Ramblings is hosting a $50 gift card giveaway for one lucky reader to get a jumpstart on Christmas shopping! You can be totally selfish and use it for yourself if you choose. I will post the list of stores you can choose from for your gift card. The rules are super easy and this contest will end on Sunday, November 6th at 11:59 PM CST. So basically midnight. The winner will be announced on the blog the following day and I use to pull the lucky winner by number.

Giveaway Rules:
To enter this drawing all you have to do is leave a comment about how you would spend the $50 gift card if you won. As I said, you could use it on holiday shopping, regift to someone else, or use it on yourself. No anonymous posters please. You don't have to have a blog but leave your name at least in the comment. All anonymous poster comments will be deleted. I hope you enjoy the giveaway. This giveaway is only open to United States (US) Residents! Only one entry per comment, but and I have included a a couple of extra ways to earn more entries.

2 Extra Entriess- Blog about this drawing on your blog linking back to this post. Leave me a comment with the link that I can follow and see it.
1 Extra Entry- Subscribe to my email list located at the top right hand side below header.
1 Extra Entry- Retweet this contest or follow me on Twitter (You can do both but you only get credit for one.)
1 Extra Entry- Follow my page on Facebook or Share on your wall (You can do both but you only get credit for one.)

Stop reading already and leave your comment for your chance to get a jumpstart on Christmas shopping with a $50 to one of the following stores of your choice. Thanks so much to all my readers. I wouldn't have much of a blog without you guys. Good luck!

$50 Gift Card List:
1) Wal-Mart
2) Target
3) Amazon (online)
4) CVS
5) Walgreen's
6) Best Buy
7) Rite-Aid
8) Itunes

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Paint- It's Cheap and Comes in a Can

paintremodelingkitchencabinetsinexpensivesavemoneyfrugalgreen"It's called paint- it's cheap and comes in a can." This has to be one of the best quotes I've heard while watching a tv show. I really wished I could remember which show I was watching, but this is exactly how I feel about paint. Paint is a wonderful inexpensive way to spruce up just about anything. I didn't want to replace my kitchen cabinets since they are actual wood and not cheap particle board. The cabinets are in excellent condition but just needed a facelift. To paint or not to paint was the question. I really wanted the kitchen to be brighter and stained wood darkens spaces. In the end, I decided to paint them. Below are the steps that I took and some pictures. (Oh quick note, that picture was drawn by my husband. I asked if he could draw me a paint bucket with brush for this post. I outlined it in paint, but will eventually figure out how to actually paint in photoshop. I think he did a fabulous job!)

How I Transformed My Kitchen Cabinets
I must have looked up almost a hundred articles and websites looking for information on properly painting previously stained cabinets. The problem is so much of the information, even from the "experts", varies by technique and even properly cleaning or degreasing the doors. I decided to use a no rinse TSP cleaner. Then I did lightly sand the doors since the stain was pretty old and faded. After I wiped them down with a clean tack cloth, I have knotty pine wood so I used a shellac primer in a spray can just on the knots. The knots vanished after I primed the doors with a regular primer.

Finally I did use 3 coats of white Kitchen and Bath enamel paint. It is a little more expensive than a semi-gloss, but it's made for specifically for a high humidity. I used a paint brush and not a sprayer. I didn't know how to use a sprayer and I definitely was not willing to experiment. I used a very high quality paint brush made to eliminate brush strokes. I have to admit it came out great. I can barely see any strokes, and I am very happy with the results. The whole process of cleaning, sanding, and painting took me about 2-3 days. I had 16 doors so I had to paint eight one day and paint the remaining eight the next day. I did let the doors dry for about 4-5 days. I was a little paranoid. Most experts recommend at least three days. I know many people would not use a white, but I have found it very easy to keep the cabinets clean. I just wipe them a couple of times a week after I do the dishes. The best part is my kitchen is much brighter, even with the lights off.

Spray Paint- Who Knew?

I really wanted to replace the door handles, but we couldn't find new handles to match up as the old ones are hung differently than today. I cleaned them, but couldn't get all the rust out. My brilliant husband suggested we just spray paint them. We got a flat satin black and one with the primer already mixed in. It cost us about $8 with tax and it worked perfectly. The handles look brand new again! I am thrilled with the results, and it was much cheaper than buying 20 new handles. The total project cost us $90! That includes all the paint, primer, brushes, and sandpaper. I did get some discounts with coupons that I was mailed. I think that saved me about $12-15. I have brand new cabinets and handles for under $100! We did splurge on the better paint, but I think it was worth every penny. I think a picture is worth a thousand words...literally!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Warehouse Clubs-Big Savings or Money Drain?


First I want to mention I only have a Sam's club near me so my experience is limited. I been a member for a couple of years. Lately I haven't noticed much in the way of savings. I'm finding better deals by just watching the other store sale ads. For instance, Sam's has a 30 roll package of Scott's toilet paper for over $22. I can buy 3 packs with the 12 rolls for $6-7 on sale and end up with more toilet paper for the same price. I'm not saying there aren't good deals to be found at these clubs, but you should just ask yourself a few things before buying.

Can I get this cheaper on sale somewhere else?
Do I really need such a big size of this item?
Will we just eat it all quickly since it's in the house?
Will it go to waste before we can use it?
Do I have enough room to store these bigger packages?

I am guilty of some of the above. I like buying my groceries and health/beauty items in bulk, but I have noticed some of the snacks don't last as long as they should. Or I've had some items go to waste before we could use it all. I mostly try to stick to dry goods and frozen foods for this reason. I live in a bigger home, well big for 3 people, but I do have plenty of space to store items. I hope these questions can help you stop and think before buying something you don't need or can't use.

There are other savings such as the pharmacy, travel discounts, office supplies, tires, appliances, and such. I split my membership with my mom. I have a card and she has one so it does save money by only paying $20 yearly. I asked and it's acceptable at Sam's. I do save money on gas but I will be doing some more number crunching come renewal time next year. I would love to read your thoughts.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

50 Free Spooktacular Disney Movie Rewards Bonus Points

Today is the last day to redeem your 50 Halloween points for the Disney Movie Rewards program. Here are the 5 codes to enter:

SCARY 10pts
BOO 10 pts
AUTUMN 10 pts
HOOK 10 pts

Just remember these free "BOO"nus points ends today on October 16th so hurry before they RIP! I have embedded the new Monster Mash video for the Spooky Buddies DVD. Very cute.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Save More While Talking More with Straight Talk

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Straight Talk for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.

Pretty much everyone has a cell phone these days. More and more of us are using our phones for more than just talking. I know I love to text, search the internet, check my Facebook account, and even play games on my phone. My life is literally on my phone, and I know lots of people who feel the same. Many people are either unemployed or had to take a job making much less than before. They still need a phone, but can't afford the high cost most plans charge. Then others might not want to be stuck in a contract or can't get a contract due to poor credit. What is someone to do?

Straight Talk has the solution to this dilemma with Feel Richer with Android. Smart Talk offers a plan for every budget. There is the "All You Need Plan" which offers 1,000 minutes and text messages plus 30 MB of web data. Of you if you prefer to have unlimited service for a flat rate of $45 per month then the Unlimited Monthly plan would be better. If you really want to save, then getting unlimited calls, text, picture messaging, and web for a whole year is a steal at $499.00! You still get 411 calls at no extra charge, free activation, reactivation, and no termination fees ever. If you need to make International calls, then that's fine as they offer flexible plans.

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Friday, October 14, 2011

Thrifty Momma Ramblings Gets a Facebook Page

I just wanted to share with my readers that I created a page on Facebook just for Thrifty Momma Ramblings. I also added a bar to the right side under Social Networks that will take you to it and you can like it. I would appreciate the support on Facebook so please click like on TMR's page. Click Here to Like Thrifty Momma Ramblings and become a fan! I'm trying to really establish and expand the blog after neglecting it for so long. I realize how much I do enjoy writing and sharing my tips and ideas. I hope you will come by and say hi.

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Tuesday, October 11, 2011

TMR Frugal Living Tip #80

Today's frugal living tip is to reuse those coffee grounds, tea bags, eggshells, and vegetable/fruit peelings. Yep I drink coffee and tea on a daily basis so I take the grounds, and work them directly into the soil around my plants. Of course you can also throw them in a compost pile. I take rinsed eggshells and crush them before mixing into the soil. I also compost. You can either compost vegetable/fruit peelings or just dig small holes into your garden. I dig them in a few inches and let them rot until it's time to till the soil. I love just digging small piles directly into the garden as I don't have to deal with a compost pile this way. My soil still benefits and it gets worked into the whole garden plot twice a year. Not everyone is keen on the idea of having a compost pile so here is another alternative way to reduce waste, but it still helps your soil and plants thrive. The best part is that worms love the coffee grounds and seem to attract them. This is actually a positive as worms help to aerate the soil.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Blog & College Life Update

As my mid-terms are coming to an end next week, I'm looking forward to our short break. I just have to brag a little since I have straight A's thus far. It's funny how as an older adult, I refuse to accept less than the best. Whereas, when I was straight out of high school, I was happy to get out the class with a C.

Next week I am planning on possibly moving my blog to wordpress and hosting it somewhere else. I want more control over it, and I would like to concentrate on a new design. I'm not sure if I will keep the other one I started called Shrinking Cajun. I think I might axe it and just revive the Cajun Blogger. I also would love to chronicle more about how fun it is trying to juggle family, part-time work, with going to school full-time as an adult. I know many other women face this same struggle so I would love to write more posts about college life and time management. I'm really beginning to enjoy writing more lately, another idea I have for that blog would be to interview local Louisiana business owners.

I really want to review products and more money saving tips. I am hoping to host some giveaways soon. I have already invested so much time into this blog that I refuse to let it die a slow death. I really want to share a great project we did on a couple of pieces of furniture we already owned. I just need to take some pictures, but I don't really have any before to compare. I am planning on doing the same thing with the living room furniture when the weather gets a little cooler. Keep checking back as I will have this up by this weekend.