Frugal Tips

Warehouse Stores – Pros and Cons

10:00 am

by Kelly Gibbs

costco aisle 1
What You Should OR Should Not Buy at Warehouse Stores
by Kelly Gibb  of TLC’s Extreme Couponing
I have a Costco about 5 minutes from my house, yet once I started couponing, I’ve gone there less and less.  It’s a fantastic resource for people with large families who don’t want to take the time to sort out deals and clip coupons.  However, if you look at how much you’re spending at Costco, you would see that you can save a lot of money buying items somewhere else.  Plus, warehouse stores don’t accept coupons (except for ones that they send out), which makes it difficult to save the maximum amount of money.  And to top it all off, you have to pay $30+ in membership fees!  Please note that this article is entirely my opinion, you are free to take it or leave it! 🙂

Items I would never buy at warehouse stores:

Well, this list includes pretty much anything I can find a coupon for.  Where I really want to stress though is toiletries.  You can ALWAYS find free shampoo, conditioner, toothpaste, toothbrushes, floss, razors, and other items at drug stores.  That 5 pound bottle of shampoo may be a good deal, but when you can get it for free, any other price is too much!

One of my mother’s favorite deals is on steak sauce.  She used to buy the giant bottles at Costco, until she came across a coupon for $1 off any size bottle.  She then bought the little tiny bottles of steak sauce that are priced around $1.25.  Buying several of the smaller bottles was a much better deal than buying one giant bottle simply because she could use a coupon on each bottle, and now she is well-stocked on steak sauce!

Items I would buy at warehouse stores:

Now, I don’t know about you, but I am never able to find this mysterious deal that gets you free toilet paper.  If I can’t find a good enough deal on toilet paper, then that is something I am willing to pick up at warehouse stores.  My family is big on Charmin, and all I ever get in the paper is a coupon for 25 cents off.  I know that I’d save more going to Costco and not using the coupon than going to somewhere like Target where the price is more, but I could use my little 25 cents off coupon.  The same goes for paper towels, too.  The other items in this list include anything that doesn’t regularly have coupons.  I’m talking about produce, meat, and those delicious muffins, just to name a few.

I think the main thing to consider when shopping at a warehouse store is this: do you save enough money to justify the cost of membership?  For me personally, once I started couponing, I didn’t go to Coscto often enough to make it worth it, so I ditched my membership, and I haven’t looked back once!

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Save while keeping cool and hydrated

7:13 pm

by Jennifer Freeman

Tip ResouceRinse a few used plastic soda bottles, fill them most of the way with water and freeze.  Grab your frozen water bottle when you head out of the house on these hot summer days, and it will be melting to cool refreshing water while you are out and about.   The added bonus is the big blocks of ice help keep your freezer at the right temperature, so you save on your electric bill.


Frugal And Thoughtful Wedding Gifts

6:10 am

by Jen Morris

Frugal Wedding Gifts


Fun, Frugal and Thoughtful wedding gift ideas.  Giving gifts shouldn’t have to cost an arm and a leg but can be just as impacting with a little bit of time and love.  Check out these frugal wedding gift ideas from around the web.

1.  Wire Words

This was such a fun project!  Imagine what you could do for a wedding: love, forever, eternity, the couple’s last name, or a monogram.  Use their wedding colors or just use some leftover yarn you have laying around the house and you have one cute gift.  Plus, after you spend $4 on the galvanized wire, you can get several words done for more than one bride and groom.

2.  Conversation Coasters – My Computer is My Canvas

My good friend Colette has some super cute printables.  This one can be put together for a great inexpensive gift.  Print these coasters and glue them onto some .25 tiles from the hardware store.  Add some glaze on top and tie them all together with a great bow and you have a gift they are sure to talk about.  {get it? “talk about” – “conversation” – HA}

3.  Quilled Monogram – Craftastical!

Doesn’t this just pop?!  I can’t wait to try this one.  Can you believe this was made with cardstock and a pencil?!?  I just don’t have anything else to add.  The tutorial at the link gives really simple directions.  Have fun!

4.  Can of Dates – My Creative Stirrings

If you have an empty #10 can and some cute wrapping paper you are almost home.  You can splurge a little and put this gift in a $4 paint can from Lowes and add some cute ribbon to the handle.  Depending on your budget you can add some items from the list of dates or even throw in some gift cards to the movies or a restaurant.

5.  Personalized Pyrex – Make it and Love it

Use vinyl to etch the last name of the new couple.  Now they have a dish that will always find its way home.  Plus you can add some hot pads or other kitchen utensils if you want to add a little something extra.

And if that weren’t enough fun frugal wedding gift ideas, here are 5 more!


6.  Gift Baskets – Darling Doodles

Speaking of putting gifts together, this gal has some “Darling” ideas!  She even has put together tags to go with them.  I was thinking about a colander, pasta, sauce, olive oil, pasta spoon, and maybe a movie and some popcorn for a dinner and move in a pot.  I also love her taco gift basket…maybe because these two I could easily throw together with items I have on hand in my stockpile {yes, I am just that cheap that I would give away groceries}.  Heck, I could even do a laundry basket with all the laundry fixins too!

7.  Home Town Maps – Young Home Love

How simple and classy do these look?  You could spend time looking for vintage maps of the bride and groom’s home states or you could download and print some at Costco.  Imagine how cool these would look on the wall with a big wooden heart in the middle?  Nice!

8.  Recipe Card Maker – Skip to My Lou

This last idea may take some time and possibly a few other conspirators.  Everyone has a handful of “go-to” recipes for your family, right?  Imagine you are a new wife and need some tried and true dinners to impress your new hubby.  Now imagine you have a few friends who were generous enough to share their best bites with you.  Finally, can you see how awesome these recipes would look typed up, printed and put in a photo album that holds all the recipes?  I think I need to do this one for myself.

9.  Wedding Subway Art – My Digital Creations

So Colette has a sister named Lisa who is just as creative.  It’s really disgusting {love you girls}.  Gather some info and have her put together a personalized subway art for the big day.  Watch for some great sales on frames and you will be a wedding guest hero.

10.  Cash is King

Let’s face it… sometimes you just don’t have time for all these other ideas.  But if you are going to give cash, why not take it up just a notch.  Get a stack of $2 bills from the bank and add a tag that reads:  For the 2 of you.  See?  Cash doesn’t have to be tacky!


I sure hope these frugal wedding gift ideas helps get those creative juices flowing and you can see how easy it can be to put together gifts that are less likely to be returned or re-gifted {gasp}.  Any newlywed couple would be thrilled to get a gift like these that shows thoughtfulness even if it doesn’t shine like a crystal vase {say it like vaaaaz}.


Frugal Tips Video

Don’t waste a thing! The less you waste the more you save and I’m a Modern-Mom-Saving!!  This is my money saving tips on a BIG priced item that goes in my grocery cart rather often, Coffee.  Here is a way to make the best Iced Coffee using my Coffee Ice Cubes.

Iced Coffee Recipes


Love Notes

Frugal Date Ideas

I love my husband!  I love dating my husband!  We will have been married for 15 years this summer {yeah} and believe it or not we still like hanging out together.  Jen asked me to share some fun ideas with you on how to keep fanning the flame ;-).

1 – Love notes!

Don’t underestimate the power of a well written note.  My hubby went out of town for work and was stressing about all he had to accomplish.  I wanted him to understand how much I love and appreciate him so I got several small index cards and wrote simple notes.  I won’t tell you what to write (too personal – tee hee), but I hid them in in his jacket pockets, overnight bag, socks, rolled in his tie, anywhere he would find them at various times during his crazy day.  Easy Peasy!

When I say “love notes” don’t think it has to be all paper and pen scenarios.  Invest in some dry erase markers and leave a sweet message on the bathroom mirror.  You can also purchase bathtub crayons {not for the kids – wink wink} and leave each other notes on the shower walls.  Before I left for a coupon event a few months ago, I whipped up a little gift for my honey because he does so much to support me while I am gone…

If you want a quick gift, the fun gals at The Dating Divas has a super cute printable.  Grab a quick frame and those dry erase markers come right in handy once again.

2 – Date Nights – Don’t overdo it.

When we were “courting” we spent hours and hours and lots of Joe’s money (hee hee) on our dates.  But the most memorable dates aren’t going to the fanciest restaurant…it’s the sweet cheap dates.

  • Go to 7-11 and buy a couple blocks of ice.  Bring a towel, find a hill, fold the towel on top of the ice block and sit your bum right on down.  Add the hill and WEEEEEEEE!  Date for under $3!
  •  The other night we went out with some friends.  After dinner we realized we still had our sitters for another hour and we therefore were not ready to go home.  We ran to the grocery store and bought Diet Coke and Mentos.   Anyone??   Do you know what happens at the park when you pop a few Mentos into a newly opened 2 liter bottle of Diet Coke??   Stand back!!  FAST! That was a hoot, but still not an hour.  So in Vegas did you know there is a Pinball Hall of Fame?  We had a blast playing old school arcade games and we only spent an extra $5.   That may have been a “once-in-a-lifetime” experience, but it was loads of fun.

The point is, a “date” is just a time for mommy and daddy to connect without any distractions.  Go for a walk, grab some yogurt, just don’t over-think it and you will keep that flame glowing long and bright.

Do you have any frugal date ideas you can share? 




Frugal Fatigue? Savings Burn Out? Now What?

10:45 am

by Jennifer Freeman

Frugal Fatigue

Frugal Fatigue

Find a balance before you give up.  The only way to loose is to quit, but under the stress of saving in every area of your life  may lead coming down with the dreaded frugal fatigue.  Catch it before it gets bad and you give up!

Frugal fatigue will give you a feeling of struggling to save and loosing interest in reducing your spending or becoming tired of your savings journey.

What can you do about frugal fatigue? 

Slowdown, focus and have some fun!!


1) Give yourself A Break ~ by this I mean, don’t compare your money-saving plan or overall spending to anyone else or measure how much you are (or are not) reducing your budget. Tightening the belt is a very personalized decision and what is right for a friend just may not be the best for your family.

2) Determine The Purpose ~ Since this is a journey and not a sprint to the finish line, be comfortable in why you are reducing your spending. Be specific — Need to reduce your spending by $300?  Saving for a summer vacation?  Need overall 15% outgo budget savings?  Braces for the kids coming?  Making sure your utilities are paid?  Whatever the purpose, attempt to have a dollar amount determined.

3) What is the best return on your time? Realize you CAN save in every area, but does it MAKE SENSE to save in every area of your lifestyle?

  • Maybe you just need to concentrate in one area or two and give up on trying to save everywhere.
  • Could riding your bike to work and saving $200 on gas and give up your gym membership be enough savings?
  • Instead of saving at the grocery store, maybe find your savings on clothing & shoes instead.  See my consignment sale savings?
  • Save on entertainment only by going during lunch hours buying lunch specials.  Or as I pointed out on Frugal Fatigue Pt 1. utilize coupons and deals with and GroupOn.

Make saving a fun challenge, but it’s okay if  it doesn’t become a new job that you don’t have time for!