Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Couponing: I'm hooked!!

So, I've always used coupons, but this weekend I really researched into the coupon game. It is a lot bigger than just using the coupons in the Sunday paper. Sometimes that isn't even the best deal! The secret to my success has been southernsavers.com. It tells you exactly what to buy and what coupons to use. Check out what I got!!
 Kroger:
Kroger usually isn't that great for coupons, but this week was a mega-event. So if you buy 10 items off a certain list, you get $5 off.With that deal plus several coupons, I got all of this, a 51.08 value for 22.96. Thats a 51% savings, yee-haw!
 The drug stores are a little bit complicated, but totally worth it. They give back register rewards for buying certain things, and those register rewards can be spent on anything on the next visit. So it kind of snowballs. Here is what I got at Walgreens. 
Diapers (for Amory's shower, not me, just to be clear) 8.99-2.00 RR-2.50 coupon= 4.49
Crest: 2.49-1.50 RR-1.00 coupon=FREE
Proglide: 9.99-4.00 RR-2.00 coupon=3.99
 CVS: (similar to Walgreens, but they call them extracare bucks)
Irish spring (BOGO) 6.00-2.99 (bogo)-.50 coupon=2.49 for 6 bars
Dawn: .99-.25 coupon=.74
Candy corn: .99-.99 coupon=FREE!
Colgate: 2.99-2.99 EC-.75 coupon= .75 PROFIT!

I ended my trek with the coupon mecca, Publix!
The pumpkin, bananas, and cream of chicken weren't on sale, but everything else was BOGO. Then I had coupons for everything but the ranch. I got the hunt's tomatoes for about .40 each, and the popcorn and broth for about a dollar each! This is a 27.82 worth value and I spent 13.30 which is 52% off!

This is certainly time consuming, but I really enjoyed doing it!! It's all a game, and I love winning games : ). If anyone has any questions about any of this, let me know in the comments, and I will try to help you as much as I can!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Fall Centerpiece

I have always loved to create, and thanks to many great design blogs, I have been super inspired of the power of decorating your home. It's amazing to me that you can change the feel of a home by a few sights and smells.
I have been wanting to bring fall into my home, but didn't want to spend a lot doing it, so I set out to do a fall centerpiece on a budget.

First, while shopping for elements for my Halloween costume (oh yes), I found this beauty at Goodwill for 2.95! 
In true fashion, I debated on if I should get it, but in the end I couldn't pass it up and I'm so glad I didn't!
On my couponing adventures this week (post up about this later), I got a FREE bag of candy corn and I also picked up a cute little pumpkin.
Then, as I was driving down my driveway, I got super inspired by some beautiful red and yellow leaves. So, I just parked my car in the middle of the road and started gathering branches. Hey, at least this time they were on our property, right Eden? : )
I knew I wanted to use these three elements, and then I started to shop the house. One huge plus of living here is that all of my Grandmother's things are stored super nearby. I must admit, when we were cleaning out the apartment, I was a little over zealous in my desire to clean out and purge these things. So I can already hear my family saying "I told you so" as I state how much I love having all of her things to look through and use. It's like a huge treasure chest! 
Here is what I came out with 
See what I mean? A cute apothecary jar from my grandparent's 50th wedding anniversary, a pretty white ceramic pumpkin, and a simple clear vase (which I went ahead and stuck the leaves in). I love decorating with this stuff because I remember a lot of it from when I was a child and it makes me think of my MeMother. Plus, each piece has a story! Like, look what was on the bottom of that clear vase:

                            
 If you can't read that, it says "Eddy Patterson '74". I was so curious about this, I called my mom to ask her what the story was. She told me that whenever Memother got a gift, she would label it with who gave it to her and the year. She told me this was from a little boy in my Grandmother's Sunday school class! How neat is that? That made me want to label everything I own! You never know what items of yours, your grandchildren may be using 40 or 50 years from now!

Next, I began arranging, I added in a candle I already owned with the things I had collected.
 Not bad! But, it wasn't quite there. The main problem was that everything needed to be higher, so I slid this wood piece Jason made for our wedding, but never quite finished.

Then I stacked everything back in:

 You can't really tell from the picture, but the pumpkin was still a bit short, but I found the perfect remedy:


 Even though it was the perfect color, I still needed to cover up the box and my name on the plate, so I added some scented pinecones I already had:
Looking good!! Just a few more tweaks to be made.

One adjustment I didn't take a picture of was with the candy corn. I didn't really have enough, and it was hard to get your hand all the way to the bottom of the jar, so I remedied that by putting a wad of Saran wrap at the bottom. Sneaky, eh?

Next, I decided to add a little something to our friend, the pumpkin:


I l-o-v-e all things lettered and I love our initial, so it was the perfect thing. As I was making the vine-like "L", a verse popped in my head and I knew I had to add it somehow. Professional designers may say that this addition took away from the overall ambiance, but I love it:



 Nothing more beautiful to decorate a home or a heart than the Word, and such an awesome truth!!

 Finally, the finished product:

I couldn't wait for Jason to get home to see it! When he walked in the door, as if he had been rehearsing it, he said...

I like that centerpiece!
That is a nice centerpiece!

If you didn't know, he was channeling, his friend, Donkey:

I love him.
:)
And I love the how fall is now flowing through our home. That centerpiece makes me happy every time I see it!

And if anyone is curious, here is the budget breakdown:
basket (goodwill): 2.95
pumpkin: 2.12
candy corn: free!
branches: free!
containers: Grandmother's so free!
candle and pinecones: already owned so free!
Total: 4.07

Happy fall ya'll!

Friday, October 8, 2010

Confession: I live in a basement

Yup, It's true and I'm coming clean.

My name is Chelsea.
I am married and my husband and I both work full time.
And we live in the basement apartment of my parent's house.

Already feeling the need to defend myself (much more on this later), 
but is is really isn't as bad as it sounds.
We are a totally separate space with our own entrance, kitchen, living room, bedroom, bathroom, and phone line.
My parents are really great about respecting our space. We will often go a whole week without seeing them. It's not like they are popping in, it doesn't really feel like we live with them.

But, here lately, I have major house fever.
The plan is to look for and purchase a house January-June of 2012.
But, even typing that feels SO long!
Maybe its the fact that we will spend 2 more Christmases here.
 Or the fact that I'm planning on hosting a baby shower for my best friend in January or February and I would love to have a house for that.
Maybe, if I'm being honest with myself, I can realize that I'm jealous of my friends that do have houses already and how quickly and easily they got them.
Maybe, the fact that I know when we have a house we will be that much closer to having a baby makes me want to speed up the process.

I can often be found browsing reality sites in my spare time. 
Just browsing, you know.
The other day, I found this...

I fell in love. It had everything on our checklist...
Price between 120,000-150,000
location where we want
attached garage (my number one, I'm dreading the winter and icy windshields)
basement with man-room potential (Jason's number one, for obvious reasons)
open floor plan
porch
decent front and back yard
somewhat secluded

It also had some nice extras I loved:
his and her closets
hardwoord floors
updated kitchen and appliances

And then this, this really got me...

Where do I sign? So, as you can tell, we aren't looking for some big huge fancy house. In fact, I want a cute, quaint, small house. I'm even open to house that I could do some design fixin' on (like THIS, for AJ: you will love this blog!!)

So, I couldn't stand it, I emailed the realtor to ask for a showing. I went to bed last night thinking that I could actually see us buying this house. But today, I got an email from the guy saying that the house sold two months ago. (Um, update your website people!) I was totally disappointed. 

So, we're back here, in the basement.

While driving home today in some of the most beautiful fall weather, I started to think about what my feelings are rooted in.
I'll admit, whenever someone ask me where I live, I cringe a little bit. 
I hate the puzzled looks I get and I really hate the jokes I get from some of my extended family members.
But, I was reminded today to be proud and thankful of where my living quarters are presently, for several reasons.

First, I never want to be held by the temporary trappings of this world (not that having a house equates to that). I  just needed to remind myself that nothing material on earth is really that important.
Also, I really am super excited about all the money we are saving (probably more excited than I should be). Living here has allowed us to pay off all of our debt and buy a vehicle with cash. Plus, tons of other items I have plans of being able to do with our extra cash wiggle room including going to Australia next summer! And, if we stay for 2.5 years, it will give us a very nice money cushion.
Finally, I realized that there is always something in my life I'm going to be waiting for/anticipating. I've said it so many times, but I know I will look back on this time with so much fondness. So, I'm determined to soak up every single moment of basement living goodness that I possibly can.

But one day, in God's timing, we will have a house,
with a garage
and a man room (so I won't have to listen to Jason play video games as I am presently doing)
and our own yard.
And it will be full of a whole lotta love.