First I have to share the awesome mail I got a few days ago! Kroger Coupons!!!!!
They're even "personalized" meaning Kroger has semi-tracked what I've bought over the course of my shopping there, and sent me targeted coupons of stuff I either already buy, or am likely to buy.
The best part, it includes 4 FREE coupons. I can get a dozen kroger brand eggs free, Oscar Mayer Hot dogs free, 2 cans of Del Monte veggies free, and best of all, a free package of Oreo's! There's 16 coupons total. Several of the coupons I needed to buy on tomorrow's shopping trip actually, so it totally works out! Now I've gotten one of these envelopes of coupons once before, and it was pretty awesome, I actually got a free thing of Folgers coffee 100%, no buy one get one free, just one whole container free, no restrictions or gimmicks!
This is why I can't stress enough how bad you need a Kroger savings card if you don't already have one. Or heck, here's a great reason to switch to shopping at Kroger if you don't already. Can I also say that I much prefer shopping at kroger b/c it's typically way less crowded. Like even less than half of the crowd you'd experience at wal-mart. Checking out is normally a swift and painless process, and the cashiers are MUCH MUCH friendlier than at wal-mart! That's pretty much a guarantee. Occasionally you'll find a grumpy or un-enthused cashier, but it's not every single one like at wal-mart. Now granted, you won't find absolutely everything under the sun at Kroger like you will at wal-mart, unless apparently you have a Super Kroger in your town, but in Nacogdoches, we do not. But remember what I said in my savings blog... you typically need to shop at more than one store to get the best deal.
And by the way, speaking of shopping at multiple stores, I have now gone to Wal-Mart twice now in hopes of purchasing a box of Borax, and both trips I have left w/o it! Finally yesterday when I went and it wasn't there, I asked my cashier and she didn't know anything(which I knew she wouldn't), so I went to Customer Service and after a short wait and several exchanges of calls, I was told that Wal-Mart recently did a "reset" and currently aren't carrying Borax, but if I check back in FIVE(5) weeks, they MIGHT be carrying it again. Now I have to note the Customer Service girl, whom I didn't catch her name, was so sweet to go through all the back and forth to help me find this information out. I made sure to thank her specifically as I left. So back to the point i was trying to make before I distracted myself. As you may have read if you keep up w/ my blog, I am trying to make my own laundry detergent, and the absolute last thing I have to have is Borax. Now I would like some essential oil to scent my detergent, but it's not a must, the Borax is a must. Thankfully I found out before I bought any that fragrance oil and essential oil are NOT the same thing.
Here is my picture of my supplies so far for my detergent.
I have washing soda, Fels Naptha soap, a 2.5 gallon dispenser, and a large bucket that's hopefully big enough to mix 2 gallons of laundry detergent.
I believe I already posted the "recipe" for the soap sometime last week. So scroll down for that. I'll post it again whenever I actually make the stuff. I'm really hoping that Kroger will have the Borax that I need. ** Just called the Kroger on North Street, they DO carry the Borax for $4.39! I will definitely be getting some tomorrow whenever I manage to go shopping!
Now on for point #2. Yesterday was day 11 of my devacurl trial! Yay!! I was experiencing a lot of frizz yesterday, and I'm not sure why. I'm not sure what factors were to blame.
Really nothing special about day 11. Did my hair the way I always do it.
Oh, one last thing, so I saw this really cute idea on Pinterest involving an empty tic tac box and bobby pins, so yesterday while I was standing in line at Wal-Mart I happened to be looking over the gum section, and noticed the tic tacs so I bought a package.
Here's what it's supposed to be like..
Pretty clever huh? I was like "OMG, why haven't I thought of this before now?" Personally I'm ALWAYS losing my bobby pins b/c I lay them around randomly or don't store them well, so I'm excited to empty this tic tac box and start storing my bobby pins!
By the way, that picture is care of Pinterest, not my own.
So ever since joining pinterest, I've been really intrigued by this homemade/natural/frugal kick that seems to be going around.
Here's my little background. Since moving to Nacogdoches, this is the first time that I've really had to do absolutely everything for myself. Don't get me wrong, I have my aunts in town, and my grandma is less than an hour away, but their help isn't constant, I mean I could get constant help from them, but I don't need it b/c I'm finally capable of doing things for myself. Normally I would rely on my parents for everything. Back when I lived in Stephenville, I had my own apartment, but I ate dinner w/ them at their house (about 4 blocks away) every single night, I went grocery shopping w/ them once a week whenever they went. So help was never very far away. But now my parents are 5 hours away. So I've become very independent needless to say, but in a very good way. So now I grocery shop by myself (well w/ the help of my anti-anxiety medication, otherwise I'd be too anxious and afraid to go to the store alone). I do my own laundry, which was another thing back in Stephenville that I never really did myself, I would just take my dirty clothes over to my parents whenever they were going to wash clothes and put mine in w/ theirs, and normally my mom would do it.
So since being alone, I've become very "cheap" or for today's better terminology "frugal"! I always look at prices, and I'm always on my calculator figuring up if I can afford something. I guess it started w/ groceries. Rather than buying name brand anything, I typically buy store-brand.
Basically the point of today's blog is to share some tips that I've learned recently to help be more frugal at the grocery store:
1. After shopping, write down somewhere you'll keep handy and not lose (like I do) the prices of the things you buy the most, or on a regular basis. This will help you know when you're getting a better/good deal on those things, and even help to know when to maybe stock up on those things.
2. Sign up for store's loyalty cards. Unfortunately we all know Wal-Mart doesn't have one of these, but in Nacogdoches we also have a Kroger's, and a Brookshire Brother's. I never go to Brookshire brothers b/c they're kind of farthest from me, but I do go to Kroger primarily and do have a loyalty card there. Also something you may not know about Kroger and their loyalty card, Kroger has a coupon/iPhone app. It's free to download, and all you really have to do is log in w/ you Kroger card (yes, you'll need the physical card to get your ID # off of it) and once you're iPhone app is connected w/ your card, you can go through their coupons and "download" them to your card, so that whenever you go shopping next, whenever you're at the check out and they swipe your card, the coupons will automatically be loaded on there, so it helps cut down on keeping up w/ actual coupons!
3. Plan to go to multiple stores! I didn't realize this, but once I read it, it really made sense. I know it sounds like a total hassle (I admit that it totally does), but stores rely on you only wanting to shop at one place, so on some items they can jack up the price b/c they know you won't want to visit a 2nd or 3rd store to get a better deal. This is also where that price list you wrote down comes in handy. Compare your lists of the places and items you frequently buy, and if one store has a better deal, you may want to go there instead of the store you originally planned on going for those items.
4. How to cut your budget down. Later I'll provide the link to where I got most of these things, it's a blog from a lady self proclaimed Frugal Sally, she also has a page on Facebook, I highly recommend checking her out. But she says for one, do not take your husband and children to the store. This is because often times the hubs and children end up whinning/demanding/or just down right putting stuff in the basket that you don't really need and will end up adding up at the check out. Another great suggestion is only bring a limited amount of CASH. I kind of do this.
Sidenote: Some of you may or may not know that I am clinically diagnosed as Bi Polar. I've found that I have a terrible time managing my money in large sums. So what I do is whenever I get a large sum of money, I send it all to my mom (I know this may sound childish, but hear me out). Once a week my mom loads $50-100 onto my pre-paid credit card, and that's what I'm limited to for the week. Now my mom does give me JackBucks, which are SFA's equivalent to a debit card, and I use that for gas, coffee, cigarettes, stuff like that. But otherwise, my $50-100 is mainly for groceries. Well to be honest, that's all I really buy w/ that money. Occasionally I'll use my credit card to buy photography equipment if I have extra money.
Okay now back to the point. Go to the ATM or cash a check and only bring enough cash that you've pre-budgeted for this shopping trip. This will force you to stay w/in your budget. Leave the credit cards, debit cards, and checkbook at home, and only take a pre-determined amount of cash in an envelope. For how to set a budget, check out Frugal Sally's blog @ (http://beingfrugalsally.blogspot.com/2012/02/grocery-store-savings.html)
That's the direct link to the grocery budget suggestions.
So recently I made my own Fabric Softener
Here's the recipe:
6 cups water
3 cups vinegar
2 cups hair conditioner in the scent of your choice (which totals one regular sized bottle of sauve by the way)
Mix all ingredients in a 1 gallon pitcher/jug/container, and STIR, do NOT shake, shaking will cause foaming which apparently messes everything up. I had to stir for a couple of minutes until it was mostly dissolved. It felt like I could not get the conditioner to dissolve, but after stirring it 2-4 minutes, and then walking away (being distracted), later that night and the next day, it looked well mixed/dissolved. So don't worry if there's a little bit of "chunks" floating around, they'll dissolve by themselves.
Here are my ingredients(minus the water) as well as my 1 Gallon pitcher to mix it all in.
And here is my Homemade Fabric Softener after I got done stirring. I made mine w/ Sweet Pea & Violet conditioner, so my fabric softener has a light floral sweet smell to it.
Oh and I'd like to share another "trick" I learned from Pinterest about keeping track of your thoughts and to-do lists. You should keep a small separate binder to write down a daily thought sheet. Write down anything you need to do or hope to do every day. It doesn't matter if you don't get to everything, just write it down on the next day. Trust me, I've been passing along previous to-do's for like a week now. I'm in the process of trying to overhaul my organization of my apartment for a cleaner, less crowded/cluttered look in my apartment. It's becoming a slow day by day process, I move a few things here and there. But it'll eventually get done.
By the way, I absolutely love this notebook, and I really haven't seen very many this size/style, although I can't say I've looked too hard. But I actually got this free from the company that made this planner I bought. After I bought the planner I realized that it had an error that consequently threw off the entire rest of the planner, so I emailed them about it, just trying to help them out, and they ended up sending me an entire box (a decently filled box at that) full of their products for free as a thank you. I even told them, all I wanted was a new planner, and they said they couldn't be certain that any planner they sent me would be correct, so they sent me other stuff instead. It was really awesome. It's by "UCreate" The Prints Charming Collection or something? Their website is www.ucreate.com. If only I bought school supplies more I'd totally buy more of their stuff.
But anyways, that's a picture of my list. Ever since I read this little tip, I've kept a daily list of things I want to accomplish. Now mind you this is a separate list from my Planner which is stuff I HAVE to accomplish, like jobs I have booked, and homework I have to turn in. This is more my "wishful thinking" list, like dusting, vacuuming, cleaning out my two closets. Yes, that's right, I totally have 2 closets, and they're huge, it's awesome, I've never had two closets in an apartment I've lived in.
So I've been wanting to buy a new shower curtain liner b/c mine's pretty gross. But people kept telling me I could wash it in the washing machine instead, so today I took to pinterest for my newly discovered instructions of how to wash my curtain liner. Here's what I did:
I put my liner in w/ my towels. I put a cap full of laundry detergent + 1 cup of vinegar, washed on warm for a normal cycle, and took the liner out when I went to put the towels in the dryer.
Now my shower curtain liner is as good as new. No mildew, build-up, soap scum, nothing just CLEAN!
So this soap recipe was recommended to me, and I'm definitely going to try it, b/c trust me, even as a single college entrepreneur I've learned quickly that name-brand laundry soap is EXPENSIVE. Sure it lasts me 2-3 months, but I'm breaking the bank every time I have to buy my normal groceries plus laundry soap. It's like $10-15. Now I know for some people it may not seem like too big of a deal, but for me, it's really becoming a break the bank situation. So I would like to share the recipe I'll be making soon (-er or later, whenever I get close to running out of detergent)
The Soap: The most typical type of soap to use is Fels Naptha. It is an old-fashioned type of soap usually found in the laundry aisle. The other options for soap are Ivory or another brand called, Zote. If you use Ivory or your own homemade soap you will need to use the whole bar. (If using Fels Naptha, you'll need 1/3 of the bar, grated)
Washing Soda: This is not to be confused with baking soda. They are not the same thing. Washing soda is sodium carbonate or soda ash (baking soda is sodium bicarbonate). It is a white powder. Its purpose is to help remove dirt and orders. The brand to look for is Arm & Hammer Washing Soda. I find it in the laundry section of my grocery store. Many people have a hard time finding this locally. I know you can purchase it on-line, even through Amazon.com. I would also suggest asking your grocery store manager if it would be possible for the store to get it for you.
Borax: Borax is a naturally occurring mineral: Sodium Borate. It is a white powder. It’s purpose is as a laundry whitener and deodorizer. The brand to look for is 20 Mule Team. It comes in a 76 oz. box. You should be able to locate this in the laundry detergent aisle. Again as with the washing soda, if you cannot find it ask you store manager or look online.
And optional: If you want your soap to have some sort of scent you can scent this with ½ to 1 oz. of essential oil or fragrance oil of your choice. My favorite scent is orange essential oil.
Homemade Laundry Soap
1/3 bar Fels Naptha or other type of soap, as listed above
½ cup washing soda
½ cup borax powder
~You will also need a small bucket, about 2 gallon size~
Grate the soap and put it in a sauce pan. Add 6 cups water and heat it until the soap melts. Add the washing soda and the borax and stir until it is dissolved. Remove from heat. Pour 4 cups hot water into the bucket. Now add your soap mixture and stir. Now add 1 gallon plus 6 cups of water and stir. Let the soap sit for about 24 hours and it will gel. You use ½ cup per load.
**A few things to note about the soap**
~The finished soap will not be a solid gel. It will be more of a watery gel that has been accurately described as an "egg noodle soup" look.
~The soap is a low sudsing soap. So if you don’t see suds, that is ok. Suds are not what does the cleaning, it is the ingredients in the soap.
My sister says she's been using this recipe for 5 (give or take) years now and that it works just as good as the real deal top- $ laundry detergents! I may not get along w/ my sister, we're somewhat estranged for reasons I will not PUBLICLY announce, if you must know, ask privately. But she does have good domestic/home advice. She makes her own cleaning products, she gardens. Where my mom (who's not her mother, Holly is my 1/2 sister from my dad) lacks in domestic knowledge, my sister definitely picks up the slack.
Wow, so yesterday, I went on this cleaning "rampage" you could say.
Here's how my day went. That morning after I woke up I was in my bathroom, and I thought "hm, I really need to wipe down my counter top and get some of this junk off the counter" so I started picking up and cleaning, well it turned into a cleaning mad streak. I finally got around to cleaning the bathtub. OMG I didn't realize how nasty my bath tub really was. It was soooo dirty. Buildup and scum everywhere. Needless to say, it's much cleaner now. While I was down on my knees I noticed it was pretty dirty behind my toilet, so I knelled(sp?) over the toilet and scrubbed.
So then I had to go do a photography job for the Pine Log at the Recreation Center. So I did that, and once I was done I needed to swing by kroger for a few things. While I was there, I got the 2 items I needed to make my own cleaner: Vinegar & Dish soap, the original "recipe" called for dawn, but I noticed the Gain dish soap (not laundry soap) and saw that it was 1. cheaper, and 2. probably smelled better. So I got it. So I came home and followed the directions to make it:
You first take 12 ounces of vinegar, warm it in the microwave, now this was a little tricky. I'm not a microwave master, shocking I know, I'm 26 and I'm not fluent in microwave? I know, I love my oven! So I put it on for 35 seconds, nothing, put it on again for 35 seconds, eh a little warmer, but really nothing, so I put it on for like 45 seconds I believe, ahhh finally warm. So I poured that into my "stolen" spray bottle (okay, it's really not stolen, one time I went to get my car cleaned and they accidentally left it in there, and I just never took it back!) Then I filled the bottle the rest of the way w/ the gain, it said 12 ounces also, but I don't know if my bottle held that much.
So once I made my cleaner, I just HAD to try it out. So since I was in my kitchen, which just happened to be dirty(I don't like the word "dirty" so we'll say my kitchen is well loved and well used!) So I started spraying it, and ended up cleaning the heck out of my kitchen! I mean it sparkled!
I really think I should call this "Mean Green" b/c well it's obviously green(from the gain dish soap) and well it cleans like a mean machine!
Now I'll have to warn anyone who makes this, for the first day it'll smell like WARM VINEGAR! Which some people, like my dad, don't mind. I on the other hand, am not so much of a fan. But I will say I did use a little bit of it today, and it smelled much "better" as in not so much vinegar-y.
Oh and if you notice my sink is kind of dirty in that picture, take a look at my "after" pictures of my kitchen for the clean version.
Unfortunately I did NOT take before pictures of my kitchen, but trust me, it was a dirty mess.
This is the right side of my sink. I even ran my dish rack (the red thing) through the dishwasher, not really sure the last time it was washed, maybe 2+ years?
And the left side of the sink.
Oh and now where the onions are in this picture, my crock pot is there. It was being housed on my dining room table, but after cleaning off about a dozen empty wine bottles(don't worry they weren't emptied all at once, it took me nearly two years to collect that many, and some were taken from other people) off this counter top and put away I have much more space. I refuse to throw away wine bottles because my dad knows how to make wine bottle lamps, and I want a few made, for me and possibly friends. So I tucked them away in a cabinet.
Oh and I cleaned the inside of my microwave w/ a very unique trick I learned. Take a microwaveable bowl, put 2 cups (hot or cold, it won't matter in the end) water in the bowl and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, microwave on HIGH for 5 minutes, remove bowl (CAREFULLY! It WILL be hot) and wipe away gunk that's been stuck on for MONTHS, like mine was. I was actually too embarrassed about the state of my microwave to take a before picture, just trust me, you probably didn't want to make food in there!
By the way, so far all of the cleaning products I've made/tested (so far just in this blog) were found on Pinterest!
Here's my "keeping it clean" pinterest board if you would like to follow me. I have a few other boards too, you can follow those too if you want. http://pinterest.com/josshavaughn/keeping-it-clean/