Tuesday, April 26, 2011

"Extreme Couponing" - How this mustard made me $28!!!

After seeing the very first show about "Extreme Couponing" I gave it a try and saved tons of $$, plus have gotten multiple items for FREE ever since! Even my husband is on board and searching for deals now!  I plan to post later on my other shopping trips, eventually even including matchups for the items I buy.  For now though, while I am still getting used to this, I will post a few picks and %'s saved, etc.

Here is what I did tonight!  Farm Fresh has their French's yellow & spicy brown mustard on sale this week for .99 cents.  They also double coupons with a face value of up to .99 cents every day (except Wednesday when they double up to face value of $1.00).  This means that when they double my coupon of .50 cents I am actually making .01 cents (but not really b/c Farm Fresh doesn't allow overage, they adjust the coupon down to make your item free.) ...Harris Teeter & Walmart allow overage though :)

I used a combination of 3 different coupons: (1) 0.50 off French's spicy brown mustard, which was a peelie off spicy brown I bought earlier this week w/ the same coupon (says "do not double"), (2) 0.50 off any French's mustard ("any" is a couponer's best friend!), and (2) 0.30 off French's yellow mustard.

So I after 3 different transactions b/c the store only allows 2 like coupons at a time, I bought 12 bottles of yellow mustard & 4 bottles of spicy brown.  My total OOP was $4.00 and some change, down from $15.00!  (I know, good huh?)

Soooooooo, how did I make $28 bucks do you ask?  Let me tell you!!!  First of all, my family has a food service business and they are buying the mustard back from me for 1/2 it's selling price, which is .50 cents a bottle (or $8.00 bucks)...cha-ching!  Made $4.00 bucks!

THEN....each bottle of yellow mustard (as you can see in the pic) had a sample of Frank's Spicy Chili Sauce along w/ a $1.00 off coupon.  I can double that coupon at either Harris Teeter (it's *Super Doubles* week starting tomorrow) or at Farm Fresh on Wednesdays, which makes each of those bottles worth $2.00 to me!!!! ($24.00 total)

Aaaaahhhhhhh.....got my shoppin fix!  Spent $4....got back $28.00.  Sweet!

You can learn how to do this too!  If you are interested a good local blogger to start with is afrugalchick.com!

<3 Happy Couponing <3

Friday, February 11, 2011

After much forethought and planning, I am all set to get my hands dirty and reap the bounty of this year’s vegetable garden! 
When I started getting serious about this last spring, I thought to myself, “Yes!  Finally have a yard, I’ll just dig some holes, plop in some plants and seeds…and viola!  Instant home-grown veggies!  <wrong>  This process can get just about as complicated as you’d like it to be.  But here is my checklist of basic things to consider when planning a vegetable garden:

Location is Key:  It is important to know where and how much sun is hitting your yard throughout the day.  So, the next time you are so privileged to be home all day, make a mental note to glance out your window every couple hours or so to help you determine the best spot for your garden.  Veggies of course need lots of sunlight, but also consider that if you have poor drainage, the sun helps get rid of all that extra moisture which can be damaging to your garden.  5-8 hours of sunlight is recommended.

The Makeup and Lay of the Land:  What is your soil made of?  What kind of slope does your yard have?  Watch what happens in a rain storm!  It was plain to see in my own back yard that I would have tons of tilling, mixing, draining, etc. to do and this is the main reason I decided to go with raised garden beds & square-foot gardening.  The benefits here are that you can create whatever soil mixture you want, drainage is no problem, and the bonus is that your soil stays nice and warm as it basks in the sunlight.  Of course, if you still want an in-ground garden, you can send in a soil sample to find out what you’re made of.  I’ve never tried this but it sounds like good FYI. 

This is going to be my soil mixture:

-          ¼ Garden Soil
-          ¼ Compost
-          ¼ Peat Moss
-          ¼ Vermiculite or Perlite   

Plant Selection:  This one is fairly obvious.  What do you and your family like to eat?  What do you plan to use immediately v/s do you plan to can or freeze to use later?  Will you be sharing the produce with anyone?  What grows well in your area?  Identify and read up on your garden zone.  How big or small is your garden?  I was surprised to learn from Mel Bartholomew’s book that plants don’t need as much room to grow as I thought.  For each plant type there is a recommended number of plants per square foot.  Very handy information!  Please go to squarefootgardening.org for more information.

Plants that Play Nice:  Learn who likes to sit next to whom.  Yes, this was new for me!  Do some research on “companion planting” and you will be very surprised!  The basic concept is that plants can benefit from one another if placed properly, either nutritionally or by means of pest control.
Planting / Harvesting Timeline:  This is very important.  Determining the garden zone and the first / last frost dates for the area in which you live will yield a complete gardening calendar.  Key dates will include when to start plants from seed, when to transfer plants into the garden, when to harvest, etc.  There are good resources available to help figure this out.  Plug the last frost date into the planting calculator at this blog to automatically generate a calendar.  There is also an APP for that!  “Garden Tracker” allows planning for square foot gardens and has alerts for planting, harvesting, and squeezing in that second or third crop.

I will be filling my square foot garden with my soil mixture towards the end of February and sowing my first seeds outside (I am not yet set up to start seedlings indoors) as soon as the ground has thawed enough.  I can’t wait to share pictures of my little seedlings!!! Happy Planting!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

First Post & Garden Planning

If you are visiting, welcome to the Rainy Day Homemaker!  The purpose of this blog is to create a "catch all" for all of my home decorating & organizing ideas, and to look back on what I have already implemented.  With such a busy schedule, I don't get to spend nearly as much time as I would like improving my home, and so I am always hopefull for a rainy day, a snow day, or just a pajama day so I can putt around the house.  So let's get started!

*Garden Planning*

This time last year, we had just moved into our house and I finally had a yard in which to plant!  I quickly discovered that our yard was riddled with tree roots, not to mention that it was all clay, so I decided to try Square Foot Gardening.  I ordered the book and got to planning!  Below is a picture of what my square foot garden looked like last year:
Overall it was a good experience.  Watching the plants grow was fun and we enjoyed what little produce we got out of it.  There were kinks along the way that contributed to a less fruitful garden, but live and learn I guess!  I'm applying what I learned last year to my new 2011 garden plan.  I'll discuss that in my next post.  Happy garden planning everyone!