Friday, October 23, 2009

Take a picture of your plumbing problem

Does this story sound familiar? You go to the hardware store spend forever trying to buy what you need, go home and realize you bought the wrong thing.

Or how about this story? Something goes wrong and you don't know how to fix it so you hire someone and pay a minimum of $50 for the repair.

I've found a much better solution. Take a picture of your problem before heading to the store. In the past year all 3 of my toilets have broken, a pipe corroded under my kitchen sink and most recently I had a leak at the connection under my kitchen sink (pictured). I have been able to fix these problems for less than $4 each time there has been a problem. Much less than it would have cost to pay a professional.

I simply take a picture of the problem area and take my camera with me to Lowe's. I show the worker where I have the leak and seek their advice on what tools I will need to fix it. They then show me where to find the parts as well as give whatever advice they may have on fixing it. In the instance of the pipe that corroded I also took a picture of the writing on the pipe so that I would know exactly what size I needed to get, not allowing my handwriting to confuse me if I had written it down.

Some plumbing problems can be very complicated and I would recommend a plumber for those but a simple problem such as a leaky faucet can be easily remedied by anyone as long as you know what parts you need. The best part of it all? The satisfaction of acomplishing something and not spending a lot of money doing it!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

An Inexpensive Way to Update Your Light Fixtures

My house was built in the 1970's and the light fixtures have been hanging around since then. I don't have the money to buy new ones and to be honest the thought of switching the wires terrifies me. This is a simple and easy way to give them a little update without doing a whole lot of work or spending a whole lot of money.
1. Buy a spray paint that you can easily apply to metal surfaces. This is a hammered finish spray paint that I bought for less than $7. I wanted my fixtures to look like dark metal but there are all kids of paints for all kinds of decorator styles.
2. Clean off you light fixture and lightly sand it if necessary.

3. Remove glass and bulb. Also, make sure you turn off the power to that light.
4. Unscrew the knob that connects the sconce to the wall.

5. Tape paper to the wall to protect it from the spray paint. I used old Christmas wrapping paper that I buy for pennies at the after Christmas sales.
6. Replace the sconce carefully. Do not put the main screw back on, paint it separately, you do not want it to get stuck as it dries.
7. Spray the sconce until all parts are covered. I made a mistake and didn't get the underside. I'm going to have to redo mine so make sure you got it everywhere the first time.
8. Let dry. Make sure that the paper isn't sticking to the sconce.
9. Remove paper and put main screw back in place.
10. You can also put the bulb back in and even change out the glass. Our Church did a swap earlier this year of old items we didn't need. It was basically a free, multi-family garage sale. There I picked up a big box filled with glass for light fixtures. This one is a little too clear or my taste so I think I will lightly paint the inside white.
This project was super easy and took much less than an hour to complete. I'm happy with the finished product and I'm ready to work on updating the rest of the fixtures in the house. Good bye gold!!!!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Fill Out Those Product Information Forms!!

You know when you buy a baby item such as a crib, high chair, stroller etc. they come with a little card for you to fill out your information and send it back to the company? They often call these product registration forms. FILL THOSE OUT!

I have much better things to do with my time than to scour random websites to see if any of my child's toys or other items are recalled. However if you fill out those forms and send them in you don't have to search they will contact you.

Recently I received an e-mail informing me that my child's crib (Jardine Americana) had been recalled. The reason? Some super human babies were strong enough to kick and break the wooden rails and 13 of them got minor scrapes and bruises. Not really concerning to me but the good news was I was now eligible for a new crib!

I hated the crib that we originally bought. Pregnancy brain, stress and a husband who was sick of spending countless hours wandering the aisles of Babies-R-Us forced me to buy a crib I wasn't in love with. For the past year I looked at it with resentment, plus my child was able to chew on the wood which made it uglier than ever.

Because I was informed about the recall I immediately was able to contact the company and was sent a voucher for any crib I wanted within the limits of the highest price that I could have bought the original crib at which for me was $299. The one I ended up with was a beautiful, dark wood, sleigh crib that was on sale for $299 down from almost $500.

So my advice - fill out those papers! It could pay off not just in a newer model but it could also potentially save your child from injury. Also, if your child's items fall apart or become hazardous don't be afraid to contact the company. You should at least be able to get a refund and you could save someone elses child from an injury in the future as well as help direct companies to make a stronger, safer product.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Only buy select-a-size paper towels

After a visit to my parents house I became shockingly aware that not everyone in the world knows of the beauties of the select-a-size paper towel.

I went to grab a paper towel to clean up a small spill and it was as if I pulled a bath towel off the roll. The paper towel was huge! What a waste of money, since I just needed a 1/3 of the towel.

Select-a-size paper towels are no more expensive than regular paper towels. They are the regular paper towel but perforated into thirds. This way if you have a small spill use one towel, medium, two towels, etc.

You will save so much more money in the long run because you will be wasting less. Don't even ask questions. Get the select-a-size next time you buy paper towels. You'll thank me for it.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Food for Fines

Do you have library fines? Don't worry, no one is judging you. The good news is you have a chance to repent for your evil late book returning ways!

For the month of September, if you live in Jefferson County, Alabama you can exchange a can of food for every dollar you have in fines! This is so great because you give to the needy, pay off your debts and save money doing it too!

Just grab some non-perishable food from your stockpile and ta-da! All is well with the world!

Most libraries around the country have a program like this to pay off fines. Call your local library and ask when their food for fines program is.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

A site to get deeply discounted stuff!

I haven't purchased from this site yet, but my sister-in-law has it marked as one of her favorites. is a site that sells just one baby or kid item at a time. They get excellent deals from vendors and every item is 50%-80% off the retail price. Each item is very unique (meaning you won't just find it at Walmart). I have seen really cool convertible high chairs, and other baby items for really inexpensive prices. Their site says that they gear items for kids 10 and under.

Check it out every week or so to see if there is a deal waiting for you. This is a great place to get yourself stuff as well as gifts for others.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Pick your own produce

A few Saturday's ago my family and I spent the morning picking our own blueberries! It was a great family activity and the part that made mom really happy was that we got 4.75 pounds of blueberries for just $4!

We went to

Bear Mountain Blueberry Farm
8227 Clayton Cove Road
Springville, Alabama

Look for farms in your area. is a site that can help you locate farms in your area. It's a great way for the family to get out as well as get a great deal on fresh produce!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

What to do with the bags sheets come in

I just bought new sheets at Christmastime (thanks Grandma!) and it killed me to throw out the thick, plastic, zippered cases they came in. So what is a mom to do? Upcycle!

I simply sewed a strap to the top (that's the black thing you see). The strap was a thick piece of ribbon. It's as simple as that.

There are pouches in the front and back where the labels for the sheets went. You can stick a picture, label, or card (as seen here) in those pouches and fill your new bag with whatever you want. I chose to hold my handmade cards in this one. But I thought that yarn would be a great thing for these to hold. You could even punch a large eyelet trough the bag and string the yarn through to keep control of the yarn for a project you are working on!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

The value of a penny

If I haven't convinced you to use coupons before maybe this will help...

The total cost of all of the items you see here is 1 penny.

Yes, that's right, that penny that was on the ground that you didn't pick up, was picked up by me and I turned it into all of this!

Using a combination of store sales, coupons, free samples, and CVS's extra care rewards program the total cost of everything ended up being one penny. I bought $40 worth of items that day that
are not pictured here but these were just a penny. Ahhhh.... it feels so good.....

What are you waiting for? Get couponing today!! has helped me learn the tricks of the trade. Let her help you too.

Publix Weekly Penny Item

As if you needed another reason to love Publix here is one more - the Publix penny item!!

Each Sunday and Monday Publix has a mystery item that they price at just one penny! That's right, one penny! You might as well consider it free.

How it works: You must buy $10 worth of groceries (before coupons and the original cost of the penny item is included) and you can only get one item at that price per visit. There is a coupon in the ad in the Sunday paper but many stores do not require it. The Publix on 31 in Vestavia and Hoover, Alabama do not require the coupon. Make sure the checker discounts it though if you don't have the coupon.

Items that have been the penny item recently have been, apple juice, toilet paper, tortilla chips, salad dressing, window cleaner and more.

I save my shopping for Monday and there are two stores close to my house. I will go to one in the morning to get most of my items and get a penny item then. If there were items that the first store had sold out of I will then go to the other store to get the rest of my items and get another penny item.

Don't forget that Publix doubles coupons up to $.50 and you can pair a manufacturers coupon with a store coupon to maximize your savings. Also, don't forget that they also take competitors coupons so all those Bruno's $5 off a $30 purchase (pre-coupon savings) can be used as well.