Price Book Update: Sam’s Club Trip

I explained in a former post that I am unearthing my price book. My goal is write down prices for just 5 items per week. At this snail pace, I hope to avoid being overwhelmed in creating a price book while making more room in the grocery budget for whole and organic foods.

This week I had an opportunity to visit Sam Club. I decided to check prices on things I have been buying for years at Sam’s Club because I once knew them to be cheaper. But were they?

Here are my findings for  the 8 items I bought this trip:

1. Vinegar:

Sam’s Club: 2 gallons $3.58

Walmart: 1 gallon $2.38 (2 gallons would be $4.76)

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Savings at Sam’s: $1.18

(I use 3 gallons of vinegar a month in my wash and as homemade cleaners so over a year I save $21.24 )

2. Whole Almonds:

Sam’s: 10.98 (3lbs) (3.66 per pound)

Walmart: $6.98 (1 pound)

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Sam’s Savings: $9.96 ( I use about a pound a month so over a year I save $39.84)

3. Shredded Mozzarella Cheese:

Sam’s: $10.27 (5lb) ($2.05 a lb)

Aldi: $2.99 (1lb)

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Sam’s savings: $4.70 (I use 5lb’s a month so over a year I save $56.40)

4. Feta Cheese:

Sam’s: $7.48 (24 oz) ( $3.74 for 12oz)

Walmart: $5.98 (12 oz)

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Sam’s savings: $2 ( I use 1 24 oz container about every 3 months so over a year I save $8)

5. Pure Vanilla Extract

Sam’s: $6.88 (16 fl oz) (.86 cents for 2 fl oz)

Aldi: $1.99 (2 fl oz)

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Sam’s savings: $9.04 ( I use about 2 Sam size containers of vanilla a year so over a year I save $18.08)

6.Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Sam’s: $15.98

Walmart: $16.98

———————————————————————————

Sam’s savings: $1 ( I use about 4 a year so over a year I save $4)

7. Dried Cherries

Sam’s: $4.98 (14 oz)

Walmart: $2.78 (5 oz)

—————————————————————————————

Sam’s savings: $2.80 ( I use about 6 a year so over a year I save $16.80)

8.  Unsweetened Cocoa

Sam’s: $6.88 (24 oz) (2.29 8 oz)

Aldi: $2.29 (8oz)

—————————————————————————————–

Sam’s savings: $0

I saved money on 7 of 8 items a total of $30.68. If I bought these items all year at Sam’s I would save a total of $171.56 based on my average yearly usage of these products. A Sam’s Club membership is $40, so I am still $131.56 a head, just on these 7 items.

However, I buy a lot more than just these 8 items at Sam’s so my savings are actually higher. Each trip I will update you and for fun keep a running tab, of just how much Sam’s club shopping saves this doesn’t live in triple coupon land mom over the course of a year.

How about you? Do you shop at a warehouse store?

 This post linked to  Super Saving Saturday at Money Saving Mom

 

 

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Selling Saturdays:eBay

 

10 tips for successfully selling on ebay

The above picture is a common site around are home  from late May till late July. After I have sold what I can of the homeschooling curriculum we no longer need at second hand curriculum sales and I start listing  what is left on eBay.

I know there are a lot of homeschoolers out there that buy their curriculum long before then, but I still get a lot sales on eBay from the wait until the last minute crowd.

eBay of course sells way more than just homeschooling curriculum and in the past I have sold every thing from toys, kitchen items and books.

In order to sell on eBay you first need to open an account. I find eBay to be an extremely user friendly system. Simply click on the register button found about 1/2 way down their home screen and follow the directions.

Selling your item is easy just follow the step by step instructions that eBay provides. However, I do suggest doing a few of the following things to provide you with the best eBay experience.

Ten Tips For Successful Sales on eBay

1. Read up on the topic

If you are going to sell a lot of items on eBay read a few books on the topic.  I have read an older edition of eBay for Dummies, as well as the original, The Complete Idiots Guide to eBay, both were very simple to understand and provided me with tips to sell my items  at a higher rate of return.

2. Take good pictures

Try experimenting with light, and backgrounds to get the most accurate picture of you items. For books I like laying them on my laminate floors. For toys I drape either a dark or light table cloth behind them to help accent them and often bring in a desk light to help light the area better.

3. Make sure you clean up you item the best you can

Dark marks on Lego can often be removed with a bit of rubbing alcohol followed by a rinse under water. Little tikes toys clean up well with a soft scrub cleanser. Over time you will discover all kinds of tips to clean up your items.

4. Do a bit of research and know the value of your item

You can do this by searching the completed listing area of eBay which is found in the side bar of options when searching for items.

5. Do an auction with a buy it now option

Start the auction at about 20 to 30% less than the average sale price of your item on eBay. set your buy it now price at the high end of the average sale price of your item. This allows for the I just want it now type buyer to snatch up your item, and for the if I wait I might get more of a deal, buyer to both be included in the sale.

6. Allow your buyers several options for shipping

Rarely do I do a flat shipping rate. If my item is sure to grab me a high profit and fits nicely into a flat rate shipping box, I often offer free shipping.

7. Be extremely accurate with your the description of your item.

It pays to even down play the shape of your item. There are always people more picky than you out there who will think that you described your item unfairly. If you have down played the condition of your item, you will not have complaints but instead praises.

8. Describe all the details

Add measurements of your item in the description box, as well as number of pieces, colors, or anything else that might be applicable to the sale of your item.

9. If you are going to accept returns make sure you have a stated return policy.

I generally do not accept returns and have had  no problem making sales without accepting them. I am extremely accurate in my pictures and details so that the buyer knows exactly what they are getting.

10 . Make sure that you are prompt in sending out your item as soon it is paid in full.

I try to wait no longer than 48 hours.

Bonus Tip: look in the sellers section of eBay for additional tips for selling.

Are you an eBay seller? Do you have any tips to add?

click to read more ways to make money from items you already own

click to read more ways to make money from items you already own

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Daily Life Captured: Random photos of our week

My hubby got himself a new lawn mower this week. Apparently it has all sorts of features his other one didn’t have, but don’t ask me to list them for you. When he talks lawn mowers, my mind wanders, just as his does when I talk deal shopping.

On my way out the door one afternoon I found a tea party all set up on our back porch. I don’t know how many years I will have left to enjoy such sites (she is 9 now) so I grabbed an Instagram picture with my i-touch for memory sake.

I woke up Wednesday Morning to these freshly picked flowers from my hubby. Crazy guy went out in our yard with a flashlight and scissors at midnight, after he got off work, to surprise me in the morning with them. I love him! I returned the favor by making sure he went off to work with freshly homemade still warm from the oven banana bread this morning.

I am not sure if it was my husband or one of the kids who thought of this idea. But, the no longer needed stepping stool in the upstairs bathroom is now a book stand.

I have been working on this locker hooked table runner since January. After 6 years of locker hooking  dozens of pieces I am actually going to keep one. I am hoping wanting to show case my work in my home will help me keep the spare table in the dining room decluttered.

While locker hooking and coupon cutting I caught up on my favorite show; Biggest Loser. I laughed so hard this week at Conda’s brothers attempt at cooking for the judges.This happens so rarely in our house. I managed to get rid of all the clutter piles in our upstairs hallway.

How about you? What have you been up to this week?

This post is linked to Insta-Friday’s at Life Rearranged.

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Project Simplify Week 4:Random Piles of Clutter

This is the last week of Project Simplify. I am definitely noticing a difference around our home. My clutter piles are  vastly decreased. I am still inching forward, and I am sure that I will experience some inching back, but for now I am thrilled with the results.

I set out to attack three hot spot areas of clutter in our home this week.

The first being our office supply area, where we keep the supplies needed for homeschooling.

The second was the top of the dresser in our dining room that holds all our incoming bills and my running gadgets.

The third and final pile I attacked this week was in the upstairs hallway. It was mostly made of up totes we used to pack for our vacation to Disney World. Sadly however, we have been home from Florida for over a month and they were still in the hallway.

While I was out for 3 hour and 36 minute marathon training run, my husband decided to surprise me by doing some house work that I had planned to do later that day. One area he tidied was the office area, so I painlessly crossed that area off my list.

I spent about 45 minutes one evening taming the top of the dresser in the dining room. I found a metal container not being used in another area of our home and used it for incoming bills. That freed up one side of the double sided basket for my son’s running accessories (watch, cell phone etc.) and the other side for mine. I then gave the bigger square basket a good clean out getting rid of old kids art, expired coupons, no longer needed flyers, and junk mail. Thursday I spent around 30 minutes, taking the empty totes down to the craft closet and refilling them with the craft supplies and my birthday gift stash that they originally held before we used them for vacation.

Putting those things back in totes made my storage closet go from looking like this……

To looking like this. It still could use a bit of work, but I am happy to see this much improvement for now. I am 100% satisfied with the improvement in the hallway. Remember last week it also had another huge stack of things. So to see it now completely empty, with an organized linen closet off of it and a completely decluttered and spring cleaned bathroom, makes it worth every minute I have spent this last month simplifying my home worth it.

How about you? Did you simplify any areas of your home  this week?

 This Post is linked to Project Simplify Week 4 at Simple Mom

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Comparing types of Coupon shoppers

This week when I set out on my weekly shopping adventure, I brought my i-touch along to take pictures to prove to a fellow mom who uses 100% of her coupons at Walmart where she does 100% of her grocery shopping, that I do come out ahead by combining my coupons with great deals at various stores.

She doubted that my extra time spent flipping through flyers for weekly deals and then making one or two more stops than she does to get the deals was really worth it.

None of my deals this week would have qualified for Walmart’s price matching program. Which would be another option for my, spends her coupons 100% at Walmart mom.

We both live in a town that does not have great triple and double coupon sales, for me to take part in. So my best deal plus coupon sales are primarily done at national drugstore chains and Meijer.

Here is what I bought this week combining sales and coupons.

4 pack of Schick razors: $3.84

1 Colgate optic white toothbrush and tooth paste: $1.00

20 count pack of Carefree panty liners: FREE

2 packs 36 count Playtex tampons, 4 packs 18 count Playtex Tampons, 3 packs 16 count Stayfree Maxis: $15.66

__________________________________________________

My Total: $20.50

To compare I took pictures of the same products and their prices at Walmart. It was a lot quicker than writing all the information down.

I won’t bore you by posting all the photo’s but here is what  my exclusive to Walmart couponing mom would have spent if she used the same coupons I had and spent them on the same products at Walmart.

Remember these prices are AFTER coupons.

Razor Blades: $6.94

Toothpaste and Toothbrush: $3.92

Panty Liners: FREE

Tampons and Pads: $26.50

_________________________________________________

Her Total: $37.36

I saved $16.86 more than my spend my coupons 100% at Walmart mom.

I probably spent around 15 minutes  planning and making the extra stop that I did, so if you work out my hourly wage it is an impressive $67.44.

However, before I concluded I think I should compare both me the deal and coupon shopper, and the  spend my coupons 100% at Walmart shopper to one more type of shopper.

The third type of shopper is a classic. She is the, I don’t have time for coupons so I just grab it all at Walmart shopper.

Here is what Miss anti-coupon anti-sale shopper would have spent.

Razor blades: $10.94

Tooth brushes and toothpaste: $5.92

panty liners: .94 cents

Tampons and maxi pads: $38.40

______________________________________________

Total: $56.28

I being the combine a sale and coupon shopper saved $35.78 more than anti-coupon anti-sale shopper. My spend my coupons 100% at Walmart shopper saved $18.92 more than anti-coupon anti-sale.

My conclusion. You need to weigh both the financial needs of your family with the time you have available. For my family, with a full time parent at home, we have the time and need to save those extra dollars to keep with in our means. So spending an extra 15 to 20 minutes a week planning what sales to hit works for us.

My spends her coupons at Walmart mom is in a dual income earning family in which she works over 40 hours a week outside the home. Her time is in shorter supply than mine but her strategy still saves her family a significant amount of money and works well in her situation.

As for the anti-coupon anti-sale shopper, I don’t know what her circumstances are but if she isn’t living within her means, she might want to at least start clipping coupons on products she already throws in her cart.She just might find the stress it reduces over her finances is worth the time spent clipping.

How about you? What is your coupon strategy ?

This Post is linked to Frugal Fridays at Life As Mom

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Thankful: For The Opportunity to Share My Passion

Last week I got my bike out of the basement and placed it in its rightful place for the warm weather season: our living room.

I have loved bikes since I got my first red banana seat special when I was probably about 5 years old. I spent the whole afternoon trying over and over to stay stable on just two wheels.

Once I maintained my balance on those two wheels I was hardly without them summer after summer. My bike took me everywhere I wanted to go.I never even got my license till I was 21 years old and 9 months pregnant. People began insisting that I could not expect to carry a newborn around on a bike.

Motherhood did slow my bike riding down during the infancy years. But, being a mom only increased my love of the sport, as I could not wait  to share my bike riding passion with all three of my children. I got them tricycles long before they were even big enough to ride them.

Now however those tricycles are long out grown, as are training wheels. For the first time last year, I helped  one of my children pick out his first adult sized bike.

That evening we road 13 miles together without a complaint of mom slow down, mom I am tired, mom I need water, mom I have to go to the bathroom. That made me miss the early childhood years a little less and want to cherish these teenage years a little more.

During those 13 miles, I think my face was glowing so much with  mom pride I could have lit up an entire city with it.

The next week he left our nest one afternoon and went off on those two wheels all by himself to a friends house. The look on his face when he realized he could get there all by himself brought back memories of the freedom I felt in my own youth when I pedaled to the beach, to a friends home, or to my part time job.

Life is sure flying by like the scenery on a downhill coast and I am doing my best to cherish every minute of it.

Lord thank you for giving me children who enjoy my passions. Help me to never push my passions upon them but to ignite those that are shared as well as those that aren’t.

How about you? Do you have a  passion you can’t wait to share with your kids?

This Post is linked to Finer Things Fridays at The Finer Things In Life

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Less Words Wednesday: My Man and His Lawn mower

Nothing says spring to my husband like the first time getting the lawn mower out for the season. This year that lawn mower is new and paid with cash.

His old one barely made it through last season, so when he came to me with his puppy eyes saying” well I guess if I order this part I might be able to revive it one more time”, I couldn’t help but say “take the money out of the bathroom renovation fund and go get a new one”.

So my new guest friendly bathroom will have to wait just a while longer, cause my baby needed a new pair of lawn cutting wheels this spring. After the look on his face while he was telling me all the features of his last years model special, I say its worth it.

 This post is linked to Wordless Wednesday at 5 minutes for Mom

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How I Got Rid of My Daughter’s Tangled Hair: Naturally

How I got rid of my daughter's tangled hair naturally

My daughter had horrible tangled hair. She hated to brush it because it hurt. The problem only got worse in the summer time when swimming in pools made her hair drier and more likely to knot. She also wanted to start growing it longer than her current bob cut, but I kept talking her out of it since I knew longer hair meant more tangles.

I  tried deep conditioning it, but she hated sitting around with a bag on her head, and the results never lasted long.  I  tried detangle spray, but those never worked.

Then one day on the treadmill at the gym the Dr. Oz show was on. He had a guest raving about the many uses of sunflower oil, and she proceeded to rub some into her hair. She claimed it made her hair shiny and manageable.

When I got home I added sunflower oil to the shopping list. Later that week I purchased and then placed some in a spray bottle and told my daughter to spray it in her hair starting at the roots and massage it in, then go and wash her hair as normal.

When her hair dried it was shiny and smooth.No more unruly tangled hair. You could actually run a comb through it with no problems.

I have since used Sunflower oil on my dry feet and elbows and even dry patches on my face. It works wonderfully. It rubs in quickly and leaves the skin feeling smooth. It is not at all greasy. Plus you only need such a small amount so its economical too. You can also use up the oil in your cooking if you find your not going through it fast enough. It is a great oil for deep frying (at least that is what my husband tells me, I refuse to touch his deep fryer since I am trying to cook in healthier ways, but I haven’t won him over yet, :) )

Looking for more natural beauty tips? Follow my Homemade Beauty Products board on Pinterest

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Spring Cleaning: The Upstairs Bathroom

Each weekend till the end of The Spring Cleaning Challenge I am picking one area of our home to declutter and clean. Last week I picked the attic. This week I decided on the upstairs bathroom.

The worst part of the bathroom was the storage cabinet. When we moved into this home almost 3 years ago, I basically just dumped whatever into the cabinet thinking I would get back and organize it later. Well two other homes had to be renovated, children had to be homeschooled, events had to be attended, and the cupboard got forgotten.

The first thing I did was go up to the attic and gather all the small and medium empty containers I could find to help group like items together within the large cabinet. I then emptied out the cabinet and gave it a good scrub down.

After the cabinet was cleaned, I started to put like items together within the containers I gathered. Here is my free razor supply. I am thinking even if they are free after coupons I need to start giving them away to friends and not storing them, enough is enough!

My husband has been asking me if I knew the whereabouts  of these tools for years. I think he finally just went out and bought new ones. Apparently I should have thought to look for tools in the bathroom storage cabinet, because that is a totally logical place to leave tools. Other weird things found in the cabinet include painters tape and a light switch plate. After I had sorted  the contents of the upstairs bathroom I ran downstairs to grab all the stuff that had been taken out of the cupboards and left all over the floor when my husband ripped out the cupboards to start renovating it this week.

I am very happy with the results of this cabinet, I even managed to squeeze the kids soccer shin guards and socks on the bottom shelf to store till soccer season starts again. This might not be the most logical place for them, but its better  than in the middle of the living room which is where they had been up till now. Next up was the reading shelf. Everyone knows the best place to get a bit or reading done is in the bathroom. When my husband and I renovated this room, we added in a book case designated for just such a purpose. As you can see though, the kids had other ideas, and decided to add Lego building to their bathroom activities (see the half built plane).

My biggest pet peeve of the reading area is it is always where the toilet paper lands. Rather than fight the problem I decided to just find a solution that would at least give it a more defined area on the reading shelf to land. In my attic I found this container from my sons zoob toys and it looks great and works great.

The Lego did not make the decluttering cut, and neither did a few books. I did make use of the bottom shelf to store my hair dryer. I am satisfied with the toilet papers new landing place hopefully the rest of the family will work with me at keeping it here.

I forgot to take before pictures of our every day needs shelving unit I keep out on the counter. Here is what it looks like after I got rid off all the no longer used items and gave the current used items new homes in baskets, bowls and cups. I also gave the whole unit a good wipe down.

I gave the rest of the counter top a good cleaning, including the mirror and sink. The reflection you see in the mirror is my drying rack, it gets used daily and fits in the corner of this room nicely.

I got down on my hands and knees and cleaned the floor with a spray bottle full of homemade floor cleaner and paper towels. I find the paper towels pick up the hair and dust better than rags.

Finally it was time for the finishing touches. I found this scripture plaque in a cupboard downstairs and placed it on the bathroom counter. I love having scripture displayed in every room of my home to help me focus on how I should treat others and live my life.

The room is done I think I deserve a bubble bath now (oh and I scrubbed the tub down too).

How about you? Have you been doing any spring cleaning lately?

This post is linked to Tackle it Tuesdays at 5 minutes for Mom and The Spring Cleaning Challenge at Tidy Mom

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No Machine Needed: Peppermint Cookie Ice Cream

Ever since seeing “The Ice Cream Experiment:Take One” over at Heavenly Homemakers I have been on the look out for a way to make ice-cream  using simple ingredients that would suit my snail pace lifestyle.

After much searching and a bit of tweaking I have found such a recipe.

What I love about this recipe is that you can create as many versions of it as you want using the simple base of 1 can sweetened condensed milk and one pint heavy whipping creme.

For our peppermint cookie version , you need to first place the dozen cookies in a Ziploc bag and seal. Crush with either your hands, or beat with a rolling pin. The cookies should still be fairly large pieces when you are done.

Lay your crushed cookies to one side. Find a glass bowl with a lid (l like using a large glass 2 quart measuring bowl with a lid).

Place the whipping creme in the bowl and beat with a hand mixer till firm.

 Now, add in the sweetened condensed milk and blend again using the hand mixer.

Finally add in the cookies and 2 drops of peppermint extract and blend just slightly.

Your bowl should look a lot like this when you take your beaters out.

Wipe off the edges of the bowl.

Place the lid on your container and place it in your freezer for 10 to 12 hours.

Sorry  I didn’t get a picture of the finished product. My kids love it so much its gone in a flash.

It makes about 10 to 12 generous sized bowls.

Here is a peak at the chocolate version, to show you what it looks like when it is served.

No Machine Needed: Peppermint Cookie Ice Cream

Ingredients

  • 1 can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 pint heavy whipping creme
  • 2 drops peppermint extract
  • 1 dozen peppermint flavored sandwich cookie

Instructions

  1. -Crush cookies (you want them in bite size pieces)
  2. -Lay cookies aside
  3. -Whip creme in a large glass bowl (preferable one with a lid)
  4. -Pour sweetened condensed milk into whip creme and blend well
  5. -Add in crushed cookies and peppermint extract and stir.
  6. -Place in freezer and allow to freeze for 10 to 12 hours
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This post is linked to Tasty Tuesdays at Balancing Beauty and Bedlam, Delicious Dishes at Its a Blog Party .   

and Ultimate Recipe Swap at Life As Mom

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