Category Archive: Frugality

DIY Distressed Wood Mantel – Get The Rustic Look For Less

I am a huge fan of DIY projects – especially DIY projects that save me money.  Brian from the The Wildman Project youtube channel created this awesome DIY Distressed Wood Mantel and it looks great.

He was able to create the look of distressed wood, with just a few tools and some lumber from a big-box store.  Awesome.

If you are interested in tackling a similar project, I have included links and a materials list below the video.

Brian uses a belt sander in the video.  I don’t have one of those – so I used a random orbital sander.  I simply held it at a slight angle to the surface of the wood, to create the dips that you see in the video.  If you have the patience – sandpaper wrapped around a piece of scrap wood would work just fine.

You can pick up the boards for this project at your local big-box store.  The top and front are glued together with simple butt joints and the corners are mitered.  There are no nails or screws used – so they won’t get in the way of sanding.

Here’s a list of other items you might need to complete this project – including wood glue, stain, a sander, and a file.

This distressing process would work for creating a variety of DIY projects.  

I recently used this technique to build a simple picture frame.  It turned out great and I’m thinking about using this technique to add some character to a head board I’m building for our bedroom.  Also, this might be a great technique for building one of those very popular rustic kitchen tables.

You can view more of Brian’s work over at his website – The Wildman Project and the Wildman Project Etsy Shop.

If you are new to DIY and woodworking – I recently shared my list of inexpensive, budget friendly tools.

Check out my new DIY projects board over at pintrest.  Blessings.

 

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Stores That Offer Free Or Discounted Prescription Drugs

Check out this updated list of stores and pharmacies that offer free or discounted prescription drugs.  Save money on your prescriptions.  List updated once a month.  Last updated December 17, 2014.

Click the links to view information about each store’s discount prescription drug program –

Free Medications -

Publix – free antibiotics plus Amlodipine, Lisinopril, and Metformin

Meijer – free antibiotics plus prenatal vitamins, Metformin,  and Atorvastatin Calcium

Free Antibiotics -

Giant Eagle – free antibiotics

Harris Teeter – free antibiotics

discount presriptions

Discounted Medications –

Kroger – $4 / $10 generics

Ralph’s – $4 / $10 generics

Target – $4 / $10 generics

Walmart – $4 / $10 generics (some states)

Fred’s – $4 generics

This list was updated December 16, 2014 and will be updated once per month.

Information is subject to change.

 

 

 

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24 Hours Of Saving Money

24 Hours of Saving Money:  This is an around-the-clock look at some of the financial decisions we make – and how those decisions affect our pocketbook, our family, and our future.  My wife and I have three kids, we live busy lives, and we are work hard.  Here’s a typical day for our family – broken down by how we save money – and when.

5:00 AM – Enjoy a brisk walk or an at-home workout.

Savings = $300 in annual gym-membership fees – and lower long-term health care costs

6:00 AM – Skip the coffee shop and brew at home.

Savings = $3-5 a day – and $800-1500 a year

7:00 AM – Check the thermostat.

Savings = Heating and cooling costs represent a tremendous expense.  For my house, I’ve calculated that wise thermostat-management saves %15 off of my electric bill.

8:00 AM – Drive carefully and below the speed limit.

Savings = Avoid speeding tickets, accidents (which increase insurance costs), protect yourself (and others) and save gasoline.

9:00 AM – Turn off phone data and take advantage of wi-fi.

I recently underwent the dreaded transition from an unlimited to a limited plan.  I quickly learned to take advantage of wi-fi, both at home and at work.

10:00 AM – Pass on the sugary, mid-morning snack and opt for some protein.

I’m convinced, on days when I consume a mid-morning, sugary snack – I stay hungry.  When I choose protein, I’m less apt to snack, which saves money and holes on the belt.

10:15 AM – Open the blinds and turn off any unnecessary lights.

This saves energy and the natural light is good for the soul.

12:00 Noon – Order water with lunch.

If you can brown-bag it, that’s awesome.  For me, when I eat out for lunch, I try to be reasonable, and I’ll skip appetizers and soda.  Savings = $1.50 to $3.50 per meal

1:00 PM – Make a transfer to a savings account.

Even if it is a small amount, it’s a good idea to get in the habit of initiating transfers to a savings account.  I do this two or three times a week.  A sgrowing savings account balance keeps me motivated.

2:00 PM – Go with the sweater.

If you work at home and have control of the thermostat, a sweater is a great way to stay warm – and save a little money.

3:00 PM – Know what’s for supper.

I know it’s only 3 in the afternoon – but if you wait until much later to think about supper – you’ll probably opt for convenience foods or take-out.  I’ll usually text my wife around this time and we’ll make sure we’re both on the same page.

3:30 PM – Be ready with a plan for the kids and their activities.

We have three kids – ranging from 6 to 15 – and they each have after-school activities.  It’s important – very important – that my wife and I know which kid is going where, with whom, how much money they’ll need, when they need to be picked up, and when we’ll all be back at home.  This can become an expensive time for families!  Snacks, drinks, t-shirts, fees – these add up.  Be ready with a plan and a budget for these activities.

5:00 PM – Check online for gas prices and fuel up.

There are several websites – my favorite is Gas Buddy – for checking the lowest cost for fuel.  I’ll take my automobile or my wife’s and fill up at the cheapest station.

6:00 PM – Cook and clean up – together.

I’m the primary cook in our family, but at meal time, we all pitch in.  I’ll cook the main course, the kids will help with setting the table, and my wife will handle most of the clean up.  We skip the high-cost of restaurants – and since the kids have a hand in the cooking, they’re more apt to eat and not waste food.

6:30 PM – Talk with the kids about the upcoming week.

With our oldest, we’ll ask about any club-related or sports-related dues.  With our youngest, we’ll find out if the book-mo-bile is coming to school.  It’s important that we know about any upcoming expenses – so that we can have these in our budget.

7:00 PM – Read the Bible.

For us, reading the Bible, as a family, is incredibly important.  It reminds us of the kindness of our Savior – and the importance of giving to others.  How does this save money?  Many of the principals that guide our financial lives our found in the pages of scripture.

8:00 PM – Check out personal finance blogs.

I cannot begin to calculate the amount of money I have saved, simply by reading and following the information I’ve found from my fellow personal finance bloggers.  Check out the list at the bottom of this page for some of my favorites – and pfblogs.org for an aggregator of great personal finance information.

8:30 PM – Hang up those clothes.

We have an electric clothes dryer – but we have taken to hanging up almost all of our clothes.  They seem to last longer, and air-drying saves money.  So, just before bed, I’ll hang up a load of clothing.  In the morning, my wife will hang place them in our closets.

9:30 PM – Skip the television and read a book.

I’ll keep the television turned off – and instead choose a good book.  This saves money – and hopefully – expands the mind.

10: PM – Bundle up.

In the winter, save money by turning down the heat a bit and using a good blanket.  We live in the South – and the temptation here is turn on the heat when the temperature dips below 70!

1:00 AM – Change that diaper and enjoy the kiddo.

When our kids were little, this was the time when they generally woke up, in need of a diaper change. While you’re up, you may as well check out the savings from  Amazon Mom. You’ll receive up to 20% off the cost of diapers – and you’ll enjoy the additional benefits of Amazon Prime.  Click the link for a free 30-day trial!  Also, if you have little ones – cherish these late nights.  I know you are exhausted, but these times will soon be gone.  Ours are all big-kids, and while we are thankful for where they are now, we miss those nights of rocking.

2:00 AM – Wash those clothes and those dishes.

Did you know that certain power companies charge less for power, depending on the time of day?  Our washing machine has a timer, so we’ll set it for early in the morning, thus avoiding the more energy-expensive time of day.  We’ll also run our dish washer at night – and put the dishes away in the morning.

All day long, we have opportunities to save money.  Here and there, we save a few dollars, until, at the end of the day, we’ve saved several.  Obviously, each day presents its own challenges – and opportunities.  Take the time to analyze your daily routine – and look for opportunities to save.  Blessings.

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Printable Grocery Price Book

We use a grocery price book to monitor the fluctuating prices of groceries at our local supermarkets.  When specific items go down in price, we purchase those items in quantity.  The grocery price book helps us know when to purchase – and when to wait.

I have created a printable grocery price book for my readers.  It’s the same, simple-to-use price book that we have been using for years to save money on groceries.

Click to download and print the free printable grocery price book.

The grocery price book is very simple-to-use.

When printed out, the price book is designed to fold in half – to create a “book”.

Print a copy on both sides of a sheet of paper and you will then have four “pages” of the “book”.  Punch holes in the middle and you can put the pages in a notebook to take with you to the grocery store.  That’s what I do.

You could also simply use the spreadsheet as a spreadsheet and track prices on your laptop or tablet.

Here’s what a page from the grocery price book looks like –

Printable Grocery Price Book example page

We tracked the price of canned corn for several weeks.  When the price dipped, we purchased our desired quantity.

Using the price book for several years, I have noticed that prices have certainly gone up over time, but items still tend to go on sale in patterns.  We use coupons and the grocery price book to save a considerable amount of money on groceries.

The grocery price book is designed to work across several stores – and can be modified for your shopping habits.  For instance, you may want to track not only a type of product, like canned corn, but specific brands of canned corn.  That’s cool.  Simply create a “page” for each brand you want to track.  Personally, we usually buy the same brands over and over, so we usually just track the ones we use.

Remember, when using a grocery price book, it’s important to check the prices of items each time you go shopping, even if you are not planning to buy those items that day.  This goes against “shopping with a grocery list only” – but the point of the grocery price book is to track prices.

One thing that has changed since we began using a grocery price book years ago – most supermarkets post their sales circulars online.  We simply go online, check the sales circulars, and update our price book.

Once again, feel free to download and print out the free printable grocery price book.

Leave comments with any questions or suggestions regarding the use of a grocery price book to save money on groceries.

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