Friday, September 2, 2011

DIY: Holiday Rag Wreath

I have been busy. I haven't posted since February. I don't like that.
Going to school for your bach + masters (at the same time), working, wife'ing, and crafting will do that to a girl.

But there still has been a lot of crafting going on. I vow to keep this a budget blog and not a craft blog, but I just have to share this stinkin' cute project that I just finished (and for stinkin' cheap, so I guess it's still appropriate).

DIY: Halloween Rag Wreath
(but you can make it an any-occasion rag wreath just by changing the fabrics)

  • 3/4 yds fabric - I chose three, and got 1/4 yd of each
  • wire frame - I used an 8" wire frame for a smaller wreath. You can use a larger frame, but you will need more fabric!
  • wooden letters
  • paint + paint brush
  • glitter
  • wire
  • glue gun
Disclaimer: I tend to get an idea for a project in mind, run to the craft store, and immediately start to make it. About halfway through, I realize I should take pictures of each step, and then I am just too darn lazy to get my nice camera out. So beware: not very detailed, dark cell phone camera pictures ahead. Sorry.

Step 1: I cut each section of fabric into 3/4 in x 5 in strips. This left me with EXACTLY enough fabric to make the wreath. Absolutely none to spare. So be careful and do not waste any!

Step 2: Start with the inner ring on one of the sections and tie fabric in a random pattern. I single-tied the fabric, because it would have left the tails too short if I double-tied it, but I pulled tight so that my hard work would not come undone!

Step 3: Keep tying. Tie, tie, tie! Put on a good movie, because you will be here a little longer than expected. Put just enough strips of fabric on each section of the frame that it covers the entire thing, but do not cram them on there (like I did at first) because you will not have enough fabric if you only get 3/4 yard.

Step 4: Once you have tied all of the fabric on the wreath, paint your letters! I chose a purple paint to match my fabric (I really love purple accent to Halloween's typical orange & black). I painted three layers onto the letters, and sprinkled glitter onto the last layer while the paint was still dry. (I do not have a picture of this stage. I did, however, take a picture of all the glitter on my table, and sent it to my sister. She hates glitter. I am such a loving sister.)

Step 5: Give your crafting hands a break and wait for your letters to dry.

Step 6: Hot glue wire onto the back of your letters. I used medium gauge floral wire, but you could use anything you have around the house (bobby pins, twist ties, etc.). Arrange your letters where you want them, and secure them by tying the wire together on the back. I also added a loop of wire to the top to hang my wreath from, but you can use ribbon, or a wreath hanger for this.

Step 7: Admire your hard work and your new wreath!

Stinkin' cute, right?!

Here is the breakdown:

Fabric: 3 1/4 yd cuts of fabric at $7.99 a piece = $5.99
             I would have loved to have caught this fabric on sale, but alas. I did not.
Wire Frame: $1.27
Wooden Letters: $0.99 for a package of 4 B's and $0.99 for a package of 4 O's = $0.74
Paint: $0.67 - Anita's acrylic paint from Hobby Lobby. So cheap!

I had the glitter and wire left over from other projects, and the paint brush and glue gun already in tow.

So total cost of the super fun wreath: $8.67!! 
Now I need to stake out the store until their Christmas fabric goes on sale. You know what I am going to be doing then.

Are you going to try your own Rag Wreath? Let me know!

Linds C.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Rockin the Bobble

Hello friends!

It has been a lot longer than I would've liked since I last posted! Life has been crazy and we've been going a mile a minute since Code has been back home, but really we wouldn't have it any other way.

So! What am I posting about today, you ask!? Something that I am loving so much it has practically been an extension of my right hand for the past 3 weeks since I bought it. I've been asked questions constantly about it since I've had it, so I knew I had to post about it here...

I'm talking about the Water Bobble!
I'm serious. I don't think I've gone anywhere without mine for the last 3 weeks. So what's so special about it and why am I loving it so much?!

The Bobble uses an activated carbon filter that filters your water while you drink. Don't have access to the tastiest, cleanest water? Um, yeah. That's me about 99% of the time. Well, the Bobble does all the work for you. Fill it with any municipal tap water and the filter removes organic contaminates. It exceeds NSF International Standards for chlorine, taste, and odor reduction, it's FDA approved, its BPA free, and made from 20% recycled material.

Need I go on?!

We all need to drink more water, and we love drinking bottled water. In fact we, seem obsessed by the convenience of it. But this doesn't lead to a sustainable future. Here's where the Bobble comes in. Each Bobble filter lasts for 2 months or for 40 gallons. But what does that really mean?

Well, my family used to buy 1/2 liter Ozarka Water Bottles by the case. 40 gallons that one Bobble can produce equates to 300 plastic water bottles. Are you with me now?!

But this blog isn't just to encourage you readers to be more eco-friendly. So let's forget all of those wonderful things about the Bobble and talk $$.

One Bobble w/ Filter: $9.99 (I got mine from target, no surprise there)
And that alone will last you 40 gallons, but let's get dramatic and add in the cost for a replacement filter.
One Bobble & Two Filters: $9.99 + $4.99= $14.98

Let's compare this to the equivalent in plastic water bottles.
One Bobble with two filters will last through 80 gallons of water, or 600 water bottles.

24/case Ozarka 1/2lt Water Bottles: $6.99
Sounds harmless right?
Well, it would take 25 cases to get to 600 water bottles... OR $174.75.

Savings:: $149.77

Have I convinced you yet? The Bobble is sleek, convenient, and made for life on the move. And I'm here to testify that it truly works! Our nasty work water actually tastes good after being filtered through this little baby.  

Just fill it with water and let the Bobble do the rest.

Be hydrated. Be smart. Be fab doing it!

Linds C.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

DIY: Custom Shopping Tote

Hey Friends!!

Ready to DIY!? Today we're going to do something different! And even though this isn't really saving you money, it is fun, cheap, eco-friendly, and super fab! And no, I'm not turning this into a craft blog, even though I totally could considering that's all I've been doing these days (feels like, at least!). But I am going to share with you fab crafts and projects that I come across that I absolutely love!

FAB Craft #1: DIY Monogrammed Grocery Totes!

The other day I stumbled across these cute shopping totes:
And as most anybody knows, I love anything "C" since I've gotten married! But, each tote was $18-$25!  That's ridiculous! The whole point of reusable shopping totes is to save! Save money and save the environment! So why spend that kind of $$ just to look fab doing it? 

After a little thinking and searching, I came up with this cute little project.

Time: About 30-60 mins. Mostly waiting on paint to dry!

  • Blank canvas tote - $2.99
  • Black fabric paint - $0.99
  • Doilies - $1.99 (for 10)
  • Small paint brush - $1.99

You can center the design in the middle, obv, but I chose to make it a little more interesting!

And then just start painting! You can buy spray adhesive to stick the doily to the tote, but the cheapest is $6.99 and I just could not justify buying it! So I just held on to it while I painted the "stencil." Also, try to apply the paint directly onto it and don't brush back and forth, because that'll push paint under the stencil and turn into a big blob. Not so fab.

Done painting!

Next, make a stencil on the comp! Choose any font you like, but try not to make it too curvy, because that'll just make it so much harder on you!

I chose Andreas, the same font Ralph Lauren uses for its monograms.. not a hard choice!

Cut out letters to make another stencil! You can use an X-Acto knife, or scissors (like I did, because I couldn't find my knife!)... then place it wherever you want on your tote and trace the letters in pencil.

And then paint in the letters!


FAB, right!?

Yeah, I think so too! Now it's ready for a trip to Whole Foods to get some more tea and milk for my DIY EGTL! I ran out yesterday...

Savings: $18!!

Have another idea for a DIY tote? Or give this one a try and tell me what you think!

Linds C.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Hey Guys!!

So... who likes free money!? Okay, not free, but it basically is. Today I'm not talking about coupons or savings, per se. I'm talking about cold hard cash!

Have an old phone lying around? I did!

Go to, find your phone, and check out!
When you check out, you lock in the price for your phone for a given time. So get on it, guys! Phones depreciate just like cars, so if you wait too long you wont get as much $$!!

Then uSell sends you a Cash-for-Cell Kit in the mail a few days later:

Put the phone in, slap the return label on that they send to you, and drop it off a any USPS location.
You don't even have to pay for shipping!

And then, you wait. What are you waiting for, you ask!?

A CHECK!! No, I'm serious. It's that easy, and it's completely free. Between the two phones Code and I found lying around, we got $48 dollars!!

I know, I know. Technically we paid for the phones originally, but still! We were so close to throwing them in the recycle bin at targ, or just letting them sit around in a drawer somewhere. And $48 is nothing to scoff at! Now you can go pick up those cute shoes you've been eyeing! Or put it in your bank account and save save save, like we chose to do! 

How many times do I have to say it... it all adds up, people!

So what's the catch?! Well, so far, I can't find one! According to EPA estimates, over a billion wireless phones are gathering dust in households across the US and will likely end up in a landfill. So uSell offers cash incentives for phones, then they refurbish them so they can be reused by people who need them around the world. uSell has a 0% waste policy. If they can't make your phone reusable, they take the phone apart and properly recycle each piece.

Want to be kind to the environment and get rid of those old phones and get some extra money!? Here's your answer! Have you used their services? Let me know about it!

Linds C.

Thursday, February 3, 2011


I am not a casual coffee drinker. My dad started me on coffee when I was in the 6th grade (love you, daddy!), and I've never been the same since. By no means did I start drinking it every day then, but it slowly grew to be a constant in my life. I was one of those do-not-talk-to-me-till-i-have-my-coffee kinds of people. Absolutely obsessed. I was advised for a few years to stop drinking coffee, but did I listen to them? Of course not! What did I do instead? I got a job at Starbucks! Smart, right? So I worked at Starbucks and subsequently took in even more coffee than I could have ever thought possible for 2 1/2 years (before I started working at the bank).

But, in January of 2010, after some poking and prodding, I was diagnosed with bleeding stomach ulcers. And yes, they were about as much fun as they sound! So I took my last sip of coffee and went cold turkey for 6 months. That was the worst thing I think I've ever been through. I felt like a drug addict who had been put in rehab, but instead I was still surround by the stuff!

Desperately I searched for something to curb the cravings and the splitting headaches. So again I turned to Starbucks, and I found something that came almost close enough to doing the job.

BEHOLD! The Earl Grey Tea Latte (also known as a London Fog):

I made and drank these when I was still a barista, but never fully appreciated them until I had to. And now I'm in love! Earl grey tea is bold, and to many it is an acquired taste (Code says it tastes like pine sol), but I love it! It is earthy and strong (which is what I love about coffee). Earl grey is black tea, blended with Italian bergamot, infused with lavender and a hint of citrus. Mix that with some vanilla syrup and steamed milk, and Voila! You have an Earl Grey Tea Latte! 

So to curb the twitches and foggy brain and splitting headaches, I started drinking these almost every day. But lets face it.. Sbux IS expensive to drink every day, and definitely does not fit into my budg, so after some trial and error, I made my DIY at-home version, which I drink every single morning. Now I am a dont-talk-to-me-till-ive-had-my-tea person. Which isn't quite as fierce..

DIY Earl Grey Tea Latte

First, obv, you start with the tea! I boil half a mug of water in the microwave for 3 min, and then immediately throw the tea bag in and steep for 5 min, usually while I go fix my hair in the morn.

I started using TAZO tea, which is what Sbux uses, $6.95 for 16 shachets. However (don't smite me) I've switched to Bigelow tea, which you pick up in any groc store, and it tastes even better!
Bigelow Earl Grey Tea: $2.49 for 20 bags
OR $.13 a bag (awesome!)

Then you add 2 tbsp of Vanilla syrup. You can get Archer Farms Vanilla syrup from Target, but it is more expensive in the long run. It is better to buy the syrup from Sbux, or order it from their website.
Starbucks Vanilla Syrup: $10.95 for 1 liter
OR $.16 per tbsp

And, MILK! Sbux does a 1:1 ratio of milk to water, but I do 1:2... because I like it better! Which usually comes out to about 3 tbsp of milk.

 Whole Foods Organic Milk: $3.79 for a 1/2 gallon
OR $.03 a tbsp!

Lastly, the BEST thing about running to Sbux (for me at least) is the convenience! But I heat up my water and steep the tea in a mug, then pour it into my To-Go Tumbler. My fave is:

Not only are they made from 20% recycled material, but I LOVE the lids on these types of tumblers. No leaks, no handles, and they just look so darn cute! Plus, they're Eco-friendly since you're not wasting a paper cup and paper sleeve every single time!
Grande Tumbler: $10.95
Lets divide this over 20 uses (since there are 20 tea bags in 1 box of tea): $.55 a day.

So! Who's still keeping track?! 

Starbucks (I still love you):: $3.81 a day.

At Home:: $1.09 a day! Are you serious!? 

Guys.. That ADDS UP! 
After 20 days of drinking Sbux vs. At Home::

S: $76.20, yikes!

AH: $10.69!! 
This isn't including the tumbler. If you have to go out and buy one, that makes the total $21.64! 

Savings:: $65.51, you've got to be kidding me!

It is so easy to run by Sbux on the way to work, and don't get me wrong.. I love those little paper cups too. But is it worth $65.51 extra dollars in less than a month!?

I don't think so!

Try it!! Have another Sbux fave you want me to DIY? Let me know!

Linds C.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Coupon Apps, Love Them!

Hey friends!

I wasn't sure which post to start out with, but I decided to choose the thing I'm most excited about right now! I may be way behind the game here, and many of you might already know about this little lovely thing, but WHOC (who cares?!)...

I'm talking about COUPON APPS for your smart phone, people!

Are you kidding me? I've always been a fan of coupons, who isn't? If you can save a few $$ why wouldn't you? However, I'm not one to scour the newspaper on Sunday, clip coupons, file them, or actually remember to bring them to the store with me. I'm not that crazy dedicated. Or patient. And I don't know how many times I have been at a store and suddenly remembered I had a coupon for something at home, and figured it wasn't worth going back home to get it, and I'd just buy the thing anyway. Awful, I know.

But now, there is absolutely no excuse. Since Code and I found this little jewel, we have saved $$ and gotten freebies at nearly every store we've been at. My fave though was when we went to Yankee Candle on Saturday. I inherited my obsession with Yankee Candles from my momma.. and I have them for every season. We had just burned through our favorite scent, so we made a trip to replenish our supply.

We pulled up a $10 off a $25 purchase on the coupon app, and Yankee was having BOGO (love it!) if you bought one of their new scents, so we got:

The absolute best spring scent they carry!! We burn this and it fills our entire apartment!
Granted, that doesn't take much (its tiny) but still...
Large jar: $24.99

This is the new scent we got. It's fresh and clean and smells so nice with the Blueberry Scone!
Large Jar: $24.99

And an Illuma-Lid. If you don't know what these are, you are missing out!
You put them on top of the jars, they look so cute, and they make the candles burn evenly all the way down. Trust me, you don't realize how much longer the life of your candles will be once you get one of these!
Illuma-Lid: $9.99

So, with our BOGO, and the $10 off coupon that she scanned right off of our phones (this still blows my mind.. which isn't hard) we were done!

Savings:: $25, and totally worth it.

So which coupon apps are the best? Cody and I both have the Droid Incredible and our free coupon app is called My Coupon:

Coupon Sherpa is supposed to be the best app for iPhone users, but I can't testify. Let me know if you have any input here!

Have you used your app for any great savings? LOVE Yankee Candles too? Let me know what you think!

Linds C.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Give it a Whirl!

Welcome Friends!

I have been contemplating this blog for a while, because Lord knows I don't have time to take on another project! But during the past 1 1/2 years of marriage, I have learned a lot about budgeting and deals.. and I don't think it's fair to keep these little jewels of knowledge to myself. This blog is to share all of the great steals I stumble across with my fellow budgeters (budgeteers?)..

I am also venturing into the world of eating/cooking healthy for the two of us. Oh boy is this a feat! I've always cooked and baked my little heart out, but doing it on a limited budget.. Completely new world to me! Would I love to buy all of my groceries at Whole Foods or Market Street? Absolutely! Can I? Absolutely not! And its nearly impossible to find any good healthy recipes for two or that don't require an entire shopping cart of groceries for one meal. Good grief!! So, as I sift and wade (and sometimes drown) I will share with you my escapades, no matter how they may be! Deal? Deal.

So, let's see how this goes!

Linds C.