A Year to Clear (Week 3 of 52)

Week 3 – T-shirts

Matt’s T-shirts to be more precise. We were on vacation in Maine most of last week and the first half of this week so I didn’t have a lot of time to find stuff to get rid of. Luckily (for me), when Matt was packing for our vacation he decided to go through his T-shirts and he gave some of them to me to get rid of as part of my “Year to Clear” project. Shirts that are still usable will be donated and some of the well worn ones will be used as rags; however, I think we are pretty well stocked on rags so I found a company called American Textile Recycling Services that has a drop-off bin not too far from our house and will recycle old articles of clothing. Some Goodwill locations also recycle textiles, including the Goodwills in Austin. Another idea that was suggested to me was to donate them to an animal shelter.

Matt also found a couple other articles of clothing that he no longer wanted so all total he gave me seven pounds of clothes to either donate or recycle.

52 Weeks of Saving (Week 3 of 52)

Week 3: Dollar Shave Club

I just joined the Dollar Shave Club. It isn’t quite a dollar, but it is still a pretty good deal. There is actually a $1.00 a month option, but you have to pay an additional $2.00 for shipping so I went ahead and “splurged” for the $6.00 a month option with free shipping and higher quality razor blades. For $6.00 you receive four, four-blade razor cartridges a month and a free handle the first month you sign up. I don’t usually go through four razor blades/cartridges a month so I don’t anticipate this being a monthly expense for me, I will probably pause my subscription after a few months because at that point I will have a good stock of razor blades.

For me this will definitely be a savings since I currently use a Gillette razor with refill cartridges that cost $12.00-$13.00 for a pack of four (so a 50% savings!). I think you can buy some cheap disposable razors that might cost a little less, but I hate throwing extra plastic away and I also hate cutting myself while shaving so I am not fond of the cheap disposable razors. I also found a website where you could buy large quantities of razors blades and save a few extra cents per blade, but I’m not sure I need excessive quantities of razors blades filling up my bathroom cabinets. Additionally, according to their website the “Dollar Shave Club couldn’t be simpler. Select one of [their] great blades, pay only for the cost of your blades, and [they] send ’em right to your door every month.”  I definitely like simple as well as having items shipped directly to my door.

I should mention that the site is geared toward men, but I have no problem using a razor with a black handle instead of a pink one. If you are currently paying for razor blades from a name brand company you might find this to be a money saving deal as well!

For those of you who are interested in joining or learning more about the company, here is a referral link they gave me when I signed up: Dollar Shave Club. Their referral program allows you to earn a $5.00 credit for every friend that signs up so if you have a few friends that shave and like saving money you might actually be able to get a few razor blades for free.

Oh and one more thing, try to keep your razor blades dry after you use them and they will last longer!

 

52 Weeks of Saving (Week 2 of 52)

Week 2: Pay Attention to In-Store Deals/Sales

I think coupons are great sometimes, but I will never be a person that hoards weekend newspapers just for the coupons because I don’t have time (or the desire) to cut, clip, and organize them. Plus, I find most coupons aren’t for products I buy; however, I do pay attention to in-store deals/sales and when I see good ones I stock up! Last week my local grocery store had a deal where if you bought $30 worth of P&G products you could get a $10 coupon good for a future grocery purchase. I found $30 worth of products that I would be buying at some point anyway and stocked up. I received the $10 coupon and then the store had additional in-store coupons that saved me an $8 instantly. I ended up with a total savings of $18! The same grocery store had a “Healthy Living” sale this past weekend where all of their healthy living products (vitamins, the more “natural” soaps, products in bulk bins, etc.) were 20% off. We made a special trip and stocked up on things like dried grains, dried fruit, Dr. Bronner’s soap, toothpaste, etc. that we would buy at some point anyway and we saved $29.50! If you’re keeping track, that is a total savings of $47.50 on grocery store items within 7 days! I find the key with all of these deals is to only buy/stock up on items that you know you will be buying at some point in the future anyway, don’t let the deals fool you into buying other products just because it’s a “good deal”.

This applies to other stores as well. A local children’s clothing re-sale shop had a clearance sale this weekend where they had tons of clothes for just $1. I went and found clothes for S. including some clothes for this summer, a few warmer items to finish out the winter, and then I even went ahead and purchased some 3T items for next year. I don’t think I will find clothes cheaper than $1 very often and I know S. will keep growing (it seems to happen all the time) so it was worth it to buy extra clothes for her even if they won’t fit her for a little while. Will this replace the expensive organic pajamas I buy for S.? No, but it will off-set the cost a little and some of the clothes I picked out were really cute too :-)IMG_7207

A Year to Clear (Week 2 of 52)

Week 2 – Shoes

IMG_0047I am not a shoe obsessed person, but I still have many pairs of shoes hanging around that I don’t need or wear. I have shoes that used to be my favorites (like 15 years ago), but are pretty much worn out; shoes that went with my high-school prom dress that I haven’t worn since prom night; random other shoes that I have acquired over the years; and soccer cleats from high-school that I have saved despite the fact that I have no intention of playing soccer again anytime in the near (or distant) future unless it is with a toddler or two (and I don’t think that requires cleats or shin guards). I decided it was time to get rid of all of these shoes and clear out the shoe rack. S. loved the project and tromped around in some old high heels and some steal-toe work boots that never really fit well even when they were necessary attire when I was environmental consultant. All total, I got rid of eight pairs of shoes and Matt added one more pair to the pile. Shoes that are still in good condition will get donated, sadly I think there are a few pairs that will have to get tossed. Total weight of the shoes that I cleared out: 14.5 pounds. Bonus: a very impressed (and happy) husband and an entertained toddler.

52 Weeks of Saving (week 1 of 52)

Week 1: Buy Holiday Items AFTER the Holiday

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If you can anticipate what you will need next year for any given holiday, then buying holiday items after the holiday is a great way to save some money. I am not big on a lot of holiday decorations and sometimes I make my own wrapping paper (think recycled brown paper bags, reused maps, recycled newspapers), but I find that there are always at least some gifts every year that I want to put in “real” wrapping paper. So I just went out and scoured the holiday clearance racks for wrapping paper. Most places I found were at least 70% off, so I was able to pick up a few rolls of wrapping paper for about $1.50 each (list price around $5.99 each). As an added bonus I found some plain blue and plain red rolls of wrapping paper that I can used for birthdays or other events throughout the upcoming year, not just next Christmas.

A Year to Clear (Week 1 of 52)

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Week 1 – Magazines

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I love to curl up under a warm blanket with a hot cup of tea on a cold day and flip through a new magazine. My top magazine choices usually involve natural/healthy living, travel, outdoor adventure, photography, and now parenting. Often I find useful tips and product reviews in magazines so I save my magazines, thinking I will go back and read that parenting tip or find the information on that perfect travel backpack when I need it. Well, reality is that the magazines stack up and going back to find a single piece of information becomes too daunting of a task. Since I never go back and read the magazines again, they sit in a corner gathering dust. Well, not any more (at least not in my corner). I have cleaned out my magazine basket, cut my name and address off all of them, and they are going to the magazine exchange at the local library so that someone else can enjoy them. In the future I will just have to make better notes of the things I want to remember at the time I read the magazine. Total weight of the magazines that I cleared out: 26 pounds.

Green My Routine: Organic Bed Sheets

Before S. was born Matt built her an amazing solid oak crib with no toxic finishes, glues, etc. I picked out an organic mattress, a wool puddle pad, and organic cotton sheets to put in the crib. When we brought S. home from the hospital we side-carred the crib up against our bed and lay her down for the night once she was already sound asleep. She woke up, cried, pooped, and didn’t want to be put back down. After multiple attempts we caved and held her all night. Eventually she did move into her crib for a short period of time, but at about four and a half months she learned to roll and would wake up every time she rolled into the side of the crib and she started teething which did not mix well with sleep. At that point she ended up back in bed with us and she hasn’t left. Since then I have been feeling a little guilty that I went to all that trouble to get her nice organic sheets for her crib, but I have her sleeping on non-organic sheets in our bed (we do have an organic/natural mattress and wool topper). So I finally bought organic sheets for our bed too. I think it was time for new sheets anyways since I know one of the sets were are currently using we received as a wedding gift in 2006, not to mention that the “nice” set we have still leaves red residue on things sometimes, such as the wall we use as our headboard. Organic sheets are expensive though so I looked around and decided to purchase a set of the organic sheets that they sell at Target. Here is a link to the online Target listing for them, but they are available in stores as well. We bought some nice simple tan ones, but there are other solid colors and a few prints available as well.Sheets

Definitely not top of the line or anything, but the key feature I was looking for was organic so I am pleased. If you wonder why I wanted organic sheets you can read my post about organic clothing here. I also don’t like that most non-organic sheets have been treated to be wrinkle free and, from what I have read, often formaldehyde is what is used to keep fabric from wrinkling.

For a queen set at Target the price was $45.99, but I purchased a gift card on Black Friday for 10% off so the cost for me was $41.39. With the purchase of this sheet set, the remaining money in my “green my routine” fund is $281.01 (if you don’t know what I am talking about please refer to this post). I think it is worth $41 to know that S. is finally sleeping on a healthy set of sheets.

Happy New Year

HappyNewYearHappy New Year everyone! It is hard to believe that another year has gone by, we have survived another round of midnight fireworks (not as exciting as they were pre S.) and my little girl has lived through her first full calendar year. It was a great year watching S. learn how to walk and talk as well as getting a better idea of what her little personality is like. I felt like this year I got my feet under me a bit more as a mom and started to move out of what I would call “mom survival mode”. Taking that into consideration, I decided this was a year to set a few goals for myself and use this blog platform to help hold me accountable for completing them. I am not usually a New Year’s resolution person… at all… however, after all the holiday spending I did this year and with all the stuff piling up in our house (the toys are the most obvious, but there is a lot more too), I decided on two goals for this year: find more ways to save money and get rid of stuff. I am going to call these two goals “52 Weeks of Saving” and “A Year to Clear”, respectively. Every week I am going to post about something I did to save (or earn) a little money and about something I got rid of. Getting rid of things may involve recycling, donating, selling, upcycling, etc. with hopefully a minimal amount of things going straight to the garbage. I think I might even keep track of how many pounds of stuff leaves our house. I am actually kind of excited about these goals, I know it might be a bit of a challenge to keep up with it every week, but I am going to try.

I have created a new tab on the top menu called “Goals and Resolutions” where I will keep track of these two New Year’s resolutions. I also hope to add some other goals; for example, we have a goal of taking S. to every National Park and we hope to start this year. So, hold me accountable! I’m going to do this and hope to have a little fun or at least feel good about my accomplishments.

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