Just a Little Sunday Morning Jewelry DIY

It is a bit dreary out today, but I love it because, except for the wind blowing in the trees, all is quiet. So I got out a stash of jewelry supplies I have picked up with coupons recently at Michael’s. You can typically always find a coupon using the phone app for Michael’s and, if you share your email, they will even send you bonus coupons to your inbox.

These items came from two separate trips which meant I got to use a 25% whole purchase coupon as well as a 50% on one item coupon. They are a mix of semi-precious stones and glass stones with the most expensive item being that 14k gold chain for the dark blue stone. Honestly, my pictures here are not doing the stones justice.

Most of these pendants also came from the clearance section of the store. I always check out that section for great deals. Sometimes I mix and match during that same shopping trip of items from clearance matched with items on sale or at regular price (I always use coupons!). As soon as I saw the chain with the small brown beads in the clearance section, I knew I wanted to pair it with an owl pendant. They had the perfect one on sale in another section. I have two more semi-precious stones that I didn’t have chains for, but they were only $2 each so I couldn’t pass them up. Into my stash they went. For all four necklaces, the cost came to about $30. That is less than $10 a necklace!

I love the Bead Gallery collection even though the tags don’t identify what the stones are other than semi-precious. Honestly, I don’t really care if the stones are real. I only care that they are pretty. The blue semi-precious stone with the gold is a nice addition to my collection as I tend toward silver pieces, so I am trying to open up my accessories a little to include gold. I love that Amethyst (that one did have a identifying tag since it from a different collection, so I know the stone). I paid full price, well discounted with a coupon, but it is so pretty how it fades to a brownish purple color. The sea glass stone is also such a pretty blue green color. That owl pendant is such a fun piece. It reminds me of the owl from the original Clash of the Titans movie.

I have a whole stash of loose gems and semi-precious stones that I inherited from my father. He used to order stones from overseas with the plan of one day turning them into jewelry. My mother found a box last month and gave them to me. She is convinced there is more in the house. So I might get another box if she finds it. My goal for this summer it to learn how to set them so I can turn them into pendants like the ones pictured.

I also love taking apart thrift store jewelry and repurposing it for something new. I highly recommend if you want to update your accessory collection, check out thrift stores and craft stores!

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The Saving Addiction

For the past six months, I have been couponing. Now don’t get me wrong, I have talked about couponing before and Walmart price wise was always the best deal. However, that is where the coupon matching comes into play. My local Publix accepts competitors coupons and I have to say that my savings would not work without this. The idea is to watch the sales circulars for the Buy One Get One sales that Publix runs every week…then pair that sale by stacking 2 manufacturers coupons with 2 store coupons. You can use 2 coupons because you are buying 2 items…even though the one will be discounted at the register, it still counts. Publix has store coupons each week plus my store accepts Target coupons (watch the fine print, sometimes store coupons are one per customer, not per purchase).

Yes, I do pour over the ads and scour my coupon batches to match stuff up, but technology is there to make things easier. I follow several coupon and savings blogs that match up the coupons for the sales. I used to follow the Krazy Coupon Lady, but found that I couldn’t use all of her advice. (I tried the binder idea, but couldn’t keep up. Right now I have the binder to organize my loose coupons and use file folders for my sheets of coupons from the paper and printed on the Internet.) She has just too many stores that I couldn’t use, like Albertson’s…oh, how I wish Albertson’s were still in the area. I still use her site for links to printable coupons, but not so much for the deal match ups. One site that I found and absolutely love is Addicted to Saving. She is a Florida girl which means that these are deals I really can use. I love the Publix coupon match ups! Another great place to find matchups are the forums on Hot Coupon World. They list the sale items posted in the circular and then follow up with the coupons that correspond to the sales.

The trick to couponing is to have multiple copies of your coupons. You can buy coupons off of sites like Ebay, but I am leary of doing that because there are some dishonest people out there passing fake coupons that you will get charged the minimum $2,500 fine for using. You also need to be careful of what printables you download. (3/17/12 Update: You may check out the list of what currently circulating coupons are out there at the Coupon Information Corporation.) The best option is to either get your friends and family to give you their paper inserts or to buy multiple copies of the Sunday paper. Some cities will even allow you to have multiples devlivered to your house. I only get one copy of the paper delivered to my house, Sunday only. I admit this is because I am a bit lazy. I don’t want to have to go out to buy more papers if they don’t have any worthwhile coupons that I can use. Sunday Coupon Preview will give you a list of the coupons coming out in the Sunday paper, but I have found that sometimes there are slight variances, so I don’t always rely on it (it is a great tool for planning Sunday shopping trips when you know a coupon you can use will be coming out that day).

So am I really saving with coupons? Well, yes and no. I average about 50-70% savings on every shopping trip. I am still spending as much as before, but we have a fully stocked pantry and freezer chest. My son has a variety of snacks to take to school and we try new foods out that we might have hesitated about before. We are also eating out less because we have things stocked in the pantry and freezer that are quick to cook when we don’t feel like cooking (I.e. chicken fingers). Now a lot of the coupons are for processed food items, so you might not find that this is something that would work for you. But there are great deals on frozen vegtables and canned items. While fresh is always the best option, these are a pretty great second. Just remember everything in moderation.

Of things to come…

This next month is going to be pretty crazy for me. I just don’t know how to say no sometimes. I think I am finally starting to realize that I am becoming over extended. Yes, being Not Quite Superhuman is catching up.

I registered at NaNoWriMo’s website but have not written a single word. I just like my WIP too much to switch to another idea right now. Though I admit that I love this month because there is just soo much advice out there from writers, agents, and publishers. The fabulous Carrie Ryan, author of The Forest of Hands and Teeth, was at my library last month. She started out during NaNoWriMo and said community was the best thing she took from the experience. So for the moment I am going to follow along on the networks and lurk on the blogs for all the advice and ideas that can be found.

I have also started what I am calling the great coupon experiment. I am in month two of trying extreme couponing. So far I am spending the same amount of money each month, but my pantry is full and we have been going out to eat way less. This month will be the true test because even though it is just the three of us, we still spend more when there are holiday meals.

I also started reviewing over at No Flying No Tights which is a graphic novel review website. Yeah, finally a legit excuse to spend more time reading manga and watching anime.

I fully have plans to revamp this blog started prob in January with more of a defined schedule. Some features that I am toying with are more book reviews, discount deals, and crafts. I am not sure yet what the schedule will be or what names I will call the features, but in the mean time I will offer a peek at a great discount deal. Enjoy!

Head on over to NoMoreRack for great deals on electronics, clothes, and more. Deals are good just for either one day or when they sell out, whichever comes first. You can get some items for up to 80% off or more in some cases. Plus shipping is just $2 per item. Great for holiday shopping!

Supermarket Saving Simplified

There is a lot of hype right now about extreme couponing. We have all heard the tales about the woman who got a cart of groceries for only $5. Yeah, in a perfect world we would all have that luck. Now living in an area where my supermarket choices are pretty limited, I will admit I more often than not end up at Walmart or Sam’s club to do my grocery shopping. I also don’t use coupons mainly because Sam’s won’t take them and Walmart usually has a cheaper generic.

Really it has been my experience that the store generic item can taste just as good as the brand name. Thanks to the wonderful late Mrs B who taught me 5th grade grocery store math, I am also able to determine looking at the labels on the supermarket shelf which is a better buy: 2 of the smaller items or the larger item (most of the time it is buying the 2 smaller items, bigger does not always mean you are getting the best price). When you look at the shelf label check out what the price per ounce is for the two items. Sometimes it is only a difference of about .02, but all those pennies add up.

So what do you do if there is a brand name item that you really want or need (like Chocolate Cheerios which is really a bit of both. Mmmm…chocolate)? This is where coupons come in handy. The Sunday paper is the best place to look for coupon inserts on brand-name items. Store or product web sites can also be a great place to find coupons since many stores are now accepting print at home coupons. Be sure to check out the stores policy.

You have to love Walmart because they are really competitive for your business. Competitiveness is good for the consumer. You may have seen those “Match It!” commercials, well, it’s true.

Click here for the Walmart Matching Policy

Not only will they price match, but they will also accept coupons from other stores as long as they follow the following criteria:

Click here for the Walmart Coupon Policy

Perhaps you don’t have time to scan all those ads and websites to find the deals. This is where wonderful sites like SavingsAngel come in very handy. This site costs about $20 a month or $7.99 for a day pass. I was able to get a free 10 day trial to test the site out and I am kicking myself that I had just finished my shopping for the next two weeks because the site it just that awesome. You can choose among major chains to check out their sales for that week and the site will match it up with available coupons for even more savings (in some cases you do need to have those Sunday circulars as the coupons are not always available for direct download). You just click to add items to your grocery list and it will divide that list up by store.

Remember when scouting out the best price you will sometimes have four different stores listed on your grocery list, but you don’t always have to drive around town because Walmart has that price matching option available to you (though you will need the original store circular in most cases. It might be a good idea to subscribe to the Sunday edition of your paper). Maybe next time I go to the grocery store I will have joined the coupon game…then again knowing me…maybe not. But it is nice to know that even not living in a major consumer area like up north, I still have my options. πŸ˜‰