Spring Cleaning: 21 Uses for Everday Items to Organize

Spring is in the air- and it is time for Spring cleaning! AH, what a wonderful feeling to open those blinds, crack the windows, and let the sun shine in while you are putting the Winter stuff away and unpacking Spring. Now, if you know me you know that I have a small obsession with being organized. However, being frugal, I am not going to go to The Container Store or Target and spend my life savings in plastic organization systems. Not only do I want it to be budget perfect, I don’t want it to look like something that’s purpose is just to organize.

Step in Real Simple magazine. I <3 Real Simple magazine! With Spring now here, I am going to feature a few of my favorite articles from Real Simple magazine throughout the week to help you get your Spring cleaning done without breaking the bank and making your house look great. Most of the items inside the articles I am sure you could find at a Yard Sale!

21 USES FOR EVERDAY ITEMS TO HELP YOU ORGANIZE

  1. Coat Rack for Jewelry Organizer
  2. Nail Polish as Key Coder
  3. Business Card Holder as Sugar Pack Carrier
  4. Laundry Bag for Dish Washer
  5. Matchbox as Travel Size Sewing Kit
  6. Tall Vase as Toilet Paper Holder
  7. Magnetic Clip as Recipe Holder
  8. Bubble Wrap as Travel Jewelry Organizer
  9. Toilet Paper Roll as Cord Keeper
  10. Rubber Bands as Strap Holders
  11. Tissue Box as Grocery Bag Holder
  12. Mailing Tubes as Free From Wrinkle Fabric Keepers
  13. Shower Cady for Different Uses
  14. Desk Paper Organizer as Cutting Board/Pan Holder
  15. Contact Lens Case as Pill Keeper
  16. CD Case as Recipe Holder
  17. Return Address as Labels
  18. Napkin Holder as Bill Organizer
  19. Popcorn as Packing Material
  20. Binder Clip as Money Clip/Key Holder
  21. Dustpan as Toy Gatherer

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links. When you use them, you help support this site. Thanks so much!

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Monday: 40 Freezer Meals in 4 Hours!

If you are anything like me, you start your Monday with GREAT EXPECTATIONS for the week. For example, this may or may not be my task list for the week:

1. Start Christmas shopping

2. Make a home-cooked meal every night

3. Don’t get behind on laundry

4. Buy kids new shoes

5. Prepare outfits of family pictures

…and so on and so forth. Now, how many of those will I actually get done? Probably not half. But I will try to! Fact is, life happens and our to-do lists get longer as the week gets shorter. But my #2 on the list is on my list every week, because that is what is most important to me. Home cooked meals not only save you money but it is a great way to have some family time in the evenings over dinner. Plus it scores brownie points with the husband when a hot meal is waiting when he gets home from work, right?!

“Who needs a cape?” has put together an awesome plan for 40 crock pot freezer meals in 4 hours. She includes a list, instructions, ingredients, and even a shopping list!

Go over and check it out, tell her EasternShoreMom.com sent you!

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links. When you use them, you help support this site. Thanks so much!

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Welcome to October!

I am so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers, how about you? October is my favorite month. I break out the pumpkin spice candles, cookbooks, and fall decorations. I paint my nails colors of brown, while wishing for the day that I walk outside and need a light jacket. We plan trips to the mountains to visit my family, where we can watch Fall as it creeps in on the leaves. I love October because October means Fall!

What does Fall mean to all of us deal hunters?

  1. BAKING SUPPLIES ON SALE! This is a great time to stock up on baking essentials. Many stores run sales and the newspaper and online coupon sites are filled with discounts for those baking items we need during the holiday season. Stock up! It’s feast or famine with discounts on these items.
  2. AMAZON DEALS ARE BACK! I love Christmas shopping on Amazon. I don’t even have to get dressed to score hot deals on items on my list!
  3. CONSIGNMENT SALES! With the season swap, many consignment sales are having their seasonal sales. This is a great time to not only stock up on a new wardrobe for you or the kids but also a good time to sell your stuff to make money for the gift buying season!
  4. SCHOOL SUPPLIES CLEARANCE! Now that back to school shopping is over, many stores have marked down their overstock. Grab it while you can! Come January, the kids will need new school supplies and you will be left buying it at full price. Get extras and stash it in your spare closet while it is marked down.

There are many reasons why I love Fall, but the deals that we score during this season are definetely near the top of my list! Head over to the ESM Facebook page and tell us the best deal you have scored.

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links. When you use them, you help support this site. Thanks so much!

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I Switched!

I bit the bullet. I did what I thought I would never do. I switched to Verizon.

I have been a faithful member of the AT&T universe for over a decade now, and I ended our marriage today. It was sad to hear the words “When I port this number your ties with AT&T will be severed…” but after it happened came the most amazing thing……

I HAVE SERVICE!

It is AWESOME! Service going down the road, service when I am in my kitchen, and service when I walk from one place to another! Who’d a thought a girl would be this happy over clear, uninterrupted, YOU CAN HEAR ME NOW service!

Here are a few money saving tips for you when buying/switching cell providers

  1. Ask for employer/military discounts- lots of companies offer you a percentage off of your bill at major cell providers or cellular companies offer discounts to service men and women
  2. Check for mail in rebates or special deals for switching- Look for phones with mail in rebates or special deals if you are ditching one company for the next
  3. Break your contract free- If your cell company isn’t holding up their end of the bargain, let them know! They will discount your bill or in some cases let you break contract with no charge
  4. Use the 14 days- Cell companies give you 14 days to try out a phone, so use it! You may have thought that an iPhone wasn’t for you, but at least try it out and return it if you do not like it. Try out the “FREE” right now phone and see if you like it better than your previous one!
Do you have tips of your own? Head over to our ESM Facebook Page and tell us!
This post is sponsored by my euphoric state of mind because I finally have cell service in my home! Verizon did not sponsor this post in any way :)

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links. When you use them, you help support this site. Thanks so much!

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I AM LISTENING!

Well, I have been away far too long.

While I was away, I realized several things.

1) Couponing is hard when you are not having fun with it

2) I really love writing for y’all

3) Doing this by myself, while keeping up with all FOUR kids, is tough

4) Talking about just coupons on here is kind of boring

So here we are. A new chapter for EasternShoreMom.com but I believe it is going to be an exciting one. One filled with crazy-random posts from me, new & fun things to liven up this page, and of course SAVING MONEY! But I wouldn’t be able to start back again without some help. So I found a great helper, Tracy, who while I was away was helping with the posting and the Facebook page. So you already know Tracy and you didn’t even know it! How about that!? She is very sweet and GREAT at finding some hot deals. We ALL LOVE A HOT DEAL, RIGHT!?

So here we go. I cannot promise that I will post every hour, or every morning, but I am here and hang on because with all that I have going on I can promise some quality entertainment from here on out!

 I AM LISTENING! What do you want to see on EasternShoreMom.com? Head over to our Facebook Page now and let me know. 

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links. When you use them, you help support this site. Thanks so much!

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Going to the Chapel…

It’s been a while since I have updated you guys, didn’t mean to leave you hanging! Life has been a wild ride over the last year, and EasternShoreMom.com has taken a back seat to all my other priorities. But ESM will continue on, hopefully more regular in the coming months. I have slowed down a little after a BIG event last weekend that I am going to share with y’all….

I GOT MARRIED!

Yes, to the most amazing man in the world, the man God made just for me. These are the pictures, done by the incredibly talented Morgan Joy Photography (located in the Mobile area). If you are looking for a photographer that’s affordable and will do a great job, Morgan is your girl. I was so thrilled when she agreed to take our wedding photos, I had heard amazing things and had seen some of her work (it’s beautiful). Never did I dream the pictures would turn out as breath taking as they did! Getting my HUSBAND (AHHHH I just love to say it) to smile isn’t an easy task, but she did! Also, she was amazing with all the kids. Between the two of us, we have four plus all the other kids at the wedding and she worked magic with each of them during group shots. She was a HUGE hit!



For more pictures go HERE

I am so happy to share with you all the most incredible day of my life, and stay tuned to EasternShoreMom.com because we will be having some new stuff coming up soon. Also, don’t forget to watch ESM on Fox10′s morning show at 8am on Wednesday mornings! This next segment will be about Thrifty Weddings :)

Local Vendors Used

Belle Bouquet- (Bride Bouquet)
Winn Dixie Fairhope, AL- (Wholesale flowers for arrangements)
Shea White- Musician

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links. When you use them, you help support this site. Thanks so much!

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Who is the Coupon Fairy?

Image courtesy of Google

 

Have you been blessed by the Coupon Fairy? Been strolling down the aisle towards a product that you needed to buy but didn’t have a coupon for? Magically, right there on the shelf by your item, there is a coupon that you can use! Yep, she is one wonderful fairy isn’t she?!

The fact is that we can all be coupon fairies! In every paper every week there are coupons for items that your family doesn’t buy. A lot of us just look as those coupons as something that we “may” buy or you may even view them as trash, however there is someone out there that needs that coupon! So the next time you are clipping, make a “Coupon Fairy” pile and take 5 minutes out of your grocery trip to drop those coupons by their respected items. You never know who you may bless with your small act of kindness!

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links. When you use them, you help support this site. Thanks so much!

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Beginners: How you “DO” Coupons.com like a Pro!


How do you do Coupons.com like a pro?

Coupons.com is a site we talk about A WHOLE LOT on EasternShoreMom.com. However, it can be very complicated to know how I find all these coupons, how to print again, where are the coupons I just printed, etc. Let me help you with a little Coupons.com 101:

Entering a Zip Code

When you are on Coupons.com, the coupons that come up are based on what zip code you enter. You can enter ANY ZIP CODE YOU WANT, there will be no indication on the coupon that it is only valid in the area you selected. What are some HOT zip codes?

  • Try selecting “no zip code” (in my experience, this brings up EVERY coupon any of the zip codes bring up)
  • 90210
  • 30306
  • 12345
  • You can also go to USPS.com and use their zip code finder to find other zip codes. Usually big city zip codes have better coupon selections.

Printing the Coupons

You want to select “Clip this Coupon” to print. But as you know, you can print (most) coupons twice on Coupons.com! However, when you go back to the page that coupon was on it is no longer there. Where did it go and do I have to scroll through all 18 pages of these coupons to find it?

  • Once you have printed a coupon once, when you go back to print again try the last few pages on coupons. Usually when you print a coupon they send it to the last page to hang out, letting you know you have either “reached your print limit” or you are almost there.

When do the Coupons Expire

Once you print a coupon from Coupons.com, the coupon should expire 30 days from the date on print.

When do the Print Limits Reset

So once you have printed a coupon twice, it gives you the “print limit reached” message. But when can you print it again? At the beginning of every month, Coupons.com will reset and allow you to print again. That is, if that coupon is still available. At the beginning of the month Coupons.com also reloads with new coupons and gets rid of some of the old coupons.

  • Be sure on the last day of the month to scroll through and print ANY coupon you might want because tomorrow it might not be there anymore. If it is still there, you will be able to print it an additional 2 times, ending up with 4 of the same coupon!

When Should I Check Coupons.com for New Coupons?

Be sure to head over there once a day to check and see if there are new coupons to print! EasternShoreMom.com also puts of Catch of the Day posts to alert you of new coupons, but you never know what you may find! Download the FREE ESM Toolbar for a quick link to Coupons.com to remind you each day to check.

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links. When you use them, you help support this site. Thanks so much!

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Print Coupons, Without a Printer!

Ever seen a coupon online that you want to get but you are not hooked up to your printer right now? This happens to me all the time because I am on my laptop, and I am lazy at that second and don’t want to walk all the way into the office to the printer and connect. This is when I figured out I can still get the coupon even if I am not connected to the printer.

(Warning: Your Milage May Vary. The steps below are ones that work for me but I would test your computer on a coupon you don’t really need first just in case.)

  1. Print the coupon as you would normally, not hooked up to the printer
  2. After it says you’ve printed it, try waiting 5 to 10 minutes and hook up the printer. Your coupon should then print!

What happens is if the computer can’t print the page, it keep the item in que to print the next time you connect to the printer. This works as long as you don’t shut down your computer before you print. If you shut the machine down, the items in que disappear.

Try it now! Head over to Coupons.com and see if this works for you.

Another time this helps:

When you are out of ink and haven’t made it to the store but there is a HOT coupon you want to print before it is gone!

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links. When you use them, you help support this site. Thanks so much!

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Are you using the FREE Budget Spreadsheet by EasternShoreMom.com?

Courtesy of CartoonStock

Budgeting is always something that is intimidating to people. Writing down their expenses versus how much they are bringing in is a scary thought, but in reality it helps you know where your money is going and how you can reach a savings goal. Whether you are saving for a rainy day, a vacation, a house, a car, etc. you won’t get there unless you have a budget plan.

Of course it’s not that scary when Eastern Shore Mom is here to help! I have made a FREE downloadable version of the budget spreadsheet I use for our family’s finances! This has saved us lots of money just by me sitting down and typing out where our money is going and when.

Here is how this works:

Start by downloading the FREE EasternShoreMom.com Budget (download for Excel 1997-2003 EasternShoreMom.com Budget)

Step One: Fill in the month and dates of each weeks. You will see that I break down our budget weekly. This helps us plan on how much we are spending on what each week. So start with this month (I have already written “January” in) then go down the calendar and write the starting day of each week and the ending date of each week where is says “Dates of the Week”

Step Two: Fill in your weekly expenses. I have already made a category for Child Care, Gas, Groceries, Misc. & Bills. Note that the category of “BILLS” needs to be filled out below the highlighted lines where is says “List your bills here”. This form is made to calculate everything for you. So when you plug in your bills below, it is going to total them and bring them up to the top under “GAS” and the total will be next to “BILLS”.

Be sure to fill in each week’s expenses, so if your mortgage is due the first of the month, put it under the first week. If the cell bill is due at the end of the month, put it under the last week’s bills.

Step Three: Fill in your income. Underneath your TOTAL from your expenses is a place for you to fill in how much your bring in each week. Once you fill in the amount you bring in each week, the sheet will automatically calculate how much SAVINGS there is by subtracting the TOTAL amount from your expenses by your INCOME field. This is all done for you automatically inside the sheet, so don’t try to fill in the SAVINGS field yourself!

Step Four: Track your budget. If you need to stick the allotted money in envelopes each week to make sure what you have budgeted is what you are spending, do so. Be sure at the end of the week to check off what you have paid that week and make sure you didn’t go over budget. If so, be sure to change that category so your SAVINGS line updates with the new amount.

Final Step: DEPOSIT! At the end of the week, take the total amount under SAVINGS and make your deposit! If your budgeting went according to plan, that amount should be waiting to move over to the Savings Account and a new week begins!

Example:

Tips for the spreadsheet:

Save a BLANK one- Be sure to go ahead and save one that is blank. Open it, go to File, Save As, then name it “EasternShoreMom Budget Plan MASTER COPY”. Once you do that, open it again, go to File, Save As, then name it “January 2011″. Do this so you always have one that is not typed in because…

Don’t Delete the Formulas- I have inserted formulas in each HIGHLIGHTED cell (or little box). Be sure NOT TO DELETE (or backspace) inside these highlighted boxes, as it will delete the formulas I have inserted and the sheet won’t calculate correctly. If you do delete a formula, refer to the one you have saved blank (tip above) and select the cell (or little box) that you deleted and copy and paste over the correct formula.

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links. When you use them, you help support this site. Thanks so much!

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