Canning Ring Jackpot

Ball Canning Rings

We been running low on half-pint canning rings for a while now, but here’s the crazy thing: you can buy replacement sets of lids and rings, and you can buy replacement lids by themselves, but you can’t buy just the rings by themselves. Why is that? Ball, you’re clearly missing out on an opportunity here. Because those rings, they get rusty after a while; and we frugal types already have loads of lids. Shopping smarties that we are, we stocked up when they went on clearance at the end of last canning season. We just need rings, darn it!

#frugalgirlproblems

Well, while I’m no closer to an answer from Ball, I am happy to report that our local Goodwill thrift store saved me from a full-out canning tantrum, because when I walked in the other day, they had a HUGE bin of half-pint canning rings. The sign said they were $.25 each, which is more than they sell for retail, but I didn’t let that pricing blunder rain on my parade. Nope. I carried the tub up to the register, and asked if they could do better on the price, if I bought all of them. And you know what she said? She said I could have them for $5. Woo hoo!

So, for $5 I scored 140 bands, 28 lids and a storage tub. It’s not safe to reuse lids for canning (and I have no way of telling if these were used), so I’ll just use them to store foods in the pantry or freezer.

I jumped on Amazon this morning to get an idea of how much I saved, and I’d have to buy 12 packages of lids and bands to get 140 bands. At $3.14 a package, that’s $37.68. So, I saved $32.68! Thrift storing saves the day once again!

Have you had any killer thrift store finds lately? I’d love to hear about them.

Free Pond. You Haul

Pond Liner

Last summer, we scored a free pond liner at a yard sale. It’s been sitting in the garage awaiting the day we have the time and money to install it in the backyard.

Pond Waterfall

And it appears we’re now a step closer to that day because earlier this week, my husband spotted a pond waterfall in a curb pile, while he was taking the kids to school. He surprised me with it when I woke up. What can I say? Some girls get flowers, I get curb shopped waterfalls.

Think we can manage to find a free pump and some fish, too? With all the interesting freebies we’ve scored over the years, I wouldn’t say it’s impossible. And you’d better believe I’ll tell you about it if it happens.

Coupons for Real Food

Coupons for Real Food

People say you can only find coupons for processed foods, but that just isn’t true. Check out this list of coupons for real foods and real ingredients, and see for yourself:

Coupons.com

Hopster

  • $1 off one Once Again Nut Butter product

SavingStar

SmartSource

  • $.55 off one Florida Crystals Sugar product
  • $.50 off any Star Vinegar
  • $1 off any Star Olive Oil
  • $1 off one jar of Star Olives, 7 oz. or larger
  • $1 off three cans of Dole fruit
  • $1 off any Olivari Olive Oil

Redplum

  • $.75 off one flip-top dispenser of Domino Sugar (Quick Dissolve Superfine or Pourable Brown)
  • $1 off one bottle of Domino Organic Blue Agave Nectar
  • $.55 off one Florida Crystals Sugar product
  • $.75 off any two Domino Sugar products, 2 lbs. or larger
  • $1.50 off one Tate + Lyle Fairtrade Certified Sugar product

Common Kindness

  • $1 off Alter Eco Unrefined Mascabado Cane Sugar
  • $1 off Alter Eco Thai Sticky Purple Rice
  • $.75 off any Clover Stornetta Farms product
  • $.75 off any Country Choice organic canister oats
  • $1 off any one Star Olive Oil, 7.2 oz. or larger
  • $.50 off any Uncle Matt’s organic 12 oz. juice
  • $.75 off any Uncle Matt’s organic 59 oz. juice

Like this list? I’ll be updating it weekly, so be sure to check back.

Why I Keep a Wish List

Wish List

My husband has picked out everything we’ll need to add a trailer hitch to our Jeep.

There are lots of things my family does to save money, but keeping a wish list is definitely a biggie. I started a wish list on Amazon years ago, and my husband and I both use it to keep track of the things that we need and want.

When we found a portable air conditioner for the cabin at a thrift store last month, my husband looked up the vent kit and exhaust hose we would need to run it, and added them to our wish list. It’ll still be several months before we need them, but now we have our research out of the way, and we can decide when to order them.

This month, I added a pouring shield for our KitchenAid mixer and leather conditioner for the sofa set we just snagged at Salvation Army. Having a place to keep track of all our wants and needs makes it easier to prioritize our purchases.

Whenever we earn a free Amazon gift card, we review our list, and decide what we should order next. This week we ordered new brake pads for the Jeep.

Placing items on our wish list also gives us an opportunity to save for things. We’d really like a new kitchen knife set, and I’ve been eyeing a Silhouette machine for quite a while, but they’re both big-ticket items, so those purchases are going to have to wait. And that’s okay. Since they’re on our wish list, we know just how much we need to save before we can buy them.

And if the price drops on either item, our wish list will alert us to the price change. Pretty nifty.

Our wish list also helps with gift giving. Whenever I think of something that the kids would love, I add it to our list. Right now, I have a zipline kit and a slackline set on our wish list. Those are big items, so they’ll probably have to wait till Christmas.

Books on My Wish List

I have the hardest time allowing myself to buy books. Fortunately, my mom doesn’t have the same problem.

And I should point out that our wish list also helps other people with gift giving. I always used to be stumped when my mom asked me what I wanted for my birthday or for Christmas. I just couldn’t think of anything off the top of my head. Then, one year, I offered to send her a link to my Amazon wish list, and she’s never asked me for ideas again. Now, things just magically disappear off of my wish list and appear in a gift wrapped box. It’s really fun to get some of my want items. Practical me always takes care of the need items first.

Since I’ve chosen to give my extended family access to our wish list, I maintain a second, private list for any gift ideas I have for them. It’s really nice to have ideas at the ready when a gift giving occasion comes up — especially for those hard to buy for family members. Shopping for dads is tough!

And can I just say how satisfying it feels to order something off of our wish list. When you make yourself wait for something, you just appreciate it more. I’ve been saving up for a chain saw for months, and it’s going to feel so stinking good when we finally get to buy it.

Do you keep a wish list? I’d love to hear from you.

What $25 Will Buy at an Estate Sale

Yesterday was an absolute killer day for deals. We hit an estate sale at a fancy schmancy house, and I was absolutely blown away by how cheap the prices were. Here’s what we got:

Sony Blu-ray Player

A Sony Blu-ray player with built-in Wi-Fi for $6. We bought two of these a few years back, and I think we paid $99 a piece for them. With the 9.75% sales tax that we pay in Tennessee, that’s like getting a Blu-ray player for less than the cost of the tax. We’ll tuck this one away as a replacement for whenever one of ours dies. [Read more…]