Category Archives: Money

Tim’s $250 Office Makeover

What do you do when you’ve organized every closet in your own home, cleaning it inch-by-inch inside and out? You head to your husband’s office and get to work! More than seven years ago my husband moved to the US from Ireland, sat down at an empty desk and started working as the COO of publishing company Ambassador International. He didn’t change anything in the office. He didn’t even open most of his desk drawers to see what was inside. The book border, the fake plants– it was horrible! Take a look:

Here’s a tour of the transformation:

Tim's Office MakeoverFor starters we got rid of the book wallpaper border. Yay! Tim painted one accent wall black and the others dark gray.

Tim's Office Makeover

Tim’s desk ended up being our favorite feature in the makeover. He really liked the size of it and we didn’t have room in the budget for a new one so we painted the sides off-white using paint we found in our basement at home and stained the top in a very dark stain. The total cost of the project was $10. The chairs were pulled from another room in his office and I think they go so well with the new space!

Tim's Office MakeoverThis is the view if you are sitting at Tim’s desk. We finished the ugly filing cabinet in the exact same way as the desk. The verse is Romans 12:12 and we used paint we already had, a 40% off canvas from Michael’s and a tube of blue paint we got for $1.

Tim's Office MakeoverHere’s a closer shot of the filing cabinet. Tim literally had never opened some of these drawers in the seven years he’s had the job! The two lamps came from Ikea, $20 a pop. The little silhouette is our dog Milo done by a local artist.

Tim's Office MakeoverWe also hung some white floating shelves, another Ikea find, and styled them with old books and framed photos of New York City from an old calendar. We also painted some bookends he had with that same $1 blue paint.

Tim's Office MakeoverWe left his ugly bookshelves pretty much the same. We did put black and white contact paper on the back of them in a chevron pattern. Then we styled them with accessories like these cool West Elm plates we got on clearance for $2.97 each. These shelves hold every book ever published by Ambassador International over the last 30+ years.

Tim's Office MakeoverThis was our biggest “splurge” for the room. I found this cute little cream couch on Craigslist. She was asking $75 but we talked her down to $50. It fit perfectly in the back of our car! I made the pillows using leftover fabric from Sam’s nursery. The rug was only $20 at Ikea and covers a big stain on the carpet very well!

Tim's Office MakeoverOn either side of the window we hung two of these “book” shelves. We got the idea from the Charlotte West Elm store and since we have no problem getting our hands on free books this project only cost as much as the brackets which were a couple of bucks at Home Depot. The little letter plates were also on clearance at West Elm for $2.97 each.

Tim's Office MakeoverTim absolutely loves his new office. And sometimes I even work from there too, sitting on the couch. In all we spent about $250 which included paint, the couch, a rug, three vases, two lamps, two floating shelves, a pencil cup, about a dozen fun plates, a canvas, wall brackets and renting a carpet cleaner. We had a blast doing it and I feel great knowing my husband has an inviting, stylish setting to spend his work hours.

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Pinterest Strikes Again! Foggy Headlights Disappear

Don’t you just love Pinterest? Last year we paid someone $40 to try to clean up our 1998 Audi’s headlights. Anyone that drives an older car knows this can happen. It’s not a huge deal, just makes the car look dingy. So when I saw on Pinterest that you can clean them with toothpaste and a rag I was skeptical. But then I tried it. Here are the headlights before:

Audi headlight before

I put toothpaste on a rag and polished them in a circular motion for a few minutes,  then wiped it off. I did this about 3 times on each headlight. Here’s the after shot:

Audi headlight after

My husband was so impressed with the change. But then again, he’s a car guy and he gets impressed by these sorts of things. I will probably have to do it once a month or so, but it’s way better than paying someone $40 for a similar result! What awesome tips have you learned from Pinterest lately?

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The $50 Chevron Nursery Rug

I’ve been on the lookout for a rug for the nursery. The room isn’t very big so I just wanted a 5×7 or 5×8 in some sort of bold pattern. I thought about getting this one from Dwell Studio. It sells for $275 but over Memorial Day weekend they were having a 20% off sale so I could have purchased it for about $225.

nursery rug idea

I also thought about this cheaper one from Urban Outfitters. The Zig Zag rug is only $79 for a 5×7.

nursery rugBut then I came across another option while shopping at Home Goods. It’s a golden yellow and off-white chevron rug. I thought the color may have been a little off, but I knew I could have returned it if necessary and the price couldn’t be beat: $50! When I got it home I was pleasantly surprised. It’s perfect!

Nursery Rug

I think the color looks great with the crib sheet and the wood floors. It would also work in other rooms of our home which is always a selling point for me since I seem to constantly be shaking things up and moving stuff around.

Nursery Rug 2

And you just can’t beat the price– $50! I did spend $16 on a rug pad to add some extra cushion and help the rug stay in place. I’m so glad I didn’t spend $225 on the Dwell Studio rug a few weeks ago. I have plenty of other ways I can use the $175 I saved.

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Homemade Laundry Detergent: A Penny For a Load

A couple of months ago a friend raved about her homemade laundry detergent. “It’s safe for babies!” she claimed. “It gets the dirt and oil out of my husband’s work clothes!” But what really spoke to me was the cost. “It’s just a penny a load!” So I decided to try it. I bought the three necessary ingredients at my grocery store for a grand total of $7.60. And in about 30 minutes I had five gallons of the stuff. Two months later I’ve probably used less than 1/8th of it. It only takes 1/4 of a cup to wash a load so that means I made enough for 640 loads of laundry! I love not having to buy detergent. It definitely is saving me big bucks.

Liquid Laundry Detergent

My church, LifePoint, in Greenville started doing quarterly supply drives for an amazing ministry in our community called Miracle Hill. One of the things on their list of needs was powdered laundry detergent so I called them up and asked if they’d take homemade detergent. They said they would gladly accept it and also asked for the recipe. So last night several members of the LifePoint Missions Team got together and made laundry detergent.

Laundry Detergent

I spent about $40 on supplies and in an hour we made enough to wash 840 loads of laundry. According to my math that’s about 4 cents a load. I compared that to the cost of powdered Tide on Amazon which is 43 cents a load. That’s a 90% savings! The process is easy and we had a lot of fun with it. The hardest part is grating the bar of soap, but it’s actually a really good arm workout!

Laundry Detergent

 

The liquid version is even cheaper, but the powdered recipe is still a huge bargain. The only ingredients are:

  • 1   Fels-Naptha soap bar
  • 1  Cup – Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda
  • ½  Cup Borax

My friend Tamara even uses Borax in her dishwasher and to wash her floors. She says it works great and it’s so much cheaper than other cleaning products. If you are interested in making your own here are the recipes:

Homemade Powdered Laundry Detergent

Homemade Liquid Laundry Detergent

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Found: Modern White Crib at Walmart

If you’re a fan of modern design you know that for some reason when you tack the word “modern” onto a product you end up adding about 50% to the price. So when I was searching for a modern white crib I started to get a little concerned that I was going to have to fork over way more than I wanted to. But then through a miraculous Google search I stumbled across a place I never shop: Walmart. And I found this little lovely:

Baby Mod - Olivia 3-in-1 Baby Crib

Baby Mod – Olivia 3-in-1 Baby Crib

Although design is usually the most important thing to me when shopping (besides price) I knew I also had to consider whether or not the thing was doused in chemicals or covered in lead-based paint. Thankfully it’s not! I was happy to see that it almost has a perfect five-star rating from people who have purchased the crib. And I also thought it was interesting to see that the Walmart version, which is $269, is the exact same as the babyletto Modo 3-in-1 Convertible Crib found at other retailers. The biggest difference was about $110 in price. They’re even made by the same manufacturer. Can you tell the difference?

babyletto-modo-3-in-1-convertible-crib--espresso--best-price-8

babyletto modo 3-in-1-convertible-crib

I am not a Walmart shopper for many reasons. Probably at the top of the list is that I just don’t like being there. It feels cluttered and chaotic to me, but since I ordered the crib online I only had to spend a few minutes in the store picking it up from customer service. It was easy to put together and currently waiting patiently for the baby it will soon hold!

Sam's New Crib

Sam’s New Crib

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Sharing the Knowledge: My First Coupon Class

Last night I held my first coupon class at my church, LifePoint. About 20 people turned out to learn how to save more and give more than they’ve ever done before. My main goal was to encourage and inspire people to turn something as seemingly routine as grocery shopping into a task that can bless others and serve God. I’ve been thinking about teaching a class for a while now. But it wasn’t until my church recently brought in two big bins for us to fill up with food to give Miracle Hill Ministries that I realized that now would be a great time to teach others about couponing. Our local food banks are dangerously low so my desire would be that even in this tough economic time people would use couponing as a way to continue to give– and give big!

To explain the concept of finding “moneymakers” I showed them how last week I made more than $80 by “buying” four diabetes monitors from Walgreens. That got a big round of applause which just thrilled me. 🙂 That must be how Taylor Swift feels after performing in front of a packed auditorium.

I heard from three women who told me they had been praying for God to put someone in their path that could teach them about couponing and they said that person was me! It gave me goosebumps to hear how God’s plan was working out. One lady told me that she wanted to learn how to use coupons so she could give food to a friend that was struggling to make ends meet. I had brought in a bunch of food I bought this week to illustrate what $1 can buy so I ended up just giving her all of that food to get her started. I was going to donate it anyway so this worked out perfectly! I feel really good knowing that maybe I inspired some others to think about how they can use couponing to give more.

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It’s Official: I’m a Bargain Hunting Expert

digital trendsEven though I may have thought of myself as a Bargain Hunting Expert it feels good to have someone else call me that. I was interviewed for an article with Digital Trends, a technology news site with 50 million unique views a month. Reporter Nick Mokey asked me questions about how to find great bargains in retail stores– especially when it comes to gadgets and tech items. Take a look at the article and let me know what you think!

And since I am now officially a bargain hunting expert, consider coming to my free coupon class on Monday, November 16 from 7-8pm at LifePoint Church in Greenville. LifePoint is located at 25 Woods Lake in the Green Gate Office Park in unit 8. It’s something that God laid on my heart a while ago as a way to help others give more, help more, and do more with their money! I’m really excited about this opportunity to encourage and teach others about something I’ve got a passion for. It’s hard to believe that you can serve God with coupons, but you really can! So come to the one hour class and you’ll leave feeling that grocery shopping is not a chore– it’s an opportunity to bless others.

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