Tag Archives: saving

10 Inspirational Kindle Books Under $5!

7 Oct

Keep Your Change

This is part of my Keep Your Change series! For more money-saving posts, click here!

This past weekend, I noticed that some great Kindle books are discounted right now on Amazon! Some of them have been on my wish list, some are by authors I love, and all look like they’d be really good! I haven’t read any of these – yet, but I have a few downloaded and ready to go. I just thought I’d share in case you’d like to snag a couple of these for yourself while they are on sale!

1. One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are by Ann Voskamp
This book was recommended to me by Patty of Tales of Me and The Husband. I’m excited to check it out soon! The companion devotional is under $3.

2. Love & Respect: The Love She Most Desires; The Respect He Desperately Needs by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs
I’ve heard good things about this book, but haven’t read it yet. I think it is kind of a marriage must-read.

3. Led by Faith by Immaculee Ilibagiza
I’ve read Immaculee’s book Left to Tell about surviving the Rwandan genocide and it was life-changing, so I’m sure this one is amazing, too!

4. Running for My Life: One Lost Boy’s Journey from the Killing Fields of Sudan to the Olympic Games by Lopez Lomong
I ran across this book last week and was pleasantly surprised when I read that Lomong is a devout Catholic. I can’t wait to read about his journey!

5. Waking the Dead: The Glory of a Heart Fully Alive by John Eldredge
I loved Captivating and I’m a big John Eldredge fan, so I’m excited that this is discounted for the month of October. This will be good for my husband!

6. Unglued: Making Wise Choices in the Midst of Raw Emotions by Lysa TerKeurst.
I love how Lysa writes! Her 60-day companion devotional is also majorly on sale right now.

7. What Women Fear: Walking in Faith that Transforms by Angie Smith
I have a good friend who recommended this book to me, and it has been sitting on my wish list. It’s probably about time I checked it out!

8. God Has a Plan for Your Life: The Discovery that Makes All the Difference by Charles F. Stanley 
Anything that talks about God and having a plan for my life has my attention! I’m constantly on the look out for books like this!

9. Plan B: What Do You Do When God Doesn’t Show Up the Way You Thought He Would? by Pete Wilson
This sounds interesting to me. It would probably have some good insights to meditate on. I think we could all probably relate to this in one way or another.

10. Our Lady of Kibeho: Mary Speaks to the World from the Heart of Africa by Immaculee Ilibagiza
Another book by Immaculee under $5 – Awesome! According to the book description on Amazon, “Thirteen years before the bloody 1994 genocide that swept across Rwanda and left more than a million people dead, the Virgin Mary and Jesus Christ appeared to eight young people in the remote village of Kibeho. Through these visionaries, Mary and Jesus warned of the looming holocaust, which they assured could be averted if Rwandans opened their hearts to God and embraced His love.” This definitely sounds intriguing!


These all sound so good! I don’t know which one to tackle first!! Not to mention, I already have quite a stack sitting on my shelf and downloaded on my Kindle!!

Have you read any of these books? If so, what did you think?


Consignment Sale Tips for Beginners

28 May

I’m so excited to have Lisa Hadro of Joie de Vivre guest posting today to share her consignment sale advice! I’m looking forward to giving consignment sales a try!

Consignment Sale Tips for Beginners

Many thanks to Stefanie for inviting me to guest post, and allowing me to add my 2 cents to her helpful series, Keep Your Change! If you haven’t read her series before, you should check it out! You’ll find creative ideas and thrifty spending tips.

My husband and I have two little girls. Our first-born arrived in August of 2011, and since then we have learned a thing or two along the way including: A. babies stain their clothes a lot, B. they grow out of sizes faster than you can organize all the cute clothes, and C. with each stage of child development you graduate to different toys/ baby equipment. That left me wondering how does one manage all that turnover? My older sister always raved about how great consignment sales were for finding kids’ clothing and paraphernalia on the cheap, but in good condition, so I started looking around for sales in my area. Now, I don’t consider myself a consignment sale expert, but I’ve picked up a few tips along the way to share with beginners. 😉

1.Keep your ears open.
Most consignment sales advertise online or local papers, so they should be easy to find. Some even have email lists, so you can get alerts when sales are coming (the one I regularly attend is held quarterly, so I’m on the lookout for the email each season).

2. Be familiar with your brands.
You don’t want to pay several dollars for a pair of secondhand toddler pants from say, Wal-Mart, when you could buy them new for just a dollar or two more. On the other hand, consignment clothes from Gymboree or Janie and Jack? Sign me up! I love finding  brands like that secondhand since they are pricey bought in-store and good quality clothes.

FYI- Some sales have a general pricing guideline for consignors, but others leave it up to the consignors to chose their price-point. I realized this after attending one sale where a toddler dress was priced for twenty-some dollars, when most things were priced much less! I checked the website and found they allow consignors to price however they want.

3. Have a plan of attack.
Seriously. These sales can get more than a little crowded and busy. I’d advise to know which areas you really want to scour (toys, books, maternity, furniture, etc.) and head there first.
Which leads to…

4. Make a list.
Know what you’re looking for! Consignment sales have massive inventory of everything from sippy cups to big ticket items like strollers and cribs. The first time I went I was blown away by all the inventory and thought, “I can buy EVERYTHING for the baby!”. Soon I realized I had no way to transport large items, and some baby gear would get more mileage if purchased new.

But my mom babysits a lot for the grandkids in our family (all are under 6), so she decided it would benefit her and my dad to purchase things like toys, bumbos, and booster seats consigned.

5. Know the ins and outs of the sale.
What form of payment do they take? Do they allow strollers? Is it held in a place that can accommodate kids? Some sales open to new moms a day earlier than they open to the public (you probably have to  pay for a pass, but it can be worth it!).

6. Check clothing for stains, tears, holes, etc.
The items are usually all gently used (or even new), but it never hurts to double check.

7. Wait for the sale’s sale day.
If you’re just looking for a few general items of clothing or kiddo paraphernalia, some sales may have a half price or even dollar day towards the end.

That about wraps it up! If you have any other tips for navigating consignment sales, I’d love to hear them!

Lisa Hadro


Thanks, Lisa, for sharing your helpful tips!

Lisa blogs over at Joie de Vivre about the fun and craziness of life with her husband and two little girls and things she enjoys, like shopping for little girl clothes.





This post is part of my Keep Your Change series.  For other money saving posts, click here!

Keep Your Change

5 Inexpensive Beauty Buys {Keep Your Change vol. 2}

9 Apr

Keep Your Change

This Keep Your Change post is all about saving money on beauty tools and make-up!  The five listed below are my current cheap favorites!


Facial Scrub Brush

A product thumbnail of Bath Secrets Facial Cleansing Brush

This is definitely a great, inexpensive tool for those of us with skin issues! I buy the Face Secrets Professional Facial Cleansing Brush at Sally Beauty Supply for $2-$2.50, depending on whether or not it is on-sale.  A facial scrub brush was recommended to me by a co-worker who has an aesthetician friend.  She also recommended Neutrogena Oil-Free Acne Wash to use with the brush.  My face feels so clean afterwards and it really helps get my make-up off!  A brush lasts for 2-3 months before needing to be replaced.


Revlon ColorStay Foundation

For the past several years, I’ve used BareMinerals foundation, but realized that it probably wasn’t covering my acne scars as much as something else could.  I decided to try a liquid foundation again, along with a stippling brush.  I’ve found that applying the foundation with a brush enables me to use less product, which translates into more savings! Revlon ColorStay typically costs about $13, but it can often be found on-sale.  Recently, I was able to score a few for $6 each with a sale and a coupon!


Rimmel Mascara

Rimmel Extra Super Lash Mascara is just under $3 at Target.  I first tried it when I had a store coupon and manufacturer coupon that brought the price down to $.99.  I discovered that I like this mascara more than many other brands I’ve tried that cost at least twice as much!  Keep an eye out for Rimmel coupons in your Sunday paper!


Revlon Frost & Glow

Revlon Frost & Glow

 After my youngest daughter was born, I let the highlights grow out of my hair because spending money on color was one of the few things I could actually cut from our family’s budget.  After about a year-and-a-half of blah-ness, I decided to get brave and buy the Revlon Frost & Glow Blonde Highlighting Kit.  It’s relatively fool-proof, although it is a little challenging to pull the strands of hair on the back of my head through the cap myself.  I have managed to use this kit pretty successfully twice so far, though.  At about $7-$8 for a kit, I don’t mind spending an evening every few months to brighten my own ‘do!


Palladio Rice Powder

This is the latest addition to my make-up collection!  I first heard about Palladio Rice Powder on MakeUp Geek.  It costs about $5 and can be bought at various stores.  I use a soft powder puff to apply it and it seems to be doing a good job of setting my foundation and absorbing oil throughout the day!


I’m also linking up with Hallie of Moxie Wife this week.  Congrats, Hallie, on your newest addition! Please be sure to check out the other Five Favorites posts and if you have a blog, be sure to join the fun!

What are your favorite inexpensive beauty buys?  Any of these that you think you’d like to try?


 For more money-saving posts, click here!

Coupon Basics {Keep Your Change vol. 1}

18 Mar

Coupon Basics

I’m excited to be debuting my new Keep Your Change series today! Since, I’ll likely be referring to coupons again and again, I figured that I’d begin with some helpful tips for those who are looking to trim down their budgets by shopping smarter with coupons! Of course, there are several books and blogs dedicated to this, so I’ll just offer a little introduction and link to some of these helpful resources below.

I became serious about using coupons when my second daughter was born. Around this same time, the TLC show, Extreme Couponing debuted. At first I was skeptical of how people could actually save that much money using coupons, but once I saw massive grocery totals being dwindled to under $20, I thought that there must be something to this!  After being on bed rest for two months, starting maternity leave, and facing mega hospital bills, I was desperate to figure out a way to save my family more money.

When I did my first Google search, I ran across the site TheKrazyCouponLady.com.  This is where I had some basic beginner’s questions answered and learned how to put a coupon binder together.  I also bought the founders’ book, Pick Another Checkout Lane, Honey. I’m so glad that I did, because the authors did a great job of making this whole coupon thing seem so much simpler and it was also a fun, easy read!  If you are serious about changing the way you shop, I highly recommend it!

It has been nearly two years since I totally revamped how I approach grocery shopping.  Each week, I check out blogs for sale-coupon match-ups. My favorites right now are I Heart Kroger and Southern Savers.  I also like Faithful Provisions.  Depending on what region of the country you live in, there will probably be other coupon blogs that may be more helpful for you.  The key to saving money is using coupons with a sale – and using multiple coupons so you can stockpile to avoid paying full-price in the future.

Couponers have different ways that they get their hands on extra coupons.  At first, I bought 2 Sunday papers each week and my parents’ gave me their coupons so I could get multiple items at a discount.  Now, I get one paper and pay a handling fee for extra coupons online that I know I will use if a good deal comes along.  I use CouponDede.com.  I don’t always find the coupons that I want, but most of the time I am able to order what I need.  Printable coupons are also another great way to get your hands on a few more deals at a major discount.  Here are some great sites:

Smartsource.com (Smartsource also has an app for the iPad now.)
Target.com (Great place to find several Target store coupons to match with manufacturer’s coupons.)
Kroger.com (You can add digital coupons to your Kroger Plus card.)

Disclaimer:  I do not advocate clearing shelves as glorified on Extreme Couponing.  I think there needs to be a level of respect for others who are also trying to save money.  I consider what I do to be “Strategic Couponing.”   Remember, though, that rain checks on sold-out items can guarantee that you can still get products at the sale price and still use your coupons as long as they haven’t expired yet.

When I first started out, I wanted to catch every great deal at every store, but since then I have found that is a major sanity-saver to focus on 2-3 stores.  The ones that I stick to are Kroger, Publix, and sometimes Walgreens.  Kroger and Publix double coupons up to 50 cents, which means that a $.50 coupon is actually worth $1!  All three of these stores also let you use a store coupon and a manufacturer’s coupon for the same item.

I know that jumping into the world of coupons can seem overwhelming. And I’m not going to lie, it really feels like another part-time, even full-time, job at first. But after a couple months of seeing prices, sale cycles, etc., and finding a coupon organizing system that works, it will be much more manageable on a practical level.

It still requires time each week to cut and file coupons, study match-ups, and write up lists, but it has become a normal part of my routine. I don’t make excel spreadsheets to compare store prices or have piles of coupon inserts in my closet, but I still am benefiting greatly from planning grocery trips around coupons and sales! I have gotten a variety of products for free, or just pennies, and it feels great to be able to provide for my family in this way!  I can’t imagine shopping any other way and I am still learning about new ways to save!

If you are considering starting on this journey of couponing, good luck and get ready to enjoy your savings!  Feel free to ask any questions!

For those of you who already use coupons, what are your favorite tips? Also, have you tried the Ibotta app?  I have it downloaded but haven’t used it yet… Thoughts?
Keep Your Change Click here to read other money-saving posts!

September’s Dreamer in the Spotlight

19 Sep

As those of you who have read my blog already know, I am a “strategic” coupon user.  There are a variety of websites out there to help with finding weekly deals, etc.  One of these websites, started by Kelly Hancock, is Faithful Provisions.  When I read about her story and faith in God’s plan, I knew that this would be a great dream to share with others.  Kelly did a wonderful job of writing about her journey in her own blog, so please click on the links below to check out her personal story!

About Kelly Hancock

Kelly’s Video Story


Thanks, Kelly, for inspiring all of us to save money, listen to God’s voice and to pursue our own dreams!  Congratulations on your recently released book, Saving Savvy!


(A side note: an update on Adam’s musical journey is coming soon!!)

Doing the Coupon Thing

15 Jun

I started planning my shopping trips more strategically about 2 months ago when our second daughter was born. I, like several others, was inspired by the tv show “Extreme Couponing” to save money to improve my family’s financial situation. I started doing some research online and found the website http://thekrazycouponlady.com.  This site reports the good deals at various stores and offers couponing and organization tips. Since I decided to get serious and down to business, I bought their book, Pick Another Checkout Lane, Honey.  It is a very practical, well-written book and I’ve already loaned it to one friend and will be sharing it with another.

Today, I had my own “pick another checkout lane” moment for the first time. I went to Target on my lunch break to do some purposeful shopping. I was armed with my Target web coupons and manufacturing coupons, so I was able to use 2 coupons on several items. Most of the things I purchased are for Christmas gift baskets that I am putting together for my husband’s side of the family. Some of the highlights include:

– six Sally Hansen nail files/toe separators for $2
– Suave lotion for $.60 each
– Sally Hansen nailpolish for $1

I also picked up two 6-packs of Danimal smoothies for $.69 each and two small bottles of Ibuprofen for $.49 each. If it wasn’t for a small package of diapers I had to pick up, I would have saved about 60% on my total bill before tax.

To get to the checkout part that I mentioned earlier, I had a good stack of coupons to go with my items. The cashier was taking her time checking over all of the coupons and one of my Target mobile coupons (they scan a barcode on my phone) was not calculating a discount properly, so she suggested to the man behind me to go to another lane! I asked to see a manager but this lady dryly said that she was “running the front” and did not seem to be in the best mood, so I gave up easily and did not push the issue. I’m sure a more experienced coupon lady would have gotten it straightened out but I didn’t feel it was worth it and I had to get back to the office.

Anyway, it feels good to save money and what woman doesn’t love a bargain (or ten)!

Happy sacrifices

26 May

As I mentioned in my previous blog, I am getting ready to go back to work after being on maternity leave.  I’d love to stay home with my girls, but working a full-time job is a necessity at this time in my life.  (I know I am blessed to have a job in this economy.)  Adam is able to call himself a professional musician, fortunately, but it doesn’t quite support the family yet. Due to pre-term labor complications that required a short hospital stay and being on bed rest, we are not in the greatest financial spot right now, but I know that God will bring us through it and it is all worth it for our newest little angel!

One of the ways that God has shown me that I can help support my family is by using coupons.  I’m sure many of you have seen, or at least heard about, the TLC show, “Extreme Couponing.”  This show debuted right around the time our youngest daughter was born and it got me thinking that I can save money on my grocery bill.  I am definitely not trying to be like these very extreme people on the show who are clearing shelves, but it is fun and rewarding to be able to find a good deal on something that is free or over 50% of what it would normally cost and maybe stock up on a few more items than usual.  I like to call what I do, “strategic couponing!”  I’m sure I’ll talk more about this later in another blog as it is one of the things I am very focused on in addition to my children, working, and taking care of our house –  not unlike many other mommies in America.  It’s also fun, because Adam is now asking me if we have coupons for certain items.  I feel good knowing that I’ve found another way that I can contribute to the well-being of our family.

I know that many families are going through difficult times financially right now.  We, as wives and mothers, need to support each other.  We all make great sacrifices for our husbands and our children.  So often in the media we see women gossiping and attacking each other, but another reason that I wanted to do this blog was to encourage each other in a wonderful mission that we are all striving for – to support our families and help them be the best individuals that they can be.  Hopefully, this blog can become a forum for advice, tips, and encouragement.

More to come!