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Thursday, November 29, 2018

Cheap Eats: Winter Warming Creamy Potato Leek Soup



I've been looking for creative uses for my 30# haul of baking potatoes from Aldi.  Last night I took baked potatoes to Bible study at church and came home with five leftover potatoes.


So, this morning I opened the fridge and took everything out that looked like it would make a great soup.


 This soup begins by creating a mirepoix of leek, garlic, celery, red pepper, and carrots.  To this, we add seasonings, fresh parsley, water, and almond milk. 



The secret ingredient in the sauce is garbanzo beans.  They give the base sauce its creamy texture. 


This mixture is then blended until smooth in a high speed blender.  We added the juice of 2 limes and just a hint of curry powder to give it a kick!  It was perfect! 


This is a serious amount of "yum!"  I had to keep the 14 year old sous chef from just eating bowls of the base sauce.

But wait!  There's more!  I then sauteed the remaining ingredients in a pan with a little water until tender.  I added the leftover cubed baked potatoes.  Then poured all the lovely sauce over the top.



Mix, warm through, and add a little more almond milk until you reach the desired soup consistency.



Garnish with finely diced red pepper and freshly chopped parsley.


A bowl of creamy, filling, guilt-free, deliciousness with no added oil, no added salt, no added fat, no dairy, and no cholesterol.

Winter Warming Creamy Potato Leek Soup

Creamy Soup Base:
 
2 cups diced carrots
2 stalks chopped celery
2 cloves minced garlic
1 large leek thoroughly cleaned and finely chopped - both white and greens part (divided use)  
2-3 Tbsp water 
1 can garbanzo beans (rinsed well)
1/2 cup chopped parsley (divided use) 
1/2 tsp. garlic powder 
1 tsp. onion powder 
1 1/2 tsp. salt-free seasoning 
1 tsp. Bragg's aminos 
1/2 tsp. ginger powder
1 cup pineapple juice
Juice of 2 limes
1/4 tsp. turmeric 
1/2 tsp. hot sauce 
1/2 tsp. curry powder
1//2 cup water 
2 cups almond milk (additional to thin soup at end if needed) 

 Add carrots, 3/4 of the leeks, celery, garlic to a pan with just enough water to keep vegetables from scorching.  Saute until softened.  Add half of the chopped parsley (1/4 cup) reserving the remaining 1/4 cup for garnish.  Add the rest of the ingredients except the water and almond milk.  Heat until parsley is wilted and the flavors are combined.  

Remove from heat and let cool slightly before adding to the blender.  Add water. Then blend, adding almond milk a little at a time until the sauce is smooth and the consistency of a cheese sauce. 


Soup Ingredients: 
 
 4-5 leftover baked potatoes - diced
1 cup broccoli florets
half of the finely chopped leeks
1 red pepper - diced small -  (divided use) 

Add leeks, 3/4 of the red pepper  (reserving about 3 Tbsp for garnish), and broccoli to enough water to keep the vegetables from scorching.  Cook on med/low heat until softened, adding water as needed to keep from burning.  Add the diced potatoes.  Finally pour the soup base mixture into the pan.  Stir and heat through.  Add more almond milk if the soup is too thick.  It was about right for us.  But, it will depend on the proportion of vegetables to soup base that you have in the pot.  Taste and correct for seasoning.  You should not need to add any salt.  But, some fresh cracked black pepper might be needed.  


 Garnish with fresh parsley, finely diced red peppers, and a splash of lime juice if you'd like.   

Add a big salad, homemade muffins, fresh fruit, and a cup of herbal tea to make this a perfect dinner!

For a free downloadable PDF of this recipe, click here.  

Enjoy!

Remember, 

Do all to the glory of God, 

Hope

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

My Kroger Haul and Cleaning the Pantry and Freezer!



 Whew hoo!  Kroger just sent me a new batch of high value coupons in the mail!

If you've not signed up for a Kroger loyalty card yet, head right on over to your local Kroger and ask the cashier or customer service rep for a Plus Card application.  Fill out the short form and you are all set to go.  You'l get special prices, gas points, and coupons in the mail.  Easy peasy and so worth it!

Today's Kroger Haul



I wouldn't have gone to the store this week at all if I hadn't needed almond milk.  But, since I did, I stopped by Kroger with one of the coupons they sent me in the mail for $1.50 off 2 containers of Almond Breeze milk.  I timed my arrival to coincide with the time of day they do the markdowns. 

I spent just over $19.00 on all this!  





 Beyond Meat Burgers.  I've never tried these and really don't eat faux meat products since they are processed.  But, sometimes my 14 year old wants something the resembles what all the other students are eating.   They were marked down to $1.99 a package.  I'll let you know how they taste. 







 Here's that almond milk, the entire reason for my shopping trip!  At $3.29 each I thought they were a little expensive, but since I got $.75 off of each of them, I was fine with it.  Aldi would have been less, but I was here and it wasn't worth another trip for just one item.





For those who eat dairy, these flip yogurts were marked down to just $.49 each!  Key Lime flavored.  My kids like lime.  So, it was a great deal!  They got 10 of them.








 Laura's beef marked down to $2.99.  That's a fantastic price.  I bought it for my second son, who really likes Laura's beef. 







Grill Mates seasoning.  FREE!  Watch for those Friday Freebie downloads.  They are always listed in the weekly flyer or you can go directly to the download center to see what they are each week.  Here's a link to find the download.  https://kroger.softcoin.com/programs/kroger/freefri/






 Kroger peanut butter - FREE!  There are always coupons for two products absolutely free in the packet, which Kroger sends you in the mail.  This was one of the free products.  I hate hydrogenated oil products!  I generally try not to allow them in the house at all.  This peanut butter has two ingredients:  peanuts and salt.  That's it!  The regular version has added fats and oils.  Watch for Kroger peanut butter to go on sale and stock up on the "natural" version. 







 This was actually not on sale.  I had a coupon for Kroger salad mix for free, but this was not a "mix".  However, when your 10 year old looks at you and says, "Mom, I would really love to have a big salad with supper", you buy the kid the lettuce which he picks out!  It was under $2.00. 



 That's a pretty good grocery haul for just over $19.00!

It's Pantry and Freezer Overhaul Time! 



Check it out!  My pantry is stuffed so full that I can barely close the door.

It's a hot mess!  Remember a few months ago when I got my pantry into perfect condition and wrote this post to show you how to do it?  Clearly, I have not followed my own rules.  LOL!

I guess, in a way, a full pantry is a good problem to have.  It is mainly the result of all the four -  $5/$30 coupons that I got from Aldi for their grand reopening.  I used the coupons to stock up on non-perishables.  So, now I literally can't stuff another item in there!


And look at this!  My chest freezer is in the same condition!  

So, I have decided to make a concerted effort to cook out of my pantry and freezer.  I'll be trying to use what I have on hand, creating some space in my storage areas.

I'll let you know how it goes.  First, I'll put both areas back in order, tell you if I find any surprises (like the open bottle of barbeque sauce I found when I organized the pantry in May), and chronicle any success I have in using up items and emptying down my "overstock".

Staying within a tight grocery budget is hard!  If you've found some great deals let us know so we can cheer you on!  Leave your thoughts in the comments section. 

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Do all to the glory of God, 

Hope


Monday, November 26, 2018

Paying Cash for Christmas


Christmas should never take you by surprise.  It doesn't move around, like Easter does!  It occurs on the 25th of December every single year.  So, let's take the bull by the horns and pay cash for Christmas!


Christmas is a whirlwind of joyful activity.  But, it can also be a source of stress if you are going into debt to enjoy the Yuletide season with family and friends.  According to a survey by Magnify Money, the  average American family began 2018 with just over $1000 in Christmas debt.  Not only that, 24% of millenials will still be paying off this debt twelve months later!  This amount is then added onto the average $17,000 of credit card debt of every American household. Every year we are going just a little further into debt just to ring in the holidays with others.   This is sad news, folks. 

The good news is, this debt is completely unnecessary!  


You do not have to be a statistic!  You can pay CASH for Christmas and I'm going to tell you exactly how to do it! 

Step 1: Get Accountable!

That's right!  You need an accountability partner before you purchase even one gift!  DON'T DO CHRISTMAS ALONE!  If you have a habit of going into debt to celebrate the holidays, don't assume that you can do it by yourself!  Bad habits are hard to break. 

 My Experience:  


I will tell you with absolute transparency that the opinions of others have always mattered very much to me.  I love to make people happy and nothing breaks my spirit more than knowing that I have disappointed a friend or family member.  At Christmas, I spent out of guilt, feeling that no matter what I gave them, it would never measure up to their expectations. 

When I married, my husband and I had to get on the same page about financial obligations, Christmas being no exception.  If you have read my story, then you know that the concept of a budget had never even crossed our minds.  Our first Christmas we followed our "familial patterns": sending Christmas cards to every relative (both far and near), participating in the "family name draw", and spending more money than we ever should have.

Lack of clear communication is one of the main problems, which contributes to Christmas debt.   I've seen it happen.  Neither partner knows who is taking care of the gift-buying, how much is being spent, or even has a complete list of everyone who will receive a gift! So, one or both of the partners winds up running out at the last minute to spend "whatever is necessary."

If you are not married, I highly recommend that you get an accountability partner.  This person should be trustworthy and willing to be firm, but honest with you. 

 Talk openly and honestly with your spouse or accountability partner. 


 Here are some items to consider: 
  • Do your relatives expect a gift of a certain value? 
  • Do you buy gifts for siblings, their spouses, and all your nieces and nephews? 
  • Do all your siblings contribute equally to a gift for your parents? 
  • Does everyone in the office pitch in a certain amount for management gifts? 
  • How much money do you have (or can you) set aside for Christmas expenses? 
  • How much money should you spend on Christmas expenses?  

This step also includes honest reflection on
  • how to deal with the holiday expectations of others.  
  • how to say "no" kindly and respectfully 
  • how to be proud of giving simple, thoughtful gifts
NOTE: If you struggle in this area, I really, really want you to look for my post later this week about overcoming holiday guilt trips. It is based very much on my own experiences.  Believe me when I tell you that I understand the anxiety of conflating your self-worth with your ability to please others.  You should never spend money that you don't have to impress others or gain their love and respect. 

Step 2: Make a list of every person who will receive a gift

Whew!  We finally get to the "nuts and bolts" of Christmas spending.  

  • It is best to make a gift list early in the year.  But, if you are reading this and it is nearly December, then just make the list now.
  •  I like to make a notation next to each name of possible gifts and how much I can expect to pay for each gift.  This makes Step #3: "Set a Realistic Budget" much easier.  
  •  In order to live within a tight budget, you'll want to look for gifts at bargain prices throughout the year.  So, you'll need to have your game plan in place and be ready to go! 
  •  If it is December and you are just getting started, then don't "wing it".  That will spell certain disaster and a holiday hangover in January!  Make that list and stick to it!  
  •  If you think there is a possibility that you have missed a name or two, wrap a couple of extra  "under $5" generic gifts and keep them handy, just in case I have neglected to remember anyone. I do this every year and it works out perfectly.  
  • Need ideas?  Read this post and this post.  Both are filled with a ton of ideas for gifts which cost $3 or less. 

Step 3:  Set a Realistic Budget

Do NOT spend money you do not have to try to impress or earn the respect or love of others!!

We budget for Christmas a full year in advance.  By the first week of January 2018, I had my entire 2018 Christmas budget all saved up and ready to spend.  Where did this money come from?  I saved it, a month at a time, during 2017!  I do it this is way, because I buy Christmas gifts year-round.  So, I need to actually work an entire year ahead.


What if you have not saved any money for Christmas?

If much of the year is already in the rearview mirror, then you have a few options:  


1.  Reduce your Christmas budget to the amount of money you have on-hand and can comfortably take from your other budget categories.  No matter what, you can't go over 100% of your income.  Don't borrow from Peter to pay Paul.  It's takes too much effort and time to pay Peter back. 

2.  Reduce the number of people on your list.  When we were raising our children on a very low budget, we had to do this.  After having a couple of children, we contacted all of Larry's family members and told them that we were opting out of the family gift exchange.  We simply did not have the money.  It wasn't necessarily popular.  But, we were determined to live within our means! 

3.  Make and give DIY gifts.  I have done this a lot! If you read through my suggested posts at the end, you'll find lists of all the DIY items that I have made and given as gifts through the years.  It's actually pretty fun!

You can Google and get a lot of ideas!  I did soup mixes in quart jars one year and added some homemade hot cocoa and quick breads.  I arranged all the items in pretty containers that I had bought in late January for 90% off at Big Lots.  Score!  Friends and neighbors loved them! 

4.  Work side jobs for a short time or sell possessions to earn holiday money.  Although not considered a "fun" option, it beats going into debt.  You could sell some of those handmade or home-baked items to get cash for your Christmas! 

 

Step 4:  Shop Wisely! 

1.  Shop year-round (or at least don't wait until the last minute.) 

2.  Shop used.  Thrift stores, used bookstores, rummage sales, and consignment shops are all treasure-troves for your budget-minded Christmas!  

3.  "K.I.S.S." - Keep It Super Simple!  You shouldn't have to break the bank or break your neck to express love to family and friends. 

4.  Pay with actual, physical cash!  Statistically, when you spend cash (as opposed to using even a debit card), you spend nearly 20% less!  Keep your cash in an envelope marked "Christmas" and then use this money when you purchase anything for Christmas.  This is the easiest way to keep track of how much you have spent and how much you have left in your budget.

Read these posts for tips and inexpensive gift ideas!




 

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Do all to the glory of God, 

Hope


Saturday, November 24, 2018

My Book Rack Grand Re-opening Haul!



Just $1 per book! Be still my heart!  Thanks, owners Bub and Stacy Hardin!

Head over to Book Rack today by 6pm for the 10/$10 deal! 

That's right!  Today you can get any 10 books for just $10!  No  exclusions!  Book Rack Used Books and Gifts is located at the corner of Lake and Knoxville in Peoria.  There are also treats for all the shoppers and a cat adoption event from 3 - 6pm today. 

In case you missed it, I wrote two posts about the Book Rack remodel, in which they doubled their space.  

In this post I give you the inside scoop on used bookstores, their prices, policies, and questions you should ask at your local used bookstore.  

In this post I show you my behind-the-scenes tour of the Book Rack expansion project. 

If you miss the grand reopening sale, no worries.  

 Nearly every single book at Book Rack are regularly priced at $1 - $6.  Plus, you can trade in your old books and get cash or in-store credit, which can be used for up to 100% of your purchase! 

I do recommend that you "like" their Facebook page.  This is the main way that owner, Stacy Hardin, lets you know about upcoming sales and highlights special books which have come into the store.  

She also posts about new gift items and allows you to "get dibs" on them, placing them on the store "reserve" shelf for up to 24 hours, giving you time to stop by and pick up your items.  

My Book Haul:  


We found 20 books.  Well, actually, I had my 10 year old count our stack and he missed a book.  So, we had 21 instead of 20.  But, Bub Hardin saved my day by telling me that he was happy to sell me the 21st book for a buck too!  

 Adult Self-Improvement

I'm a Crystal Paine Fan and had never read this book!

 

Read-Alouds

 


 "Let the Circle Be Unbroken" is the sequel to "Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry"!

 We LOVED this book and can't wait to dive into "Let the Circle Be Unbroken".

I recognized "The Black Arrow" and read it to my older boys when they were young.  So, this book easily made to our "buy" stack. 

2 volumes of Kipling's poems and short stories!

History and Research

Mysteries and Histories
 These are both for my 14 year old.  He is seriously into reading and researching ancient art and artifacts.  The Celtic book has beautiful full-page plates of images from the Book of Celts.  He will love it!

Boys love real life mysteries!  The Mysterious Times book is published by Scholastic. 


Church History - Great photos and illustrations! 
We are studying Ancient History this year.  So, these books will be perfect.

Local history for me!

 I am fascinated by Illinois history!  This book is a compilation of stories, which cover many decades of Central and Western Illinois history!  

Fantasy


History type fantasy - age 9-11



Star Wars Saga - #3 - #6.  He already had #1 and #2!  Yay!

Frank Peretti - fantasy for tweens

College Books

Poetry by Keats!


Shakespeare and Bradbury - BOTH for college??!!

My 22 year old told me that he had stuck a couple of books on the pile that he needed for school.  Hmmm... I know that Shakespeare is required for one of his classes next semester. I'm questioning the Ray Bradbury though.  LOL!


Have you found amazing book bargains for Christmas?

We want to see your book haul!
Leave a photo in the comments section below!  

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Do all to the glory of God, 

Hope

MORE Christmas Gifts for $3 or Less

Last week I posted, "Christmas Gift Ideas for $3 or Less".  My readers have spoken, sent in ideas, and asked for more super thrifty ways to spread love and appreciation during the Holiday season!  So, today it's time for, MORE Christmas Gifts for $3.00 or Less!

DIY Gift Ideas:

Bath Bombs:  Visit any Bath and Body Shop and you'll see a huge selection of bath bombs.  One of my students gave me one of these as a gift last year for Christmas.  She had a blast making them and they certainly came in on the "thrifty" end of the gift scale.  I saw the cost estimated to be about $2 each to make these yourself.  Here is a step-by-step tutorial.

 


Rice Bag Warmers:  I actually ordered a set of these years ago.  You can warm them in the microwave or chill them in the freezer.  They are perfect for tummy aches, muscle aches, keeping your feet warm on cold nights, or anytime you need a little comforting warmth or cooling.  They are easy and inexpensive to make.  Here's a tutorial.








Homemade Bath Salts:  Kathy, one of my regular readers, says she relies on this thrifty gift-giving idea.  Add essential oils to coarse salt and then pour into inexpensive containers.  Voila!  Here are instructions on how to make this elegant and yet inexpensive gift.  You can get plain Epsom salts at Dollar Tree for just a buck! 






 Wooden Pallet Sign:  I received a beautiful homemade wooden sign from special friends last year.  You can make a personalized version for under $3.00.   I found this tutorial from S & S Blog to be very easy-to-follow.





   Recycled Crayons in Fun Shapes:  If you have kids, you have a container with worn down or broken crayons.  Melting them into fun, new shapes is really popular right now and is such an easy DIY project!  You can get silicone molds at Amazon for just $16.00 for 8 different molds and free shipping.  Here's a tutorial on making the crayons to get you started.



Doodle or Activity Book:  Last year, one of my sons downloaded free images, used PowerPoint, added instructions and graphics, and then printed and collated it,  creating a wonderful doodle book for my youngest son.  Lots of fun and it was a personalized gift from his older brother! 

No Time for DIY?

No problem!  Here are more ideas!  


Card Games:  You can get simple card games from Dollar Tree for just a buck.  They are also readily available at Walmart or Amazon for $5 or less.  We routinely find board and card games at second hand stores as well.  Just check to be certain that all the parts are inside before buying. 

Coffee Cup:  Yep!  You can get some really attractive coffee mugs for $3 or less.  Check Dollar Tree for a great selection!  Add some herbal tea bags and a few small pieces of candy.  Then wrap in plastic wrap and tie with a pretty bow.



Discounted coffee:  This was a massive "score" this week when we found this premium Starbucks on clearance this week for about $3.00 a bag!  





Markers or crayons and a coloring book:  I loved getting new coloring supplies when I was a kid!  I got huge packs of 24 Sharpie markers and coloring books on clearance at Office Depot.  The markers were $5 and the coloring book was just $1.00.  But, if you watch back-to-school sales, you can easily stock up on colored pencils, markers, or crayons for well under $3.00! 

A pack of playing cards: Add a little booklet of various card games and their rules.  You can easily find game rules on the internet.  Cut and paste them into Word and then attractively package them to make a booklet of suggested card games.





A candle or scented wax melts.  You can find these at Dollar Tree or Big Lots for $3 or less.  These are from Hardin Candles are are available at Book Rack Used Books and Gifts






Nail polish and emory boards.  If you have a Sally Beauty Supply in your town, they carry these items very inexpensively. 



A journal and a pen:  I just found a really nice unlined journal this week at Mission Mart for $1.00! You can also purchase lined journals from Dollar Tree for just a buck! 





 Puzzles: One of my most pleasant childhood memories is putting puzzles together with my mother.  During cold weather, she kept a card table set up in a corner of the dining room and we spent many hours together finding just the right pieces.  You can get everything from 100 to 1000 pieces for under $3.00!  Be sure to schedule a "family puzzle day" with hot cocoa on a cold winter day!  

Magazine Subscriptions!  

(Okay, these aren't $3. But, close enough and a great deal, too!)  

A magazine subscription is the gift that keeps on giving throughout the year!  Right now Amazon has a number of magazines at fantastic prices.  These are print magazines, not digital copies. Some subscriptions are auto-renewal, which means that unless you plan to continue receiving (or giving) the magazine, you'll need to call and cancel the renewal.  Be sure to read the terms carefully. (These are affiliate links.  If you make a purchase, I will be compensated.) 

Taste of Home - 6 issues
AllRecipes - 6 issues
Midwest Living - 6 issues
Do it Yourself - 4 issues
Family Handyman - 9 issues
Reader's Digest - 10 issues
Reminisce - 7 issues (Larry and I subscribed to this magazine and loved it!)
Family Circle - 12 issues
Parents - 12 issues
The New Yorker - 12 issues (Weekly magazine - 3 month subscription!)  

Keep Those Ideas Coming!

I love having a listing of lots of creative and thrifty ideas to help families stay on budget this holiday season!  So, if you have any tips, leave them in the comments section below. 

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Do all to the glory of God, 

Hope

Friday, November 23, 2018

Reader Recommendations: Affordable Places to Shop for Christmas

I have wonderful readers!  When I posted "Six Places to Find Affordable Christmas Gifts", several of them weighed in with additional places to shop for Holiday gifts that won't break the bank.

Here are reader recommendations, along with the reasons that they like to shop there.

  Jodi Recommends: HomeGoods,  TJ Maxx, and Tuesday Morning


Jodi says, "One of my favorite places (I call it my 'happy place') is HomeGoods. They have so much fun and unique and also practical items that are usually at a good discount. I don't like to buy stuff just for the sake of it, but if you know somebody who likes glass decorations or things like that, they have beautiful art plates and vases and things like that. They have artwork, organizational items, sometimes I find lovely polished geodes and other rocks (I'm a rock collector), other decor, bath items...it's fun to just wander around and see what you find. They have many name brand items and some 'new' discoveries. 




Which leads me to another place I like to snoop around in, TJ Maxx. These stores (and I believe Marshall's and Sierra Trading Post) are owned by the same company. HomeGoods seems to be full of stuff that they pulled from TJ Maxx to make it more of a decor/household items store. They don't have the clothes, shoes, toys, etc. that TJ Maxx has. So TJ Maxx is another place I look for unique items at a bargain price. They also have things like perfumes, beauty items, exercise and travel items, etc. I haven't really checked out Marshall's...maybe they do more just clothing? I'm really not sure. I guess I should go find out! :-) 





Another discount store similar to these that is a bit more limited in selection but is still full of little bargain 'finds' is Tuesday Morning. They're kind of like TJ Maxx without the clothing and on a smaller scale. All of these places get new items in pretty frequently so I always find things I didn't see before. 

Anne Recommends Plato's Closet and Clothes Mentor

 

Anne says, "two more shops in Peoria worth checking: Clothes Mentor and Plato’s Closet, both in Westlake Shopping Center. Mostly clothing at both of these resale shops, but I’ve found some lovely handbags at them, at great prices! Vera Bradley bags seem to show up regularly."  

Here's the low-down:  

 Plato's closet sells moderate to high quality name brand clothing, shoes, and accessories.  They cater to all members of the family.  When you bring in your used items, they will make you an offer, which you can take in cash or store credit.  Here's a link to their website so you can find a location near you. 


Here are my thoughts: 
We were just at Plato's Closet today! I have boys who love to dress in ties and good clothes.  I was looking for dress shirts for Daniel.  They had a lot more casual clothes than"dressy" ones.   But, they did have a HUGE selection of name brand items. The prices are higher than Goodwill or Salvation Army.  But, if you are looking for something special, then this is the place to look. I didn't even think about looking at their handbags. That is a fantastic tip and gives me another reason to head back in there sometime.  






Clothes Mentor is a franchise which specializes in high end Ladies' clothing in sizes 0 - 26 and maternity.  You won't find any children's or men's clothing at Clothes Mentor.  

 Here is the description from their website.  "At Clothes Mentor, we buy and sell high-quality, gently used name-brand and designer clothing, shoes and accessories that are like new—for less!  

 Like Plato's Closet, you can bring in items you are no longer wearing or using and get cash or store credit.  If you don't have time to shop, you can have a Clothes Mentor personal shopper do it for you!  

Check out all the details on their website and find a location near you. 

 

Kira Joined Her Local Buy Nothing Group

 
https://buynothingproject.org/

Kira recommends joining a local Buy Nothing Group.  Here's what she says about her great neighborhood group.  "I have SO much luck with my local Buy Nothing group, it's ridiculous. They offer up anything they're not using and it helps us get to know the neighbors! Last night someone brought us 2 pies they ended up not using at a holiday party! I look to them for holiday decor, baking supplies when I unexpectedly run out, and anything I don't mind bringing in a little used. Books and toys are always up for grabs there."

Here is a link for their website.  They describe their mission in these words.  "When people ask us what a Buy Nothing group really looks like, we tell them it’s a Facebook group that’ll give you a hands-on chance to take part in a social movement spreading across the globe, enabling people and communities to commit episodic acts of daily good together. We provide the freeware for you to set up local gift economies, using social media to bring to the fore myriad random acts of kindness for neighbors to partake in day-in and day-out. The gift economies are sharing-groups, where members of a community get to know each other by giving, asking, and expressing their gratitude."  

 You can plug in your address to find or start a group near you.   I was AMAZED at all the groups, not only in the United States, but also in other countries.  Fantastic idea!!


 Thanks, readers, for sharing all the great tips!   When you find great deals or ways to cut expenses and score great bargains, we love to know about it!  Feel free to leave comments below. 

I have to give a shout out for our Facebook group.  We have fantastic discussions and when I find a great deal or sale I post it there right away.  Give our Facebook page a "like" if you haven't already done so!

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Do all to the glory of God, 

Hope