Extreme Couponing: I’m about to step my game up!

Joanie Deemer makes couponing look good!

I just cannot get enough of TLC’s show Extreme Couponing! It’s a crazy idea, but hey, I am CRAZY sexy frugal after all.

You know what else is crazy? The savings these people are getting! I have to admit that I am more than a little jealous! Really, it just means that I will have to do more with coupons to get the tips, tricks and strategies down. I’m totally up for the challenges.

One thing I won’t be doing is spending 70 hours a week clipping coupons or dumping plans just to go shopping! I’m not letting the stockpile out into other areas of the house that’s not designated for the stockpile. Time and space are also very valuable especially in our house!

Since I’ve been studying each episode, I have noticed a few things already:

*You won’t save 98% percent of your grocery bill….at first!
Keep in mind the people on the show have refined their techniques over time. It didn’t happen overnight. Just because you won’t get those bottles of lotion for free right away doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t use coupons. Even if you can get 50% off the retail price, that is fantastic!
*You have to take advantage of available resources and opportunities with no shame!
So you don’t have a store savings card? You didn’t use that coupon that printed while you were at checkout? You didn’t realize you could use the coupon that was inside the box? Skilled savers use everything they possibly can to rake in the savings and it pays off. They sign up for free offers, do short surveys, and call companies to ask if they have any coupons. If you’re hesitant to give your personal email, make one just for coupon deals, like yourcouponsavings@(yourhostnamehere).com
*Healthy eaters are NOT exempt!
So you’re not really interested in eating Yakisoba noodles or canned peas? I don’t blame you, but do you use toilet paper, paper towels, aluminum foil, light bulbs, toothbrushes, razors, tissues, hand sanitizer, and washing detergent? Vegetarians have to brush their teeth too, and if you can get toothbrushes for free with a coupon, why would you turn that down? I personally eat gluten free and sugar free, and I’m always on the lookout for healthy coupons. Guess what? They exist! A good place to find some is Whole Foods. Start there!

I’ve added some more links in the blogroll of some very awesome coupon resources like Hip2save.com and thecouponclippers.com Hip2save does the matchup work for you so you don’t have to look for at the sales to link coupons. Coupon clippers is a coupon clipping service that you may hear mentioned on the EC show. It’s way to get multiple coupons for the items that you want.

Save some money and if you see a lady with five carts full of stuff, you might not want to get behind her!


Get Rid of Cat Urine Odors Frugally and Naturally!


After finding out that my cat had been peeing on the carpet for weeks, having her checked, nursing her back to health, cleaning out the litter boxes thoroughly, changing the litter, removing the stains, and retraining her to use the litter boxes again, I had only one problem left: the horrible cat pee smell!

I had smelled that smell before but didn’t know what it was at first! I said to my dad, “What is that smell!” he said, “I don’t smell anything.” “It smells like something stale!” I said.  I wouldn’t find out what was going on for another two weeks!

I know that there are lots of great enzymatic products out there that really work to get rid of cat urine smells, but they can be  expensive. Luckily, I found a natural, less costly process that uses a few items you probably already have at home.

There is lots of debate about whether this method works or not. I think the older the stains are, the more work you may have to do. If the urine is fresh, you won’t have to work so hard and you may only have to do this method once. I had to do this about 5 times to finally get rid of the smell. Since the items used are very cheap, I was okay with this.

It’s also said that this method may ruin your carpet. We have white carpet here, so that wasn’t an issue. If you have colored carpet, you need to test in an area that won’t be seen. If you have color changes, you may need another method.

Olivia from the Hot and Handy Show shows you what to do to get rid of the cat urine smell with just five items:

*NOTE*-I find it works better to actually let the vinegar/water mix dry completely instead of blotting it up with a cloth.

Eric at getridofthings.com uses the same method for carpets, but he also shows you how to get rid of the smell from clothes, floors, and walls.

I’m so thankful I don’t have to throw out the carpet, my clothes or the cat!


MacGyver Guys are Sexy!

Have you heard about Mechanical Mashup?

They have this great project on making your own photo softbox that has inspired me to create my own. I just had to see what else they could do! Turns out, these guys could make a guitar out of a cigar box, pumpkins that flame, and disposable cups into iPhone holders! Sa-weet!

You know who else I like? The guys on the TV show Food Jammers! When I saw them make their own ice cream with a coffee can and a marble, I was hooked! Any guy that can do that has my attention!

It’s just a LITTLE disturbing that all these guys happen to be Canadian! Where are all my crafty American dudes! MacGyver can’t be the only one!


I’m donating socks!

I studied dance while I lived in Japan, and it was the highlight of my time there. I'm on the front row. To find me, look at the hands!

Between 1997-2000, I was an English teacher in Japan. Those three years were some of the best of my entire life. I have always had a real soft spot in my heart for Japan, because I got so much from the Japanese people. I was hired to teach English, but I was embraced, very well cared for, and learned so many things outside of my English classrooms. Even my family was treated so well when they came to visit me. I remember taking my father to the train station and not being at all worried because I knew someone would help him get to his destination.

Now, it’s my turn to give back!

I certainly wish I could give so much more! When you’re on an extreme budget, you often think that you have no way to give, but you have to think outside the box, just like you do when you are trying to figure out how to eat, drive, clothe and entertain yourself on half a shoe-string budget.

I was very excited to learn about Socks for Japan! My mom always buys bunches and bunches of socks. She gets them at the dollar store. I asked her if she would like to give some for the sock drive, and she was more than happy to contribute!

Of course, there are many other ways to contribute. Carly at Chic Steals has a great list of organizations that are accepting donations. And like she says, if you can’t donate money or items, donate a little time and spread the word! Even a little makes such a difference!


Last Chance for Romance!

I sincerely hope that’s not the case, but if you are planning to do something extra special today, you need to get on it! Hopefully, your love won’t be to upset at you for being a little late to the party. Here are some cute, simple, and cheap ideas to stay out of the dog house:

Jazz up a store bought bag of Hershey kisses  and mini chocolate bars with a felt fortune cookie From the Grand Dame of DIY.

I love the wine bottle candle holder idea from Design Sponge, but I don’t have a glass cutter, so I just stuck the candles in my cleaned-out wine bottles and it worked out lovely!

Dana at MADE went paper and staples to make these easy and cute hearts you can fill with more candy!

Keep the special dinner easy! You don’t have time for cooking craziness! From ivillage

End the night sweetly-make your own candy box filled with their favorite candies.  From Delia Creates


CheapSexyEats: Chocolate Dipped Bananas

I love frozen bananas dipped in chocolate. You can put chocolate on (almost) anything and it will be loved, or least tried. I have to admit though…anytime I see this:

I think it’s just too phallic.

That probably says more about me than I should really reveal, but that’s how I feel about it.  I like sexy, not slutty. I like covert, not overt. Serving bananas like that is just too obvious! For me! So I’m going to take overt down a notch.

You need:
bananas
semi-sweet chocolate if you have it
if not…
cocoa powder
solid oil like coconut, palm shortening or even cocoa butter (food grade) if you have it
honey or agave nectar
toppings of choice like:
nuts or seeds
crushed cookies
coconut
leftover chocolate chips
crushed cereal

“Lean to the left, lean to the right, peel your banana and….cut into pieces!” You know you remember that cheer!

 

 

Place your sticks in now if you’re using them and place pieces on a parchment or foil- lined plate or cookie sheet and freeze for at least 30 minutes.

 

 

Melt your chocolate in a double boiler. Just put a bowl over a small saucepan filled with water. Let the water come to a low boil.

If you are using cocoa, melt two tablespoons of your hard oil (I had coconut) in the microwave in a bowl. Add two tablespoons of cocoa powder and one tablespoon of honey or agave nectar. Stir until smooth.

Coat bananas in chocolate once. Let cool. Coat again, then immediately roll in topping of your choice. Put pieces back in the freezer. Put the frozen treats in an airtight container if they are not going to be devoured in one sitting.


CrazySexyCrafty: DIY Dirty Dice

You’ve seen these before right? They are called dirty dice or naughty dice and they tell you to do something to a certain part of the body. They are a lot of fun, and very dangerous! Sometimes though, they are limiting, since there is only six sides of the die. You can make your own and get really crazy with it and use whatever verbs and body parts you like!

 

I found a pic of a cube template. I downloaded it, and put it in my graphics program and typed in the words. If you don’t have a graphics program, you can just print out blank cubes and print words separately, then glue the words on the cube.

Print the cubes on card stock and cut them out. I changed the template when printing so that I would get four smaller images instead of one big one.

 

 

Fold. You can score the straight lines with a butter knife or a fabric tracer and a straight edge.

 

 

 

Glue.

 

 

 

 

Roll.

 

 

 

 

You can even add a third one that has the location! Have fun!