What is a monkeybox?

When I was a little girl, we had a pet monkey named Amanda. My Dad worked in the produce business, so each night he brought home that days culls in a big box - spotty cucumbers, pithy apples, limp celery, moldy oranges and the like. We called it a monkeybox. It was really just trash, but my Mom would take each piece of fruit and trim it, pare it and cut it up to make a beautiful fruit platter for Amanda. Even though it was deemed trash by one, it still had life left in it and was good for the purpose we needed it. That's how I live my life - thrifting, yard saling, looking for another's trash to be my treasure.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Got hair? Goal for today - get free Mach3 Razors and free blade refill packs at Walgreen's. I have coupons for buy the refills get the razor free and Walgreen's has buy the razor get the refills free. So, combined that shoud mean free razors and free refills. If I can get the checker to understand it. That is always the hard part.

Thursday I am volunteering at my son's school for School Picture day. I will write each kids name on a slip of paper that goes into the camera so they know who everyone is for the yearbook. For volunteering, the photo company gives me any package of pictures I choose for FREE. Great deal! The package I chose is $48.00 - not bad for about three hours I still DO NOT understand - They photographed the Kindergartners LAST after recess and after a spaghetti and blueberry cobbler lunch. I had to wipe every kids face and hands with baby wipes and recomb their hair. I'm sure parents were thrilled when they got the pictures and they didn't have the hairdo they left home with that morning. Not to mention the big purple stain on their shirt! I earned those free pictres that day!

I also volunteer at the Book Fair in the Spring. I get a $10.00 credit for every two hours I work. Last year I earned $40.00 in credits so my son was able to pick out a lot of nice books for FREE. I should mention that I love being at school and I volunteer a lot. Because of this, they usually call me to volunteer when I can get someting for free as a "Thank you".

Hint for the day: See what free perks you can get for volunteering some time at school.

Monday, August 29, 2005

I'm not a greedy woman - not the type that wants or needs jewelry, fancy cars, trips to exotic places. I am more of a practical person. I have been asking my husband for a clothesline for years. Well, I finally got one this weekend. I've been hanging out towels and sheets and then tossing them in the dryer to soften them up. Works like a dream and doesn't heat up the house or cost any money to run the dryer. I have a load of sheets to take out now. It's great for towels and sheets, but I don't plan on hanging out my skivvies for strangers to see.

We went to the drive-in this weekend. Fice of us went in one car so each family paid $4.50. (I still owe you 50¢) We sat out in our lawn chairs and enjoyed "Charlie and the Chocolate Factor" and didn't enjoy "Batman Begins". It has been hot, but it was very nice that night.

I am in the midst of planning a Luau for DS's 10th birthday. We are well known for his parties. I just have them at the park, pick a theme and run with it. The kids get lots of great goodies - not just some candy and trinkets. This time each kid gets a bucket hat, sunglasses, silk flower lei, sand pail, paddle ball, beach ball, candy bracelet, lei bracelet, full sized pack of Bubblelicious gum, crayons and a notebook. All of these have a tropical theme. The hats came from the Dollar Tree for $1.00 each (duh), the sand pails are really Easter pails purchased for 12¢ after Easter, the gum was free after $1.00/1 coupons that I had multiples. Everyting else was purchased from S&S Worldwide - an on-line party supply company. I had a code for $50.00 off $100.00 purchase - so I was able to get better quality items and more of it at the same price as Oriental Trading. We will have hotdogs (hotdogs will be purchased with coupons and Dh runs a bread route for the buns), chips ( donated by the Frito Lay guy in exchange for buns for his Labor Day BBQ), drinks (remember that free pop I got at IGA last week?) and snowcones. We are friends with the local ice cream man and he is getting us a case of snowcones at cost for the party. He sells them for $2.00 each- we are paying $20.00 for a case of 48. Lots more to plan and talk about for the party!

Hint for the Day: Use your connections (in my case - the bread man, chip man and ice cream man) to get freebies or cheap things you need.

Friday, August 26, 2005

I only found one yard sale today. Although, with the cost of gas these days, I didn't drive very far looking for signs. I spent $1.40. I got a nice set of vintage Decoware tin canisters with flowers (1950's) - 10¢ for the set, an old cast iron cocker spaniel bank - 10¢, a Chimpanzee doll dressed like a cowgirl - needed this like a whole in the head - but she was only 10¢ and had a $24.99 price tag and a nice stuffed eagle for DS - 10¢. Also got two VHS tapes for 50¢ each - FrankenPooh and Richie Rich with "Home Alone" kid. VHS tapes seem to be the deal at sales lately. True, everyone is going to DVD, but why would you get rid of the VHS and then go buy the same thing on DVD? We have a VCR and a DVD player so we can use both. (Not to mention the fancy dancy new DVD/VHS we won last weekend!)

I bought groceries at Walmart yesterday. Two women were checking out behind me (seperately - they weren't together) and they were discussing the good deal on towels they had found. "What deal? Whee's a deal? I love a deal!" I cried! Turns out bath sheets are only $2.00 and they are big thick pretty towels. I had to leave to pick up DS from school, so I didn't get a chance to check them out. But I can hear those towels calling me from Wal-Mart..."Shara...we're only $2.00! Come get us!" Hubby and I have been married 14 years so some of our wedding towels have big transparent spots in them. Might be time to upgrade - and at a DEAL!

Hint of the day - eavesdrop on other people's conversations. You might find a deal! (I am kidding about this one.) But, if you DO overhear something - all the better for you!

Monday, August 22, 2005

Monday - the first actual week of school. DS wasn't too thrilled about going last week, but seemed ready to delve into it this week.

Yesterday we went to the local grocery store to stock up on some advertised specials. Three weeks ago they had a pull out section full of coupons. There were four coupons for each week all for FREE items with a $15.00 purchase. I grabbed a handful of good ads in hopes that some good deal would come up and I could use duplicates. This week they have boneless, sinless chicken breasts for $1.58 lb. We only eat chicken and turkey so this is a good deal. I normally pay $8.97 for 3 lbs. So, this is half what I normally pay. Since DH was available to got too, we did a double order. We each bought $15.00 worth of chicken and then we both recieved a half gallon of Edy's ice cream, 10 lbs. of potatoes, a 12 pk. of Coke and a roll of Sausage (will give to StepFather as he eats that nasty stuff). Total value of free items was $13.44 for each order so a total of $26.88 in free items. Not bad!

Hint for the Day: Keep extra inserts and weekly ad inserts on had in case a good deal "pops up"!

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Friday was the first day of school. I dropped off a tearful son then went to a few yard sales. One was a charity sale. It was their third sale. The first time I went nothing was priced and they said, "Make a pile" and then they quoted you a price. I gathered up a few toys, some Christmas decorations and a few other odds and ends. They quoted me a priced of $30.00 and said it was for Charity. I politely declined. The second time they had a sale, stuff was priced, but waaaay to high. This time stuff was priced, but they were down to the old margerine tubs and stained clothes. I bought a couple new Christmas ornaments for 25¢ each. I went to one other sale and bought three new with tag Beanie Babies for my son's ever-growing collection. I think he has over 300 now. When Beanie Babies first came out I thought it was such a scam - $1000.00 for a blue elephant - Puhleeze. Then bottom fell out and everyone started selling them off cheap or getting rid of them. That's when my sone decided to start buying them. He has gotten most of his for 50¢-$1.00 at sales. The Salvation Army sells them for $2.00 each, but he always thinks long and hard about those before he buys one at that price. He got 11 of them for 10¢ each once - that was his best deal.

Last night we went to a "Back to School Bash" that the PTSA put on. It was like a carnival and a lot of fun. There were games, cheap food ($1.00 hotdogs and sodas)and drawings for prizes. At each game you popped balloons with a dart or threw a football or tossed apples in a basket. It didn't matter if you "won" or not - you still got a prize. My son ended up with two pencils, two nice ink pens, a flashlight, a giant pixy stick, two t-shirts and a sack full of candy. They were doing drawings on the raffle tickets every 30 minutes. We thought we heard my husband's name so we went up front but they were saying another name by that time. You had to be present to win. A friend came over and said they had drawn his name but since we didn't hear it - we lost out. D@amn! Then they announced the winner of the gumball count- how many gumballs were in this big jug. My son had guessed 500 and there were 517. The closest guess was 502 but she was gone. So, the next highest guess was 500 - but they gave it to another kid that also guessed 500. D@mn! My son's shoulders were wilting! So, then they gave away a girls bike and a boys bike and these little kids were sooooo excited! They thanked everyone for coming and were about to walk off stage and somebody yelled - "What about the DVD player?" Oh yeah, they forgot to draw that one. So, who did they call but MY HUSBAND. Yeah! Our son was instantly revived and wanted to walk around carrying the box. It is a nice DVD/VCR all in one player. Not bad for $5.00 worth of raffle tickets and a couple hours of sweat!

Hint for the day: Yard sales yeild deals and buy a raffle ticket once in a while - you just might win. And if you don't - the charity still wins!

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Yesterday was my Birthday. Whoopity-do.

I got $50.00 in birthday cash from my Dad. (You're never too old for
b-day cash!). I noticed yeterday that Hobby Lobby had all their
scrapbooking items for 1/2 price this week. I went today and splurged on
a few things and got some really cool things too. I spent $102.18 before
discounts and $51.09 after discounts. My son tossed in some Silly Putty
or it would have been under $50.00.

We went to ToysRUs afterwards and looked for green tageed items. All
green tagged items are on clearance and this week everything is 50% off
the green tag. We bought a Rescue Hero Animal and Figure set for $3.49.
It had been $9.99. When it gets to 90% off, DH and I will go on a
scavenger junt to see what we can find ringing up cheap. This spring
they did this same thing and we bought over $400.00 worth of toys for
less than $20.00. Most of this will go to Toys 4 Tots at Christmastime.
We found a bunch of Playmobile toys that were not green tagged, butlooked
out of place. We took a chance and scanned them and they were ringing up
at 90% off. We got $24.99 Police Cars for $2.49 and Police Motorcycles
that were $14.99 for $1.49. Lots of great items for birthday parties and
charities too. I do usually sell a few things in my garage sale to
recoup the initial investment. Then that makes all the donated items
completely free.

I have $350.00 worth of merchandise coming from a website that ended up
costing me $14.85 (and that includes $5.00 shipping). Each item was
$49.99, but ended up costing me only 89¢ each. I'll save that story for
another day!

Sunday, August 14, 2005

While were at the Festivallast night - about 8:00, these big clouds started rolling in. Suddenly, just as the boys were about to get on the Tiltawhirl, these HUGE drops of rain starting coiming down hard. We ran to get under a tent, but it was blowing so hard and the lightening was striking out in the fieled where everyone had parked. We were about a block from the car. We ran to the other end of the festival and got under another tent to try and get the water out of our eyes. We were running through water past our ankles - that's how hard and fast it was coming down. We ran one more time for the car and by the time we got there it was slowing down some, but man were we drenched. We got the car seats soaked. It took about an hour to get out since the traffic was so bad and it was raining so hard. We drove into Fayetteville where it had not rained at all! We went through the drive in at Chick-Fil-A and the guy looked and me like I was straight out of the looney bin - soaking wet, wet shirt - wet hair - black mascara all over my face. What a looker! I explained to him, but he just closed the window and pretended I wasn't out there.

We were about ready to leave the festival anyway, we just didn't plan on getting soaked to the bone before we left. The canival rides were way to expensive and the games were so high priced and really pretty dorky. I spent a whopping 75¢ trying to push a line of quarters over the edge of machine. I heard one fall out, but never could find it.

Today is coupon insert day and the advertisements come out for Walgreen's, Target, etc. I usually sit down and see what deals I can come up with between the two. I have already discovered that a quick trip to Walgreen's will net me 12 packages of Kraft Handi-Snacks Cheese and Breadsticks for a total of $4.00. These sell for $1.89 each at Wal-Mart. They are Buy one for $1.99 get one for 1¢ at Walgreen's. I have $2.00 off 3 coupons so if I buy twelve that is equally divided by 2 (buy one/get one) and 3 (buy 3 save $2.00). So, $12.00 for the Handisnacks minus 4 $2.00 coupons ($8.00) so a grand total of $4.00 for 12 Handisnacks. Each Handisnack has five individual packages - so that is 60 Handisnacks for $4.00. 6.5¢ a snack. A great deal for after school snacks, school lunches, birthday goodie bag stuffers, and treats for the class (I'm the Home Room Mom!).

Hint for the day - Look over the inserts and double check them up with your ads. Good deals are out there!

Saturday, August 13, 2005

It's Saturday - Yard Sale day. But, honestly, it wasj rust too hot to even attempt any sales. Thee was a sale three doors down from our house yeterday. My son and I walked down there early. It was a garage sale and an apparel sample sale for And1 or andone. I never heard of the clothes before, but it was cool stuff for boys and men - hip hop looking sweat suits, t-shirts, long basketball shorts and cool hats. They new shirts were $4.00 each which is a lot to me at a yard sale, but they were all priced at $29.99 and higher to begin with new. So, I started picking out a bunch of stuff for my son since school starts this week. I asked if they would take a check since I hadn't had a chance to go to the ATM for yard sale money yet. They said no even though they know I live up the street and have lived there for 11 years. Not like I'm a hot check writer or anything. Oh well. I bought him three shirts because I had $13.00. I also picked up a Lennox swan, two crystal toothpick holders and an old glass reamer/juicer - all for 25¢ each. Good resell items. And my son will start school looking hip hop cool.

Tonight we will do the thing I live my life NOT to do. WASTE MONEY! We will go to a big carnival in town and spend money on rides, carny food and attempt to win big stuffed toys that we have NO room for anyway. But, it's a yearly tradition and my son abslutely LIVES for tonight. He loves those rides and wants to win, win, win. I remember when it cost 25¢ to play a game for a chance to win a stuffed toy. Now it's at least $1.00. Throw a dart? 3 darts for $5.00. Come on! We stick to the 50¢ games and set a limit on ride tickets. One ticket is $1.00 and each ride takes 3-4 tickets not to mention he wants Daddy to ride too! So, that's $6.00 at least to watch my son and husband get spun around while I envision them flying off into space.

Monday is my birthday. I'll be 39. Honestly. You say you're 39 and everyone just assumes you are really 40! I AM 39!

My hint for today - Live a little and have some fun and blow a little money every once in awhile!

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Several months ago I signed up for the Blockbuster Online Movie Rental program. The first three months were $9.99 then it went up to $14.99 a month. Yesterday I got an email from Blockbuster saying it was going up to $17.99 a month - time to cancel! But, within that email I clicked on a link to get Blockbuster coupons. One of the coupon was for a FREE Previously viewed DVD. There were about 20 titles that you could pick. We went to Blockbuster down the street and picked up a copy of "The Terminal" with Tom Hanks. FREE to keep forever! My point - read those emails and always click on the links to see what they are offering.

I also stopped in Hobby Lobby and checked out the scrapbooking stuff. This is a nasty little habit that I have recently gotten into and I am trying to keep a handle on the amount of money I invest. So, I always browse the end of the back aisles looking for those sweet little yellow Clerance stickers. I got a nice variety of handmade paper stickers that were $2.99 each - reduced to 9¢! Heck of a deal.

*Just so you don't think I am a total cheapy - we did go to the movies today (although it was a matinee, so it was less expensive) and even out to eat at a real sit down resturant without coupons (but, KIDS EAT FREE). We did sneak in a candy bar for the movies in our pocket too. Man, I think I am a total cheapy!

Today's hints: Read your emails carefully and check those clearance items!

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Yesterday we bought school supplies and some back to school clothes for my son. He's in the 4th grade this year so he needed more paper products rather than crayons, glue, etc. Although he didn't need a lot of crayons - I noticed they were only 6¢ at Wal-Mart. I always pick up lots of extra crayons, rulers, glue sticks and things like that to give out in goodie bags, donate to Toys For Tots and to send to school halfway throgh the year for the kids that are coloring with tiny little stubs. I substitute teach and witnessed a child coloring a field of flowers all black, brown and gray one day. When I questioned him, he showed me his crayon box and that's all he had. I brought him a new box the next day and he was so proud.

We also looked through the clearnace rack at Wal-Mart in the clothing department. I found Star Wars shirts marked down to $3.00 each. My son, although he really isn't in to Staw Wars -like these shirts - so cheap back to school clothes!

My hint of the day - when you find soemthing super cheap that you know you will use over and over agian - stock up while it's cheap. Boxes of 6¢ crayons will last a long time - no expiratin date - so STOCK UP! As fo the Star Wars shirt - you could buy one now to wrap around the DVD when it comes out and make a nice gift for someone. Alwyas think ahead!

Sunday, August 07, 2005

We went to the Church Sale yesterday and it was a big bust - church members had brought there stuff and were selling it out of their car trunks. Only three cars of "stuff" were there. We left without stopping. There was a big antique and furniture store auction in town yesterday. I assumed that it would be packed with buyers, dealers and gawkers. We drove by to check it out and there we only about 20 people bidding and only one was a dealer. I ended up buying an old kitchen table with green painted legs and a hardwood top for $7.50, an oil painting of a Native American man for $7.50 and something that will end up going to my Mom for Christmas (she reads this Blog. Hi Mumsie!). It was priced at $85.00 - I got it for $5.00. I was willing to go as high as $20.00- but no one else even bid against me. It is Fab-O!

After the auction we went to the grocery store for Kid's Day. There were only four kids in the entire store - two of which have been in my son's class in the past (ah, the joys of small town living). He did the cake walk with one other girl and he won a bakery cake. He was very excited and referred to "HIS cake" the rest of the day. He also did a ring toss game and a bowling game. He won a thermo insulated mug filled with M&M's, a Munch bar, a Twinkie, a Dole banana magnet and sticker sheet and a coupon for a FREE Video Rental. He also got a bottle of Sierra Mist. All in all it was very much worth the short trip up to the store for all these goodies. They took a picture of him with the cake to hang up in the store. My little celebrity!

Hint for today - Sunday is coupon day in the newspapers. I go through them, see what I can use for stuff that I buy all the time. If there are enough good ones, I go by extra papers. If there are only a few that I need multiples of, I trade for them on my coupon board. For instance, we have cats, so we buy kitty litter every week. When I saw a Tidy Cat $1.00 coupon a few months ago, I figured up how many bags we would buy before the coupon expired and then I traded for coupons to have one for every bag we will buy until Spet. 30, 2005 (the expiration date). I haven't gone through the inserts really good yet today - but there were four insets which is really good.

Til next time,

Saturday, August 06, 2005

It's Saturday. The greatest day of the week. GARAGE SALE DAY! (I saw a sign the other day that advertised a GARARAGE SALE). We're headed out to see what finds we can find today. There is a big chruch sale at th end of my road. Plus Iam sure we willp ass others along the way.

It is also "Kid's Day" at the grocery store here in town. Lots of prizes, freebies and samples for the kids. We'll go there see what we cang get for lunch for free then come on home.

I'll post any fab-O finds later.

Hint for today: Yard sales are great places to find ebay resell object,s gifts for people, things to add to your colelctions, cheap kids books, great kids clothes, etc. I BRAKE FOR YARD SALES!

Thursday, August 04, 2005

While following a yard sale sign several years ago, I happened to go down a street that I normally wouldn't have ever followed. At one house there was a card table set up under a tree and they were selling tomatoes, peppers, cucmbers and squash from their garden. This was a "Put your money in the can" type of deal. So, every few days we drive by the house to see what they are seling. Today I got garden fresh tomatoes for 75¢ a pound, cucumbers for 5/$1.00 and sweet yellow peppers for 5¢ each. My hint for today - scope out your neighborhood for large gardens. Maybe they sell off their excess inexpensively.

This is one of my deals that I documented with a photo. PopTarts were in the Dillon's Ad for 97¢ each. I had coupons for 45¢ off one box. Each coupon doubled at Dillon's to 90¢. So, that meant each box of Poptarts would cost only 7¢. I only had a few coupons, so I got on a coupon trading board and traded for additional PopTart coupns. After my trade I was able to get this batch of 31 boxes of PopTarts for a total cost of only $3.31. This deal was a couple of years ago. I also have learned that when I buy anything in a large batch that I should save all the UPC's in case a refund or premium offer comes out in the future. Imagine my glee when I discovered that PopTart's curently has an offer for a free Beach Towel and Beach Tote Bag for every twelve UPC's. I mailed in 24 UPC's today so I have two Beach Towels and two Tote Bags coming for free. Gotta love a deal like that!

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