Martians love their coffee. All day, every day. When we first met, we were constantly going out to coffee and spending all the dollars having mochas and lattes and sometimes free iced coffee refills at Starbucks.
Like anybody who budgets would say, that ADDS UP. It’s like a leak in your budget. On average, I assume I spend $5 every time I get a coffee out somewhere. That is so much money!
Over the winter, Justen and I discovered something that changed the way we coffee at home. We were perusing Goodwill and saw, in a brand new box, something that would change our coffee game forever. Sitting there, waiting for us to snatch it up and love it, was a Bodum frother. Originally $25, only $10.
We took it home and quickly made it ours, especially in the winter, making milky hot chocolate, mochas and lattes.
If you are looking for a way to save money without sacrificing fancy coffee, look no further.
Here’s the simplest way: just froth your creamer. Pour half a cup of your coffee and then top with the frothy creamer. bada boom, you’ve got yourself a fancy latte!
If you’re looking for a little bit more of a classic latte experience, buy yourself some syrups (we love Monin!) and add a few pumps to a mug, pour with a little coffee, and top with frothed milk of your choice.
Wanting a mocha? Add chocolate sauce to the bottom of your mug. Pump the syrup if desired. Pour some hot coffee, stir the coffee + chocolate while your milk is frothing and then top with milk. IT IS SO SIMPLE.
For us, it was a $10 investment but if something were to ever happen to ours, I’d gladly pay the $25 to replace it. That’s 5 days of Starbucks.
Also full disclosure, I’m writing this post AT A COFFEE SHOP, sipping on the mocha I paid for. Gotta splurge sometimes.
If you’re a fancy coffee drinker, what are some ways you’ve figured out to have fancy coffee at home?
also PS how cute is our little coffee corner? I know one of our bulbs is out. it’s a shame I’m too lazy to replace it.
I’m going to cut to the chase: this week, we found one of our best Goodwill finds. The next day, as I was taking a shower, I was thinking about how we’ve found some REALLY COOL STUFF at Goodwill. Some of these aren’t best because of the high price value so much as meeting a need/overall use. But here are our top 5 Goodwill finds!
ONE // end/coffee table
While at Goodwill, we saw a box that was open, and when we glanced inside all I saw were gold pieces. I immediately looked up the words on the side of the box and found a photo of a beautiful gold/glass end table that retailed for $110. I immediately hugged the $20 box and asked Justen to get a cart because we were taking it home.
My mom had purchased two gray couches for us before we even knew where we’d live, and they’ve made it really difficult to rearrange most of the furniture in our apartment. After we bought the next item, we turned this table into our coffee table. I love it so much.
TWO // brand new ottoman
Our little living room has undergone a few different arrangements, but there’s only so much we can do with the space. After our last rearranging, I began to hunt for an ottoman. I saw some cute ones at Target, but I wasn’t about to pay $70 for them! We were perusing Goodwill one day when we saw a beautiful gray ottoman with the Target tags on it. $30 for a brand new ottoman! Again, asked Justen to get us a cart because we were taking it home. After bringing it home, we rearranged the furniture we could to complete our living room with this setup.
I have no idea why, but for awhile Justen was on a kick where he was determined to find a smart scale at Goodwill. We finally found one! The only bummer is that I’m avoiding that thing like the PLAGUE and Justen… well, I don’t know what his excuse is. 😉 So it’s the ONE good find that we’ve not put into use.
FOUR // t3 hairdryer
After being in the blogger world for awhile, I’ve become familiar with the t3 brand. It’s the super expensive often mentioned in the Nordstrom sales hair styling brand. When Birchbox was having a big sale, I actually bought their curling wand (don’t even get me started on the price, but I’ve not regretted it once). So when I glanced over the hair styling products at Goodwill and saw the white hair dryer with rose gold accents, I almost lost my mind.
and for $7.
I’ll take a used $7 t3 hair dryer over $20 new in box conair hair dryer ANY DAY. I took it home, cleaned off a few marks on the side and this bad boy works like a dream. It didn’t include a diffuser or anything, but I don’t care AT ALL. It was originally sold for $225.
FIVE // brand new kitchenmaid mixer
This is the one from this week! We were about to leave Goodwill with a few random things – a little Lilly Pulitzer votive and something else I can’t even remember, when we saw a stack of KitchenAid mixer boxes at the end of the checkout. For $100. My eyes got big and I asked Justen to hold my stuff while I went over to check it out, and sure enough… brand new 5 qt Kitchen Aid mixers. It’s black, which wouldn’t have been our color of choice but for $270 off/almost 75% off a brand new Kitchen Aid mixer? Yeah, that’s a no brainer.
Okay now I HAVE to know: what is the best (either cost wise or just your own personal opinion-wise) thing you’ve ever found at a thrift store? Talking about thrift store finds might possibly be my favorite past time 🙂
This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, INC. and The Coca-Cola Company, all opinions are mine alone. #WinCoPizzaNight #CollectiveBias
Is it just me, or does it seem like the days go by faster once the sun starts setting earlier? Suddenly it’s “night time” at 4 pm and it’s hard for me to want to do ANYTHING once the sun goes down.
Pair that with being a newlywed whose husband takes on an overtime project and making dinner when he gets home + eating it + cleaning up after dinner is LITERALLY followed by pajamas and bed. Y’all, that has been our glamorous life. When people ask how married life is going for us we’re like IDK we really don’t see each other that often.
Luckily, we make time to try and get time to slow down. We’ve adjusted our language from not “having time” to not “making time,” because we have as many hours in the day as Beyonce, according to Pinterest. Anyway!
On my 101 in 1001 list is a goal to watch a bunch of movies Justen wants me to watch, one of them being A Christmas Story! We made time by picking up a WinCo pizza and Coca-Cola® (for him) and a Diet Coke (for me)! Really, is there any better way to pair pizza than with Coca-Cola?!
WinCo (follow them on Facebook and Pinterest!) is an employee-owned company with consistently low prices. Their Instagram,Twitter and Snapchat (ilovewinco) are full of behind the scenes and employee stories, which I LOVE. They limit their advertising, which helps them pass that savings on to their customers! Cozy nights in that don’t break the bank? Double win. The cozy night savings go even further. Save $1 when you buy any WinCo Pizza and (2) 2-Liter Coca-Cola Beverages (in-store coupon offer Ends 2/28/18)! We picked up a take and bake pizza at the deli and grabbed our Coca-Cola on our way to check out.
We popped in the pizza, got on our pajamas and queued up A Christmas Story. The pizza was done just in time, and thanks to our festive paper plates + cups, there were ZERO dishes to do afterwards! Which meant that we got to spend the rest of the night all cozied up, watching the movie.
Here’s the thing, y’all. It’s not about not having time. It’s not that we don’t have enough time to make memories or spend quality time or pause life, it’s that we don’t MAKE time to do those things.
If you live near a WinCo (check their site for store locations), pick up one of their deli pizzas (you can even get them HOT and READY TO GO!) grab a bottle of Coca-Cola and make time to have a night with someone you love.
Also – if you had a list of MUST WATCH movies for your spouse or best friend, what would be on them?
I love weddings. Actually. I LOOOOVE weddings. Prior to Pinterest, I bought wedding magazines regularly because I loved looking at all of the beautiful things. In my mind, my wedding would be big and elegant and fancy but somewhere along the way my dreams for my own wedding departed the land of fairytale romance and landed in the realm of frugal reality.
Once we locked in our wedding date, I immediately went online to find wedding invitations. We found some really beautiful ones that totally go with the theme of our wedding. I was so excited about them… until I realized that they were like $1.75 EACH at the cheapest. A huge part of how we’re doing our wedding is that we want to invite EVERYONE, and thinking about sending 500 invitations at $1.75 each… that’s $875! Then I thought, “I’ll just design our own wedding invitations!” and that lasted for about 1.5 hours before I realized I’m actually too lazy to do that.
That’s when we decided to order them and go about it in the most inexpensive way possible. Here’s the way we’ve done that:
ONE // VISTAPRINT
We decided to go with Vistaprint. They always have sales and coupon codes plus we were able to combine it with Ebates and get cash back for our purchase. Their site has a bunch of different invitation designs that would fit a variety of themes, and their bulk prices are really reasonable. If you’re frugal and way less lazy than I am, you can even upload your own designs and they’ll print them. After the 30% off code, we paid $0.46 per printed invitation (they came with envelopes!). We ordered matching return labels, which were $13.38 for 280 (or $.05 each). Total = $.51 per invitation.
TWO // NO SUITE
While the part of me that LOVES receiving mail really wanted RSVP cards, the part of me that LOVES saving money really didn’t want to buy them, so we didn’t. We didn’t include any of the “suite” ideas – RSVP cards, ceremony details, etc. Instead we decided to utilize the back side of the invitation and filled it with those details. We added an RSVP page to justenandstephanie.com (Justen built it – I love it!) and said you could rsvp there or to either of us. The back also has our ceremony and registry information. Boom. One piece of paper.
THREE // ADD YOUR OWN SPECIAL TOUCH
Once we received the invitations, I spent days staring at them and actually wishing they were a little more fancy. They had printed glitter, but no real glitter or shiny gold or anything that made them feel personal. After receiving multiple clear messages that I should not fill each envelope with glitter, I realized I could maybe somehow add a bag of glitter. I looked everywhere for clear envelopes of some sort. They were all too expensive. I carried an invitation in my purse and went into store after store holding it up to treat bags of various sizes and trying to find SOMETHING so that I wouldn’t have to resort to the Pinterest pins I’d seen about making your own envelopes using wax paper because I AM JUST SO LAZY!
Then one day at Party City, I found the perfect size Wilton treat bags and bought a couple hundred. Then I embarked on the journey of finding the stuff to fill the bags with. Did you realize that finding a bulk bag of gold confetti glitter mix isn’t really easy? I finally caved and ordered thousands of sequins from some sequins supplier and then some tissue paper holes from Amazon and sat around and waited. While I was waiting, I discovered a bunch of Target Easter grass, paid $1.69/lb for some and then went home to experiment. I had a random jar of chunky gold glitter, which I then supplemented with more gold glitter and sequins from Target. If you’re doing the math, yes I have way more loose sequins than I can even figure out what to do with.
Thanks to binge watching Are You The One? (don’t get started on my taste in classy television) I was able to sit down and spend HOURS cutting up easter grass and sprinkling that, glitter + sequins into little treat bags, folding them and taping them and then taping them to the top of the invitations with washi tape.
sorry that ones so grainy
FOUR // HAND DELIVER
Since owning an owl to deliver mail has yet to become a thing in muggle world, and stamps can add up quickly, we’re hand delivering as many invitations as possible. My dad will get all of the invitations for my stepfamily, my mom will keep the ones from her friends, and we’ll make sure to keep the invitations with us when we see people. Stamps add up.
Now that the invitations are starting to be delivered people, it’s starting to become so real. We’re going to promise in front of our friends and family to choose each other every single day, and then we’re going to have a party! I’m excited to continue sharing with you ways we’re saving money on our wedding. 😀
When I find something that’s almost-too-good-to-be-true but still tried-and-true, I have to share it.
As y’all know, I’m trying to tackle my debt. One way I do that is by earning gift cards for things I’d be spending money on, thus creating more wiggle room in my debt crushing. Like… if I can put $5 on my Starbucks card but someone else could put $5 on my Starbucks card and I could put $5 towards my debt… that’s a win-win, for sure.
Here are five apps that I’ve discovered that help you earn gift cards.
If you’re reading my blog, I’m guessing you’ve heard of ibotta just because I think most people have heard of it. But in case you haven’t… ibotta offers you cash rebates for purchases. They always have opportunities for bonuses, and if you are diligent in checking to see their offers, you can make a lot of money. I’ve made $36 so far, and never once have I purchased something I wasn’t already going to the store to buy. If you sign up with my referral code, you’ll get $10 (and I’ll get $5 for referring you). The great news is that you can stack these with coupons and discount apps like Cartwheel! Major savings potential.
I use Receipt Pal. Justen uses Receipt Hog. Both have the same purpose – you take pictures of your receipts, for points that you can cash out for gift cards. Receipt Hog is way more fun and interactive, but they haven’t accepted me yet. Receipt Pal has a limited amount of receipts you can scan per week, but if you’re diligent the points add up quickly. I’ve already redeemed a $5 gift card for Regal and am currently trying to figure out where I should redeem my $25 gift card.
In terms of ease, convenience and “no purchase necessary,” shop kick is the the way to go. You get kicks (points) just for walking in to certain stores, and you can earn more kicks when you scan certain items at the store. Even better? They offer “kick bates,” which means that if you buy certain items and submit the receipt, you’ll receive bonus kicks. Not only that, but you can link your debit card and earn kicks for qualifying purchases at a bunch of stores. You can stack all of the apps so far. A few weeks ago, I walked into Walmart and got 35 kicks just for showing up. I scanned Coffeemate creamer for 15 kicks. I checked ibotta and saw that they had a rebate for Coffeemate creamer purchased at Walmart. There was a kickbate. So I earned $.50 in ibotta, 150 kicks from the kickbate PLUS 2 points/$1, and then I scanned the receipt. All for something I needed to purchase anyway. Shop kick is by far my favorite gift card earning app, because I think it’s the easiest and requires NO money or purchase whatsoever.
If you have my phone number I’d love to text you a link to join shop kick (I’ll earn a portion of the points you do for the first 2 weeks you have the app installed). If not, sign up here.
This app is so stupid easy to use. They give you scratch cards. You scratch off 3 of the 6 squares and hope they match. If they do, you get a deal or a gift card. I’ve won a $5 Amazon gift card. and I’ve done nothing but play a stupid easy game. You earn coins as you play, and those can be redeemed for gift cards when you get enough. I’ve never had enough so I cannot vouch for the validity of that. If you’re already playing games, you might as well play a stupid easy one that might win you a gift card.
It started with Sworkit. I downloaded the Sworkit app and realized I got points for finishing the app workouts. Then I realized you could also get points for mPlus places. THEN I realized there’s actually a plethora of mPlus points apps that all earn points in your mPlus account. My favorite is mPlus places. It’s like Swarm but with real points that get you real gift cards. There are a bunch of games that earn you mPlus points as well, so if you’re a person who likes to play games on your phone.. hello, you should earn real points that earn you real gift cards amiright?!
Have you used any of these apps? are there any other apps you use to earn free gift cards? Let me know if you download any of them! I’m more than happy to help you figure them out 🙂
This is a sponsored post, but all opinions and thoughts are mine.
Have y’all ever seen High School Musical (1, 2 or 3)? Did you know that there was another installment all about Sharpay Evans called Sharpay’s Fabulous Adventure? If you didn’t know… you’re missing out. East High School’s sassiest wildcat moves to New York City, and she has this huge expectation of her fabulous life in New York City, but the reality is that she is one of those broke, starving artist types living in a shoebox that looks like this:
But Sharpay makes the best with what she has and turns this drab studio apartment into a Fabulous oasis:
(okay really the magic was done by Mark Hofeling, an art director, who had these photos on his site)
But here’s the point:
Sometimes we really want fabulous but we just don’t have the resources for it. Instead of giving up, whining, and being frustrated we can take a hint from Sharpay Evans and work within our resources.
That’s true for so many areas in life, but one area that this is particularly helpful for is the area of taking care of yourself. and this is ESPECIALLY true for those of you moms out there, because moms always think of themselves last and have a hard time justifying spending money on themselves, AMIRIGHT!?
Groupon really is the place to go when you’re needing to save money but still want to treat yourself. That is, living fabulously on a budget while still treating yourself – but not SPLURGING – every once in awhile. Sometimes when you’re saving and/or paying off debt, you get exhausted with constantly denying yourself – it’s almost like dieting without ever allowing yourself to eat cake at a wedding. Moderation, right? 🙂