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sale cyclesThanks to Lori at Moms by Heart for this wonderful Guest Post,

From year to year, there are several fairly reliable seasonal sales centered around special events. During these times, stores will mark certain items down to rock bottom prices in order to get you in the doors. These items are known as loss leaders. Here is a schedule of monthly loss leaders, along with monthly clearance items. For those of you who are seasoned frugal shoppers, please leave a comment if there is something I missed.

January
Loss Leaders:
1) New Year’s Resolutions – low fat brands, healthy food and diet products
2) Super Bowl Party – snack food, soda, sandwich items
3) Storage items and organization products
4) Medicine – cold and pain relief, vitamins
5) White sales
6) Chili, soups, stews
Clearance items:
· Dated items: calendars and planners
· Christmas and New Year’s party items
· Winter clothing, jackets, hats, boots
· Christmas baking products (sprinkles, cookie/candy molds, etc)

February
Loss Leaders:
1) National Canned Food Month – special deals on canned goods
2) National Hot Breakfast Month
3) Valentines Day – candy
4) Chinese New Year – Chinese food products
Clearance items:
· Leftover Christmas toys are discounted up to 75%
· Winter clothing
· 2/15 on: Valentines baking products (sprinkles, special packaging, etc)

March
Loss Leaders:
1) Frozen food month
2) Spring cleaning items
3) Easter food items
4) Gardening supplies
5) National Peanut Month
6) March Madness – sports drinks, soda
Clearance Items
· Frozen novelties are repackaged, old packaged products are reduced

April
Loss Leaders:
1) Earth Day – organic and environmentally friendly items, energy savers
2) Easter items
3) Auto Maintenance
Clearance Items:
· Easter baking products (sprinkles, cookie/candy molds, etc)

May
Loss Leaders:
1) Memorial Day – think barbeque and picnic products
2) Cinco De Mayo – Mexican food
3) Mother’s Day items
4) Auto Maintenance

June
Loss Leaders:
1) National Dairy Month
2) July 4th promos begin – outdoor barbeque/picnic items
3) Camping supplies, sunscreen, insect repellant

July
Loss Leaders:
1) July 4th promos continue – best prices on BBQ, picnic items
2) School supplies
Clearance Items:
· 4th of July baking products (sprinkles, cookie/candy molds, etc)
· Summer clothing
· Toys
· Patio furniture & outdoor decor items

August
Loss Leaders:
1) Back to School deals – lunch foods, school supplies, backpacks, lunchboxes, cereal, peanut butter and jelly
Clearance Items:
· BBQ equipment, charcoal,
· Sunscreen
· Insect repellant

September
Loss Leaders:
1) Back to School deals continue
2) Tomato products – look for Ragu and Prego coupons and deals
3) Baby items
4) After Labor Day, deals on BBQ and picnic supplies
5) Soup
Clearance Items:
· Bikes
· Gardening supplies

October
Loss Leaders:
1) Halloween products
2) Baking season begins
3) Apples, pumpkins and related products
Clearance Items:
· Toy clearances make room for Christmas items

November
Loss Leaders:
1) Thanksgiving dinner foods
2) Baking goods
3) Coffee, tea, cocoa

December
Loss Leaders:
1) Holiday party food
2) Baking supplies
Clearance Items:
· Fall décor items 75%+ off
· Fall baking products (sprinkles, cookie/candy molds, etc)

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Thanks to Rachel at R&R Workshop for this adorable DYI idea for Springtime Wreath, quick and easy but oh so cute. Make sure to like R&R Workshop on facebook so you will get updates all her fun ideas!

I wanted to make a cute wreath and while brainstorming ideas, I came across a picture of this wreath via pinterest. I decided to do one I can put after Valentines Day and keep for up St. Patrick’s day AND Easter. I may  leave mine up until summer..or when I need a change :)

Here’s how I did it:

Fabric scraps. I chose 3 different patterns with pastel colors. Its a new change from

red, pinks, purples we see during February.

Tip: You don’t have to buy a whole yard of fabric you like.

Buy 1/4 of a yard or half if you are going to use it for small projects.

It will save you from spending $10 on that cute Amy Butler fabric we all love. :)

Fabric or ribbon to hang wreath
Wreath- The dollar store has tons of wreaths.

Scissors

STEP 1. Cut fabric strips 8  inches long. This will be different depending on how thick your wreath form is.

A little trial and error may be required :) You can always cut off what you dont want as you go.

I also put mine in different piles so they would be easy to grab when I tie.

STEP 2. Decide the order you would like and Tie, Tie, Tie. -Watch a good movie or show while you do this! It makes the time go by faster!

STEP 3. Hang your wreath on your wall or door and smile every time you see it :)

Do you think you will make one too?

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Thanks to Flats To Flip Flops for today’s guest post!  Love these cute ideas, not sure I have the guts or the balance to pull of the look but she is rocking it :).  Follow her on Pinterest to see even more fun fashion tips. 
$34.99
Wedge Tennis Shoes are all the rage right now.  Stars like Jessica Alba and Miranda Kerr are spotted rocking them all the time!
 
I have to admit that I wanted(badly) to jump on this trend when it first appeared,something about these tennies just called my name. But I was a little hesistant.  Am I too old? Is this just a teenage trend?  And most importantly, what am I going to wear them with?
 
Today I am going to answer all of these questions.  
 
Are you too old and is this just a teenage trend?  No!  If you are nervous about whether this look is right for you, I would go to the store and try some on.  If age is a concern, stay away from wedge tennis shoes that are glittery or too in your face.  They scream teenage for sure.  Instead choose a more simple color or pattern with your tennis shoe.
 
What am I going to wear with my wedge tennis shoes?  Look no further!  Here are 3 ways I have worn mine!
 
  
A blazer almost always says grown up and pulled together!  Adding a fun shoe like a wedge sneaker just adds a playful element to your outfit and makes it more interesting.
 
 
This is a little more daring way to wear your wedge tennis shoes, but I love it!  Try thinking outside of the box and see what you can come up with!
 
 
Keep it casual.
This is probably the most obvious way.  Paired with a graphic tee, you can’t go wrong with your wedge tennis shoes!
 
What do you think?  Do you think you would give a wedge tennis shoe a try?

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Thanks to Disney on the Cheap for today’s guest post.

Hiya’ fellow thrifties! I am so happy to be here with you today.

My family loves Disney! I was so excited when I became a mom to start taking my little guy to Disneyland. However, if you are cheap thrifty like me, you might know that after heading to Disney’s site, I about had a heart attack at the price of the cheapest packages. We are a single income family, and both my husband and I are in school, so those prices were completely out of our budget. I thought I would never be able to take my son to Disneyland. And then, it struck me, if I can spend a little extra time on my groceries with couponing and deal hunting and save 85%, maybe I could apply the same time and strategies to my Disney Trip Planning and have a similar result.

While this will focus mostly on Disneyland, these tips can be used for any vacation.

The key to doing Disney for cheap is putting in the work. I don’t want to overwhelm you, so I will give you the simplified version. If you want to know more, head over to Love Our Disney to check out a more detailed series of Disney on the Cheap.

There are 7 things I like to share with everyone to help them do Disney on the cheap.

1) Dates- pick a date that is in the off season. Off season tends to be January 5 – March 5, April 15 – May 20, and after Labor Day – Thanksgiving. The first 2 weeks in December are less busy than later in the month. Picking to go in the off season will lower prices on hotels, lower the crowds so you can do everything in fewer days, and more. If you are able to travel at the beginning of the year, Disney usually offers discounted tickets.

2)Throw out the notion that packages are a good deal. Just like couponing, you will save a lot of money if you do a little work yourself. Book your hotel using Hotwire Hot Deals or Name Your Own Price. I prefer Hotwire, as they list some of the amenities you will be getting, and there is no bidding involved. If the idea of not knowing your hotel before you buy scares you, you can use betterbidding.com to help you narrow down what hotel it could be. Using Hotwire, I often score 3-4 star hotels at 1-2 star prices. We stay at places like the Radisson for cheaper than a Super 8.

3)Choose your transportation to your destination carefully. I live in Boise, ID. I have found, that the majority of the time, it is much cheaper to drive down to Disneyland then to fly. I know, with kids, it can be a hassle to drive, but it can save you a ton of money to do so. We usually leave in the evening and drive overnight. We rotate driving and sleeping. Then the kid(s) are only awake the last 4-5 hours of the drive. We have found driving often saves us close to $750 a trip.

4) Tickets- Understand that there is no magical way to get cheap tickets. This will most likely be your big ticket item. Some ways to save on tickets are to go at the beginning of the year, check clubs like Costco for discounts or deals, and if you are going a lot of days, check with Entertainment Book. With entertainment, be careful, they have what looks like a great deal, but then add taxes and fees, so you need to be going 4-5 days before you see any real savings. We saved $60 on tickets buying 4 day tickets for 4 people. Finally, if you are military, check with your base. Disney often offers Military Discounts of 50% for 3 day parkhopper tickets to Disneyland. You must buy them at your base though. Lastly- DO NOT BUY USED TICKETS! Disney tickets are non-transferable. Disneyland prints your name on your tickets and may ask for ID, Disney World requires a thumb print with your ticket. Don’t waste your money and then find out you can’t get in.

5) Food- Food and Hotel are the 2 biggest ways to save on your Disneyland vacation. Disneyland’s food is spendy, not very filling, and in my opinion, not very good. A hot dog, chips and medium soda runs close to $8. If you have 2 people, that is $16 for a meal that leaves you still hungry. What we do is spend $12 (less than that meal) and rent a locker in the Disneyland picnic area. We put a cooler in it and go to the picnic area and make our lunch and dinner. We get a much healthier meal for a fraction of the cost. Plus, it is a good break from the park. The picnic area is pretty enclosed and quite empty, so it gives the kids a chance to be a little more free as well. You can learn more about using the picnic area HERE. Also, you can take some snacks into the park. I have talked about our how we do our snacks HERE.

6) The final savings tip that I have for your today is about Souvenirs. Disney has been brilliant with the layout of their parks. Almost every ride, you exit into or right next to a gift shop. Those little souvenirs add up quickly and can become quite costly. The best way to save on souvenirs, don’t buy any! At least not IN the park. Scout out stores like Target, JC Penny, and more for clothing on clearance prior to your trip. Watch for deals online at the Disney Store to purchase actual park items at a fraction of the cost. We do allow each child (we often bring our niece and nephew along with us as well as our toddler) to pick out one item with a limit of $10. We also always buy them their first set of Mouse Ears. Other than that, we only buy things for special occasions. In October, our son hit his first height requirement and was able to ride Autopia! So we spent the $5 to buy him the hard/laminated Driver’s License as a souvenir. Something special to remember that event by.

7) Photos- This goes along with the previous tip. Photos are the cheapest souvenirs, and sometimes the best. The parks offer photopasses so that you can get photos taken by cast members and then buy them. My cheap thrifty self finds that I can’t stand the idea of paying so much, especially when cast members will often agree to use your camera to take a picture. BUT- there is no obligation to buy the photos, and you get a free online preview. So I say, use the service, preview the photos, and if you do want to buy them, purchase the CD with copyright release rather than the individual prints (much cheaper). At the same time, be sure to use your own camera a lot so that you are not relying on buying those photos. If you are worried about how your photos will turn out, check out THESE photography tips for your vacation.

I hope these tips help you in planning a Disney vacation the thrifty way! I have done several comparisons, and found I often save 25-40% off of Disney’s Good Neighbor Hotel package prices. In fact, we save so much, we are often able to go twice a year! So don’t let the price tag on Disney’s site scare you away. Just remember, investing a few hours of work can save you a ton!

Thanks for letting me share these tips with you! Have a Magical Day! Feel free to follow us on Facebook too.

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Hello Everyone! I am so excited to be posting here at A Thrifty Mom! I am Adrienne and I blog over at Free Time Frolics!  I blog about crafts, recipes, DIY and printable’s. Today I am going to share how to make a pillow cover with a Dishtowel.  This project was super easy and makes an adorable throw pillow for a bed or chair. Making the pillow took me about 30 minutes, with minimal sewing.

Let’s get started.  First I found this dishtowel at TJ Maxx for $4.  I fell on love with the little appliqued birds and ruffle.  I knew immediately this little beauty was going to be a pillow for my daughters bed. My towel measured 20×30.

Next I picked out 3 buttons and 2 1/2 yards of ribbon to match.  I had a pillow for from a previous couch pillow I didn’t need anymore.  If you are looking for a pillow form, Home Fabrics and Rugs is a great place to get them.

Next I wrapped my dishtowel around my pillow form to get a general idea of how far the dishtowel would wrap. Mine wrapped around once with a a 5 inch overlap.  With that in mind, I folded the bottom edge of my dishtowel about 8 inches. I pinned the edges into place.

Next cut you ribbon into 8 equal pieces.  Burn the edges with a match.  This will keep the ends from unraveling.  Pin your ribbon into position. I pinned mine at the top of the folded edge and 3 1/2 inches from the bottom folded edge, in between the 2 pieces of fabric..

Stitch into place. Making a pocket for the pillow.

Place your pillow in the sewn pocket.  I did this to check for placement of the other ribbons. My ribbons were placed 3 and 7  inches from the top of the ruffle. Just make sure they sit directly even with each other. Stitch them into place.

For the last step I placed my buttons.  I measured for center and pinned.  For the other buttons I measured from the middle to each end and found that center and pinned on both sides.  This is where I made my button holes.

Hand stitch your buttons on and you are all done!! Now you have an adorable decorative throw pillow for a bed or chair for spring or a little girls bedroom.  My little girl loves her new decorative pillow on her bed.  I need to keep my eyes open for a few more just like them.

Thanks so much Thrifty Mom for having me! If you like what you saw here please come on over to my blog Free Time Frolics and take a look around.

 

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We planted a bunch of pie pumpkins in our back field this year.  I love knowing that my pumpkins were grown without chemicals. We love pumpkins in bars, muffins, and pies.  I’m sure we’ll come up with some more creative uses. Here’s the process that we used to make our pumpkins into puree.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees

PumpkinsCut the pumpkins in half

Cut pumpkinsScoop out stringy pulp and seeds.  Remove the stem.

Scoop out insidePlace face down in a shallow pan.

Place in shallow panCover with foil.

Bake in oven for about 1.5 hours or until tender.

Allow pumpkins to cool.  Scoop pumpkin flesh and puree or mash it.

I used a food processor.  You could also use a blender or a mash it with a potato masher.  It really depends on what you have available and what consistency you like.

Pumpkin pieMake a yummy pumpkin pie.

I use the recipe on the Libby’s Pumpkin Puree can and substitute 15 oz. of our pumpkin puree.  I also make my pie crust from scratch from a recipe that Matt taught me when we were 1st dating.  Nothing beats homemade:)

With the puree that I didn’t use, I measured it into amounts that I use in recipes and froze it.

What do you make with pumpkin puree?

 Update*** I decided to re-post this… originally posted over 3 years ago.  But I have had a few emails asking me how to cook pumpkins so I thought it was worth sharing again!

Thanks to Give me Neither For this great post.

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