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atmgraphiclook

Thanks to Michelle for passing along this thrifty tip on how to make Red Velvet Cake balls.  She is so talented and I love her ability to think outside the box, and be thrifty!  You can check out more of her ideas at Polka Dots and Pizza. If you would like to be a featured guest post on Look What I Made , watch for our weekly post each Tuesday called A Thrifty online craft fair, link up and you may be selected for our weekly feature post.

You Need:
1 Box of Red Velvet Cake Mix
1 Can of Cream Cheese Frosting
Bakers Chocolate or Chocolate Chips
First mix up your easy box of cake
Second, bake the cake according to the directions
Third, crumble up the cooked cake after it is cool and mix it with all the cream cheese frosting
This is what it looks like all mixed up
Next, roll up the cake into balls
Melt the chocolate, and roll or dip the balls into the chocolate. I got lazy and just drizzled some on top
They are SO tasty and so decadent! Enjoy!

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kristie 5x7We have an awesome guest post from Kristie at Blushing Basics:

As a freelance Makeup Artist, the Holidays are one of the busiest times of the year. Since not everyone wants to splurge on a Makeup Artist, I thought it would be helpful to pass on some tips and techniques to get your Thrifty Holiday Look. I went to my local CVS and picked up some makeup to create this fantastic look. I purchased my Wet ‘n Wild eyeshadow, lip gloss, eyeliner, highlighter, and nail polish for only $8.50. Combine that with my makeup tutorial explaining the basic application technique, you too can look like you just left the Makeup Artist’s chair.

I hope this was helpful in creating your own Thrifty Holiday Look. As a tip from an insider, blending is your key to success.

xo
Kristie

Kristie {a.k.a. Blushing Basics} is a wife, mother of two, and freelance Makeup Artist. Her love for all things artistic began at an early age and has since blossomed into her favorite medium, Makeup! For more makeup application techniques, as well as video tutorials and frugal fashion advice, check out her blog http:www.blushingbasics.blogspot.com.

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atmgraphiclook

Thanks to Michelle for passing along this thrifty tip on how to take a plain T shirt and turn it into something wonderful.  She is so talented and I love her ability to think outside the box, and be thrifty!  You can check out more of her ideas at Polka Dots and Pizza.

I got a plain long sleeve boat neck shirt at old navy on clearance for $2.50. I thought for that price, I could come up with something to do with it. I decided to turn it into a cardigan. Here is what I did.

First I started with my plain t.
I folded the front in half so I knew where the middle would be and made a cut with my scissors
Here is what it looks like cut up the front
Then I found this great pre-ruffled trim stuff at jo-anns, so I decided that would be fun to add to one side. On the other side I just cut up a black t-shirt and made it be like bias tape and sewed it all the way on the other side.
Final Product! It’s a fun little shirt. You could add any embellishments you wanted really. Just another fun idea of what to do with an old or cheap t.

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Thanks to Utah Deal Diva for this Guest Post

I found pomegranates for only .92 at Walmart today, so I decided to take pictures while I peeled mine and show anyone interested how it’s done. I can’t take all the credit. I owe my method to the infamous Alton Brown from the Food Network. I love him! When picking a pomegranate, I select the largest, heaviest ones I can find. Expect to yield 1 – 1.5 cups of seeds per fruit. My 3 pomegranates yielded 4.5 cups of seeds total.

Peeling a pomegranate isn’t difficult, but it’s a little trickier than peeling most fruit. Inside the pomegranate are tons of small red seeds that are filled with juice. They’re tangy and sweet and those seeds are what we’re ultimately after! Watch out though, they also stain like crazy, so wear an apron!

Step 1: Using a small knife, score the outside of the pomegranate from one end to the other. I make several shallow cuts as it’s easier to peel that way. Don’t cut too deeply into the fruit or you’ll hit the seeds! Peel away the end of the fruit that sticks out- the end that used to have the stem attached. I also slide the knife in a bit deeper into the end here and gently break the pomegranate in half.

Step 2: Place a large bowl in one side of your kitchen sink and fill the bowl with water. You’ll be doing most of the peeling with your hands under the water with the fruit. Being submerged in water helps loosen the seeds from the peel and minimizes spray, should a seed happen to burst. Even still, the sides of my sink were dripping with pink by the time I finished peeling my three pomegranates!

Step 3: Using the lines you scored into the peel as guides, carefully begin to pull the fruit apart. Once it’s in quarters, I begin gently brushing the seeds from the peel. Most will just fall away, but others might be a little stubborn. For those that don’t want to come out, instead of trying to grab the seed, instead, pull the peel away and try to loosen it that way.

You’ll soon notice the seeds fall to the bottom of the bowl, while the white parts of the peel float on top. As you work your way through the fruit, every once in a while, skim the peel pieces away from the surface of the water and discard.

Step 4: Once you’ve sufficiently gotten all the seeds, try and remove all the pieces of peel from the water either with your hand, or with a fine mesh strainer. I use both.

Step 5: Pour the bowl with the seeds through a colander and strain the water out. Gently pour seeds onto paper towels or a cloth and spread them out to dry.

Step 6: Once dry, place the seeds in a tupperware container and lay a folded damp piece of paper towel on top. The seeds will stay fresh in your fridge for up to 2 months this way!

Step 7: Eat them! Here are a few ideas on how to eat pomegranate seeds: Top yogurt, add them to oatmeal, toss them in a salad, top frosted cupcakes, add them to fruit salad, jell-o, etc. Here are a few recipes I thought looked good as well:

Spinach Pomegranate Salad
Spiced Pears & Pomegranate
Roasted Pork with Pomegranate Sauce

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Ashley with Frugal Coupon Living wrote a great post on all the different ways you organize coupons.  I personally use the binder method and it works great for me.  But it is import to use what works for you.  So this is a great way to show you a few choices.  If you would like to read my post with photos of  How I organize my coupons click here.

One of the most important things to do when couponing is organizing your coupons. If you don’t know where to find a coupon you have (due to a stash full of unorganized coupons) then you are not able to reach your full saving potential. Below I am going to show you different organizations methods that work.

Method One: Organize Inserts by Date
This method has been the method I have used for years. The funny thing, however, is when searching the internet for other’s organizational methods, I was the only one that I found using this method.

How to Start:
1.) Pull your inserts from the Sunday Paper and write the date on the front.
2.) Hole-punch the left margin of the coupon (In all my years, have not had problem with this messing up barcodes to scan.)
3.) Place your inserts in a large binder with oldest in the back and newest in the front (arranged by date.)

Pros:
1.) This makes finding a certain date’s coupon VERY easy to locate.
2.) All your inserts are in one place.
3.) Doesn’t require much time to organize each week.
4.) Easy to get rid of expired coupons. Clean your binder starting in the back.
5.) You have every coupon that came out in the Sunday paper – no coupons went to waste. So even if there is a coupon for a product you don’t buy, you might find the product cheap/free and you can donate the item.

Cons:
1.) Bulky
2.) When searching for a particular coupon (toothpaste), it is not easy to locate. I could be anywhere in your binder.
3.) There is a lot of “extra” advertisement paper (coupons only take up so much room on each insert.)
4.) Doesn’t leave room for loose coupons – another method is necessary to attach to this style of organizing.

Examples:
• See My Example HERE.

Method Two: Organize Coupons by Type
This method is the most common for couponers. Most coupon “pros” (if we can call them that) arrange their coupons this way.

How to Start:
1.) Pull your inserts from the Sunday paper and cut. (Note: If you have multiple copies of the same type, lay individual, like pages on top of each other and cut coupons from multiple inserts at the same time.
2.) Once your coupons are cut, organize them by type. You can arrange by type using photo sheets or baseball card inserts.
3.) Place photo/baseball card inserts into a large binder. You can add as well a zipper pouch for scissors, pens, paperclips, etc.

Pros:
1.) Organization at its best. If done right, this system is very orderly and neat.
2.) Easy to navigate for type of coupon. When you are in the store you can easily go to your health section for a toothpaste coupon.
3.) Easier to see when a coupon is about to expired.
4.) All your coupons are in one place.
5.) All the “extra” paper in the Sunday inserts are recycled or throw away. You do not have an abundance of extra weight due to unneeded paper.

Cons:
1.) Time – you do need to find time to cut and organize coupons each week.
2.) Bulky.
3.) Hard to find a coupon by date. If you need to go to the 1/3 SS insert, you don’t know which coupon came from where.
4.) You must search page by page for expired coupons when cleaning out your binder.
5.) When cutting coupons, you are most likely throwing away coupons you don’t use/need. If there is a sale where that coupon makes something free or cheap, you don’t have that coupon to donate that product to others.

Examples:
• See Kerri ‘s binder example HERE – She actually sells them as well so you don’t have to make your own.
• See Sarah’s binder example HERE
• See Shannon photo album example HERE
• Coupon Magic Organizer also has a place where you can buy a premade binderHERE.

Method Three: The File System
I have seen this method before, but I was unable to locate a picture or example during my research. It is pretty self explanatory, however.

How to Start:
1.) Acquire a file cabinet or cube crate that can hold handing file folders
2.) Take your inserts and arrange by date. Each handing folder will house a different date’s coupons.

Pros:
1.) Clean and Neat.
2.) Requries the least amount of time.
3.) This makes finding a certain date’s coupon VERY easy to locate.
4.) All your inserts are in one place.
5.) Easy to get rid of expired coupons. Clean your files starting with the oldest date
6.) You have every coupon that came out in the Sunday paper – no coupons went to waste. So even if there is a coupon for a product you don’t buy, you might find the product cheap/free and you can donate the item.

Cons:
1.) Bulky – the most bulky method.
2.) Not really portable. You will not walk into the store with this method in your hand/cart.
3.) When searching for a particular coupon (toothpaste), it is not easy to locate. I could be anywhere in your file system.
4.) There is a lot of “extra” advertisement paper (coupons only take up so much room on each insert.)
5.) Doesn’t leave room for loose coupons – another method is necessary to attach to this style of organizing.

Examples:
• Please share if you have/see an example to where I can link.

Additional Methods
When couponing, you will most likely want to mix in other organizational methods. Of the above methods, method 1 and 3 don’t allow you to do it all in one place. You might be able to do it all with method 2.

Accordion File
For loose coupons, it is nice to have an accordion file. You can arrange this by type of coupon. You organization can be as specific ad dairy or as broad as grocery. Other tabs include health and beauty, baby, cleaning, household goods, etc. The accordion file is VERY easy to carry in the store. It can be as small as an envelope size or as large as a piece of paper (in width and height comparison- not depth.) This is a great place to organize peelies, catalinas, blinkies (store dispenser coupons), etc.

Envelopes
When shopping in a store, I plan my lists ahead of time. Like I have shared before, I do not walk in with my large coupon binder. Instead I carry in envelopes (and usually my accordion file mentioned above.) My envelopes are arranged by store name. For example, when I organize my CVS list I carry instead my envelopes coupons I need for THIS trip, Extra Care Bucks, My CVS Card, and rain checks. At the end of my CVS shopping, the envelope will be 95% empty from what I came in the store with.

Smaller Binder
My particular grocery store, Publix, often has a lot of additional coupon flyers/booklets. When I have extra booklets, I hole-punch the booklets and arrange them in a smaller binder. This I call my store coupon binder. If you desired, you could add some photo/baseball card inserts and place additional store coupons inside this binder as well. These would be coupons earned through rewards cards, food/baby clubs, etc. They usually are mailed, printed, or acquired in the store.

Photos above used with permission from: Save at Home MommyThe Bargain Jargon, and Frugal Coupon Living.

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