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Groupon: Seven7 Women’s Jeans for $34.99 Shipped

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Groupon is offering the popular Seven7 Women’s Jeans deal again! Choose from several styles, washes, and sizes all for $34.99 each (value: $74). This offer includes free shipping and free returns.

Fine print stuff:

Doesn’t expire. Limit 3 per person, may buy 2 more as gifts. Free returns. Free shipping. Does not ship to AK/HI/Canada/Puerto Rico.Most orders are delivered within 12 business days from the purchase date. Does not ship to PO boxes

This offer will be good for two more days, but it’s possible certain style-size combinations may sell out sooner than that. Head to Groupon to shop the selection.


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cvspharmacy

CVS to open in Renton; Enter Washington Market!

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cvspharmacy

CVS opening in Renton

I’ve confirmed that construction has begun on the first Washington CVS store! The location will be 10712 SE Carr Road in Renton and it is slated to open sometime next summer.

Equally exciting, I’ve been told that they are “developing opportunities” to expand into the Seattle market! I remember when I first started couponing and I heard about CVS, I visited the store locator page on their website only to learn my “nearest” store was about three states away, in Nevada.

I’d love to hear from my out-of-state readers: what are your thoughts about CVS? And those of you that are local – how likely are you to check it out? 


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Healthy Living on a Budget - The Coupon Project

Living Healthy on a Budget: Frugal Fitness & Healthy Eating Post Round-up!

Healthy Living on a Budget - The Coupon Project

Healthy Living on a Budget - The Coupon Project

A week from today, Tuesday October 15th is the premiere of NBC’s The Biggest Loser, Season 15! I could’ve sworn it was supposed to be tonight October 8th. Did they change it, or maybe I’m just losing my marbles. (EDITED TO ADD: I didn’t lose my marbles. They pushed it back a week to make room for a 2-hour special of The Voice.)

I don’t know about you, but I always get so inspired watching the Biggest Loser. It’s a good reality check-in about how I’ve been doing with my diet or exercise (or not been doing). For fun, I thought I’d go back through some of my very best posts related to fitness and eating well on a budget to share with you today.

Frugal Fitness

Think you need fancy workout equipment or a gym membership to get fit? I’d argue you don’t. Here are a few posts to get you started in your exercise journey for less.

Eating Well for Less

It seems that so many these days are touting special over-priced product, supplements, or packaged meals as necessary to eat right and lose weight. Remember that the weight loss industry makes billions every year. I believe the truth to eating well is going back to what we know to be true – a diet consisting of mostly whole foods and lots of veggies. I have shared a number of posts over the course of this blog on how to do this – without breaking the bank.

My Favorite at-home Workout DVDs

I can vouch for these Biggest Loser-trainer workout videos because I own them. I’ve included an Amazon link for each, along with today’s price. Note that the prices are subject to change at any time, without notice.

  • Jillian Michaels 30-Day Shred (Amazon: $9.00). I’d recommend this one if you haven’t worked out in awhile and just want to kick-start stuff. It really does work! There are three workouts that get progressively more difficult. You only need a yoga mat, and a couple hand weights. As the workouts are only 20 minutes long, it’s a good one to add to your workout DVD collection. A great workout to do on days you are short on time. 
  • Jillian Michaels Burn Fat, Boost Metabolism (Amazon: $7.29). I recently discovered this workout and like it for the single fact that there are no weights involved! All you need is a yoga mat (or hey, a beach towel would work, too). While it’s a longer, 45-minute workout, I didn’t feel it was as intense as other at-home workouts I’ve done. I do like Jillian’s circuit-style approach to her workouts – just when you get tired of one exercise, she’s onto another.
  • Bob Harper: Inside Out Method Super Strength (Amazon: $7.29). This is one of my very favorite workout DVDs! It’s not for the faint of heart – it’s definitely challenging. It’s also longer – about 66 minutes from start to finish. Even so, some days I’ll pop it in and do 30-40 minutes of it. Still a crazy good workout. It took me several attempts before I could finish the thing! If you’re looking for at at-home workout that really pushes you – pick this up!
  • Bob Harper: Inside Out Method Cardio Conditioning (Amazon: $6.29). This is a pretty brutal cardio workout! Like the Super Strength workout above, it took me several attempts until I could finish it. There are lots of fast jumping jacks, squats, and other moves that will burn the calories off you.
  • Bob Harper: Inside Out Method Yoga Warrior (Amazon: $10.97). I really enjoy this hour-long yoga workout! It’s great for the days I want a slower-paced workout. He offers up modified versions for many of the moves for beginners, but I found with the exception of a crazy Bird of Paradise pose at the end, I was able to complete most of the poses, even without tons of experience doing yoga.

I like having several great workout DVDs in my home library and I keep my yoga mat and hand weights in my family room for easy access. While I don’t always feel like working out, having these things out and accessible makes it easier for me to choose to do so.

Will you be watching the Biggest Loser tonight? What are some of your favorite tips or resources for eating healthy and/or working out without spending a lot of money?


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Fred Meyer Coupon Deals 9/8 – 9/14: Organic Coconut Oil, Legos, Broccoli & More!

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Fred Meyer Ad 9/8

Here are the best deals I could find at Fred Meyer starting Sunday, 9/8 and running through Saturday, 9/14. As always, make sure to check out Fred Meyer e-coupons site for ecoupons you can load to your Rewards card!

If you’re finding this post prior to the new ad cycle, you may wish to check out the deals good through today only (9/7).

My favorite deals have been highlighted in red. 

Honeycrisp Apples
$2.49/lb

Kroger Cheese
$1.50 each with in-ad coupon (limit 2)
Select Varieties, Including Bars, Shredded & Slices, 6-8 oz

Broccoli Crowns
$0.77/lb

Fresh Foster Farms Split Chicken Breasts
$1.37/lb

Fresh Foster Farms Grill Pack Fryer
$1.49/lb

Fred Meyer Large Eggs
$1.25 each with in-ad coupon (limit 4)

Eggo Waffles or Pillsbury Frozen Breakfast
$1.50 each with in-ad coupon
Stack with $1/2 Eggo coupon from 8/4 Red Plum
OR $1.50/1 Kellogg Family Rewards (requires 1,000 points)
Bottom line: as low as FREE

Quaker Life, Cap’n Crunch or Chewy Granola Bars
$1.67 each with in-ad coupon (limit 6)

Kivu Bulk Coffee
$6.99/lb each with in-ad coupon (limit 2 lbs)

[Read more…]


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quikshade

Fred Meyer Labor Day Doorbuster Sale Ad: Sept 2, 2013

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Fred Meyer Labor Day Doorbuster Ad

Welcome! Please note that if you are finding me on October 10-11, 2013 – you will want to check out the current Fred Meyer 2-Day Ad. The post below was for a prior sale. While you’re here – make sure to check out my Fred Meyer category. I post weekly Fred Meyer deals, unadvertised finds in the store, special events such as Black Friday and more.

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Fred Meyer Stores will be having a Doorbuster sale on Labor Day, Monday September 2nd from 7am – 1pm, with a few deals good all-day.

There are a few coupons on the Labor Day ad you might want to note:

  • 25% off Apparel, Shoes & Accessories for Men, Women & Kids (7am – 1pm only!)
  • Save $20 on any mix of $100+ Home Electronics, Music, Movies & Video Games (7am – 1pm only!)
  • 20% off Vacuums & Steamers (good all day)

There are also a few coupons in this week’s ad you might want to bring with you:

  • 10% off Housewares & Home Fashion (can’t combine with another bonus coupon & can’t use on clearance/Priceblasters)
  • 15% off Apparel, Shoes & Accessories for Men, Women & Kids (if you end up shopping after 1pm)

Good 7am – 1pm ONLY

Everyday Living® Bath Towel $2.99 (50% off)
Use the 10% off Home coupon from the weekly ad
Bottom line: $2.69

Twin Pack Bed Pillows $5.99 (50% off)
Use the 10% off Home coupon from the weekly ad
Bottom line: $5.39

All FoodSaver Bags & Accessories
Save 50%
Use the 10% off Home coupon from the weekly ad

All Garden Décor
Save 50%

[Read more…]


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Roadtrip Report: Kids of the Wild West, Another Capital, and Singing Cowboys

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roadtripreportMy family and I are still on the road, exploring sites and having a great time! In my last report I shared with you how we’ve been stopping by state capitol buildings to explore.

After leaving Boise, we headed onto Utah. Now the most direct route would have likely been to head to Pocatello and cut straight south. But of course, we didn’t take that route! Instead, we went to Twin Falls, going south into Nevada (so that way the kids could say they went to Nevada) and east into Utah. This meant driving across the Great Salt Lake Desert which was an interesting experience. Here are some sites we saw along the way…

DSCN2876 (800x600)Twin Falls…just outside of Twin Falls, Idaho.

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I call this shot: “Kids of the Wild West.” It was taken right outside of Twin Falls, Idaho.

[Read more…]


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kudos365

Kudos 365: Instant Win Prizes, Offers, and Sweepstakes for Local Businesses (Seattle area)

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kudos365

Today I’d like to share with you a different kind of site that delivers prizes and special offers from local businesses… and it’s free to join! It’s called Kudos 365, and right now it’s geared for folks in the greater Seattle/Western Washington area. (But stay tuned if you live elsewhere, they do hope to expand in the future.)

How Kudos 365 works for Members

You can sign up for free by either submitting your email and a password you create at Kudos365.com or by texting your zip code to 425-967-8365. Kudos 365 asks for your email and zip code so they can deliver you offers for your neck of the woods, and your information is always kept private. You can use Kudos 365 easily from your computer or mobile device. If you opt to use your mobile device, there’s no app to install; just head to their website.

I recently decided to sign up to see what kind of prizes and offers I could find available for my area. One special drawing really caught my eye:

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That’s right! Kudos 365 is giving away two 100-level tickets to see the opening game at the new Husky Stadium (UW vs Boise State). As a UW alum, you bet I entered this giveaway. Entering was really easy too – just click the “play to win” button on the link provided. You can enter daily to up your chances as well.

Here’s another way of improving your chances of winning instant games: refer your friends to Kudos 365. You can invite friends easily through your account page. Something I found interesting was that if a Kudos 365 member wins an instant prize, an identical one is offered to their friends. The first friend in their network to claim it, gets it!

The site is still very much ramping up, so when you log onto the site you won’t find a ton of prizes and special offers just yet. However, by signing up now, you’ll be able to be prepared for them when they hit the site. If the UW drawing is any indication? I think we’ll see some pretty stellar stuff happening at Kudos365 in the near future!

Through the instant win games and prizes, you have the opportunity to try out local businesses you might not have known about otherwise. It’s also an opportunity to be rewarded by local businesses you frequent! Unlike other daily deal sites, there’s no vouchers or coupons for you to buy – just chances to win prizes, and offers you can redeem at local businesses. Pretty simple.

How Kudos 365 works for Businesses

If you’re a local business (Seattle area) looking for a place to reach customers, you might want to take a look at Kudos 365! Unlike some daily deal sites that come with steep expense or legal constraints, Kudos is cost-effective and quick to set up. Even more, your offers can be integrated with social media sites such as Facebook. There are no contracts or subscriptions to worry about and you can cancel at any time.

Currently, businesses can use Kudos 365 for FREE making it a great time to test it out with nothing to lose. Later this year, businesses can expect to pay a modest $50 set-up fee to post an offer plus $1 per day the offer is run. (For example, an offer run for 60 days would cost just $110.) If you’ve looked into advertising an offer for your business on a daily deal site, you’ll understand that this is a real bargain!

If you are interested in posting an offer for your business at Kudos 365, just click on the “For your Business” link from the homepage.

Want to learn more about Kudos 365? Just check it out for yourself! If you’re a business and have additional questions, email the Kudos 365 team at customerservice@kudos365.com. They are nice and quite responsive.

You can also connect with Kudos365 on Facebook and Kudos365 on Twitter.

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post by Kudos365.com. All opinions are 100% my own. For more information, please visit my Disclosure Policy


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Blueberry Picking at Charlotte’s Blueberry Park (Tacoma)

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One of my most popular posts last month was about Charlotte’s Blueberry Park – a public park in Tacoma that boasts a couple thousand blueberry bushes. And the berries? Are free for the pickin’! (If you missed the post and live in the Tacoma area – go back and check it out!)

When we scouted the park out in mid July, it was definitely on the early side of blueberry season. We decided to wait and let summer do it’s thing for awhile before heading back. Yesterday I decided I couldn’t stand it any longer, so away to the park we went!

So here’s the current blueberry status: there are plenty ripe, for the picking! This would be a great time to go. But there were also many unripe berries, so even if you went in a week or two, you’d find plenty to pick.

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If you’ve never been, you might be concerned that this place would get busy and then “cleaned out.” But honestly, there are sooo many bushes and soooo many berries, it’s almost overwhelming. I wouldn’t worry too much about that.

I wanted to show you how much I picked in about an hour’s time with a little help from the kids:

DSCN1392 (800x600)This is roughly 6 cups of blueberries. I had wanted to stay much longer, but honestly the kids were getting restless and it was hot. I had hoped to pick two or three times that amount. I might try going another time next week perhaps by myself or with my husband so we can get the job done!

If you’re planning on going so you can can up some syrup or jam, I thought it might be helpful to give you a rough idea of how much time you’d need to set aside. I’m going to guess in that one hour, I picked about 5 of the 6 cups. I was also moving at a decent pace, even with the kids.

Generally, plan on getting around 5 cups of blueberries per person, per hour picked.

To give you further idea, the Blue Book of canning (Amazon link) calls for 9 cups crushed blueberries to make 3 pints of jam. The recipe for blueberry syrup from the same book calls for 8 cups. If you work with the end in mind, you can begin to think about how much time you’ll need to set aside (and how many extra hands you may need to bring!).

DSCN1387 (800x600)Of course, some of the blueberries didn’t exactly make it home, either! If you’re there to get some serious work done, you might think twice about bringing tiny kids (or just set more reasonable expectations). As I already mentioned, my kids lasted about an hour and I made sure we ate lunch prior to picking. I did ask my kids what they preferred picking – blueberries, blackberries, or strawberries - and they both agreed – blueberries! There are many berries at levels they can reach, no thorns, and it’s a pretty park.

As for what I’ll be doing with these blueberries? I’ll likely freeze them for later or make blueberry jam for our buttermilk waffles. My son also begged me to make him a blueberry smoothie, so some already got used up for that! We’re also still talking about the awesome blueberry ice cream we made with the berries from our last Charlotte’s outing.

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Related Posts:

I’d love to hear your thoughts if you’ve discovered this park from last month’s blog post. What did you think? I’d also love to hear any tips for blueberry picking or ideas for what to do with all those berries!


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Zulily: Canning AND Lego Sales Happening Today

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Wow! There are some pretty nifty sales happening at one of my all-time favorite daily deal sites, Zulily!

CanningSaleFirst, they are having a Home Canning Essentials sale with some super cute canning jars and accessories that totally have me swooning! There is really a LOT happening in this sale, so I’m just going to share a few things to give you an idea of what you’ll find. This sale is one part practical, one part just plain cute!

canning1Sauce maker, 3 qt: $42.99. Perfect for making tomato sauce, apple sauce, and the like. Separates juice and pulp; BPA free. Retails for $74.

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One-cup preserving jar (set of 6): $11.49 (reg. 16). These would be just lovely to put up some of your favorite jam or other treats for holiday gifts!

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Jar Label Kit: $8.99. Includes 24 paper jar covers, 24 sticky labels & gift tags with coordinating ribbons. Retails for $13.

There is also a Lego Sale happening at Zulily right now…

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I found books, clothing, storage options and more! It may be worth checking out if you have Lego fan(s) in your house!

I have seen similar sales in the past at Zulily and can tell you that stock does tend to go quickly as these are popular items. Head on over to see what you can snag.

 

 


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Homemade Blueberry Ice Cream | The Coupon Project

Homemade Blueberry Ice Cream Recipe

Homemade Blueberry Ice Cream | The Coupon Project

Homemade Blueberry Ice Cream | The Coupon Project

Last week, I shared my discovery of a local park that has over 3,300 blueberry bushes… that locals are welcome to pick from for FREE. However, we timed our visit a bit on the early side and only managed to pick about 3 cups worth of blueberries in an hour. (I’m told we should wait another couple weeks then there will be blueberries galore!)

Charlotte's Blueberry Park, Tacoma | The Coupon Project

My son had the brilliant idea of turning our blueberries into homemade ice cream! It sounded delicious and easy enough. Besides that, my husband received a Cuisinart Ice Cream Maker a couple years ago as a gift from his mom, and we need to put it to more use!

I found a very simple recipe over at Food.com. However, a warning: while this recipe is indeed easy to make, it requires an abundance of patience. This can be difficult if you have little ones (or bigger ones) chomping at the bit for homemade ice cream! I promise you this ice cream will be worth the wait.

DSCN0731 (800x648)Ingredients

  • 4 cups of blueberries, fresh or frozen*
  • 4 cups half & half
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 tbsp water

* We only had 3 cups of blueberries, so I substituted with 1 cup of frozen strawberries from our strawberry picking trip last month. It turned out delicious, which leads me to believe you could really work with any combination of berries you see fit – raspberries, blackberries, tayberries, etc.

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Bring the berries, sugar, and water to a boil. Then reduce the heat and let simmer until the berries are soft.

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This part took me about 10 minutes or so.

DSCN0748 (800x600)Strain out the seeds and skins. I did this put putting it through a sieve with a large bowl underneath. I then took the back of a spoon and pressed and pressed the mixture to squeeze out every bit of goodness I could. While it might be a little OCD, I then Vitamix’d the juice just to puree any bits of skin or seed that might have snuck through.

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The result is more or less sweetened berry juice.

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Whisk in the four cups of half and half. Now if that seems really fatty to you, I suppose one could cut it with skim milk. Or perhaps make a dairy-free version using almond or soy milk. (I just didn’t try either and can’t verify what the final result may be.)

DSCN0754 (800x600)Refrigerate the mixture overnight. While you’re at, put the drum to your ice cream maker in the freezer.

DSCN0755 (800x714)The next day, pour the mixture into the frozen ice cream maker drum. I found it to fit just perfectly!

DSCN0757 (600x800)I then turned my Cuisinart Ice Cream maker on for about 15 minutes (currently selling for $56 on Amazon). This ice cream maker is one of those gadgets that’s fun to have around, but I get you might not want to run out and spend $50 for right now. Consider adding it to a wish list for Christmas or your next birthday. It’s also a nice thing to have if you like ice cream but would like more control of the ingredients involved.

Now…. time for yes, more waiting. I removed the mixture from the drum and put it in a freezer-safe glass container for a couple hours.

Homemade Blueberry Ice Cream | The Coupon Project

The result? Definitely worth the wait! For the complete instructions along with reviews and modifications, please see Food.com.

How to make Blueberry Ice Cream | The Coupon Project

Have you ever made your own ice cream before? Any other ideas for modifying today’s recipe?

Other berry good related posts you might enjoy:


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Grocery Outlet: My Finds & (2) $25 Gift Card Giveaway

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I decided to pop into my South Tacoma Grocery Outlet store today to see if I could find some fun deals to share with you. As usual, I didn’t leave disappointed. If you’ve yet to check out a Grocery Outlet store? I encourage you to do so and see what you’ll discover!

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A bag o’ nectarines for $1.50! Did you know that all the produce sold at Grocery Outlet is by unit, and not weight? This means you’ll know exactly how much you’re going to spend at checkout.

DSCN0657 (600x800)High-quality anti-aging skin care for $4.99. Elsewhere you’d pay as much as $45! I should point out that deals like these are the norm in the health and beauty section at Grocery Outlet. You’ll always find nice stuff for less… and no coupons required.
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Check out the brands I spied in the cosmetics section… Burt’s Bees, Almay, and Physician’s Formula!
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I found a number of pestos, tapenades and the like down the spices and condiments aisle. The ones pictured were all $1.99 and retail for $4-5 elsewhere. Incidentally, the Classico Basil Pesto is excellent and I featured it in a stuffed chicken pasta recipe at Grocery Outlet’s Bargainista Blog.

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There were some really great deals in yogurt today! As some of you have pointed out, it is a good idea to pay attention to expiration dates at Grocery Outlet. Sometimes they are passing on discounts to the shopper because the food is running close to expiration. In this case, the $0.99 Greek yogurt and the $0.99 kids Organic yogurt were a good 6 days off from expiration. In my book, that’s plenty of time for a family to finish off a 4-pack of yogurt! Another tip is to freeze the yogurt in ice cube trays and save it for smoothies.

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Cheese! I truly think Grocery Outlet has some of the best deals in cheese – in particular shreds like this Romano blend for $1.99.

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See this cereal? I paid $1.99 for it and it’s the secret ingredient in the July Bargainista Blog post I’m working up. You’ll have to stay tuned to see what I use it for… and no, I’m not making a bowl of cereal.

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Check out these large 28 oz cans of tomatoes for just $0.99! I want to say the expiration was at least 1-2 years off, too.

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Canned pumpkin for $0.99. That’s really hard to beat this time of year!

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If you like smoked salmon, have you checked out Grocery Outlet? My South Tacoma store always seems to have it stocked and for about 50% less than the cost you’d buy it elsewhere.

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Sunflower seeds for $0.79!
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This seemed cute: Apples to Apples, the Jelly Belly version for just $1.99. Might make a fun gift for a game night!

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Terry’s Dark Chocolate oranges – $0.99! These were at about 6 months from expiration dates. This is one of those seasonal items, and even if you were lucky to find it at your grocery store, you could expect to pay closer to $3-4!

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Annie Chun’s Grab’n Go Seaweed snacks for $0.50 each.
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Hot Dog buns for $0.50 each. You could potentially freeze some of these for a later-summer barbecue. 
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Luvs Diapers for $5.99.

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Alexia Parmesan Lemon Waffle Fries for just $1.29. Sometimes Grocery Outlet sells items that are only seasonally sold at other stores, are “limited edition,” or perhaps varieties that just didn’t sell as well elsewhere. This explains why you might find Gingerbread Men cookies in May or watermelon flavored yogurt. Not sure you’ll like it? My Grocery Outlet has a 100% money back guarantee – and they’ll even sometimes let you sample before you buy. Just ask your store for details!

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Grapes, 2 lb container for $2.99. These are great grapes – we bought some last month!

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Some off-brand Macaroni & Cheese for $0.39.

DSCN0675 (800x623)I wanted to take a moment and share that through the end of July, Grocery Outlet is running an “Independence from Hunger” campaign. The campaign is to bring hunger awareness to our attention as well as provide some practical ways we can support our communities. At my store, you could make a $1 cash donation (or more, if you’re so inclined!) or buy a $5 bag of groceries. Donations will be made to area food banks. Make sure to see your store for details.

If you’re new to Grocery Outlet? You should know that each store is independently owned and operated. This means that you might find the layout, stock, and items vary from store to store. Because Grocery Outlet gets deep discounts from manufacturers and stores for their items, they do not allow coupons. I know this may be disappointing to my couponers out there, but it’s also refreshing to shop at a store getting low prices without having to remember your coupons. Grocery Outlet does put out store coupons from time to time and I encourage you to sign up for their weekly ads for access to those!

Enter the Giveaway

Two lucky Coupon Project readers will win each with a $25 Grocery Outlet gift card! The gift card can be used for anything in the store – from the health and beauty items, produce, even the wine department!

To enter, simply leave a comment on this blog post. For fun, tell me your thoughts about Grocery Outlet…. perhaps share a great deal you’ve seen, maybe a deal that stands out to you on my list above, or let me know if I’ve managed to convince you to visit a Grocery Outlet yet! Limit one comment per reader, please.

This contest will run through Thursday, July 18th at 12pm PST. The winners will be randomly selected from all comment entries left and notified shortly thereafter via email. (So make sure to leave a valid email address you actually check)!

Good luck!

Disclosure: Grocery Outlet provided me a gift card for the purposes of today’s post as well as the (2) $25 gift cards to be given to the randomly-selected blog reader winners. No other compensation was received in exchange for this post. For more information on how this blog makes (and does not make!) money, please visit my Disclosure Policy.


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Late June Gardening Update: Beans, Beans, Raspberries, Sunflowers and Bugs!

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My garden has really started to explode, thanks to the heat – can you believe it’s supposed to hit 93°  here in Western Washington today? (And all of us without air conditioning say EEK.)

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Here is a view of my garden right now! In the front are onions on the right, plus pumpkins trailing behind, corn, and berries.

DSCN0540A look at one of my mini pumpkins. I planted three bushes this year – one in my raised bed, and two in my backyard, up along the fence. Yes, I know, I know, I probably should not have planted this in my raised bed, but so far, I’m just letting the vines trail outside the box. I do get the sense that they will take over the world pretty soon… we should have lots of fall decor come October!

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This would be my first go at edamame. So far, they all came up and are looking pretty happy. However, I’ve read that they are heat lovers, so I’m not sure what kind of pods I’ll get out of it. (This may be a one-time thing!) I will say, the 90+ degree weather we’ve been having can’t hurt!

DSCN0543Raspberries are ready! This morning I picked a huge bowl of them, and I’ve picked about 3-4 pint’s worth over the last week. Raspberries are one of those things I love, but don’t so much love paying money for in the store ($3-4 for one small container? YIKES!). I’m currently drinking some in my smoothie along with garden-grown beets, collards, kale and blackberries I picked locally (for free!) last summer. I’ve also managed to freeze a few batches for later use. Raspberries spoil quickly, so you do have to make a decision quickly about what to do with them!

DSCN0544Did you know you could grow black beans in your garden? Yes, you can! These black beans grow as bush beans – you just let the beans dry inside the pods. I successfully grew dry shelling beans last year and loved the fact that there’s no fancy preserving to be done when they’re ready. Just open them up, and dump them in a jar. Easy peasy. I noticed my first bean flower this morning, so I should have some pods on these pretty quickly. Anyone done these before?

DSCN0549This is a whole mess of stuff you’re looking at! In the front is a Roma tomato. This year I’m growing 7 Romas and 5 various heirloom tomato plants all in containers. In the box planter is a row of sunflowers, carrots, and then peas. I’ve also got zinnia, alyssum and collards in there. I think this is likely a *bit* crowded, but live and learn. I probably should just ask my husband to build me some more boxes. Or move to a farm.

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Here’s a view standing from the back of my garden. Oh how I love when the garden gets “big” like this! Many of the plants are taller than my children now, so it has a “jungle” feel. To the left, you see the raspberries and mint. To the right, White Russian and Lacinato Kale plus the black beans. The box in front of that contains pink popcorn – another variety I’ve selected primarily for the fun of it this year.

DSCN0391 (800x600)Few things make me happier in the garden than spotting one of these little guys! Ladybugs are totally beneficial – they eat aphids and other garden pests. I spotted this one on my carrots and noticed another one today in the same bed, atop one of my sunflowers. That particular sunflower did have aphids at one point – guess what? Didn’t see any aphids today!

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Speaking of insects: does anyone know what this is? Some sort of beetle? You can’t really tell from this photo, but it was actually mating with another one (oh my!) on a raspberry.

DSCN0554My herb planter has really taken off! I currently have pineapple sage, cilantro, rosemary, oregano, thyme, hyssop, and alyssum growing in there.

I also recently received my fall and winter garden seeds from Territorial Seed and will be sharing more about those plans soon.

What do you have growing in your garden right now? Any plans?

Make sure to check out my Frugal Gardening page for even more gardening ideas and updates!


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Fred Meyer Ad 6/30 – 7/6

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Here are the best deals I could find at Fred Meyer for the week starting Sunday, 6/30. Remember to check their e-coupon site for coupons you can download to your Rewards card.

As always, my favorite deals have been highlighted in red.

Cherries
$2.68/lb

Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breast
$2.98/lb

Whole Watermelon
$4.99

Boneless Petite Sirloin Steaks
$2.98/lb

Coca-Cola or Pepsi, 24 pack
$5.49 each with in-ad coupon (limit 2)

Fred Meyer Milk or Orange Juice, 1/2 Gallon
$1.25 each with in-ad coupon (limit 4)

Lay’s Potato Chips
$1.88 each with in-ad coupon (limit 2)

Kroger Cheese
$1.50 each with in-ad coupon (limit 6)
Select Varieties, Bars, Shreds, 6-8 oz, Natural Slices, 6 oz or Individually Wrapped Slices, 16 ct

Country Oven Bread or Buns
$1.50 each with in-ad coupon (limit 6)

[Read more…]


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AMC Summer Nights: $3 Movies

AMC: $3 Movie Summer Nights – to benefit Autism Research

AMC Summer Nights: $3 Movies

AMC Summer Nights: $3 Movies

Here’s a great offer with a great cause! This summer, select AMC Theaters will be hosting $3 Movie Nights. All showings are at $10 10:00 pm and proceeds will benefit the Autism Society. Sounds like a win-win to me!

Here are the dates and shows:

The Dark Knight Rises: June 24-26
Django Unchained: July 1-3
The Amazing Spiderman: July 8-10
The Hunger Games: July 15-17
Olympus Has Fallen: July 22-24
Oz Great and Powerful: July 29-31
G.I. Joe Retaliation: August 5-7
Oblivion: August 12-14

For more information, and to find participating local theaters near you, please visit AMC’s website.


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Four Book Club Worthy Books I’ve Read So Far in 2013

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I don’t know that you’d call me an avid reader, because I’m not one of these people that always has to have a book in my hand. But being a part of a book club for the past several years (I think we’re actually going on 6 or 7 this year!), has really forced me to continue to read instead of just watching lame reality TV shows (although truth be told, I do have a soft spot for reality TV shows).

I’ve read several excellent books over the past few months and I wanted to share them with you in case you were looking for a recommendation. Any of these would be excellent choices for a book club! Note that the links below are Amazon links, but you could always check these out at a library, too. That’s what I did for 3 out of 4 of them myself!

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The Orchadist

I actually just finished this book last night, so it’s fresh in my brain. The principal character, Talmadge, leads a solitary, routine life caring for an orchard near Wenatchee, Washington during the turn of the century. His life is changed when two pregnant, runaway girls take refuge in the orchard. The book has such rich, memorable characters and meaty themes that would lend themselves well to a book discussion –

  • What solitude and silence mean – when they are comforting, and when they are troubling…
  • What it means to rely on someone else – does it suggest weakness, vulnerability…
  • What it means to be a family – and can a family be forged through unlikely encounters and relationships…

I love how the characters are shaped by the land they inhabit. Sometimes it’s a place that brings tranquility, and at other times it’s transformed into something deeply haunting. I can’t wait to discuss this book later this month; it’s really meaty! It’s also pretty easy to get into.

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Unbroken

Unbroken is the amazing, but true WWII survival story of  Louis Zamperini. Against all odds, Louis survives an airplane crash into the South Pacific, encounters with sharks, long periods of hunger, and being taken as a prisoner of war by the Japanese. The book reads like fiction, and you’ll have a very hard time setting it down. Louis’ story gave me a new appreciation for not just those who serve in military today, but those who served in WWII – at a time when aircraft technology was still very much developing and the risks were staggering to just be in a fighter plane, period. I found his account to be an inspiring story of one person’s resiliency in the face of danger. This is actually my favorite book we’ve ever done in our book club. (And that’s saying a lot… we’ve read many books.)

thegreatgatsbyThe Great Gatsby

I read The Great Gatsby before, but it was in high school and I couldn’t honestly remember it too well. I knew I wanted to read it a second time before the movie came out!

The setting for this book is just stunning – Long Island at the height of the roaring 20’s. The central figure, Jay Gatsby, is a man paralyzed by the past and his love for a woman who lives directly across the water from his mansion. She’s in reach, but out of reach. There are many rich themes in the novel, making it another excellent book read choice!

  • What does the American Dream mean – both during a time like the ’20s and now…
  • Is it possible to recapture the past? Is this optimism or foolishness?
  • What causes us to form judgments of other people – what causes those judgments to change? And is it possible to truly reserve judgment of someone else?

If you’ve never read it, I do recommend it. (And then I also recommend seeing the movie. I think DiCaprio did an excellent portrayal of Gatbsy!)

thehelpThe Help

So actually my book club read this a year ago, but I bailed that month. After I kept hearing them mention how good it was, I decided I better go back and read it. I’m so glad I did. I feel this is a very relevant, important book to read and I most certainly give it my hearty recommendation!

The book is set in Mississippi during the ’60s, at the emergence of the start of the Civil Rights movement and is written from the perspective of several women – black maids as well as the white women who employ them. A story like this is definitely a risk on the part of the author – what you want is characters and not caricatures, but I feel she was entirely successful. At the end of the novel, you see that what’s needed for racial equality is more than policy – it’s compassion and understanding.

Poignant, heartfelt memorable, and worthy of discussion. Recommend, recommend.

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What’s on my list to read next? Well, our book club doesn’t meet for a few days yet, so I’m thinking of squeezing Wild in at the recommendation of many of you!

If you are looking for more great reads, make sure to check out my list of favorite books I read in 2011 and favorite books I read in 2012.

What are you reading right now?


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Acopoco: FREE $5 Credit, FREE shipping = FREEBIES!

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UPDATE: I’m hearing from a number of you as well as other bloggers that orders have failed to be received. It sounds like the company has been largely unresponsive as well, which makes me extremely hesitant to recommend them. You will see NO further postings promoting this company unless they do a complete 180 at this point. Sorry, friends.

Hooray! I love it when I stumble upon a HOT deal like this! Sign up for Acopoco and you will receive a FREE $5 new customer credit to be used on the site. What does Acopoco sell, you ask? Tons of stuff, including…

  • Beauty, Wellness & Personal Care
  • Grocery & Food
  • Home & Kitchen
  • And more!

Even better… Acopoco offers FREE shipping, no minimum! This means that you could use your $5 credit for something $5 or less…not pay shipping, not pay anything! SweetDeals4Mom recently took advantage of this offer herself and here’s what she promptly received:

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She writes: “I found the box of Potato Flour while I was shopping with my $5 and it just arrived today. I did not pay one penny for it. Of course, there are so many other ways to spend the $5 to get something you may want or need. If you like organic and gluten free foods, you’ll want to check out the grocery & food section.”

I’d love to hear what you find at Acopoco. Leave a comment below!

PS once you’ve signed up for your Acopoco account, make sure to share your personal link with your friends and tell them about the site. When they sign up, you’ll earn $5 more credit – and they don’t even have to make a purchase, either! Super easy way to earn some credit to offset your grocery expenses this month!


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DIY: Make a Drawer Organizer for less than $5

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My handy pal Susan is at it again! Susan is one of the most creative people I know – and she has an amazing knack for completing her projects on a dime. Today she’s sharing how she made wooden drawer organizers for $4.50!

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For all of you frustrated by not being able to find that last bobby pin or favorite necklace in the jumbled mess of a bathroom drawer, I have a solution!  I recently built some wooden drawer organizers for our bathrooms.  It was simple and frugal.  Total cost was about $4.50, time taken was about 30 minutes, and I organized 2 drawers in the process.

Here are the “before” pics:

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Yes, I realize how dirty the drawers look…I’m quite embarrassed by it.  But, it doesn’t take much to fix that.  The great part is that you can tailor the sections in the drawer to your needs.  Just inventory your drawer to decide what needs its own space.  Then, take a sheet of paper and draw out a mock up, including measurements, of where you want the sections to be placed in the drawer.  I made a section for nail polish, toothpaste, hair bands, and deodorant (just in case you were wondering, that green container is my homemade coconut oil deodorant).  In my kid’s bathroom drawer, I just made sections for toothbrushes, toothpaste, and flossers.

After

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Doesn’t that look great? It makes me feel good to organize.

Now, get ready to be really excited!  I also figured out how organize my bobby pins so that they will no longer be orphaned in the drawer.  All it takes is a little bit of cardboard. Here’s how to make the drawer organizer with bobby pin holder:

Supplies:

  • 1/4″ x 2 1/2″ craft wood (I used oak; a 36″ piece cost $4)
  • Wood glue
  • Miter saw, circular saw, or hand saw
  • 8 1/2x 11 inch cardboard (I used a cereal box)

1) Cut the craft wood using the measurements you decided upon for your particular drawer and set up.  You want to be sure the slats are snug up against the sides of the drawer.

2) Position the wood pieces in the drawer to make sure everything fits snuggly, and to make sure the items in the drawer will fit as you have planned.

3) Apply a thin line of wood glue to each piece of wood to attach together.  I didn’t glue the partitions to the drawer itself, just to each other.  That way, they are easily removable.  But, you could certainly glue it into the drawer if you prefer.  You may need to hold the pieces in place for a minute or two to make sure it holds.  Let the glue dry completely.

4) Make the bobby pin holder by cutting the piece of cardboard 2 1/2 inches wide (see picture below).  Then, cut off a 2″-3″ piece, so that you have two pieces (one short and one long).  Using scissors, make a cut in each of the pieces just halfway through.  You will then put them together at the slit, creating a standing “T.” Simply place that in the drawer where you have made a space for it.  I didn’t use any glue here because it fit perfectly in the slot I made for it.  But, again, glue is certainly an option if you prefer.
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Bobby pin holder

That’s it; not very difficult. The organizer is a lot of bang for the buck, and serious satisfaction level each morning when you go to do your hair or nails. You could easily use the same method to make organizers for your silverware and utensils in the kitchen.

Here’s the completed drawer organizer with bobby pin holder:

After

 

And the before and after shot, side by side:

Drawer Organi

Thank you so much for sharing, Susan! I think the finished product is fabulous! Want more of Susan’s work? You need to check out her $20 DIY Planters and garden raised bed posts!


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Safeway NW Coupon Deals 6/5-6/11 ~ Fresh Express Salad, Philly Cream Cheese, and FREE Capri Sun

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Here are the best deals I could find at Safeway for the week starting 6/5.  If you’re new to shopping at Safeway, be sure to familiarize yourself with their coupon policy and be sure to read my latest post on how to stack coupons using the Just4U program!

This week, get a 30¢ per gallon Gas Reward when you spend $50 or more on groceries in a single transaction.

My favorite deals have been highlighted in red.

Rancher’s Reserve Boneless Beef Top Loin
Sirloin Steak or Boneless Beef Loin Ball Tip
Petite Sirloin Steak
Buy 1, Get 1 FREE

Eating Right Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast
Buy 1, Get 1 FREE

Rancher’s Reserve Boneless Beef Round
Sirloin Tip Roast
Buy 1, Get 1 FREE

Pork Shoulder Blade Steak
Buy 1, Get 1 FREE

Waterfront Bistro Large Raw Shrimp
$6.99/lb

Fresh Wild Alaskan Sockeye Salmon Fillets
$9.99/lb

Signature Cafe Family Size Pizza
$5.99

Open Nature Variety Bread
$2.50

Cheez-It or Keebler Club Crackers
$2.50

Chobani Greek Yogurt $1.00
$0.30/1 printable coupon
Bottom line: $0.70

[Read more…]


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Fred Meyer: Kids’ Bathroom Remodel for Less + $25 Gift Card Giveaway

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When you think of completing a DIY project, do you head to a big box home store? If so, I want to encourage you to think about completing your next project at Fred Meyer instead! Today I’d like to show you how I transformed my kids’ bathroom for $125 by shopping at my local Fred Meyer store!

Here’s the “before” shot:

100_7738As you can see, it’s your basic boring bathroom. Really no color on the wall or much of anything. It’s a nice space, however, and my kids share it. Since I have a boy and a girl I wanted to keep the color gender-neutral. I also didn’t want to make it too juvenile because I’d prefer not have them outgrown it in a couple years.

After contemplating colors, I came up with the perfect idea: Menchie’s green! I snuck in a green Menchie’s spoon to my local Fred Meyer to match up the paint colors. Dutch Boy “Flip-Flop” seemed like my best bet.

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As I was painting a bathroom, I wanted a finish that would withstand the humid, moist conditions without streaking. I also needed to be able to clean it easily. So I opted for the high gloss sheen. I ended up paying about $40, but Fred Meyer does put the Dutch Boy on sale from time to time, and there are frequently mail-in manufacturer’s rebates that would drop the cost a bit for you, too. I do like the quality of Dutch Boy paint!

100_7742I also adore Dutch Boy because the lids are very easy to open and pour! No screwdrivers or prying needed!

100_7739 (600x800)The prepping was the most tedious and least fun part of my project. Even so, I had the room taped off in about an hour’s time. I can’t emphasize the prepping enough! The more care you put into prepping your painting area, the better the final result.

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I love the way the color turned out! It was exactly what I was wanting…. a bright, fun color, but gender-neutral and not too baby-ish. Don’t be afraid of color, either! I’m glad I chose a vivid color versus something more muted.

100_7743In between paint coats, I worked on some inexpensive, but fun projects for the bathroom decor. I found a simple fish shape online, print it out and traced it on cardboard. Then, I let the kids decorate the fish.

100_7744To complete the fish, we just used dental floss and push pins. You could use a different kind of twine or perhaps fishing wire, but dental floss is what we had on hand!

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Here’s another inexpensive decor idea I came up with:

DSCN0025 (739x1024)These look like spendy prints, don’t they? Here’s my secret: I purchased the frames very inexpensively at Fred Meyer (they are almost always on some sort of a sale!), and then I simply cut up a piece of gift wrap I had for the fish heads. All told, I bet I spent about $10-12 tops for both pictures. I just love how they turned out! Plus that, if the kids outgrow the fish at some point, we can easily swap out with different photos or artwork.

Here’s something else we picked up at Fred Meyer to complete the room off:

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Did you know Fred Meyer sells shower curtains? Yes, they do! I love this giant goldfish shower curtain the kids agreed on! It fits well with the fish theme.

Here are some images of the completed painting project:

100_7764 (600x800)I selected green and hot pink towels for the kids from Fred Meyer’s Housewares department. These are almost always on sale too. Look for Houseware Extra Bonus coupons in your Fred Meyer ad.

bathroombanner2Maybe you have a room that you’d like to remodel, but you don’t have the funds to replace fixtures, counters, or furniture. Might I suggest PAINT? The picture above is a great example of how a new, fun color can really transform a room, and for a relatively small cost and time commitment.

Between the paint and necessary supplies, new towels, bath mat, shower curtain and frames, we paid $125 at Fred Meyer! To further keep costs down, we made some of our own decor. I think we did pretty good to transform this room!

If you are reading this post on Monday, May 27th morning, you might want to check out the in-progress Memorial Day Doorbuster Ad. There are some great deals happening throughout Fred Meyer is you’re looking to freshen up a room in your home, too.

Enter the Giveaway

One lucky Coupon Project reader will receive a $25 Fred Meyer gift card!

To enter, simply leave a comment on this post. For fun, I’d love to hear what room needs the biggest change in your house or maybe how you’d use the gift card at Fred Meyer to freshen up a room or space. Please leave only one comment per person, thank you.

The winner will be randomly selected from all comments on Monday, June 3 12pm PST. The winner will be notified by email (so please do enter an email in the form below you actually check!).

Good luck!

Disclosure: Fred Meyer provided me a gift card for the purpose of this review as well as one to give away to a reader. All opinions are my own (in fact, I came up with the concept for today’s post!). For more information on how this site makes money (and does NOT make money), please read my Disclosure Policy.


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Frugal Gardening: Four Inexpensive Raised Bed Ideas

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How to make Inexpensive Raised beds | The Coupon Project

Make sure to follow my Project – Garden Pinterest board for more ideas like this!

Just because you are growing your own food does not mean that you will save money! It’s easy to drop hundreds – if not thousands – on a beautifully landscaped garden. If your goal is to save money, you’ll want to consider ways of keeping your gardening costs down. Here at The Coupon Project, I’m interested in methods of frugal gardening.

Raised bed gardening is a popular method of growing vegetables and herbs, and it can be a spendy venture – depending on the types of materials you’re opting to use. But there are ways to build a raised bed garden without breaking the bank, and I’m here to show you how.

Why I love Raised Beds!

First, let’s answer the question “Why raised beds?” Here are some of the benefits of doing so:

  • It’s easier to control the soil. You can start with fresh soil or soil mix of your choice! By raising the bed, you also keep the soil from getting stepped on and compacted. Your soil also may heat up faster, improving germination rates. 
  • It’s easier to tend your plants. You don’t have to bend all the way over to deal with weeds or to harvest your greens. Some people even raise the beds high enough to accommodate gardeners in wheelchairs or physical disabilities.
  • It’s fun to plan the layout and keep certain plants contained. I find it’s easy and fun to plan what I’m going to grow and where. Also, plants that may spread too quickly (such as mint!), can be more easily contained.
  • It’s a great introduction for beginning gardeners. If you’re not sure you want to go farm-style on your backyard, you can easily set up a small raised bed on toward the back near your fence, or even on your patio! You can start small with just one or two beds, and build more later if you choose. You can also create beautiful custom shapes using the raised beds and a number of materials.

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I have loved having raised beds in our garden! They’ve worked so beautifully for my family and I’ve been able to grow just about anything you can imagine in them including raspberries, tomatoes, corn, kale, chard, beans, peas, carrots, parsnips, cucumbers, garlic, quinoa, and even spaghetti squash!

Simple Ideas for Inexpensive Raised Beds

My husband and I built our raised beds ourselves and I need to be honest with you, we did spend some money. I’m a firm believer in selecting materials that are safe for growing food and we decided on cedar. All told, I would imagine we spent several hundred dollars to set up our custom 7-container raised bed garden including tool rental, tools, lumber, and soil, and installing irrigation (which we’ve yet to finish setting up). I do think we saved money in that we did all the work ourselves and it’s been money well spent for the food and enjoyment the garden has given us!

I say that to be completely upfront and honest with you, but I also don’t want to discourage you, because there are DEFINITELY ways you can do this for less money than we did! Here are a few of my favorite ideas for inexpensive raised beds:

Idea #1: Build your own

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(Photo credit: Ana-White.com)

If you are looking to build your own raised beds and are a bit handy, I highly recommend the site Ana-White.com! Not only does she break it down for you, she has FREE pdf instructions including a materials list. The above photo is from her $10 Raised Bed post. Yes, she is insisting you can do this for $10! Honestly, I’d be a bit surprised if one could do that after the lumber and hardware involved, but regardless, you should save a ton of money following her handy instructions.

Search Ana’s site and you’ll find no shortage of additional raised bed and garden planter options. Highly, highly recommend.

#2: Grow Bags

There are a couple different options when it comes to growing your food in grow bags.

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This highly-rated Big Bag Bed (sold on Amazon) will set you back between $20-30 (depending on the size you choose). The benefit of this set up is that there are no tools or additional materials involved. Just buy, spread it out, fill with dirt and grow! In the photo above, you can see we are using a Big Bag Bed to grow our strawberries this year. (You can read more about this method at my post on the Big Bag Bed.)

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Even less expensive, you can grow food in burlap sacks. These would be good for one season only and at the end of summer, just compost the bags! These would be more of a container method than a true raised bed, but I feel it’s worth mentioning. (For more on this unique, eco-friendly method, see my post Growing Food in Burlap Sacks.)

#3: Buy a Kit

I am hearing really good things about some of the small raised bed kits available! Many of these don’t even require the use of tools!

Greenland Gardener 42 in. x 42 in. Raised Bed Garden Kit 105981

This Greenland Gardener kit from Home Depot, for example, is currently priced at $28.97. It boasts easy assembly and no tools required! Even better, you can stack or expand it with additional kits to make a larger and/or deeper growing space. (Incidentally, if you’re interested in this particular product, it’s rated quite well! Make sure to read the comments to see how purchasers have used and configured it for their garden. You can also ship to store to save on shipping costs.)

#4: Concrete Raised Beds

Here’s an idea I’m seeing more of, and am digging: using concrete blocks!

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(Image from: VegetableGardener.com)

You can head over to VegetableGardener.com for more information on how to do this. I like this idea as I imagine it would hold up a bit longer than wood. You could also omit “capping” the tops of the blocks and instead, filling with them with dirt. This way, you can plant herbs or flowers around the border.

I also want to mention pallets… I know they are wildly popular right now, but I’m on the fence about their use in the home garden. If you’re looking at going this route, I’d encourage you to see if you can learn more first on how the wood was treated (if at all), and how you might best clean it up first.

I would love to hear additional ideas for how one might save on the expense of building raised beds!

PS If you liked this post, you might also enjoy:

17 Creative Ideas for Frugal Gardening | The Coupon Project17 Creative Ideas for Frugal Gardening


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Coming this Sunday (5/19): THREE Inserts + TNT Sunday Subscription Offer!

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It looks like we should have another stellar coupon weekend hitting this Sunday with 2 SmartSource and 1 Red Plum inserts! Coupons and their values may well vary by region, but here are a few of the many coupons that we might look for in this Sunday’s newspaper:

  • $1/1 Activia 4-pack
  • $1/1 Crystal Light Drink Mix
  • $0.55/1 Edge Shave Gel
  • $1/1 Hidden Valley Dressing
  • $1/2 La Victoria Products
  • $0.55/1 Skintimate Shave Gel
  • $1/2 Sweet Baby Ray’s BBQ Sauce (this is on sale for $1 at Albertsons right now!)
  • $0.25/1 Heinz Ketchup (rare)
  • $0.50/1 Maruchan Bowl or Yakisoba (usually cheap at WinCo)
  • $1/1 Star Olive Oil
  • $0.75/1 Sunsweet Dried Fruit
  • $0.50/1 Jolly Time Microwaveable Popcorn
  • $0.50/1 Wonderful Pistachios
  • $1/1 & $3/2 Banana Boat Suncare Products (excludes lip balm)
  • $1/1 $ $3/2 Hawaiian Tropic Suncare Products (excludes lip balm)
  • $1/1 Wisk Laundry Detergent

For an entire list of the preview coupons, please visit Sunday Coupon Preview.

News Tribune Sunday Subscription offer (Tacoma area)

I recently reported that the News Tribune has put out a new Sunday subscription offer! Please note that this is not the same terms as the one I used to promote here at the blog.

Here’s what you need to know about the new offer:

  • Pay $52 for 52 weeks or $39 for 26 weeks (works out to as low as $1 per paper)
  • You need to pre-pay the full amount up front
  • You can buy up to 9 of this offer if you want more than one paper!
  • Offer is for new TNT subscribers only – and for select zip codes only (please see this post for the exclusions!)

Yes, this is the same price you’d pay at the Dollar Store for your TNT Sunday paper, but without the hassle of having to drive there and get it! I’ve personally enjoyed a subscription to the TNT for a couple years now and it’s made a HUGE difference for my couponing just knowing that my inserts will be there on my front doorstep come Sunday! I should also mention that the TNT does include the Red Plum inserts too.

Signing up is simple. Just call The News Tribune at 1-800-289-8711 or The Olympian at 1-800-905-0296 and ask for the special you saw at The Coupon Project. If you sign up by tomorrow (Friday) 10 am, you’ll be eligible to receive this Sunday’s paper delivered (on 5/19).


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A Look at my Garden: Week of May 13 + Bonus Reader Garden Tour!

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As part of the Frugal Gardening series I launched this month, I’m providing you with a weekly update on my garden progress. For past reports as well as money-saving tips for gardening, please visit my Frugal Gardening page.

I’m starting to have some of my bulbs emerge that I shoved in the ground a couple months ago. The funny thing is, I don’t rightly remember everything I planted! This makes it extra fun when I see strange and beautiful plants come up like the one pictured above.

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I do know that this is a hosta! I just love the shape of the leaves and the dew drops on it. Hostas actually grow fantastically well in shade, so if you’re looking for a beautiful shade-growing plant, consider planting some. There are many varieties and colors to choose from as well.

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Here’s how my garden looks as of this morning. I have to say, I’m feeling so positive about this year’s growing season – much more than any previous year. We’ve already begun to make salads and smoothies from it. This is my fourth year gardening and I have to say, you really do learn what works, what doesn’t, and to accept that some things are out of your control (weather, anyone?).

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This would be fennel. If you look closely you can see the classic bulb shape at the bottom. I’ve read they can be tricky to grow, but so far, so good. The only thing I’ve noticed is they don’t much like the wind. I might have to mound up a little dirt closer to the bulbs to protect them a bit. I plan on using the fronds in salads and for garnish. I also hope to harvest a few bulbs for roasting (they are delicious – almost remind you of licorice!).

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Pictured here is one of my favorite wild lettuce mixes, some garlic chives, arugula, and a big floppy garlic leaf. I love this lettuce because it’s got a great, light texture and it seems to resist bolting. I planted a second batch of it a week or so ago and that’s just starting to emerge, too.

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Lacinato and White Russian Kale and a couple rows of crazy big bok choy. I’ve been smoothie-ing the bok choy and may stir fry some this week, too. It’s starting to bolt so I’ll need to get it eaten up in the next few days. I also have a row of radishes coming up behind it that aren’t very happy getting smacked by the giant leaves.

100_8494 (800x600)Now that’s a leaf!

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These two heads of butter lettuce need to get picked and eaten. My daughter said she’d eat some tonight in a salad, and that works for me! (Remember, she’s my picky eater!) In general, I prefer cut-and-come again lettuce, but I do enjoy butter lettuce and I also knew that I wasn’t going to be growing anything in this space until May, so I had no problem growing something that would be fast to mature and entirely removed. (Incidentally, I’ll be devoting this box to edamame. Stay tuned!)

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Bolting parsley. I think this is the year I’m going to make a concerted effort to save some of my own seeds.

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That would be a beautiful sage blossom! I am thinking it’s time I process some of it before the taste changes. My preferred method for herb saving is to freeze in ice cube trays with a little water. I feel that drying herbs, while standard practice, changes the flavor markedly. Once you’ve had FRESHLY picked herbs from your garden, it’s really hard to want to use dried herbs.

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Guess what I am seeing on my raspberries? BEES! Sure enough, upon closer inspection, the berries have begun to open! Exciting!

100_8496 (600x800)The peas are growing fantastically well, too. Incidentally this year I’m trying a new product on my garden – it’s called Boogie Brew. I ended up buying the compost tea, the sea minerals, and worm castings package. I also got this water filter from Amazon for my hose to remove the chlorine. I usually am not vigilant about fertilizing but I have to say after a couple treatments of this stuff + the sun, my garden is really taking off.

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So yesterday afternoon was a VERY windy one around here! At one point I looked out my window to see the cages had blown right off my tomato plants and a couple plants were laying sideways! EEK!! I quickly ran out and shoved as many containers as I could manage in the greenhouse. The others I just did my best to adjust the cages. I think we lost a couple stems, but I’m pretty sure the toms are saved. PHEW!

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I have a whole mess of stuff in the greenhouse right now: pumpkins, 5 heirloom tomato plants, a pepper plant, nasturtium, alyssum, zinnia, basil, chamomile, parsley, a and couple hyssop plants. I’m in the final stages of hardening off many of these plants. However, my basil did so poorly in my garden last year I’m tempted to just keep the basil in the greenhouse along with a few other herbs.

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On Saturday, my kids and I spied three “batches” of baby yellow spiders. These are the same kind I had last year and it was great fun watching them all over the garden throughout the summer. I tell ya, having a garden can be such a fun experience for kids (and adults!). You learn to really observe things you may have otherwise passed by. The next day I had the kids go back out in the garden and see if they could discover where the baby spiders had gone. We found them in the garlic, the onions, the mint…and we found they had a particular penchant for making their webs on the trellises. My camera is not the best, but you can see one above on my sweet pea obelisk.

I have something else to share with you today! Reader Janelle emailed me last week with some pictures of her garden! I am always delighted to share these with you to provide additional perspective on how one might grow food:

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Janelle writes:

Here are pics from small yard garden. The larger box is about 7×4, the smaller about 3×2.  There are pics from getting started and current.  I have lettuce, broccoli, carrots, peas, celery, beets, and two kind of tomatoes in the large one. Have a zucchini in the ground between the boxes. Have Rosemary, oregano, chives, cilantro, and radishes in the small one. In pots I have strawberries, mint, basil, and parsley.

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I am not a very experienced gardener but everything is doing great!  I live in the Portland area.  I love your blog and your garden! – Janelle

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Janelle, I adore what you’re doing here. I think it’s inspiring to see that one needn’t have a whole lot of space (or even experience!) to get started. I sure didn’t have any when I started either, and you really do learn as you go (or as I like to say, learn as you “grow!”) Best wishes on a bountiful 2013 growing season!

What’s growing in your garden right now? If you’d like to be featured on an upcoming garden update, please send your pictures and a brief description at angela @ thecouponproject dot com. 

This post is participating in:

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Fred Meyer Founders Day Sale Ad 2013

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foundersdaysaleadHooray! This upcoming week at Fred Meyer is the Annual Founder’s Day sale with fantastic prices across the store. These deals start Sunday, May 12th and run through Saturday, May 18th. Remember to check the e-coupon site for coupons that you can download to your Rewards card.

My favorite deals have been highlighted in red.

Ribeye or New York Steaks
$5.97/lb

Tillamook Cheese, 2 lb 
$4.29 (limit 1)

Fuji, Gala, Cameo or Braeburn Apples, Anjou Pears or Navel Oranges
$0.77/lb

Country Oven Bread or Buns
$1.25 each with in-ad coupon (limit 4)

Tillamook Butter
$1.88 each with in-ad coupon (limit 2)

Dreyer’s Ice Cream
$2.50 each with in-ad coupon (limit 2)

[Read more…]


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Frugal Gardening: Tips for Gardening with Kids

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Last month I launched a series on Frugal Gardening. Watch for new posts each Monday and Friday and an update on my own garden each Tuesday through the month of May. I created a Frugal Gardening page so you can refer back to previously published posts.

Why I involve my Kids

Gardening is one of those household tasks that is both fun and rewarding to involve your kids in. We have included our kids from the very beginning, when we ripped up the front yard to make way for the garden.

In fact, check out how little my daughter was when we started our massive re-landscaping project…

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And then toddling around with big brother…

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And here she is now, almost 5 years old. Among her favorite activities? Help Mama in the garden, of course!

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Gardening is more than just another chore we do day in and day out. Think about it, you do the laundry this week? No doubt the same pile of clothes will face you next week. The awesome part about working in the garden is that it’s far from monotonous. The radishes you planted a week ago are now sprouting. The bees start to buzz around the berries as they begin to open, something that wasn’t the case even a few days ago. Finally it’s time to pot up the tomatoes and peppers. There is always something new to do and you get to enjoy watching the plants grow that you care for. And then? You get to eat them!

Caring for your own food and appreciating the cycles of its growth is a neat experience for kids and their families to share alike. Today I’d like to give a few basic ideas for how I’ve involved my own kids in our garden.

Six Simple Ideas for Gardening with Kids

After considering what’s worked for us, I thought I’d share six ideas for how you might involve your kids in gardening.

1. Include them in the selection process. Each year, I love to sit down with my seed catalogs, a notebook, and a pen and begin to consider what to grow in my garden, and where. This is a perfect opportunity to ask your kids what kinds of vegetables they’d like to grow. I always tell my kids to select things that they will eat! So only pick okra and brussels sprouts if you’ll eat it! My daughter is a pretty picky eater, so I always plant her favorite shelling peas. She loves to eat these fresh, right out of the pods.

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2. Grow things that are fun to watch and eat. This brings me to tip #2 – grow things that are just plain fun to watch grow and eat! Runner beans are easy to grow and their vines grow quickly up trellises. I love the idea of growing food that’s taller than my kids, too – try sunflowers or cornstalks for fun. We also have expanded the herbs in our garden to include four kinds of mint (chocolate mind? Hello!), pineapple sage, and a hyssop plant that smells just like a frosty mug of root beer. Make room for at least a couple vegetables that will capture your children’s imagination. In the same vein, why not try to plant a few things that will attract butterflies, hummingbirds, and other creatures your kids will enjoy watching?

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Pictured above: radishes are a great choice for kids because they grow very quickly and are easy for little hands to harvest.

3. Pick up their own gardening tools. I really want my kids to feel that this their garden, too, and that I value their help! I love picking up inexpensive “tools” for my kids. This time of year is excellent for finding $1 buckets and shovels at Target. We also found a plethora of kid-sized gardening tools at the Dollar Tree a couple weeks ago. I store my kids things right next to mine in the greenhouse.

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4. Give them a space of their own. One thing you might consider is giving your children a section of your garden or a container for their own. This can be a great way for them to learn what’s involved with the process. I did this last year and my daughter choose peas and rainbow carrots and my son chose strawberries and radishes.

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5. Celebrate the harvest together. I think the best part about gardening is when we get to enjoy the results as a family! I recall a couple years ago harvesting these HUGE garlic heads and my son just thought it was the most amazing thing ever! I love the look on their faces when they see how those little seeds grew into something amazing and nourishing.

How to Harvest Garlic

6. Visit a farm or farmer’s market together. I love taking my kids to plant sales, farms, and farmer’s markets so they can learn more about where our food comes from and the kind of fruits and vegetables that are out there. For fun, I’ll ask them to identify different veggies we may see (is it mint? chard? kale? peas?).

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The rewards of involving my kids in the garden have been many. My son insists he will eat everything we grow this year “in a big salad.” Even picky eater little sister told me this morning she’d eat some lettuce at dinner tonight! My kids love going to the Farmer’s Market and accompanying me to plant sales and nurseries. Gardening with Mama is among their favorite activities (in fact, my son asked to help as soon as he got home from school today). The kids have a fun and safe place to dig for worms, inspect for insects, or hunt for new seedlings.

But the best thing of all? Are the memories we’re making together.

What additional things have you done to include your kids in gardening?


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Zulily: Children’s Learning Games from $6.99 (think budgeting, grocery shopping, and more)

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While poking around on one of my favorite daily deal sites, Zulily, I noticed a cute sale called WCA that features really cute looking children’s educational games! These would be perfect to teach the next generation of couponers.

Check it out:

game1Grocery Cart: $13.99 (reg. $22.99). Here’s a description of the game: “Players build important life skills by comparing ads, making correct payments, keeping accurate records and reconciling cash on hand with shopping records in this game of smart grocery purchases.”

game2Budget: $11.99 (reg. $22.99). Here’s a description of the game: “Real-life economics has never been more fun! With every trip around the game board, each player plans a budget and receives $2,000 to pay for housing, insurance, investments, groceries and more. An accurate projection equates to a payday bonus, and the person with the greatest wealth at the game’s end wins.”

game3Coins Count: $9.99 (reg. $16). I particularly loved the object of this game: “Make money management fun! Players will be familiarized with coins and dollar bills and earn experience making small purchases, handling change and earning money for a charity. The first person to donate $5 to the food bank wins!”

There are several others with themes including grammar, math, and more and prices starting at $6.99. Head to Zulily to check out the sale!


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Frugal Gardening: DIY Planter Box for $20

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I recently launched a new spring series called Frugal Gardening. You can watch for new posts in this series each Monday and Friday and an update on my own garden each Tuesday. In case you missed them, you can go back and read previous posts and updates on my Frugal Gardening page.

How to Build your Own Planter Box

My pal Susan recently told me she was planning on building some planter boxes for blueberry plants in her backyard. Not only is Susan frugal, she’s also really handy, so I asked if she’d be able to document what she did so I could share it with you! (You might recall this post from awhile ago where she built her raised bed garden!) Note that today’s project will involve some tools and a little know-how.

She told me that she decided to model her boxes after these she spotted at Home Goods selling for $49.99:

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With that, I’ll give you Susan’s notes….

Supplies list (for one planter):

(1) 2″x2″x8 feet long (for legs)
(4) 1″x4″x8 feet long (for sides) [if you are building 2 planters, you can use 7 of them, you just have to be careful about your cuts)
(1) 1″x2″x2feet long for the cleats…or you can use the leftover 1×4 for the cleats (I just used a scrap from my garage)
Miter saw
(80) 1 1/4″ pocket hole screws
kreg jig
(6) 1 1/4″ screws
stain or paint of your choice

Cut list:

2×2- cut (4) 23″ pieces for the legs

Instructions:

Step One. This first part might sound tricky, but it’s actually quite simple. Set your miter saw 7.5 degrees to the left of center.  Cut the following utilizing this angle (which will give your planter box that nice taper).  The important part is to make your first cut, then flip the board over, measure the distance for your next cut from the longest point of the wood, and then do your next cut.  This will make the ends taper in at the bottom.  Remember, measure twice, cut once!

  • 1st 1×4- cut (4) 16 3/8″ and (2) 13 3/8″
  • 2nd 1×4- cut (4) 15 3/8″ and (2) 14 3/8″
  • 3rd 1×4- cut (2) 14 3/8″, (2) 13 3/8″, and (3) 12 3/8″
  • 4th 1×4- cut (1) 12 3/8″

If you did it correctly, the cut pieces will look like this:

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(You may also want to cut ends of the legs at the 7.5 degree angle to assure they will sit squarely on the ground once assembled.)

Step Two. Put your miter saw back to zero degrees. Using the leftover 1×4, cut (3) 11 3/4″ pieces to use as bottom support for the dirt. Make 1×2 cut (2) 11 1/4″ for the cleats.

Step Three. Now you can begin to assemble the planter box! Start by building the sides. To do this, use your Kreg Jig set for 1 1/4″ screws, drill two holes at each end of each board. Lay out one leg and the 5 appropriate side slats (one of each length), making sure that the angle is smooth, and no edges jut out on either side. (I had to trim down a few of the boards shown in the picture to get a snug fit….that’s why measuring before you cut is so important!) Measure 3″ up each leg and make a mark to guide where the first slat will be attached. Put a 1/8″ spacer under the slats so there is a nice, even 1/8″ set back from the front of the leg (I used a scrap piece of board for this.) Attach slats to leg using 1 1/4″ pocket hole screws, then attach second leg. Build the other side the same way with the last two legs. Attach the rest of the sides using the same method and pocket hole screws.

Here’s how one side will look with the boards added:

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Once you put all sides together, it will look like this:

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Step Four. Attach cleats: put cleats flush on bottom of 2 sides using 1 1/4″ screws and wood glue.

Now it’s coming together!

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Step Five. Lay the support boards (I used scrap wood, not the 1x4s as in the instructions) down using the cleats to support; no need to secure these in place. You may want to drill extra drainage holes in the bottom.

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Step Six. Sand and paint or stain as you wish.

Step Seven. Lay weedblocker cloth down in bottom.  I also stapled some plastic just around the inside (not bottom) to protect and extend the life of the wood.

Step Eight. Fill, plant, water, and watch it grow!

I built two planters; each one cost about $20 to make and took me approximately 2 hours (excluding paint/stain time).

Here is the finished product, used as blueberry containers:
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Note from Angela: I think they turned out fantastic, Susan – and I think they look exactly like the one you saw in the store you wanted! Check it out:

plantercompareJoin me on Monday for another Frugal Gardening feature – and make sure to check out my Frugal Gardening page for additional ideas!


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Albertsons: Planters Peanut Butter $0.99 + other unadvertised deals

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Before I share this deal – I have to give a HUGE shout out to reader Liz. When she learned of my surgery this week, she got to work and she’s been sending me all kinds of deals to keep this blog from growing tumbleweeds! THANK YOU LIZ. You pretty much rock.

Liz shared the following deals she spotted at her local Albertsons with me. You know the drill – prices and availability at your own store may vary and can change at any time.

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SoftSoap $1 each
$0.35/1 coupon from 4/7 SmartSource (limit 4; expires 4/27 – tomorrow!)
Bottom line: $0.65
(Liz, not sure where you got the $0.50/2 printable – I’m not finding it though. Please share if you’re reading!)

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Albertsons Natural Spring Water, 24-pack $2.99
$1.50/1 coupon found in pharmacy booklet (Liz writes she did not get a prescription filled, but just asked – your results may vary)
Bottom line: as low as $1.49

photo 4 (1)Planters Peanut Butter $1.99 
$1/1 – $1/2 coupon from 4/7 SmartSource
Bottom line: as low as $0.99

I think the peanut butter has got to be my favorite deal! I consider anything $1 or under to be stock up price and we rarely see a stockup deal anymore!

If you’re planning a trip out, you might want to see what else is on sale at Albertsons this week.

Thanks, Liz!


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More Fred Meyer 50% off deals: Purex, Finish, Cascade!

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The other day I shared with you a great deal on Finish Geltabs for $1.25. Well looks like there are a few other 50% off deals happening you might want to take a look at too!

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Purex Laundry Detergent: $2.74 (through 4/27 only)
$0.50/1 printable coupon 
Bottom line: $2.24
(please note the $1/1 coupon from the 4/28 Red Plum is for the 128 oz size)

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Cascade Complete Action Packs, 26 ct $4.07 (reg over $6)
$0.50/1 – $1/2 coupon from 3/31 P&G
Bottom line: $3.57

I don’t normally buy Cascade. Is this a good price? Thoughts?

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Cascade Jet Dry Rinse Agent $2.36
$0.50/1 – $1/2 coupon from 3/31 P&G
Bottom line: $1.86

If you’re making a trip out, make sure to check out the Finish deal as well as other Fred Meyer deals happening through tomorrow.

Thanks, Liz!


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