Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

May 12, 2013

Learning to love thrift shops and frugal tips to try

Melinda Hester
The Independent

ASHLAND — Are new clothes any less used than thrift-store items? How many times has that item been tried on? Has it been taken into someone’s home and returned?

Sometimes we pay the new-clothing price for something that could qualify as used. Have you ever known anyone who bought new items, wore them and returned them to the store? I have. This is also done with jewelry. I knew a girl who bought the prettiest jewelry the store had, and then returned it the day after prom. This is why I love thrift stores. Look the item over well, wash it when you get home. It may be your favorite item.

Hungry for a new site

There’s an interesting new website: lovingmynest.com. The woman in charge works all day preparing meals for a two-month period. One cooking day yields ready-to-go meals for a slow cooker. With one shopping trip totaling no more than $150, she wastes nothing. This site is amazing because it features many recipes and shopping lists. The woman chops vegetables, prepares the meal and puts ingredients in zipper freezer bags on preparation day. And because all is used that day, they are at the peak of freshness.Each bag has premeasured ingredients. Bags are marked with item and cooking time for the slow cooker. Bags are taken from the freezer and dumped into the appliance; the recipe is perfectly cooked by dinnertime.

Recipes on the site include jambalaya, chicken curry, beef stew and stuffed bell peppers. This is one of my favorites. It would be ideal for families where both parents work outside the home. All recipes on the site are allergy friendly.


The hummingbirds have arrived! Make your own nectar with 1 cup sugar and 3 cups of boiling water. Cook and stir until all sugar is dissolved. Stir in one or two 2 drops of red food coloring. Let cool and pour into a clean hummingbird feeder.

Tips to try

If you are moving one plant to a different location, add a handful of dry oatmeal to the soil. Oatmeal provides essential nutrients. Quaker oats can save the day.

Cinnamon in your child’s sandbox repels cats and ants.

When you eat out, notice what is in the item and write it down. Could you make this at home? Can you copy it? Is the recipe on the Internet? I found our favorite Joe’s Crab Shack recipe on the Net. We ate there in Pigeon Forge and loved it. Not willing to wait another year to eat there again, we decided to try and find the recipe. In two tries we had it. People who have worked at a name restaurant will often post recipes online.

One of my students, Jeanie Basham, has a wonderful new LIKE page on FaceBook called Jeanie’s Homestead. I think you’re going to love it. She is a homemaker who cooks and exchanges inexpensive made-from-scratch recipes and great tips. Did you know putting a teaspoon of baking soda in your iced tea makes the perfect drink? Jeanie is also a great couponer and really knows how to save. Welcome, Jeanie!


In today’s newspaper there are coupons from Procter & Gamble, RedPlum and SmartSource. Stock up  and save!


A 20 percent off shopping pass is good for seven days. Clip and use.

Visit cvs.com for possible store coupons stackable for $4 off any facial skin care item that costs at least $20.

Get $7 off any Physicians Formula cosmetic. What happens if I find something for $4?

$3 off any Loreal Nail color

$3 off two Maybelline nail products

$2 off 2 tubes of Aquafresh toothpaste

$2 off $10 purchase of any deoderant

$1.50 off a pain reliever of any kind

This is the base I start with. Now, I figure out the deals and consider my coupons.

Instant coupon from the Coupon Center for $2 off M&Ms candy; two for $5 minus $2 instant coupon, minus $1.50 manufacturer’s coupon equals two for $1.50; limit one deal

L’Oreal cosmetics: Spend $15, get $5 ExtraBucks, limit one deal. Print coupon from CVS.com; $3 off any L’Oreal nail color, use $1 manufacturer’s coupon on each nail polish. Possible $11 off, and a four-stack deal. This is why it’s limit one.

Schick Hydro Silk Razor: limit one; $11.99; $5 EB; $4 coupon

Gillette Fusion: limit one; $3 EB; $3 manufacturer’s coupon in today’s Independent

Gain dish detergent: 99 cents minus 25-cent manufacturer’s coupon in today’s Independent

Look at deoderants and use the cvs.com; $2 off any $10 spent on any kind of deoderant. Remember, we have buy one, get one coupons on Mennen deodorant. As long as it originally adds up to $10, it doesn’t matter what you bring it down to.

Using the $1.50 cvs.com coupon off any pain reliever. I have it paper-clipped to a $2 manufacturer’s coupon for Aleve. My object would be to find the smallest one. That would be a total of $3.50 off, and another 20 percent today.

Using your cvs.com printable coupons, manufacturer’s cupons and coupons from the Coupon Center, you will have fun using that extra 20 percent off this week.