7/30/12

What To Buy And Not To Buy at The Dollar Store

If you've read more than one of my previous blog posts, I'm sure you quickly realized that I'm frugal. I look for deals and save money any way I can. If something retails for $20, but you can get it for $10 somewhere else or with a coupon, why wouldn't you?! It's just good business sense. It is this mentality that prompts me to DIY and shop for thrifted items instead of always buying new.

It is also because of my frugality that I've been able to pay off my car in less than a year, never carry a balance on my credit card and maintain a decent amount in savings. I say this not to brag  or preach but to explain a) why I think it is important to be frugal and b) demonstrate that everyone can save money easily with a little planning and thought.

I should also explain that being frugal is FAR off from being cheap. Frugal is seeking the best deal and spending money wisely. Cheap is looking for the cheapest thing, not necessarily the best value. Ok, I'll get off my soapbox now:)

With this in mind, I hit 'the dollar store' for several items I consider good buys.

Here's my guide to What to Buy and Not To Buy: Dollar Store edition
*please note I use the term dollar store to describe any store selling goods for just a buck or two, some examples: Dollar Tree, Deals, etc

Buy This: Cleaning Supplies
If it's the Swiffer Duster-knockoffs or generic Magic Erasers, these perform the same or similarly to the name brand versions but cost way less.


Don't Buy This: Extra-cheap Brooms and Mops
Although Just $1, these mops don't look like they would do much on any floor. It's worth it to spend a bit more and get a better mop that holds up to frequent use. 


Buy This: Storage Containers/Plastic Bins
This items can cost upwards of $5-10 a piece at Target or The Container Store. These help organize your stuff for just a few bucks.


Don't Buy This: Suction Cup Hooks
I took a chance on these to hang some necklaces and earrings with and they did not stick. at all.


Buy This: Glass Vases/Candle holders
These are hands down my favorite dollar store buy and I buy these by the case. They are cheaper than most thrift store prices and very versatile.


These are the same vases that I turned into DIY mercury glass for my DIFFA table.
 After DIY mercury glass treatment-


Don't Buy This: Plastic Flowers
I strongly detest faux flowers in general. However, there are some nice silk flowers that do look pretty real. These are not those kind.

Buy This: Clear Glass Dinner Plates
Don't forget wine glasses! I realize these don't compare to your Waterford toasting flutes, but these are great to stock up for dinner parties because if one breaks, it's easily replaceable.

The clear glass plates can be dressed up or down and go with any decor. I purchased these exact clear plates for my DIFFA table as well, seen here:


Dont' Buy: Floral Painted Dinner Plates
Although I'm sure these plates function just fine, the painted motif looks dated.


Here are other items generally available at dollar stores that are great deals:

1. Wax Melts/Cubes
If you follow me on Instagram, you may recall me sharing a pic of my favorite summer scent:
 This hails from Dollar Tree and is the absolute, most amazing summer scent I have ever used. I find myself reaching for the dollar stores' Ocean Breeze scent over similarly named Yankee candle scents. Plus, a four pack of these wax cubes are just a buck. Scentsy packs are $5 and Walmart sells some for $2.50. The variety of scents are limited however.

2. Gift Wrap
Why spend a couple of dollars on a gift bag or wrapping paper that is sure to get tossed after the gift is open when you can get the same thing for just $1?! I especially love this turquoise color and the floral print craft paper.


3. Holiday Decor
Say what? You are probably imagining tacky plastic penguins and reindeer, right? Nope. Although there is plenty of that crap available, you can find some great 'filler' ornaments and decor. I usually pick up pretty glittered ornaments that I use on Christmas packages at the dollar store. 

This weekend, I noticed that Fall/Halloween decor was already out.
Which could be used to make a Halloween wreath like THIS
Keep you eyes open for seasonal items like these that can be used to make Martha Stewart-esque decor.

4. Contact Paper
I know this looks like more wrapping paper in this photo, but it is actually contact paper/shelf liner. This is SO much cheaper than any other I have found, perfect for lining the drawers of thrifted dressers or old kitchen drawers.
5. General Craft Supplies such as:

Smooth River Rock
To make DIY boot trays like these (among other things)-
 via Dollar Store Crafts

Spanish/Faux Moss
which I used to make this-

Fun containers for DIY gift-giving. This filled with candy, popcorn and a DVD or movie tickets would be a fun, easy gift for anyone.
Like THIS
There you have it! The best deals at your local dollar store. Do you have any other items you purchase there to save money? Share them with me!

Have a lovely week everyone! -Suzanne

7/29/12

Goin' to Market

Most cities have a weekend (or sometime full week) market and Kansas City is no exception. We typically go to a smaller market in our little suburb, but last Saturday we decided to head to the real deal downtown.

We were first greeted by this little bluegrass band...
 which provided some sweet background noise as we hit the aisles.

Rows and rows of every vegetable and fruit imaginable.


and spices and teas


We ended up getting a ranch spice mix, lemon pepper and garlic herb, plus green tea and chai tea. Each bag of spice was just $1!

Of course, I couldn't pass up looking at some of the decor pieces.

Thought this mason jar wine glass was country cute. This would be a super easy and cheap DIY project, perfect for a summer BBQ. Mason jar superglued to a cheap dollar store candle stick, done!

Thought these customizable signs from old license plates were fun. Love people who can re-purpose anything.


We were blown away that these gorgeous huge bouquets were just $5!
We both thought these would be a great buy for centerpieces for a wedding/shower/dinner party.

So, what did we end up with? A little bit of everything!
Flowers $5
6 ears of sweet corn $2
1/2 pound green beans $1
Cantaloupe $2
7 peaches $1
Assorted spices/teas $5
Bracelet *Justin bought for me
Dried pepper arrangement $5
3-tier lucky bamboo $10
Red planter and zinc vase BOGO Free 2/$17

Of course, I had to grab a few items for the house!
 
This dried chili pepper arrangement is my new favorite thing!
 So cute!

I also love this zinc bottle/vase.
And last but not least, the lucky bamboo in our new red pot.
'Lucky' bamboo is supposedly very easy to care for, so I'm crossing my black thumbs that I can keep it alive.
All in all, it was a fabulous way to spend a Saturday morning! We grilled out a few days after our shopping trip here, and the fresh grilled veggies were to die for, as was the lemon pepper chicken. We can't wait to go back and visit the 'spice guy' again.

Who knew the city market would be such a great source for home decor as well!

Have you made a trip to our city market this summer?

xoxo, S

7/23/12

Summer Photo Dump

Every once in awhile, I like to share what's going on in my life outside of decorating the house. Focusing on my material world is fun, but it's important to step back and appreciate life itself.

So, the past few weeks have been spent as they should...enjoying summer!

My birthday is just a few days after the official summer solstice, so it serves as my kick-off to the season. For my 29th, we hosted a simple b-day BBQ with our closest friends-

The boys-
The girls-
Action shots-
Aren't my friends gorgeous?! Sheesh.

A few days after that, I attended my first KC Local Blogger Meetup event at Off the Fifth
Flamingo pink for me:)

We've caught some concerts-
board at Grinders, an amazing concert venue in downtown KC

 seeing a Grateful Dead cover band, definitely an experience.

James Taylor, one my favorites! JT was my mom's favorite musician and I'm so glad I finally got to see him perform. He sounds amazing live!

I scored VIP passes from a coworker, so we escaped the heat during James Taylor's set-break. Lucky us because it was HOT outside!
 
I have recently started offering event planning services and have already booked a few weddings. So, I've been busy checking out event spaces with my brides. Such fun!



Next up, I attended a second KC Local Blogger meet up, this time at Madewell in Leawood. Such a fun store. As a young professional, I sometime have difficulty finding clothes that work for my age (29). I'm in between the 20-something college age and not quite to the conservative mom/adult stage (perhaps I'm just in denial). Madewell is a mix of trendy and classic. Polkadot print silk blouses and great fitting denim for example.
 *outfits styled by local bloggers

They even offered a braid bar during the event-
So, I had to get my hair-did:)
And then we ate...and ate.

First up, Saturday happy hour at Plaza III. Oysters and champagne to cool us off.
 
Next stop, The American Restaurant, which also offers happy hour on Saturday, which is a great way to try out a restaurant.


Last but not least, I volunteered at the suds of Fun Charity Dog Wash for the Humane Society of Greater Kansas City. I am a huge dog lover and try to support this organization (and similar no-kill shelters) as much as I can. It was also nice to meet people just as crazy about their dogs as me-
:) All in all, more than 100 doggies were bathed and money was raised!
Click HERE to find out about other volunteer opportunities, donation info or to adopt a sweet pups.

Whew, what a summer so far. Thanks for letting me share little bits of my life with you.
xoxo, Suzanne