CVS 2010

Wow, that’s a lot of stuff! I’m so grateful for the CVS ExtraCare Program and how it enables me to save a great deal on toiletries and pass on some of my deals to my local food pantry. My totals for 2010 are:

YTD Out-of-pocket (OOP): $156.19
YTD Savings: $2102.45
YTD eBay sales: $31.59

That makes my net cost for everything pictured above only $124.60. Amazing! I made my yearly goal of a 92% savings rate (achieved 93.1%), but I didn’t make up 75% of my OOP in eBay sales (achieved 20.2%). I definitely can’t complain, though! I’m going to keep the same goals for next year. I hope you all had as great of a year couponing as I did!

CVS, Week of 12-26

Last CVS shopping trip of the calendar year! I bought:

  • 1 Colgate Total, $2.99 with one $1 All You Magazine coupon and $2 ECBs = free
  • 2 Always pads, $3 each with two $1 newspaper coupons and $2 ECBS wyb 2 = $2

Net cost: $2.08. Year in review coming up next!

CVS, Week of 12-19

There hasn’t been too much interesting shopping going on since Black Friday. For the week of 12/5, I bought:

  • 1 Complete contact solution, $9.99 with $9.99 ECBs = free

And that was it. The next week I didn’t go shopping, and then the week after I realized I had over $50 in ECBs from Black Friday that were about to expire. Oops! I bought:

  • 1 Thermacare Neck warmer, $2.79 with $2.79 ECBs = free
  • 2 Bandaid kids, $2.49 with $2 ECBs each = $1
  • 1 Sports tape, $9.99
  • 4 Nature’s Bounty Fish Oil, $11.79 each, B1G1F = $24
  • 3 Azo Feminine Products, $6.99 each with three $2 internet coupons and $5 ECBs each = free

Net cost: $34.54. Ouch! I think I learned my lesson; I’ll be going shopping every week whether I want to or not to keep rolling my ECBs!

YTD OOP: $175.11
YTD Savings: $2051.77 
YTD eBay sales: $31.59

Want $2 worth of MP3s for free? Go here and enter the code GIVEMP3S. Who doesn't love free music? Thanks, Coupon Cravings!

Follow the directions here to get a free $5 Video On Demand credit! Thanks, For The Mommas!
Look! My bias tape table runner made Prudent Baby's slideshow! Woohoo! So many pretty table runners.

Vanilla Extract - Before

I’ve read over and over again about how much cheaper it is to make your own vanilla extract. The problem for me was I never have vodka in the house. Well, I finally got some, so problem solved!

Vanilla Beans

The process is really easy. Take your vanilla beans (I used 16 Bourbon-Madagascar vanilla beans for a 750 ml bottle of vodka), split them in half, leaving about 1 inch not cut to keep the bean still in one piece. Put in vodka. Don’t forget to take out a little vodka to account for the volume of the beans.

Vanilla Extract - After

And voila! Now just wait at least 8 weeks and you have homemade vanilla extract without the corn syrup additives that some companies like to add. Now let’s look at the cost. I spent around $5 on the vodka and $15 on the vanilla beans to make 750 ml of vanilla extract, which is about 25 fluid ounces. That comes out to $0.80 per ounce, not including that you can top it off and make it last even longer. The lowest price online I found for pure vanilla extract was about $2 per ounce (before shipping). I’d say this turned out to be a pretty good deal!

Wow, what an amazing response! Thanks, everyone, for entering the giveaway and giving me input on the bias tape you use. Since I had so many comments, I decided to make the giveaway even better!

For our first winner, I added a mostly-full spool of ribbon that matches the dots bias tape exactly. Seriously. It's uncanny. I found it in my stash and nearly squealed when I saw how perfectly it matched. The winner is #215, Genevieve!

Our second winner will receive two adorable packs of Christmas tree binding tape (not cut on the bias). The winner of this set is #21, Margaret! Congratulations! I'll send you each an email to get your mailing address shortly.

If you weren't one of the lucky winners but you still want some pretty bias tape, we're having a 10% discount on the entire store through the weekend. Use the coupon code SMSDEC10 to get your discount. I'll be adding more inventory daily, so make sure and check back often!

I learned a lot from all of your answers. One of the most common answers was that many of you aren't familiar with how to use bias tape or aren't sure if you're using it right. I'll pool together some bias tape resources about different types and how they are used. You also had some great suggestions (gingham bias tape, anyone?). Be on the lookout for some exciting additions to the store soon!
** Giveaway is closed. Winner to be announced soon! **

Sew, Mama, Sew! has coordinated another fabulous giveaway day. I’m so exited to participate for the first time. I have a really fun prize to give away. But first, let me announce…

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my brand spanking new Etsy shop, Slightly Biased, which carries handmade (by me!) bias tape. I’m going to be focusing on cute prints, including designer fabrics, for those crafters who don’t like or want to make their own bias tape. I’ll be building up inventory over the next few weeks, so check back often!
And now for the giveaway…

Yep, you guessed it. Bias tape! And even better, it’s Christmas bias tape! Three yards each of two different prints, dots and snowflakes. The dots weren’t actually cut on the bias, so I guess technically that one is binding tape, but it’s still super cute. (It’s the same bias tape that I used on my table runner.)

So what do you have to do to enter the giveaway? Leave a comment below answering one or more of the following questions:
  • What width and length bias tape do you usually use?
  • Double fold, single fold, or quilting (just folded in half) bias tape?
  • If you make your own, do you prefer it to be cut on the bias, or does it not matter for your usage?
  • What would you like to see in my shop?
The winner will be chosen randomly; one entry per person, please. This giveaway will be open until noon central time on Friday, December 17th. Sorry, no international shipping. Good luck!

Christmas Wreath

Remember last year's slightly sad wreath? It was so empty and plain. Fortunately, it's had a bit of a makeover this year, thanks to clearance shopping. We bought a ton of ornaments at Target last year after Christmas, and I just now got around to adding them to the wreath. All it involved was tying the ornaments to the frame with tie wraps. I'm not too keen on the bow anymore, but maybe I'll get more ornaments this year and convert it to an ornament wreath. I do love the sparkliness and glitter. (My spell-checker says sparkliness is not a word, but I think it should be.) Yay for glitter!