Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Why I Love Costco...

Why I Love Costco...


Can I tell you why I joined Costco? For the organic beef and organic chicken! I've had memberships at all of the major warehouse club stores and none of them offered any USDA organic meats or chicken.  Not only are we eating healthy, but we are saving money as well. And Costco offers many other organic products as well in addition to Gluten Free bread.  Tip: Before joining your local Costco, take a look around the store and search for the organic & gluten free products you most want.  Each Costco may carry different products so ask an employee before you join.  {By the way, I'm not being compensated in any way for this post.  I just wanted to share it with you.}


Cost:

Organic Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts Pack $23.72 (varies depending upon weight) (Price per pound $5.99) (typically 3 to 4 breasts per pouch with 3 pouches per pack)
Organic Whole Chickens 2 Pack $25.30 ($3 off sale today) (varies depending upon weight)
Organic Ground Beef Pack $21.99 (1.34 pounds in each pouch with 3 pouches per pack)
Organic GoGo Squeeze Applesauce Pouches Pack $10.99 (20 3.2 oz pouches per pack)
Organic Chicken Stock Pack $11.69 (6 32 fl oz cartons per pack)
Organic Apple & Eve School Lunch Juice Pack $10.69 ($2.80 off sale today) (27 6.75 fl oz Juices per pack)
Organic Eggs (2 dozen) $6.99
Organic Baby Spinach $3.99 (16 oz)
Udi's Gluten Free Whole Grain Bread Loaf $7.59 (1 lb 14 oz) (Huge Loaf)
Organic canned Tomato Sauce Pack (not pictured)

(I shopped in Florida on April 17, 2015.)

This post comes from my second blog Goodbye Gluten Hello Health.  I thought I had already put this post on here, but I guess I never did! Visit Goodbye Gluten Hello Health for healthy gluten free recipes.


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Sunday, August 9, 2015

Moving Tips

Moving Tips

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We have moved so many times that my father now calls us gypsies.  By the time we have completed this next move, we will have moved a total of seven times! It's a lot of work to move-not just the packing, storing, and unpacking but the financial end as well.  My husband recently had to fill out over 26 forms for all of the paperwork involved with this next home we are buying! Good thing he handles the financial side of things! I hate paperwork! Dare I say it...I think this might actually be our last move.  With all of these moves, I wanted to share some tips for your next move.

Packing Tips:

Start Early.  Start packing early.  Packing is very time consuming and we all have so many other responsibilities we are juggling-it's better to start too early than rushing at the end because you started packing too late.

Purchase Lots of Moving Supplies.  Specifically, I'm referring to tape for the boxes.  I like Scotch brand moving & storage tape.  I've tried other brands, but they did not hold up as well.  I used between 9-12 roles for this last move.  It's important to reinforce the bottom of each box just as much as the top of the box.  Nobody wants a box that breaks open in the middle of a move.  Also, make sure you have black markers, sharp scissors, and moving stickers that state the room of each house handy.  Don't forget bubble wrap and wrapping paper too-both of which you might be able to get for free.

Collect Boxes.  As soon as you know you are moving, start collecting moving boxes.  Check Craigslist everyday for free boxes in your area.  Many homeowners/renters are anxious to get rid of their boxes and will give them away for free! This can be a big savings for you because moving boxes are expensive! Also, don't be ashamed to take boxes from the curb! Every evening before the trash collectors come the next day, look for boxes on the curb and use them for your move.  You can also snag free boxes from places like supermarkets, Costco, BJs, and Trader Joes.  Trader Joes has great wine boxes with dividers inside that I used for my glass cups and wine glasses.  Don't forget to grab free bubble wrap whenever you see it.

Collect More Boxes Than You Think You Need.  It's hard to know how many boxes you will actually need when you move.  Larger items take more space, but I like to get as much as I can in a box because it protects items from getting damaged/lost/stolen.  When you think you have enough boxes, get a couple more just in case!

Buy Used.  As I mentioned, moving boxes are expensive-especially if you need a lot.  I was not able to collect enough free boxes in time for our move so I checked Craigslist in my area.  I purchased some very expensive moving boxes such as wardrobe boxes and cup and dish boxes from one person.    I paid $30 and walked out with 2 car loads of boxes-maybe 50 or more boxes.  That's a huge savings.  Wardrobe boxes alone can cost $10 and up per box.

Give Stuff Away Free.  That's right! Do you have some items that you no longer want or need? The fastest way to get rid of them is to give them away for free.  Post them on Criagslist under the free category.  Create a sense of urgency in your ad by saying things like: First Come, First Served or Get it Before the Trash Collection tomorrow.  Show a photo of the items in your ad.  Leave it curbside and put your free sign on it.  Make sure to say your item is already at the curb and state your address for people to pick it up right away.  It will likely be gone within a couple of hours.  You will save yourself money because you don't have to use a box to pack the item and you will not have to pay to store the item.  Don't forget to remove your ad once the item is gone! Of course, you can sell the item also-but I'm usually so consumed with getting all of the packing finished that I don't have time to hassle with selling it.  We had a working gas grill that was rusted, but we decided not to take it with us and got rid of it for free.

Pack Boxes Wisely.  I was lucky enough to collect a ton of bubble wrap with this last move, but it still was not enough.  So I used what I already had to keep items from breaking.  Put paper plates in between each dish to prevent damage.  Use towels, rags, dishtowels, & blankets to wrap breakable items.  Place pillows and thick blankets on the top of breakable items inside of boxes before taping it up.  Mark the boxes as fragile when needed.  Place small breakable items wrapped up within other items such as plastic punch containers to keep them from getting damaged.  Assign each box a room.  Label each box with a room sticker and list some items that are in the box.  Label some boxes Open First and place items in these boxes that you'll need right away.  For my Open First box, I know I want my coffee maker with my coffee supplies to get me going every morning along with tools, scissors, etc to keep unpacking boxes.

Hire Movers.  If you have a large move with large furniture pieces, it's smart to hire movers.  They will do the heavy lifting for you.  This is especially important when you have a two story home.  Save your back the pain! Allow the movers to wrap your furniture in a plastic wrap that prevents damage.  When moving into your new home, have your movers place each box in its assigned room.  We move our electronics and other valuables ourselves to prevent damage.

Save Money on Movers.  We saved some money by renting a UHaul truck ourselves and hiring men through the UHaul website with super high ratings to help us move boxes to our storage unit before the movers came the next day.  We hired two men for 2 hours and paid them hourly.  Their fee was half the price of the movers the next day.  They allow you to help them which also saves money-something our movers the next day did not allow.  This meant we paid less for the movers the next day because they spent less time moving the furniture because they had no boxes to move.  Less time equals less money.  We could save even more when we move from the storage unit to our new house by hiring the UHaul men again to do everything.  We would consider this because the furniture has already been wrapped to protect it from damage and we are moving into a one story home.  However, you will need to check on insurance matters for yourself when you use these types of movers because they do not have liability insurance.

Get a Short-Term Rental.  We knew we did not want to sign a long term lease agreement when renting.  We wanted to be ready to purchase when a house came up that we wanted.  I called multiple places, but they all wanted a lease agreement of at least 7 months.  Finally, we found out about vacation rentals.  Vacation rentals have furniture, towels, bedding, dishes, pots & pans and everything you need for a vacation stay.  It's just like staying in a hotel-except there is a fully equipped kitchen and laundry in most rentals! Many of them will rent per month-perfect for our situation! You can search for vacation rentals on www.tripadvisor.com or www.vrbo.com.  Some listings on Tripadvisor have owners who have signed up to be in a fraud protection program which protects the renter from fraud-look for these to protect yourself and use your credit card to make payments which is another form of security for yourself.

[Monica Dunham was not compensated in any way for her opinions expressed in this article.]  


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Tuesday, June 30, 2015

4th of July 2015 Bunting FREEBIE!

4th of July 2015 Bunting FREEBIE!
For PERSONAL USE ONLY
Happy 4th of July! Unfortunately, I've been having some technical difficulties with my very old computer and its very old operating system.  The bottom line is I need a new Apple desktop computer! During this holiday, may we be thankful for the freedom we have in the USA! God bless America! Get festive with this red chevron pattern and vintage 4th of July artwork.  I added a weave pattern so it looks like it is printed on fabric or canvas.  Have a good celebration! 

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