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  Oh, ALDI (Aldi’s, big AL), how I love thee so…
for your minimal number of aisles,
for your controlled amount of options,
and for your amazing quality and prices!
I <3 you ALDI.
For those of you who don’t know ALDI, I’d like to introduce you as it’s one of the most economical and user friendly grocery stores I, personally, have ever known.  Shopping at ALDI takes the guesswork out of the grocery store, and gives you products that you come to know, enjoy, and expect them to have, in stock, all the time.  My bill is ALWAYS less than any other store; whether I’m in for a few items or a whole stock up event, bar none, it’s cheaper.
So, my fine friends, what do I purchase at ALDI????
Let me take you on a journey through the aisles.  Know that this is not by any means, a full encompassing list of the many goods that ALDI has to offer you as a grocery getter, but some of my personal favorites 🙂
What to bring?
Bring you ask?  For shopping?  I bring my $ and maybe my lovely recyclable bag or two…
First and foremost, please, do bring your own bags, or come prepared with some spare change.  ALDI does not offer free grocery sacks, but also why they are so amazingly affordable.  They do; however, offer you the option of purchasing for around a 10 cent fee, your own bags to bring for your experience next time.   Additionally, you ought to bring a quarter.  For what you might ask?  Your Cart!  As a child, visiting ALDI with my grandmother, this was definitely the highlight… putting the quarter in the cart holder, and pushing the button to retrieve the cart. Upon return, I delighted in pushing the “machine” back together to obtain my quarter back.  They save you money by saving the environment- cool huh?
Now, depending on your ALDI, you may experience different products in different aisles.  I currently frequent the E14th St. location here in the DSM, but have also wandered to all metro locations.  My favorite used to be 86th St. (Urbandale), and if I’m ever near Jordan Creek, I hit the Mills Civic location.  There is another on the south side that I typically don’t get to, and another that is a short jaunt away in Ames.  And coming soon (but not soon enough) you guessed it, an ALDI right here in ANKENY!
Okay, so let’s get down to business.
Aisle 1:
Here is where I find snacks, baking supplies, chips, and dressings.  Things that are notably cheaper here than other stores:
*flour, sugar, raisins (in little boxes and big canister), mini chips

*They also have excellent baking mixes:  the cranberry-orange muffin mix is excellent, as well as the apple muffin mix

*Boxed other mixes- they almost always have a specialty dark chocolate brownie mix of some sort, or things like s’mores brownies that are fun to grab too
*APPLESAUCE POUCHES (for kids- they are cheaper here than anywhere else and come in lots of flavors Apple/Strawberry, Apple/Mixed fruit- you get the idea)
*Veggie Straws, Vegetable and Sweet potato chips- the vegetable are my absolute favorite- sweet & salty and delicious!
*Kettle chips- love when they have fun flavors, like honey mustard, salt & vinegar, etc… Check out this balsamic vinegar variety!
*Beer and wine- not SUPER cheap, but fairly cheap and tastes like some of your favs… the fake corona is great, as well as their “specialty” wine of the week.
*BARS- they have your basic granola bars, but they also have protein bars, and yogurt dipped granola bars, Fiber One bars, and more
*Kids snacky stuff, like peanut butter crackers, pretzels, dippers with cheese, etc.
*Cookies- If you are a cookie lover, and you love girl scout cookies, ALDI has you covered.  They have almost identical Thin Mints, Caramel Delights, and the Dipped Peanut Butter cookies for a buck and some change.  It takes will power for me to just NOT buy them 🙂
*Salad Dressing- these are in aisle 1, but also in their limited time stuff.  I like the limited time ones because they always have new unique flavors.  My current favorites are their poppyseed, which is super sweet and tasty, and their ranch with chevre- it’s SO good.
*Ketchup, mustard, pickles, and olives are other “snags” in this aisle that are typically cheaper or equivalent to store prices.
At the end of aisle 1 in this particular location, they also have coffee essentials.  The only coffee I’ve purchased from ALDI are their seasonal fun flavors, which I always enjoy 🙂
Dairy/cold stuff:
*Milk- ALWAYS cheaper *limited %s available in half gallons, but they have all %s in the whole gallons
*Almond Milk:  they have chocolate and vanilla
*GREEK Yogurt:  I purchase the plain flavor to turn into dips and eat with Indian food/make salad dressings and smoothies, AND we buy the individual cups for lunch/breakfast, etc.
If you are a greek yogurt lover like me, you will know they can run close to $1/each.  At ALDI, they are $.69 and often times on sale for less.  They always have a couple seasonal flavors that aren’t low fat, but fun to grab nonetheless.
*I personally LOVE their pineapple yogurt, and even use it as a wheat cracker dip.  They also have:  peach, blueberry, raspberry, black cherry, and strawberry.  They also have a tropical fruit in a 100 calorie option.
*Shredded Cheese- they have most flavors and some come in their “fit and active” brand.
*Eggs, egg sub, and egg whites… always cheaper here
*Yogurt drink for the kiddos and plain yogurt; yogurt squeezies & large greek vanilla and plain
*FRESH SALSA!!  I like the medium, but they do have hot and mild, and every now and then, they’ll have some pico or a seasonal flavor to try!
Salad/Veggie Stuff:
Spinach and salad mixes:  I love when their baby spinach in the plastic box goes on sale because it keeps FOREVER, and it’s yummy.  I also like the arugula mix, but their spinach is under $2.  Other stores have sales that compare, but I like knowing that their price is consistently the same.
*baggie o’carrots- sometimes only $.49, but always under $1
*jalapenos- super duper cheap right now
*zucchini & squash pack
*4 corns- they are really good and already husked
*mushrooms AND portabella slices for making individual pizzas
*cucumbers and mini cucumbers
*snap and other peas
*potatoes and mini potato mixes
*cauliflower, broccoli, mini peppers, regular peppers
Really, if you like veggies, they have a lot of options- both fresh and frozen, as well as the organic varietals.  Good stuff.
*Meat Me:
They have a meat department where I have purchased:  ribs, chicken wings (be ready to cut tendons), chicken, fish, ground beef, and seasonal items like corned beef.  I don’t purchase anything too regularly in this department because I do like Fareway’s meats best and Hy-Vee’s brats, but I tend to grab whatever happens to be on sale that day (look for big RED $2/$3 off stickers).  Then, I just make sure to use it or freeze it asap!
*I do regularly pick up their chicken brats.  These come in a spinach and cheese flavor that is delightful, as well chipotle and other assorted flavors.
*Bacon– I’ve bought the refrigerated regular kind, the turkey bacon, and the pre-cooked bacon, and guess what? ALL good!  My mom even asked where we got our specialty, thick bacon… ALDI of course 🙂
Frozen Stuff:
*waffles- I like fit & active whole wheat
*veggies- They have cauliflower rice!  They also have fried rice and other fun mixes of vegetables.
*fit and active “hot pockets”- Chris lived on these for a while 😉
*breakfast sandwiches!!
*coconut shrimp, crab rangoons, and egg rolls
*PIZZA- they have GRAB & GO for like $4.99 for a HUGE pizza, and they have TONS of super fun frozen flavors, like margherita and GYRO.
La fruta:
My “go-tos” for fruit include green apples, bananas, and blueberries.  I can count on the blueberries always being significantly cheaper than other stores.  I also buy *when I don’t have in my garden* tomatoes- they have a lovely little mix of multi-colored cherry tomatoes that I love, love, love.
But really, if fruit is your thing- I’m sure they’ve got it- and cheaper than wherever.  They tend to run seasonal items like watermelons or plums, but almost always have grapes, kiwis, pears, oranges (or cuties), berries of some sort, and more!  They also offer frozen, bagged fruit if you’re into that sort of thing!
Canned goods, etc.
OMG- who likes aloe vera drink?  I know with my current weight loss endeavor, they include a shot of aloe with my protein smoothie.  Instead of purchasing in bulk

from them, I buy a bottle at ALDI and drink throughout the week.  It is located with their Mexican goods.  I also like the whole wheat, fit & active wraps in this section, as well as the tomato/chiles mix and black beans.

*I regularly buy anything you’d normally pick up canned here, such as tomato soup, tuna, green beans, and mixed fruit.
They always have a fun seasonal pasta mix, like easter bunny eggs or halloween ghosts that I love getting for the kids- along with some pasta sauce or pesto sauce, and their turkey pepperoni.  The kids love it!
*Love their diapers!!
*Baggies- all sizes, freezer bags and more
Paper plates- yes, I keep them on hand when we need a night off from rinsing, etc.
***They have everything from dish soap to deodorant and everything in between!
****Check their weekly #ALDIAD for specialty items of the week.  I’ve gotten an over the sink strainer, dog beds, mini garbage cans for bathrooms, plants, a blueberry tree, and a water table.  It usually has a theme- like seasonal summer items- and after they have been out a while, they clearance them out.
Just last week, for example, they had full body sleeping bags for $4.99!!  I didn’t buy one because I don’t know if I’ll ever go camping again because of my crap back, but man, I really wanted to!!
Breads & Pastries:
Here’s the down and dirty- ALDI bread is cheaper and they also have gluten-free options that I haven’t personally tried.  My favorites:
*Wheat bread
*Raisin bread
*Oat bread
*Skinnies for lunch sandwiches
*English muffins
*Naan bread
*Brioche buns for burgers in the summer
They also have a variety of beautiful mini cakes, donuts, and pastries.  I *really* enjoy their pre-made cinnamon rolls.  They aren’t fluffy, but the frosting is tasty and the cinnamon is, well cinnamony.  They have a balanced fee

l, for a cinnamon roll.  I have bought boxes of their “fresh” cookies to give as gifts for a fraction of the price at the store, for gourmet cookies with large chocolatey chunks.

And… they always have #seasonalstuff
Cheese and stuff:
Lunch meats- not fresh from the deli, but their pre-packed is a better deal than other places
String cheese- twisted flavors, fit & active, and regular
Hummus- I LOVE their hummus options- and they always have fun *limited edition* flavors, such as cucumber dill and their olive mix.
Want to have a #gourmetparty?  Believe me, I do.  And when I do actually have a party, I hit up ALDI for my party needs. Here are some of my ALDI secrets for partying like a pro (or a 30 something mom who wants some cheap gourmet items for a night “in” with friends 🙂
*proscuito and cheese pinwheel
*Goat CHEESE (with cranberries at Christmas or cinnamon or my current fava-flav is the herb blend)
*pre-sliced summer sausage
*other gourmet cheeses- like sriracha cheddar or Irish cheddar- oh yeah!
*naan bread for dipping or pita bites, french bread or seasonal c


*sauces, oils & vinegars, OLIVES!!, specialty dips/guacamole
I have seen everything from #seasonalmums to #lawnchairs to #beachtowels in the rand-O aisle at ALDI.
*Flower bouquets- they always have for $3.99
*Wine and CHOCOLATES- the dark chocolate salted caramels I got there and gourmet peanut butter cups were to die for!!
New FAV item:
Flavored waters in cucumber, lavender and vanilla- it’s carbonated, low cal/carb and still really delicious… It’s a great change from beer, etc.
I love ALDI, and if you aren’t a name brand person, I think you will too.  Even if you are, give it a try… try one thing, try 5.  I promise you won’t regret spending the minimal amount you spend on some new stuff to pack your pantry!
Also- I love giving guided tours… if that’s something you require, hit me up 🙂
As always, thanks for reading!!
3> #frugalfinderdsm

TJ- Yay!

It’s TJ Maxx time!  I love TJ Maxx, my sister loves TJ Maxx, my mom loves TJ Maxx… it’s a great place to find, well, almost anything!

I tend to go into TJ’s with a mission to get one item or another… I usually come out with more than that one item… Soooo, let’s take a moment to discuss both- the “go in fors” and the “come out withs” and everything in between!

Often times, I’ll decide that my Goodwill hunting and thrifting just isn’t getting me that one solid item I need, so I head to TJ Maxx.  Some things I might be “going in for” include the following:  a decor item (something pretty to put in a certain spot in my house), a storage item, a clothing item (yes, once in a blue moon I go all in for something new), curtains, bath mats, gifts, kids clothes, purses/handbags, jewelry, perfume/cologne, shoes, or men’s clothes.  That may have covered the entire store, but let me break it down by the deals in the store and what I come out with from different departments.

Clothing.  They always have super cute, trendy outfits.  Since I typically go to the clearance rack, I typically don’t buy the full outfits they have on display, BUT, I have gotten a piece here and there.  I think the easiest thing to shop for in their clothing is shirts or sweaters/cardigans.  This top ran me about $12.99 not on sale.  It is a cool brand called Olive and Rose, and have a bunch of fun items at TJs.  They also have random name brand items, like American Eagle and Express.  I will also say that their juniors section is significantly cheaper than the women’s, so if you can find something over there, it’s worthwhile- $ wise. 

I tend to find great deals on quality handbags.  This year, for example, I knew I needed a backpack vs. my typical tote bag.  I wanted something cute, small, and durable.  On the clearance rack, I found my Michael Kors navy blue, perfect size to fit a laptop and a few other items.  Original price $199.  My clearance, red tag, TJ Maxx bargain price= $49.  That was a lot for me to spend on a backpack, but I have to say I’ve been thoroughly pleased with it.  Not only is it a designer brand (not that I 100% care about that fact), but it is holding up incredibly well, it’s water-resistant for all the weird rainy days we’ve had this fall, and it’s super lightweight.  I also don’t feel like I look like a student with a backpack, rather a trendy adult ;).  I’ve also purchased a couple Kate Spade bags at TJs, and they have a ton of super cute options.  It just depends what you’re looking for… they also have great travel bags, from suitcases to carry-ons.

I’m not sure how often they do mark-downs on food, but this summer, they had a TON of stuff out on a clearance smorgasborg table.  I grabbed a bunch of fun things for our 8 hour journey to northern Minnesota, including:  apple chips, granola bites, mini Peppa Pig & Paw patrol cookies, hard candies, KIND granola bars, peanut trail mix, and organic jelly beans.  I also got some fun cooking supplies while they were on the discount rack, including: tumeric ($2 for a huge container), Gin-Gins stomach chews ($2), and garlic olive oil ($2).  When I think how much I love going to oil and vinegar shops, I also consider that I easily spend $6 on a super small oil.  And while I love the variety that oil shops offer, I don’t necessarily need a wide span of $6-$15 oils.  This $2 one is serving me quite well in the kitchen!  I also love snagging flavored coffee from TJs.  They currently have their seasonal pumpkin flavors.  Just last weekend I got some super yummy creme brulee pumpkin.   I snagged it for $4.99.

Let’s talk decor.  I’m going to be honest here.  A lot of these items my sister purchased for me… from TJ Maxx, so I think that still counts, right?  Lamps… they have beautiful lamps ranging from I’d say $14.99 up to $39.99.  I don’t see much outside of that price range, but typically they come with the shade, so right there you save around $10.  I think these white ones are pretty shabby sheik and they just go with a lot, so I can move them around when I get bored!  Pillows… I like to scope pillows on the sale rack, but my sister also snagged these for me.  They range from about $5.99 up to about $24.99, depending on size, shape, etc.  Again, these ones just go with a lot, so they are nice to have and rotate here and there.  My sister has also done themed pillows, like fur with sweater fabric for winter weather.  TJ has it all, and if you compare to your typical “interior wares” store, you will notice the price cut here.

Photoooos- they have awesome choices of large prints, canvases, framed pictures, and just cool wall decor.  This is just one example of a larger canvas that I grabbed off the clearance rack.  It has gold flecks in it and goes nicely above my desk with gold handles.  I’m pretty sure I paid only around $9.99 or so.  This would be an example of “what I came out with”.  Did I go in for a canvas for a side wall in my bedroom? no, did I buy one? yes 🙂  Other splurge items that I occasionally get when they grab my attention or I get distracted wandering, are candles.  I love, love, love vanilla.  This paperwhite vanilla reminds me of a vanilla mixed with a pipe smell.  It is not too sweet and has some depth to it.  For $2.99, I had to leave with it.  Speaking of vanilla smells, I have also gotten a bottle of perfume or 2 at TJ’s.  One of my favorite winter smells is Burberry Brit, which they sometimes have.  They do have a good sampling of Burberrys and a lot of the “designer” superstar brands, like Jessica Simpson, Paris Hilton, etc.  If you just want to try out a smell, they also have body sprays that I think are worth the price.  For $5-$8 you can have almost the same smell as the perfume, and you typically get a LOT more in the bottle.

Towels!  When I’m in the mood for something to change the look of my bathroom (and don’t ask why anyone even cares about this, but I do), I get a new hand-towel and/or towel set, or bath mats.  My last switch up was a couple Chrismases ago when I asked for new towels, no direction on color or pattern.  My awesome mother in law got me this cute turquoise set, which I in turn used as a base for the rest of my bathroom.  Pictured is a “junk holder” to throw whatever random bathroom counter stuff into, a toothbrush cup, cottonball holder, and shower curtain.  Not going to lie- the shower curtain was $9.99 at Wally World, but I love it because it’s wipeable and goes with my turquoise and coral stuff.  That coral towel is a TJ purchase.  I found the same towel in green and gray, and bought a few of each for different rooms in the house.  I like them for guest use so that if there are 2 people staying over, they can easily know whose is whose, yet they still “go together” as a set.  Another storage basket example is pictured down below.  They always have these type of woven storage baskets.  I use them all over the house for different things.  In Norah’s room as a diaper basket, in Nolan’s for books, in the hallway for mittens, and in the basement for toys.  I think they look nice, are inexpensive, and come in many shapes/sizes.

  And check out my sweet”goal digger” plate to set rings or jewels on in the bathroom.  For $2, I grabbed it to go.

And while we’re in the bathroom, let’s talk products.  TJ Maxx has super cool products.  They have paraben free options, as well as organic products, and salon name items.  I like to buy hair serum here because I feel like it’s all kind of the same.  The one pictured here was about $4.99 and it smells like… you guessed it, Vanilla!  Yum hair!  I also snagged some C. Boothe paraben free body cream off the clearance rack for $3.  It’s super moisturizing and smells awesome.  I’ve bought other C. Boothe products that I really love too… it’s worth checking out if you’re into the less chemicals used stuff.  A few other items- scrubs, all natural bar soaps, argan oil face lotion (in a big jar with a pump for $5.99!), and shampoo/conditioner.  I have a huge bottle of paraben free conditioner that smells AmAzing, and was also pretty decently priced (more pics to come).

If nothing else, TJ Maxx is worth the stop for their .99 bags.  I use them for EVERYTHING!  I sometimes just buy them when I’m checking out to use as my bag to leave the store.  I sometimes buy them for friends (Jami-cat bag), or my mom (dog bag), and I’ve even used them to package wedding gifts.  Do they all say TJ Maxx on the side?  Yes, I’m pretty sure.  Do I care?  Nope!  They are HUGE, and the straps are durable.  I use for transferring Christmas gifts in the winter, grocery shopping, a beach bag, a front seat travel bag to grab stuff out of, a kids toy bag, and anything else I possibly need.  Featured here is my favorite one because it has my frugal finder glasses :).

More TJ later… I’ve also found my favorite bedspread there and a bunch of other great deals, but as always, time is of the essence, and I’m expired and turning into a pumpkin.  So, namaste, and peace be with you, and let’s chat again soon!

Random Deals…

Hello again fine readers.

Tonight’s post is inspired solely by the pictures I already have uploaded to my computer :).  The majority of these items are “around the house”, and fall into 1 of 2 categories:  DIY or DEALS.  I’ll be sharing with you the Deals stuff, then get into my DIY projects in another post!

Mirrors and Clocks… I needed a mirror, actually lots of mirrors, when we built our new house in 2014.  I went to a store I new had lots of these, where I found some great deals.  The store is called Kirkland’s, and the one around here is out off of Mills Civic in West Des Moines (even right by a TJ Maxx and Trader’s Joe’s)!  I’m pretty sure I spent about $20 on this HUGE wall clock, and around $60 on this heavy duty mirror that I needed to fill a large gap on the wall in my hallway.  I also bought rectangular mirrors for over our bathroom sinks, and saved some money with the contractors by DIY’ing the purchase.  I don’t have a picture uploaded of those, but they are sheik looking with silver-textured framing, $30/each.  Plus, if you are in their member’s club, there is usually a coupon to make things even cheaper.  I also like to look at the random wall art there, as they have HUGE canvases, also cheaper than I’ve seen most places (except Goodwill).  You can also purchase items online through Kirkland’s, which I personally have never done, but I know it’s an option.

Another random place I stop in a few times/year is Tuesday Morning, located on Delaware in Ankeny (also by a TJ Maxx).  This is one of my favorite items from Tuesday’s.  I use it as a key hook by my garage door.  As you can see it is also holding our ice scraper :).  It looks DIY, but for $10 it was done for me.  They have unique things here.  The things I typically purchase here are storage devices, random food items, and wall hangings.  I always once over the furniture, and I actually did purchase this cute blue side table for Nolan’s room because it was the EXACT blue color I wanted and had a drawer.  It was $40.  Not like OMG best deal ever, but also not horrible.  I used to look at dog toys there too, and rugs, and candle holders/decor stuff.  This spring I skimmed the 90% off cart (the cart that had reeled me in from my original destination of TJ’s), and ended up getting a hand towel with a beet on it for $.80 and a travel jewelry organizer for $.60.  I call both DEFINITE DEALS!  It’s hit and miss, or you have to be in the right mood for Tuesday Morning.  They always seem quiet and understaffed, but it’s a clean store with hidden treasures.  One last thing to check out there is the toy section.  They have some great deals, as well as costumes and random fun things at decent prices 🙂

Next up, Funky Finds!  I <3 Funky Finds.  I don’t buy something every time I go, but I love to go.  It feels like 1972 in there, and to me, that’s a great feeling.  You feel like the air should be full of cigarette smoke and ladies with disco boots should be showing up any minute with cocktails to cheers you, but I digress… It’s just cool in there and worth a stop, even for viewing value.  They have everything from vintage furniture and accessories, to wall hangings, clothing, and barbie furniture.  I actually bought a vintage, blow up barbie chair ($3) for my kids to float “guys” on in the bath.  I thought it was super cool, and in “retro”spect (get it?), I probably shoulda splurged and bought the entire blow up

furniture set… but this was when I had a 1 year old and newborn and couldn’t justify the purchase.  Anyways, these are the items I’m showcasing from Funky Finds because they usually have one or two down in their basement area:  my sugar & flour canister set, along with coffee and tea ta boot!  I love these because 1) they are chrome, 2) they are vintage, and 3) they look cool on my counter-top.  They have cute black handles on top, and you can re-arrange them any which way you like.  I think I paid $20-$30 for this set, but I pay more for items that I know I won’t see at Target… Another of my most favorite things that I purchased a few years back at FF, is my vintage blue coat with fur collar.  I know they make these now, everywhere, but I really like the authenticity of vintage coats.  They seem warmer, and cooler- if you get my drift?  This particular coat I refer to as my “Hilda Crabtree”, and have been asked if that is the designer… the answer is No.  That is the namesake of the lovely coat I wear in the wintertime.  It is nicely written on the inner silky lining label tab, in black cursive handwriting, “Hilda Crabtree”.  I quite like the name, and I know I probably won’t ever meet Hilda, but I want her to know I do love the coat!

Up next, and new to me just this summer, is a place in south DSM called “Fab Rehab“, and the owner, Ellen, is about one of the nicest people I’ve ever met.  I went to check out some chairs that she had posted online that I thought would go with my green DIY gone wrong table.  I loved the table and didn’t think I could ever part with it, mess-ups and all.  Until I saw this beauty.  I LOVE vintage stuff, especially when it’s in mint condition.  Ellen had found this and touched up the nicks and scratches enough to re-sell at her store.  That was the day I parted with my green table, and went all in for this amazing vintage piece.  It has chrome hair-pin legs and a gray swirly top that goes outstandingly with my gray walls.  The chairs came looking mint with no rips or tears in the vintage vinyl.  Also, super easy to clean up with toddler dining extravaganzas.

Now might also be the time to mention that a LOT of my personal stuff is green.  My grandmother, Ms. Mary Maxine Burns, was the essence of Irish heritage here on earth, and most of the things in her house, including her cars, her clothes, and her house, were green.  Coincidentally, I may have inherited the “green gene”  from her, and stumble upon green things, that end up in my house, more often than not.  Hence, I was okay with the greenish-olive vinyl that others might not care for, and that’s okay because we all like what we like, amiright?  So, the table and chairs were purchased that day, hauled into the hot van midsummer, and hauled home by Nicki & Nolan for a smokin’ price of $175.

I’ll share with you one more green item, that unfortunately, you won’t be able to purchase because good ‘ol American Furniture no longer exists.  BUT, I did want to give a shout out to these couches because they are really, truly, amazing- and green.  We’ve had them at least

8 years now and purchased them for our old house that didn’t have a ton of space in the living room.  They are Rowe brand, which I’ve since learned is a high quality brand.  I do purchase couches, chairs, and beds new, so they aren’t always super cheap.  That said, sometimes quality is worth the cost- yes, I said it- and sometimes you end up with a turquoise sectional that you bought when you were pregnant and it doesn’t quite look how you thought it would ;).  Anyways, these couches are the BOMB.  They are firm, kid proof and dog proof.  Most stains are easy to wipe and don’t show up after cleaning, and you can vacuum in and on them, and unzip them off the cushion to clean up if you need to.  The cushions are wide, and both the loveseat and the couch are long enough to stretch out on (even for a 6ft 4 fellow to do).  In the background is one of my super cute mini vinyl chairs that I’ll chat about in another post on Goodwill furniture finds., but I do think looks quite cute with the green couches.

Up next and probably last for this evening’s post, is a locally owned place here in A-town, called “Tweedle Dee’s”.  Dee-Dee is the owner and she can accommodate most anything!  The store is full of gorgeous one of a kind items hailing crafts-people all around the metro.  You can find everything from furniture to candles to pillows and doll clothes in this cute store front in Uptown Ankeny.  They also have super cute jewelry and custom made signs for most any room in your home (I like, but don’t yet have their “party of 4” sign).  Here’s what I do have from Dee’s:  this lovely coral dresser that Dee-Dee painted for me when I was pregnant with Norah.  I knew what type of dresser I was looking for and she had one ready to go that wasn’t yet painted.  She sells her own home-made chalk paint, and it is by far the best I have used, with tons of fun colors to choose from.  So, I went with this pinky coral for my baby girl’s room.

I also purchased these name blocks that eventually I’d like to try my hand at making someday, but they had the exact coral color on some of the letters, so I went with it.  I think it adds some whimsy to her room and ties in all the other stuff she has going on (more pics to come in a DIY post).  The coral dresser was $140, custom painted, which I don’t think you can really beat, and the letters were like $3/each?  I think they were great deals, but even if furniture and blocks aren’t your thang, you should still stop into Tweedle Dee’s and check it out.  I also had one of the vendors create me a wine rack… This particular vendor was a high school student who got crafty and created these holders for the bottles herself after finding them WAY too expensive online and in stores.  I wanted something simple to fit an exact space; Tweedle’s didn’t have it, but Katelyn offered to make it for me!  I want to say I paid around $70 for it, but knowing that the metal holders alone could have cost that much (or more), I still think it was a great deal.  More about that mirror in my TJ Maxx post, and the buffet in my Goodwill furniture finds.

Okay folks, I have at least 20 more things to share with you, but my eyes are tired and my kids wake up at 6:45 no matter how late they go to bed.  That being said, I hope to share more with you sometime in the very near future!  Thanks for your readership 😉



work out wows…

Okay, so here’s the deal.  I don’t like “working out” and I despise gyms.  However, I have still paid membership dues and tried many of them, and found that similarly to my mother, the only thing that is really worth my time and effort is walking.  Those who know me fairly well, know that I have major back problems (and a bum knee, and drop foot), so working out isn’t exactly easy.  I used to love golf- when I was good, and when I had time to do it, but that may have taken a toll on my back as well and is currently taking a backseat to child-rearing duties.  Anyways, I only tell you this so you understand I have a somewhat unilateral view of exercise and what I enjoy.  These may or may not be applicable to you, so here are just some thoughts on facilities, classes, etc….

A few years ago, Chris and I got in GREAT shape.  I thank that time in our lives to Farrell’s.  I absolutely loved kickboxing, and the arm and leg band workouts were great too.  I was able to do the workouts with an ankle brace and no shoes, which made it a better fit for me than say Crossfit.  Don’t get me wrong, I’ve heard great things about that and other places, but Farrell’s was fun and a good fit for me. Image may contain: 3 people, including Nicki Simonis, people smiling I felt that the 10 week challenge was a good health investment to kick-start me in the right direction (until I had kids).  Now, I’m back to basics.  BUT, I did learn how to eat better, had a great way to let off steam with punching bags, had FUN, made some great friends, and challenged myself to do more.  They also had lots of fun theme days.  I’m a sucker for dress-up days, so that was also a big sell for continued work-outs at 5:30 AM and 4:30 PM (see powder puff girls photo ===>) featuring “skinny bubbles”.

That year, I also ran a couple 5ks.  I HATE running, but they were fun and bottom line was, I was able to do them because of Farrell’s.  I’m not saying it’s cheap, but if you look at the right time you can find deals on the 10 week challenge.  And go for it… because you can win their $1,000 prize at the end!

I’ve toured Lifetime Fitness, and it’s pretty sweet.  Especially when you consider their outdoor pool with food service, but since I don’t live in Urbandale, that’s not a feasible option for me- time and money and kid wise.  I’ve paid my monthly dues for Fitness World (it varies, but around $70/month depending what package you get).  You then have access to their pool, fitness classes, 24 hour machines, steam room, sauna, and childcare.  I’m not the best at taking kids home from one daycare facility, then going to another so that I can work-out, so ultimately, the one thing that I thought would get me to the gym, really didn’t.  They have awesome instructors and classes, especially zumba, water aerobics, and yoga.  What I didn’t care for was the “push” to spend more on a personal trainer.  If I’m paying $70/month, I’m not throwing in another $50+ for customized stuff.  To some this may be a great option, for me, not so much.

I’ve also trialed Planet Fitness when I was living in DSM near the 86th street location.  If I were going to dish out the $ for a gym, I’d most likely go here.  Why?  It’s cheap, it’s clean, and it has what I would actually utilize in a gym.  It’s $20/month for all access to their machines, individual circuit “stations”, their water massage machine, chair massage machine, and tanning beds.  I only utilized the machines and their rotation stations, but I felt like I got a good workout, and it was budget friendly.  Unless you LOVE classes more than anything or like the variety of classes + machines, this is a great option.  It’s even less if you take out the “extras” (massage machines & tanning).

Anytime Fitness:  I tried this with a groupon at one point in time, and remember it being reasonably priced after the fact.  I really enjoyed the Beaverdale location because it was upstairs overlooking Beaver Ave.  It wasn’t too big/overwhelming, so I could get in and get out quickly.  They had the basics: machines, weights, medicine balls, etc., so you could do a quick and easy workout without having to think too much.

Aspen:  I did a free trial here at the Hickman location.  It was interesting.  If I would have utilized the pool or raquet ball court, it could have been really fun, especially in this unique retro-feel building.  Instead, I primarily hit the machines and weights.  This was a few years ago; however, there were a lot of muscley people.  Everywhere.  Being a non-avid worker-outer, this intimidated me.  Again, I was encouraged to sign up for a personal trainer after my 2 free sessions, and again, no thank you.  All that said, I know that different locations may not feel as though you are walking into a vast land of muscle men- AND- I think the prices are pretty reasonable, maybe even $20-$30/month.  It’d be worth me giving it another try… someday… maybe 🙂

Classes:  this brings me to my next option.  I really like yoga, and I have spent time at 3 different facilities practicing the fine art of yoga.  One I had a groupon too, and it was nice (I have a whole other post about grouponing), but I can’t recall the name.  I did, however, really enjoy 8086459329 in Beaverdale.  Way back when a few years ago, they had punch cards that would save you a bit of $$ by purchasing the cards up front.  Great calming atmosphere and instructors.  In Ankeny, most places have a less expensive trial (1 or 2 classes) before buying full packages.  I’ve never done them, but I know they exist.  Otherwise, drop in classes are about $15/each.  That, in my book, is no deal.  I get it- and understand they have to make their money… I’m just cheap- errr- thrifty, that’s all.  So, here’s my low-down on “deals” for other exercise classes:

  1. Churches:  The CLC at the Methodist Church here in Ankeny offers both drop in and sign up classes.  The drop in rate is $15/month with limited offerings including yoga and a few others.  They also have challenges and early morning hard-core workouts too.  This is a great deal if you can commit yourself to going.  I’m sure other churches have similar options around DSM.
  2. 4035791252:  This is usually in parks around the metro- thank you to #dsmparent for compiling these!  That’s an easy, once/week freebie and also allows you to go exploring around DSM.  I also noticed that there are some breweries doing yoga these days, and that sounds fun too!  I don’t think it’s free, but either the beer or the yoga is discounted, and either way, that makes it a deal in my book!
  3. Community Education Classes:  This is my favorite, and I’ve tried more than a few interesting classes through both DSM and Ankeny community ed.  These classes are SO cheap, you can’t go wrong trying something new.  I’ve done belly-dancing, yoga, cooking, chair yoga (yes, it’s a thing), and most recently Qi-Gong Meditation.  Here’s an example of why these types of classes are a great deal- my current class cost is $40 for 2x/week for about 8 weeks minus a few classes in October that the instructor noted, so it shakes out to maybe $4/class… I like that it’s not a never ending commitment, like a gym.  Gyms become somewhat repetitive, therefore this option works really well for me.
  4. Continuing Education Classes:  Okay, I haven’t actually taken one of these, but they are similar to community ed., but offered through community colleges, like DMACC.  There are many different “skill” based classes offered if there’s something you have a burning desire to learn… or learn and add to your resume.  They can cost more depending on the offering, but still worth taking a look.  I guess that’s not as work-out focused, but if you just want to take a class, now you know they exist!
  5. Trail Point:  I’ve toured here a couple of times and feel like this is a great deal for families who work out a lot.  They have childcare, machines, a track, 2 pools, classes, they were working on a kids gym- and if you go to DMACC, it’s all FREE!  This is a super nice, new facility with a super nice manager.  It’d be worth the investment for a family, maybe even mine someday!  They may have other features I’m missing here, but it’s a neat place.

More to come later…

(818) 432-6737

I’ve always loved Walgreen’s.  It’s quick.  It’s convenient.  It has almost everything- including LOTS of my favorite indulgences:  cosmetics!  So, here’s the quick down and dirty with Walgreen’s…

Stop in, pick up your prescription and while you wait, check out these great deals (in no particular order):

  •  NUTS.  Often times they will have buy one, get one free on their almonds OR they will have a 2fer deal on their Nice! Walgreen’s brand.  I like both, but particularly when they have the bogo on the specialty almond’s.  I love the thai sweet chili and the salt and vinegar flavor- yum!
  • Vitamins/Supplements/Medications:  again, depending on the day, you can pick up a great bogo deal on your favorites.  Some of the things I’ve learned recently that are great just to have on hand:
    • Magnesium- can help with depression and constipation
    • Tumeric- great anti-inflammatory and overall health
    • Fish Oil- good for your brain
    • Probiotics- great for digestion and stomach health
    • I also like to buy…
    • Generic tums
    • Generic Allegra-D & other allergy meds
    • Generic ibuprofen & kids ibuprofen/tylenol/allergy meds
  • Laundry detergent:  I’m sure you can go into Wal-Mart and search through all the options and find a similar if not better deal.  That being said, I like less options and low price points.  Since Walgreen’s isn’t your typical place for things like laundry detergent, they almost always have a sale.  My most recent purchase was on “Sun”- yes, the cheap stuff, but it smells great and I got a HUGE bottle for $3.00.  They also run regular deals on ALL and other “free and clear” types that I’ll pick up when they are on sale.  Arm & Hammer seems to be another one that they run deals on frequently.  It’s worth checking out!
  • Deodorant:  If it’s on sale, and IF you have coupons, this can be a good deal.  It’s usually a buy one, get one half-off type of situation.  If you like getting 2 different scents or a men’s/women’s, this can be an easy one.  Additionally, Walgreen’s after Christmas sales are awesome.  I got my husband a Dove set with soap, shampoo/conditioner, deodorant and spray for $4.99.  That’s typically what you’d pay for the deodorant alone.  I also frequent the clearance aisle at Walgreen’s for similar items… I find lots of random deals there.  Last year, I snagged .47 Reindeer leggings from the clearance aisle… Deal?? Heck yah!
  • Cosmetics!!  This is my favorite thing to explore at Walgreen’s (time permitting).  They have awesome sales on mix and match make-up of all kinds.  I like the No.7 brand because it doesn’t irritate my eyes.  I have bought their eyeliner, mascara (the gold sparkly bottle), eyelash primer, regular primer, summer foundation with SPF, and I have one eye-shadow that I got in their gift with purchase.
    • I love almost any 12 hour or longer lipsticks… I have Covergirl, Rimmel, Almay, Revlon, and probably some others… they stay on most of the day, and I buy new colors whenever they are on clearance or there is a BOGO deal, or I need a fun splurge item.  I find that different colors work better with my skin in different seasons… for example, red in the winter, coral in summer, purpley-pink in the fall… this fall I’m going to give burgundy a try since I have a lot of clothing I think it’d look nice with.  AND- jewel tones are IN right now, so I’m thinking one of my Goodwill finds- a dark turquoise cap sleeve button-down, with that or a dark purple lip will look fab.
    • I also dig “Not Your Mother’s” products.  Two of my favs are their dry shampoo- toasted coconut, and All Eyes on Me 10-in-1 Hair perfecter.  I think both are amazing… and they have a great smelling peppermint shampoo too!  I like that they are sulfate and paraben free… and at Walgreen’s they have specials on this brand off and on, so you can usually find them at a fairly decent price.
    • One of their best cosmetic deals, that goes through end of September, is buy 2 get one free.  Prices are within a $1-$2 of those in Target and Wal-Mart, so if I find 3 lipsticks that I like/want/need for $8.99 each… It totals out to approximately $6/each instead of $9.  I think that’s a great deal for the long-lasting lipsticks, or quality eyeliners, mascaras, foundation, etc.  You get the most bang for your buck when you mix and match similar price points.
    • They also sell Essie nail polish… I do think it has awesome color selections, but I also like the “Sinful Colors” 2/$3 brand (sometimes even cheaper, and I’ve recently found a new L.A. colors for $1 that says it lasts 10 days when using the $1 top coat… I went to the other “wal”, Wal-Mart, while on vacation in northern Minnesota, where I wandered upon this deal… I went all in for both and got a beautiful pinky-white color that lasted my entire summer vacation.  I was impressed, and will definitely buy it again if I see a needed color.
    • Another brand I really like in this area is the “Soap & Glory” stuff.  Their traditional lotion smells amazing, and is paraben-free.  They have a wide-range of items for body care and make-up!
  • Candy:  they run great deals on candy “2for…”, monthly coupon specials, and end of season clearance.  I pick up deals on Christmas, Easter, and Halloween candy to take and share at school for DIRT cheap.  By the time it’s 90% off, you pay cents for whatever is leftover.  I say it’s a deal if you need candy for something :).
  • Shoes:  I know this one sounds strange, right?  And if you’re into name-brand and/or real vs. synthetic, then probably not for you… But, I do think these are cute, comfy, and they meet the price point for a “deal”.  I’ve found many a clearance shoe at Walgreen’s- most recently I snagged these cute camel/silver faux leather sandals, on their end of season clearance for $4.99.  Score!

(763) 283-7373

Oh, dollar tree, how I love thee so… When people tell me they have never been to dollar tree, or “just found out about all the great deals”… I am completely taken aback.  Dollar Tree and I go way back.  Back to it’s bright beginnings in Cedar Falls, Iowa.  Back then, I sought out random items and “fun junk” whenever I needed a little retail therapy.  As a young adult journeying off to college, I purchased many a random spoons/containers/dishware at the $ TREE.  I always happen to find them on vacation too…

St. Louis- rainstorm- heading to a Brewer’s game… in desperate need of a poncho- where do I go?  Dollar Tree!  I could give you many more fun places I’ve shopped at “the dollar store”, but the great thing is this, most have all the same junk.  The things that sometimes become a household staple.  So, what are my Dollar Tree digs and must-haves?  Let me share them with you now… and please, keep in mind, this fabulous store offers soooo many items beyond these, so stop in your local $TREE today 🙂

  1. Cards- Personally, I don’t give a whoot if it’s a Hallmark or not.  If it’s a message that I can get down with, then I buy it.  Additionally, they have an INSANE stock of thank-you notes.  I have purchased 3 foil-embossed floral sets recently to send out for the kindness of friends and co-workers after having back surgery… but they sit, waiting.  I WILL do it though.  I just need to share this first…
  2. Seeds- Dollar Tree seeds for plants are by far the cheapest I’ve found.  At the end of season, they are 10 cents/pack.  At the beginning of the season, they are 25 cents/pack.  Either way, you can grow a garden for cheap… think about that… do you like basil?  Those little, flat plastic holders of basil go for around $3.99… and here I have a wild-forest growing in my little herb garden for 10 cents.  Who knew?!
  3. Party-ware- Okay, so I’m not your go all out pinterest party gal.  That costs too much and takes too much time.  And if we’re being honest with ourselves, who is all the decorating for at a 2-year-olds birthday party?  I literally JUST spent under $30 on party supplies.  I’m talking invites, banners, poofy tissue balls (easy to make-yes-but take time), party favors, hot pink plates, napkins, 2 purple table-cloths, table scatter, plastic silverware, fake pink flowers, and adorable hot pink/gold/silver mini paper gift bags to hide the party favors.  The party favors are some of Norah’s favorite things …because , well, that’s who this party is really about, right?  So, I got mini flutes, mini bubbles, stickers, and ring pops, as well as a sucker bouquet for the tables.  I think the kids will have fun with all of it, and I may go back for more… time pending.  Oh, and the cutest thing of all was a number 2 balloon in gold- super cute!  I think Norah will love her pink “twinkle” party.
  4. Baby socks… they have the kind with little adhesive on the bottom for crawling.  2 pairs for $1 is a deal that can’t be beat!
  5. Candle holders… They have cool candle holders.  It really depends on the day, as to what they have in stock, but I once bought a mosaic cylinder shaped holder that I would then see in expensive stores after the fact.  They also have nice little silver and gold holders too.
  6. BREAD.  American bread is full of preservatives.  There, I said it… and it’s true, so the reality is, our bread can last a long friggin’ time!  The bread at Dollar Tree is closer to expiration then you see at the store, which is WHY it is there in the first place.  I have gotten some incredibly thrifty deals on bread and related items at the tree.  Thomas English muffins- seasonal variety… they always seem to have, and I love me a good muffin, so we’ve gotten to try a wide span of them at our house, ranging from s’mores to banana to cranberry, blueberry, cinnamon, high protein, high fiber, and more… we’ve also just gotten good deals on “fancy” breads that I otherwise wouldn’t purchase, but hey for a dolla dolla bill y’all, I’m IN!  Hot dog buns and hamburger buns are also easy to purchase there.
  7. Dishes.  You can get some darn nice ceramic sets of dishes in almost any color you like.  Some look very high end, depending what you’re going for… I once saw Rachael Ray’s stuff there even.
  8. Balloons, balloons, balloons… Like a guy I overhead working at Hy-Vee across the street said, “Why would you ever spend $5 on a helium balloon when Dollar Tree has them?”  Point made.  They have most colors, most topics, and a variety of characters.  I buy balloons for parties, gifts, baby homecomings, etc.  Whenever there’s an opportunity, I get the balloons, because why not?  They are fun to look at, kids love ’em, and let’s be honest, they add that special something to any party.
  9. Drawer liners, baggies, and disposable cookware… Drawer liners- no one sees them anyways, but they have started selling more “mod” patterns, baggies- all sizes sold there and sometimes they get close out baggies.  For example, I was lucky enough to score some PP (Paw Patrol) snack baggies and Micky Mouse sandwich size a couple weeks ago.  Boom!  Oh, and disposable cookware is great when you need something on hand to take to a friend, especially if it requires cooking it in the oven.
  10. Cleaning supplies and soap… My mother loves AWESOME.  She and my dad could probably make a commercial and sell a bazillion bottles of the stuff knowing all the random things they use it for.  I will warn you, Awesome is not, I repeat, NOT, your eco-friendly cleaner.  It is a very strong chemical, “I can tell it’s really getting clean” smell.  My parents use it more than I do, but some of the many uses include:  cleaning a boat, cleaning a bathroom, cleaning a spill, cleaning a dog pee stain, cleaning clothing stains, cleaning your car interior… it goes on and on, but it really is a pretty versatile cleaning product.  I also like to grab a nice palmolive hand soap when I’m in that aisle.  They also sell mops, buckets, brooms, and swiffer replacements.  I also get cleaning wands for dishes there and mini packs of kleenex for the car, purse, etc.

I suppose I could stop there and call it my “Top 10”, but there a bazillion other things I get there or have bought there in the past to be thrifty and save moo-lah.  I’ll list those with less commentary, so you at least have a sense of things that could be useful.

  • toothbrushes/paste/holders
  • shower curtain liners
  • detangler spray for kids
  • bath 2 in 1 for kids
  • pregnancy tests (yes, they do work)
  • stickers and kid packs
  • frozen vegetables
  • drink mix-in’s, like Orange Crush packets, Root Beer, etc.
  • Poster paper
  • Classroom stuff
  • Deodorant (limited scents)
  • Hairbrushes
  • antibiotic ointment/bandaids
  • Slotted and regular spoons/spatulas
  • water guns

Some things I wouldn’t buy at the $ tree, either because they lack the “deal” factor, or the product itself sucks…

  • Make-up (I have sensitive skin so I avoid)
  • Pantiliners
  • Candles
  • Some of the food (depends on quantity and quality of the item)
  • Dish cloths

In summary, and after much thought… there aren’t many items that I wouldn’t at least give a try from the Dollar Tree.  It all just depends what you’re looking for and how many places you want to go searching for things.  Sometimes, running into a Dollar Tree is so much more convenient than bearing the huge grocery store.

goodwill event

Here’s a taste of my “fashion” sense…

Now, this specific shirt was part of the fundraising for the event; therefore, I call this a nicki “splurge”, as it was $20, but to support the mission and to be able to sport this sweet shirt in public- sold.  Some of the other notable items here include, vintage brown, floral embossed wallet to go with my camel colored vintage coach bag ($5.50), lovely gold bracelet with intermingled sparkles ($4.50), gold, V earrings ($2.50), 2 awesome necklaces- $6.50/each, and some shades for $3.50.  Deal or no deal? I say you can’t argue that!

I am not, by any stretch of the imagination, a fashionista… I’m not even a “Maxionista”, although, I do love TJ Maxx (to be continued in a different post)…

This post; however, is a sampling of my fashion tastes that I picked up last Friday from #goodwill even in the East Village here in DSM.  It was put on by the adorable, As Seen on M.E. (Megan Evans), in conjunction with the amazing #goodwillofcentraliowa.  I waited all summer, or at least since I learned of the event and saved it to my facebook *interested* tab, to attend this swanky hotel downtown #marriott #eastvillage #dsm, and get my thrift on.  Amy had some exceptionally beautiful pieces that she had hand-selected, for sale at the event, but per usual I found myself shopping the $5 (thrifter’s paradise) rack.  And what to my wonder did I find?  Some GREAT treasures…

Pictured below:


image 1- Amy and me sporting the black & white combo

image 2- a closer look at this beautiful vintage white top with black bow details ($5) paired with adorable hot pink beads to accentuate the overall “girliness”


image 3:  more cool accessories to wear with my thrifting shirt


image 4:  fitted vintage polka-dots (inspiration for this purchase to come); dress comes fully loaded with shoulder pads and high slit up the back


image 5: sneak peek of my vintage “rainbow” shirt (love me some rainbows), and one vintage, butter cream flower earring… the other got shattered in transport, but I could NOT part with the other… it’s too cute!…

and how much did I spend in total at the event being a thrifter and all?  well, including the $20 “fundraiser” shirt, I spent a whopping $83.  I think that’s a lot of stuff for $83 + that includes a pair of earrings (not pictured) that I bought for a friend’s birthday!  Wowza!  And the great news is, you can do it too!!  It just may take a little more seeking… at a Goodwill store near you!




Okay, okay… my first post missed a key component- that being, what the heck am I going to talk about?  Here are a list of topics that I’ll be touching on to get the ball rolling and peak your interest:

  • Thrift stores:  which stores have which deals
  • Random deals:  coupons, super cheap stuff, and where to get which types of items
  • Travel deals- where to stop when you’re searching out of town
  • ALDI and where to go for grocery goods
  • DIY done easy and DIYs that I don’t
  • Online shopping:  deal or no deal?  what I buy and why online…
  • Food deals:  when it’s worth it to spend more + cheap ways to dine on the dime
    • Also, meal deals for kids (this is not your site for best bar deals- sorry!)
  • Dollar tree and dollar deals
  • The art of garage-sale-ing
  • Clothes, clothes, clothes!  Ideas for thrift clothes and what not to wear
    • Jewels- how to dress up that look with inexpensive finds
  • BeaUtifying products: hair, skin, nails, etc.
  • CheapO activities for kids and adults
  • Toys- why spend more when you can spend less?!
  • Grocery must haves… how to spend less and get more
    • Kombucha- what is it?  Why drink it?  What’s the “deal” with it?
  • Healthy habits:  what I spend on, great deals for exercise and more
    • Essential oils and how they are a frugal way to stay healthy

Hello world!

Hello everyone! My name is Nicki and i’m your host for deals and digs all around DSM- aka- Des Moines, Iowa. Let me introduce myself and why you should continue reading.  I’m not your typical “thrifter”.  I’m a very un-biased shopper… as long as things are CHEAP :).  I don’t call myself *cheap* however, but I do resonate with the words “frugal”, “thrifty”, “bargain-hunter”, “deal-seeker”, and “resourceful”.

Do I spend more time than I should “shopping”?  Some might say “yes”.  I say I’m saving bazillions of dollars enjoying this so called hobby.  I’m here today to share some of my deal-seeking secrets with you.  Some are not so secretive… some you might care to follow-up on, and others not so much… and hey, I’m okay with that!

But who am I really?  And what’s the point in all this?   Mom, wife, and educator extraordinaire living in Ankeny, Iowa who has spent 10+ years exploring what the Des Moines metro area has to offer in regards to deals and bargains.

I originate from the great lands of Cedar Falls, Iowa and have spent time being thrifty there and overseas in Ireland and England.  In college I became a hawkeye fan by default, and that’s where I learned how to write… I kid, but I DID become an English major, and found a definite passion for writing during my college years.  So here I am.  I’m simply putting together two of my favorite things, shopping and writing, to share with the world (or at least some of you in/around DSM who care about this sort of thing).

Goals?  You can set your own personal endeavors and what you hope to gain by reading/following me, but my goal is to get you a few new tips and tricks each week to ultimately save little bit of moo-lah.  I get to tap into my hobbies, and explore the unknown deals out there, and you get to take of it what you will.  If it’s not a “frugal find”, I will go above and beyond to at least come up with a nifty hint to share about being a frugal gal that maybe you can use too!