My Top 10 Favorite Finds From Dollar Tree

I have a love/hate relationship with Dollar Tree. I love it because you can find GREAT deals on some quality products. But, I hate it because sometimes stuff isn’t always cheaper there and it’s easy to get caught up in the fact that something is “only $1!” when it’s $0.88 at Walmart.

A new Dollar Tree just opened up by my house, so I decided to go since I haven’t been to one in awhile. I was impressed with how much it’s improved since I last went to one! With that being said, I browsed the entire store, and found some good stuff. Here are my top 10 favorite finds from the trip:

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  1. Glass Decor 

These are SO CUTE!!! And for only a dollar… heck yeah I’d decorate my house with these. This location had many different designs in clear, blue, red, and green. Great quality for a great price!

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2. Blank Cards

I always buy my cards from Dollar Tree or the dollar section at Target. These are only a few of the designs they had… and they’re really cute! I love writing letters so these are perfect for me.

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3. Gift Bags

This is also something that I also always buy at Dollar Tree. I am AMAZED at how retail stores get away with charging $3+ for gift bags. At Dollar Tree, the smaller bags come in packages of 2 or 3 which is also nice. They have lots of variety for different holidays, and also plain ones. And don’t forget tissue paper, bows, gift wrap, and any other gift packing needs! They’ve got it all.

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4. Dish Drying Mats

These are just adorable, and I prefer hand washing my dishes most of the time, so I use them often. I’ve never personally bought one from Dollar Tree, but they felt like they were pretty good quality!

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5. Adult Coloring Books

I think adult coloring books are cool and all, but I’ve never actually had the time/patience to color one. Also, they’re pretty expensive in general so buying one for $1 seems way more practical for me (since I probably wouldn’t actually use it that much). They had a good variety!

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6. Removable Wall Stickers

They have lots of options – both for kids & adults! They aren’t that big, but pretty good deal for $1.

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7. Wall Pictures

These were probably my favorite find of the trip. There were so many options, and I looked through ALL of them. I even bought one for my bathroom, and I plan to go get more! It’s a plastic frame, so not the best quality, but I just hung it on my wall so I don’t see the big deal. It looks great!

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8. Journals

I feel like I’ve said this about everything so far… but these are so cute! It was so hard not to buy them all. They make great gifts, too.

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9. Teacher’s Corner

For all the teachers out there… I’m not really sure how much this stuff costs at other retail stores but this stuff seemed like a good deal! Correct me if I’m wrong, though.

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10. Tupperware

Now… I must say, this isn’t ALWAYS the best deal. It depends on what you’re using it for. Personally, I only like using my tupperware a few times before throwing it out. So in that case, the 3 packs would be a good deal. They aren’t as good of quality as the name brands, so keep that in mind. If you’re looking for something better quality, this isn’t for you. Walmart has better quality ones for a very affordable price, just depends on what you’re looking for!

So, there you have it. There were many other great finds, narrowing it down to 10 was hard! I plan on blogging about Dollar Tree more in the near future, so be on the lookout! Thanks for reading!

-KT

How I Started Selling on eBay

Hey y’all! You probably know by now that I’ve been selling on eBay for a few months. It seemed to happen pretty randomly and suddenly, so I thought I’d share how I learned about this opportunity and decided to give it a shot.

Before January of this year, I had NO clue that re-selling was a thing. I found out about it while I was scrolling through Instagram. Since this blog was founded around the idea of saving money, I follow some couponers on Instagram. Somehow, I “accidentally” followed a reseller and began watching her stories and reading her posts about this self-employed job that she had. I was so intrigued that I sought other similar accounts, and before I knew it, I stumbled upon an entire reseller community on Instagram. Like… these people go to thrift stores/retail store sales/garage sales/the internet… and find stuff to resell and make a profit. Why had I never thought of that? One of my favorite hobbies is thrift shopping, so when I found out I could make money doing it, I knew I had to give it a shot.

So… it’s winter break of my senior year of college. Instead of sleeping till noon and binge watching Netflix, I was researching all the ins and outs of this adventure I wanted to embark on. Turns out, there’s a TON of content on the internet about selling on eBay/Amazon/Poshmark, so all I had to do was dedicate the time to learn. Since I was eager, it wasn’t hard at all. I followed the experts on Instagram, watched Youtube videos, and invested a couple hundred dollars of my own money to get started. (Investing that much isn’t necessary, but I wanted to jump in full throttle, and I had the means to do so.)

I officially started selling in January. It was a hard month of learning as I went and failing along the way. However, I felt mostly prepared because of the extensive research I did beforehand. After only a few months of selling, I invest in a professional photo setup and a nice printer because I knew this was going to be a long term thing.

So, yeah, that’s how I got started. I stumbled upon an Instagram account and the rest is history. I’ve been selling on eBay for about 5 months now and I love it! I’ve learned so much and I’m still learning every day. I’m re-investing a lot of my profit back into my business in hopes of growing it even more. I upgraded to an eBay store this week, which was a huge step for me. I’m excited to see what the future holds! I don’t ever think I’ll do this full time, but it’s a fun side hustle to be involved in.

If you’re looking for a way to make a little extra money on your own time, and this sounds like something you’d be interested in, I highly recommend it! It’s fun, low risk, and there’s lots of room for growth. If you have questions for me specifically, feel free to ask. Otherwise, Google and Instagram can be your best friend!

Thanks for reading!

-KT

Garage Sale Hoppin’ Tips

“Hey KT, what’s your favorite season? 

“Garage sale season.”

But forreal. I love getting up at 8am and going to garage sales – both for myself & for my reselling business on eBay. Most of the time, it’s cheaper than thrift stores. (Can we talk about how thrift stores are becoming more expensive? Well, by expensive I mean like $4 for a shirt. But still. I guess that’s a conversation for another time.)  Also, you can bargain with some people and the stuff is usually higher quality/better condition than thrift stores. 

With that being said, if you’re planning to visit some garage sales this summer, here are a few tips that can help you!

  1. Plan your timing strategically.

Originally, I was going to say “get there right when the garage sale starts.” But that’s not always the best strategy, it depends on what your goal is. For example, my mom typically goes around noon when people are more willing to negotiate. She buys furniture and decor super cheap to repurpose, so getting to the “good stuff” first thing in the morning isn’t necessarily important to her. But, if I’m going for name brand clothing, I’d want to get there first thing so that I get the best selection. So just make sure you have a plan that fits your goals. 

      2. Don’t be afraid to bargain – but don’t lowball. 

I’ve bargained at garage sales more times than I haven’t. There’s nothing wrong with making an offer, and most people expect it. However, I won’t make an offer if it’s early in the sale or I think it’s priced fairly. If I’m buying a handful of stuff, often I’ll just ask if I can buy everything in my arms for $20 (or whatever a fair deal is). That way, they don’t have to sort through all the pricing and I get a bargain out of it. However, don’t be offensive and offer something ridiculously low. Unless it’s like, the tail end of the sale and they’re just begging to get rid of things. Just assess the situation and be wise. 

      3. Don’t buy it just because it’s cheap.

This tip also applies to thrift stores, sales, etc. Don’t buy something just because it’s a good deal! I fell into this trap when I first discovered thrift stores/garage sales, and I’m glad I’ve snapped out of it since then. To counteract the temptation to buy cheap things I don’t need, I make a list of the things I’m looking for. The list doesn’t have to be super specific, for example… “I’ll check the clothing, books, dishes, and furniture when I go.” It can be as vague or as specific as you want, just make sure you know your limits.

      4. Plan your route the night before. 

A lot of garage sales are posted on Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace, and other platforms the night before the sale. This is beneficial especially if you’re looking for specific items. This can help you get to the right sales at the right time! Also, be on the lookout for neighborhood garage sales.

      5. Wear a crossbody purse or fanny pack (good thing they’re back in style).

Pretty self explainable. You’re gonna need your hands to sift through/hold stuff. Sorry, no carts or baskets at garage sales. (But if you want, bring a reusable shopping bag to hold stuff).

      6. Be a baller. 

Grab some coffee and a donut beforehand. Sport your favorite shades and a fanny pack. Go kill it out there. Be a nice human. It’s fun if you make it fun!

…Just had to add that last tip. 😉 Hope you enjoyed my tips. I know they’re pretty basic, but they are essential! Let me know if you have any tips for me… I’m always open to learning new things!

Thanks for reading!

-KT

KT’s Healthy Breakfast Bowl Recipe

Hi guys! My friend asked me how to make the breakfast bowl that I referenced in my last blog, so I thought I’d go ahead and make a blog post about it for you all to enjoy. 🙂 Here’s how I make it…

Time: 25 min.

What you need:

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  • Eggs
  • Unsweetened almond milk
  • Frozen (or fresh) potatoes
  • Bacon
  • Natural orange juice
  • Pepper
  • Olive oil
  • Aluminum foil
  • Small frying pan (for potatoes/eggs)
  • Spatula
  • Small cookie sheet (for bacon)
  • Whisk
  • Mixing bowl

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Step 1: Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Put aluminum foil on the cookie sheet and then the bacon. Stick it in the oven for about 20 minutes. Make sure to do this step first, since the bacon takes the longest to cook!

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Step 2: Put the frozen potatoes on the frying pan, with some olive oil. (You can totally cut up fresh potatoes too, which I do sometimes, but this way is less time consuming). Let the potatoes cook, occasionally stirring them around. While they cook, prepare the eggs by mixing them with unsweetened almond milk and pepper.

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Step 3: When the potatoes are cooked, but them in a bowl and start scrambling the eggs! When the eggs are done, also put them in the same bowl.

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Step 4: Take the bacon out at about 20 minutes, or when it looks like it’s done to your liking. Wipe the grease off with paper towels if you want (I suggest it). Then break it into smaller pieces and mix it in with everything else.

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Step 5: Add any spices you’d like, pour yourself a glass of orange juice, and enjoy your breakfast!

Like I’ve said before, this is one of my favorite healthier meal options. I like to make it after a good workout. I have it multiple times a week because I love it so much!

Anyway, thanks for reading – catch you next time!

-KT

Eating Healthy & Saving Money

Hey y’all! A lot of you suggested that I write a blog about eating healthy and affordably at the same time. Many people will tell you that’s impossible, but I promise it’s not. I’ve been doing it for years! You just have to know where to buy certain products and how to meal prep effectively.

I will preface this blog post by saying that I meal prep for about 2 hours every weekend. I do this because I prefer cooking my own food instead of buying canned soup, boxed macaroni, ramen, etc. It may be a few pennies more expensive – but it’s so much healthier! Although I like to meal prep, I’m also a college student, which means sometimes my meals are on-the-go. So this blog will feature both types of healthy eating options – cooking and on-the-go.

I’ll start with some of the things that I meal prep most often. I usually pick 2 meals from the lists below. I know it doesn’t leave room for much variety throughout the week – but I’m only one person and my groceries will go bad otherwise.

  • Vegetable soup: This recipe includes 2 small cans tomato sauce, 1 can green beans, 1 can corn, 1 can carrots, 1 can peas, 1 can black beans, and whatever spices you desire. I buy all of the ingredients at Aldi, so it’s right around $5 to make enough for the week. I make the soup on the weekend and store it in a giant tupperware bowl in the fridge, so I can easily heat it up all week.
  • Turkey chili: Click here for the link to the Pinterest recipe I found. It’s simple to make and a perfect thing to have on hand to heat up in the winter.
  • Quesadillas: This recipe includes 100% whole wheat tortillas, fiesta blend shredded cheese, black beans, frozen chicken breast, and salsa/sour cream/guac/whatever toppings you want. I cook the chicken in a crock pot over the weekend and shred it, so that I can throw a quesadilla on my panini press in minutes.
  • Breakfast bowl: I love having breakfast for dinner! All you need is 1 red potato, 3 eggs (and some milk if you’re scrambling), part of a green pepper, and some spices of your choice. Cook them up and throw them together in a bowl. (Cut up the green peppers ahead of time during weekend meal prep).
  • Keep extra cans of vegetables in your cabinets – it’s cheap and easy to heat up some green beans to go along with your dinner! (I usually use half of a can and then put the rest in the fridge for the next meal).

If you’re a college student or have to bring your meals on-the-go frequently, here are some options for you. (Note: you’ll need to buy some sandwich bags, plastic silverware, tupperware, and plastic cups for these options).

  • 100% whole grain frozen waffles: I know this doesn’t sound like a good on-the-go option, but I promise it is! I throw them in the toaster for 3 minutes before I have to leave for class, and then wrap them in a paper towel so I can eat them on the way. I eat them plain, but I know some people aren’t fond of the wheat taste, so putting peanut butter on them is also a good option!
  • BLTs: I put deli turkey, bacon, tomato, lettuce, and provolone cheese on my sandwiches. I recommend cooking the bacon and cutting the tomato during meal prep. Stick it in a plastic bag and you’re good to go.
  • Salad: This is where the plastic tupperware and silverware come in handy. I throw lettuce, chicken, bacon, avocado, cheese, tomato, and whatever else I’m feelin’ in the bowl and shake it up with some dressing. You can obviously make whatever salad you want, but make sure to meal prep the meat and other ingredients!
  • Smoothies – My smoothies always include strawberries, banana, frozen blueberries, unsweetened almond milk, and ice. I put it in a plastic disposable cup or a travel mug to drink on-the-go. Cut the strawberries up during meal prep!
  • Cereal: Duh. Walmart has an excellent selection of organic cereal that doesn’t break the bank. I put this in on-the-go because most of the time I throw some in a sandwich bag to eat on my way to class. Milk is overrated anyway, right?

Here are some healthy snack options and miscellaneous items that are affordable as well!

  • Carrots & hummus
  • Fruit (apples, bananas, grapes, cantaloupe… just a few of my favorites!)
  • Pretzels
  • Nuts (almonds, cashews, pistachios, peanuts)
    • Yes, I know they’re not the cheapest. But they’re pretty affordable at Aldi! And if you catch them on sale. Gotta always be on the look out.
  • Naked Juice
    • I buy the giant jug at Walmart every week for like $6 and drink a cup every morning!
  • Fruit strips
    • They have all natural ones at Aldi and most health food stores. Better than grabbing a granola bar!
  • Lara Bars
    • Not as cheap as granola bars, but they won’t break the bank. They often have manufacturer coupons at http://www.coupons.com.
  • Dark chocolate (when you need to splurge)
  • La Croix
    • It’s an acquired taste… but now that I’ve acquired the taste, I love it! Target often has them on sale. Aldi also has an off brand version.
  • Tea

Okay guys – I mentioned meal prep a lot! I did that on purpose – to show you all how important it is! Eating healthy is hard and expensive if you don’t meal prep. I promise that taking 2 hours out of your weekend will save you so much time and money during the week! If you have questions about meal prepping, please ask me. I’m happy to answer them. Basically meal prepping just means cooking and cutting what you can ahead of time. It increases the likelihood that you’ll actually follow through with your meal plan for the week and won’t just let the stuff go bad in your fridge.

Okay – this blog post is long enough. 🙂 Thanks for reading! I’ll catch you next time.

-KT

 

 

8 Tips for Smart Thrift Shopping

I was planning on going to a thrift store sale on Monday and writing a blog post about my findings, but I ended up not being able to go. Since I’ve been itching to write about thrift shopping, here are a few tips I’ve learned about it over the years!

1. Triple check items for stains, rips, cracks, and other imperfections. 

It’s easy to miss small stains or holes in clothing if you don’t examine it closely enough. Look at it before you start carrying it around so that you don’t forget. Oh, and smell clothing as well. I know that sounds weird, but if you smell anything beyond the typical thrift store smell, you may not want to buy it. Make sure to also examine glassware for cracks and chips, as they can be easy to miss at first glance. Quickly flip through books before purchasing them. I don’t mind pen and highlighter marks (I actually think it’s cool to see what someone else found important), but you may not want those marks.

2. Know what you want/need when you walk in.

This isn’t like a grocery list, because you can’t guarantee that thrift stores will have exactly what you’re looking for, but having a general game plan is important. I typically know the sections I want to visit and what I could use more of. For example, last time I went, I specifically looked for dresses, flannels, and jackets because I knew my wardrobe would benefit from more of those. I also looked at the kitchen items for my future apartment.

3. Only buy items that are on sale.

I know it’s a thrift store, so things are cheap already, but I’m always about getting the best deal possible! Most thrift stores have some sort of sale every day of the week, so it’s important to know those before you start shopping. My favorite thrift stores (City Thrift & Red Racks) have 50% off everything sales at least once a month, and that’s typically the only time I go. My mom scored a small table for 49 cents the other day at Goodwill because it was a certain color tag. SCORE. Proud of you momma.

4. See the potential in items. 

Most people don’t clean their stuff before giving it to thrift stores, which means it may not look like it’s in the best condition when on the shelf. This doesn’t mean it’s not worth buying! I’ve purchased countless kitchen items that needed a good scrub, but looked brand new after I washed it! My mom constantly buys furniture that looks old/dated/banged up and re-paints it to look flawless. A lot of people bypass perfectly capable items because they are dirty – that’s your chance to give them a second look and figure out if they’re really worth it or not.

5. Don’t be afraid to dig. 

Thrift shopping is not easy. It takes time and muscles. It requires sifting through racks and racks of clothing only to find a few items that you *might* buy. It also requires digging through shelves to find out what’s behind all of the stuff that no one is buying. It’s a bit of a hassle sometimes, but it’s worth it! (Mini tip: Bring a friend to make it more enjoyable!)

6. Try everything on (yes, everything). 

Even if you’re 100% certain that it’s your size and you have the exact same one in a different color at home, still try it on. You never know, and a lot of times people take clothing to thrift stores because it fit weird. I’ve made the mistake of not trying on something as versatile as a rain jacket, and getting home only to realize that it doesn’t fit the way I thought it would. Trust me on this tip – you’ll thank me later!

7. Don’t try to buy everything at thrift stores.

I will always recommend thrift shopping, but I will NEVER recommend trying to fill all your needs with gently used items. Things I don’t typically buy at thrift stores include athletic apparel, jeans, shoes, intimates, blankets, bathroom items, pots & pans, and cloth furniture. I hope most of those are self-explanatory. 😉 There are still ways to save on those items, maybe just not at thrift stores.

8. Look over items again before you check out. 

This is a MUST. I always do this before I purchase my items. I examine each item one last time and ask myself, “Will I really use this?” It’s easy to get caught in the trap of buying something just because it’s cheap. No matter how cheap something is, it’s still not worth it if you’re not going to use it. If you’re not 100% certain you want it, don’t get it.

I hope these help you! The art of thrift shopping is definitely something that you learn over time – and I’m still learning! Let me know if you have any tips that you want to share with me!

Thanks for reading!

-KT

 

 

 

 

10 ways to spend less in 2017

Recently, I’ve been more mindful about saving more and spending less since I’m graduating college in May (yay!). I know there will be a lot more expenses and bills when I fully launch into the adult world,  so I’m trying to get ahead of the game as much as I can. While doing this, I’ve learned some simple tips to spend less. I plan to implement them even more in 2017, and I thought I’d share a few with you!

1. Spend less when shopping. Sounds easy, right? That’s what I thought, but it’s not always the most convenient thing to do. Sometimes it means visiting multiple grocery stores to get the best deals, or doing some research before purchasing a more expensive item. It may be a more time consuming and extensive process, but I promise it’s worth it. I typically go to Aldi and Walmart to buy groceries every weekend, with the occasional trip to Hy-Vee or Sprouts to grab some organic products that aren’t offered elsewhere. If I’m buying clothes or other accessories, I’ll search for coupons and sales before I go

2. Meal prep. I learned this trick when I started my first round of Whole30 this summer and I’ve done it ever since! Every weekend, I make a list of the groceries that I need based on what I plan to eat that week. This helps when shopping because I have a plan, so I get exactly what I need and nothing more. It also ensures that I have food for the whole week, so I don’t spend money eating out as much.

3. Spend less when eating out. We all know that NEVER eating out isn’t an option, so when you do, there are ways to do it more affordably. First of all, the obvious tip, don’t order drinks. It easily adds a few bucks to your bill, and water is better for you anyway! 😉 Consider sharing an entree with someone when you go out, or get something that you know you’ll eat for lunch the next day. I rarely finish my meals at restaurants and it typically goes to waste. A lot of restaurants have happy hours and specials on certain nights of the week. Learn these! You could easily score some half-priced appetizers, buy-one-get-one hamburgers, and drink specials at many restaurants near you.

4. Spend less when giving gifts. I love to give gifts, and that’s something I’m not willing to give up in order to save money. However, there are more affordable ways to give your friend a birthday present that can still be just as meaningful. A few ideas include painting a canvas, making a mixtape, or paying for their dinner. Other affordable gift options can be found in the Target dollar section, Dollar Tree, and cheaper department stores (Marshall’s, Home Goods, TJ Maxx, Ross, Walmart).

5. Buy certain items from thrift stores. Obviously you can’t buy everything at thrift stores, and I wouldn’t advise you to. My mom buys wood furniture from thrift stores, cleans and paints it, and it looks brand new! I totally recommend buying furniture from thrift stores, along with decor, dishes, vases, picture frames, and some clothing. City Thrift and Red Racks have 50% off days at least once a month, which is the only time I go.

6. Reuse when you can. These simple tips may only save you a few bucks here and there, but it all adds up! Shopping bags = small trash bags. Glass containers = vases or storage. Newspaper = gift wrap. OH, and always keep gift bags and tissue paper to reuse! I cringe when I see people throw away perfectly capable gift bags that have so much life left. Also, I’m a fan of re-gifting. If you get a gift you won’t use, consider re-gifting it instead of giving it away.

7. Sell stuff you don’t use anymore. I hate having a lot of stuff, so I’m always going through my stuff and trying to sell it. I’ve found that I’ve had the most success selling on Facebook buy & sell groups. I prefer it to Craigslist because I get to see who I’m meeting and have a better conversation with them beforehand. I’ve sold clothes, purses, books, CDs, DVDs, and more on those groups. Next time you’re cleaning out your house, look through the pile before you haul it off to Goodwill. You can probably group together some clothes or decor and sell it for $20+.

8. Take free stuff when you can. I haven’t bought a pen in years, thanks to all of the promotional pens I’ve taken when offered. I also have quite a few promotional cups. Companies can have some weird promotional items, so make sure to only take what you know you’ll use. (Those stress balls and magnets end up in my trash within a week.)

9. Shopkick. This is an app that gives you money for checking into stores and scanning the barcode of certain products (without even buying them). I earned a $5 Walmart gift card last month for simply clicking a button on my phone every time I walked into a store.

10. Continue reading my blog posts. 😉 Follow me on Instagram @thesavingspender. And on Facebook “The Saving Spender.”

Thanks for reading! I hope this will help you as you enter 2017. Let me know if you have any tips that I can benefit from as well!

-KT