Michael’s Coupons

The other day I ran into Michael’s to look for some wool yarn to knit these baby longies that I’ve been making. Longies made of wool are popular throughout the cloth diapering community because they absorb moisture without feeling wet. They are great to use as a cover over cloth diapers and are so cute! I’ve ordered some wool online, but I wanted to check and see if Michael’s had a specific brand before I ordered more. They didn’t end up having the specific brand I needed, but they had skeins of wool in the color that I wanted and just a different brand. They were on sale, so I decided that two would work and that the color was more important than the brand.

I had some time to kill, so I decided to wander around the store and see if there was anything I needed or could use to help decorate my house. I couldn’t find anything that I needed, so I went up to the checkout. When I got there, the cashier asked if I was signed up to receive the Michael’s coupons, and I said no. I filled out my name, address, and email address and she assured me that I would be added to the list so I’d get the coupons. If the Michael’s coupons are anything like JoAnn’s coupons, I’m going to be so excited! The JoAnn’s coupons are 20% off one item, and normally I can get out of there with just one or two items.

Michael’s Coupons

After I checked out and paid for my yarn, my receipt and an extra Michael’s coupon printed out: 20% off one item! I was so excited until I read the small print: it wasn’t valid until the next Sunday, and it was only good for a week. I’m not going to go back there just to use the coupon because by the time I take the extra time to go across town to use the coupon, I’ll have spent the savings on gas and it’s just not worth it to me. I’ll probably end up ordering some more yarn online because it’s cheaper anyway.

I’m thankful that Michael’s does offer coupons but I wish I could have taken advantage of the deal that day instead of waiting half a week. I’m sure they want me to come back to the store so I spend more money. 🙂  Of course, the most frugal option would have been to look around for a Michael’s coupon before I left the house, but I just didn’t think about it.  Next time I’ll be sure to look for one, or hopefully I’ll receive a printable coupon in my email.  That would be even better!

Do you look for coupons before you go to specialty stores? Do you sign up for their lists?

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Decluttering Challenge: 95 Items Decluttered Total

Every Wednesday I’ll post about how many items I’ve decluttered for the 365 Declutter Challenge. I’m going to keep a running tally of how many items I’ve decluttered. If it seems that 365 items is an easy goal and I meet it quickly, I’ll probably strive for the 2011 items goal. It’s a little scary, but hopefully it will challenge me in a good way!

This week I focused on cleaning out my bathrooms.  As you can see in the before picture below, we had a plethora of towels. I counted the number of bath towels that we had. 28. 28 towels for two people! I realized that was crazy, so I weeded out the towels that weren’t the greatest quality or were showing signs of wear. I also went through our wash cloths and hand towels and separated the good ones from the bad. In addition to towels, I also went through beauty products and makeup and ditched things that I didn’t use.

Before:

After:

And here’s the pile of junk that I donated this week to Goodwill:

This week I got rid of 27 items, which brings my total to 95 items.  Not bad!

If you want to post on your blog that you are participating in the challenge, here is a button that you can share:

Declutter 365 Items in 2011
<div align="center"><a href="http://ultimatemoneyblog.com/decluttering-challenge-365-in-2011" title="Declutter 365 Items in 2011" target="_blank"><img src="http://i257.photobucket.com/albums/hh217/ultimatemoneyblog/declutter125b.gif" alt="Declutter 365 Items in 2011" style="border:none;" /></a></div>

Just copy and paste the html! It’s as easy as that. Thanks to Mrs. Accountability from Out of Debt Again for the wonderful buttons!

If you’ve participated in the challenge, please link to your posts here:

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A Minimalist Lifestyle

Minimalism really speaks to me for many reasons.  Living with less is truly gratifying if it’s something you are interested in. A few of the reasons I like the idea of minimalism is because I save money by not buying new things, my existing things don’t cost as much money as if I had the upkeep of more items, and I’m not contributing to the consumerism.  I hate supporting large companies that don’t care about their workers, the environment, or anything other than their bottom line.

I love the idea of not keeping things in my home that aren’t useful or that I love.  If it’s not something that I use on a regular basis, it’s gone.  If I don’t absolutely love it, it’s gone.  Of course, some things (like holiday decorations) are excluded but not exempt.  This year I went through my Christmas decorations and donated some items that I had been hanging onto just because I had the room.

Even though it may seem like I’m always decluttering and donating items, I don’t think I’ll ever be a 50 or 100 things minimalist.  I like knowing that I have the flexibility to be able to get rid of things at any time, and that I haven’t formed attachments to Stuff.  I like going through my clothing and getting rid of things that don’t fit well, are worn, or even just don’t look good.  What’s the point of keeping something because “I’ll fit into it someday” or “I love the way this looks on the hanger!”?

One misunderstanding about minimalism is that minimalism = not comfy and cozy.  I think there’s a way to balance minimalism with practicality, and keeping things that make a house a home (but not cluttered) are absolutely necessary. I don’t want to live in a sterile environment!

I think a minimalist lifestyle helps save money and live green in many ways.  The most obvious is that you aren’t spending money on purchasing the latest and greatest items that come out.  Thinking about purchases and figuring out whether you really need that new item helps you figure out what’s really important to you.  Less consumerism means more money in your pocket and less crap in your house and then eventually in the landfill.

There are many times that I struggle with spending money.  I have to force myself to realize that when I need something or want something and have saved up enough to pay cash for it, then it’s okay.  Sometimes I think that being frugal and being a minimalist means that I don’t deserve nice and new things.  That’s totally a distorted way to look at it, but it’s how I feel.  I have to remind myself that as long as I am good 80% of the time, the other 20% of the time it’s okay to live a little.

Minimalism is all about balance.  I wouldn’t be happy if someone came in my house and removed all the items except for a select few.  I also wouldn’t be happy if someone brought a bunch of crap to my house either though!  Finding a happy medium in a minimalist lifestyle is so individual that no matter how many blogs you read about it, they still won’t be able to tell you what’s important to you and what you need to keep and what you need to get rid of.  That’s completely up to you.

What about a minimalist lifestyle interests you?

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