ALL the Back-to-School Deals in ONE PLACE!

This isn’t my first blog about the best place to buy school supplies, and I’m sure it won’t be the last! But we’re smack dab in the middle of all of these amazing back-to-school deals and I’ve gone through the top store’s weekly ads and found you ALL the bargains! I literally geek out over school supplies, so please excuse me! Not to mention, I’m a list maker and I go through tons and tons of paper so when I can get a notebook for $.17, you KNOW I’m going to jump all over it.

Target – Weekly Ad

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This week at Target, if you spend $30 or more on school supplies, you’ll get a $5 Target gift card. And if you spend $50 or more on school supplies, you can get a pretty cool $10 Target gift card. Text SCHOOL5 for the $5 gift card coupon or SCHOOL10 for the $10 gift card coupon.

WALMART – Weekly Ad

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I’m going to be honest with you, Walmart is my favorite place to buy the back-to-school basics because they probably have the best deals! I mean, you can get a binder, some binder dividers, a notebook, and a folder for UNDER $3! I use binders and notebooks and folders all the time and I’m almost 30!.. Well, I mean I’m almost 28, allow me to not get carried away!

STAPLES – Weekly Ad

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Office Depot – Weekly Ad

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Office Depot is doing something kinda cool. As long as you spend a minimum of $5, you can get packs of loose sleeved paper for $.01. You cannot beat that!

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You can get TONS of school supplies when there are such great deals out there, but not all kids are quite as lucky. My friend Nick, founder of the non-profit Make Caring Cool, has started a back-to-school initiative where he’s trying to collect enough supplies for all the kids in two schools in the Norfolk, VA area! A lot of the children in these two schools come from low income homes and dont have the tools they need to succeed everyday at school. I’ve attached a direct link to the donation page below where any amount of money you can donate will go to good use and be very helpful to get these kids the supplies they need, but if you’d like to take a look around at Make Caring Cool’s page, you can click right here. You won’t be disappointed. There’s lots of amazing things going on over there!

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Donate to Make Caring Cool’s Back-to-School initiative here!

 

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Creating a Home Office/Guest Room!

Well, hello there!

This past weekend I was in Pittsburgh for my little sister’s senior homecoming 😦

I can't believe how big she is now!

I can’t believe how big she is now!

Anyways, my mom works from home 95% of the time and every time I come home I have to be quiet during the day and keep the TV turned down because she uses the dining room as her office. I couldn’t stand how inconvenient it was, not only for her, but for me as well. I knew that she was going out of town the first week of November and I was planning on sneaking into town and turning my sister’s old room into a home office/guest bedroom for her. I got to thinking about it and wasn’t sure if she’d actually utilize it or not, so I figured I would ask first – haha.

This is how the conversation went:

MeMom, do you think if I painted Nicole’s old room and turned it into a home office you’d use it?

Mom – *eyes open really wide**chin drops to chest* Are you kidding? Of course I would! Do you wanna do it this weekend?

MeWell I don’t know about this weekend. I might be a little busy getting Nicole ready and doing her make up and stuff.

MomOh, painting won’t take that long, you could probably get it all done this weekend!

MeOk, I’ve never painted a room before but I’m sure it’s no big deal. Let’s do it!

And the rest is history! My mom gave me a $500 budget. I went to Lowes and spent $70 and got some white paint and some supplies and had to paint over dark blue walls that had purple stars painted around the window and the closet! (I really wish I would have taken a before picture! The room was horrendous!) I thought painting would be fun but it turned into the worst day of my life (ok, I’m being dramatic, but holy shit!). So after two days, three coats of paint, and plenty of cursing, I finished the paint job! It was rewarding to basically do most of it myself, with little help from my sister Rachel and absolutely no help from my youngest sister Nicole. I knew after I painted the room, the fun part would begin!

So on Sunday morning I went to Ikea and got a desk, a desk chair, a bookcase along with some drawers for the bookcase, a lamp, and a cart with wheels! In all, I spent $280 at Ikea. When I got home my sisters and I put everything together which was actually kinda fun. Once we set everything up where we thought it should go we knew it was missing some stuff, so we made a trip to Walmart. At Walmart we got new curtains, new comforter, some throw pillows, a dry erase board, small cork board, and some decorations for the walls. At Walmart we spent about $108.

The next day I went to Target because I felt we were still missing some cool knick knacks and a desk lamp. Little did I know, I was about to have the greatest Target trip of my life!

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The cute blue stool thing had a clearance tag on it that said $24.98. The laser cut metal mirror had a clearance tag for $14.98. The small trash can was on sale for $12.78. And the Threshold white lamp had a clearance tag of $17 something. I get up to the register and the girl informs me that everything on clearance was even lower than the tag price. I THOUGHT MY FREAKING HEAD WAS GOING TO EXPLODE! I told her I might need to call my mom and have her pick me up because I wasn’t sure if I was going to be able to drive home – HAHA! My total for all of the things above was originally $50 and some change but with a mobile coupon for $5 off home purchases, I paid $45. Felt pretty good!

So, if you’ve been keeping track of the totals from all my purchases, you’d see I only came in $3 over the budget for this room! Pretty spectacular if you ask me!

The end result was pretty awesome for one weekend of hard work! So without further ado, here’s the new home office!

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My mom loved it and I couldn’t be happier because she deserves it and so much more! I heard her the next day talking to people on the phone and telling them how she was working in her new home office that her daughters put together for her and how it was the nicest thing anyone has done for her in a long time. It feels great to make someone’s day!

It’s almost Hump Day! Happy Tuesday, everyone!

Not Back-to-School ALREADY!

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Have you noticed that back-to-school sales are slowly but surely making their way into the weekly circulars? Have you also noticed that I’ve totally been slacking on the blog? My bad! But there’s a reason behind it which I’m excited to share with you all.

Anyways, back to the school supplies. I know people REALLY don’t want to hear about school supplies in the middle of July but buying early will really save you some money. I was at Walmart on Sunday and freaked out over $.97 binders! DORK ALERT, I know. I can’t help myself. They also have sales on notebooks and folders and some other awesome stuff that I couldn’t resist. I even got a 6” desktop fan for my desk at work since the AC in our building is, at the very least, inconsistent. If you’re in need of some school supplies for yourself or for the kids Walmart is the place to go this week! I’ve looked at a lot of the store circulars and though Target has some sales they’re not as great as Walmart’s sales. One subject notebooks for $.17. $.15 two pocket folders and Crayola markers and colored pencils for under $1! Not to mention the chocolate pudding snack packs for $1! (YUM!) It doesn’t get much better than that. I also picked up some index cards which I really only use for my grocery lists and a few reminders here and there and they were under a $1 also. I love Walmart! I don’t go very often because 1) Target is a lot closer to me and 2) They’re renovating their store and the parking lot is a mess and the store itself looks like it was hit by a bomb but my most recent trip was definitely a success!

So, the reason I’ve been kinda ignoring the blog lately is because I kinda got a promotion at work! I’ve really been craving a change and more responsibility at work and the opportunity finally came and I was very excited to grab it. I’ve been training for the last week and a half and it’s been exhausting and nerve-wracking. I’ve been training all day and then coming home from work and re-writing my notes. I’ve been a very busy chick but I know it’ll pay off in the long run. The majority of my new position is accounts payable but a lot of it has to do with keeping records and staying organized which I love to do any ways. It’s just so hard to take in all this information in such a short amount of time. I hope I retained all of it but we’ll see. WISH ME LUCK!

And Happy Hump Day! (whoop, whoop!)

Happy Earth Day!

I had no idea today was Earth Day until I walked into Target and was greeted by an elderly woman passing out small, free reusable shopping bags filled with coupons. Did anyone else visit Target today?! According to the sweet, little old lady, I was helping them celebrate Earth Day by simply taking one of the bags.

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Anyways, I never use these bags and I always feel bad about it when at the end of my shopping trip the cashier politely asks, “do you have any shopping bags with you?” and I say, “no” and it seems that she crinkles her nose and replies, “oh” with a disgusted tone and then goes ahead and presses a few buttons on the register. The buttons are probably labeled ASSHOLE and ENVIRONMENT KILLER, I don’t know. But today, I went in and got a few tank tops and got to the register and the lady asked if I had any bags and I think I was so excited that I screamed “YES!” with a huge smile on my face. She looked at me the way people looked at Will Ferrell in Elf when he told James Caan that he was his son. I’m rambling again. Not only was the small bag free but it also saved my 5 cents! Pretty cool.

Well, happy Earth Day everyone!

Organizing on a Budget – #7

Storage crates/boxes are one of my absolute favorite things! They make everything so much more simpler to find and store. This week at Target they have storage crates on sale for $3! you can store anything and they even hold letter size hanging files which is awesome.

I have a ton of magazines in the bottom drawer of my white storage set that I’m in the middle of throwing away but any time I would open that drawer all of my binders on top would fall over so I used one of the storage bins to help me out until I can get rid of the magazines. I really like it because I can store my binders on the their sides and it’s easy to see which binder is which and also easier to just grab and go.

It’s also really great storage for under the sink in my bathroom. I can store cleaning products in one and feminine products in the other and it saves me a lot of room in my bathroom closet for all the other junk that’s taking up too much space.

This would also be a really good item to store all the sports equipment that you may have in your trunk for the kids like baseball gloves, basketballs, soccer balls and pads, etc. It would also be a great storage bin for magazines, which I should really think about since I’m trying to move all the magazines from my storage drawers. Normally, I try and find an alternative product online so that in case there isn’t a Target near you then you can buy the product off Amazon or something but I didn’t have any luck finding a similar product for a comparable price. Sorry 😦

Btw, sorry for leaving the blog hanging the past couple days. I was out of town late last week and then just been a little busy this week. I’m trying to re-re-arrange my office area again. Yes, I said re-re-arrange. Looking for a big desk or craft table and having no luck but I have a few projects coming up that I’m excited about and excited to share with all of you!

More ways to save money & be organized!

If you’re like me, when you get a gift bag with gifts in it, the only purpose that the bag serves is to keep everything together until you get it home. Then once I get home, the bag gets thrown in the garbage because I just don’t have anywhere to put it or don’t ever suspect that I’ll have the need to recycle it. WRONG! Do you know how much money you could save by keeping all of your gift bags and reusing them? And by buying Christmas wrapping paper after the holidays? It’s crazy! Preparing for situations before they happen will save you a lot of money in the long run. Don’t just chalk up the money for a new, pretty, frilly gift bag! Just keep the ones that you get for your birthday and Christmas and recycle!

(Sorry for the awful pics. I took these with my phone instead of my camera)

Keep a storage container with your left over bags and gift boxes!

Do you know how hard it is to find gift boxes in the summer time or any time other than Christmas? It’s very difficult, believe me! Keeping your extras really saves money and the time it would take you to search for them! Not only should you save gift bags and gift boxes but save your shoe boxes also! It’s so easy and cheap to decorate a shoe box into a pretty little gift box.

With all the Christmas bags and just random little bags I’ve gotten in the past year, I don’t think I’ll need to purchase any for awhile.

Right now, Target has these storage containers 2 for $9 and Amazon has a gift wrap storage bag for $12.99 and it’s also eligible for Amazon Prime Free Two-Day shipping!

Organizing on a Budget – #4

First off, let me start by saying HAPPY FOURTH OF JULY!!!! And HAPPY BIRTHDAY to my beautiful mother, even though I don’t think she looks at my blog. Oh wellz!

I went into Target yesterday after work to pick up some supplies because I’m making mini s’more cupcakes for a cookout on Saturday, but of course I had to look all over the store for some good deals. I made my way over to the dollar aisle and I found a couple things.

These really cute boxes were only $1.00 each:

I was growing out of the jar that I had been using for all of my pens, pencils, and markers so I figured they would be perfect. I love the black and white design! The mini cupcake liners that I go for the cupcakes I’m making on Saturday have a similar black and white pattern as the front box. I’m super excited to use them!

Burger Trays $1.00 for 4!

Don’t laugh! I don’t really even eat a lot of burgers and I highly doubt that’s what I’ll use these little baskets for but I will find a justification for this purchase! I just don’t know what it is yet – haha! But stay tuned!

Then I was walking around the rest of the store and found something super awesome!

Target has a 6 Qt. Sterilite storage box with lid for $.97! You can use these types of boxes for a lot of different things. On the label on the box it shows that you can put a pair of shoes in but I came up with a couple extra ideas, even though there’s endless amounts of things you could do with a box like this!

In drawer storage compartment! My envelopes and post its and stamps were floating all over the top drawer of my storage set and it was driving me crazy. This box holds all that junk and makes it look a little more organized.

A medicine or first-aid kit. This is great if you have kids and you don’t want them to be able to get into all of the medications and ointments that you have. Just put them in a box like this and put it all the way at the top of your bathroom closet or wherever you keep your medication. I like this idea because all these bottles and boxes were just kind of tossed into my bathroom closet and it was a mess (it’s still a mess because I haven’t conquered it yet, but shhhh).

I might have to go back for a couple more of these while they’re on sale. I was looking for a really cheap cupcake holder to transport my cupcakes to and from the cookout and I couldn’t find one for under $20 so I figure most of my mini cupcakes will fit in a box like this.

After I left the storage area of Target I went over to my favorite section… The school supplies!

I found a really cute Blue Sky planner that was July 2012 – June 2013.

I loved everything about it! The design on the front and the inside was beautiful with built in To-Do lists and grocery list column, but I didn’t purchase it because it was a July – June and my planner will get me through December of this year. I just hope that I can find one similar when I’m ready to purchase a planner for next year.

I also found these

I don’t know if you’ve ever heard of these but I see them on Pinterest all the time. They’re called Smash books and supposedly they’re kind of like a casual scrapbook for people that don’t want to take too much time saving and pasting something. It sounds like a really cute idea but I didn’t purchase this either. I love actual scrapbooking too much – LOL!

So my total for the items that I showed you today was $5.28 and that’s including the tax! I also purchased a 8 x 10 white frame for $4 that I needed for a project I’m working out but I excluded that from my total.

And that concludes my post for the day. I think Target should be paying me to talk so good about them. If you work at Target or know someone who does, tell them to sponsor me or whatever! Haha, just kidding… unless you do know someone that works there, put in a good word.

P.S. After I left Target last night I went and bought a new car! It’s a 2013 Sonata… Isn’t she pretty?!

Target Bargains!

I was wandering through Target today (what else is new, right?) and ended up in the $1 aisles again and I found the cutest little boxes.

They’re called cash boxes and they come in adorable patterns and they’re only $1! I thought they were so fabulous that I bought a few of them. What a great idea for boxing the greatest gift… MONEY! For example, my younger sister wants a DSLR camera which cost $400+. Sadly, I can’t afford to buy her one, but you can make a donation towards it!

That way, she can use the box as a ‘piggy bank’  to save her money for her dream camera and I’m not stuck with a $450 bill!

I think it would also be great for like a “Dream Vacation Fund” or even a small savings box. OR have you heard of the “Five Dollar Savings Plan”? If not, check it out on Happy Simple Living’s blog and read up. Basically, you just save every $5 bill that you acquire. Seems pretty easy.

Well, that’s it. Just thought I’d share my purchase with everyone because I thought it was pretty cool.

Have a great day!

NECESSARY Monthly Billing Binder!

When I first started saving all of my monthly bills and statements, I saved at least $100 within the first two months. You don’t realize where you can cut down or where you’re being overcharged until you actually look at your bills every month on a consistent basis.

And this is by far the easiest suggestion that I’ll probably make throughout this entire blog. All you need to do is keep your bills and this binder is going to help you keep them organized and could potentially save you some money!

 I use a 1″ binder that I got from Target for about $2.79, but sometimes they have really good deals (especially around August for the back-to-school sales) for their Up & Up brand of school/office supplies and you can get two 1″ binders for like $3. I also picked up some sheet protectors and binder dividers from Staples for really cheap (and right now they have 1″ binders that are really inexpensive). Target is my go-to place for supplies but Staples has really great deals sometimes that I just can’t ignore!

Just divide your binder into sections according to the different bills that you acquire during the month, for example: Verizon Wireless, Fios, Electric, VISA Statement, etc. Then decide how you’d like to organize each section. For instance, I like to put the newer bills in the back of each section, just because it’s easier.

Once the bills come in the mail or are available to print out online, put them in the binder and compare it to the last months bill. Look at all the details and make sure you weren’t overcharged. When I first started this I was seeing some crazy things on my Verizon Fios bill for some crazy internet security bundle that I didn’t need and didn’t ask for. I called and they took it off and reimbursed me for the past three months and got me $20 off my next bill. I also was looking at my Verizon Wireless bill and found out that I was paying for insurance on a phone that was no longer on my account!

It’s really simple. All you need to do is save your bills and pay attention. I use one binder for all my bills and I keep them for an entire year. When the year is over, I throw them out, or burn them – haha, just kidding!

 This is a great project to pair with the ESSENTIAL Monthly Planner project. In a couple days I’m going to show you how I do my financial spreadsheets that are super easy and I promise, if you follow all of the steps, you’ll be the most financially organized person around! Stay tuned!

Organizing on a Budget – #1

Organizing and making things look pretty and put together can often cost a lot of money. But in my “Organization on a Budget” segment I’ll be introducing products that I’ve found or that I use that are really affordable for everyone.

Five Pocket Letter Files – TARGET $1.00

Yes, I said that these are $1! What a steal?! Not a real steal, I mean, I did pay for them, but you get it.

I have about five or six of these accordion like file folders and they’re amazing. They come in 3 different sizes and about 4 or 5 different colors. They can hold hundreds of pages and they’re so easy to store. Something like this at Staples or Office Max would be well over $4 or $5.

I use the large ones to file away my monthly bank statements, random manuals from appliances and electronics that I use to just shove in a drawer or throw away. I use the medium size file accordion for recipes that I cut out of magazines or books or that I write on index cards. Since the inside is sectioned off I can label each section poultry, beef, pork, and fish. There is even room for a dessert section! As for the smallest size, I use it to store coupons. I keep one of them in my purse in case I make an impromptu stop somewhere and remember that I have a coupon for a certain thing. My husband Sam makes fun of me for it all the time, but two things you don’t mess with is a girl and her make up and a girl and her coupons.

So next time you’re at Target check out their $1 section, usually near the front of the store, for these really awesome, organizational must-haves!

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If you use or know of any affordable organizational supplies, I’d love to know and feature you on my blog. Comment with your e-mail address or e-mail me at kate@coordinatedkate.com