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I’m Discovering Dollar Stores

I haven’t ever been a huge proponent of dollar stores since I generally thought that most of the things they sell aren’t worth $1 or will break too quickly.  Well, the new Dollar Tree near my house is changing my mind.

Dollar Store

Plethora of Choices

This Dollar Tree is huge.  There are seasonal items, household goods, tools, makeup, toiletries, and even food.  It’s like a mini-Walmart except I never feel like I’m being trapped into small aisles between baskets and motorized scooters.  :-)

I was honestly surprised by the selection.  In the 1990’s, I remember dollar stores having cheap toys, candy, wrapping paper, and random stuff that I usually bought elsewhere.  Boy, has it changed!

I went in about a month ago to check out their Halloween decorations.  I had time, so I browsed around.  That’s when I figured out that they had so much.  I think I spent $9.72 and came out with six Halloween decorations, cookies, and some batteries.


Everything is $1 or less.  I know all dollar stores don’t stick to that rule, but I am glad that this Dollar Tree does.  Obviously, not everything is a good deal for $1 or less, but the good buys seem to outweigh the bad options.  Heck, I bought poster board for $0.67 each instead of $1 like I found at Walmart…

Unexpected Deals

That brings me to some other awesome deals.  This Dollar Tree carries the Nutri-Grain Honey Wheat bread that we like so much for $1 a loaf!  It’s $2.25 at Sam’s Club, $2.80 at Walmart, and $3.25 at Kroger usually.  For $1 each, I stock up!

They also have $1 off-brand fig newtons and brownie crisp cookies that are really good.  Yesterday, I found the light bulb I needed for the oven for $1 and a little $1 LED press on-and-off light that we had been looking at on Amazon for $6.  Oh, and I won’t forget to mention the 10 pack of AA batteries.  And Mandy, my roommate, found a bunch of supplies for our nails that we use for girls’ nights.  We each spent less than $6 and came home very happy!

I’m impressed.  I’m also glad that our Dollar Tree is less than 3 minutes away.  I will try not to load up my basket with unnecessary purchases, but with a list, I should be safe.  :-)

Do you shop at dollar stores?  What do you think?

Layaway Isn’t an Excuse to Spend More!


I just had a conversation yesterday with a single mom I know with 4 kids. She isn’t struggling to survive anymore, but she hasn’t made it to middle class yet either. She was talking about buying an Xbox One and a Play Station 4 (PS4) for her kids for Christmas. I asked if she found them used on Craigslist or something. She replied:

No! I put them on layaway! It will be $1401. But I already put $400 or so towards it, so I’m almost there!


NOOOOOO!!! Why spend more than you have on gaming systems? Aren’t you saving for a big move and don’t you have a bunch of other big ticket items on your need and want lists?

She and I are good friends. I pointed out the problems that I could see with this plan. I really like her and her kids, and I know . . . → Read More: Layaway Isn’t an Excuse to Spend More!

My Coolest Business Cards Ever AND GIVEAWAY!!!


When Sarah from offered me plastic business cards to review and then mentioned a giveaway for my readers, I was hooked. I have been wanting new business cards to hand out at the Financial Blogger Conference for the last 2 years, but I still have 1000+ of the first ones I had made in 2011. I’ve been cheap and haven’t tossed away the old ones and splurged yet.

Sarah connected me with a designer, Nate, and I absolutely adore the design they came up with when I explained the info it needed and that I was a colorful person. Here’s what they made me:

The front is just so colorful! Who would have thought that I would just want my face on it?!

The back only has the very essential info. I realized that less is way more. I hopefully already made a great impression on . . . → Read More: My Coolest Business Cards Ever AND GIVEAWAY!!!

Do You Attend Your HOA Meetings?


I haven’t mentioned my home owner’s association (HOA) for a while. Nothing much has happened on that front for about a year, but it’s time for our annual meeting again.

My HOA Experiences

For anybody just joining BFS, my husband and I built our home in a neighborhood with an HOA. Let’s just say that the relationship didn’t get off on the right foot…or ever even find the right foot.

We started receiving violation letters about 4 months after moving in. Some letters were about parking in the street, which we stopped doing. A few were about maintenance stuff like our yard or small oil stains, which we also handled. One set was about having our friends living with us, which we all agreed to ignore. A couple weren’t actually for us at all.

One was for the wrong home (we weren’t building the patio in question). Another was . . . → Read More: Do You Attend Your HOA Meetings?

Our Stray Dog Has Been Adopted!


Two weeks and three days. That is how long it took to re-home that adorable, stray Shih Tzu that we took in on October 2, 2014.

Toby’s New Life

That cute puppy is now going to be spoiled rotten by a very sweet couple about an hour away from my house. I showed up to the adoption location 10 minutes early and they were already there. They greeted us with a “There he is!!!” They were also very welcoming to me, but the pup is definitely someone’s baby now. Yay!!!

Within thirty minutes, he was adopted and heading out with new balls, raw hides, a bright purple harness, a matching collar, and the many tags that declare him happily owned. I’m exuberant for him and hope he fits into their household smoothly for all of their sakes. I am so thankful that they have more time for him . . . → Read More: Our Stray Dog Has Been Adopted!

Always Look on the Bright Side of Life…


Okay, so I impressed myself yesterday. I was mature, responsible, and stayed positive. And that accomplished almost everything!

Water Damage Issue Semi-Resolved

I wrote earlier this week about our ceiling water issue and exploding oven. Well, yesterday we got a quote to have the ceiling repaired and the exhaust vent on the roof fixed once and for all to avoid “wind driven rain” damage in the future. I still think our home builder was negligent in installing a vent hood on a roof that is obviously intended for the side of a house, BUT it will all be fixed on Monday and that will feel great. Oh, and look what I’ve done in the meantime to take advantage of the situation a little…

Yep, I totally took down our art and put up giant fake spiders instead. It looks like they are returning home through the damage in . . . → Read More: Always Look on the Bright Side of Life…

How to Make a Yard Spider – Our Newest Halloween Addition


Despite our house issues, I did start decorating for Halloween last week. Yesterday and today became the big push though. I even went to Lowe’s to create a new addition to our Halloween decoration family…

The Giant Yard Spider

Meet Elspira – she makes me smile. Just finished her yesterday afternoon.

This is Elspira (pronounced like Elvira). She’s exactly as awesome as she looks. I got the idea from several places online like and made adjustments.

Here is how you can make a giant yard spider of your own.

Things to Gather Foam pipe covers (enough to make sixteen 2 foot parts) – $10 Eight 1/2 inch elbow socket pipe parts – $1.75 Black electrical tape – $3 Two Black plastic bags – $1 Filler (we used newspaper and a spare brick for the body) – $N/A Foam plate (or something to make the eyes and . . . → Read More: How to Make a Yard Spider – Our Newest Halloween Addition