How to save a TON of money

I’ve been meaning to write this post for forever but I’m glad I didn’t because I’ve learned so much more. By no means am I an expert, but let’s just say in my life the struggle has been real, so I’ve learned to pinch pennies, use coupons, find sales, or DIY things. Here’s what I’ve learned, hopefully they help ya.

1. Goodwill is not a taboo.

I have learned to love Goodwill, and although I don’t go buying everything there, you can find some great treasures there. The best things to get are household accessories like a napkin holder or paper towel holder. Sounds crazy but paper towel holders at Bed, Bath and Beyond are $20-$30. That’s just wrong. But you can get the same thing at Goodwill most times for like $2-$3. My nice wooden napkin holder was $0.99. We have a mirror that used to be a medicine cabinet that my husband took off, sanded, and stained and now it’s awesome. I’ve gotten dishes, a jewelry holder, but the best thing has been a six piece wooden dining room table with extension for $50. My handy man hubby sanded, stained, and painted it and now we could easily sell it for $300 (but we won’t because it’s awesome). You won’t always walk out with something, but most times I find gems.


2. Shop around (for dog stuff)

My puppy is awesome, but has a super sensitive stomach. When looking for grain free gluten free wheat free meatless dog treats, TJ Maxx is surprisingly the place to go! I just got a ton of CHEAP organic and healthy dog treats without fillers and things that harm my puppy. Unfortunately his food has to be a specific brand name diet so those 33 lbs of food costs me $45 so it’s important to save money on treats. Whereas PetSmart will overprice treats and collars and bowls, places like TJ Maxx and Ross have cheap bed pets and non-name brand treats! If you want the name brand treats, Shoppers will be where you want to go. They have name brand for cheaper than PetSmart prices.

3. DIY it (for dog stuff)

So although the KONG ball for dogs is pretty cool, my puppy has ADD and constantly needs new toys. Toys are pricey and it adds up! So there are a lot of “toys” your dogs can play with. Empty plastic water bottles, boxes (but supervise), cut up t shirts in other toys to stall the treat release, water bottles covered in old tshirts and tied up all work.

4. Target is awesome. Part 1.

Despite a tidbit on the news of Target recently selling something I don’t agree with, they do have pretty great prices and they allow you to navigate your own savings, but you have to do your homework! First you can get the RedCard. They have a credit if that’s your jam, but I have the Target Redcard debit. It’s tied to your regular checking/debit account so when you use it the money comes out of there. That’s the account I use to shop so it was a no-brainer getting a card that didn’t hurt my credit and gave me a 5% discount on EVERYTHING and FREE shipping from stuff online. It adds up!

5. Target Part 2.

Get the Cartwheel app on your smartphone. This allows your to choose up to 12 coupons per-se to use on a transaction. They have discounts for EVERYTHING you might ever need at Target from clothes to taco seasoning to furniture and then they just scan the barcode off your phone and that’s it. I’ve saved $40 already off of regular shopping that I would do already.

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6. Target Part 3. Really.

So if you have a smartphone you’re in luck. Download the Target app (not to be confused with the Cartwheel app) and that app gives you additional, bigger coupons that are not found on the Cartwheel and you can scan that at the register as well. Now if you use all three (redcard, cartwheel, and the app) then you really are saving some serious moolah at Target, but remember you have to do your homework.

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7. If you’re military, shop at the commissary and the exchange.

It’s convenient to shop at the local mart sometimes but make the trip up to the base to get these deals. They are there for us and they are awesome. For example, a razor I’ve bought for years from CVS for $12, I found at the commissary for $6! Some meatless frozen food I have found to be usually $1 off each bag and canned items are basically a steal. If you sign up to get emails from the exchange, you can get coupons emailed to you exclusively. There is an app on smartphones that you can earn rewards on at the commissary too.

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8. Also if you’re military, go to the national parks FREE.

I just got a free pass to most of the national parks around the US for my husband being active-duty. Ask inside of the visitor lodge. If you can, still donate. Our national park do need our donations and we must take care of them.

9. Costco, and Sam’s club are great.

Although you have to pay a fee upfront, you more than make that money back especially if you have a big family. But who doesn’t need 28947 rolls of toilet paper and paper towels. (Costco has an app with deals too).

10. Sign up for CVS emails.

You can get a couple bucks off or percentages off sent to your member card and immediately get that discounted at the register.

* Public Service Announcement.

Not that I’m the face of debt freedom and rolls of cash stick out of my pockets, but whenever possible; Don’t use credit. Bottom line, if you can’t afford it you shouldn’t buy it. There are always circumstances where you need to use your credit card and don’t I know it, but don’t get those Gucci loafers on credit if your struggling to put gas in your car.

Boom boom boom.

Update on, you know, things

So I thought it’s been a lot longer than it has been since I last blogged. Not anything life changing has happened to me, but nevertheless life has been happening.

1. Screen shot 2014-06-11 at 12.59.53 PM I got to participate in Jane Wayne day, an event for Marine Corps spouses to do the things their husbands do everyday. I got to do lots of cool simulations, shoot this gun!, try the obstacle course and eat MREs. It is a must-do!


2. Screen shot 2014-07-14 at 4.55.23 PM Hubby treated me to a Tim McGraw concert which was awesome, I love me some Tim. So I got him back with taking him to a Zac Brown Band concert, oh my gosh  A GREAT CONCERT!! They know how to put on a show!


3.Screen shot 2014-07-14 at 4.55.31 PM In and out of doctor’s and now doing physical therapy 3 times a week. So far so good, not that I feel better. Sigh. When will this end…. (on the plus side, the docs said my knees are beautiful in terms my bones haha)


4.Screen shot 2014-07-14 at 4.55.37 PM Hubby and I explored Cape Charles, VA and Gideon made 2 new friends, a black and a white lab!! All three colors!


5. Screen shot 2014-07-14 at 4.55.43 PM We have been taking care of my in-law’s dog for a LONG time. On this same trip, both Gideon and Minnie went to the beach for the FIRST time. Minnie is a natural, Gideon is still learning!


6. Screen shot 2014-07-14 at 4.56.07 PM I’m still crossfitting 3 times a week but now I’ve added track Tuesday. It’s SO fun to sprint. Once my knees get better, I can’t wait to do some mile repeats. Teehee.


7.Screen shot 2014-07-14 at 4.56.20 PM I love hiking and it’s been fun to take Gideon on little trails, get him wet (and tired) and just be engulfed in nature.


8. My best friend from high school and Mo’s best friend from college got engaged! SO excited for their wedding in Colorado, a place I’ve ALWAYS wanted to go to! I’m a bridesmaid and my husband is a groomsman.


9. Gideon is 5 and 1/2 months, loosing teeth left and right, and very well housetrained! But this roll over deal is not working out….


10. I’m a volunteer with LINKS, a USMC spouse volunteer group that educates families and other spouses about all things Marine Corps. I’m still learning everything myself but it’s great to have a set of seasoned wives to talk to.

Until next time!

Zooma Annapolis 10k RACE RECAP

What a day!

I left home at 4:20 am, drove an hour and a half to get to Annapolis and arrived in really good time to lay down and chillout before the race.

I was originally signed up for the half marathon but dropped down to the 10k which was a fabulous idea! They started at the same time and I still got to see all the great spots in the city.

It was beautiful and 65 out! No complaints about the weather!

The first three miles I was really tired and sore from Friday’s crossfit workout (3 power clean, and 10 evil wheel ab things, times 10). So the first three miles I was really tired and it felt really hard. I kept telling myself to slow down and take it easy but it still felt hard.

I hit 4 miles before I knew it and then I got excited because I felt great. Lo and behold 4.7 rolls around and I feel a nagging pain in my IT band. Not really pain but a tightness. I kept going I figured the faster I go the faster I can finish and stop running.

The last half mile I knew the finish was coming and felt an energy boost. I felt like i sprinted the end. I LOVE that. The end of the race when you kill ALL of your reserve energy.

I finished in 53:59, which is great because I didn’t train and took it easy further because of my injury. My only goal was to get under an hour! I’m happy I ran an average of 8:37 mile.

Pictures my awesome, supportive husband took: Image



Pictures I took with my iPhone:

ImageImageImageImageImage I really was running during this shot!ImageImage Icing after reminds me of college running…. 🙂

All in all, this day was a success! Hopefully more races to come!


5 miles in the wrong direction

Being quite optimistic, I’ve continued running. Last week I don’t remember exactly but I took a few days off then ran 5 miles with  a friend. Welp, I’ll have you know 3.5 into the run and I felt tightness and soreness coming from….my side knee. Of course. ugh.

I tried going to physical therapy but one thing led to another and I didn’t. So I’m going to be foam rolling, stretching, continuing crossfit and running, maybe not as much and not if it hurts.

On Friday, we did a half murph at crossfit.

It’s a half mile run, 50 pullups, 100 push ups, 150 squats and another half mile run. I did run it and I was fine with the running but oh boy was I sore from the pushups most of all. Great workout though. In honor of Memorial Day weekend. I took the weekend off, ran 2 miles yesterday (Monday) and stretched and foam rolled.

Today at crossfit:

200m run

5 burpees

5 pullups

40 meter walking lunges

—times 5. Took me 18:22.

I’m proud of my pullups because they’ve been better and I haven’t been using the thickest band to help me anymore. 

But then this happened to my hand 😦


As for the pup. He’s four months, ~35 lbs, and just overall a great pup. I think he’s having a growth spur because he’s sleeping a lot more, it’s pretty great. He was diagnosed with Giardia ( a parasite) so he’s on antibiotics for that. 

Image went to Home Depot to visit my brother.

ImageImageImage Traveling with little man.

We went to visit a friend’s house and he took awesome pictures of Gideon!


So back to running, my 10k is this Saturday and I plan on running it. Slowly, with walking maybe but I’m doing!

This is the longest I’ve gone without a race since….before high school! I’m ready to get my butt moving and just be in that atmosphere.


Trying new things Part 2- crafts

Wednesday workout:

400 meter run, 21 kettlebell swings, 12 pullups, times 3. I really liked that workout!

Didn’t run…and need to. Later today is the plan!

I’ve been wanting to take up a project AND I’ve been wanting a medal hanger.

So I hit up my local Goodwill and hit the jackpot! I found a wooden coat hanger thing for $2. Bam! AND it came with the pieces to hang on the wall on the back and everything. REALLY happy about this find.


This is what I found! All it needed was some paint.

I went to Micheals and got 3 little paint bottles for $0.65 each, a stencil for $3  and paint sponges from Target for $1.50.

First, I sanded down the wood to get some of the old paint off and to even the surface.


Then I set up the workstation and started painting. I don’t know why but I was drawn to this Tiffany’s blue color.


Then painted the knobs.


Then stenciled.


A note on stenciling: Get the kind that are like stickers. The designs in orange were liked that and it worked like a charm but the letters were not sticky stencils and boy did they take FOREVER and they would leak and stuff so yes I know, it’s not straight or real neat but it’s homemade!

I looked on pinterest to get some ideas but in the end, I really like Hebrews 12:1-2 “Let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus.” Not only does it sound great when relating to running, but it also does say a lot about the Christian life and how it gets tough but if your focus is Jesus and are not weak in faith, you will be able to be successful in your walk with God.

The finished product!!!


The first three knobs(?) are my medals and the far right are Moises’ medals. Excited to add more to this bad boy!


Government Island with Gideon


warm up: ~400 m run, 3 x 10 of push ups, pull ups, and squats.

Workout: “fight gone bad”


Box Jumps

Sumo deadlifts @ 35lbs

Push press @ 22lbs

wall balls @ 8lbs

So we did each for a minute non stop then went onto the next station until done with all (5 mins), took a 1 min break, then did it again 2 more times! It was rough! and hot out! But we got through it 🙂

score: 187 (without row)

After that, I ran 2.5 miles on the treadmill pretty fast.

Then walked Gideon. He tires me out too!

The other day I took Gideon to Government Island, it’s a small state park that it where they took stone for the White House and Capitol. We did some leash training which went well but the humidity really tuckers him out.

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he does so well in shotgun! We’re working on our selfie.

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Feeling the wind in his fur…

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My little model.

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SO photogenic.

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Loose leash training went well.


Being accountable

The purpose of this blog started out as keeping me accountable for my workouts, so I shall. 

Friday: crossfit
Strength: 3×5 power clean 45lbs
Wod: (workout of the day) tabata
Sit ups
Step ups
Push ups
Wall balls

20 seconds on,  ten seconds rest,  8 times per exercise. 
It was rough! I’m still sore from that.

Saturday we road tripped so took the day of with some stretching. 

Sunday: easy 2 miles with my dad! He was on a bike but we chatted the whole way.

Monday: crossfit
Strength: 3×5 shoulder press 35 lbs
Wod: 21 15 9
Back squats 65 lbs
Dips (  I can’t do those so I jumped up and held myself, stabilized,  then lowered myself)
So 21 of each,  then 15 etc.
Time: 10:17.

So I slept weird a week ago and had a crick in my neck, but it hasn’t gone away completely. Really annoying but today it flared up a bit,  so I might run later but I’m not sure yet!

And if that’s not enough, my hip feels a little sore in the bad side after the squats. Ugh I’m getting old….

The month of trying new things

Along with making new friends and adjusting to new life changes, I’ve been trying new hair treatments, workouts and activities.

I’ll start with workouts because I’m sitting here in soreness!

Running: I did 15 and then a 16 minute run (1 min walk in between) and just felt great.

I’ve done crossfit for the past 2 days. I’m going to make a habit out of it and try to go as much as I can now that I have what I need: 1. a small group of friends (all spouses) to do it with, and 2. It’s FREE! It’s on base for Marines and their families.

On Tuesday I did: 50 40 30 20 10 of double unders (but I can’t do that yet so I did singles and then tech jumps) and sit ups. Didn’t feel it that day but boy do I feel it now! Took me 12:44.

Today I did: 400 meter run, 15 over head squats with 22 pound bar, and 10 (assisted) pullups ; times 3. I’m feeling the burn all over. I love it!

I also did yoga yesterday, which was nice for stretching after crossfit.

Image This is where the magic happens.

My friend and I are trying to set up going to crossfit 4-5 times a week, run every other day, and yoga a few times a week. I love that she’s as intense as me about doing all of this. We’re going to get so ripped….hopefully! We have a few months here is VA so we’re hoping that we’ll use this time to get in really good shape.

In terms of walking Gideon, he walks a lot more and it takes more to tire him out now so we’re walking half a mile 3-4 times a day if it’s nice out. So even Gideon is getting good workouts for a 3 month old!

Speaking of Gideon, all of us spouses got together with our pups and babies and walked around Government Island (post to come). It’s a state park that is small but a really nice trail and has got some history on it. Gideon did great, and although a little tired after he had fun playing and socializing with the other dogs.



Image All the lovely wives and pups and kids. #semperfido


Oh and my watch broke :/ (not my garmin, my ironman watch) ugh.


Screen shot 2014-05-07 at 7.45.40 PM

More new things to come!


April totals and Gideon update

In the month of April I really ramped up running (but slowly). So I’m happy to say that I ran 24.6 miles in April. By no means normal for me, but that’s huge for me after this IT band injury and rehab and all of that.

I’m still running every other day and the plan for May is:

1. gradually and smart-ly add on more time to my runs and take away the walks in between

2. run the 10k at the end of the month

Even though I may be getting ahead of myself a little bit, I found some half marathons and full marathons that I may be able to do later this year! Fingers crossed!

(and it works out that where I am in VA is conducive to more races)

Things I need to keep doing to avoid injury:

stretching before AND after

icing my hip and knee

STRENGTH TRAINING in my hips and glutes (teehee) and legs (this is going to be rough but needs to happen) I’m thinking of continuing squats, lunges and ab exercises, and then adding weights and repetitions.

Continue taking post workout recovery, this has helped me build the small and big muscles I need in my hips to stabilize my IT Band again. And it’s tasty!

walk a lot- Gideon helps me with this!

As for Gideon as of this weekend he is 26 lbs and grew another inch this week! And he is officially 3 months old. According to what I read about puppyhood he is now a preteen (ugh!). Still cute, but a bit more rebellious.

Update: he can “gimme five” !!!!! (lifts his paw to tap my hand)

Unfortunately now he is confusing a few commands :/ He’ll “gimme five” when he needs to lie down, or lie down when he needs to come. Or just won’t come when we call him. That’s a big one.

He is making friends though! Luckily everyone in the Marine Corps has a dog so all of us spouses are dying to get them together.



Image Silly goose.



Image I’m wearing shorts I promise!


Gorgeous runs and you know, got attacked by a ferocious dog!…

Well sort of. As most people in the mid-atlantic area, most of the week has been rainy…or flood-y. So I ran on the treadmill in the little gym our apartment complex has. Not fun, but no pain so I can’t complain! I ran 6868 (so 28 total minutes) on the ‘mill.

Image Face of a champ. ha!

Image While walking, trying to get a picture in the mirror of the gym but just got myself oops.

Today I ran 30 minutes! This is huge! I couldn’t run more than 7 at one point. I ran 10 minutes, 12 minutes, then 8 minutes (with 1 min walk in between). The good news is with this, I am walking way less, running more! I think now that I can run 12 minutes without pain or soreness I can start putting together the runs so I can get to a point where I only walk for a few seconds in the middle of the run and than eventually no walking! This ITB injury has taken so many months away from my running and races I am PUMPED to be running 30 minutes which was 3.4 miles (with the walking time). AND so excited to run a 10k race in Annapolis at the end of this month! 

Pictures of my run today:

Image This is the face of NO pain!

Image And this is how I felt about the gorgeous 65 degree weather!

Image Nothing better than the open road.


I thought at first I would be bummed not doing the half, but I’m actually excited to run a new distance AND get a medal 🙂 I love my hardware!

Ok so the dog. I ran up part of this street that is just very secluded homes, and right at the turnaround point, I hear a dog barking and it gets closer and closer so as I turn around and keep running I realize the dog is chasing me! So I’ve been told many times to not run away from a dog, so I stopped running, turned around and there it is 3 feet behind me….a tiny but yappy PUG! He was really trying to show his ferociousness….BUT he was BLIND and didn’t know where to “attack.” I wanted to laugh but he could still bite me so I just said hello to him kindly and went on my way. As I look over my shoulder…he’s still barking and growling but all around because he didn’t know where to point his “aggression.” 🙂 What a cutie.

No I didn’t get a picture of him…but I thought of it!