Archives for December 2010

How to Shop Overstock and Closeout Stores

From national stores like Big Lots to smaller chains like Bargain Mart, overstock and closeout stores offer big discounts. How to shop the closeout stores like a pro is the topic of today’s:

Do you shop the closeout stores? Then you know how good the deals can be! Closeout and overstock stores offer products that are being discontinued, products where the packaging is changing, or products that were test market products.

If you are looking to save on organic and natural products, consider cruising your local closeout store to see what bargains you can find. Check out all the great natural and organic products I found at Bargain Mart recently:

My savings were huge! I saved anywhere from 40% to 83%! The 83% was on the Say Yes to Cucumbers Soothing Eye Gel. It retails for $14.99, but I found it at Bargain Mart for $2.50! The product does not expire for another year – I think the package has just changed!

Ready to start shopping the closeout stores and finding your own bargains? Here are some strategies for making sure you get the deals you want!

1. Find Out When New Merchandise Arrives – Ask a manager to see if they have regular days when they restock. Then plan on arriving early that day!

2. Look At It As A Treasure Hunt – Since merchandise changes quickly, you never know what you will find. Go in with low expectations and hope to be pleasantly surprised.

3. Check the Expiration Date – You will find food and drink products that are past their expiration date. Make sure you are comfortable that the product is still good before you purchase it.

4. Know Your Prices – Not everything you find will be at discounted prices. For example, the San Pellegrino at Bargain Mart was marked at $1.20. Because I know my prices, I know that King Soopers/Krogers regularly include San Pellegrino in their Mega Sale Events and I can pick it up for less than a dollar.

5. Evaluate the Condition the Merchandise is In – Is it on closeout because it was damaged? Make sure to open the box and carefully examine any merchandise before you buy it. When I bought the Seventh Generation Dish Detergent, I could feel that humidity had gotten into the box and turned the detergent into a solid block. However, I knew I had a simple fix – break it apart with a meat tenderizer – so I found the condition acceptable. The reward for my effort? 40% off regular retail!

6. Ask About the Return Policy – If something does go wrong with your purchase, you want to make sure you can bring it back for a full refund.

So are you ready to shop the closeouts? Make sure to let me know what great treasures you find!

DIY Christmas Gift: Bottling Your Cherry Bounce

Back in the summer I showed you how to make Vodka Cherry Bounce while cherries were in season. If you haven’t made any yet, you still can! However, you’ll need to buy frozen organic sweet cherries and remember to make sure you let the Vodka Cherry Bounce sit for at least 4 weeks.

What you will need if you’d like to bottle your Vodka Cherry Bounce:

  • clean, empty bottles
  • contact paper
  • skill knife
  • glass etching cream (I bought mine at Michael’s with a 50% off coupon)

Here is how I bottled the  Vodka Cherry Bounce for gifts.

I used empty maple syrup bottles. Don’t they look a bit like flasks?

Score the label and soak the bottle in hot water to easily remove the label.

Next, draw whatever you’d like to put on the bottle on a piece of contact paper. I chose to draw a cherry. Make sure it will fit in the area you want it to.

Cut the pattern out with a skill knife.

Stick the contact paper pattern to the bottle.

Apply glass etching cream according to the package directions. This is nasty stuff. Be sure to wear plastic gloves!

Wash it off and you have your finished bottle. Fill the bottle with the Vodka Cherry Bounce using a funnel. Discard cherries – they have soaked up so much alcohol they are horrible!

Present as gifts and hope who ever you present your gift to offers to share!

How to Repurpose Egg Cartons: Top 10 Ways

Cardboard and plastic eggs cartons can simply be thrown in the recycling bin. But why? When they can have such a purposeful second life? Be sure to wash them thoroughly – especially if you plan to use them for food items!

HOLIDAY USES


1.  Place delicate ornaments in cushioned egg cartons to store safely.

2.  The cups are the perfect size to hold mini-muffins, truffles, small cookies or cut brownies. Decorate the carton to present as a holiday gift.

3.  Use them to cushion gifts when mailing them for the holidays.
4.  Plastic egg cartons can be used as extra ice trays. Handy during party season.

FOR USE WITH KIDS

5.   Fill each cup with a different treat – nuts, crackers, raisins, etc. – and take a snack to go!

6.   Fill a cardboard egg carton with dryer lint. Melt wax from old candles in a double broiler. (you may want to use a coffee pan in a pot of water to save on clean up). Pour the melted wax over the dryer lint. (feel free to add a bit of cinnamon stick or dried orange peel to add a delightful scent.) Cut cups apart and use to help light a fire.

7.   Turn them over and use them as taco shell holders. This makes building tacos simple and kid-friendly!

8.  Stacking, sorting, building, imaginative play with small toys – egg cartons can provide hours of fun for a little one!

9.  Fill each egg carton hole with a little paint for easy clean-up!

FOR USE AROUND THE HOUSE


10.  Store your jewelry in them! My earrings have found a great home in an old egg carton.

11.  Collect cardboard egg cartons to start seedlings. Cut cups apart and poke a small hole in the bottom. Fill with organic potting soil and a seed. When ready to be planted, there is no need to take out of the egg carton cup. Simply cut the bottom out with scissors and plant in the ground!

12.  Organize your office supplies. Rubber bands, paper clips, brads can all be corralled in an egg carton.

Apparently I couldn’t stop at just 10 uses! What other uses have you found?

Linked up to Simple Lives Thursday