Archives for January 2015

How I Saved Over $10,000 On Our Kitchen Remodel {And You Can Too!}

How I Saved on Kitchen Remodel

One year ago we became the third generation to own the “family home.” This move was in the works for quite some time before it ever happened.

When you purchase a home that has been in your husband’s family for three generations, you walk the tightrope of wanting to create a home that is uniquely yours while at the same time maintaining those features that hold familiar memories.

I agonized over remodeling the kitchen. The cabinets were original and had been custom built on-site. The tile floors were Pete’s grandmother’s pride. But there was no insulation in the wall behind the cabinets, the floor plan didn’t quite work for our family, and most of the appliances were outdated.

Then I saw this listing on Craig’s List:

Craigs List Cabinets

In case you can’t read my screenshot of the Craig’s Listing: The sellers had just paid $10,000 for these cabinets and had them partially installed before realizing the doors were a different shade of white from the bases. The store from which they ordered the cabinets offered to install all new cabinets and let them sell the mismatched ones.

Y’all. It was destiny. They were the EXACT cabinets I would order if I were purchasing new cabinets. The remodel was on!

We negotiated on the price and purchased the cabinets for just $3,000. By purchasing our cabinets off Craig’s List we saved $7,000 on our cabinets.

Purchasing our cabinets off Craig’s List was the start of our savings. But there were several lessons we learned about remodeling our kitchen using Craig’s List you’ll want to read.

Kitchen Cabinet Roll Out Drawers

Our Craig’s List cabinets even came with roll out drawers!

Now that we had the cabinets and saw the potential for savings, we then set about trying to figure out how we could save money on the rest of the remodel.

The first thing we did was to try to figure out what we could sell in the kitchen to help raise money.

I started with recycling scrap metal. It was a quick and easy $40. Might not sound like much, but it was exactly what I needed. Read on and you’ll see why.

I then removed the cute cabinet drawer pulls and sold them on Craig’s List. Another $30.

The refrigerator was gorgeous. It was stainless steel and the popular french door style. Unfortunately it would not fit with the new cabinet layout.

Refrigerator Sold on Craigs List

We were able to sell the refrigerator for $400.

Bookshelf Built in Refrigerator Nook
We changed the location of the refrigerator in the new layout. We now have a bookshelf where the old refrigerator was.

We started out our remodel with $680 that we had raised by selling what we could salvage in the old kitchen.

No, it doesn’t seem like a lot, but we were able to stretch it and create a gorgeous kitchen by buying used where we could.

The $30 I made off selling the old kitchen cabinet drawer pulls was just enough to purchase these cabinet knobs I found on Craig’s List.

Kitchen Cabinet Knobs

I met up with a lady in the parking lot of a Safeway and bought a bag of 33 brushed nickel knobs. That was less than a dollar a knob. The same knobs at Lowe’s?

Kitchen Knobs

$3.48 per knob!!!! Had I purchased those same 33 knobs at Lowe’s, I would have paid $114.84! I saved $84.84 by buying our knobs on Craig’s List.

Here’s where you should probably read 9 Tips to Search Craig’s List Like a Pro. You’ll learn about search terms, which was really important when it came to these knobs, because everyone calls them something different. Knobs, pulls, drawer pulls, kitchen hardware…. seriously.

I searched Craig’s List for months for the bin pulls I had my heart set on. Alas, we struck out and had to purchase them new. I purchased them from Overstock for just $39.50 for a pack of 25. The $40 I made from selling the scrap metal was just enough to pay for these. This is the second item I was able to purchase in full using funds we had made off selling items from the old kitchen.

Scratch and Dent Dishwasher

Our dishwasher we actually bought a few months before the remodel started. The old dishwasher wasn’t cutting it and I found one at a scratch and dent sale for only $350 – 50% off the price since there was a slight defect. We then were able to submit it for an Energy Star Rebate, and got $50 back!

By purchasing a dishwasher with a small defect we saved another $400.

Old Stove Before Remodel

Perhaps my favorite purchase was our “New to Us” Electrolux dual fuel stove.

Range Purchased Off Craigs List

I struck out several times trying to find a stove I would love. We even drove over an hour away to look at one only to find it wasn’t even close to what was advertised on Craig’s List.

The listing for this stove popped up and within an hour I was looking at it and paying for it.

Here’s the beauty of this stove – it is so new it is actually still under warranty!!!! The couple we bought it from had purchased it a year before they started a remodel. The plans for their remodel included a cooktop and wall ovens – which meant they had to sell their stove.

I paid $1,000 for the stove. If I had purchased it new with the extended warranty, I would have paid $2700!

Finally, we agonized over keeping the GE Monogram range hood. Check out the shape. No one who has ever cooked in this kitchen has escaped banging their head on the corner.Old GE Monogram Range Hood

However, no one can deny it is stylish, complemented the rest of the stainless steel in the kitchen, and most importantly, saved us $2,000.

Kitchen Remodel
While I’m not a fan of the shape of the range hood, it does look nice in the kitchen.

Saving money on a kitchen remodel means compromise. Would I have preferred a pop-up down draft hood that wasn’t a danger to our foreheads? Yes. But the budget was our top priority. Since a fully functional $2,000 hood was already in place, we decided the savings were worth it.

When evaluating your kitchen remodel, figure out what you can keep to save money.

Here’s the breakdown of our savings:

Cabinets Purchased from Craig’s List – $7,000 savings
Cabinet Knobs Purchased from Craig’s List – $84.84 savings and no money out of pocket
Cabinet Bin Pulls Purchased from Overstock – $40 no money out of pocket
Scratch and Dent Dishwasher Purchase – $400 savings
Electrolux Dual Fuel Stove Purchased from Craig’s List – $1,700 savings
Living with the Dangerous Cornered Range Hood – $2,000 savings
TOTAL SAVINGS: $11,224.84

AND HERE’S OUR NEW KITCHEN:

Kitchen After

Kitchen Remodel Craigs List After

Save on Your Next Kitchen Remodel

10 Lessons I Learned About Remodeling a Kitchen Using Craig’s List

10 Lessons for Remodeling Using Craigs List

In an effort to both save money and upcycle materials, we recently remodeled our kitchen using Craig’s List finds.

While we were able to save $10,000 on our remodel, there were definite lessons we learned.

1. IT TAKES TIME

You will need time to find everything you need and/or want for your kitchen if you are relying on Craig’s List finds.

It was 16 months between the time we found the perfect kitchen cabinets on Craig’s List to the time they were actually installed in our home.

16 months.

This is where you really need to embrace the hunt. New items are listed every day and trust me when I say there is good stuff out there just waiting for the right buyer. Patience and persistence will be required to find just the right items.

Make sure you know these 9 Tips for Searching Craig’s List like a pro and you will be well on your way to the kitchen (or bath, or dining room, or laundry room…) of your dreams.

2. YOU MAY NEED STORAGE

While we waited to start work on our kitchen, we needed a place to put our cabinets before we installed them. For us, it meant the cabinets lived in one side of the garage and a car was parked outside.

My best advice to you is to have a plan for where your purchases will be stored and make sure you will be able to live with the arrangements for an extended period of time.

3. YOU MAY NEED TO KISS A FEW FROGS BEFORE FINDING YOUR PRINCE

Not everything on Craig’s List is “as advertised.” In fact, there are a lot of items that might look great in a picture, that aren’t so great in real life. And not everyone fully discloses the truth.

We found a stove I really, really wanted because I just knew from the description it was going to be absolutely perfect. The listing was an hour away in Denver. We found a Saturday to drive up and take a look.

Once we arrived, we found the stove was not at all as advertised and ended up walking away.

While we were disappointed, it is part of the process. After all, once you install something in your kitchen, you will want to live with it for a long time. Make sure it is something you can truly live with for an extended period of time.

This was when I learned to ask for more pictures if the ones in the listing weren’t clear enough. Motivated sellers won’t hesitate to snap a few more and send them to you.

Range Purchased Off Craigs List
It took several tries, but we finally found the perfect stove on Craig’s List

4. MEASURE, MEASURE, MEASURE

You need to know the exact measurements of your kitchen, as well as the exact measurements of your Craig’s List purchase to make sure everything will fit.

This was a HUGE fail on my part.

When we purchased our cabinets off Craig’s List, I was given the measurements of all the cabinets from the seller.

Only they weren’t all the correct measurements. I was told the measurement for the sink base was 33 inches.

It wasn’t. It was only 30 inches.

When did we discover this? Upon installation. I never double checked the measurements!!!

Fortunately, it didn’t really affect the layout of the kitchen. However, if more than one cabinet had been a different size from what I was told it was, it could have potentially blown the entire kitchen layout.

While it didn’t affect the layout of the kitchen, it did mean I had to purchase a special sized sink at full cost. It also meant I could only purchase a sink with one basin – not the two basin sink I really wanted.

The moral of the story is you must measure everything and be precise in your measurements in order for the layout of your kitchen to really work.

Kitchen Remodel Using Cabinets Found on Craigs List
Although I didn’t measure the sink base, it all worked out in the end.

5. CONSIDER HOW YOU WILL GET YOUR PURCHASES HOME

This is another case where you need to measure your purchases.

Remodeling a kitchen using Craig’s List means you will have many oversized purchases that won’t fit into the trunk of a car.

We ended up renting a U-haul to pick up the cabinets we purchased. It wasn’t a large expense, but it was an expense.

6. KNOW WHEN TO HIRE A PROFESSIONAL

The installation of the kitchen cabinets was beyond our capabilities. Our home was built in the 50s and the floor is no longer level and the walls all have a bit of wave to them.

We are good at a lot of things, but construction projects are not one of them. Hanging pictures is about the only home improvement project we can truly say we’ve mastered.

Hiring a contractor to help with the installation of the kitchen meant a professional finish job that will last.

Craigs List Kitchen Cabinets
Our kitchen remodel in progress.

7. COUNT THE PARTS

Again, this is a lesson we learned so that you don’t have to.

When we went to install the kitchen cabinets, we realized we were missing an entire drawer! Luckily, we had hired a professional to do the kitchen install. He was able to craft one and a crisis was averted.

But if you take the time to make sure you have all the parts when making your Craig’s List purchase, you will be ahead of the game!

8. DO YOUR RESEARCH BEFORE MAKING A PURCHASE

One of the items we needed for our new kitchen layout was a new stove.

Any time a listing for a stove that met my specifications came up on Craig’s List, I immediately researched the product reviews for that particular stove.

This research project allowed me to identify any known flaws with the product. Did 150 people complain about the noisiness of the internal fan? Chance are the stove you just found on Craig’s List will have a noisy internal fan.

9. BE WILLING TO CLEAN

Wouldn’t you think if you were trying to sell something you’d clean it first?

Not so much.

Do a fair assessment of your find – is this surface grime or is it indicative of an appliance that was not cared for?

Surface grime you can deal with, neglect you can’t.

Inside the Craigs List Stove We Purchased for Our Kitchen Remodel
The interior of our new stove needed cleaning.

10. NEGOTIATE BUT DON’T INSULT (AND DON’T EXPECT A MIRACLE)

When I negotiate, I always start by asking, “Is this the best you can do on the price?”

If you have a price in mind that you are willing to pay, give the seller some incentive to take your offer. For example, you might have the cash with you and the ability to haul off your purchase right then. This could entice a seller to take your offer.

Please note: When the seller states in their listing that the price is non-negotiable, they mean it. HOWEVER, that doesn’t mean you can’t tell them the price you are willing to pay. Leave them with your contact information and let them know if they haven’t sold by the end of the week, the month, the whatever timeframe, that your offer will be good for that time period.

You never know if your offer will look good after the listing has lingered with no buyers.

Kitchen Remodel

Using Craig’s List saved us a substantial amount on our remodel, and we are pleased with the results. My hope is that you will take what we learned and use it to upcycle materials for your next remodel project!

The Best Cherry Berry Whole Wheat Muffin Recipe

Disclaimer: This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of MELT® Organic. The opinions and text are all mine.

The Best Cherry Berry Whole Wheat Muffins

This Cherry Berry Whole Wheat Muffin Recipe is one of my family’s favorite recipes. Packed with sweet and juicy fruit and made with whole wheat flour, these muffins are a healthy treat I love to bake for an after school treat.

The secret to a muffin that is actually good for you is to start with fresh and wholesome ingredients.

Cherry Berry Whole Wheat Muffins Ingredients

While this recipe is a whole wheat muffin recipe, you don’t want to use all whole wheat flour in your recipe. A blend of 1/2 whole wheat and 1/2 unbleached organic all purpose flour will add the health benefits of whole wheat flour but it won’t weigh your muffin down.

If you are making this recipe in winter, it is perfectly alright to use frozen fruit. In fact, it will probably be cheaper. There’s no need to defrost the berries first, just stir them in!

I like to keep my freezer stocked with frozen fruit at all times. You never know when the mood for a muffin will strike. Be prepared for muffin attacks is my motto.

Since this is a recipe I make frequently for my family, I knew it was the perfect recipe to try with MELT® Organic Rich & Creamy Spread. MELT® Organic is a line of luscious, organic spreads made from healthy oils for butter lovers seeking a much healthier alternative, available in Rich & Creamy (original), Honey, and NEW Chocolate.

What appeals to me about MELT Organic is it is made from the Perfect Blend of “good fats” like Virgin Coconut and Flax Seed oils.

It also is a product I can feel good about using. It is Non-GMO certified, organic, and sources fair trade ingredients.

Melt Rich and Creamy Melts Like Butter

As you can see, MELT Organic melts just like butter, but with half the saturated fat and fewer calories.

But could MELT Organic pass my family’s taste test in one of their very favorite recipes?

The Best Cherry Berry Whole Wheat Muffin Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups organic unbleached all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 4 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 1/4 cups milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup Melt Organic Rich & Creamy, melted
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries
  • 1/2 cup diced fresh or frozen strawberries
  • 1/2 cup frozen cherries

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375.
  2. Place paper liners in 12 muffin cups.
  3. In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon. Make a well in the center of the mixture.
  4. Pour milk, eggs, and Melt into well and stir until well blended. Fold in blueberries, strawberries, and cherries.
  5. Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups, filling each, three quarters full.
  6. Bake 20 minutes or until golden brown and wooden pick inserted in center of muffin comes out clean.
http://naturalgreenmom.com/cherry-berry-whole-wheat-muffin-recipe/

Our Cherry Berry Muffins turned out beautifully and not one family member asked if there was something different about this batch of muffins. In fact, all they asked is if they could please have another one.

Investigate MELT Organic for yourself. You can find MELT Organic at a store near you.

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of MELT Organic. The opinions and text are all mine.

Slow Cooker Cauliflower Mash: Low Calorie Mashed Potato Substitute

Slow cooker cauliflower mash recipe: a great low carb mashed potato substitute.
Slow Cooker Cauliflower Mash

Slow cooker cauliflower mash is one of my favorite go-to side dish recipes.

However, it’s not one of those slow cook all day recipes.

Nope. All you need to do is cook the cauliflower on high for 4 hours.

This means I’ll throw the cauliflower in the slow cooker about the same time the girls get home from school.

Our afternoons are spent running from practices to events to doctor’s appointments to errands. Raising teens, I feel like my life gets thrown into high gear in the afternoon. We are often gone for so much of the afternoon, there is no time for dinner prep.

With the cauliflower in the slow cooker, it is nice and tender by the time we’re ready for dinner. I could serve it as is, but we adore cauliflower mash in our house.

Cauliflower is high in vitamin C and vitamin B-6 and low in calories. Turn it into a mash and you won’t miss the high calorie, low nutrition white potatoes.

Of course, I do like to add a bit of butter and milk. These are optional ingredients.

If you adhere to a no dairy paleo diet, you need this nutiva butter in your life. It’s coconut oil based and tastes exactly like butter!

I promise you, if you add this buttery coconut oil to your mashed cauliflower, no one will care that they are eating cauliflower and not potatoes.

Looking for less fat? Try chives and green onions to get flavor with less calories.




Slow Cooker Cauliflower Mash Recipe

Slow Cooker Cauliflower Mash

Ingredients

  • 5 cups cauliflower chopped into large florets
  • water
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • optional: chives or green onions

Instructions

  1. Place cauliflower florets in a slow cooker. Add enough water to cover.
  2. Cook 4 hours on high.
  3. Drain water off cauliflower.
  4. Add to a food processor along with the milk and butter. Process until smooth.
  5. Salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Optional: Top with chives or green onions.
http://naturalgreenmom.com/slow-cooker-cauliflower-mash-low-calorie-mashed-potato-substitute/

Have you tried serving mashed cauliflower instead of mashed potatoes? What did your family think?

If you love cooking in the slow cooker, did you know you can cook a spaghetti squash in a slow cooker?

Cauliflower Mash Low Calorie Mashed Potato Substitute

How to Buy Scratch and Dent Appliances (And Save 50 to 60%!)

How to Buy Scratch and Dent AppliancesDid you know you can save up to 50 to 60% off your next appliance purchase when you learn how to buy scratch and dent appliances?

When we remodeled our last kitchen, I bought a brand spankin’ new fridge from Sears. They delivered it to our house a week or two before it was installed.

While we waited for it to be installed, it lived in the garage, where all the workmen were working.

Once it was installed I noticed there was a dent in the front. It was down low and not highly visible, but the fact remained, I had purchased a brand new fridge and it had a dent right in front!

No one would claim responsibility.

Sears claimed it could have been damaged while it lived in the garage or when my contractor installed it.  (True. I never inspected it when it was delivered and I turned down their installation service since the kitchen wasn’t ready for it to be installed.)

The contractor claimed it could have been damaged at the manufacturer or when Sears delivered it. (True. Again, did I mention I did a dumb thing and I never inspected it when it was delivered???)

All that to say, I lived with a fridge that I had paid full price for but it had a small dent in the front.

And ya know what? I was the only one who ever really noticed.

That’s when I learned that I was a-ok with an appliance with a dent in it – but I sure as heck would never pay full price for one again!

When we started the remodel on the kitchen of the family homestead, I became the expert on buying scratch and dent appliances. Like my new dishwasher.

Scratch and Dent Dishwasher

Can you find the imperfection? Would you have found it if I hadn’t told you there was one?

Dishwasher with Scratch

That rub on the control panel does not bother me one bit. I’m more focused on the fact it holds more dishes than the last dishwasher, it is far quieter to run, and it is more energy efficient – saving me on my water and electric bill.

And I was able to get the dishwasher at 50% below retail price – even though it was brand new – all because of that little rub.

Where to Find Scratch and Dent Appliances

While there are stores that specialize in and only carry scratch and dent appliances, you don’t need to live near one to purchase a scratch and dent appliance.

You can find scratch and dent appliances at ANY store that carries major appliances. Sears, Lowes, Home Depot, Best Buy, and any others will all have a scratch and dent section.

If you can’t locate the section on your own, just ask a salesperson. The store is looking to offload these damaged goods, so they are more than happy to help you find them.

Be Prepared to Shop Around

In order to find the right size and style for your kitchen, you may need to shop around and check the selection at several different stores before finding the right appliance.

Unless you need an appliance right away, this process could take several weeks. You’ll need to hunt to locate an appliance that has the correct specifications and the least amount of noticeable damage.

Don’t be discouraged during this process. It is like a scavenger hunt. And when you find the right appliance at a steep discount, I promise you will be doing a happy dance in the end.

Scratch and Dent Department

The Greater the Defect, The Greater the Discount

Makes sense, doesn’t it? If you are looking for a freezer for your garage, who cares if there is a big old dent in the front – as long as it runs. Am I right? Besides, odds are your 16 year old driver could hit the brake a little too late and you’ll end up with a big old dent in the front anyway.

But not all scratch and dent appliances have dents in the front. There are many, many appliances you’ll find where the dents are in the sides or the back. Or the scratches in the stainless steel are so low, they may as well be non-existent. These may not be discounted to the same degree, but they will still save you a significant amount of money.

If you are shopping for your kitchen, you may want to narrow your search to an appliance where the imperfection is in the sides or the back. These appliances do exist! You just may need to take the extra time and effort to locate them.

Prices are Negotiable

Why are Americans so put off by negotiating? You are about to spend your hard earned dollars on a product the store would love to get rid of.

It never hurts to ask for a steeper discount!

I usually ask, “Is this the best you can do on the price?” If you are an artful negotiator, you could then throw in a few extra comments about the condition and perhaps make it appear like you are actually doing them a favor by offering to take damaged goods off their hands.

On our dishwasher purchase, I was able to get an additional $50 taken off the price, simply because I asked for a steeper discount. HOLLA!

Ask About Warranties

Depending on where you buy your appliance, it may be eligible for a warranty. It is risky to buy a damaged appliance, so this is a huge benefit if your appliance is warrantied.

If the appliance you are buying is a return, most stores will have refurbished the appliance and will offer a warranty to guarantee the operability of the appliance.

Have you purchased a scratch and dent appliance?

FREE Erin Condren Wellness Journal & Budget Book | Just Pay Shipping!

Erin Condren Budget Book Wellness Journal

I adore Erin Condren products. They are so cute they make you happy to get organized.

No lie.

This year she released two new products that will help get your new year off to a great start!

The Wellness Journal is perfect for logging your fitness and healthy eating goals. And the Budget Book will make it easy to keep your finances in order.

Here’s the GREAT NEWS! If you are new to Erin Condren, you can get her new Budget Book and Wellness Journal for $1 plus shipping.

First you need to use this link to sign up for their newsletter and promotion. Then, you will receive an email within about 48 hours for $10 off your first purchase.

Once you have your code, head over to Erin Condren’s site.

Add the Wellness Journal and the Budget Book to your cart. You can find them under “Accessories”. Your total will be $11.00. Use the coupon code you were sent to take $10 off your order.

The total cost of both books after coupon code is just $1!  You just pay the shipping!

Although I’m showing you how to get these 2 books for $1, you may find you want to use your credit on a life planner. It is probably the most awesome organizational product on the market. My life planner makes me happy – which is saying a lot since I’m chronically allergic to organization.

2016 is your year to get organized!