Never pay full price at Michaels

Bryan and I enjoy DIY projects and try to stay within a budget for each project as much as possible. It can be easy to see the mu-lah fly away at stores like Home Depot and Lowes so when we can, we opt for a quick visit to our local Michaels Craft Store and Jo-Ann Fabrics stores.

Lately, my artistic juices have been flowing if you will. I'd been wanting to create in a quick and easy way and I wanted to paint! I ended up grabbing an awesome watercolor set and paintbrushes from Michaels.  I love the Artist's Loft Fundamentals Watercolor Pan set. It has the perfect variety of paints going in, love it! For brushes I wanted to try the Taklon Premium Brush set by Craft Smart. It has a small variety of sizes, for a beginner I think it's perfect! The bristles didn't come out while I was painting or cleaning which was a problem with the first set I bought, bummer! I knew I wasn't ready for a canvas quite yet so I opted for a small spiral notebook and I love my Canson XL Mis Media Pad, 7 X 10. All of this is travel size and can easily fit in a tote and it's not heavy! Here's how I paid half price for each of these products, grand total of $18!

I've got a secret for you... I've not made a purchase where I did not save 30 - 50 % on the highest priced item. I generally save between 30 - 50% on a regularly priced item with each visit.  All it takes is about 90 seconds online or a few minutes uploading the Michaels app when you're in the store!

Here's how to $ave. Go to Michaels.com and click on coupons.

1. Select a store. Type in your zip code to select the store where you will be making your purchase.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

2. Select the coupon you'd like to use by tapping in the right hand corner and then a little green triangle with a white check mark will appear in the corner.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

3. Scroll down to click on the button: get coupon.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

4. From there you can print the coupon or just leave it open in your browser on your phone to have the barcode scanned at the store when you make your purchase!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Happy saving!

Making Money while you $leep!

I love Poshmark!

 Have you heard of it? No!? Well let me introduce you to Poshmark. Its an easy and exciting way to buy and sell fashion items. The offer items for women, men, and kids such as: clothing, shoes, make-up, accessories from formal to p.j.'s to costumes.

For those who want to buy- the odds are in your favor!

1. You can make offers on items. Don't like the listing price!? You can make an offer on the item and see the grand total after shipping. If the seller agrees you'll be notified and they will mail it to you.

2. Want it new? No problem. So many items, especially ones you may not want used or swatched, like make-up for example is sold new (often times) even with tags, taped up/sealed etc.

3. You into Pre-loved, like new items? Are you a consignment and/or thrift shopper? Great, poshmark is for you too! Item descriptions disclose if item has been used. Not shared? Ask the seller any questions you have about their item in the comments below the post.

You can shop at poshmark.com or even through their app. If you're interested you can also shop in my closet too! (You can find me @practicalpotter).

If your looking to make some quick cash while you're sleeping, the odds are in your favor, too! Here's the low down on how to sell.

In order to sell you:

1) Create an account- using an email, password, and closet name. My closet is now @practicalpotter. My previous (deactivated account was the one photographed below with my maiden name.)

postmark my closet

2) Post your items which has the following required fields:

  • upload photo one picture required/ (up to 10 max)
  • details: write short description (50 characters max)
  • describe it (larger section)
  • category (what item it is)
  • size (by number or letters (XXSP, XSP, XS, S...etc)
  • brand (optional)
  • color(s) (optional) max 2
  • new with tags (optional)
  • Original price (share what you bought it for or think it's worth)
  • Listing price: post how much your selling it for and underneath postmark calculates how much you will earn (as they do receive a small amount of the proceeds)

3) Ship your items.  

1) Poshmark will send a notification to you and also an email when an offer has been made on an item and also when someone makes a purchase.

2) Order (for free) or pick up the priority box of your choosing.

3) All you have to do is print off the shipping label and drop off your box at your local USPS or if its before 5pm you can schedule a pick up for the following business day. If not, you can schedule one for the day after tomorrow.  

Logistics: The seller has 3 days to ship the items unless they convey or presently have their closet on a temporary hold due to vacation.

What is in for me!? Cash deposited to your checking/savings account or money to purchase other items on Poshmark.

To the left is history of past items sold. I've chose to set up a bank direct deposit so as soon as the item has been received and accepted I can send my earnings to the bank!

Feel free to shop my closet - great for pettite teens, college age, & young professionals. Clothing, shoes, accessories!

 

 

 

 

Below is a link showcasing my closet!

Closet Items

Five Minute Friday: Play

Five Minute Friday is a challenge to write for 5 minutes each Friday on one word.  After writing you link to your post and encourage the person who posted before you. The word for that week is provided on Thursday evening if you would like to think about what you're going to write about.

Here goes this week's Five Minute Friday...you can check it out the post and website here.

Play...

 what puts bed rest to rest.

what gathers family and friends around a kitchen table.

it's hard to reach.

what I want to do when the laughter quota isn't reached.

my desire as I scroll through the pre-weekend vibes Instagram reel.

it taunts when the doctor's orders are all two real: bed rest.

Play whats coming when, in Jesus' name the new order comes and the sadness before quickly comes undone.

Saving is sexy

Disclaimer....I've not worked for AT&*, Ver*zon, or Spr*nt so I can't be considered the Yoda of their sales departments however, my husband is a genius and did his research and this is how we saved on our phone bill. well his phone bill.

After a $150 repair to his iPhone we knew it might not last too much longer and it didn't. He went to his carrier to purchase a new phone to only find out you can no longer purchase a phone. You can only lease one. WHAT!? Essentially meaning you make payments on a phone, for years. Ummm.. NO THANK YOU! They don't make it an option to buy a phone with cash anymore so Mr. Too Easy went on a little road trip...

Mr. Too Easy went to WALMART.

He walked his handsome self over to the technology section and purchased a phone for a whopping $8 and a $30 Straight Talk card for 1,500 minutes, unlimited texts, and 100MB of data.

CHA-CHING...did you hear that!? I did! Thats the wad of cash we just saved and all thanks to my resourceful, confident, and content husband. He doesn't want or need an iPhone. We see each other everyday, we don't need to FaceTime (RIP long distance). He has transportation where he can use a GPS and more than enough minutes to talk to his loved ones each month.

It's perfect! No plan, no commitment, no debt, no problems.  I am so thankful for his minimalism! He's the best. Really! THE BEST. 

Live like no one else so later you can live like no one el$e. Saving $ense, thats where its at!

In my eyes, well Bryan would also agree, saving is sexy. When Bryan found out I didn't have ANY debt, he was all, "DAM*, girl, that's H-O-T! Why yes, yes it is! More on this later!

 

Ways to Save at Starbucks

Ohhh I love Starbucks.

Here are a few tricks and tips on how to save $ and enjoy the perks.

#1 Starbucks coffee cup

One of the cutest stocking stuffers I received was a hand knitted mustache coffee cup cozy around a plastic reusable mug. Last time I visited Starbucks it was only $2 AND with each use you save 10 cents. Also, the main reason I'm a big fan is because they're light weight and very, very easy to clean. I absolutely hate coffee cups with nooks and crannies and rubber, ehhh which are begging for mercy to mold etc, if not cleaned properly.

#2 Free cup of coffee or pastry on your birthday

If you purchase, for example a $5.00 gift card and you get the free Starbucks app you can then add that gift card to the app and use your app to pay. When you register you will add your email address and you have 48 hours from your date of birth to redeem either a free beverage of your choice or other item!

#3 Use the app to pay and $save

If you download either automatically or manually funds to pay for coffee onto the app you will earn stars for each purchase. Once you reach a certain number of stars you can redeem them for a free product of your choice. The app also shares what promotions/offers which are available at your store (the store you designate as your preference) using the app.

#4 Shop for Starbucks products at retail stores

Often times stores like, Ross, T.J. Maxx and Marshalls have an aisle or two of snacks, chocolates, and cooking items and you may find coffee there too (for a much more affordable price).

 

 

 

What your internet provider doesn't tell you

For our first: Ways to save, Wednesday's...drumroll...setting up your internet. We learned this helpful tidbit comes from our friends/ neighbors Blake and Lisa.

We looked into the two internet providers in our area and like they (Blake and Lisa) found TWC, now known as Spectr*m to be the most cost effective.

Tip 1: Purchase your own materials when possible. We saved by purchasing a modem and router in one- thanks to Best B*y for a little under $115. (Internet providers rent out both machines and it will add to your costs). We were able to save $20/month this way!

Tip 2: When setting up account for service ask if there is a self-install internet service kit. Generally there is as setting up your internet when you purchase a router/modem takes no more than 15-20 minutes! Don't worry there is also tech support, ironically a website (wa-wa funny) AND there is a phone-a-"friend" option as Bryan would say.  The "friend," being their tech support line which was an automated installation walk through. You can have the elf-install internet service kit mailed or pick it up at the store. We found picking up the kit at a local store was quicker for us. We saved $35.00 as that would have been the cost for the technician to come out and set it up. 

The only hiccup we faced, the tenants before us had some sort of wiring set up outside of our apartment building which interfered with our service.  We were not able to set it up until the technician came out. I was able to call Spectr*m in order to find out when the technician would come by and later had come by so I could finish the installation process. (P.s. they were very helpful and kind and did not charge us for this service as it pertained to the previous tenant).

Scoreboard    Bev & Bryan 1    Spectr*m 0 

 

A-gi-tate-her or agitator?!

Mr. Too Easy and I were (as many) a bit overwhelmed by $PENDING and CO$T$ associated with moving into a new palace, oh sorry, I mean place. (Phew, got a little confused there for a second).

We knew our time in our first apartment would be (hopefully) no more than six months. I had grand dreams of making it look like a modern meets rustic vacation home and my fantasies came to a screeching halt. 

Why!? Why would we spend hundreds of dollars on pieces we were going to have to pack up and ship shortly? We agreed to purchase a dinky washer and dryer. We set out to Best Buy and quickly realized for one of the "most affordable" and desirable washers we could be paying more than what we wanted to pay for both.  I was disappointed when their least expensive options were ones with an a-word. The curse word of all curse words in my appliance vocabulary: agitator. Mr. Too Easy was not about that and I felt like he was conspiring with the Best Buy Stranger saying, "Lets agitate-her."

               keeping it old school

              keeping it old school

YUCK. Someone call the 60's laundry room, they want their agitator back.

We went to a used appliance store, it was hot and the pickings were as we say in the south, slim! To say I was agitated was an understatement. My head was spinning (puns intended!) I looked on craigslist for a something clean and reached out to a guy who was starting up his own business.

Long story short, we set up a day and time for our washer/dryer (P.S. that I'd never seen before) arrive, be brought to our 2nd floor apartment, and be "set up." We paid $210 for an OLD SCHOOL washer and dryer and an additional $50 for the delivery/set up. Unfortunately they didn't have a final piece we needed and it costed us $9.99 at Home Depot and my husband 45 minutes!  For a whopping $270 we have a washer and dryer! YAY for clean clothing!

As we sing around here, the bare necessities...forget about your worries and your strife...

 

 

Meet Mr. Too Easy

My husband goes by many names, to his parents he's Bryan. His niece and nephew call him, Uncle Boo (long story). His friends at work call him, Potter. To me he can be baby, babe, honey, and the latest, Mr. Too Easy.  

I realized I am prone to not even consider setting out to reach a goal or complete a project for fear of failure or wanting to dance around taking the time to do it. yup, I love dancing that much.

Well, fear and skepticism meet Mr. Too Easy. When we sit down to talk about what little home project we want to tackle together next its as if we were in the middle of a football huddle and we went out for the next play, "Too Easy!".

Story time!  Mr. Too Easy took me to purchase a $25 crate and sanded it down so I could paint it. He also sanded our bedroom organizer and nightstand! The biggest project thus far was our farmhouse table! Mr. Too Easy had a positive attitude, helping hands, praise and high-fives all along the way. To be completely transparent if it weren't for Mr. Too Easy I would have mismatched furniture, thankfully not as our apartment is coming to life!

What if we approached the next project or task ahead we've been putting off!? What if we sat down and said, "Too Easy!" with confidence and hatched out a plan, resources and materials we need to get it done!? 

We've both felt such joy while putting our finished table into our dining rooms and the chairs in their place. Sigh, relief, joy, pride. Yeah, a little pride was good. The results are embarking on a bigger project...

Yeah...I'm already antsy to do another...make our own tufted headboard. I've got confidence, joy, and a project itch won't go away. I pretty much feel like I can fly, thanks to Mr. Too Easy!

Farmhouse table D.I.Y.

I am so excited to share about the biggest project we've done so far! Here is a more intensive step by step guide on how to do your own D.I.Y. Farmhouse table!

I (Bev) scouted on Instagram for a wooden kitchen table which would seat at least four. Our hope was to find a fun table and/or find a table we could restore! I found this table (and four chairs, two head chairs with arm rests and two without) for $75.00 and it all fit in Bryan's 1998 Toyota truck. 

We got inspired on Pinterest to create a farmhouse dining room table with a dark stain on top and white base, legs and chairs!

 

 

Step 1: SAND IT ALL DOWN

Bryan started by sanding down the table with an electric hand sander. He first used the 220 grit and then used the 80 grit. For the chairs he used the electric sander as much as possible and by hand used the 80 for the nooks and crannies needed.

Supplies:

  1. DeWalt electric sander
  2. Sandpaper: 220 and 80 grit (rectangular pieces).
  3. Sandpaper pads (round 80 grit)
  4.  

 

Step 2: STAIN THE TOP OF THE TABLE

During the project I learned there are actually staining brushes available for this specific project, however I've heard they run in the $50-60 range. We used a paint brush under $11.00 which was all encompassing meaning any paint or any stain. (What I learned in the process: the bristles on a finish brush are thinner and its thicker so that less air can come in between the bristles which can decrease the number of air bubbles.)

We used Bombay stain and applied one thin coat. My advice- brush in one direction, the direction of the wood grains. Do not rub a dry brush against your wood, just dip it in the stain and keep going so you've got a thin and even layer of stain.

Supplies: 

  1. Paint/staining brush... you choose!
  2. Face Mask - I strong suggest a face mask (one that fits well around your head and can be tightened so that you're not breathing in any of the harsh chemicals). We also encourage you to do this project outdoors in a covered area in the event of rain/inclement weather and to ensure pets are kept away from project so any hair doesn't stick to your table).

Drying time: varies on location, time of year, humidity, etc... We were in 70-90 degree weather throughout the five or so days of working on this project. We waited 24 hours before moving forward with our project.

 

Step 3: PAINT THE TABLE (BASE/LEGS) WHITE

I grabbed the paint brush and the gallon of white paint we purchased for other project (which I'll highlight later). I painted the four beams underneath the table horizontally and then worked on the four legs. Based on the time I started I was able to wait 30 minutes for it to dry, do a second coat, wait 30 minutes, and do the third coat. 

Supplies: paint brush (used when under $9)

 

Step 4: APPLY SEMI-GLOSS

I put on the face mask and applied a thin layer of semi gloss on the top of the table. My biggest suggestion: Do not rub a dry brush against the wood (trust me, you'll regret it, your table will look gritty and won't look glossy) just dip that bad boy into the semi gloss and keep applying. Wait at least 24 hours in between coats. We waited 24 hours and applied the second coat, waited another 24 hours and applied the third coat.  The number of coats depends on usage of the furniture piece. We decided to go with three coats based on everyday usage.

Patience is a virtue, we waited close to 72 hours before we touched and used the table for the first time! 

Supplies:

  1. Clear semi-gloss polyurethane 
  2. Disposable gloves
  3. Face mask

 

Step 5: PAINT THE CHAIRS

We decided to paint the chairs white (we considered staining them, which would have been equally as pretty). We used the same gallon of paint. Bryan took the cushions off and ensured the chairs were sanded down well. I did 2-3 coats on the chairs just covering what was seen to the eye (including the bottom of the arm rests). It was a beautiful breezy 72 degrees so I was able to do this within 3 hours and bring the chairs indoors.

 

 

 

Step 6: RE-UPHOLSTER THE CHAIRS

We wanted to make good use of our time. While we waited for the table and our chairs to dry we went to JoAnn Fabrics to look for upholstery fabric. Our chairs had a cushion and fabric (white/dirty) on it so we wanted to reupholster the chairs. We purchased a fun rooster print and got 2 yards which ended up being more than enough. We purchased a nail gun as well (I'd encourage you to get one box of staples specific to your nail gun (we got the heavier duty one).

Money $aving tip: If you and your spouse go to a craft store on their app, in store catalog, and online website generally (Michaels and JoAnn Fabrics offer a 40 or 50% coupon on a regularly priced item) each do a transaction and use a coupon. 

Supplies:

  1. Pencil to help mark fabric needed to upholster
  2. The staple gun was $30 and we got it for $15 (JoAnn's Fabrics)
  3. Box of staples was $3 and I used a military discount at got them for about $1.50 (went to Michaels when I needed more)
  4. Upholstery fabric was at $30/yard and was on sale 50% so we got 2 yards for under $30 using military discount (JoAnn's Fabrics) on top of sale, wahhooo!

After I reupholstered the chairs Bryan put them back on the table and after our table was dry our Farmhouse dining room table was complete!

             Our Farmhouse table

            Our Farmhouse table

Welcome to the Practical Potters!

Hello!

     My name is Beverly Potter and I am the main contributor to the Practical Potters. My husband Bryan may post from time to time and/or we may colloborate (don't worry, I'll let you know when we do). Trust me I couldn't steal his thunder even if I tried.

     Bryan and I are focusing on things more important in our lives: family, friends, adventuring, making memories, and being cheerful givers- of our time, talents, and our home (wherever that may be). We are saving for our future family, a place to call home, basic needs, and our future childrens' dreams (college, etc). Our collective dream is to own 2+ acres, a beautiful home, and begin homesteading- being self sustainable by having chickens and gardening, you get it. We are excited for the adventure we've begun and soon to embark upon! 

Who are we!?

     I (Beverly) grew up partly in Virginia and would say I call North Carolina home. My family resides in Virginia, North Carolina, Chile, and Guatemala. After graduating from high school I attended North Carolina State University where I enjoyed an internship within anti-human trafficking efforts and went on to intern and then join the staff team at a residential care facility for domestic adolescent survivors of sex trafficking. There I cared for residents and launched their volunteer program. Afterwards I returned to my home city and worked at a non-profit fighting poverty through a women's shelter, food pantry, and clinic programs overseeing over 1,500 volunteers. I've loved each position I've been entrusted with and it was a no brainer to quit my job and move an hour and a half away to support and be with my husband. I'm excited to be in a season of newness and transition, pursing a dormant passion of writing and the arts (D.I.Y projects to be exact).

     Bryan was born in California. He played hockey since he was three years old. As the youngest of three boys he had a vibrant and adventure filled childhood. After graduation from high school he continued playing hockey and later decided to join the United States Armed Forces. He anticipated it would be just like the movies where you sign your name on the dotted line and get hucked into a van. Surprisingly they told him to come back in sixteen months to begin basic training, while waiting he worked and attended a local community college. The past four years he's been protecting and serving our country in assignments all around the world. And if you'd ask him he was pleasantly surprised when I came along...

     Bryan and I met on Friday, May 27th 2016 and were married on Sunday, May 28th 2017.  I quickly realized his amazing sense of humor and wittiness. He is a low key nerd and I love it. I'd say we are both a bit of old souls, thank goodness I just realized we have the same decorative style and are truly best friends. It was love at first sight and when he found me I knew I had a good one so yes, we tied the knot about a year later!

     Shortly after our engagement he underwent a knee surgery, physical therapy, and began out processing out of the army. Lord willing his last day of his 4.5 year commitment will be on October 27th, 2017. From there we will be road tripping to Utah to hopefully, settle down and later start a family. 

     For now... we want to share how we came together as a united front armed with a money saving tool belt if you will- in large part to each of our parents who made wise financial decisions and urged us to do the same. It hasn't been a luxurious, care free, easy road AND it's been worth it and we wouldn't trade it for anything. And we want to share our story and money $aving tips with you.

Thanks for joining the practical potters, we look forward to your comments, feedback, and wisdom too!

-Beverly and Bryan