Logo: Cargo Largo

Cargo Largo is Ghetto Sara Lee approved

The #1 reason I love Cargo Largo is that it enables me to live the lifestyle I choose within my budget.

For those of you who don’t know, Cargo Largo is a resale store located in Independence, Missouri off of 35th and Noland Road. They sell food, household items, baby items, toys, clothes, hardware, and furniture. Some of their items are nearing expiration, or they were not deemed fit for store shelves, but they are perfectly fine to consume. The most important thing to know about Cargo Largo is you can save a lot of money there.

My love affair with Cargo Largo began a little over a year ago when I made a decision to eliminate as many processed, fake foods and products from my life. I’m sure you know that can be very expensive. Cargo Largo always has tons of organic, gluten free, natural, non-GMO foods for the low, low so I can stock up for the whole month without my heart dropping into my stomach at the cash register.

I also made a commitment to cut out unnecessary expenses. One of those expenses included coffee. I habitually stopped at 7/11 every single day to get a cup of coffee ($1.79 with tax). After a month of coffee, I was spending calm near $60 a month on coffee. I have been lucky enough to score coffee for $3 a bag there for a few months and saved a ton of money as a result. Finding coffee at Cargo Largo weaned me off of buying coffee every day and now I have been making coffee at home.


My Successful Hauls at Cargo Largo

   My first haul, February 2016


  • Terra Sweet Potato Chips
  • Hodson Mill Penne Pasta @ $1.30 each
  • Simply Asia seasoning packets, $0.80 each
  • Basil and Sage, $1 each
  • Annie’s Bunny Snacks, $0.90 each
  • Sea Salt Popcorn, $0.75 each
  • The Toasted Oat No. 1 Peanut + Raisin, $2.70 each
  • Sejoyia Chili Pumpkin Seed Brussel Bytes
  • Fiber D-lish bars, $2.50 for a 12-pack
  • “Irish” I had me a beer socks, $0.25
  • Black Carnival Wheel cupcake holder, $6.99
 Total: $39.89
  April 2016

  • 2 packages of Three Sisters Frosted Wheat @ $1.20
  • 2 packages of Three Sisters Cinnamon Sweets @ $1.20
  • 4 bags of Kicking Horse Kick Ass blend coffee @ $5
  • 4 bags of Boom Chick-a-Pop Popcorn @ $0.75 each
  • 3 Silk shelf-stable soy milk @ $1 each
  • 2 boxes Enjoy Life Crunchy Flax with Chia @ $1.20 each
  • 2 packages of Purely Elizabeth Mango Almond Muesli @ $1.95 each
  • 2 packages of 2 packages of Purely Elizabeth Apple Current Muesli @ $1.95 each
  • Sejoyia Brussel Bytes Tamarind Apple Crunch, $1.20 each
  • Forever 21 dress, $11.98 (see below)
Total: $65.38
  May 2016

  • 3 bags of Kicking Horse Kick Ass blend coffee @ $3 (sold for $8.49 on amazon.com)
  • 6 snack size San Franola Granola @ $0.50 a piece
  • 4 tubs of Brad’s Kale @ $0.50 a piece
  • 2 packages of Among Friends Brownie mix @ $1.70
  • 2 packages of Udis Vanilla Almond Granola @ $1.70
  • 2 packages of Three Sisters Frosted Wheat @ $1.20
  • 2 packages of Purely Elizabeth Mango Almond Muesli @ $2 each
  • 3 boxes of Purely Elizabeth Granola and Puffs Cereal, different varieties @ $2
  • Breakfast Poppers Blueberries, Almond and Buckwheat @ $1.50
  • 2 boxes of Quinn Popcorn Vermont Maple and Sea Salt @ $1.50 each
  • 4 cartons Orgain Organic Almond Milk 32 oz @ 1.25 each
Total: $50


  May 2016


  • Freekeh Foods Tamari Freekeh @ $1.35 each
  • Enjoy Life Seeds & Fruit, $0.90 each
  • Lundberg Organic Sprouted Risotto Cheddar & Peppers 5.5 Oz @ $1 each
  • Rhythm Superfoods Broccoli Bites, various @ $1.00 each
  • 6 cartons Orgain Organic Almond Milk 32 oz @ 1.25 each
  • Among Friends Brownie Mix, $1.70
  • Udi’s Natural Granola,
  • 5 bags of Kicking Horse Kick Ass blend coffee @ $3
  • 4 tubs of Brad’s Kale @ $0.50 each


 Total: $53.05

(includes items not pictured here)

  June 2016


  • 1 bag Sally’s Cereals Cocoa Sweets @ $1.60 a bag
  • 1 box Safari Cocoa Crunch® | Mom’s Best Cereals @ $1.20 (normally around $5, cheapest I’ve seen in a regular store was $2.50)
  • 2 bags of Three Sisters Cinnamon Sweets @ $1.20
  • 4 bags of Kicking Horse Kick Ass blend coffee @ $3
  • Annie’s Cowgirl Ranch @ $2.20 each
  • Shelf-stable Silk Almond Milk, $1.50
  • Wild Garden Hummus @ $1.50
  • Natural Laundry Soap, $2.50


 Total: $75.35

(includes items not pictured here)

  July 2016


  • 3 bags Sally’s Cereals Cocoa Sweets @ $1.60 a bag
  • 3 boxes Safari Cocoa Crunch® | Mom’s Best Cereals @ $1.20
  • 2 packages of Three Sisters Frosted Wheat @ $1.20
  • 2 packages of Three Sisters Cinnamon Sweets @ $1.20
  • 4 x oz packages of pita chips for $0.75 a piece
  • Jalapeno Hummus dip @ $ each
  • 2 bags of Kicking Horse Kick Ass blend coffee @ $3
  • 1 bag of Kicking Horse Grizzly Claw blend coffee @ $5 (sold for $8.49 on amazon.com)
  • Bobby Sue’s Nuts It’s Raining Chocolate – 8oz Jar @ $2 (normally sold for $12)
  • Reginald’s Homemade  Bourbon Pecan Peanut Butter $3 (normally sold for $7)
  • Toasted Oat Granola No.4 – Cashew+Apricot (normally sold for $8.95
  • Del Oro Tostadas $2


Total: $44.20


  September 2016


  • 5 bags Sally’s Cereals Cocoa Sweets @ $1.60 a bag
  • 2 boxes of Banza pasta at $2.50 each
  • Spicely spices @ $1.40 each
  • Naan Chips @ $2.50
  • Annie’s Cowgirl Ranch @ $1.50 each
  • 4 Streit’s Kosher baking mixes for $1.70/1.80 each
  • 2 boxes Hodgson Mills Pancake and Waffle Mix at @ 1.25 each
  • Nacho Cheese $1.80 (normally at least $2.49 at the grocery store)
  • Madhava Organic Maple Pancake Syrup $3
  • Kettle Chips $0.75 each
  • Que Pasa Organic Salsa $1.60
  • Wild Garden Hummus $2 each
  • Jackson’s Honest Organic Blue Corn Chips $0.75 each
  • Ecos Dishwashing Liquid $2
 Total: $44.60
   November 2016


  • Stevia Sparkling Fruit Juice, $2 each
  • Hemp Milk, $1.30
  • Nature’s Path Organic Pumpkin Flax Puffs, $3 each
  • Inkos bottled tea, $1 each
  • Ecos dish washing liquid, $2
  • Shea Moisture conditioner, $7.50
  • 2 Target Mossimo Cardigans, $5.99 each
 Total: $53.49
   March 2017


  • 3 boxes Nature’s Path Organic Poptarts, $2.50 each
  • Marley Mellow Mood tea, $0.70 each
  • Nacho Mom’s World Famous Vegan Queso, $2.50
  • Southern Gourmet pie mixes, $1.80 each
  • Que Pasa Organic Yellow Corn Tortilla Chips, $1.50
  • Argo Hibiscus Tea, $1 each
  • Prima Singapore Curry, $3.70
  • Hugo natural shampoo and conditioner, $4.90 and $4.80
  • Hugo natural lavender lotion, $4.70
  • Eco Me Floor Cleaner, $3
  • Ecos dish washing liquid, $2
 Total: $58.85
   April 2017


  • Ecos dish washing liquid, $2
  • Hodgson’s Mill Chickpeas, $2
  • Gluten Free Spice Cake Mix, $3.30
  • Flowered skirt, $5.99
  • Swim bottoms, $5.99
  • Lane Bryant Leggings $7.99
  • Annie’s Macaroni and Cheese, various $0.90 each
  • Marley Mellow Mood tea, $0.70 each
  • Graduation greeting cards, $0.50 each
 Total: $53.75

There is no feeling like being straight on coffee, breakfast and snacks for the month! Even the cashier at my latest haul said she couldn’t believe I got all I bought for less than $50.

Not Just Food

I always find a ton of natural beauty items, cool clothes, and household items at Cargo Largo for the low. One time, I found a carousel cupcake holder for $6. I went back and got another one to match. Back in August, I scored my dog beds (which are zippered and washable) for $25 a piece there, too.

I have found:

  • camisole tanks for $1 and $2,
  • Target cardigans for $5 each,
  • a Croft & Barrow boatneck printed shirt for $6
  • a really pretty Forever 21 dress for $12
  • an Old Navy boatneck knit sweater for $7.98
  • a 2 quart saucepan for $6

The lesson for today is Cargo Largo is a great choice for pantry items, clothing, and household goods.  Check em out today!

If you don’t believe me, they were recently featured on Fox 4 KC: http://fox4kc.com/2016/05/23/inside-independences-well-kept-secret-cargo-largo/

Disclaimer: Since Cargo Largo is a resale store, they do not stock items regularly. So if you find an item you really like there, I advise you to buy many of them!

Graphic: Ting art

My phone bill was $30 last month with Ting

Are you always around WiFi? Are you sick of paying a high phone bill?

If your answer is “yes,” you should consider using Ting as your wireless service provider. With Ting, you only pay for what you use.

If you

  1. have WiFi at home,
  2. have WiFi at work,
  3. have access to WiFi  most other places you go (your grandma’s, your friends’, the grocery store, in the airport, at a hotel, on and on),

then you can easily be relying on WiFi for your data, messaging, and calls and saving a ton of money.

Ting’s dashboard estimates your usage based on your current month’s usage. On January 17, Ting estimated my bill would be $42, but with a little discipline, I was able to keep it below that.

I was intentional about how I used my phone to try and save myself some money. I called on Wifi (Vonage app), used messaging apps (Whatsapp or Google+ Hangouts) or emails, and limited my web browsing and searching while out and about.  

This is how much it has cost me over the last six months. I have already pocketed over $80 that I would have forked over to my previous provider, Virgin Mobile, where my unlimited plan cost me $56 monthly.

Ting Billing History screen

My $30 phone bill for January brought my average monthly bill down to $39.

I had two high bills in November I was planning a huge party for my grandma, and then in December one of my loved ones spent a week in the hospital. Now that everything is back to normal, my phone bill is lower than it’s ever been before. 

If you decide to Ting will work for you, sign up using my link and we will both get credit!


Logo: CVS Pharmacy

10 Reasons I Love CVS

I’m sure by now you can tell that I have a deep affinity for CVS. To help you understand why I am so enthusiastic about CVS, I have put together this list of reasons why it is my go-to spot for health and a lot of my personal shopping!

  1. Extra Rewards Bucks
    Who doesn’t love free money? You can earn extra rewards bucks, which are essentially dollars that you can then turn around and spend there on your next purchase. CVS pays out Extra Rewards bucks quarterly based on your spending and with purchases of special items. You’re going to spend the money anyway. Why not spend it all in one place and earn money back?
  2. Extra Rewards Coupons
    You have seen the bright red machine when you walk into CVS. This machine spits out coupons that are current promotions and also deals that you can choose to have sent to your card at cvs.com. I highly recommend checking the CVS app or the Extra Rewards section of cvs.com when you are planning your health/hygiene purchase for the month to see if there are any coupons on products you are planning to buy.
  3. Shopping at CVS Can Save You a Lot of Money.
    If you plan your purchases accordingly, using sales and manufacturer’s coupons, in combination with Extra Rewards coupons, you can see your total on the register go down 50… 75%… I’ve even seen people walk out with FREE stuff. 
  4. CVS App
    The CVS app allows you to accomplish a lot of helpful tasks all in one place:

    • pull up your card (I know I lost mines a long time ago),
    • view the status of your prescriptions and order refills,
    • scan a product in the store
    • view the weekly ad and your available
    • and a million more things…
  5. CVS Pharmacy helps you manage your health.
    I don’t really like to take medicine, but when I must, CVS is my preferred pharmacy. They have convenient features like:

    • auto refills (they even contacted my doctor when my birth control ran out)
    • ordering refills from wherever you are at any time.
    • access to your (and your family’s) complete, detailed prescription history you can pull up anywhere (like in the doctor’s office or the ER)
    • notifications when your prescription is ready so you don’t have to waste time waiting
    • you can even refill your prescriptions online for home delivery.
  6. CVS is Everywhere.
    You can always find a CVS when you need one, no matter where you are and there’s always a 24-hour CVS within driving distance. And now, CVS Pharmacy is at Target! Read more: https://www.cvs.com/help/target_help_index.jsp?WT.ac=CVS-M-TGT-RX-V1-42020-357X24-PZ
  7. Coin Star
    When I need to cash in my change, I know where I can find a Coin Star machine to turn my coins into dollars!
  8. CVS cares about community inclusion.
    CVS has a strong commitment to hiring people with disabilities. Inclusion and opportunities for people with disabilities is something I value, so I choose to spend my money there.
  9. SNACKS!
    I don’t know if you’ve ever wandered down the snack aisles of CVS… but they have the best selection of scooby snacks in the world. They have many healthy choices for snacks too, not just the standard junk food.
  10. They sell liquor.
    I don’t think anything else needs to be said here.


If you aren’t enrolled in CVS Extra Care Rewards, visit them online and sign up today!


Photo: Stacks of $100 bills banded together. Credit: 401kcalculator.org

File your taxes for free (if you make less than $50Gs)

Don’t be a sucker. You don’t have to be a CPA to do your taxes. You don’t have to go to Jackson Hewitt or H & R Block. Don’t fall prey to the dancing Statues of Liberty and Uncle Sams. You can complete and file your federal and state taxes with no cost in the comfort of your own home (or anywhere you have internet access).

Don’t be a dummy, either. I have seen plenty of folks who got their W2s together to give to someone else to do their taxes for a fee. it is not wise to break off some change to some lady in the hood you know to file your taxes. How do you know she is qualified? What are you going to do if you get audited by the IRS (Hey, it can happen…)? You might as well do it yourself and use an official service, so you can keep 100% of your return and have someone to call/blame when you get in a jam.

Doing your taxes is very simple if you just follow the prompts provided by your tax preparation software of choice. The IRS has kindly put a list together of free filing software providers for you on their website: https://apps.irs.gov/app/freeFile/jsp/index.jsp?ck

The services I have personal experience with and recommend are H & R Block, MyFreeTaxes.com, and TurboTax (federal and state).

Veteran Tip
Always ‘review your taxes’ so you can save a copy as PDF.  In some cases, your state return will not be free. I have gone all the way through the process if the software was going to charge me for the filing just so I could get the PDF and copied it over to a paper return.  It’s important to always keep a copy of your tax return. You need your Adjusted Gross Income or your special pin # from the previous year each time you file. You want a copy of your taxes for a million good reasons.


If you try to do your taxes and you still need 1 on 1 assistance, there are community resources available here in town to advise you on or assist you with your taxes.

Graphic: Screenshot of NextStep flyer with tax sites and timesNext Step KC Free Tax Preparation

Next Step KC operates several IRS-sponsored Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) tax preparation sites in the Kansas City area.  VITA offers free tax help to hard-working taxpayers with incomes of $54,000 and below who cannot prepare their own tax returns.

Click the image to the right for their flyer or visit their website for more info: nextstepkc.org/free-tax-preparation


You can also search on the IRS website for tax prep help sites at irs.treasury.gov/freetaxprep/






Stick with me and I'll put you up on all kinds of game

Related topics coming soon:

  • Making sure you don’t get taxed at tax time: Your W4 form
  • Best pre-paid debit cards
  • Pros and Cons of being unbanked
  • How to cut down on unnecessary costs

Photo: from left: Plastic bottle of Hy-vee brand ground ginger, American Fare ground black pepper, and a bottle of ground turmeric next to a saucepan with turmeric milk in it on the stove.

How to Beat a Cold without Spending a ton of Money on Medicine

Two words: Turmeric Milk.

Last week, I came down with a cold. One of my friends suggested I try turmeric as a means to beat my illness.  They sent me a link to Fresh Bites Daily’s recipe for Turmeric Milk.

From Fresh Bites Daily

Turmeric Milk Ingredients

2 cups of milk (or substitute coconut milk)
1 teaspoon dried turmeric (or one-half inch fresh turmeric thinly sliced or diced)
1 teaspoon dried ginger (or one-half inch fresh ginger thinly sliced or diced)
A sprinkle of black pepper
Honey to taste

Turmeric Milk Steps

  1. Place milk in a saucepan over medium heat.
  2. Add turmeric, ginger, and pepper. Stir well if you are using the dried spices.
  3. Let the milk begin to simmer — small bubbles will form on the sides of the saucepan. Stir.
  4. Allow to heat for another minute or two being careful not to let the milk overheat. Continue to stir at this point to get better heat distribution.
  5. Turn off heat, cover, and allow the mixture to sit for ten minutes or so to improve the infusion.
  6. Strain the milk through a strainer if you have used fresh ingredients.
  7. Serve warm.

I used coconut milk with my concoction. Within an hour of drinking it, all the congestion started coming out of my body.  Within a couple of days, I was feeling a million times better.

I have used both grated, fresh ginger and ground ginger for my milk. The benefit to using ground ginger is you don’t have to strain the milk. The benefit to using fresh ginger is obviously the benefits that come with ginger in general. The honey is not necessary, but I recently started adding it and it makes it taste a lot better.

The numbers

Coconut milk: $2.88-$2.99 at HyVee
Dried turmeric $1 at Big Lots (I already had it on hand, so it didn’t actually cost me anything)
Dried ginger $1 at Big Lots or Dollar Tree or Fresh Ginger, less than $1 at the Trader Joe’s  (I already had it on hand, so it didn’t actually cost me anything)
A sprinkle of black pepper (You should have this in your kitchen)

Total cost $5


Stick with me and I'll put you up on all kinds of game

Related topics coming soon:

  • Aligning your values with your spending
  • Strategies to save money grocery shopping

Photo: package of Arm & Hammer plus OxiClean pods (21 ct) on sale at CVS for $1.99

Laundry soap for $1.99 at CVS

Tell me how I just got 60 pods for the price of 20 at CVS?! (I bought 3 packages at $1.99 for a grand total of $5.97)

I was getting ready to take my clothes and bedding to the laundromat and low and behold, all Arm & Hammer laundry soap is on sale at CVS.

Now I’m mad I didn’t buy all of them off the shelf.

This lady walkin through CVS was clearly hunting deals so I told her about it and she said, “There’ll be a coupon for those in the paper tomorrow.” To which I replied, “If you get the Examiner on Saturdays you get the coupons early.”

I love saving money, and I love CVS, so tonight was definitely a win-win. The only pitfall was laundromat man wasn’t at work tonite 😂

Make this your new anthem: $ave Dat Money


Rap game got it all wrong
We ain’t ’bout to go and spend money just to flex on them
We ain’t really got it like y’all (Yeah, baby!)
I’m a type of motherfucker that’ll check the check
Do the math, I ain’t never gettin’ robbed


F@#! what they’re talking about on TV and in songs. I have learned that resisting temptation is essential to survival as an adult. Before I spend any money, I stop and ask myself, “Do I really need this? Is this going to improve my quality of life? What am I supporting with this money I am about to spend?” The media has us brainwashed into thinking we need to buy unnecessary things.

Don’t perpetuate the bullshit.

What you spend money on and where you spend your money sends a message to the world about what you value.  Hold on to your bread.

Photo: 8x8 HDX wall patch, spackle knife, and spackle bought at Home Depot

You don’t need a man (or a lot of money) to patch a hole in the wall

Today I learned that it is pretty easy to patch a hole in the wall.  If it is relatively small, you can just use putty/spackle to cover the hole.  However, if it is large, you will have to get a patch to help you keep the spackle in place.

The hole pictured below has been there ever since I moved in here.  A wild hair and a trip to Home Depot to buy furnace filters inspired me to fix this hole.  It cost me just over $15.

All you need is:

  • Wall repair patch – $5.68  (I needed a large 8″ x 8″ patch)
  • Spackle – $4.97 (I could’ve saved myself $2 by getting the smaller tub, but what can I say, I am a rookie!)
  • Sandpaper  – $3.97 (used pre- and post-spackle to smooth rough edges)
  • Putty knife – $1.79

Total cost: $16.41


While I was there, I also copped this pretty pinkish red Behr Interior Eggshell Enamel found for the low ($9, normally $25.96) in the reject section.

Photo: Pretty pinkish red Behr Interior Eggshell Enamel found for the low ($9) in the reject section of Home Depot


Analyze your energy usage like a boss

I was inspired to write this post tonight as I am paying my bills.

It usually takes me 15 minutes tops to pay them all. I never pay any bills in person and I don’t mail anything.

I’ve always peeped my energy usage out occasionally to see how it compares to the weather, but I noticed tonight that KCP&L really upgraded their online customer account dashboard.

Peep these nice graphs out!

You might notice that my energy usage has decreased quite a bit.  That is because I literally unplugged everything that I don’t frequently use (coffee maker, microwave, chargers, power cords) and only have a light on in one room – the room I’m in.  The only things that stay plugged in are my refrigerator, TV and stove.  When I am not charging my devices, and trust me, there are plenty of those here, I unplug the chargers.

In the winter, I run the heater when I’m home and I’m cold.  After the house warms up, and when I leave, I turn it off.  In the summer, I use fans and open windows as much as possible, and if I must, I turn on my window units.  When I first moved into this house, it was the beginning of August.  I didn’t have nay air conditioner.  I have worked myself up to two window units and still have managed to keep my energy costs very reasonable.

The bottom line is if you make an effort to conserve energy, you can save a lot of money!


Stick with me and I'll put you up on all kinds of game

Related topics coming soon:

  • How Collections Actually Work
  • Avoiding Creditors
  • Getting out from underneath payday loans (online and in-person)
  • To bank or not to bank? Getting an account when the banks won’t let you in
  • Bankruptcy: Is it right for you?
  • How I pay my bills in 10 minutes
  • Budgeting 101

Photo: a bunch of credit offers strewn all over the floor

Don’t worry about your credit (too much)

I have shitty credit. Okay, according to the credit bureaus, it is Very Poor.

Graphic: Screenshot of my credit scores at CreditKarma.com

My credit is bad from a series of very bad, lovestruck decisions prior to 2010, when I filed bankruptcy. And then some more stupid, lovesick choices that have been really keeping me down.  A lesson I have learned through all of this is: Don’t let your money (or anything) get you so stressed out you can’t think straight and make smart moves.  I made some dumb decisions trying to figure out how to make ends meet and make people happy at the same time.

Now that I’m a little older and wiser, I have made it a goal to get myself out of debt.  One important first step is to get a clear picture of what is going on with your finances.

I have managed to raise my credit score 50 points in the last three months alone.  I use Credit Karma to monitor my credit.  You can look at collections that are outstanding, view your open accounts, and even dispute items right there.  Credit Karma gives you recommendations (which you can follow, or not).  Credit Karma has another great feature I really like, which is reviews of credit products (cards and loans) by other users.  And all of this is completely free!

You can receive a free credit report once every year from each of the credit bureaus at www.annualcreditreport.com.  Make sure you are going to the right website.  Other sites will want your debit card info so they can charge you fees.

If you aren’t eligible for credit right now, make some steps make it better.  One day, before you know it, you’ll get it back.

Last summer, I went to a Maurice’s for the first time.  They offered me a credit card.  After years of being convinced that I would never be able to get a credit card again (I filed bankruptcy in 2010) and telling myself I didn’t need any credit (well, nobody needs it, but it is extremely helpful), I accepted their offer, and they approved me.  Ever since then, I have been getting offers in the mail like crazy.  I definitely learned that stores are eager to get people to sign up for credit cards, so if you are ready to start working on rebuilding your credit responsibly, I’d start with one of those.

The moral of the story is don’t give up hope!  Anything is possible if you do your research and take the proper steps to make it happen.

Stick with me and I'll put you up on all kinds of game

Related topics coming soon:

  • How Collections Actually Work
  • Avoiding Creditors
  • Getting out from underneath payday loans (online and in-person)
  • To bank or not to bank? Getting an account when the banks won’t let you in
  • Bankruptcy: Is it right for you?
  • How I pay my bills in 10 minutes
  • Budgeting 101