How many of us moms don't understand what frugality is? I think the answer is slim to none. Making things stretch is our middle name, right? Recently, my makeup brush went ka-flooey (or however you spell it) & I chose to repair it instead of tossing it into the trash. Here's a little video on how I fixed it for just a few cents.
Just before Christmas, I realized just how bad my living room pillows looked. I was appalled at the strands of missing fabric from the covers. They were looking tired & worn. I decided then that I would pull out my crochet hooks, yarn, & The New Encyclopedia of Crochet Techniques.
I wanted something fabulous. I began to plan mentally, choose colors, stitches, & the like. I went with multi-colored stripes for the front & a solid gray back of basket weave. I bound off the whole thing with some very nice chunky red yarn & was stunned by how good they actually looked. I actually saved money, too. All of the yarns I used were in my stash & I simply recovered the worn-out pillows that were in the living room.
Do you have some old pillows that could use fancy new covers. All it takes is a little time & effort to make the old new again! Don't crochet? That's ok, knitted or sewn covers look splendid, too!
I was not born great at saving money. I grew up in a home where money earned was money spent. I think it burned a hole in every pocket in our house! When I got married, I was not money savvy at all! Just thinking about making up a budget made me break out in a cold sweat. There are scads of tips about this subject on the internet, in books, newspapers, & elsewhere, but here are 5 things I've learned along the way.
1. It's electric.
*Turn lights off in rooms where they are not being used.
*Limit TV time to 2 hours a day, and don't spring for those all-channel deals. (They're usually not a deal in the long run. Sure you get more channels, but there's really not that much to watch.)
*Pick off-peak hours to use your phone & appliances like the dryer. Check out this article on peak hours.
*Turn the oven off a little while before your baking is going to be done. Your dinner or dessert will be fully baked, but you will save on energy! You can also leave the oven door ajar, after you turn it off, to let all that warm goodness escape into your kitchen in the Winter. (Of course, be careful about this if you have little ones around.)
*Open blinds in the Winter to let in the sunlight. This will help to warm your home & save on electricity. Be sure to use as much natural lighting as possible in your home. (Natural light can even help to boost your mood.)*Turn your thermostat down at night in the Winter & up a touch in the Summer.
2. Pare down & deal dive.
*Cut out the little expenditures you really can live without, like monthly subscriptions to internet streaming sites, magazines, clubs, & the like. One thing we're probably cutting out soon is FooPets. (Have you been sucked in, too?) My kids haven't checked on their pets in a v-e-r-y l-o-n-g time! You can easily save about $480/year, depending on how many of these you have going.
*Don't make excessive shopping trips. If you're like me, you try to limit your clothes shopping trips to twice a year. However, this can be detrimental to your financial health! I have noticed that I spend way too much & buy more than my kids and I will actually wear, so I'm resolving to buy what we need a bit more often, even though I dislike shopping.
*Ask for discounts at your child's day care center & even preschool. Some may offer discounts for multiple children. It can't hurt to ask. You can also check for discounts with your home school curriculum supplier. Some offer a percentage off each year for sticking with them, while others may cut a bit off the price for multiple students in the same grade (and that adds up).
*If you home school, try letting your children view together (if you have multiples in the same grade level). Then, only purchase 2 of consumable items. That will save you quite a bit!
*Consider checking the clearance racks at your favorite stores first. You can often score awesome deals this way. I got a really cute t-shirt from Wal-Mart for $2 & a cute pair of Skechers for $8 at JCPenney (and these are just a couple of examples).
*Give couponing a try! You never know when you just might get something for free.
*If you have a lot of something that no one in your home is using (like books, video games, CD's, etc.), consider selling them on ebay or craigslist.
3. Dine in.
*Generate a grocery shopping list based on what you will be eating for a particular week & stick to the list! (You may have to leave your kids at home for this one.)
*Do not go shopping hungry. Eat at least a small snack before you shop. When you're hungry you will naturally spend more, because everything looks good!
*If your family eats out often, consider dining in more or packing your own lunches when you're going out.
4. Turn off the water.
*Fill your washing machine with only enough water to do the washing. You may need to add a bit more at the rinse cycle, but you will still save by washing with less.
*Turn off faucets that are left needlessly running (when brushing teeth, lathering while washing hands, & even lathering in the shower).
*Take only 10-15 minute showers. This will save water & energy. If you are a bath-taker, try filling the tub only halfway. You may not get the warm soak you desire, but you'll still be clean.
*Wash dishes by hand when possible. You will likely use less water, exercise your arms, & the dishes can air dry on the counter while you do something else.
*If you use a dishwasher, consider making your own dishwashing soap & wait until the dishwasher is full before running the machine.
*Hang clothes to dry instead of using the dryer.
*Limit loads of laundry to 2 or 3 a day and use cold water in the wash & rinse cycles.
5. Do it yourself.
*Make your own dishwasher soap or laundry soap. You will save per load, which really adds up! Check out Jillie's tips here.
*Virtual field trips (think homeschooling) cost nothing, except a little energy & time, so go for it! You save on membership fees & eating out!
*Go paperless. Use cloth towels, glass plates, & bum wipes instead of their paper counterparts, when feasible.
*Make that coffee date at home. Coffee dates with your spouse or friends can really add up. Staying in & having a good cup of coffee can actually be better in a lot of ways, and only one of them is saving money!
*If something in your house isn't working properly or needs a face lift, consider doing the work yourself or asking a close friend or relative to give it a look. You will likely save a bunch & have more self-confidence, too!
*Consider making your kids' toys (they make great birthday presents & can count as school activities or experiments if you home school). This also gives you a golden opportunity for making memories.
*Sit down & write up a budget -- then stick to it as much as possible. You may need to plan a coffee date with your spouse for this one. Two heads are better than one, after all. =)
There is so much more I could add. I'm sure you could come up with a lot of things I haven't covered, but I hope I've given you some food for thought. So take the plunge and see how much you can start saving today!
This is a really cute ornament that's easy to make. It makes a great Christmas time project, but can be a Spring project, as well. If you're looking for an easy Art project for your students, this makes a great one, because it's quick & has simple steps.
If you want to skip the embroidery, fabric paints can be used, but will need time to dry completely before putting the pieces together. Also, instead of using hot glue, a strong craft glue can be used, but I don't recommend regular white school glue, because it tends to seep down into the felt & doesn't bond.
Use your imagination & have lots of fun with this. The original instructions for this project can be found here: A Feathered Nest. Below,you will find my version, which isn't nearly as pretty as Abby's!
Image by thesewingloftblog.com
If you're not interested in ornaments, what about cleaning out your sewing stash by making these little cuties! These fabric birds, that Heather came up with, can either be sewn by machine or by hand. These would make great basket fillers or even fund-raisers. What about attaching them to some pretty ribbon and hanging them from a tree branch in a vase for Spring? Or you could attach them to some ribbon or string for a cute, festive bunting. Whatever you choose, these little birdies are a real winner!
I think we all probably have a teacher that has helped to create some happy memories for us.happy memories. Or maybe one that was a bit stern, but helped us to learn & grow in ways we can only appreciate now.
When I taught K5, I tutored a particular student after school hours. He was a bit slower to grasp concepts than the others, so his parents asked me to help him by tutoring him after school a few days a week. It was a precious time to see the "light come on" for him, as he began to comprehend the ideas better. After the school year ended, his parents came to me & told me that I was a great teacher & how very much they appreciated my taking the time to help their son. Ten years later, I still feel joy bubble up inside me & gather confidence as I remember their kind, heartfelt words to me. Proverbs 25:11 states "A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold In settings of silver."
Teachers really appreciate the gifts they receive. Don't underestimate the power of a heartfelt gift, given simply!
In honor of the teachers who grind it out every day in the classrooms (I take my hat off to them!), I have come up with an easy, cute project that is sure to please any teacher in your life!
We are in our second semester & have changed a few subjects so that we can fit in all of the fun things we want before the school year comes to an end. To me, it's important to teach my kids a little bit about a lot of things and a whole lot about a few very important things. So, Art didn't make it into the "Top 5" category, but I want my kids to understand different methods & means behind it. I want it to be enjoyable, memorable, & educational.
In a moment of looking feverishly for inspiration, I fell upon the idea through the overabundance of catalogs that I just don't quite know what to do with. It's a great way to recycle & it makes a great rainy day activity, too! Here's my simple how-to on what we did for Art class a couple of Mondays ago.
I'm a busy mom &