Blog: Livin for the Weekend

I have been thrifty all life. Being a single parent forced me to be resourceful and careful with my money. Looking for the cheapest way to get something done, was like breathing to me. Now that I am older, I am still thrifty, frugal. I love hunting down a bargin. Getting something for almost nothing. I guess you could call me an addict. Thirfty and frugal. That's my addiction.

A Brand New Year
Wednesday, December 29, 2010

The New Year is right around the corner.  I started an experiment about a year ago, to try and live totally frugal, cheap, free.  I have always been a thrift shop, garage sale baby.  Being a single parent, money has always been tight, very tight.  Using the thrift shop, garage sales for whatever I could find to cloth, feed and outfit my home.   I tried to engage the help of my husband, but he was unwilling to participate.  So I alone travel on this journey and in the process, I discovered a few things about myself.  Some things good, some things not so good.  Here is my list.


1. I discovered that I am greedy.  I see something and I want it all.  Not just some, but all.  Especially if the item in question is free.  Some of my friends have taken notice of this side of me.  I happen to work at a school.  Sometime they will give away old material, that they used in the classroom.  I will just grab it.   All of it.  Being able to recognize this trait, has made me slow down.  I do not like this side of my personality.  Not at all.  But I have snagged some great items.


2.  Sometimes getting things free, does not always make it a bargain.  Spending extra gas money(not worth the effort just to save a few pennies), printing coupons(ink cartridges are expensive) Buy bulk(no storage space), buying food(that no one will eat).  Don't let me get started on going green.  I am all about saving the planet, I just can't afford to.


3. I have learned how to make new soap, extend my fabric softener sheets(by cutting them in half.  I water down my detergent, make my own face and lip scrub, use half of my shampoo and other cost saving methods to cut my budget even further.


4.  I have gotten over 85 % of my craft items for little or nothing.  When new inventions come out, people have a tendency to throw away, or sell their old items.  I have a barrel full stamps to make cards, and pictures. 


5.  And last but not least, I have learned to do without.  I have joined free cycle and have given away several items, I donate about as much as I collect.  I admit, I was something of a hoarder, but now this experience has opened my heart and my fist.  I like seeing the face of someone when I give them something that I have collected, or made with my own hands.   I am not using my talents to teach class in crafts, computer and jewelry making.  It should be a fun year


All in all, it have been a fun year.  With its ups and downs.  Being frugal has taught me the real value of a dollar.  It is not what you have, it is what you do with it that counts.  


  Whatever words works.   I started off strong and tried to enlist my husband's help.  He refuse, so I traveled this journey alone.  I think I became a different person.  I was always trying to save money and have been a thrift shop baby for a long time.  But this challenge took me to new heights.  I have to say, I have not brought anything new for the past year.  I am very proud of myself.  I visit thrift shops, free clothes from local churches., just about anything I can get for free.  I have picked up some impressive items  mainly accessories.

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Another 24 hours
Saturday, March 27, 2010

I know that there is only 24 hours in one day, but if I could squeeze out a few more minutes,  It would make my life complete.  I feel like I have been multitasking all my life, but now I feel like I have it down to science, I think.   I remember, on the Oprah show about how it was rude to talk to someone on the phone while completing another task.   That move is my bread and butter.   My world would fall apart if I did not attempt two or three things, all at the same time(right now while baking chicken, starting a load of wash and typing out this wonderful message(I am cheeky).  Here are some of the ways I try to attempt - Another 24 hours

1. I have a special basket for mending, repairing clothes and such.  Whenever I am watching TV, or my favorite HGTV, I can sit there and sew on missing buttons, mend rips and tears.

2. Cooking chicken, pork, beef at the same time(Yes I know this tip is old, but it works)

3. I have this 5 rule.  I must at least complete 5 things in every area of my life( making jewelry, braiding my hair, making cards, taking care of business, returning phone, mailings, etc)

4. I set a time limit on how long I stay on a particular task.  Each task is given a specific for me to complete.

5. I enlist the aid of my grandchildren on certain projects.  We make a game out of help MaMa.  They also learn, organization, responsibility and teamwork.

6. I send myself, voice mails.  This is my list of things to do on my lunch and breaks.

7. I prepare for the next day, the night before.  Everything is ready, set, go.

8.  I iron all my clothes and I will usually iron 6 outfits for the week, in case of an emergency.

9. Whenever I buy envelopes, I will sit, while watching TV or listening to music I address each one.   It take a little time, but saves on the back end.  If you can afford the ink, buy address labels(I found a pack at the dollar store for 250 labels) I still use snail mail. For extra bonus, just write on the address labels.

10. Last, but not least, I put away all my work before going to bed at night.   Everything goes back in its place, not matter how tire I am.  Its depressing to wake up to a mess.

This works for me. I sometimes get bogged down, but for the most part,  things are running smoothly.  Now my next assignment, how to get all the ketchup out of the bottle,  Until next time.

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It's About Time
Sunday, January 31, 2010

Time is definitely not on my side.  I try to beat the clock everyday. Sometimes, I win and sometimes I lose. I used beat myself up if I did not get all the things done on my to do list finished.  Now I am lucky if I can find my to do list.  My weekends seem to fly by, so I have to use my breaks at work and lunch time.  Multitasking s now my middle name.  Here are some ways I use to beat the clock.

1. I call my cell phone and leave myself messages on what  I have to do.  I just listen to the voice mail. 

2. I keep envelopes and extra paper and stamps at my desk for quick mailings.  I also keep an calendar at my desk of my daily routine.

3.  My bag is always packed the night before, so I wont forget anything.

4.  I have a specific day of the week for certain tasks.  Monday(phone calls) Tuesday(mail and mailings) Wednesday(Coupon clipping /Shopping) Thursday(My side business) Friday( House business)  Saturday(I write several different Logs) Sunday (prepare for the next week, look at weekly store ads)

5. I use the free bill pay from my bank.  It saves a lot of time and money.

6. For bills that require a check, I send money orders.  49 cents and I don't have to check to see if the a check has cleared.

7. I usually have mailing labels for my mail.  I will usually stick them to envelopes on one of my breaks at work.  Since most of my bills come with a payment slip and envelope, there is nothing to write out.   I will also print out mailing labels for mail that I use monthly.   Some printing companies will print these for your for the same amount as a regular  copy.   Savings on ink and labels.

8. My grocery store has money orders, ATM, Red box movies, and mini post office.   I use all there services that are afforded to me. One stop shopping.

9. In one of my earlier tips, On Sundays, I will usually get the email  ads for the stores that I frequent to cut down on paper.  I then check to see if there are coupons that I need.

10.If things get to hectic, I trade off with friends.   I will barter for services that I cannot complete or needs adjustments.   You will be surprised what you can get, by just asking.


Being frugal, doesn't always mean money savings.    I try to save myself at least an hour a week just for myself.   It might not seem like a lot to some people, but to me it is like heaven.  It's about time. 

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Thursday, July 17, 2008

It seem like I have been thrifty all my life.   Saving things to be used later on.   Taking a little bit and making it stretch(hopefully).  I use to find scraps/bits of anything at thrift shops, garage sales, even on the street, trying to make something out of nothing.   I still do.   I would like impart some of scraps tips with you.  Some of my tips might be old hat.  Some might be new. 

1. I make my own business cards which are perforated.  I notice the leftovers were perfect sizes for message and words when I make my greeting cards.

2.  When I am punching holes in paper(Ihave the hole punch that has a  little catch all, so it keeps the dots together., I keep the leftover holes for additional decoration for my crafts projects.  Cheaper than buying confetti. 

3.  I have started walking to get my self into shape. I find interesting things along the way.  I found what looks like part of an old hanger, which happens to be plastic.  The shape reminds me of Egypt writing.  Just a quick clean and I have a template.

4. I collect old ceral boxes.   I use them to make chipboard letters and embellishments.  You can use just about any food box.  Recycleing and no need to buy chip board letters.   You can do it one of two ways.   Paint the box and draw your shape on the other side or apply decorative paper and draw your shape onthe other side.  Both ways work just as well.

5.Buy old puzzles pieces at a trhrift store or garage sale. I use them to make earring, add decoration to greeting cards or other craft projects.   They are also good to make paper pulp with.  Try it.  It might take several days for the fibers to break down.

6. When I go the store I always head to the clearance section.  Once I found a pice of foam for 10 cents, only because someone had stepped on it.  Don't let that bother you.  You can either glue that side down or cover the spot with other decorations.

7. Don't throw away old earrings.  They are the start of a great necklace, bracelet, ankelet a free for all non-matching necklace(my favorite kind).

8. I take the cards out of magazine to use like chip board.  Not only do they give my greeting cards a little mor stabiity, They are free.  Because I visit doctors  offices,waiting rooms, they are free for taking.  I can paint them add, other paper to them and they are FREE.

9.Leftove material from sewing projects(I do not sew) can me used as embellishments.  Even is the edge is ragged, use can always add ribbin, old earring, paper to cover up the edges.

And finally

10. I find a lot my beads at thrift shops.  I love working with wooden beads.  Sometimes they are not in the best condition.  My husband brought me a portable dremel.  If there is a piece missing I drill a hole on the other side. Slide an piece of wire and I'm good to go.  Or if paint is on a bead, no problem, just keep adding paint or markers until you get something you like.  I found these two black wooden rings and the bottom of a barrel.  They were free of cours.  Both of them had what look like paint.  I just continued to dab paint (which was copper color) on the reamaining pieces.  I used copper and black to beads to finish the necklace. Turn out great.


See scraps are not meant to be thrown away  Use them to your advantage and you will come out with something unexpected and pretty.  If you want to hear some tips email me


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Just a little creativity
Tuesday, June 24, 2008

I love going to thrift shops, flea markets and garage sales.   I really love to pick up old jewelry and clothing.   I remember one time, when my daughter was small.  I used to go into some of the better children stores and see what the new colors were and style.  I stopped in Kids R Us.  My daughter saw a pair of painted jeans that she wanted badly.  The problem was the jeans(she was wearing size 4) were $13.00.  At that time they were two expensive for my budget.  Every other counter we went by she wanted this and that.   I was a single parent, living on a very strict budget( which meant no money for let overs.   After she went to school, I went to the local thrift store.  It just so happen that certain colored tags were half off.  I even found the same jeans my daughter want and they already had paint on them(the jeans cost me 50 cents.  I also found come craft paint, beads, buttons, trims as well.   I got so excited I ran home washed every thing and started to work.  I left the thrift store with two garage bags of clothes.  I make sure that I put matches together.  I did so well that the teacher had sent a note home with my daughter asking that could I please send my daughter home in her old clothes because of all the painting and working they were doing.  I just laughed to my self.  If she only knew.  Just a little imagination, work, and creativity will do. 

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Waterloo, IA USA
About Me:

I like making things with my hands, jewelry, greeting cards, cakes, cookies, clothes, home decor, plants. You name, I will try to find a way to make and make it the frugal. Thrift stores and garage sales are my Macy's and Saks. I get a certain thrill when I catch a bargin, or make something out of nothing or repurpose an item. People seem to admire the way I put things together. I admire it too. Deep satisfaction in a job well done. Just living for weekend(where all the bargins can be had)

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