Yarn Slipper Booties

Make Your Own Yarn Slipper Booties

Every year when there is a nip in the air, I start thinking about knitting more slipper booties for the winter!  I make myself 3 new pairs every fall and enjoy wearing them throughout the fall and winter.

I have a set of knitting looms and I use the smallest loop to make a basic tube-type slipper that I wear over my socks in the winter, to keep my feet nice and toasty warm.

Yarn Slipper Booties

Yarn can be expensive, but if you check the thrift stores on a regular basis, you can usually find some pretty good buys.  I like finding full skeins of yarn, but I will also buy left-over balls of yarn in varying sizes.  All of it works and it makes some wonderfully beautiful patterns.

Yarn Slipper Booties

Yarn Slipper Booties

For my super warm booties, I use two skeins of yarn, so I’m knitting two strings at once.  I just keep going around the loom until the slipper looks big enough, then tie it off and start on the next one.  For the second slipper, I just compare the size to the first one.  Nothing fancy, just warm!

BENEFITS:

  • Making something for yourself or others
  • Using what you have on hand
  • Saving money
  • Leisurely pastime that is also benificial

Hand made booties on Etsy are around $20.00 per pair.  I make mine with thrift store yarn that I get for $1.00 per skein.  I don’t count my time, because it’s an enjoyable hobby that I do for relaxation.

MONEY SAVED:  $18.00 x 3 = $54.00!

🙂

How to Make a Re-Purposed Clothespin Bag

I remember, as a child, hanging clothes on the clothesline and watching them flutter and whip in the wind as they dried.  I would run between the rows of clothes, enjoying the fresh smell and trying to catch them as they tossed back and forth in front of me.  The same fresh smell would lull me to sleep that night as I laid snuggled between the crisp sheets.

Make a Re-Purposed Clothespin Bag

Remembering how wonderful line dried clothes smell and feel, made me want to have a clothesline again.  Since I’m planning on getting one, I thought it would be fun to make a special clothespin holder.

I went looking around the house for something that would work and it dawned on me that the simplest solution would be to make one out of a shirt!

I found an old cotton blouse.  It’s like what my mom and grandma use to wear, and was from about the same time period as the photo above.  (More memories!)

Here’s how I did it.

Make a Re-Purposed Clothespin Bag

How to Make a Re-purposed Clothespin Bag:

  • Find a sleeveless shirt and turn it inside out.
  • Cut it off about half way up
  • Sew it straight across.
  • When you turn it right side out again, hang it on any standard hanger and fill it with your clothespins.
  • You can access clothespins from the top or the sides!
  • To wash it, just take it off the hanger and dump your pins out.

How much easier can you get?

BENEFITS:

  • Re-purposing something you already have
  • Making what you need
  • Adding your own style
  • Making something that gives you fond memories

Hand made clothespin bags average about $20.00. Since I shop in thrift stores, I had gotten this blouse for $1.00!

Money Saved $19.00!!

🙂

101-uses-for-salt

101 Uses for Salt

101 Uses For Salt

As you may or may not know, we are antique and collectible dealers.  Every once in a while we’ll come across something from the past that is very interesting and is still useful today.  My hubby bought a bunch of old pamphlets and I wanted to share one of them with you.  It is from 1926, has beautiful illustrations and helpful information on the many uses of salt.

I’m putting the entire pamphlet on.  Since it’s from 1926, I’m guessing I’m not infringing on any copyrights.

Since salt is still cheap, if it has 101 practical uses, why not make the most of it?

Some of the uses are pretty standard, but there are a few that surprised me.  Please use your best judgement in trying any of these, remembering that things are very different now, than in the 1920s.

Hope you enjoy the pamphlet from 1926 and that you can find a few good tips to use!

101-uses-for-salt

101-uses-for-salt

101-uses-for-salt

101-uses-for-salt

101-uses-for-salt

101-uses-for-salt

101-uses-for-salt

101-uses-for-salt

Benefits:

  • Salt is cheap
  • Using one simple ingredient in may different ways
  • Discovering new ways to use something you always have on hand

MONEY SAVED:

I’m not sure how to count the savings on this one.  However, in a year’s time, with 101 uses, I bet you could save $101.00!!

🙂

seed-saving-and-frugal-gardening

Seed Saving and Frugal Gardening

Seed saving is a frugal and empowering way to garden.

You plant a seed, care for it, watch it grow, enjoy your bounty and in the end, you are presented with more seeds, to start all over again.

You hold in your hands the circle of life!

Seed saving and frugal gardening

For the price of one packet of seeds, you can continue growing that variety for years to come, just by collecting and saving the seeds.  After the first year, I consider the seeds for each following year to be free because of the money I saved growing that veggie and not having to buy it in the store.  Between saved seeds, free seeds and seeds I find on sale, my veggie garden costs me next to nothing every year.  Plus, I can grow way more plants than I could afford to buy.

I have been saving peas and beans for years.  The peas and beans are eaten by us and put into my homemade dog food recipe Doggy Stew, so those free seeds are paying big dividends.

You may also have friends, family or neighbors who grow outstanding varieties you might like to try.  Trading seeds is an even cheaper way to garden!

Seed saving can also be done with flowers, of course.  I grow a TON of Zinnias every year from saved seeds.  I enjoy the bright, cheerful Zinnias and they attract lots of bees, that in turn, pollinate my veggies!  I also grow Geraniums and Petunias from seed.

Seed saving and frugal gardening

Seed saving and frugal gardening

Seed saving and frugal gardening

Some seeds need to be started indoors, prior to planting outside. Starting seedlings is a bit of trial and error, as anyone who has ever tried it, will know.  In spite of a few failures and disappointments, it is the most amazing feeling to collect tomatoes from a tomato plant that reaches up to your chin, and know that you started it from a tiny seed!  That feeling is worth a million bucks!

Speaking of tomato plants; they can be really expensive too.  I saved big money this year by starting mine from seed , plus I had extra plants to give away and sell.  So, I’m not just saving money, I’m also making money!

There are many good websites explaining how to collect various seeds, so I won’t go into that, but  if you are excited to try, start with something easy like Zinnias, beans or peas. Beans and peas are easy to collect seeds from; just let them dry on the plant.  When they are dry, crack open the pods and keep the seeds.  Zinnias are easy too.  Just cut the heads off the plant after they have lost their brightness and start to turn brown.  If they feel a little moist, lay them on a screen (like in the photo below) until they feel dry.  I keep mine in paper bags over the winter and come Spring, I break the heads apart and collect the seeds!

seed-saving-and-frugal-gardening

Take note:  Hybrid plants are a cross of two different varieties.  The seeds will not grow true to the parent.  Save Heirloom or standard seeds to get the same variety you started with.

I hope I’ve convinced you to try some seed saving.  I go a bit overboard with it, myself.  I find it hard to throw dead plants when I know there are seeds there, free for the taking.  I think to myself, “I can’t throw these, they will grow!”

Seed saving and frugal gardening

BENEFITS:

  • Saving lots of money
  • Learning a valuable skill
  • Creating varieties that grow the best in your area
  • Sharing seeds with others
  • Sharing plants you grow from your seeds

MONEY SAVED ANNUALLY:

$235.00!!!

🙂

Be On The Lookout For Free Stuff!

Every year our city has a Clean-Up Week, where you can throw out almost anything you want and the city will pick it up for free.

“Berm Shopping” has become popular because of all this amazing stuff sitting on the berms, waiting to be picked up by the city.  If you drive around picking up this “trash” on the boulevard, you can get some amazing free stuff and all for the price of some gas.  (People also post free items on Craigslist and Facebook groups, so there are useful things being given away all the time!)

We like to hunt for discarded items we can recycle, re-purpose or re-use.  It’s a great way of getting useful items and keeping things out of the landfill!  I want to share some of my finds with you and I’ll show you a tally at the end of what these items would have cost me new!

Look for Free Stuff

 

We actually got a pair of these mid century metal lawn chairs.  Vintage lawn chairs  are selling for about $85.00 each.  $170.00

Look for Free Stuff

I am re-purposing this antique school desk as a planting table.  A simple planting table sells for about $100.00 and antique desks sell for around $50.00, so let’s say we saved $75.00.

Look for Free Stuff

A vintage door.  I’ve seen people re-purpose these into benches.  That would be a fun project!  Vintage doors sell for about $50.00.

Look for Free Stuff

Piano guts!  I have a few ideas for re-purposing this.  I would say the salvageable materials here are worth $100.00

Look for Free Stuff

Terra Cotta flower pot liners.  These come in handy for plants, bird feeders, etc.  Saved about $8.00.

Look for Free Stuff

Screen windows!  Invaluable for drying herbs and seed saving.  I would value these at $10.00 each and I had 4.  $40.00!

Look for Free Stuff

5 old windows!  I can make cold frames with those!  Windows are expensive, but I’m going to stay on the cheap side and say $50.00 each, so $250.00!

BENEFITS:

  • Keeping items out of the landfill
  • Getting usable items for free
  • Gathering free materials that can be up-cycled into items you can sell
  • Having fun hunting for things

I hope I peaked your interest in free stuff and that you didn’t mind the tour of my messy garage!   Now for the grand total!!   Drum roll…..

MONEY SAVED $693.00!!!!

🙂

Clothes for Next to Nothing

How to Buy Clothes for Next to Nothing

I very seldom buy new clothing.  In fact, I tend to favor comfort and price over the latest styles.

While I was growing up, I had mostly hand-me-downs, clothes my mom sewed for me, and used clothes from rummage sales and thrift stores.  Secondhand clothing was never a big deal and it allowed us to have more than we would have otherwise.

As an adult, continuing to find clothes in thrift stores just seemed to make sense.

Most thrift stores have very reasonably priced clothing and you can find anything you want for just a small percentage of the original price.

Occasionally, thrift stores will have bag sales to clear out their excess or to make room for the next season’s clothing. When that happens, they will furnish a bag for you to fill with as much clothing as you can fit into it and pay a flat price.

I’ll let you in on a little secret.  By rolling up the clothing, you’ll get more in the bag!

Here is one of my latest bag sale finds!

Clothes for Next to Nothing

I found 15 pieces of clothing and paid $4.00!!  27 cents a piece for shirts and pants.  Hard to beat that!!  Some of the clothing still had stickers, so they were brand new.

Clothes for Next to Nothing

I also got a jacket because I love the buttons!  Where else are you going to find 3 large buttons for 27 cents?

So, as you can see, you can be very well dressed for next to nothing! 😉

BENEFITS:

  • Using what already exists
  • Having fun finding great deals
  • Feeling smart for finding such great deals
  • Saving lots of money

According the the thrift store price tags, these clothes would have been $43.00, so that in itself is a great deal.  But, if I had to buy them new, it would have cost at least $250.00 and maybe even more, since some of them were nice name brands.

MONEY SAVED $246.00!!

🙂

Thermal Shades

Cheap and Easy Thermal Shades

A few summers ago, after our big Elm tree was taken down, we immediately noticed a difference in the temperature inside the house.  Without the shade of that big old tree, it was a scorcher!

We have large windows facing south, so the summer sun affects the comfort of three of our most used rooms.  I have blinds in one room, so we can avert the sun’s rays there, but in the other two rooms, I have curtains.  The windows are three large panes across and it is not only hard to find a single shade that wide, but it is also extremely expensive!

I checked into shades that would fit each panel, which are easier to find, but still very expensive.

So, online fabric store to the rescue!

With the help of my daughter, I found thermal shade material and a coupon for free shipping!  I spent $15.00!!

Thermal Shades

 

I got enough material to cover each pane of the windows.  All I had to do was cut the material to fit.  No hemming required, because the backing on the material is kind of rubbery.  Then, I sewed some metal washers onto the top edge of each panel and pounded a couple nails for each panel, into the window frame.  Voila!

Thermal Shades

I used metal washers simply because I had a lot of them, they would work, and I didn’t have to spend money getting something else!

Checking on the price of a variety of thermal shades, I found the average price to be around $50.00 per panel. (Yikes!)  For six panes, that would be $300.00.  I spent $15.00!

BENEFITS:

  • Saving money on cooling bills
  • Making living spaces more comfortable
  • Spending as little as possible to get the job done

MONEY SAVED: $285.00!!

🙂

Simple Personal Care Products

Save Money with Basic Personal Care Products

In my quest for frugal living, there are only 4 items I use for personal care.

All of the products have multiple uses, so I feel that I’m getting good value for the money I spend.  Plus, I prefer to not have the smell of chemicals and perfumes, so keeping my personal care products to a simple minimum works well for me.

Why spend money on products that duplicate what you already have on hand?

Here’s my list of products:

  • Ivory Soap
  • Apple Cider Vinegar
  • Baking Soda
  • Coconut Oil

Simple Personal Care Products

Pretty basic!

Now here’s my list of how each product gets used for personal care, as well as their uses around the house:

Ivory Soap

Personal care:

  • Shower soap
  • Shampoo  (leaves my hair clean and fluffy!)

Around the house:

  • Laundry detergent
  • Hand soap  (at the bathroom sink)
  • Liquid hand soap  (I take all the little stubs of leftover soap, put them in a Mason jar and add water!)

Apple Cider Vinegar

Personal care:

  • Mouthwash (diluted)
  • Skin toner (diluted)
  • Disinfectant
  • Tonic  (I enjoy Switchel) Click on the link to get the recipe!

Around the house:

  • Cleaning (I actually use white distilled vinegar for cleaning and keep the “good stuff” for personal care)

Baking Soda

Personal care:

  • Toothpaste
  • Deodorant  (I just pat some on after I use coconut oil)
  • Paste for bug bites (I learned this as a child…make a thick paste and apply it to mosquito bites.  Stops them from itching!)

Around the house:

  • Baking
  • Cleaning (this stuff will clean EVERYTHING)
  • Deodorizing

Coconut Oil

Personal care:

  • Skin moisturizer
  • Oral care (oil pulling)
  • Deodorant (the combination of coconut oil and baking soda works well for me)

Around the house:

  • Cooking
  • Baking

It gives me satisfaction that I am keeping costs down by using simple ingredients, plus keeping harmful chemicals out of the house and away from us.

Here is a tally of the money I save by using these simple products:

Year supply of simple ingredients:

Ivory soap: $24.00, Vinegar: $28.00, Baking Soda: $12.00, Coconut Oil: $30.00 = $94.00.

Year supply of personal care products:

Body wash: $30.00, Shampoo: $30.00, Toothpaste: $24.00, Deodorant: $15.00, Skin lotion: $40.00, Skin Toner: $20.00, Mouthwash: $24.00 = $183.00

BENEFITS:

  • Not dousing yourself with harsh chemicals
  • Using simple, everyday items
  • Multi-purposing ingredients saves money

MONEY SAVED:  $89.00!!

Plus, I use the same products for cleaning the house, which adds more savings!   (I was going to figure the savings in household cleaners too, but it was too much math for one day!😉 )

🙂

How to Make a Rain Barrel

How to Make a Homemade Rain Barrel

Making a homemade rain barrel is cheap and easy.  All you need is a heavy duty plastic garbage can, a spigot and an off valve.  That’s it!

A couple years ago, my daughter’s husband, Tom, took the lead on this project.  He put up a birdhouse for me and assembled my rain barrel, while Amanda and I planted the garden.  What a great day that was!

Tom drilled a hole for the spigot and value to fit into and used a little plumber’s tape to make a seal.  Then, he cut a hole in the lid and attached an old fan case to the inside of the lid, to catch leaves and debris.  It was that easy!  (Tom, let me know if it was more difficult than you made it look!)

How to Make a Rain Barrel

I attached my hose and waited for the rain!

When it rains, I will usually run out and flip the lid upside down so the rain running off the end of the gutter has a larger target to hit.  I know rain isn’t supposed to run off the end of a gutter.  I didn’t fix my gutter properly the first time and now going back up and re-fixing it is WAY down on the list of things that are important…so, I just make the best of it.

I have been happy to have my rain barrel during dry periods and my plants have been loving the rain water I’ve captured!

Here are 4 things I have especially enjoyed about my homemade rain barrel:

  1. It saves a natural resource that I can put to good use over the summer.
  2. It saves me lots of money.
  3. It keeps chemicals like fluoride out of my garden.
  4. It reminds me of the great day we had working together in the yard!

The cost of my rain barrel was $32.76.  Buying one new and ready made would have been around $100.00, so I saved $67.24.  But here’s the shocking part.  My water bill two years ago was $115.00.  Last year, it was 46.50.  A savings of $68.50, so it paid for itself by double!

MONEY SAVED $135.74!!

🙂

DIY String Holder, old metal canister

How to Make a Decorative String Holder

From gardening and cooking, to everyday chores, there are 101 uses for string.  Why not make yourself a decorative string holder to store it?

Whether you use cooking string or garden twine, there is a cheap and easy way to make a decorative, portable string holder you will enjoy using!

DIY String Holder, old metal canister

This winter, my hubby surprised me with a thoughtful gift.  He converted an old kitchen canister into a string holder.  I use a lot of twine in the garden and his gift allows me to transport my twine where ever I need it, in a decorative, easy to clean and mostly waterproof container.  What a joy!

I don’t know if you haunt the thrift stores like we do, but if so, I’m sure you’ve noticed a variety of kitchen canisters for sale.  You can get them for next to nothing.  I personally like the old metal ones, because they keep critters out and really hold up under harsh conditions.  Plus, they’re pretty!

How to Make a String Holder:

  • Find a canister you like (If you can’t find a canister you like, buy an ugly one and decorate it!)
  • Take the lid off and lay it top side down on a piece of wood (that will keep the lid from denting when you pound the nail through)
  • Find a nail about the side of the string you’ll be using
  • Locate the center of your lid (or just eye-ball it!)
  • Pound the nail through the lid
  • Sand around the hole with a metal nail file (so your string won’t snag)
  • Pop your string into the can, feed the string through the hole, replace the lid and it’s ready to use!

DIY String Holder, old metal canister

BENEFITS:

  1. Re-purposing what already exists (prior generations called it “Making do with what you have”)
  2. Canisters can be attached to fences or shelves, if a more permanent placement is convenient.
  3. Personalizing it is a fun option, because….why not?
  4. Saving money!

Online, string holders average about $15.00.  Our canister cost us $.50!!

MONEY SAVED: $14.50!!!

🙂