Switch Up Your Wardrobe Without Spending a Penny

20140109-093127.jpg

Being a homemaker doesn’t mean that you always have to sacrifice your wants and needs for those of the members in your household; for your family. It’s a common misperception that, when you have a family, you no longer can put yourself first and do any of the things that make you happy. Well, I think that’s a load of bull. If you want something, then make it happen.

In these tough economic times, and at all times for my fellow thrifty folk, most people are stretched thin, as far as what they are and are not willing to spend money on. Or, worse, many times people don’t have a choice; they simply can’t afford certain things. When it comes to their wardrobe, I’ve noticed that people are a lot more likely to cut back in this area than in other areas in their lives. With this in mind, I want to share 5 ways that I have found to switch up your wardrobe without spending a penny. I’m serious. It can be done and here’s how:

1) Get inspired.

The reality is that we all need a little inspiration sometimes; you know, that kick start, that oomph, that push that we all need every now and again. Have you sorted through your clothes, separating them into piles of what you wear and what you never wear, and thought now what? Well, my friends, it is 2014 and we have this lovely tool at our fingertips, called the internet! So use it. Search the web. See how others wear the items in their wardrobe. Or, if you’re a magazine reader, scan through some issues. This will help to spark your creativity and give you ideas which you can implement in your own life. If you can do this, then you are well on your way to reviving your wardrobe.

2) Learn to sew.

Taking sewing in high school (thank you, Mrs. Fogg!) was one of the best things that I could’ve done to benefit my wardrobe… and homemaking in general. Having less going on in my life then allowed me to focus on ensuring that I was learning and retaining everything that I was taught. I instantly fell in love. The types of stitch patterns, the importance of accurate measurements, and the finished products – I was mesmerized. With my newfound knowledge, I started to make clothes for myself. I made purses, quilts, throw pillows, potholders and more. It was like I finally had the key that unlocked the door to endless possibilities.

You can feel this way too! I see sewing machines on sites like Craigslist all the time, and many times they’re free. So, even if you don’t have the money to spend on a sewing machine, you can still get one. Keep checking back and be patient. Your time will come and make sure to act fast because free items go like hotcakes. Once you acquire a sewing machine (borrow one from a friend if you need to), look into free courses and seminars at your local craft and fabric stores, or in your community. Almost all craft stores offer some type of basic 101 courses on sewing and they’re usually free. Learn the basics of sewing and you’ll have more power than you know.

3) Revitalize the items you never wear.

Here’s where the sewing will come in very handy. Once you get some inspiration for those pieces of your wardrobe that you never wear, and you know how to sew, you can get to creating! I’m a huge fan of finding an article of clothing that needs revamping, finding another one that I never wear and am okay with using for material, and then meshing the two together to make something uniquely me. This is super useful in fixing clothes that don’t fit anymore too! Take those pieces that you never wear and add some lace, some trim, some sequins – your imagination is the limit. I recently posted about turning a shrunken sweater into a new and improved sweater that actually fit me. There are also ways to reinvent certain pieces that don’t involve sewing, like dyeing and cutting/tying, so consider those options as well.

4) Sell the items you never wear.

How many times have you thrown clothes out? We might all have been guilty of it at some point in our lives. Luckily, people are getting involved more and more in donating the clothes they never wear to charity. This is a great way to do some good for those less fortunate. While I think it’s very important that everyone donates old clothes, I don’t feel that this needs to be the case every time the closet is reorganized. If you’re like me, you can’t remember the last time that you bought a new article of clothing for yourself. So if you want to be able to buy new clothes, but don’t have the funds, consider selling the clothes you never wear. Consignment shops and boutiques will almost always buy your gently-used clothes from you for a decent price. Referred to nowadays as “neutral shopping”, you can splurge and buy some new duds with all of the money you make from selling your unwanted clothes.

5) Have a swap with friends.

This option is one of my personal favorites. Growing up, I was always getting hand-me-downs, which is actually ironic because I was the oldest sibling (living in the house, at the time). But I had a lot of older neighbors and cousins. Even now, my future sister-in-law will give me a trash bag or two filled with the clothes she never wears and I’ll sort through, usually find some pieces with potential, and then donate the rest. This tool can be priceless. Call up your friends, plan a time when you can all get together and swap away! And you don’t need to feel embarrassed. Embrace it. You’ll be surprised just how much you can improve and refresh your wardrobe without even spending a penny!

Advertisements

5 Easy Tips for Saving Money at Home

20140106-150509.jpg

Most of us try to save money and most of us do a decent job of it. We face a lot of external factors (like which store is having a deal, the state of the economy, etc.) on a daily basis. So much so that, often times, we forget about the actions that we can take right in our own homes to save some extra money.

Hurry, hurry, step right up, it’s the moment you’ve all been waiting for – my 5 easy tricks for saving money in the home, that you might not have thought of before:

1) Freeze candles.

There’s no need to clean your ears, you heard me right. Before you plan to use your candles, put them in the freezer for a couple of hours. This will help them to drip less and last longer, while saving you some dough because you won’t have to buy as many or as often!

2) Use the (underestimated) back side of papers.

I am a paper magnet. No, seriously, my apartment is the heaven of trees. Between work, school, mail, writing and my inclination toward reading from actual paper versus a computer screen, I have acquired a ton of paper. Just when I feel proud of one of my recent paper purges, I turn around and there’s more paper stacking up!

Over the years, one way that I’ve found that helps to combat this mess is using the back side of papers. Naturally, it’s not the first thing you’d think to do with that used piece of scrap paper or that newsletter from your child’s school. But, when it comes time for you to make a grocery list (as any thrifty gal should do), leave a note for your husband or print your online coupons, this back side of the paper will come in really handy. Take a moment and think about how many times a day you scribble on a new piece of paper. Now multiply that number by 365. That’s how many pieces of paper you could be saving per year if you just started embracing the long-snubbed back side. And think of how many trees you’ll be saving too!

3) Pry open (get creative) flattened tubes and bottles before throwing them away.

I understand that some of you might find it “cheap” or “below” you to do this, but you’re just missing out! A great way to save money on usually-expensive cosmetics and toiletries is by making sure you’re using them “till the last drop”. If you pay $10 for a bottle of conditioner, then gosh darn it, you should get $10 worth of that smooth and silky hair-gold! By slicing open your used tubes and bottles, you can get several more days – even WEEKS – out of them. What’s that noise, you ask? Oh, that’s music to your ears!

4) Wear clothes twice before washing.

You might be cringing right now. That’s okay – let it out. I mean, this tip goes beyond the borders of what we perceive as “normal”. To most people, my suggestion is unheard-of and precedent-free. But I ask this in all seriousness: if you wear an outfit once, and deem it stain-free and not covered in dirt, why not wear it one more time before you wash it? This will help you save money on laundry detergent, electricity and the cost of water – cha-ching! Even better? Your clothes will last longer this way, with less wear and tear. Go one step further and, if realistic, opt to use the clothesline instead of the dryer and you will save even more mula!

5) Use Freecycle and Craigslist.

Believe it or not, these sites are not only saturated with crazy people and hoodlums, scouring the internet for the most gullible people on the planet. Yes, you need to be careful and mindful when using these sites, but they are truly great tools for anyone trying to stick to a budget. If you haven’t looked at Craigslist lately, please do it. Pay special attention to the section that says “free” – that’s “free”, as in free stuff!

People that don’t need an item anymore will post a listing on these sites and, most times, if you have the means to go pick it up, it’s yours. No questions asked. The best way to get the most out of this tip is to look for items that you need. That being said, if you don’t necessarily need something, but you’re a DIYer (like I am), THIS IS YOUR CAMELOT. You can get all sorts of goodies to inspire your upcycling dreams, and best of all, they’re super cheap (or free)!

Declutter Your Home: 4 Questions to Ask Yourself

declutter2With a new year upon us, many of us find ourselves struggling to come up with ways to do things a little differently this year, to beautify and simplify our homes, relationships and lives. Though we should not let the stress of a forced New Year’s resolution get us all flustered, we should take a minute to evaluate each aspect of our lives; what is wonderful as-is and what we can improve upon. The improvements don’t need to be anything huge. I’m not saying that you need to move mountains to prove your strength or ride a bull to prove your bravery – I’m simply saying that there are little ways that we all can make changes and benefit ourselves and our families in the year ahead.

One of the greatest, most effective, and easiest ways to breathe new life into any home is by decluttering. After all, it’s a new year with new memories and new items to fill that space up! So read on to find out what 4 questions you should ask yourself each time you consider whether to keep or toss an item:

1) Does it have sentimental value?

I’m a pack-rat at heart and I’ve always been this way. So, admittedly, I struggle with decluttering. It is a source of major stress for me because I somehow always seem to find a reason why I should hang on to something, or why something is simply too good to get rid of. Since moving in with my (now) husband 5 years ago, I have made a conscious effort to become better at the art (it really is!) of “in with the old, out with the new”.

I make a point to ask myself if an item has any sentimental value to me – a.k.a. will I freak out in a few days once I remember it’s gone. If you ask yourself this question and the answer is no, then toss it. Don’t wait, don’t question it, don’t second-guess yourself – just toss it. Trust me, you won’t miss it and you’ll have something to replace that item in no time at all, as is life.

2) Does it serve a purpose?

If an item provides absolutely no benefits to you or your family and you realize that you rarely ever use it, here’s your chance to give it a proper send-off. Say goodbye, give your hugs, do whatever you need to. As long as it serves you no purpose, then it is time for the item in question to hit the road.

3) Do I have the space needed to store it?

Now, if you’re like me, you battle on a daily business with trying to find storage space. My husband and I currently live in an apartment, so space is seriously limited. Even if an item has no sentimental value, but serves a purpose, I still take into consideration whether or not we have the room to store the item. If it is an item that we use, but only sparingly or seasonally, and it would take away much-needed space from more useful and important items, then it only makes sense to get rid of it.

Don’t worry – if all of this “tossing” of still-useful-to-someone household items is making you queasy, make sure to read the fourth, and last, question you should ask yourself!

4) Would someone else benefit more from it than I?

So, you’ve answered all of the questions up to this point and you’ve found that an item is worth keeping. Before you store it, consider this: is there someone out there that could benefit from this product more than you (within reason, of course)? Obviously it’s not realistic for you to give every perfectly good and useful item in your home to every homeless person in your area. However, if there is an item that you have found that you do indeed use and that you have the space for, but it’s realistic for you to donate it to a homeless shelter, the Salvation Army, or other programs like that, then I ask that you at least think about it. Maybe you’ve been hanging on “just in case” to that old baby crib, those baby clothes or those boxes of wedding decorations (like our attic – eeek!). The fact of the matter is that there’s probably someone out there that needs a crib or baby clothes or wedding décor right now, a lot more than you do. This is clearly not an option for every family, but, if you have the power to help others, I ask that you at least consider it.

Decluttering allows you to have better knowledge of what items are in your home, which prevents things like item duplication (we’ve all been there!), giving you a thrifty start to the year ahead. Bonus – you’ll have a kickass, organized living space to boot!

5 Practical New Year’s Resolutions to Help You Save Money

20131230-235147.jpg
It’s that time of year again! The crisp air, the winter fairytale snow, the holidays; it’s all so beautiful. But this time of year is also the time when most people take a step back, reflect on the past year and decide what changes they want to make in the coming year – gulp – it’s time for the dreaded New Year’s resolution. Call it depressing. Call it horrifying. Yet, the reality is that it is something that we all must face.

But don’t fret! I’m here to help you out. The future is most always uncertain, but there are ways to make things easier. Still feeling overwhelmed and unsure? Well, here is a list of 5 super practical New Year’s resolutions that will undoubtedly help you save money in the new year.

1) Opt for water.

We all know the benefits of drinking our good ol’ friend, H2O. They’ve been touted at us for decades. Roll your eyes all you want, but the truth of the matter is that drinking water is one of the best decisions you can make for your health, both mental and physical. But if you can replace even one of your drinks (soda, iced tea, etc.) each day with water, you will reap the monetary benefits as well! Since water is often cheaper than other sugary drinks, by opting for it, you can keep some extra cash in your wallet and maybe even an extra inch or two off your waist.

2) Brew your own coffee.

This resolution might seem like common sense, but, in the hustle and bustle of our everyday lives, it’s quite possible that it might not even cross your mind: brewing your own coffee instead of buying it from a coffee shop will undoubtedly save you money. Say you buy a cup of coffee each day for around $2. By brewing your own coffee, even just 5 of the 7 days per week, that’s $40 per month that you could be putting toward other things! When you really break it down, it seems like a no-brainer.

3) Use your crockpot.

The cooking gods blessed us with this incredibly useful and time-saving appliance, so we might as well use it! Whether you wake up late and don’t have time to prepare dinner to cook upon your return home from a long day at work or you need a dish to bring to a party, the ever-awesome, lazy man’s crockpot is the answer to your prayers. Just throw all of the ingredients into the crockpot, turn it on and – abracadabra – your dinner will be waiting for you when you get home! And, since crockpot meals are often made in bulk, not only will you have dinner for the night, but you can have lunch and/or dinner for the rest of the week too.

4) Set a limit on social expenses.

Need a resolution that, not only saves you oodles of money, but also helps you get into the habit of making smart, thrifty choices? Well then, my friends, this might just be the one for you. Limits are a necessary part of life, but that doesn’t mean that all New Year’s resolutions need to be robotic promises to ourselves that restrict us from doing something or eating something that we love. Start with smaller limits. My husband and I live a tight-budget lifestyle (and we rock it, might I add). So, being in charge of our finances, I set mental limits on how many times per week we can go out to eat or grab some takeout. This resolution involves some thinking ahead, however – it might not be a smart idea to go out to that Mexican restaurant tonight if you have dinner plans with friends at that nice Italian restaurant in a couple of days. See where I’m going with this? Healthy limits promote thrifty habits. You will save money this way.

5) Research, research, research.

Let me say that again: research, research, research! I saved this one for last because I find this to be the most practical resolution you can make, but it also provides the most benefits if you truly want to live thriftily within your means. Research everything. And don’t take this lightly – we’re talking real money being saved here, and often, a lot of it! I do my research before I do anything. No, I’m not kidding. Ask my husband and my mother, I literally research everything (and sometimes annoy the life out of everyone in the process). This research can be as simples as taking a gander at Groupon or Living Social before making a purchase, in case they might have a sweet deal on what you need. Or this research can be a little more complex, like scanning your local grocery store’s flyer and then scouring the internet for any available coupons before making your shopping list. As I touched upon in a previous post, a little foresight goes a long way, and researching will help you to ensure that you are only buying what you need (and not just because it’s on sale), and that you’re buying it at the best possible price.

Tools 101: What on Earth is This and What Does It Do?

Hi folks! I decided that, since a lot of my posts will be tutorials for various DIY projects, today I will give you an introduction to the basic (and preventative!) tools that you will need to make a whole bunch of thrifty things!

Here is a list that I’ve compiled of the most useful tools that you’ll need (some if it is very basic, but worth mentioning nonetheless):

Safety Gloves & Glasses

safety

I am starting with these because they are preventative tools; and they are the most important tools you’ll need. The safety gloves provide basic protection for your hands, preventing cuts and splinters while you build or work with tools. The safety glasses, while also providing basic protection for your eyes, prevent debris and shards from causing eye damage or injury. Bottom line: if you want your eyes and fingers to remain intact so you can continue crafting and re-purposing to your heart’s content, then wear safety gloves and glasses.

Tape Measure

tapemeasure

This tool is a basic one, and one you will most likely be using all the time if you’re as craft/DIY decor-obsessed as I! Tape measures come in all lengths, but for the needs of a basic household (and a typical crafter), a 10-foot tape measure should suffice. This tool ensures accuracy in measurements and, let’s face it, we all know how critical accuracy is when designing and building anything.

Screwdrivers

screwdriversThis tool comes in a variety of sizes and lengths, and with various tip sizes. Whether you need to tighten a doorknob, assemble some furniture (ahem, IKEA) or build a headboard, this necessity will always come in handy. If you have one, awesome. If you don’t, go get one. Here, I’ll wait…

Multi-tool

multi-tool

A basic multi-tool is great for a variety of household jobs. Pictured above is a Leatherman multi-tool. This particular one includes: a serrated knife, a smooth edge knife, pliers, a mini saw, a file, a bottle opener, phillipshead- and flathead- screwdrivers, scissors and an eyeglass screwdriver. It is worth carrying one of these handy guys with you wherever you go. Heck, keep one in your purse or your car. You just never know when you’ll need it!

Drill & Drill Bits

drill

A drill is a priceless investment. Pictured here is a battery-operated drill, but they also come as electric plug-ins, etc.. A drill has multiple uses. In addition to drilling in screws, the drill also acts as a screwdriver and an extractor, to name a couple. There are hundreds of attachments available to suit your crafting and building needs.

3 Traits to Ditch If You Want to Save Money

The truth is that most people ultimately want to save money. Whether you have low-level income or you live comfortably, the desire is still there. Call it an itch if you will. Deep down, I really believe that everyone has this want. Maybe it has not shown itself yet, but trust me, it’s there. And just when you least expect it – BAM – you suddenly feel like you should not have to pay full price. Maybe it’s that $20 bottle of shampoo that you purchase from your salon or the new dishwasher that you’ve been eyeing for years. The fact of the matter is that you make a conscious decision to want to pay less. Well, kudos to you! Get on with your bad (and thrifty) self!

The bottom line is that everyone has the potential to save money in life. But you cannot begin to do that until you ditch these 3 traits that could be holding you back:

1. Pride

Yes, you heard me right. Pride can be a wonderful life tool, as it stops you from lowering yourself to certain levels and from settling for something when you know you deserve more. It also helps you resist the urge to sell-out, which these days, is a rarity. However, if you want to be successful in saving money, then you need to tone your pride down. Now, I’m not saying to go forward in life, lacking pride and full of naivete. I just mean that sometimes, you need to swallow your pride for the sake of an incredible deal. Perhaps you really want a pair of these really expensive black leather boots, but the reality is facing you that you cannot afford them. So you do some research and find a stunningly similar pair at your local Target, or even worse, the dreaded Walmart. Maybe you shudder to think of having to tell someone where you got them, when they undoubtedly ask. This is where you need to lock your pride in the safe, where it will stay for rainy days. What’s wrong with buying those astonishingly less expensive boots at Walmart, throwing them on, heading out the door and replying, “Hell yeah. Walmart $18!” when asked about your exquisite new fashion statement? And the answer is: nothing. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that!

2. Impulsiveness

This one is über important if you stand any chance in saving money. How many times have you gone to a store only needing one item and have come home with twelve? BOGOs, clearance and sales, oh my! Your head starts spinning. We’ve all been there. If you’re not careful, in no time that $15 shirt can turn into 6 shirts, 3 pairs of pants, 2 skirts and a pair of sneakers. And it’s not just in the clothing stores, but in grocery stores too. Wow, 10 Chobani yogurts for $10?! This is the critical point in your thinking process where you need to hit pause. Do you really need 10 yogurts? Would you have bought 10 yogurts if there was not a sale? If the answer is no, then you probably have no business buying them! In a chaotic, deceptive world (I’m actually an optimistic person, I swear!), you need to be practical. This becomes exponentially important if you’re married or have children. By eliminating impulsiveness from you repertoire, you will save money. At first, it won’t seem like much. A few bucks here, ten bucks there. But after a while, that definitely adds up! Who knows, maybe by doing this, you’ll even save enough money to buy those brand name black leather boots! After all, everyone deserves a splurge once in a while too.

3. Jealousy

Just when you’ve convinced yourself that you’re not a jealous person, there comes jealousy out of the shadows, rearing its evil head. Jealousy is so common these days, with sites like Facebook and Twitter allowing us to amplify the good parts of our lives, while negating the bad parts that we don’t want the world to see. The reality is that there are good and bad parts of everyone’s life, and we just need to learn to deal with them in the way that best suits us. Yes, everyone is going to get jealous of someone else at some point. Whether it’s because of their current life situation or because of how pretty you find them to be, the effect is always the same: it makes you feel inferior. The thing that we all need to remember is that we do it to ourselves. We are the cause of our own inferiority complex. Likewise, we are the only ones who can change it. I know, I know, you’re thinking enough with this holier-than-thou, inspirational, greeting card bull-crap. But I’m serious! If you can bring your jealousy down a few notches (easier said than done, I realize), then you will be well on your way to allowing yourself to reach your full money-saving potential! So the next time your best friend shows you his or her new purchase, instead of getting jealous because you can’t afford it, be happy because your friend can. This mindset will help you to permit yourself to look for deals and discounts, without feeling bad about yourself and jealous that your best friend was able to afford something that you can’t. Your friend will be happy and you will too!

Source: FreeDigitalPhotos.net | Creator: Renjith Krishnan

Source: FreeDigitalPhotos.net | Creator: Renjith Krishnan