April 9, 2012

A Thrifty Use for Old Jeans

Each year when it turns warm we have a few problems.  My kids have outgrown a lot of their pants and it’s hard to find shorts that are long enough for girls.  What is up with the shorty shorts anyway?

My daughter usually has such cute jeans with embroidery, flowers, and jewels on them.  It’s a shame to let go of good pants just because they are too short.

A few years ago I decided that I would take a pair of worn out jeans and make them into shorts.  As you can see in the picture, these jeans were worn out in the knees.

I cut the jeans right above the spot where she had worn out the knees. I was just going to roll them up but then I decided they might fray and unravel so I had my mom put a stitch at the bottom.

Now we have cute shorts that are long enough and they didn’t cost us any money. Reusing old pants is a great way to save money on your summer wardrobe.


July 26, 2011

More Birthday Savings

Every now and then I like to post deals that I got and show you how much I saved. I don’t do this to brag but because I am excited about saving money and I want to inspire you to save. 🙂

Cuddlebug’s birthday is this week. He is my baby. He is my heart.  I can’t believe he is turning six. Where has the time gone?  

Cuddlebug’s interests have changed a lot over the past six years and then in a way, they really haven’t changed much at all.  They have just developed more.  He is still into cars, trucks, balls, and Magnext.  His newest interest is badges and handcuffs.  He says he wants to be a cop someday. It is bedtime and I’m feeling a big nostaligic so I better get on to the deals.

I have explained many times before about purchasing birthday and Christmas items throughout the year. Target is known to clearance their toys after Christmas (usually in January) and then in the summer (usually in July). There are some good clearance items other times of the year too. You just have to catch them at the right times.

When Target has their toys on clearance I usually take the opportunity to purchase things that I know my kids will like. I put them away for the next birthday or Christmas and this saves a lot of money.

Magnext magnet set – reg $19.99, $9.98 clearance

G.I. Joe R.H.I.N.O. vehicle – reg $49.99, $12.48 clearance

Air Hogs Moto Frenzy – reg $24.99, $6.24 clearance

Cherokee leather blue and orange shoes – reg $17.99, $4.48 clearance

Door hanger kit – reg $3.99, $.98 clearance

Animal adventure sticker book – $1.00 from Target dollar section

Color Wonder soft sticks – $1??
Everything I purchased came from Target except for the Color Wonder sticks.

At regular prices this would have cost around $122-$125 but I paid about $36. As you can see, shopping throughout the year saves a lot of money.

What deals have you found lately?

Image (c) Karen Weideman.


July 4, 2011

Another Thrifty Birthday

Last year I told you about the ways that I purchase my kids’ birthday presents for a low price.  Today it’s Alligator Girl’s birthday so I thought I would show you once more how I save a lot of money.  Here are the gifts that we got her.

BFC Ink Hair Sylin’ Kit 14.99, 7.48
We got this at Target. It goes with the doll she got for Christmas.

Paperoni butterfly kit 5.04, 2.52
Target clearance

Paperoni puppy kit 5.04, 2.52
Target clearance

Paperoni kit with 1200 pieces 14.99, 3.74
Target clearance. We got these for her because she really likes do create things and draw.

Hello Kitty stampers, set of four 1.00
Target dollar section

Hello Kitty stationery set 14.25, 3.09
Claire’s Boutique clearance

Hello Kitty pouch with silly bands 4.50, 1.00
Claire’s Boutique clearance

skort 6.99, 1.74
Target clearance

Disney Princess belt 6.00, 1.00
Walmart clearance

white eyelet shirt 35.00, 4.00
Belk clearance

Build-A-Bear dress, shoes, bloomers 25.00?, 3.50
I got these at a consignment store. I don’t know exactly what this would cost at Build-A-Bear but I’m guessing it would be about $25.00.

These items would have cost about $130 but I paid around $30 for everything. It saves a lot of money to shop the clearance sales throughout the year.

Do you shop ahead for birthdays and Christmas presents?


April 23, 2011

7 Ways to Save Money on Easter with the Kids

Another holiday is coming up this week.  To my family and myself Easter is not about the Easter bunny and how much stuff we can get, but we do like to celebrate and have a good time.  All of the baskets, candy, eggs, and dyes can get expensive very quickly.  Here are some tips to save.

1)  Save your Easter baskets and plastic eggs for next year. I heard someone say the other day that they saved money this year by not purchasing new baskets.  Do people really buy new baskets each year?  Why would you purchase a new basket when you only used it once?  Sometimes I am shocked by the wastefulness of money and extra materials unnecessarily put into our environment.  I wrap our Easter buckets and eggs in a plastic bag and put them in the attic for next year.

2)  Shop now for next year. Of course it’s too late to do this for this week’s Easter, but it’s not too late to start for next year.  I wait until seasonal stuff goes 75-90% off and then I purchase novelty items.  My children are still in the primary grades of school and so each year their teachers ask for things for Easter, Christmas, Halloween, etc.  Last year I purchased $10 of sparkly stickers at CVS for $1.  I proudly sent them to school this week with my son for their Easter baskets.

3)  Check out community events. I know in our area some churches and towns are having egg hunts. These are completely free.  Take notice of banners, church signs, and facebook posts from your city or town.

4)  Take advantage of sales and deals. Just this week CVS had some free Easter items after the Extra Care Buck rewards.  Sometimes there are coupons for candy in the Sunday paper.

5)  Avoid egg kits and make your own dye. Mix 1 teaspoon of white vinegar and 1 cup of hot water, and, then add drops of food color until you are happy with the hue. The directions are on the back of many food coloring packages.  I have also used natural items such as onion skins and cabbage.  Boil the items with vinegar and water to release the natural colors.

6)  Use what you already have. As I already mentioned, I am using the Easter buckets and eggs from last year but this time I am referring to stuffing the plastic eggs.  Last night I stuffed several eggs with stickers and things that we already have here at home.  I also took some money from the coin jar and put quarters in a few of the eggs.  The kids will be glad to get a little spending money.

7)  Consider purchasing a gift instead. In the past I have usually given my children a small gift rather than a basket full of stuffed animals, trinkets, and things they don’t need.  Consider a Bible, dvd, cd, or some other item.  My children get more than enough candy and treats from school and church so I try to get them something more useful.

These are just a few ways to save.  Can you add to the list?

image sxc.hu


December 30, 2010

Homemade Playdough Recipe

My kids really enjoy playing with playdough.  I have found that homemade playdough is very easy and inexpensive to make.  It also lasts longer and is softer and easier to mold.  Today we made two batches of playdough, some “cookies”, and we also decorated our creations.  Here are some pictures of our day and a recipe for you.



Playdough Recipe

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 2 teaspoons cream of tartar
  • 1 teaspoon oil
  • 1/4 cup salt
  • food coloring of choice (5-10 drops)

Mix all the ingredients, adding the food coloring last. Stir over medium heat until play dough has a smooth consistency. Remove play dough from the pan and allow to cool for a few minutes. Knead until smooth. After it has cooled, place it in a plastic bag or airtight container to keep it soft.

Thrifty gift idea:  Make some of this to use as an inexpensive party favor. Save frosting containers for the playdough.  Decorate or cover the containers.

Another tip: When I was teaching preschool, we would multiply this recipe times four so that we would have enough for about eight kids.  Also, we would make a color of playdough for each month which went along with the color of the month we were studying.


November 25, 2010

12 Inexpensive Fall Activities for Children

Fall is one of my favorite seasons.  It is cooler and nature is simply beautiful.  Take time to enjoy the season change and the gorgeous colors with your children with these inexpensive activities.

Alligator Girl enjoying an apple taste testing at school.

Make pumpkin scented playdough.  Simply use a regular playdough recipe and use orange food coloring and add a little pumpkin spice.

Look for free craft demonstrations. Check at Home Depot, Lowe’s, and Michaels for free craft and kid friendly activities.

Go on a nature walk.  During autumn, there are so many changes around us.  Discuss the leaves, earth preparing for winter, or give a brief lesson on photosynthesis.  You might want to bring a bag to take some samples with you.

Make leaf rubbings from different types of leaves.  On your nature walk, you may want to take some paper and crayons with you or you can bring home your favorite leaves to use.

Make leaf people and animals. I did this with my preschool class many years ago and I wish I had an example to show you.  You select a leaf for the body and glue it to the paper.  Use your imagination to draw arms, legs, etc to make a person or animal out of your leaf.  The children thought it was quite funny.

Take a trip to a local pumpkin patch or apple orchard.  I know it’s a little late for this, but it’s something to consider for next year.  PickYourOwn.org has a list of many farms around the United States.

Make some fall themed crafts.  I have a selection of ideas at my children’s website.

Plant a tree.  Fall is also a good time to plant trees.

Play in the leaves.  My kids really enjoy this one.  They like to rake them, jump in them, throw the leaves, etc.  I was able to find some kid-size rakes for less than $3 each.

Cook together.  It doesn’t have to be anything elaborate.  Enjoy decorating cupcakes with candy corn, making turkey cupcakes, bake pumpkin bread, or other pumpkin recipes.  My kids are young, but they enjoy to stand on their stepstool and help me stir things and they really enjoy decorating cupcakes.

Make a collage.  Gather up current sales flyers and old magazines.  Look for fall related items. Cut them out and glue them on paper to make a fall-themed collage. 

Make silly looking pumpkins.  Cut out a pumpkin from orange construction paper.  Search through magazines and papers for eyes, ears, nose, mouth, etc.  Glue those onto the pumpkin for a funny picture.

What kinds of inexpensive activities do you enjoy with your children?