Monday, October 31, 2011

If the Shoe Fits

I am very picky when it comes to "clearance" to the point of sometimes being hard to shop with; just ask my husband.  Let's take shoes for instance.   Rarely will I fork out over $10 on a random shoe find on any given shopping trip.  I love cute things and believe that in most instances you don't have to compromise your budget to find them.

Thanks to a tip from a friend I learned that our local Payless Shoe Store had some great clearance shoes.  My Mom was in town so we stopped in to check it out.  Four pairs of shoes later we walked out of there more than thrilled.   Our total bill for these 4 pairs of new shoes was a whopping $11.87.  According to the sticker price our full price total would have been $80.00.  That is quite the difference and this week's Frugal Find. 

Jewelry was also an added bonus!  2 Rings, 1 necklace, and a set of bracelets for $4 total.  Needless to say we had a whole lot of frugal fun!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

DIY Party Hats

This week my small group of 6th Grade girls is having a "Happy Birthday" party. With the size of the group it quickly became obvious that this party could get expensive and in a hurry.  It was time to put my frugal find mind to work.  Every good party needs a party hat so after a little research on Pinterest (my newest addiction), I came up with a plan of attack. 

Step 1:  Gather materials.  I used colored card stock, tissue paper, ribbon, and crepe paper.  Next time I would like to try using patterned scrapbook paper.

Step 2:  Trace and cut out your hat.  The template I used can be found at

Step 3:  Add Trim.  Cut a piece of crepe paper to go around the bottom of your hat.  Fold in half lenghwise.  On the raw edge cut fringes in the paper.  Unfold. 
Step 4:  Put hats together and fit the piece of crepe paper on the fold over the brim of the hat.  Staple around the hat.

Step 5:  Fluff the trim to cover the staples and add volume.
Step 6:  The Topper.  Cut a rectangle of tissue paper.  (I doubled it for volume).  Fold about 1/2 inch and continue to fold until you reach the end.  Cut Slits in top.  Twist bottom and push through top of hat.   I secured it on the inside with a piece of tape.

Step 7:  Flowers.  Cut a rectangle into tissue paper (again, I doubled it for volume).  Fold as directed above.  Cut slits on top and bottom.  Fold in half so fringes are together.  Staple to hat and arrange the tissue paper to add shape and volume.
Step 8:  Attach ribbon for a chin strap.  I used tape.  There you have it - Party Hat complete!  Do it yourself is this weeks frugal find!    

Monday, October 17, 2011

Save Some Dough- Homemade Bread

Bread is a staple in most households.  We eat it as toast for breakfast, create a sandwich in it for lunch, and put butter on it for dinner.  So just how much does this "basic" cost the average American family?  Is this really an area that we can cut costs and pocket some money at the end of the year?  Absolutely!  The answer: make your own bread.

Many of us simply don't have the time to go through the bread making process that our Grandmother's did (and some still do).  Luckily, there is a modern day marvel and it's called a bread machine.  I love my bread machine.  It takes me a total of 5 minutes to throw in a loaf of bread and maybe another 2 to clean up my mess.  Throw in the ingredients, push the button, and walk away.  It is just that easy and 3 hours later a warm loaf of bread is waiting on my kitchen counter.  Not only is it delicious (and makes your house smell amazing too) but it is the healthier option.  You know what is in it, you can pronounce every ingredient, and there are no preservatives.  It's back to the basics.

Now let's crunch some numbers and figure out what is so frugal about this find.  Based on the formula that the average family consumes 1 loaf of bread a week and assuming that a normal loaf of bread from the store is right around $3.00, the amount spent in a year is $156.00.  If you purchase your own ingredients and use a bread machine, the average family will spend only $53.60 in a year.  (This includes the energy costs of using a bread machine which is roughly $12.00 a year based on your machine and energy costs)  That is a yearly savings of $102.60!!!

I love penny pinching because every $100 here and there that I can save in a year adds up quickly and becomes a significant amount by the end of the year.  So there you have it - bread machine bread is a fantastic frugal find!

Warm Homemade Wheat Bread  (Roughly 80 cents a loaf)

Please note that there is the initial upfront cost of the machine itself.  If you buy new it will  pay for itself within the first year.  I suggest purchasing a slightly used machine for a fraction of the cost which are easy finds at garage sales or thrift stores.