Saturday, May 28, 2016

Line Dry Savings

Spring is here and I love this time of year!  I really like to hang dry as much of our laundry as possible, and when it gets nice out I look forward to being able to hang the laundry up outside.  This really saves money, each time you don't use the dryer, you're not using energy, therefore you're not spending money.

After doing some research on Google, I found that the average dryer cost about 36 cents/load.  So after 3 loads you've already saved a dollar.  Remember its the little things that add up.

Now I know some people don't like to hang dry because clothes and towels get stiff, but I have to say when it comes to clothes it's all in the material.  I have some clothes that get stiff, but a lot that don't.  When it comes to towels, it only takes one use after being dried and the towel isn't as stiff.  

If you don't line dry or you're not sure because of your clothes getting stiff, try it with a few things to start.  Bedding, and t-shirts are great things to hang dry and they don't get stiff at all. Just remember every little bit helps and so if you start line dryer just a couple loads a week that's a couple loads a week you aren't using the dryer. 

Now, I don't line dry everything, underwear for example always gets dried in the dryer, (hopefully that was a given!) along with the cloth diaper inserts and wipes. So on the days I wash diapers, I turn around and wash underwear, then I can dry 2 loads in one.  

Finally, I also line dry in the fall and winter.  I purchased a couple drying racks and do 1 load a day.  I'm actually planning on buying a 3rd dry rack. Right now when I hang dry our clothes, I have 1 rack for the guy's and mine and 1 rack for the girls'; however, the girl's are starting to need their own. This saves a lot of time when sorting laundry to put away.  Each rack gets unloaded into their own basket to take to the designated room.  

Sorry that was a little tangent, but in the end, line dry when you can it really does help, both your wallet and the environment! 

You may also like my posts: Everyday ThingsLaundry Detergent & Turn off the tap






Thursday, May 26, 2016

6 ways to save on Birthday Parties

We had our triple birthday party a couple weeks ago. Now, we only do a big birthday bash for the 1st birthday, after that we just do family. This year was a little more crazy though, 1st, 3rd and the big guy turning 30.  While planning the party I had a few things that helped me save some money. It wasn't a cheap party by any means, but again for the 1st party we go big so I knew going into it that wasn't going to be super cheap. But as always, I love the challenge of finding unexpected savings as much as possible! 

1. Favors: 


Favors can be expensive. I know you can totally opt to do no favors, but they're always a nice touch. If you want to do something simple here's an alternative to more affordable favors. Our theme was READ, so making bookmarks was a great money saving option. I also wanted to tie in a little Curious George for the 3 year old, so I made banana bread mini muffins. Mini muffins went so much further than just regular muffins. I got 60 mini muffins out of 1 muffin recipe!  Plus mini muffins are the perfect size for a favor. Here's a link to the recipe I used: cookieandkate They are healthy and delicious!  



2. Photo back drop: 


Now this idea came from my church. Just a week before the party, our church had a mother-daughter tea party, which was so much fun! They had a beautiful photo shoot back drop using table cloths draped over a coat rack. I decided to do the same for our party. It turned out so great, thanks to my best friend and sister-in-law. They even added some balloons at the top for some added flair.  What I love about this idea is we can save them and reuse them for future events. 

Also borrow, borrow, borrow.  Borrow anything you can. I borrowed both of these chairs, which I'm so glad I did, the girls could sit on them and take pictures, making a really nice focal point for the room! 



3. Use what you have: 


I wanted to showcase the last 12 months for the 1st birthday celebration. It worked out perfectly that I had Baby Girl take photos with Peanut throughout the year. I had these frames at home that housed some different photos, but I just adapted them to work for the party. The frames at home were backless, so I just added some streamer paper to the back for the party. For this decor, the only cost was the photos. 



4. Make your own decor: 


This is the best way to save some money on party supplies. Decorations can be so expensive.  When my husband and I were walking through the party store I was amazed at what all you can buy for a party. I mean I have been in and bought stuff from party stores before, but now that I'm spending my own money and trying to spend less of it... it really clicked how much money one can spend on decorations.   



5. Invest in things you will use: 


This one can be a little more expensive upfront depending on what it is. My husband and I print a lot of photos. One of our great garage sale purchases was a photo printer that we scored for only $10.00!! It was in perfect condition too. We had to spend a bit more on ink, but we've already made our money back after only 20 8x10's.  Having a photo printer came in handy for the party.I was able to print a bunch of photos without spending as much as I would have to print them somewhere else. Plus it will have a lot of other uses whether it's my own decorating, for creative gifts or for other family events.



6. Save party supplies:

Saving party supplies over the years helped a little. I still had to go out and buy a few extra plates, cups and napkins, but I had some to start me out. Check out my post on how to save on party supplies, here




Monday, May 23, 2016

Consignment Stores

There are 3 main reasons that I think are benefits to shopping at consignment stores.

1. They are a great way to save money.

Toys are so much more affordable at a consignment store than they are brand new, especially those bigger ticket items like doll houses, ride a long toys, bikes etc. A lot of times you can get really nice brands at a fraction of the cost because some other family has outgrown them. Just make sure to really check them over before you buy, and regardless if you are buying something new or used it's best to give it a good cleaning before use.

Swap sites are another way to do the same thing.  The advantage of swap sites is that you can sell right from your home.  The dis-advantage of swap sites is you may sit on some of your stuff a little longer. 

2. You can get paid for bringing in items you don't need/want or anymore.

So I didn't always know this and think it is so cool. There are some consignment stores that will pay you for your stuff. Your old stuff! There are frequently different options with this. Some stores will just pay you up front cash for what you bring in. Other places will pay you based on what sells, and keep an account that you can either pull that money out or use towards your purchases there. Plus some will even give you the option to have what doesn't sell returned to you or donated. Call around to your local stores and see what options you have before taking the items to any specific place. At the very least your items will qualify you for a tax write-off. 

3. They are earth-friendly.

One day I was sitting in the play room while my girls were playing and I looked at all the toys they had. I started thinking about how many doll houses, musical instruments, sensory toys and even dolls like my daughters own, have been made over the years and discarded in the trash rather than recycled to the next generation. Could we decrease our waste by reusing old toys? Definitely! I mean yes, I understand that toys get destroyed and need to be trashed or recycled for parts, but some toys stand the test of time, and most toys with all the plastic will even outlast us.   

So next time you are wanting to get a new toy or have some things you want to sell, check out your local consignment store.   

Saturday, May 21, 2016

What's for Breakfast?

I love breakfast, it's basically my favorite meal of the day.  My problem with breakfast is that I can't seem to get myself up early enough during the week to make a great breakfast, you know something other than cereal. 

Oatmeal and Waffles are some of my favorite breakfast foods. While frozen waffles, and premade oatmeal packets can make the morning easier, they cost more than making your own and can have a lot of preservatives.  


Waffles: 

Every so often on Saturday mornings I like to make a big breakfast; eggs, waffles and so forth.  Or I just make waffles, but on those Saturdays I go ahead and make a double batch of the waffles.  Then all the extra waffles that we don't eat, I freeze.  And there I have it, my own frozen waffles for the week! It works perfectly. 









I just add them to a gallon sized freezer bag they can last for a couple of months.  Then I can grab 1-2 in the mornings and just pop them in the toaster.   

Oatmeal: 

Oatmeal is a great way to start your day in the morning.  Sometimes I want a little more than just the oatmeal, but the prepackaged packets can add up.  Making your own oatmeal packets is so much more affordable and healthier too.  Here are a few sites that I found helpful when I decided to start making my own: 

1. The Yummy Life: This site is very healthy and she shares her 12 favorite flavors. Not only does she give great tips on how they are healthier than the prepackaged versions she also shows substitution options as well.

2. Amy Loves Her Life: Looking for a very quick and simple homemade prepackage oatmeal option, this is the site for you.

3. One Good Thing By Jillee: On this site she adds an extra ingrediant to make the oatmeal even better.  Plus she shares her how-to on mixing it in large quantity first and then dividing it up.


Hope these sites help. 

How are ways you save on breakfast in the mornings?  What are your favorite breakfast foods to make?  

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Dolls

Every little girl loves dolls, well at least every little girl I've met at some point has liked dolls. I think little girls love dolls because they want to be Mommies for the doll, mimicking their own mom. However; doll clothes, diapers, accessories all add up and there's ALWAYS something new to buy for the doll.

My girls love playing with their dolls. When my oldest was a little younger, her favorite places to put her doll was wherever Mommy would put her little sister; the bassinet, the play mat, the bouncy. Of course we had strollers and other doll accessories just for her that family bought, but her favorite things were the real deal. And you know what, as long as baby sister wasn't using them I didn't care.

Now, both girls play with old sleepers, bottles, pacifiers and other baby items that use to be theirs. Now these things are perfect for playing with their dolls.  Best part is I already have them so I'm not having to go out and buy new things for the dolls. just the other day we were going to go for a walk and I put the baby's jacket on her. Well of course, baby doll then needed a jacket too, but that isn't a doll item we own. So what did I do? I went and found an old infant jacket for the baby doll to use. 



Side note: Dolls are a little creepy to take photos of.  



I also made some cloth wipes for my daughter's doll.  She wanted to change her dolls diaper just like mom and using real wipes was wasteful, so I thought I'd make some reusable ones for her.  I had some extra fabric and just cut pieces up, honestly I didn't even sew these.  Then I grabbed an old empty cleansing cloths container which is the perfect size, a mini wipe container. 



Tip: disposable diaper tabs rework.  My girls used a couple of disposable diapers for a while on their dolls, (before I switched them to the unused cloth) and was able to diaper their babies over and over without the tabs ripping.  

How do you save on toy accessories in your house? 


You may also like my posts:  Dress-Up & Playing Mommy 

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Garage Sales, Rummage Sales etc.

Garage Sales, Rummage Sales, or whatever you may refer to them as are a great money saver.  Some of my favorite items in our house are from garage sales and I didn't pay much for them at all.


Here are just a few:

1. I bought this a few years ago and it is probably my favorite garage sale purchase.  My husband thinks it's ugly, but I love it.  I'm not even sure what it is I love about it, but it's definately my favorite. Best part we got this puppy for only $3.00!



2. Great little computer for my baby girl.  We paid $1.00 for this, can you believe it?




3. We also got this awesome doll house with accessories for only $10.00!



I love finding great buys at a garage sale.  I have a few rules though to help me not go overboard.

My Garage Sale Rules: 

1. I limit my spending; this may differ from each time, but before I go I only take a designated amount.  This keeps me grounded and not overspending.
2. If I buy it, I have to have a place to put it.  It's so easy to see something for a good deal and want to buy it, but then get home and realize you have no place to put it.  Now that $4.00 purchase doesn't seem so little anymore.  So before I buy I mentally find a space for it in my house.
3. I always find a basket to buy (this is an exception to my 2nd rule).  First of all, I always can find a spot for a basket and if I don't have a spot right away, they're small enough to store away.  2nd, I like to buy something at each place I stop, it just seems curtious to me and baskets seem to be at almost every garage sale, plus they usually cost less than $1.00.  This rule also keeps me from stopping at EVERY sale I see.

Monday, May 9, 2016

Preschool Stay-Home Learning Part 1

This last year I chose to be a stay at home mom.  While my first year is coming to an end, I feel it went well.  One of the things I incorporated is learning about a letter a week.

Want to start teaching your little one, but don't have the tools?  You don't need special books or fancy teaching materials to help your little ones learn.  First of all your little pre-preschool tikes soak up EVERYTHING!  So in other words anything you are doing or talking about they pick up on.

I take 15-20 minutes each day to sit down and teach my toddler about her alphabet and numbers.  It only cost me, a cookie sheet, a pack of magnetic letters/numbers, some paper and crayons.   


This week's letter was Xx.  We talked about x-rays, xylophones and x-ray tetra fish.

What you need: 

Paper
Pencils/crayons
cookie sheet (or anything you have that's magnetic)
magnetic letters

Here's what we do:

I focus on 1 letter 3 days a week and 1 number once a week.

Letter Schedule: 


1st: Practice writing the letter.  (Multiple dotted letters to trace.)
2nd: Color pictures of items that start with the letter.
3rd: I use the magnetic letters and cookie sheet to show words that start with the letter.  I try to focus on 4-5 words max.
4th: Hide and seek letter.  This is by far their favorite part.  I take the letters of the week, 1 capital and 1 lowercase and then add a bunch of other letters to the magentic board. Then they take turns finding the letter of the week.
5th: I read a book and we point out words that start with our letter.  I try to find words that match the words we talked about, but that doesn't always happen.   I've also had them hold up the letter everytime we say a word with that letter, but we don't always get that done.
6th: The rest of the day if something comes up that starts with the letter of the week I point it out.  Grass for G, snow for S, C for Christmas and so on. 


Number Schedule: 

1st: Practice writing the number
2nd: Color pictures that have the certain amount on it.
3rd: Point out things during our day that have that amount.


It isn't a lot, but again any little bit is great for your pre-preschooler.  What are some ways you teach your littles at home? 




Saturday, May 7, 2016

Watering the Garden

Do you have a garden?  One of the hardest things for me is keeping up with watering my garden.  I know that it needs water in order to grow, but that is something I just stuggle with.  Now this is going to sounds crazy, but I can't forget to empty our dehumidifer, because if I do then our basement feels damp.  So I am always emptying out the dehumidier.  Well, what better way to water my garden.  I'm saving on water which is helping two-fold, it's less water being used, and it's free! 

When my town went through a drought a couple summers ago, we were only allowed to water our gardens on certain days.  While we were in a drought, our basement was still damp enough to fill the dehumidfer every couple of days.  That was enough to help get our garden through the drought.


Now, if watering your garden with your dehumidfier isn't up your ally, try a rain barrel instead.  I haven't been able to get one started yet, but it is on my to do list.  A rain barrel is a great way to save money and the environment when watering your garden.  Plus rain water truly is the best water for your garden! 

Here's a site that I have found helpful for my future rain barrel. 
Rain Barrel Tutorial    

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Dress-Up

My girls love to play dress-up!  Dress up though can get expensive; things like princess dresses, crowns, heels and more add up.

While, growing up even though I was more of a tom boy, I still loved to play dress up.  Now my mom didn't buy us fancy princess dresses or crowns to play dress-up in, but that was ok, because you know what our favorite person to dress-up was?  Mommy!  My sister and I loved to pretend we were mom! We'd stuff our shirts (yep, we did) and pretend to feed our babies.  We didn't need purchased princess dresses or any fancy dress-up accessories, we were happy dressing up in Mom's old clothes she wore, and putting on her old jewerly.

And you know what, out of all the dress up stuff we have, our girls love the things that use to be mine.  Now we do have some princess dress-up clothes that she got for Christmas and her birthday, but we didn't break the bank buying a bunch of dress up accessories.  Some of their favorite things to play with; my old necklaces, headbands, bracelets, shoes and these are just a few.


Monday, May 2, 2016

Christmas Again?



First of all, I want to say I don't believe Christmas is all about the gifts.  I truly believe that Christmas is about Jesus our Savior and how he came to save us.  With that, I happened upon this little trick one day and thought maybe it could be a way for families to save on gifts each year.  Whether that be for birthdays, Christmas or some other holiday you give gifts for.


So the other day, I was going through my daughter's closet.  She wanted to play with her doll pack and play that I had stored in a tote and as I'm pulling out the pack and play we find a few toys we forgot about.

Baby girl got quite a bit for Christmas from different family members and with me doing daycare, I put a few of them away to pull out for a rainy day, you know those days where with all the toys they're still bored?  Well, that day really never came, but we stumbled upon them by accident, (because I totally forgot about them), but it ended up being perfect.  It really was like Christmas again!

It made me think how I could make this work to my advantage.  The aftermath of Christmas can be a little over-whelming.  Don't get me wrong, we are so blessed to have families and friends that give gifts to our girls.  I know that there are families out there that don't have this luxery and toys, gifts, clothes can be expensive.  But, I stumbled across a way to help make that blessing last throughout the year for my girls.  With that, I realized this is such a great way to make what you have go a litle farther.  I'm not saying this will be something I do every year, but I like having the option.  

Another way you can make your toys go farther is rotate them.  My friend, Kelsey rotates her toys, and has some great tips on how to do so on her blog


How are some ways you make toys for your kids last longer?  




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