Practicing Frugal Daily: Sewing, Mending and More

Join me as I share what I have recently done that was frugal, not so frugal or even a frugal flop. I want you, my readers, to join in and comment on what you did that was frugal, not so frugal or just a plain frugal flop. Even if it was nothing but cutting the end of a tube off or rinsing the fabric softener bottle with water to get all the softener (yes I do that), it’s worth mentioning.

There’s a chance that you or I do something that others have not thought about. There’s a chance that we can learn from each other’s flops as well.  It can be a fun filled learning experience for us all.

Practicing Frugal Daily Times

The past couple of days I have been putting my purely non-professional sewing skills to work.  No I’m not highly trained or highly skilled, but I manage to get things done.  I definitely wouldn’t be able to sell any of my works, but I can make our clothes last a little longer, saving them from being cut up to rags or being discarded, and saving my wallet from buying more.

sewing & mending

The other day we were getting ready to go somewhere and K found a small tear in the armpit of one of her shirts, knowing she really wanted to wear it right away; I grabbed some thread and a needle and fixed it right up in less than 5  minutes.  This quick fix reminded me that I had a few other things to fix and a skirt I wanted to make for K.

The Last Princess has 2 pairs of yoga pants that have an extra-large waist, requiring them to be rolled a couple times to even make them look like they fit.  Since she has gotten a bit taller, rolling them leaves them a tad bit on the short side.  So I tackled these babies in hopes of making the waist smaller.

Keep in mind that I am not a seamstress and my way of getting things done does not involve ripping out seams or taking things apart.

I stitched the waistband on the yoga pants up 1/2 an inch on both sides, trimmed the excess and then ended up with a bit of a bump or overhang on the bottom portion of the pants.  Knowing this could be a tad bit oncomfortable as well as the funny look it gives the pants, I decided to make things right.

altering waist

No problem, I just marked and measured both sides, ran the sewing machine across them both, cut the excess and voila!  I think they turned out great.

yoga pants

The Last Princess is already wearing one pair and says they fit great!

Big Girl had been waiting forever for me to fix a pair of her “pretty” jeans.  To be honest, I was a little worried about how I was going to fix these jeans as they ripped real close to the seam on the seat.  If they had ripped anywhere else they might work right in with fashion, but this rip requires a fix.

ripped jeans

I finally decided to fix them the old fashioned way with patches and my iron.  Knowing that the patches will not stick long, I added a small zig zag topstitch in a dark thread all the way around the ripped area. I left the ragged threads to cover the patch and make everything stay dark. I then ran my sewing machine across the ragged thread area in a couple different places to help hold the ragged threads in place.  Told you I’m no professional!  I do see a need though and manage to get it done.

patching jeans

ripped jeans fix

The jeans look pretty darn good if I might say so myself.  I didn’t expect them to look perfect, but maybe now that the ripped area is camouflaged a bit, it will be fine.  I know Big Girl will be glad to get them back.  They were practically brand new when they ripped.

She will also be getting her sweatshirt back that had a small rip in it.  I just put a few stitches in it by hand.

My last project was to make a maxi skirt for K following this Girls Knit Maxi Skirt Tutorial.  I will say the tutorial is great, but my mind couldn’t process the instructions for folding the fabric in four and cutting.  So I just folded twice and cut the normal size.  I guess it was from having worked the night before, but I couldn’t figure out how it was going to work for me, without wasting a bunch of fabric.  Call me simple or ….. just tired.

K is really happy to get her new skirt, and it will be adorable with a black or blue top and her black boots.

Aside from all the mending and sewing, I also managed to keep the refrigerator clear of leftovers, pack my meal for at work and made a great homemade pancake mix (I added blueberries of course).  We have also cooked all our meals at home this week except one inexpensive lunch we ate out after an appointment.

I have also printed quite a few new coupons for my next few grocery shopping trips. Don’t forget I have a premanent link on my menu bar for printable coupons.  Using this link helps support this blog.

Now we are in the process of gathering all the unwanted and unused items hanging around here for a yard sale we are having Saturday.  I didn’t really want to have the sale, but the girls want to have it to make a purchase together, so here we go.  It will be a great way to clean things out a bit.

What frugal things are you doing?

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Grocery Budget: Fourth Week of August 2013

One of the biggest questions I have always gotten from my friends is about my grocery budget and what we buy.  I admit that when I read other blogs, I love to see how much they spend as well as what they get for their money.  I find that I often get some ideas for things I would like to try or ways to save even more money.

We budget $150 a week for a family of 4-5 (oldest is in college but is home often).  This money is for food, cleaning supplies, paper products, pet food, toiletries, over the counter medicine and some car maintenance items.  I would love this amount to be lower, but while trying to include more lean choices of meat and more produce, I find that this amount is probably right where it needs to be.

walmart 8-23-13

We got to do some more ad matching at Walmart this week on the following items:

Cottage Cheese $1.99
Plums $.88
Grapes $1.29
Milk $2.99
OJ $2.50

Ad matching saved me $4.93 this week and I earned $2.00 from Ibotta.
walmart 2 8-23-13

I had a full menu planned out to include breakfast and lunch, so this made my trip go so much smoother.  I actually was able to make sure we had all the food for each meal.

walmart 3 8-23-13

I didn’t have as many coupons to use this week since I bought a lot more store brands.  I was able to save $4.50 with the coupons that I did use.

I spent a total of $102.12 at Walmart this week.

staples

We spent $6.13 at Staples on a few school supplies.

I had one more composition book (they were $.10), but big girl needed one for college.

kroger

A couple weeks ago, after checking out at Kroger, I realized I had gotten a catalina coupon for B1G1Free Green Mountain Coffee.  Since hubby was about out of his “rich man coffee”, I made a quick run in to get some with that great coupon.

I like to spend $.40 or less on each K-cup.  Sometimes it is hard, but many times I am able to meet that goal.  I purchased these 24 K-cups for $.38 after tax.

So I spent $9.00 at Kroger this week.

target 8-23-13

….. and a mere $32.09 at Target.  (haha)  I was able to use quite a few coupons at Target which saved me well over $20.

I also included one of those items (candy thermometer) that I keep on my “list” until there is a little more room in the budget.  It’s always the things we don’t need right away that get put on this list.  So I remember I need them, but can work them into the budget as able.

My grand total for the fourth week of August is $149.34.  I am pretty excited about that! I feel like I got quite a bit of stuff this week.

So far the total spent for the month of August is $658.19.  I am still over for the month, but maybe I will bring that amount down quite a bit.  There is still one week left!

How are you doing with your grocery budget?  Does your amount spent go up or down when school starts? 

Are you familiar with Ibotta?  Would you like me to do a post about Ibotta?

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Grocery Budget: Second Week of August 2013

One of the biggest questions I have always gotten from my friends is about my grocery budget and what we buy.  I admit that when I read other blogs, I love to see how much they spend as well as what they get for their money.  I find that I often get some ideas for things I would like to try or ways to save even more money.

We budget $150 a week for a family of 4-5 (oldest is in college but is home often).  This money is for food, cleaning supplies, paper products, pet food, toiletries, over the counter medicine and some car maintenance items.  I would love this amount to be lower, but while trying to include more lean choices of meat and more produce, I find that this amount is probably right where it needs to be.

walmart august 2013

We didn’t get out of the house much this past week, so most of our shopping was done at Walmart.

I did spend $16.02 at The Mad Butcher on ground chuck.

I sure can’t wait for a good sale on ground chuck!

walmart 2 august 2013

We needed more non-food items this week which tends to push the total on groceries up a little bit quicker.

We spent $138.96 on the items in all 3 pictures (except the ground chuck) at Walmart. Missing from the pictures is a large case of water and a large case of hugs drinks.  Hubby likes to keep these in his shop fridge for times we are working outside or just for a treat for the girls.

I was able to use $7.55 worth of coupons.

walmart 3 august 2013

My grand total for the second week of August is $154.98, which is over by $4.98.  Not too bad.  If my budget didn’t have a little wiggle room in it, I could have easily put off one of my non-food purchases until a later date.

The total for the first two weeks of Augst is $360, which is over by $60.  I am hoping that with 3 more weeks to go (this month has 5 Fridays), I can bring it down a bit.

While checking out at Walmart, the checker was telling me about some changes to that store’s ad matching policy.  Needless to say, the Walmart Ad Matching Policy is not always the final word.  I found out that the store used to ad match another local store’s Buy One Get One (without an ad price) ads.  The whole time I could have been getting these great Buy One Get One items using the Walmart low price.  Now the store has a new manager that will not match these ads.  The checker proceeded to tell me that anything in addition to the written Walmart policy is up to each individual store manager.  Since I had always just gone by the written policy and I didn’t ask a knowledgeable store employee about their ad matching policy, I missed out.

In the future I will now know which checkers to ask about the policy and any changes made to it.

Always ask about your store’s rules for ad amtching.  You may be pleasantly surprised and find out that they do more than the online policy states.

How are you doing with your grocery budget?  What do you do if you go over?  Does your store ad match differently than the online policy?  

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Grocery Budget: First Week of August 2013

After taking a month off of regular grocery budget posting, I am ready to get back into keeping up with the grocery budget.  I cannot believe it’s August already.  Seems like we just started the summer, and now it’s time to think about starting school.

One of the biggest questions I have always gotten from my friends is about my grocery budget and what we buy.  I admit that when I read other blogs, I love to see how much they spend as well as what they get for their money.  I find that I often get some ideas for things I would like to try or ways to save even more money.

We budget $150 a week for a family of 4-5 (oldest is in college but is home often).  This money is for food, cleaning supplies, paper products, pet food, toiletries, over the counter medicine and some car maintenance items.  I would love this amount to be lower, but while trying to include more leaner choices of meat and more produce, I find that this amount is probably right where it needs to be.

We were able to fit in a variety of shopping this past week and scored some really good deals.  Having been gone on our recent trip for two weeks, the refrigerator was quite bare. I knew this wasn’t gonna be one of those weeks where I stayed in budget.

IMG_0398[1]We spent $28.04 at Target on some stuff we needed, and some stuff I found for our school year.

The tape, magnets, dry erase map and the lined dry erase boards were $1 each in the dollar section.

Two of the Up & Up liquid soaps were $.80 each and two of them were $.89 each.  The great thing about these soaps was that I found a $1/2 coupon attached to them.  That made the final price $.30 – $.39 each.  What a bargain!

The Annie’s Cheddar Bunnies were $2.79 each.  We combined a $.50 manufacturer coupon with a $.50 Target coupon to get them for $1.79.  My kids love these crackers.

The Gillette razor was $8.99, but I had an $8 home mailer coupon that I had signed up for a while back.  If I find a great deal on the refills, I will buy them at some point for hubby, but for right now he can use this one till it gets dull.

We use a lot of index cards for our homeschooling and I found them for $.49 each, which I combined with a Target mobile coupon (text OFFERS to 827438) for $1 off 4 Up & Up school supplies.  It made the index cards $.24 each.  There are many other items you could combine the coupon with, but we need a bunch of index cards.

Hubby was out of K cups for his weekend coffee (he drinks brewed coffee on weekday mornings) and I try to spend $.40 or less on them.  I found this 18 pack for $7.79 and I used a $1 tear pad coupon I had been given by a friend to make these $6.79 or $.38 each K cup.

The Up & Up mouthwash is much cheaper than Scope, so we thought we would give it a try.  It tastes pretty much like the Scope we normally buy and at $2.89 minus a $.75 Target Coupon, it’s a great price too.

IMG_0401[1]

I had almost forgotten to take a picture on the great deal we got on this yogurt too.  It was $2.69 for the 4 pack, but after using a $1 Chobani coupon with a $1 Target Coupon, we got the 4 pack for $.69.

IMG_0399[1]

At Sam’s we spent $37.15 on the items pictured above.  The foil pans will be used for freezer cooking (future blog post) that I am in the process of getting done.

IMG_0400[1]

Our Kroger stores recently quit doubling coupons like many other areas of the country.  I really hate that they did it, but I will probably keep shopping there when I can.  I love Kroger meat and produce as well as their sale items.  I find most of the sale items at Kroger to be cheaper than the regular price at Walmart.

We spent a total of $93.99 at Kroger.

The blueberries were $.99 a pint and the peaches and plums were $.99 a pound.  Such a great price on these items.  We are definitely enjoying some lovely seasonal fruit this week.

Kroger milk is always a great deal when it’s on sale for $2.99.

I combined the cheese with the shampoo and conditioner (below) as part of the buy 5 save $5 promotion.  The cheese was $1.88  after the promotion discount and the shampoo and conditioner was $1.18 each after promotional price and a $3/2 recent manufacturer coupon.

IMG_0402[1]

The sour cream was a great deal at $1 each and the Pepsi Next was free after I used a recent free item coupon I requested that was sent to me in the mail.

I also scored the Gluten free cookie dough for free after using a coupon for a free tub that I received in the mail recently as well.

IMG_0404[1]

It just so happened that the day I was going shopping, Kroger offered a digital coupon for a free box of Ultimate Hamburger Helper.  You just had to load the coupon to your shopper card.

The chips were free after I used a coupon that I received in the mail for a free bag from Kroger.

IMG_0405[1]

I purchased the rest of the needed items at Walmart because the price on these items is generally lower there.

I had coupons for $1/1 Reynolds baking cups, which made them free.  I also used 2 – $.45/1 coupons for the toilet paper.

IMG_0406[1]

We spent $45.84 at Walmart.

IMG_0397[1]

I finally used a free item coupon I had for these Blue Bunny Ice Cream Sandwiches.  I received it in the mail a couple of months after requesting it or maybe it was for voting in a contest they had going.  Talk about yummy!

Our grand total for the week of shopping was $205.02, which is over by $55.02, but I feel pretty good about this total.  Not only were we empty as far as food was concerned, but we purchased a lot of items for my freezer cooking session, which will feed us throughout the month.

Maybe I can still manage to come in under budget for the total at the end of the month. Just maybe.

How are you doing with sticking to your grocery budget?  Find any great deals lately? Have any questions or comments?

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Grocery Budget: Final Week Of May 2013

People are always asking me how we get our groceries for such a small amount compared to what they spend. So I post our grocery trips here so you can see what we buy. We currently budget $150 a week for a family of 4 to 5 (big girl is at college most of the time) food, non food grocery items, cleaning supplies, pet food, health and beauty, over the counter medicine and some car maintenance items. This amount is still a bit higher than I would like, but I am learning that with the items included in our budget and the price of items in our area, this amount is really not that bad. When you are trying to eat a healthier diet consisting of leaner meat, lots of fresh produce, and more real food, your grocery bill will tend to be a bit higher. You just get creative and find other ways to save.

Just a reminder that this month there are 5 Friday’s, so that means the grocery budget for the month is $750 total instead of the normal $600.

Kroger 5-31-13

I spent $61.66 at Kroger on these items (44.1# bag of dog food missing from picture).  It was time for everyone to get new vitamins and they were on sale B1G1 for 50% off.  The milk was also on sale for $2.99, which is a great price for this area.

I had hubby and the kids with me and as you can see, they team up and ask for certain “other” things to be purchased.

I can take kids with me and stay to the list and budget, but kids and hubby make things go differently!  So who do you guys think the problem is?  (ha ha)

walmart 5-31-13

I spent $83.42 on these items at Walmart.  It seems like this week we needed more non food items than we normally do.

Hubby also spent $22.04 at Dollar General on green tea, chicken and a couple of energy shots.

My total for the week ended up over at $167.12, but my total for the 5 week month came in under budget at $733.57.  

Not too bad I suppose.  I didn’t shop as many deals and sales or use as many coupons as I normally would, so I think it turned out okay.

Finding any great deals?  How is your grocery budget going?  

Don’t have a budget?  Check out my series on creating a budget, it’s a great way to control your money instead of letting it control you.  

making a habit out of living frugal…..

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Saving On Groceries With Savingstar

You can save money on your groceries with nothing to do. SavingStar is the first national fully digital eCoupon service. Nothing to clip, nothing to print!


SavingStar, Inc. Save on groceries with no clipping and no printing today

I love SavingStar.  It’s a great way to earn a little extra savings on my shopping trips to stores with loyalty cards.

First you click the ecoupons you like and they are then sent to your store loyalty card.

After your shopping trip with your store loyalty card (within 2-30 days) your savings will be added to your account.

Remember that many small means of savings will add up to bigger amounts over time.

No amount of saving is ever too small unless it requires a considerable amount of time you do not have.

making a habit out of living frugal…..

This post contains affiliate/referral links.  I would be grateful for your support if you decide to use my affiliate links as the earnings from the links help cover the costs of maintaining this blog.  See my disclosure policy.

Grocery Budget: A Little Over

People are always asking me how we get our groceries for such a small amount compared to what they spend. So I post our grocery trips here so you can see what we buy. We currently budget $150 a week for a family of 4 to 5 (big girl is at college most of the time) food, non food grocery items, cleaning supplies, pet food, health and beauty, over the counter medicine and some car maintenance items. This amount is still a bit higher than I would like, but I am learning that with the items included in our budget and the price of items in our area, this amount is really not that bad. When you are trying to eat a healthier diet consisting of leaner meat, lots of fresh produce, and more real food, your grocery bill will tend to be a bit higher. You just get creative and find other ways to save.

korger 3-22-13 After our spring break week and another week where I barely bought any groceries, I knew I would probably go over this week.  The shelves were getting quite bare.

I did all my shopping at Kroger this week (except for Almonds from Sams), taking advantage of the great sale they are having.

I got the fruit cups for free after using 2 – $.50 on one coupons that doubles.  These coupons were printed coupons that are no longer available. I also got the Cool Whip frosting for free from a coupon sent to me from the manufacturer.

The Kroger I shop at most has a marked down produce rack, where I get my bananas for .39/pound.  I also got the whole bag of apples for $ .99!  I believe I only saw bruising on one of them.

The price was great for 30 eggs at $2.49, and frozen pepper and onion mix for $1 each.

The snickers were $ .25 each after using the B1G1F coupon from coupons.com.

kroger 3-22-13 (2)I had some great coupons for $1 off the Great Grains, making them $1.49 each.  For purchasing 4 I got a free gallon of milk, and the rest of the milk was $2.99.

The cookies were just $ .99 after a $ .50 coupon doubled.and the butter was at an amazing price of $1.99.

The Annie’s products were on sale for $1!  My girls love this organic mac and cheese, and I had a $ .35 off coupon ($. 70 doubled) that I had printed a while back.  This coupon is no longer available, but there are a couple others at EcoBonus.

The Lipton tea was $3.99 each after saving an extra $1 on each item of the buy 5 certain items save $5.  I also got the Cheez-it for $1.99, the Miracle Whip for $2.49 and the Triscuits for $1.77 as part of the buy 5 save $5 promotion.

IMG_6676[1]The bread was on sale for $1.49 each and the flour was just $1.79.

I feel like I had a great shopping trip at Kroger.

The items that didn’t make the picture include; Sunday newspaper (gotta have my coupons), 50 lb bag of dog food, and yogurt covered raisins.

I spent $122.73 at Kroger.  I was able to save $23.48 from my original total with coupons and double coupons.  Definitely a great day!

I spent $11.86 on the almonds at Sams, $33.98 at Dollar General and $20.77 at our local store.

This brings my total for the week to $189.34, which is $39.34 over budget.  I really don’t have a problem with this since I only bought the basics last week, and my total was $107.95 (sorry didn’t get a post up last week). 

Since there are 5 Fridays this month, that means the grocery budget would be $750, but I used the grocery money for the week we were out of town, so the grocery busget will remain at $600 for this month.

My total so far for March is $437.33, which is under budget by $ 12.67!

Our Dinners:

  • Over Fired Chicken Nuggets, Corn and Mashed Potatoes
  • Tacos, Rice and Veggie
  • Spaghetti and Green beans
  • Turkey Breast, Potatoes and veggie
  • Leftovers
  • Breakfast for supper
  • Meal out after our bi-weekly lesson

Our lunches:

  • leftovers x 2
  • Pizza
  • Chicken Qesadillas
  • Sandwiches

Breakfast:

  • Oatmeal
  • Baked oatmeal
  • Banana bread
  • Cereal

Want to get some of these great deals but don’t go to Kroger?  Why not try ad matching at Walmart?  You can look at the other stores ads online for your area, write the item name, size and price down and go shopping.  It’s that easy.  Walmart no longer requires you have the ad with you.

How did you do with your grocery budget this week?  Find any great deals?  We would love to hear about your trip, budget or great finds.

making a habit out of living frugal…..

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This post contains affiliate/referral links.  I would be grateful for your support if you decide to use my affiliate links as the earnings from the links help cover the costs of maintaining this blog.  See my disclosure policy.