DIY Valentine’s Wreath

DIY Valentine’s Wreath

I went to three Dollar Trees in one day to find the supplies for a specific craft.  When I couldn’t locate a specific component, I made this wreath instead.

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Opting to Refashion

Opting to Refashion

lacesweatshirt1Option 1:  Spend over $140 on this cute gray sweatshirt.

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Option 2: Buy the less-expensive version at Nordstrom for $50.

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Option 3: Make your own sweatshirt for less than $5.

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Something told me you would choose option 3 🙂

When I bought this sweatshirt for less than $1.50 at the Tanger Outlets, I knew that I would personalize it before I wore it.  It took about a week for me to decide exactly what I wanted to do, but the project itself only took a short part of my morning.

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After washing and drying the sweatshirt, I cut a piece of lace (leftover from making this purse) large enough to cover the entire front of my sweatshirt.

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Then, I pinned the lace to my sweatshirt.  I cut off excess fabric and folded the edge of the lace under itself so that the sweatshirt would look more finished.

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Using a straight stitch, I attached the lace to the sweatshirt.

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Before long, my frugal sweatshirt was ready to be worn.

2 for 2 Potluck Cake

2 for 2 Potluck Cake

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I once had an infamous great-aunt.  She was known in our church for a number of reasons, most of which are irrelevant to this story.  Nonetheless, her Coca-cola Cake is worth mentioning.  She had mastered the art of making a gooey, fudge-y chocolate cake that no one could mimic, and everyone looked forward to church potlucks so that they could get a taste of that dark goodness.

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I had completely forgotten about that childhood treat until I began preparing for today’s Labor Day potluck at church.  I love cooking for people, and I could easily spend a fortune preparing decadent desserts for those around me.  However, I set myself a budget of only $2 for today.  Call me frugal.  Call me cheap.  (I am both).  But, I believed that I could make a sweet dessert for less than $2.  And I did it.

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This 2-ingredient, $2 soda cake is not nearly as difficult as Aunt Ann’s Coca-cola cake.  Yet, it is airy, light, and sweet–perfect for an end-of summer dessert.  Enjoy experimenting with different cake + soda combinations.

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Potluck Pop Cake

Ingredients

  • 1 box cake mix (I used lemon) ($1.24)
  • 1 12-ounce can soda (I used Ginger Ale) ($.65)

Directions

  • Combine both ingredients in a bowl and mix well.
  • Bake as directed on box.
  • Eat and enjoy!

Total: $1.89 for 24 servings ($.08 per serving)

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What foods are your relatives known for?

What cake + soda combinations would you want to try?

Refashioned Denim Dress

Refashioned Denim Dress

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I love being busy.  On top of classes, I am an RA, student body president, peer tutor, choir member, “Brewin’ Den” barista, and admissions aid. I am not quite sure when I breathe or sleep, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Sadly, all these responsibilities mean that I do not complete many “just for fun” projects during the school year. With foreknowledge of the coming busyness, I spent the entire week before school sewing, crafting, and cooking.  One of the last refashions I completed that week began with a denim frock that I snagged for $1 at a local outlet sale (the same monthly sale where I grabbed this last year and this the year before).  With a few snips and stitches, I had a cute new dress for fall.

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First, I laid a well-fitting dress over the bulky denim frock and used chalk to outline the smaller dress.

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I pinned and sewed along the chalk marks, and cut off the extra material with pinking shears.

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I then repeated this process with a favorite oxford shirt so that the arms would fit.

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With the addition of a belt and accessories, my dress was ready to wear!

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Top Ten Tuesday: Bargain Breakfast

Top Ten Tuesday: Bargain Breakfast

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I sympathize.  Really, I do.  I understand that you are a poor college student, and you are starving for a cheap, filling, nutritious breakfast.  That is why I have composed a list of ten super-cheap items that can be paired in a variety of ways to assemble a wholesome breakfast for less than $1.

Top Ten Items to Build a $1 Breakfast

(prices listed are per serving)

  1. Oatmeal ($.15)
  2. Trail Mix ($.25)
  3. Multigrain Waffle ($.30)
  4. Yogurt ($.40)
  5. Fresh Fruit (varies—buy fruit in season for the cheapest prices)
  6. Granola Bar ($.30)
  7. Peanut Butter ($.15)
  8. Cereal ($.20)
  9. Eggs ($.20)
  10. Turkey Bacon ($.10)

 

Examples of a $1 breakfast:

  • oatmeal + peanut butter + apple = $.80
  • waffle + egg + bacon = $.60
  • yogurt + cereal = $.60
  • granola bar + banana = $.80
  • trail mix + yogurt = $.65

Although you could pair these foods in literally thousands of combinations, there are dozens of other items that you could swap into your pairings.  Sausage links, rice cakes, string cheese, toast, jelly, and bagels are also great ideas.  To save even more money, buy store-brand items and check your weekly papers for sales.

What are your frugal breakfast staples?

DIY Lanyard

DIY Lanyard

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This school year, I have taken on the supervisor position at the daycare.  Instead of a clipboard, I now carry an armload of communication devices as I check in on the daycare teachers.  I have a walkie-talkie, the daycare cellphone, and my own cellphone in addition to all of my keys and work ID.  It was becoming quite difficult to run from one classroom to the next without dropping a piece of equipment.

My plan was to buy a cheap lanyard and carry everything around my neck.  However, the store only had 3 lanyards in stock, I didn’t like any of the colors, and they all cost more than I was willing to pay.  With a few quick snips and stitches, I made a lanyard that can hold my keys, walkie-talkie, and one of the cell phones (and I finished the whole thing while watching a science lecture for school).

(P.S. – Sorry for the lack of step-by-step pictures.  This was made during my camera-less weekend at home)

DIY Lanyard:

Supplies

  • 1 piece of material cut 8 x 36 inches
  • Keychain ring
  • scissors
  • thread
  • sewing machine

Directions

  • Fold the piece of material in half length-wise (like a hotdog bun 🙂 ) with the printed side facing in.  Sew a straight stitch down the long side.  Turn material right-side-out.  Fold the ends over and sew a small seam.
  • Fold the material in half length-wise again.  Either way you fold it, the pattern will be facing out, but you may want your seams to be on the inside.
  • Repeat step two.
  • Thread keychain ring onto the long strap you have made.  Overlap the two ends of the strap and sew together.  This will form a loop.
  • Pull the keychain ring down towards the end of the loop which you just stitched.  Stitch again slightly above the ring.
  • If desired, decorate your lanyard with buttons, pins, and bows.
  • I put a carabineer on the keychain ring so that I can easily unhook my keys when I don’t need the lanyard.  Also, I use a Vera Bradley Zip ID Case to hold corral my phone, keys, and work ID.  To make your own ID Case, try this tutorial from Thimbleanna.
Top Ten Tuesday: Free for All

Top Ten Tuesday: Free for All

I have this thing about spending money.  Actually, I HATE spending money.  That is why I am introducing you to Top Ten Tuesday with a list of free items for you to enjoy.

Top Ten Things You Should Never Pay For

  1. Pens – How many stores do you frequent that offer free pens?  Grab a few!  Now, I know what you are thinking, “Oh! I could never do that I only use _(insert name of expensive pen here)   .”  Well, get over it.  You are not a pen connoisseur; you are a poor student trying to pay for college.  Don’t waste your money on pens.
  2. Books – Don’t get me wrong; I love to read.  I’ve read two and a half books in the past three days, but I got all of the books for free at the local library.  The choice is yours: either buy a $20 book at a bookstore with a coffee shop and read it once or borrow a book from the library and read it once.  I mean, it’s your money; you can make the decision.
  3. Television – My family has never paid for television.  We have network TV and all of our other favorite shows are available online.  Try sites like Hulu.com or the networks site (like mylifetime.com).
  4. Email – This is a no-brainer.  Don’t make me explain.
  5. Wi-Fi – What? Your hotel doesn’t have Wi-Fi?  Don’t be lazy!  Get in your car, drive to the nearest McDonald’s, buy a yogurt parfait (just because they are so amazing and only cost a buck), and use their Wi-Fi while you people watch.  Free Wi-Fi AND free entertainment.  It doesn’t get better than that.
  6. Drinks – be healthy and frugal; drink water.  That is like two birds with one stone.
  7. Antivirus Software – I have had the same computer for a while, and I have never had a virus thanks to my AVG security.  It works great, and I would highly recommend it!
  8. Exercise – There are so many reasons to not pay for exercise.  First of all, many businesses and schools offer free gym membership.  Second, you can access scores of exercise videos on YouTube.  Some of my favorites are the ones that Blogilates produces.  Lastly, running never costs you anything, and it burns a TON of calories (it is also a great time to pray…just throwing that fact out there for free 🙂 ).
  9. A tan – Please tan naturally.  You really do not want to look like (1) Cheetos, (2) a potato, or (3) a half-peeled carrot.   Just look natural.  It is so much better!
  10. Money – Don’t trade a quarter for two dimes just because two is more than one.  Think about what you are doing!

Who ever said that nothing in life is free?