Thrifty Living: Thrifty Tips and Recent Scores

5 Dec

Some thrifty things I’ve been doing to save money:

* During the morning and early afternoon I try to find some excuse to use my oven: drying herbs, toasting nuts, roasting potatoes, whatever. I can keep the thermostat down a few notches because the heat from the oven will keep the kitchen toasty while at the same time making something tasty for later.

* I’ve also pulled out my stack of crocheted blankets from the linen closet and just keep them on the couch. When one of us gets cold I insist we put on a blanket or a sweater before we turn up the heat. They look lovely in a pile and are more likely to get used when I keep them out.

* I tried the no-heat curl method to try a new look. I already had the hairband so trying this was free!

* I’ve been using the library a whole lot more. This option should be obvious after working in a library for eight years, but since we also had Anthony’s Borders discount, and since discovering the handiness of reading ebooks via the iPhone, I stopped checking books out of the library. I still went to the library–I mean, between my mother and I Isobel’s been to every story time available since she was a year old. But we’d leave when story time was over. Now I stay and make sure I have new additions to both my and Isobel’s bookshelves every week.

* I don’t have a lot of pairs of pants. Since losing over 20lbs due to my time on the elliptical and the debilitating panic attacks I really only have two pairs of pants that fit. One of them has stylish (or so I tell myself) holes worn in the knees from constant use. I can’t afford to go clothes shopping but I did have enough to buy a few pairs of colorful tights. I love the way they add a pop of color to my outfits while keeping me warm and extending the life of my jeans.

* I’m being pretty strict about our one napkin and one rag per day and I’ve been trying to expand this rule to cups and plates, too. This is an excellent way to save water and saves me a lot of work in the dishes and laundry department. Score!

* I haven’t been doing any major thrifting because I’m still in the midst of my giant Etsy storage and reorganization project, but I’ve stopped off yard sales and a thrift store here or there over the past month and these photos are some of the things I’ve picked up: a colorful crocheted poncho for Isobel, pegasus and unicorn mugs for me (and Anthony, if he’s so inclined), and some lovely wooden hangers covered with a delicate web of crocheted threads. These were obviously handmade and came from an estate sale. I wish more people would learn how to do this because it’s gorgeous and I’m afraid it’s a dying art. I got all six hangers for a dollar. Can you even imagine how long it must have taken to make these?

Anybody doing anything differently to save money? This time of year I could use all the help I can get.

14 Responses to “Thrifty Living: Thrifty Tips and Recent Scores”

  1. Chris B. B. December 5, 2011 at 6:26 am #

    You took lovely pictures. I’m a frugal mom too. And want to let you know I came across this website and it’s giving out a prize of $100 each month. All we need to do is to submit real stories. I’m hoping to win this month too. The site is “mistakesinlife (dot) net” Goodluck!”

  2. Elizabeth December 5, 2011 at 6:37 am #

    I’ve gotten many extra miles out of too-big jeans by adding another button using these:

    • LittleBig December 5, 2011 at 7:55 am #

      This is an excellent idea!

      • Elizabeth December 5, 2011 at 7:57 am #

        Totally! Especially if the pants are too big in the waist but still fit reasonably well elsewhere.

        The next step in your thrifty transformation should probably be learning to do alterations. It’s been on my To Do list for a long time.

  3. Bonnie December 5, 2011 at 8:12 am #

    We have time of use billing for electricity, so I really try to keep the the cheapest times to do laundry etc. Was easier when I was working though, because I actually wasn’t even home most of the time when it was more expensive. So, using the oven in the morning and early afternoon wouldn’t work for me. We heat with a woodstove so it doesn’t matter when we have it going. I’m waiting to make a loaf of bread tonight when the hydro is cheaper again. Hoping to get back into making my own bread again, at least with the breadmaker.

    I think I’m going to need new clothes soon (I’ll need bigger, not smaller, but hopefully not for too long!). I’m hoping I can find some stuff at the thrift store. Can’t remember when I last bought clothing full price.

    I really need new winter boots, but the ones I’ve been wearing are close to a decade old so hopefully I can get new ones that will last as long. I’d like taller ones but they need to be warm and with good grips, it’s been super icy here the last few days.

    • LittleBig December 14, 2011 at 5:07 pm #

      Boots are something I’m willing to go all out and spend money on (provided I have it). I didn’t realize that some areas charge more for electricity during peak hours. Makes sense.

  4. Jenna December 5, 2011 at 12:34 pm #

    Those holes (in your jeans) are definitely stylish! Recently I got a hole in a pair of jeans that wasn’t stylish in the least. I didn’t want to let them go, so I cut them off at the knee and turn it into an adorable skirt. AND I can wear it in the cold weather this time of year by adding leggings.

    Here’s a pic of my cat inhibiting my progress of making said skirt:

    I don’t know if it’ll help you with your too large jeans, but I thought I’d add. 🙂

    • LittleBig December 14, 2011 at 5:07 pm #

      Oh, this is a great idea! Thank you!

  5. K December 5, 2011 at 12:53 pm #

    I love reading how thrifty you are. It’s inspiring.

    • LittleBig December 14, 2011 at 5:07 pm #

      This is how I survive. May as well make the best of it. 🙂

  6. emily bilbrey December 5, 2011 at 1:22 pm #

    these are great tips! i do most of them myself (although after growing up in a house where the thermostat was rarely set above 64, i now keep my heat cranked to at least 68 throughout the winter months, haha! it’s my personal luxury.)

    using cloth napkins and cleaning rags have been a huge money-saver for us, too! i kind of cringe when i think of how many paper towels we used to go through in a month.

    one of my top personal methods for saving money recently has been making my own espresso drinks at home. i’m a HUGE latte addict and i’d estimate i’m saving at least $30 per month by making my own coffee instead of heading to starbucks. i got my espresso machine from a friend’s garage sale, but i see them at thrift stores all the time. not sure if you’re a coffee drinker but it’s a great way to save for those of us who are! (:


    • LittleBig December 14, 2011 at 5:08 pm #

      I bought a French press over the summer and it has totally saved money. Starbucks is a rip-off.

  7. Windsor Grace December 8, 2011 at 6:53 pm #

    Isobel is soo big! She’s a little adult. Man

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