Category: Frugal Living Tips

TMR Frugal Living Tip #81: No Sew Halloween Costumes

homemadehalloweencostumesthriftycostumeideascreativecostumesToday’s thrifty living tip is to be more creative in making your child’s Halloween costume. I personally don’t have anything against store bought costumes, but I find that most are overpriced junk. Some years I have purchased a $10-15 costume from Wal-Mart that would basically fall apart during the first wearing. I have also bought better quality costumes from the Disney Store that would last several wearings, and then sell them used on ebay for more than I paid new. I would purchase them on clearance, and sometimes buy the extra accessories which would complete the costume. The problem now is my son is too old for most of the Disney costumes as those are for babies. *SIGH*

Not everyone knows how to sew a costume themselves. The fabric can cost you a pretty penny, and not to mention the time, unless of course you really enjoy sewing. I don’t enjoy sewing so we have gotten more creative in putting together a costume for my son by just digging in his closet. There might be times I have to purchase an item to complete his costume, but he usually already owns the items to put together a fun Halloween costume for him.

Here is a picture of his homemade Halloween costume from two years ago. He was his favorite wrestler, Ray Mysterio, complete with the mask, a jacket, a Ray shirt (you can’t see but it’s under the jacket), a pair of jeans and tennis shoes. He used one of his toy wrestling belts to complete the costume. He already owned everything so cost to me was FREE! He actually received a ton of compliments from other kids and adults on his costume. I think the authentic mask was the true gem of this costume as a friend of mine gave him the mask as a present. This was one of those expensive replicas they sell and not the cheap plastic one.

Last year he dressed as a military man. I don’t have a picture but he already owned a camouflage shirt, shorts, and hat. I have a pair of military issued combat boots that I wore when I was in the army many years ago that he was able to wear at the age of 10! Since we are trick or treating, we are not bringing any toy guns. Everyone will know what he is supposed to be anyway. Again total cost to me= FREE! These creative costumes are actually his idea as he complains about how the store bought costumes are itchy and fall apart. I have taught my little grasshopper well. This year he decided to be a Zombie with a skull mask (I bought on clearance for $1 last year) and some jeans, a sweatshirt, and shoes. I know not original but he is getting to that age that he wants to be cool. He is not trick or treating but wants to hand out candy which is fine by me. I usually end up wanting to eat most of it. I definitely don’t need any candy.

I would love to hear other creative solutions for Halloween Costumes. Happy Halloween and be safe while Trick or Treating!

Paint- It’s Cheap and Comes in a Can

paintremodelingkitchencabinetsinexpensivesavemoneyfrugalgreenIt’s called paint- it’s cheap and comes in a can.” This has to be one of the best quotes I’ve heard while watching a tv show. I really wished I could remember which show I was watching, but this is exactly how I feel about paint. Paint is a wonderful inexpensive way to spruce up just about anything. I didn’t want to replace my kitchen cabinets since they are actual wood and not cheap particle board. The cabinets are in excellent condition but just needed a facelift. To paint or not to paint was the question. I really wanted the kitchen to be brighter and stained wood darkens spaces. In the end, I decided to paint them. Below are the steps that I took and some pictures. (Oh quick note, that picture was drawn by my husband. I asked if he could draw me a paint bucket with brush for this post. I outlined it in paint, but will eventually figure out how to actually paint in photoshop. I think he did a fabulous job!)

How I Transformed My Kitchen Cabinets
I must have looked up almost a hundred articles and websites looking for information on properly painting previously stained cabinets. The problem is so much of the information, even from the “experts”, varies by technique and even properly cleaning or degreasing the doors. I decided to use a no rinse TSP cleaner. Then I did lightly sand the doors since the stain was pretty old and faded. After I wiped them down with a clean tack cloth, I have knotty pine wood so I used a shellac primer in a spray can just on the knots. The knots vanished after I primed the doors with a regular primer.

Finally I did use 3 coats of white Kitchen and Bath enamel paint. It is a little more expensive than a semi-gloss, but it’s made for specifically for a high humidity. I used a paint brush and not a sprayer. I didn’t know how to use a sprayer and I definitely was not willing to experiment. I used a very high quality paint brush made to eliminate brush strokes. I have to admit it came out great. I can barely see any strokes, and I am very happy with the results. The whole process of cleaning, sanding, and painting took me about 2-3 days. I had 16 doors so I had to paint eight one day and paint the remaining eight the next day. I did let the doors dry for about 4-5 days. I was a little paranoid. Most experts recommend at least three days. I know many people would not use a white, but I have found it very easy to keep the cabinets clean. I just wipe them a couple of times a week after I do the dishes. The best part is my kitchen is much brighter, even with the lights off.

Spray Paint- Who Knew?

I really wanted to replace the door handles, but we couldn’t find new handles to match up as the old ones are hung differently than today. I cleaned them, but couldn’t get all the rust out. My brilliant husband suggested we just spray paint them. We got a flat satin black and one with the primer already mixed in. It cost us about $8 with tax and it worked perfectly. The handles look brand new again! I am thrilled with the results, and it was much cheaper than buying 20 new handles. The total project cost us $90! That includes all the paint, primer, brushes, and sandpaper. I did get some discounts with coupons that I was mailed. I think that saved me about $12-15. I have brand new cabinets and handles for under $100! We did splurge on the better paint, but I think it was worth every penny. I think a picture is worth a thousand words…literally!

oldkitchencabinetsremodeledkitchencabinetsinexpensivespraypaint

Warehouse Clubs-Big Savings or Money Drain?

warehouseclubssavingmoneyorwastingmoneydrain""

First I want to mention I only have a Sam’s club near me so my experience is limited. I have been a member for a couple of years. Lately I haven’t noticed much in the way of savings. I’m finding better deals by just watching the other store sale ads. For instance, Sam’s has a 30 roll package of Scott’s toilet paper for over $22. I can buy 3 packs with the 12 rolls for $6-7 on sale and end up with more toilet paper for the same price. I’m not saying there aren’t good deals to be found at these clubs, but you should just ask yourself a few things before buying.


Can I get this cheaper on sale somewhere else?
Do I really need such a big size of this item?
Will we just eat it all quickly since it’s in the house?
Will it go to waste before we can use it?
Do I have enough room to store these bigger packages?

I am guilty of some of the above. I like buying my groceries and health/beauty items in bulk, but I have noticed some of the snacks don’t last as long as they should. Or I’ve had some items go to waste before we could use it all. I mostly try to stick to dry goods and frozen foods for this reason. I live in a bigger home, well big for 3 people, but I do have plenty of space to store items. I hope these questions can help you stop and think before buying something you don’t need or can’t use.

There are other savings such as the pharmacy, travel discounts, office supplies, tires, appliances, and such. I split my membership with my mom. I have a card and she has one so it does save money by only paying $20 yearly. I asked and it’s acceptable at Sam’s. I do save money on gas but I will be doing some more number crunching come renewal time next year.

Are warehouse clubs big money savers or money drains? I would love to read your thoughts.

TMR Frugal Living Tip #80

Today’s frugal living tip is to reuse those coffee grounds, tea bags, eggshells, and vegetable/fruit peelings. Yep I drink coffee and tea on a daily basis so I take the grounds, and work them directly into the soil around my plants. Of course you can also throw them in a compost pile. I take rinsed eggshells and crush them before mixing into the soil. I also compost. You can either compost vegetable/fruit peelings or just dig small holes into your garden. I dig them in a few inches and let them rot until it’s time to till the soil. I love just digging small piles directly into the garden as I don’t have to deal with a compost pile this way. My soil still benefits and it gets worked into the whole garden plot twice a year. Not everyone is keen on the idea of having a compost pile so here is another alternative way to reduce waste, but it still helps your soil and plants thrive. The best part is that worms love the coffee grounds and seem to attract them. This is actually a positive as worms help to aerate the soil.

TMR Frugal Living Tip #79- Use Card to Scrape Paint off Wood!

paint-scraper

Today’s frugal living tip is use old credit or debit card when removing paint off wood floors. It could also be an old gift card and some people have used CD’s to scrape. I found the old card to be much easier and didn’t scratch my wood floors as they are not finished but waxed.

You should really use a drop cloth when painting. But if you forget then this technique works well.

So I I really like to use Citrasolve cleaner. Spray a small amount and then use the card to scrape the paint gently.

I find the Citrasolve smells great and polished my wood floors making them look new again. I did try Goof Off, but it didn’t smell nearly as nice. It also didn’t work well at removing the paint. I had to really rub to get any paint up. I gave up and switched to the Citrasolve, and all those paint marks were cleaning up easily.

The credit card was great at removing tiny and big paint drops. I then used a damp sponge mop with warm soapy water to wipe up the Citrasolve.

In the future, I can say I will use a drop cloth when I paint my rooms.

TMR Frugal Living Tip #78

Today’s thrifty living tip is use coconut oil as part of your beauty routine. Coconut oil is truly a wonderful product that is great for eating as well. If you do cook with it, then make sure you get cold pressed and unrefined virgin coconut oil. It’s a little more expensive, but a good quality oil for cooking. There are so many beauty uses for it. People in India and Philippines have been using it for centuries. The women have gorgeous skin and hair. I’ve always noticed how silky their hair looks. The reason coconut oil is so good for hair is that the oil actually sinks into the hair shaft and not sit on top of it. You can google all the wonderful benefits of coconuts which are many. Here are some ways I love using it as part of my beauty routine.

Deep Hair Conditioner– this will make your hair so soft and silky. It’s also great to use if you have a dry, itchy, or flaky scalp. I use it twice a week. I live in a sub-tropical climate so most of the year my oil stays a liquid. During the winter it does solidify so I scoop out a spoonful and melt it for a few seconds in my microwave. I only do a 10 seconds at a time until it’s mostly melted. Then I rub it in my hands and massage all over my scalp and down to the ends. I really concentrate on the hairline in the front. Then I cover my hair with a shower cap but you could use saran wrap. You can leave it on for a minimum of 20 minutes, but as long as overnight. I never sleep with it in my hair and usually keep it on for 1-2 hours. Then I wash it out as normal, and it will not leave your hair feeling oily or greasy. It really does wash all out with shampoo. My hair is never frizzy which is a huge plus for during winter.

Moisturizer– just slather on a little bit all over like any regular body or face lotion. You really don’t need much either. Your skin will never feel softer. I like to use it after I shave my legs. It makes the best hand moisturizer. I use this every night before going to bed. I use a little bit on my lips as a chap stick. It’s tastes good too on your lips.

Sunscreen– coconut oil makes a great sunscreen. I used it everyday before going to the parks at Disney World. I was in the sun for hours and never burned once! It actually helped me to tan. I don’t tan well either so this was amazing for me. I still have a slight color and it’s winter.

TMR Frugal Living Tip #77- Split Portions When Dining Out!

split-portions

Today’s thrifty living tip is to split portions when dining out. It’s an oldie but goodie. Many restaurant portions are too big for one person to eat in one sitting. I either try to split the entree with someone else or take half of it home. It will not only help you by not eating too many calories, but it also stretches the entree into two meals. This is cheaper and healthier. If you are at a fast food place, why not order off the kids or dollar menu. I have started doing this by ordering just a burger and then eating a few fries from my husband.