Friday, March 22, 2013

Mending: A Frugal Duty

I don't know a lot of younger people that mend these days. It's a shame because it really can save a family a lot of money. I remember my mother sitting at the kitchen table doing her mending. It was just part of her household routine.

I am not nearly as diligent about my mending as my mother. I have a mending drawer in my sewing room. If something needs to be mended or darned I just throw it in that drawer until mending day. I've been in this home since last June and mending day has not come.. until this week.

I enjoy mending once I start the task. It's just setting aside the time. My mending drawer was full so the time had come to tackle the job.

Mending really is a necessity for a frugal household. This is what I found in my mending drawer:

  • 2 pants (I bought them at a thrift store. They needed to be shortened into capris). 
  • Hanky (Hem needs to be sewn)
  • Skirt (Like new, needs to be taken in).
  • 2 undergarments (Mend a tear)
  • A new blouse ( I've only worn it a few times because it's too big). 
  • Blouse (Needs a snap sewn on)
  • Dress (Needs to be taken in)
  • 4 socks (Holes need darning)
  • Apron (needs the tie sewn back on)
I would eventually have to replace these items if I gave them away.   I believe there is at least $80-100 worth of clothing in the list above. I'll save myself a lot of money once these items are mended.

I had planned on purchasing some new capris at the thrift store for summer. I had forgotten I had 2 pair waiting for me in the mending drawer.

A few months ago I mended my granddaughter's pants. She had a hole in the knee. You couldn't even tell it had been mended once I finished. She was so surprised.  I used to save old jeans to use for patches on my boys pants when they were young. I'd use a zig zag stitch to make a solid stitch over the patch. The patched jeans then became their play pants.

Here is a great video on how to do a 'blind stitch'.  This stitch can be done by hand. I did a search on You Tube for mending videos and there were a lot of them.

Hand sewn items go next to my chair in the living room so I can work on them in the evenings.

Do you mend your clothes? Do you have any tips to offer?

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Fine Tuning the Grocery Budget

I'm finally seeing the value of the PRICE BOOK I've been working on for months. I haven't been as consistent as I'd like to but I've recorded enough data from my receipts to make it useful.

I'm still haven't been able to stick to my budget of $260 for 2 people. This includes toiletries and pet food, too. I began to wonder if I'm being unrealistic and maybe I am. (I would love to hear from you! What do you spend on groceries for a family of 2?). So, this weekend I made it my goal to go over my receipts and find out if there is anything I can cut.

Thankfully I had saved all my receipts this past month. I went through each receipt and circled anything that was not essential. Guess what I discovered? I spent $65 on snacks alone. This was close to the amount that I had gone over my budget. The snacks included such things as sunflower seeds, almonds, SF cake mixes, Goldfish and other snacks for the grandchildren.

The next thing I did was to make up a monthly menu including all three meals along with a corresponding shopping list. I then used my handy dandy price book and put prices next to each item on my grocery list.  I then added up. I was way over my budget. So, I went back and cut as many items as I could until I could get it down lower. If I leave it the way it is now I will only have $30 leftover for eggs and veggies to last the rest of the month. I don't think that will be enough but I'm not sure what else to cut. At least it's a start.I'm hoping I'll find sale items on some of the items.

I know I could get the total down if we could eat more carbs but our health would suffer. My blood sugar was creeping up to the dangerous point and by cutting back on our carbs it has started to come down.  I'll continue to pray and ask that the Lord will help me find a way to eat low carb on the money He has provided.

I'm excited that I have a new plan and I have hope that I'm getting closer to living within our means.

How much do you spend on groceries per person? Are you budgeting while trying to eat healthier? I love learning from your comments!