Love making bookmarks & cards out of my scrap paper!
Used Canva.com and my new laminator to make this Happy Planner cover.
Why buy a new one every year when you can make one yourself?!
More cards & bookmarks!
Some of these tips will be fairly obvious. Others, maybe you didn’t know about. Either way, I hope this post will inspire you to use your local library! It is a shame that most people don’t know what a gem public libraries really are.
Well this is a pretty obvious one, right? I often dream of a house with wall-to-wall bookshelves, loaded with lovely hard-bound copies of the great classics and all the art books I studied in college. Alas, that would be an epic waste of money and only for show. Very rarely will we re-read the books we have already read and chances are we run out to the store and pick up books we need to projects or inspiration, then they just collect dust. Unless the item is a hot best-seller in high demand, you can most likely get it at the library in-house or via interlibrary loan in under a week. My library has a system where I can request books or other items I can’t find on the shelf and receive a text message when it arrives and is ready to be picked up. WOW. How is that for convenience? Let’s say I am an avid reader of novels. A hardcover novel averages about $27.99 in the store. If I read a book a week I would be spending over $100 a month! That doesn’t include other fun books I might like to check out like DIY books, travel guides and whatever new inspirational self-help book is all the go. Sweet!!
2. Digital Books: e-Books & e-Audiobooks
I love to read. I am obsessive about wasting time when I could be reading. I often carry a book in my purse, but that can get heavy. I wish I could read while I walked my dog – OH WAIT, I CAN!!!! My library offers free digital downloads. Often I will download an audiobook to my smartphone so I can listen while I walk the dog, clean the house or even in the car.
Also, e-Books are great for traveling. If I am away for a week or two at a time, I cannot possibly lug around 4-5 hardcover books through airports and on the plane. I have an old Nook e-reader that I try and load e-books on that way I have one slim and light item with all my books in it for the plane.
3. Museum Passes
I live in a small state, but it seems there are so many good museums here! Most admissions range from $5.00-$30.00. If I went to a new museum every weekend at $30.00 that would cost me well over $100.00 a month! Yikes. I can borrow library passes and present them at the admission counter at these museums and I will receive the discounted rate of the pass. Sometimes if I am lucky, this means free admission. But that isn’t always the case. Sometimes it will be a percentage off or even just $5.00. But that is $5.00 I can save or choose to spend in the gift shop OR if I like the museum that much, I can put that $5.00 toward a yearly membership which always includes perks like free admission and discounted admission to events.
4. Learn a New Skill
Libraries have so many programs. I can take one (or a series of) classes to learn writing, drawing, painting, sewing and so much more. Libraries also have talks and seminars about financial literacy, health care and cooking! Why would I pay Joann Fabrics or Michael’s Stores to learn a craft when I can learn at the library for free?! And most times, they will supply all the items you need. Holy moly!! A sewing class at Joann’s costs $35! Library = FREE!! Free learning?! WHOAH!!
5. A Quiet Space
Sometimes I need to get out of the house to do creative work. There are too many distractions here. I used to head over to a coffee shop, grab a drink and a muffin and stay a while, much to the owner’s dismay. Instead, I go to the library. I find a cozy corner and dig right in. Price – FREE!
6. Judgement Free Zone
It is scary to say this but I have worked at the library for over a decade. I have learned a ton along the way. But one thing I notice is that all libraries are judgement free – the patrons, the staff etc. There is no shame at the library like there might be at other places.
What could I mean here? Freedom to educate yourself on any topic. Freedom to learn. Remember – many countries don’t allow such luxuries like freedom to learn!! I can go into the library, take a book out on any topic (or even a banned book) and read it because I feel like it!
Well, I could go on but I think at this point you should be running to the library!
Long weekends make me anxious. Know why? It is the time where I can choose to get one of the eight millions things done that I haven’t had time for in the past years, done. Get all that?!
I finally got around to using the card making kit my mom gave me for Christmas. Cute!
I COULD waste a lot of money on magazines. I HAVE wasted a lot of money magazines. Oh the glossy magazines full of photos and articles! I must contain myself!
I try to borrow magazines from the library but sometimes a week isn’t enough time to copy down all the inspiration. My friend Pamela somehow manages to get some magazines for free, so when she is done, she plops all the issues in my lap! WOO HOO! Another way to save money – if you are patient!
I want to know why anyone who is frugal is always the butt of someone’s jokes? Why are they dismissed as silly? Do they how much hard work it is to be frugal?? It takes a lot of discipline or creativity or both. I certainly try pretty darn hard. I am disciplined and creative and I admit – I get a real kick out of the whole thing.
There are millions of books, articles and Youtube videos on the topic of saving money. Well, let me throw my 2 cents in. Maybe if you hear it enough you might start acting more frugal!
If you know me, you know sending and receiving cards in the mail is kind of my thing. I love sending birthday cards, anniversary cards and of course thank you cards! Let’s say I have about 50 cards to send a year. If I bought a card from CVS I’d say the average (bland, boring) card costs $3.99. But of course I wouldn’t buy those I would buy the cards with more sentiment! Think $5.99-$7.99. 50 cards at $7.99 would cost me a total of $399.00 (before taxes).
Let me share with my little secret. I love making cards. It doesn’t take long. If you are going to take the time to drive to the drugstore and look for the right card, you may as well stay home and make it! I will share with you my secret weapon – scrapbook paper pads. They sell for $19.99 at Michaels. It seems about every other week the pads go on sale for $5. I will scoop up one pad (only on sale) and that will yield one year of cards plus extra scraps for other projects like bookmarks. The pieces of paper are huge! One side has a lovely design and the other side is white. So if you fold, cut and glue you can pretty much make a better card than the $7.99 mass production. I purchase one pad for $5.00 and by doing it myself, I save hundreds of dollars.
My only regret in this process is not taking photographs of the cards! I must get into that habit!
I have committed to using neutral color/patterned wrapping paper from now on to save money. At Christmas I try my best not to buy holiday paper. So this year I had to get a little creative. I noticed that Michael’s has this scrapbook paper in holiday designs as well. So I grabbed a pad and used it not only for my wrapping design but also my holiday cards! Took a bit more creativity but it sure was fun! I actually wrapped some of the smaller gifts in the scrapbook paper because it was so pretty!
Used up some of my leftover twine and a 3D printed Pokemon character to make it fun for my young cousin:
Here are some of them in a sweet box in front of the tree:
If I have to read one more article about broke Millennials I might just lose my mind. We are not all broke, irresponsible consumers. I am not. Then again, I do make one too many visits to Michael’s & Hobby Lobby. BUT nothing says I have to buy anything when I go in. This has prompted me to make a list of ways I save money.
This may be good news or bad news, but your foundation pretty much shapes most of your spending habits as an adult. Luckily I had those parents who didn’t like to spend money. If any of the following ring a bell with you, then you have parents just like mine:We can’t have that this week, it isn’t on sale.I can sew the same kind of shirt at home for less, and besides, it will be out of style soon anyway.
The generic brand tastes the same.
Do you WANT that or do you NEED that?
They all ring true but the last one especially I think is what is wrong with those “broke Millennials.” Do you really need a home delivery service with pre-prepped meals or do are you just too lazy to make a shopping list? Really, though. I am embarrassed for anyone who does that. “I am so busy.” If you spent less time on Facebook you would realize you have the time to drive to the market for food.
I visit retail stores a lot but I don’t spend a lot of money there. Know why? I am a thief. Whoah hold on – I am not a real criminal! I am stealing inspiration for ideas. Between my husband and I we can build, sand, paint, and deconstruct/reconstruct almost anything. Why should I pay $50 for a trendy wood sign at the store when I can make it at home cheaper? Not to mention, if I make it here, it is unique because, well it is mine and it is one of a kind. Before I buy I ask myself can I make this at home with the tools I already have at a better price. Now I also consider time in this equation. If a project will take me hours upon hours then forget it, I will just buy it (with a coupon or on sale of course).
What the….? In case you were wondering, that stands for
Use it up, wear it out, make do or do without.
What’s that mean, really? Use up what you have until you absolutely have none left. Once it is gone, can you use something else you already have in its place? Otherwise, can you make do without it at all? I admit, there are times when I haven’t finished last season’s body wash and I am ready to dash to the store for this season’s scent. But alas, I will finish what I have! *SIGH*
Do I need to explain this? We spend $50-80 a week on groceries for breakfast, lunch and dinners. As a couple, if we had lunch out everyday (say, $20 per visit) we would spend $100.00 a week just on lunch. That is twice as much as I spent on the ingredients to make everything from scratch. I cringe at the thought.
The struggle is SO real for me. That is not a cliche. That foamy hot cocoa from Starbucks is heavenly. Not to mention the cake pops and the bacon gouda sandwiches are delightful and addictive. People – STARBUCKS IS EXPENSIVE. I love the
staff, the mobile order-ahead app and the atmosphere but a hot cocoa and bacon gouda sandwich cost $7.49. That breakfast sandwich is good but it is tiny and doesn’t last long enough for the price they charge.
In sum – saving money takes time, hard work, dedication and smarts. You may actually have to I have write down a budget and stick to it. Sure there is an app for it, but write stuff down so you don’t forget how to use a pen.
I’ve recently discovered Dave Ramsey on Youtube. While I don’t follow him faithfully, I do agree with a lot of things that he has to say. Don’t use credit cards. Certainly don’t leave a balance on one!! Don’t take out loans. Why? You are spending money you don’t have. I also just started reading an older book called Millionaire Next Door by Thomas J. Stanley & William Danko . I’ve only just begun, but right off the bat he talks about some of the wealthiest people being cash poor. WHAT?! Yes. That is right. They have fancy cars, big houses and no money. Other millionaires are cash rich. Know why? They are frugal. They drive Toyotas and make their coffee at home. Just because you have it, doesn’t mean you have to flaunt it. I think I would rather drive around in an pre-owned car and know I am loaded then drive around in a BMV fearing creditors. Wouldn’t you?
I’ve really utilized my $6 Michael’s scrapbook paper pad this season. Even squeezed in all my holiday cards with it too. Yay!
“I can do this. I can get Christmas done early.” – Me
Yes. This is how every holiday season starts in my head. I get a little better every year but still I always forget something! I tend to wander into the retail stores weekly before Black Friday to scoop out the merchandise then device a plan.
Earlier in the season I found this pad of scrapbook paper at Michaels which was 70% off. I figured I might use it for Christmas cards ( I DID – and forgot to take pictures of them). I try to use basic, non-seasonal wrapping paper at Christmas, then give it a little twist. A while back, I purchased a 5 pack of brown paper on Amazon, some with a little color. I am still working my way through it, which is nice.
Here is my favorite. I used a tiny Pikachu I printed on a 3D printer at my library as a little decoration. My little cousin will be able to paint it when it arrives.
I am pretty sure a while back I mentioned using this awesome paper from Michael’s to line shelves. I wait until they have a 70% off rack.
Well here it is again in my pantry. I just love a pop of color. I will have to take a photo of the whole pantry sometime to show you what it looks like completed!
I purchased a gift and it came with this beautiful ribbon. I kept it around because I figured it would come in handy some day. I was in the mood to decorate a little extra for the holidays and instead of buying something new, I wrapped something I already have in the ribbon!
Don’t Be Afraid to ASK About Options
Most of the time, when it comes to spending money, I tend to obsessively research a company or product so I can be prepared for checkout. I will even wait for sales or coupons. My due diligence really paid off today. I decided, spur of the moment, to have a pedicure at a local establishment. I haven’t been there in a while, and I don’t normally go without a gift card. I went on their website and it stated their basic pedicure costs $30.00. I took with me enough money for the service and a 20% tip (yikes, that is high, but you haven’t seen my feet!). When I sat down in the chair, the clerk handed me a paper with a tier of options for pedicures. The cheapest on the list was $45.00. Hmm, I thought that was odd. I read the paper carefully, turned it over and did not see the $30.00 option. I waited then asked the woman if the $45 package was the basic. She paused, then said to me that the basic is $30.00. I told her I would like the basic, $30.00 pedicure. So essentially they presented me (assuming I did not know about the basic) the more expensive options and potentially could have gotten $15 more from their supposedly unknowing customer. I am glad I am not the personality type who is afraid to ask questions.
Save your hard earned money.