11 Ways to Save Money on Sewing, Quilting and Craft Supplies

 1. Use what you have. SeeCraftyourstash.wordpress.com for my on-going use-what-you20131208_163710-have project. Craft lovers tend to collect bits and pieces of things using such great justification as: it’s on sale, I always am looking for this color, size, weight, etc. Because we are so well prepared we will probably never really need to buy another piece of fabric (paper, ribbon, fastener, board, insert your favorite craft/hobby here). To that end, save some money and use what you have. This will require a great deal of creativity; that is why you were doing hobbies in the first place. It will also require a great deal of will power. I won’t tell you I haven’t bought another piece of fabric since I started this project; I will tell you I’ve bought considerably fewer pieces and have had an enjoyable challenge using what I’ve got. I’m pretty sure that my friends and family have enjoyed the fruits of this labor as well.

2. Use coupons and apps. There really is an app for that. JoannMichaels and Hobby Lobby are in my neighborhood so I frequent them quite a bit. Find their apps for a 40% off regular priced goods. Sign up for emails at your favorite quilt shop. They will let you know when there is a sale. Many quilt and craft shops will offer discounts on materials for classes.

Image3. Trade your services for store credit. If you have a particular talent for quilting, sewing or making things that will make a terrific store display, offer to trade hanging your quilt (or other project) in the store for a month or so in trade for store credit.  This is especially helpful when you use materials from a line that is new and hot or languishing on the shelf.  Manufacturers also hire crafters and/or provide materials for you to make samples.

4. Shop around: White thread, 500m, polyester $5.95 in the store, $.89 on line. (threadart.com) Shopping online requires a little planning (don’t wait until you’re out of white thread before you start your research), and will cut down on impulse buying. You will probably have to pay extra for shipping so this may be the time to stock up a bit (don’t go crazy.)

5. Swap with your friends. You have plenty of shiny machine embroidery thread, but you need cotton quilting thread. Perhaps you can trade with a friend. These kinds of swaps work great when you’re in a class. Ask around.

6. Ask for it. Most people have tons of extra if they are crafters and would be happy to make some space on their shelves. Refer to item number 1. Just ask. Think of it like the kids card game, Go Fish. Perhaps the answer will be no, perhaps yes.

7. Look around your house. There are other craft materials hiding in unsuspecting places. Just have a gander at Pinterest if you’re not sure where to start. Cans and Jars, boxes, pallets and other assorted items that you might have confused as trash can be made into some cool projects.  Sheets, towels, tablecloths, and old clothes from the back of the closet can also be used for sewing projects. See this page for some amazing work with reused leather.

ImageImageImagecurtain clothes


8. Thrift stores have fabric. Usually fabric is hung with the towels and linens. Yard sales, rummages sales and estate sales are also good sources for inexpensive fabrics and supplies. Also check Ebay and Etsy for fabric or craft listings.

9. Don’t buy it for a future project. Buy it for what you want to make right now.  Don’t stack up projects for the future. You will end up with a closet full. Refer again, to number 1.

10. Buy what you absolutely love. Not because it’s on sale, discounted, practically free.

11. Buy only the quantity you need.


23 Ways to Save Money on Furniture

As always, the best way to have more money is to not spend it. Here are some ways to save money on your home decorating budget.

1. Rearrange. Consider taking furniture from one room to another rather than just pushing the sofa around the room.

2. Ask friends and family for donations. Seriously. Start asking people; most everyone has a bit here or there that they would love to part with. I’ve furnished more than one house this way.  If your house is empty, don’t be picky. If you are looking for one specific item, hold out for it.

3. Spray paint. This is simple and inexpensive. Read the can carefully. There are specific paints for glass, plastic, metal and wood. There are even more kinds of spray paint than I could imagine. This is just one brand to give you ideas.  Pick the right product, follow directions. You can remake the look of furniture quickly and easily.camo glitter

4. Reupholster, replace pillows, or slip-cover fabric furniture. There are tons of resources and instructions for this. Here’s a simple no-sew tutorial.

5. Re-purpose.  Just because it was originally the office credenza doesn’t mean you can’t use it for a dining buffet.  You may have the perfect piece of furniture hiding in your house. (See item #1)

6. Garage sale, thrift shop or other resale options. See items 3 and 4 for a more cohesive look when you’re done. Used furniture will be vintage or antique in a few years.

7.  Be O.K. with an eclectic look. Everything does not have to match exactly.

8. Make a rug.20130811_151053 (2)

9. Make a pillow.

10. Make art. Hang photos, quilts, teapots or other treasures.

11. Cruise neighborhoods on bulk trash pickup weeks. It’s O.K. to rescue items from the dumpster. It’s free.

12. Use walls as storage, make storage art.969393_10201773540609624_963331587_n

13. Use sheets (new or used) for duvet covers, window treatments, table cloths or clothing. (Remember the Sound of Music?)curtain clothes

14. Consider less is more.

15. Rental furniture companies sell furniture after a few rents.  You’ll find good quality furniture at a huge discount.

If you really want to be the first owner of a piece of furniture…

16. Make it yourself.Recycled-Beer-Can-Furniture-Builds-2

17. Visit the scratch and dent section of the furniture store. A small flaw will save you plenty.

18. Furniture typically has a huge markup. Negotiate the deal, shop around and offer cash.

19. Family owned shops may be able to barter with you for goods or services.

20. Pick up your own furniture – most delivery service will cost extra.

21. Shop with a list, exactly what you want, with photos, and MEASUREMENTS, and price limits. Do your homework, know what you will expect to pay and what your absolute budget is.

22. Be willing to walk away and wait for the deal you want.

23. Avoid financing.

18 Ways to Save Money on Shoes

Of course the best way to save money is to keep it in your pocket.  Make your shoes last longer, look better and suit your style.Image

1. Shine your leather shoes. Here’s a great tutorial.

2. Wash your sneakers. Your athletic shoes can go in the washer. If your shoes can withstand the moisture from a good sweat, then washing them won’t be a problem. I do not recommend putting them in the dryer. Let them air dry. If you live in a place that is cold and wet, put them over the floor heater register.

3. Buy new laces. Especially after you’ve washed your shoes; this will really perk up your sneakers. Also for other lace up shoes. New laces freshen the look.Image

4. Find a shoe repair shop. Replace heel taps, resole, restitch. It’s well worth fixing your good shoes to get more life from them.

5. Buy leather cement or Shoe Goo and fix them yourself. Tandy Leather is a good source.

6. Dye your shoes. This works especially well with fabric covered shoes. There are leather dyes available too.

7. Paint your shoes. Here’s some inspiration.Image

8. Bedazzle your shoes. You’ll find plenty of how to’s. Basically this is glue and something that sparkles. Make your feet fabulous.Image


9. Replace your insoles. This will make your feet happy and your shoes smell better.

10. Make your own shoes. Seriously, Google it. There are several sources for instructions.

11. Buy used shoes. I know. Before you turn your nose up… you have put on bowling shoes, right? So get some disinfectant spray and try it out. Your thrift stores will have some fabulous finds for very little money. 

12. Swap shoes with your friends. 

13. Don’t buy single occasion shoes. Unless you are the bride (even then, no one sees your shoes under the dress) buy shoes that you will wear again. 

14, Only buy shoes that really fit. Walk around the store. If the shoe pinches, rubs or otherwise makes your feet unhappy they will sit in your closet.

15. Only buy shoes you absolutely love.

16. Buy quality shoes. You want shoes that will fit better, and last longer. You will save money over time as you will not have to replace shoes as often. These can also be easily repaired to extend their life.Image

17. Rotating between two or three pairs of shoes for work will allow the shoes to rest and breath between wearings. This will extend their life significantly over wearing the same pair every day. 

18. If you need specialty shoes for work or athletics, go to a specialty store to purchase them. The service you receive will assist you to purchase the correct shoe for your foot, gait and activity. The small extra you may pay will be worth the effort of getting the right shoe.Image

23 Ways to Save Money on Travel

I just got back from a trip to Texas to visit my daughter. Travel is one of my favorite things to do. There are several things you can do to make your travel less expensive.


1.  You can fly free if you work for an airline. Not a pilot? No worries, flight attendants, ticket agents and ramp agents also fly free. (You could marry a pilot and get the same benefits.)


2.  Fares are cheaper on planes and ships when the kids are in school and between holidays. If you can be flexible on your travel dates you will save money. Remember,  if you plan an international trip, to check for holidays at your destination as well. Here’s some ideas for off season travel.

3. Airfare is often cheaper for travel on Tuesday.

4. Subscribe to airlines sale emails. Wait for a fare sale to book your travel.

5. Sign up for frequent flyer miles.

6. Sign up for an airline credit card that offers miles for purchases. ***Warning! Credit card debt will not help you save!*** On the other hand, a well planned card, with huge entry bonuses will equate to a free trip.   Make the required purchases, then run home and pay the credit card bill.

7. Book tickets online. Most Airlines have web only specials that cannot be offered over the phone.

8. Compare various travel options: Flying, driving, sailing, riding the train, or taking a bus. If you drive instead of fly, you will not require a rental car. You may, however require additional nights lodging. If you’ve never taken a train the trip becomes part of the adventure. A sleeper train will cover both transportation and a bed! Worried about taking your heap of a car on a cross country road trip? Rent a fuel efficient car. You’ll save on repairs, gas and stress. ferry (275x183)

9. If you can be super duper flexible, run to the counter when they request passengers give up their seats for an overbooked flight.  This will result in a voucher for future travel. The amount of the voucher will vary from a few dollars to a free flight. I was offered a free flight and an upgrade to first class on the next flight. If the next flight is not available until the following day you will usually be offered vouchers for food and often hotel. Your vacation will start a little later and you will be ready for the next trip.


1. Stay with friends/relatives or relative strangers. How many times have friends and acquaintances invited you to come and visit? Have you ever taken them up on it? People who like company will invite you, people who do not, will not (usually). If you’re inviting yourself over be clear on how many people and how many days.  It’s one thing to invite yourself to Grandma’s for a week with all six of your charming children, and quite another to invite yourself to a former co-worker, student or friend of a friend’s place. Be neat and polite, this is free lodging.

2. House exchange. I have done this with great success. There are several web sites who offer this service. This is the one I use. Home Exchange There is a small fee for listing your home, the exchange is free. All instructions are included.

3. Unless this is your honeymoon, we go on vacation to see and do things, not to spend time in our room. Most budget motels are clean and inexpensive. Read the reviews online. This will give you a good idea what to expect.

4. Bring a tent. You may find some of the best vacations don’t include a room at all. Be sure to pitch your tent in an approved camping area. Some require reservations, especially during summer. Here’s a link for National Parks.camping

5. A Sleeper Car on the Train, or a motor home combines travel with a place to sleep. This might make the travel part of the adventure and save on hotel expense.


6. Shop room sales. Most of the travel sites will offer deals on hotels and motels. If you favor a particular chain sign up for their frequent traveler program. This will equate to free travel if you go often enough. Be sure to use your airline frequent flyer number when you book a room, most will give you additional travel miles.

7. Departing at night instead of in the morning will save you one night of lodging and won’t crimp your vacation.


1. Eating out can be a huge expense while on vacation. Pack a lunch. You cannot bring water through security. You can bring apples, oranges, nuts and pretty much anything else you want to eat. Go to the grocery store when you arrive at your destination for fruits, granola bars, instant oatmeal or other healthy snacks that don’t require refrigeration.  Image

2. Cook. Many extended stay hotels offer a full kitchen. Breakfast and lunch are easy to accommodate with a mini fridge and microwave.

3. Bring your refillable water bottles. Tap water is fine to drink in this country, and frankly, most other countries. If you are from the Pacific Northwest where water is more delicious than any where else on the planet, invest in a water bottle that has a built in filter. This will make your tap water tasty and quite drinkable, and save you money.

4. Coffee. Coffee. Coffee.Image Oh how I love my coffee. Hotel room coffee makers are generally quite awful. Sometimes I visit people who do not own coffee makers (seriously). I bring my instant coffee beverage with me. There are several brands that come in single serve packets that will easily fit into your suitcase and save you from morning grumpiness and cut back on the number of trips to the coffee shop.

5. Try small local restaurants instead of big glitzy places. Ask for recommendations as you go. Chain restaurants are the same as the ones you have at home. Try something different. Expensive isn’t always better.

6. Most American restaurants serve platters of food that would feed a small third world nation. Share plates. Skip appetizers and desserts in restaurants.

7. BYOB. If you’re inclined to have an adult beverage whilst watching the sunset poolside, bring your own. A bottle of wine from the store, or the makings for cocktails will save you a bundle on beverages.

99 Great Ways to Save

My AARP Bulletin just came in the mail. I know. I hate that I am in this demographic; but it sure beats the alternative! Here’s the link. 99 Great ways to save. They have some great ideas. I’ll be back with more later, especially creative ways to save on travel.


8 Ways to Save Money on Your Hair

Saving money on your hair is a tricky proposition. I was thinking about this yesterday as I was cutting and coloring my own hair.  Let me just start with a couple disclaimers…First, I am rather of the opinion that it’s just hair; I can shave it all off and start over. If this thought horrifies you, perhaps these suggestions are not for you. Second, my sister is a hairdresser (unfortunately she lives in Hawaii and I do not). Which does not make me an expert by association. So here goes…


1.  Stop coloring your hair. Go natural. Gasp. Really it would be the most cost effective.

2.  Color it yourself. (Invite a friend over and you can have a glass of wine and do each others hair.) Pick a color that is similar to your natural color – Extreme colors are difficult to get right. Perhaps start with a temporary color to see how it goes.

3.  Root touch up. Just a little color in between salon visits. This could save you 2 or 3 visits to the salon each year. This could be significant savings depending who does your hair.


1. Change to a style that does not require as much maintenance. Hair will always require a trim from time to time, however some styles require a touch up every 4 weeks and some every 4 months.

2. Cut it yourself. Keep in mind you can’t put it back if you cut too much, so go easy.


Perhaps a little trim of the bangs, or a tad off the bottom. Remember your friend with the wineglass? Before the wine, let them have the scissors. Purchase some sharp hair cutting scissors for this. Do not use the scissors from the junk drawer to gnaw through your hair.  A nice clipper set will cost about as much as a haircut. Use the clippers to keep the back of the neck and edges cleaned up between salon/barber visits. There are plenty of how to videos, here is a simple article to get you started http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2012-02-08/features/sc-fam-0207-lifeskill-cut-hair-20120208_1_dry-hair-bangs-scissors


1. Often your best bet is to find and independent salon. Usually the person who is doing your hair owns their own business even if they rent the space. What this means is that they have motivation to be creative in pricing and such. Do you have goods or services that you can barter or trade for salon services?

2. Leave it wet. Most salons charge extra for drying your hair. There is sometimes an additional charge for styling your hair. Unless you are having your hair done for an event, leaving the salon with wet hair will save you money.

3. Products. Very rarely will buying hair care products at the salon save you money. Shop for these items at your discount stores who will accept coupons and other discounts. Read the label of your favorite brand and find a store brand or discount brand with the same ingredients. If the label says “compare to” the store brand will be remarkably similar and will cost considerably less.

This http://www.salon.com/2009/08/13/shampoo/ has a cynical and interesting explanation for the ingredients in your shampoo.

Make your own shampoo and conditioner. This appears to be extremely easy and cost effective. I’ll let you know how mine turns out. There are tons of sites that have recipes. I’m going to try this one: http://www.lifesanity.com/make-your-own-shampoo-and-conditioner/


This is me after a use the clippers, go natural event. While this cut was to show solidarity with my great friend who was undergoing chemotherapy, I found it was the most liberating hairstyle I’ve ever had. Easy yes. Never a bad hair day.  I’ve never felt more beautiful.

13 ways to save money on things you throw away

I’m not going to go crazy and suggest that we quit using all things disposable; but we spend quite a bit of money on things we throw away. Here are some things you can easily wash and reuse and save a bundle.

1,  Paper Towels. Use regular kitchen towels, wash them. Use a little bleach to sanitize. If you don’t have enough towels to use this way, swing by your local thrift store for more. Better yet, use old bathroom towels, cut and hem to size. A little FYI on how bleach sanitizes: http://home.howstuffworks.com/bleach2.htm



2. Sponges. See above.

3. Napkins. You can make fabric napkins the size and color you like and use them over and over. Check the linen closet. Did you get some fabric napkins for a wedding present? Bust ’em out! Make your own: http://diy.yourway.net/go-green-or-get-fancy-with-diy-cloth-napkins/


4.Tissues. Remember when all men had a handkerchief in their pockets? Or perhaps I should say; in the olden days men carried a handkerchief and women kept a hanky in their purse. This is simply a small piece of fabric you can use to wipe your nose, then launder. You can find beautifully embroidered vintage hankies or you can find them at your favorite department store. A bandana will work equally well. You can make these by hemming a 16″ square of cotton fabric. Here’s a great tutorial for making your own dainty hanky http://www.craftpassion.com/2011/02/tutorial-lace-trim-handkerchief.html


5. Wet Wipes. See above. Get your handkerchief wet and you have a wet wipe.

6. Make up remover disposable “cloths”. You can make your own make up remover. Most are a combination of Olive Oil an Aloe Vera Water.  Apply with a clean soft wash cloth to save even more.  Here’s one that I liked: http://sunniebrook.com/blog/face/homemade-makeup-remover

7. Paper Plates. Use the real thing and wash them. Crazy. I know. I realize for some events this is not practical. However if you serve on paper because you’re short on dishes consider a trip to the thrift store. I like bright colored dishes and purchase individual dishes in a variety of hues. You could make a more classic look by sticking to white.


8. Plastic storage bags and plastic wrap. I save the plastic dishes the luncheon meat is sold in and use them to pack my lunches and store left overs.

9. Plastic cutlery. Yes, I use the real stuff. Extras from the thrift store will give you plenty to carry in your lunch box and picnic basket.


10. Paper lunch sacks. Insulated totes keep your lunch fresher and tastier. Of course packing your lunch is a huge money saver.

11. Refill your water bottle.

12. Trash can liners. Do you still get groceries in a plastic bag? This makes a great trash can liner. Most waste baskets only receive dry trash so a liner is not really necessary. Use one larger bag to collect the waste from the small bins around the house and save.

13. Diapers and feminine hygiene products.  Ok, I know. This is a tough one. It is less expensive to wash and reuse cloth diapers, and such,  but it’s also a huge messy inconvenience. I can’t really recommend this one.  If you decide to, use hot water and bleach.