Thursday, August 2, 2007

Frugal Friday

You can have hobbies that are fun and frugal at the same time. Many hobbies are money savers in themselves.

My hobbies are quilting and sewing, gardening, cooking and couponing.

These are some of the ways I enjoy these hobbies without spending a lot of money.
1. Quilting and sewing: Use scraps that I have saved, have been given or purchased very cheaply at yard sales, thrift shops or on ebay; use clothing for fabric such as blue jeans; piece leftover batting together to make the size quilt you need; get patterns and ideas from quilt books checked out from the library or free on the internet (such as; make homemade baby quilts for shower gifts instead of buying a gift; Sell quilts on ebay (haven't tried this yet but would like to!)
As you can see from the above picture, my sewing machine is rather old and basic. But it does the job! It is an old high school home economics singer sewing machine built into a cabinet. It even has a name some teenager carved into it! I found a walking foot/quilting foot to fit it that has made all the difference in the world in my quilt sewing. I can quilt on my machine with it and its wonderful for sewing on the binding. This machine was given to me years ago by my mother who bought it from a high school surplus sale at the school where my sister in law taught home economics at the time. Sometimes I think I would love one of the new fangled sewing machines, but this one does the job and I like it. I had it serviced a while back and borrowed a new one from the sewing machine store to try out. It had lots of fancy stitches, etc. But the bottom line is I LIKE MY OLD MACHINE BETTER.

2. Gardening: Buy seeds at Dollar General for .10 or .25 per pack; divide perennials and replant in other areas of the yard; be the recipient of friend's divisions of perennials; Plant perennials and annuals from seeds instead of buying the established plants; allow annuals to come back the following year from seed; root cuttings of plants; Some of my favorite plants came from divisions of heirloom type plants at the family cemetery near my home. If they live in a country cemetery with no care at all, they will live in your yard. The plants were planted there many, many years ago. This is the cemetery where some of my family is buried and I was responsible for maintaining it. These plants were being mowed down every year and so I was able to save some of them.

The picture above is of some aloe plants. My mother in law gave me one little aloe plant about 15 years ago and it has multiplied and multiplied. It happily grows babies for me which I repot. They make great gifts and the gel inside the plant is good for burns and stings. My mother in law was killed in a car accident 7 years ago and this aloe plant is a physical reminder of her that I want to keep growing.

3. Cooking: Check out cookbooks from the library; use frugal recipes from cook books such as "Not Just Beans" or "More With Less Cookbook"; inventory freezer and pantry and plan meals around what you have on hand; Plan menus around the grocery store sales paper each week; Use the "Pantry Principle" (shop to replinish the pantry only); use coupons wisely (see no. 4 below) Look for recipes on line that use the ingredient you have that needs to be used; buy meat that has been marked down but is still in date; Use the freezer to store sale meats; Plan menus ahead of time; Know the best price for each item and only buy it when it is at the best price and stock up when it is at the best price; organize the pantry and freezer to know what you have to avoid buying something not needed that is not on sale.

4. Couponing: Only use coupons to buy things you would use anyway; Use coupons on sale items and especially if you can get a rebate too!; Keep coupons organized; Study sale papers weekly from Walgreens, CVS and Rite Aid to see what can be bought for nearly nothing or for a final cost of "free" or even sometimes they pay you!; Study each stores "gimick", such as extra bucks, cash register rewards, and rebates to know how to use them to your advantage. After an initial investment roll the gimicks over and over. Don't let the store trick you into buying items that are overpriced while you are there getting the deals! The coupons will pay for the newspaper subscription.

The coupon organizer above is one I bought from Gooseberry Patch using a birthday coupon they sent me. Its not exactly what I want for my coupon oranization, but until I come up with a better solution its nice and pretty.

I totally understand that some people don't want to do coupons, but for me it is a hobby.

If your hobby can't be done frugally and its your passion, that's a great incentive to be frugal in other areas of your life so that you can afford to enjoy your hobby!

Go to for more frugal tips.

Happy Friday and Happy Weekend!

Debbie J.


Carrie J said...

I have the very same machine, except I bought mine new, years and years ago, just before I got married. I love it because the insides are metal, not plastic. My daughter is a costume designer and she has a Singer machine made back in the late 50's. She loves it and says it is a real workhorse. I used to make dresses and play clothes when my kids were little. I'm not really a patient seamstress so I don't enjoy sewing. I want to make stuff for my house. Should be easier because I sew in a straight line very well! LOL. Good post btw.

WesternWarmth said...

Sounds like we have similar hobbies. I'm in an apartment which makes gardening difficult but I look forward to "container gardening" since I'll be here during planting season next year.

Mrs. L said...

Great post for Frugal Friday, thanks!

I agree with hobbies that save money vs. using it up as I try to do the same. I recently got interested in paper crafting, but I have enough already and I refuse to keep buying more and more which is a waste of my husband's hard-earned wages.

One of my goals this year I hope is to learn sewing and take a class as I see it could be so helpful around the home. I like your older sewing machine - I think sometimes the older machines are probably better made for sure. Simple can be great!

Mom2fur said...

You are a woman after my own heart. I once had a top-of-the-line Janome with 179 stitches, plus the ability to design your own embroidery. We're talking $3,000 back in the early 90s. I loved that machine and ran it into the ground. When it 'died' I decided to put it out to pasture, because all that computer stuff would have made it very costly to repair. I got my money's worth out of it, but that was that.
When I felt like I wanted a new machine, I told my husband (it was a Christmas gift), "I just want something that does regular stitches and buttonholes." Really, once the kids have outgrown cute, who needs the little ducklings or daisies? I'm really into sewing again (just got myself a cool mannequin) and I agree...the simplier the machine, the better.

And I love cooking and couponing, as well!

Littlepenpen said...

Your Singer is almost exactly like mine. I received mine as a Christmas gift in 1984 and I think it's probably the best gift I've ever received. I'm with you on the frugal hobbies... there is so much fun to be had out there for us "simple" people!

Anonymous said...

Just wanted to say I'm glad you realize how great your machine is. I use to have one of those older sewing machines that worked just fine and thought I just had to have a new one. What a mistake. I of course sold my old one and sure wish I had it back.

I always enjoy reading your blog. Great post today!


Debbie J. said...

To Anonymous: Thanks. I had a choice between spending $95.00 to service my old machine and buy a new one for $200.00. The new one did lots of fancy stuff, but when I tried it out, I just wasn't satisfied, so I stuck with my old one. I'm glad I did. Debbie J.

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