I turn 30 this summer, and to celebrate that big day, my husband is planning a trip to Boston for just the two of us! I’m not huge into travelling, and certainly don’t have a bucket list of places to visit, but if I did, Boston would be top of that list! I have always wanted to stroll the city streets that are so rich in history, eat the delicious seafood, and take in a ball game at Fenway. I was totally blown away when he revealed to me where we would be going! I usually do all the planning in our house (I both love it and loathe it!), so for him to plan everything out (dates, babysitters, hotel, restaurants, activities) was a big deal. Now he doesn’t want me to stress about it, he is taking care of all the little details, and all I have asked is to know when we leave, how long we are gone for, and what kind of outfits I will need to pack.
So since clothing is the only thing I have control over, I am spending every free minute I have thinking about the fun outfits I will want to wear while in Beantown! (If you follow me on Pinterest you might have noticed lots of pinning happening!) I thought I would share some tips on how to keep things frugal when planning outfits for a trip. I think when most people go on vacation, they like to buy new pieces to take with them, and I am of course one of those people. But since our budget doesn’t permit me going out and buying 4 days worth of super cute outfits, here is how I am getting by:
Rethink what you already own – Do you always wear your denim jacket with your cargos; try it with a printed summer
dress instead. Do you only ever wear baseball caps to keep the sun out of your eyes; try a fedora as a sunny day accessory! Mix up your usual/favourite pieces with ones you don’t often wear. I know I tend to dress trendier and a little
more daring when on trips, than I do when I am chasing the kids around.
Pull out those special pieces you don’t often wear - I have a couple tops that I love, but aren’t the most child friendly, so I save them for date nights (which are rare!) or trips away. Same goes for heels; planning outfits around my white pumps is fun. And something as simple as getting to wear my hot pink converse high tops, which take too much time to put on while wrangling the littles out the door, is exciting too.
Borrow – Maybe you need the perfect necklace or scarf to finish off an outfit, so why not borrow it from a friend instead of buying it, especially if you know you won’t wear it again. Or better yet, if you have friends that wear the same size as you, borrow a dress or top or jacket!
Ask for clothing as gifts – This might be my favourite tip! Because I don’t buy that much clothing for myself, any occasion where I will receive a gift, I ask for clothes. I’m lucky to have a husband who picks out the best clothes for me, and even my extended family (on both sides) pick out great pieces for me too. My husband even bought me two fantastic dresses for Mother’s Day that will be perfect for our trip!
If you have to buy – Watch for sales and coupon codes! I never pay full price for clothing (last week I found a shirt on clearance at Old Navy for $2.49, and it was an additional 30% off! I just placed an order online and grabbed another summer dress for $12, a tee for $3 and a dressy tank for $7 and got an additional %15 off), stores have such quick turnarounds on clothing that if you just wait, that item you really would like, will go on sale. Also look in second hand stores, I have found lots of cute dress and skirts, shorts, and belts too! Just make sure you check over the item for stains, rips, that zippers work, and it doesn’t look too worn.
We will have such a variety of activities, from casual ball games and city strolling, to nice dinners and attending Mass, that packing multifunctional pieces will also be key, otherwise I might need two suitcases just for the 4 days! But thankfully we are driving, so I don’t have to worry too much about being a frugal packer.
You all have them, sometimes they come in a one-size-fits-no-one, sometimes they offer sizes but just in men’s, so even the small is giant on me. Those shirts that you get for volunteering for something, maybe it’s from a camp you attended or a sport you played, or in my case, from a charity 5k walk. Our dear friends started up the lymeSavers foundation, I love them to bits, and the event this past weekend was a blast, but the participant shirt did not fit me at all. I didn’t expect it too, as I’m tiny, and most things don’t fit. I wasn’t too worried about it for the day of the event, as it was freezing out, so I had layers on, and the big shirt was tucked in on one side, and it wasn’t a big deal. But I want to wear the shirt all the time! I want to run in it, and wear it to the beach. I want to wear it as advertising for their foundation! But in its original form, I knew that wouldn’t happen. So, like any good friend would do, I got out my fabric scissors, and cut it up:
I used this tutorial, which seems to be the most popular one on Pinterest. I pinned it months ago, with plans of taking scissors to lots of shirts, but so far this is the only one I have done. It is super easy, and is no sew too, which is perfect for this busy mom who did it on the other side of the baby gate while both kids called for me the entire time…it’s amazing I ever get anything done, really.
Sometimes, just sometimes, it is easier to make it yourself than to keep wasting time looking for exactly what you want. When you have to drag 2 kids with you from store to store, and into change rooms, getting out the sewing machine seems like the easier task. And when the item you want to buy from a store doesn’t even fit you, making it yourself sometimes is the only option.
I’ve been wanting a maxi skirt for a while now, and thought it would be easy to find a cheap one (preferably for less than $20), since they are so popular again this year. Well, I could find them for a price I was willing to pay, they just didn’t fit. See, I’m barely 5’2″, when I tried on the women’s maxi skirt in Target, in order for it to just touch the floor, I had to pull it up around my armpits! I’m all for a high waisted skirt, but that’s a bit much! I even tried on the one’s in the junior/girls area, but they looked young, if they had them in more neutral colours I could have bought one (and for much less money too!). Hem it you say? Why on earth would I pay $20+ dollars for a skirt and than shorten it? I figured if I was going to do that, I might as well just make one. My Mom even offered to make one for me since she has more free time these days than I do. I knew it would be a simple project, so I looked in my trunk of fabrics, and sure enough I had some awesome purple jersey knit and even some elastic! I figured I would give it a shot on some fabric I already had, before going and buying any, you know, in case I totally mess it up! During the kids nap time on Sunday morning, I whipped one up. My husband was even impressed with how quickly it came together. I had found a few tutorials on Pinterest (see my crafty board here for them), but none of them were quite right for my sewing abilities and my simple sewing machine. So I took some of the ideas from them, and made up my own way of making it.
It was so darn simple, really anyone could make one. I used a cotton jersey knit (pre wash it!) with a 45″ width. I left the width as it was, and only made one cut for the length (no hemming required as jersey knit doesn’t fray!). Measure from your waist to the ground and add a couple of inches for room for the elastic and seam allowance (double the width of your elastic plus 1/2 inch for seam allowance). One straight seam the full length of the fabric is all it takes to make it a long tube (right sides together, and make sure you back stitch at each end!) fold the fabric over at the waist, and another quick straight seam, leaving a 2 inch gap to feed the elastic in. Feed the elastic through the waist band, sew the ends of the elastic together, and sew the hole closed. Turn it right side out and you are done! Since the elastic piece is a little smaller than your waist measurement, and the fabric is nearly double your waist, it will gather nicely and be flowy at the bottom, see:
I realize this isn’t the best tutorial. If (when!) I make another one, I will take pictures of the process and write up an actual tutorial. I was rushing to get it finished so I could wear it to Mass, and get it done before any kids woke up, so I didn’t take any pictures during the cutting/sewing! But I promise you, it was easy. And who doesn’t love free? But if you don’t have a fabric stash, don’t worry, fabric is always going on sale, and if you are short like me, you will only need 1 metre! Hopefully I can sneak to the fabric store later this week to make more! Happy sewing!
I know, I know, its mid April now. Easter was a couple of weeks ago, but for some reason I forgot to share with you how I managed a frugal yet indulgent Easter with my family.
Typically, on Easter Sunday, we do an egg hunt and gift opening on our own, first thing in the morning. My family then comes over for Brunch and more gifts, and later in the afternoon we head over to my husband’s family for another egg hunt and more gifts and Easter dinner. When we attend Mass seems to change each year, just as it can each weekend, and it’s based mostly on our children’s nap times. This year we attend the 8am Mass.
As I have explained before, we aren’t buying into the commercialization of these Holy days. It’s just that we are so happy to be so blessed, that we can’t help but share it with our loved ones. The gifts for our kids from their Aunts and Uncles and Grandparents are usually small: a new spring shirt, bubbles, a small stuffed animal or action figure and maybe some chocolate. My husband and I still fill a small basket with treats for each other, because, well, we both love sweets! This year we toned it down, and didn’t go as crazy with giving each other all the things we gave up for Lent. We are trying to eat healthy, so we stuck with just a few each, and just a small gift (he gave me the new Bon Jovi album, I bought him a new shirt) to save money. As for the kids, here are pictures of their baskets (awful quality because it was late at night and kinda dark…)
As for their new Easter outfits, my daughter wore a yellow dress and navy sweater that I bought with a gift card I received for attending a blogger event at Sears, and my son wore his usual khakis and a new golf shirt from Target that was $7. If I hadn’t received that gift card, she likely would have worn another dress from her closet (she has every dress I wore as a baby!), or I would have looked for one second hand.
I normally buy some fresh cut flowers to put on my hall table and kitchen table for Brunch, but my neighbour brought over some nice flowers for me on Good Friday, so I didn’t have to pick any up on Saturday morning :). As for what we ate for Brunch, here is the menu:
Turkey Breakfast sausages (two packs of 10 sausages for $8 from Walmart. They taste just like pork breakfast sausages, but are much healthier)
Baked Omelette (such a great way to make eggs for a crowd! I used leftover ham from earlier that week, the eggs were $2.49 for a dozen, but I only used 8)
Strawberry butter (strawberries were $1.49 a pound)
Strawberries, raspberries and blueberries (all bought on sale, for $5.47 total)
pancakes (I use the Joy of Cooking recipe)
Jam Tarts (I didn’t have time to make the dough, so I bought pre-made tarts shells for $2.99, and filled them with store bought strawberry jam and lemon curd)
I didn’t include the prices for the bread or the pancakes because the recipes use staples that I buy in bulk, and always have on hand. I like to count them as freebies ;)
We also buy small gifts for our nieces and nephews. You might remember that last year I made them all gifts (purses and super hero capes!) This year for my sisters’ kids, we kept it simple with a stuffed animal and video game and some candies. For our Catholic nieces and nephew, I followed this tutorial and made them each their own name with scriptures for each letter (I only used some of the scriptures she provided, as I wanted them to be very appropriate for each kid, so I spent hours searching online for other ones!). I also made them for my two kids! I bought plain black frames, and coloured in the letters of their names in (hopefully) their favourite colours. I intentionally didn’t take pictures, as I don’t want to share their names, so you will have to just me on how precious they are.
I hope you all had a happy and blessed Easter!
If you have kids, you know how fast they grow out of things, and you know how expensive the clothing can be. I love when my kids have growth spurts as we enter a new season, because I can go ahead and load up on the new stuff in the new size. I dislike when they grow in the middle of a season. Like right now. Both of them! Thankfully they both grew just in the legs, odd, but I will take it! They both needed new pants, and will need lots of spring/summer stuff too.
Today was the first day of the Old Navy Kids/Baby sale, where everything is 40% off. Seems like a pretty good deal, right? Except that I never buy anything full price at ON. They have such a quick turn around on items! That sweater you fall in love with will be on sale next week, promise, so don’t pay full price! Wait another week and you might get a coupon in your email to use too. Wait another week and it will be in the clearance section! Wait a little longer for the clearance section to be an additional 50% off ;). Never pay full price at Old Navy!
If you follow me on twitter, you might have seen some tweets this morning about placing an order. And changing my mind, and then changing my mind again. After selecting 5 items, and my bill hitting $53, I decided that wasn’t a very good deal. I then thought I should hit up Once Upon A Child (a consignment children’s store, big chain, love them, you should shop there too!) first, and see if I still needed to place an order with Old Navy. Here is what I bought:
Navy Baby GAP mary janes: $2.97 (BRAND NEW)
Purple Robeez: $6.37 (BRAND NEW)
3 pairs of Old Navy leggings: $2.97 each (slightly worn)
1 pair brown JOE leggings: $2.12 (BRAND NEW)
Summer short sleeve pjs: $2.12 (slightly worn)
Cheeroke pink leggings/skirt: $2.97
Winnie the Pooh tunic/dress: $2.97 (slightly worn)
Children’s Place brown khakis: $4.67 (slightly worn)
Osh Kosh Jeans: $4.67 (look brand new)
Gymboree shorts: $4.67 (slightly worn)
Total: $44.56 (the best part about this, we saved 15% off the original prices because my mom came with me and every Thursday is Grandparents Day, so she paid, and I paid her back!)
AMAZING! Can you even believe those shoes? Those shoes alone, brand new, would have been more than this total bill was! Sure the shorts and the summer jammies won’t be worn for a while, but I grabbed them anyways because they were good deals. And when I saw things are slightly worn, they look like they have been washed a few times, that’s it. The best thing about buying from a consignment place is that they are picky about what they take, since they are buying it off you. Most items are in great shape!
And of course, Grandma couldn’t leave without buying the kids a new toy each: a pink dump truck for my daughter and a tracker for my son, both easy to clean before playing with ;)
Well, I’m off to do a load of laundry.
Watch for my next post in the Frugal Healthy Dinner Series tomorrow: Crispy Orange Beef!