Stephanie was generous enough to write a 3-part story on her recent experience with being laid-off, how she’s managing to stay within a budget, and how she’s learning to thrive in her new unemployed status.
Stephanie Morillo is a musician and writer from New York City. While she has recently been displaced in the 9-5 sense, she has recently shown a knack for web programming and has been performing regularly in NYC. Stephanie can be found on her website and on Twitter @radiomorillo.
It’s possible that I’ve become a complete wuss when it comes to the heat. When it gets this hot (high 90s and into the 100s) I really want to just sit by our window AC unit and soak in the coolness, and it’s hard to get motivated to do much of anything if it means stepping foot outside.
Rather than venturing out into the heat my mind starts drifting into the “let’s go to the movies ALL DAY!” or “let’s go wander around the mall!” territory… both ideas that are totally not wallet-friendly because if I’m hanging out in a mall I’ll want to go shopping. Sometimes that’s just waay too much temptation.
Here are some budget friendly ideas that don’t involve running the AC non-stop, wandering around a tempting mall, or blowing your whole paycheck on marathon days at the movie theater (by the way, if you haven’t seen Moonrise Kingdom yet, you must!).
image by the culinary geek
Ideas for staying cool in the summer heat
1. Stand in the shower and run cool water over your feet There’s probably somescience backing this idea but all I know is this always helps to cool me down.
2. Sleep with a bag of ice near your head Having that much freezing cold near me when I’m trying to sleep in the heat is helpful. The ice bag is mobile and can be easily moved to the hottest area on your body. It’s especially nice on the back of the neck and forehead.
3. Cool down from the inside out Drink plenty of water. You’ll feel cooler if you’re hydrated. Drink at least 8 ounces of water every hour and add mint leaves, lime, or cucumber for added refreshment. Sales on popsicles and ice-cream usually run non-stop at the grocery store in the summer… a great (and tasty) way to cool down from the inside out.
4. Put your pillow case or PJ’s in the freezer before you go to bed Laying your head on a cold pillow case or pulling on chilly pajamas is a great cooling-down technique (a Facebook friend recommended the PJ’s in the freezer idea- such a great tip!).
5. Lay in an ice-cold bath Fill the tub with cold water and ice-cubes to get that core temp down.
6. Keep your blinds closed and add a layer of paper accordion-fold panels We live in a west-facing corner unit that gets blasted with sun all day long. In addition to keeping the blinds closed all day we added a layer of inexpensive paper accordion-fold blinds (approx. $10 for 7 large panels from the home repair store). They help to block the sun that much more and they’ve made a huge difference in the temperature!
7. Open the windows at night and place a bag of ice behind a fan This is another ideathat a Facebook friend told me about. I haven’t had a chance to try it yet but it sounds completely legit.
8. Visit the library or museum These two places are air-conditioned and won’t be as tempting as spending the day wandering around the mall.
I knew my little sister Christine was onto something when she told me that she was going to talk to some grocery stores (Hy-Vee and Russ’s) about having them do her wedding flowers and wedding cake. Turns out she was REALLY onto something.
She’s being super resourceful about how she’s been spending on her wedding, and since her wedding budget is no where close to the national average wedding cost of $25,631.00 she has been coming up with some very clever ideas to cut down on the costs. Here are just two of the frugal solutions she’s come up with.
That right there is our 2 1/2 year old horrible futon. We bought it for $30 bucks from a couple in the suburbs that lived in a house tucked away in a neighborhood I’ve never heard of. It was by a highway and they had a car in their driveway that had those vinyl decals on the side of it that advertised their dog healing/dog grooming business. I wondered how they healed dogs and what their favorite type of dog was but since we were on a mission that day, I didn’t ask.
We were told the futon had lived in the husband’s “man cave” and it had been covered the entire time with a protective sheet. “So”, they told us, “it’s in really great shape”. We didn’t have anything to sit on in our new apartment so we decided for $30 bucks, “Why not?”
Over the course of the 2 + years we’ve had that thing it had become a thin pancake. I couldn’t sit on it for extended periods of time because the slats hit every part of my body in just the wrong way. During a movie, I’d grunt, sigh heavily, and tried to not be too annoying as I adjusted and re-adjusted while trying to eek out some kind of comfort. I would pull every pillow from the bedroom and closets and I’d get into the camping gear to find the mini pillows, I’d pull off the pillows from the chairs around our apartment, and I’d stack them up to build a sort of nest/barrier as I tried to put any amount of distance between me and the uncomfortableness.
See that picture up at the top there? That was right before a movie. I’m telling you, it was a mess of a couch.
We didn’t think we’d be in this apartment as long as we have been and when we bought the futon we didn’t think we’d have that for long either. Oh, and did I mention that my huge, amazingly comfortable and beautiful couch which was my very first “adult” consumer credit card purchase didn’t fit into this apartment? We really, really tried to get it in but, long story short: weird wall placement by door entryway in small old apartment + mega couch = don’t mix.
muchh better, muuuuucch better
The other day I decided we could no longer deal with that nasty ass (man cave, remember?!), crazy uncomfortable futon/couch anymore. Plus, oh by the way, an Ikea opened up in town so maybe they had something cheap/cute/not painful? I convinced my husband that it was time to make the leap and be done with the futon for good! So off we went.
Plus, honestly, the futon always kind of embarrassed me. Using a dingy futon as our couch while we’re in our 30′s just feels a little, rough. Like really rough. And you know I’m more than okay with roughing it, getting by, and making do but when somethings past it’s limit, it’s time to move on. At some point you gotta ask, “How worn out does something have to be to replace it?” My answer is: if it doesn’t work anymore, you can’t make it work, can’t hire someone who knows how to make it work, or if you use it all the time, then you might need to really replace it.
Frugal living isn’t all about suffering and deprivation, it’s about saving where you can so you can buy what you need when you need it.
We found a reasonably priced small charcoal colored couch that took 3 hours to put together (I had no idea that couches could come in a box! did you?). It makes me feel like we stepped it up a bit and Thank God that futon is OUT OF OUR LIVES. FOREVER.
Bonus: we sold the futon on Craigslist to a nice gent who thoroughly inspected it and decided he liked it. He said he works in an office all day with computers and that what he really likes to do in play in his band that plays cover songs. He added that they also write their own music too. He told me that he likes artists and that he worked in a toy store a few years ago. He drove a black truck and when the futon was all loaded it hung out of the back of it. I watched as he drove away with the bane of my existence and I hoped he would have better luck with it then we had. That’s also right about the same time that I realized we actually made money on that couch. So we bought a pizza.
How do you know when it’s time for an item to hit the road? Do you have an item that’s on it’s last leg now? Do you find good things on Craigslist? What’s your favorite kind of pizza?
Sharron Hunter is the co-founder of Eco In The Know. She’s also a charming Australian who made her way to Colorado. Today she’s sharing a bit of her motherhood story (below). She defined her priorities, and (I think most importantly) she utilized what she had to maximize her then one-income family situation.
image courtesy of the author (left)
KEEPING IT SIMPLE AND GETTING AS MUCH JOY!
I remember taking my three kids, 2 boys and a gal, to opportunity shops in Melbourne, Australia to find toys, clothes, books, board games and anything else we might need. I was a mother on a spending diet through the 1980s and 1990s and this was my way of supporting both the important issue of recycling and keeping down costs. It was during this period that our family also embraced organic farming. We turned our rather spacious inner city block of land into a garden farm, growing vegetables, fruit and herbs for our own use. It was not unusual for the kids to be playing in their cubby house and wander out into the veggie patch to gather a fine selection of cherry tomatoes and small crispy cucumbers to create a “cubby” house salad!! If the fancy took them, they could also climb in the apricot tree and feast on tree ripened apricots all plump and juicy! But I digress.
My spending diet was a consequence of an important decision I had made to see my role as a parent as my primary job. It meant that I put aside work for income and took up the most challenging work of a mother, full time and for no financial gain. So our family of 5 survived on Australian $25,000 per year. A friend of mine exclaimed at the time that she was amazed we could do this and a little embarrassed because in her annual budget, $25,000 represented money spent on overseas holidays. Okay, so we did without those, instead we camped in the Aussie bush each Summer, always somewhere remote, brimming with wild life and usually along a pristine beach or an equally beautiful river.
When required and at regular intervals the kids and I would scour the thrift shops, finding little and big treasures that we would triumphantly take home and make good use of. The most famous of our finds was the fantastic Canary Yellow Lace Party Dress which Chiara, my daughter, found in the $2 basket in the kids clothing section. It was outrageously gaudy with layer upon layer of over patterned cotton lace, which was enough to make a 3 year old feel like a princess. Her excitement got the better of her that afternoon and she immediately began to undress herself and struggle her way into this luxurious garment. She was not the girliest of girls so this “over the top” and flouncy number in bright yellow was an odd choice. It was a perfect fit and by the look of pure ecstasy on her little face I was convinced that she had had a fashion epiphany! She walked out of that thrift shop with it on, combined with her child size blunt stone boots (the Aussie version of outback cowboy boots) and did not take it off for the next 3 days!!! I was only allowed to wash it every now and then, when the lace became weighed down with grime and lost that Princess lustre! Oh the joy that was had from this $2 purchase, a joy that lasted a good year until a growth spurt made it impossible for her to wear it without shredding it!! She loved it because she got to choose it and wear it everyday and I loved it because it was a budget hit and we didn’t have any trouble getting her dressed each morning.
That year she was known in our neighbourhood as the “Chrysanthemum”! She is now 20 and we still go to thrift stores together and she still has the knack to make an outlandish pattern, colour or style look remarkably fashionable for the cost of a latte (which by the way we don’t skimp on)!
What are ways that you maximize what you have on a daily basis?
While my curling iron was hot and in use it fell apart in my hands. I maneuvered it back together so I could finish my ‘do, but it was one heck of a rickety operation. While a curling iron isn’t that much to replace (maybe $15) I’m gonna hold off since the Spending Fast is in reactivation mode.
Make do and mend or do without. It’s happening. And curls. Frizzy curls are happening too.
Last night I was flipping through the September issue of Glamour magazine. I borrowed it from the gym. I feel okay about borrowing magazines from the gym because I always bring them back and if I happen to have some old magazines I bring those back with the original ones I borrowed. It’s kind of like the library but without the official “check-it out” thing. Can you tell I feel kind of bad about this because here this is the 4th sentence about it.
Hey, I bring ‘em back!
Back to the story. So, last night I was flipping through the magazine and saw this little tip that said, “… try waking up your face with a scrub of your just used coffee grounds. It’s like beauty recycling!”
There used to be a lady on my bus that convinced Starbucks to give her all of their grounds from the days brewing (that’s a ton). She picked them up at the end of the day, toting them home with her to be used later on in her garden (apparently they’re good for composting and fertilizer too). The grounds were transported in doubled-up brown paper bags. Paper bags are good, but not when wet things are involved. So, the grounds would leak their remaining moistness onto the floor of the bus. The trail of coffee juice moved as the bus moved, wiggled as the bus wiggled, and it touched peoples shoes.
Crazy stuff always happens on the bus. Didn’t you know!?
This morning I decided I was going to utilize the magazine tip, and into action it went.
I’m eating rice and toast for dinner tonight because it’s hanging around (nothing like carb-loading for a non-marathoner). Next up: that box of Cream of Wheat that I thought was a good idea six months ago.
Extra points for throwing down a vintage table runner, and minus two points for getting into the Maalox right now.
It’s hard to believe that the 1st Ever And Then She Saved Clothing Swap is going down this Saturday night! As of right now it looks like approximately 50 ladies will be attending. If everyone brings 10 items that means there will be 500 items being swapped!
Gather up 10 clothing items (shirts, skirts, pants) and your girlfriends, and make a night of it. Since this is a free event it’s a fun way to freshen up your closets, de-clutter and save some extra money this Holiday season.
The other day I was telling you all about how I wanted to go shopping. Like, real bad. Remember this post? Well, guess what? Consider that shopping energy channeled!
A Clothing Swap has been activated!
I wracked my brain thinking of a friend who had an apartment community room or large living room and I realized I just couldn’t think of the perfect place. I sent out a post on Facebook looking for a someone who could volunteer their space/house/community room and guess who responded?! None other than the amazing Tran Wills (a stylish woman in town who is well-known for doing great things with great style.) I really feel lucky that she offered up her gallery space Super Ordinary for the 1st ever swap!
Having the clothing swap happen is so exciting because this is the Spending Fast IN ACTION. This is what we’ve been talking about! Reducing, re-using and wearing stuff out! One person’s trash is another person’s treasure. There is no reason to spend money on new clothes this season. You’ll get to trade in the stuff you’re sick of and you’ll get to take home some things that are new to you and it won’t cost you a cent. Keep that money in those pockets and use it to pay off your debt.
I have a feeling it is going to be straight up A-M-A-Z-I-N-G! If you’re a lady in Denver YOU ARE INVITED!
When and Where
Saturday, November 12th from 7 to 9 pm
It will be held at Super Ordinary, 3126 Larimer Street, Denver, CO 80205. (The actual swap will start at 7:30pm on the dot. Please get there at 7pm so we have enough time to set out your items before the swapping starts)
Bring 10 clean women’s clothing items (no shoes or accessories) and then you get to take home 10 items. (sorry guys, this swap is for women only)
Bring GOOD things that you would give to your sister or best friend after you’ve gotten sick of them (don’t bring crap)
Bring things that you’ll be okay with parting with as it will be an honor system swapping method
At 9pm all of the items that have not been swapped can either be taken back by the original owner or can be left for donation to SafeHouse Denver (a women’s domestic violence shelter)
When the seasons start to change I start feeling like buying stuff. Do you too?
This last weekend here in Denver was a little crispy. It felt like Fall was all up in the air. The change in weather makes me get the urge to buy stuff I need, stuff I don’t need, just stuff. Maybe it’s the change in weather and maybe it’s just general antsy-ness it stirs up. The seasonal change gets me itchin’ for changes to my living space, to my clothing and to the food I eat…
Switch-ups can definitely be good if they don’t include spending money. You know, re-arrange your living room, re-think how you put together your outfits and check out a new cookbook from the library for some new food recipes and ideas.
I’ve learned that the biggest challenge I face when the seasons change is that I want to buy new clothes. I’ve been really tempted to buy clothes because I am SO sick of the ones that I wear all the time. BUT… that usually translates into money looking to leave my pockets. Which, we all know isn’t going to be happening these days! I tried on 4 shirts yesterday and didn’t walk out with a single one because I didn’t love ‘em and didn’t need ‘em! But, I have to confess that I did buy a robe from the new IKEA on Saturday and I didn’t need it at all. I messed up. This is how it went down… I realized it was just like a hotel bathrobe, you know those huge, white plush ones? Well, I saw it, felt it and then proceeded to convince myself I should probably get it because I have wanted one forever people!
See, still trying to justify it. Shopping is so not the “care-free fun event” that it used to be for me. Now, it’s all been realigned. It’s a good thing. Now, I know a splurge is a splurge and they happen rarely as a treat rather than ALWAYS like it used to go down.
So I need to know, what do you do when you’ve determined that you legitimately have to make a purchase? (Hopefully, you’ve been using the handy Should I Buy It Decision Card too) and what I’m really curious about is are there ideal times during the year and during the week to purchase different things? The below poster illustrates this idea and has some suggestions. (click on it for a larger/readable view)
What do you think? Is there a better time than others to buy certain things? Do you agree with the above chart? Got any purchase timing tricks up those sleeves? If so, I’d love to hear them.
p.s… Happy Labor Day! Hope you’ve got the day off!
It was a rainy day and I happened to notice that there were some new boxes in the trash cans that are in the alleyway behind my apartment building. There were some bright colors popping out of the boxes and some vintage looking purses that were strewn about and I found myself thinking “Looks like there may be some cute stuff out there…!!!” I haven’t ever formally been Dumpster Diving even though I’ve heard a ton about it and grew up with a mom who was a “Curb Diver”. A Curb Diver is someone who sees something of interest on the curb that has been left out for the trash removal crews and grabs it. It’s the classy cousin of Dumster Diving. I think all of the dining room chairs in my parents house have been re-finished and re-upholstered and were found on the curb destined for trash heap when my mom swarmed in. She might kill me if I told you that so let’s just keep it between you and me. She finds treasures and makes them new again. It’s nothing be ashamed of it’s actually something to be proud of. See her Gettin’ Guesty interview.
After thinking about it for a total of 2 seconds I made my way out to the alley and started picking through the items. The vintage purses I saw were cute but were ruined by the rain and had some weird pieces missing so those were an automatic no-go. It felt a little strange to be out there… kind like a scavenger. But, cute stuff was a possibility so I was wiling to give it a try. Also, my sister owns a Buy-Sell-Trade store out in Omaha, Nebraska called Scout: Dry Goods Trade (it’s similar to Buffalo Exchange if you’re familiar with that concept) so I figured I could wash these items up and sell them to her for some extra money. Always on the look out for ways to make a little extra money. The little extra money here and there really adds up in the long-run!
The images above are the fruits of my Dumpster Diving labor. It’s hard to tell in the pictures but a lot of the clothes are actually for little kids and since I have a niece that is just the right size she ended up with these items once they were washed and re-freshed. I also checked for bed bugs too just in case that was why they got tossed… you just never know… and luckily there were none.
I’ve also taken to indoor Dumpster Diving (this falls into the Shamelessly Frugal category). This is how it works… at your office are there people who constantly through out plastic baggies or other things that could be re-used? Most people unfortunately do this so you swoop on in, pick out the disgarded items and give them new life. Dumpster Diving at work can be a little tricky because you don’t want to have it affect your job. That would be bad. Keep it subtle and don’t tell your co-workers about it because it will weird them out. Also, keep it to the common space trash cans/recycling bins and not the personal ones at individual desks. Because, talk about making people nervous/weirded out/what’s she doing/OMG/cut-it-out… that will do it.
Morale of the story, keep it subtle and keep your eyes peeled. You might find some gems covered in goo that can easily become shiny and new.
Have you ever been Dumspter Diving? What do you think about it? If you are into Dumpster Diving what has been your best find? Do you use Dumpster Diving as a way to make additional income or do you keep the items for yourself?
July’s Spending Diet totals are in! For the month of July I saved $547.78. This amount is going straight on into savings. It’s weird and awesome to say the words “savings account” in a positive way. How times change!
Check out the Total Savings page for a complete break-down/shake-down of my savings from the tippity top start of the Spending Fast in January 2010 to this very day! It’s been 19 months of this wacky/satisfying/say-what/really?/OMG Spending Fast and Spending Diet process.
Below is a list of some things I’ve recently decided to apply the “Make Do and Mend” philosophy to, the “Don’t Buy It You Don’t Need It” philosophy and the ever useful “Come On Now You Don’t Need That You So Crazy Girl” philosophy.
Toothbrush I was thinking of replacing it because I saw mold on it! MOLD IS BAD. Turns out it was toothpaste scum. I soaked the toothbrush in some white vinegar and it was almost as good as new! For bonus points I poured the vinegar back into the bottle for re-use later. No need to waste and no new toothbrush needed.
Futon Would like to replace it with an actual couch because the futon we have is nasty/uncomfortable/ugly and also because an IKEA just opened up in our state and my gosh, there are some cute couches there that I’d love to own but, you know what, that ugly futon IS a place to sit. So it’ll do. (The $1200 couch that helped launch me into debt years ago wouldn’t fit into this new apartment so we had to get rid of it! Cringe.)
Blender Would like to replace this because it’s plastic so it absorbs every smell and completely reeeeeks even though it’s constantly being cleaned after each use. Oh, and it also has this “smoothie” spout that grosses me out because stuff sticks there. It works though so, it’ll do.
Couch pillows Was thinking that I would like replace these because they’re stained. But, you know what, I think popping those covers into the wash will do them up right and freshen them up. No new pillows needed, the old ones will do just fine. Thank you very much.)
Socks Arguably, I could use some more/new socks for work. Pre-Spending Fast days I would’ve just went out and bought some new ones without a single thought about it. But, these are new days upon us. I’m wearing the mismatched socks together and I’m sewing up the hole-y ones. No need for new.
Creamer I’ve got this old name brand creamer carton that I’ve been refilling with my home kitchen fridge almond milk for the past 6 months or so and taking it into work. It makes it feel like I’ve got some fancy creamer action happening when really I don’t. The power of suggestion continues to be a powerful thing. This putting-generic-in-name-brand-packaging technique works really well with oats too. The generic oats really taste exactly the same as the name brand ones. New creamer, new oats? No, thanks! I’m makin’ do over here.
It’s been fun to continually see where I can cut back on the “needs” and to re-define my “wants” in my life. Whenever I find myself gravitating towards something because “I should replace it” or “because I can afford to” or “why not get something new I deserve it” mode it’s sketchy territory for me. Since I know that I used to have an auto-buy mind I have to be extra cautious to not fall back into my old ways. Nothing has helped me break my old habit like creating new habits with the Spending Fast. It was a whole new way of thinking about things and money. I finally feel free from the crap and it is a good place to be.
I believe that I officially became a “Spender” in a K-Mart at 8 years old. I was in line (with my mom and sisters and little brother) and had in hand some money that I had recently received as a birthday gift. I decided that I wanted what I wanted. I had the money. I was going to get it. What was it? A miniature gum ball machine complete with gum balls. OF COURSE!
I had convinced myself that I needed it so I could set it on my dresser and look at how cute it was, so I could impress my best friend Melinda, and so I could buy gum balls from myself whenever I wanted.
This made complete sense to me. Cuteness, impressiveness, and gum.
WHENEVER I WANTED. YES. THIS IS WHAT DREAMS ARE MADE OF FOLKS.
While waiting in line a thought crossed my mind. I remember thinking that if I saved all my money from here on out I could BECOME A MILLIONAIRE! and maybe even by the time I’m 20 (20 sounded old then)! Then it was my turn at the register and fantasies of millionaire-hood left my mind as my money left my hand.
All these years later that moment in line continues to stand out. I think because it was a turning point. A point when I consciously decided that I wanted what I wanted and at all costs. I wanted more than anything to keep up with my friends whose parents made more than mine and I wanted to seem like I had all that I could ever want. I wanted to play millionaire and pretend that I was somewhere I wasn’t. I couldn’t accept where I was at in life- which wasn’t bad by any means- it just wasn’t the richest and it wasn’t the best bEST BEST WHOA WHOOA BEST! you know? And our society says “be the best” because if you’re not it’s tantamount to being nothing. Which obviously isn’t true but if you think about it, there’s really not much “let’s be okay with where we’re at”. It just doesn’t happen much because money drives everything which means things drive everything. Success in our society is measured largely by the amount of things we own and how impressive those things are. That’s kind of whack right? It is.
What have I learned from this all these years later? More than anything, I’ve learned that having everything I want isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.
Is there a moment in your life that marked a turning point in your relationship with money?
We sat down (virtually) and chatted about how to dress great without spending major bucks. She a lover of thrift stores, style and is a fellow Denverite!
I’m pumped to share her Q&A with ya’ll.
image courtesy of the guest
And Then She Saved: How do you craft your outfits? Where does your inspiration come from?
Haiku Ambulance: Each outfit is entirely built out of spontaneity and is inspired by any number of things. Most importantly these things: the weather, my mood, anything I’ve recently seen in a movie, online, or read in a book. But my real inspiration mainly comes from other blogs and the items I find in the thrift stores.
ATSS: What are the biggest “tricks” and tips that you use when buying/looking for vintage/thrift items?
HA: I think that hands down, the number one best trick is to look in every section. Some of my best pieces have come from either the children’s section, plus size, or lingerie. Try to think about it logically: you aren’t in a store that is selling the same piece in every size. Looking for a shrunken blazer? Look in the children’s section or sizes smaller than you. Looking for oversized items? Search a few sizes up. And always remember that the people in the thrift stores aren’t putting everything back properly. Either way it will pay off for you to look everywhere even if it seems time consuming. And also keep in mind that vintage sizing is wildly different than today’s, so a lot of the best vintage will be several sizes larger on the tag than what you are today. Also buy books on collectible items- things you would never imagine to be worth anything are sometimes the crap that sells for thousands. Read up and you will make better “investments.”
ATSS: What is the best/worst thing about buying vintage/thrift?
HA: The thrill of the hunt is one of the best feelings ever in the whole entire world. Knowing that you and you alone, were the one to find a certain item is incredible. Especially when that item is usually $2-$9. I think the overall “yuckiness” of thrifting is the worst. I have definitely gotten pink eye from a thrift store and wore trousers that smelled like manure because I failed to wash them prior to wearing. Always take hand sanitizer: that’s another great rule.
ATSS: What are your wardrobe basics/essentials?
HA: For me the essentials are a perfectly fitting/feeling: blazer, pair of jeans, and high waisted skirt. And obviously you would need to throw some shirts and shoes in the mix, so you aren’t walking around with your boobies and dirty bare feet hanging out.
ATSS: What’s the greatest item you’ve found while thrifting?
HA: Oh goodness. The greatest item I have found… Boy. I have some really fantastic fur coats that are just insane. But I think that each item has the potential to be the best. At least at its own time, each item makes me just as excited as the last. And if we’re judging by how much use an item has received, then hands down it is my black blazer that did indeed come from the children’s section.
ATSS: When you buy new items what are you on the lookout for/what strikes you when you’re shopping “new”?
HA: When I buy new things I seem to buy more trendy items. I also have pretty much decided that (for the most part) I will continue buying new shoes. My feet are an awful wreck from buying vintage shoes that never quite fit right.
ATSS: How long does it take for you to get your outfits together? How do you motivate yourself to take pics in the morning outside when it’s freezing out!?
HA: I wake up with roughly an hour’s time to get ready. I never plan anything ahead of time, so that certainly causes some chaos around the house from time to time. I honestly take the blog photos in all of four minutes before we go to work, so the freezing temps don’t matter all that much when it goes by so quickly! And when it’s cold it we can expedite the process in like two minutes.
ATSS: Have you always been into fashion? If not, when did you become interested in it?
HA: I’ve always been a thrifter and I’ve always been into clothes. I think that getting into fashion itself actually came later in life. I have had an affinity for theatre and costume design, but my style was a bit more campy and silly until a few years ago. I’m glad to see that I’ve come a little ways since then.
ATSS: How long have you been blogging? Your biggest features/honors?
HA: I have been blogging for well over five years now, but I did my first ever outfit post a year and two months ago. I feel like every feature is an honor. I was exceptionally thrilled to be approached by stylepantry.com and certainly 303Magazine was one of the most exciting things ever to happen.
ATSS: You are the recent recipient of the 303 Denver Style Award! (Congratulations!) How did that feel to get that award?
HA: Totally bizarre. It was a series of happenstance that ended up being utterly amazing. My dad was there when I accepted the award and it was truly awesome to see him so proud of me over something that I started as a hobby. And 303Magazine is such a great publication—it really puts out some great and gorgeous issues so I couldn’t be more humbled to be acknowledged by such a killer Denver institution.
Zoë Cullie of Haiku Ambulance ● THANK YOU ● for being a part of And Then She Saved!
If you would like to be considered as a contributor for Gettin’ Guesty send me an email at: Hello@AndThenSheSaved.com
Does anyone else have a few hole-y socks tucked into their sock drawers? I have a few for sure! All of a sudden I’ll feel the heel of my foot sticking to the inside of my shoe and then I know that I’ve got a hole in the sock. The sticky foot is a sure sign indeed.
Darning socks seems like a bit of an urban legend to me. I don’t think I’ve even met anyone who’s ever darned a single sock and if I did well, I take that back, maybe I HAVE met someone who darned a sock and maybe we just didn’t discuss it.
“Hey, guess what I did on Monday night? I darned my socks AND IT WAS GREAT!”
Nope. Doesn’t happen.
But, that doesn’t mean sock darning is any less useful or money saving.
I’ve got some socks I’m going to be darning up here any minute so now you can say you met someone who’s darned one. Where I would’ve tossed those socks in the trash in the past now they are getting new life.
This handy tutorial found over at Craft Zine tells us how to get the job done.
When I was thinking about this post I was thinking “Yeah, I totally mentioned that already”. Then I couldn’t find it when I searched my site for it and I since I couldn’t find it I guess I didn’t mention it like I thought I did. So if I did already mention it and just couldn’t find it, well, my apologies.
And on with the story.
This Spending Fast Tip maaaayyy be a little ghetto/oh my/no she didn’t/yes she did/I hadn’t thought about that.
Those are the best tips (and best things in general) though- when they are on just this side of crazy.
Can I get an Amen.
this image is on just on this side of crazy… there are no words… image via tumblr
When I started the Spending Fast proper all the fancy coffee at coffee shops immediately left my days. If I wanted coffee I was brewing it up myself. I used up the old frozen coffee grounds that had been in my freezer for years and I started to notice the places that offered free coffee (the YMCA and meetings are great places to find free coffee).
With all this coffee I was brewing up and finding around town I needed a way to transport it. I needed a way to keep it with me.
COFFEE + ME + ALWAYS + PLEASE.
At the time I didn’t own one of those cool travel coffee mugs and thought carrying around an open ceramic mug from my house might get a little messy on the bumpy bus rides and walks around town. Normally at this point pre-Spending Fast I would’ve just BOUGHT a travel coffee mug.
I mean, I needed one. It was obvious. BUT. Things were different now. Things ARE different now.
So. What did I do? I searched for the closest Lost and Found box that I could find and dug in.
I never knew until that day but my “day job” just so happens to have a gravitational pull to travel mugs. I had reached the end of the rainbow and it was pure gold.
If I didn’t know better I would think they were breeding in that box while people looked away. There were THAT many in there.
After rummaging around for a bit I found the perfect travel mug. It was burgundy, had a handle, had a lid and only vaguely smelled. I asked if I had been there long. I wondered if the rightful owner was on there way. I asked if maybe I could have it? “Yes, you can.” So, I took it. I figured with a little sanitation it would be as good as new. And. It was.
Some mornings as I sip up my coffee I feel a little rough using my “pre-loved” coffee mug but then my thoughts drift back to that lovely Lost and Found box, all the the lost stuff in it and all those mugs just waiting for a new lease on life and a little sanitation.
Do you ever find yourself staring at a whole mess of leftovers in your refrigerator? I’ve found that eating out of the fridge and out of the cupboards- using up the stuff I already have is a great way to cut back on spending money. Groceries tend to eat up most of my money thoughout the month.
Stinkin. Groceries! Are! Expensive!
I was thinking people would probably be way more into leftovers if they had a more fun name.
Maye something like: “Deja Vu Meals”.
Seriously. Am I right or am I right!? That’d be WAY more fun.
Or, we could called them: “Hello Again Meals.”
Or: “Hi Again’s”.
Or: “Hey Stranger, New To Town? Nope. You’re Not!”
Okay, now I’m just getting hysterical.
What’s your favorite leftover meal? How do you stretch your bucks in the meal department?
fun with the web cam
the web cam fun never ends around these parts
(Totally un-related fact: when my identical twin sister and I were little kids we always thought that if we had our own “identical twin sitcom” we would call it “Deja Vu”. We grew up with that twin show “Sister Sister” so we thought we had a shot.
And, well, we would be hiiillarrious, of course!
We always thought about going to a Twins Festival too. Anyone ever been to one?)
this is my twin kelly on the left (pic was a couple of years ago). we’re doing our famous mary-kate and ashley olsen impression. pretty spot on huh. we could take that on the road i think.
Over the weekend I got to the bottom of some lipstick sticks. I know, my life is pretty exciting over here. The drama and excitement is pretty hard to handle. I’m trying to contain all the craziness.
Before the Spending Fast/Diet if I got to the bottom of a lipstick I would just toss it into the trash because well, all the lipstick was gone. Now, things are a little different, a lot different. Since I’m always on the look out for ways to save more, extend the life of things and “make do with” I saw the end of these lipsticks not as the end but as a chance to get crafty.
Did you know that there is a little chunk of lipstick at the bottom of the lipstick stick that is basically a little pot of gold at the end of the rainbow? It’s just a little nugget waiting to be found. There is literally a 1/4 inch of lipstick that sits there anchoring the stick of lipstick to the bottom of the stick.
I went to a store that sells lots of containers and I got this empty itty bitty plastic tub that was 76¢. Then, I scoped out the nuggety lipstick goodness (with a couple of toothpicks grouped together) and into the little container it went. I put a bit of Vaseline in there too and swirled it all up and looky there- semi-homemade lip gloss!
Today’s post is all about a featured COMMUNITY post by Jessie. If you haven’t been to the Community page I implore you to explore it.
She brings up a good topic: Little Victories. It’s so easy to get caught up in the big, massive goals like oh, PAYING OFF ALL THE DEBT. But the reality is there is so much that happens everyday that counts too.
Some examples of things I do: passing up a tasty treat all in the name of paying off my debt, washing a plastic sandwich sack to re-use it the next time one is needed and continuing to turn the heat down a few degrees to save just a few more pennies.
All these little things don’t seem like all that much but they create much over time. That’s what’s so great about little things: they are cumulative.
New habits get formed with each little victory. New habits = major financial results.
Below is an email from a reader. It touches on something that I don’t think I’ve actually addressed on my blog so I thought it might be good to touch on it now.
I was wondering, how did you feel about *paying* for repairs to clothing/shoes/accessories? Was this part of the spending fast? Is this now part of the spending diet? I’m considering my diet, and I think it may need a “repair” allowance….or an “alteration” allowance.
I think spending a small amount on money for say RIT dye to dye clothes is great- it’s a way to extend the life of items with a very minimum amount of money. I would look into ways to try to repair the clothing, accessories and/or shoes yourself. If you can’t do it yourself I’d evaluate if you truly need the item. Would it be cheaper to replace the item entirely? Do you even need the item? Do you even like the item? Do you have another similar item that could replace it? Getting soles of shoes fixed is such a great thing. Cobblers have gone completely out of style but are great. So, I think fix the item if you determine that it’s truly needed. I’d avoid doing an allowance for as long as possible if you decide to do one at all and evaluate each item individually.
What do you all think?
Also, when is an item past the point of repair? Sometimes, I keep pushing the limit and then wonder if I look half-homeless because of it. When is it time to concede and replace an item!? I need your help.
(While I’m away visiting a lovely friend, I’m reposting some content from my archives. This one was originally published on February 9, 2010).
One of the best things about this Spending Fast process has been the possibility of getting to a point of being autonomous and not owing anything to anyone. How great would it be to not owe money to credit card companies, school loan companies, banks or parents?
Oh. It. Would. Be. Amazing.
For me, autonomy is about being personally independent. The reality is if you’re accepting money from someone they get a say in how things happen. Or, at least they’ll think they get a say in how things happen which can sometimes render more grief than if they actually had their way. Really, I’m finding that I can’t be all that independent if I’m financially dependent on someone or some bank or some line of credit.
That line of credit, that “bail out” is just a big fat white collared anchor attached to your leg; a ball and chain that has good grammer and has been looked over 20 thousand times by a lawyer charging $300 bucks an hour; it’s someone jumping out of a plane with no parachute and asking you to hold their hand on the way down. Geez. that’s more depressing then I intended it to be.
If you need to borrow anyone’s money, have ever borrowed anyone’s money or currently owe anyone money the people/businesses probably have a say (or want) a say in how things go down. Who doesn’t know a father that gave money to a daughter for her wedding but put stipulations on that money? They want a say in who can and can’t be on the invite list, if you are allowed to live “in sin” before marriage or not and even if alcohol is served at the reception or not. Or what about the gift that is given with strings attached? If you haven’t ever been given money or a gift with strings attached than you are probably in denial to the whole situation while everyone talks about it behind your back or you are a lucky chap who also just so happens to be a leprechaun with a pot of gold at your beck and call.
Really, money brings up all sorts of feelings and expectations for people and how people spend money shows where a persons priorities lie in life. So, then that brings up feelings and emotions and deep down things that we thought we had already talked to death about but turns out, we hadn’t dealt with it like we had thought.
Autonomy is a concept that came into my world a few years ago. Never knew what it meant before then because I never had a reason to care. And I didn’t decide to act on it until now. Since now I don’t want to owe anyone anything. I want to be free of that. I want to be self-governing. I want to be able to make decisions based on my best interest and not what is in the best interest of the people or organizations that I owe money to. I want as many financial strings as possible to disappear.
This Spending Fast is helping me get to a place of autonomy in the long run. It’s hard to remember all this when I’m in the moment and want to buy something that would make my life easier for the moment.
My motto has always been “You either spend time or money” and now, I’m spending the time to get my stuff in order and paid off and develop a life being autonomous.
Hi, I'm Anna! I paid off close to 24k in debt in only 15 months & it completely changed my life! I want you to have a debt-free life too so here you'll be able to read all about: How to do a Spending Fast®, saving & making more money, DIY's, & a lot about living awesomely with less. Let's do this!
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