5 Good Fabric Sources

  1. Craft Stores like JoAnn’s, AC Moore, and Hobby Lobby. They have 40% off coupons on their email newsletters pretty regularly, so they are especially good to use on a larger or more expensive piece of fabric.
  2. Home Stores that sell department store seconds like Tuesday Morning, TJMaxx, Marshalls, and HomeGoods. Look for sheets, table cloths, duvet covers and some shower curtains. Department stores like Macy’s and Belk might have good January “white sales” also. Think outside the box; a friend of mine made the most beautiful curtains with table cloths held by ring clips (no sewing!).
  3. Online craft stores like Ebay and Fabric.com are good also, but as with anything you buy online- read the description carefully and know your fabric fiber content. I haven’t been lucky enough to find coupons for these sites, but have run across some good upholstery fabric remnants and deals on notions.
  4. Etsy.com has good vintage and embroidered fabric. Know your fabric content and expect to pay a little more than normal thrift shops because the seller has done the digging for you. I’ve also run across some half finished quilt tops that are really beautiful. Etsy can be a rabbit hole for me, where I spend hours adding and emptying my cart, picking favorite shops and finding inspiration.
  5. Thrift stores and antique shops. You will have to dig for the good stuff, and then wash really carefully. I’m on the lookout for white men’s sweaters to repurpose as cozy pillow covers for my bonus room.

 

White Elephant Gift Exchange

I have a love / hate relationship with White Elephant gift exchanges. They can be entertaining if everyone playing is around the same age, agrees to raise the gift amount (I recommend $25), and if the purpose is to be funny. It’s wasteful for sure, but at least it doesn’t max out your creativity. However a one-size-fits-all good or funny gift for under $10, well that’s about as elusive as a white elephant.

My best idea for that latter kind of party is to bring something homemade (and falls into the category of “I wouldn’t mind ending up with it”). Here’s a round-up of what I’ve done in the past and a little of what I’m planning to do this year:

Let me know if you have other ideas!

Five Things

  1. Exercise or knit to this: More Than A Song podcast by Michelle Nezat. I subscribed in Itunes. Inspired by christian music, she dives into the Bible using some of the same strategies as Keith Ferrin in How to Enjoy Reading Your Bible.
  2. Working on growing my hair out and loving Young Living’s Lavender Mint Daily Shampoo and Amika Nourishing Hair Mask. My hair feels thicker and the hair mask softens the dry ends.
  3. October Goal: Be Tidy. It’s so much easier to do a 10 minute cleanup when everything is put away. We are doing great with the downstairs but the girls’ rooms are still a nightmare. Top of the to do list is also to go through winter coats also & make a donation run.
  4. A “Core Closet”. With excellent guidance from this famous blogger, I’m trying to weed out my closet. I agree with her that I will never be a minimalist or have a capsule closet, but this process definitely helps identify what you wear most often so you know where your clothing dollars should go.
  5. Eat more seasonally, especially as I try to eat more gluten-free and move away from the rice and potato starch gluten-free products. Ticking off items on this list is a great way to try new veggies this fall. She has great recipes and her photos are really lovely as well.

Bulk Shopping

A couple of weeks ago, I went with my mom to Sam’s. She does a lot of shopping there, and I was skeptical about how much I could really save. So I made myself a list of things I normally buy (and that I could possibly buy in bulk) and what I normally pay at the grocery.

The membership fee is $45 annually. I do not like going to two stores in a week’s time, and Sam’s is not close to our house. So ideally I’d like to see over $100 savings before I think it is worth it for the extra time it takes and space to store everything.

They didn’t have all the brands we normally buy, and I know that changes from time to time as well, so I don’t think I could buy everything there. Some things, like popcorn, toilet paper, and peanut butter were not very different in price. So it definitely did not justify buying and storing a large quantity of it. Also, we buy a lot of produce, but it’s more about variety. I’m afraid a bulky quantity will go bad before we can eat it all. I need to come with a better plan for using it before I purchase produce in bulk. And I didn’t have meat prices so I didn’t shop for anything in that department.

And it has to be said that there’s a lot of distraction at Sam’s. Clothing, books, candy and baked goods, electronics, etc that can make it easier to stray from the list and deflate any savings that you would actually receive.

All in all, here’s the list of things that I would normally buy if I had a membership:

Spinach – I got three times as much spinach for only $5. We buy it at least twice a month for smoothies. I divided it up in freezer bags before it wilted. That would save us $50 or so a year.

Coffee – You can get K-cups for as low as .40 each and I’ve normally paid .46-.50. It doesn’t sound like much, but when you drink 2 or 3 cups a day, that starts to add up. That’s probably another $50 in savings.

Cheese – We normally buy a cheese block and cut up for sandwiches and crackers in lunches, and shred for eggs and pasta. Like the spinach, you can get 3 times as much cheese for what you normally pay at the grocery. So again, another $50 of savings.

Dry pasta – It was $7 for 6 lbs. It beats the normal store prices but often they run specials, so I’m not counting this savings. However, it’s easier to buy here and know I’m getting a good price instead of waiting for a store special.

Cheerios – This is the only cereal we eat and never seem to tire of, and Sams has it about half the normal grocery store price. I would estimate about $25 or more savings from this.

I went ahead and signed up for a 60-day membership to keep searching for deals. I would recommend making the list first, and know what you normally pay so that you spend wisely. And stick to the list instead of browse, especially if you don’t need clothing, books, and bulk candy/snacks because you can be easily distracted by this. Costco is actually closer to our house, so I might give it a try as well before I commit to a membership.

Do you use a warehouse club membership? Why did you choose it?