Sunday, October 5, 2008



We all shop for something and the object of this game is to save as much as possible. Since my grandmother and mom did a large portion of their shopping in grocery stores, let’s play the grocery store game. By following a few easy principles we can save a lot on our food bills and reduce the number of times a week we have to eat out because there isn’t anything ready to fix for dinner. As with the previous games, add the savings to a “piggy bank” so we can have a concrete measurement of how we are doing. This time, we are using a separate “bank” from the previous game so we can chart our progress in each area.

Here are the guiding principles of this game:
1. Read and use the weekly grocery ads.
2. Always shop from a written list.
3. Never shop when hungry.
4. Shop alone.
5. Be flexible.
6. Use manufacturer’s coupons when practical.
7. Shop a maximum of 4 times a month.
8. Resist impulse buying.
9. Take a re-useable shopping bag.

These principles look simple and they can be but it usually helps when we understand the pluses and pit-falls of each one so let’s analyze them.

Read and use the weekly grocery ads.

This is the few minutes a week that can really pay off big time in the grocery shopping game.

Loss-leaders: Now stores have items called loss-leaders that they use to get us to come to their store instead of the competing grocery store. We want to use this competition to our advantage. The loss-leaders are items that are selling way below the normal price and often below the wholesale cost. IF this is an item that you use often and it will keep (canned goods for instance) this is the time to stock up.

For instance, say the sale item is canned tomatoes and you know that you frequently use two cans a week, and there isn’t a limit on how many you can buy, you might want to buy 3 months worth (8 cans a month times 3 months equals 24 cans). If the tomatoes usually sell for $1.00 a can and you can buy them for 2/1.00 then you have saved $12.00 and you won’t run out of tomatoes for 3 months.

You save in a couple of ways using this method AS LONG AS you don’t let any of your purchases spoil. First, you have the tomatoes on hand whenever you need them so you don’t have to make a special trip to the store to get some. Second, you have paid half of the regular price for the tomatoes. Third, this form of saving is a short-term hedge against inflation. In three months, the price of tomatoes may have increased to $1.05 a can so over the three month period your savings have grown without you having to do anything.

Now, compare the various grocery store ads and decide on which store has the best sales this week on the most expensive items you need to purchase. It is only time and cost effective to go to one or two grocery stores a week so it is important to decide where your will make the greatest savings.

Make a list for each store and note the items with special prices. Be sure to watch when you are checking out and verify that the scanned price is the correct price. Frequently the scanners are incorrect on sale items and often on the regular priced items as well. Some stores will give you the item free if you catch a scanner error but even if they don’t, you receive the benefit of the correct price every time you catch an error.

Always shop from a written list.

But my memory is fine, you say. Well, so is mine – most of the time. However, it isn’t fool-proof and I’m usually the fool that has to go back to the store to get the key ingredient for the main dish that I forgot because I didn’t use a shopping list. The other problem I frequently have when shopping list-less is buying the same item repeatedly. We had to eat our way through 40 pounds of potatoes one month because every time I went to the store I thought I needed potatoes so I bought 10 pounds. It was quite a while before the family wanted potatoes again after that fiasco!!! LOL.

The picture of the pizza notebook is from a Trashion Team member’s shop NatureMadeScents Think Again Notebook

The Trashion Street Team specializes on creative thinking and making useful items from “trash”. This is just one example.

Next time we will continue with this discussion.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Collage Materials Packets with Blog article offer

Happy Saturday everyone.

I have just listed some Vintage Magazine pages as a collage packet which will include magazine pictures, fabric, a map, old greeting cards and many other goodies. I hope all the collage artists will take a look and then take me up on my offer to feature their creations constructed from the packet on my blog once they have listed the item (s) on Etsy.

Collage Materials Packets with Blog article offer listed in my Kae1Supplies store and the links below will take you to the items.

Hope you all enjoy what you order and receive as I've had a lot of fun making up these awesome packets.
Happy creating.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

What Can I Do With This? Game

What Can I Do With This?

“A stitch in time saves nine.”

Notice that this pearl of wisdom doesn’t state nine what – stitches, cents, minutes or all of these?

“But I don’t sew,” you say.

No problem. It is very simple to sew on a button or to tack a seam by hand. All it requires is a needle, scissors and thread that matches the garment. In fact, if you secure the buttons before you wear the garment the first time you will probably never have to replace one as they will stay in place. The commercial sewing of buttons leaves a thread hanging and if you pull on that thread your button magically disappears. Once that happens you have to spend more than nine minutes finding another one, more than nine cents to purchase a new one and often more than nine minutes to sew it on if you count the time to get out your supplies, sew and put everything away.

The same principle holds true with many things. If you oil a squeaky hinge when it first starts to squeak, it won’t annoy you as much and it won’t wear out as fast.

Fix a leaky faucet and you save money on the water that drips down the drain and the faucet won’t wear out as fast.

Tighten a loose screw or bolt and it won’t fall out and disappear so you have to purchase a new one or throw the item away because you can’t find one the correct size.

But what if the item does break or wear out? What do you do with it? Throw it away? That is the American way after all – just toss it and go buy a new one. But remember, we are working on not spending extra money but learning how to change our wasteful habits.

The thrifty person looks at it first before tossing it to see if there is any part that can be used for another purpose.

Does it have a handle that will work on that case where the handle broke?

Do the small gears lend themselves to your latest art or craft project?

A plate breaks and after I get through being annoyed I wonder if I can use the pieces as mosaics in the new stepping stones for the patio.

My jeans have too many holes to repair – can I make a purse or an apron or a pot holder out of the useable pieces?

When something at our house breaks I hold it in my hand for a moment and try to imagine a new life for it.

Of course, not everything can be reused but you will find many items that can and save pennies or dollars with a small amount of thought and effort. Remember every penny you save this way you don’t have to pay the government taxes on again so it is really more than a penny saved.

One example of this is, I have a lovely brown stretch top in my shop that had a small spot on the front. Now it looked like new except for this small spot and I couldn’t bear to just toss it. I found a small piece of lace with a flower and leaves in it and cut them out, used some fusible webbing and attached the lace to the top. Then I added some fabric paint and a few amber and topaz colored glass beads. Instead of a spot, now I had a lovely lace bouquet on the front. Since this top was slightly too small as you can see from the picture I listed it on Etsy in hopes it will make someone else’s wardrobe sparkle.

Every item you reuse instead of discarding means that there is one less thing in your trash that you have to pay to have hauled away and one less thing in the landfill.

Reuse, Repurpose, Upcycle, Recycle – make these words a part of your daily life and your piggy bank game will grow rapidly.
I'm in two Etsy groups that focus on reusing and recycling items: EcoEtsy and Trashion. When you visit Etsy, search for trashion or teamecoetsy and you will find a wealth of ideas and products to help you save money and be creative with your own items.