Week of February 6, 2015 – Total: $20
Week of February 16, 2015 – Total: $25
Week of February 19, 2015 – Total: $34
Week of February 24, 2015 – Total: $24
February Month End Total: $103 | Goal: $80 | Overbudget: $23
The furniture section of Value Village is a deadly place for me some days. I love to rotate my home furnishings almost as much as my closet. I walked by this little white cubby unit for $6 and thought it was definitely “me”. Lately anything “me” just means it’s white!
I set it on top of my sewing cabinet in my dressing room and had originally visualized it for holding my summer flats. I had recently installed a hanging canvas organizer on my closet door for these but I thought perhaps this would be more appealing. When I finally got it installed I actually didn’t find it all that nice for footwear but it might be perfect for my ever-growing scarf collection!
I have tried many scarf holders, from the crochet style to metal hangers and nothing really shows them nicely. I find myself more frustrated with the hanger than anything else. This cubby is absolutely perfect in the space and I can easily see all the scarves!
I purchased two wood framed coffee tables when I first arrived in Medicine Hat two years ago from a couple on Kijiji. They have been a great fit for all of my apartments out west but lately I’ve been finding they just aren’t needed in my current decor. I decided to try selling them on Facebook classifieds groups as well as Kijiji. All I ended up with is a ton of no-shows and wasted time.
Today I got out the white paint to do some touch ups around the house and got the crazy idea of painting one of them to make it blend into my decor a little better. I was amazed at the result, its really quite a cool looking table now. I may switch up the furniture in the living room now to make better use of this cool table.
It has been decided that my home is a source of work to my family, not often do they come by for a nice visit with a cup of tea and relaxation. It seems to always been that there is a task I need assistance with. While most people have bigger eyes than their stomachs, I have bigger ideas than my hands can create… every now and again.
My latest source of thrifty enjoyment is reupholstering furniture. This most recent project, or series of projects was actually inspired by my sister, who had been inspired by my altering clothing… a lovely creative cycle! She recovered her desk chair with a lovely black and white damask fabric to cover up all the “art” her cat had made with her claws into the original fabric. In her own way she came up with a plan for the pattern, purchased the fabric she wanted to use and completed the recovering using a method of elastic that would hug the fabric to the seat underneath.
When I was sifting through the fabric at Value Village recently with my parents, intending to find some fabric my mother could use to make yoga bags – I found this beautiful celery green fabric – and a lot of it! It dawned on me that maybe I could use this to recover my wingback chair in my living room that I had thrifted for $20 last summer. It seemed as though the more it was used the worst it looked, including the fact that it cannot be cleaned – soap simply makes it an ungodly disaster.
There appeared to be an endless amount of this fabric for $10, first pitching the idea to my mother to see what she thought. It was an instant hit with her as well! Little did I know, this project was a massive 3 day undertaking. I am not sure exactly what I had thought (aside from the giddy childlike oggling of my favourite colour) but seemed to think it would be a one evening stapling type of job. My mother in her own way, a perfectionist and master of the hand stitch. Her plan was a little more realistic.
We planned for a full Saturday of sewing beginning at 9:30am. We decided to do the smart thing and create a pattern out of quilt batting… Followed by laying it out on our fabric a few different ways until finally all the pieces fit, save for the back panel. This is why it is usually better to buy 10 metres of fabric rather than piece together using what you’ve randomly found!
By noon my sister had arrived only to ask if we had just started…! I suppose the chair didn’t look like much after 3 hours but we had done plenty of preparatory work! By the end of the day we had about 2 thirds of the chair completed, my assistance ending roughly around the 1 third mark when my mother switched to her hand sewing art. By day 3 all that remained were a few hand stitched details (her perfectionist ways!) and putting a back on it. Fabricland was having a three day sale conveniently so we picked out a similar fabric that we would do the back panel in seeing as we ran out of fabric!
I must say the chair looks far better than I could have ever imagined. We removed the dust ruffle from the base to expose the wood structure, removed the arm rest openings and gave the whole chair a new modern look!
With my first month of my thrift challenge complete, I am already amazed at the results. I budget the rest of my life for essentials but it had not occurred to me that I should be budgeting my entire life including entertainment, not just bills. After mentioning the idea to a few friends and coworkers the general consensus was that I would be shocked when I started seeing the numbers. I try not to think about what I probably spent over the past year and instead focus on what I’ll be saving this year, and from now on.
I had no idea what to start my budget goal at, based on the Thrifty Threads Challenge, I knew $50 was probably too low for a weekly shopper. I set my goal at $80 with the expectation that I would gradually try to lower that amount. I was truly surprised that I just about met my goal save for $2. I was doing really well up until the last trip keeping my totals under $20 and its funny, now I feel like I splurged on the last one at $31. I know there were many occasions last year where I left with $50 worth of merchandise.
It was definitely an eye-opener seeing the amounts I was bringing in that wasn’t perfect. I now am very particular about what I decide to take home with me. I do not shrug when I see a stain or a seam open, I leave it behind. I am no longer willing to bend on damaged goods. I feel as though my closet has become more precious, the space in it only available to the items I really like. If it isn’t easily altered to fit I leave it behind.
I also developed a new outlook on my closet, frequent rotation is not a bad idea. I do tire of things very easily so consignment and donation are great ways I can keep a comfortable amount in my closet. People seem to think I just accumulate but in working in consignment, its pretty easy for me to recycle my unwanted clothing. Now there are plenty of times when my things are too worn, thus the issue a lot of the time with second hand clothing. But there are plenty of items I have bought because I felt attracted to them – only to realize that I liked them for someone, not necessarily me.
In tracking my sales of clothing at the store I was blown away to see the results at the end of the month. $239.25 in just clothing sales alone! I also have the benefit of selling my handcrafted earrings at the store which brought in another $128.25! For a grand total of $367.50! Talk about a great source of additional income or “cushion” as it were. In using only account money towards buying items from the store I am able to keep my paycheques strictly for my billing budget. Brilliant!
Week of January 8, 2015 – Total: $20
Week of January 14, 2015 – Total: $5
Week of January 17, 2015 – Total: $6
Week of January 22, 2015 – Total: $20
Week of January 29, 2015 – Total: $31
January Month End Total: $82 | Goal: $80 | Overbudget: $2
I’ve been having a lot of fun with my scarves and accessories lately. Layering is a great way to add some finesse to your outfits, although it can be tricky to know when is too much. This week I wore my new patterned infinity scarves from Value Village in two fun winter looks.
As pictured above, I decided to be a little more daring and sport my Volcom fedora to bring out the orange in my scarf. It has become apparent that this sherbet orange is my favourite colour recently! Ask me a year ago and I would have been disgusted at the thought of anything orange. It’s amazing how often my tastes can change!
I went for a mix of patterns: floral design jeans from GAP, crochet style sweater by Garage, multi coloured infinity scarf and green vest for warmth. It was a nice splash of colour for a Canadian January. Makes me look forward to being able to wear more of my bright colours in spring!
Today’s outfit was not as bold but featuring the second patterned scarf from the set I purchased last week, complimenting my newly thrifted Fossil necklace perfectly! I wanted a more classic look that was still bright and uplifting. Basic jeans, my new Cougar boots and a crisp white blouse made it all come together nicely.
I also wanted to show a detail of my earrings as I haven’t discussed them in a while. These multi coloured posts were so cool I just couldn’t leave them behind!
During tonight’s Thursday thrift adventure I found a couple unique items plus a nice Gaiam yoga mat I had been looking for (not pictured). The best yoga mat I’ve ever had was a cheap one from Value Village, so I have been watching for another one to try. I had heard Gaiam mats are hit and miss so here’s hoping it is non-stick!
I started my evening with a stop at the jewellery rack. I was drawn to two pieces, a gold chain with anchor pin pendant and a multi coloured necklace. I later found out the one necklace is actually a $50 Fossil necklace, score! I think the anchor one will be really fun for summer.
I then veered over to the assorted housewares section and heard a piece of apple green pottery calling my name. It’s not perfect, it’s full of drips – and I love it! It has found a very cozy home in my kitchen.
With a 30% off coupon I snagged all these pieces for under $20!
1. Gaiam Yoga Mat $7
2. Pottery $6
3. Necklaces $5
I ventured into Urban Planet a store I generally stay far away from, but I was on the hunt for warm patterned leggings. I had no luck in the leggings department but I did find myself looking through all the discounted sweaters. I saw this sweater dress-tunic on for under $10… It was just the sort of style I had been hoping to find in my thrift adventures but have not yet discovered one. I wasn’t sure about the length but perhaps it would be good with leggings.
The day came when I decided to wear it – all I could think was: “Wow I’m so glad they didn’t have a medium!” It was a large so I figured it would be on the big side and was the only thing I didn’t bother to try on. My arms barely fit in the sleeve! I’d hate to be any bigger than my current size or this “large” would be super snug! The spacious area is actually only in the neckline, assuming I had a larger canvas to fill it out with.
In trying it on in front of my mirror I decided there was nothing flattering about the length, it almost went to my knees and was just a solid tight grey knit with nothing forgiving about it. I’ve never been afraid to chop up clothing so I pinned the length I decided would be most flattering – half way down the bum but covering the hip. And because I liked the bottom pattern so much I decided instead of a simple hem I would bring up the bottom pattern and minimize the solid grey.
I did not take step by step photographs of this process as quite honestly I was expecting it to be a bust! Apparently I should have a lot more faith in my re-constructive skills! It wasn’t an overly complicated process, folding most of the grey over to bring up the bottom trim. Doing a straight stitch on the sewing machine to attach the bottom section to the top section. Once complete I had (on the inside) a several inch long folded section of solid grey knit.
To remove the excess I simply cut the folded extra fabric and removed it from the sweater altogether. On the outside it looks like a planned hemline…. if you actually analyze it you’d know a sweater like this shouldn’t have a hem! I like to be sneaky like that.
Value Village has both new and donated clothing. Their new section consists of a mass amount of cheap shoes, boots, accessories and leggings. I don’t tend to give it a second glance because I find more appeal in the hunt for unique items not buying mass produced. Something this winter season did catch my eye but based on my philosophy I just didn’t feel for the thin quality that they were worth spending $12.99. These vibrant scarves, each package comes with a solid colour and a patterned one. Its quite simply the patterns and bright colours that have me hooked!
I looked at them a few times over the two months they had been displayed around the store but I just kept shrugging at the price. Did I really need more scarves? I could probably find a thrifted one that’s a better fabric… All these constant debates in my head. I always left them behind. I popped in on Thursday evening to purchase a gift certificate to add to my friend’s birthday gift and saw they had been moved to a clearance table.
In huge red letters the sign said 75% off red tagged items… I thought it couldn’t hurt to look to see what was left over. There were plenty of scarves but none that caught my eye. I decided to sift a little further into the pile and suddenly there they were. The two sets I had admired, and only those two were left at the bottom of this pile. One printed with a matching blue scarf and the second with a deep pink. The debate began in my head once more, but doing the quick math in my head – there wasn’t much left to debate over as my major hurdle was cost for quality. For $3 a set that puts each scarf at $1.50… where are you going to find such cute scarves for Spring for that price?!
Buying “new” wasn’t in my original plan for my thrift challenge, but if we are looking at budget smarts this is definitely one good move as I love my scarves!
Sometimes I am slow to take on new trends if I even dabble with them at all. A lot of times fads are simply overdone and they become either a tight disaster or a sloppy mess compared to the original. I tend to look at the positive aspects of the upcoming trends and incorporate it into the style I already have. My mother is a petite woman and pulls off the leggings-with-tunic top very well. She has this artsy unique way of combining pieces.
I had worn leggings in the beginning when they became the latest craze, but I found people would start making remarks that suggested I was dressing like my mother. Not that it is by any means a negative, I simply do not like being compared to the style’s of others. I like to think my look is my own.
I took a long hiatus from the leggings trend and went back to wearing jeans, panty hose with skirts, that sort of thing… what I was comfortable with. I think a big part of my hiatus was from simply hearing the negative remarks that other girls around me were receiving (whether they were aware of it or not) about them being too big to be wearing those, or that their shirt wasn’t long enough to cover their bums… I think I was subconsciously afraid of having those same comments said about me.
I have recently decided to restock some fun leggings to reintroduce them into my style. I had picked up a bunch of pairs for $2.50 during an 80% off sale at Ardene. I decided to be smart this time around and go for a large size because they stretch and often in those “youth” stores their sizing is not meant for an adult. My safe size is always Medium, for these leggings I thought at least I buy too big I can take them in. I even got a pair that were XL…. lo and behold, they all fit perfectly! My repeated lesson: never go by sizes!!
For a friend’s birthday dinner I decided to dress a little more stylish but with a sleek, girl’s night meets pastel sort of feel. I tried out a pair of black reptile print leggings from my pre-xmas purchase, over top of a pair that are fleece lined for warmth! I had thrifted this top recently from Forever 21 which is a large so it has more flow than a fitted one. Instead of going dark with a black jacket I decided to punch up the mint with one of my favourite spring blazers from H&M. Adding some assorted gold and mint jewellery I felt like a million bucks ready to celebrate.
I had to readjust my parameters for the challenge after I received an email from Value Village notifying me of the upcoming 50% off day. I hadn’t remembered that half price sales can be either Sunday or Monday. But with that as the only exception I think I am doing very well sticking to my plan.
I made a plan Sunday morning to make half price sales fit into my budget scheme better – going the day before the sale and inspecting items that I liked, trying on shoes and boots, checking for flaws and debating the price… with no intention to buy that day. I photographed five things that day that I would consider coming back for. Part two of my plan was to not going before work in the morning at 9:00am but rather wait until after my yoga class that night which would put me at Value Village an hour before closing time.
My assumption was that there would be a lot picked over during the day, not huge crowds and likely I would have less to tempt me. Sure enough only one of the five items was still there and I debated it once again. I ended up taking it home because it was a neutral blouse, and I can’t leave mint behind! I spent a grand total of $5.65 instead of the likely $20+
Yes it is only week two but I have resisted the temptation to go thrifting by replacing it with yoga classes after work! Not a bad way to start off a new year don’t you think?