Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Thrifty Vintage Decorating: Top of the Kitchen Cabinets

I have vaulted ceilings in my kitchen, which means that there is a significant amount of space above the cabinets.  Which obviously begs for a large display of some sort.

You know that I love vintage things.  And kitsch.  So, behold- my kitchen cabinet top!!



I think I paid a grand total of $7 for all of the suitcases.  The fork and spoon on the left were part of a bag sale deal (less than .50) a couple of years ago.  The fork and spoon on the right were less than $10.  The brown globe was a gift to me when I was a child.  The other large globes were a bit more expensive, but $25 or less.  

Who says decorating has to be boring?

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

DIY Gift Idea: Lip Balm


I made a batch of lip balm earlier this summer following this recipe.

Here's what I did differently and a couple of notes:

1) I bought beeswax in pellets so I wouldn't have to grate it. 
2) I melted the ingredients in the microwave (30 seconds at a time with lots of stirring) instead of on the stove.
3) I used a glass measuring cup with a pour spout and poured directly into the paint pots.  I do NOT have steady hands but was able to easily do this without using a syringe or dropper.
4) The title of the linked recipe might say lip gloss, but this is most definitely a balm.
5) Don't bother with the lipstick chunk unless you just want it to be a pretty color.  My balm is a pretty pink color in the pot but applies clear.
6) I found the paint pots in the paint section at a craft store after looking at several different craft stores with no success.
7) Check Ebay or Etsy for ingredients if you are just buying a small amount.

Monday, July 21, 2014

More DIY Gift Ideas (That People Might Actually Want)

It's that time of year again when I contemplate DIY gift ideas for Christmas that I never actually make.  I am going to try to motivate myself to actually DO some of this stuff this year.  I have already made a big batch of lip balms that turned out well, so I feel very pleased with myself so far!

And now, more links to interesting DIY gift ideas: 

Framed Purse Tutorial

DIY Mason Jar Snow Globes 

Upstyler (a bunch of cute ideas here)

Note Cards 

DIY Wall Art With Quotes

Shampoo Bars

Upcycled Scarflette

DIY Bath Bombs

Itch-Free Shrunken Wooly Hat

Snowy Day Hat Pattern

Whipped Body Butter

And here's another list I made last year.  Enjoy!!


Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Vintage Finds

I went to an antique mall over the weekend and found some fun stuff!  Forgive my sad cell phone pics.

Vintage aqua flowered curtains- four short, sheer panels for $9.


Vintage canister set for $8 (!!!).  I have been on the hunt for a canister set for a while.  The flour label is missing, but I don't mind.


There is glare/ reflection on this one from the flash- it's actually very clear in-person.  Framed aqua Thunderbird photo, $8.  I am not a car person at all, but the color, vintage look, and palm trees made it a keeper! 


Annnnnnd now I've become one of those vintage collectors who buys other people's photos.  But everything about this 60s wedding photo is amazing.  (More glare on this one, sorry!)


This one isn't vintage, but it is too cute.  Embroidered Airstream on a tea towel?  Yes, please!

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Car Fund Update

It has been a while since I updated on the car fund...mostly because it has been a very SLOW process.  Good ol' Murphy likes to come visit whenever a person is trying to save, and I have been no exception.  However, I am happy to report that I am finally making real progress.

As a reminder, I am attempting to save cash for my next car (barring any accidents and engine breakdowns, of course).  My end goal is $12K.  As of this writing, I have $4297 in my car fund, which is 35% of my end goal.  Progress!!

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Funny Search Term of the Day

Like many bloggers, I enjoy looking at what search terms land people on my blog.  Generally it is something related to Amy Dacyczyn or frugal living, but I got a chuckle out of one from today:

"husband embarrasses me tightwad"

Uh oh!  I doubt that person found much help on this blog.  Sorry that your husband is embarrassing with his tightwaddery!

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Frugal Happenings

                                                                                  Homemade yogurt!


Ways in which I have saved money lately:

* I've been too busy to do much shopping.  This is the absolute best way to save money!

* Received a check from my side gig and sent off another invoice for payment.  I am concerned about some shifts that are happening in my side gig and how that might end up impacting me (i.e. I might not have this extra work or money available in the near future).  I am looking for another stream of income just in case.

* Cancelled a subscription that I was no longer enjoying.

* Found a health supplement that I needed online for a good price.  Searched on Retail Me Not and found a 25% off code that worked.  Went through Upromise for 5% back and used my credit card for an additional 5% back.

* Made a batch of laundry soap- 1 bar grated soap (I used Ivory), 1 cup Borax, 1 cup washing soda.

* Started using wool dryer balls instead of dryer sheets to combat static (I hang my "good" clothes to dry but use the dryer for the rest).  My aunt has sheep and made me dryer balls for part of my birthday gift.  They work really well.

* Made my own yogurt in the crock pot for the first time- why haven't I done this before???  It is so easy AND delicious!  I used the instructions here.

* I continue to declutter the house.  I hate to say it, but I will probably have a yard sale.  UGH...but it would be great to get a little more money to go toward the car fund.

* Used up several birthday freebie coupons.  My favorite was a coupon code sent to me from a tea store where I had placed an order a couple of years ago.  I was able to get loose leaf Earl Grey Creme tea for free.

* Received some clothing hand-me-downs from my mother.  When she purges her closet, she gives it to me to sell at consignment and I get to keep the money, which is SO nice.  I looked through the bag and kept a denim jacket and a cute top.  My mom has good taste!

* Took two garbage bags FULL of clothing, shoes, and accessories to the consignment shop.

* Received two checks from the consignment shop totaling almost $75!!

* Dillon's had a good deal on Charmin toilet paper AND I had $2 in coupons (both electronic and paper versions), so I stocked up.  I feel the people's judgment when I have a cart full of toilet paper, but that doesn't stop The Frugal Shrink!!  I also picked up a free Propel water while I was there as well as actual food products that I needed like bananas, eggs, and milk. 

* Visited the Laura Ingalls Wilder house and museum in Mansfield.  My entry was paid for by my mom as a birthday present.  I love visiting this place.

* Ran out of Swiffer dry cloths (generic version) so I cut up some sort of cleaning cloth that I was gifted last year.  It worked perfectly, which is very important during this season of my-long-haired-cat-is-shedding-like-crazy-look-at-the-fur-tumbleweeds-rolling-by.

* I continue to mow my yard myself (for now).  I had intended to find someone to do it for me, but my laziness and procrastination has saved me money.  Tee hee!

* I planted some veggies in my small raised bed.  It seems as though I may have cucumbers and tomatoes at some point...but I'll believe it when I see it.  I've already had a bit of lettuce and arugula.  I also had Asiatic lilies return to my front flower bed this year, so I had several weeks of beautiful flowers with no money spent or effort involved.

* Dyed my own hair.

* Gave myself a pedicure.

* Ordered three books from Paperback Swap.


Sunday, June 29, 2014

Birthday Freebies That Are Worth It

Many companies will send you nice coupons or freebies on your birthday.  You just need to sign up for their email list/ membership club/ whatever they want to call it.  Be sure to use your junk email address, and start checking for emails one week before your birthday.  Here is last year's birthday freebie round up.  I did NOT redeem all of these, but here are the freebies that I think are worth the sign up:

Free Food:
*Krispy Kreme- free donut and coffee
*Steak n Shake- free burger and fries
*Houlihan's- $15 off an entree 
*McAlister's- $5 off your order
*HoneyBaked Ham- free sandwich
*Cantina Laredo- free brownie
*IHOP- free meal
*Ruby Tuesday- free hamburger
*Culver's- free sundae
*Which Wich- free sandwich 
*Starbucks- free drink if you have a gift card registered with them
*Panera- free pastry  

Miscellaneous:
*Sephora- Small beauty freebie that changes each year.  This year it was a lipstick and mascara.
*CVS- $3 Extra Care Bucks
*John Frieda- $1.50 coupon (can print twice)
*Driscoll's berries- .50 coupon
*Payless- 25% off your purchase with no exclusions
*Rue 21- $10 off your $20 purchase
*B&B Theaters- free popcorn


Edit: Thanks to Danavee for adding to the list!!

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Pyrex Print Dish Towels!!!!!!!

I feel like this post needs exclamation marks because of HOW CUTE these are!!!  For my birthday, I bought myself three different Pyrex print dish towels.  A company in Florida called Fresh Pastry Stand screen prints various vintage Pyrex designs onto tea towels (!!!).  For the record they are pretty large, so you can only fit two on your oven handle if that's how you display your towels.  These babies will be show towels and will not be used for actual towel purposes.  How did I become a person who owns show towels???  Anyhoo.  They make me smile every time I walk in the kitchen.








Thursday, June 5, 2014

Mixed Emotions

Yesterday, I had my 32nd birthday.

Yesterday, my 36-year-old brother was discharged from the hospital after suffering a hemorrhagic stroke five days previous. 

Needless to say, it has been a strange and emotional week.  I have been coping with my usual "very bad crap has happened" coping skills- prayer and sleep.  Both have been effective.  

In an interesting twist of fate, I have been working as a rehab psychologist for the last year and a half.  That means that I work with people in the hospital who have had spinal cord injury, brain injury, cancer, burn, orthopedic injury...and stroke.  Sometimes knowledge is power, sometimes it isn't.  It's been about 50/50 for me.

He is home now, but will need outpatient speech and occupational therapies.  One of my coworkers is the neuropsychologist at the therapy center he will go to, so I am assured that he is in good hands and will have excellent care.  If you are a person who prays, we all would appreciate prayer for him, his family, and the healing process specifically.

Thanks, friends.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Embarrassing Frugal Confession: Gym Shorts Edition

No, there is no accompanying photo.  You do not need to visualize my shame.  

With the exception of expensive items (cashmere, coats, boots, purses), I do not hang onto clothing for long.  I like to change things up, and so things are sent to the consignment store regularly.

Except for one item.  A pair of gray men's gym shorts purchased at a yard sale...16 years ago.  

I will be 32 next month, and I bought these shorts the summer I turned 16.  At the time, they were too big and had the emblem of my soon-to-be-attended college on them.  Neither of these things are true now.  They now fit perfectly and that emblem wore off years ago.  The elastic is almost shot, they are nearly see through, and there are two holes in the back.  The drawstring cord disappeared probably a decade ago.  

I'm wearing them right now, but this will be their last voyage.  We have had some good times together.

Good-bye, gray gym shorts.  May I never again hold onto a piece of ratty clothing for as long as I've held onto you. 

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Yard Sale Finds!

I love yard sale season!!!!  I went by myself a couple of weeks ago to multiple sales and then again yesterday with a friend to a large neighborhood sale.  I thought I'd share some of my finds with you.

Clothes!  The dress was $5 but everything else was $2 or less.  The pink collared shirt from Talbots was part of a 3/$1 (!!!) deal at a church sale.




White bowl for decorating, books for hoarding reading and gifting, workout DVDs.


New with tags gray clutch (carried in my Easter post) $2.  This brand is sold at Dillard's for minimum $80.  Crazy.  I've wanted an updated APA publication manual for a while since they came out with a new version after I left grad school but didn't want to shell out the $20+.  Who knew one would show up at a yard sale??  The spiral bound version is going for $32 on Amazon.  I think I paid fifty cents.


I am NOT supposed to be buying anything for the booth since I'm actually trying to clean it out in preparation for shutting it down.  But I couldn't leave these two crewel pieces behind for $3 each.  And I talked to the lady who made them 40 years ago.  I love that!




Fancy pants outlet cover for a quarter.  It goes well in my living room.  I'm going to keep an eye out for various outlet/ light switch covers for cheap.


More clothes!!  The white thing on the left is a fun faux fur jacket for $3.  The shirts and sweater were all $2-$3, which is a little more than I like to pay but I really loved all of these pieces and they will mesh well with my wardrobe.  The nice thing is that I can always make my money back by sending stuff to the consignment store if they don't fit or don't work for me. 

I also bought more books (not pictured).  I am a known book and clothes hoarder, and I don't have any remorse about it whatsoever!  This yard sale season, I'm looking for books, clothes, gifts, and home decor.  Anybody else out there yard sale-ing?  Or are you avoiding the potential clutter?

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Happy Easter: Frugal Fashion Edition

Happy Easter, everyone!!!  I attend a contemporary church service, so I usually just roll out of bed and put on whatever clothing is comfortable and easily accessible.  However, I do try to make an effort on Easter.  This Easter outfit is all thrifted or cheap-o (except for the shoes), so I thought I'd share.  I also had to do a last minute sewing repair to a small hole on the shrug, so I felt very accomplished in my frugality today!

Dress: yard sale, $5
Grey shrug: thrift store, $3ish
Grey clutch purse: $2 (and new with tags!), yard sale
Bracelet: Cato clearance, $2ish
Shoes: Born via 6pm, $32 (a good price for Borns, but not cheap)

Sunday, April 13, 2014

The Frugal Shrink Spends: Avocado Delivery

This is NOT a sponsored post.  I do NOT make any money from this blog.

I am a fan of frugality for a purpose, not just for the sake of frugality.  Being frugal allows me to work less, have more freedom, save and pay down debt, give freely, and occasionally indulge in something fun.  

Let's talk about one of the ways that I am indulging in the "something fun" category.  Two words: avocado delivery.  The Avocado Diva is a small business out of California where a woman contracts with local avocado farms and ships fresh, in-season avocados to people who order or have a monthly subscription.  Did you know that California has over 500 varieties of avocados?  I didn't, but I'm getting to sample some of these varieties and they are SO MUCH BETTER than the sad little out-of-season Hass that we get in the grocery stores here.

I'm on the $30 a month plan and it is worth every stinkin' penny.  I'm going through my budget right now and slashed several other expenses...but I kept the avocados.  Here's the Avocado Diva Facebook page if you want more info.

The only down side is when I finish all my avocados early and have to wait a week or two for the next shipment.  First world problems!!

Friday, April 4, 2014

Frugal Happenings: I Hate Leftovers Edition

* Received a $10 check from the consignment shop where I resell my clothing.  This was the last little bit from my winter sales.  I'm getting a big bag of summer clothes ready to send there next.  A friend will take the bag to the store, so I don't even use gas to drop it off.

* Made a profit on the antique booth in March (woo hoo!) so I'll get a check from that.

* I've been getting acupuncture for hip pain, which has been very helpful.  I've been using my flexible spending account for this, so I haven't actually spent any out of pocket money so far.  My only regret is that I didn't put more into my flex account for this year!

* One of the least frugal things about me is my hatred of leftovers.  I just don't like them, so I try to not make things that produce a lot of extra servings.  I did have some extra already cooked roast in the freezer, though, so I took it out and dumped it back in the crock pot with a couple of pouches of seasonings and a can of diced tomatoes.  It was SO good!!!!  I also made up a small batch of mashed potatoes to go along with it using stuff I had on hand.

* I haven't been shopping much lately.

* I bought some seeds to try to grow a small garden this year and some various landscaping supplies to freshen up the outside of my house.  BUT.  I came out of the store, loaded up the car, and realized that I had a flat tire.  On a Sunday afternoon.  Having had more than my fair share of flats, I knew I should try to air it up and see if it would hold air.  It did, so I made it the couple of miles to my home with no problems, which leads me to...

* Woke up early to have my flat fixed so that I could still drive out to my side gig that day.  The repair was free since I bought the tires at that shop.

* Submitted an invoice to my side gig.  There was an extra Monday in my billing cycle, so it will be a fatter check than usual.

* Decreased my car insurance cost by ~$23 per month.

* Cancelled a monthly subscription, saving $10 per month.

* I have really dry hands, so I use a particular hand cream from Avon.  I normally get it at a reduced price from the Avon outlet store in town, but noticed it was on sale on the website for the same price AND there was a free shipping code, saving me gas money and time.

* I've been refreshing my Spanish skills using the Duolingo website.


Sunday, March 23, 2014

To Quit or Not to Quit, That is the Question



Reselling, that is.

Several months ago,  I realized that I am sick of buying stuff and the need to always be out shopping, shopping, shopping for the booth/ Etsy shop.  I am also sick of having cluttered rooms in my house due to merchandise being everywhere.  Until last October, I had been thrifting every single week in an effort to update my merchandise.  

I started reselling in the spring of 2012 after thinking about it for a long time.  I had just left a miserable full-time job and was cobbling my income together with VERY part-time work at several nursing homes and a couple of teaching gigs.  I had more time than money, and it seemed right to finally start reselling.  I opened an Etsy shop which did fairly well as long as I kept it updated.  I should also note that because of the miserable job I had just left, I was questioning whether or not I actually wanted to be a psychologist anymore.  When you've invested a decade of your life for training and six figures of student loan debt into a life decision, it is rather painful to believe you've made the wrong choice.  

Slowly, I recovered.  Through my nursing home work I realized that I did still want to be a psychologist and that I was actually still pretty good at it.  Late in 2012 it became apparent that while I was super happy working VERY part-time, I needed to make more money.  The opportunity for my hospital position came up, and I added that into my rotation in early 2013.

In mid-2013, I decided to expand my vintage-selling empire (HA) by opening an antique store booth.  I have generally made a small profit each month, with the exception of the first month and February 2014, which was a bad month for sales.  This month (March) has been really good for sales.  I love the antique store that my booth is in and have only good things to say about it.

Unfortunately, reselling has become more of a pain than a pleasure.  I'm finding that I just have less time for it these days and my booth suffers because of it.  If I'm being honest, I think that I NEED it less now than I did in 2012 when I started.  At that time I desperately needed a creative outlet that had nothing to do with being a psychologist.  Reselling fulfilled that need and was an incredibly enjoyable hobby for me.

I shuttered my Etsy store in December, and will likely close my booth sometime in the coming months.  I haven't set a timeline for it because I'm just not sure when I will be ready to let go.  My goal has always been to someday have a small vintage clothing store, and that is still in my plan for the future.

So, I'm sad but also relieved.  I'll keep you updated as things move forward.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

The Frugal Shrink Decorates- Living Room Tour

I found some random photos of my living room on my computer, so I thought I'd share them with you, dear reader.  My decorating style is best described as eclectic, and I much prefer items that are both old and don't cost a lot.  Such a surprise, I know!!

Vintage art.  Can't recall a price on the top, middle is a paint by number that was $3, and the bottom is a print that was $1 at an estate sale.

Who doesn't have a duck hanging by the front door??  It was $1.50 at a thrift store and I bought it right when I moved into my house.  I also whack my head on it accidentally all. the. time.


Vintage framed print, record player (gift), table (gift), records (all $1 or less) and a vintage ottoman that was $30 at A Cricket in the House.

Vintage brocade chairs $20 each (!!!), cedar chest $5 at a yard sale and painted with free paint, rug was $20ish at Lowe's, storage cubes were free (thanks, Mom!).  How do you like my tube T.V.???  It works well and I see no reason to upgrade until it dies.



A better shot of one of the chairs.  The embroidered pillow was $5 or $6 at a flea market.  The chairs are just now starting to show wear.  I'm planning on having them recovered in green leather.  It won't be cheap, but I bet they will be gorgeous.  Someday soon.



Clock was a gift, Happiness print was $20 during a Hobby Lobby sale.


The couch is not vintage.  It was purchased new for around $500 during the last time I received a tax refund.  RIP tax refunds- may we meet again someday.  It is extremely comfortable.  I find vintage couches to be too low to the ground and difficult to rise from (I'm 5'8" with bad knees).  My mom made the afghan (thanks, Mom, again!) and the leaf print pillow was $7 on clearance at Target.  I have some gorgeous flowered fabric that I intend to make throw pillows from and will get rid of the factory pillows.


This wooden stool sits to the left of the couch.  Not frugal at all, it was $50 at Marshalls.  I LOVE it, though.  It is quite heavy.



To the right of the couch.  Vintage table a hand me down also from my mom, ceramic bowl was $2ish at a thrift store, coasters were .10 at a yard sale, shoe form was a gift, vintage lamp was $30 also from A Cricket in the House.  The arm you see to the right is my recumbent bike.  Not very decor-friendly, but if it's near the television I'm much more likely to use it.


Vintage metal curtain tie-backs!!  I think I paid ~$8 for the pair.  The curtains were made by my mom (I evidently have her to thank for a bunch of stuff!).


And finally, the book nook.  This is technically in the dining area but I thought I'd show you anyway.  


Hope you enjoyed this little glimpse of my decor.  Happy Monday!





Wednesday, March 5, 2014

I'm Still Not Dead

But I'm watching you...ha ha ha!!!

The Frugal Shrink is in a funk, friends.  This winter has been TOO LONG and TOO COLD and I am a whiny baby.  Little motivation + lots of procrastination= no blog posts.  I'm heading to acupuncture on Friday for a variety of reasons, but I'm mostly hoping that I will just feel better in general.

Be back soon.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Frugal Happenings

                       Random photo from when I was in Florida in November.  Much better view than the snow outside my window right now!


* Received $5 back from Ebates.  I use Upromise more than Ebates now, so it took a while to get to the $5 cash-out minimum.

* Requested that the $30+ in my Upromise account be sent to me via check.

* Received a $12.99 check in the mail from a rebate.  

* Organized and cleaned out my clothes closet.  I'll sell the cleaned out items at a consignment shop, and a few things will go on Ebay.  Listened to Judy Garland Live From Carnegie Hall (1961) on vinyl while I did this, making it way more fun than your average closet cleaning adventure.

* Enjoyed a copy of Dwell magazine.  The subscription was free using Recycle Bank points.

* Made some homemade laundry soap.

* Finally bought a dang dishwasher.  Now, this wasn't frugal in itself, but I did find a $50 coupon to use online, received $12 back to my Upromise account for clicking through their link, and will get another $12 Upromise bonus from using my credit card.  At least I saved a little bit!

* Photographed a J. Crew coat so that I can put it up for sale on Ebay.  I have been procrastinating this task, but J. Crew always sells well on there.

* Thought about going to J.C. Penney yesterday to use a $10/$25 coupon and to snag some of their clearance deals (I also needed to return a pair of pants).  Decided not to get out in the cold, snowy weather.  Based on today's closet cleaning adventure, it was a good thing that I didn't buy any more clothes.  Good grief.

* Organized my Paperback Swap list.  Took some books off that had been lingering for a couple of years (will donate them).  Listed 18 more books, 12 of which already were on people's wishlists.  Woo hoo!

* Bought a gift for a friend whose birthday is in May- it was deeply discounted and something she will love.

* Started making a gift for a friend whose birthday is in March.  

Friday, February 7, 2014

Car Fund Update

$3262 saved as of today, or 27% done.  I'm making progress!!  Taxes will need to be completed soon, though, and there is a real possibility that I'll have to pay in...which will come from this account, if needed. We shall see!