Thursday, January 29, 2009

Proverbs 31 Girl

Today at my mom's group, MOTTT'S (Mother's of Tots to Teens), we talked about ways to save money. Darin and I realized when I quit my job to be a full time mom that our budget was going to drastically change. The chapter of Proverbs 31 became so much more real to me when I became a mom... I am trying so hard to "provide (yumo, cost effective) food for my family" (vs 15) and "see that my trading is profitable (totally made a blanket for my best friend's sister for a YEAR of free hair cuts and color)" (vs 18).. "cloth my family in (very fashionable) scarlet" (vs 21).. "make coverings for her bed (out of 600 thread count sheets I got at a flea market!)" (vs 22)... and hardest of all I'm striving to be clothed in strength and dignity, speak wisdom, and be a woman that fears the Lord. I am BY NO MEANS close to the last part and don't know when I ever will.. but I'm striving and I know God will honor that.

I am sure a lot of my readers are in the same boat as we are.. things are TIGHT. Now that I'm home I feel like one of my jobs is to be frugile and make cuts where ever possible. Our study was SO good today that there was no way I COULD NOT keep some of this information from you guys. So.. I will give you a ton of my and my fellow MOTTT'S-ers ideas on how to save money. In turn I would ask YOU, oh "more left unseen" reader.. to list some of your money saving ideas. We're all in this together, gals.. lets have fun doing it!

*Print in "rough draft" quality. Pages come out kinda grey instead of black but it will save on ink.

*DOWNLOAD PICASA NOW if you don't already have this marvelous FREE photo software on your puter! I have been using it for my photography business and so far it's been just swell for me. Yes, I would like Photoshop but I still haven't found an affordable (used and LEGIT) copy of it. Friend Hanni who is a graphic designer and a Photoshop queen resently put Picasa on her computer and told me there is no reason I need Photoshop. It's THAT good.

*In Picasa, I do a collage with 4 photos on a 4x6 and print them to create wallet sized photos.. four wallets for $.09. Um, can't beat that.

*Fill your ink cartridge refills at Walgreens.. I had a coupon the other day and it was $10 for black and white cartridge and $15 to refill a color.

*For those of you in the midwest that have a Meijer close by.. their pre-natal vitamins are FREE! Just found this out today.. prescription WILL be changed immediately.

*Potty training is coming up in a few weeks! (wrote it down in our calendar so we don't go ANYWHERE for a few days to live and breath everything pottying) My friend Kat who's daughter was trained at 18 MONTHS sent me an online (free) book to read about the subject.

*When I nurse I use panty liners in my bra instead of buying actual nursing pads. I don't leak much so $.99 for 60 liners lasts me WEEKS! And I've not come across re-useable (cloth) nursing pads.. anyone know where they are?

*I know some get weirded out by used children's clothes.. but holy cow can you save a ton buying used! I know I've told you all about the Children's Resale I'm apart of but if you don't live close to me or don't have anything like this close to you.. GARAGE SALE SHOP. We have a town-wide garage sale weekend and last year I found THE MOTHER of all garages sales. The gal had two little girls with clothes exactly in the seasons for Adie and threw her boxes out in the garage where we had to dig through them. Not as organized as I would have liked BUT everything was $.50 because she didn't want to price things. And all she had was Gap, Ralph Lauren and Old Navy items. I will dig all the way to China to spend $.50 on quality kids stuff. Also, if you hit a garage sale like this where it's perfect seasons and your taste in clothes give the chick your phone number to contact you when she's having her next sale. May take some "stepping out" on your part but heck, for good clothes it's worth it!

*Did you know you can make your own Baby Wipes? Um.. I AM SO TRYING THIS!!!

Homemade Baby Wipe Recipe
Cut a whole roll of Bounty paper towels into two halves. (Bounty seems to work the best, also using the "select a size" kind works great too)
You can use an electric knife to cut the towels or have your husband cut them with a saw.
Place one of the halved rolls vertically in an empty and throroghly cleaned 1 gallon ice cream bucket.
Measure out:
2 cups water
1 Tbls Baby Oil
1 Tbls Baby Lotion
1-2 Tbls Baby Bath
(Mix oil, lotion and baby bath first and then add water works the best)
Pour the liquid over the halved roll of paper towels and soak for 30 minutes. Then remove the cardboard center. Pull wipes out of center of roll and wala, you have homemade wipes!!

*Menu plan, menu plan, MENU PLAN!!! I didn't do this much when I worked. Now that things are tight I make out a menu every week and ONLY buy what is on my list. I never have to wonder, "hm.. what am I making tonight?" and I always have the groceries I need for each recipe.. it's really saved on us making trips to the grocery to buy the one thing I need for a recipe (and picking up extra stuff we don't need as well)

*I want to try this..

*Try out Aldi's if you never have. Here's a blog about a mom that is everything Aldi.. has Aldi recipes, sales alerts and even menu planners. Pretty hilarious BUT cheap and that's what we're going for here, ladies.

*Walmart does competitors ads for price matching. I NEVER pay their price for milk.. someone's always got it on sale!!

*I know you all don't live in the middle of farms-r-us like we do.. but buying "a cow" is very common around here. You find a cow farmer that sells meat and buy 1/4, 1/2 or a full "cow". You can tell them how you want it cut (how much ground beef, stew meat, steaks, etc) and they charge you a per pound fee. Darin and I are going to buy 1/4 of one and I DREAM about the day when I don't have to buy gross meat from Walmart!

*This may sound so stupid.. but I pray on my way to the grocery. I pray for sales, for our finances and for my decisions when I'm there. God cares about every little detail of our lives and gifted me with my family.. He CARES that I want to provide for my family without spending a ton-o-money! He'll honor that!

Most of ya know we buy junk houses. It's a hobby, provides a super cheap mortgage, it's a way to keep moving up to bigger houses as our family grows and selling them has also provided a savings account for us since living on a teacher's salary doesn't give us much
room to save in our budget! Now, most of you have no interest in doing what we've done BUT I will give you some tips on how I've decorated each house on a budget.

*To make this picture collage over our basement stairs.. I salvaged frames from my mom's stash, Goodwill, and garage sales and spray painted them all black for consistancy (I even spray painted some of the mats underneath.. it totally works). Seriously this entire wall probably costs me $20 and I'm not even joking.

*Here's some framed fabric in Adie's room inside a frame I painted white. Added some ribbon to hang it up and wala.. a no sewing, NO TIME flat wall hanging that matches her room perfectly.

*Darin just recently put up our light scones beside our bed in the new room. You see them all the time on HGTV but actually finding them in the stores? Impossible. Well, we didn't check Home Depot because it's 45 minutes away but lets just assume they didn't have them. =)

Here's the box of what we started with.. a $12.98 bathroom light fixture with a glass globe...

Darcy no likey.. looks too much like a bathroom. So we flipped it up-side-down and got a $5.98 shade to go on top of it.

We now have lamps beside our bed for $20 a whop. LOVE them too..

*Don't be afraid of auctions, and Goodwill/Salvation Army furniture. I know I have gotten in the mind-set before that I DESERVE new stuff. Maybe because when I left my parents house they were buying newer furniture... it's what I was used to. Um, my parents were married 30 years and both worked at the time! THEY deserved new stuff! That's not how they started their marriage!!! Used stuff is just as cool and the art of FINDING it and making it look new is the best part. The below picture is our dining room table and four chairs purchased for $25 at my grandpa's auction.

Did it look like this when we purchased it? Um, good heavens no. It was pea green. Darin sanded the top down for me (um, found out it was MOHAGANY!) and stained it and I painted the chairs and the base of the table black. We also have couches in our living room that I sewed covers for about $100 worth of fabric. You guys can do it.. I KNOW it!!!


*Did you know that ALL YMCA's offer scholoarships? They look at your income and give you a discount accordingly. Like even on swim lessons and stuff. Totally looking into this. =)

*Verizon Wireless gives 10-12% monthly discounts to teachers. Woah.

*I know I've got some of my past gymnasts reading.. Hi Jeni, Kristin, Laura and Sarah!!! (Sorry if I forgot someone or didn't know you read!!!) This is KEY for a college budget. When you go out to dinner, forget ordering the soda. They are like $1.99-2.49 a whop now. Since college I made my own lemonaid at restaurants. Order water with extra lemon and squeeze the lemon juice into the H20 and add some sugar or sweetner from the table. I drink a ton more water this way and only God knows how much money I've saved in 10 years of doing this! (And another tip.. my dad has ALWAYS taught me to tip as if I got a soft drink.. the server does just as much work with you ordering water so be nice to your servers!!!)

*On another tipping note.. I have a degree in Hospitality/Tourism from Purdue. Went through quite a bit of restaurant courses and did you know you are supposed to tip "PRE" tax? Yep! Take the amount of your bill BEFORE tax was added and tip accordingly. Here in IN tax is 7% so I take whatever my tax is and times it by 3 to tip 21%. Perfect equation for tipping AND it's the pre-tax amount.

*To any readers out there that are married, working, childless and hope to stay at home some day with your future children... live like you are living off one income. Take your income and pay off school loans, car loans, and put the rest of your earnings in savings so that you KNOW what it's like when you will live off one income. Not to mention your debt will be paid down (getting rid of some monthly payments) and it won't be a huge transition when you quit your job. Darin and I did this and man, are we glad we didn't spend what we made when I worked!

*Laundry - today someone gave the statistic that the most expensive thing to run in your house is the dryer.. let's go old style and string up a clothes line in the basement and line dry our clothes, ladies! I'll do it if you are doing it!

I hope this post helped a little bit. I was all riled up when I came home and like I said... there was no way I COULDN'T share this stuff with you!!! Now, if you'd like.. leave a comment and share some of your money saving stuff with us all. We'd love to know what you do to save a buck!!

Last but not least.. just wanted to share a little "ah-ha!" moment I had the other day. I was going through my prayer journal to see my past prayers and how God had answered them. About a year and a half ago I had MANY prayers that my scrapbooking would create some income for our family. I had a few pages published and really wanted some more to be... I know some of my prayers were a tad self-righteous. (Ha.. I LOVE seeing one of my pages in a mag!) I think after about 5 entries of my scrapbooking prayers, my prayer then changed to "God, please let my hobby create some income for our family." Do you know what happened when I actually pushed my own ideas out of the way and let God use me? People started calling me to take their kids pictures. And those people told other people about their pictures and they called me for a shoot. He created Darcy Holsopple Photography. He DID use my hobby for income for my family... just not the hobby I assumed He's use.

Guys, God provides.. He'll never promise that things will be easy and that you'll always have enough money.. He promises to PROVIDE.. just ask Him to!!!


Anonymous said...

Great post Darcy! Lots of good ideas. I love your sconces. Very clever. Oh, and the homemade wipes are great. I've made them that way for a while.

Let's see...I'm trying to think of a money saving idea that others may not know about that I can share. One thing that I do is buy Angel Food. (
I checked their site and they have several locations in Indiana. I've purchased Angel Food for a little over a year now and have never been disappointed. I think it's a great value and it's nice that they are a Christian organization too.

Kat said...

love love love all your tips!!!
here's a money saver, and earth saver- cloth diapers. i'm gonna try it with baby dos. its way better for the enviornment, really not that much more laundry (maybe and extra load or two a week), better for the baby's skin- less diaper rashes, is supposed to help make potty training easier, and once you get your cloth diapers, you can save hundreds of dollars over the years. google it ;)
i'm gonna start baby dos around 2 months or so, whenever i start to feel somewhat sane......
i'm sure i have more but i'm blanking right now
like i said- great post!

Andrew and Denise said...

I am so proud of you! I am so lucky to have you as a sister! LAMY!

jackie said...

Hey Darcy...I might post like 8 different times (as I think of things of course!)....

but right off the top of my head, the newest thing that I've done is to switch to Parent's Choice diapers. I'm normally a huge Luv's fan, but even the big box of Luv's is almost $20. A big box of Parents Choice is less than $14. That's $7 every couple of weeks!!!

Jen Higgins said...

I don't have money or the will to learn photoshop, so I use this: for all my photo editing. It's free or if you upgrade it's only like 30 bucks for a year. It is so awesome and simple to use. You should check it out. I fyou click on my blog you can see some of the stuff you can do with picnik.

Shannon said...

I love love love this Darce :) I love the few more tips that I learned from you! I adore you! Hugs :)

The only other tip I have is everyone should go through Dave Ramsey's Finacial Peace University!!

"Love the life you have." said...

Love the post. We bought a half of a cow this year and we love it. It's so nice to have all that meat. And then we buy chicken at Sams club, another nice place to buy from to save. I also got sick of buying those little toothpaste for the girls and with two it went fast. So I now am buying off the internet. Through There 4oz and it's all natural and for 5 it was 20 bucks. We have had the one tube for almost 2 months now and we still have a 1/4 of a tube.

Jill H said...

great ideas, Darcy!! I made the homemade baby wipes for Maria when she was a baby and had bad diaper rash. they definitely work well and are much softer. my money-saving tip is to cut dryer sheets in half. you get DOUBLE the amount and they work just as well as regular wipes. I also don't buy a lot of paper/plastic cups and plates. I do dishes more often but it's less trash and less money.

thank you for posting this today :)

Brewster said...

Darce! I love this stuff. I read the book "Miserly Moms" about a year ago, along with a few other budeting/environmental books around the same time. I'm gonna try to think of some other tips I've learned and use....but wanted to tell you that a year ago I stopped using a dryer and have gone with a clothesline (in warm weather) and clothes dryer hanger for indoors when it's cold. I've come to love the feel of air-dryed clothes rather than dryer-dried! Stiff but money-smart! Love you!!!

Anonymous said...


Also, Marsh has prenatal vitamins for free! I know Marsh is closer to me than Meijer :) It's been a huge blessing for sure!

Nichole said...

if you are looking for free stuff...check out . you will have to find one in your area, but it is great. lots of different stuff. there is even a guy the takes broken lawn mowers, fixes them and puts the back on free. there is a code that you don't fix things and profit from them. it is there to help people trade. craigslist is another place that is sometimes cheap...gotta look closely. with both you have to do the pick up. thanks for sharing....

i have also done the angel food thing....i do prefer to get my own meat...and know with jackson...we have started avoiding boxed meals and there are alot of those in the stuff...gotta do low sodium. i have friends who love it though. it is a great goshen it is out of zion chapel.

monica said...

i love your faith darcy!!!!!! god does bless us mysteriously.

thanks for the tips. i do have some thrifty ideas, well actually environmentally. i always unplug tuff i'm not using. the lamp, nightlights during the day, my hubbie's video game system and my electric bill has gone down dramatically.

The Haughs said...

Love all of your tips, Darcy! I wish I was better at saving money. I keep telling my sister that she needs to learn to live off of 1 income if she ever wants to stay home with her kids - something I've learned. Of course, I like working part-time, but it is still something I wish someone would have explained to me! :)

Jeni said...

Darce, I'm thinking that you should create you're own t.v. show on TLC. I know I would be addicted to it!

Half Pint said...

Great post Darcy! I was reading it and thinking in my head "check", "check", "check". I have always been into getting things on the cheap : ) I do 90% of our shopping at Aldi's and we get the majority of Alexander's clothes and toys at a great consignment store in Kokomo...there is nothing as good here in the Lou, if you can believe that! Also, we seriously have saved $100 a month by using cloth diapers(Fuzzi Bunz) and wash clothes instead of diapers and wipes. Also, I bought the Fuzzi Bunz on It is a stay-at-home Christian mom run company and she let me use a payment plan! I started paying for the diapers four months before I needed them and have used them since Alexander's belly button fell off : )

Jamie Lyn said...

Okay, so you don't know me in real life, but I've been lurking for years and thought it was finally time to comment because you're discussing one of my favorite topics! :)

Most of my tips have already been mentioned, but I discovered cloth nursing pads with my first baby and loved them. Mine were Gerber, found at Target, but there are probably others. They cost a little more at first, but since I nursed for a year with Baby #1 and fourteen months with Baby #2, I know they saved me tons of money. (I guess it's sort of like using cloth diapers.) I just put them in a garment bag and washed them with the other baby stuff. They were very easy and I thought they were more comfortable than paper ones.

I also cannot recommend the website highly enough. I thought I was pretty frugal for my first four years as a SAHM, but I've learned SO much since first visiting the site last May. It's been a true Godsend as my husband's industry has really taken a nosedive this last year. (I mean that literally, he's a pilot! :)

Anonymous said...

Hey Darcy!
I've been following your blog for a while now. I work at the 4-H Office in Warsaw and we are in need of a judge for the 4-H Scrapbooking project at the fair in July. I thought of you based on the stuff I've seen you do with Serendipity Kits and the things you post on your blog. It pays $50 and it should only be a couple of hours. It's Tuesday June 30 at 6:00pm. If you're interested send me your address and I'll get stuff sent to you with more information. If you're not interested, do you have any other ideas of people who might be?
My e-mail is

-Kayla Brumbaugh :)