Save Money: Learn How to Fix Things in Your Home

Save Money:  Learn How to Fix Things in Your Home - SidetrackedSarah.com

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I’ve always had an entrepreneur’s heart!  I remember back when I was still dating Ryan, he was living in an older home with paneling on the walls.  I grew up watching my dad fix up our old 100 year old home, and he made it look easy.  I remember listening to Ryan about the paneling and I chimed in with, “why don’t we sheet rock it, it’s not that hard”.  Ha.

 

Imagine a barely 20 year old boy, who has never done much of any kind of home repair being told this.  By his girlfriend.  You know, the one who he’s always wanting to impress?  Guess what I got to help him do?  You guessed it, sheet rock (aka drywall) the walls.

 

We’ve lived in a lot of different homes since we got married over 18 years ago.  When we buy a home, we buy it for a  low price and fix it up ourselves.  We’ve vastly improved the conditions of our homes.  I’ve been pregnant, barefoot (ha, just kidding), and repairing homes for years.  (Of course, I’ve been pregnant almost 6 full years of my life…so that makes sense, right?)  My husband and I have learned so much about fixing homes.  We’re not always the best at what we do, but chances are, we know the basics of how to do it.

 

7 Ways to Learn How to Fix Up a Home

  • Books – We have a few different home repair books sitting on our shelves.  If we have trouble knowing how to do something, we look it up in the book.  We have this book:
  • The Internet – Have you ever noticed that someone else has almost always had the same problem you’re having?  Just do a general search for that question and sure enough, someone has written about it!  You don’t always find an answer in this way, but a lot of times you do.
  • You Tube – I know this is part of the internet, but I figured it needs it’s own blurb.  Because seeing how to fix something is so much better than just reading about it.  There are many videos on home repair on YouTube.  Don’t under estimate.
  • Ask a Professional – Many of us have friends and/or grandpa’s who know a little something about home repair.  When in doubt, seek out someone who has done it before.  Explain to them that you are trying to learn how to do it and see if they can explain it to you.
  • Assist a Professional - When my husband isn’t sure how to fix something or knows he’ll need support that I can’t offer (as a female in charge of little kids), he’ll ask a friend of ours (who is also a contractor) if he can pay him to help.  The friend is getting paid, but it is usually well worth it, as he’s always very knowledgeable about the home repair.  He knows the fastest and best ways to get the job done without it looking like a little kid fixed it.
  • Watch HGTV – Yes, seriously, lol.  Of course, if you need to know right now, that won’t work, but if you would just like a general education, this is the channel for you!  I don’t tend to be a TV watcher, but while we’re on vacation, when I want to lay around, I’ll watch HGTV for the fun of it.  I learn so many bits of helpful home fixing information while I do.
  • Trial and Error – Believe me, this is not always the best way, but sometimes we learn by trying.  If the new product comes with directions, we read them (or I do anyway, lol) and we follow them to the best of our knowledge.  You’d be amazed at how much you can learn, just by trying it out on your own.

 

These are the steps we go through when we begin a renovation.  Do we fix everything in a home?  No, definitely not.  In fact, as we’re getting older and busier, we’re having to teach ourselves to hire some of it done.  It’s so hard to do that, lol, but so freeing at the same time!

 

Some of the repairs we’ve done to homes include, replacing windows and doors, laying ceramic tile, laying peel and stick tile, replacing counter tops, replacing window and door trim, ceiling fans, light fixtures and plumbing, etc.

 

Tell me about some of the home repairs you’ve learned to do?


10 Ways to Save Money on Children’s Clothing

How to Save Money on Children's Clothing

 

I’m a mom of 7 children, and I realize just how much money it costs to clothe them!  We don’t have to buy used, but we choose to on many occasions, just because I prefer the styles of clothes I can afford to get when they’re preowned.  We’ve spent the past 18 years being frugal, especially in the clothing department and have learned that the best way to keep our budget under control is to use these 10 tactics.

I know many of you are starting to think about back to school clothing.  It can get pricey if you don’t plan ahead.  Because we homeschool, we don’t have to buy specifically in this season, but we’ve learned lots of tips and tricks to save money and still have decently dressed children.  Here’s a few of the things I do.

1.  Buy at Garage Sales

When I’m in the garage sale groove, I like to keep a list of the clothing my children currently need or will be needing in the near future.  I also keep a list of their current sizes for reference, because there’s so many of them, sometimes i forget.

2.  Go to Consignment Stores or Sales

You can find good condition, name brand clothes at consignment stores for a small portion of the retail price.  Yes, once again, they’re used, but if they’re cute, who cares?  Our town has one consignment store that is open year round.  We also have 2 consignment sales (like a garage sale, but it’s all children’s clothes) each year at the time of switching seasons.

You can also pay for a good portion of that year’s clothing by selling your items at these sales.  Some of the stores in larger towns will pay you up front for your clothing, while others will ask you to wait until the items sell.  Either way, it’s a great way to get a clothing slush fund.

3.  Use Facebook Swap Groups

Chances are, by now, you’ve already got your own Facebook Swap group in  your area.  If for some reason you don’t, you should start one.  These Facebook groups are typically based in a city or county that you live in.  Many of them are broken into smaller groups, where you can look just at kids things or just at household items, etc.  You’ll want to find a group that allows clothing.  Start watching the ads or do a search to see if there’s anything being offered that you want or need.  If you’re not finding what you need, consider putting an ISO (in search of) post out there, if your swap allows it.

4.  Try Discount stores that sell new name brand items.

Our family loves these stores.  Our 3 favorites are:

  • Name Brand Clothing- be careful here, they have great sales, but sometimes the items are damaged.  You’ll want to inspect each garment for damage before purchasing.  Many, many items are just fine, so just be aware.  They call themselves the 1/2 of 1/2 store.  I often find shirts for $2-$4 and pants for $5-$10 and they are brand new quality.
  • Ross – Dress for Less - This doesn’t have near the variety that Name Brand Clothing has, but you will not find damaged goods.  If you’re in Texas, these stores are EVERYWHERE!  (I think we hit a dozen of them on our last vacation, lol).  There are some great deals to be had here!
  • T.J. Maxx - This store is a little pricier yet, than the above two, but they offer a different selection and they’re still cheaper than retail.  You’ll want to check it out if you’re used to paying retail all the time!

 

5.   Buy Out of Season

You’re going to want to keep that list handy again for this one.  Take inventory at the end of the current season.  What sizes and items will your child need when this season comes up again?  Often, stores will be clearancing the out of season items at 75% to 90% off.  You won’t want to miss out on these mega deals, but you have to know what you’ll be needing.  Otherwise, you’ll just end up with clutter.

6.  Let Your Friends Know You’ll Be Happy to Take Hand Me Downs

We have many friends who periodically drop clothing off to us.  We go through them and then we donate the rest.  We’ve saved lots of money by gathering only the items we will use.

7.  Try Thrift stores

Do you frequent thrift stores?  Let me tell you, not every thrift store is created equally.  Some are way overpriced on their clothes.  Some are junkier than others.  But, when you find the perfect thrift store, you are so happy!  You can find, barely used, school quality clothing for pennies on the dollar!  Yes, you have to search sometimes, but if you love a good deal, you’ll have some fun in thrift stores.

Here’s an unrelated tidbit from my past.  I used to buy thrift store clothes and sell them on Ebay.  We made a decent side income by doing this!

8.  Know when the sales are

Many stores have sales at the same time every year.  If you learn when these are, you’ll be sure to save money.  These stores will also have coupons and cash offers if you spend a certain dollar amount.  Gymboree has been known to have a sales where if you spend $50 one week, they’ll give you $25 to spend another week.  Almost every store out there will have great sales around the holidays.  Easter, Memorial Day, July 4th, Labor Day, Thanksgiving, and Christmas are the best holidays to shop around, off the top of my head.

9.  Outlet Malls are Fun!

When my 3rd child was born, we lived about an hour from Branson, Missouri, who had 3 outlet malls at the time.  (Now, they’re down to 2, but they still have some amazing deals!)  If you can get to an outlet mall regularly, you can find some steals.  My 3rd born was my best dressed baby, because I kept finding the most adorable baby clothes at The Children’s Place on sale for a dollar or two.

Keep in mind with outlet malls:

  • They will often have a coupon book available in the managing office, which you may have to pay a small amount to obtain.
  • Their sales are always better around holidays.
  • Sometimes, they’re no cheaper than retail, so be aware and don’t get sucked in, unless you just want to be of course!

10.  Store Your Older Children’s Clothes for Hand Me Downs

I keep a stock pile of children’s clothes in my basement.  Honestly, I don’t have to buy clothes very much.  I have to buy them more for my boys, because I don’t save them between the two of them.  There’s just too many years between them to make it worth my while.  But, if you have children who are close in age to one another (like my girls are), you can save loads of money by saving their old clothes and letting your younger children grow into them.

I hope this gave you some good ideas of where to get started.  Do you have some ideas that I haven’t shared here?  Please share them below.  My readers are eager to learn of even more ways to save money on children’s clothing!

 

10 Ways to Save Money on Children's Clothing


FREE Printable Easter Savings Recipes & Grocery List

The following post is brought to you by Favado.  Any opinions expressed are 100% my own.  
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Easter is right around the corner (April 20th to be exact).  Do you know what you’ll be serving for Easter dinner yet?  We typically get together with my side of the family and have the traditional Easter fixings of ham with lots of delicious sides!  After we eat, we head outside to hide Easter eggs filled with candy and treats and we let all the kids (14 in all this year!) go and find them.  It’s always a great time and we make some precious memories together!

Did you know that there’s an easy way to find out the lowest prices on Easter foods like ham, potatoes, eggs, produce, and candy?  You can, with the Favado App!  A few months ago, my sister showed me the Favado App on her phone and I was so impressed that I downloaded it onto my iPad.

Why Do I Like the Favado App?

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The main reason I like it, is because it allows me to look at my favorite stores and see what the best deals at those stores are.  It saves me time and money both, by matching current coupons with the sales at the stores.  I live in a rural community and don’t have many stores to choose from, but Favado even feature MY stores.  Stores like Walmart, Dollar General and Aldi!  These are stores I frequent on a regular basis!  In order to find your local stores, all you have to do is enter your zip code and the App will tell you all the deals for your area and show you where to print the coupon (if there is one).  It’s really cool!

Because Favado wanted to make your Easter meal really simple and affordable for everyone, they’ve created a FREE Easter Recipes & Grocery List for you to use in your meal planning! Each of the recipes calls for commonly used ingredients, that will most likely be discounted the week before Easter.

Delicious food, delicious savings…

Download Favado today (it’s free!) and save big on your ham, your eggs to color, and other delicious ingredients you’ll need for your Easter dinner!