Friday, January 30, 2015

Frugal Friday

I haven't done a Frugal Friday post in a while so I thought it was time.  I've done a pretty good job this month, getting back on track and figuring out ways to save.

One of the things I did was reevaluate my personal business, Terri's Country Crafts & Books.  I had started making soap last year because it was something I always wanted to try and then I also felt like I needed to have an item at the farmer's market that everyone may want to purchase.  That was before I got my approval to make and sell bread.

I love making soap  It's fun and quick.  But it's not necessarily frugal.  When I tried to save some money by purchasing olive oil from our local store which was much cheaper, it ended up not being the smartest choice.  It caused some of the bars to end up with little orange spots.  When I researched why that was happening it turned out it was because of an inferior grade of olive oil.  It didn't harm the soap and it works great but who wants to purchase soap with orange spots on it!

I also couldn't figure out why my money was flying out the window when I was charging enough for a bar to make it affordable and yet, I was making money too.  Then realized it does me no good to make batches of soap if only a couple of bars sell here or there.  What I mean is that in order to go to craft fairs you need to have a good variety of scents.  Yet only a few bars would sell at a time.  So I was sitting on between 50-75 bars of soap which meant I wasn't making anything as long as it's in my house.

Anyway, all that to say, I decided to get out of the soap and body/bath end of things.  That was where a lot of my money was going.  I will still make soap for us because we love it.  But I have enough soap in inventory that we will be good for a long time to come! ;-)  I'll still be doing the fabric end of things and in fact, have added new things to my Etsy shop (tab is at the top of this page).

Sometimes, being frugal means you need to reevaluate something and if it's not working, let it go!  Also, cheaper is not always better as in the case of the olive oil I was using.

Ways I've saved the past couple weeks:

$ I set up an excel spreadsheet for both our personal finances as well as my business.  Every single expenditure and earning gets entered into the proper category so I can see at a glance how much we are spending each month and for the year to date.

$ I've been making reversible cloth napkins for my Etsy shop but it reminded me that I haven't bought paper napkins in years, except for a special event with large crowds.  Cloth napkins are used here every day.  Since everyone has their own napkin, we will use them for a couple of days (unless there is a particularly messy meal).  It's frugal and good for our environment.

$ I cut Nathan & Dan's hair.

$ I discovered that if I ask for a parcel post box at the post office, it doesn't cost me anything except postage.  Normally, when I mailed out an order I would just grab any old mailer there and pay for it.

$ Speaking of that, when I get packages in the mail I try to save the boxes for mailings.  I do enough mailing of packages because of the business that they go fairly quickly and aren't sitting around just taking up space.

$ I have stayed out of the fabric stores and am working on using up my stash.  The local café wanted me to bring in some Valentine's Day items but I don't have any of that themed fabric.  The more I thought about it though I decided against it.  Men are the biggest purchasers on Valentine's Day and it's generally flowers and candy.   The café has been slow this month and there is no guarantee that I'll sell anything for that holiday and then I'm stuck with it.  I was agonizing over it and then Dan reminded me that just because someone asks for something doesn't mean I have to do it!  DUH! ;-)

$ Started taking out a weekly allotment of cash for both Dan & myself instead of using the debit card.   This way we have an "allowance" and once it's gone; it's gone.

$ Purchased my plane tickets to North Carolina on and well in advance to get the best deal.

$ Simmered the turkey carcass that I put in the freezer from Christmas one day and made both a pot of turkey soup and 2 quarts of turkey stock.

$ Dan & Nathan are taking Nathan's car for an oil change today.  When Nathan bought it they told him that a free oil change came with the purchase so they are taking advantage of that.

$ Put $200 into an emergency fund this month.

I think that's it, though I'm sure there were many other ways.  I'm working hard at plugging up those holes that allow money to leak out!