Tuesday, July 28, 2015

My first shopping ban slip up

Yesterday I worked on planting our late summer garden.  We agreed that even though this wasn't a "necessary" expense, it's not really shopping and impulsive either.  And since the garden will provide food, we don't feel that it falls within the shopping ban restrictions.

I went to the local hardware store for organic soil to build up the raised beds and some seeds and also bought several packets of flower seeds.  At the time it didn't even occur to me that flowers are "fun" and definitely part of the ban.  In fact, I didn't realize my mistake until after I had planted two packets:(

I have three packets of flower seeds left and I'm going to return them.  It's only about $6 but this experiment isn't just about the money, it's about changing our thought process when shopping.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

New way of shopping

When I first told my friend, Tina about the shopping ban, she said, "Well, this isn't going to be any fun for me!".  We do weird shopping together, not the typical girls day with lunch out and buying clothes for ourselves.  Usually, we go to Target and get food, toiletries, and other boring everyday stuff on our lists.  But we also easily drop $10-20 on stuff from the dollar spot that is too adorable not to buy or fun holiday stuff that will take up more storage in our garages.

I've been to Target and Walmart once each since we started the ban and I noticed two things:

1.  Shopping with Tina isn't really that different.  I still found fun stuff in the dollar spot and cute outfits in the girls section but instead of buying them myself, I just suggested that she buy them:)  

2.  I waste less time.  I can think of three different things I saw at Walmart yesterday that I would have wandered over and looked at pre-ban but they were all fun or unnecessary items so I didn't even waste my time on them yesterday because I knew they were banned.  

I think this week may be hardest on Pops.  One of his favorite companies is having a "Christmas in July" sale and a backpack he wants is on sale for $199...which is apparently a great price?  He definitely doesn't need it and I know he knows that but he's brought it up a few times this week so I think it's killing him a little bit that he can't buy it. 

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

So. Much. Stuff.

Just like Blonde on a Budget, we're doing a MAJOR purge with our shopping ban.  And let me say, it's been eye opening.  The girls got rid of so much clothing and still have plenty left in their closet.  

We call this pile "Clothes Mountain".  We joked about it but it really makes me feel embarrassed. We just went through their closet and dresser a few months ago so it's not like this is a year's worth of outgrown clothing.  In fact, most of this still fits them, it's just not their style anymore (apparently they're both VERY anti-pink now).  We do get a lot of hand me downs from friends but a large portion of this was purchased by us or my mom.

I work at a very low income school with lots of students who have very minimal clothing, maybe only two pairs of pants.  If those pants get stained or torn or don't fit anymore, they continue to wear them.  I've let my girls think that clothing is disposable and if you don't love what you have, we'll just go out and buy something new. I rarely try to mend or re-purpose anything and don't think twice about running to the store.  

Here's a perfect example of our issue.  A few months ago, I realized Matea only had one pair of jean shorts and I decided she needed more.  We ran into Walmart that day and spent $15 on two pairs of shorts.  Now those shorts are in Clothes Mountain, each worn only a handful of times because she decided they weren't comfortable.  Yes, it's only $15 but how many times have we thrown away just $15, only $10, etc.?

I'm hoping our shopping ban will teach us a few things about buying clothes.  

1. We all wear the same 12-15 outfits all the time so we really don't need 70 different shirts.
2. Just because something is on clearance, doesn't mean I have to buy it.
3. Only buy things we truly love.  If we're talking ourselves into liking something, it's a no.  If there's the slightest hint that it won't be comfortable, it's a no.

4. We don't need a million multiples of everything.  2-3 hoodies is totally fine, we don't all need 6 or 7.  The girls can easily get by with 2 pairs of jeans each.  A colorful kimono for every freakin day of the week is excessive.

5. Remember that I can't force Bella to give up her sporty spice wardrobe and go back to the days of pink and ruffles and twirling.

6. Focus on buying far less but higher quality items that will last or have a guarantee.  Steve bought a pair of $89 Kuhl pants (we only paid $22 on clearance though - woot!) that started coming apart at one of the seams.  Instead of tossing them, he contacted the company and they repaired them for free.  We want to work on buying more brands like this that really back their product.

So, back to school shopping is going to stink because this year, it's pretty much non existent.  And it's always been a really BIG deal in our house.  Each of the girls already got 4 or 5 new items before we came upon the idea of a shopping ban and now all they're allowed is one pair of jeans and a first day of school outfit.  Not even our standard new undies and socks to start off the year!  I know my mom will read this and want to make up for our ban by taking the girls shopping but they truly don't need anything.  Need vs. want, that's what we need to take away from this.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Shopping Ban

It's been a long time since I've blogged but our family is beginning a little adventure and I think this blog is a great place to keep track of our goals and results.

A few weeks ago, I read this blog post that was linked on our budgeting software's Facebook page (You Need a Budget).  It was written by a young woman who undertook a year long shopping ban after realizing she had accumulated way too much stuff and was doing a lot of unnecessary shopping.  It's totally worth reading even if you think a shopping ban is crazy.

I was really inspired and sent the link to Steve and told him I wanted to do our own Gonzalez Family version.  We did a two week long no-spend challenge a few years ago but I really wanted to do something bigger this time. 

We got the girls on board and used some of our recent 8 hour car ride to Oregon to discuss our terms.

So, here's what we're looking at...

3 month long shopping ban
-began on July 18th
-ends on October 18th

Approved Purchases (items we know we'll have to buy)
1 pair of jeans for each Bella and Matea
Birthday gifts for Tina and Shane (try to make all other gifts)
Steve shoes
Matea's birthday party (aim for $200 total)
School supplies - only what is on list, no "fun" items, shop the house first
Kelci work pants, 1 pair
First day of school outfit for Kelci, Bella, and Matea
One Go Ruck Event for Steve
Project life vertical page protectors
$100 for next month's girls' trip (which was planned months ago)

Acceptable Spending
Necessary cleaning supplies and toiletries (no fun or extra items, only once we run out)
Girl Scout events
Extracurricular activities (baton lessons, volleyball, swim)
Pictures for scrap booking but no supplies
$100/month for dining (currently spending about $250) 

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

One Yard Wonders - Strapless Bandeau Shorty Jumper

I've been doing tons of sewing lately and almost zero picture-taking and posting.  Custom orders, baby gifts, freezer paper stenciling, zippered pouches for staff appreciation week have all kept me busy.  I just finished the cutest custom order ever but only took a crappy cell phone pic:(

It's a newborn peasant dress with a matching doll wearing the same dress.  How adorable is that?!  I wish I could take credit for the idea but my friend who ordered the set gets all the credit.  I'm thinking about listing a few of these in my shop since I think it's a really nice, unique gift.

After a day of working part-time for my sewing job, shuttling kids, and barely being able to keep my eyes open thanks to allergy meds, I decided I wanted to take on a project.  I looked through my One Yard Wonders book this weekend and realized that in the 18 months or so since I bought it, I haven't made one damn thing even though there are several patterns I want to try.

I decided to make the Strapless Bandeau Shorty Jumper for Matea (pages 194&195).  Let me say this could not have been any easier.  It literally took less than 30 minutes from start to finish and turned out even cuter than the picture, if I do say so myself.

How cute is she?!  She'll be finished with kindergarten in just a few weeks and I've been really sad thinking about her being in first grade and gone all day just like Bella next year.  No more snuggles with mommy in the two hours we have together between her pickup and Bella's.  In some ways, I think sending her off to first grade will be harder than kindergarten. 


But back to the jumper...I think even the most beginner of seamstresses could handle this.  I was a little worried about the strapless aspect but I used a nice wide elastic which kept it up well.  She ran around and played outside and didn't flash me once!  I used a vintage sheet from my stash because I wanted something light and summery and I love this aqua color with my girls' Mexican skin tone.

And Matea approves of the outfit too!  She asked me to modify it a little and turn it into a bathing suit pattern so we'll see how that goes.

Saturday, April 21, 2012


All rag dolls in my shop have been marked down to $20!  
Take a quick peek, there are some real cuties listed.  Shop here.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Pinterest Inspired Headboard

Wanna know a secret? Crafty Papa and I have never had a real bed. I mean, we have a bed frame but we've never had a bed with a headboard and foot board. In every house we've lived in, our master bedroom sort of looks like we just finished college and have no money. Now only half of that statement is true:)

I pinned this headboard and knew we could make it for almost-free...

The new place we call home has hidden treasures all over the property. We've found an old wood burning stove that we use in the back yard, another wood burning stove that was rotting but Pops used the legs as a base for an outdoor table, a washing machine tub for campfires, old metal fencing I used for a jewelry organizer, vintage pencils and bottles, the cutest vintage metal cart and tons and tons of old wood.

This project couldn't have been easier. We picked out wood planks that were still in decent condition and gave them a good brushing to get rid of debris. Then we gently screwed them onto anchoring strips (and I really do mean gently, the screws just barely go into the wood planks because we didn't want to risk splitting them).

I used my Cricut to cut out the "Mr." and "Mrs." stencils and used paint I had left over from another project. I couldn't adhere the stencil to the wood because it was so rough so I dabbed the paint on instead of brushing.

Our only cost was the hardware to hang it. Not too shabby. It makes a big impact in our bedroom and definitely makes it feel more finished.