Category Archives: Living on a Shoestring

Living on a Shoestring

Project Organize Refrigerator

Project Organize Refrigerator

Today’s project organize refrigerator was inspired by a very recent trip to Dollar Tree and recalling a pin I saw on Pinterest. I know from previous disappointment that if I don’t buy what I see at Dollar Tree, it is gone the next time I stop in. Apparently green is the color that one of the employees mentioned are trending, at least in the organizing product category. Green happened to be the color I was looking for.
Homeschooling on a Shoestring Project Organize Refrigerator
When I first purchased the refrigerator a few years ago, I also stopped in Bed, Bath and Beyond for some organizers to start it right. Previous to that, we were using an old college dorm type fridge. That finally gave out and we using nothing for a time. I had saved enough money to buy a new fridge.

All except for 2 of the Bed, Bath and Beyond organizers didn’t quite fit how we were using the refrigerator, so they had been re-purposed to other areas of the house. What was kept in the refrigerator was the clear lazy susan and packet holder which is in one of the door shelves. Year or two goes by and the refrigerator is a mess with outdated condiments, sticky goo on the glass, items way in the back and not easily accessible. After seeing what was available at Dollar Tree, I came up with my plan for organization. I bought some placemats for the shelves so once they were clean, it would make it much easier to keep clean. In hindsight,  I should have measured the glass shelves because the placemats are too long and not wide enough. I might either return them to the store or keep them for use on the dining table. Clear shelf liner cut to size would be best for the glass shelves. I bought two styles of baskets; one that has a handle and one that doesn’t. I have a few baskets left over and those will be used for the freezer.

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Scrapbook On A Shoestring

This question was posted on the old forums

How do you accomplish scrapbooking cheaply. We do some lapbooking, but I saw several scrapbook type projects on the Internet that were based on educational topics. It looked really fun, but when I looked into materials and equipment, it seemed quite expensive.
So any ideas how to scrapbook on a shoestring?

Do you have a Hobby Lobby near you? If so watch their ads, you can access them at – they usually run some scrapping/craft item each week half price. They have great prices on paper everyday, but when it is half price you can’t beat it! If you don’t have a Hobby Lobby, another thing to do is use the 40% off coupons for Michaels to purchase bulk packs of paper and larger items. There are tons of internet sites that sell supplies. QVC sometimes has some great deals also.

Watch on eBay or some other auction site. People sometimes sell lots of scrapbook related items for really cheap.

Also start saving scrap pieces from various arts and craft projects the kids do. That little piece of ribbon you think will have no use for anything else comes in really handy when you are doing a scrapbook page. That little odd piece of fabric. Start looking at things you previously would have tossed out and start looking at them as items for a scrapbook. You would be amazed at the ideas you come up with. Old buttons, charms, small game pieces (like bingo chips), even old game cards come in handy. Check with your neighbors and friends. See if they will save you their scrap pieces.

Make your own stickers. The sticker paper is a little expensive. Kids can find pics on the internet and print them on the sticker paper or make your own using KIDPIX. Rubber stamps come in real handy and have a variety of uses. Making theme papers, lapbook covers, scrapbook pages.

Create the pages on the computer. As you surf the net and find a graphic you like, save it in a file marked scrapbook (use sites that offer free graphics or buy some CD-ROMS that have them on there). Find borders, backgrounds, charms, etc. There is actually a whole community of people who do this and they love to share ideas. You use a graphic/photo program to put all your graphics together and then print them out. This is a great way to incorporate photos you take with your digital camera and store on your computer. You can change the photos to be however you want.

You could look online for free printable scrapbook sheets and fonts. Also, certain stores have great deals during the year on scrapbooking supplies. Check out the dollar stores as well–sometimes places like Dollar Tree, Deals, or Dollar General have great things for scrapbooking. Make sure it is acid free (sometimes even construction paper is acid free which makes it affordable for scrapbooking).

Use the Michaels coupons every week. They come in the paper on Sunday’s generally and collect them from as many people that you know get a paper. Get supplies with the 40% off coupon. Also get on Joann Fabrics mailing list. Get several from friends and they usually have a %50 off coupon every couple of weeks. Subscribe to the newsletter from Scrapbookers Inc and they send out coupons in their newsletter. Get as many supplies as I can at 40% to 50% off. Also get film developed at Costco or Sams Club. Much cheaper price than most that can be found. Meijer’s also has sales on supplies every couple of weeks. Keep an eye out for those.

JoAnn has a couple of 40% off sales, you can wait until then. Also at JoAnn use your educators discount.

Try York Photo. It is mail order. Info can be found at: Best of all, they come right to your mailbox in about a week! You don’t need to go anywhere to pick them up or wait for the clerks to locate your photos.

Check your local library for old National Geographic magazines. You can probably get them for a song. Perfect for lapbooks about animals! Thrift stores may also be a gold mine for old magazines for these projects.

Some local libraries have bins near the entrance with free magazines. See if yours does.

For those who are scrapbooking challenged. If you find you just can’t spend as much money and time as it would require to do a good job, you might have the capability with your computer. A scanner is really relatively cheap and you can scan your photos into the computer to make memory cds for each of your kids. You can use Roxio CD creator. With that you can add borders, graphics music voice etc. to the photos. There are other programs like PowerPoint that would let you do the same type of thing.

All of your precious baby videos (VHS tapes) can faded and deteriorate. Photographs may eventually do the same. Put them in digital format on CDs and movies on DVDs.

See if your church historian will digitize your photos and movies. Once on CD, you can make as many copies with your computer’s CD burner and send them to relatives. There are places that can do this for you.

Use one of those collage-type frames that contain several pictures to use per kid. You can also put in ribbons they’ve won, etc. You can display a larger collection of each child in a more contained space and it doesn’t look real cluttered.

I found myself even babybook challenged! I save stuff to put in my dd’s babybook but haven’t written in it though. Being a single parent – it was difficult finding even the ‘right’ babybook. I ended up buying a computer program a while back (uses floppys but I burned out the A-drive connection on my motherboard so it’s useless right now) so I could make my own babybook. I also have the Roxio CD creator on my computer as well as Microsoft Picture It and should get started on that before my dd gets married (at the rate I seem to be going that’s when it’ll be started LOL!).

Veggie Cheap

We’ve been trying to eat healthier. Its not easy and down right a PITA since the fridge went kaput. Eating fresh fruits and veggies are out of the question since we need shelf-stable food only. We were gifted a cube fridge (like a tiny dorm fridge) but you cant put much in there besides milk (once opened, the rice milk or almond milk has to be refrigerated) and a few popsicles. So shelf-stable food. Our nearest grocery store has a decent scratch dent section. We used to find closeout items right on the shelves alongside everything else. The store hasn’t done that in a while. They have been pulling the scratch dents and repackaged items and putting them by the bottle returns. We found some organic soups broths that we can add a can of no salt mixed veggies and noodles to, undented lite pears (I still wont buy dented cans), and even 13 Bean Soup Mix at great prices.

Since we are not fully vegetarian yet, we do eat animal products on occasion. I went to the food pantry a couple of weeks ago, spoke to someone about what programs they had to help me in my situation. After chatting for a bit, I happened to blurt out about the fridge or lack thereof and was signed up for a furniture list (apparently they consider fridges furniture), anyway, I’m on a waitlist for that. So then they asked me if I wanted to get us on a holiday help program. I asked what it was about. They said to help with gifts for my dd a Christmas, and a holiday menu. I asked what was on that. A frozen turkey, dressing, canned veggies, etc. Well I ended up looking at the worker funny and then she realized what she said. We have no fridge. A frozen turkey will be pointless.

I’m not done with this post yet, but has some of my thoughts on dining on a shoestring. In the meantime, check out the link below. I found it today but haven’t had time to have a good look yet.

Vegetarian on the Cheap A Beginners Guide how to stay hip, healthy and on a budget.


My aunt sends me lots of coupons. Gotta love it! Anyway, since we’ve moved and most things are in storage (I won’t be able to get to them or find them until the Spring Thaw) and don’t have my coupon box (something My Mother made a long time ago – I’ll post pictures when I find it), I was searching around for coupons on the web. I came across this which I’ve tried and like so far: Krazy Coupon Lady’s Coupon Tracking You d/l the Excel file, I saved the original and for my test run I’ve saved it under the name 2008Coupons, and plug in your coupon info. I have been using CouponMom‘s website to show the sales near me, however near me is only shown Kroger & Meijers. I prefer to cut my coupons and file them in my coupon box, instead of leaving them whole on the page, and I think by using the coupon tracking w/those sales, I’ll be able to get a better grip on grocery spending.

Deal of the Day

We stopped in the resale shop today and my dd came across the handheld games. They were inexpensive so I bought her one. This game is really neat. It’s called Wordhunt (by Radica). It has different timed and 1 no-timed setting. It gives you a word and you find all the words in it that you can by mixing up the letters. Like just now it gave me the word ‘newspaper’ and you have to try to find all the words you can make with the letters in newspaper. We got it for $2.50. It’s on eBay for 25. And the batteries were included 😀 Pretty neat.