Sunday, October 30, 2016

Budgeting & Insourcing....How we saved in October...

How was October for you? Did you stay on track with your budget? Or did matters beyond your control mean a budget blowout?
Sticking to a budget, and having an Emergency Fund are fundamental in living well, and having reduced stress levels. Ultimately it's the stress that often causes us to overspend, with a fatalistic attitude of 'well things are terrible anyway, I may as well buy something to cheer myself up'. Been there, done that? Me too.
The thing is, that once you embrace the idea of Insourcing, and challenge yourself to NOT spend as often as possible in the space of a day, a week, a month, you'll become kind of addicted to it.
There are few things these days, that I do not at least attempt to Insource first. I'm pretty brave. I wasn't always. Just a few short years ago, my internal doubt would have me saying things like 'I couldn't possibly make that/do that/recreate that'. And this is despite growing up in a family where Mum ALWAYS said 'We can make that (dress/cake/costume/meal/whatever) Darling'. So if you're not accustomed to DIY-ing, the prospect can be daunting to start with.
Thanks to blogging and the internet, we all know that many ordinary folk like ourselves, make/bake/create these days, and share their successes and failures with us all. There's little that I can't sit down at my desktop and Google nowadays, knowing that someone, somewhere, will have sat just as I am, wondering how to create the very thing I'm attempting.
One thing that this has taught me, is that everything can be broken down into manageable steps. If someone can video or photograph themselves while they're creating, then surely I can manage doing that too.
Here's my tally for October, all managed by breaking down the elements I wanted to recreate, and being a bit brave...
I recreated a Dolce & Gabbana inspired blouse, spending just $10. The 'real' version was $1600. Okay. I never would have bought it, but I take enormous satisfaction in mentally adding that to my tally of savings for the month.

I added a deep fringe to a skirt I already had in my wardrobe. Total cost $20. Savings on the skirt I'd admired in the department store? $350.

I made my own multi-purpose household cleaner. Recipes for this are all over the internet these days. I tint mine a pretty shade of pink, with gel food colour. Just because I can and it's fun. This one cleaner saves me about $30 a month on other sprays and foams with which to clean my home.

I made an Anne Boleyn dance costume for my daughters dance assignment at school. I got an! I also saved $350 on a purchased Anne Boleyn costume.

My daughter and I cut each others hair. We used sharp scissors and the CreaClip to guide us to more stylish tresses. Savings of $160 recorded there.

We also manicured and pedicured our way to savings with our Jamberry nail wraps. $11 for one sheet of wraps, which gives us two manicures and two pedicures, that last up to two weeks. Now that's a bargain! This one is called Galaxy, I think. It's meant to look like the night sky. I like it. We saved $260 on salon mani-pedis, and spent just $22.
I baked a pretty cake for my Granddaughters third birthday. This cake was rainbow layered on the inside and saved $400 on a similar one from a cake decorator. Apparently it disappeared so quickly on the day, that my daughter-in-law didn't even have time to photograph the inner layers for me!

Thanks to Annabel at The Bluebirds are Nesting, and her tips on pretty Grub Roses (I call them Bullion Roses), I perfected my technique, using my newly acquired Straw Needles that have a shaft the same size all the way along, unlike normal needles that are wider at the base than at the top, making for messy Grub Roses! I used that skill to embroider on inexpensive chain store dresses for the aforementioned granddaughter, elevating them to something more bespoke, saving at least $100 on bought hand embroidered clothing for children...

I also used trim left over from my scarf making, to trim a cute tshirt for her, saving $15 on a similar one...

...and here's the scarf. I made this from a remnant for just $10. I made 5 more as gifts. These scarves sell for $60, so I'll call that a saving of $300.
We enjoyed watching a spectacular sunset with home made Ginger Beer in hand, which a friend had given me in exchange for my sewing skills. Savings of around $10, but even more priceless was the show that Nature provided...

I rescued several pretties at my local thrift store, turning them from ugly to precious, just with gentle laundering and ironing...

I'm particularly proud of the silk camisole below, which cost me just $2, and which once laundered, pressed and embroidered with my new skill of Grub Roses....

...ended up looking like this...

These upcycled silk lingerie items fetch good money on Etsy. I'll call that a saving of $150 on the three items, and that's conservative.

Here's the sewing project I swapped for the Ginger Beer. A pair of lycra shorts for a costume. I cut and stitched these in just 30 minutes. I used YouTube here, as my tutorial. So simple that I'm now inspired to make more sweet lingerie! A saving for my friend of $45 on the same pair of shorts from a Dancewear shop.

And finally vases of Gypsophila all over the house courtesy of my lovely husband. Gypsophila (Babys Breath) is so inexpensive, and looks so delicate massed in simple glass vases. Saving of $65 on bouquets of roses!
That's a grand total generated this month of $3,385!
And I got to keep my hard earned money in the bank too!
What do you think? Is insourcing worth a try?
Stay tuned for Five Star Frou-Frou features later today! I have five bloggers to feature and you won'tt believe what they've been up to!


  1. All are such lovely ideas and WOW the savings from all the creations. Wonderful inspiration. I haven't been thrifting for awhile. I would love to find some New/old lingerie and try my hand at the bullion roses.

    1. Dear Lynn, I know, right? Who would imagine that what we generate in the home, would hold such enormous value, but it's the truth! I knew you'd love those Bullion Roses and they're so easy once you get the hang of them. Let me know how you go! Mimi xxx

  2. What great inspiration, but what I like the best is that everything you did is so "doable". It is just taking the time to learn and do these things. And you make it clear that that you are learning and figuring it all out, too. Thanks for the encouragement!


    1. Thankyou Darlene. I do try to encourage everyone to just try a new skill now and again. Sooner or later, you discover a handful of things that you can hone into quite an impressive array, and you're off and running and saving big dollars. It's just the not being afraid to try, that's important. Mimi xxx

  3. Very thrifty and inspirational! Thanks for sharing.
    Have a good week.

  4. Amazing Mimi! I am so insoired by the silk items and that cake. Love it

    1. Dear Annabel, I just knew you'd fall in love with the embellished lingerie. Such a natural progression from what you're already doing. And that cake was easy. I just tackled it one step at a time. You can too. Mimi xxx

  5. Wow...such great ideas! :)

    Thanks for joining Cooking and Crafting with J & J!

  6. Mimi, if those are your tresses, then they are lovely. That photo shows such a bubbly personality, and the way the scarves are tied looks so clever and effective! If they are not your tresses, then they are still lovely!
    Rachel Holt

  7. What lucky a birthday girl. That cake was adorable! Thank you for sharing all your budget stretchers at Monday Social.

  8. Lovely, as always! You remind me that I haven't yet explored the thrift store option in my new hometown, so I need to get on that before Christmas. I'm also admiring your cake (again) and thinking I might be able to use the technique, in different colors, for Thanksgiving dinner. I think my four-year-old nephew would love it!
    Blessings, Leigh

    1. Thanks Leigh...cakes are now my 'thing'! Mimi xxx


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