1. Groceries: we did end up breaking our no-spend month. On Saturday I spent $10.08 on some snacks for our road trip. So that was a bummer! But we were still able to save almost $120.00 on food this month.
2. Cooking: Again, I spent the week making varied meals to use up our leftovers. Like a random can of sardines. We still have a ways to go in order to completely clean out the fridge, freezer and pantry. But I've very satisfied with what I accomplished in January.
3. Sewing: I finally finished (well... almost, kind of) our toddler's car seat poncho! Basically the poncho is a wearable blanket. I lined hers with green fleece, used drop cloth for the outer layer, and put faux fur around the hood. I almost quit the project after making just the lining. "She looks like a hobbit!" I told my husband, while practically dying of laughter. "I'll just buy some girly fabric and make a new one," I said. He said no, he liked the "hobbit" look! So I stuck with that theme. There is still one poncho element left to add—and an alteration I'd like to make—but it's fully functional now, as-is. I spent a few dollars on the section of drop cloth that I used, but other than that all of the fabric and supplies were free.
I also made two zippered cloth toiletry bags for our upcoming road trip. I made a larger one for myself, and a smaller one for Princess. They aren't perfect, but they were free! I used some old jeans and a Goodwill-bound baby jacket for fabric and notions. Did you know a cheap zipper at Walmart costs almost $2.00? That's crazy! It took about 15 minutes to get the zipper out of our free jacket, so I think that was time well spent. Before I made the pouches, I looked at Walmart for some cheap toiletry bags. I could find any for less than $4.00, so I decided to just go ahead and make some. I added a hanging loop on each bag for easier storage.
4. Gardening: I bought some more seeds this week at Home Depot. So far, I've spent $18.00 on seeds. Now all that I have left to buy are some seedlings, later on in May. I'm hoping to keep garden costs under $30.00 this year.
5. Reading: I've really enjoyed the amount of reading I've been able to do this month. While this isn't "frugal" right away, I believe that the information in books gives a high return for the cost. I buy books at thrift stores and garage sales, or get them from the library for free. This spring I signed up for a subscription reading service called Scribd. After I finished the three-month free trial, I decided to join. It costs $9.00 per month, but my subscription covers an unlimited number of ebooks, audio books and PDF files. I can easily burn through several audio books and an ebook or two per month, plus it is helpful to have almost any book I want on hand for reference. Not only that, but my husband and I share an account, so he can read and listen to different books on his phone. In January alone I listened to two books on potty training, two books on French culture and started one biography. I read one book on my phone and referenced at least five others. We are going to download a destination-related audio book before we hit the road later this week. The audio books in particular are so valuable to me, because I can "read" while I work on other things. Scribd is one subscription service that I think is 100% worth the money. Would you pay $2.00 or less for someone to read you an entire book while you did other things? I would! I learn so many valuable, profitable, money-saving things from books. And while you can get audio books from the library, the selection is limited and many of them are still on CDs. I used to order ebooks from the library; it's just a pain to try to get the files from the CD to your phone, etc. If you don't have $9.00 to spend every month on subscription audio, I would recommend downloading the free OverDrive app. You need a library card, and I believe there is a limit on how many books you can have "checked out" at one time, but it is free!
I think that's all for this week. I hope you've all had a fruitful, productive January!