Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Saving Money through Pinterest Projects

I can still remember the day I found out about pinterest. It was described to me as an online pin board where you can pin the things you like. Honestly, it sounded like something that I would download onto my iPhone, play with for a week and then delete. I forgot about it shortly after hearing about it. At some point, I went to download it out of sheer boredom and found out that I couldn't join without an invite. This led to a 12 hour search of mass hysteria where I contacted every single person in my life (or former life, or that I once ran into at a party, etc) trying desperately to find someone who had an account that could invite me. The longer I spent trying to find someone, the more obsessed I became. I still wasn't even completely sure what it did, but I knew I had to have it. I finally started leaving comments on blogs that referenced pinterest asking for an invite. 12 hours later, I was in. Thankfully, pinterest was worth the wait. I mention this because if you're in the same boat I was (though I doubt it as pinterest is much more mainstream now), leave me a comment asking for an invite and you'll be my first priority. Don't forget to leave your email in the comment.

While spending hours looking through crafty people's inspiration is heaven on earth, we're not actually saving money unless we start doing the projects we see. More importantly, unless we start doing the projects that we need, or that replace things that we would have to spend money on. For instance, how many people joined pinterest, pinned like crazy and started doing ridiculously expensive projects that required a ton of time and equipment we didn't already have. Yeah, that would be me. There's nothing wrong with that if your looking at it as entertainment, but if you're trying to save money than let me introduce you to a different way to pin.

When I found out I was hosting thanksgiving dinner for 8 people, I wanted a way to make it special but frugal (without resorting to the dollar store paper turkeys). I had a few challenges though. I didn't have a large table, or enough chairs, our dinner plates were purple, and our budget was not representative of the impression that I wanted to make as a newly married couple. I didn't want to waste a lot of money on decorations that I would never use again. I searched pinterest for "Thanksgiving" and "Dinner Party", to see what everyone else was thinking. I came up with this:

I placed two smaller tables together to make one larger table and gathered chairs from all over the house to make it work. I decided that I can work the purple plates into a thanksgiving theme by pairing it with orange and brown. I bought 2 yards of fabric (using the 50% off coupon, making it 3.00 per yard) and used it as a table cloth. After dinner, you can wash the fabric and use it for other projects. I did hit the dollar store for the paper thanksgiving napkins, and scattered doily leaves.

I found a tutorial on pinterest to make a stick vase using sticks and an old coffee can. You can find the tutorial here. This was quick and fun to make, and actually got us outside for a walk to gather the sticks. Even better? I moved the vase and flowers to the front porch after the dinner, and they actually looked pretty good (though dried) for about a month!

I found a pin that used these dollar store votive holders and floated a fake flower in water. The pin went to a dead link and I wasn't a fan of the fake flowers, but I had leftover coffee beans that smelled amazing and tons of votive candles in our emergency supply. So I picked up a few votive holders, combined all and ta da! I still drool at the smell of coffee beans.

I picked up thin Hershey's bars for fifty cents a piece, added layered scrapbook papers and used them as place cards.

Total cost for my thanksgiving dinner decorations?
Hershey Place Cards: $4.00
Tablecloth: $6.00
Votive Holders: $4.00
Flowers and Vase: $9.99
Napkins and Scattered Leaves: $2.00
$26.00 total. 

I needed ideas for baby shower gift baskets. I found a pin for these little guys (and girls) to include in baby shower gift bags. They were really easy to make out of baby wash cloths, baby socks, and newborn diapers. You can find the instructions here.

We bought a refurbished sewing machine for $70.00 right around the time I got pregnant. My mom and Jon had been teaching me to sew. I happened across a pin for home made burp cloths and thought that would be a fun, cheap project. This has become my favorite hobby ever. I've made 25 burp cloths for our soon to be baby and have started making more for gifts. It's a really simple, easy, and confidence building project for a new sewer like myself. After about 10, you feel like a professional seamstress. I buy the flannel snuggle fabric from Joanne's (when it's either on sale for $2.99 per yard, or when I have a 50% off coupon), and pair it with either cloth diaper material or cotton terry (regular price is $6.99 but again- only buy when it's 50% off! Sign up for their emails and coupons come almost every other week). Each burp cloth costs about 90 cents to make and will make a great addition to gift baskets. Instructions can be found here.

One of our cheapest parties to host is poker night. It's a ton of fun (though it requires a bit of logistics and forethought to pull of well- more on that later). With a large table, 2 decks of cards, a mason jar to put the $10.00 tournament money in, and about $20.00 for snacks... You have yourself a party! One small issue- I'm the biggest germaphobe in the world.  A bowl of peanuts screams E. Coli and the thought of dipping in a communal dip bowl makes me feel physically ill (don't judge- we all have issues). You can imagine my delight and surprise when I saw a pin for mini plastic dixie cups filled with personal snacks. It cost me $2.00 for pretzels, $4.00 for peanuts, $1.00 for baby carrots, $1.00 for celery, $1.29 for ranch dressing, and $ 2.00 for the dixie cups (with tons of leftovers). Our party food cost less than $12.00! No germs! And it was easy to take the cups to your spot at the table without getting dip everywhere. The original post can be found here.

If you can ignore the horrendous nail polish in that last picture (now you can't look at anything else can you?), I can tell you that when I was packing my maternity "go bag" for the hospital, I was reaching for a Ziploc baggie to put our tooth brushes in. I remembered seeing a pin like this. I checked it out and found out that it linked to an etsy shop where she sells these for $10.00 (a great investment if you can't sew- these things are genius!), you can go to her shop from here. Since I'm getting pretty good with the sewing machine now, I decided to wing it and see what happened. It was really easy, took all of five minutes, and I had all of the materials handy. You just need a washcloth and a washable ribbon. You can fit a full size toothpaste in there as well if you would like. It keeps your toothbrushes sanitary. If it gets messy, just throw it in the wash when you get home. I don't feel comfortable posting a tutorial, since she had the original idea and she's selling them. But if you take a look, and you have any experience at all, I'm sure you can figure it out.

There are a million genius projects out there that can save us time and money. Pinterest is a life changing tool to help us think outside the box. If you found something on pinterest that saved you time and money, let us know!


  1. You have some great ideas! I love the last one, I'm going to have to make one (or two) of those.

    1. That was my favorite too! Only because I'm a germ freak and would always throw out my toothbrush after every trip:)

  2. I think Pinterest is a fun site that one can use to see the money-making potential of this concept.
    website design

  3. I am an avid follower of your site. Could you please invite me in pinterest?
    my email id is shainy.sajan@gmail.com


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