Hand-Made - Sewing, Crafts, Etc.
  • It doesn't take great sewing skills to whip up a pencil case! I made one for each of my girls from scraps, using zippers out of old clothes and embroidered each with their name and simple pictures. Cost: Nothing but my time, and I enjoyed it. :-) These are sturdy and will last them through the year which is more than I can say for store-bought ones. I made one for one of my daughter's friends and put it in with her birthday gift - it was a big hit! Kids love personalized stuff. I was asked how much I would charge for them, but the embroidery is too time-intensive to make it worthwhile, so I only make them for friends.
  • Along similar lines, a multi-coloured soft ball, block, simple doll or animal made out of scraps is a nice addition to a baby gift, or a couple of them could be the entire gift. Just be careful not to attach anything a baby might pull or chew off! I prefer to embroider details instead of sewing on those googly eyes (and it's cheaper too!).
  • Don't have any fabric scraps? Check out the remnants bin at the fabric store, or go to the thrift store and buy a cheap dress or skirt to cut up!
  • Barbie doll clothes are a great way to use up tiny scraps that are just too pretty to throw away. The prices on patterns is prohibitive...I was lucky enough to have some old ones given to me. It's not difficult to update those old fashions, although nowadays they're right in style again! :-) If you are making a dress for a little girl, she would be thrilled to have a matching dress for her Barbie! Once you have the basic doll clothes pattern, it's not too hard to change it slightly to look similar to that which you are making for her, and believe me it is worth it to see the sparkle in their eyes!
Send in your tips - I would love to hear how other frugalites save their pennies! I will be posting more of my own little penny pinchers here shortly.

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