Friday, October 23, 2009

Redoing Cabinets

I wanted to redo our kitchen, but with falling home prices, I wanted to do as good of a job as possible for as little money as possible. The answer for us was to paint our existing cabinets. I found a lot of information online- a lot of it conflicting. Here's what we ended up doing and what I think I would do if I were to do it again.

We took off all the doors and washed them with tsp substitute. What I should have done was to dry them off with a towel immediately after washing and rinsing. I didn't and my 20+ year old cabinet doors started coming apart a bit at the seams. It just created an extra step of having to glue and clamp the doors. I also washed the hinges, since they were a bit gross too. I ended up painting the brass hinges black so they would match our new hardware and saved about $80 not buying new ones.

I stripped the finish off of the doors next. I'd skip that step if I did it again. We had to sand everything anyway and we were painting rather than refinishing, so I would just sand and skip the stripper. It also contributed to things coming apart that shouldn't have.

I removed the front panels off of eight of the doors (we made them plexiglass fronted). We had to remove a bit of the inside part of the doors to create a pictureframe-esque door to put the plexiglass into. We trimed it with a jigsaw and then sanded the edges down smooth.
Next we primed all the doors, then painted them with an oil based, white semi-gloss paint. A lot of things I read said that latex is getting better and better for this type of project, but we decided to stick with the oil based for it's durability. There was a lot of waiting for paint to dry between coats (and sides of doors).

Our cabinets doors didn't have handles or knobs, so we decided to add some. I bought black knobs from Home Depot for most of the doors. I ordered glass knobs from a place online for the cabinets that face the dining room. After figuring out where we wanted to put them on a test piece, we measured and drilled all the holes.

We washed, sanded, primed, and painted the faces of the cabinet boxes. I cleaned out the insides of the cabinets, but didn't paint them. Once the paint was completely dry, we put the hinges back on the doors and hung them back up on the boxes.

Here are the results.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Article on Outlet Malls

I thought I'd share this article from on outlet malls. I read part of the Consumer Reports article quoted in the article before and found it quite interesting. Some outlet "deals" aren't so great. I still love the Children's Place outlet store near us, but have been quite disappointed with some of the other stores at the outlet mall. Definitely be informed before you shop!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

One Way to Save Money

I've found in my quest to save money on things I buy that my efforts sometimes back fire. Becoming too aware of great deals here and there some times cause me to buy more things than I might have in the first place. Some times a good strategy for saving money is just not spending any. Obviously that only works for a little while but sometimes you end up just not buying that thing you needed and that was such a good deal any way.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Winter Clothes for Cheap!

It's been hot and humid here lately, which makes one really feel like not looking at wintery type clothes, but there are sure a lot of great deals on them right now.
Yesterday I bought 5 pairs of The First Years fleece blanket sleepers for $1.88 each at Target. Each had two coordinating footed blanket sleepers- less than $1 for each cute footed sleeper.
Browsing online, I found many sweaters, jackets, and other cold weather wear items. Old Navy, Gap, and JCPennys had lots of really great deals online. I visited Kohl's yesterday as well and found racks and racks of winter items on clearance.
If you're headed to an actual Old Navy store, check out to find an in-store coupon to save even more. The site is updated each week with new coupons (look out for a $75 off of $100 purchase- I've yet to look when one has been available, but I keep hoping)

Friday, May 1, 2009

The Children's Place Outlet

I was at the Children's Place Outlet at the mall on Wednesday and got a huge bag full of colder weather clothes for 99cents a piece. There were mostly tops (holiday and plain) but I also saw (and bought some) pants, dresses, and sweaters. Warmer weather clothes were also on sale. On top of that, I also used my 15% off coupon the Children's Place sent me in the mail which is good through the 10th.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Thrifty Chicks and Never Pay Retail Again

Here are two blogs I found that I've enjoyed looking at and getting ideas from.

The Thrifty Chicks is a blog about "thrifting" or shopping at thrift stores as a means of getting wonderful stuff for not much money and also as a way of being more environmentally responsible. I especially like blog author, Shopping Go Lightly's "how to thrift" posts linked conveniently at the top left. I was inspired to take a run through the local Goodwill store and I found a zip up sweater that fit me beautifully for just $4.

Never Pay Retail Again is written by Jodi, who describes herself as "a mom of 3 fantastic kids-- ages 6, 4, and 1-- who has champagne tastes and a tap water budget" and "a new generation of coupon clippers" On her about page she writes, "I'm NOT a frumpy housewife, nor am I splitting toilet paper from 2-ply into 1-ply to save money. I'm a (relatively) hip mom who *loves* fashion at a (steep) discount and I save a TON of money on the things my family NEEDS, like food and toiletries, so I have the money to splurge on the things we WANT- like vacations, clothing, and a healthy savings account." Her site highlights shopping deals, sales, and coupon tricks and tips.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Kids Clothes

I like to buy clothes for my kids in advance, when they're on clearance at the end of a season. There are two important things you need to have a handle on to be able to do this effectively.

The first is that you need to have some idea of what size your child is going to be when that season comes around again. If your child is pretty average, you can go by the age/size. For example, one year from now a six month old might wear 18mo size clothes. Where this doesn't work so well is if your child is a lot smaller or larger than "average." It's difficult to tell before your child is born or even when they're small where they're going to fall when they're older but as time goes by you get better at it. One way to get around this pitfall is to buy clothes that could work in multiple seasons. Short sleeved shirts and pants of most kinds work year round. I really love pants that have adjustable elastic waists. My oldest is tall and skinny, so they have been a necessity to get pants that are long enough to not fall down. Those kind of pants can be adjusted as the kid grows so he or she can wear them longer. Sadly, they don't seem to make adjustable waist pants in infant sizes (at least I haven't found any until the toddler sizes, yet!)
I often buy certain items (like dresses and t-shirts) in a slightly larger size for my girls. Since they're on the skinny side, they can often wear them for more than one year. A red sleeveless Christmas dress with a santa-ish coat got worn for two Christmases as well as during the summer without the coat. The downside to doing this is it makes the outfit more worn out and if you're looking to have hand-me-downs for younger siblings it makes it a little harder.

The second thing you need to make buying kids clothes in advance work is some place and some way to keep the clothes organized. If you forget you have them (and it's really easy to do!) and go out and buy more stuff, you haven't saved any money. If you don't find them until your child has outgrown them, that is just a waste. I have seen in catalogs little tags you can buy to stick on a clothes rod to demarcate areas for different sized items. Some stores give you the hangers the clothes were on and they have little tabs that indicate the size (not always the correct one though!) I suppose you could even make your own way to indicate which clothes hung on a rod are which sizes. I don't hang up clothes that my kids aren't wearing because I don't have that much closet space. What I've done is group similar sized items in cardboard boxes. Diaper boxes work well! I write on the outside what size(s) are in that box so I can tell quickly what's inside. I divide up clothes in sizes that the kids is going to be wearing soon by season. I keep the boxes of clothes that are going to be worn soon in the closet. Clothes that aren't going to be worn for a while (and this would be mostly for hand me downs since I don't buy stuff for really, really far in advance) go some place more out of the way. I keep a basket in the closet to collect clothes as they are outgrown. When the basket starts to fill up, or when it's time to switch out clothes for a new season, I box up the out grown clothes. When I switch out clothes for a new season, I keep any items that may fit when the weather changes again with the box of items in that next size/season. I only have to do this a couple of times a year, but it is a very good thing to do before you go out shopping for more clothes. Knowing what you have makes it easy to see what if any items you still need. Having at least some clothes already for when the weather changes gives you some time to wait for sales on other items you might need.