Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Finances and The Hobbies

I've mentioned that I'm saving up to get a Fancy Kitten Drum Carder. The one that I want is the Fine cloth 90/120 carder without the brush attachment. I just can't see paying $50 extra dollars for the brush attachment when I can run to Home Depot and get a wallpaper brush for way less. And just maybe, I can figure out a hack that will hold it in place for a couple of bucks too.

I really want this now! I could run out and put it on the ol' credit card, but in the long run I would pay a lot more for it due to interest since right now, we can't pay the cards off in full.

Money has been pretty tight around here for the past several years. I could put the blame all on my husband (left a big buck job to work as a mortgage broker at the dumbest time ever resulting in $0 income for 2 years. He's since gotten a new job, but it still pays a lot less than in the big buck days.), but morally I can't do that. I know that my spending has contributed to the problem. While I cut back my spending in some areas, in others I was still living like he was still pulling in the big bucks. Very dumb. We plowed through all of our savings (which was fairly good sized) in no time flat and now have nothing to show for all the work that we put in before having kids.

In the past two months I've been on a saving money and budgeting kick. I'm trying to get us out of debt by using the Dave Ramsey Snowball Method.

I've also been tackling my grocery and Walmart spending. Do you know that we were spending between $600 - $800 a month in groceries? Mostly processed junk. The family had a conniption when I cut those out. At Walmart alone I was spending about $400 a month on crap I didn't need. We were also eating out at McDonald's once a week and that was costing us about $800 a year.

So. Out went the McDonald's and Walmart spending. That's $5600 a year saved right there. Ouch. In one month I've already gotten the grocery budget down to $300 a month for a family of four and I know I can do better there, but it's a good start. So that makes for $9200.00 saved a year so far. I've been tired of living with little to no money but, Wow. What were we thinking by spending so much on junk? Maybe there's a reason we're poor. What else are we doing that's dumb?

Now, back to the frugal drum carding point. My hobbies are fairly expensive. Knitting and Spinning and the required equipment and supplies for those ain't cheap. When I decided to buy my drum carder, I started selling stuff on Craigslist and EBay to finance it. It's going well. I only need $30.00 more in sales to get my new toy.

If I can ever get my act together (which is difficult to do with a precoscious three year old running around the house "helping" me), once I get the carder I would like to begin selling some of the bats that I card. I won't get rich doing this, but maybe I can finance some of my hobbies in a way that won't take a big chunk out of the family budget. I have an Etsy shop, but I've never stocked and used it. Why? I don't know. Maybe I haven't had the confidence in my abilities to make and sell things.

I'm sure I'm not the only person out there to realize this stuff, even if it did take me so long. I've put together some more links for those in my situation that are financially challenged and I've done it by category:

Personal finances (general) - these blogs offer some sound financial advice:

Get Rich Slowly
The Simple Dollar

Sites that help stretch a dollar:

The Dollar Stretcher - I get a real kick out of digging around in the archives of this site. Some people take frugality to an artform, but I'm not planning on going to that extreme.

Hobby Related (spinning/knitting): I'm planning on using the two spinning links extensively soon, or at least $30 dollars from now.

R.H. Lindsay - wool wholeseller that sells to anyone at wholesale prices. Great prices!
Sheep Shed Studio - Mom and Pop style business with Wonderful service and quality fiber. I'm planning on using them quite a bit when I get my carder. The grab bags and big bags are particular fun and cool. Especially if you enjoy dyeing fiber and carding it all together. Can't say enough about this wonderful company!
KnitPicks - for yarn and their fantastic Options needles. Good quality, inexpensive yarns.

Anyone have any links similar to these, but for jewelry making supplies? I'd like to get some jewelry made and start selling it as well, but I desperately need cheaper supplies than what Hobby Lobby and Michael's charge in order to be more profitable.

I'm sure there's tons of other wonderful links out there. These are just a few to get you started.

I know, I promised pics of the dress that I'm sewing, but this article was just begging to be written today. I still have to hem it and add appliques. I'll have something for you in tomorrow's episode.