Tuesday, February 22, 2011

It's Just Cheaper to Do-It-Yo-Self!

In my single days, I boasted an Equinox membership, name brand shades, monthly facials, more than one pair of designer jeans (you just have to have the different jean washes, cuts and beading on the butt) and overpriced work out clothes known as Lululemon. So one might conclude that I liked nice things. At the same time, I was maxing out my IRA contribution, paying off my credit card balances in full, contributing plenty to my 401k and had many meals and activities paid for (that's the nice thing about dating), and therefore, I was quite careful with what I did have.

These days, one might conclude I'm a bit more frugal and careful with my spending habits than I was when I was sans Andy. I budget closely, monitor and update our Mint.com activity, and I no longer have a shopping budget for new clothes or shoes of $75/month. It's just one of those things you have to do when it's not all about yourself, and I've enjoyed the challenge of it all - especially because in return, I have a devoted husband and priesthood holder who always pushes me to be better and keeps me company and a little one who will be joining us soon! And, I'm not going to lie - it's pretty fun to be coined the sugar momma of the household. I bring home the bacon! Luckily for both of us, the effort to stay on track with budgeting is shared and lately, we have begun a new way to save money... and that is ... to do it YOSELF!

For me, cooking counts - especially since my cooking experiences pre-marriage consisted of making sandwiches, putting together salads, and baking out of the box. I have become so excited trying something new each week and the more recipes I get under my belt, the better I am at thinking of what to make based on what we have in the house. I have spent a lot of time googling "how to" items and watched various YouTube videos showing me how to chop an onion, a tomato, and even herbs. Just this past week, my new food items made were a pig cake, cinnamon toast, sausage rigatoni, and an egg white, spinach and tomato mcmuffin AND on top of all of that, I learned you have to peel this one part off of green beans not purchased in a big (like the ones I used to get from Trader Joe's).

In other news, I received a sewing machine for Christmas which I had been wanting for a long time - but now that I have it - *gulp, the learning must begin! I've taken one sewing class that lasted about 2 hours and beyond that, made one cherry patterned top with my college buddy from Hawaii (I swear almost ALL Hawaiians are crafty), so I really am quite inexperienced. There's so much to learn... how to sew, what type of fabrics, stitches, cuts, etc. ... it all seems impossible, but ultimately, it will have a pay off!

Andy also picked up his own DIY fun. His new hobby is woodwork! We were lucky enough to earn some extra cash from selling items we had won on show and some tickets I had received from a persistent customer service complaint to Toyota (it pays to be persistent if they are stupid), and with that money, Andy made his grand purchase of the basic tools from Amazon which to our delight, were delivered to our door! He picked up some tips from the more experienced men in our family (his dad, brother-in-law and brother-in-law's dad) during our recent trip up North and then learned a bit more from some youtube safety and beginner instructional videos online. Here are his first two projects ever ever.. ta-da! (and to think he did it all from our balcony)...
So as we learn to DO-IT-YOSELF more, we are growing and able to do more for ourselves and others (just think of the Christmas gifts to come... packaged food all cooked, sewn goodies or bookshelves!).

It is so much fun to learn new things and we are so blessed to have the opportunity to do-it-yoself!


Aunt LoLo said...

Go you! I was just thinking today...everyone has their own definition of "success" and "happy." My daughter wears (nearly exclusively) clothes made by me. She eats bread made by me. And cookies made by me. And that, to me, makes me Happy. And I feel Successful. (I also realized that the secret to happiness is achieving every one of your dreams. Which means that you ought to dream of very achievable things. haha)

Kimberly Bluestocking said...

I avoided cooking until I went off to college, where I had to learn it in order to fend off starvation. I discovered that I loved it. There is something satisfying about trying new experiments where you get to eat the results, making tried and true recipes that bring the familiar success of a good meal, and creating good things to nourish and/or delight others. Hooray for cooking!