Save on Senior Pictures

My nephew, Brayden, played “Pomp and Circumstance” for the last time on Sunday. Next year, he will be marching down to receive his diploma! There are many things to do before that last march on the football field and the first one is best done this month.

When my youngest graduated from high school, we couldn’t decide where to get his senior pictures taken.

We had three options:

Photographer 1 took the senior pictures of my first two children.

Photographer 2 is a close friend of the extended family. So close, that her family has attended our family reunion for decades.

Photographer 3 is a relative of my daughter-in-law. She took a family picture of us after their wedding.

They all are excellent photographers and we worried about hurt feelings. Then I remembered the deal I made with Photographer 1.

My oldest son graduated in 2005. I saw a picture of a 2004 graduate that captured her personality, taken by Photographer 1.

When I called, I told the photographer I had a senior and a junior. I asked her if she could make me a deal if I had my daughter’s pictures taken there the next year.

She offered me two free family sittings. I used the first free sitting for my extended family in 2004. I never used the second one.

I called Photographer 1 and reminded her I still had a second free sitting. I asked her if we could use it for my youngest sons’ senior pictures.

She said, “Yes!”

They base sitting fees on the different outfits worn for pictures. In his case, it was $25.00 per outfit. Derek wore a baseball uniform and three other outfits for his pictures. That saved me $100.00 in sitting fees.

Derek's Baseball Picture "Saving Money on Senior Pictures" frugalfish.org

Top Ten Tips

1. Book your appointment in June. Most photographers will have a reduced rate or throw in free pictures for early bookings. My sitting fee for my first son was 75% off because I booked in June. Every photographer has their own incentives.

2. If you have more than one child, ask for a deal and have all of them photographed by the same one. The pictures will have a similar feel because each photographer has their own style.

3. Limit the outfits your child wears. This is especially hard with girls!

4. Ask if the photographer has a “Participation Bonus”.  You get a free gift or picture when your child is wearing a uniform: band, sports, even FFA.

5. Have your child be a model for the photographer for a free or reduced sitting fee.

6. Order the minimum number of pictures needed. Make a list of all the relatives you are buying for and write the size of the print you want for them next to it. Buy a large print for yourself and an 8 x 10 or 5 x 7 for your child. Don’t order hundreds of wallets. Derek graduated with 129 other students. I ordered 100 wallets for Luke and had a stack left over. I ordered 88 wallets for Laura and used them all. So, I ordered only 88 for Derek and used them all.

7. You may get more opportunities for free pictures later in the year by writing a review.

8. In January they go on sale. They contact you to see if you need more photos, sometimes at reduced prices. You can also get a copy of your child’s portfolio or picture DVD at a reduced price.

9. Some photographers throw in a free bonus picture if you pay in full when you place your order.

10. You can also get free photos and other freebies based on the amount of money you spend, i.e. spend $200.00 – get one freebie, spend $300.00 – get two freebies.

$ $ $ $ $ $ $ $

If your photographer is a family member . . .

  • do not expect a free sitting. This is how they make their living. Be willing to pay full price and be grateful if they offer you a discount.
  • do not expect them to clear their schedule to accommodate you.
  • do not cancel at the last-minute, unless it is an emergency, and pay them the sitting fee anyway.

Being frugal is not about being cheap; it is about making the most of your money!

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Using All of the Dress

I fell in love with the dress, a red maxi, when I first saw it. (Red is my favorite color.) It was a designer dress sold for Valentine’s Day. I was searching for an Easter dress when I spotted it on clearance. It was now marked down to $14.97.

I ordered it for a Christmas dress. It is sleeveless, but I can wear a crew neck shirt underneath it or a sweater over it. I am really long-waisted, and to get the waist to fit, I have to order the tall size and cut three inches off of the bottom of the dress. I carefully measured, pinned, cut the three inches off, and re-hemmed it.

I tossed the three-inch strip in the garbage but pulled it right back out. Who knows, I may think of a way to use it. I wore the dress to a country wedding in August with a jean jacket and my red cowboy boots!

Last weekend was our “Weekend to Remember” get away and I took the red dress along to wear on the required date night. On impulse, I tossed in the extra material, too.

As I was dressing for our date, I noticed the ribbons used to keep the dress on the hanger had come loose. I pulled them off because I was afraid they would hang out and show.

Then I did my hair.

My hair didn’t cooperate. I am letting my bangs grow out and they curled down right into my eyes. I didn’t have hair spray with me and I knew my curls cannot be corralled with hairspray anyway. I took those two pieces of ribbon and tied them together. I put them on my head like a headband and tucked the bows behind my ears. It fit perfectly and kept those ornery bangs out of my eyes.Tied ribbons made headband ""Using all of the dress" frugalfish.org

I was so pleased with the effect of the ribbon, I decided to experiment with the extra material. I love those tutorials on how to fold a scarf. I tried a few I was familiar with but didn’t like the result.

Then I decided to tie the ends together making it an infinity scarf! It was so long that I had to wrap it around my head four times, but it covered the area of my neck that I am not fond of. It was high enough that I could still wear the heart necklace, with a rose in it, that was given to me by my youngest son for my birthday. I put on the matching rose earrings, my leather jacket, black pumps, and I was ready for a night on the town.Date at Hu Hot "Using all of the Dress" frugalfish.org

I begged David to take me to HuHot a few times, but he was never interested. It thrilled me when he told me that was where he was taking me for date night! Shopping in the mall in pumps was not as thrilling, but I had a great time.HuHot Food "Using all of the Dress" frugalfish.org

I’ve told you before to keep all ribbon. You never know when it will come in handy!

And learn a few simple ways to fold a scarf! The easiest way to learn is to ask a friend how she folded her scarf and let her demonstrate. There are also many tutorials on Pinterest. There are a few pinned to my Frugalfish Pinterest page on the “clothes” board.

$$$$$$$$$$$$

David: “McDonald’s for breakfast?”

Me: “Only if you serve it in bed!”

(And they call me “Frugalfish.”)

We had homework assignments at “Weekend to Remember” but were so tired the first night that we decided to do our homework at breakfast. We went to Perkins and I ordered Eggs Benedict for the first time. I always wanted to try them. It came with hash browns and a blueberry muffin. David had to help me finish the hash browns and I took the muffin and butter to go.

When we travel, we take a cooler with water, Powerade, assorted crackers, trail mix, and a variety of fruits. David got his breakfast at McDonald’s and I ate the blueberry muffin, a peach, and had a cup of the hotel coffee. He brought me back a fruit and yogurt and that made a filling, but inexpensive breakfast for the second day.Muffin, Peach, Coffee, "Using all of the Dress" frugalfish.org

$$$$$$$$$$$$

“Weekend to Remember” is an investment in your marriage. It is expensive but is cheaper than a divorce! It’s never too late to save your marriage!

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What to Wear

By the time you read this I will be on my way for a “Weekend to Remember” marriage retreat. My husband asked if I would be interested in going and I said, “Yes!” Then he saw the cost.

I reminded him that when we married it was “For better or worse.” We are either working to make it better or it will get worse. He wasn’t convinced.

A few more conversations about no vacation since 2012, his two trips to St. Louis Cardinals games, a Hawkeye game, and the registration was “Buy One Get One Free” finally convinced him.

Then came the dreaded time to pack . . . what to wear. It was 80° on Monday but forecasted for the 60’s this weekend with lows in the 40’s. I got out my trusty list. Dressing in layers will keep me comfortable regardless of the temperature.

Dressing for the Weather in Layers

Over 80 Degrees – Sandals

Sleeveless Shirt & Shorts/Skirt (or)

Sleeveless Dress

70-79 Degrees – Sandals

Short-Sleeves & Shorts/Skirt (or)

Short-Sleeved Dress

60-69 Degrees – Closed Toe Shoes, Lightweight Socks

Short-Sleeves & Lightweight Pants (or)

Short-Sleeved Dress & Pantyhose (or)

Short-Sleeved Shirt, Skirt & Pantyhose

50-59 Degrees – Closed Toe Shoes, Lightweight Socks

Long-Sleeved Shirt & Lightweight Pants (or)

Long-Sleeved Dress & Pantyhose (or)

Short-Sleeved Shirt with a Jacket & Pants or Skirt/Pantyhose

Outer Wear: Lightweight Jacket

40-49 Degrees – Closed Toe Shoes & Medium-weight Socks

Long-Sleeved Shirt under Short-Sleeved Shirt & Jeans/Warm Pants/Skirt & Tights (or)

Two Long-Sleeved Shirts & Jeans/Warm Pants/ Skirt & Tights (or)

Example: Long-sleeved crew neck under a long-sleeved V-neck shirt or Long-sleeved button down shirt under a V-neck shirt.

Long-Sleeved Shirt with Jacket & Jeans/Warm Pants/ Skirt & Tights (or)

Long-Sleeved Dress with Jacket & Tights

Outer Wear: Lined Coat, Hat, Gloves

30-39 Degrees – Closed Toe Shoes & Medium-weight Socks

Sweater/Sweatshirt & Jeans/Warm Pants/Skirt & Tights (or)

Two Long-Sleeved Shirts under a Short-Sleeved Shirt & Jeans/Warm Pants/Skirt & Tights

Example: Long-sleeved button down shirt over a turtleneck shirt and under a V-Neck Tee Shirt or A Turtleneck under a long-sleeved crew neck under a V-Neck T-Shirt.

Outer Wear: Winter Coat, Hat & Gloves

20-29 Degrees – Closed Toe Shoes & Heavy Socks

Sweater/Sweatshirt over a Long-Sleeved Shirt & Jeans/Warm Pants (or)

Two Long-Sleeved Shirts over a Turtleneck & Jeans/Warm Pants

Outer Wear: Winter Coat, Hat, Scarf, Gloves, Boots (Carry your shoes)

10-19 Degrees – Closed Toe Shoes and Heavy Socks

Sweater/Sweatshirt over Turtleneck, Long John Shirt & Long John Pants under Jeans/Warm Pants (or)

Two Long-Sleeved Shirts over a Turtleneck and Long John Shirt

& Long John Pants under Jeans/Warm Pants

Outer Wear: Winter Coat, Hat, Scarf, Gloves, Boots (Carry Your Shoes)

10 Degrees and Below – Closed Toe Shoes and Heavy Socks

Sweater/Sweatshirt over Turtleneck & Long John Shirt  under Jacket

& Long John Pants under Jeans/Warm Pants (or)

Two Long-Sleeved Shirts (Crew neck, V-Neck, or Button Down) over a Turtleneck and Long John Shirt under Jacket

& Long John Pants under Jeans/Warm Pants

Outer Wear: Winter Coat (Coveralls), Hat (Face Mask), Scarf, Gloves, Boots. (Take Extra socks & Gloves)

(You can always remove a layer if it warms up more than expected.)

Note: Clothes made with breathable polypropylene, (i.e. Under Armour, Dri-Fit, ClimaLite, Drylete, Vapor Dry, Technifine or Cool Max), should only be worn for exercising outdoors, shoveling snow, etc. If you wear it for normal indoor activities it will transfer any sweat to the next layer, which is very unattractive! Blue Magazine, (published by Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield), Winter 2010

Wearing three layers, "What to Wear" frugalfish.org

I wore a blouse under a dress and a cardigan sweater over both.

My  Frugalfish tip is to combine the layers on the hanger before putting them on. You can line up the shoulder seams and sleeve seams easier on the hanger than on your body. Then put all three layers on at once. You can button the blouse after you have it on and will only need a little adjusting.

©2009-2016 frugalfish.org. All rights reserved.

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Still Learning from Mom

I almost threw it away several times. It was a wide pink bow with an ivory lace overlay that at one time was attached to a barrette. I probably wore it in my hair a few times back in the 80’s. The barrette was long gone and I put the bow in my bag of miscellaneous ribbons, see here.

Mom called after a disaster with her favorite jacket. She noticed a spot on it and tried to clean it off with a wet wipe. It changed the color of the dye on that spot. She had a rust-colored spot on her tan jacket.Rust colored stain, "Still Learning From Mom" frugalfish.org

She knows I enjoy sewing, see here, and asked me if I could sew a piece of lace over the spot. We went through my collection of lace and didn’t find anything that was wide enough. Then I remembered the pink barrette.

I took the bow apart and removed the ivory lace. I laid it over the buttons on the jacket and found it was long enough. It was also wide enough to cover the discolored spot.

A week or so later, I turned on a movie and sewed the lace on the jacket by hand. I cut tiny slits in the center of the lace at each button and eased the buttons through the slits. I tucked the ends under and that piece of lace was the perfect length. It took me the entire movie to hand sew the lace on and ease the buttons through the slits, but it was a labor of love. After all, she labored to give me life!Tan Jacket with lace accent, "Still learning from Mom" frugalfish.org

I learned to never use a baby wipe or wet wipe on stained clothing! It is better to use cold water or just wait until you get home and can treat the stain properly.

See, I’m still learning from my Mom! Save those pieces of lace! You never know when it will come in handy.

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Easy Fix for Shoes that Slip Off of Your Heel

I have one pair of dress shoes. That is not by choice, I just have a hard time finding them in my size – 7 EE. No, that is not a typo; it is 2 “E”s. On top of the odd size, I prefer leather because it will be years before I can find another pair. I think these pumps, made by Aravon, are 10 years old.

Granted, I do not wear them often because the dress code for the worship band at church is jeans, sneakers, dressy tee shirts. But I do have the occasional wedding or funeral to attend.

Last weekend was the wedding of our cousin’s son. I wanted to wear these pumps. Unfortunately, the elastic in the front was no longer tight. The shoes slipped off the back of my heel.

First, I tried sewing pieces of elastic on under the straps to strengthen them. I cut them too short and the straps cut into my feet. Then I tried finding those little plastic things you can put in the back of the heel but was unsuccessful. Elastic pieces and pumps

Mom stopped by while I was ripping out the stitches and the elastic that I had sewn on the weekend before. She worked in a shoe store before she married. Her suggestion was to buy plain insoles and put them under the insoles in the shoe. It makes the shoe fit tighter and your foot will not slide down further into the shoe as you wear them.

She was right! The insoles worked. The shoe did not slip off of the back of my heel throughout the entire wedding! Snug and comfortable pumps

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Simple Trick to Shorten Long Sleeves

The white, button-down shirt is a classic piece that is in everyone’s closet. I have a hard time finding them because I need 100% cotton and…er, I had three kids. Being a frugal mom, I did not bottle feed my babies. Enough said.

I have to order my shirts one or two sizes larger to keep them from gaping between the buttons. When I finally found a shirt that fit nicely on my torso, the sleeves went halfway down my hand. They were way too long.The sleeve was too long.

Instead of going to a tailor, or trying to remove the cuff and move it up, I decided to move the buttons over. I tried on the shirt and pulled the buttonholes over to make the cuff fit correctly. I marked the spots with a pencil.Markings for new button placement

After using a seam ripper to remove the buttons, I sewed them back on over the pencil marks. Now the cuff is too narrow to slide down over my hand. My hand does not get covered, but everything else does!Smaller cuff

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Blue Dawn Cleans “Ring Around the Collar”

Iowa dirt is black. It is wonderful for gardens and fields but is hard to clean out of clothes. My husband has work shirts, that have the name of the lumberyard and his name on them. He is in and out of the two buildings all day long. When mixed with sweat, that good, old Iowa dirt blowing around made stubborn “ring around the collar.”Shirt collar

I use Dawn dish washing soap to clean grease, butter, oil, and salad dressing out of clothes. I decided to use it to tackle that “ring around the collar.” I drew a line with the Dawn and rubbed it in. I let it sit while I washed a different load of clothes.Dish soap and shirt collar

Then I scrubbed it with a brush and rinsed it thoroughly. I threw it in the wash, and when it came out, the ring was gone!Clean shirt collar

I use blue Dawn to make my laundry soap. I always have some on hand and no longer buy special soap for “ring around the collar.”

©2009-2016 frugalfish.org. All rights reserved.

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Tack Jacket Lining Down

I have two zippered jackets that I love: one is black and the other red. They are both a lightweight polyester and are perfect to wear in air-conditioned rooms. Jacket lining will not stay flat. Here's how to correct that.

The only problem is the facing will not lay flat. It is always sticking out! I got fed up and decided to tack it down. I put three stitches in the inside layer of the jacket to secure it.Tacking jacket lining down.

It does not show on the outside. Jacket lining tacked down

Now the facing stays put!Jacket lining says put

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Belt Buckle Slims

This secret removes 1/2″ from your waist.

I call this my “Dress Up” belt. I wear it when I want to look my best.Belt on top of jeans

It is an elastic belt with a flat front buckle. Why is that important? A regular belt buckle is 1/2″ to 3/4″ thick when you wear it.Measuring belt buckle thickness

A flat front buckle is 1/4″ thick. It holds your pants snugly against your waist. I purchased mine one size smaller to assure it was snug.Measuring belt buckle thickness

There’s a trick to putting the belt on.

Place one corner in loop and slide to center.Belt on jeans

Slide second corner through.Belt on jeans

Fold corner of material under to allow second part of buckle through.Belt on jeans

Pull other side of second part through.Belt on jeans

It’s a painless way to reduce your waist by 1/2 an inch!

©2009-2016 frugalfish.org. All rights reserved.

 

Try Shoes On Right Away

I learned a painful lesson last week!

I purchase my shoes online because I wear size 7 EE. It is difficult to find this size. I stick to New Balance and Avalon brands because they have removable insoles. There is plenty of room to add special insoles, like gel insoles, in them.

When I learned the post office recommends the walking shoes from New Balance, I decided they had to be the best. Every 6 months, I order 2 pair of walking shoes: white for spring/summer and black for fall/winter. I alternate them each day.

I’ve purchased pumps, cross training shoes, hiking shoes, and boots from this same website, joesnewbalance.com. I’ve been shopping there for 10 years.

They started having a “Daily Deal.” When my walking shoes are on the “Daily Deal,” I order them ahead. I received 2 pair of white shoes at Christmas for this spring. At Easter, I ordered two black pairs for this fall.

When it warmed up enough to wear shorts, I got out my new, white shores. The style was more pointed than square. When I tried them on, they felt snug. But 5 months had passed and it was too late to return them.

I filled small, freezer bags with a little water and placed them in the toes of the shoes. I put them in the freezer overnight. As the water froze, it expanded and stretched the leather.

It doesn’t matter how long you have been ordering the same shoes. As soon as they arrive, try them on. (I did try on the black ones.)

Shoes in a freezer

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