Back to Back Issues Page
Cheryl's Sensible Cents - October 2006 Newsletter
October 01, 2006

In this Issue:

Featured Articles
Budget Halloween Costumes
Don't Be Scared - You Can Make a Halloween Costume
Guest Article Column: - Save Money On Clothing -

Chili Meat Loaf
Magic Meat Loaf
Coating Mix for Oven Fried Chicken

Money Saving Tips
Alternative Uses for Common Household Items: Uses for "Cornstarch"

Craft Idea
Make Homemade Finger Paints

Featured Articles


Save Money On Clothing


The amount that you spend on clothing. Do you know how much that is? One hundred, two hundred, maybe even three hundred a month? Is it really necessary to spend that much money on clothes? Maybe not!

By simply adjusting your spending habits and learning to shop a bit more conservatively, you can save yourself hundreds, even thousands of dollars a year.

Start At The Source

So where should you start in your quest to save money off clothes? With your closet of course!

Take a moment to inventory the contents of your closet. If possible, organize ALL your clothes so you know what you have and don't have. You will then be able to look and say "I only have two nice sweaters, and winter is coming up!!" or "Only four good t-shirts! I'd better buy a few more."

When organizing your clothes, don't forget to look in the nooks and corners of your room/house. Many times we forget that we packed away our winter apparel, or stored a box of shirts up in the attic. This may save you from purchasing an excess of unnecessary clothing.

Buying Clothes

If you want to save money off the cost of clothing, stop buying what you don't need. This can be your number one money saver, especially if you find yourself often saying, "Why did I buy this?"

Why spend $200 on something that you aren't going to wear much? This is a complete waste of money. If you really want to save money off your clothing bills, do not buy clothes that you aren't going to wear regularly.

A conservative wardrobe is basic. Warm, durable, simple, and neutral in color to provide many matching combinations. When you are buying clothes, try and purchase durable products, even if they are a little more expensive than others. Well made clothes have heavy seams and added reinforcement at stress points to insure the product survives daily wear and tear conditions.

When To Buy

Timing is a critical factor when purchasing clothes from retail and department stores. You can find unbelievable bargains on practically every type of clothing, if you shop at the right times. End-of-season, out-of-fashion and post-holiday sales give you more than an adequate chance to save money.

Every retail and department store MUST keep up with the ever-changing fashion world. Merchandise is constantly coming and going. These stores must provide shoppers with a variety of styles, colors and brands.

What is a hot seller this week, may be taken off the shelves the following month. This is especially true for seasonal and holiday type clothing. Retailers can't afford to have this merchandise taking up space in their store during the off months.

Think about it. Do you go into a department store in the winter time, when it is thirty degrees outside, looking to buy a bathing suit? Not many people do.

You can score great deals when you purchase your clothing at the appropriate times. Buy your winter clothes at the end of winter/beginning of spring. Buy summer clothing at the end of summer/beginning of fall.

Other Places To Look

If you like a particular brand of clothing (Nike, Guess, Ralph Lauren, etc...), you can save up to 50% by shopping at factory outlet stores. Contact the particular vendor for the location nearest you.

Another resource for clothes are yard sales, flea markets and swap meets. Browse a few of these bargain outlets one Saturday or Sunday afternoon. You might be surprised at what deals you can find.

Here are a few online resources to get you on your way:

* Nationwide Database:

* Flea Markets: &

Clothing For Children

Childrens' clothing can be the most frustrating to buy. Why? Because they seem to grow out of everything before you can blink your eyes.

Check with bargain clothing leaders like Ross and Walmart for low priced clothing. You can often find classified ads within your newspaper or local "pennysaver" magazine for yard/garage clothing sales.

If possible, once your children outgrow their clothes, pack them away in storage bins. You can then choose to either use them when your younger children grow into them, or sell them at a garage/yard sale.

You can also try these online sites: and

Another idea is to exchange clothes with cousins and nephews in your family that are a little older than your children. Ask family members to save the clothes that their children grow out of, or do not want anymore. You can then go through the clothes and see what you want to keep.

Proper Care Insures
A Long Life

Beware of what the washer and dryer can do to your clothing. Improper cleaning can result in damaged or unwearable clothes. That's one expensive mistake to make.

Not only will you have to spend money to replace the ruined clothing, but it will take time to go out to the mall and shop.

When washing, READ THE LABELS! Be aware of what speeds and cycles your apparel can endure. Also be careful when selecting water temperature and dryer settings. Nothing's worse than pulling your favorite t-shirt out of the dryer, only to find it three sizes smaller.

You will extend the life of all your clothes by learning how to properly wash and care for them.


Hopefully you are able to take a few of these ideas and apply them to your clothing budget.

It's best to start at the source. Organize your wardrobe so you know EXACTLY what you have. You will then have a good idea of what you will need to buy. This will also help prevent you from buying more than is necessary.

In a nutshell: Organize, set your spending limit, explore alternative sources, and minimize or eliminate unnecessary purchases. Do all of this, and you are well on your way to accumulating some "extra" spending money!

Budget Halloween Costumes

Yes, it's that time of year again. Get creative and save money with these great ideas for Halloween costumes.... Read On

Don't Be Scared - You Can Make a Halloween Costume

(ARA) - If the words "Mom, can you make my costume this year?" strike terror in your heart, never fear. You can make a great costume that your child will love even if you have little sewing experience (and even less time).

Making a Halloween costume doesn't require professional sewing skills. If you can stitch a straight line with your sewing machine, you're in business. And since costumes are for short-term use, don't fret over perfection - you can hem your costume with fusible interfacing in a pinch, for example.

Let your imagination run wild and take advantage of all the novelty fabrics, trims and embellishments that are available at this time of year.

You can save time by starting with clothes from your closet or the local thrift store. For example, a leotard can be the beginning of a ballerina costume, or maybe a princess (with the addition of a poufy skirt) or a fairy (add wings to the princess outfit).

If you need to start from scratch, look for a simple pattern. If you haven't followed a pattern in a while, the fewer pieces you need to deal with, the better.

The right equipment makes whipping up a costumer easier, too. Bernina recently introduced a new machine that helps make sewing simpler. The bernette for Bernina is a user-friendly machine that features outstanding performance at an affordable price. Simple operation and variable stitch width ensure sewing satisfaction. Optional features like an automatic needle threader, LCD, slide speed control and a one-step buttonhole maker let even the occasional seamstress sew like a pro.

Here are some costume ideas that combine pieces you may have in the dress-up box with a little creative sewing for a fabulous end result.

* Happening hippie - This favorite never goes out of style, and it is an easy costume to put together. Start with a pair of jeans, top them with a tie-dye shirt and add a fringed vest. Extra touches, like a long, straight wig and granny glasses complete the look.

Make the outfit your own by embellishing the jeans with embroidery, crystals or liquid embroidery pens. If you don't have a fringed vest left over from the '60s, it's easy to add fringe from the fabric store.

* Wild wizard - Another perennial favorite, and almost as easy as the hippie. A dark pair of pants and dark turtleneck are the basis for this costume. Then just add a simple cape made from fabric with glittering stars and moons or black cats. Top with a conical hat and a magic wand made from cardboard and tinfoil.

For the cape, cut fabric to the desired length plus one inch for hem. Hem the sides and both ends. Gather one end until it is approximately eight to 10 inches across. Center a 36-inch length of one-inch ribbon over the gathered edge and stitch in place along the edges, turning the ends under. On the underside of the gathers, stitch a length of hook-and-loop tape. Sew the opposite part of the tape to the back center neckline of a T-shirt or sweatshirt.

To wear, attach the cape to the hook-and-loop tape at the back of the shirt, then tie the ends of the ribbon in a bow in front. The hook-and-loop tape supports the weight of the cape.

* Rowdy rock star - Dig out that electric guitar that's gathering dust in the basement for this costume. Both girls and boys can go wild with this option, from long hair to makeup to fake tattoos and piercings. Grab an old pair of jeans to glam up with embroidery and sparkles for her or to cut holes in for him. Fray jeans by dampening area around the cut and putting the jeans through the dryer several times.

* Project Runway experiment - One of the most popular shows on television is a great costume idea, too. You could use one of the themes featured on the show (beauty pageant outfit, dress for Barbie, design for dog and owner) and make it your own. Or simply put together the wackiest outfit you can think of, and when someone asks you what you are, tell them you're a Project Runway model. Adults might want to steal this idea for their own grown-up costume parties.

For an easy to make Halloween bag or for more easy sewing tips, and to see the entire line of bernette for Bernina machines, visit - Courtesy of ARA Content


Save on Groceries and Cook Great Meals
The Grocery Book
Just $19

Chili Meat Loaf

2 pounds ground chuck
2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 eggs, beaten
1 cup canned tomatoes, chopped
1/4 cup finely chopped onion
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 cup cracker crumbs
1 (15oz) can red kidney beans, drained and mashed

Combine all ingredients in a large mixing bowl, and mix lightly. Place mixture in a 9x5 loafpan, and shape into a loaf. Bake at 350 degrees F. for 1 1/2 hours or until done. 6-8 servings.

Magic Meat Loaf

2 pounds ground beef
2 eggs
2/3 cup quick cooking oats
1 package dry onion soup mix
1/2 cup catsup

Reserve 2 tablesppons catsup. Combine ground beef, eggs, oats, soup mix and remaining catsup. Shape into a loaf. Place in a crock pot. Top with remaining catsup. Cover and cook on low 8 -10 hours (high 4-6)

Oven Fried Chicken Coating Mix

2 cups dried bread crumbs
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 teaspoons paprika
1 teaspoon celery salt
1 teaspoon onion salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon poultry seasoning (optional)
1/4 cup vegetable oil

Blend ingredients with fork or pastry blender until well mixed. Keeps unrefrigerated in tightly covered container. When ready to use, preheat oven to 350 degrees f. Put 1/2 cup coating mix in plastic or paper bag. Moisten chicken pieces with water or milk and shake one piece at a time in bag. Add more mix as needed. Lay chicken skin side up in greased pan and bake 1 hour or until tender. No turning needed. May also be used for fish fillets.

Send us Your Recipes

Need ideas for dinner or recipes? -Go to Recipes & More Section
Recipe Secrets
Free Recipes at ClubMom!
Country Cooking Recipes
E-Cookbooks Library

Menus On A Dime: Quick Dinners
The Quick Dinners eBook is designed to help you with meals you can prepare in 20 minutes or less. includes 24 recipes, 34 tips, 10 menu plans, dessert ideas and a weekly menu worksheet. Order it today for only $6.95

Money Saving Tips

Share Saving Tips, Recipes, and Frugal Living Ideas.
Send in Your Reader's Tips

Visit our money saving tips directory here

Alternative Uses for Common Household Items

Uses for Cornstarch

1. Dry Shampoo - In between doggie baths... Rub cornstarch into dogs coat and brush out.

2. Get out a stubborn knot in shoelaces or string. Sprinkling the knot with a little cornstarch will make it easier to work the segments apart.

3. Get rid of bloodstains on fabric. Act quickly. Make a paste of cornstarch and cold water. Cover the spot with the paste and rub gently into fabric. Put fabric in a sunny location to dry. Once dried, brush off the residue. May be repeated if necessary.

4. Window Shine! Create window cleaning solution using 2 Tablespoons cornstarch with 1/2 cup ammonia and 1/2 cup white vinegar and 3-4 quarts (3-4 liters)warm water. Mix well and put in a spray bottle. Spray windows, wipe with a warm-water rinse, and rub dry with paper towel or lint-free cloth.

5. Clean stuffed animals by rubbing a little cornstarch onto the toy. Wait about 5 minutes and brush it clean. Or, place the toy or several small stuffed toys, in a bag, sprinkle with cornstarch and shake. Remove from bag and brush clean.

6. Remove grease splatter from walls. Sprinkle cornstarch on a soft cloth and rub the splattered grease until gone.

7. Remove ink from carpet by mixing cornstarch with milk to make a paste. Apply paste to ink stain, allow to dry on carpet (this may take a few hours), brush dried residue and vacuum up.

Reader's Tips

Please share your tips

Craft Ideas

Make Homemade Finger Paints

Mix together 1/4 cup cornstarch and 2 cups cold water. Bring to a boil and boil until the mixture becmes thick. Pour into several small containers and add food coloring to each. Now, have fun painting!

Sponsors and Advertisements

Can't pay the bills anymore? Get 100% online debt relief.
Get more info

A smarter way to manage your money

First Home Secrets

Webmasters and Website Tools

Learn How to Build a Website

Free Affiliate Master's Course

The Webmaster Business Masters Course

Free Webmaster Tools

Back to Back Issues Page