Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Quick Ideas to save a little

Just a couple of quick ideas tonight...

I used to be able to find inexpensive little note pads and mini binders at the store, but most of these seem to have been replaced by much more expensive "planners" and fancy "blank books". My solution was to buy a bunch of blank index cards ($.44 for 100), punch holes in one corner, and put something through the holes to hold them together. These are actually a lot sturdier than the note pads I used to buy. They take less than 5 minutes to make, and cost less than the ones I used to buy; they probably save me at least $2 over anything on the shelf now. 

And they're more versatile as well, honestly; I can take a few off and make instant flash cards or study cards or fold one in half and leave a "tented" note for someone. I have rings that can be put through them that open and close, but I used an old fashioned brass paper brad. These items are hard to find now (too versatile, cheap, and "old-fashioned" I guess), but I still have about 20 or so. You could make a more attractive one with a piece of pretty ribbon.

Extend this further to your own blank books and planners using larger index cards. Take a little time with them, cut out cardboard covers from the backs of notepads and cover with fabric and create really special blank books for kids.
Keep extending this idea. If you have a young girl or boy who has a color or hobby or cartoon character that they're crazy about. Get a yard of fabric in that color and make a simple tote as a book bag with it, and use the rest to make book covers or a binder cover. If it's a cartoon character, and the fabric is expensive, get just enough to use as accents and pick a solid that coordinates. Make the book bag in that solid with a top border in the cartoon fabric, then make only the front cover of the blank book or binder cover with the cartoon fabric, and the rest out of the solid. If you're handy with a sewing machine, consider a matching "roll" for school supplies---a long piece of cloth with pockets for pencils, erasers, ruler, and crayons. Put the supplies in their pockets, roll it up, and tie it (or use a bit of velcro). Then find a magazine picture of the character or hobby or even a photo of the family pet and carefully glue it onto an old lunchbox and cover it with clear contact paper.

Instead of thinking of this as cheap and homemade, think of your child as the only one in his school with a matching book bag, notebook covers, supply roll, and lunchbox with John Deere tractors or race cars...

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