How I Saved (and made) Money on My Daughter’s Figure Skating

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The following is a testimony from Jennifer:

When my daughter completed the USFSA basic skills and freestyle programs a few years ago, the cost of her ice skating training skyrocketed.

First I tried to save a few dollars here and there.

  • choosing a more affordable private coach (not such a good idea as it costs more time and money to fix bad habits)
  • supplementing private lessons with jumps classes, juniors (semi private) lessons, and camps (very helpful)
  • extra practice during summer public ice (freestyle ice time at our rink runs $15/50 minutes while public ice is $5/80 minutes once at day a noon)
  • sewing my daughter’s skating dresses (this is where the story gets good)

A few years ago I thought I would attempt to sew my daughter a figure skating dress. I’ve always been able to sew, but the slippery lycra and power mesh (the see through — usually flesh tone — panels on skating dresses) took some time to master.

I made her first dress with some bright blue lycra, the wrong kind of elastic and my basic sewing machine. Once I added a few crystals, it didn’t look too bad, so I kept going.

A few dresses later (along with one overlock machine and some experiments with lining and specialty threads) I was making dresses for my daughter’s competitions and drafting my own patterns. Then I volunteered to make a few character dresses for my daughter’s synchro team’s spring show. They were a hit.

skating costumes

I started working with her coach, making all the team dresses in exchange for the cost of participating. Her coach provided the fabric, a higher-end overlock machine, an industrial coverlock machine, and a great opportunity to show off my designs.

I have since made dance dresses for a collegiate synchro team, dresses for learn-to-skate groups, and custom freestyle dresses that range from $150-$675. In the past 12 months, I have made 275 dresses!

My business has become a wonderful way to pay for my daughter’s skating and my son’s activities while still allowing me to be a stay-at-home-mom. It has also provided me with a fun creative outlet (and my daughter loves that I can make just about anything we can dream up)!

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Staples: Back to School Deals for the week of July 5-11, 2015

Staples Back to School Deals

It’s back to school deal season already! Here are the best back to school deals at Staples for the week of July 5-11, 2015:

  • 2-Pocket Paper Folders — $.15
  • Staples 12″ Wood Ruler — $0.35
  • Staples Glue with Glue Stick 4-oz — $0.50
  • Staples Composition Book, 100 sheets — $0.50
  • Staples Filler Paper — $0.75
  • Pentel High Polymer White Handheld Erasers — $0.75
  • Crayola Markers & Colored Pencils — $0.97
  • BIC Pens & Mechanical Pencils — $1
  • Bic White-Out Correction Fluid 2-pack — $1
  • Staples 1-subject Notebooks — $0.25
  • Staples Notecards — $0.48
  • Crayola Crayons 24-pack — $0.50

Thanks, For the Mommas!

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Educational Deals & Freebies Round-up

Here are some of the best educational deals and freebies available right now from Katie who writes at Cincinnati Cents:

Personalized Drawstring Backpacks for $8.95: Jane.com is featuring adorable personalized drawstring backpacks for just $8.95 today. For boys, you’ll find a variety of themes available, such as Star Wars, Jurassic Park, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, sports, trucks, and more. If you’re shopping for a young lady instead, you’ll find a wide selection of princess designs. Choose from all the popular favorites – Elsa, Anna, Jasmine, Cinderella, Ariel, Sophia the First, Belle, and more. Each backpack can be personalized with your child’s name as well. Shipping is a flat rate of $2.95 for the first item, and $1.69 for each additional backpack.

LEGO Elves Azari & the Magical Bakery Set for $22.92: Amazon has their LEGO Elves Azari & the Magical Bakery Set on sale for $22.92. This set typically retails for $29.99, and it features a lavafall with a sliding oven and magical key reveal function, an opening door, counter, table and stools, and a storage shelf. The accessories include a map, bag, baker’s hat, cookies, pie, bread, dough, bowl, rolling pin, cupcakes milk bottle, flour, magic key and fire power icon.

Zoobooks Magazine Subscription for $10: Groupon is currently offering customers a one-year subscription to Zoobooks, Zoobies, or Zootles Magazine for just $10. You can also purchase a 2-year subscription to any of the above magazines for $19. Our family has enjoyed these magazines in the past, and they have been a fun addition to our homeschooling curriculum.

Free Sewing Machine Basics Class: Craftsy is featuring a FREE Sewing Machine Basics Class. This class covers a variety of topics such as needles, feet, stitches, machine maintenance, troubleshooting, and more. You can find more free classes from Craftsy here.

HedBanz Game for $8.49: Amazon has their HedBanz Game on sale for $8.49. This goofy guessing game of “What am I?” encourages kids to think creatively to figure out what they are to win. The game received a 4.5-star rating from over 1,000 reviews, and it includes a rule sheet, 74 cards, 24 chips, 6 headbands, and a sand-clock timer.

Fisher-Price Laugh & Learn Smart Stages Laptop for $12.99: Purchase the Fisher-Price Laugh & Learn Smart Stages Laptop for just $12.99. This interactive toy typically retails for $19.99, and it features more than 30 sing-along songs, tunes, and phrases as well as smart stages technology that changes the learning content as your little one grows.

Click ‘N Play Foam Blocks for $11.79: Amazon has their Click ‘N Play Foam Blocks Set on sale for $11.79. This 60-piece set features 10 different shapes and sizes, with each piece sporting two different brilliant colors. The soft texture of these blocks are ideal for children with sensitive skin, and since they’re waterproof, they can even be used during bath time for added fun!

Free Fill-In-the-Blanks Stories: Education.com has a free set of fill-in-the-blanks stories. These worksheets are a great way to review grammar while creating some ridiculously silly stories!

Fisher-Price Laugh & Learn Storytime Puppy for $19.99: Amazon has their Fisher-Price Laugh & Learn Storytime Puppy on sale for $19.99. Children can press the music paw to listen to songs about learning; press the story paw to hear stories about colors, counting, and friendship; and they can use the 2 modes of play that are activated by pressing the puppy’s feet. Plus, they’re even a light-up bookworm to keep little ones engaged.

Sharpie Markers for $0.53 Each: Purchase a 12-Ct. Set of Sharpie Fine Point Permanent Markers for $6.39. At this price, you’ll be paying just $0.53 per marker! Whether you’re labeling books and school supplies or using them for school projects, these markers are sure to come in handy this upcoming school year.

Crayola Twistables Crayons for $3 Shipped: Staples has their Crayola Twistables Crayons (24 ct.) on sale for $3. This set features 24 different brilliant colors as well as a clear vinyl pouch for reusable storage. Plus, if you choose in-store pick up at your local Staples store, you’ll receive free shipping as well.

Free Jack & Jill Pack: 3 Dinosaurs has a free Jack & Jill Pack available for download. This pack includes such skills as addition, multiplication, puzzles, writing sentences, and more.

Melissa & Doug Stack & Count Parking Garage for $14.99: Amazon has their Melissa & Doug Stack & Count Parking Garage on sale for $14.99. This enables kids to stack 10 wooden cars in the gated parking tower and then top them with the sliding counter. The kids can then see the cars drop down and counter point to a lower number each time a car is removed.

Perplexus Twist for $15.49: Purchase the Perplexus Twist for just $15.49. This game typically retails for $29.99, and it is a challenging game of flipping, twisting, and spinning to make your way to the finish line. Perplexus is easy to use, but hard to master!

Spot It! MLB Game for $9.99: Amazon has their Spot It! MLB Game on sale for $9.99. This game typically retails for $19.99, and it features the logos of all 30 major league teams, plus mascots and iconic imagery. Spot It! is known for developing attention, visual perception, and fine motor skills.

Katie is a wife and homeschooling mother of four who writes at Cincinnati Cents about saving money and having fun as a family without breaking the bank. She enjoys sharing new recipes, ideas for frugal family fun, and tips for spending less at the grocery store.

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