Interview with a Lifestyle Expert: Dagmar Bleasdale

Most of us would like to save a little more money, but aren’t sure how to go about it. Enter Dagmar Bleasdale! Her blog, Dagmar’s Home, offers tons of helpful advice (including DIY projects ideas and thrift store finds) to help you live a more frugal life. Read on for Dagmar’s awesome words of wisdom!

Your blog, Dagmar’s Home, features stories on everything from DIY and frugal living to parenting and being green. What gave you the inspiration to start the site?

My blog was initially about attachment parenting, breastfeeding support, and green and frugal living. I’m very passionate about all those topics.

I was a new mom, and I wanted my readers to know what worked and didn’t work for me. I wanted to share my resources for gentle parenting and green and frugal living, and encourage moms to breastfeed. So many moms don’t get the support they need to succeed with it. I struggled with it as well and shared the information that helped me.

PopSugar’s Circle of Moms named you one of the Top Couponing Moms. What other blogs do you rely on for money-saving tips?

I don’t read any specific blogs about money saving, but since I’m interested in being very frugal, I pick up tips from magazines like All You and blog posts I find through social media, etc.

You’ve also been named one of the Top 10 Eco-Friendly Moms as well. Some people feel that going green has to cost a lot of money. How does being eco-friendly affect your budget?

Being eco-friendly is actually not much more expensive. You can make non-toxic DIY cleaner at home, for example, and that offsets another purchases that might be more pricey. Organic bedding at Target isn’t much more expensive that other bedding, for example.

If an organic fruit is on sale, it probably costs as much as the one full of pesticides. Which one would you rather feed your family? I’d rather cut some coupons and save money so I can buy organic food. Whole food is more filling, so you’ll eat less, which comes out to the same costs in the end.

If people would just cut out junk food and all the empty-calories foods - like chips and dips and soda - and eat less meat, they’d have the money to buy more eco-friendly products. It’s a matter of choice. I choose to support organic and eco-friendly products with my hard-earned money.

The DIY section of your site has so many fantastic project ideas! How do you decide when a project is worth the time you spend versus how much money you save?

All my projects can be done in a few minutes or less than an hour. I don’t have much time, so that’s my requirement.

I don’t usually do my DIY projects thinking I’ll save a lot of money. I do them because they are fun, and it’s amazing what you can create in an hour. You just have to go for it. I also don’t do projects that require much skill, so anyone can replicate my projects.

You have more than 32,000 (!) followers on Twitter. Can you recall ever receiving any unique money-saving tips from your readers?

I do look out for money-saving tips and retweet them if I think my followers can benefit from them. If I am looking for a specific deal or help, I sometimes send out a tweet about that, and I usually get a great lead.

Parenting is a huge focus of your site. How has being a mom changed how you view money? And what lessons do you hope to teach your child about money?

I wanted to stay home with our son, and having only one income in our area (Westchester, NY), which is very pricey, meant I had to become super frugal. I have always been thrifty, but I learned how to use coupons and the Internet to get things for much less. I can always find a coupon code if I buy something on the Internet. I just recently saved $200 on Broadway tickets.

My son is used to second-hand clothes and books and toys. He doesn’t mind. We don’t have a Wii or XBox and are saving so much money right there. I’d rather spend that money on a trip with him.

I’m teaching my son not to buy things he doesn’t need and that wearing an expensive T-shirt doesn’t make you a better person. I really want him to think about the purchase before he decides to buy something with his own money. And, if you don’t have the money to buy something, then you need to save up for it.

You’re not afraid to tackle more sensitive issues like attachment parenting and breastfeeding. Are there any areas that you try to steer clear of?

Not really. If I’m passionate about a topic, I’m not afraid to voice my opinion. But since I’m already covering so many topics on my blog, I wouldn’t start blogging about sports all of a sudden, for example.

Your site also features articles about interior design, including pieces about vintage shopping. What are 2 or 3 tips you’d recommend for finding a great score at a vintage or thrift store?

It all depends what you think is a great score. A great score to me is any items I love that I get for a much lower price than it would have cost at a regular store. I just bought a vintage picnic basket for $2.50 at a thrift store. Not many people would have even wanted that basket, but to me it was a great score.

If you want to make money from re-selling vintage items, you need to do your research and really know the prices. Then you’ll know a great deal when you see it. Visit several of the thrift stores in your area and figure out which one is the best for the items you are interested in.

Goodwill has a rewards card - sign up for that to get extra savings on top of savings. Goodwill and Habitat for Humanity Restores are great for furniture. I have even bought Amazon Local deals for shopping at Goodwill, which brings down the price even more.

You even sell some of your vintage finds on Etsy. What suggestions would you give someone looking to start selling on Etsy or eBay?

I like Etsy for the ease of use, and their shops are so pretty. I haven’t posted something on eBay in years, so I don’t know how easy or hard it is. Save a lot of packing material and boxes to reuse when you send out items that sold. And try to personalize the purchase with a handwritten note or cute packaging.

Thanks so much for taking the time to answer our questions! Any last words of advice for our CouponPal readers?

I’m honored you asked, thanks! I’d encourage people to do a little bit of research before purchases. You can usually find a coupon code, and I like the Key Ring app to keep all my rewards cards in my iPhone.

Like this interview? Check out the rest of our Interview with an Expert series. Have a question for an expert or someone you want to see interviewed? Tweet your suggestions with #Experts to @CouponPal!

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