So we are in lockdown 2.0, getting ready for Christmas in a pandemic and dreading the recession which is looming.
But! There is still cause to celebrate! Whilst the above is true, and perhaps because the above is true, we must do all that we can to ensure that we are as prepared as possible for what lie ahead.
Christmas time is such a loved time of the year for many, what with the festivities, the food, the focus on family and for most, a throughly anticipated rest from work!
In our household, we have been looking forward to this holiday eagerly too! Of course we must get our smart hats on and we must consider the cost of everything. So we will be sharing with you how we manage to keep cost down whilst still planning to have one of the best Christmas. ever! And we must say, yes we are staying within our budget.
Giving Gifts that will be used
Now some years ago, as the kids got older and no longer felt any affinity to our styles, we thought it wise to give them money as their main gifts rather than actual gifts. For sure, we don’t want to waste our money, buying things they refused to use or wear and that was a major consideration. That still rings true this year. So unlike when the kids were little, we don’t have a mountain of gifts under the tree that spill out and make the space look a mess. So the gift we get them are things we know they definitely need and will use.
We like the fact that as they get older they are given the independence to sort out their finances and to choose what they want to do with it.
This week we made some carrot cakes as gifts for a few friends. Thursday was Make a Gift Day and we were happy to take part. We shared our day through Vlogmas on our Youtube channel too!
Reusing and Repurposing Materials
If like us you have been hiding from Coronavirus, and ordering items online rather than visiting shops, you might have a lot of packaging coming through your door. Put them to good use!
What do I mean? Well, let’s take, for example, the brown paper that is used to wrap the items that you have purchased (or sometimes used to take up space in the box), we save them and use them for gift wrapping. It has been years since we last bought gift wrap paper. Why? Because there is already enough paper being tossed about that could easily be reused, so we reuse them.
With a little creativity, and especially if your kids are younger, you could make a full-blown craft session out of using this paper and some colours of whatever sort to make designs onto your brown paper. You could put words on, like ho ho ho! You could make a quick stamp with a piece of potato in the shape of gingerbread men or lights or baubles or Rudolph or whatever takes your fancy and use it as a stamper to make the designs on the brown, gift wrapping paper.
Sometimes the paper might be a bit crushed but these are easily removed with medium heat from a clothes iron.
Now in past years, before we decided on our frugal lifestyle, I know for me personally when it comes near to Christmas, I would be searching high and low for a box to house a gift that I plan to wrap. I like the shape and look of the wrapped box. Sometimes it would be difficult to find and I would be disappointed that my gift didn’t look good. Well now, I save the boxes that I think will make suitable housing for gifts.
What do you do with cards that you get throughout the year for birthdays, Christmas, Easter, etc? We used to hold on to them because most would be so beautiful and then as we got more and more and ran out of space to store them, we would eventually throw them out.
Well, not anymore. We salvage the useable parts of the card by cutting them off with scissors and then these are stored in flat boxes in our craft room. Whenever we feel the need, we put some nice music on, get out our craft supplies and old cards and make cards for upcoming occasions. No one and I mean no one can say that they have received a store-bought card from us in ages. They can, however, boast that they received a handmade card that they truly cherish and most likely will keep for a very long time.
Paper, card, and cardboard are natural resources that come from trees; deforestation; depleting the world’s resources and all that, so let’s do our best to leave a good legacy for our children’s children.
No New Clothes Nor Shoes
We actually have a post on the blog: One Year, no new clothes. And that was when we wanted to be intentional about putting our frugal plans into full force. We were, for the most part successful. Click to see how we did it.
Well this year, 2020 we have not bought any new clothes nor shoes again, because where are we going? NOWHERE! There is nothing on, nowhere to go and so why would we even need new clothes? In fact, we don’t think we will need any new clothes for years to come unless of course, we lose a lot of weight (very unlikely with all this lockdown appetite).
In fact, Jo went to Florida and Connecticut last year and bought clothes for us both which we have not worn since the pandemic is on and dictated that we stay home.
You know what though, I have enjoyed wearing PJ’s all day long every day. We do have a lot of those and so there was no need to buy any more.
Personalised Christmas Ornaments
Here is where we had a little frugal fail this week. We decided to make some Christmas decorations from the Salt dough. We diligently made up the dough, rolled it out, cut out the shapes, and put them in the oven. Unfortunately, we were so busy doing stuff and didn’t get them out on time. They didn’t burn, mind you, but they were all puffed up and irregular.
Our plan was to spray paint them and hang them on the tree. That would have been so pretty too!
So we will have to do another batch soon. We might use air dry clay as we have some leftover after we did some trinket trays as gifts. Keep your fingers crossed that they will turn out ok this time.
Batch Cooking and Frugal Finds in the Fridge
We love meal planning as it helps us with organisation and getting things done. This week, in preparation for some of the Christmas grocery shopping, we decided to have a real sort through of the fridge, freezer, and pantry.
Not surprisingly, we had dinner for all of us for all week from what we already had.
We even found meals we had packaged up from leftovers and then frozen. There were rice and peas, roast beef, fried chicken, and even meatballs. We couldn’t be happier about meals this week.
Frugal success? Most definitely. Our failure hasn’t cost much. It was just a bit of flour and some salt.
What has your week been like? Let us know in the comment section below.