Monday, October 2, 2017

The Little Cold House

There was once an old man who lived in a little old house, all alone. During the summer, he tended to his garden and took care of the harvest, putting it up for the winter.

In the fall, he walked here and there, looking for wood to keep the little house warm all winter. Sometimes he came across a tree that had fallen and he went home to get his saw and cut it up. Some of the neighbors left odd pieces of scrap lumber and other wood for him.

The little stove was enough to warm the house, but the windows were loose in their frames, so when the wind blew, they rattled and banged and the wind blew right in and the little house got very cold.

He didn't know what to do, but he thought he could use some of the small wood pieces to stop the windows from rattling. He hammered in a few around the edges of the frames and that stopped the rattling, but the wind still blew through the frames because they didn't fit the little house very well.

One cold, windy day, a little girl came walking along; dawdling, really, because she was a good little girl on her way to see her aunt and she wasn't in any hurry. Her aunt was very old and the little girl thought her house smelled funny.

As she passed by the man's old house, she saw him working on the windows and stopped to watch.

The old man looked up and said hello and she answered hello.

Then she asked why he was driving wood between the window frame and the house. He told her that he was trying to stop the wind from blowing through.

The little girl went along with new purpose and soon came to her aunt's house. She asked her aunt how to keep the wind from blowing through windows. Her aunt told her to get some old cloth and cut it into strips and poke it between the frames and the house with a butter knife.

So she did.

No, that's not the way to end a story. What she did was go home and tell her mother about the old man and his troubles and what her aunt had said. Her mother went to the rag box and soon, loaded with strips of rags, they went to see the old man. Between the three of them, they figured the best way to stuff the rags into the loose frames.

The old man was so happy that he cooked a big pot of soup and sent it home with them.

And... they lived happily ever after. Now, THAT'S the way to end a story.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Beautiful and Frugal Holiday Decorating

Since the weather is changing, I have been thinking more about crafting for the upcoming holidays. It's always nice to have something new to decorate with and the most frugal way is to make decorations myself.

With that in mind, I went looking for inspiration, but I couldn't find much that didn't start with products I don't have and won't buy just for a few decorations. So... after spending a lot of time looking, I came up with a few ideas of my own.

The first is a table top Christmas tree. There are a lot of different trees you can make out of various materials. One of the most popular seems to be a styrofoam cone which you can decorate to look like a Christmas tree. You would need to buy special glue and, if you wanted to paint it, you'd have to buy special paint.

I have a better idea. How about a cone made from heavy paper? You can paint paper with the same paint you painted your walls. Decorate it with glued on buttons or jewelry or whatever you can find.

Wreath forms can be made from cardboard. Use a dinner plate as a template, draw around it, then draw a line inside that about 3 inches and cut it out. Fold a length of an old towel a few times and glue it on top of the circle for stuffing, then cover it with material and decorate.

See... I could make a blog post about these things individually, but this isn't a craft blog. It's a frugal blog, so when I think "craft" I think of the  most frugal way to do them.

Paper, cardboard, old towels, saved buttons, broken jewelry and more can be put to good use to decorate beautifully without spending a penny other than some glue. Of course, you can add other things, but start frugally. 

Friday, August 11, 2017

Playing Games With Money

Do you play games with your money? I do. Some money is worth more than the other in my mind, anyway. For instance, my credit card gives a 1% cash back. I hoard those pennies and dollars. I save them to buy special things or to spend for the holidays. It's untouchable money, not in my bank account, so it's easier to save.

Playing games with money can go far beyond that, though. Online savings accounts are very easy to set up and maintain. Some banks pay pretty good interest, too, so if you want to save for something specific, open an account online. You can set up automatic payments from your main bank and take a peek at it any time to see how it's doing.

Another thing you can do is set aside every penny you make doing something in particular (online rewards, babysitting, recycling aluminum cans) and when you get to a certain amount, take it and pay on the credit card bill or another bill. You could, of course, use it to do something or buy something you want, but that's up to you. I like the feeling of doing something "real" with earnings that would otherwise dribble away.

If you don't think you have money to play with? Start where you are. Put aside every penny and nickel in your pocket or purse right now, then go around looking for more. Limit it to pennies and nickels just to see what happens.  Not much? Just wait. If you keep it up, it will be!