Sunday, November 19, 2017

Quick and Frugal Stocking Stuffers

It's that time of year, when frugalistas everywhere start sorting through their odds and ends, looking for inspiration for stocking stuffers and other small gifts. That includes me, so one thing I sort through is my more or less random bookmarks.

Here are a few of my favorite ideas for quick hand made gifts that don't cost much if anything.

Chinese Wave Pouch is a purse pouch with style. It's handy to carry those multiple little things that are forever getting lost in your puse. It would be cool to give with lip balm or a keychain already in it

Teacup Bookmark  If you know a reader, old or young, male or female, how about a teacup bookmark? It's quick and cute and if you're like me, it will give you ideas for a lot more bookmarks.

Coiled Magazine Page Dish with Lid is one of those things that looks much, much harder than it really is. It takes a little time, but that part is fun and you can create a one of a kind container fora  gift or as a gift!

Friday, October 20, 2017

Being Poor in America

Okay, I can't stand it any more. I came across this: How the Poor Get By in America. While I know that being poor in America can be hard - much harder than we often think it is, I have a few thoughts about it.

First, try to be poor anywhere else. Then you'll know what the word means.

Second, think about what is really poor and what is not.

 One story here says they went to the shopping mall and she picked out 5 outfits that she liked, then they went to the fabric store and her mom bought remnants and material to make those outfits for her. That's poor? That's smart. What is the matter with it?

Another example: They went to Burger King for a burger special. She ate one and a half of the small hamburgers while her mom ate the other half and drank free refills of soda. What's wrong with this picture? I don't know what the price was, but I can guarantee you she could have spent the same amount (carefully!) at the store and had a full meal for both.

"You can get new car parts from the junk yard for virtually nothing, with added discounts if you remove them from the junkers yourself." Does nobody know this but the critically poor?? I thought it was a well known fact that you can find parts for cars from junk yards (never new, though) for much less than full price for new.

I wear those $15 shoes from Walmart and some of them have lasted just as long as some pricier ones. I have never paid $60 for a pair of shoes, although I realize that some people have to, due to job requirements or other problems.

If people would just pay attention. Cheap food doesn't have to be bad food. There is free food for the taking. Clothing banks, charities and more provide clothing and shoes. Transportation can often be your own two feet. There is help for heating in most places. Medicaid pays for health care. And on and on.

That's not to mention your own imagination and creativity.

What is wrong with America? Poor, indeed.

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!