Sunday, January 2, 2011

The End of the Road

Well, it is the beginning of a new year!  Can't believe we actually went a whole year on such a strict buying guide, but we did it. What do we have to show for it you ask?  With the money we did not spend this year we were able to pay off a nearly $10,000 credit card debt.  In fact, the last payment will be made in a few days.  We were also able to pay cash for every thing we did purchase - food, gas, all bills, our summer vacation, etc.  Nothing was put on a credit card so no NEW accumulation of debt was incurred.  Are we going to go out on a shopping spree now?  No way!  Quade did buy a hammock for camping that he has been waiting to purchase this past year. We do need some clothing; however, the goal is to never purchase anything at full retail price ever again!  I am proud of my family, their sacrifices and their willpower.  If I could only harness that willpower to apply to my attempts at losing weight... but I digress.  This year will be focused on living thrifty.  I haven't come up with a title for a new blog yet but when I do I will let you all know.  Thank YOU for following us along on this journey and helping to hold us accountable. You all have been part of our success by making suggestions, giving us ideas and even donating clothing and other things to help get us through this year. We have learned a lot about what we want and what we really need. Happy New Year everyone and God Bless.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Inexpensive Gift Ideas

More stuff for you to try to make yourself! 
1.  One note:  We did buy paintbrushes which do not fit our buying guide but seemed completely necessary for the Rainy Day Box project.  Paper and paint are depletable and we felt like the wooden sticks were an okay thing to purchase, as well. By covering many of the items with coordinating papers, it brings a sense of the items being custom.
1. On the "Nature Boxes" which contain birdseed, pinecones, peanut butter and twine, a shoebox would work just as well as the paper mache boxes we used.  I decorated with paper and paint and bought the peanut butter at Dollar Tree for one dollar.  The bag of birdseed I bought is enough to do six of these nature boxes easily. The pinecones were provided by nature. And I already had the twine on hand.  So this project could be done as cheaply as $4-$5, depending on the price of the birdseed and peanut butter, as well as the supplies you may already have on hand. 
2.  The red bag with the Christmas Tree is a No-Sew felt bag.  I used a hot glue gun to glue the seams together and used some gold twine I had to pull the top together.  This took two pieces of pre-cut felt pieces, no cutting and no sewing.  Can't get any easier than this!  Plus, I already had the supplies.  This is what years of crafting is good for :)
3. Lastly, the pom-poms are a very traditional, easy craft project that allows for some very cute ornaments.  They look especially nice in a decorated shoebox!

Shoeboxes were of major importance this year for the Snack Packs, Rainy Day Boxes and used as gift boxes. Maybe you can try your hand at some of these.  I actually looked up the pom-pom instructions on You Tube.

Monday, December 13, 2010

More Gift Ideas

Promise me you won't tell anyone about these gift ideas!  These will be under the Christmas tree in a couple of weeks but I am letting you in on these in case you need an idea or two.  The Snack Packs are similar to the ones I have posted before.  The fish bowl is one we had in the attic, collecting dust.  My oldest boy loves to collect shells and rocks so I painted on some seashells and coral and now he has a place to keep his collection and be able to enjoy it.  The pictures of the alphabet pages with little items to match is a "matching game."  I got the idea from something I saw at our local library.  So, I made the alphabet cards on the computer and began either searching for items or making items that would coordinate with the pictures.  I am having the alphabet pages laminated and will cut them into individual cards.  I also painted a shoebox and this will be the container that holds the game. Remember, shhhhhh!  And, happy crafting!

Friday, December 10, 2010

What About Santa?

Several folks have asked us about the Santa Factor.  How do we explain to our children that Santa can only bring edibles and depletables this year for Christmas?  First, we have never let Santa bring a lot of anything.  Santa is limited to only one or two things.  Second, we told them that we used the magic Santa number to contact the North Pole and request that Santa and his Elves respect our wishes this year and what we are doing.  Santa became a questionable figure for our oldest boy when he was about 5 and asked why his toys were "made in China" if Santa brought them from the North Pole. The other night, however, our pastor accidentally 'outed' Santa in church.  He didn't mean to and now the topic is really a moot point with our 8-year-old.  Our 3-year-old still believes so there will be presents from Santa - they just have to fit the criteria we have set!  Easy, huh?

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Giant Ornament

I may have mentioned this from time to time, but I LOVE paper crafts, especially card-making and paper decor.  A friend of mine was making some things at my house yesterday and she came up with a cute paper photo frame.  I took her inspiration and made an ornament instead of a frame.  The idea is essentially the same, except I went ahead and decorated the center instead of leaving it open for a picture.  It is about 8 inches in diameter and consists of some chipboard circles I had on hand, as well as a stamped image of a poinsettia.  With the addition of some Christmas craft paper and a touch of glitter, I have a giant ornament for decorating with or to gift with.  Here's a pic.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Snack Packs

Here are a couple of things we made for two of our young cousins for Christmas.  We did each of them a Snack Pack of their favorite snacks. The containers are decorated shoe boxes.  We also made a Bird Feeding Kit from a paper birdhouse that included peanut butter, pinecones, and birdseed. 

Monday, November 29, 2010

The Finish Line?

Almost December!  Can't believe we only have one month left in this journey.  Of course, it will be the most difficult since it is the biggest shopping time of the year.  Still, I am very proud of my family for holding strong for a year's worth without buying.  We've had a few failures - little things, though, like a pair of sunglasses, some craft paintbrushes for a project, etc.  Overall, though, I can't complain.  We have managed to use the money we would have spent on stuff to apply to a $10,000 debt, which will be paid for in January!!!! We have also been able to pay cash for everything!  No credit card usage whatsoever this year.  I consider that an amazing success for our family.  I can't see us ever going back to thoughtless spending again.  When we shop for clothing it will be on Ebay, thrift stores or bottom dollar price in stores - never paying retail again!  We will also be very cautious in purchasing anything else - Can we find a substitute for free?  Can we make a trade with others?  Can we simply make do with what we have?  These questions will need to be answered before dropping anything in a shopping cart.  I will post pictures soon of some of the handmade Christmas items we've been working on.  Santa's elves have a lot of work to do this year!