Christmas is apon us, and this year for advent I decided to wrap 24 books and have the children open 1 present a day to read in the evening before bed.
I purchased a lot of these books for 50¢ from my local thrift store and some I brought in a pack that worked out to be $1.50 each. I found a white basket in the youngest girls’ room to keep the books together under the tree and tied a ribbon from a stash I already had to pretty it up.
I love simple gestures at Christmas time, the children think this is just the best thing ever however it cost very little resources, took a little bit of creative thinking and some planning to find these books. Now my girls will have plenty of books to carry them through the new year. And we get to spend time together bonding as a family, which you just can’t beat.
So if you’ve followed any of my earlier blog posts you’ll know my family embarked on a no spend year starting DEC 2018 last year, we successfully did this until July this year, the reason being we were saving to move and build to bring our mortgage down to a significantly smaller amount then it is now (downsizing somewhat) however a long story cut short is our daughter who struggles with anxiety was the reason we decided not to move as we had advice from professionals who though that would possibly affect her as since she has had so much change in her life already with moving 3x since she was born and with school starting soon and other things we had going on we decided to drop the idea. As guttered as we initially were, she’s our no 1 priority! We instead are just paying more off the principal where we are to become debt free, (just over 10 years to go)
So we loosened our budget a bit from there as it was a tough 8 months and now that we didn’t need to put that same amount into savings we were able to splurge a little here and there and make our fun budget a bit larger.
I learnt so much from not spending money and how much fun can be had with out spending money and I take many things away from that experiment. We plan to include many aspects from those 8 months into our yearly goals 2,5,10 years from now an perhaps do shorter more achievable no spend month/s. We need so little to have a fulfilled life, I really truly found that to be true this year.
We consolidated our insurances with a new insurance company savings us just under $30 per month, super stoked for that great savings! I encourage you to regularly search for better deals with your insurance.
I brought a quality frying pan for $51.00, 75% of the original price, FYI – who pays 200 dollars for a frying pan anyway! But I had left it so long I actually had no frying pans left at all and desperately needed one as the FAM was getting sick of oven cooked lasagnas, roast veges and homemade chicken pies. Its high quality stainless steel with a lid so I was happy with the discount I received! I may get another in the future but 1 is suffice for now.
I picked up havaiana jandals for my daughter for next summer for $2 brand new from a local op shop/thrift store. Excellent buy as these new are around $29. Also found gumboots for my 3rd daughter that she will need for next winter, also $2 when they are usually about $10, a total saving of $35 if I’d paid full price.
I made my own body cream, hand cream. I love doing this its used for my daughters eczema and my husband uses it for his face or cracked hands that he often has as a result of his Job so it is a well used and loved product. This batch I added kawa kawa which is known for it’s healing properties and I added organic lavender essential oils too, it smells divine!
I mended two tops and a pair of pants, the pants are almost rag material but my girls love them and wear them to kindy so I did mend them once again, they should hold up a few more months now.
I planted sweet corn and spring onions in my vegetable garden this past week, my hubby put together two more wooden garden bed surrounds so now we have a total of 6 which are full of strawberries, cabbage, tomatoes, zucchini, 1 lone pepper, peas, beets, parsley, Rosemary and chives. Growing our own veges helps save on our grocery bill, we have goals to eventually be self sufficient with our fruit & vege.
Again back to the planter surrounds – my husband made these out of scrap wood that we were planning on dumping, they look great! And cost nothing
I made my own Christmas wreath from our eucalyptus tree and hung a gold star on it.
I cut my husband’s hair and two of my daughters hair
I super glued my daughter’s slides/summer jandals back together, they had torn the rubber but was an easy fix with glue.
So there we go! Just some of the things we did to save extra this month, share below what you did to save money this month!
Its been a while! I gave up Instagram in March due lack of time and just wanting to be off social media all together, however I have really missed posting here and sharing what I feel I do best, making our life feel rich – with less!
So! I thought I would share this super simple, super old (my mum use to make these for my birthday partys) sweet biscuit treat!
I used half a packet of wine biscuits, about 1/2 cup of icing with a couple teaspoons of sprinkles – I used hundreds and thousands.
Cost break down:
I brought these packets on sale for $1.79 and used half which equals 89¢ roughly, sprinkles would of been around 6¢ and icing around 15¢ so a total of $1.10 for 19 biscuits!
you could jazz these up for Christmas and do red and green icing with crushed candy candy on top, the options are endless!
I hope to post more regularly, there’s so much this year I want to share with you all!
Here’s why I think most people instantly assume to dress with a conscious must cost a ton of money. Of course quality grown, organic clothing made by people that are earning a living wage ( just like you and I ) does cost more then clothes you would find in your local large department store. Slavery unfortunately is considered normal, even in 2019. Every time we shop it affects someone (good or bad) whether supporting a small business or supporting sweat shops. Our personal shopping isn’t actually personal really then is it?
So hear are some ways to be able to afford to dress with a conscious and keep costs low when being a mindful consumer.
Buy less. Not only do we need less then we think we do, we need even less then that first thought. We are talking about needs here. Not wants. Sure its nice to buy things we like and don’t always need! But when we are wanting to keep our clothing budget intact then consider buying 2 ethically made pants and not 4 to keep prices lower.
Shop out of season. Ethically made clothing doesn’t have the same sales that large department store do because they are paying their staff a living wage. There is only so much they can discount their prices but you will find sales at the end of seasons/black Friday/public holidays which is a great time to stock up for future wears and to make the most of your money.
Shop Second hand. Now I’ve brought bras, underwear, boots, sunhats, togs, singlets, jackets you name it. So many of these items I’ve found new with tags that someone has brought and decided they didn’t want or items in perfect condition. Someone’s trash is another person’s treasure! My current boots I have for this winter coming I brought second hand, full leather boots for $54 including shipping and they retail at $199 in store if purchased new. Also shopping on days that thrift shops and second hand stores have sales! You’ll get an even better bargain.
Buy unisex, for me having all girls this is not something I need to worry about but many ethical online stores these days sell unisex clothing. Shopping this way means you can hand down your clothing to sons and daughters without having to buy more, therefore saving a bit extra. Some to name if you are interested is buck & baa, freedom moses, freedom kids, nu natives and pip & Lenny all do many unisex items.
Choose quality. Quality just lasts longer, pure materials like linen, cotton and bamboo will last you so much longer the synthetic toxic materials that fade, stretch and not long after fall apart while wearing or in the wash. In doing this you’ll save money in the long term by being able to shop less. This goes for second hand shopping too, look for the wool items, organic materials and natural fibres.
Consider your clothes to be small investments. Care for them properly, hang them if they require hanging, or don’t if that will stretch the fabric like many wool items. Wash appropriately, we wash way more often then we need to sometimes (kids its a little more difficult but this is for the adults) we don’t need to wash our denim and cardigans daily. Dry away from the sun to avoid sun damage and fading, avoid the dryer of you can help it. Mend items. In doing this you’ll find your pieces will last you many years.
Buy timeless pieces. Trends are cool but what’s not cool its going broke keeping up. Find what you feel comfortable in and love and stick to it. When your wardrobe is full of the pieces you love you don’t long for new items like you once did. Trends are fun, but what even is a trend? Just someone who says this is cool, let’s do this and then millions follow suit? For what 6 months then its dated and we have to buy the next thing? Find what you love, what makes you feel good and what you can afford.
I hope some of these tips helped. Shopping ethically is affordable I have no doubt about it. It may not be as convenient and popping to the local shop but you are saving lives and saving waste buy shopping mindfully.
“If we own more then we need, then maybe its greed”
OK OK. Hear me out. We all have heard 20 tips to save money or 7 tips to stop spending or the “1 thing you need to know to save” and yeah OK that stuff was alright but that didn’t really work great long term for my very spendy self in the past. Here is 5 simple ideas that really helped me (and still to this day do) STICK to continually building my finances. Not just building it for black Friday or a holiday just to be left with sad looking digits in your account. I really struggled to build any more then a 4 digit sum as a teenager before blowing it or most of it on a car or my horses or mountains of clothing, jewelry or holidays, things that I really wasn’t getting a ton of value from. So this is what continues to work for me DAILY!
Many say find out your “Why” but for me it was like I had to figure out my burning desire to want to save instead of spend, something I held value above all else. Like if your a shopaholic nothing’s going to stop you from going to the mall in say, 2 weeks time. Nothing will get in the way because to have that overwhelming passion for the mall experience. That shopping buzz. It excites you. Now you need to find something that excites you to save. For us we want to be mortgage free but for you it could be that stress free feeling of not being caught out using the credit card for the next mechanic bill, or buying a home, or saving for future babies or just having a comfortable savings. Whatever it is, it has to be something that you want uttermost, above all else and like a kid in a candy store, if it doesn’t excite you and make you want more of it, its going to be harder to stick it out long term.
Find areas to cut down in your budget. We found we could easily cut down entertainment (instead opting for many free events) and our food budget without much hassle. It could be a subscription, the gym membership, your personal money, your activities out or your power bill even!
Find someone or multiple people to follow that inspire you. People that are achieving or have already achieved goals you have set for yourself. YouTube for me opened such a world of continued inspiration and many blogs I find helpful as well. I’ve even had days when I’ve wanted to shop online and caught myself browsing – instead I’ve popped on to YouTube and watched one of my favorite YouTubers to remind myself why I’d set these goals in the first place. Sometimes we need that fresh boost of energy to continue to stay on track.
Remove people from your life that don’t align with your goals. Easier said then done with real people in our lives but instead of going drinking every Friday night, drink at home with friends occasionally instead to save extra or do it fortnightly, it’s not giving it up, its just being mindful of where your money is actually going. And then there’s the virtual friends, those people we follow on social media that have the decor, the home, the cute dogs and beautifully dressed trend setting kids with their perfect 2019 up to date bedrooms that give discount codes for things we don’t actually need nor wanted until we stumbled across it in our feed. Those pages and those people aren’t getting you closer to your goals. Truly. Get rid of them for awhile and once your found your dedicated and feel strong in your new goals – re follow them again.
Lastly, find enjoyment somehow while saving money. Setting yearly saving goals and breaking them down into two weekly or monthly goals can really help. Keep it visual,(I have mine where I see them every morning) make a chart you see daily to remind yourself of it. Often notes in our phone we forget about. When it stares you blatantly in the face each morning when you walk into your bathroom its going to be a “that’s right” moment and you’ll be more likely to be mindful of your spending that day. Or have small rewards (that’s aren’t bank breaking) to treat yourself to sticking to your savings goals for that month. It could be 1 item of clothing or lunch out. Find enjoyment somewhere in the savings process, it truly makes all the difference. And its not always about making more money. If your bad with money more won’t help. Be savvy with what you earn. Think of it as paying yourself. Not some shop down the road!
Now if you’ve made it this far thank you and I hope you found some of my tips helpful. In no way am I a professional I’m just sharing what has and almost 3 years later is continuing to STILL work for me and my family!
I thought I would share 10 simple things I did to save money over December and January!
I sold clothes and shoes that my daughters had grown out of. Many of our clothes after being pasted through 3-4 children can’t be sold on but my youngest has been through a huge growth spurt and so I sold on her shoes and outfits that didn’t fit and were in great condition. A little money back is better then nothing.
Organising my trips into town. Instead of having the dentist one day, the doctor the next and visiting family another I plan it all for 1 day saving us a lot of gas and time.
Batch cooking! Saves so much time and money. I have a ton of freezer meals and soups and I am really noticing how much further you can stretch food when it’s batch cooked.
I cut my own hair! Again
I meal plan around sale items. Being quite time poor I often shop online so I find all the specials and plan out my meals from those sale and in season items.
I turn off lights. Being summer we can get away with having very few lights on so I do my best to just have 1 or 2 on in the evening and early morning and that’s it. Our power bill has been very low, showing this is paying off.
Again another power saving hack but I turn off my washer and dryer as soon as I’ve finished using them. They are still suckers for power even when not in use.
Price comparing the same clothing with different stocklists. Many stocklists sell the same clothing but some have better deals then others. Along these lines I often YouTube discount codes and go to thrift store and op shops on their 50% off everything days when I need items like our restock of clothing earlier this month.
I pack snacks and lunches for all our free days out. Chips and nuts, baking and buns, drinks and pies is so much cheaper purchased with the grocery shop rather then the local cafe. Not that we don’t do that occasionally but overall we take our own food to save money.
I’ve started making bleach cleaner which is more heavy duty then my usual vinegar. This has made a huge difference to keeping my showers and baths white and fresh it costs next to nothing to make!
So that’s it! That’s what I’ve done the past month to save a bit extra! Hope these tips are helpful 🙂