Thursday
Nov202014

Decorating on a small budget 

Today is the second episode of the Frugal Debt Free Life Podcast

I have been working on this for what feels like forever and I am so glad to FINALLY bring it to you. 

The show is all about Living a Limitless Life on a Limited Budget. That is the mission statement, purpose, goal... 

The show will be bi-monthly for now and in the new year we will move to a once a week format. 

Today we will be talking to my friend Amanda of Cultivate Create an incredible blog where Amanda talks abou her amazing budget-friendly decorating. 

Amanda is EXTREMELY talented. She created the new header on my blog. 

Here are some of my favorite posts she has written. It was HARD to narrow down because Amanda is so talented. She is also kind and funny. 

Polka Dot Focal wall. 

Gallery wall and church pew. 

Black and white striped curtains. 

You can listen HERE and later I will update with the Stitcher link. 

 

 

Thursday
Nov202014

Gift ideas for when there is no money

I got a pretty heartbreaking note from a reader. I am not going to go into the details because it was so deeply personal, but she was scared, tired and overwhelmed. There is simply no money for gifts this year. 

And in her message it was clear that this woman was trying to create a special Christmas for her family and friends in spite of her situation. 

I went to my YouTube community and asked what advice they could give her. The ideas were brilliant, but that doesn't surprise me. The women who watch my videos are just a great group of people. 

You can watch the video here: 

But here are some tips I hope will help. 

Use what you have.

If you're like me you have a TON of free samples and empty baskets lying around. Put together a little gift basket. Or fill a mason jar with beauty products from your stash and make little gifts for your mom, your kid's teachers, or friends. 

Give the gift of reading. 

If you have a novel you love give it to a friend and include a nice note telling the person why you wanted them to have your copy. 

Make a photo album. 

If you have photos of the two of you together, or you have photos of their family make them a nice photo album. You probably already have an album in your home. 

Upcycle a picture frame. 

I did this last year and they turned out so cute. I just glued some buttons to a frame and that was it. And this 5 minute upcycled frame is great too

Give things new life. 

Last year I made these button bobby pins. They turned out so cute and would make a sweet gift for a daughter, niece or friend. 

Bake something. 

If you already have cake mix, bread mix or flour and basic baking supplies make some muffins, breads for cookies. I love baked goods and they don't clutter up my house!

Be honest with people. 

I know it's hard. But be honest with people about your situation. You could say something like "our family isn't doing gifts this year. How about instead we all get together, bake cookies and watch "White Christmas." 

Bottom line: Christmas is a celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ. It is the celebration of grace and mercy and the purest love imaginable. It is not a time to stress out. 

Do you want the people you love to stress out because of your birthday? No. 

So. What do you think? What are your suggestions for $0 Christmas gifts? 

Wednesday
Nov192014

questions to ask before decluttering 

So I have been on a mission to declutter my home and life. I have been throwing out, recycling, giving away, selling and donating things right and left. 

And I am here to report that.... I am nowhere near finished! My 31 Bags in 31 Days was a great place to start  but it's going to take me longer than a month to really and truly declutter my life. I know that is saying a lot about the amount of clutter I have. 

But I have hauled bag after bag after bag of stuff to the Christian mission. 

I have donated: three bags of my clothes, 1 bag of Jason's clothes, 1 bag of kid's clothes and baby items, 2 boxes of toys, various dishes and kitchen gadgets, DVDs, Books, CDs etc. etc. 

We have also sold some items and given some things to friends. 

And I have thrown away things. My husband was horrified as I chunked my senior book into the trash can. But years of humidity had made the pages stick together and when I looked at the pages that weren't damaged, I didn't remember any of the faces or places. It's just time to let go. 

And a lot of times when decluttering, that's what it's about- letting go. My husband is a lot more sentimental about stuff than I am. But we only have so much space, and I can't and won't keep everything. So I would rather keep 1,000 photos of my son's first steps than a book of pictures of a time I don't remember and fankly don't care to. 

And it's not hard for me to chunk things because I have a system. Three things I ask myself before giving or throwing away my stuff. I ask myself three question. 

1. Do I REALLY need this item and when was the last time I used this? Okay, so this is really two questions. Whatever. The point it is, if I really needed something I would use it a lot more often. And aside from Christmas decorations, if I really liked something I would use it more. So if it's sat on the shelf in the closet for 6 months or more, chances are I don't want it, need it or use it. 

2. Does this item bring me joy or do I just feel guilty about letting go of it? This one is tough because guilt is a thing in my family. But I had to look at a few things and really ask if those items made me happy, or if I was just keeping them out of duty. A lot of them were things I never wanted and were just given to me because there was no one else to take them. It's not fair for me to have to store them. So out they went to someone who wanted them and could use them. 

This is a big thing, don't let people make you feel guilty about keeping things you genuinely don't want, like, need or use. If it was that important to them they should keep it at their house. 

I know that seems harsh, but the level of anxiety I have allowed these things to cause me just got to a point of being ridiculous. 

3. If I keep this, what else am I saying no to? When we say yes to something, we are saying no to something else. We can't just keep bringing more and more and more things into our homes. When we do that, it's called hoarding and that's a compulsion. 

I am not a hoarder. I never want to be a hoarder and I don't want to live with a hoarder (I am talking to you Jason Senn!). So when I keep something that often means I have to get rid of something else, or not bring something into my home that I might like more. (With the exception of black cardigan sweaters. There is ALWAYS room for more black cardigan sweaters.)

These are the guidelines I use. They may seem harsh, but like I said, the amount of anxiety all of this stuff was causing me just didn't seem worth it. 

SO what do you ask yourself before keeping something or letting it go? Leave a comment! I LOVE comments. 

 

Tuesday
Nov182014

The secret to GREAT Cream cheese frosting 

Cream cheese frosting is my favorite. Just in general. It's my favorite thing on the planet. 

I am trying to think of a single cake that cream cheese frosting wouldn't be good on. Gimme a second... nope. I can't think of a single thing. 

I put it on cupcakes, brownies and of course cinnamon rolls

But I have learned the key to really good cream cheese frosting: DO NOT LET THE CREAM CHEESE SOFTEN.

Just don't do it. Sure it will take longer, but man it will taste better and stand stay thick. 

What you'll need:

1 stick butter, softened

1 package cream cheese NOT SOFTENED

2 cups powdered sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract

Place your butter in your mixer and cream. 

Then add in your cream cheese. 

Isn't that a pretty color. You will need to mix the cream cheese for several minutes to get it all mixed together. 

Then add your powdered sugar a little at a time and then your vanilla. Then if you're mixer has the "whip" setting us it. If not turn it up as high as it will go and let it whip, whip, whip away. 

You will notice and taste a HUGE difference. 

Sunday
Nov162014

Budget-friendly gifts for kids

Do you have little ones on your Christmas shopping list? I do. And I love them all. I have my two little ones and then three neices and one nephew. 

It's a lot of kid's gifts, but I have a plan. I've had a plan since March. Because when it comes to savings it really is the early bird. 

Click to read more ...