November 14th, 2008
As we move into 2008′s extended holiday period, more than a few families are wondering if there will be a Christmas this year. Sure, some retailers are going all out to stay open long enough to see if anybody’s buying this year, but with consumer credit at a virtual standstill, international trade languishing on the docks and jobs being lost by the thousands every week, it’s a no-brainer that this Christmas isn’t going to be ‘the usual’ consumer spending orgy of Christmases past.
Presuming that your family still has a home, can heat it, and enough income to put food on the table, there are ways to have a festive, meaningful Christmas without going further into debt and without ending up with cheap Chinese junk that nobody really wants or needs.
The best thing you can do for your family is Make Your Own, and involve the kids! We save old Christmas cards in a box in the closet, pull them out around Thanksgiving and use them, plus various saved papers, made papers, trims, sequins, glitter, buttons, studs, etc. to make brand new Christmas cards for the people in our lives. Scissors and glue, a paper cutter, maybe some cutsey hole punches and lots of odds and ends, these cards inevitably get saved by every Mom, Grandma or other friend/relative who gets them! And kids are especially creative in this area. Sure you’ll have to clean up the mess, but a great time was had by all.Alternatives, Art, Crafts, Do It Yourself, Family Projects, Gifts, Holidays, Recipes, Recycling, Sewing, Shopping, Thrifting | Comments (4)
August 13th, 2008
My eldest grandson graduated from high school in the top 10% of his class a couple of months ago, for which we are inordinately proud – he was taking courses like advanced biology, pre-calc, physics and advanced literature/writing, which most kids around here avoid like the plague. Now we’re facing the costs of getting him through college, since we raised him and of course we will.
We have had to seriously crimp some of our expectations about how this could happen, as things have changed both personally and societally since our children were in college. First, they don’t give out full scholarships to incoming freshmen around here, no matter how well they do in high school. You have to start with your basic Pell Grant and complete at least two semesters before you’re eligible for scholarship or extra grant money. The Pell Grant won’t come in until the second semester because the process doesn’t even start until the student’s already enrolled, so tuition must be paid up front out of pocket, along with all fees and the cost of textbooks.Alternatives, Back to School, Brand New Used, Discount Outlets, Education, Recycling, Resale | Comment (0)
March 14th, 2008
The Beauty and Style site List Maven has posted a linky article entitled…
It’s truly imaginative. I particularly like the crocheted plastic grocery bag necklace, though I use my plastic grocery bags as trash basket liners if I forget to take my many forever re-usable canvas bags to the store with me. And I’ll definitely have to make my grandson those computer key cuff links for the prom, since he’s determined to win the Duck brand Scholarship for best Duct Tape tuxedo…Filed under Alternatives, Brand New Used, Crafts, Do It Yourself, Fashion, Green Living, Humor, Recycling, Thrifting | Comment (1)
February 19th, 2008
Selena at Apron Thrift Girl ventured into video this past November, and it turned out so well that I hope it won’t be her last video venture! Here she debunks 7 common myths about thrifting, which may help those who are new to living on a shoestring budget get past their preconceived prejudices and ingrained shopping habits. It also reinforces the things that us seasoned thrifters already know!
If you enjoy Selena’s video, don’t forget to check out her blog! There’s plenty more knowledge where that came from…
Previous Posts About Thrifting:
Thrifting: It’s An Art Form!
Credit Crunch: How to Survive the Recession
Living on Less: The Alternative Economies
The Payoff: Thrifting and Re-Selling
Free Yourself from Debtor’s Prison
Tips for Avoiding Pressure to Shop
Craig’s List: Great Resource or Scary Place?
January 21st, 2008
A good friend read my post It’s Better than Cheap… It’s Free! and mentioned Craigslist as another very useful resource for the sale and exchange of items, along the lines of the Freecycle Network. I had never made use of Craigslist and wasn’t very familiar with how it works, so in this post let’s look at what it actually has to offer those of us trying to live well on limited budgets.
Craigslist is a lot broader in scope than the Freecycle Network, which maintains local sites devoted exclusively to the exchange of ‘stuff’ for free – you advertise what you have to give away or want someone to give to you, and responses are routed through the administrators (sans personal information) to facilitate the exchange. In contrast, Craigslist advertises community news, businesses and services, housing, personals, for sale items and job openings (or wanteds), just like your local newspaper’s want ads – but much, much moreso!Alternative economics, Barter, Brand New Used, Recycling, Resale, Thrifting | Comments (2)
January 13th, 2008
The Wonderful World of Freecycling
Way, way back in 2004 Grist Magazine published an article entitled Give It Away, Give It Away, Give It Away Now about a cool new environmentally friendly idea called “Freecycling.” Begun in 2003 by Deron Beal, a recycling program worker in Tucson, Arizona, freecycling is a network of people with ‘stuff’ they don’t want to throw away to take up landfill space, but don’t want to keep either. It’s a way of getting rid of stuff by giving it to someone who wants it, and you’d be surprised at some of the great stuff there is to be had for free!Alternative economics, Brand New Used, Conscious Living, Green Living, Recycling | Comments (9)
November 19th, 2007
As the holiday gifting season approaches it’s time to think about some creative ideas for making gifts your friends and family will treasure but won’t cost you much of anything.
At our house we’ve been getting the winter flannels, sweaters, long johns, excess blue jeans and coats out of the boxes and closets they’ve been hiding in since last spring, and I am once again amazed at how much of this stuff we’ve got. I gave up long ago trying to figure out where it all comes from, since it just seems to show up in my laundry, in 55-gallon trash bags in the shed, piled into storage nooks and crannies, etc. A lot of it doesn’t really fit anybody in my family, and I’ve suspected more than once that old clothes stashed away like that reproduce in the dark just like wire coat hangers do…
I’m usually amazed as well at how much of this excess fabric is frayed, holey or otherwise compromised enough not to be wearable without major repair (and they’ll still look pretty ragged). These are the kind of old clothes the Goodwill doesn’t want, you can’t really use, and would most likely end up taking space in a landfill somewhere if you don’t do something else with it.Brand New Used, Clothing, Fashion, Recycling, Sewing | Comment (1)
November 5th, 2007
Deborah over at Simply Thrifty blog offered a great humorous post not long ago entitled 6 Uses for Your Old Bathtub, which speaks creatively for the wonderful world of recycling. Having remodeled and expanded our bathroom not too many years ago and installing a low-flow toilet, it occurs to me that some ideas for recycling your old toilet and sink are in order.
You could make a tub sofa or a nice fish and lily pond for your garden or patio, or just do what we did with our old clawfoot tub – we put it out at the edge of the back yard’s campfire, barbecue, campground and horseshoe area to serve as the 9th hole for the top-nine of our disc golf course. It does double duty for icing down kegs, sodas and juice during our annual extended family gatherings.Garden, Humor, Recycling, Yard | Comment (0)
September 17th, 2007
Some people get into the economics of living on less because they don’t have much of a choice. Others get into alternatives because they believe our living-beyond-our-means lifestyles are harmful both to ourselves and to the environment. Either way, it’s good to know that there are alternatives, and plenty of room for people to invent their own levels of participation.
The ‘Money Economy’ is the one most people live in here in the modern world. It causes us to trade our lives – our time, our talents, our energy – for a certain valuation calculated in cash, and in that economy different people have different value placed on their lives. Women are still worth less than men, even in the same jobs with the same responsibilities. Women also tend to have to work more hours than men do, despite also being saddled with most of the housekeeping, child-rearing and food preparation jobs.
Minority workers are also valued poorly, as are teen workers and entry-level jobs in all sectors are notorious for paying less than it takes to live, eat, and repay student loans for that semi-worthless college degree.Alternative economics, Barter, Economic Recession, Recycling, Thrifting | Comments (3)
September 10th, 2007
The news is bad. The “housing bubble” has burst, job growth has become job loss, and the cost of credit is going nowhere but through the roof. It looks like the ‘shoestring’ some of us have been living on for awhile now just got a little more frayed.
While there is lots of moaning and groaning about how bad things are getting out in the real world of trying to make do, there’s not a whole lot of good advice about how the middle class can hope to survive the crunch. I’ve surfed around a bit and found a few pages offering real help and analysis, and have linked those at the bottom of this entry.Brand New Used, Economic Recession, Recycling, Thrifting | Comments (19)