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Frugal End of the Year

(24 Posts)
FrugalFashionista Sat 22-Nov-14 11:49:44

Is anyone interested in shopping less before the holidays? Simplifying life in some way - by clearing the closets, starting a shopping ban, recycling, repurposing, or repairing things?

Or just slowing down a bit - savoring the long evenings by having more home-cooked meals, doing crafts or homemade persents, baking at home, sewing with children... Resisting the crazy consumerism in a way or another...

I've had a really busy year but would love to focus on things that really matter this Christmas. Will you join me?

WildBillfemale Sat 22-Nov-14 16:48:17

The following Blogs all have a minimalist approach to life/fashion/spending you may find interesting.

Into Mind
The Gardeners Cottage
How to be Chic

Marylou2 Sat 22-Nov-14 16:56:41

I'd love to do this too. My DD(7) has asked for a sewing machine for Christmas and loves cooking and baking.I think she'd appreciate this sort of Christmas rather than the usual rampant consumerism. Dh will still do all the buying too as he can't resist

FrugalFashionista Sat 22-Nov-14 17:19:18

Hi WildBill Thanks for the links! I know and love Into Mind but not the others!

Marylou my trusty old sewing machine from the early 1990s died a few weeks ago when I was fixing a pair of jeans (acrid smoke, smell of burning plastic... RIP Janome). I first thought I wouldn't replace it - would like to get rid of all extra clutter - but then I thought that I want my daughters to learn to sew and see me doing alterations. So I ordered the most basic Husqvarna from Amazon. I love it! I've forgotten how to do fancy sewing but just minor alterations are so satisfying. Today, I fixed some pajama bottoms and cut up a worn out pair of toddler jeans and used the material to make denim elbow patches for a sweatshirt. It's a project I could finish in an hour - DD1 (almost 7) helped and I let them do some spooling. Such a simple thing, so satisfying!

We also cooked a bit - the clean the fridge casserole wink I work long days during the weeks so we all tend to be really tired in the evenings but it felt great to do all these things together.

BlueEyedWonder Sat 22-Nov-14 17:32:33

Going into 2015, we will be preparing to refurb our house. It will take every spare penny we have so frugal is the order of the day.
I have recently switched from Sainsburys to Aldi for the weekly shop. I'm using the crock pot a lot. It's great to come home from work to a home cooked meal.
We found a heap of games in the loft which I plan to play with the kids during the xmas hols rather than spending money going out.

TheNewWitchOfSWL Sat 22-Nov-14 17:35:22

I am just buying presents for DD this year. Only one present with the necessary accessories needed. Second hand too, off eBay.
Resisting the temptation to buy one to myself and may give in last minute.

FrugalFashionista Sat 22-Nov-14 17:46:08

BlueEyed welcome and good luck with the building project! My brother is giving me his neglected crockpot for Christmas - really looking forward to that! We don't have Aldi here but we go regularly across town to Lidl... <should go soon as low on detergent> My MIL brought us some of DH's old board games when she last visited and we taught one to DC last weekend. Really enjoyable for all of us! Better than iPad
NewWitch my children seem addicted to plastic... Each will get one present from that category this year.. But we'll need to do some major toy recycling soon! For adults, the presents are going to be very small things, we tend to get things that we can enjoy together.

WildBillfemale Sun 23-Nov-14 09:22:43

I started 'trimming back' on everything about a year ago. I cleared out and scrubbed every cupboard in the kitchen and got rid of stuff I no longer use.
I bought a Crockpot only 2 weeks ago so am still experimenting but love it and am cooking huge meals so portions can be frozen.

I have completely audited my wardrobe - even listing what's left in a notebook which REALLY helps focus when shopping as you know what you really 'need' rather than just want. This did take ages and involved some investment but now apart from needing a warm winter coat I don't need to think about buying anything until maybe next summer. I have mended sloppy hems, loose buttons etc.
Beauty stuff I only replaced when all other equivalents had been used up. Now apart from a few tubes of moisturiser I only have one of everything.

My big regret is giving away my sewing machine to a friends mother.

I can't quite put my finger on the exact feeling and it's not just about saving money but I gain huge satisfaction from not being wasteful, being organised, less consumerism. When you aren't going shopping so much (apart from food I don't go to the shops for weeks on end) you have more time free. I think time is the new luxury..........

FrugalFashionista Sun 23-Nov-14 09:51:29

Hi WildBill I get exactly what you mean, I know the feeling! You are much further along than me though...

To me, time and empty space are the true luxuries. Much more elusive than packet closets and schedules...

Love your idea of auditing. I've done several wardrobe clearouts but the hardest part is the letting go stage... On my to-do list: going through shoes, bags, jewellery, clothes, toys, books, magazines and the freezer... I come from a family of hoarders (and DD1 is showing the same tendencies) - my grandparents took hoarding to the extreme.

Over the last year, I've been able to downsize my wardrobe (but this is futile as always when I have empty space, I impulse buy something new). I'm proud that I have able to declutter my kitchen storage cupboards and cosmetics and stop buying new stuff but using up everything will take years. Using something up and not replacing is immensely satisfying, though.

Small good things: I found that our local library lends out ebooks and electronic magazines. It was a bit cumbersome to set up but I managed to download something on my iPad!

Another nice thing: children wanted pancakes for breakfast. They are a hassle to make but I let them measure the ingedients and we had an enjoyable morning preparing and eating them.

Bananahead1 Sun 23-Nov-14 12:20:09

I've been thinking about this for the last few months. I have been and sometimes still am a compulsive shopper and have squandered so much money on clothes and beauty products. I don't get any lasting satisfaction though and often find myself wondering what it's all about.
In the last few months, I have been concentrating on improving my health and it's taken my mind off my endless consumerism.
I also love the blog Into Mind and will have a look at the others. Another blog I really like is Frugal Queen - I love the economical style of cooking she promotes.

Marylou2 Sun 23-Nov-14 17:25:07

I'm so looking forward to learning to use a sewing machine with DD.She realises that we'll be learning together as I'm a total beginner.I'd love to make cushion covers and do simple alterations.
I'm a recent convert to slow cooking too and enjoying all the winter comfort food.Every year I'm determined to enjoy a slower paced Christmas but end up exhausted by the endless schedule of nights out.This year I've chosen just two favourites and wriggled out of the others. I prefer to spend time and money on my family and those that really matter.
I also am guilty of rampant clothes buying and may have more bags than are strictly necessary. I'm challenging myself to 'shop my closet'over the Christmas period as I'm really not short of outfits.

FrugalFashionista Sun 23-Nov-14 18:56:26

A really good day today smile Did some decluttering in the morning: the hallway, my bathroom and kitchen counters are now clear. Then put Sinatra on the stereo and made cupcakes with children. We had some old friends over for tea and the children helped with bringing everything back to the kitchen afterward. Their homework is normally a chore but today everything went well. DH is abroad on a business trip and this is honestly the first time that staying home alone with children has been really enjoyable.

Marylou and Banana, I have a long history of overshopping. I did a lot of work coming to terms with it a year ago. When I'm busy with work and have a full social life, I don't overshop - for me, it's a 'missing out' / behavior, I tend to overcompensate when I feel stuck at home and I'm very good at rationalizing my behavior. When I stop paying attention, I tend to relapse. I've learned a lot about my shopping triggers but it's still hard - a bit like trying to stay on a diet...

My husband is a born minimalist and my clutter and piles of stuff is trying for him. He never complains but I can see that he would prefer owning much less stuff. That said, I like an airy semi empty house too...

Into Mind has this really lovely and compassionate post about mindless shopping. For me, shopping is a poor substitute of things that I really would like to do. When I focus on what I really want and need (feeling connected, stimulated, soothed) the shopping urges go away.

BlueEyedWonder Sun 23-Nov-14 20:31:17

I love a good declutter frugal. I've also worked hard to make changes to my shopping habits over the last 12 months. I now have a wardrobe that's much more manageable and I feel less guilty about.
DH and I have agreed just to buy each other a token for xmas. I've made a strict list of the DC's presents and am determined to stick to it.
I've managed to spend in excess of £200 on food and drink in the past. This is too much as we only have a small family. Again I plan to make a list rather than shopping supermarket sweep stylee!

WildBillfemale Mon 24-Nov-14 07:36:34

re Frugal Christmases, We spent Christmas and New Year in Iceland a few years ago and were talking to the Icelandic guide she was talking about how people were struggling in Iceland after the Crash.
She had mentioned re Christmas, that because people were really strapped for cash, The focus had returned to enjoying a meal with family and meeting up with friends rather than presents/gifts/presents. Presents had returned to very low price but thoughtful gifts like a book or a pair of cinema tickets or homemade sweets. It took all the stress/cost and commercialism away.

daimbardiva Mon 24-Nov-14 10:46:59

Yes, please can I join! Really want to simplify, clear out and become less materialistic. Also I am between jobs so need to economise, but at least have time to do the clearing out! On the agenda today is clearing out my underwear, socks and tights drawers!

I am also going to start keeping to a strict budget. Have never been good at this in the past but really need to be now.

FrugalFashionista Mon 24-Nov-14 21:21:48

Hi all, loving your thoughts and welcome Daimbar! Hope you had a good day decluttering.

I've had a busy and very long but satisfying day. A major good thing happened and I'm enjoying the afterglow. Feeling grateful and energized. And the morning was lovely: I took DC to school and started the day in a cafe, really the best start.

BlueEyed we stick to a grocery shopping list and it really decreases impulse spending. I used to buy stuff because having shallots and scallions and fresh basil always on hand made me feel virtuous. Now I have a jar of brown rice and that's about it...

WildBill loving your Icelandic Christmas! I'm sick of conspicuous consumption and expensive no-joy gifts. I've had my share of luxury items and no, they don't make me happy. A cup of coffee in an outdoor coffee, seeing a butterfly in November, or finding an unexpected garden, or doing something silly with children, or seeing a good film seem to make me happy. For me it's all about these little bursts of happiness. Usually shared moments - and often also making someone else really happy. That's the best thing!

Yesterday I felt intensely happy because a work colleague I thought I had lost contact with emailed me - he is going to visit our town next summer with his family. Loving the idea of reconnecting.

FrugalFashionista Sat 29-Nov-14 10:15:24

Have been too busy during the week to declutter but overall it's been a good week!

My aim is to continue simplifying and decluttering by getting rid of a few unwanted items every week.

Last night I binned an eye pencil that gives me allergy. This sounds trivial but very recently you could have found an YSL lipstick from the 1980s in my bathroom cupboard <hanging head in shame>

The irony of it was that it was the wrong shade for me even back in the day...

Does anyone else have stale lipsticks vintage cosmetics skeletons in their closet? wink

Doing my best to resist Black Friday / Cyber Monday madness. Not easy, and harder still because have to buy a few presents this week as I am visiting my family next week. Trying to minimize present exchanges though. I want to share meals and experiences with people I love - not clutter their houses.

BelindaAllWorkedOut Sat 29-Nov-14 10:37:11

Your thoughtful, intelligent posts often resonate with me, Frugal. My shopping is actually decreasing, but I do need to do some declutterring. Interestingly, when my children were younger, I shopped more, often out of boredom. As they get older, and I have more opportunities to do what I like (even though they are still quite young), I'm wiser with my shopping and don't buy from boredom anymore. Now I need to get rid of some clothes and toys, as we have too much and mess really is stress. An emptier home is a soothing place.

WildBillfemale Sat 29-Nov-14 15:47:03

Sent a parcel overseas yesterday shipping quotes as follows;
Post Office - £75
UPS - £105
Parcel 2 go - £35

It's worth shopping around!

Bought a microwave lidded soup mug for work and ingredients to make yummy soup in the slow cooker.

WildBillfemale Sat 29-Nov-14 15:51:23

Ideas for nice small Homemade gifts for friends;

Baileys Fudge
Homemade Kahlua (there's a recipe on 'the Gardners cottage' blog)
Home made bounty bars
Home made sea salt scrub

any more ideas?

FrugalFashionista Sat 29-Nov-14 16:49:50

Thanks Belinda for your great words! I actually wanted to thank you for the H&M pleather legging tip. Inexpensive items that are constantly worn and make older items look fresh and new are frugal in my book wink I got them in burgundy and they are a new favorite.

Great gift ideas WildBill! I love to bake and have some relatives who subsist on takeout and frozen food. They tend to appreciate simple stuff like homemade cakes and cookies. I realized that via the city library I get free access to lots of magazines via Zinio. Downloaded my favorite foodie magazine, Saveur, this morning and they have a Icelandic Christmas story with an intriguing corn flakes chocolate meringue cookie. Might give it a try.

Was also able to download a couple of free American fashion magazines for airplane reading The iPad reading experience has improved a lot. I am considering giving up print magazines altogether. We read a lot and get a lot of professional journals too. I have piles and piles of them and feel guilty about binning them - should probably write the publisher and ask them to consider an electronic format. The clutter in our living room decreased a great deal when my DH's newspapers became electronic. I read most books electronically these days and the New York Times daily on my phone or my iPad.

bettykt Sat 29-Nov-14 19:06:39

I don't want to be bah humbug about Christmas but this article really made me think about the relevance of some present buying.

interesting article about Christmas spending

BelindaAllWorkedOut Sat 29-Nov-14 21:41:34

Ah, so pleased Frugal. I agree - it's great to update lots of outfits w just one thing. Quite fun, too. I also bought a TopShop faux leather pleated midi skirt that has the same effect of making my otherwise standard outfits look a bit fresher.

Betty - we are doing next to no Christmas presents this year. My youngest DCs (twins) just had their birthday, and there really is NO need for more toys, and it just ends up being more clutter. I just buy what I want for us all, as I go along. Loathe the stress and frenzy of Christmas shopping. Except for the food, that I DO like.

FrugalFashionista Sun 30-Nov-14 08:22:05

Belinda and Betty, your posts reminded of a classic in sociology and anthropology, Essay on the Gift by Marcel Mauss. A friend once translated it and explained the main points - reciprocated exchanges of gifts are the basis of many societies and competitive gift exchanges are extremely stressful for primitive societiess culminate in situations where all gifts are destroyed. Sounds like use wink Have to admit that I've never read although we received the book as a gift wink

Today's to do list: go to Lidl for detergents, make a couple of returns, and try to do some more decluttering. The main thing is to interleave organizing with more fun stuff - perhaps a lunch out and doing something enjoyable with kids. Yesterday I went through a drawer and found some pretty awful looking clothes (once fashionable) - they inspired us to watch MC Hammer videos on Youtube and lots of others that featured bike shorts and step aerobics routines. The late 1980s - early 1990s take on sports luxe did not stand the test of time wink

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