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A simple trick to deal with lost socks

A simple trick to deal with lost socks

This post contains affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy here. Right now, I have 9 single socks that are missing their partner. In the past, such socks would just float around the house as we waited for the other sock to be magically found. […]

How do you know when the laundry is done drying?

How do you know when the laundry is done drying?

How do you know when the laundry is done drying? This question, when posed by my friend as she looked at my laundry hanging on the line on the patio, seemed almost absurd. And at first I assumed it had been asked in jest, but […]

Three Simple, Thoughtful (Birthday) Gifts for kids

Three Simple, Thoughtful (Birthday) Gifts for kids

3 simple gift ideas for children. Thoughtful, useful gifts I am giving this year.
3 simple gift ideas for children. Thoughtful, useful gifts I am giving this year.
3 simple gift ideas for children. Thoughtful, useful gifts I am giving this year.
3 simple gift ideas for children. Thoughtful, useful gifts I am giving this year.

This post contains affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy here.

Another birthday invitation… I know I’m supposed to be excited for my child. And on one hand I’m glad my daughter is getting invited to her classmates parties, but on the other hand, attending to a birthday party, is not cheap. Between the gift, the card, the wrapping paper, the cost quickly adds up. Then when I think about the number of classmates my daughter has, and the fact that every birthday child is inviting the whole class, I can expect another 5-10 birthdays before the school year is out. And in a year or two, I’ll have two children going to birthday parties. This can easily add up to hundreds of dollars a year.

With so many birthdays, I felt like we have two choices, (1) decline birthday invitations or (2) spend time instead of money and make homemade gifts. I didn’t want to decline birthday parties, just because we couldn’t afford to buy expensive birthday gifts, so I really like the idea of spending time rather than just money. Of course, I realize that even the gifts that I am giving this year, take some money, but I’m spending much less than if than if I drove to my local toy store to pick up a gift.

Here are four gifts ideas that are thoughtful, serve a purpose, and don’t break the bank, that I am giving this year. 

 

  1. A special outing or trip – If you have a membership to a park, museum, etc, you often also get a free or discounted admission ticket for friends and family. Use these to take the birthday child to the venue as your guest. It will be a special outing for the recipient, but a frugal choice for you.
  2. Heating pad animals – Cut out the silhouette of an animal of your choice, sew together, and fill with rice or lentils.  See how I have been doing it here. Save money by utilizing fabrics you already have in your home, consider pillow cases, blankets, or even outgrown baby clothing. If you don’t want to make one you can always buy one here, and still have a cute, useful gift.
  3. A hooded towel – Make a simple, but comfy hooded towel using a hand towel and a bath towel. This is a very customizable gift as you can incorporate the recipient’s favorite colors or animals. I’ve been using Amber’s tutorial at CrazyLittleProjects.com with great success. I tend to go to my local Marshal’s or TJ Maxx to find a good deal on towels, but here are some cute towels you can order on amazon.

Three Simple Gift Ideas for Children.

What are some other ideas for frugal, yet thoughtful gifts, that you have given? Let me know if the comments.

DIY Animal Silhouette Heating Pillow – Simple Sewing Project

DIY Animal Silhouette Heating Pillow – Simple Sewing Project

This post contains affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy here. I needed a thoughtful gift for my daughter’s classmates birthday party. And because I don’t know the child very well and the parent told me not to worry about a gift, I had nothing […]

One more simple decluttering rule

One more simple decluttering rule

As I continue on my journey to simplify my life, it is often a simple idea or statement that gets me thinking and stick with me in unexpected ways long after I first encounter it. This simple rule to consider while decluttering is one of […]

How we get out of the house on time OR how a simple change in the routine made all the difference

How we get out of the house on time OR how a simple change in the routine made all the difference

How we get out of the house on time.

Unfortunately, unlike the title implies, we are late more frequently than I would like to admit.  At least these days I can blame it on the kids 🙂 But of course there are times when being late is not just rude, but also causes stress and strive. Every school day, I need to get myself and my 3 year-old daughter ready and out the door, in a reasonable amount of time. For the first few month of the school year, mornings were stressful and it seemed that the later we were, the slower my daughter moved. And that of course meant that as my stress level rose, my patience diminished. That in return meant my daughter slowed down even more. It got to the point that something had to give: we either had to get up another 30 minutes earlier OR figure out a way to eliminate/reduce some of the stress. And since I like my sleep, we tried to figure out a way to remove some of the morning stressers.

The List: pinpointing our trouble-spot

In order to figure out how to fix the problem, we decided to write down a list of all the things that needed to happen in the morning and look at how each item could get us off track on our way out the door. In no particular order, here are the things that I (my daughter) needs to do to get out of the house in the morning.

  1. pack lunch
  2. get dressed
  3. eat breakfast
  4. brush teeth
  5. grab backpack

Of the items on the list, it was #2 that was most unpredictable for us. My daughter has very particular ideas about what she will wear and the ensuing arguments could derail an entire morning (No, you cannot wear a tank top dress when it’s freezing outside!?!). Fortunately, once we recognized that’s where things were going wrong, we were able to come up with a simple strategy to fix the issue. In our case, the first thing we tried was a simple change in our routine. Instead of trying to choose an outfit in the morning, we now pick the outfit at bedtime. Such a simple tweak, yet it has dramatically improved our mornings. Now mornings are not perfect, but the fights about the outfits have mostly disappeared. Now if she could just be trusted to pack her own lunch…

If you have a routine or task that isn’t working as well as you would like, consider making a list of the essential components. Sometimes just writing out such a list will allow you to pinpoint where things are going wrong. A simple tweak or change could make a big impact.

Why we only buy groceries once a week

Why we only buy groceries once a week

Saving time was the main reason that moved us towards a Once-A-Week-Grocery habit. But now that we have, I’m finding there are many more benefits. We buy the majority of our groceries at two stores: Trader Joe’s and Costco. And both stores are about 20 […]

Living a Simpler Life

Living a Simpler Life

It seems like everyone is decluttering or minimizing. From Pinterest boards with inspirational quotes about minimalism to books that claim to . Everyone and everything seems geared towards less. And while I admire those that have been able to successfully minimize, I find that for […]

How I earned more than $1,000 online effortlessly

How I earned more than $1,000 online effortlessly

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy here.

Doesn’t that sound great, almost too good to be true? Earning money online is such a wonderful concept. And the wonderful thing is that this case, it is absolutely true. I have earned over $1,000 online and it was almost effortless. But before I tell you exactly how I was able to earn this much online, check out the screenshot showing my total earnings of $1,230.09.

Ebates cashback summary
My EBATES history showing Lifetime Cash Back of more than $1,000.

So now for the How To… and the catch. Yes, I’m sorry to say that there is indeed a catch – but you knew there had to be, right? In this case, the caveat is that these earnings were accumulated over the course of 8 years. But don’t let that stop you, this is still such a simple, almost effortless process, it is still worth doing.

How did I actually do it?

I earned this money by using ebates.com* every time I shop online. All I have to do is start my shopping spree at the  ebates.com* website; search for the store or item I need to purchase (this even works for online orders with store pickups) and follow the link to the participating store websites to complete my purchase. Ebates* tracks my purchase and rewards me with cash back. And while the percentages are low and therefore does not net me a whole lot every month, only about $10-15, it adds up over time. In fact it added up to over $1,200 with virtually NO work on my part. So whenever I shop online, I start at ebates.com* and then search for the store or item I want.

If you don’t have an ebates* account yet and you do ANY online shopping, sign up here* to earn money online every time. It’s an easy way to get a bit of cash back and even snag a coupon without having to scour the internet for promo codes that never seem to work.

*These are referral links. If you sign up for a new account and use it, you will receive a bonus gift from ebates and so will I. This is the first time I’m sharing my  referral link, so all of the cashback I reported in the screenshot above is only from online purchases, not from any referral bonuses.

How a $40 item is saving us thousands of dollars

How a $40 item is saving us thousands of dollars

Having young children, we have come to realize that the hardest part about it is that you always seem to be sleep-deprived. Complicating the situation for us was the fact that our mattress was old and lumpy. We resigned ourselves to sleeping on a sub-par […]