Tag Archives: budget

The Holiday Card Dilema

30 Dec

In the past I got into the habit of hand creating my holiday cards.  It was a huge endeavour which included making over 50 cards and decorated envelopes.  I would try to think “assembly line” when coming up with my design.  When making these cards they would take over a room in the house, usually the kitchen and the kitchen table.  There would be glitter, paint, glue, rubber stamps and attachments all over the place.  This went on for many years.

Although I did enjoy this activity, each year the pressure was on to come up with another idea.  In addition, the pressure mounted when I found out people were saving my creations and displaying them year to year.

One year when suffering the worst of Lyme Disease as well as a move at the same time,  I decided I needed to simplify my life and my holiday season.  Something had to go.  Bye Bye went the card making.  Actually shortly later, bye bye went sending any holiday cards all together.  I just couldn’t do it anymore.  It took too much energy, and I just didn’t have it in me.

That was several years ago, and I still have not gotten back into the card making or the card sending.  Since we have been living simply and have removed ourselves from the mass consumerism, I have been making most of my Christmas presents.  What extra time and energy I have is put towards the present making which does not leave much time for card making.

This year we received very little cards from people.  It was such a contrast to years past that it was striking.  My mother informed me that it is because we don’t send cards anymore.  That concept really struck me as odd.  I can understand that thought from distant people (those people who your only contact is the annual holiday card) but from people in your life throughout the year, I found it odd.  I stopped sending cards because I was physically and financially incapable due to a chronic illness, not because I don’t appreciate these people in my life.  So to not receive a card from them just because I am not able to send one, seems petty (if in fact that is why the card number coming in is low).

I hope during the holiday season and throughout the year, we can all take a moment to remember and send some greetings to a friend or loved one who is going through a lot whether it be physical, emotional or financial.  Just let them know that you are thinking of them.  It will mean more than you know.



Thrift Store Scores!

14 Oct

As I simplify my life and remove myself from the consumerism and materialism of our society I find myself doing a balancing act of sorts.  I try to reduce, reuse, recycle, upcycle and refuse as much as possible. In reusing and upcycling I come upon the dilemma of saving things.  Saving things goes against minimizing and simplifying.  But it works with my desire to remove myself from consumerism, from buying new, from supporting companies that don’t pay their workers well and from supporting the consumption of “cheap crap” and adding all of that to our environment.  So I save some things and try to come up with ways of reusing them.

Right now I have a bag full of those mesh produce bags, the type onions would come in. I keep thinking there has got to be a way to turn them into dish scrubbers or something.  For awhile there I was in need of old t-shirts to be used as solutions for various problems I had.  At that time I had no old t-shirts and had to purchase one cheap in order to use the fabric.  Now I have several t-shirts that we are getting rid of; they are not good enough to donate to the thrift store, so I am going to save them for the next time I have a need for some soft jersey cotton fabric.

So do you see my dilemma?  Where do I keep those t-shirts and scrubby mesh?  How many of them do I keep?  Are they going to start cluttering my world?  Or can I get a good place to store them where they are out of the way, organized and not forgotten about?

I am however very comfortable with this new lifestyle.  We are not spending our money on anything new, except for underwear.  (Now in my head I am singing the “Underwear” song from camp… anyone care to join me???  “underwear, underwear, how I itch in my woolen underwear.  How I wish I had gotten a pair of cotton I wouldn’t be so itchy everywhere….”).  We are finding items we need used; either to purchase or put out on trash day.  We are shopping for needed items at thrift stores or on craigslist, and I am only purchasing used books when I want a book (I still like paper books, especially reference books).

The problem is, sometimes you find a lot at the thrift stores!  How do you limit yourself?  I think some of these thrift store scores are going to put a dent in our budget!  But how can I turn down a winter coat, boots and blouse that all fit me like a glove and that I have been looking for for years but couldn’t afford them at the regular store?  I didn’t and am enjoying wearing them already.

So I continue with my balancing act of clearing out the clutter, weeding down our possessions and staying out of the world of consumerism and materialism.  I guess if I am going to walk this tightrope I might as well enjoy it and put on a show!

Schlumpy Shorts

21 Jul

At the beginning of the summer I bought a couple of shirts for work.  After that time I decided to go through the whole summer season without buying any new clothes.  I have had to resist the urge to go shopping for a couple of “cute tops” or another pair of pants.  I have had to tell myself “NO! You don’t NEED anything”.  “Live with what you have.”  “Others have much less.”

So I have had to try to be creative with the clothing I have.  The other day I was wearing one of my favorite pair of shorts.  They were purchased last year, they are soft and comfortable and made out of a cool fabric.  My husband informed me they look horrible on me!  They are too baggy and make me look schlumpy.  “But I don’t have many shorts, and I vowed not to buy anything new this season.”  His response was “go out and buy a pair of shorts!”.

Often during this summer season of not purchasing, I have thought, “if only I had started this project AFTER I had just made a major purchase of all high quality clothing”, aaahhhhh if only.  But no, I made this decision probably after already getting rid of a bunch of clothing I no longer wear or that didn’t make me feel good when I wear it.  I made this decision after already slowing down on purchases and re-wearing the same clothes for many years.

Now I have vowed to make those shorts work, and of course I have two pairs of them!  I am going to explore taking them in and sewing them.  I am not sure if this adds to simplifying my life since it requires getting out the old sewing machine, trying to fix the knee pedal, oiling the old girl, and trying to remember how to sew!  But at least I will be saving money, reusing something I already own, and not contributing to the over consumerism world we live in.

Any sewing tips would be appreciated!