frugal Halloween costume

Frugal Halloween Costume Ideas

 

frugal Halloween costume  Roo and I have been so busy this fall and now  Halloween is less then a week away! Lucky for me I won $90 in Gift Certificates to Value Village. I went shopping there yesterday and it was a madhouse of people trying to get ready for that big night. They say 2/3 of all Canadians will do something to celebrate that night with the average family spending at least $60 to enable them to celebrate whether that be in getting the perfect costume, or stocking up on candy, or how bout those outdoor decorations.

Roo and I were talking about how we could do a make do costume with what we have here in the house and that way we get away with a cheap Halloween. Well as we were planning my girlfriend  calls from a costume shop and tells me she is buying Roo’s Hallowen costume. So Roo was gifted a costume this year…so she will be a beautiful mermaid.

But as we planned and talked there were and are lots of ideas out there for a very frugal Halloween night.

Here are some of our favorites:

  • a bunch of grapes: An oversize dark-green shirt and green leggings are the base for a bunch of grapes. A bag of round green or purple( Roo wanted purple) balloons are inflated and pinned to the shirt. A brown hat is the stem.
  • A plain black large T-shirt is painted with “bones” to become a skeleton. Wear with black leggings
  • An artist can be made with a red beret and a paint smock, paintbrush and an artists palette can be made using cardboard and craft paint.
  • From the WIZ we thought of the the tin man using grey sweats and top, aluminum foil, and cardboard and for the hat a funnel covered in foil.
  • You could go as a tree. A large brown t-shirt and leggings becomes a tree trunk. From the dollar store, plastic vines and leaves, a stuffed squirrel, butterflies or apples could be added to the tree.
  • Last year Roo went as a pirate that we created here at home, with old jeans that we cut off, an old white shirt of mine that we cut up as well, and a bandanna and eye patch were gotten for $1 at the dollar store.

Well hope that gets you thinking about the great night ahead next week.  Are you going out? are your kids if so as what? and how are you making it cheaper then cheap?

Conversation over Coffee

coffee time

Yesterday afternoon I was over at another mom’s house. We were trying to get things ready for my daughter’s school fall fair which is on Saturday. The conversation turned to being cheap and parenting and how they go hand in hand. This other mom is a Stay home mommy by choice. We have both made the choice to stay at home moms.  She said “I decided to be home with mine right now, and yes that means cutting back on certain things, and you cant compete with the neighbors”

So I started thinking of the choice I made to be here while Roo was getting diagnosed and stable.What did I give up to become this cheap momma that I am?

1) An hour commute each way to work.I take transit and rush hour traffic is not a good thing. I was glad to see this go!

2) Adult interaction-I have been blessed because I still get this because I volunteer, and the thing about volunteering it often comes with freebies or hidden benefits.

3) Eating Out- We eat at home. I can buy a pizza on sale for $3.99 instead of doing the $20 order in, or make great hamburgers instead of a trip to the golden arches. I also take snacks on on many of our day trips.

4)Going to the Movies- Okay this is one I miss, but when Coke has their movies passes on for my coke coins, I stock up. Then a movie costs the total of a box of popcorn. Other wise we use the library for our rentals.

5) New clothes and shoes–Yes I can”t buy at the beginning of the seasons for Roo and me. What I have found are some great consignment and second-hand shops. Did you know you can wardrobe a nine yr old for under $100 a year? For me, I buy when I need and make do! Thank goodness for the classic look.

6)Visits to the salon. Instead of spending $100 for my cut and color. I now color myself and go to the hairdresser once every ten weeks.

So have I had to give up much? Or am I now wealthier in ways that matter? I figure I am time rich. I can sit and read to Roo when she wants me, I am the one helping with homework and am in the school, so I am a mom in the know.  I have time to give in my community, and that brings blessings. I can bake cookies when I want or visit the sick or do so many things that I couldn’t do when I worked full-time.

This conversation over coffee (diet coke for me) made me stop and think about that choice I made, and I am thankful that I am now this cheap mom who is as wealthy as I need to be!

How to Plan for a Garbageless Lunch

I am a frugal mom and at the beginning of the school year, I thought this year I want to go without buying juice boxes, without spending a mini fortune on baggies. I was tired on all the spending and waste I was creating. I came up with a plan this was going to be the year of the garbageless lunch.  I went out a got a thermos, a sandwich’s box( actually got four cause well they are a great size for many things), , travel and a refillable juice container.For me, this works and works well and think it is good for the environment too!

It seems everyone is getting on the going green band wagon, and with yesterday being Global Action Day there were lots of great ideas on many blogs. For me, I have been finding simple and cheap ways to reduce,  and recycle and even renew. We even had a garden this year.

Now even Roo’s school is going GREEN and this weekend we are hosting a Fall Festival that hopefully will be garbageless. We are having a skate swap, a book exchange, raffles, bake sale and games for the kids. All with no garbage.

There will be water-bottles; travel cups are encouraged, bake sales items are in paper bags with peek thru windows, even the donations will be in reusable baskets. There are no candy prizes. Instead, we encouraged the recycling of small toys for prizing. We are trying hard, even some of the items being won in the raffle encourage reusing like the $70 in Gift certificates for the local Value Village or the good reusable water bottles. Even our meetings are now mostly paperless.

There sure are plenty of ways to help the environment and still be cheap and for this mom that is a very good thing.

sneaker debate

The Sneaker Debate-Comparing Running Shoe Pricing

sneaker debate
Today the  British Sports Medicine Journal released a study were they tested running shoes from the $80 range to the $150 range and guess what they realized? Any guesses?

Price Does Not Matter

That PRICE does not matter! I could have told them that. You see I learned when it comes to shoe price doesn’t matter, what matters is fit and function. For me, I have weak ankles, so I choose shoes with good supports. I also buy on sale, and I try to buy shoes that will last as I am hard on shoes. My runners that I bought for $25 last fall are still in great shape even after a year of use! That is a good thing to this frugal mom.

I have four pairs of shoes- my runners, my crocs (that I love), a navy pair of flats and a black pair. That is what I make do with. For me, I am not a shoeaholic like some of my friends I am one that says what do I need. I would love to add a pair of a metallic pair which I may add after Christmas; I will watch the sales.

Now back to runners here is the advice of this walk everywhere gal, go to a good store in your city and get a proper fit, know your size and width, then try on and try on, you dont need to worry about brand, you need to worry about feel on your foot. For this momma that is what matters whenever I pick up a pair, and then I look at the price and most often I can find a pair for $50 or under that will last me a year or longer. So shop wise and forget the advertising and brand names and may you pick up a great cheap pair that fit well! When you find that perfect pair may you use them to walk or run to get fit on the cheap as well?

Frugal Blogs that I Love

 

blogs-i-followI have been a blogger for years now and have just moved to WordPress. I have found over the years there are times when I write lots and lots and other times well I read and learn, cry over some of the stories, yell at how could they say that and the like.

On my journey to becoming a frugal smart mom,  I found that there were blogs and bloggers that well I just want to go and read and then go back and read again. If you want to be cheap or as some like to call it frugal may I say go see and read these sites, may they bless you on your journey to cheapness:

  1. Dawn over at Frugal for Life  is a great blogger. She has wonderful interactions with her readers and even allows readers to write posts and there is always something to either learn about or remember. So go read Dawn!
  2. The Frugal Duchess aka Sharon has a wonderful blog. She is a pro writer though so I have certain expectations and she doesn’t fail. So go read Sharon and find out how to be frugal and live well.
  3. The Simple Momaka Deborah currently is cleaning off her bookshelves and getting rid of some of the books and programs she had laying around. Good for her. She is great for all kinds of great ideas.
  4. The Organizing Junkie, yes Laura is insanely organized but that is a good thing. She like me is purging parts of the household and like me has a pile ready to go to the thrift store. Like me as well she is a Cannuck!
  5. Over at Gluten Free Frugal ( another new find) I find a mom like me who is trying to live on the cheap while being gluten free. For those of you who are trying to do this you will know how hard it gets.
  6. Frugal guy gives a guys perspective and cause I am a single mom it is nice to see what the other gender thinks.
  7. The Festival of Frugality is a great way to find and read lots of blogs and articles on cheapness. We all want to save or nickels and dimes and this blog offers lots of us sharing the best we can.

So there you have it my top 7Frugal blogs to visit, go read, gets lots of tips and may they help you and me to live on the cheap.

How I Learned to Live on a Budget

commoncentsmom

When I was younger, I always envisioned myself happily married raising kids and being a stay at home mom while my husband was the bread winner. Call me an old fashioned gal okay! I know what was I thinking!

Back in 1997, I had that. I was a newly married step mom to three children under the age of 8. I loved my life, we lived in rural New Mexico on the edge of Carlsbad, owned a small property management company and well were happy or so I thought at the time. I was pregnant with Roo and life was good. I was always busy between family responsibilities, helping my husband with the business and church responsibilities I was always on the go.

Then came that dreadful day and my life changed in an instant, my dream became my nightmare. I had been an active member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, sealed in the temple, serving in the ward and community and my life changed radically and quickly. The night my life changed was the same night Princess Diana died. I felt like I wept as the world was weeping.

By January 1998, I was a homeless mom of a newborn daughter. Picking up the pieces after a shattered dream. I found I needed family close by so I chose to move home to Toronto, my birth place, and home to my dad and grandmother, aunts, uncles and cousins. We arrived back in Canada in August of 1998.

Now it was time to get real and address what needed addressing; I found us a cute little apartment. I went back to school and then when Roo was 18 months old I finally returned to the world of work. Quickly, I found out that well that living off one income in Toronto was going to force me to get creative and learn all I could about living on a budget. I decided that living in the big city was too expensive and ended up in Hamilton for awhile (3 years).

Then on June 24th, 2004, the unthinkable happened. There was a deadly fire. At 3 am we were woken by firemen at our door. Our apartment building was on fire; the fire was originating from a unit very close to ours. We watched as the adjoining building burnt to the ground, and a young woman died just feet from where Roo’s bed was. After the fire, we were allowed to move back in but to honest, after the fire, it simply was not a place I wanted to be. At the same time, my dear daughter Roo was starting to have medical problems that were on brought to a head by all that we were going through.

I decided to come back to Toronto as the supports I would need in raising Roo were here, so I quickly had learned to live on the cheap. Budgeting was a must. For over two years I could not work as I was seeing that Roo got diagnosed, and saw that she was getting the best treatment and therapies that we could get. I am thankful this period in my life taught me that I can be self-reliant on little. Not to say I haven’t had help from family, friends, and even strangers along the way but I have learned to live on less. I know that I don’t have to wear the latest fashion, eat out much, buy the newest toy, or buy into all the material things that consume so many….I have taken a step back and am now a frugal money smart mom, and even though some days it is challenging I am blessed cause I now know that I can and will forever be a frugal mom no matter how my life might change in the days and years ahead.

Counting My Blessings

thanksgiving Today is thanksgiving up here in Canada. Later today my daughter Roo and I will head out to have feast of turkey, veggies, stuffing, cranberries, and then I am sure there will be lots of great desserts too. I am bringing pumpkin pie. Roo and I love pumpkin pie with strawberries and cream on top, yum! So remembering the spirit of today it is time for this mom to count my many blessings, to count them one by one.

  1. I am thankful that I know that I am more then a human being, I am a spirtual being too and that means I can have a deep and meaningful relationship with my Heavenly Father.
  2. I will forever be thankful for my Savior and redeemer Jesus Christ, and all that I learn from reading what he taught.
  3. I am thankful that I am a Pollard, I have a great family. Yes I miss my grandmother and dad especially but they taught me well and for that I am thankful.
  4. I am thankful that I get to be a mom to Roo. She makes every day a better day.
  5. I am thankful for the progress Roo has made in the last year especially. Roo walks that spectrum line between ADHD and high functioning Autism on a daily basis. In the past year much of the stemming, weird habits are gone, and I am getting a healthier happier child..for this blessing I am most grateful.
  6. I am thankful for the neighbourhood in which we live, I have great neighbours!
  7. I am thankful that I can learn new talents and skills.
  8. I am thankful for a body that works well most days
  9. I am thankful for the gift of laughter that we try and use every day
  10. I am thankful that I have a cuddle buddy in Roo as human touch is very important. Infact she is calling we right now…so my list will have to be continued at a later time.

May you all have a blessed day! Enjoy your families, and for you all south of the border Happy Columbus Day.