Guest post

Hi everyone! My name is Melissa and I write over at Living A Frugal Life. Come visit me and get some new frugal ideas a long with some deals, coupons and DIY projects. I LOVE frugal things and ideas and I am so excited to be guest posting today to talk a little about a type of living frugal that is a daily part of my life.

I have spent a lot of time in my frugal journey of the last 6 years thinking about how much we really NEED. There are many things that are MUSTS in our life that we couldn’t really live without if we tried. I think about people in the 50’s and how they lived. They had much less then us, but they were happy for the most part. I think we tend to forget how much stuff can cost us int he long run, and I am not just talking money. there is a cost mentally and emotionally that this can effect.

We currently live live in a 950 square foot 2 bedroom home. We have 5 people living in the house currently. It was built in the 50’s and still have much of the original layout and set up. The walls are plaster, the kitchen counters are so small and we have NO dishwasher… GASP!

I thought it was going to be hard to fit everything in, to make room for the toys and such. Having 3 kids in 1 room was a challenge, but we have found that things are not as bad as I thought they would be. Things are surprisingly easy to fit in and put up with. The Kitchen is the hardest area to function in, but we have made that work too.

So you get an idea of what I am talking about, the counters are small and they have a tile ledge on them making them even smaller. I have often wondered how did people use to function when they didn’t have any modern things. They had no microwaves, cooked most items from scratch, and had to be in their kitchens most of the day.

The answer is that they just did it. That is what they had to work with and they worked with it. They made bread, rolled it on the table if they had to. They made the choice to do things that way so they could live with what they had.

This has taught me a great lesson in making things work. I think you would be very surprised at what you really could live without. Things you never thought were essential may not work very well for you now. We have many modern small appliances that just wont work in our house. They don’t fit on the counters or under the cabinets. So we are having to figure out ways to do without them. We use our stove a whole lot more then we used to, but it is working and I am not missing the other things we have in the garage sale pile.

Another great way to make things work and do without others is to use a substitution. Sometimes when I use a substitution in recipes things taste a little different and sometimes we don’t like it very much, but I am trying it and not buying something. We learn what we like and what we don’t.

When trying to substitute things in other places in your house you may have to get creative. If you ran out of wipes and they aren’t on sale, use water and pieces of cloth and wash them out until you can get them on sale. Doing dishes by hand when you run out of dish washer soap before the sale comes up is another great way substitute and do without. It may be a little bit more work, but it pays off in the long run with a simple life and saving money!

Living without can sometimes be tricky. You sometimes have to step out of your comfort zone but in the end it helps you to be more simplistic, frugal and happy.

What are somethings you could do without in your life?

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Ever wonder how you can make those cute square scarfs that every one is wearing? Why pay the $20 bucks for some store bought one when you can make one for under $5 bucks? Our friend over at Living Life and Loving Every Second figured out a easy way to make your own and she is sharing it with us! It’s so easy!

Make your own square scarf

Photo credit: Living Life and Loving every Second

Materials Needed to make your own square scarf:
1. Iron
2. Light Fabric of your choice but make sure it is double sided
3. Heat n’ Bond hem tape
4. Scissors
5. Pom Pom Trim
6. Fabric Glue

I am not even going to do a picture tutorial on this one because it is so easy a child can do it! First you want to take the fabric lay it on a flat surface then with a yard stick measure a square 40″x 40″. After that get your iron and hem tape and hem all four sides….YOUR ALMOST DONE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Take your trim and fabric glue and I used my fingers to put the glue then press the trim and YOU ARE DONE.( I put trim on only two sides)

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With Halloween coming up we want to make sure we are all save and still have fun. With this night coming up we all usually end up getting pillow cases full of candy. Here is a post that Integrated Nutrition shared with us on how to have a Healthy Halloween too!

Halloween can be a tricky holiday. The omnipresent candy, the festive parties, and the excited enthusiasm of costumed kids can make us go overboard on treating ourselves – especially since we can rationalize that the holiday comes but once a year.

Truly, Halloween is a good time to treat yourself and your kids – not just with a little extra candy, but also with family activities. Bob for apples, tell spooky stories, or have a mini pumpkin hunt!

Halloween definitely doesn’t have to be scary for your health, which is why we’ve compiled this list of tips and recipes to help you moderate the treats and avoid the tricks.

Want more? The Integrative Nutrition community will discuss more tips for a healthy Halloween on Thursday, October 20 during a free webinar. Register for Tricked by Halloween Treats? Not This Year! to reserve your spot!


The trickiest part of Halloween is keeping yourself and your kids from going nuts over all that candy. It’s in the grocery, the drugstore, and practically pouring from every nook and cranny, all shiny in neat individual wrappers. One piece seems so small, almost harmless.

Of course, it comes in a bag with 50 or 100 other tiny “harmless” pieces. Take heart, though – we have a few ways to tackle the Halloween-candy blues while still allowing a little festive indulgence.

Handing Out Candy Without Diving Into the Bowl

1. Buy a candy brand that you don’t particularly like to eat for handing out to the trick-or-treaters. Candy corn if you’re a chocolate lover, or Milky Ways if Bit O Honey is your downfall. You’ll be more likely to leave some for the trick-or-treaters.

gnosis pumpkin truffle2. Handing out apples might lead to an egged house, but non-edible options like stickers or yo-yos can be good for treat bags, too. Maybe include an organic lollipop or even a mini Larabar for good measure.

2. Go small. If you hand out something in really small portions like Hershey’s Kisses, not only will you be giving less sugar to the neighborhood kids, but you can also enjoy a few chocolate morsels yourself without much guilt.

3. Buy better candy for only yourself. You really want to waste your candy calorie budget on a few 3 Musketeers that have been sitting on a warehouse shelf for who knows how long? Have a small stash of quality chocolate, and you’ll be less likely to break into the cheaper stuff. For extra benefit, choose dark chocolate – it’s delicious and loaded with health promoting flavonoids. May we suggest Gnosis or Nibmor? 

Keeping Your Kids Safe from Sugar Shock

1. Eat a scrumptious, filling meal before you and your kids hit the pavement. Both of you will be less tempted to munch on candy while you go door-to-door.

2. Upon arriving home after trick-or-treating, let your kids pick out 5 or 6 pieces of candy to enjoy that night. Then pop their bag in the refrigerator. The candy will still be good out of the fridge, but they won’t be able to eat it as fast. Younger kids may also forget about their stash altogether – out of sight, out of mind.

2. After Halloween, ration out the candy as you see fit, OR…

3. Buy the remainder candy off them. Your kids might be happy to trade their hard-earned candy for cold cash, a new toy, or a promise of a trip to the zoo!

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Even using coupons, the back to school supply lists can take a toll on your weekly grocery budget. I found a couple neat ideas on reusing items around the house for school lunch supplies and can’t wait to try them out! These look like items even a non-crafty person like myself could successfully create!
This first idea is from Family Fun magazine. Don’t throw out those used milk jugs!

With just a few snips, you can create a set of cool, eco-friendly, reusable snack and sandwich containers from juice cartons and milk jugs. They’re food-safe, easy to rinse clean, and absolutely free, so it’s no biggie if they get tossed accidentally. Let your kids decorate the boxes with stickers and permanent markers for an even more personalized look.

1. SANDWICH BOX: Mark a clean 1-gallon milk jug as shown.
2. Cut along the lines with scissors. To make the crease lines, use a thumbtack to pierce a row of dots at 1/4-inch intervals across each side of the jug, 1 3/4 inches up from the bottom.

3. Fold the flaps at these dotted lines, then open them and fold them in the opposite direction along the lines (this will make the flaps easier for your kids to open and close). Fold up the box and add an adhesive-backed Velcro dot closure.

SNACK BOX: Use a clean juice or milk carton. Cut off the top, then cut the sides into flaps as shown. Carefully crease the flaps, then fold them down and add an adhesive-backed Velcro dot closure.
These cute bags made out of Capri Sun juice pouches are popping up everywhere. Why not make a lunch totes for your kids?! Save $ and learn how to make them here.

I think these would also make a fantastic reusable grocery bag! This is one my friend Ginny made. {Insert shameless plug for Ginny to make me one for my birthday! }
Do you have a creative idea on how to save money be reusing an item? Please share! I love hearing new thoughts and ideas!
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Filed Under: DIY, Guest post, Ideas for Entertaining kids, Thrifty Craft Ideas, Thrifty Gift Ideas, Thrifty ways to save