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Let's Get Creative!

Hello Frugalistas,

How’s that holiday budgeting going? Are you staying within your limits? As the you head into these very hectic days before the big event you are celebrating, your resolve to stick to your budget may start to crack. As time gets short and the to-do list gets long, it is hard to resist any convenience product/service that is offered – no matter how expensive it is. Like store-bought cookies for the school party: “Yes, please!” I want to say. But, when I look at the price ($3.95 for 10 cookies) to gather enough to fill the 2-dozen cookie request for the event, I try to stay strong and convince myself to go home and bake.

One way that I make baking less painful for me is to measure out as many of the ingredients as I can ahead of time. For example, while making pecan pie for Thanksgiving, I prepped for 2 pies. By measuring out my dry ingredients, storing them in a plastic bag and labeling them by their measurements, the food (Pecans) and the recipe it works with (Pecan Pie), I have saved myself the time, energy and money for the pie. For me, this technique is a lifesaver. If baking is on your to-do list after work, measure the dry ingredients in the morning and get the recipes and equipment ready and you’ll be able to quickly whip up a batch of cookies.

Looking for ways to keep the kids busy while you work on a project? Help them gather the supplies they need (and what you approve of) to make unique decorations. Of course, you can find lots of ideas online. But here are a few to get you started:

  • Handprint crafts- help children trace around their hand, cut out the hand print and use the hand print as reindeer antlers, Santa whiskers, trees, turkeys, and more.
  • Paper lunch bags- an assortment of craft supplies and some imagination, can make a menagerie of paper puppets.
  • A box of popsicle sticks and green paint can be turned into a wreath or tree ornament.
  • Salt dough ornaments- mix 2 cups flour and 1 cup salt, slowly add 1 cup water and knead into a dough.
  • Cinnamon and applesauce ornaments- mix 2 cups cinnamon and 1 ½ -2 cups applesauce. Roll it out and cut the dough with cookie cutters. Do not eat this dough.  It does not taste as good as it smells and high intake of cinnamon irritates the throat and lungs.
  • To get the kids outside, have them go and collect items (in your own yard or at the park) to use for crafting like pine cones, sticks, acorns, pine needles, and small stones.
  • If you are at the dollar store, pick up a roll of brown craft paper. Let the kids draw all over the paper and use the paper to wrap gifts. Grandparents will love the artwork as much as the gift!

Stay strong, we’re almost there!



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