Tag Archives: cheap

30 Free (or Cheap) Things To Do This Holiday Season

Photo c/o Death to Stock Photos.

Photo c/o Death to Stock Photos.

Whether we’re ready or not the holiday season is upon us. But with all the gift-giving and party-attending, your wallet might be hurtin’. Mine is too, friend. So this holiday season I’m looking for cheap ways to celebrate the holidays. Here’s some of my favorites free or cheap things to do this holiday season.

  1. Bake cookies.
  2. Make ornaments (Pinterest has some great ideas!).
  3. Make and send holiday cards.
  4. Make gifts for your loved ones.
  5. Rock out to holiday tunes.
  6. Snuggle up with a good book (get it from your local library!).
  7. Snuggle up with a loved one (or your pet!).
  8. Pop popcorn and watch a holiday movie (there’s plenty of free ones on Hulu!).
  9. Sip on some cider (or cocoa!).
  10. If it’s cold enough, make a snowman. If not, play outside! You need that vitamin D, even in the winter.
  11. Visit a neighbor.
  12. Catch up with old friends.
  13. Make dinner for a friend or someone in need.
  14. Break out your Crock-Pot and try a new recipe.
  15. Eat dinner by candlelight.
  16. Do a good deed.
  17. Volunteer.
  18. Learn a new skill (may I suggest knitting?!).
  19. Decorate your home with homemade decorations (may I suggest coffee filter snowflakes?).
  20. Drive around and look at the holiday lights.
  21. Throw a holiday soiree (To keep costs down, ask guests to bring a dish or appetizer!).
  22. Check out free location-specific things to do in your area (Simply Google “holiday activities” and your town name.).
  23. Start a new tradition (Bonus points if you make it a bit wacky!).
  24. Get your spring cleaning out of the way now!
  25. The holidays can be tough sometimes, find little ways to pamper yourself at home. Give yourself a manicure or make a DIY face mask.
  26. Roast marshmallows (You can even do roast marshmallows indoors with this fancy gadget.).
  27. Stay in your pajamas all day.
  28. Break out the board games (Sorry! I’m not sorry!).
  29. Document the holiday season by taking pictures or journaling.
  30. Just relax and enjoy the holiday season!

What are your favorite free or cheap things to do this holiday season? Let me know in the comments!

love,
melanie

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Cheap and Easy Halloween Costumes for Dogs

Dobby Dog Costume

Since this is our first Halloween with Bambi, I wanted to make it special. I had planned to make her three costumes for her first Halloween. I am an unstable dog-mamma, obviously. I didn’t have time to make her three costumes, because, well, mama has a job, but I did manage to make her one costume and find a bunch of super cheap and easy Halloween costumes for dogs.

Easy dog costume - Dobby from Harry Potter! Bambi as Dobby
This year I made a simple Dobby costume. Dobby is a house elf from Harry Potter, in case you aren’t a huge HP geek like me. With her ears, I think she looks just like him! I took an old t-shirt, dyed it with coffee, let it dry, then cut up the neck and sewed up the sides to fit her. Easy peasy.

Here’s my favorite cheap and easy dog costumes from the web-o-sphere! I picked them with the my fellow procrastinators in mind :)

It’s raining cats and dogs!

Dying over this one– it’s Lamb Chop!

A Hostess Cupcake! 

Cotton Candy!

A M&M! Make this one even easier by using hot glue instead of sewing.

This is too damn cute! A chia pet!

Clowns can be creepy or insanely cute.

There’s no bones about it, this dog is adorable (and warm!) as a skeleton! 

A bat! This one is great for those dogs who don’t like wearing something on their heads.

A lovely ladybug!

Are you dressing up your dog this Halloween? I’d love to hear your costume ideas in the comments!

love,
melanie

Frugal Friday: 101 Free or Cheap Things to Do This Fall

rp_101-free-or-cheap-things-to-do-this-fall-1024x679.jpg So you guys, this is a total cop-out. I totally jumped the gun on the fall thing and published this post way too early, but you know what? I’m posting it again because this week homegirl is tired. And now it really feels like fall. Here we go again, ya’ll.

This post was originally published in July of 2014.

“You guys. Fall is almost here. Target has put out their insanely large, insanely cute display of Back to School supplies. I’m trying desperately to stay away from it. I’m also preparing to teach a course this fall. So crazy. Feel free to refer to me as “professor.”

I’m also still on this saving money kick, but it hasn’t been much fun. I’m the kind of person who needs something to look forward to– like a trip! Since a trip is out of my budgetary reach and the summer is almost over (boo!), I created a list of free or cheap things to do this fall. I hope it will keep my spirits up, give me me something to look forward to and maybe even get you inspired and excited for fall?!

  1. Set some fun fall goals
  2. Donate school supplies to a child in need
  3. Volunteer
  4. Donate your gently-used winter coats to someone in need
  5. Enroll in a class at your local community college
  6. Take a hike
  7. Admire the foliage
  8. Sprinkle pumpkin pie spice in your morning coffee
  9. Get up early to admire the sunrise
  10. Learn to knit!
  11. Get an early start on making Holiday gifts
  12. Host a pot-luck Friendsgiving (a Thanksgiving with friends)
  13. Put pumpkin in everything!
  14. Visit a pumpkin patch (or do what my mom did and tell us we are visiting a pumpkin patch, but really just go to the grocery store and play on the pumpkin display)
  15. Go on a hay ride
  16. Visit a corn maze
  17. Carve pumpkins
  18. Don’t forget to roast the seeds!
  19. Rake the leaves
  20. Jump in the leaves!
  21. Winterize your home (or your Airstream!)
  22. Visit the library and check out Autumn-themed books
  23. Bake a pumpkin pie
  24. Share the pie with your neighbor
  25. Camp in your own backyard
  26. Chop wood
  27. Find the perfect walking stick
  28. Build a fire pit
  29. Make hobo packets
  30. Roast marshmallows
  31. Tell ghost stories
  32. Enjoy a pumpkin beer
  33. Go on a bike ride
  34. Go on a fall-themed picnic
  35. Learn to can vegetables
  36. Plant winter veggies
  37. Or plant bulbs for next spring
  38. Do lots of autumn-themed crafts
  39. Donate or sell the summer clothing that you didn’t wear
  40. Pear down your winter wardrobe
  41. Host a clothing swap
  42. Or swap online on Swapdom
  43. Sell your wares at a flea market
  44. Go apple picking
  45. Bob for apples
  46. Make candy apples
  47. Learn to make apple cider or jam
  48. Pop popcorn and drizzle it in caramel
  49. Drink hot apple cider
  50. Drink hot chocolate
  51. Break out your crock-pot
  52. Make pumpkin chili!
  53. Don’t forget the cornbread!
  54. Eat your weight in fall veggies– squash and Brussels sprouts and cabbage, oh my!
  55. Get excited for fall fashion
  56. Break out the flannel
  57. Pull on those wool socks
  58. Don’t worry about bad hair days, just put on a beanie!
  59. If you are a lady, pull on those thick tights (and don’t worry about shaving your legs!)
  60. If you are a dude, grow a beard!
  61. Cuddle up in your oldest sweatshirt
  62. Wrap up in warm blankets
  63. Watch It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown
  64. And A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving
  65. Go to bed earlier
  66. Visit the fair or a fall festival (save money with these tips)
  67. Host a Halloween party
  68. Make your own Halloween costume and challenge yourself to use only stuff you can find around the house
  69. Dress up your pet!
  70. Craft creepy snacks like this Slimer Smoothie
  71. DIY candy
  72. Watch your favorite scary movie with a friend
  73. Read scary stories under the cover with a flashlight
  74. Listen to the Halloween station on Pandora
  75. Make spiced nuts
  76. Slurp on some soup and grill up an old-fashioned grilled cheese sandwich
  77. Make beeswax candles
  78. Discover your local farmer’s market
  79. Slowly sip a cup of hot tea
  80. Pretend that you like candy corn
  81. Discover the real meaning of Thanksgiving
  82. Be more grateful by creating a gratitude journal
  83. Make turkey hands! They’re still fun, even when you’re almost 30!
  84. Simply sit outside and enjoy the cool weather
  85. Join a local foraging group and forage for wild edibles
  86. Make acorn soup
  87. Or mushroom soup from the forage
  88. Make real cranberry sauce and put it on french toast!
  89. Pour maple syrup on everything!
  90. Enjoy the Harvest Moon on September 8th
  91. Invite your friends over and create fall-themed cocktails
  92. Make a pine cone bird feeder and keep those birds fed all winter
  93. Paint your nails an autumn-colored hue
  94. Celebrate Dia de Los Muertos and honor your deceased loved ones
  95. Break out the board games and your favorite jammies
  96. Give your mum some mums!
  97. Attend a high school football game
  98. Join a sports program for adults
  99. Participate in a zombie crawl
  100. Or a Turkey Trot for charity
  101. Take lots of pictures to document your memories!

Are you ready for fall? I’m feeling a little more ready and hopeful after this list.

What are your favorite fall-themed free activities? Let me know in the comments!

love,
melanie

 

Frugal Friday: Dogs on the Cheap

Bambi
I know that getting a dog was not the most financially responsible thing to do when I am trying to save for a house. I’ll be the first to admit that. But damn it, that little girl makes my life so much better. It is a true joy to see her smiling face when I come home from work. I don’t think anyone (human or animal) has been that excited to see me. Ever.

But I know that yes, dogs can be expensive. I’m trying to keep the costs of our new baby low by only investing in the “needs.” I bought her a nice collar and leash since those items will be used often. But I’ve skimped on toys and a bed. We bought her one toy from the Dollar Store. She doesn’t even like it. Instead she prefers a knotted up, old towel. We also didn’t invest in a bed. She loves to burrow so she sleeps on an old blanket and covers up with a towel. She couldn’t be happier.

She doesn’t eat out of a fancy bowl either, just one of the bowls we already had around the house. We did buy her a slightly more upscale brand of dog food that is made without any wheat since she had bathroom issues. But overall,  we’ve been trying to express our love in cuddles, not in things.

How do you keep your animals and still stay frugal? Let me know in the comments!

love,
melanie

101 Free Or Cheap Things To Do This Fall

101 free or cheap things to do this fall You guys. Fall is almost here. Target has put out their insanely large, insanely cute display of Back to School supplies. I’m trying desperately to stay away from it. I’m also preparing to teach a course this fall. So crazy. Feel free to refer to me as “professor.”

I’m also still on this saving money kick, but it hasn’t been much fun. I’m the kind of person who needs something to look forward to– like a trip! Since a trip is out of my budgetary reach and the summer is almost over (boo!), I created a list of free or cheap things to do this fall. I hope it will keep my spirits up, give me me something to look forward to and maybe even get you inspired and excited for fall?!

  1. Set some fun fall goals
  2. Donate school supplies to a child in need
  3. Volunteer
  4. Donate your gently-used winter coats to someone in need
  5. Enroll in a class at your local community college
  6. Take a hike
  7. Admire the foliage
  8. Sprinkle pumpkin pie spice in your morning coffee
  9. Get up early to admire the sunrise
  10. Learn to knit!
  11. Get an early start on making Holiday gifts
  12. Host a pot-luck Friendsgiving (a Thanksgiving with friends)
  13. Put pumpkin in everything!
  14. Visit a pumpkin patch (or do what my mom did and tell us we are visiting a pumpkin patch, but really just go to the grocery store and play on the pumpkin display)
  15. Go on a hay ride
  16. Visit a corn maze
  17. Carve pumpkins
  18. Don’t forget to roast the seeds!
  19. Rake the leaves
  20. Jump in the leaves!
  21. Winterize your home (or your Airstream!)
  22. Visit the library and check out Autumn-themed books
  23. Bake a pumpkin pie
  24. Share the pie with your neighbor
  25. Camp in your own backyard
  26. Chop wood
  27. Find the perfect walking stick
  28. Build a fire pit
  29. Make hobo packets
  30. Roast marshmallows
  31. Tell ghost stories
  32. Enjoy a pumpkin beer
  33. Go on a bike ride
  34. Go on a fall-themed picnic
  35. Learn to can vegetables
  36. Plant winter veggies
  37. Or plant bulbs for next spring
  38. Do lots of autumn-themed crafts
  39. Donate or sell the summer clothing that you didn’t wear
  40. Pear down your winter wardrobe
  41. Host a clothing swap
  42. Or swap online on Swapdom
  43. Sell your wares at a flea market
  44. Go apple picking
  45. Bob for apples
  46. Make candy apples
  47. Learn to make apple cider or jam
  48. Pop popcorn and drizzle it in caramel
  49. Drink hot apple cider
  50. Drink hot chocolate
  51. Break out your crock-pot
  52. Make pumpkin chili!
  53. Don’t forget the cornbread!
  54. Eat your weight in fall veggies– squash and Brussels sprouts and cabbage, oh my!
  55. Get excited for fall fashion
  56. Break out the flannel
  57. Pull on those wool socks
  58. Don’t worry about bad hair days, just put on a beanie!
  59. If you are a lady, pull on those thick tights (and don’t worry about shaving your legs!)
  60. If you are a dude, grow a beard!
  61. Cuddle up in your oldest sweatshirt
  62. Wrap up in warm blankets
  63. Watch It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown
  64. And A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving
  65. Go to bed earlier
  66. Visit the fair or a fall festival (save money with these tips)
  67. Host a Halloween party
  68. Make your own Halloween costume and challenge yourself to use only stuff you can find around the house
  69. Dress up your pet!
  70. Craft creepy snacks like this Slimer Smoothie
  71. DIY candy
  72. Watch your favorite scary movie with a friend
  73. Read scary stories under the cover with a flashlight
  74. Listen to the Halloween station on Pandora
  75. Make spiced nuts
  76. Slurp on some soup and grill up an old-fashioned grilled cheese sandwich
  77. Make beeswax candles
  78. Discover your local farmer’s market
  79. Slowly sip a cup of hot tea
  80. Pretend that you like candy corn
  81. Discover the real meaning of Thanksgiving
  82. Be more grateful by creating a gratitude journal
  83. Make turkey hands! They’re still fun, even when you’re almost 30!
  84. Simply sit outside and enjoy the cool weather
  85. Join a local foraging group and forage for wild edibles
  86. Make acorn soup
  87. Or mushroom soup from the forage
  88. Make real cranberry sauce and put it on french toast!
  89. Pour maple syrup on everything!
  90. Enjoy the Harvest Moon on September 8th
  91. Invite your friends over and create fall-themed cocktails
  92. Make a pine cone bird feeder and keep those birds fed all winter
  93. Paint your nails an autumn-colored hue
  94. Celebrate Dia de Los Muertos and honor your deceased loved ones
  95. Break out the board games and your favorite jammies
  96. Give your mum some mums!
  97. Attend a high school football game
  98. Join a sports program for adults
  99. Participate in a zombie crawl
  100. Or a Turkey Trot for charity
  101. Take lots of pictures to document your memories!

Are you ready for fall? I’m feeling a little more ready and hopeful after this list.

What are your favorite fall-themed free activities? Let me know in the comments!

love,
melanie

Easy Spaghetti Squash Recipe

spaghetti squash I wasn’t going to post about this week’s spaghetti squash. Spaghetti squash when it is cooked, really isn’t so pretty. It kind of looks like a big pile of mush. So forgive the pictures. But I mentioned that I cooked it for my lunches this week, and well, the people have spoken ;). So here it is by popular demand, my recipe for classic spaghetti squash.

spaghetti squash 2 Ingredients

  • 1 medium sized spaghetti squash
  • 1 jar of your favorite spaghetti sauce (alternatively, you could make your own)
  • 1 lb of lean ground beef
  • 1 yellow onion
  • 1 green pepper
  • 1 tbsp of olive oil
  • 2 dashes of oregano
  • 1 dash of red pepper
  • 2 dashes of garlic
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350. Roast spaghetti squash whole for 15 minutes. While squash is roasting, salt and pepper your beef, then brown it up. Sauté the onion and pepper in olive oil. Turn burners to low. Take squash out of oven and cut length-wise. I am use an Ove Glove for this part. Best invention ever. Roast squash for another 20 minutes or until squash easily peels out of the skin with a fork. Scrape the squash out of the skin with a fork and add to the beef. Add in the onion and pepper, sauce, oregano, garlic and mix. Salt and pepper to taste.

Congrats! You just conquered the illusive spaghetti squash.

love,
melanie

Frugal Friday: How to Keep New Hobbies Cheap!

Knitting is one of my hobbies.

Knitting is one of my hobbies.

I can be a bit of a hobby addict. I love learning new things, exploring new crafts and discovering ways to use up all that free time I have ;) But learning and exploring new hobbies can be expensive! I recently took up gardening and I was intimidated by how expensive gardening supplies can be. Here’s some tips I’ve learned to keep it frugal while exploring a new hobby.

  1. Don’t buy any expensive tools until you know if you like it!
    I’m all about buying quality items, but until you find out if you like the hobby, borrow a friend’s tools or buy used supplies.  Thrift stores, for example, can be a treasure chest of knitting supplies. After all, you might end up hating underwater basket weaving!
  2. Pick a cheap(er) hobby
    Let’s be honest, some hobbies are cheaper than others. I recently took up hiking which is good for my body and completely free! Something like horse riding on the other hand would be a bit more pricey. I’m not saying that you should totally give up on your more expensive hobbies, if you can fit it in your budget, but if you are looking to take up a hobby, I’d seriously consider a free hobby over a pricey one!
  3. Make your hobby useful
    My favorite kind of hobbies are those that are useful. I recently learned how to knit and I love giving my knitting as gifts. If your relatives are sick of getting scarves as gifts, consider selling your wares. A little side business could actually help your wallet and help balance out some of the expenses of your hobby.
  4. Lost interest in your hobby?
    There’s always those hobbies that we think that we’ll love and we end up hating. If you’ve lost interest in your hobby, consider selling your supplies to friends, family or through Craigslist. There’s no need to have that weaving kit taking up room in your closet!

Hobbies are important. They give us an emotional and creative outlet that reduces stress and keeps our minds sharp! But there’s no need to spend an arm and a leg on hobbies either. Let’s keep it cheap!

Got any ways to save money on hobbies? I’d love to hear about them in the comments!

love,
melanie