Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Life on a $0 budget... you heard me right

I'm always up for a challenge. But this is by far the toughest challenge ever. 

No shopping until Spring 2014 (this does not include the 3 items on the boys wish list, we budgeted for that all year) but for everything else... we're nixing it all together because we are planning to move! I'm really super excited to finally moving into a bigger place but that also means a huge expense that we need to be well prepared for. So with all the special occasions coming down the pipeline (8 birthdays, 10 holiday gifts for the immediate family, not to mention colleagues and friends!) December is the hardest month to save any money! With or without a budget. So what do I do?? I mean what can I REALISTICALLY do??

I can make something special for every single person I wish to celebrate this month. 

Here's what I'm thinking... (insert giggle here)

1.  My mom's birthday - A day for just us gals to New York's 5th Avenue, window shop and visit the Rockefeller Tree - all so glamorous. All completely free! LOL 

2. My nieces 4th Birthday, the day after Christmas. My niece doesn't care for things (God bless her) but she does have incredible memory. So I'm going to schedule a tea party at her "play place" and we will play dress up and paint our nails and make friendship bracelets from the kit I bought myself years ago... all free and all very memorable (i always want somebody to play tea party with!)

3. My sis-in-law, also the day after Christmas. She's another one that doesn't care for things. She's completely obsessed with my kids (her only niece and nephews) so I am going to run through her facbook and print out a personalized collage of their pictures together. She's a sucker for that stuff. Again, I have stocks of photo paper... yeah that's right.... this too: free. :)

4. My cousin-nephew is turning 8. I love this kid and my son worships him. They've been begging us moms for a sleep over, so I'm hosting one for the birthday boy. Making him King for the day. Watch his favorite movie, make his favorite dish and do a little Just Dance on the Wii. I keep a Birthday Bin of decorations, candles, cupcake wrappers and even glow sticks. We're having a party and I'm not spending any $$! (gosh! I'm kinda jelly, I want this kinda party for my 32nd!!)

5.  My prima-hermana, that translates to my sister-cousin. We're cousins but we're really more like sisters and she is turning 30! this is a huge deal. I won't spoil my ideas here bc she loves me and my blog lol so I will stay mum. But I promise to make her feel like a Million bucks! ;)

6. My best friend's daughter is turning 3 and luckily, I snagged her present MONTHS ago! I love when I do that. It's no stress to me now, but it gives me wiggle room to add some extra free charm, like a DIY charm for her room, something I've been dying to do!

7. Two of my dearest friends celebrate Birthdays today (Dec. 4th) and I don't get to see them often. So I'm mailing them a reminder of just how much I love them and couldn't live without them. :)

8. Finally, to end the year... my little guy Jake turns 4 this year. Because of he obvious, his birthday can easily be pushed around the holiday. And this year is no different, only because we didn't do a party for Jordan's 6th this year and we're planning to have Gabby's 1st in January. No matter what, Jacob doesn't care about anything besides Thomas the Tank Engine. Having been obsessed since his 1st birthday, I have all the left over decor. I'll set up a spread, call the family over and make him King for the day.

And that my friends is how I plan to make this month a NO-SPENDING month. 

Thoughts?? got better ideas?? let's hear 'em!! PLEEEASE! :D


Sunday, December 1, 2013

It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year!!

I'm so original with that subject eh?

Hello December how I love you!
You're cold, you sparkle, you host my beloved Savior's birthday (Jesus ya'll) in addition to My mom's, My niece's, Sister-in-law and my middle son's birthdays.... in that order :) It's a very busy month!

And a very expensive one! But you're also the month when I want to be the most creative. Creative craft ideas for the kids, creative DIY holiday decor on a budget, and serious bargain hunting on creative gifts for the whole family. :) #SeeWhatIDidThere

First order of creativity:

Having a holiday break for Thanksgiving last week, I needed to get my act together on the Advent Calendar I had learned about on Pinterest. It's a "countdown to Christmas" calendar for the whole family to partake in. There are so many amazing ideas out there! Check out the pins I've collected of my favorites ones! But to very honest -  I didn't have a budget NOR access to a craft store in Brooklyn. And I'm lazy like that. I don't leave Brooklyn unless I have to... like to go to work. So what's a mom to do?? I was so determined to start my Advent calendar this year with my boys. Start those traditions with them that they could understand and remember forever! (tissue here). So I dug up my decorations... nothing in there that I could take a part. Then I started looking in to my craft bins and I got overwhelmed. Too many goodies, too many ideas NOTHING that made sense. Finally, at about 11pm, I started to make my plan of attack: No candy, No toys. I am not spoiling these kids everyday until Christmas. I wanted to created something with meaning and influence...and something completely in expensive.

Here's what I came up with:

Products used:
  1. Bulletin Board from IKEA - (already owned)
  2. Flat-head Thumbtacks (in silver here) - .99 at local dollar store
  3. Rope - .99 at local dollar store
  4. 5x7 Index Cards - .99 at local dollar store
  5. Card Stock - I owned this already but a small pack cost me 7.99 at Target
  6. Puncher -  scored this at TJMaxx for 3.99
  7. Mounting squares (the kind used for Scrapbooking)- .99 at Dollar Tree 
  8. Mini Clothes Pins - 1 pk of 40 for .99 at local dollar store
  9. Stencil - .99 pack of 4 at local dollar store
  10. Gold Glitter - .99 at local dollar store
  11. Elmer's Glue - .99 at local dollar store... fight the temptation of gluing your hands together
  12. 25 really good ideas to fill your calendar with! (Free :)
And there you have it folks... all these items, most from my local dollar store - made this!

Instructions are easy-peasy:

  1. You want to begin by punching your cardstock - making 15 of each color (trust me, you'll want extras in case of a mishap)
  2. Using your stencil & sharpie, begin labeling each of your cardstock rounds with numbers 1 -25
    (obviously alternating colors into a pattern if you are using more than one color)
  3. Outline the number 25 using your Elmer's glue and sprinkle with gold glitter, remove excess and sit aside to let dry
  4. Placing your cardstock rounds to the side, time to write your index cards - TIP: you don't have to write all twenty-five in one seating... confession: from #15 - on, they're blank until #25... which is obvious: HAPPY BIRTHDAY JESUS!
  5. Placing your index cards aside, use your rope to measure the length of your bulletin board and add about 3 extra inches. Cut 5 pieces of the same length
  6. Using silver or gold flat-head thumbtacks, pin down your rope. The extra inches you included will now leave you room to make little snoozes on the end, to put your tack through and pin it perfectly to the board.
  7. Place the board aside. Bring back your cardstock rounds and your index cards and the mounting squares. Place a square behind #1 and attach to your first index card, center it as best you can. I eyeballed my measurements, I'm not much of a "perfectionist". Do the same for all the other rounds & cards
  8. Finally,  grab your mini clothes pins (so darn cute!!), and gather the ends of your index cards, without folding them down. I found the bubble affect to gave it a special look. Clip with clothes pin to the rope. Do the same for all the others... and voila! You're done!

Happy Crafting!!

Comment if you want some ideas for your daily cards!!