Thursday, December 02, 2010

Frugal Finds: Using our resources wisely

This fall we've been thinking a lot about how to use our resources wisely and how to stretch our pennies. This has been partly out of necessity since Ericlee did not have a full-time job and because we were preparing for our move to Haiti. We have searched out a lot of ways to buy less, eat locally and seasonally and recycle items within our community of friends. This has helped a lot in saving money but also in teaching our girls the value of living on less and helping others.

On our other blog, I've been exploring new foods and creating new recipes to employ some of what we are learning in the area of health and wellness. A few of my mama friends are really frugal with coupons and online deals. I wish I had more time to run around town and take advantage of coupons but I have to choose my errands wisely now that we have one car (another choice in the journey to downsize).

One of my fave ways to save is through Groupon, a group coupon that comes out every day and offers amazing steals on restaurants, activities and more in Fresno. I've scored lots of discounts and even more than $200 worth of free stuff through that site. I only share the ones our family would use.

This year we wanted to continue some of our Christmas traditions but in a more economical way. For the third year in a row, I sold some of my knitted items at a boutique at our church. This helped pay our bills in December and gave us a small budget for the holidays.

Nathanael shows off the knitted pumpkin hat.
Giada poses in a knitted flap hat - perfect to keep little ears warm.
Fingerless gloves embellished with buttons

One of my fave Christmas traditions is writing (and receiving) Christmas cards. I got a great deal on LivingSocial - another coupon network - for some of our cards. We also love to create gifts that are more meaningful than just the latest toy or fashion statement. One tradition Ericlee started with his mom was to create a picture calendar each year. We love Shutterfly and use their online printing services frequently. Every year I make a photo book for my girls to celebrate their birthdays. This is my version of scrapbooking or making picture albums and an economical way to save the memories. The girls page through these books frequently. Giada is especially into these books and I finally got around to finishing her first year book, which will be under the Christmas tree this year.

This year Shutterfly also offered 50 free Christmas cards for including them in a blog. So, here's my shameless plug for Shutterfly. I found out about this from my friends Brandy and Marcy - two friends also on this journey of living in community and sharing more with the needy of the world. Marcy developed a Facebook group and blog called Living Hebrews 13:5 where our friends can give things away or look for used items. We have greatly benefitted from this circle of recycling new and used items.

Why worry about saving?

Sure, it takes more effort and some serious time making wise choices, but we think it's worth it. Not only does it help the wallet; it also helps grow our faith. If we put our faith in God to provide our needs, and then share more of our resources with others, we experience the blessing of giving. Sounds to me like the reason for the season.

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