3 Tips for a Frugal Christmas

Tis the season! It’s Christmas! I love this holiday! It’s my favorite time of the year. There is only one thing that has really bummed it out for me as an adult and that is the cost. I had no idea how expensive Christmas is for adults. I just thought Santa took care of everyone. Bummer that he isn’t real. But is there a way to make Christmas not so expensive? Yes there is. Here is my list of ideas to make more joy in the season while everyone else around you is going crazy.

  • Everyone Loves Handmade

There is nothing wrong with a handmade gift. It’s not cheap looking and I have found that people appreciate them more. I have made Christmas gifts many years in a row and everyone has loved them but here is the beauty of doing things by hand. The supplies are not expensive since you are doing the blunt labor. So where you are saving money is the time.

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For example, I made embroidery portraits for the people on my list. The supplies costed under $10 for all of them, but it took me two months to make them all. So I saved a ton of money, but I had to take more time in making each gift. So there is a trade off, but if you are trying to save money, isn’t it worth it?

  • Do Secret Santa

Another money saving option is to do secret Santa! I love secret Santa and both of my family sides does it so I only have to buy two gifts for family. But isn’t there always a person who misses out on the fun because they have to be keeper of the list? There is an awesome site called www.elfster.com. It assigns the people for you so that there is no one person who has to facilitate and not participate. So if you are looking for a secret Santa site check them out.

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  • Cook For People

People love food. My husband would take a plate of cookies over a gift any day. There is no bad time to give people food and there are so many ideas on Pinterest for mason jars meals and such. There’s cookie mixes, cake mixes, hot chocolate mixes, and soup mixes. Pretty much anything you can think of can be found online so feel free to have fun while looking!

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So there are some ideas to help with making this Christmas a little more affordable. If you have any others, please feel free to leave them in the comments, but above all have a very Merry Christmas!

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How to Make Vegetable Broth

Living life can get busy. Yeah, really busy. But I have to make time to what I love. Jam and homemade veggie broth and soup are my new obsessions right now with the colder weather setting in. They are supper easy and there is little you can do to mess it up, which works for a busy mom like me. But today I want to share with you my secret on making the best veggie both for soups.

Things needed:

  • 1 Gallon Zipper Bag
  • Veggie Scraps
  • Big enough pot
  • As much water as needed to cover scrap
  • Cheese Cloth
  • Strainer
  • 1 Tbsp Salt
  • 1 Tbsp Pepper
  • 1 Tbsp Garlic Powder
  1. First you need to collect your scraps. Depending on how much veggies you eat this could take a couple of days or weeks, but get enough to fill a zipper bag.
  2. Once the bag is full, get out a large pot and fill it with water just enough to cover the scrapes with water.
  3. Put on the stove to a medium boil for thirty-forty minutes.
  4. Let cool until broth is workable.
  5. Place strainer in a large bowl or another pot to catch the broth, and line with cheese cloth.
  6. Pour broth into the lined strainer.
  7. Squeeze remaining broth out of the veggies by wrapping them in the cheese cloth. Throw cheese clothed item away.
  8. Return broth back to the stove and add the seasonings. I like as strong so add the seasonings in 1/2 teaspoon at a time until the flavor you want is there. You can also add spices like cumin, cayenne, and oregano if desired. Let the broth boil another ten minutes.

And you’re done. You just saved yourself a lot of money and this veggie broth will taste better than anything you will fin the store. Happy cooking!

 

 

5 Tips: How to Live Without Dairy

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If you are reading this, then you are one of the many that have been told they cannot have dairy. I am sorry in one way because, as an avid lover of all things dairy, it was hard when I was told that I couldn’t have dairy. But I have some great news! Your life is actually about to change for the better. I thought that not being able to have dairy was going to ruin my life, but I am happy to say that isn’t the case. Here are my 5 tips to make the transition to becoming dairy free and living without it.

 

Tip #1: Get It Out of Your House trash can

Throw away all dairy in your house now. Don’t just think that you can slowly eat through it. I know that you spent money on it and that is important. You can check out my blog on saving money here, here, and here as a couple of examples. So I totally get the money part, but your health is more important. So throw out everything now that has dairy in your house.

Tip #2: Go Out and Buy Things You Can Have

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Now here is the fun part – Shopping! I was nervous at first when I had to switch since I thought that I would have to live without so much but these days are the best days to be dairy free because there are so many options! There’s vegan butter, cream cheese, cheese, and alternative milks. I can still bake, have a bagel and a grilled cheese relatively easy with all the alternatives that are out there.

My favorite place to shop in my are is Sprouts due to the fact that they have the best selection for dairy free items. One brand I love is Daiya. They have the cheeses covered. Earth Balance has the butter. And SoDelicious has many milk options. So there shouldn’t be much fear in feeling like you are missing out on anything. There is a slight taste difference but after a few tries you won’t be able to tell the difference.

Tip #3: Learn to Cook

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This tip is one that wasn’t hard for me since I loved cooking anyway. “But Gracelyn you just said there are so many options out there. Do I really need to cook from scratch?” The answer is yes. I still have to make many things from scratch since I have alter recipes on a regular basis. There are a lot of options out there, but much of it has to be pieced together so learning cook will be a skill you will have to gain if you don’t have it already.

Tip #4: Learn to Make Things Yourself

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This goes beyond cooking. Making things yourself means making your own coconut milk like I show you in this video here and making your other alternatives like butter and cream cheese since eating all the alternatives from the store can get expensive. So to cut the cost down, it’s time to awaken that DIY person inside you and find recipes that will help you stay true to your restrictions, but save money as well.

Tip #5: Hit Pinterest!

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I didn’t really understand the glory of Pinterest at first. Then I had to be dairy free, and a whole new world opened up for me. I have found many dairy free things that I thought were going to be lost forever. You can find recipes for ice cream, like I said butter and cheese, soups, and even Alfredo sauce that even my dairy loving husband said was amazing. So, if you don’t have one, get a Pinterest account and start searching. You will be surprised and relieved at what you will find.

Yay! 5 easy tips on how to be Dairy free. I hope these helped and comment below on any goodies you know on your own journey of being dairy free. Have a great day! 🙂