Save Money and the Environment Next Christmas!

Hello, my Gals!

I hope everyone had a very Merry Christmas ๐ŸŽ๐ŸŽ„๐ŸŽ…๐Ÿผ or whatever else you may celebrate, and that going into 2๏ธโƒฃ0๏ธโƒฃ1๏ธโƒฃ9๏ธโƒฃ has been full of fun and happiness and good things to come! ๐Ÿ˜Œ๐Ÿ˜Œ

A couple of posts ago, I said I’d share what I’ve been doing to keep things low cost this Christmas, so here ya go! ๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜

That DIY label, tho. ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚ #nailedit

Just a quick photo of some Keto Honey Roasted Peanuts I made for my Dad with Type 2 Diabetes. ๐Ÿฏ๐Ÿฅœ Sugar free and still delicious! ๐Ÿ˜‹

I used ingredients we already had, with the exception of brown sugar substitute and peanuts. Recipe linked in the top picture!


โค๏ธDespite being Introvert AF, I know and am pretty close with a lot of people. I have my biological family, my blended family, my in-laws, and my own growing family. Not to mention my diverse circles of friends.

That being said, I have a lot of people to shop for. Which I’m sure I don’t need to tell you can be stressful, both socially (wth do I get this person this time??) and financially.

In the past I could wild tf out on Christmas shopping with my “disposable” income, but with a mortgage, kids, and life expenses, I definitely don’t have that luxury anymore. ๐Ÿ˜…

I refuse to go into debt over the pressure of commercialism, but at the same time I do want to do or give something to my loved ones to show how much I appreciate them๐Ÿ’–๐Ÿฅฐ

So how have I managed to cut down on this stress this year? I’ll tell you! ๐Ÿ˜™๐Ÿ˜™


๐Ÿ›Stop Shopping Altogether๐Ÿ™…๐Ÿปโ€โ™€๏ธ

In recent years, amongst my in laws we’ve all agreed to stop buying gifts for each other entirely, ๐ŸŽโŒ opting instead to enjoy each others’ company and maybe baking/cooking for each other.

This has been AMAZING. ๐Ÿ™Œ๐Ÿป๐Ÿ™Œ๐Ÿป Now we just get the kids gifts, which is honestly so much more fun! ๐Ÿ‘ถ๐Ÿฝ๐Ÿ‘ฆ๐Ÿผ๐Ÿ‘ถ๐Ÿป๐Ÿ˜โค๏ธ

๐Ÿ’ฐSo obviously this is the best way to save money, and it encourages appreciation for what you already have. This would probably work best if you have a group of people that doesn’t need anything or who are impossible to buy for.

And if you don’t feel right not having anything to offer on Christmas Day, agree to make each other baked goods or freezer dinners or something of that nature. Everyone loves cookies and not having to cook! ๐Ÿ’ฏ

Not to mention, time spent together is so precious. The best gift we can give each other truly is ourselves. โค๏ธ๐Ÿ’ฏ

๐ŸงฎSet A Strict Budget๐Ÿ‘

If you don’t think any of your family members or friends would want to go the no-gifts approach, the next best thing is to set a strict spending budget for each person on your list. ๐Ÿ’ต

This year for my immediate and blended family, I set a budget for $10 per person. And you’d be surprised what you can find for under $10. ๐Ÿ’Ž๐ŸŽฏ๐Ÿคฉ

๐Ÿ’ญI’ve found that setting these spending limits forces me to be more creative and thoughtful with what I give. For example, I know my younger stepbrother is a guitar player ๐Ÿ‘จ๐Ÿปโ€๐ŸŽค๐ŸŽธso I’ve bought for him this year and last a different guitar accessory he doesn’t have, but would be useful, that was under $10!

I did something like this with each person, thinking hard about their interests and needs and going Amazon hunting for the best items within my range. ๐Ÿ‘€

It can be helpful to perhaps look through your expenses and see realistically how much you can afford to spend on Christmas shopping. Then make a physical list of who you have to shop for, and do some…

For instance, if you can afford to spend $200 on gifts that season, and have 15 people to shop for, the price cap would be about $13 per person (dividing 15 by 200…Or is it 200 by 15? ๐Ÿ˜…๐Ÿ˜… Math was never my strong suit).

Think long and hard about what each person needs or what would really make them happy, and set your sights on stores and websites that work with your ideas and your budget.

You could also coordinate with other family members to see what they are buying for others to see if you could contribute an add-on to their gift. ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿป

For example, if you have a niece who is obsessed with LOL Dolls and you know Grandma is buying her an LOL Dollhouse, you could buy her a piece of furniture or whatever goes with that thing. ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚

Don’t feel the need to break bank over these fad toys. Chances are she’ll be over it in a year or two. ๐Ÿ‘Œ๐Ÿผ๐Ÿ‘Œ๐Ÿผ

๐Ÿ’กI’ve also seen on Facebook to start a fund in the New Year set aside for gifts for the next Christmas Season. So maybe every other paycheck set aside $5-10 or whatever you can swing and put it in a shoebox, open a new account, or whatever will help you not touch it until you start your shopping. ๐Ÿ’ต๐Ÿ’ฐ

๐Ÿ“œGive Them An IOU๐Ÿ˜˜

So this is my favorite because it combines repurposing with saving money and forces you to think outside the box. ๐Ÿ“ค๐Ÿ“ฆ

And it is helpful if you really can’t think of anything to get a person on your list that would be useful or appreciated within the budget you just set. ๐Ÿคท๐Ÿปโ€โ™€๏ธ๐Ÿ˜…

As you can see, my DIY skills could get me a spot on Netflix’s Nailed It! ๐Ÿ’ฏ๐Ÿ˜‚

For my close friends this year, I got the idea (although I never checked to see if it was a case of parallel thinking but I like to believe this was an original idea ๐Ÿ˜…) to create “IOU Jars.”

๐ŸฅœI buy Teddy’s peanut butter for my family, which comes in a glass jar. In the past I have used these jars for storing food items, loose change, and even for other holiday-related things like hot cocoa and cookie mixes for Yankee Swaps.

This year, I took my collection of peanut butter jars and lids and filled them with my friends’ favorite candy that I purchased from the dollar store, a packet of hot cocoa that I got in bulk, and enclosed a personalized note telling them how much they mean to me and why I appreciate them individually. โค๏ธ๐Ÿฅฐ

On this note I also included an “IOU,” or something that I would get/do for them in the upcoming year.

๐ŸทSo instead of spending a chunk of change on a bunch of hastily picked out stuff for the sake of getting a gift (I go into panic mode if I don’t know what to get someone and I end up just grabbing stuff that they might vaguely like), I included in my note that I owed them either a matinee to see a movie they’re excited about coming up, a brunch date to a cute but affordable restaurant, or a night in with a bottle or two of wine for them to “cash in” at some point during the year.

This way, I still feel like I’ve gotten all my special friends a good gift, but didn’t have to stress about the extra expense all at once.

Not because they’re not worth it. They deserve that and so much more. โค๏ธโค๏ธโค๏ธWe just happened to have a bit of unexpected expenses come up just before to Christmastime and money was getting a bit tight, so this idea came to light as a result.

๐Ÿ“ฆGo Ahead And Horde (Responsibly!)

Lastly as a bit of an afterthought, I save almost everything. Which as a recovering pack rat and someone who is trying to convert to minimalism can be a challenge, but in cases like this it helps!

๐Ÿ›๐ŸŽI have amassed a collection of gift bags and tissue paper over the years for birthdays, showers, and of course Christmas, so I actually haven’t bought any of the stuff in a couple of years. If you have the storage space, I highly suggest starting a big “bag of bags and tissue paper” you can visit for your gift-Giving needs.

I used to spend a ridiculous extra amount on gift wrapping… ๐Ÿ’ธ๐Ÿ’ธ๐Ÿ’ธ

Also, save those candy canes!! Most people don’t like to eat them, and I feel like a lot of them get thrown away, but they make super cute decorations for things other than the tree!

My Insta Pic skills arenโ€™t the sharpest, but just an example of what you can do with those cute candy canes! ๐Ÿ˜

๐ŸŽจAnd instead of spending extra money on decorations, make some with your kids! It will keep them busy and happy during cold days and your house will be festive and adorable!

Not to mention the priceless keepsakes you’ll have afterwards. ๐Ÿฅฐ๐Ÿฅฐ๐Ÿฅฐ

๐ŸŽ„๐Ÿ‘ฃMy little Vinnyโ€™s Christmas Tree Foot๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜ญ

๐Ÿ’ฌDid I miss anything? What tips do you have for saving money over the holidays? Leave them in the comments!

Thanks for reading, my gals! โค๏ธ๐Ÿ˜

Stay tuned for posts on What’s In My Hospital Bag For Baby 2, Why Spending Time Away From My Son Makes Me A Better Mom, and maybe a Second Pregnancy Update/How This Time Is Different Than The First.

If any of those sound interesting to you, subscribe so you don’t miss it! ๐Ÿ˜˜๐Ÿ˜˜

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What To Do Instead Of Throwing Away Formula Cans/Scoops!

((Soo, this post is long overdue, and I had written the draft MONTHS ago. ๐Ÿ˜…๐Ÿ˜…ย But, I have been promising it for all of those MONTHS and finally, here it is! ๐ŸŽ‰๐ŸŽ‰))

In just his first six months of life, my child has grown over half of a foot. That’s at least one inch per month. At all of his checkups, he has measured in roughly theย 97th percentile for height. ๐Ÿ˜ฑ

Needless to say, all of this growth needs to be fueled by something.

As I’ve mentioned before, and will cover in more detail in a future post, I stopped being able to exclusively breastfeed when my son was only 2 weeks old. By the time he was 2 months old, I had to make the personally heartbreaking decision to exclusively formula feed.

I’m sure I don’t need to tell some of you Momz’s that formula feeding is expensive.๐Ÿ’ธ Not only that, but it results in a lot of tins and plastic scoops that end up needing to be discarded. And once they’re in the trash, there’s really only one place they can go…

…The Landfill. ๐Ÿ˜ฌ๐Ÿ˜ฌ๐Ÿ˜ฌ

I try to do my part to reduce my carbon footprint, if only by a pinky toe, and admittedly, I’ve spent some nights tossing and turning thinking of all the cans and scoops just sitting in a landfill somewhere from the result of just my spawn’s insatiable feeding. ๐Ÿ˜“

Like a lot of Moms, I’m addicted to Pinterest. ๐Ÿ“Œ๐Ÿ“๐Ÿ˜ย I could literally spend hours idly scrolling through recipes, DIY’s, and adorable crafts. Through my hours of pinning recipes I will definitely someday try for real, I’ve also fallen in love with upcycling. ๐Ÿฅฐโ™ป

I’ve always been an advocate for recycling. However, the small city in which my family lives makes it hard to recycle, as I’d have to go out of my way to bring recyclables to the center, and with a toddler in tow, the fewer errands the better, am I right?

If you’re like me, you’ve got similar problems. And I feel bad for you, son. I got 99 problems, and my own personal mini landfill of forumla tins is one. ๐Ÿ’ฏ

But don’t worry! If like me you fret about the amount of waste your child’s feeding produces, I’ve come up with a list of suggestions of what you can do with all that would-be garbage! ๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ™Œ

๐ŸผFree coffee, sugar, etc serving spoonsโ™ป

According to my research (โœจ๐Ÿซ๐ŸšŒ๐Ÿคฃ), one formula scoop equals about 1 tablespoon. In an effort to reduce waste, I’ve started saving all of my scoops and keeping them in every scoopable substance in my home, so that I always have a scooping implement handy (If you’re not solely responsible for the kid(s) and nonpregnant at the moment, go back and read that sentence and take a shot every time you read the word ‘scoop’ ๐Ÿฅƒ๐Ÿคฃ).

All of the ones I’ve used have a small hole in the bottom, so to prevent leakage, you could plug the hole with a bead of hot glue and clean the scoop off with some soap and water once the glue is dried.

chiascoop

๐ŸผLeftovers!โ™ป

I have not purchased tupperware for a while, as I’ve been re-purposing the plastic tubs we get with cold cuts, takeaway, etc for leftover storage. I’ve taken to using formula cans for a similar purpose.

I’ve put “wet” leftovers in them before, however, upon further observation, I’ve noticed the “tin” seems to rust if not dried out thoroughly, ๐Ÿ˜ฌย so I would opt to store “dry” leftovers like cream of wheat, oatmeal, etc in formula cans.

The cans (in theory) should also deter pantry moths, as the crafty bastards always seem to find a way into resealable bags. ๐Ÿคข๐Ÿ™…

Be sure to write down the original expiration date as well as the date you transferred the dry goods into the tin to ensure they are used within optimal freshness! โœ…

๐ŸผFreezer Compost/Container Gardeningโ™ป

Now that we have a porch for it, I eventually plan on container gardening. I have a stash of formula tins saved for this very purpose. ๐Ÿ˜Š๐Ÿ˜Š

This is fairly straight forward, I think, just put some soil and fertilizer in the tin and try not to kill your plants! ๐ŸŒฑ๐Ÿ’•

Since these containers aren’t the biggest, I would probably plant something small like herbs to season those Pinterest meals ๐Ÿฅ˜๐Ÿ˜‹ย or flowers to attract pollinators ๐Ÿ๐Ÿฆ‹ย to your little garden.

If you’re a little more ambitious like me, and want to try planting actual produce in them, I’ve been told to plant crops that grow upward such as tomatoes, ๐Ÿ…ย to keep from having cumbersome overgrowth or having to re-pot right away (crops that grow upward are more feasible for container gardening for this reason). So by that logic, formula tins should be a good place to start for such an endeavor. But don’t take my word for it! That’s just a theory…a CONTAINER GARDENING THEORY! (Anyone else spend wayy too much free time on Youtube sometimes?)

Now, as for composting…for a while I had been storing compost material in a formula tin in the freezer. Much like these formula tins and scoops, I’ve had mini anxiety attacks over the thought of how much food waste I’ve been contributing to the landfills, but until recently I’ve not had an opportunity to actually put this food waste to any use. ๐Ÿคทโ€โ™€๏ธ

If you try this, I will let you know that between banana peels, avocado pits and shells, paper towels, the list goes on…one 23.2 oz tin fills up rather quickly. I’m currently looking into getting a compost spinner to transport this waste into so that all this effort doesn’t go to waste. ๐Ÿšฏ๐Ÿ˜ย I’ll keep you (com)posted! ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿคฃ

๐ŸผSpare Change

Containerโ™ป

My car is a dump on wheels. ๐Ÿ—‘๐Ÿš™ย And a part of what contributes to this dump is me absent-mindedly tossing spare change from various Dunkins and Starbucks runs into every compartment within arms reach of the driver’s seat. And when I drive without my son, I like to bump “Gin and Juice” at top volume๐ŸŽš๐Ÿ”Š, which causes the varying sized coins to rattle together causing a cacophony of irritating sound trying to harmonize with my gangsta rap. ๐ŸŽต๐ŸŽถ๐Ÿ˜–

Once I actually get around to cleaning out my car, I intend to make a “swear jar” out of one or two of my tin collection and put all of my car/purse/diaper bag change into them, and cash them out once they are full and use a portion for my son’s education, a portion for family fun, and a portion for charity.

swear jar

๐ŸผFormula To-Goโ™ป

We don’t get Chinese food as often as we used to. ๐Ÿฅก๐Ÿš๐Ÿฅ ๐Ÿ˜‹๐Ÿ˜ขย Not that we got it all that often, anyway. But when we did, we seemed to get an excess of sauces which come in plastic containers of various sizes. I had always hated throwing them away, sauce and all, as we never end up using any, and I always forget to tell them not to include it with our orders. ๐Ÿ˜“๐Ÿ˜“๐Ÿ˜“

It dawned on me one day (unless this is a highly case of parallel thinking) to rinse out one of these sauce containers, fill it with a few servings of formula, and place an extra scoop inside it to keep in my diaper bag for backup for our little adventures. That way when I inevitably forget my one thing each trip, at the very least I will be equipped with the ever-important food source.

container

๐ŸผLil Drummer Bois and Grrlsโ™ป

I saw this idea on Pinterest, actually. It’s quite simply taking a formula (or oatmeal, etc) tin, and attaching some kind of fabric, etc over the opening and creating a drum from it. Or, you can fill it with beads or rice and glue the top to it and create rain sticks, or even securely attach strings to the opening for a guitar of sorts. Let your imagination run wild so that your child’s can run even wilder. ๐Ÿฅ๐ŸŽถ๐Ÿ’ญ

Parents who don’t mind some extra noise on top of the everyday squealing and mess-making that comes with small children can go ahead and try this one out and let me know how it goes. ๐Ÿ‘Œ๐Ÿคฃ

๐ŸผToy/Chatchki/Craft Supply Storage/Swear Jarโ™ป

Pretty much as described, store various small objects in the formula tin as you see fit. ๐Ÿ™‚

So these are just a few ideas of ways you can reuse formula tins and scoops and do your part to reduce the carbon (big)footprint! ๐Ÿ‘ฃย If we all do one small thing to help our environment, together we can make some kind of headway in trying to make the Earth a little healthier for our sons and daughters. ๐ŸŒŽ๐ŸŒ๐ŸŒโ™ป๐ŸŒฑ๐ŸŒณ๐Ÿ’—

Did I miss something? Or was this all old news? What are other ways to reuse this stuff? Lemme know in the comments! ๐Ÿ˜™๐Ÿ˜™

Thanks for reading, my gals! ๐Ÿ˜˜๐Ÿฅฐย Tune in next time for a very special announcement!๐Ÿ’“๐Ÿ’“๐Ÿ’“