A Very Cheap-O Christmas Part 2: Freebies!

There are some people (grandparents, spouses, siblings) that I like to give a little mass produced extra in addition to a DIY creation for Christmas. However, the same situations applies… money is tight. So I search for FREEBIES to give as gifts. There really is nothing better than getting something that is normally $15+ for no more than shipping and giving it to someone and having them think you spent a small (relative) fortune on it.

Here is my current list of Freebies:

Free 2013 Photo Calendar from Vistaprint

Free Custom Mug from Vistaprint

20 Free Custom Gift Tags from InkGarden

10 Free Christmas Cards from InkGarden

Free Flip Book from Vistaprint

Free Baby Talk Magazine Subscription

Free Samples of Airborne (4 packs)…. seems silly but a great stocking stuffer!

Free Jiffy Corn Bread Recipe Book (again seems silly… but think stocking stuffers people!)

50 Free 4×6 prints from Shutterfly (for new members only… create a new email if you have to)

Also, make sure that you sign up and ask to be on the email list for Walgreens, Shutterfly, Vistaprint, InkGarden, Walmart, ect. They are always emailing you freebies! And if you don’t like your email being bombarded with spam make a new email specifically for freebies (and sweepstakes if you’re into that kind of thing ::wink::wink::)


A Very Cheap-o Christmas

There is a commonly expressed misconception that I hear all the time when people find out how many kids I have. It goes something like this, “How many kids do you have?” I answer, “I have 4.” They respond, “Whoa! You’re Christmas’ must be really really expensive!” I’ll briefly address my problem with this notion that our children need to get 81575642 gifts at Christmas and we need to break the bank to get the biggest and the best. What happened to quality instead of quantity? What happened to teaching appreciation instead of entitlement? What happened to the TRUE meaning of the season??? End rant, back to the topic at hand. In answer to the question: “is your Christmas really expensive?” I exclaim, “NAY!” (ok maybe I don’t yell “nay” in the middle of the check out line at Jewel but you know what I mean.)

So why is Christmas not that expensive for me when I have so many people to buy for (because lets face it, its not just the kids. Its grandparents, cousins, aunts and uncles too)? The answer is simple: DIY. I have found that the best way to save money, and really the most heartfelt gifts are DIY gifts. So for the next several weeks until the week before Christmas I will be posting some of my crafty Christmas creations. 
Just a couple things to consider when you go to make your Christmas DIY list:
1. Consider the recipient- You can find the cutest, easiest, most inexpensive beer mug makeover tutorial, but if the person you are giving it to doesn’t drink beer it won’t mean diddly. 
2. Consider the budget- The worst mistake you can make is to set a budget and then not stick to it. Trust me, I know this is hard. I am the person who walks into the Dollar Store for 3 items and ends up spending $20! 
3. Remember… QUALITY not QUANTITY- Focus on only making a couple of crafts per person. The more you make, the more you end up rushing, and the less cute/crafty/legit the item will look. 
4. Some things are better left un-crafted- Please, PLEASE, I admonish you. No-one needs a hand crocheted bikini, a coaster set of pictures of your dead pet, or pe**s shaped soap.
I would absolutely love for you to share your DIY Christmas ideas! I’m always on the hunt for inspiration! Also, be on the look out for my first DIY Christmas project this year! I’m working on it now and its PREEEETTTTY fantastical! 

The Dirty on Diapers

I’m assuming that it is no secret to most of you that I cloth diaper my baby girl. I love to wash them, dry them, fold them, and occasionally throw them on my bed and roll around in their fluffiness. OK… maybe you didn’t know the last thing. (Hey! No judgey!! We all have our quirks!) But I don’t know if many of you know my cloth diaper story.

When baby #3 was around a year old I stumbled upon a LIVESTRONG article about the chemicals in disposable diapers. And then I somehow found the cloth diapering board on Babycenter. I’m not exactly sure how I found it (it must have been divine intervention) but I was able to start looking around and started to think that I might actually be able to do it. I discovered stuff about disposable diapers that I had never known nor wanted to believe. The site even led me to a cost saving calculator that would show me exactly how much I could save and in how much time! I had a small starter stash and found out I could make them too! Man oh man was I crafty and super cool. I was like some new aged hipster or something.

When I found out I was pregnant with #4 I knew I was going to cloth diaper from the beginning. It was a no brainer. I was going to be able to save money AND save my future child’s reproductive system as well as reduce my carbon footprint. I was like flippin’ Mother Earth over here! (false, but we are all allowed our own individual delusions)

Eventually I threw the cost saving component out the window. I was no longer in it for the savings because, I’ll be completely honest, I went a little crazy with the work-at-home-mom sites and the super cute prints and styles. Here’s a shocker though, I STILL SAVED MONEY! My entire newborn stash, enough for 3-4 days, cost me around $300. I sold things on eBay to fund everything I wanted though so it didn’t effect our bank account at all. And… hold on to your seats…. I was able to sell almost everything (minus what I want for any future children ::cough::cough::) and made about $200 back.

My NB stash:

Now that Eden is out of newborn cloth diapers I have been able to switch to her one-size stash… which is quite extensive. (And somehow I still find more cloth every day that I forget I have… I have to destash big time… any interest??) The greatest thing is that these diapers will be able to last her until she pottytrains! I never have to worry about buying her diapers or running out in the middle of the night because we don’t have any more. I have types that I can wash by hand just in case the power goes out in some freak incident or the Zombie Apocalypse were to happen. And I’m pretty sure that my baby has one of the most stylish butts EVER at any given point in time.
Some of my OS stash:

I suppose that one of the best things about cloth is that they are able to be reused with each subsequent child or they can be resold. I’ve tried selling my pre-used disposable diapers before but it didn’t work out too well…..

In the end its has been the best decision for my family and I’m extremely happy that I made the switch. I have about two sets of “loaner stashes” if anyone is interested in trying their hand at it. It’s not for everyone but hey… there is no harm in trying right?