Our Frugal Lifestyle

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Passionate about eco-frugality. I used to party hard, clubbing my way from pay-packet to pay-packet. Never getting ahead, just getting by. Then came our much wanted baby with no savings in the bank - only an old car. Changes were made to our lifestyle and we didn't turn back. In the past 6yrs we purchased a flat, found employment, lived below our means, built an emergency fund, purchased a reliable car and saw the financial benefits of our frugal lifestyle. Our only debt is our mortgage. Our aim is to manage our cash flow wisely, pay off our home quickly and eventually work for pleasure, not necessity. Join us on our journey, share insights, tips and tricks to help us and others to get ahead while having a good time.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Gift Giving and Gift Making

Dolly was invited to a 5 year old Birthday Party. Now that she is involved in preschool and many out of school activities, the invitations are becoming more regular. And that means more gift giving. I decided on a $10 gift giving budget per person and that items need to be of quality and preferably not plastic toys.

Todays Birthday Girl gift package was a mixture of purchased and home made. Dolly started her home made gift project on Tuesday night and I completed it at 1 am this morning (Sunday). At one stage even The Rambling Expat was in on the action cutting a couple of fabric pieces for us. The gift took many hours but was well worth the time and effort as I think it turned our super cute.

Using a Great Sewing Book, Preloved Clothing and a Few Vintage Scraps.

Dolly Commences Her First Of YoYo Sewing.

Gaining Control As She Tells Me To Let Her Try Alone.

Selecting Buttons From Our Button Jar We Were Gifted.

Sewing In the Vintage Button Selection (We still have this YoYo for another project).

2 Nights Latter, 2nd YoYo Near Completion.


Finished Product - Necklace Ribbon From An Old Top.


Gift Pack - Sketch Book, Metallic Pencils, Bag of Clips/Rubbers/Elastic Bands.
The total Gift Package came to $9. The biggest cost was time: 1 hour of gift shopping and roughly 5 hours of hand sewing.

My small eco steps were:
  • the Happy Birthday is from an old card I cut up, 
  • Light Pink Ribbon for the Happy Birthday Card and Knick Knack Bag is from the inside of a top (to hang on a clothes hanger), 
  • Fabric and Ribbon on necklace are all from second hand items which we have worn and outgrown or damaged and now repurposed. 
  • Buttons were from an op shop jar which we were gifted as a Thank you by backpackers staying with us. The op shop staff cut off buttons from clothing which is too damaged to sell on their racks, but sell as rags to tradies who don't need the buttons.
  • Plastic knick knack bag is from packaging on another item which I saved and reused. 
  • And lastly the ribbon holding it all together is also from a preloved top.
I've linked up my repurposed necklace to Erica at Recycled Fashion:

What do you do for Gift Giving for children? Buy, Make or Cash?


  1. That necklace is soooo cute. One question: are the yoyos sewn together? Since the ribbon is shoulder straps for hangers, I assume the ribbon was not long enough to sew the yoyos on the ribbon all the way around.

    I think I mentioned it, but for my daughter's friends, I would crochect one big granny square in two colors with a shell crochet around the edge for a scallop. The little girls loved it. One mother called me and asked why I gave her child such an overly nice gift. Then, she said she was taking it away from her child because she was going to keep it for the baby she was expecting any day. I should have crocheted another for the child. After that, I made Barbie clothes, using scraps. My gifts were all less than a dollar+my time.My children either made cards or the gift did not have one. Now, I give my granchildren Cabbage Patch clothes I made 20 years ago and sold.

    Your reusing things is a good way to keep birthday expenses under control. I had three in school!

  2. I forgot to say that the crocheted doll blankets were about 12" to 14" square. Even an 8" blanket is useful to a little child, especially and younger one. Of course, knitted blankets would work, too, but I cannot knit.

  3. Oh wow, that brought back flippin' nightmares! my wee girl went to a 'private' school and everyone else was a rich as the Beckhams! we were on our beam ends! I probably added to my enormous debt through those parties, so I love to see what you're doing and the fun your little girl must have had making the present! now I make all the presents i give anyone, usually edible or boozy, such as sloe gin - love froogs xx

  4. That is a darling gift! You are so clever and your Dolly is so talented. Is she going to make a similar necklace for herself?

    I'll admit when my son was little I used to give plastic "crap" as gifts. For girls: My Little Pony. For Boys: Matchbox cars. Now I always try to give books or cash.

  5. That's a great idea! We don't have kids or attend kid parties, so unfortunately I don't have much input in child gift-giving.

  6. What a lovely idea, especially as your daughter helped make the necklace. I admire all of your ideas, as you say .. small steps. Sorry you had trouble with the blog badge, but thank you for linking up!

  7. I like to include homemade but luckily for me haven't had many invites to deal with! I do Homemade cards and try to make sure the gift is interesting and educational and encourages interaction and curiosity, like a two way microscope instead of another Buzz Lightyear doll(we went to a party where the birthday boy was given three identical Buzz Lightyear figures), wrapping paper is always homemade, upcycled, repurposed.


Thanks for commenting - I love getting feedback, sharing experiences and learning from you.