the barefoot budget

unconventional grit for a mindful life


More Autumn Crafts

Some of my fondest childhood memories are decorating our home for various holidays, mainly with decorations we made ourselves and stockpiled over the years. My mom kept everything in big rubbermaids, and I would get so excited when we brought them up from the basement. As an adult, I have wanted to recreate that feeling, mainly for autumn and Christmas times. 

The thing is, we didn’t have any decorations when we got together! Not eager to run out and buy a bunch of mass produced crap, we have turned to crafting our own! It has turned into somewhat of a tradition, especially for Christmas. I love it so much, I have extended it to autumn! The idea is that every year, we make a craft or two during the season to build our very own decoration stockpile. It’s a fun bonding activity and I love that all our decorations are personal and have memories attached to them.

This year we made God’s Eyes together in autumn colors. My other craft is leaf garland! I picked out leaves from our yard – oak, redbud, maple, and laurel – and used them as stencils to make felt leaf cut outs. I then strung the cutouts together on yard with some beads. It was super easy and inexpensive. The best part though is the experience I had laying in bed under the covers, listening to Ryan Adams or Fleetwood Mac or Guided By Voices (my autumnal music), stringing the leaves together. It felt so seasonal and cozy. 

I love the way this simple craft came out! I laid the garland over our mantle.



Living Simply and Less Wastefully: Household Items

When I first began the quest for a simpler life, I found it easiest to attack things in my life I was spending a lot of money on. I used to visit Target and blow $100 easy in things like makeup, paper towels, a different cleaning agent for every surface of the house, and various fancy tools for scrubbing. These little household items add up fast and unknowingly. On the surface, they seem like necessities, right? You need to be able to maintain your home and yourself. So, I would let these expenses slide under the guise of “something I have no control over.”

Yes, self-sufficiency is all about regaining control in your life. But for me, the reality was I needed the money I was spending on this crap to put towards my debt, and later savings. I started learning about homemade cleaning products and alternatives to costly paper goods. My interest in natural living and less chemicals only came after the monetary concerns. Zero Waste Home by Bea Johnson was a huge inspiration when I began revamping this corner of my life. There are so many resources on the internet about homemade this and that, but I’ve had to do quite a bit of experimentation to find things that actually work.

I am proud to say I now spend at most $50/ year on household items (big chunk of that is TP). This has opened up my household budget to allow me to invest in awesome toys like a pressure canner and homebrewing equipment. Below is a list of common household goods and whether I have gone without or substituted with something homemade.

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