Thankfully, there are plenty of ideas and possibilities for giving meaningful gifts that don’t cost a lot to make and, in a lot of cases, make use of stuff you already have. Whether you’re looking for gifts for loved ones, ideas for expanding your Christmas decorations without expanding your budget, or even some relaxing gifts you can give yourself to maintain your sanity this season, I’ve been collecting links along these lines all year (thanks to Pinterest), and I’ve rounded them up to share with you.
In my recent post on Frugal & Sustainable Beauty and Hygiene, I mentioned that I was on the lookout for a good alternative to store-bought deodorant. Shortly after that post went up, my new best friend Pinterest showed me a recipe for DIY deodorant made from coconut oil, arrow root and baking soda. Sounds great! Except, arrow root is enough of a specialty item around here that I’d have to make a special trip to the health food store to get it, and it would also mean spending extra money on something that I wasn’t sure I’d use for anything else.
Recently when putting together a bug-out bag for my pets (more on that in a later post), I realized that I needed harnesses for each of my three cats. We have carriers for each of them, but once we get to our bug-out location we don’t want to keep them crated the whole time, and we don’t know how safe it will be to let them run around unsupervised. But faced with no money to go out and buy three harness and leash combos, I turned instead to my massive yarn stash, and to the Internet, where I was sure I’d find instructions on how to make some harnesses.
The Internet didn’t fail me. A simple Google search turned up this simple crochet pattern for a leash and harness combo. Since I sometimes make jewelry, I already had the jump rings on hand for joining the two, so all I needed was the time to whip up three of these babies. I got them done over the course of three evenings of watching Cheers reruns on Netflix with my husband.
I modified the pattern a bit by following one of the suggestions in the pattern’s comments to add a front strap connecting the two loops to keep the neck loop from riding up and add a degree of difficulty when it comes to escape. I can’t exactly say that the finished product is a hit with the kitties; when I tried them on, they each reacted by either just lying down and giving up on life altogether or by trying their darnedest to back out of the thing. But they didn’t get out of it, and the fit seemed to be comfortable enough. When the weather warms up we’ll start having practice outings to try to get the poor dears used to being leash-walked.
By the way, if you’d like to learn how to knit and/or crochet — both handy skills to have in a post-grid situation — head over to The Survival Mom’s web site, where she has a list of links to online lessons on yarn craft.
I’m in the process of weening myself off of store-bought beauty and hygiene products. There are a lot of reasons for this; for one thing, it’s saving us a lot of money. Products are expensive, and even the cheaper alternatives like Suave or generic brands add up to quite the chunk of change over time. The natural alternatives I’m switching to tend to be much more frugal, and they tend to be things we keep around the house already.
Store-bought products also tend to violate the survival rule of only packing or storing items that have at least two or three different uses. Oh, sure, a bottle of hairspray can double as fuel for fire starting in a pinch, and as a flame thrower if you find yourself under attack by a zombie horde, but most other beauty and hygiene products are pretty much single use. Also, if TEOTWAWKI ever happens, it’s not like I’ll just be able to skip down to Walmart for new shampoo and toothpaste when I run out. Natural alternatives tend to be a little more sustainable, and by switching now, at least I’ll stand a chance of being able to keep up my beauty routine after the poo hits the fan.