Saturday, January 2, 2010

Inspiration from Goodlife Zen Question 5

The posts until Saturday, January 9, will be in response to Mary Jaksch's questions on Goodlife Zen, 11 Questions that lead to Gratitude. Please visit the site and subscribe for daily inspiration.

5. What triggered your creativity?

Living on one income has sparked my creativity more than anything else this past year.

I have learned to scour the internet for freebies and frugal ideas. Just last week I saw an adorable idea for January birthdays or “just because” gifts. Since candy canes can be had for about 44 cents a box right now, buy several boxes. Buy a canister or box of hot cocoa packets. Go to the “victim’s” house and hang candy canes from their bushes and trees. Put the cocoa on their front porch along with a note that says “ Remember to stir your hot cocoa with a candy cane for a minty treat. Too bad candy canes don’t grow on trees. Or do they?” Ring the doorbell and run!

I shop more creatively, looking for sales to combine with coupons for the best savings. Recently I found crescent rolls on sale for 2/$3.00. There was also a coupon in the newspaper for $2 off, but only if you bought 4 packages. I bought 4 packages for $6.00, then got the $2.00 off coupon, dropping each package to $1.00. Then when we got to the store, each package had a 55-cent coupon on it, making each package only 45 cents! That was great when I got invited to a dinner and was asked to bring dinner rolls. I made two packages of rolls for 90 cents!

Ever think of having an indoor garden? I have a south facing window in a spare bedroom that has become home to my tomato plants. They flourish since they’re right under the heater vent and get lots of sun each day. I had a home grown tomato in my omelet yesterday, right in the middle of winter.

As I mentioned in my sidebar last week, I spend a few dollars each year after Christmas to buy Christmas wrap in generic colors. For example, last year I bought a metallic blue striped roll and a red plaid roll and wrapped birthday and wedding gifts all year. This year I found a gold wrap and a blue wrap with multi-colored stars and circles. I also bought matching tissue papers, bows, and gift bags. Between them all, we spent less than $10. If you wait to buy the skimpy rolls of birthday wrap every time you have a birthday throughout the year, you will spend way more than ten bucks.

As I mentioned in a previous post on frugality, the local newspaper is a great source of free activities for your family to do. Just by reading the paper, we have signed up Weston for a local history class ($2) where he made a dream catcher, learned how to frame a hide, and found out where all the state parks are in our state. Earlier in the year he went to a class on bug life ($2.) We saw a night time lighted Christmas parade (free.) We welcomed the cows home from the mountain and heard rousing country music at 7:00 a.m. (free.) During a summer parade Weston scored a free t-shirt, a jug of milk, some pens and candy (free.) We attended an outdoor community concert of Celtic music (free.) On a June night we watched an outdoor historical/religious pageant (free.) We went to a patriotic event at a local stadium that had music, fireworks and a Patrick Henry reading (free.) A local author visited our school and gave a presentation (free) after we saw in the paper that he had done so for other schools. So as you can see, our family is very active for very little cost. People might assume that we spend lots of money because of all that we do. 75 cents a week to our local newspaper publisher covers it.

What triggered YOUR creativity this year?


  1. Tomorrow I am going to a crochet party at the local bookstore, free AND fabulous!

    Also, the candy cane/hot chocolate idea is super sassy. That has to be the most inventive holiday awesome ever!!

    What really sparked my creativity this year was sounds lame except there really wasn't much else to do in the middle of Nowhere, TN. I was able to create several visual projects that I was really happy with.

  2. Hayden: So do you already know how to crochet or are they giving lessons? Fun fun! You'll have to let us know how it goes.

    I must say, you are quite the creative blogger. I am always amazed at the innovative content you come up with, day after day. I was really amazed at those visual projects you did.

  3. I think I need to tell everyone about cocoa and candy cane! My golly, that's a superb idea.

    My little guy triggers my creativity. He loves a good, crazy story, and particularly enjoys nutty stories I make up about characters he knows and loves.

    Blogging too. When I read what others write, it sparks something in my head. I get intensely intrigued, and inspired by something, and then my brain goes on a fritz. I love the feeling when I just can't stop writing because I'm just 'spewing' my thoughts, ideas and opinions.

  4. Your mama would be proud of your creative frugality. Does it include shopping at her favorite store, Goodwill?

  5. Daisy: I loved that cocoa/cane idea too. I wish I had thought of it myself!

    I loved how you mentioned that your son sparks your creativity. Kids for sure do that for us. I'd love to hear your nutty stories!

    I know how you feel about blogging! I've done that too! (In fact, that's where this idea for this series of posts came from---someone else's head!) Most writers will understand exactly what you are talking about---when you just can't stop writing because ideas just keep coming. Do you ever get satisfaction just from hearing your keyboard keys clicking?

  6. Auntie M: Heh, heh---where do you think I learned it? From the master! :) Sadly, we have no Goodwill around here. Utah has Deseret Industries, but even then the closest one is an hour away so I have never been in one! For shame.

  7. Randi -

    Two words: CLARK HOWARD

    God Bless,

  8. Adam: I shall have to go inspect pronto...

  9. Adam: Ok, I'm back.What a powerful set of two words! Mama! I think I will have to go hang out there for days. Thanks a bunch for submitting that site.

  10. Randi -

    Yeah he's got a shown on CNN/HLN:

    I am not sure if you can get his radio station in your area:

    Richfield KSVC 980 /
    Salt Lake City KACP 570 /
    Spanish Valley KCPX 1490

    You can get the podcasts but he doesn't keep them current like other shows. But the daily show notes usually are & he has some great money saving tips on those. He's got some great books to BTW.

    Funny story, I would leave on two radios at home for my Australian shepherd (the one of my Facebook page), one tuned to "smooth jazz" the other to the station Clark comes on, I would consistently find her sitting in front of the radio with Clark on.

    What's even sadder is that my new Aussie seems to know who Obama is, she pokes & kisses me whenever she sees him on tv (bad liberal dog) :)

    God Bless,

  11. Adam: That's funny about your dogs! One that likes being frugal and another who knows the president. I once saw a video of a lady and her dog and the dog would not eat out of her hand if she said the president's name.Otherwise he would.

  12. Randi -

    Yeah Smokey is on the other side of the veil right now, she passed over due to bone cancer last year & I miss her dearly. It doesn't stop her from interrupting my prayers every night though, sounds crazy... I can't wait to see her again in the flesh, she is a dear friend.

    I don't know where the other dog picked up her love of Obama, not from me ;) She was a rescue from

    God Bless,

  13. I've started knitting again. I'm loving it. I don't know if my kids want another scarf :) I better expand my knitting choices. Blogging has become a very creative outlet for me. I love the chance to share, laugh and write my poetry. I like the idea of an indoor garden. You should see the flower photos that I just hung up in my kitchen. I love flowers.

  14. Adam:Sorry about the loss of your dog. That is never easy.

    Septembermom: That's fun that you knit! I'd love to be able to, especially since I've been looking at pictures of some of the stuff my cousin is knitting, and they are so cool!

    I'm glad you find creative outlet in your blog because I love going there! The painting are always inspirational, as is your poetry that you can rattle off in an instant. I love flowers us some pictures of the flowers you hung!


You won't be paid for it, but at least you'll know that you have contributed intelligence to the universe...

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