Childfreelife’s Weblog











The dress-up holiday season started at Halloween and it won’t end until New Years or even Valentine’s day. If you follow the hype and are very self-conscious, you might decide you have to wear a different outfit every year to every holiday. Even at thriftstore prices this is an unnecessary expense. We are adults, we don’t grow that much from year to year, and we have enough self confidence to pull off making our own unpopular decisions. I read in a personal finance blog and a friends homelife blog the crisis of children’s halloween costumes. These little tykes are really hyped up to dress up as something in particular and if they don’t it is heartbreaking for them. Adults around them might take a part in setting the expectation because every year they also make a big deal about what do dress up as. We are adults, we don’t have kids, do we have to act like that? no!

But adults carry this out to every holiday party and event–to the point that at least 4 new outfits are needed per year. Is this necessary? The holidays are all at the least a week apart. Couldn’t you get one nice outfit and wear it to Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years and even Valentines day? A woman looks stunning in a dress with the right fit and a flattering color. My husband has a favorite dress of mine (I like it too) and I can keep wearing it for several holidays and it even doubles as a witch’s dress on Halloween (I bought a nice witch hat and I wear a similar outfit every year, I just change up the socks, shoes and makeup). I have had this dress for a few years and it only gets worn once every month or two. I can dress it up with other clothes I have–boots, high heels, jackets that I wear for work or other holidays. I am not saying I only have one dress, but I am suggesting that you don’t need a new dress every month over the holidays to look great and enjoy the holidays.

If you spent even $5 dollars per outfit for the holiday season, that would be $20.00-$25.00 per year on one use clothing. Consider cutting back and having one or two outfits you can wear year to year and for several holidays. Also look to clothes you already have to compliment your outfit. Perhaps you can wear one of your dress shirts for work with your holiday suit instead of getting a new shirt. Perhaps you can wear the exact same base outfit you wore last on Thanksgiving to Yuletide parties with a different tie or scarf from your collection to make it stand out differently.

Good luck and be creative!



Some people spend more money than others on entertainment materials.  Trent at the simple dollar used to spend a ton on books and dvds.  Some folks go crazy on CDs or magazines.   I spend some money on books, not a lot, likely less than $50.00 a month, and even less on movies, magazines and CDs. But with my husband out of work, even the odd used book is more than I really should spend.  I consider this tip neither a little chunk savings nor a big chunk savings because it could be either on a sliding scale based on how much you spend in these catagories.

But I get excited, I am growing unusual plants as a hobby, (a fairly cheap hobby if you start from seed), and I saw a book I wanted.  I decided to be a good personal finance blogger and check to see if it was at my local library first, before I pushed buy.  I am glad I did!  The local downtown library has it, and I took a simple train ride down there at lunch, signed up for a library card and viola! I have my book–and a few more I spotted along the way, no guilt, they are free to read 🙂  If I had taken this many books home from the bookstore, we would be broke!

How to use the library:

Start with a book you want to read, you saw a review, your friend mentioned it, you were researching unusual plants and the book title came up.  Then check your libraries online catalog to see if they have it.  Browse the library catalog for a few more books by that author or in that subject area.  But don’t stop there.  Go to the sections of the library your favorite subjects kept turning up in.  Even if they didn’t have your book, there are so many other interesting books in that section!  I was looking at the book about the unusual plants, and on the same shelf was a book about werewolves (I was in the folklore area).  I had to grab it!  Next time I visit the library I am going to visit that area again to see what else catches my eye.

What libraries offer:

The public library carries CDs, DVDs, Books, Magazines, and Newspapers.  Take advantage of your local library to save whatever amount of money you tend to spend on these things per month. The library has internet access–great when yours goes down!  That means you can read childfreelife’s weblog at the library!  word

Libraries offer seperate sections for children.  Up on the top floor in the science and business section, there is an abundance of peace and quiet.  While libraries are not child-free areas, some areas of libraries end up being so.  If you want to find a quiet place, and don’t mind that you may not be allowed to check out the books, I can highly recommend academic libraries, the likely hood of noisy children is even lower at a higher institution.

If one of your local libaries is air conditioned, consider it a great place to spend a quiet summer afternoon, without having to run your air conditioner.  A lot of libraries have padded chairs you can curl up in, bright lighting for reading, and an endless supply of books and magazines for your reading pleasure!

But I have to have it in my collection!

Ownership is over-rated.  Unless you use the same book or dvd everyday or every week (like a bible or a school text book), you don’t have to own it.  The Frankenstein movie will be there next month when you want to watch it again, and if it is checked out you can put it on hold.   If you use books for research writing, use a cheap at home scanner to scan particular pages you will need to reference again.  I have a cheap scanner about the size of a fall vogue issue and it is great for making quick records of pages, photos, and such for reference purposes.  (you don’t need a state of the art scanner unless you are archiving photos, scanning your artwork for prints, or using scans for advertising purposes).

I do have some books I do have to own, I reference them very regularly.  But for the most part, I can borrow a book and get more value out of the library than a bookstore.

Downsizing:

Do you have too many books, dvds and cds?  Could you downsize your library by selling what you don’t need because the local library has a copy already?  Sure you might want to watch Rambo again someday, but you can sell it with a feeling of security that should you ever wish to see it again, you can borrow it from the library.  When weeding through your home collection for books and movies to part with, have the library online catalog open on your computer.  Then you can make a pile of, “I might want it somedays” that you can cross reference to the library collection.  If your local library doesn’t have a copy, but you are unlikely to need the item again soon (and depending on how your library manages things–my library is just as likely to sell the donated items to get funds), you can donate your books and movies to the library directly, and come borrow them again when you want to.



et cetera