May is a notoriously busy month for my family: there are four birthdays, band and choral concerts, dance recitals, awards ceremonies, spring sports, graduations, and an annual camping trip to boot. Needless to say, the calendar gets very full this time of year, and very often the wallet takes a major punch. Between tickets to events, filling up the car with gas, and buying gifts for all, it's tough to stay on budget and keep your head on straight.
Today's five frugal things are not only things that make me smile, but are also things I use as cheap ways to relieve stress and stay calm in the midst of May Madness.
I’ve always enjoyed drawing and painting. I know I’ll never be some great artist, but I find it a great stress reliever to be able to shut the door on all the craziness and let the creative juices flow.
My family and friends know this about me so they usually get me some new paints or sketch pads for my birthday or Christmas. In fact, my kin have kept me so well stocked I’ve only ever had to buy supplies once - and that was for an art class! I’m very thankful to have a steady supply of paints, pencils, and canvas so I can let go and make something whenever I can find a moment to myself! All you really need to get started, though, is a few paints and a piece of paper.
2. Fresh Bread
I think it's very important for everyone to have one solid go-to meal: a healthy fall back option when you don’t know what else to make, or are too busy to think about it too hard. My go-to happens to be a lovely spread of bread, cheese, and hummus. It’s a very balanced meal and I never mind having it (which is good, because sometimes this entre becomes lunch about three times a week!).
All that hummus and cheese can get pricey, but the bread is usually not expensive at all - sometimes we even get it for free. A friend of my dad’s owns a bakery and at the end of the day he can’t always sell his stock of rye bread. Fortunately, he brings it to my dad as a free gift and I get to enjoy fresh bread that costs absolutely nothing!
Personally, I think one is never to old for a ride on the swings. With the weather finally warming up, there is nothing that helps you calm down than even a few moments outside to soak up some sun and fresh air. I love to take a trip to the local park and feel the cool breeze as I fly through the air on the swingset.
It costs just the price of gas (if you even have to drive) to escape for a few minutes on the playground. You can go alone, with the kiddos, with some friends, or even as a nice frugal date idea with your signifiant other. The ride will make you feel refreshed and as energetic as a kid again - I can almost promise you that!
Where do I begin with candles? How about how they can make the whole room smell amazing. How about how aromatherapy candles (or just about any candle in my book) can help relieve stress and calm the senses. How about how watching a flickering flame for even a few moments just totally relaxes me and makes me feel at home. Happy space = happy face.
I don't know about you, but I always get a ton of candles as gifts from neighbors and coworkers at Christmas, and then I forget about them and let them just take up space. Do yourself a favor: take three seconds and light one - while you're doing the dishes or having dinner or balancing the checkbook - and it will help just burn those overwhelming senses away.
With so much going on in May, who has time to worry about the most menial, common tasks - like picking out an outfit. Fortunately like my go-to meal, I have a go-to outfit: jeans, t-shirt, and a scarf (add a blazer or cardigan if necessary). It's simple, always cute, and appropriate for just about any occasion.
I love scarves, and have built quite a collection. I don't love how much they usually cost. However, I have even found a way around that. In order to save money while I feed my scarf addiction, I have made my own scarves (out of scrap fabric or even an old t-shirt) and bought them at thrift shops. You can find lots of inspiration for making scarves or working them into your wardobe on sites like Etsy and Pinterest.
How do you keep calm and carry on during May Madness? What frugal things are you thankful for?