Hello everyone! I’ve been noting a few frugal accomplishments in the comments on Brandy’s blog, The Prudent Homemaker, the past couple of weeks. Since I’ve been so quiet here lately, I thought I’d share the rest of my December frugal notes with here today. I just realized that with the timing of the holidays, our next Frugal Accomplishments recap will fall on the very last day of the year. How fun!
Okay, here’s my breakdown for the past two weeks:
Week ending 17 December 2017:
*Made homemade dishwasher soap
*Used passive solar to heat house (with daytime sun) and keep cold air out (once the sun went down and temps dropped)
*Used warm blankets and Continue reading
Woo, folks, I’m really feeling frisky with the gift list today! A friend of mine took the time to send some positive feedback on the stocking stuffers list and I have to tell you, it really made my week. It’s always encouraging to know that something inspired someone, especially when it’s a topic that is near and dear to my own heart as well. Her comment got me cooking with steam heat, as my mother would say, so I’ve got a big bunch of ideas for you.
Need more? My first two preparedness-related stocking stuffer lists are HERE and HERE. I hope you find this list helpful as well, because I’m sure having fun thinking of things for my own family as I go!
- Solar device charger – This seems to be trending for all the techies this year, so go with it! Some chargers will charge two or even three devices at once, so take note of what your intended recipient is using and buy accordingly. Some chargers are rated to charge a smart phone with one outlet and a tablet or the like with the other, so keep an eye on those voltage ratings.
- Luci (or similar) lantern – I purchased a Luci lantern last month and really fell in love with it. There are other brands out there, so check them all out. I was excited to see that our Luci was even already charged when it arrived; if you order one of these for someone, consider leaving it out where it can charge up so they can
play with er, test it immediately.
- Sewing kit – A pocket-size sewing kit can be useful for something as simple as a popped seam or a lost button at an event, so even if your recipient isn’t interested in being the Most Prepared Person EVERRRRR, they’ll find this handy.
- Button jar – Yes, seriously. My mom has given me not one, but TWO button jars. They are adorable decor and super handy. Who here remembers Ma Ingalls giving the girls buttons to make Baby Carrie a toy for Christmas, hmm? Bonus points if you are crafty like my mother and stitch a special button-themed piece of art to make the top of the jar lid pretty!
- Baby wipes – This is a no-brainer if your loved one has a baby; one does not simply leave home without travel wipes! Even once the littles are potty trained, baby wipes are handy – literally. Keep them in the glove box for wiping hands clean after a tire change, throw them in a purse or laptop bag for degerming all the things. Campers, hikers, and hunters can attest that one can wash a variety of bits and bobbets on oneself with baby wipes. Most asked for deployment treat when I sent boxes to my husband? Baby wipes. Feeling splurgy? Get the bigger shower wipes. Oooo, fancy!
- Duct tape – As the old joke goes, if you can’t fix it with duct tape or WD-40, it doesn’t deserve to be fixed. Always handy.
- Tourniquet & a Sharpie marker – Why a Sharpie? So you can write the time the tourniquet was applied – on the tourniquet or on the person, doesn’t matter. SUPER useful if your loved one is an emergency responder or military service member, but also vital for Average Joe and Josephine Citizen thanks to things like active shooter situations. Know a teacher or a CERT member? This is a great gift. If you know they are already trying to become more prepared citizens and are local to them, offer to watch the kids for them so they can attend a Stop the Bleed class. No kids to watch? Attend the class with them – you’ll double the number of citizens who can respond proactively in a crisis. Seriously. Call your local fire department and ask who in your county offers it. (I just went through this training in November and I have to say, it’s amazing. I’m pretty passionate about it now. Can you tell? Can you can you can you?) 😉
- Toilet paper – Okay, this list is heavy on the crafts and the bodily functions. But really, what do humans do the most? Eat stuff, break stuff, and make *ahem* stuff. Just in the last two weeks I’ve seen multiple bloggers discussing the virtues of toilet paper and cloth wipes. Everybody uses something – why not get them something they can use? (Or if they are a family cloth family and you aren’t, something YOU can use when you go visit. heh heh) Particularly useful for college students, starving artists, and well, everybody who poops. Also useful for starting the preparedness conversation with a joke, a la “I know you aren’t interested in having a pallet of MREs, but thought ‘Who doesn’t want extra TP in the cupboard?'” *insert jovial laughter here and wait for them to say they would like to know what MREs are!*
- Rite in the Rain notebook (plus a mini pen or pencil) – Technically any little notepad is handy for the recipient to chuck into their purse, console, or briefcase, but Rite in the Rain products go a step further in usefulness. And if your loved one is an avid outdoorsperson, they will know you went above and beyond with this one. Google them – you won’t be sorry. (And you may want some for your own emergency kit, purse, pocket, glove box…. you know where I’m going here.)
- Travel hygiene kit – And no, I don’t mean those TSA-friendly empty containers that the recipient has to fill with their own stuff, unless you drew the traveling salesman in the office gift swap and have no idea what else s/he could use. (Um, newsflash – lots of things in this series would be good for said gift swap person. #justsayin ) If you have a person who enjoys testing out new fragrances, a goodie bag from someplace like Bath & Body Works would be fun. Know what products they use and know they aren’t open to change? Go with their signature scent or brand. They aren’t into Caramel Apple body butter and Santa’s Cinnamon Shampoo (or whatever scents are hot this year)? Go with basic travel size goodies and know that they can use them on a business trip, in a 72-hour kit, or they can stash them in the linen closet until the day comes that they forgot to buy toothpaste last payday and now they’ve run out – but wait – your gift to the rescue (TA DAAAA)!
- Emergency yarn – Nope, I’m not kidding here. If you know someone who knits or crochets, get them a ball of cotton yarn and the appropriate sized hook or needles. (Don’t know which they use? Get both. They’ve got this. Don’t know how to pick the size? It’s on the label – any craft store clerk can help you find the right one.) Why cotton? Because in an emergency (or boredom on a road trip), your crafter can stitch up at least two wash cloths from one ball of yarn. Also to be used for personal wipes (there we are with potty gifts again…), sweat rags, a baby toy, an emergency dog collar, or copious amounts of other things. Worst case, you’ve got a ball of string that you can tie stuff to other stuff with. Ask my long-suffering spouse, who sees emergency yarn and a hook in his glove box for the rare times I ride in his car instead of in our truck. Which also has emergency yarn in case he’s driving and y’know, traffic. We may or may not have family members who got handed a wash cloth when we got to their house after sitting in traffic at length. Hey – handmade gifts rock, right?
- Battery-operated emergency triangle – If you live in a dry area, road flares can be a little anxiety-inducing. Nobody wants to be changing a tire and start a wildfire by mistake, right? Look for a batter-powered flashing triangle. There are even handheld LED types that have a regular white light for flashlight uses; they have a hook on the top and magnets on the back so you can hang them inside your hood while assessing an engine issue or stick them to the trunk to warn oncoming motorists of your disabled vehicle. They are also helpful for distracting small children in the backseat during long drives – just keep an eye on those batteries. Not that my child has ever left one on when we got home, no, not that.
How did November go for you? Did you accomplish some of what you hoped to? You can see my November list here, with updates. Now, on to December! I’ve decided to shorten my list this month, so I’ve only put a couple of items in each category. It can be a bit discouraging to have a long list of things and only get a portion of them done; I’d much rather look back on each week and have the potential to ADD things that I did instead.
PANTRY & PREPAREDNESS:
Sort & scan vital documents to USB drive
Write preparedness curriculum for kids’ 2nd semester (This started as a social studies unit study, because Continue reading