thrifty joy!

you are about to read a blog post dedicated to colorful tape & a roasted peanuts can. but really- it is so much more than that. i am often convicted of my personal spending habits. luke & i bring home a very modest amount of money each month & one of my goals is to spend it wisely. i have slowly learned- with many mistakes sprinkled throughout- that we can live within our means & not spend very much to live a purposeful, happy life.

when i first began sharing happy mail with others, i was a little worried that i wouldn't be able to afford the project. i have shared this before, but we budget a certain amount of money each month - $50 to be exact - on "projects." this includes home projects, craft projects & personal projects. so, if i want to mail a little package to a friend, that means i am cutting into my money for projects around the home. this can be so frustrating at times, but it encourages much more creative & thrifty outcomes.

so, when i got the itch to send my dear friend jennifer a little package, i had about $5 left in the budget (the perfect amount to cover shipping). i began looking around our home & came up with this:

a peanut can. oh, how badly i wanted to stop by target & purchase a cute little glass jar (she's worth it, too!), but i knew that can was the best option. i cleaned it out, gathered my supplies & decided to mail my girl a party can! 

i wrapped the peanut can in washi tape from my stash (several layers are needed to cover the logo) & added a bit of fun tissue paper from my wrapping station. just a tip- always, always, always save your tissue paper! it will come in handy for wrapping gifts & adding a layer of extra protection when mailing a potentially breakable item.

i stuffed the little can full of white tags adorned with fun tape, little clothespins, kraft stickers, twine, ribbon, little handmade bits & a handful of colorful confetti for fun.

i used my rubber stamps to add a little "&" to a couple of wooden tags purchased at the craft store on clearance a couple of months ago. i love adding the little details to make a gift extra special.

i finished this quick & simple project with a couple of stickers & a vintage fabric ribbon.

this idea could be used for creating easter baskets, crafting homemade birthday gifts or sending your friend a little something to brighten her day. the most important takeaway is to use what you have on hand & create within your budget. 

here are some more ideas & tips for thrifty creativity:
- save your jars, food containers, etc. i love using glass jars from salsa & other condiments for another project. here's a cute & affordable tutorial!
- don't purchase a box. it is so tempting to purchase a box from the post office for mailing your happymail goodies. instead, find that old shoebox in the back of your closet & decorate it with stickers & colorful paper you already have on hand.
- purchase things you use often when they are on sale. when i see something i use often, like white gift tags & twine, i will purchase it even if i still have some left at home. this only applies to well-used items.  even though those cute things are on sale doesn't mean you buy them when you have several of those things at home that go unused. this is a consumer trap! i would rather spend my money on something i will use & need
- buy secondhand. i love finding little things for loved ones from thrift stores & flea markets. the items are usually unique & affordable. i love the excitement of the thrifty hunt!
- avoid your weaknesses. my weaknesses are target & hobby lobby. unless i need something from one of those stores, i avoid going there. there's nothing worst than leaving with a bag of stuff you will have regrets about the next day. it feels much better to spend money you have on things you will enjoy owning down the road.
- host a craft supply swap! i hosted a craft supply swap during the fall & had great success. i swapped some of my supplies for a few beautiful skeins of yarn & a couple of canvases. it was so much fun & a great way to connect with my crafty friends.

friends, i am no expert. my husband & i dialogue quite a bit, though, about staying within our financial goals & this also applies to my creative life. being mindful of our limited budget can be frustrating, but it can also be freeing to see what you can do with those things that would otherwise be wasted or go unused. 

i would love to know- how do you stay mindful of your spending when being creative?



dänika said...

That is a beautiful & fun package! Thanks for the inspiration - by the time I had seen the first two pictures you posted, I knew exactly what I was going to do; I had JUST noticed how messy the diaper/wipes shelf in my linen closet is, and thought how much nicer they'd look in a basket...but we are also being very careful with money right now, and I knew I wouldn't feel right about spending money at Target for a lovely basket. After seeing your post, I dug out a diaper box that was about to be put in our recycling bin, cut off the flaps, and wrapped the box in pretty paper. It's not perfect, but it was free, gets the job done, and the shelf definitely looks better than it did 20 minutes ago! :)

Little Red Motherhood said...

This is really a sweet idea. What a fun happy mail package. I know all about money being tight and carefully budgeted. I always search thrift stores and clearance racks. I also always save glass jars (ex pickle jars)and any box that comes our way. Paint swatches make great boxes too. A little goes a long way.

natalie said...

danika, that is such a great idea! & then once you have enough money budgeted for that basket, it feels so much better buying it! :)

natalie said...

stephanie- explain these paint swatches... :)

Laura Norcross said...

Fun package! Great tips. I've been holding off on some of my happy mail packages because of the expenses. Tape, stamps, boxes, and fun things all have low price tags but they sure add up quickly! Thank you for this.

Linn said...

It's so inspiring to read about your financial goals and how you create a beautiful life within those frames. I'm convinced. I know it's possible. There's a reason why some want us to believe it's not and that we have to spend to be happy.

Little Red Motherhood said...


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