What’s on a minimalists’ dream baby registry?

What’s on a minimalists’ dream baby registry?

DISCLAIMER: This post may contain affiliate links. This means after trying a particular product, I love it enough that I am willing to recommend it to others and the company will pay me a small commission, at no extra cost to you, if you decide to purchase from my affiliate link. I will only recommend products and services that I have tried myself and love. Please click here for my full disclaimer.

 

Having a baby, especially for the first time, is a time where most people throw common sense out the window and buy every single baby item that is marketed to them.

I mean, how is the mum meant to know what she will need to make life easier? How are childless friends meant to know?

While this makes it easy for friends that throw baby-showers, how do you know what the minimalist mum will want and need for her baby?

Pro tip: anything that can be used in a variety of ways will be much appreciated by the minimalist mum.

When I had my first baby, I was given and gifted every baby item under the sun.

A lot of the items, although appreciated,  weren’t overly useful to us and were only used once or twice before we realised they just took up more room in the house.

Now that we have baby number 2 due very soon, I thought about what items we decided to use so that we get the most use out of.

What are essential items for the minimalist mum?

Travel and sleep essentials:

  1. Pram with a bassinet attachment – this saves mum having to purchase a separate bassinet and port-a-cot if they are travelling.
  2. Pram liner.
  3. A convertible car seat that is suitable from birth to 4-8 years.
  4. Woven Wrap to carry the baby in – a woven wrap can be used from 3kg until toddlerhood and can be tied in a variety of ways.
  5. Lightweight baby rocker.
  6. Cot or Bassinet Sheets.
  7. Baby quilt – this can also double as a play mat on the floor. Etsy has some adorable handmade quilts.

Feeding essentials

  1. Reusable breast pads – you can even make your own if you’re handy with a sewing machine.
  2. Natural nipple balm.
  3. An electric breast pump – I recommend a Spectra S2.

 Changing essentials

  1. Terry towel flat cloth nappies (they can double as spew rags if needed).
  2. OSFM Cloth nappies – these are suitable for babies from 4kg until they are toilet trained.
  3. Reusable cloth wipes – you can even make your own if you’re handy with a sewing machine.
  4. Nappy pail – a normal bucket with a lid is perfect.
  5. Natural nappy cream.

 Clothing

  1. Singlets – with press studs on the bottom.
  2. Socks.
  3. Grow suits.
  4. Leggings.
  5. Hats.

Now you’ve seen the essentials that are on a minimalists’ baby registry, what are yours? Reach out and add them to the Facebook thread

 

Essential items on a minimalist's baby registryEssential items on a minimalist's baby registry
items-on-a-minimalist-baby-registry
How to declutter your life after decluttering your home

How to declutter your life after decluttering your home

DISCLAIMER: This post may contain affiliate links. This means after trying a particular product, I love it enough that I am willing to recommend it to others and the company will pay me a small commission, at no extra cost to you, if you decide to purchase from my affiliate link. I will only recommend products and services that I have tried myself and love. Please click here for my full disclaimer.

So you’ve completed the ULTIMATE declutter after ditching minimalism for intentional living. If you haven’t already, check out my Ditching Minimalism post.

How ditching minimalism saved my sanity

So what’s next to maintain the momentum of decluttering your mind and simplifying your life? If you’re now asking ‘how to organise my life’ after you’ve decluttered your home, then this post is perfect for you.

Check out these 5 simple steps to maintain the momentum in living with intention and to declutter your life.

#1. Sell/donate any unwanted items from your purge

Have you done this already?

How many of you are guilty of doing a cleanout and then leaving the items you’ve decided to get rid of in a pile by the door, in the spare room or in the car for weeks, or even months after the clean?  Make sure you clear the clutter as soon as you can.

My general rule of thumb now is that you need to sell or donate the item(s) within a week of deciding to get rid of it.

Keep track of how much you make selling online so you can understand the monetary value that decluttering your home has had.

I’ve included a printable tracker in my Declutter Your Life workbook for busy families. Having a tracker will help keep you accountable to removing the unwanted items from your home. Plus it’s a fantastic reminder of how much money you can make selling unwanted and unneeded household items.

#2. Cleaning schedule to maintain the house

Working parents need to be organised to maintain a tidy home unless you’re willing to sacrifice several hours of your weekend getting the house in a tidy state for the week ahead.

Allocate a cleaning task to each day of the week so you maintain a level of cleanliness in your home.

As the kids get older, it becomes even easier because family members can rotate tasks.

There’s also a printable you can download as part of my Declutter your Life workbook. Now you can keep track of what task is done when and by whom.

#3. Make the house smell fresh

So the house IS clean but what makes it FEEL clean? When you’re home, open up the house and let the sunshine and fresh air roll through.

But if you can’t leave windows and doors open because you’re at work or it’s freezing cold, but like me, you love walking into my home after a day of work and to a lovely smelling home, you need some fresh scents.

We make our own linen scents and spritz them on the sheets when we make the bed so the smell eventually permeates the rest of the house.

I also have an essential oil diffuser in each room so this helps us keep our home smelling beautiful. My favourite diffuser (I have a few different brands scattered throughout the house) is my Plant Therapy one. This thing gets a thrashing in my lounge room.

Plant Therapy Aromafuse Diffuser

After using my essential oils tracker, I’ve created some nice images of my favourite blends so I can save them on Pinterest or Instagram. Here are some of my favourite diffuser blends for the house.

Diffuser Blend - Uplifting Citrus | Simplify your life | Declutter your life | Naturally Busy

Diffuser Blend - Australian Summer | Declutter your life | Naturally Busy

Diffuser Blend - Sweet Summer | Declutter your life | Naturally Busy

#4. Make a list of any purchases the family wants and assess the necessity

Even though you’ve decluttered the house for now, eventually there will be a need for a new item.

The key to maintaining an intentional living approach is to assess the necessity of the item.

  • Will it add long-term value?
  • Can you afford it with cash?
  • Will it have its own home once you bring it home?

If so, add it to a list of items and prioritise it in terms of how soon it is needed in the house.

Here’s a look at what my husband and I want for our home / personal lives. We collate all our ideas onto a shared Trello board and review them, and reorder the list as required.

Things to purchase trello board

#5. Review the family finances and see what you need to adjust

For me, finances are the biggest thing you can simplify in your life, after your home.

While your mind is actively in a state where it is focusing on intentional living, take a look at your finances. Does your family live paycheck to paycheck?

If so, it’s time to declutter your finances in order to simplify your life.

Where do you start?

Family finances are the only thing I will agree that using the Konmari method of decluttering is productive to your goals of living with intention.

Start by auditing your bank statements and find where money is pouring out.

Is it takeaway food? A takeaway coffee every day? Where can you plug the hole?

When I started full-time work and started getting paid monthly, I knew I had to budget to make the paycheck last an entire month.

I wrote down the expenses I am responsible for (my husband pays the rest from his paycheck)

  • Food shopping (including incidental trips and takeaway) – 20% of my pay.
  • Childcare – 25% of my pay
  • Travelling to work expenses and fuel- 10%
  • Bills (electricity, phone and car registration) – 10%
  • Saving – 20% of my pay
  • Anything leftover is my spending fund, which is about 15% normally.

Pay down debts

We are exceptionally lucky we don’t have any debt except our mortgage (as my student debt is deducted from my paycheck) so we can afford to save so much. ALWAYS pay down debt to reduce interest you will pay before adding significant amounts to savings.

If you have debts and if your pre-audit “spending money” exceeds more than 10-15% of your income, then it’s time to assess where that money is going to make sure your family isn’t struggling between each paycheck.

Manage your spending money for the pay cycle

Setting up an electronic “envelope” system with my bank accounts helps to reduce over-spending. I move all funds to their nominated accounts or payees on as soon as my pay comes in. Because I only have a debit card for the spending account, I can never overspend throughout the month.

Once the spendings money is gone, that’s it. You might even want to take the month’s spending money out as cash to make it last the entire month.

As long as you have the willpower not to transfer money from savings or bills accounts to supplement a spending deficit, this system will really help you go beyond the paycheck to paycheck cycle.

Decluttering my finances makes my life so much easier.

A quick case study on using this system to declutter your finances

My best friend (who didn’t want to be named) used this same financial declutter system to help clear her consumer debt a lot sooner than if she’d just stuck to minimum payments.

Rather than saving straight away, she made extra repayments (money she found by reducing her incidental spending money to 10% of each pay) on her personal loans each pay to reduce the interest and therefore cleared the loan much sooner.

Within 18 months of clearing her personal loans, she was able to save enough of her paycheck to allow her to quit her job and backpack over Europe for months (she’s still there AND thinking about side hustles to bring in passive income while she sees the world)!

Helpful resources

Check out books such as the Barefoot Investor and The Total Money Makeover to get started in completely decluttering your family’s finances if you need to.

The Barefoot Investor

The Total Money Makeover: Classic Edition

It takes some sacrifice. But I’d rather make small sacrifices on non-essential expenses that serve no long-term purpose in my life than lay awake at night stressing about how I’m going to pay the essential expenses.

It’s this way of life that made it easy for my husband and me to purchase a brand new mattress and then a new oven two days later when our oven blew up, without stressing about where we would find the money to cover this emergency.

Taking such simple steps to simplify your life and mind after you’ve decluttered your home is the next step in the path of intentional living. And once you’re living with intention, the rest comes so easy.

I’ve combined all the various printable systems I used to simplify my life over the years and put it in one printable package for you so you can take it away and slowly declutter and simplify the rest of your life.

5 simple ways to declutter your life once you've decluttered your home | Simplify your Life
5 simple ways to declutter your life once you've decluttered your home | Simplify your Life
5 easy ways you can simplify your life after you've decluttered your home
Planning a family holiday…the frugal way

Planning a family holiday…the frugal way

DISCLAIMER: This post may contain affiliate links. This means after trying a particular product, I love it enough that I am willing to recommend it to others and the company will pay me a small commission, at no extra cost to you, if you decide to purchase from my affiliate link. I will only recommend products and services that I have tried myself and love. Please click here for my full disclaimer.

 

A lot of my friends and family are often surprised when I tell them that we are taking a family holiday. You see, I’m known as a penny-hoarder or the Queen of Frugal in my circle.

But being money-savvy and frugal doesn’t mean we go without.

My husband and I are frugal with everyday life so we can afford fun experiences as a family, without relying on credit or going without.

Planning a family holiday do require more effort, that’s part of the fun.

We plan our budget and a loose itinerary prior to leaving so that we don’t have any nasty financial surprises during our holiday. It means we don’t feel tense wondering how we are going to afford the activities on the holiday.

So how do we plan a fun family holiday?

Start with your budget

There’s no point going through this process if your holiday aspirations don’t meet your budget.

Questions to ask when setting your family budget

  • How long do you want to go away for?
  • When do you want to go on holiday?
  • Do you have enough time to comfortably save for a holiday between the planning stage and going on your family holiday?
  • What can your family comfortably afford to save each pay cheque for this family holiday?

Once you know how much you’re willing to spend on your fun family holiday, then you can decide other details, such as, when you’re travelling, the location, travel, and activities.

How can you save money on your fun family vacation?

The simple answer – scout the internet for fantastic travel, accommodation and activity deals.

Rewards programs

Check if your supermarket rewards programs offer deals on travel.

Both my major supermarket rewards programs offer the option to cash points out for airline rewards points that could be put towards flights if needed.

In my case, exchanging the points to flight programs are never really worth it for airfares. However, the Coles Flybuys program also offers bonus points AND special prices on flights, accommodation, car hire, and cruises, or packages that include flights and accommodation.

Other ways to save when making travel bookings online

Before you make any purchases/bookings for your family holiday, use Google Chrome and install the Honey extension.

Honey is an extension that scours the web for discounts applicable to the site you’re on. This is extremely helpful when booking flights, accommodation and activities. Click here to install the Honey Chrome extension ( this is a referral link which gives me a bonus discount on Honey when I make online purchases – thanks for helping me 😉 )

You can also utilise cashback sites such as Top Cash Back, which offers between 6 and 12 percent cashback on purchases made through one of their approved travel vendors. The cashback earned can be paid out into your PayPal account as well, which is handy for beefing up your family holiday budget.

Travelling to your holiday destination

Scout airline websites for special price airfares. Most airlines will allow you to save a price alert for flights to your destination so that you can receive email alerts when flights are within your nominated price range.

Sites that offer email alerts for airfare prices are:

You can also get holiday packages that include accommodation from discount sites, such as Groupon or Scoopon.

Groupon is my favourite way to snag bargains for my family holiday. Sometimes the entire family holiday is based on a Groupon deal I have found because the price is too good. Just make sure you check the fine print to check when the travel voucher is valid for.

 

What kind of accommodation do you need?

99 percent of the time, you will need to avoid staying in expensive hotels to avoid breaking your family holiday budget.

Unless you want to lay about a luxury resort and you don’t allocate any spending money to holiday activities, you’ll need to consider self-contained apartments or home-stay options such as Airbnb.

Staying in a self-contained apartment or homestay will also help you save on your food expenses during your holiday.

When searching for accommodation, have a look for somewhere that is close to a local supermarket, close to public transport or close to taxi access (if taxis are an affordable form of transport).

Another benefit of a self-contained apartment is that there are normally parking facilities available so car hire may be an option.

My favourite places for finding affordable, yet comfortable accommodation are:

The reason I love using the above sites to hunt for affordable accommodation is that they have extensive search filters.

These search filters allow me to filter search results by amenities, which helps find affordable accommodation with a kitchen.

Download my 12 page Family Holiday Planning Guide to keep track of what deals you find on each website and compare the best prices.

What holiday activities do you want to do?

When you have decided where you are going and what kind of accommodation you need, you can look at holiday activities.

The best way to save money on holiday activities is to scout local coupon sites, such as Groupon, Cudo (previously LivingSocial), or Scoopon. 

These sites often have discounts on family passes for theme parks, local zoos, and other local experiences.

You could probably even scout out the local restaurant deals and plan meals around local deals you score.

My favourite thing to do when on holiday is to explore the local markets because there’s such a variety of things to keep the family entertained.

Consider travel insurance in your budget planning

As with flights, accommodation, food, and activities, you need to factor in travel insurance in your budget.

If you can’t afford travel insurance, then you can’t afford to travel.

Travel insurance not only covers medical emergencies on your holiday but also missed flights, additional accommodation expenses or lost and stolen personal goods. Your fun family holiday won’t be fun if you don’t have insurance to cover you for any issues that arise.

There you have it… my top tips for planning a fun family holiday without breaking the family finances. If you want a blueprint for creating a family holiday budget as well as planning for a family holiday, make sure you download my Family Holiday Planning Guide below.

Planning a family holiday
Don’t waste your money on these 5 baby items

Don’t waste your money on these 5 baby items

DISCLAIMER: this post may contain affiliate links for the products I recommend for use INSTEAD of products I don’t recommend. I will disclose which links I may earn a small commission from if you purchase the product through my link with (#afflink) next to the affiliate link. Affiliate compensation helps me run this website and the costs involved with. Read my full disclaimer here

Being a first-time mum, I got sucked into a lot of mum’s groups, other relatives and friends and all the advice the internet had to offer on being prepared for the baby’s arrival.

I was that neurotic, super organised pregnant lady who had the nursery completed by 28 weeks and my hospital bag packed, armed with my birth plan on a neat piece of paper, at 30 weeks.

You need to sift through all the information you are given and find the common items and suggestions needed, and even then, you won’t actually know what works for you until your baby arrives.

Here are some of the items I wish I hadn’t wasted my money on:

#1 Pre-walker Baby Shoes

When my husband and I found out we are having a little girl, I kind of went crazy looking for adorable outfits for her. And this most definitely included itty-bitty shoes.

But… have you ever tried to get shoes on a baby? I have, and let me tell you, until your child is walking, attempting to put shoes on an infant will be the biggest waste of your valuable naptime.

Unless you’re from an icy cold climate where the warmest socks are still not enough for warmth, shoes for babies before they are walking are a waste of time and money.

I come from Perth, Australia where our summers are 30- 35 degrees average and winter averages about 20 degrees.

Fleecy socks were very suitable on cooler days, but we had absolutely no need for shoes (except for cute baby fashion) until my daughter started walking and was more cooperative when we put shoes on.

#2 Baby food processor

A food processor designed purely for baby food? This would have to be one of the biggest wastes of money for a baby. You can achieve the same result just using your regular blender or food processor.

Steam the vegetables using hot water and a regular pot on the stove, then add it to the blender and blend it all up. VOILA- you have baby puree.

There is no need for a fancy, baby-specific appliance that just takes up more room on your kitchen bench, clutters the kitchen and you’ll only use it for 6 months or so before your child is eating more solid food.

Keep it simple. You don’t need extra gadgets to clean, dry and reassemble when you have a baby. Half the time, you’d probably be making the same vegetable for the rest of the family. Nobody wants more dishes than necessary.

We have a Breville BBL605XL Hemisphere Control Blender which has preset functions depending on what consistency you want your food to and it is perfect for baby purees if you don’t do baby led weaning. One jug to clean and you’re done.

#3 Branded Breastmilk Storage Bags

I was horrified to find that branded breastmilk storage bags go for around $25 in some pharmacies for a 20 pack of Medela breast milk storage bags.

As anyone who knows me knows, I’m as frugal as you can get. So I just bought regular ziplock bags from the supermarket for $2 and get more than 50 bags.

They’re reusable if you sterilize them after each use as branded breast milk storage bags and a fraction of the price

Sure, the supermarket ziplock bags don’t have a measurement on them, but you can just check the bottle you expressed into before transferring the milk to the bag and then write the amount in marker on the bag. $2 for more than double the amount of bags. To me, it’s a no-brainer.

#4 Bumbo

I had a lot of parents swear the miracles of a Bumbo. So I made sure I got the one my aunt use for my cousin when they were finished with it.

I didn’t see the magic.

I had a rocker for my daughter that she preferred because she would have toys to look at. The bumbo frustrated her because she just sat there.

My daughter also had hip dysplasia and was in a Pavlik and rhino harness so she couldn’t even use the Bumbo half the time.

The only this I will say about the Bumbo, is that I can see the merits of it as a portable highchair for children when travelling. It doesn’t take up as much room as a highchair would so would be perfect for frequently travelling families that feed on the go.

Bumbo

#5 Wipes warmer

I may have been silly enough to buy gadgets such as the baby food processes (albeit secondhand), but I never actually went as far as purchasing a Wipes Warmer.

To me, this is consumerism gone mad, preying on parents and their need to mollycoddle their children.

I never had one of these. I saw a relative use one and was baffled.

You can get the same result by holding the wet wipe between your palms for 20seconds and allowing your body temperature to warm the wipe.

Or, unless you’re in the Antarctic, your kid could just deal with the momentary cold wet wipe on their bum before you put a fresh nappy on them.

So there are the items that I think are a waste of time and money. But… I also have a list of baby items that are essential to my parenting routine.

What baby items did you find utterly unhelpful? Post them in the comments below.

5 easy steps to hosting an affordable family Christmas lunch

5 easy steps to hosting an affordable family Christmas lunch

DISCLAIMER: This post may contain affiliate links. This means after trying a particular product, I love it enough that I am willing to recommend it to others and the company will pay me a small commission, at no extra cost to you, if you decide to purchase from my affiliate link. I will only recommend products and services that I have tried myself and love. Please click here for my full disclaimer.

How did I end up hosting Christmas?

Let me start with a story. Last year at Christmas, things got stressful. With Mum cooking for 15 people and being the perfectionist that she is, she usually spends the entirety of Christmas Eve and Christmas morning slaving in the kitchen to prepare our Christmas feast for lunch.

It’s the middle of summer in Australia so she’s hot and bothered with the oven on. We all offer to help but the perfectionist in Mum declines any such help. But when she has so many dishes to juggle, the stress starts mounting and the house becomes chaotic as we scramble to set the table and help Mum as best we can.

Now that I have an almost 3-year-old, I thought I would try making Mum’s life easier by saying, ‘Next year, we’re (my husband, Ella and I) are going to have Christmas at our house’. The logic being that Ella could spend Christmas at home, we wouldn’t have to get a sitter for the dogs and it would be a lot quieter.

However, this statement was interpreted to mean: ‘We’re hosting the entire family for Christmas’.

And so began the story of how I hosted family Christmas without breaking the bank. Oh and I have included a Christmas planning printable to help you get started.

#1. Start with a guest list.

Write down every expected guest so that you can plan your menu. Account for any plus ones. Call your sister and see if her partner is coming for any part of the day or if he plans on spending Christmas with his own family.

Just make sure you account for every possible guest.

#2 Plan your menu

Start thinking about your Christmas lunch or dinner menu months in advance if you know you are hosting Christmas in advance.

Do any of your guests have preferences? My sister LOVES turkey and cranberry, so we made sure to include a turkey on the menu. My husband loves roast lamb and roast vegetables (how very English of him), so we have that featured on the menu.

And Mum… well, we’d never hear the end of it if there wasn’t a cold shoulder ham, potato salad, green salad and bread rolls available on a hot Christmas in summer.

My brother-in-law would never forgive me if we didn’t have a pavlova for dessert. Oh, and I love shortbread cookies so we need those treats around.

By planning our menu in advance, we can then plan when we need to buy the meats and desserts, as well as get an idea of how much the menu will cost.

#3. Understand the capacity of your kitchen

Can you cater for a hot roast lunch for 15 people? Or 30 people?

We couldn’t host a 15 person hot lunch with our oven capacity so we decided to plan the logistics of how to prepare and serve the food.

Luckily we live in Australia where we have a summer Christmas and therefore it’s very acceptable to serve cold lunches. So part of our menu consists of salads, cold ham, and cold turkey. We roast the turkey the night before because our kitchen cannot service roast lamb, a turkey, and enough roast vegetables for 15 people in one day.

We are also roasting the lamb on Christmas Eve, keeping it slightly rare the night before and allowing it to cool before we slicing it up, putting it in a roasting tray and then warmed the meat in the oven while we roast the vegetables on Christmas Day.

Look at your menu and decide what can be prepared the day before. What will store well overnight? If you’re making Christmas desserts as well, can these be made the weekend before Christmas?

The last thing you want is to be juggling 3 hot meats, 4 salads, and desserts in the space of one Christmas day.

#4. Ask close family members to contribute a dish

While you might not find it appropriate to ask great grandma’s sister to bring a plate of food, it is certainly possible to ask close family members such as your parents and siblings to bring one tray of food for Christmas lunch and everyone shares.

My sister is a potato salad whiz so she and my brother-in-law are bringing That, while my brother, who loves whipping up desserts is bringing the traditional Aussie pavlova. Each family group bringing a dish can SIGNIFICANTLY reduce the food bill if you’re hosting Christmas.

My favourite thing about everyone bringing a dish is that it provide’s a talking point at the Christmas table. When someone compliments a particular dish, the maker can discuss the recipe and it sparks conversations between guests about their methods of preparing the same dish. Trust me, this tactic works a treat when there’s awkward family politics awry at Christmas and you need to diffuse some tension.

#4. Assess your weekly food budget and allocate an extra amount to each food shopping bill to put towards non-perishable items for Christmas

Hosting family Christmas is stressful enough without thinking about the damage to your wallet.

How can you reduce or limit the effect that Christmas can have on your finances? Go back to your Christmas menu and figure out which items you can purchase with your weekly grocery shop and then stash away in the pantry in the weeks before Christmas.

Since Christmas items were released in the supermarkets this year, I’ve just added one packet of fruit mince pies or a Christmas pudding to my shopping trolley and within 8 weeks, we’ve had enough Christmas sweets for all of our guests. For an extra $5-$10 added to my grocery bill for a period of 8 weeks, I have not noticed the extra cost of hosting Christmas.

ShopFully App

Around November, start keeping an eye on supermarket specials for large meat items. Most cold shoulder hams that are vacuum sealed or frozen turkeys purchased from early November will keep fresh for Christmas so you look out for these items on special over the coming weeks and add them to your weekly grocery shop one at a time so that you barely notice the added expense.

To help me find where the supermarket specials are at, I installed the ShopFully app on my phone so I can also see where my weekly specials are. Have a look at the picture I’ve included what my ShopFully groceries catalogue collection looks like so you know you have the right app.

If you want to be really prepared over the course of the entire year, buy a $25 gift card each week at your chain supermarket (preferably one that has partnerships with department stores and/or liquor stores) and stash it away. At Christmas time, you can use all of your gift cards to do the food shopping as well as gift shopping.

#5 Cash out supermarket reward points to fund Christmas expenses

My other favourite way to save money at Christmas time is to cash out supermarket rewards points for both Coles and Woolworths to purchase items we needed. See more about how I use supermarket rewards to save money here.

As this is the first year we are hosting Christmas and we have a very excited almost 3 year old, we needed a Christmas tree and decorations.

I cashed out $100 worth of Coles Flybuys points for ‘flybuys dollars’ And was able to purchase a Christmas tree, with lights, tinsel, and baubles for FREE from Target. If you do my food shopping at Coles anyway so you may as well earn the reward points to be able to get the extras like this!

If you’re not yet a Flybuys member, you should consider signing up. You can also cash points out for items, so it could be a fantastic way to fund Christmas present shopping.

Woolworth offer a ‘cash back on shop’ option with their Woolworths Rewards program so this could really help when you need to add items to your grocery shopping each week before Christmas.

Aussie Farmers Direct is a great option for time-poor people who are hosting Christmas but don’t have enough time to completely prepare Christmas meals from scratch.

I have used Aussie Farmers Direct meal planning boxes throughout the year and think they are a fantastic option for occasions where you lack time to plan meals from scratch or if your Christmas hosting plans happen last minute. The best part is they’re offering $25 off your first order if it’s over $60, which makes it perfect for Christmas. Use the coupon code XMAS25 at the checkout if you decide to use one of their meal planning boxes for your Christmas meal.

Hopefully my tips have made hosting your Christmas lunch so much easier. Don’t forget to download my Christmas planning printable so you can breeze through hosting family Christmas without burning a hole in your pocket or without tearing your hair out from stress.

5 easy steps to hosting an affordable family christmas
What is a no-spend month and how does it work?

What is a no-spend month and how does it work?

DISCLAIMER: This post may contain affiliate links. This means after trying a particular product, I love it enough that I am willing to recommend it to others and the company will pay me a small commission, at no extra cost to you, if you decide to purchase from my affiliate link. I will only recommend products and services that I have tried myself and love. Please click here for my full disclaimer.

Every frugal nut (like me) says they’ll do a no-spend month… some people even extend the no-spend challenge to a quarter or whole year!

But it’s easier to say you’ll try it than actually try it. There’s always just that one little thing we want to treat ourselves to. I know that’s the main reason I was putting off a no-spend month.

However necessity forced me to take the plunge and do a no-spend month in May. Here’s my no-spend Month in review to encourage you all to take the challenge. It wasn’t THAT bad.

Since my Childcare Rebate was unexpectedly cut off in late March as I had hit the threshold for the financial year (thanks for the warning, Family Assistance Office!) I needed to find an extra $300 per month for the three days that I send my daughter to childcare.
Covering the extra $300 for the next three months was going to be tough. So, I decided to try ‘No-spend May.’

I get paid monthly. Money goes in, money goes straight back out as I pay all the bills straight away, set aside the monthly budget for groceries and travel to work. What is left on day one of my pay-cycle must last me an entire month, including direct debits.

I used this expense tracker to keep track of all of my income and expenses. It allowed me to see how much spare cash I had left after bills were paid

The rules of no-spend month:

These are simple. No spending on non-essentials.

What are the essentials, you ask?

It’s simple. Groceries in the weekly shop, public transport for work, fuel, my dentist appointment and any emergencies for Ella (if she needs new shoes for a growth spurt or medicine if she gets sick). I had also allowed myself the one meal (entrée size) for my best friend’s birthday lunch at a winery that I had committed to weeks before deciding to do no-spend May.

This means, random coffees on the way to work, impromptu lunches with colleagues, a new skirt because it was on sale… These are all out this month, and maybe next month too. I am even making my mum’s Mother’s Day present from the fabric I have in my stash.

What was difficult?

About one week into my no-spend month, I smashed my contour kit. I was getting ready for work at 5am (YAY for 7am starts) and in my sleepy stupor I tripped over the bathmat and dropped the contouring palette when I was doing my makeup.

SMASH! All six shades (it has face powder, under eye powder along with bronzers and contour shades,) were completely unsalvageable. So I had to wait three weeks to purchase a new contour kit.

One of my colleagues asked why I looked so pale…Trust me, it wasn’t by choice.

How did I track two weeks in?

Apart from not being able to replace the smashed makeup palette, it was been surprisingly easier than I thought. Probably because there is a Nespresso machine in my building at work and I can drink all the coffee in the world there.

HAHA. All jokes aside though. I was so focused on where I could pinch pennies and reduce waste in our house that I didn’t have time to be miserable about not being able to treat myself to a coffee or purchase that essential oil kit I really wanted that month.

How did the rest of the month go?

Although it got harder, it wasn’t as bad as a thought.

The worst thing was, all those little ad hoc purchases built up and I had a few things to purchase once my next pay came in.

I ended up with $105 left in my account the day my next pay came in because I had to add fuel to my car after an emergency car drive to my mums (mums house is 100km away from us). This is more than I ever have in my account on my next payday.

For June, I managed to scrimp a few extra pennies by putting my gym membership on hold for 3 months. That saved an extra $75 a month. I wish I had thought to do that for my No-spend May.

Would I do no-spend month again? MOST DEFINITELY. I enjoyed having a little buffer in my account on payday. A few months of that is a nice tidy deposit into the savings account.

Have you done a no-spend month? How did it go? Did you find any tips and tricks to make it easier? Leave your comments below and share your experience.

https://spectra-baby.com.au/ref/RebeccaCrosby/

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