Welcome.

Mindfully Spent is about managing finances, time, and more in pursuit of meaning. It chronicles my journey to use money and moments for things I truly love.

Save money. Pay off debt. Simplify. Do the unimaginable big things that you want with your life. Look back on your dollars and days and find they were Mindfully Spent.

Do-It-Yourself: Frugal gifts full of cheer.

Do-It-Yourself: Frugal gifts full of cheer.

Last year, I proposed a hair-brained idea for DIY holiday gifts to my husband assuming (actually kind of hoping) that he would shoot it down. After all, I am the optimistic sort who over-promises my time and then runs behind on everything if I'm not careful. My husband is the voice of reason in our family when it comes to ensuring that we don't over plan our days. So, when he agreed that we could and should make candles (which we'd never done before) for all of our friends and family, I was a bit shocked. 

We scoured second-hand stores and found mugs, jars, and tins that matched the style and tastes of the people we loved while being safe holding flame. We bought wax and wicks and set to work. We had everything else we needed at home to do the job, and we found it was really easy to melt the wax in the microwave. We had fund and learned a new skill. We not only gave personalized gifts, but we may never buy another store-bought candle again. (Those things are expensive!) Here's a tutorial from Apartment Therapy in case you want to try it. 

 Our recipe books may not have featured Pinterest Perfect handwriting, but their craft paper covers and green twine binding sure were cute!

Our recipe books may not have featured Pinterest Perfect handwriting, but their craft paper covers and green twine binding sure were cute!

While many people cut gifts out of their holiday budgets when saving (a perfectly acceptable option), I've found it hard to put limits on presents. Instead of cutting back on the number of people we give to, it's been easier instead to find lower cost gift options. In past years, we've made ornaments and even tiny homemade books filled our favorite recipes for each season.

Some people have skills that make DIY gift giving easy (carpenters, quilters, knitters, bakers, brewers), but others of us need a little help. The Mindfully Spent DIY Gifts Pinterest board has ideas for teachers, teens, barbecue-aficionados, kiddos, hipsters, plant lovers, and more, but I've highlighted a few of my favorites below: 

Don't forget the pretty packaging: 

DIY projects can get pricey quickly if you don't choose wisely, so be sure to budget out the cost of materials before you get started. 

Currently Reading: Vicki Robin's classic "Your Money or Your Life." More good reading selections available on our "Resources" Pinterest Board.

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Week 8 Wins: Coming to the defense of my dollars

Week 8 Wins: Coming to the defense of my dollars

What makes a gift meaningful?

What makes a gift meaningful?