Generation Cedar

Whether you really need to trim your budget, or you want to be a good steward of your finances, or you want to save your money for more meaningful purchases, a little creativity and time can go a long way! The magic of money is that a little adds up to a lot. A few dollars, saved across many areas of the budget, over time, adds up to significant savings. This is the thinking of the wealthy.

Perhaps these ideas (most of which we started implementing when “we couldn’t afford children“) will get your creative juices flowing!

  • Hand-made cards–I used to never even consider buying a card; they were just too expensive for our budget and I knew how cheap it was to make them. Use your printer, stamps, photographs or even leaves/pressed flowers for the most beautiful, memorable and affordable cards. Savings/year: approx. $60

  • Homemade cleaners–cheaper and better for you. Here’s one link for homemade cleanersSavings/year: approx. $150
  • Easy self-manicure–It is virtually impossible to tell store-bought french-manicure nails that glue on apart from a professional manicure. Go ahead, try it and see! Cost: $5. Estimated savings/year: $360 for those who get regular manicures.
  • Hair highlights–I’ve used these mutliple times (my fine hair simply requires something to keep it from being so limp and unmanageable), and it’s so easy. Cost: $10. Savings/year: approx. $800


  • Handmade gifts–We made these to give and sell and we still have a few left from years ago, that we use for gifts! My daughter made the bags–super easy for basic sewing skills, my son drew the picture (you can print them from the computer too) and I ironed them on with iron-on paper from Walmart. Super special and easy! Savings: not sure ;-). A onesie with iron-on print costs about $2, and the bag probably costs about the same. Compare that with what you would normally spend on a baby gift (you can add other baby items to this too, if you wish).

  • Mixes/sauces/spices–in our age of conveniences, we assume there are certain things we must purchase already made. But a return to more homemade food would not only save us money, but aid our health as we avoid all the preservatives packaged food must use. Here is a great link for over 100 homemade mixes.

  • Haircuts–a simple hair cut isn’t hard to learn, even from Youtube videos! I gave my daughters a super-cute layered cut with a very simple technique I found on youtube. Boys are easy too, with clippers. Savings per year could be substantial, depending on the number in your family.

For more ideas, check out Finding Financial Freedom.

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11 Responses

  1. Very good ideas, Kelly. However, some of us just cannot DIY! lol. Let’s see, a couple years ago when the gal that cuts my hair says, “Do you dye your own hair? Can I give you a few suggestions?” I just said, “Why don’t you do it instead!” Oh, yeah, and there was the time that DH insisted I cut his hair to save a few bucks. “Honey, you really don’t want me to do this,” says I. “Oh no, Honey, you can do it! Just follow the diagram!” says he. Half an hour later he’s making an emergency call to his barber and came home looking like he’d just enlisted. However, we do try other methods of cutting costs. You just have to know your limitations!

    1. Clippers with length attachments (including blending attachments) are a must for boy/man hair. I would never attempt a clipper cut without them… As far as dyeing hair? I have 3-4 foot long hair, and couldn’t afford to do so! But it helps to have a girlfriend to do it with, as you can talk it out, and help each other along, instead of somewhat clueless hubby! LOL! But hair cutting is not too bad, especially of girls. In college, I trimmed a friend’s hair who had bad blond-dyed ends, in a cute short layered thing…in fact, I cut/trimmed LOTS of girls who couldn’t afford a salon… While I understand being nervous about trying something new, with the internet, there are TONS of how-to videos that can help break it down, or it might be worth the money to ask a friend trained in hair cutting to “sell you” some “tips”. Hey, Kelly, have you ever thought of using egg to shampoo? Kim Coghlan from did an experiment where she stopped using shampoo and used egg blended with a dab of lemon juice, rinsed out with cool water. In all the reading I’ve done, I think stinging nettle is supposed to make a good herbal rinse for blond hair (carefully cut it, pour boiling water over it and let sit–it loses it’s stining capacities), strain out and use as an after egg rinse. Also, coconut oil is a great once-every-two-weeks conditioner. Oil your hair and scalp well, tie up in a kerchief. After 2-3 hours, beat up your egg and mix into the hair thoroughly (egg traps the oil), and rinse out with lukewarm water. Douse with herbal rinse and a bit of raw vinegar…Let dry. Use rosemary for dark hair.
      Good ideas though, Kelly! I have to laugh, though, when I saw the manicure idea, I mistakenly thought you were sharing “homemade” nails out of some or other odd household item and I was like, “Cool! Kelly figured out how to makeshift nail tips!”

      1. Laura,

        LOL! Wouldn’t that be great?

        I have read those different shampoo alternatives and also baking soda, once in a while, is a great hair cleanser. But I’ll be honest that I haven’t tried them regularly.

        On an interesting note, there are lots of people who have stopped using soap or shampoo at all with great results, they claim. And I wouldn’t be hard to convince: I hate the chemicals in commercial products (which is why we use natural soap) but even that soap strips skin and hair of its natural moisture and in the Bible, water was good enough for most jobs ;-), so….something to ponder.

        1. We don’t use soap (except handsoap in the kitchens/bathroom), but water works great otherwise! 🙂 .. and we normally just stick our hair in the sink or lean over the tub to wash it.. and washcloth everything else — saves a lot of water —- and part of the reason is because i have an aversion to having my whole body wet at once… (not a big swimmer either of course hahahah)

  2. Thanks for the helpful suggestions! Making homemade cleaners definitely interests me. Our family has just started down the road of trying to be purposeful with how we live and spend our funds. Trying to adopt the ‘less is more’ attitude that we lacked for so long. Even if the money is there (and for us right now it is not) doesn’t mean that you must spend it! My biggest money saving adventure is about to begin! Baby number four will be here quite soon and this time I will be nursing and cloth diapering. Things I should have done all along, but was basically too selfish to consider. So thankful the Lord is changing my heart!

  3. Good list! As a momma of six who cuts everyone’s hair (mine included, most of the time!) and makes my own soap and sews baby gifts, we’ve saved a lot over the years. I’m not good at making cards though – so I buy packs of nice blank ones for a fraction of the cost of individual ones and either print them on the computer or have the kids draw on them depending on the occasion. As for hair dye – I don’t dye mine but a friend has me dye hers! It’s fun and easy and gives us a chance to get together in the evening after kids are in bed.

    1. I buy a pack of birthday cards from Current. They end up to be about 34 cents each. They’re kind of generic, but then I put a personal message inside.

  4. Great tips, I do about half. My husband has wavey hair, so I just trim the sideburns, sides and back in between haircuts to make him not have to go as regularly (his idea, even though his haircuts are only $15 with tip). I got a haircutting kit with a cape, clips, reg scissors and thinning scissors for only $40 bucks. I do my daughter’s hair and my own. Dye my own too, (I like to hide my wisdom and not brag about it 😉 ) it grows so fast I’d be poor going in every 4 weeks to get it done.

    You are so right on how cheap cards can be, we scrap our own. It is nice for kids to make thank you cards, just puts a little something extra into it.

    I know it shows I am lazy, but I can buy the all natural cleaners so cheap at Sam’s I just cannot bring myself to make them. I’m sure not as cheap as making them, but I do so much else, I give myself a break.

    Love homemade gifts, mine are just food because I am pretty sure sewing machines hate me. Thanks for the tips!

    1. I have transitioned from “saving money” to “not spending money”. A big leap for me that I actually wear as a badge of honor. I dropped cable TV bundle and went cable internet only. Installed an antenna, ROKU video box and an OOMA VOIP phone. Dropped from over $175 a month to under $65. Over $1300 not spent last year alone.
      Home haircuts. Strarted giving my boys theirs at home after two bad haircuts each at the barbershop. Figured I could not do any worse. Last time I was accused of hacking their hair, so much for just trust the pros, ummmm, no! Bought a really good set of Wahl clippers, and have three haircuts on each under my belt, and the results were great. My boyfriend who cuts mine coached me through it and I survived. Because they looked great, I am a good mother, not one to hack their hair with abandon and smile I was wonderful when the children cry (like I did when my Mom’s stylist gave me crooked 1/2 bangs). Even my sister complimented my handiwork. So far I am up $30 after the cost of the pro grade clippers, which should last until my grandchildren graduate high school, lol. Longer if they are all girls.
      Net amount NOT SPENT for the boys is over $600, mine is hundreds as well.
      Planted a garden, and have been picking wild blueberries which are loaded this year. FREE fruit has been worth over $300. I froze it and made jam and pies.

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