Since about mid-January, my husband and I decided to have a "no-spend year". Two weeks in and we have modified that to a "no-stuff year" after one of my readers commented and said her and her husband did that. That is actually much closer to what we are striving for.
The day after we made the agreement, my 25-year old son wanted to go to the movies with me and I struggled with deciding to go after I had just committed myself to not spending any extra money. I realized I did not want to miss out on experiences, especially with my kids.
A few days later, we were expecting a snow storm. My husband informed me that the snow blower he had purchased a few weeks prior was not working out. It was a battery-powered snow blower that was not self-propelled and had very small wheels. He could only clear about half the driveway before needing to recharge the batteries which took several hours. Plus pushing it through the New England snow was going to kill him. It was not working for our huge driveway and he wanted to return it and get a regular snow-blower. The problem - the new snow-blower would be $300 more. We were already failing at this no-spending stuff. We discussed it and decided we should spend the money since it would save us in the long run. We have been paying someone to plow our driveway for the last 5 years and it was getting really expensive to have that luxury.
I have also realized that there will be some small purchases that are not necessities but really make life more enjoyable, especially when you are staying home a lot. One of the things I really enjoy during these long, cold New England winters is burning candles. If you use them a lot they can become expensive. I purchased these bark candles a couple Christmases ago and they were about $16 each. I love the natural rustic look and I love lighting them, but I have tried not to use them too much because I can't replace them.
I realized that I could save the candles by inserting a tea light candle in the hole.
I wish I had thought to do this before I burnt them so far down. In order to have the tea light lie flat, I filled the hole with some pea stone from the driveway. It's not perfect, but it is really not very noticeable, especially when lit.
Since it was free, and rustic, I also used the pea stone from the driveway as a filler for the glass candle holder. I use these versatile candle holders for every season and holiday. During Christmas I filled them with cranberries and in the fall I have used un-popped corn.
I have also recycled other candle holders.
These candle cozies were on some candles I had purchased at Walmart 3 years ago. After the candles were burnt down, I carefully removed the sweater cozies (which were glued to the glass). I reused them on these small glass vases I've had for years that came from the dollar store. Inside the vase, I have epsom salt and a small glass volitive holder that now holds a tea light.
In the kitchen I have this used up candle but I really like the container.
I reuse it by placing a small white candle inside which I purchase from Walmart for $0.50.