How I Survived, er, Saved, During the Holidays

I’m sorry!! I’m alive and well, I swear! It’s just been SO BUSY!

How do you bloggers do it all?! On top of working, the holidays, and many other changes I have up my sleeve I haven’t had a minute to post here!

Within the past two months that I’ve been MIA I paid off two cards! Victoria’s Secret and Macys! Buh byeee

My Remaining Debt is: $4009.18…so I’ve paid off nearly $400 on my cards since I started this venture in October. Yet, within the last two months I’ve paid $572.68 in credit card bills alone. What a hell?! These interest rates are killing me! This really shouldn’t come as a shock, and I’m sure many of you are going “duhhh!” well, those pesky rates are something that I knew weren’t great… but now I can really see where’s it’s costing me. Three more cards to go…

My No Spend November wasn’t so bad—I slipped once, towards the end of the month I needed a haircut, so I indulged. For Thanksgiving, my parents came to visit—it was so lovely having them here in Chicago! We did a lot of inexpensive activities!

We went to the Thanksgiving parade (free!) and a BIG thank you to my co-worker who let us have her VIP tickets to make our experience that much more memorable and enjoyable!! THANK YOU!

hello there, mr. turkey!

hello there, mr. turkey!

Of course, we had a home cooked Thanksgiving dinner. This year I made a pumpkin parmesan biscuit to add to our menu (thanks to the Food Network for the idea!), which turned out great! Take a look!

homemade deliciousness

homemade deliciousness

Pumpkin Parmesan Biscuits

Ingredients

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 2 tablespoons finely grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 stick cold unsalted butter, diced, plus melted butter for brushing
  • 1/2 cup canned pure pumpkin
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream

 

Directions
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F; line a baking sheet with parchment paper (I used my baking stone). Whisk the flour, baking powder, sugar, salt and nutmeg in a large bowl. Whisk in 1 tablespoon parmesan. Add the diced butter and work it in with your fingertips until the mixture looks like coarse crumbs. Mix the pumpkin and cream in a small bowl and pour over the flour mixture. Mix with your hands or a fork to make a soft dough.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and roll out into a 3/4-inch-thick rectangle using a floured rolling pin. Cut out biscuits (as you can see, I used a pumpkin cookie cutter) and arrange about 2 inches apart on the prepared baking sheet. Brush the tops with melted butter and sprinkle with the remaining 1 tablespoon parmesan. Bake until golden, 15 to 20 minutes. Transfer the baking sheet to a rack and let the biscuits cool slightly before serving.

After the holiday, we walked around downtown to see the sights, then Mom & Dad treated us to Chicago style pizza dinner and a show at Second City! It was a perfect weekend!

zee bean

zee bean

I’m actually very happy I didn’t buy myself anything in November, because that extra money went to Christmas presents. This year I was an open book with friends and family and set budget limitations and paid cash for all the gifts. Last year I used credit cards for all the presents I bought…surprise, surprise, right?  You’d be surprised how many people are relieved to not have that glass ceiling of high price tag expectations over the holidays. Thanks to Etsy and Marshalls I was able to get a lot of bang for my buck!

Check out this awesome Etsy shop I used for a couple gifts!

Of course, I did give a family member a gift card to a place she really enjoys, so to pep up a typically underwhelming gift, I’ve been making these:

my cute cuppycake gift card holder

my cute cuppycake gift card holder

It’s all about the presentation! You can purchase one yourself on my new Etsy page (see! I told you I’ve been busy!). My shop is called KnitPrrrl. I’ll be posting more items to my shop as I literally tie up some ends on my pending inventory.

Our New Years was very low key with reason. We made a craft beer style cheese fondue that we found thanks to A Night Owl. We paired the fondue with granny smith apples, salami, french bread, pretzels and broccoli. Oh, and you can’t forget the champagne 🙂

fondue for two, for me, for you!

fondue for two, for me, for you!

So why did we keep NYE so small? Well, there’s been a LOT of changes on the home front…JD and I are moving in together! Our weekends these past couple months have been filled with number crunching, apartment hunting, and finally–a lease signing! Trying to move on a budget is extremely challenging. For us, the most frugal option was taking over a sublet that we’ll have until April. Now comes the packing and the headaches that come with a move. Even more challenging—my car and 99% of my furniture is sitting at my parent’s house in Michigan. So there will be some costly road trips coming up as well.

What are some ways you guys cut corners to save money when moving?

Happy 2014, folks! I can’t wait to share what we’ve been working on to save money! But let’s get through this move (and paying off another card), first 🙂

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