National Creative Frugality Week

“I can make that,” I hear behind me as I stop to admire a cute little doodad in one of my favorite stores. “Snap a picture of it on your phone,” she says, “we can make that for so much less.”

Every time I shop with my mom, I hear these words, and I love them. She's one of the most creative people I know.

And it’s in honor of my mom and all you other crafty and thrifty people out there that I celebrate National Creative Frugality Week this week. I know, I know, it’s a really long name for a random holiday, and I almost passed it by for that very reason, until I realized how much creative frugality and VBS have in common.

Creative frugality is doing things that are sometimes more difficult or complicated but in the end save money and reduce waste. It’s every option from saving and reusing a tea bag to painting an old library card catalogue and using it as a coffee table (both things have happened in my house recently and yes, both with the influence or direct help of my mom, who's much craftier than I am!).

I try to use tea bags twice...especially when it's a flavor I really like, like this peppermint one at my desk at work for a mid-afternoon pick-me-up.
I try to use tea bags twice, especially favorite flavors like this peppermint tea.
A little redecorating going on at my house...
A little redecorating going on at my house...

I love saving money (who doesn't!) so reusing things is great, though I’m not as creative about it as some I know, so I have to rely on others for my fun a lot of the time.

Though they’re busy traveling for various preview events this month, I tracked down a few of my fellow VBS team members to see what some of their favorite ways to be creatively frugal are, either with previously used VBS decorations or things you might have lying around your house in past years and this coming year.

But first, a few favorites of mine from our blog archives.

ace-2 This little guy was so cute I couldn't resist including his picture again. He was used for Amazing Wonders Aviation with parts from two other years of VBS. Click here to read about how he was made.

I also really like this video for how to make (then save and reuse) rocks. Here's another couple of frugal ideas I liked for Big Apple Adventure Music Backstage.

Here are some fun everyday items that were suggested in 2011, but could definitely be converted to Colossal Coaster World, or really any other need.

Finally, check out this video of "the cage" where we store a ton of VBS decorations for reuse. The video is packed full of ways we've reused things.

What I learned from our archives- the VBS team is really creatively frugal, and so are our readers!

Now for a few ideas from my team members:


"The possibility of sharing your decoration with a 'sister  church' once your VBS is over. To me, that is just wise stewardship.

For Colossal Coaster World, any of the "touristy" types of things [you already have] would work—cameras; ball caps; head boppers; popcorn, snow cone, and cotton candy machines."


Purple Shirt Photo


"My favorite has been watching the many uses for a carpet roll. I have seen the same roll used for a tree trunk, lamp post, and as a platform for the Big Apple Adventure New Year's ball drop."





"I saw a great "barrier" for Victoria Falls in 2012. Black toilet plungers had cup hooks attached to the handles and white plastic chain linked the "posts" (plungers). These would make a perfect que line."



How about you? What can you creatively reuse from past years’ VBS and other events in the life of your church to make Colossal Coaster World a success? I hope you'll share them with us in the comments! While you're thinking about it, I'm going to go through the freezer and decide which leftovers I'm bringing for lunch celebration of creative frugality!

For more decorating ideas for this year, check out this post, and these videos as well as here, some downloads here, and more videos here.



  1. erica says

    A few years ago I made a cardboard taxi cab, for saddle ridge ranch (with horns on the front), the sign said "saddle ridge taxi co" we have used it a few times now (for big apple), we just cut out an apple and placed it over the old sign. and last year for amazing wonders aviation, and again placed a sign over the old logo and the sign said "awa taxi" and will be using it again this year by adding a sign that says (Taxi to Colossal Coaster world on it). we have used this same taxi from every room, from the gym , to the sanctuary, to the foyer, to a class room. not sure where it will be this year, but looking forward to finding a new home for the old (and slightly bent up) taxi

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