6 Ways to Make This a Cash Holiday!

6 Ways to Make This a Cash Holiday!Every year when the holiday season hits, it seems as if there is a race to drain our wallets. Don’t succumb! Let’s not use plastic to fund our season this year, and let’s not blow our budgets. It may require us to make some different choices, but it will certainly feel a lot better in January when we aren’t suffering the post-holiday financial hangover!

1) Make a Plan

I cannot stress this enough. Plan your budget, plan your gift giving, plan your event spending, plan your time. When we go into the holidays without a plan, we will become overwhelmed. And overspend. Does that bring you joy? Does it bring others joy? Then don’t do it! Determine what you realistically have to spend and decide how much of that amount you want to spend on gifts, parties, etc. I know it’s hard, but stick to it.

2) Cut Back

It is very important that if you find you don’t have the budget for all you would like to buy or do, that you make careful, conscious decisions of what to cut out. Decide which traditions are important to you and which ones you may be doing simply because you always have. If you buy Nutcracker ballet tickets every year, but your family really isn’t looking forward to going, don’t go. If you have a lot of holiday events you will be attending, don’t buy a new outfit for every event—work with what you have and buy a piece or two to jazz up what you already own. Pare back your holiday meals to the food that actually gets eaten—all too often we are throwing away perfectly good food.

3) Do Less Gift Giving and More Sharing of Time

See if certain friends and family may be willing to forgo the exchanging of gifts this year and instead exchange some quality time. By next year, you may have forgotten the token gift your girlfriend gave you, but my bet is you will remember going to see a free concert in the park with her.

4) Choose a Meaningful Gift

Sometimes we tend to overbuy because we KEEP buying! Choose a gift—ONE gift—that you want to buy someone and then STOP BUYING! It’s so easy to keep picking up little trinkets here and there, but resist the urge. All of those little things do add up rather quickly.

5) Plan Your Meals

November and December seem to fly by, and it becomes so tempting to pick up a pizza here and order in Chinese there. Instead, make a simple weekly meal plan that you can stick to. Even if you are just heating up a frozen pizza, it’s still less expensive than takeout. Plus, one weekly trip to the grocery store has to be a lot less stressful than 7 mad dashes to already packed fast food chains and carry out establishments.

6) Pat Yourself on the Back

It may be hard to not overspend, but you will thank yourself later. And honestly, you’ll feel more at peace with yourself through the holiday season. Take a little time to put your feet up, enjoy a mug of cocoa and congratulate yourself for making positive changes in your spending!

Photo Credit: iClipart

 

Inexpensive Gift Wrap Ideas

Gift box

The holidays are just around the corner, and the holidays mean all sorts of things to gift wrap. Get creative and think outside the box this year—literally—and wrap your packages stylishly, as well as inexpensively! Here are some ideas to get you started.

1) Newspaper End Rolls

Check with your local newspaper to find out if you can purchase an “end roll.” This is the paper that is left over at the end of a press run. It’s not enough for the newspaper to use for another run, but it’s PLENTY for you to find other uses for. They come in varying lengths, and you can usually purchase them dirt cheap. This plain, usually off-white paper can be used to wrap literally hundreds of presents. Use it plain or let your imagination (or your children’s imaginations) go wild embellishing it. Think of all the things you could do with paint, markers, stamps, stickers…the list is endless!

2) Newspaper

Newspaper topped with a bright bow makes for a pretty presentation. Use the comic pages for a whimsical touch!

3) Fabric

Have some fabric left over from a sewing or craft project that you don’t know what to do with? Use it as gift wrap! This works especially well for odd sized items. Simply set your gift in the center of the fabric, pull the fabric up around it and tie with a pretty ribbon or cord.

4) Old Sheet Music

If you have a small box to wrap, old sheet music is ideal. This one is especially fun when used to wrap a CD!

5) Things Found in Nature

Pinecones, evergreens and dried flowers all look very pretty when used as package toppers—and they’re free! All it takes is a little ingenuity and a good eye to come up with some innovative, natural ideas to spiff up your packages.

6) Odd Bits of Craft Ribbon

If you don’t know what to do with those leftover bits and pieces of ribbon from a craft project, use them to tie a colorful bow or to wrap around a package.

7) Part of the Gift

Instead of a bow, top a package with an item that is part of the gift. If the gift is mixing bowls, use a set of measuring spoons. Giving a book? Add a pretty bookmark to the outside of the package. How about tying a coordinating scarf around a box containing a sweater?

Use a few of these ideas and not only will you spend less on this year’s gift wrap, but you will also impress your gift recipients with your creativity!

Photo Credit: iClipart

 

Frugal Gift Giving Ideas

Frugal Gift Giving Ideas

The holiday gift giving season is getting underway, and for those of us pinching our pennies, this can definitely add stress to our budgets. Let’s use this as an excuse to get creative with our gift giving. Not only can we save some cash, but we can also give memorable gifts!

1) Give the Gift of Time

Sometimes the very best gift is the gift of yourself. Think about the people on your list. What do they like to do? Plan a day to do that WITH them. Do you have a family member who enjoys hiking? Plan a unique day of hiking and enjoy the outdoors together. Do you enjoy cooking? Offer to teach younger family members how to cook. They get new skills and the gift of your time. How about a movie buff? Borrow some DVDs, pop some popcorn and plan a night in.

2) Give your Services

We all have talents, and this is a great way to use them. Whether it’s sewing, babysitting, gardening, or housecleaning, give a “service gift certificate” for your loved ones to enjoy.

3) Preserve Some Memories

It seems we are constantly snapping pictures these days now that cell phones with cameras makes that easy. But what do we DO with all of those photographs? Make a collage of special photos from throughout the year or frame an especially meaningful one and present it with a handwritten note about what those memories have meant to you.

4) Journal It

This is an especially good gift for a parent or child. Find a pretty journal—or create one yourself—and fill it with all the wonderful memories you have of that person. Let that person know how special they have been to you throughout their lives. Let a parent know how they have helped shape who you are and made the holidays memorable for you. Tell your child how happy you were when they came into this world and highlight how you felt during big moments in their lives.

5) Gift Cards

No, a gift card isn’t always as meaningful as some of the previous ideas, but sometimes we get these cards as bonuses with purchases, as rebates or rewards. Save those—watch for expiration dates of course—and use them as easy gifts.

6) Free Samples

Peruse online freebie sites throughout the year, “like” various things on Facebook and redeem coupons for freebies that you get in the mail or in your email. Often you can create a really nice gift from these by putting them into a pretty basket or cute container. This is especially true of health and beauty items—these seem to be plentiful, you can easily make a fun “relaxation” basket from these, and who wouldn’t enjoy getting that as a gift?

The best part is, you give yourself a gift too—the gift of a mailbox NOT filled with holiday bills in January!

Photo Credit: iClipart

 

5 Row Freshwater Pearl Necklace Reg $55 Now $10 Shipped!

I’m loving this gorgeous 17″ White Pink & Peach 5-9mm Genuine Freshwater Cultured Pearl 5-Row Necklace and it’s a steal at just $9.99 with free shipping! This necklace regularly retails for $55 and I have a similar one that has gray and black pearls that I get compliments on all the time so I’m pretty sure that I ‘need’ this one too. You can’t really see the strands when you’re wearing the necklace so the pearls appear as if they’re floating and it’s a really neat look. At this price, I think they’d also make a great gift for a friend!

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2 Pk Wine Saver Vacuum Seals Reg $49 Now $7

Vintage Vac Wine Saver

Here’s a hot deal on a 2 Pack of Motorized Vacuum Wine Savers, they regularly retail for $49 but you can grab this set for just $6.99 with free shipping! These Vintage Vac wine savers keep wine fresher, for longer. They use a hands-free motorized process to pump air out and seal flavor in, so you can enjoy a bottle of wine without worrying about finishing it right away. At this fabulous price you might want to grab a set for yourself plus another as a gift for a friend since the holidays will be here before we know it!

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Multicolor 8-Piece Mixing Bowl Set $20 Shipped!

This is a great deal on a Multicolor 8-Piece Mixing Bowl Set for just $19.99 plus free shipping. The set includes a large mixing bowl, small mixing bowl, colander, sieve, and four measuring cups. All of the bowls have handles and everything is dishwasher safe.

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Kenneth Cole 4 Pc Luggage Set Reg $1100 Now $250

Here’s a super hot deal on a Kenneth Cole Curve Appeal 4 Piece Luggage Set!  This four wheel spinner set comes in your choice of black or aqua and it regularly retails for $1,100 but you can grab the set right now for just $249.99 with free shipping.

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$10 Bonus Bucks wyb $20 at Claire’s

Bonus Bucks are back at Claire’s! You really can’t beat this promotion – get a $10 credit for every $20 you spend at Claires.com. Make a purchase between July 12 and August 25 for $20 and you’ll earn $10 in bonus bucks that you can redeem between August 26 and September 16 towards a purchase of $20 or more.

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Ionic Pro Blow Dryer Reg $200 Now $35 Shipped!

I’m dying to have one of these ISO Ionic Pro 2000 Blow Dryer With 6 Speed/Heat Settings in the Giraffe print and it’s such a great deal that I’m thinking I should get it and put away until my current blow dryer dies (or put the old one away in case of emergency and use this one)!  This professional blow dryer regularly retails for $200 but you can grab your choice of Giraffe or Zebra for only $34.99 with free shipping.

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Wolfgang Puck Versa Cooker Reg $120 Now $40 Shipped!

This is a great deal on a Wolfgang Puck 6 qt Gourmet Versa Cooker with Dual Heat Elements.  The very versatile slow cooker and skillet in one regularly retails for $119.99 but you can grab it now for just $39.99 plus free shipping!  The dual heating elements and included divider allow you to cook two foods at the same time.  The package includes:

  • Housing with control panel
  • Removable nonstick aluminum cooking pot
  • Tempered glass lid
  • Plastic storage lid
  • Wire rack
  • Plastic divider
  • Use & Care Manual with recipes
  • Manufacturer’s 1-year limited warranty
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