Ways to Save Money for the Holidays

Though the holidays are still two months away, one problem that always sneaks up on us is getting the perfect present within our budget. If you don’t want to break the bank this holiday season, then now is the time to start saving money! In this blog post, we’ll be going over five ways that you can start saving money for the holidays. 

  1. Set a budget

Before you start saving, you’re going to need a budget to aim for. The holidays shouldn’t be a time full of stress, so when setting a budget, be aware of the amount of money you can spend without breaking the bank. Once you’re aware of your budgetary limits, then plan how much you want to spend on presents, decorations, food, and any other holiday purchases you plan on making. After you know this, add a little room onto your budget for any unexpected purchases. Now that you know your budget, you’ll know how much you need to save. Though budgeting is never fun, your future self will be thanking you!

  1. Download money saving apps

There are many apps that you can download on your phone, computer, or tablet that help cut costs and save money. Apps like Simple round up your purchases to help you reach your savings goal. Round-up apps can be really beneficial when you aren’t able to cut back on purchases. While apps like Honey help you find online deals. If you have a wish list, Honey will tell you when an item on your list has dropped in price. It also provides you with promo codes that you can apply to your online purchases. In the link below, you’ll find a list of innovative apps that help you save money. 

15 of the Best Money Saving Apps for 2020

  1. Shop smarter

One of the easiest ways to save money is through buying the right products at the right time. When grocery shopping, it’s easy to get off track and buy things that you don’t need. To prevent making unnecessary purchases, always make a list before leaving the house and stick to it. If you have a brand that you always buy, think about buying the generic version instead. Over time, this will save you a lot of money. Also keep an eye out for sales and coupons, but remember to not make unnecessary purchases, even if there is a coupon for it! 

10 Ways to Become a Smart Grocery Shopper

  1. Make food at home

It can be easy to fall into the routine of buying food from a restaurant when we don’t want to make food at home. Though overtime, this can become costly. When you eat out, you often end up spending more than you would have if you just ate at home. This is especially relevant if you’re constantly throwing away food you bought from the grocery store. Finding a cost effective way to eat out while also making food at home is a great way to save money. You don’t have to deprive yourself of eating out, just minimize it! If you eat take out two times a week, limit that down to once a week. With the food you have at home, don’t be afraid to change your meals up a bit! This will make eating at home a little more fun!

  1. Save a portion of your paycheck

This is probably the most self explanatory point on this list, but it’s important to consider how much you want to save from each paycheck! Through cutting back on unnecessary spending, you might be able to save more of your paycheck since you won’t be spending as much on a weekly basis. You might be saving for other purposes, but putting some money aside with the intention of using it for the holidays will help calm any nerves about overspending on presents. While you’re putting aside money for the holidays, also consider putting some aside for yourself. You’ll deserve a little treat for yourself once the holidays are over!

DIY Halloween Decorations

Now that it’s October, it’s time to decorate your house with all of your Halloween essentials. If you want to spice up your house with new decorations this year, try making your decorations instead of buying them! This list has easy and fun DIY Halloween decoration ideas that you can make in the comfort of your own home!

  1. “Spirit Jugs”
Photo by: Alice G. Patterson

For this DIY, you might want to start saving your empty milk jugs! All you need are some empty milk jugs, a sharpie, a craft knife, and some lights to make a spirit jug. By using these household objects, you’re able to make a Jack O’Lantern without having to buy a pumpkin! Check out the website linked below to see the final product and the steps in between! 

Spirit Jugs

  1. Bat Branch Centerpiece 

This DIY will have you scouring your backyard for tree branches. All you need to make this DIY are some thin branches, bat cut-outs, a hot glue gun, hot glue sticks, and a cylinder vase. Once it’s done, you have the perfect centerpiece! Check out the website linked below for the full tutorial!

Bat Branch Centerpiece 

  1. Halloween PomPom Coasters 

This is a DIY that you’ll be able to use every year! These pompom coasters are super easy to make and only require a few materials. You’ll need a variety of colored pompoms, a cork coaster, a hot glue gun, a sharpie, and some scissors. Check out the link below to see the final product and a full tutorial! 

Pumpkin PomPom Coasters

  1. Googly Eye Wreath 

If you’re bored of the same old wreaths sold in stores, then this is the perfect DIY for you! The main thing you’re going to need is A LOT of ping pong balls and googly eyes. This DIY might take you a little longer to make than the other DIY’s on this list, but it will be a decoration you use for years to come! Check out the website linked below for a full tutorial.

Googly Eye Wreath

  1. Melted Crayon Pumpkin 

Remember that trend a few years ago when all you needed was a crayon, hairdryer and canvas to make a masterpiece? If you do, this DIY is similar! The only difference is that instead of a canvas, you use a pumpkin. So if you want to stay colorful during Halloween, then this is the perfect DIY for you! 

Melted Crayon Pumpkin

  1. Painted Pumpkins

If you don’t have crayons laying around for the last DIY, then try painting your pumpkins instead! This is an easy DIY that you can add your own personal touches to. Remember that you don’t have to be an artist to do this DIY, so have fun with it! 

Easy Painted Pumpkin Ideas

Tips and Tricks for Carving Pumpkins

If you haven’t gotten around to carving pumpkins yet, then you should be happy you waited because now you get to hear some advice for carving the perfect pumpkin. Once you learn our tips and tricks, head over to your nearest pumpkin patch and start making a pumpkin masterpiece! 

  1. Selecting the Perfect Pumpkin

If you’re stuck between choosing the right pumpkin, make sure to take the following recommendations into consideration. You’re also going to want a pumpkin that is the perfect size for your design, has a smoother surface, and sits flat. Watch out for pumpkins that are soft or have blemishes, these pumpkins are more likely to go bad. If you want a fresh pumpkin, look for ones with a green stem!

  1. Find a Template 

Finding the perfect design is probably one of the most important steps in carving your pumpkin. You can go free hand, or you can print off a template! All you need to do is tape the template onto your pumpkin and poke holes (using push pins) in the pumpkin where the design outline is. After you’re done, take off the template and begin carving where you’ve poked these holes! 

40 Pumpkin Carving Templates

 

  1. Removing the top or bottom

Most people go the traditional route of cutting the top off of the pumpkin to clean out the insides and put the candle inside. Though, you can just as easily cut the bottom off! This makes placing the candle in the pumpkin a lot easier since you don’t have to reach your arm inside the pumpkin. If you prefer cutting the top off, we suggest cutting at a 45 degree angle so that the top doesn’t fall through! 

  1. Get Creative! 

If your pumpkin has a great stem, consider making it a part of your design. You can flip the pumpkin on it’s side and make a face using the stem as a nose! This makes for a fun, easy, and creative design. Another great idea is buying a smaller pumpkin that fits in your jack o’lanterns mouth. This requires a bit more skill, but it’s definitely worth the extra effort! 

  1. Use an Ice Cream Scoop

If you don’t have many tools around the house for carving pumpkins, one easy tool for getting the insides out of your pumpkin is an ice cream scoop. This works better than big flimsy spoons and faster than small spoons. Also, it’s just more fun to use! 

Easy Home Décor to Make for Spring

Holographic Vase

Spring has officially arrived in all aspects. Whether you are out enjoying the fresh spring air on a walk or are working on some spring cleaning indoors, this season has fully begun. When people think of spring words like flowers, rain, and outside usually come to mind. If you are looking for some seasonal decor ideas, here are a few easy ideas that can help you jump right into the season!

  1. Holographic Vase

This eye-catching vase will be sure to add a new look to any room. By simply using vinyl film and spray paint, you can showcase any spring flowers in your home. This shining piece can also be a fun gift to give to friends or a Mother’s Day gift. 

Robin’s Egg Speckled Mason Jars
  1. Robin’s Egg Speckled Mason Jars

Mason jars always add a fun rustic look wherever they are. These jars highlight a robin’s egg and oddly enough get its unique look by painting with a toothbrush. 

  1. Seed Packet Wreath

Use this craft to brighten your front door this season. If you already garden, simply save your seed packets to be reused. This craft is pretty easy and can be customizable to your liking by adding ribbon, flowers, and whatever seed packets you want.

Seed Packet Wreath
  1. Mason Jar Herb Garden

What better way to bring spring indoors than to start your own herb garden indoors? Choose from a variety of herbs to start off with planting. Click the link to watch a video of how to start one today.

  1. Wooden Birdhouse

This craft is meant to remain outdoors after making and can be painted, stained, or left in its original state. Get creative and add whatever twist to make this birdhouse your own!

Try adding any of these crafts to your home to add to the lively season. Customize each of these crafts to your liking and have fun while making them!

Snacks to Bring to any St. Patrick’s Day Party

Irish Coffee Cake

With St. Patrick’s day quickly approaching, the perfect themed snack would be a way to show off your cooking skills at any event. Whether your cooking is superb or could use a bit of the luck of the Irish, we’ve gathered a few recipes that any cook can find a way to perfect for any occasion. Check out the following recipes and find something that you feel up to the challenge to try out!

  1. Irish Coffee Cake

Try out this chocolatey dessert and add a cream liqueur to it for an extra surprising touch!

  1. Cheddar-Beer Fondue

This gooey creation can be a tasty treat for any group to share or for a one-on-one date.

  1. Grasshopper Bars

These bars add a splash of color and can cure a chocolate craving for any event! This dessert is easy to make and can be a great treat for any occasion.

St. Patrick’s Day Puppy Chow
  1. St. Patrick’s Day Puppy Chow

This four ingredient snack is easy to make and can leave a minty taste for anyone who snacks on it!

  1. Leprechaun Fudge Popcorn

This green candied popcorn treat can be a tasty addition to any party whether for kids or a work event. Customize this recipe to your liking and pick your choice of what product brands to use.

  1. Fluffy Key Lime Pie

Looking for an easy pie recipe? This recipe takes two minutes to make, has to refrigerator for two hours, and can serve eight people for any get together. 

  1. Chocolate Mint Dream Cookies

These easy to make cookies add a chocolatey mint twist to the basic cookie recipe. This recipe makes roughly four dozen cookies when finished.

Pot of Gold Fruit Rainbow
  1. Pot of Gold Fruit Rainbow

This recipe is fairly easy and can use your choice of fruit for certain colors. Add a bowl at the end with either chopped bananas or rolos to be your “pot-of-gold.” Follow the graphic to see how you would display your festive fruit arrangement.

Try one or multiple recipes and bring them to your next St. Patrick’s day event. These festive snacks will be sure to share a little luck with all those who eat them.

Celebrating Women’s History Month

This month is designated to recognizing and remembering all of the hard working and empowering women that have come before us. Their contributions have paved the way for all women to continue on by adding to society and making power moves.  In honor of all the women who have come before us and have contributed to society in some way take some time this month to celebrate women’s history month by doing any of the following:

  1. Study up on your Women’s History

Take the time to stop and learn a little more about women’s history this month. Get educated on some powerful women who added to society. https://www.womenshistorymonth.gov/ 

  1. Plan a Girls Trip with your Gals

Plan a trip with some of your girls whether to brunch, a shopping trip, or a weekend retreat. If you are looking for a getaway to take your gals to, register for Lake Geneva’s Annual Women’s Weekend that will take place May 1st-3rd this year! Click the following link to learn more or sign up today! https://www.eventbrite.com/e/womens-weekend-lake-geneva-2020-tickets-86408653609 

  1. Read a New Book by a Female Author

Look online and find a book that suits your style. Whether a book written by J.K. Rowling diving into the magical world of wizardry or a classic written by Jane Austen, read up on some literature you haven’t read before.

  1. Listen to Iconic Hits Sung by Women

Many strong women sing some powerhouse songs that have become great hits for any occasion. A few of these women include: Whitney Houston, Adele, Rhianna, Dolly Parton, Lady Gaga, Cyndi Lauper, and more. 

  1. Write a Thank You Letter to A Woman in your Life that Inspires you

Take a moment to thank a woman in your life who has changed you or inspired you. Whether a teacher, coworker, or neighbor, tell them the impact they had on you and thank them for their influence.

  1. Treat Yourself

Enjoy a day getting pampered at a spa or go out and buy those pair of shoes you’ve been eyeing up recently. You deserve a break and are allowed to treat yourself for all your hard work. 

  1. Go get Lunch or Coffee with your Mother or Grandmother

It is always important to make time for family and one way to do this is by scheduling a date with some strong women who raised you. They helped to shape who you are today so take the time to show them a little appreciation.

  1. Attend a Women’s History Event near you

Join a march this month or look for a museum with an exhibit dedicated to women. Your options here are limitless and depend on where you live as well.

Ways to Appeal to Someone’s Love Language

To some Valentine’s Day is a way to show a little extra appreciation to that special someone in their lives. Others might not enjoy the holiday as much though. There are five main love languages: words of affirmation, quality time, receiving gifts, acts of service, and physical touch. Everyone’s love language is personalized to themselves and some even relate to having multiple languages speak to them. Here’s how to appeal to each love language:

  1. Words of affirmation

This language can be shown appreciation in multiple ways. Simply writing a card or having a deep conversation with this type of person can really go far in their eyes. They dwell on the words that you say and thrive off of them.

  1. Quality time

Quality time is pretty self-explanatory and simply goes back to just spending time with that person. Some people enjoy doing this by staying in and watching a movie, others enjoy getting dressed up and going out to dinner or a local event going on.

3. Receiving gifts

This type of love language is straightforward. They appreciate the materialistic things that you bring to the table. Some basic ideas to gift someone for Valentine’s Day could be giving them flowers, candy, or a picture of the both of you.

  1. Acts of Service

This language can be hard to get right at times. In doing acts of service for someone, you appeal to making their life easier by going the extra mile to do something for them. You can do this by simply helping them run an errand or assisting them in a project they are working on.

  1. Physical Touch
undefined

Physical touch is also more self-explanatory. Simply giving them a hug, kiss, or holding their hand really helps them to feel appreciated and cared for.

Love languages can be confusing at times and also change as people do. When it boils down to it, if you want to show someone that you care for them just make an attempt to appeal to their likes. Try to stop and take the time to show someone you care about them this week whether it be your significant other, a friend, or a coworker.

Snacks to Make for Any Valentine’s Event

Valentine’s Day Rice Krispie Treat Cupcakes

Whether you are a mom trying to come up with a last minute snack to send to school with your child for their Valentine’s party or you were simply asked to bring a snack to a Valentine’s themed event and you are struggling to come up with an idea, these easy to prep ideas will be a solution for you. All these ideas are creative and can even be given out to a few friends or coworkers you want to show appreciation to.  Each treat has a festive twist that will be sure to woo any crowd.

1. Cupid Kabobs: These fruity treats are easy to make and add a healthy twist to an already sugar filled holiday. Pick from a variety of fruits to customize them to your liking.

2. Valentine’s Day Rice Krispie Treat Cupcakes: Kids always love rice krispie treats and this treat adds a little extra love to them. Top of this treat with white or colored icing and a candy piece of your choice.

Peppermint Candy Pops

3. Peppermint Candy Pops: Using candy canes, you can make these cute little hearts really pop at any event. Add ribbon to the sticks to add a cute decoration to this candy.

4. Valentine’s Popcorn: This mix is sure to add a splash of color to any array of treats at a party. This treat allows you to also be creative by taking out any of the ingredients and adding whatever else you want to snack on.

5. Marbled Red Velvet Cheesecake Brownies: These sweet treats pop with their marbled color at any event. This recipe includes a step by step video to show you how to make these showstoppers.

All these treats will impress at any event and can be an easy snack to bring to any occasion. Comment below if you try any of these recipes on your own and let us know what you think!

Easy to Make Handmade Valentine Decorations

In a few days, the month of February begins and it’s crazy to think that January has already flown by! With the month of February, comes the celebration of Valentine’s Day as well. If you are looking for a gift to give that special someone or just want to add some more holiday decor to your home, check out these crafts. Here are some crafty ideas to add a little extra love to your home during this time of year! All these crafts are inexpensive and can be stored to be reused every year too.

1. Hanging Paper Hearts 

Try hanging these paper hearts around your home to add a rustic look to your living space. Choose to make a few strands or a whole bunch!

  1. Giant String Heart

This giant string heart can add a pop of color to any room and also can serve as a great gift to a loved one. This craft can be one that the kids can even help with too.

  1. Ribbon Valentine Wreath

Looking for an inexpensive piece to go on your front door? Try making this curly creation! Add your own twist by picking whatever ribbon you’d like to have.

Hanging Paper Hearts 

Try hanging these paper hearts around your home to add a rustic look to your living space. Choose to make a few strands or a whole bunch!

  1. Heart Wreath

This heart wreath can be hung by a fireplace or draped by a window. This crafty piece adds a bit of simplicity wherever it’s hung and can also be made using colored yarn as well.

5. Wire Heart Picks 

If you are a plant lover, this is the home decor piece you’ve been looking for! All you need is wire, wire cutters, pliers, and any kind of plant you wish to have.

Any of these decorations can add to your home and show off your crafty side as well. All of these crafts only require a few things to make the entire piece. With all this love in the air don’t forget to treat yourself this time of year as well.

Breaking Bad Habits

Happy New Year! With the new year here, many people have probably made New Year’s resolutions in hopes of breaking some bad habits that they’ve deemed need to be resolved from their lives. Resolutions don’t always work out though because people struggle to break out of their old ways. Instead of creating those cliche resolutions that usually fall through; we should focus on setting realistic goals to break those bad habits we have. Here are a few steps to get you started:

  1. Make it Conscious

The first step is to realize that there is a bad habit that needs breaking in the first place. Whether it is something as little as cracking your knuckles or something bigger, it helps to know a target for what to work on bettering.

  1. Have a Better Reason for Quitting

Dig deep and find a bigger meaning for why you should give up on this habit. Make it personal so you find a fulfilling purpose in what you’re doing.

  1. Set Realistic Goals

Fixing something, in any case, usually just doesn’t happen overnight. It’s easier if you set attainable goals to set yourself up for success.

Bad habits rub us the wrong way, but it depends on you and your level of motivation for change to occur!

Sources: https://time.com/5373528/break-bad-habit-science/