6 Surefire Ways to Save Money this Christmas


Make a Budget – Once you set a budget, stick to it. Figure out how much you can spend realistically this year on Christmas. Once you figure that out, decide how to split it between each recipient.
Pay Cash – Whatever you do, if at all possible, do not use credit cards. Paying with cash will make you think before you buy and you will have to figure out if its worth spending the money on the item you are  buying.
Make your own Gifts – It doesn’t have to be tough to make your own gifts. There are many easy projects out there, even ones for the kids to make. And what grandparent wouldn’t love a homemade gift from their grand-kids? And save even more money by using things you already have at home, scrap material, old clothes, glass jars all are great things to stash away for Christmas gifts.
Track your Spending – Make sure you keep track of what you spend. It might be worth it to get a little notebook to keep receipts or just to write down what you bought so you know when you have hit your limit. You can also refer to it when you are getting ready to spend money.
Buy used if you can – Buying used doesn’t mean you aren’t giving the best. Some used, like for instance on Amazon, are as good as new. Check out the deals on Craigslist too. But always check and make sure it works before you buy anything. Ask if you can plug the item in if electrical and check out everything before you buy.
Wrap with magazines or newspaper – This is not the biggest money saver  but it does save enough to make it worth the effort. Try making your own bows, its easy and all you need is magazines and staples. Make your own wrapping paper from shopping bags or newspaper.

Don’t Fall for Black Friday Deals

Last year on November 26 I wrote this post and wanted to give you a recap in case you are thinking of stepping out on that fateful day to buy something you really don’t need.

From Nov. 26, 2008:

Black Friday is just 2 days away. Most people check out the ads on Thanksgiving day to see what great deals are out there and how much money they can save. This will probably be the first year that I don’t go out and buy anything. Last year I made it only to one store to get some half price socks, I am excited to stay away completely this year.

Over at MainStreet.com is an article about Black Friday, The Money Snapping Secrets of Black Friday Sales. I was intrigued by what Jeffery had to say about Black Friday. Here are 8 reasons, he gives, why you should skip the Black Friday Hubbub.

  • You don’t need any of it.
  • You Can Use the time better.
  • You wont get what you went for.
  • The Black Friday experts already have won the game.
  • You’ll buy things you never intended to buy.
  • You’ll forget to calculate the true cost.
  • That price might not be that great.
  • You can do it from home.

Remember that this holiday was created to lure customers. If you want to make it through the holidays debt-free, make sure and stick to your budget and going out to the sales on Black Friday may make that much more difficult.

10 Frugal Holiday Party Tips

711083_56975192A successful party doesn’t depend on the amount of money you spend. You can have a successful fun party if you spend time thinking and letting your creativity flow.

1. Serve ordinary drinks in pretty stemware garnered from thrift shops (they needn’t match) – and garnish them with extraordinary, yet simple, touches. Frugal Luxuries by Tracey Mcbride.

2. Have a potluck, its not only cheap its tasty too. Ask each guest to bring their favorite dish.

3. Some people think there needs to be many desserts to choose but most of the time more than half is left over. Cut down on the desserts and the money spent by making one or two desserts.

4. Stop cooking appetizers if you are having a meal, this is an extra step that is not needed.

5. Skip the bar tab and have each guest bring their favorite bottle of wine. Just specify it on the invite “Bring your favorite bottle of vino to share!”. 5 Frugal Yet Fab Holiday Party Tips – Ezine Articles.

6. Save money and be environmentally friendly by using your own dishes and silverware. F is for Frugal – Blissfully Domestic.

7. Make sure and have music playing in the background, it adds a festive touch to any event.

8. Bring the outdoors in to decorate with – Pine cones, evergreen clippings, and holly all make great holiday decorations and as an added bonus they make the house smell great.

9. Make your own invitations and hand deliver them to save on postage.

10. Borrow from friends any items you may be lacking, such as casserole dishes, serving trays and large punch bowls.

Coupon Savings

1098658_12760034Sometimes coupons can add up to some hefty savings. Last night I was at the store and after coupons, I save $30. My total went from $78.00 down to $48.00. All because I checked out the sales and clipped coupons before I went to the store. So you have to put some effort into it but it is definitely worth the effort.

Here are some coupon sites that will help you get on your way to some great savings.

moneysavingmom.com – Helping you be a better home economist.

247couon.com – From books to pet stores to clothing.

dealcatcher.com – Catch the best deals online.

redplum.com – Sweeten the deal.

coupons.com – Free coupons.

And for advice on how to get the most from your coupons and how to combine offers with coupons to save more check out this site – grocerycouponguide.com

Whats the Meaning Behind Friday the 13?

friday-the-13thYes today is Friday the 13. There are superstitions connected to this day, why is that and where do they come from?

The sixth day of the week and the number 13 both have foreboding reputations said to date from ancient times, and their inevitable conjunction from one to three times a year portends more misfortune than some credulous minds can bear. According to some sources it’s the most widespread superstition in the United States today. Some people refuse to go to work on Friday the 13th; some won’t eat in restaurants; many wouldn’t think of setting a wedding on the date.

LEGEND HAS IT: If 13 people sit down to dinner together, one will die within the year. The Turks so disliked the number 13 that it was practically expunged from their vocabulary (Brewer, 1894). Many cities do not have a 13th Street or a 13th Avenue. Many buildings don’t have a 13th floor. If you have 13 letters in your name, you will have the devil’s luck (Jack the Ripper, Charles Manson, Jeffrey Dahmer, Theodore Bundy and Albert De Salvo all have 13 letters in their names). There are 13 witches in a coven.

Although no one can say for sure when and why human beings first associated the number 13 with misfortune, the superstition is assumed to be quite old, and there exist any number of theories, most of which deserve to be treated with a healthy skepticism.

LEGEND HAS IT: Never change your bed on Friday; it will bring bad dreams. Don’t start a trip on Friday or you will have misfortune. If you cut your nails on Friday, you cut them for sorrow. Ships that set sail on a Friday will have bad luck – as in the tale of H.M.S. Friday … One hundred years ago, the British government sought to quell once and for all the widespread superstition among seamen that setting sail on Fridays was unlucky.

Some say Friday’s bad reputation goes all the way back to the Garden of Eden. It was on a Friday, supposedly, that Eve tempted Adam with the forbidden fruit. Tradition also holds that the Great Flood began on a Friday; God tongue-tied the builders of the Tower of Babel on a Friday; the Temple of Solomon was destroyed on a Friday; and, of course, Friday was the day of the week on which Christ was crucified. It is therefore a day of penance for Christians.

But with all of this, you have to remember that Friday the 13 is just another day. Its interesting to read about but try not to think about it being a day of bad luck. Any day can have bad luck. Take it for what it is…just another day.

10 Holiday Savings Tips

Christmas BaubleCan you believe it, Halloween is come and gone and we are staring straight into the eyes of what we like to call ‘The Holidays”! Yikes! Yes in the past I was always ready for this time of year with not much to do but this year I have a lot left undone, and not much money to do it in. If you are in that same boat check out the tips below and start saving money today.

1. Save money on stamps by sending Christmas postcards. And only send them to the people you would like to get in touch with the most.

2. Using the Christmas cards you received last year you can make your own postcards – saving on the price of the postcards.

3. Make your own bows from newspaper and magazines – Click here for easy gift bow instructions.

4. Wrap your gifts in what you already have – left over material(you can even cut up old clothes you don’t wear), magazine ads, newspaper funnies, and old wrapping paper.

5. Make your own gift tags – cut up old Christmas card, you can even use a deck of cards like they did here.

6. Decorate with what you already have. Hang up your Children’s art work, fill a glass bowl with old bulbs or pine cones, string popcorn and cranberries to hang on the tree and along the fire mantel, use pine tree clipping for decoration and as a bonus it will make the house smell beautiful.

7. When looking for gifts, check out your local Goodwill, a lot of times you will find brand new merchandise from Target or other well known stores that donate their over merchandise. The cost of these brand new items are usually only a couple dollars.

8. Make your own gifts. There are so many easy fun project for the whole family to make and homemade is always best.

9. Save on shipping and deliver gifts in person when you can.

10. Always pay with cash, you will buy only the necessities because watching cash leave your hands is much harder then using the credit card.

How to Detect a Lie

Have you ever had suspicions someone is lying to you but you weren’t sure? The following techniques to telling if someone is lying are often used by police, and security experts. This knowledge is also useful for managers, employers, and for anyone to use in everyday situations where telling the truth from a lie can help prevent you from being a victim of fraud/scams and other deceptions.

Walk it Off

1214071_63598155Walking may not seem to you to be a good way to exercise but according to an article from Family Circle I found out how good walking can be for you and the great thing is that its low impact and almost anyone can do it.

Millions of Americans don’t exercise because they think working out has to be challenging to be beneficial. But the fact is just the act of getting up and moving makes a difference. New research has found that even super-slow strolls reduce risk of cardiovascular events by 31% and the chance of dying(during an 11 year period) by 32%. Participants covered as little as 5 1/2 total miles a week and went as slow as 2 miles per hour.

Walking can also keep you slim. A 2009 study of nearly 5,000 men and women found that americans gain an average of more than 2 pounds a year once they reach middle age, but the more walking they do, the less weight they put on.

For the best results, the American Heart Association, in partnership with the American College of Sports Medicine, recommends adults walk briskly for at least 30 minutes, five days a week. How fast? That’s up to you. A study of overweight, sedentary volunteers revealed that all of them achieved a healthy heart rate of 60% to 70% of their maximum range when told simply to walk briskly.

For helpful information on walking and getting outdoors check out The Walking Site.

Can Curry Spice Kill Cancer Cells?

374839_2703Found this article on the BBC News site online; Curry spice ‘kills cancer cells’. An extract found in the bright yellow curry spice turmeric can kill off cancer cells, scientists have shown.

I was surprised when I read this about Turmeric. My family tends to eat a lot of curry dishes but I had never heard of it having the ability to help kill cancer cells. The chemical – curcumin – they have found has properties that have started to kill cancer cells within 24 hours.

Dr McKenna said: “Scientists have known for a long time that natural compounds have the potential to treat faulty cells that have become cancerous and we suspected that curcumin might have therapeutic value.”

Dr Lesley Walker, director of cancer information at Cancer Research UK, said: “This is interesting research which opens up the possibility that natural chemicals found in turmeric could be developed into new treatments for oesophageal cancer.

To read the complete article click here.

Fun and Unexpected Calorie Burners

274000_1093Exercise is important for a healthy body and brain but the cost of a gym membership is a bit too much for most these days. Ever since we had to sadly cut our gym membership from our budget, I have been looking for ways to burn calories and keep in shape. Over at divine caroline I found this article on fresh ideas for fun calorie burners.

Here are some of divine carolines ideas:


  • Hula hooping – up to 600 calories burned an hour.
  • Hacky sack – 263 calories burned an hour.
  • Sledding – 461 calories burned an hour.
  • Tai Chi – 263 calories burned an hour.

With a partner

  • Playing catch – 164 calories burned an hour.
  • Ping pong – 263 calories burned an hour.
  • Fast dancing – 316 calories burned an hour.
  • Slow dancing – 197 calories burned an hour.
  • Sex – 104 calories burned an hour.

With a group

  • Ultimate Frisbee – 527 calories burned an hour.
  • Water volleyball – 197 calories burned an hour.
  • Kickball – 460 calories burned an hour.

Around the house activities

  • Gardening – 263 calories burned an hour.
  • Raking the lawn – 283 calories burned an hour.
  • Painting – 296 calories burned an hour.
  • Mowing the Lawn – 362 calories burned an hour.
  • Grocery shopping – 151 calories burned an hour.

For more on Fun and Expected Calorie Melter’s click here.