Tissue ghosts

Frugal Halloween Craft: Halloween Tissue Ghosts

Tissue ghosts

According to Forbes, the average American spends an average of $75.03 on Halloween candy, costumes and decorations each year. While this figure pales in comparison to Christmas spending, it’s still a pretty substantial chunk of change, especially if you are pinching pennies. Thankfully, there are plenty of inexpensive Halloween decorations that pack a ton of cute into their tiny little price tag. Today’s DIY Halloween decoration is no exception. You’ll love these adorable Halloween Tissue Ghosts!

Halloween Tissue Ghosts have everything you could want from a Halloween decoration. They are easy and fun to make, they are seriously cute, and you can literally make them for pennies. You can make them as far in advance as you’d like since they don’t go bad, and they are easy enough to make that your kids can help. You probably already have all of the materials on hand, so they don’t require a trip to the store. Make one or make a whole room full–they are quick and easy enough that you can make as many as you want!

Halloween Tissue Ghosts

Materials Needed:

  • 2 Tissues (per ghost)
  • String
  • Scissors
  • Marker
  • Tape (optional)


1. Take one tissue and wad it up into a ball.

2. Place the first tissue in the center of the second tissue.

3. Flip the whole thing over so the loose ends of the second tissue drape over the tissue wad.

4. Tie a string around the ghost’s “neck” to secure. (The length of the string will depend on where you want to hang him.)

5. Draw a face. Spooky or cute–it’s up to you!

6. Hang the ghost wherever you like! You can tape the string to a wall or tie it around a ceiling fan to make him “fly!”

**Optional: If you want the ghost to hang upright, you may need to tape the string to the back of his head. If you are hanging him from the ceiling fan, tape won’t be necessary.

Alternate Suggestion: Cut up white plastic shopping bags or trash bags for ghosts you can hang outdoors!

Related: Scary Ghosts Halloween Craft

Are you decorating for Halloween this year? Will you be buying decorations or making your own?

save when dining out

Five Ways to Save Big When Dining Out

save when dining out

How much does the average restaurant meal cost a family of four? Somewhere around 50 or 60 dollars? Maybe a little more if you get appetizers and a few margaritas for mom? Sure, a break from cooking and doing dishes is totally worth it, but if you dine out often (at least once a week), those breaks can add up.

The good news is, it’s pretty easy to save money while dining out. What’s that mean? It means you can dine out more often … or save that money to hire a maid to do your cooking and dishes for you!

  1. Don’t Forget the Coupon! – Oh sure, when you go grocery shopping, you’ve got binders full of coupons, but where are those money-saving scraps of paper when you’re dining out? Find them and use them to score free appetizers, half price desserts, and good deals on drinks.
  1. Just Say No to Drinks – This one takes a lot of willpower, but you can shave 10 to 20 percent off your dinner tab simply by order water (free!) instead of regular drinks. If you usually order alcoholic beverages, try cutting those first (they’re the costliest) and opt instead for soda or iced tea, which usually include free refills.
  1. Just Say No to Appetizers – While we’re in the habit of saying no to things, skip the appetizer, too. Yeah, you’re hungry and those jalapeño poppers look amazing, but they’re not $8 amazing and they’re not worth ruining your appetite over.
  1. Skip the Kids Meal – Yeah, kids meals usually only cost about $5, but that’s five bucks you don’t need to spend. Instead, give your tot a taste of what mom and dad is having by sharing a little bit of your entrees. Those meals are gigantic enough, so you won’t really miss a few bites, will you?
  1. Score a Free Kids Meal – Some restaurants offer “kids eat free” discounts, which means you can ignore tip #4 and have your dinner all to yourself. To find one of these deals near you, check out My Kids Eat Free – a website that lists more than 6,500 family-friendly restaurants nationwide.

Related: How to Cut Back on Eating Out (and Save Money, Too!)

cut back on eating out

How to Cut Back on Eating Out (and Save Money, Too!)

cut back on eating out

For the last few years, my husband and I developed a bad habit of eating out at restaurants often. We were being foolish with our money, and I was ready to change. The first step towards changing was admitting that we were wasting money on eating out instead of being wise with our money and investing towards our kid’s college or our own retirement. The second step was finding out exactly how much we were wasting on eating out at restaurants. This step was the eye opener. I went through our statements and wrote down every restaurant expense. It was a shocker. We were blowing so much money on restaurants without even realizing it. Then, we added up our grocery expenses and added that to our overall total and it was at that moment that we knew we needed to make changes.

The last few months, my husband and I have been following Dave Ramsey’s baby steps towards a healthier financial life. This book is the book that motivated us to start. We do not carry debt, but just because we had the money to spend, did not mean we could blow it on anything we wanted. We wanted to be good stewards of our money and make sure it was going to the right things — our emergency fund, college, retirement, and giving.

On September 1, we made the commitment to stop eating out and to cut back on it. We didn’t give it up entirely, but we do limit it to only a few times a month. If and when we do eat out at restaurants now, it’s a treat for us because we don’t do it often.

How to Cut Back on Eating Out (and Save Money, too!) 

1. Add it up.

Go through your (and your husband’s) previous month’s statements and write down every restaurant expense on a piece of paper. Add the amounts up to come up with your total. This will give you an idea on how much you are spending monthly on restaurants. Do the same for groceries and then add the two together to get your total food expenses. Take some time with your significant other to discuss the total. Too high? It’s time to make some changes! This is time to get creative and come up with a plan to cut back on eating out.

2. Shop from your kitchen.

If you were to place all of the food items from your pantry, refrigerator, freezer, and cupboards onto a conveyor belt at the store and let the cashier ring it up, what do you think the total would be? You’ve already purchased the items in your kitchen, now it’s time to eat them up! Each week, I take a piece of paper and divide it into five categories: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, Snacks, Drinks. Then, I look through my kitchen to see how many items I have that I can place in each category. I try to come up with different meals to make with what we have and write those down in each category. When I see that our items are running low in each category, that means it’s time to shop for groceries.

3. Meal plan.

When there’s no plan for meals, it can be easy to opt for eating out at a restaurant instead. When we weren’t meal planning, we were buying a lot of random items at the grocery store. Many times, we couldn’t even come up with full meals from those items, so we either found ourselves eating out more, or making several trips to the grocery store for food. Now that we meal plan, we only get the items we need from the store to make simple meals for a week or two. Meal planning has been a huge factor in cutting back on eating at restaurants.

Related: 5 Reasons You Need to Start Meal Planning Today

4. Shop for groceries. 

Once you have a meal plan in place, then it’s time to shop for 1-2 weeks worth of meals. Shop from your list only. It may be tempting to pick up a few items here and there while shopping, but you’ll save money if you stick to the list. It’s a good idea to set a food budget every time you shop.  Use coupons to help you save more at the grocery store.

Related: The Best Places to Find Online Printable Coupons

5. Limit eating out at restaurants.

If you’ve been used to eating out at restaurants, it can be hard to cut back entirely. You don’t have to give up eating out altogether, but limit it to special occasions or even just once a week. We try to limit it to once per week, if that. When we do eat at a restaurant, we try to go the cheapest route possible to save more money.

6. Get creative if you do eat out at a restaurant.

If and when you do eat out at a restaurant, get creative to find how you can cut your bill down even more. Do you have kids that don’t eat everything on their plate? Order one meal and split it up so they can share it. Order water instead. Skip the value meal and order from the $1 menu. It has become a game that whenever we do eat out at a restaurant now, we try to find ways to shave the cost down.

Related: 5 Ways to Save Big When Dining Out

7. Have date nights at home.

The night my husband and I discussed cutting back on eating at restaurants was the same night we dropped $75 on our meal during date night. It was our anniversary dinner and we hadn’t discussed saving before then, but I’m glad we don’t spend foolishly like that anymore. For date nights, we decided to skip eating out and spend time at home cooking in our kitchen and on the grill for a delicious homemade dinner. My husband usually grills up a delicious steak and I cook the veggies inside. We love to cook, so for us, this is something we enjoy. You may not enjoy having to cook on a date night – totally understandable! But if you do, this is an option. We also watch a movie after dinner to avoid paying for a movie, drinks and popcorn at a theater.

8. Pack your lunch.

Prepare lunches at home and take them to work! When you have food available to eat, this helps you to avoid the temptation of wanting to go out to get something to eat from a restaurant.

9. Pack snacks and food for the kids. 

This has been a HUGE money saver for us. I keep a snack box filled up for the car with some juice boxes as well. When I pick my kids up from school, they choose a snack and drink from the box and that keeps them satisfied until I can get home to make dinner. If I know we are going to be out for a long period of time running errands, etc., then I’ll pack lunches for everyone and stop for a picnic or allow them to eat their food in the car.

10. Take advantage of free meals.

There will be times when you’ll find activities and things to do where food will be free. Take advantage of these free meal offers! There’s nothing wrong with enjoying free food if it’s being offered. Some restaurants offer free meals for kids. Plan ahead if you must eat at a restaurant and take advantage of the kids eat free feature.

11. Skip the coffee shops.

Coffee shop expenses can add up, too. Make your own coffee at home and you’ll save a lot! We used to go to the coffee shop to get doughnuts. Now, we purchase a big box of doughnuts at the store for under $5 and freeze them for those times my girls want to enjoy a doughnut! They haven’t asked to go back to the doughnut shop since switching to buying store-bought doughnuts.

12. Tell your family and friends about your plan.

If you are in the habit of going out to eat at restaurants with family or friends, they may not be as motivated as you to save on eating at restaurants. Kindly inform your family and friends of your plan and come up with ways to still enjoy each other’s company without having to spend a lot of money eating out. It may be a hard adjustment at first, but remember, this is YOUR money and you get to decide where your money goes.

You can do this!

At the end of each month, total up the amount spent on eating out at restaurants and the amount spent on groceries. Challenge yourself to keep these amounts as low as possible. Set time aside to talk to your significant other on your progress and come up with ways to improve, etc. Cutting out restaurant expenses can be difficult at first, but once you have a good plan in place and see how much money you are saving by not eating out motivates us to keep going! Try this for a month and see how you do! You may become hooked to this plan like we are. The money saved by not eating out will be added to college funds, retirement, and giving to others instead of wasted on restaurant expenses. That sounds like a winning plan to me!

Do you have any tips to help cut down on eating out at restaurants? 

ways to get christmas shopping done early

6 Ways to Get Your Christmas Shopping Done Early

ways to get christmas shopping done early

Christmas is only a few months away! The next few months are going to be busy for many families. The back-to-school season is approaching as well as football season. The holidays will be here before you know it. Christmas isn’t on the mind for many families until towards the end of November. Many families wait until Black Friday or Cyber Monday to complete their shopping. Some may complete it all at once and some may complete it throughout the end of November and during the month of December. Instead of spending hundreds of dollars all at once to complete your Christmas shopping, why not shop throughout the year?

First, you’ll want to make sure you have your list ready of people that you need to buy for throughout the year. Then, create a budget of how much you’ll be spending for each person, and what he/she may like or want.

How to Shop for Christmas Presents Throughout the Year (Instead of All At Once) AND Save Money, Too!

1. Shop for 1-2 People Each Month

If you set aside money each month for 1-2 people on your list, chances are, you won’t go into a huge amount of debt by getting all of your shopping completed month by month. Budget for about $50-$100 a month for 1-2 people and do this each month until you are finished shopping.

2. Shop the Clearance Aisles

Just about every store has a clearance aisle. You can score some pretty great items at a low price on the clearance racks. If you see items on the shelves that you think your recipient will like, purchase the items and put them in the gift closet and save them for Christmas.

3. Use Rewards Points

If you have any accounts earning rewards points, use your rewards points for Christmas presents! This includes any credit or debit card rewards, Pampers Rewards, Kellogg’s Family Rewards, or other rewards.

Related: Ways to Earn Extra Cash or Rewards This Summer

4. Re-Gift

If you have new items sitting around your home unopened, consider putting them away for someone that may need or want it. Just make sure you don’t give it back to the same person that gave it to you! Re-gifting is not a bad idea if you know you don’t love the item or if you know you’ll never use it.

5. Shop for Brand New Items at Thrift Stores

You can find brand new items at thrift stores at a low price. You’ll be able to tell since the items usually still have the tag hanging on them or the item is still in the box. You’ll pay way less for the item at a thrift store than you would at a retail store.

6. Shop the Lightning Deals at Amazon

I check Amazon just about every day. This doesn’t mean I buy something every day, but I do browse through the Lightning Deals at Amazon to see if there’s anything that would make a great Christmas gift. Many of the times you can get deeply discounted deals on items through the lightning deals if you catch it at the right time!

Remember, you don’t have to go into debt in December because of Christmas gifts. If you plan your shopping ahead of time and complete your shopping throughout the year, you’ll save money and have all of your shopping done early. Then, you can enjoy a less stressful holiday season!

clothes folded up in a retail store

Five Ways to Transition Your Wardrobe from Summer to Fall

clothes folded up in a retail store

Fall is right around the corner and it’s time to start thinking about switching out your summer wardrobe for your fall one. Just because the weather is turning cooler doesn’t mean that you need to put all of your summer clothes away and go buy all new ones for fall, however. Not only would this take a huge chunk out of your bank account, but it would leave your closet feeling stuffed as well. Instead, save yourself time, money and hassle with these five tips for transiting your wardrobe from summer to fall.

1. Layer with Cardigans and Blazers

Extend the life of those summer tank tops and sleeveless blouses with cardigans and tank tops. All you need is a few simple cardigans in colors you wear frequently and a blazer or two in a professional navy, gray or black and you’ll be able to wear your favorite summer T’s long after the weather turns cool. Cardigans especially are very affordable and widely available so don’t be afraid to buy several.

2. Add Thick Tights or Leggings

Think fall marks the end of sundresses? Think again. Add thick tights and leggings underneath your favorite sundresses as well as a cardigan or blazer on top and you’ll be cute, fashionable AND warm all fall long. Tights and leggings are a great way to make summer dresses into a whole new look. I recommend buying a few different pairs in grey and black, but don’t be afraid to throw in a brightly colored pair occasionally as well.

3. Roll Up the Hems

The transition from summer to fall can be tricky. There are plenty of days when it isn’t quite warm enough for short sleeves, but it isn’t quite cool enough for long sleeves either. Plus, the temperature can vary widely throughout the day. Stay comfortable by rolling up your long sleeves or pant legs into cute cuffs. The cuffed pants with heels look is very “in” right now, and it’s a great way to stay comfortable all season long.

4. Add a Scarf

Scarves are one of my favorite fashion accessories, and one of the best parts about dressing for fall. Something as simple as adding a scarf can really dress up your outfit or make it more playful. You don’t have to wear thick wooly scarves to stay warm either. You may just be surprised how warm a light, airy scarf will keep you when you wrap it just right. Check out Pinterest for unique and creative ways to tie your scarves. There are so many ways to tie them that you can create all sorts of looks no matter where you are going.

Amazon has a great selection of affordable scarves to choose from!

5. Switch Up Your Footwear

Don’t put away the sandals just yet. When it comes to footwear, anything goes! Wear flip flops with jeans and t-shirts or tall boots with sundresses and cardigans. During the short time between summer and fall, anything goes! Don’t be afraid to mix and match and see what types of unique combinations you can come up with.

Do you have summer clothes you aren’t ready to put away just yet? What other tips do you have for making your clothes last?

great ways

Five Ways to Earn Extra Cash


Whether you have back to school supplies, birthday presents or unexpected medical expenses to pay for, chances are you will need some quick, easy cash at some point in your life. Don’t rack up your credit card and don’t mess with an unscrupulous pay day loan company. Use one of these five great way to earn some quick cash instead. They won’t provide you with an extra, sustainable income, but they will get you the cash you need fast.

1. Sell Your Unused Belongings

Do you have extra furniture, clothes, toys, collectibles or other home items lying around your home that you don’t want or need anymore? Sell them in a garage sale, to a consignment shop, or on a site like Ebay or Craigslist. Not only will you declutter your home and help someone who needs those items, but you’ll make some quick, easy money too!

2. Sign Up for Inbox Dollars NOW and Earn $5

Join Inbox Dollars right now and you’ll earn $5 in your account just for joining! Then, you can do things like read emails, take a few surveys, play games, or shop to earn more. Once you reach $30 in your account, you can request payment!

3. Donate Plasma

Are you a relatively healthy individual? If so, you could make big bucks by selling your plasma. Depending on where you live, reputable companies may pay you as much as $20-$50 per visit, and you can usually go twice per week. Your body replenishes itself quickly so you aren’t out anything except an hour or so of your time. And for $50, I’d say that’s an hour well spent!

Related: Creative Ways to Make Money on the Side

4. Babysit, Pet Sit or House Sit

Babysitting, pet sitting and house sitting are all great ways to make some quick, easy money without too much work. Depending on the arrangement, you could work from your home or theirs, full time or part time, once in a while or on a consistent schedule. This option is especially great for stay-at-home moms who are home all day anyway.

5. Take Online Surveys

You can take online surveys for cash and rewards from the comfort of your own home. I like using my rewards from surveys for birthday and Christmas presents. My favorites are Toluna, Vindale Research, and Pinecone Research!

Related: Ways to Earn Extra Cash and Rewards

All of these ideas are super easy to do, and there is no wait time to find a job or get paid.

Could you use a little extra cash in your pocket? Which one of these are you going to try first?

ways to build an emergency fund

7 Ways to Build An Emergency Fund

ways to build an emergency fund

If you are trying to save money, then you’ll probably hear about the importance of having an emergency fund. An emergency fund is just that – a fund set aside for emergencies only. You never know when you’ll need to use the emergency fund (your car breaks down, your AC goes out, etc.) Whatever the reason, the money will be there if you set it aside for a rainy day. Many experts will say that it’s a good idea to save at least $1,000 in an emergency fund if you are starting out. Then, once that fund is set and you’ve paid off your debts, you can always add to it and create a solid emergency fund of up to 3-6 months expenses.

Funding your emergency fund doesn’t have to be difficult! Here are a few ways to build your emergency fund.

1. Earn extra income.

Find a second job or work a few side jobs. Work a few extra nights a week and add the extra money to your fund. You can even try babysitting, mowing lawns, washing cars, etc.

2. Sell your belongings.

Go around your home and start finding items that you and your family can live without. You’d be surprised with how much you can find. Then, either sell those items at a yard sale, online through Craigslist or eBay, or consign the items.

Related: 5 Easy Steps for Throwing the Perfect Yard Sale

3. Avoid Eating at Restaurants.

If you are in the habit of eating fast food on a regular basis, I challenge you to add up your restaurant expenses for one month. Then, try to cut that amount in half, or avoid eating at restaurants at all.

4. Set up automatic payments.

Treat funds going into an emergency fund “like a bill” and set up automatic payments from your checking account. You don’t have to add a lot, but start small, maybe $25 each month. Set the payments up automatically and have it go to your savings account each month. You can increase this amount if you’d like until your emergency fund is where you want it to be.

5. Cut your grocery bill significantly.

Food can be one of the highest expenses in your household. Create a budget for food and stick to it. Most food budgets I’ve seen run around $200-$400 per month for a family of 4. Use coupons to save even more at the grocery store.

Related: The Best Places to Find Online Printable Coupons

6. Shop at thrift stores instead of retail stores.

Thrift stores are a great place to find items you may need or want. Instead of paying full price for items at a retail store, shop at thrift stores. I actually buy the majority of my children’s clothes at thrifts stores, paying only $1.79 per item. This beats paying $10-$15 per item or more at the mall or other retail stores!

7. Earn extra income through online surveys in your spare time.

Look into online surveys that pay for your time. Here’s a list of survey companies that you could sign up for to earn money or rewards for completing surveys.

Having an emergency fund in place can certainly help on a “rainy day.” Start as soon as you can to get your emergency fund in place.

Do you have an emergency fund in place? What tips would you add to the list?

halloween costume ideas

Ten Halloween Costume Ideas You Can Make Yourself

halloween costume ideas

Think you have to spend a fortune to get great looking Halloween costumes for your children? If so, think again! Not only can you save big on Halloween costumes by finding them on sale, purchasing them secondhand and handing them down between siblings and cousins, but you can also save a bundle on your children’s Halloween costumes by making them yourself. Here are ten fun and frugal Halloween costume ideas that are cute, easy, and most importantly–cheap!

1. Black Cat

For an affordable Halloween costume purr-fect for girls of all ages, a black cat costume is the way to go. All you need are black leggings, a black long sleeve t-shirt, and black shoes. Accessorize with ears (felt triangles glued to a black headband), a tail (stuffed black pantyhose pinned to the pants), and black eyeliner whiskers. Easy, cute and cheap!

2. Ghost

There are few DIY Halloween costumes as popular or as well-known as the classic ghost costume. All you need is a sheet, a black marker, and a pair of scissors! Choose a white sheet for a classic ghost look or a colored sheet to create one of the Pacman ghosts!

3. Construction Worker

Does your son have a tool belt and a tool box in his toy chest? If so, pair them with a pair of jeans and a white shirt, and you’ve got an inexpensive and creative construction worker Halloween costume. The tool box can even double as his candy basket.

4. Princess

Your daughter loves playing princess on the other 364 days of the year, why make Halloween the exception? If she doesn’t have a pretty princess dress already, a flower girl, Easter or other church dress can work just as nicely. Then, all you need is a tiara and a wand, which you can always find cheaply at Halloween costume stores, toy stores or the dollar store.

5. Hockey Player

Do your children play any sports, such as hockey, basketball, or football? If so, dress them in their uniforms for Halloween! You already have everything that you need, and they are sure to look great.

Related: 7 Ways to Save Big on Your Kids Halloween Costumes This Year

6. Dancer

Is your daughter taking dance? If so, have her be a dancer for Halloween. You know the costume will be comfortable, look adorable and fit well, and you won’t have to spend any extra on it either. Be sure to do her nails and hair so she’s all glammed up for the big night.

7. Waitress

Do you have any old waitressing uniforms lying around from your days of working in a restaurant? If so, maybe your children would love to be a waitress for Halloween. All they need are jeans, a plain t-shirt (the messier, the better!), your apron, and a notepad and pencil. One order of Halloween candy coming right up!

8. Ninja

For your overly energetic young boys, how about a ninja costume? Dress them in black, tie a belt around their waists, and send them running down the streets with their fake plastic swords. They are sure to have a ball, and better to have them running down the sidewalk than crashing through your house!

9. Pumpkin
The pumpkin costume is another fall staple, and it’s incredibly easy to make. If you are dressing a baby, simply take a men’s large tshirt, place it on the baby, and stuff it with newspapers or rags. Secure the bottom by tying it and draw, glue or attach a felt face to the front. Adorable!

Related: 8 Frighteningly Cheap Homemade Halloween Decorations

10. Spider
Lastly, why not try an eight-legged spider costume on for size? Dress your children in black, and then use old black panty hose or leggings stuffed with newspaper or plastic bags to create additional legs, which you’ll pin to your child’s sides. You can even use fishing wire or string to connect the extra arms to your child’s sleeves, so all of the arms move when your child’s do. This costume can be as silly or as scary as you and your kids prefer.

Are you making your children’s Halloween costumes this year? What are they going to be?

DIY Halloween Decorations

8 Cheap Homemade Halloween Decorations

DIY Halloween Decorations

One of my fondest childhood memories involves my mother digging the Halloween stuff out of the attic and decorating the house with all sorts of spooky (and goofy) decorations. Most of them were things we’d bought from the store, but there were a few that we took some time to make. For me, those homemade decorations were the best, and the DIY décor tradition is one that I’m looking forward to continuing now that I have a little one of my own.

But figuring out which decorations to make can be tricky (and not in a “trick or treat” kind of way). If you’re working with kids and your craftiness skills are like mine – about a four on a scale of one to 10 – you’ll want to choose homemade decorations that are simple. You’ll also want to make things that are relatively inexpensive … so you can spend more money on candy!

Here are eight super easy, super affordable, super spooktacular Halloween decorations you can make at home:

1. Spider Webs – They don’t get much easier and more kid-friendly than this. To make spider webs, take cotton balls and stretch them apart. Then tape them to windows, walls or wherever you need a little extra spookiness.

2. Halloween Tissue Ghosts – kids have a ton of fun making these! Display them with a pumpkin or stick them in styrofoam and set around your house for frugal decor.

3. Scarecrow – The scarecrow is fun because he (or she?) is a fun way to recycle old clothes and you can keep him in the front yard long after Halloween ends. Also nice: you can stuff him with leaves. Leaves your kids will gladly rake up in the front yard!

4. Scary Ghost Craft – fun and frugal for the kids to make. Perfect for setting on a bookshelf or stairway as decorations.

5. Giant Pumpkins – To make these oversized yard ornaments, simply take orange trash bags and stuff them with leaves (again, your kids will never be so eager to do yard work). Then use a black marker to draw a fun jack-o-lantern face.

6. Ghost – There are many ways to make a ghost, but this is among the easiest. To make this ghoul, turn a punch bowl upside down on a broomstick (you can also try a 2-liter bottle or milk jug) and drape it with a white sheet. Then draw a ghost face on with a marker, stick the broomstick in the yard, and watch the neighborhood kids run away in mock fear.

7. Mason Jar Jack-O-Lantern Use a glass mason jar to create a cute jack-o-lantern display.

8. 3D Halloween Ghosts – these scary ghosts are super simple to make using cupcake liners to create a 3D effect!

Related: 10 Fun and Frugal Halloween Costume Ideas You Can Make Yourself

Do you make your own Halloween decor? What do you like to make? 

Inside home temperature thermostat set  to seventy one degrees fahrenheit

7 Ways to Save on Home Heating This Winter

Inside home temperature thermostat set  to seventy one degrees fahrenheit

With October nearly over and November right on its heels, chances are high that your family will be turning on your heat soon if you haven’t already. While there’s nothing better than snuggling up in a warm house as the snow falls outside, keeping your home a warm and cozy temperature can become costly quickly. Don’t spend a fortune heating your home. Here are seven ways to save on your home heating this winter.

1. Open the Blinds

If you’ve ever opened your blinds wide to enjoy the sunshine, you know that letting the light in can really heat up your home. Wintertime is the perfect time to use this to your advantage. Open the windows during the day, especially on the side of your house that faces the sun. You’ll feel warmer in no time, and it doesn’t cost a thing!

2. Dress Warmly

Just because you can crank your heat and wear shorts all day doesn’t mean that you should. Dress warmly, including socks and warm sweaters. Leave cozy throw blankets out where they’ll invite you to snuggle up. Put an extra blanket on your bed. You’ll be able to turn down the heat and still be comfortable.

3. Adjust Your Ceiling Fans

Did you know that you are supposed to switch the direction your ceiling fans turn seasonally? It’s true. In the winter, your ceiling fans should run clockwise in order to gently push the warm air that floats to the ceiling back down again.

4. Check for Leaks

According to HouseLogic.com, the average family wastes $350 every year due to air leaks alone. Common places for air leaks include around doors, windows, fireplaces and sockets. Go through your home looking for leaks, and fill them with insulation, spray foam or weather stripping. The process is pretty simple, and you can find everything you need at your local home improvement store.

5. Invest in More Insulation

In addition to small leaks, your home may have large areas that are not well-insulated as well. While the heat may not seep out as fast in these areas, if the areas are large, you could still be out a substantial amount of money. Insulation is relatively cheap, and putting it up isn’t too difficult. Even a roll or two added to the attic can help.

6. Use a Space Heater

If your family spends the vast majority of your time in one or two rooms, it doesn’t make much sense to heat the entire house. Instead, turn the heat on as low as you can and then use a space heater in the rooms you frequent. You’ll stay nice and warm at a fraction of the cost.

7. Get Regular HVAC Maintenance as Needed
For those of us trying to live frugally, putting off home maintenance and repairs can be very tempting. Yet, some amount of regular HVAC maintenance is necessary to keep your system clean and running well. Otherwise, you’ll be wasting a ton of energy because the system is too dirty and inefficient to heat your home properly.

At the very least, you should change your furnace air filter every couple of months, or as often as every month if you have pets or allergies in your family. If your heat doesn’t seem to be keeping up, however, or if you are spending way more than you should, larger maintenance and repairs may be in order.

How painful are your home heating bills? Do you follow any of these steps to reduce your bills, or do you just crank the heat and not worry about it? What other tips work well for you?

Frugal Tips for Halloween Fun

Frugal Tips for Halloween Fun

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post brought to you by Nikki at Dollar Tree Deals.

Frugal Tips for Halloween Fun

Frugal Tips for Halloween Fun

Halloween is a great way to welcome in the cooler weather. It’s a good break from the routine for the kids, and it also helps children to use their imagination and creativity in coming up with costumes. There’s still time to plan out your afternoon and evening for the main event with these frugal tips for Halloween fun.

Being the Cool House
There’s always at least one house on the block that’s “the cool house.” It’s decorated for Halloween, and there’s someone dressed up at the door giving out treats. Whether your kids are into trick-or-treating for Halloween, or they’re at the age where they’re staying home and passing out the candy, you can put up some decorations to make it more fun and maybe even be the cool house. The trick is that you don’t have to spend a lot of money to do it. Throw a sheet over your lamp post to make a ghost, and put on some spooky music.

Related: 8 Cheap Homemade Halloween Decorations

Pets Are People Too
Something to remember about Halloween candy is that chocolate is bad for dogs. They can become quite ill. Be sure to tell your children. Keep the baskets and bags of candy away from Fido. Encourage your children to let your dog have treats that are healthy for pets, not people. If you don’t want your favorite canine to feel left out on Halloween, you can pick up some cheap dog toys and treats so that your furry family friend can join in on the festivities. You might also take your dog along trick-or-treating if you feel like it can behave without intimidating others. Your kids can have some fun coming up with creative Halloween costume ideas for your pet, whether it stays in or goes out on the town.

What’s Next?
When your Halloween crew gets back from trick-or-treating and parties, they could be cold and tired. Help them thaw out and enjoy something besides candy with warm drinks and snacks when they get home. Use a slow cooker to create up some hot drinks. If you haven’t used a crockpot before, you’ll find that you can make what you need ahead of time in one of the these small kitchen appliances. Let it cook or heat for several hours, using a recipe that fits in with your schedule. For example, you can set it up for a hot drink in the afternoon and turn it on low. You’ll have a tasty treat to come back to after the outing. Mulled cider is a non-caffeinated option that isn’t loaded with sugar. Pick up a jug of apple cider at the store or local farm stand. Spice it with some cinnamon sticks and cloves. Another option is to make some herbal tea, then add some sliced citrus fruit. If you don’t have a slow cooker, you can pick one up inexpensively at the discount store.

Related: Ten Halloween Costume Ideas You Can Make Yourself

Nikki is an independent writer for Deals.DollarTree.com. Deals offers low prices on everyday essentials, party supplies, pet products and more.

Healthy food on table

Five Reasons You Need to Start Meal Planning Today

Healthy food on table

Now that I meal plan every week, I find it almost hard to remember a time when I didn’t meal plan or to imagine how I ever went to the store without a list. Meal planning makes grocery shopping and cooking so much easier; I don’t think I could ever go back. Sure, I don’t always look forward to sitting down to meal plan when I’m especially busy–it does take a little time one night a week–but once my meal plan is done, I’m always glad I did it.

Haven’t started meal planning yet? Here are five reasons YOU need to start meal planning this week.

1. It Will Save You Time

How much time do you spend each evening looking into the cabinets wondering what you are going to make? How much time do you actually spend making those “quick” trips to the store? Even if you only spend 15 min a night trying to figure out what to make, that’s an hour and 45 min a week. Add in three 30 min “quick” trips to the store, and that’s over three hours of your life wasted each week. By sitting down one night a week for 45 minutes to an hour to make a meal plan and a grocery list, you can easily save yourself a couple of hours every week. Plus, your shopping trips will go much quicker as well.

2. It Will Save You Money

One great thing about meal planning is that it allows you to make your list around the items that are on sale or that you have coupons for every week. Instead of just going to the store and picking up whatever looks good, you can intentionally fill your list with items that you can get for less. or example, if hamburger is on sale this week, then this week would be a great time to make more hamburger-based recipes. Not only will you make fewer impulse purchases when you shop with a plan, but you will be able to buy the things that you do need for less as well.

3. It Will Save You Hassle

Figuring out what to eat very night can be a real hassle. Plus, who wants to make extra trips to the store at 5 p.m. when you just got off work or when the little ones are clamoring for dinner? By planning your meals in advance, you can make sure you already have the ingredients on hand, you won’t have to make decisions every night, and you can even do some of the prep work ahead of time. Get dinner on the table and get on with your evening faster with a meal plan.

4. You’ll Eat Healthier

What happens when you need to get dinner on the table in a hurry but you have nothing in your house that goes together to make a real meal? You hit the drive thru or order a pizza instead. While this is okay on occasion, many Americans have taken to eating convenience foods every night only is this very expensive, but it is very unhealthy too. Save your wallet and your waistline by meal planning instead.

5. You’ll Waste Less

Another great perk of meal planning is that you can plan meals with similar ingredients for the same week so nothing gets wasted. Have a recipe that requires half a bag of spinach? Plan another spinach recipe the same week and put that spinach to good use! Stop throwing out all of those leftover ingredients. Make a meal plan, and you’ll reduce your waste and your grocery budget.

Need a little bit of a meal planning boost? Try eMeals Meal Planning. eMeals offers a variety of plans including low fat, low carb, portion control, gluten free, clean eating, paleo, vegetarian, natural & organic, and classic plans. You pick your plan, get great recipes, shop and save, and cook and enjoy! eMeals helps to take the “guessing” work away so you can start planning great meals for your family.

Do you meal plan? If not, what’s stopping you?

credit cards

Three Ways to Eliminate Your Credit Card Interest Payments Today

credit cards

When it comes to paying off your debts, there are a lot of things that can get in your way. There are surprise medical bills, old habits that die hard, and–perhaps most annoying of all–interest. I absolutely hate paying interest. So, I set out to find ways to avoid it, and I came up with three really good ones.

1. Pay Off Your Balance

This should go without saying, but if you are continuing to buy things you can’t afford by putting them on your credit card, stop! You are only digging yourself into a deeper hole. If you have to put it on a card to afford it, you can’t afford it. Switch to cash and pay off your credit card balance as soon as possible.

Read the book that helped me get out of debt:

The The Total Money Makeover: Classic Edition: A Proven Plan for Financial Fitness

By: Dave Ramsey

2. Switch to a “No Interest” Card

In the meantime–while you are working to pay off your credit card debts–why not transfer your current credit card debt to a new card with a zero percent introductory interest rate? Now, I am NOT advising you to go card hopping constantly–this will hurt your credit. But if you don’t have much left to go, why not speed up the process by getting rid of the interest?

DO read the terms and conditions before you sign. It will completely defeat the purpose if there are huge fees or if the interest rate skyrockets before you are able to pay off your balance in full. This technique works best for relatively small balances on cards with high interest rateswhen you know you will have it paid off before the introductory period ends.

3. Make Payments Immediately

Okay, this one is going to take a little explaining, but it works really well if you can get the hang of it.

Say you had to use your card for an emergency expense, and now you have a $1,000 balance. If you stopped using your card to make any more purchases, you would pay interest on that $1,000 until you eventually got it paid off. That interest would really add up over time, especially if you couldn’t afford to pay the $1,000 off right away, and all of that money would be wasted.

BUT if you CONTINUE to use your card for the normal, everyday purchases that you would make anyways, and you pay off your new purchases as soon as you make them, then you can avoid paying interest on that original $1,000 all together.

Here’s how it works: Say, for example, that this month you need $600 for groceries, $125 for cable, $100 for a doctor’s payment, $75 for new clothes for your family and $100 for miscellaneous purchases. That equals $1,000. Instead of paying cash for those things or putting them on your card to pay off next month, pay them off as soon as you purchase them (or weekly works well too).

When you pay off all new purchases right away, instead of waiting until you get the bill for them, the $1,000 that you pay down on your card will go towards the original $1,000 first–not the new purchases. To you, it will be like you are ignoring that original $1,000 and just paying for new purchases. But to your card, you’ll be paying the previous balance off in full every month, which means NO interest! And then, the next month, when you pay next month’s bills, it will be applied to this month’s balance. And continue on this way each month until you are able to get your debt paid down.

Now, this technique won’t get your balance paid off–you’ll have to pay extra to do that. But it is a great way to avoid racking up interest when you really cannot spare any extra to pay down your debts right now. It kind of puts them in “limbo.” That original $1,000 balance is there, but you aren’t paying interest on it.

Obviously, these three techniques won’t work for everyone. If you are seriously behind on bills, have huge debts or have terrible credit, you probably won’t be able to eliminate your interest altogether. But if you have a smaller debt that you are working hard to pay off, these three tips are a fantastic way to eliminate your interest payment and get your debt paid off faster!

create a budget

How to Create a Budget that Really Works

create a budget

According to an article on StatisticBrain.com, the third most popular New Year’s Resolution people made last year was to spend less and save more. This comes as no surprise, considering that the average American household owes an average of $7,283 on their credit cards, not including their hefty mortgage and student loan debts. (Source)

Whether you owe a lot or a little, one thing’s for certain: If you want to get control of your finances and pay off your debt, you need a budget, and you need a budget that works.

If you’re one of the many Americans who has tried to budget before and failed, you aren’t alone. Many Americans have trouble making and sticking to a budget. The good news is, creating and keeping a budget that really actually works doesn’t have to be so difficult. Just follow these five steps!

1. Write Down the Numbers

Before you can figure out where you’re going, you have to figure out where you are now. Print out the last few months of bank and credit card statements. Get out a sheet of paper and write down how much you make every month (from work, child support, loans from your parents… everything that comes in). If it varies, write down the lowest amount you consistently make.

Then, write down ALL of your expenses and how much you spend on them. This includes bills like the mortgage, groceries, and cable as well as all the little things like gas station snacks, Starbucks trips and Target runs. If you use cash and you don’t know where your money is going, put that money in a “cash” category.

While you’re writing down numbers, go ahead and write down all of your debt on a separate piece of paper as well. It’s time to get honest.

2. Set Some Tangible Goals

For most people, budgets themselves aren’t intrinsically motivating. Therefore, if you want to succeed, you need to figure out your why. Do you want to get out of debt? Do you want to be a stay-at-home mom? Do you want to save up for a nice vacation? Figure out your motivation, and then put a tangible reminder where you can see it. For example, you might put a picture of a beach house on the fridge. This will help motivate you when times get tough.

Related: 7 Ways to Build an Emergency Fund

3. Adjust the Numbers Accordingly

Once you figure out what you’re making and spending, it’s time to adjust the numbers so everything fits. On a clean sheet of paper, list ALL of the things you spend money on each month, and divvy up your income into each category. Your grand total of expenses has to be equal to or less than your income (with wiggle room!) for your budget to work.

Do your best to make your numbers frugal, but realistic. After all, if your budget is unrealistic, you won’t be able to stick to it. Make sure you include a category for fun or anything else that you HAVE to have as well, even if the category is small.

Depending on how much you need to cut back, you may need to get rid of some things, sell some things, work longer hours or even get another part time job. But you CAN make it work. It might just take work and sacrifice.

4. Choose the Right Budgeting System for You

Figuring out how much you can afford to spend is the easy part. Sticking with the budget is much harder. While having a motivating goal can help tremendously, choosing the right money management system is crucial as well. I’m a huge fan of Dave Ramsey and follow most of his advice. You can find several great books that may help you create a budget and pay down your debts. Here are two books I recommend of many:

The Total Money Makeover: Classic Edition: A Proven Plan for Financial Fitness

Dave Ramsey’s Complete Guide to Money: The Handbook of Financial Peace University

5. Stick to the Budget!

Lastly, stick to the budget and wait! It won’t be long until your debt starts slowly melting away, your savings start piling up, and you experience financial freedom like you’ve never felt before! Just imagine how amazing that will feel!

Your debt isn’t going to get rid of itself, and the longer you wait, the worse it will get. The time to take action is now. Start today and bring yourself one step closer to financial freedom.

Do you need to take better care of your finances this year? What’s standing in your way?

Price tag over jeans background

Five Ways Decluttering Can Actually Save You Money

Price tag over jeans background
Shopping sales, using coupons and getting items for free are all fantastic ways to save your family money. Unfortunately, however, these money-saving techniques can come with a certain risk that no one talks about very much: clutter. When we get things for cheap or free, we tend to stock up, hoarding more than we really need. We think “Better safe than sorry–I’d better hold onto these items just in case.” And while it is good to be prepared, sometimes there comes a time when “being prepared” crosses the line into being a pack-rat.

You may think that holding onto things and accumulating as many things as you can for the future is a great way to save money. And, honestly, doing this might save you a little. But what many people don’t realize is that decluttering can actually save them money too. (Plus, it’s simply a nicer way to live.) Here are five ways decluttering can actually save you money.

1. You Can Earn Money By Selling the Extras

The quickest and most obvious way that decluttering can save you money is simply the fact that you can earn money by selling the items you don’t really need anymore. Sell the clothes and toys your family has outgrown on Ebay or at a consignment shop. Have a garage sale and get rid of all of the extra stuff your family doesn’t need anymore. Just think of what you could do with all of that extra money instead!

Related: 5 Easy Steps for Throwing the Perfect Yard Sale

2. You Won’t Waste Money on Things You Won’t Ever Use

Between coupons and sales, there are some incredible deals out there! With items like toothbrushes, ketchup and bathroom cleaner going on sale for next to nothing, it only makes sense to stock up, right? Yet, how many times have these items gotten lost or gone bad before you’ve even had a chance to use them? Clean out your stockpile and take inventory of which items you actually use and not. Even if certain items didn’t cost you very much, if you aren’t using them, the money you spent on them was wasted.

3. You Won’t Have to Buy So Many Replacements

How often have you not been able to find something, so you go out and buy another to replace it? How often have your things been broken because you have too much stuff to store it nicely (think: kids’ toys)? When you have less, you can keep better track of what you have and take better care of it. It becomes less expendable, and you spend less money replacing it.

4. You’ll Use Less

When you have 30 extra things of toothpaste and 50 extra boxes of cereal on hand, it becomes all too easy to become wasteful. After all, you have plenty on hand. I’m not suggesting that you shouldn’t have a stockpile–you should! But if all of that excess is causing your family to go through items much more quickly than you would otherwise, you may need to reevaluate how much extra you keep on hand.

Related: 10 Ways to Declutter Your Home

5. You’ll Have More Time and Energy for Other Tasks

I’m not sure I would even want to know how much time I’ve spent looking for items I couldn’t find because they got lost in all of the clutter! Not only is searching for your items annoying, but all of the time and energy you spent searching for things was time and energy you didn’t spend doing other, more productive tasks, like working from home, cutting coupons, finding deals or cooking from home so you wouldn’t have to eat out.

Here are more Decluttering and Organization Resources if you’d like to keep reading!

How is your money-saving strategy working for you? Are you saving your family money, or simply acquiring more and more clutter?

stay at home moms save money

5 Ways a Stay-at-Home Mom Can Save Big

stay at home moms save money

In this uncertain economy, many stay-at-home moms are saving big by adopting smarter shopping habits, stricter budgets, and eliminating unnecessary luxury items. Like these moms, you can make some small changes in your life in order to save more money. As financial expert, Suze Orman, suggests, “By taking care of yourself financially, you will truly be able to take care of those you love.” You can be a money-saving mama, more financially in control, and with a bigger budget for the things that matter most.


You don’t have to become one of those coupon-clipping moms from the television, but you shouldn’t avoid clipping altogether. Some women treat coupons like they’re a full-time job. Others take one afternoon a week to clip the coupons they’re most likely to use.

Coupons are for more than groceries. You can find coupons for everything from brand name electronics to clothing. You may find a valuable drugstore promo code or travel savings. Check in your weekly newspaper and online for coupons. Sign up for email alerts from your favorite brands and you may find money-saving coupons are randomly emailed to you.

Related: Best Places to Find Online Printable Coupons

Kids Eat Free

Many websites offer free meals for kids, when the adults in a family order from the regular menu. Instead of paying full price for everyone, try to only eat at those restaurants that offer free meals for children.


A strict budget is essential when you’re living on a single income. Create weekly and monthly budgets, with areas for projected and actual spending. This shows you where you’ve saved and how much. If there’s a surplus of money, put it into your savings account for a future vacation or larger home payment.

You can visually see where funds are being allocated and how much spending money you have for the week. You may find that you’re overspending on unnecessary expenses and not enough on your mortgage and car loans. For instance, if your husband travels frequently and is consistently overspending when parking at Newark, it may be a good idea to invest in a monthly parking pass.

Related: How to Create a Budget That Really Works

Prepare Meals at Home

Student lunches typically cost around $3, for an average monthly spending of $60. This $60 could help pay a bill or add to savings, so why not pack your children’s lunch? If you’re already couponing for inexpensive groceries, than you have the low-cost items on hand to prepare meals at home.

If your kids prefer what’s being served at school, try and find out if you can mimic those recipes. Another great way to get kids on board is to allow them to pick out a lunch pail with their favorite characters depicted on it. Your husband should be a little easier to sway. He likely finds your homemade leftovers more appealing that what they’re serving in the office cafeteria.

Related: 5 Reasons You Need to Start Meal Planning Today

Trim the Fat

Easily the best way to add a couple hundred dollars to your monthly savings is getting rid of luxury items you don’t need. If you’re paying for a monthly cable television subscription, complete with subscription channels, you’re costing yourself upwards of $250 a month. You should consider downgrading or cancelling this service altogether.

It’s important to not overspend on your credit cards either. Avoid luxury items, by keeping credit cards tucked away for emergencies only. Spend only what you can afford and then save the rest of your money. This is one of the best ways to build a savings and save your family some extra dough. Who knows? If you follow these tips, you may just find yourself relaxing on a beach for a quality family vacation soon.

Disclosure: Consideration was received for the editing and publishing of this post.


Are Yearly Memberships Worth It? (Zoo, Gym, Pool, etc.)

Are Memberships Worth It?

As a frugal shopper, you likely weigh every purchase very carefully before you make a decision. You don’t just want to reduce your spending; you also want to stretch your dollars and get the most bang for your buck.

One way to get an incredible value on summer entertainment is to purchase a yearly membership to a place like a zoo, a pool or a museum. When you divide the price of a yearly pass by the number of times you’re allowed to go, the savings are amazing! But are they worth their high price tag? Here are four questions to ask yourself when deciding if a yearly membership is a good buy for you.

1. How Often Will You Go?

The first and most important question you should ask yourself when considering a membership is “How often will we go?” If you know for sure you plan to visit the zoo, pool, or museum several times over the course of the summer, then a pass is likely a great value. If you enjoy visiting, but probably won’t have a chance to visit often, it may be a waste of money.

2. What Would You Do Instead?

Next, consider the alternative to buying a yearly membership. You aren’t likely to sit at home all summer. If you don’t have a yearly membership, will you visit a new (and expensive) place every week? If so, a yearly membership might make sense to you, because it would save you the expense of doing other activities out of boredom.

3. Do You Have the Money to Purchase One Right Now?

While purchasing yearly memberships for everyone in your family can lead to great savings, they are often quite the investment up front. Do you have the money to pay for one now, or can you skimp and save so you do? If you seriously cannot find a way to come up with the funds, you may have to find a different activity to do this summer and keep saving until next year.

4. What Other Hidden Costs are Associated With This Purchase?

Whether you are visiting the zoo, the pool or the museum, the cost of your yearly membership likely isn’t the only expense you will have. How much will you also end up spending on gas, parking, snacks, sunscreen and all of the extras? Don’t forget to factor these costs into the equation when you are deciding if a yearly pass is right for you.

Yearly passes can be a great investment, but only if you use them frequently enough to get your money’s worth. Be honest with yourself. Would getting a yearly pass help you save money this year, or is it just another thing to spend more money on because it’s such a “great deal?” This is a question only you can answer.

Do you ever buy yearly passes on entertainment? What activities and events do you buy them for?

Halloween Costumes

How to Save Big on Halloween Costumes

Halloween Costumes

Between the haunted houses, the creepy decorations and the spooky costumes, Halloween is one time of year that we all love to be a little frightened. Unfortunately, however, the scare doesn’t always stop there. If you go all out on all of your Halloween gear, the fright might extend to your bank account as well. Thankfully, it doesn’t have to. Here are seven ways to save big on your kids’ Halloween costumes this year.

1. Use Items that You Already Own

You might be surprised at the number of costumes you can make using items you already own. For example, if your child already has a toy tool belt and tools, he could go as a construction worker. If your daughter already owns a beautiful white flower girl or christening dress, she could go as a bride.

2. Choose Quality Costumes You Can Hand Down

When it comes to Halloween costumes, you often get what you pay for. If your child will only wear the costume once, going cheap is fine. If you have multiple children and you intend to hand the costume down, however, choose a timeless and quality costume that will last for years.

3. Make Your Own Costumes

If you are crafty, why not make your own costumes? You can make a poodle skirt by cutting a very large circle out of a piece of fabric, cutting a circle out for the waste, and sewing in some elastic. Pirate eye patches, ghost costumes and spider costumes are all super easy to make as well.

Related: 10 Fun and Frugal Halloween Costume Ideas You Can Make Yourself

4. Buy Pieces Instead of Entire Costumes

Instead of purchasing an entire costume, why not choose costumes that only require accessories? For example: Cat costumes only need black clothes, ears and a tail. Chef costumes only require a whisk and a chef’s hat. Artist costumes only require a set of paints and a beret. Ninja turtle costumes only need a shell, a weapon and a piece of fabric for a mask.


5. Watch for Great Deals

Whether you choose to purchase an entire costume or just pieces, be on the look-out for great deals. Many Halloween stores have coupons and promotions that allow you to get a great costume for cheap. You can often save big just by checking out the deals.

6. Buy Secondhand

Since most children only wear their costumes for one night before they are done with them, it is very easy to find like-new Halloween costumes for cheap. Check Ebay, Craigslist, garage sales and your local thrift stores or consignment shops. You never know what you might find! Your options will be a little more limited this way, but you are sure to get a great deal, so it is definitely worth a look.

Related: 8 Cheap Homemade Halloween Decorations

7. Hit End of the Season Clearance Racks

If you can remember and afford to plan ahead, November is the perfect time to purchase Halloween costumes for the next year at great prices. Pick up a costume or two when they are severely marked down on clearance, and you’ll be all set well before the next Halloween rolls around.

Halloween is a ton of fun, but that doesn’t mean that it should cost you a ton of money. Use these seven ways to save big on your kids’ Halloween costumes this year, and save the frights for the haunted house. Your kids will have amazing and unique costumes that they will be proud to show off at a price that you can afford.

How much do you usually spend on Halloween costumes for your kids? What tips do you have for getting a great Halloween costume for less?

Shopping bag full of fruits and vegetables

Best Places to Find Online Printable Coupons and More Ways to Save Money This Year!

Shopping bag full of fruits and vegetables

I often get asked the question, “Where are the best places to find online printable coupons?” I search for online printable coupons often and I trust the sites listed below. I’ve been using these coupon sites for a few years now and these are my “go-to” places. If you are looking for the best online printable coupons, I recommend the following coupon sites below.

*Note: When printing coupons, make sure your printer settings are at “Black and White” and print using the “Quick Print” setting. This will save you ink. Ink can be expensive, so you want to make sure you aren’t wasting ink on coupon prints, which could be “costing” you money. Print ONLY the coupons you know you will need and use to save the most money.

1. Coupons.com

2. Redplum

3. SmartSource

MORE Coupons!!!

4. Amazon Coupons – That’s right! Amazon has several coupons that you can clip online before you check out! You can find coupons for beauty supplies, baby items, household supplies, outdoor gear and clothing, electronics, personal care appliances, industrial & scientific, kitchen, and Prime Pantry Coupons

5. Target In-Store Printable Coupons

6. Ibotta – With this FREE app, You can find great rebates on your favorite products such as milk, yogurt, and lots more and redeem the rebates for REAL cash! I have this app installed on my smartphone and I use it on every shopping trip!

Browse through each of these online printable coupon websites and other money saving tools to find great money saving coupons!

Why should you search for printable coupons?

  • Finding printable coupons to match your grocery list will help you save money
  • You can print from home and don’t need to worry about newspaper subscriptions
  • Printable coupons are FREE to print
  • It’s easy and convenient when you know where to look

Where do you find coupons online? Let me know below! 

ways to save on vet bills

6 Ways to Save on Vet Bills

ways to save on vet bills According to an AP-Petside.com poll, pet owners spend more than $500 a year in vet costs. Depending upon the age and health of your pet, some of you might pay much more than that. But even though that expert assistance is well worth it, it is possible to save a few bucks (or a lot of bucks!) when it comes to health care for your pooch or kitty.

1. Shop Around for Pet Insurance – Pet insurance can cost anywhere from $25 to $50 a month, but it can be a lifesaver for your pocketbook when it comes to expensive operations and procedures. Since pet insurance doesn’t cover pre-existing conditions, the best time to insure your pet is when they’re younger.

2. Score Discounts with Pet Assure – If insurance is outside your price range, you might consider a more affordable option like Pet Assure. The plan offers up to 25 percent off all medical services and 50 percent off pet products from participating vets. And at just $99 a year for dogs, $79 for cats and $149 for a four-pet family plan, it can pay for itself with just a few visits.

3. Get a Written Estimate – Imagine being told your car repairs will cost $300 and then being charged $700. The same can happen with vet bills. A written estimate can help you avoid “surprise” costs and make sure both you and the vet are on the same page when it comes to your pet’s care.

4. Get Regular Check Ups – Can you save money by going to the vet more often? You bet! Regular check ups for your pet are like yearly tune-ups for your car – they’ll help diagnose smaller problems before they become expensive bigger problems.

5. Visit During Regular Hours – Emergency visits, either after hours or during working hours but without an appointment, can be costly. If your pet is truly sick or injured, definitely take him to see the vet immediately, but if he’s merely under the weather and can wait 24 hours or so, go ahead and make an appointment.

6. Take Advantage of Discounts – There are all sorts of vet care discounts available to pet owners. Those cost-cutters include senior and veteran discounts, but can also be used to save money if you’re a multi-pet owner or the owner of a stray or rescued animal. Not all vets offer discounts, but it definitely doesn’t hurt to ask!