Red christmas sock hung on the old wooden wall

50+ Stocking Stuffers for Under $3 Each!

50 Stocking Stuffers for Under $3 Each

Are you looking to save money on stocking stuffers this year? Here’s a list of stocking stuffers under $3 each! Fill up your cart and stockings with these stocking stuffers below! You don’t even have to leave your house!

Note: Prices can change any time! **I try to keep this list updated, but prices can change at any time. Check the price before buying.

(Categories: Jewelry, Clothing and Accessories, Crafts and Hobbies, Books, Activity Books, DVDs, Audio CDs, Stickers, School and Art Supplies)


Clothing and Accessories:

Crafts and Hobbies:


Activity Books:


Audio CDS:


School and Art Supplies:

ways to get christmas shopping done early

6 Ways to Get Your Christmas Shopping Done Early

ways to get christmas shopping done early

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 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!

holiday generosity

7 Ways to Save Money on Gifts this Holiday Season


In the past, I have gone way overboard on purchasing Christmas presents for my family. I would shop throughout the year and score as many great deals as I could until I had a closet filled with Christmas presents. After wrapping the gifts and placing them under the tree, all I could think about were some of the purchasing mistakes I made along the way.

I had a bad habit of spending each holiday season with no plan in place and ended up overspending and buying too many gifts that weren’t really necessary. This holiday season, I’m making some changes. My husband and I started a strict budget in July and we’ve been trying our best to stick to it. Going into November, we have a great plan in place and have budgeted for gifts. I know exactly how much we are spending this year on Christmas presents. This is important because I don’t want to look at the bills in January for any overspending that took place during the holiday season. We plan to stay debt free in 2017!

7 Ways to Save Money on Gifts This Holiday Season

1. Budget, budget, budget.

You must have a plan this holiday season if you don’t want to overspend or go into debt. Set an amount that you can afford comfortably and make a plan to stick to that amount without going over. Use this SunTrust budget worksheet to get started on your budget.

2. Create a list.

Write down the names of everyone you plan to buy for. Don’t forget to include any friends, coworkers, teachers, etc.

3. Assign an amount.

Assign an amount that you want to spend on each person. Stick to the amount when shopping. Remember the budget!

4. Make gifts!

Keep in mind that you don’t have to go to a retail store or mall to find gifts for loved ones. You can make gifts, too. Consider DIY gifts for a few of the recipients on your list.

5. Re-gift.

This can be a controversial topic, but if you have been given a gift that you think someone else will enjoy, give it to someone that you think will benefit from it.

6. Shop at dollar stores for stocking stuffers.

You can fill a stocking with great items from the dollar stores. Choose 5-10 items to include in stockings. Find items like candy, small toys, hair supplies, toothbrushes, notebooks, school supplies, and more at the dollar store!

7. Give the gift of time.

Rethink holiday generosity by giving the gift of time. The gift of time can be one of the greatest gifts of all. Remember the reason for the season. Money doesn’t buy love. Create special memories this holiday season with family and friends. Memories are FREE!

Keep these tips in mind this holiday season. Do you have any tips to add to this list? How do you save on gifts during the holidays?

holiday generosity

At SunTrust Bank their purpose is lighting the way to financial well-being. When you feel confident about your money, you can save for your goals and spend knowingly on what matters most to you.

The onUp movement was created to guide millions of people one step at a time towards a more financially confident life without ever losing sight of the moments that matter along the way.

Join the growing number of people transforming their stress into positive motivation to move onUp.

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This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of SunTrust. The opinions and text are all mine.

Pumpkin Pie

4 Ways to Save on Thanksgiving Dinner

4 Ways to Save on Thanksgiving Dinner

Wanna know the double whammy about preparing Thanksgiving dinner? In addition to requiring half a day of preparation (or more if you count the planning phase) only to be devoured in about 20 minutes, it’s also kind of expensive. Actually, let me rephrase that – it’s a lot expensive. With the cost of the average Thanksgiving dinner approaching $50 – a total that seems low, if you asked me – it’s important to find ways to cut corners on cost without cutting corners on taste. So I paid a visit to the buffet of inspiration known as the Internet to round up four Turkey Day dishes and ideas guaranteed to reduce your grocery bill this Thanksgiving.

  • The free turkey – The bird is the most expensive course on the menu (a 16-pounder will cost somewhere between $10 and $15). Cut this cost by taking advantage of the “free turkey” offers available at many grocery stores when you cash in your member rewards points.
  • Mashed potatoes – It’s just potatoes, milk, butter and some salt and pepper. If this meal costs more than 50 cents per serving, you’re doing something wrong.
  • Green bean casserole – No Thanksgiving is complete without this American classic. But it’s easy to spend $15 or more on this dish, which is why I recommend simplifying it by sticking to the Campbell’s recipe. Just six ingredients and you’re done.
  • Bring your own side dish/dessert – One of the easiest ways to cut costs is by asking guests to bring a side dish or dessert. To make it fun, challenge them to bring something made with an old family recipe or something that reminds them of Thanksgivings from their childhood. Just be sure to coordinate what everyone is bringing or else you’ll wind up with five pumpkin pies and six sides of creamed corn!

How do you save on Thanksgiving dinner?

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 decorations 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 using lollipops! 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 white 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? 

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?


Scary Ghosts Halloween Craft

Scary Ghosts

If you’re looking for frugal Halloween decor for your house you simply MUST make some ghosts! Ghosts are so much fun and these ghosts are incredibly EASY to make. Not to mention easy on your wallet! You can make them to decorate your house, or spend the morning with your kids creating them and then decorating.

For my ghosts I used old scrap blocks of wood that my husband was about the throw in the trash. I taped one piece of white construction paper around each block, then glued on 3 black circles for the ghost’s eyes & mouth. Don’t have scrap wood blocks laying around? (Don’t worry – we don’t usually either!) You can also do this with grocery boxes, cereal boxes, toilet paper tubes, pasta boxes, soup cans or anything else you may have lying around the house! You could even do a mini-version using your kid’s juice boxes! It’s a fantastic way to get in the Halloween spirit and decorate your house on a budget! Not to mention that the kids can help too!

These ghosts look great lining a stairway, placed on stairs, in windows, on tabletops and just about everywhere else! I have mine along the stairwell in my kitchen and they just cheer me up when I walk in the room!

earn extra cash and rewards

Ways to Earn Extra Cash and Rewards for the Holidays

ways to earn

Christmas is around the corner! Have you started your holiday shopping yet? There’s still plenty of time! This year, if you are in need of extra cash and rewards to put towards Christmas presents, check out this list below of ways to earn rewards through apps, surveys, and more! Companies and brands need feedback from YOU and by completing surveys or even doing simple tasks such as shopping online, you can start working towards earning real cash and rewards. Every bit adds up! Browse through the list below and choose the ones that are right for you to start earning today!

Ways to earn rewards:

Kellogg’s Family Rewards – Purchase the KFR-participating products that you love. Easily collect points on those purchases. Then redeem your points for awesome rewards. The rewards catalog is filled with items you’ll love – from gifts cards to coupons to sweepstakes – and so much more! Plus, they add new rewards all the time. A valid email address is your key to bonus offers, free points, special offers, money-saving coupons, great-tasting recipes and so much more!

Pampers Rewards Program – Join Pampers Rewards program and receive 100 free points toward your purchase of Pampers goods. Save money with exclusive coupons and receive a weekly, customized email, tailored to each stage of your pregnancy or your baby’s development. Follow my website for FREE coupon codes to enter into your account to earn rewards.

Money Saving Reward Apps:

Ibotta – Find great rebates, shop & redeem, get cash back! 100% of your Ibotta earnings can be transferred to PayPal or Venmo as soon as you’ve earned $20. If you’d rather convert your earnings into a gift card, you can do that, too.

ReceiptHog – Snap pictures of your receipts, get bonuses, and redeem your coins for cash!

Checkout 51 – Pick the rebates you like, purchase them at any store, and upload a photo of your receipt through the mobile app or website. When your account reaches $20.00, they send you a check.

MobiSave – Save deals before heading to the store, go grocery shopping, then redeem your receipt for rebates!

SavingStar – Earn cash back on your groceries with exclusive freebies, coupons, and big savings on your favorite brands. Link deals to your store loyalty cards or submit a picture of your receipt to earn money in your SavingStar account.

Shopmium – Use referral code KFECAFKL to get a FREE Lindt Chocolate Bar offer when you download the app! Browse for offers, find and buy the products at the store, request your rebate, and then choose how you’d like to receive your rebate via Paypal or Bank Transfer.

Shrink – Earn $1 when you sign up via the link. Get cash back on first time purchases. Earn points when you shop, redeem rewards for freebies, cash, and more.

Berry Cart – Find deals on the best organic, gluten-free, or non-GMO foods near you. Learn about the products. After you buy the product and snap a picture of the receipt, they send you money that can be cashed out through PayPal or various gift cards.

Hopster – A Hopster account lets you print over $386 in grocery coupons and allows you to earn points to boost coupon values. Hopster membership is totally free, and saves you lots of money!

Shopkick – Kicks are our version of reward points. They’re easy to earn with the shopkick app and can be redeemed for gift cards to your favorite stores.

Swagbucks – Earn 1,000s of free prizes, for doing the things you do every day – like PayPal and Amazon gift cards, toys, clothes, collectibles, games, electronics and more. My lifetime Swagbucks: 68,488 = lots of Amazon gift cards!

AchieveMint – Earn real rewards for healthy activities. AchieveMint lets you earn rewards with the health and fitness apps you already own, use, and love!


Pinecone Research – You will earn points for each completed product survey, which can be exchanged for cash and other rewards. PLUS you will be automatically entered into a bi-weekly Sweepstakes to win additional cash prizes for your time. Each interview usually takes 15-20 minutes of your time.

Toluna – Get rewarded for surveys & polls. Sign up to test and review products for FREE!

MySurvey – By sharing your opinions about products and services, you are rewarded with Reward Points to redeem for cash and merchandise.

Vindale Research – Get a $2 sign up bonus! Take simple surveys online and receive up to $50 per survey completed. Get paid in CASH, not points or gift cards. Cash out with PayPal or a mailed check.

VIP Voice – Confirmed panelists will be entered into a sweepstakes upon joining and will have additional chances to win cash and other great prizes, with each survey taken.

Valued Opinions – Get paid for your opinions. Earn rewards simply by building up your balance, through completing surveys, and then exchange them for rewards.

MindsPay – Evaluate products and services of your interest and give us your feedback. You get compensated! Watch your account balance grow, then you can request a payout!

Harris Poll Online – Once you become an member, you will instantly receive a quick survey to earn your first points! Once you complete the initial survey, you will start receiving invitations to participate in a variety of cool surveys. For every survey you successfully complete, you will receive points called HIpoints, which you will be able to exchange for awesome rewards after just doing a couple of surveys! Also, with every survey you complete you have a chance to enter our $10,000 sweepstakes!

Global Test Market – Global Test market reward options include: PayPal, Amazon, Applebees, Macys, CVS. Voice your opinion in online surveys. Earn points for surveys. Redeem for cash and rewards.

Ipsos i-Say – Take surveys, earn i-Say points and choose the rewards that are just right for you.

National Consumer Panel – You’ll receive either a handheld scanner or access to our mobile app with which to provide us with data on the items you purchase. You’ll also be invited to take fun surveys about your shopping habits, meals you make and more! Best of all, you’ll earn rewards!

500 savings challenge

I Completed the $500 Savings Challenge!

500 savings challenge

Take the Challenge

Want to save more money? Take the $500 Savings Challenge! Join others taking the challenge to build financial strength. Sign up for 7 days of saving activities to help you stash away $500 – this week. You’ll get the best savings tips, tricks and strategies to help you build your emergency fund faster. I just finished the challenge and learned a lot. Day 2 of the challenge is something my husband and I started working on months ago and it REALLY works! In fact, it’s the #1 tip that has saved us the most. Take the challenge!

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.

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?

tips for saving big on pet expenses

6 Tips for Saving Big on Pet Expenses

tips for saving big on pet expensesBeing a pet owner comes with a lot of benefits. Not only do pets offer love and companionship, but they can also improve your family’s health, reduce your stress level, teach your children responsibility and help you stay in shape.

Unfortunately, however, these benefits do come at a cost–pet ownership can be very expensive if you don’t take steps to keep it affordable. Here are six ways to do just that.

1. Choose the Right Pet for Your Budget

The cost of purchasing and caring for a pet can vary widely, depending on what type you get and where you get it. If you have a tight budget, you may want to consider purchasing a smaller, less expensive pet, such as a hamster, bearded dragon or fish. These pets provide several benefits without all of the expense.

Alternately, you may consider purchasing your next pet from the humane shelter, from a friend or from a newspaper or Craigslist ad. Find a good pet that needs a new home and you can save significantly over simply stopping by the pet store over the weekend.

2. Consider Overall Cost, not Just Purchase Price

When trying to figure out what type of pet you can afford, don’t just consider the purchase price. You’ll also need to factor in the costs of pet supplies and routine care. Consider one-time expenses such as spaying/neutering, training, microchip implantation and trips to the vet as well as recurring expenses such as food, toys, leashes and other essentials.

Will you need to fence in your yard, build a shaded outdoor area or pay for trips to a kennel while you’re out of town? Are you likely to need to replace or repair furniture, shoes or other belongings while your new pet is adjusting to your home? Is your pet likely to need any special medications as he or she ages? Be sure to factor in those costs as well.

3. Shop Around

Very rarely is the price you see the price you have to pay for pet supplies. Shop around and you may just be surprised by how much you can save. You don’t have to buy all of your pet supplies at the pet store. You can often find a bargain by shopping at a supercenter, dollar store or online retailer. Look for pet supplies on Amazon or check out various online pet supply subscription companies as well.

4. Use What You Already Have

Of course, the fewer items you have to buy, the less money you will need to spend. Instead of purchasing several items specifically for your pet, try to make do with items you already have on hand. For example, you likely already have bowls that will work for food and water, and you may have a baby gate you can use instead of purchasing a special puppy gate. Use a belt instead of a collar and a piece of rope instead of a fancy leash. Get creative!

5. Look for Deals, Rebates and Promotions

For those pet supplies you do have to buy, be sure you get a good deal. Many stores regularly offer sales, rebates, coupons and other promotions. Ask for free samples and inquire about free shipping, membership discounts and bulk purchase discounts. Even small savings can really add up over time.

6. Visit the Vet

Visiting the vet may be expensive at first, but keeping regular check-ups can save you significantly over your pet’s lifetime. Not to mention the fact that routine check-ups will keep your pet healthier and happier as well. Don’t wait until your pet has had an injury or is in severe pain to bring them to the vet. Schedule and keep routine check-ups instead.

Related: 6 Ways to Save on Vet Bills

Just because your pet is worth every penny you spend on him or her doesn’t mean that you should have to spend every penny you have to keep your pet happy, healthy and safe. Use these six money-saving tips and tricks to keep your pet costs low and your time with your pet enjoyable.

What type of pet do you own? How do you keep it affordable?

back to school clothes

7 Ways to Save on Back to School Clothes

back to school clothesWhile summer may still be in full swing, the new school year is going to be here before we know it. As the mother of a little girl who is going to be starting first grade this year, this is a huge deal in our house! We’re all really excited, but we’re all a little nervous too.

One thing I’m not too nervous about, however, is buying new back to school clothes. Sure she’s going to need a ton of them (How girls go through clothes so fast–I’ll never know!), but that’s okay. I won’t be paying full price for them, and you don’t have to either. Just use these seven ways to save on back to school clothes. I plan to save a bundle, and you can too.

1. Shop the Sales

One of the easiest ways to save big on your kids’ school clothes is ridiculously simple: shop the sales and clearance racks! You can often get the exact same brand new name brand clothing for a fraction of the cost just by waiting a couple of weeks until it goes on sale. Find out when your favorite store marks everything down, and go in ready to stock up and save big!

2. Shop Secondhand

If you don’t mind used clothes, there are tons of places you can find them. Search thrift stores, consignment shops and secondhand kids’ clothing stores. Hit up the garage sales and search on Craigslist and Ebay. How many times have your kids grown out of clothes before they’ve had a chance to wear them more than a couple of times? This happens to other moms too, and you can use it to your advantage.

3. Trade with Friends

If you really want to save big and you have friends with kids who are slightly older than yours, see if you can trade or get free hand-me-downs. I’ve gotten tons of clothes from friends who were willing to let me borrow as well as from friends who just wanted someone to take the clothes off of their hands for free!

4. Buy All Throughout the Year

If you have adequate storage space and are good at planning ahead, buying all throughout the year is a fantastic way to save big on kids’ clothes. For example, if I see a shirt on clearance that is two sizes too big for my daughter but a great deal, I’ll go ahead and grab it now. Then, when the time comes, I don’t have to buy clothes at full price–she already has a whole box full of clothes I’ve picked up for cheap! This does require excellent organizational skills, but it can be done. I monitor the deals at Zulily often to score some great clothes for back to school!

5. Go for Quality

When you see the price tag on a new pair of jeans, it can be really tempting to just purchase the cheapest pair you can find, but resist the temptation! Often times you get what you pay for, and it ends up being much cheaper and easier to buy quality pieces in the first place.

6. Sign Up for Store Deals

If there is a store you shop frequently, make sure you sign up for their sale alerts, newsletter or coupons–whatever they offer. Some stores send out free $10 coupons or $10 off of a $25 purchase coupons to their mailing list subscribers. Get a coupon like this, and you can get clothes for F.R.E.E!

7. Save Your Receipt

How frustrating is it to buy clothes, only to have them go on sale immediately after? Fight back by saving your receipt. Then, if something goes on sale two weeks later, you can just take the receipt back and get the difference.

Honestly, if you are clever and resourceful enough, you really don’t have to pay more for kids’ clothes than you want to. These seven tips will get you off to a great start.

What other tips do you have?

How to Start a Blog (and Monetize it, Too!)

How to Start a Blog and Monetize it, Too!

I love to save money and I wanted to share my passion for saving money with others online and from the comfort of my own home. My blog, The Frugal Free Gal, started as a hobby in 2009. I was a stay at home mom and found blogging to be a great way to spend my time when my baby was napping. A few months into blogging, I was networking with other bloggers when I discovered a secret! Many of these blogs that I had grown to love were making money from their websites. I wanted to do this, too. Why not? It would be a great way to earn extra income while staying at home with my daughter. I continue to work from home and find new ways every year to improve or monetize my website. I even turned what I do into a business, BSC Media, LLC. BSC = my initials!

During this blogging journey, I’ve had several friends ask about starting a website of their own. The biggest questions were, “How do I start a blog,” and “How do I make money from a blog?” After years and years of doing this, I felt that it was time to write a post about it and share it with everyone. This post is way overdue, but very important to share. My goal is to help others learn how to start their own websites and monetize them, too. Now, here’s something important. This is not a “get rich quick” kind of thing. It took me a few years and HOURS of time building my websites before I started noticing a nice profit. To this day, I still spend a lot of time learning and studying ways to improve my business.

How to Start a Blog (and Monetize it, too!) 

1. Find a topic you are passionate about.

To start a website, you’ll want to choose a topic that you are passionate about. What is something you love? What topics do you absolutely love sharing with others? Do you have parenting tips? Start a parenting/mom website. Do you love to cook and share recipes? Consider starting a food blog. Love to save money like me? Maybe a blog about saving money or finances is right for you. There are so many options out there. Whatever niche you choose, choose something that you will have fun writing about. You don’t want to start a website and dread writing on it everyday because the niche you chose does not interest you very much. My three different websites are about saving money, tips for busy moms, and giveaways.

2. Pick out a blog name.

Once you have your topic of interest, you’ll need to brainstorm names for your website. For this website, I chose “The Frugal Free Gal” because I’m frugal, and I love free stuff! I’m also a gal, so it just worked. I thought the gal at the end of frugal and the Gal at the end of the name was catchy. For my mom website, I chose Mom. Wife. Busy Life. because I’m a mom and wife, and a pretty busy mom and wife, too! Choosing a name for my giveaway website was difficult because most of the names I wanted were already chosen! It took me a while to find something that worked, so Giveaway Fairy it was.

3. Sign up for hosting and choose a domain.

Hosting is like rent. You are paying for your site to have a home online. I recommend signing up for BlueHost for your hosting services if you are looking for an affordable hosting service. Below you’ll see how you can set up your hosting and domain services.

Bluehost offers very affordable plans starting at only $3.95/month*.


Choose the plan that’s right for you, Choose the basic, plus, or pro plan.


Choose a domain that’s available or transfer an existing domain. It’s always a good idea to purchase the domain privacy.

3-Domain Registration

Fill in your account information.

4-Contact Info

Fill in your package information.

5-Choose Plan

Fill in your billing information and click next.

6-Billing Info

Install WordPress.



Select the domain you would like to install to.

9-Install WP

Complete the install process.

10-WP Login


Note: Some of this information may be way over your head and you may be feeling overwhelmed. If you do not feel comfortable setting up your own website, you can always hire this work out to a family member, friend, or other tech guy/gal that knows what he/she is doing. Don’t feel bad about it — I hired help because I’m not good with all of this back-end stuff! I always recommend having 1-2 good referral names on hand in case you need tech support with your website! They come in handy when your site is broken or when things need to be fixed and you are aren’t sure how to fix the issues yourself. 

5. Find a good designer. 

You’ll want your website to stand out from the rest and be visually appealing. Hire a good designer that can help you customize your website the way you want it – from color choice, to logos, to fancy buttons, etc. You name it, your designer should be able to help you create a beautiful website. Laura at Pixel Me Designs designed all of my websites:

The Frugal Free Gal
Mom. Wife. Busy Life.
Giveaway Fairy
BSC Media, LLC

Optional: There are many themes to choose from when working with WordPress. Check out these StudioPress Themes for WordPress.

6. Start writing great content.

Once your website is all set up and ready to go with a great design, you’ll want to start creating great content. Write content that stands out from the rest. Try to remember that adding value is key. Create evergreen content that never goes out of style and can be recycled years from now.

7. Connect your websites to social media and build readership. 

Now that you have an amazing website that you want to share to the world, you’ll want to make sure you create social media networks that connect with your website. My favorites are Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, and Google+. Share your content on your social media outlets and tell all of your family and friends about your new website!

8. Monetize your website.

Now that you have your website ready to go and you are creating content, you can start to monetize your website. You can monetize your website with ads, affiliate links, sponsored posts, and more. Below are the main ways I monetize my website. To get started on monetizing your websites, check out the links below to find the affiliate networks that are right for you. There’s several to choose from, so I listed mine in order based on what I earn in each category as well as my favorites to use.

Disclosure: Some of the links below include my referral link.

Affiliate Marketing:

Ad Placement:

Sponsored Posts:

Blog Services:

Individual Affiliate and Referral Programs:

There you have it! You have all of the best tips and tools to starting your own blog and monetizing it, too!

Do you plan to start a new blog any time soon?

5 books that helped me save money

5 Books that Helped Me Save Money

5 books that helped me save money

My love for frugality and saving money started after college when I started my first teaching job as a second grade teacher. With my husband just starting his career and me starting mine, we had to find ways to live beneath our means so that we could also save for our future. I remember starting our financial journey in the year 2005. It’s true when they say the earlier you start the better, and it’s never too late to start no matter what age you are! I had help though, mostly from reading books. There are only a few books that I have read that have helped to motivate me to save, save, save. Below you’ll find the list of books that helped motivate us towards financial success. These books are placed in order in which I read them. Some books I read years ago, and some I’ve read within the last year or so. Take a look and maybe one or two (or all) of these would be of interest to you, too!

1. Smart Couples Finish Rich by David Bach

This is THE book that motivated me to take my very first steps to saving, read in 2005 at our first duty station in Pensacola, Florida. When I was a teacher, I found myself reading this during break times. It didn’t take me too long to get through the book because it was very interesting. I was a young teacher and I knew that saving money as early as possible was key, so I didn’t waste time. We found a financial advisor, set up our first investment accounts for retirement during this time and have been contributing ever since.

2. The Automatic Millionaire by David Bach

After reading Smart Couples Finish Rich by David Bach, I wanted to read more of his content. I read Automatic Millionaire in 2007 in North Carolina at our second duty station when I was working out on the treadmill at our apartment gym. This was another great read as it taught us how to save money by setting up automatic payments. Each month, we set up automatic payments to go directly into our retirement accounts and savings accounts. To this day, we still follow the automatic savings plan and it works great for us! The money leaves our account and goes directly to savings each month without us having to worry about it. Every bit adds up over time!

3. Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert T. Kiyosaki

I always heard great things about Rich Dad, Poor Dad, so I read this book on a flight back from Texas to North Carolina in 2008. I remember mostly reading about assets vs. liabilities as well as financial investing. We continued to invest monthly towards our future.

4. The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey

The Total Money Makeover is one of my favorite books of all. I read this book in August 2015 here in South Carolina. This book is the book that got us back on track after years of saving but not aggressively saving. It’s the book that taught us how to be gazelle intense with our finances. My husband read this book after I did and we both continue to listen to Dave Ramsey’s podcasts daily as well. Thanks to this book, we were able to follow Dave’s Baby Steps and we are currently on baby steps 4-7. We will finish Baby Step 4 for the year next month. We continue to save for college, pay off a rental home, and give at the same time.

5. Retire Inspired by Chris Hogan

This is a brand new book released in 2016. My husband and I read this in January in South Carolina. Retire Inspired is what I call the kick in the pants that we all need to save for retirement. This is an eye opening book as it motivates us to save even more for retirement. After looking at our own numbers, we realized that we needed to kick it into higher gear and put away even more each month. We discovered Chris Hogan (he has an amazing voice!) on one of Dave Ramsey’s podcasts and on another podcast by Ramsey Solutions, Chris Brown on Air. These three guys (Dave Ramsey, Chris Brown, and Chris Hogan) are three financial pros that I highly recommend listening to this year if you want to get on track financially.

If you’d like to get motivated and inspired to get on track this year financially, I highly recommend finding some good books such as the ones listed above to help you get started. It took the very first book on the list to motivate me to get started years and years ago, and I don’t regret the decision to start early and save one bit!

Have you read any of the books listed above? What money saving books do you recommend? 

back to school purchases

Top 10 Things to Buy for Back-to-School

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post. I was compensated for publishing this post on behalf of

Top 10 Things to Buy for Back to SchoolNo, summer’s not over yet, but it’s not too early to start planning your back-to-school budget. Your child’s school probably has the official school supplies list available, so you can make sure that you have the right kind for each class. Most of the items should be available for less at the discount store. Here’s a look at the top 10 things you’ll need to pick up before your kids go back to school.

1. Binders and Folders – Every class requires something to keep loose papers organized. Binders and folders keep them from getting torn and lost in the daily trek to and from class. Your child can also put notebooks, extra paper, a pencil pouch and monthly planners inside their binders so they don’t get lost.

2. Desktop Accessories – From binder clips and pen cups to pencil cases and battery-operated fans, it’s time to stock up for your child’s desk at home and at school. Don’t forget tape, a stapler, pencil sharpeners, erasers and a calendar.

3. Crayons and Markers – Check on the school supplies list to find out what types of crayons and markers are needed. They’ll probably specify crayons by color, or markers by broad tips, felt markers, highlighters or dry erase.

4. Pens and Pencils – Mechanical pens and pencils, lead and standard pencils are always high on the list of required items. Make sure that you have at least some regular #2 pencils, since they’re the standard used for computer-graded tests. Blue, black and red ink pens are common for older kids. Unless your child is perfect, you’ll need ink erasers and correction tape or fluid are needed to fix small mistakes.

5. Tape and Glue – Glue sticks are the most popular options for in-school projects, but glue bottles and dots are also available. Transparent tape comes in clear and translucent styles. Make sure there’s a dispenser in the package, unless you have one at home.

6. Scissors – Children’s scissors are usually five inches long, and they have either pointed or blunt tips. Older kids can use longer scissors.

7. Paper and Notebooks – Depending on your child’s age, you may need wide rule or college rule spiral or loose-leaf paper. Graph paper is an important item for math and geometry in higher grades.

8. Electronics – Once your child reaches sixth grade, items like scientific calculators start popping up on the list. You might also want to pick up some earphones, chargers and extra batteries while you’re shopping – even if they’re not mentioned.

9. Digital Covers and Cases – Keep your child’s phone, digital devices and electronics in good shape with covers and cases. As much as you hate to think about it, they’re going to get dropped and hit. Look for soft plastic phone bumpers and scratch-resistant sleeves. They typically come in an assortment of colors.

10. Hygiene and Sanitizers – Hand sanitizers come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Washing their hands is always important, but keeping a bottle of sanitizer or some wipes in their desk, locker or backpack can prevent your kids from picking up germs and getting sick as often. Some schools also request that kids bring in a box of tissues, a roll of paper towels or a bottle of liquid soap for all students to use in the classroom.

Nikki is an independent writer for Dollar Tree offers great deals on office supplies, party supplies and more.


Save Money with DIY Pedicures + Print a $15 off (1) Amopé™ Coupon!

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Amopé™ and CVS. All opinions are my own. #SoftFeetAllSummer

DIY Pedicure 2

Click below to print a $15.00 off Amope coupon!


Do you get regular pedicures at your local salon? I’m guilty of getting pedicures in the past and paying at least $30 (after tip) each time. When I stopped to think about how much money I was spending on something that I could do myself and for free at home, I quickly decided to cut back on professional pedicures and save money instead. Although I do miss professional pedicures slightly, I feel better about saving hundreds of dollars each year with my own DIY pedicures.

DIY pedicures at home are super easy and fun if you have the right kinds of supplies. These supplies typically are inexpensive and once you have a great set of pedicure tools in your collection, you can enjoy your own pedicures in no time.

DIY Pedicure

Here are my DIY pedicure essentials:

  • cotton balls
  • nail polish remover
  • nail polish (at least two to three colors, usually a pink or coral for spring/summer and red for winter)
  • toe nail clippers
  • Amopé™ Pedi Perfect Electronic Foot File
  • foot lotion

When I begin my pedicure, I remove any old nail polish with nail polish remover and cotton balls. Then, I soak my feet in the tub and wash them really well with soap. After I soak my feet, I towel dry them and begin my pedicure. I start with my heels and work my way up to the toenails. My heels used to be very rough and cracked, until I discovered the Amopé™ Pedi Perfect Electronic Foot File at my local CVS. This electronic foot file removes the dry and cracked skin from my feet and leaves them feeling very smooth.

DIY Pedicures 4

DIY Pedicure 3


  • Smooths feet quickly and easily
  • Ergonomically shaped head for easy & fast hard skin removal from even the curviest contours of your feet
  • Replaceable roller heads available for every need—coarse for regular skin, extra coarse for hard, callused skin & soft touch for a smooth finish.
  • With finely ground Diamond crystals for maximum and yet smooth exfoliation.
  • Safety stop feature ensures that it’s gentle and safe. Contains no sharp blades for safe use

My favorite part about the Amopé™ Foot File is that it’s effortless. No more spending too much effort trying to go back and forth filing down the rough skin. The extra coarse roller head on the foot file does this for me! Now, you can save on the Amopé™ Foot File at your local CVS, too!

$15 off 1 Amopé™ Product Coupon Here

After using the Amopé™ Foot File, I start to work on my toenails. I trim my toenails to the desired length and then paint my toenails. Once dry, I give my toenails one more coat of paint and allow to dry. When my toes are finished, I rub a thick foot lotion on my feet for soft, pretty feet.

I look forward to my DIY pedicures these days. My box of pedicure essentials helps me to keep my feet looking their very best!

Don’t forget to get your coupon for $15 off 1 Amopé™ Pedi Perfect Electronic Foot File! Click below to print:


This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Amopé™. The opinions and text are all mine.

save on back to school supplies

Save Time and Money by Buying Extra Back-to-School Supplies

How to Save Time and Money on Back to School Supplies

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Back to school is right around the corner. Have you completed your back-to-school shopping yet? If not, you better make plans to go shopping soon! It’s amazing the amount of things kids need, and finding everything on a long back-to-school list can take some time. It seems like every year, the lists get longer and longer and the trips get more and more expensive. Even with coupons and discounts, the costs can add up quickly, especially if you are buying for multiple kids.

As a frugal person, you may be tempted to buy the bare minimum. If the list says 10 folders–you buy 10 folders and no more. After all, you likely shop from a list and you know that adding a few extras in here and there can really add up. Have you ever considered that buying only the bare minimum can actually cost you more in the long run, however? It’s true! Sometimes, by spending a little more, you can actually save yourself both time and money in the long run! Here’s how.

1. Buying Extra Helps You Avoid High Prices Later

It’s amazing how quickly kids use up their school supplies and need new ones. Not only do their old supplies get used up, worn out, lost and broken, but they always end up needing new things no one anticipated as well. Wait until a few months into the school year and you’re bound to end up paying top dollar for supplies that you could have gotten dirt cheap before the school year began.

Having a few extra supplies on hand, especially pencils, paper, crayons and markers, can help you avoid this sticker shock later. Plus, if you end up not needing them, you can always use them next year.

Related: 6 Ways to Save Big on Back-to-School Supplies

2. Buying Extra Saves You From Last Minute Trips to the Store

Not only does buying replacement school supplies cost you money you weren’t planning on spending, but replacing them usually takes time as well. For some reason, kids never seem to think about the school supplies they need when you are headed to the store anyway. Instead, how often do they wait until just before bedtime to announce that they have a project due and they don’t have the supplies they need?

Unless your evenings consist of sitting around, waiting on your kids hand and foot, chances are, you have other things you’d like to do in the evening than make last-minute trips to the store for poster board, crayons and glitter glue. Having a stash of these things on hand already can save you time–and sanity!

3. Higher Quality Products Last Longer

In addition to buying extras, don’t forget to look for quality products as well. Buying the cheapest products you can find may seem like a good way to save money, but it will only end up costing you if they break or wear out faster and need to be replaced.

For example, some cheap pencils don’t sharpen well. You can sharpen them down to a stub before you get a sharp point. Buying quality pencils may cost you a few cents more at the store, but you’ll need far fewer pencils throughout the year. The same applies to other back-to-school products as well, such as jeans, erasers, backpacks and water bottles.

Related: Top 10 Things to Buy for Back-to-School

If you take the time to do your research, you can find tons of ways to save on back-to-school supplies–purchasing the bare minimum amounts of inferior quality products simply isn’t one of them, however. This school year, save yourself time and money by getting good products and by buying a few more than you’ll need.

Have you completed your back-to-school shopping this year? Did you just buy the bare minimum, or did you stock up a bit just in case?

save on back to school supplies

6 Ways to Save Big on Back to School Supplies

How to Save on Back to School Supplies

Paper, pencils, backpacks, calculators, highlighters, crayons, hand sanitizer… the list goes on and on, and it can add up quick! Don’t just make a trip to your local Walmart and stock up on everything you see. Use these top seven ways to save big on back to school supplies and get all the great gear your kids need for less! How you spend the money you save is up to you. (Shopping spree for mom, anyone??)

1. Figure out What You Need

Before you hit the stores, take a minute to make a list of the supplies you’ll actually need. Many schools publish back to school supply lists. Get one for your school and cross off all the items you have lying around the house already. (For example, you may have glue sticks, hand sanitizer or last year’s backpack on hand already). Once you’ve made your list–stick to it. This way, you won’t waste your money on things you don’t need, and you won’t forget anything, causing you to pay more for it later.

2. Take Advantage of Doorbuster Deals

Back to school time is the perfect time to score some amazing deals on school supplies. All the major stores have sales where they drastically mark down select items. Many stores even sell specific items at a loss just to get you into the store. Instead of getting all of your supplies at once (when some will be cheap and others will be expensive), take a few weeks and get a couple doorbusters each week. Then you can get everything–or at least almost everything–you need at rock bottom prices.

3. Stock Up on Bargain Prices

If you find a truly amazing deal, don’t be afraid to stock up, especially if it is on something that you know your kids will need lots of or that they will need again next year. While you don’t want to be greedy and clear the shelves, don’t be afraid to buy more than you need. For example, one year I saw pencils for 1 cent a box! Now I’m kicking myself that I didn’t buy plenty.

4. Shop During Your State’s Sales Tax Holiday

While sales tax is a small percentage of your purchase, it can really add up when you are buying tons of back to school supplies. Many states offer sales tax holidays, when you can get school supplies without paying tax. If your state does this, be sure to shop during those dates to save even more.

5. Know When to Buy Cheap and When to Buy Quality

Buying generic can save you a bundle, but sometimes name brand is the way to go. It all depends on what you are purchasing and how long you need it to last. Feel free to go cheap on: crayons, paper, pencil sharpeners, basic calculators, colored pencils, book covers and erasers. Plan to spend more on: backpacks, graphic calculators, insulated lunchboxes and pencils (Some of the cheaper brands won’t sharpen in old fashioned pencil sharpeners. They just grind into stubs).

6. Avoid Characters

Your child may absolutely adore that cute character backpack or lunch box now, but for how long? It is not uncommon for kids to change interest as soon as only a month or two into the school year. Stick to basic, character-free designs so they can be used year after year.

School supplies may be a necessary expense, but that doesn’t mean that you should spend more for them than you have to. Use these six tips for saving big on school supplies and get the supplies you need for less.

Any other tips use and love? Share them in the comments below!

Ways to Earn Extra Cash and Rewards this Summer

Ways to Earn Extra Cash and Rewards this Summer

Summer is here! If you are in need of making extra cash and rewards, check out this list below! Companies and brands need feedback from YOU and by completing surveys or even doing simple tasks such as shopping online, you can start working towards earning real cash and rewards. Every bit adds up! Browse through the list below and choose the ones that are right for you to start earning today!

Toluna – Get rewarded for surveys & polls. Sign up to test and review products for FREE!

Pinecone Research – You will earn points for each completed product survey, which can be exchanged for cash and other rewards. PLUS you will be automatically entered into a bi-weekly Sweepstakes to win additional cash prizes for your time. Each interview usually takes 15-20 minutes of your time. Ranked #1 on Survey Police

Global Test Market – Earn rewards like Amazon, PayPal, Macy’s, Kohl’s

Vindale Research – Get paid to review products. Join the finest minds in consumer research and change the world one product at a time. Share your unique opinion and get paid for it! Participation required. Earn $5-$75 Per Survey!

MindsPay – Evaluate products and services of your interest and give us your feedback.You get compensated! Watch your account balance grow, then you can request a payout!

Inbox Dollars – Pays members to read emails, take surveys online, play games, and go shopping! New members also receive $5 just for joining.

Swagbucks – Earn 1,000s of free prizes, for doing the things you do every day – like PayPal and Amazon gift cards, toys, clothes, collectibles, games, electronics and more.

ShopAtHome – Get cash back for shopping. Find over 100,000 grocery and restaurant coupons, printable coupons, coupon codes, cash back and hot deals.

Ibotta – Find great rebates, shop & redeem, get cash back!

Opinion Outpost (US) – Rewards include get cash, Amazon gift cards, game points, donations to your favorite charities, and more. Everyone is also automatically entered to a $10,000 sweepstakes by joining and taking surveys. The minimum cash out for Paypal is $10 and only $5 for Amazon gift cards.

Opinion Outpost (Mobile) – Rewards include get cash, Amazon gift cards, game points, donations to your favorite charities, and more. Everyone is also automatically entered to a $10,000 sweepstakes by joining and taking surveys. The minimum cash out for Paypal is $10 and only $5 for Amazon gift cards.

Valued Opinions – Don’t give your opinions away get paid for them.

e-Poll – Be entered into the $1000 Monthly draw and take surveys to earn rewards.

VIP Voice – Confirmed panelists will be entered into a sweepstakes upon joining and will have additional chances to win cash and other great prizes, with each survey taken.

Nielsen Home Scan Consumer Panel – Earn valuable points, which are redeemable for electronics, household items, jewelry, toy, gift cards, and more.


Nielsen Home Scan Consumer Panel (Canada) – Points are redeemable toward great thank you gifts offered in our catalog.

Opinion Outpost (Canada) – Rewards include get cash, Amazon gift cards, game points, donations to your favorite charities, and more. Everyone is also automatically entered to a $10,000 sweepstakes by joining and taking surveys. The minimum cash out for Paypal is $10 and only $5 for Amazon gift cards.