gifts http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/35/all en-US 4 Top Money Lessons to Learn From Ruth Soukup's "Unstuffed" http://www.wisebread.com/4-top-money-lessons-to-learn-from-ruth-soukups-unstuffed <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/4-top-money-lessons-to-learn-from-ruth-soukups-unstuffed" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/mother_holding_baby_84495417.jpg" alt="Mother learning money lessons from &quot;Unstuffed&quot;" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>What does clutter have to do with your finances? A lot more than you think. It can be easy to write off clutter as just an annoyance that keeps your home from being clean. However, clutter can have a stronger hold on your life. Not only does clutter take up your space, but it also can greatly affect your schedules, relationships, and finances, all while draining you physically and mentally.</p> <p>Blogger and author Ruth Soukup gets to the root issue of clutter in many areas of our lives in her new book, <a href="http://amzn.to/2b18IIo">Unstuffed</a>. When I read it, I was surprised to find that this was not just a home organization book. There are also very important financial lessons strewn throughout, and when applied to your life, they could drastically change your clutter and financial issues. Here are some of the biggest money take-aways from the book.</p> <p>See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-clutter-keeps-you-poor?ref=seealso">8 Ways Clutter Keeps You Poor</a></p> <h2>Clutter Keeps Kids From Learning Important Financial Lessons</h2> <p>Many parents will probably agree that the biggest source of stuff in their homes comes from their children. As a parent, it is hard to not buy your children things, especially when you want to show them love. However, it is important to realize that the more stuff they have, the more spoiled and dissatisfied they can become. Many times, parents will buy items for their kids to solve their child's boredom or to remedy parental guilt.</p> <p>This is just setting up our children for failure, since it does not properly teach your child to respect money or stuff. &quot;Additionally,&quot; Soukup says, &quot;fighting the battle of stuff alongside our kids, rather than only for them, will also help them learn virtually life lessons about the value of money, the reality of hard work (which includes caring for stuff!), and the responsibility of stewarding our resources wisely.&quot;</p> <h2>Learn to Give Your Presence, Not Your Presents</h2> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5171/51p%2BiVuIC6L._SX326_BO1%2C204%2C203%2C200_.jpg" width="328" height="499" alt="" /></p> <p>Soukup talks a lot about her aunt that loved to lavish her young girls with gifts for every major holiday. Finally, Soukup told the aunt it would be more important for her to spend quality time with the girls than to just get them stuff. Her aunt listened, and did a lot of fun things with them instead. A few years later, she passed away from cancer. Soukup was thankful that her girls had memories of her as a person, and not just the stuff she had given them.</p> <p>Let this be encouragement for you personally to bless people with your time, not just your gifts. Memories will always have a bigger impact on relationships, and this applies to all relationships. You can never replace the quality of time with the quantity of stuff.</p> <h2>How to Deal With Family Members Who Love to Give</h2> <p>It can be hard to turn down well-meaning family members who love to buy you gifts for every holiday. However, sometimes well-meaning family members can make clutter situations worse. It might not be easy, but it is necessary to have a heart-to-heart talk with your family.</p> <p>Tell them how important they are to you and that you love how thoughtful and generous they are. Share your struggles with clutter, and honestly say that you are trying to cut down on the amount of stuff and gifts that enter your home. Encourage them to give gifts of time instead. For example, if your mom loves to buy things for your daughter, suggest spending that money on special &quot;Grandma-Granddaughter Dates&quot; instead. When family members ask for gift suggestions, instead of saying &quot;nothing,&quot; encourage them to take your children on a special trip to get ice cream or to buy family passes to a zoo or museum.</p> <p>Talking with loved ones can be hard, and changes might not be immediate. It is important to remember to continue to love them and encourage them gently to gift their time rather than just stuff.</p> <h2>Don't Let High Value Keep You From Decluttering</h2> <p>Don't withhold from decluttering because of how much a particular item cost you. Many times people will hang onto an item because there is too much guilt attached to discarding it. They paid too much for that item, so they feel as if they are wasting money by getting rid of it.</p> <p>If you're not using it and it is taking up space in your home, then it is doing you more of a disservice. &quot;Better to sell it and recoup some of the loss than to keep it and gain nothing out of it,&quot; Soukup writes.</p> <p>Soukup's book was packed with decluttering wisdom, as well as thoughtful tips on how to have better relationships and how to better use our time. Decluttering your life does not just mean getting rid of a lot of stuff in your home. Instead, it is important to free yourself from the negativity of having too much stuff, buying too much stuff, and having stuff clutter your calendar, relationships, and soul.</p> <p><em>How do you deal with the clutter in your life?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-eneriz">Ashley Eneriz</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-top-money-lessons-to-learn-from-ruth-soukups-unstuffed">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/this-season-give-your-child-the-gift-of-fiscal-responsibility">This Season, Give Your Child the Gift of Fiscal Responsibility</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-things-i-learned-about-money-after-getting-married">8 Things I Learned About Money After Getting Married</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-money-moves-to-make-as-soon-as-the-kids-move-out">7 Money Moves to Make as Soon as the Kids Move Out</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-use-new-toys-to-teach-kids-about-money">How to Use New Toys to Teach Kids About Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-bad-money-habits-youre-teaching-your-kids">4 Bad Money Habits You&#039;re Teaching Your Kids</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Family books clutter gifts kids money lessons quality quantity ruth soukup Thu, 18 Aug 2016 09:30:37 +0000 Ashley Eneriz 1774332 at http://www.wisebread.com 10 Stocks Every Recent Grad Should Own http://www.wisebread.com/10-stocks-every-recent-grad-should-own <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-stocks-every-recent-grad-should-own" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/new_grad_happy_20845110.jpg" alt="Woman buying stocks every recent grad should own" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>If you're just fresh out of college, you may be broke and not yet in a position to invest. But if you find a little extra cash, or are fortunate enough to be gifted some stock as a graduation gift, there are a number of great options that have a great track record of solid performance.</p> <p>These are stocks that have rarely let investors down over the course of decades, and they often pay great dividends, too.</p> <p>If there's a list of stocks that recent grads should consider owning, these 10 should be included.</p> <h2>Microsoft [<a href="http://www.nasdaq.com/symbol/msft">Nasdaq: MSFT</a>]</h2> <p>Bill Gates' old company made headlines recently when it bought the professional networking site LinkedIn. It's now a massively diverse tech firm with PCs, tablets and phones, software, and a popular video game system.</p> <h2>Coca-Cola [<a href="http://www.google.com/finance?cid=6550">NYSE: KO</a>]</h2> <p>Yes, we know that America is supposed to be moving away from sugary drinks. But this company has managed to sell a ton of Coke while diversifying its product line to include everything from Dasani water, to Powerade and Honest Tea. Coca-Cola shares have been in positive territory for eight straight years, and with a market cap of nearly $200 billion, it's likely a long-term winner.</p> <h2>Apple [<a href="http://www.nasdaq.com/symbol/aapl">Nasdaq: AAPL</a>]</h2> <p>Shares of this technology company have dipped about 20% in the last year, but that's all the more reason to consider buying now. This is still one of the largest, most influential and inventive companies out there. Chances are, if you are a recent college grad, you use Apple products. So go with what you know, and reap the financial rewards. (Disclosure: I own some shares of Apple.)</p> <h2>Facebook [<a href="http://www.nasdaq.com/symbol/fb">Nasdaq: FB</a>]</h2> <p>Okay, full disclosure: I bought some shares of Facebook stock a while back, and I have no complaints. Shares are up more than 40% in the last year, as the company continues to bust through earnings predictions. Facebook has 1.65 billion active users, and the company could vault to new heights with recent investments into virtual reality. <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-social-media-can-save-you-money" target="_blank">Social media</a> may be a fad, but Facebook will be here to stay.</p> <h2>Procter and Gamble [<a href="http://finance.yahoo.com/q?s=PG">NYSE: PG</a>]</h2> <p>Do you wash your clothes and your dishes? Do you brush your teeth? Do you use paper towels? P&amp;G sells products that people all over the world use every day. This is one of those stocks you can practically &quot;set and forget&quot; and see a very solid return nearly every year. A dividend yield of more than 3% doesn't hurt, either.</p> <h2>AT&amp;T [<a href="http://finance.yahoo.com/q?s=T">NYSE: T</a>]</h2> <p>Admittedly, this is not the most exciting stock in the universe. But it's reliable, with a good dividend and not much volatility. AT&amp;T recently hit a 52-week high amid reports that it's bidding for some of Yahoo's assets. But any share growth is a bonus for this company that's now dishing out a 4.8% dividend yield. (Disclosure: I own shares of AT&amp;T, gifted to me in the 1990s!)</p> <h2>Johnson &amp; Johnson [<a href="http://finance.yahoo.com/q?s=JNJ">NYSE: JNJ</a>]</h2> <p>Like P&amp;G, Johnson &amp; Johnson is a dividend aristocrat, meaning that it has paid out and increased its dividend every year for 25 straight years. This is a big company that's neck deep in the growing health care sector, and it sells a lot of products, including shampoo, soap, and hand lotion, that people use all the time. JNJ shares are up 18% this year, and has had just 13 down years since 1975. A 2.7% dividend yield is also a selling point.</p> <h2>Wal-Mart [<a href="http://finance.yahoo.com/q?s=WMT">NYSE: WMT</a>]</h2> <p>When you have revenue approaching half a trillion dollars (yes, trillion with a &quot;t&quot;), you are a company worth investing in. Wal-Mart does well when the economy is doing well and folks are spending money. Wal-Mart does well in slow economic times, when shoppers are looking for low prices. There is some concern about the long-term future of brick-and-mortar retail, but Wal-Mart right now has more than four times the revenue of Amazon.</p> <h2>Sysco Foods [<a href="http://finance.yahoo.com/q?s=SYY">NYSE: SYY</a>]</h2> <p>If you've ever eaten at a restaurant, you've probably gotten food from Sysco. This is another dividend aristocrat that has seen shares rise 19% in 2016, while boasting a healthy dividend yield of 2.5%. It's been one of the most reliable stocks for decades, and people aren't going to stop eating at restaurants anytime soon.</p> <h2>Amazon [<a href="http://www.nasdaq.com/symbol/amzn">Nasdaq: AMZN</a>]</h2> <p>The world's top online retailer can be frustrating, because founder and owner Jeff Bezos has always focused more on growing his company than worrying about profitability. Some shareholders got frustrated with Amazon and left last year, but now shares are up over $700, nearing an all-time high. In addition to massive online sales revenue, Amazon has made a killing from its web services subsidiary, which pulled in $604 million in profits last year. One of these days, all of Amazon's reinvestment will likely pay off with massive profits that will send shares to even bigger heights.</p> <p><em>Have you ever been gifted (or given) shares? What stocks were they?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/tim-lemke">Tim Lemke</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-stocks-every-recent-grad-should-own">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/save-your-retirement-by-avoiding-these-10-risky-investments">Save Your Retirement by Avoiding These 10 Risky Investments</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-ways-to-invest-50-500-or-5000">The Best Ways to Invest $50, $500, or $5000</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-ways-siri-can-be-your-personal-finance-assistant">9 Ways Siri Can Be Your Personal Finance Assistant</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-tell-if-your-401k-is-a-good-or-a-bad-one">How to Tell if Your 401K Is a Good or a Bad One</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-ways-to-tell-if-a-stock-is-worth-buying">9 Ways to Tell If a Stock is Worth Buying</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Investment Amazon apple Coke Facebook gifts graduation market Microsoft profits stocks Fri, 24 Jun 2016 09:30:19 +0000 Tim Lemke 1736531 at http://www.wisebread.com 3 Smart Ways to Save on Father's Day http://www.wisebread.com/3-smart-ways-to-save-on-fathers-day <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/3-smart-ways-to-save-on-fathers-day" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_66361267_LARGE.jpg" alt="save money this Father&#039;s Day" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Father's Day is fast approaching, and dads and grandpas alike deserve some appreciation on their special day. Most of the nation agrees, considering this year, consumers will spend a record-breaking amount on Father's Day. From gifts to meals out, Americans plan to&nbsp;<a href="http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20160607006685/en/Father%E2%80%99s-Day-Spending-Reach-Record-High-14.3-Billion">spend $14.3 billion on dads</a> in 2016. That averages to about $125.92 spent per person on this holiday. However, this huge amount looks subpar when compared to how much was spent on Mother's Day this year, which was $21.4 billion.</p> <p>While fathers deserve the best, you don't have to blow your budget to make your husband, dad, or a grandpa feel special this year.</p> <h2>What Dads Really Want</h2> <p>If you ask Dad what he really wants, he will probably give a frustrating answer of &quot;nothing.&quot; In fact, many dads just want a day of relaxation rather than expensive cuff links or a stressful dinner at a packed restaurant. Here are a few last-minute Father's Day gift ideas that are extra thoughtful and budget-friendly.</p> <p>See also:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/best-money-tips-frugal-fathers-day-gift-ideas?ref=seealso">Best Money Tips: Frugal Father's Day Gift Ideas</a></p> <h3>1. Crafts Worth Keeping</h3> <p>While the cute handmade necktie cards are a sweet gesture, try doing a craft with your kids that incorporates their handprint or footprint. This is not only cute, but it seals the memory of just how little your children's hands and feet were in their younger years. Pinterest is filled with many handprint/footprint ideas, including putting two feet together to make a heart, making a football out of a baby footprint, or making a <em>Star Wars</em> Yoda out of a footprint with the phrase, &quot;Yoda best, Dad!&quot;</p> <p>Another idea is to do a photo shoot with your kids holding up different words to a phrase, such as, &quot;I love you.&quot; Two years ago, I had my daughter pose with a letter &quot;D&quot; and &quot;A&quot; and then arranged the pictures to spell &quot;DAD&quot; on a photo card. The total cost was less than $5, and my husband still has the card on his desk at work. You can do this idea for Grandpa, too, and even older children or adult children can do this for their fathers.</p> <p>Last year, I found a printable dad survey on Pinterest and asked my three-year-old to answer questions about her daddy. The results were adorable and hilarious, and my husband asked if I would do that every year and save them.</p> <h3>2. Special Time Together</h3> <p>When's the last time you did something special just with you and your dad? Life can become so busy, and it is easy to put your relationship with your father on the back burner, especially since when we have our own families to manage. Try scheduling special one-on-one time with your father before or after Father's Day. Even if you just sit down and drink coffee together, it will be more meaningful to him then a generic card. Some other affordable ideas include hitting balls at a golfing range, going on a fishing trip (even if that is more your father's thing than yours), or seeing a local sports game together.</p> <p>If you are a family of little ones, your husband might appreciate a day or weekend alone with you or just the guys. Eric Brantner, founder of&nbsp;<a href="http://www.scribblrs.com/">Scribblrs</a> and father to a one-year-old daughter, said, &quot;What I really want for Father's Day is for a night alone with my wife. Having a one-year-old makes that next-to-impossible. But it's what I want more than anything.&quot;</p> <p>Even a trip out as a family can make a great Father's Day treat. Marcus Kusi, marriage blogger at&nbsp;<a href="http://ourpeacefulfamily.com/">Our Peaceful Family</a> and father to two toddler daughters, said, &quot;What I really want for Father's Day is to spend time with my kids, and to appreciate the opportunity they have given me to become a better person.&quot; Try a simple, stress-free outing, such as a trip to the beach or a picnic in the park.</p> <p>See also:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-father-s-day-gifts-dads-actually-want-for-under-100">10 Father's Day Gifts Dads Actually Want for Under $100</a></p> <h2>3. Words Matter</h2> <p>So many times we can save the gushy stuff for Mother's Day and hand our dads a funny or generic card that we signed her name to. But Dad would also appreciate a handwritten note saying how much he is loved. Because who wouldn't want to know that all of their hard efforts and sacrifices have been noticed by their family?</p> <p>Save money by avoiding the generic and cheesy Father's Day cards and opt for a handwritten note instead. Pair it with his favorite chocolate bar, and you have a meaningful gift for under $2.</p> <p>Father's Day is a day to celebrate your day and show him that you appreciate him. Don't get tied up finding the perfect gift that will impress him.</p> <p><em>What are you giving your dad/husband/grandfather for Father's Day this year?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-eneriz">Ashley Eneriz</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/3-smart-ways-to-save-on-fathers-day">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/easy-ways-to-save-on-7-everyday-buys">Easy Ways to Save on 7 Everyday Buys</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/this-season-give-your-child-the-gift-of-fiscal-responsibility">This Season, Give Your Child the Gift of Fiscal Responsibility</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/flashback-friday-49-smartest-amazon-hacks-that-will-save-you-big">Flashback Friday: 49 Smartest Amazon Hacks That Will Save You Big</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-ways-to-improve-yourself-for-100-or-less">10 Ways to Improve Yourself for $100 or Less</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-to-use-google-alerts-to-save-money">6 Ways to Use Google Alerts to Save Money</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Family Shopping budgeting father Father's Day gifts gifts for dad Holidays saving money shopping Tue, 14 Jun 2016 09:30:27 +0000 Ashley Eneriz 1730455 at http://www.wisebread.com How to Bounce Back From Your Holiday Splurge http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-bounce-back-from-your-holiday-splurge <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-bounce-back-from-your-holiday-splurge" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/christmas_piggy_bank_000050816262.jpg" alt="Learning ways to recover from your holiday spending splurge" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Did you spend too much this holiday season? You're far from alone. The National Retail Federation has estimated that the average consumer planned to spend about $805 on gifts this year. That's the highest this figure has been in the 14 years of the federation's survey.</p> <p>You won't be the only person dreading those first credit card bills of the new year.</p> <p>There is hope, though. You might have overspent this holiday season, but that doesn't mean that you can't recover from your financial splurge. Here are five steps you can take now to bounce back from your too-merry holiday shopping season:</p> <h2>1. Create a New Budget</h2> <p>A new year is a good time to create a new household budget. You won't be able to rein in your overspending ways if you don't have a firm grasp on how much money is coming and going each month. Fortunately, creating a budget does not have to be a challenge.</p> <p>First, write down the revenue coming into your household every month. Then, write down the fixed expenses, such as your rent or mortgage, car payment, and/or student loan bills.</p> <p>Finally, write down those monthly expenses that can vary. You might have to estimate some of these, but include everything from your utility bills to the money you spend on groceries to entertainment.</p> <p>Armed with this information, you can make the sound financial decisions that you neglected during the holidays.</p> <h2>2. Start a Spending Book</h2> <p>No one likes to write down the cost of every cup of coffee they buy during the week. But by doing just this, you'll get a better idea of how much money you're spending on everyday items. A <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/start-saving-more-with-this-one-simple-tool">spending book</a> is the perfect companion to a household budget.</p> <p>A spending book can be as simple as a notebook. Write down everything you buy, every day, for at least a month. Then go back and total the numbers. You might be surprised at how much you spend on workday lunches, expensive coffees, or online movie rentals.</p> <p>Once you better understand your spending habits, you can work to make changes. Maybe instead of getting takeout every day at work, you'll swap out three brown-bag lunches a week. Such small changes can go a long way toward repairing your damaged finances.</p> <h2>3. Ignore the Minimum</h2> <p>It's easy to make only the minimum required payment each month on your credit cards. But doing this is a huge financial mistake. It can take you years to pay off your debt, and you'll pay mountains of interest.</p> <p>The better move, especially after your holiday shopping splurge, is to always pay more than the minimum. The more you pay, the more you'll reduce your principal balance. When you pay only the minimum, most of your money goes toward paying off interest.</p> <h2>4. Start Saving</h2> <p>If you have more cash toward the end of the year, you'll put less debt on your credit cards as you work through your holiday shopping list. It's important to start an emergency fund, a stash of money that you can tap to fund life's unexpected expenses. This will cover things like a broken water heater &mdash; or help you pay for gifts throughout the year.</p> <p>You can start small, stashing $100 or so in a savings account every month. But if you can put more into an emergency fund, do it. If you can save $500 a month, that comes out to $6,000 a year. Think of how much better you'll feel by using those savings to buy holiday presents instead of your credit cards.</p> <h2>5. Forget the Game of Keeping Up</h2> <p>Resolve today to not let a sense of obligation force you to spend beyond your means. So your sister spends $100 on your holiday presents each year. That doesn't mean that you have to spend just as much on her. Buy what you can afford instead, and don't let guilt force you to overspend.</p> <p>And if you can't afford it, don't rely on credit to finish your holiday shopping list. Your friends and family members should understand if you can't afford to spend as much this year. If you want, replace store-bought gifts with homemade treats or some other low-cost items.</p> <p><em>Did you lose control of holiday spending? What will you do to recover?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dan-rafter">Dan Rafter</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-bounce-back-from-your-holiday-splurge">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/avoid-these-5-common-holiday-budget-pitfalls">Avoid These 5 Common Holiday Budget Pitfalls</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/13-holiday-season-costs-everyone-always-forgets-about">13 Holiday-Season Costs Everyone Always Forgets About</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-ways-to-have-a-no-spend-holiday-season">12 Ways to Have a No-Spend Holiday Season</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/people-who-love-christmas-do-these-9-things-do-you">People Who Love Christmas Do These 9 Things — Do You?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/3-smart-ways-to-save-on-fathers-day">3 Smart Ways to Save on Father&#039;s Day</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting Christmas gifts Holidays overspending shopping Wed, 30 Dec 2015 16:00:08 +0000 Dan Rafter 1621622 at http://www.wisebread.com Best Money Tips: Gifts That Don't Create Clutter http://www.wisebread.com/best-money-tips-gifts-that-dont-create-clutter <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/best-money-tips-gifts-that-dont-create-clutter" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/000048579540.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Welcome to Wise Bread's <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/topic/best-money-tips">Best Money Tips</a> Roundup! Today we found holiday gifts that don&rsquo;t create clutter, ways to prevent overspending during the holidays, and how to do Disney on a budget.</p> <h2>Top 5 Articles</h2> <p><a href="http://www.northerncheapskate.com/holiday-gifts-that-dont-create-clutter/">Holiday Gifts That Don&rsquo;t Create Clutter</a> &mdash; Give the gift of a year's worth of experiences! Any family would appreciate memberships to a local children's museum or zoo. [Northern Cheapskate]</p> <p><a href="http://parentingsquad.com/5-ways-to-prevent-overspending-this-holiday-season">5 Ways to Prevent Overspending This Holiday Season</a> &mdash; Shopping when you're sad, hungry, lonely, or bored can lead to unnecessary purchases to fill the emotional need. Check in with your feelings to avoid buyer's remorse. [Parenting Squad]</p> <p><a href="http://www.cheapism.com/blog/4011/disney-on-a-budget">10 Ways to Do Disney on a Budget</a> &mdash; If you're planning to spend the whole day at a Disney park, it doesn't make sense to spring for a pricier hotel. Consider budget resorts for more reasonable prices. [Cheapism]</p> <p><a href="http://www.csmonitor.com/Business/Saving-Money/2015/1213/Where-to-buy-this-year-s-most-Googled-gifts-for-less">Where to buy this year's most-Googled gifts (for less)</a> &mdash; There's currently a great deal on the Smart Scooter HoverBoard at NeweggFlash! [The Monitor]</p> <p><a href="http://www.experian.com/credit-education/fraud-prevention.html">What to do if your wallet is lost or stolen</a> &mdash; You can minimize the risk of identity theft by requesting credit and debit cards with your photo on the front. [Experian]</p> <h2>Other Essential Reading</h2> <p><a href="http://sidsavara.com/personal-productivity/time-management-lies">6 Bald Faced Time Management Lies We Tell Ourselves Every Day</a> &mdash; We often tell ourselves, &quot;It's better/faster if I do it myself.&quot; But you can be just as effective (or even more so) if you train someone else to do it properly. [Sid Savara]</p> <p><a href="http://gretchenrubin.com/happiness_project/2015/12/new-years-theme-2016/">A Fun Way to Make a New Year's Resolution: Choose a One-Word Theme for 2016.</a> &mdash; Summarize a resolution idea into one word and make that your overarching theme for the year. [Gretchin Rubin]</p> <p><a href="http://www.popsugar.com/smart-living/How-Minimize-Stress-During-Holidays-39206131">8 Tips For Having the Best, Most Relaxing Holidays Ever</a> &mdash; Carve out some time to relax between parties and events. Spend the downtime with your family and focus on the simple things in life. [PopSugar Smart Living]</p> <p><a href="http://www.forbes.com/sites/barbaramarquand/2015/12/15/why-safer-cars-might-not-save-you-a-dime-on-car-insurance/">Why Safer Cars Might Not Save You A Dime On Car Insurance</a> &mdash; The safety rating of a car is only a small factor that influences insurance premiums. [Forbes]</p> <p><a href="http://www.cashthechecks.com/money-making-tricks-to-offset-your-mortgage/">4 Money Making Tricks To Offset Your Mortgage</a> &mdash; Sort through the items that are tucked away in storage areas and sell anything that you don't use. [Cash The Checks]</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/amy-lu">Amy Lu</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/best-money-tips-gifts-that-dont-create-clutter">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-top-money-lessons-to-learn-from-ruth-soukups-unstuffed">4 Top Money Lessons to Learn From Ruth Soukup&#039;s &quot;Unstuffed&quot;</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-clutter-keeps-you-poor">8 Ways Clutter Keeps You Poor</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/80-stocking-stuffer-ideas-for-10-or-less">80 Stocking Stuffer Ideas for $10 or Less</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/chinese-money-habits-how-my-culture-influences-my-attitudes-toward-money">Chinese Money Habits - How My Culture Influences My Attitudes Toward Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-cheap-clever-and-attractive-ways-to-save-on-gift-wrapping-paper">15 Cheap, Clever, and Attractive Ways to Save on Gift Wrapping Paper</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Frugal Living best money tips clutter gifts Wed, 16 Dec 2015 20:00:08 +0000 Amy Lu 1621623 at http://www.wisebread.com 6 Ways to Keep Holiday Spending From Blowing Debt Repayment http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-to-keep-holiday-spending-from-blowing-debt-repayment <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-ways-to-keep-holiday-spending-from-blowing-debt-repayment" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_money_christmas_gift_000027797353.jpg" alt="Woman learning to balance holiday spending and debt repayment" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>The holidays can be stressful, and not just from family or too much junk food. Money is a huge factor, too. In fact, last year, people added an average of $986 to their debt over the holidays.</p> <p>Rather than increasing your debt this holiday season, you can instead balance your spending with your repayment plan. It takes a little work, some creativity, and some juggling, but it's completely within the realm of possibility.</p> <h2>1. Prioritize Minimum Payments</h2> <p>Before you plan any holiday spending, make sure you can at least make the minimum payments on any debt repayment you currently have going.</p> <p>Sure, you want to pay more than the minimum required amount on your debt, even during the holiday season. But you have to balance your priorities. If you value spending on gifts or other holiday items more than paying down debt right now, it's probably okay to take a single month and spend differently than usual. Just make sure that you are ready to get back to your normal payment plan in the next billing cycle.</p> <h2>2. Don't Add More Debt</h2> <p>After you've set aside money for at least the minimum required payments on your debt, make a firm commitment to do whatever you need to do to keep from adding to it over the holidays. That might mean making gifts yourself or buying less than you have in the past.</p> <h2>3. Write it Down</h2> <p>Decide how much you're going to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-credit-card-shopping-bonuses">spend for the holidays</a> and how much you want to put towards debt repayment. Then write it down. If you are deciding with a partner, make sure <em>each</em> of you writes it down. Something about the act of putting a goal on paper makes it more real, so it feels like truth and not just possibility. Keep these numbers somewhere where you can look at them before you make any purchases or payments.</p> <h2>4. Plan Ahead</h2> <p>Plan out how much you want to spend on each gift. Price out items online first to ballpark amounts. This will help you figure out what is realistic, and you may find that you can't get everything you'd planned on. Having a plan will also help you feel like your goals are achievable, and not just wishful thinking.</p> <h2>5. Creative Gift Giving</h2> <p>If you choose to prioritize debt repayment, or you simply don't have enough money to cover your minimum payments and holiday gifts, get creative. Offer to spend some one-on-one time with someone close to you. Invite them over. Make hot beverages at home, and have a nice, deep conversation.</p> <p>You can also offer to help people. Give someone a housecleaning, do some yard work, offer an evening of babysitting, and more. They will be appreciative, and you will get to give a gift that won't cost very much at all. In fact, sometimes these sorts of gifts are more thoughtful than anything you can buy.</p> <h2>6. Make Gifts Meaningful, Not Massive</h2> <p>Even if you do choose to purchase gifts, go for something meaningful over something expensive. Despite what the commercials want us to believe, a new mobile phone isn't usually a special gift. Instead, choose a smaller gift that will bring to mind a special memory that you share with someone, or that shows how well you know them.</p> <p><em>How do you plan to balance holiday spending with debt repayment? And how will you choose gifting creatively this holiday season?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/sarah-winfrey">Sarah Winfrey</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-to-keep-holiday-spending-from-blowing-debt-repayment">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-signs-you-arent-making-enough-money">6 Signs You Aren&#039;t Making Enough Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/avoid-these-5-common-holiday-budget-pitfalls">Avoid These 5 Common Holiday Budget Pitfalls</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/are-your-financial-habits-just-bad">Are Your Financial Habits Just Bad?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/13-holiday-season-costs-everyone-always-forgets-about">13 Holiday-Season Costs Everyone Always Forgets About</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-dark-side-motivations-to-get-you-out-of-debt">10 Dark-Side Motivations to Get You Out of Debt</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting Debt Management balance bills gifts giving Holidays spending Thu, 10 Dec 2015 16:00:28 +0000 Sarah Winfrey 1618553 at http://www.wisebread.com 13 Holiday-Season Costs Everyone Always Forgets About http://www.wisebread.com/13-holiday-season-costs-everyone-always-forgets-about <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/13-holiday-season-costs-everyone-always-forgets-about" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/piggy_bank_christmas_000028436580.jpg" alt="Holiday season costs everyone forgets about" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Holiday time puts a strain on everybody's wallet, no matter what kind of budget you're working with. Factor in all of the under-the-radar expenses that everyone always forgets, and you're in danger of becoming a Grinch. Prepare yourself to better handle some of these hidden holiday-season costs so your spirit can stay merry and bright.</p> <h2>1. Postage for Holiday Greeting Cards</h2> <p>I used to spend hours and hours signing, sealing, and addressing holiday cards to my friends and family, and I always forgot to factor in postage. Not altogether, exactly &mdash; I knew I had to send them out &mdash; but I didn't prepare my budget for how much the postage actually would cost, which usually ended up around $100 or so. That's a whole gift's worth!</p> <h2>2. End-of-Year Tips for Service Professionals</h2> <p>Some service professionals you tip every time &mdash; hairdresser, masseur, manicurist, babysitter &mdash; and some you only tip once a year, like your doormen or mail carrier. Either way, it's important to factor in these &quot;holiday bonuses&quot; for all the people who do you well throughout the year. If you're thinking about skimping, don't do it. Now's not the time to be a miser.</p> <h2>3. Holiday Babysitting Premiums</h2> <p>Listen, we live in a free-market, capitalist society, where everyone, including that teenager up the street who babysits your kids, marks up their fees to reflect holiday pricing. If you want someone certified and trained in childcare, the price is even higher. Might as well get used to it.</p> <p>&quot;We charge additional fees and add automatic gratuities for holidays so that we can ensure that we will have babysitters that will be available for our clients,&quot; says Rachel Charlupski, founder of The Babysitting Company. &quot;A holiday sitter will cost between $250 and $500 for four hours depending on the reservation, number of children, and the city.&quot;</p> <h2>4. Personal Upkeep and Grooming</h2> <p>I don't know about you, but I like to look good when I'm enjoying the holidays. For me that means a fresh haircut, eyebrow trim, spray tan, and maybe a few new clothing items. For you, it might mean a mani, pedi, and facial. None of these services are particularly cheap, so you should think about what you'll need to feel confident about appearance this time of year and set that money aside.</p> <h2>5. Increased Gas and Electric Bills</h2> <p>Your outdoor holiday lights spectacular and round-the-clock heating costs a pretty penny. Plan for it, but also plan ways to cut down, like putting the lights on a timer, turning off the heat when you're sleeping, and lowering it during daytime hours in favor of sweaters and warm blankets.</p> <p>&quot;Something that a lot of people get blindsided by during the holidays is the sudden increase in energy costs. This is especially true in colder areas such as the northern U.S. and much of Canada, which rely especially heavily on natural gas for heat,&quot; says energy industry analyst Joel MacDonald. &quot;Households that only use a modicum of gas for cooking food and heating water suddenly see their usage skyrocket when the outside temperature drops, and in some years this is compounded by a spike in gas prices due to increased demand.&quot;</p> <h2>6. Higher-Than-Normal Grocery Bills</h2> <p>If you like to host holiday parties, expect your grocery bill to almost double what you normally spend in ordinary months. Feeding even a small crowd isn't cheap. Even if you're not hosting, you still have to factor in costs associated with holiday baking; snacks for school celebrations, if they're allowed, and foods marketed in seasonal packages, which always seem to find a way into your cart. Don't feel bad &mdash; mine, too.</p> <h2>7. Hidden-in-Plain-Sight Travel Costs</h2> <p>You've budgeted for the holiday flight, hotel, rental car, and gas, but that's just the beginning of this avalanche of financial assault. Personal finance expert Kevin Gallegos explains.</p> <p>&quot;Beyond the cost of an airplane ticket, it's easy to forget any needed cab, bus, or train rides to get to and from the airport; tips for porters, shuttle drivers, curbside check-in personnel; airport parking; any food and drink purchases made at the airport,&quot; he says.</p> <p>If you're not careful, you can put a decent dent in your vacation fund before you ever reach your destination.</p> <h2>8. Dining Out More Than Usual</h2> <p>Between shopping trips, holiday parties, kids' activities, and visiting friends and relatives, you'll spend more time on the go, which likely will result in more food on the go.</p> <p>Since dining out isn't cheap, you need to keep it in check as much as you can. Also, be mindful that all those groceries you just bought are going to waste much faster the more you neglect to eat them. It's a perfect storm for bleeding cash at a time of year you really can't afford it.</p> <h2>9. Gas for All That Extra Driving</h2> <p>You'll need gas to get around to all the holiday activities you have planned, and you'll be filling up your tank more frequently. A compromise to offset the cost of that extra fuel is to check GasBuddy.com for the lowest prices in your area (or download the convenient Gas Buddy app) and to sign up for any loyalty programs your go-to station may offer.</p> <h2>10. Post Office/Delivery Service Fees for Gifts</h2> <p>While a lot of retailers offer free shipping as a marketing gimmick this time of year, you may forget to account for those presents you buy at brick-and-mortars and have to ship yourself. As I mentioned earlier, postage isn't cheap &mdash; like, at all &mdash; and even a modest size package can cost upwards of $20. These fees can siphon a sizable chunk of money from your slush fund if you don't limit what you ship.</p> <h2>11. Stocking Stuffers</h2> <p>You've got a million and one presents wrapped under the tree, but &mdash; doh! &mdash; you forgot the stocking stuffers. Even a stocking filled solely with candy can set you back $10 or so, but these days kids expect more, like earbuds, lip balms, and other tiny but pricey items that can easily bump it up to the $50 territory.</p> <h2>12. Boarding Pets That Can't Travel With You</h2> <p>I love my dog very much, but for some reason, I always forget that he can't travel with me. Thankfully, my sitter is reasonably priced &mdash; though he'll need an extra tip, too. But if your holiday pet-sitting prices are anywhere near those holiday babysitting prices, you could be in for a doozy.</p> <h2>13. Last-Minute Host/Hostess Gifts</h2> <p>You should never, ever show up to a function &mdash; holiday or otherwise &mdash; empty-handed. If you're attending parties this season, pick up a few bottles of wine or other <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-holiday-gifts-hostesses-love">appropriate host(ess) gifts</a> while they're on sale. I'll let you in on a little secret, too: This is the perfect opportunity to regift something that you don't want or like, but I highly recommend sticking to consumable items, like chocolates or cookies, or items that might immediately add to the current party, like a board game. Whatever you do, don't regift an item in the company of the person who gave it to you! There are rules to regifting, my friends, and you're wise to brush up before you embarrass yourself.</p> <p><em>Are there more holiday costs that we all forget about? I'd love to hear your suggestions in the comments below.</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mikey-rox">Mikey Rox</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/13-holiday-season-costs-everyone-always-forgets-about">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-4"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/avoid-these-5-common-holiday-budget-pitfalls">Avoid These 5 Common Holiday Budget Pitfalls</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-bounce-back-from-your-holiday-splurge">How to Bounce Back From Your Holiday Splurge</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-ways-to-have-a-no-spend-holiday-season">12 Ways to Have a No-Spend Holiday Season</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-great-gifts-for-5-or-less">25 Great Gifts for $5 or Less</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-art-of-the-group-gift">The Art of the Group Gift</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting Shopping Christmas expenses gifts hidden costs Holidays Thu, 03 Dec 2015 16:00:32 +0000 Mikey Rox 1617397 at http://www.wisebread.com Almost 50 Unique Housewarming Gifts for Less Than $20 http://www.wisebread.com/almost-50-unique-housewarming-gifts-for-less-than-20 <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/almost-50-unique-housewarming-gifts-for-less-than-20" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/gift_giving_holidays_000018620938.jpg" alt="Finding the most unique housewarming gifts under $20" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>The perfect way to welcome someone into their new home is with a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-easy-mason-jar-gifts-you-can-make">unique, practical housewarming gift</a> &mdash; and we've come up with some of the best ideas that they are sure to love. Best of all, for only $20 or less, these gifts won't break the bank!</p> <h2>1. DIY Baskets</h2> <p>DIY baskets are affordable and fun to make. Some of the best DIY baskets for a new homeowner include:</p> <ul> <li>Cleaning basket: Include things like all-purpose cleaner, sponges, a dustpan, and rags for a gift that will keep their new home in tip-top shape.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Tool kit: Make your own by including all the must-haves, or you can simply purchase an <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000E20HWA/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B000E20HWA&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=T5AIOQU57BN5CMHZ">affordable tool kit</a> instead.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Gardening kit: Include affordable essentials like a trowel, rake, shovel, and fork, or just purchase a complete <a href="http://amzn.to/1PhzZ9t">garden tool set</a>.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Coffee kit: Everybody needs coffee, so think about gifting gourmet coffee with a nice new <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00004SPEU/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B00004SPEU&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=HZAS46RYVADZ3NOB">electric grinder</a> or mug. You can even create your own personalized coffee mugs with a little paint.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Kitchen set: Include must-haves like utensils, an oven mitt, a peeler, and/or a meat thermometer for a DIY kitchen basket. Add an <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0898215153/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=0898215153&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=W5JHIVMJ6V2LVCY4">inexpensive cookbook</a> and a new <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000WW3HEC/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B000WW3HEC&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=YWMMDDO7FWMH26QH">cookbook holder</a> to complete the gift.</li> </ul> <h2>2. Gifts They Can Eat</h2> <p>What better way to welcome someone into their new home than with something delicious? There are several food gifts you can give that won't cost much, such as:</p> <ul> <li>Home cooked meal: Make a meal for them to enjoy and include the recipe card.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>DIY food basket: Include one of your favorite simple recipes and the ingredients required to make it. You can always add a nice new kitchen accessory as well, like a new wooden spoon.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Beers on you: All you need to do is purchase an affordable cooler and fill it with ice, beers, lemons, limes, and any other drinking accessories you think they'll like.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li><a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0073GXDAS/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B0073GXDAS&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=RN6KDZZF3OHF4T7O">Indoor herb garden</a>: They'll be able to grow their own fresh herbs indoors to enjoy in about six weeks.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Popcorn kit: Wrap up a <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00006IUWA/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B00006IUWA&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=CPOEP3ETDCECCAS4">popcorn maker</a> with a <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00SQDZX5K/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B00SQDZX5K&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=KJRD6XGTPT3W36GY">popcorn and seasoning collection</a> so they can enjoy a movie after a long day of unpacking.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li><a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00TUYGRU4/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B00TUYGRU4&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=MKLK6FXQ4A6PK64G">Mushroom farm</a>: Who doesn't love fresh mushrooms? With this gift, they can grow fresh organic mushrooms right from their new kitchen.</li> </ul> <h2>3. Personalized Items</h2> <p>Embroidered, engraved, and monogrammed items are some of the best personalized gifts you can buy. Take the DIY approach, or purchase them already embroidered or engraved. Some of the best items to personalize include:</p> <ul> <li><a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00FDN7I3Q/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B00FDN7I3Q&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=G67YHFJAOZYOSZS2">Cutting boards</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.personalcreations.com/product/2015-family-holiday-ornament-30180303?sk=&amp;ref=REDscltwunkwn&amp;productGroup=PCHRBSL&amp;viewpos=4&amp;ratings=4.2500&amp;reviews=12&amp;trackingpgroup=PCHRBSL">Holiday ornaments</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.personalcreations.com/product/character-charm-key-ring-30024412?sk=&amp;ref=REDscltwunkwn&amp;productgroup=PCHRGG30&amp;viewpos=20&amp;ratings=4.1138&amp;reviews=167&amp;trackingpgroup=PCHRGG30">Keychains</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.personalcreations.com/product/always-kiss-me-goodnight-pillowcases-30132361?sk=&amp;ref=REDscltwunkwn&amp;productgroup=PCHRGG30&amp;viewpos=17&amp;ratings=4.7143&amp;reviews=42&amp;trackingpgroup=PCHRGG30">Pillowcases</a></li> <li><a href="http://griffanie.com/hey-there-doormat/">Welcome mats</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.freutcake.com/favorite-things/diy-polka-dot-napkins/">Napkins</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00UXPD1PS/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B00UXPD1PS&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=GYS3GTJKEJU6ZNCE">Kitchen signs</a></li> </ul> <h2>4. Things They're Sure to Need</h2> <p>There are certain things that we could all use more of, especially after moving into a new place. Put a unique spin on the essentials to suit your friends' style and personality. All of these items can be found for under $20:</p> <ul> <li><a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B010R5ZRC8/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B010R5ZRC8&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=BSK75IFGPTFD67K2">His and hers glasses</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00SRGPELO/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B00SRGPELO&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=QOJRRCJ4XUGER7YN">Nessie ladle</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B009BLGMLA/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B009BLGMLA&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=P7XNT5XFUWHKGYWM">Utensil holder</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00W3CODOC/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B00W3CODOC&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=FOV4FHYWJPYHE757">Key holder</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0018PFBVY/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B0018PFBVY&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=FXXMV3UBFMJTBYHT">Decorative candle holder</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0000CF9JC/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B0000CF9JC&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=SLBBEAXLH7KH5IQO">Wooden serving bowls</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.uncommongoods.com/product/state-slate-cheese-boards">U.S. cheese board</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=as_li_ss_tl?_encoding=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;fst=as%3Aoff&amp;keywords=scented%20candles&amp;linkCode=ur2&amp;qid=1446753520&amp;rh=n%3A1055398%2Ck%3Ascented%20candles%2Cp_36%3A1253523011&amp;rnid=386465011&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=GHJAYYCIMVZNVGE5">Scented candles</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00ZSNL9IQ/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B00ZSNL9IQ&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=C6O6DYO2PDPX26NG">Hanging planter</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00TQ8FC2S/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B00TQ8FC2S&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=VWTGLDNHE563IPLE">Display trays</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B008LYT86O/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B008LYT86O&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=IUTXAFQGQDSNKU7O">Vintage bottle opener</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00GNIGT1C/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B00GNIGT1C&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=CF3Y64NENQYSYQGC">Spice rack</a></li> </ul> <h2>5. Wine Essentials</h2> <p>Wine is the perfect gift for almost any special occasion, particularly after a stressful move. If your friends are wine drinkers, gift them handy essentials such as:</p> <ul> <li><a href="http://amzn.to/1WrZvOZ">Wine aerator</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B009N23UFS/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B009N23UFS&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=VT7GXH3LDBNNDGYN">Aerating wine glasses</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00AM4KKHM/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B00AM4KKHM&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=3T7CK7YFL67MDHSH">Corkscrew set</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B003YFI0O6/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B003YFI0O6&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=SAQ57NHXAZUOGTJI">Bottle opener</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B002QCBY1E/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B002QCBY1E&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=PCGS7KCOHQYHOBE4">Cork cage</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000KFSNFO/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B000KFSNFO&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=5Q6SDZ6QX4XTS3Q6">Wine bottle thermometer</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00T236XIE/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B00T236XIE&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=NOJ2ULAMQSG2GO6E">Wine chiller</a></li> </ul> <h2>6. Good Luck Charms</h2> <p>Everyone needs a little good luck, especially after a move. Consider a <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00PSI4T4C/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B00PSI4T4C&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=MLMW6FZEYFIWQNGH">sage kit</a> so that they can cleanse their new home and attract good fortune. You can even give them unique garden sets to entice good luck, like a <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00R19QYCG/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B00R19QYCG&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=6YRQDXMX7WYYMWVS">growing wishes seed kit</a>, <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B002F914G8/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B002F914G8&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=HY2KHHLVFVDMCBJR">lucky bamboo plant</a>, or <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00YSNT66Y/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B00YSNT66Y&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=7X7GSVHAW56FX3AF">bonsai tree kit</a>.</p> <h2>7. Relaxation Aids</h2> <p>Everyone loves to relax after a stressful event and there is nothing more stressful than moving. Help your friend pamper themselves with items like unique <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00B1DQKEU/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B00B1DQKEU&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=BEP5JKT2TYADLDIM">bath salt sets</a>, <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0155KFTHS/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B0155KFTHS&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=36RQPOKP67YQMFS7">tea samplers</a>, and <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00L62K8TY/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B00L62K8TY&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=N6ZERHMKJET5LY5X">crackling candles</a>. These and other spa necessities can be combined to form one large relaxation basket.</p> <h2>8. Pet Treats</h2> <p>Giving your friends' pet a new toy or <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00QNUGFLO/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B00QNUGFLO&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=MJKXG5XXWVROD524">gift basket</a> will make you their new favorite guest. Including a pet in the gift-giving festivities usually means a lot to the homeowners as well.</p> <p><em>What are your favorite affordable, unique housewarming gifts? Please share your thoughts in the comments!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/andrea-cannon">Andrea Cannon</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/almost-50-unique-housewarming-gifts-for-less-than-20">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-5"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-amazing-easy-diy-bath-and-body-products">50 Amazing, Easy DIY Bath and Body Products</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/stylish-but-cheap-gift-warp-ideas">Stylish but Cheap Gift Wrap Ideas</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/are-you-dreaming-of-a-frugal-christmas-6-things-you-can-make-that-people-on-your-list-will-use-and-w">Dreaming of a Frugal Christmas: 6 Things You Can Make That People on Your List Will Use and Want</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-wrap-gifts-with-leftovers">How to wrap gifts with leftovers.</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/last-minute-wrapping-paper-5-options">Last Minute Wrapping Paper: 5 Options</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> DIY Shopping gifts Homemade housewarming presents Wed, 02 Dec 2015 12:00:26 +0000 Andrea Cannon 1617395 at http://www.wisebread.com Avoid These 5 Common Holiday Budget Pitfalls http://www.wisebread.com/avoid-these-5-common-holiday-budget-pitfalls <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/avoid-these-5-common-holiday-budget-pitfalls" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_holiday_shopping_000040532724.jpg" alt="Woman avoiding common holiday budget pitfalls" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>According to a recent survey from the National Retail Federation, holiday shoppers are planning to spend an average of $805 on gifts this holiday season. The same survey found that shoppers plan to spend an average of $463 on family members. That's the highest this figure has ever been.</p> <p>To make sure that <em>you</em> don't overspend this year &mdash; no matter your target number &mdash; be sure to create a holiday spending budget. That way, you're far less likely to find an unpleasant surprise when that credit card bill shows up in January.</p> <p>Here are five things you shouldn't do when planning your holiday shopping budget.</p> <h2>1. Don't Let Guilt Break Your Budget</h2> <p>Maybe your sister-in-law buys your kids three gifts each. This doesn't mean that you have to do the same for hers. If your budget calls for just one gift for your in-laws' kids, stick to it. It's easy to let guilt lead you to overspending during the holidays. But don't feel like a scrooge because you aren't spending as much as your other relatives. If your budget is tight this year, don't break it in a misguided attempt to keep up with the spending of others.</p> <h2>2. Don't Add Last Minute Gifts to Your Shopping List</h2> <p>When making a holiday spending budget, you'll need to list the people for whom you want to buy a gift. As the season moves along, you might feel a temptation to start adding names. It's one thing if you forgot to place Aunt Sally on the list &mdash; but it's another if you decide at the last minute to buy a $25 gift card for the mailman.</p> <p>The late additions of folks who aren't friends or family members can quickly bust your holiday budget. Those small extra gifts &mdash; even if they're $5 worth of lottery tickets &mdash; can add up. You are under no obligation to provide a gift for your dog sitter, mail carrier, or children's karate instructor if you don't have enough room in your holiday budget.</p> <h2>3. Don't Count on a Holiday Bonus</h2> <p>You might receive a holiday bonus every year &mdash; but you still shouldn't count on that bonus when setting your holiday budget. Instead, create a budget based on your normal monthly income. What if you overspend only to discover that this year your company is not passing out holiday bonuses? Suddenly, you're in a financial hole. And if you do get your bonus as expected? It's better to invest that extra money or use to it to pay off credit card debt than it is to spend it on holiday presents.</p> <h2>4. Don't Just Go Through the Motions</h2> <p>Retailers want you to spend, spend, and spend some more during the holiday season. Your holiday budget should provide you with the blueprint you need to ignore this noise and spend only what you can afford.</p> <p>Unfortunately, too many consumers make budgets but then never follow them. Once they spend more than they can afford, they turn to their credit cards. This is a huge mistake. If you put too much on your <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-tips-for-smart-and-safe-credit-card-use-during-the-holidays">credit cards this shopping season</a>, your holiday gifts will be long forgotten before you pay off your high-interest debt. When making a budget, actually do it in good faith. If you deliberately break your spending budget, what's the point of even making one?</p> <h2>5. Don't Forget Other Holiday Expenses</h2> <p>You might not overspend on anyone's gift this year, but that doesn't mean that you won't break your holiday spending budget. The holidays encourage all manner of overspending. You might be traveling to visit relatives, which might require you to spend on hotels and gas. Maybe relatives will be visiting you, which means you'll be spending more on food. Make sure to plan for these sometimes forgotten expenses when making your holiday budget. If you don't, you might shatter it.</p> <p><em>Do you make any of these holiday budget mistakes?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dan-rafter">Dan Rafter</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/avoid-these-5-common-holiday-budget-pitfalls">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-6"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/13-holiday-season-costs-everyone-always-forgets-about">13 Holiday-Season Costs Everyone Always Forgets About</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-bounce-back-from-your-holiday-splurge">How to Bounce Back From Your Holiday Splurge</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-ways-to-have-a-no-spend-holiday-season">12 Ways to Have a No-Spend Holiday Season</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-great-gifts-for-5-or-less">25 Great Gifts for $5 or Less</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-art-of-the-group-gift">The Art of the Group Gift</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting Shopping Christmas gifts Holidays overspending Mon, 16 Nov 2015 13:15:48 +0000 Dan Rafter 1612422 at http://www.wisebread.com 15 More Cheap and Easy DIY Toys Kids Will Love http://www.wisebread.com/15-more-cheap-and-easy-diy-toys-kids-will-love <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/15-more-cheap-and-easy-diy-toys-kids-will-love" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/colorful_crayons_000051716822.jpg" alt="Creating cheap and easy DIY toys kids will love" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Looking for a great birthday or Christmas gift for your child? There are lots of toys you can DIY to give a personal touch. Check out the projects below for some major inspiration. And share your favorite do-it-yourself toy projects in the comments. (Related: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-awesomely-fun-toys-you-can-diy?ref=seealso">15 Awesomely Fun Toys You Can DIY</a>)</p> <h2>1. Colorful Crayons</h2> <p>Melt together a bunch of <a href="http://ourbestbites.com/2012/02/how-to-make-muffin-tin-crayons-and-a-printable/">old crayons</a> using <a href="http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=as_li_ss_tl?_encoding=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;field-keywords=silicon%20molds&amp;linkCode=ur2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;url=search-alias%3Daps&amp;linkId=LK2BUROPZI6ZG46O">silicone</a> molds or cupcake tins. You'll be giving new life to something that might otherwise be tossed out &mdash; and even young kids can help with this project! Just take all the broken remnants, remove the paper labels, toss them in your molds, and bake at 250 degrees Fahrenheit for 10 to 20 minutes.</p> <h2>2. Drum Set</h2> <p>Have a bunch of old paint cans you need to recycle? Try assembling this crazy <a href="http://www.floridaysmom.com/paint-can-drum-set/">drum kit</a>. You'll clean your cans and then give them a coat of spray paint. Attach the cans together with bolts and screws. And don't forget to add some fancy stuff like cymbals. Grab a pair of sticks to start jamming.</p> <h2>3. Felt Food</h2> <p>Here's a quiet toy your kids will play with again and again: <a href="http://everydaydishes.com/creative-crafts/diy-felt-play-food/">felt food</a>. Find a stack of felt in assorted colors, print out the free template, and get cutting. Adhere everything together with hot glue and stuff some of the foods (like bread) will <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000YZ7G44/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B000YZ7G44&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=7CMLIPMBEOLX5657">poly-fil</a>. You'll make watermelon, bacon, pizza, and more.</p> <h2>4. Sand Blocks</h2> <p>Got an old Jenga game hanging around? Use the wooden pieces to make these cool <a href="http://adventure-in-a-box.com/make-rainbow-sand-blocks/">rainbow sand blocks</a>. Glue three of your blocks into an open-ended rectangle, then do it again. You'll make the rainbow sand using cornmeal and food coloring. Then, place the sand into a plastic bag and glue the bag in the middle of your blocks. Add two more blocks on top to finish the frame.</p> <h2>5. Nature Blocks</h2> <p>For kids who would rather be outdoors than anywhere else, you can make <a href="http://adventure-in-a-box.com/how-to-make-waldorf-inspired-nature-blocks-creative-challenge/">nature blocks</a>. These blocks are inspired by the Waldorf toys and are simple to make if you have access to a hand saw. Go into your yard and find branches of different diameters. Then, let them dry someplace for a few weeks. To finish, just cut them into sections.</p> <h2>6. Kinetic Sand</h2> <p>Stop spending all that money on store-bought play sand. Try making your own with this <a href="http://gimmiefreebies.com/make-your-own-kinetic-sand/">kinetic sand</a> tutorial. You'll need plain sand, corn starch, dish soap, and water. Mix everything together and consider adding some tea tree oil to the mix to keep it fresh.</p> <h2>7. Magnetic Fishing Set</h2> <p>If you have a sewing machine, you can whip up these <a href="http://www.makeit-loveit.com/2014/09/diy-toy-fishing-pole-that-reels-in-and-magnetic-fabric-fish.html">DIY magnetic fish</a>. Buy some round magnets, cut out fish shapes using scrap fabric and batting, and then sew the magnet into the fish. Make a quick pole using wooden dowels, spools, and rope. Don't forget the magnet at the end of the line so you can catch the fish!</p> <h2>8. Fruit Stand</h2> <p>Forget the play kitchen &mdash; try making a <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/pernfors88/4212633525/">fruit stand</a>. The maker of this project used an Ikea Rast table as the base. The rest is a creative mix of scrap wood, shelf supports, fabric, and little bins. Your finished product might not look exactly like the original, but the idea is to have plenty of places to stash play fruits and veggies.</p> <h2>9. Car Mat</h2> <p>This <a href="http://www.ragamuffin-baby.com/2012/09/vans-car-playmat.html">car mat</a> is absolutely adorable. The only problem is that it took the author over 20 hours to cut, sew, and embroider everything together. You can make something similar by picking up some <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00O7312OO/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B00O7312OO&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=QLAJSUJV67RORM44">duck cloth</a> (or other thick, sturdy fabric) at the hardware store, cutting it to size, and painting on a roadway, houses, and other cool spots with craft paints.</p> <h2>10. Hideaway Tent</h2> <p>Give your children a hideaway with this simple <a href="http://www.makeit-loveit.com/2014/07/collapsible-fabric-play-tent-for-kids.html">play tent</a>. Create a foldable A-frame using 1&quot; x 2&quot; boards and dowels. Then use five yards of fabric to sew the cover that will tie onto the frame. This project takes around three hours from start to finish.</p> <h2>11. Painted Treasures</h2> <p>Don't feel like making a toy from scratch? Try finding something old and making it new again using spray paint. This <a href="http://www.justalittlecreativity.com/2011/09/pimp-that-cozy-ride-little-tikes-car.html">Little Tikes car project</a> is amazing and only took a couple cans of paint. Clean the toy well before disassembling and painting. You can try this makeover with play cars, houses, and anything else that needs freshening up.</p> <h2>12. Play Road</h2> <p>Before you toss out your old jeans, try using them in this <a href="http://www.howdoesshe.com/easy-diy-road-for-toy-cars-made-out-of-your-old-jeans/">DIY road project</a>. After you trace a pattern for both curved and straight pieces, cut out your fabric from the old jeans. Then use glue and <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B001IKES5O/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B001IKES5O&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=Z4K4CH2V7TPJ75D5">Mod Podge</a> to fix everything together. Paint on some yellow lines and let the races begin!</p> <h2>13. Lego Table</h2> <p>Your kid will go crazy for this <a href="http://www.chaosandlove.com/targets-toy-emporium/">DIY Lego table</a>. You'll need an old table (a square works wonderfully) and some of those <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00K5W9TLY/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B00K5W9TLY&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=VDJG4GHI7R2K4CI2">Lego bases</a>. Use glue to adhere the base plates to the table and give them some extra support with a few Lego bricks on the edges. Let the glue dry, and this project is done in around 20 minutes.</p> <h2>14. American Boy</h2> <p>Boys deserve dolls too! So, when I saw this <a href="http://ginadwagner.com/how-i-created-an-american-boy-doll-for-my-son/">American Boy</a> doll in my Facebook feed, my jaw dropped. The mom took a standard girl doll (new or used would be fine), cut its hair, washed off its makeup, and dressed it in some clothes she found on Etsy. You can also sew your own for a personal touch.</p> <h2>15. Doll House</h2> <p>Make a super <a href="http://turkeyfeathers.typepad.com/turkey_feathers/2006/06/in_an_old_house.html">doll house</a> using an old dresser. You'll need a relatively tall dresser as your base, and I recommended checking places like the Salvation Army and garage sales before buying new. Leave the bottom drawers on for storage. Then take the upper drawers out to make space for your rooms. Paint and fill with doll furniture to complete the project.</p> <p><em>What are your kid's favorite DIY playthings?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-marcin">Ashley Marcin</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-more-cheap-and-easy-diy-toys-kids-will-love">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-awesomely-fun-toys-you-can-diy">15 Awesomely Fun Toys You Can DIY</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/14-free-or-cheap-toys-that-will-make-your-kid-smarter">14 Free or Cheap Toys That Will Make Your Kid Smarter</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-homemade-child-products-that-are-cheaper-and-better-than-store-bought">10 Homemade Child Products That Are Cheaper and Better Than Store Bought</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/18-awesome-practically-free-upcycled-craft-projects">18 Awesome, Practically Free Upcycled Craft Projects</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/make-your-own-moon-sand-dirt-cheap">Make Your Own Moon Sand, Dirt Cheap</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> DIY children crafts gifts kids playing projects toys Mon, 16 Nov 2015 11:15:18 +0000 Ashley Marcin 1612421 at http://www.wisebread.com 3 Supposed Etiquette Faux Pas That Actually Make You Look Good http://www.wisebread.com/3-supposed-etiquette-faux-pas-that-actually-make-you-look-good <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/3-supposed-etiquette-faux-pas-that-actually-make-you-look-good" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_stressed_000018231991.jpg" alt="Woman made etiquette faux pas that made her look good" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Etiquette's a jungle, and there are any number of ways to find yourself on the wrong side of both Miss Manners and your social circle.</p> <p>But what about social faux pas that really aren't such terrible mistakes? Yes, technically committing any of these errors is a social no-no, but they can also make you look good, particularly if you own them. Here are three etiquette mistakes that can actually improve your social standing:</p> <h2>1. Forgetting the Name of an Acquaintance</h2> <p>I made the most embarrassing social faux pas of my life when I was about 14 years old and ran into a classmate and her father at the grocery store. When she said &quot;Hi, Emily!&quot; with great friendliness, I responded &quot;Good to see, you Jessica!&quot;</p> <p>That wasn't her name. (And it got worse.)</p> <p>I immediately realized my mistake and tried to correct it. &quot;I'm sorry, Sarah. I know who you are.&quot;</p> <p>At this point, her father leaned in and said, &quot;It's Yvonne.&quot;</p> <p>While I have never had another experience that bad &mdash; partially because in response to this embarrassing incident, I got in the habit of saying &quot;Hi, YOU!&quot; to anyone I ran into outside of their usual context &mdash; this was by no means the last time I couldn't place the name of someone who knew exactly who I was.</p> <p>Every time it happens, I feel a momentary panic and worry that I'll screw up again. The funny thing about my worst-name-forgetting-story-ever is that Yvonne and I became good friends afterwards. (She did call me by other names on purpose for a while, though.)</p> <p>That's because a <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e5zH4N3ohR0&amp;feature=youtu.be">memory lapse</a> of a name &mdash; even for someone you know fairly well &mdash; happens to every single person on the planet. Owning your mistake and being willing to laugh at yourself can help humanize you. It actually takes courage to own up to your memory lapse or wrong-name-calling mistake. You look much better for acknowledging that you are not perfect, and that can disarm even the sourest of socializers.</p> <p>Don't be like me, though. If you're not sure of the name of someone you know you have met, a quick, &quot;Forgive me, but can you remind me of your name?&quot; paired with a charming smile can smooth over the awkward situation while making you seem endearing.</p> <h2>2. Crying at Work</h2> <p>This is one of the most deeply-entrenched etiquette rules for the workplace, but I know very few professionals who have not broken it at least once. Letting frustration, sadness, or anger be expressed through tears is often considered career suicide (although there does seem to be more judgment of <a href="http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2013/03/21/the-perks-of-crying-at-work.html">women who cry at work</a> than men).</p> <p>While it's true that professionalism does require at least some distance between our emotions and our actions &mdash; we can't go all <a href="http://www.nbc.com/saturday-night-live/video/the-big-baby/n11215">Will Ferrell</a> when things get too hard at the office &mdash; the no-crying-at-work rule can seem like an impossible expectation when we spend a third of our lives and most of our energy there. But when tears indicate weakness and unprofessional emotions, it's difficult to bounce back from a crying jag in copy room.</p> <p>Actually, crying at work can do a lot of good. According to Peggy Drexler of <a href="http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2013/03/21/the-perks-of-crying-at-work.html">The Daily Beast</a>,&nbsp;&quot;People tend to connect with what they view as an authentic display of emotion. Often, crying invokes in coworkers and employees a natural empathy and a desire to help. Tears can also be persuasive: they show that we're deeply moved, which in turn moves our audience.&quot;</p> <p>Tears can indicate how deeply you care about an issue at work, or how overwhelmed you are by life issues that are affecting your work &mdash; and that can help your coworkers and boss have a better understanding of you and your situation. In addition, crying can help clear the air when something is festering at work.</p> <p>That is not to say that crying at work is always a good thing. But if you are generally a well-respected employee with a professional demeanor, finding yourself overcome by tears could help to make a point that your words cannot.</p> <h2>3. Requesting &quot;No Gifts&quot; on a Party Invitation</h2> <p>According to traditional etiquette, one should never mention gifts on an invitation. That's because the mention of gifts suddenly puts an emphasis on them, and the word magically turns your invitation into a shakedown, even if all you are trying to do is stop the endless flow of stuff into your life. Even the evasive &quot;Your presence is our present!&quot; is considered to be rude, as it seems to make the suggestion that the invitee owes a present at all.</p> <p>Miss Manners suggests that you simply say nothing about gifts, other than profuse thanks for any that are given. (She further recommends recycling unwanted gifts, thereby making the gift-giving a waste of money and time for all parties, in this writer's humble opinion.)</p> <p>This is a situation wherein etiquette simply has not kept up with social conventions. It's all well and good for Miss Manners to claim that no one is thinking about presents when they are invited to a wedding or a birthday party, but we know that's not the case. The social expectation is that you bring a present to a party. No one needs to say it for the expectation to be there.</p> <p>In fact, the real problem with &quot;No gifts&quot; on party invitations is that people don't know what it means. Some believe that the host is angling for money or gift cards, and others bring gifts for fear of being the only non-gift-giver at the party.</p> <p>So take the etiquette bull by the horns and give your guests an alternative to gifts. Specify a charity you would love your guests to support in lieu of a gift. Request that each person bring a funny story about or a picture of the guest of honor. Make it a Hobbit party, where all the <em>guests </em>get a present, rather than the birthday child.</p> <p>Miss Manners might recoil, but spelling out exactly what you expect to happen (non) gift-wise will be an incredible relief to your guests. They know that there is a social gift expectation for a party, but they have no idea what &quot;No gifts&quot; means unless you make it perfectly clear. Doing this will help your guests to think of you as a selfless and fun host, rather than someone who impolitely mentions gifts on an invitation.</p> <h2>Be Yourself</h2> <p>All three of these faux pas are really about being your genuine and authentic self. Own these &quot;errors,&quot; and know that others will likely respect you even more for them.</p> <p><em>Which etiquette rules have you broken only to have your social standing improve as a result? Be polite and share in comments!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/emily-guy-birken">Emily Guy Birken</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/3-supposed-etiquette-faux-pas-that-actually-make-you-look-good">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-7"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-basic-manners-you-must-teach-your-kids">10 Basic Manners You Must Teach Your Kids</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-good-manners-make-you-wealthier">5 Ways Good Manners Make You Wealthier</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/18-things-people-with-good-social-skills-never-do">18 Things People With Good Social Skills Never Do</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-ways-youre-driving-your-coworkers-insane">12 Ways You&#039;re Driving Your Coworkers Insane</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-old-school-manners-we-want-back">8 Old School Manners We Want Back</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Development crying etiquette faux pas forgetting gifts manners Fri, 10 Apr 2015 15:00:08 +0000 Emily Guy Birken 1378122 at http://www.wisebread.com 10 Affordable Kids' Gifts That Won't Rot Their Brains http://www.wisebread.com/10-affordable-kids-gifts-that-wont-rot-their-brains <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-affordable-kids-gifts-that-wont-rot-their-brains" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000043259202_Large.jpg" alt="little boy painting" title="little boy painting" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>I am not a big fan of overtly &quot;educational&quot; toys, especially those that take batteries and make too much noise. However, I am a big fan of simple, inexpensive toys that help kids teach themselves and one another through play. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/better-than-barbie-5-free-toys-kids-will-love?ref=seealso">Better Than Barbie: 5 Free Toys and Games Kids Will Love</a>)</p> <p>And people are always going to buy more stuff for your kids. So you might as well accept it and at least steer well-meaning aunties away from the Spongebob videos, and toward these choices that are either straight-up educational, or at least won't turn their gray matter into sponges themselves.</p> <h2>1. Art Supplies</h2> <p>This is nearly always my answer when people ask what my kids want. High-quality markers, colored pencils, paints, clay, and drawing pads are always in demand with kids, and the beauty is that they get used up, so you can give the same answer again next year.</p> <h2>2. ALEX Craft Kits</h2> <p>If art materials don't seem &quot;gifty&quot; enough, ALEX Toys sells roughly a billion kits for projects such as <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B006WCN6WE/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B006WCN6WE&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=FC4V43VBHOGRXNTF">making jewelry</a>, <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B001U0JHSA/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B001U0JHSA&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=NBKO3CRQBHNUEJB5">ceramic painting</a>, and <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000F3V2MW/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B000F3V2MW&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=Y4BGWM3RLECIDZWE">sewing</a>. Remember to check the list of what is included in the box; some sets are better values than others.</p> <h2>3. 4M Science Kits</h2> <p>A lot of companies make science kits these days. I like 4M's for two reasons: They are not pricey, and the boxes are compact. Chances are, you will put this gift away in the cupboard until a snow day or other boredom emergency. The way some science kits are packed, just one or two will take up your whole cupboard. This year, Santa brought my kids <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B004NEP7NE/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B004NEP7NE&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=FS2PWKXV5IZGO7AH">4M's Kitchen Science</a>, which will let them generate electricity from a piece of fruit and make a vinegar-and-baking-soda-powered rocket.</p> <h2>4. Brain Quest Decks</h2> <p>My kids are too smart to see a workbook as a fun gift, but they don't shy away from flipping through Brain Quest's&nbsp;<a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B005UYWPIQ/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B005UYWPIQ&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=WUWKA3ZHG5IGOEKK">slick and durable sets of cards</a> and calling out questions for their siblings to answer. Each card is firmly connected to the rest of the deck at the top, making them ideal for car and public transit trips.</p> <h2>5. Mad Libs</h2> <p>These classic fill-in-the-blank books may seem mindless, but on a recent long drive, our five-year-old learned the difference between a verb, adjective, and noun &mdash; all with scatalogical words, of course.</p> <h2>6. Games, Games, Games</h2> <p>Our kids have tablets, but that doesn't mean they turn down the chance to go mano-a-mano against their parents and sibs in a good old fashioned board game. Board games are a blast, they encourage family together time, and they <a href="http://www.scholastic.com/parents/resources/article/creativity-play/benefits-board-games">teach important skills</a> such as turn taking and good sportsmanship. Clue is a favorite for families where everyone can read, and our latest favorite that doesn't exclude the non-reader is <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0975277324/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=0975277324&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=DNJA3HZBSPRVQKJD">Ticket to Ride</a>. Then there are tile games, like <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1932188126/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=1932188126&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=4P32LN6MQPZR77BS">Bananagrams</a>, and dice games. Even good old fashioned <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00000IWH6/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B00000IWH6&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=HCFWKVL4NLO2W2CN">Yahtzee</a> teaches about math and probability.</p> <h2>7. Puzzles</h2> <p>From the chunky wood ones by Melissa &amp; Doug to <a href="/www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000UEL05U/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B000UEL05U&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=OR2D2GJLHZSNKREG">3D Ravensburger</a> sets, puzzles combine <a href="http://teach.com/education-technology/the-benefits-of-puzzles-in-early-childhood-development">fine motor skills</a>, spatial skills, and problem solving like no other toy. Not only that, but like other games, they teach kids that patience and emotional control pays off.</p> <h2>8. Building Toys</h2> <p>Lego and <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000CBSNRY/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B000CBSNRY&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=B3T3GMVHVYXJNBMB">Magna-Tiles</a>, while delightful, don't fit into everyone's idea of &quot;affordable.&quot; But plenty of other building toys do. I have been adding to my kids' collection of <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00008W72D/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B00008W72D&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=ECDLYTOHQZBTLUUQ">Melissa &amp; Doug wooden blocks</a> year by year, and now kids of multiple ages will sit down for hours to build elaborate structures with towers and windows. That old standby, <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00CTJOGOG/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B00CTJOGOG&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=WF6ADJHAEBJ632W4">Tinkertoys</a>, is still an affordable favorite as well.</p> <h2>9. Live Bug Habitats</h2> <p>A mom friend recently told me that her kids have used their <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00000ISC5/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B00000ISC5&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=M2I2XFUI25FIVFLL">Insect Lore Butterfly Habitat</a> over and over, ordering new caterpillars in order to watch them form pupae and emerge as butterflies. My kids have too, and as a bonus, they love bringing them to school to share. If that gets old, there are also ant farms and praying mantis habitats.</p> <h2>10. Books</h2> <p>Did you think I would forget those? If you are buying for other people's children, consult a good bookseller to find the perfect book for the kid's age and interests. If you know the names of some books the child already enjoys, all the better to find a new book or series that will delight him or her.</p> <p><em>What are your favorite &quot;educational&quot; toys and games for kids?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/carrie-kirby">Carrie Kirby</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-affordable-kids-gifts-that-wont-rot-their-brains">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-8"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/80-stocking-stuffer-ideas-for-10-or-less">80 Stocking Stuffer Ideas for $10 or Less</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/30-meaningful-mothers-day-gifts-for-every-budget">30 Meaningful Mother&#039;s Day Gifts for Every Budget</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/20-valentines-day-gifts-for-10-or-less">20 Valentine&#039;s Day Gifts for $10 or Less</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/21-perfect-holiday-gifts-for-book-lovers">21 Perfect Holiday Gifts for Book Lovers</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-to-buy-and-avoid-buying-in-december">What to Buy (and Avoid Buying) in December</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Frugal Living brains education educational toys gifts product reviews toys Wed, 11 Feb 2015 10:00:11 +0000 Carrie Kirby 1288486 at http://www.wisebread.com 20 Valentine's Day Gifts for $10 or Less http://www.wisebread.com/20-valentines-day-gifts-for-10-or-less <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/20-valentines-day-gifts-for-10-or-less" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000033431802_Full.jpg" alt="man woman kiss" title="man woman kiss" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>It's easy to forget that Valentine's Day is about celebrating love over material things &mdash; what, with all the swag being shilled in the name of Cupid &mdash; but you can put more of an emphasis on your actual relationship while still gifting a small, thoughtful present with a smidge of effort.</p> <p>Alas, I can't help you with what you'll <em>do</em> to recognize your partner or loved ones on February 14, but I can make a few suggestions on several special items you can <em>give</em> to bring a smile to that someone's face. Best of all, everything is $10 or less. Let's go shopping.</p> <h2>1. Aqua Love Notes</h2> <p><img width="201" height="250" alt="" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5123/AquaNotes.jpg" /></p> <p>Specially designed for Valentine's Day, <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00A3VJ7UK/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B00A3VJ7UK&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=QZRWQTOUE2EB6DST">Aqua Love Notes</a> &mdash; a waterproof pad for the shower for you and your honey to exchange sweet greetings &mdash; comes with a pencil, suction cup holder, and 40 sheets of waterproof paper. You'll bring a grin to your significant other's face on a regular basis by leaving sexy messages every time you hop in for a scrub.</p> <p><strong>Cost: $7</strong></p> <h2>2. Love Photo Album</h2> <p><img width="189" height="250" alt="" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5123/LovePhotoAlbum.jpg" /></p> <p>If your beau is a bit old school, this <a href="http://www.joann.com/mini-photo-album-4inx6in-holds-24-photos-love/13929005.html">mini, love-inspired photo album</a> holds 24 memorable moments in the form of 4x6 photographs that he or she can cherish in hard copy for years to come. To fill the album quickly and easily, download the photos via the CVS app or website to your local CVS. Prints are 19 cents each at most locations and can be done within an hour. You can make a more elaborate gift by also including memories such as movie stub tickets, notes to one another, a hotel key card, and other mementos.</p> <p><strong>Cost: $6.65</strong></p> <h2>3. Excelsior Cabernet Sauvignon 2012</h2> <p><img width="141" height="250" alt="" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5123/Excelsior_Cabernet_Sauvignon.jpg" /></p> <p>Nothing says &quot;I want to get drunk with you&quot; better than a bottle of red wine, and the <a href="http://www.wine.com/v6/Excelsior-Cabernet-Sauvignon-2012/wine/131327/Detail.aspx">Excelsior Cabernet Sauvignon 2012</a> is an affordable way to get that sultry sentiment across. Featuring notes of blackcurrant, black cherry, and plum with subtle hints of dark chocolate and spice, it's a perfect complement to a homemade Valentine's dinner.</p> <p><strong>Cost: $9.99</strong></p> <h2>4. Design a Tea</h2> <p><img width="467" height="250" alt="" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5123/Design_A_Tea.jpg" /></p> <p>You'll earn big points with a gift from <a href="http://www.designatea.com/designatea.php">Design a Tea</a>, which allows you to create and personalize your own loose or easy-fill teabags. With a wide selection of ingredients from which to choose, you can put together a package of drinkable delight, especially if you know the recipient's favorite foods and flavors.</p> <p><strong>Cost: $4.95</strong></p> <h2>5. It's All Buttah Bath Salts</h2> <p><img width="361" height="250" alt="" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5123/EtsyBathSalts.jpg" /></p> <p>The handmade bath salts from Etsy store <a href="https://www.etsy.com/shop/ItsAllButtah">It's All Buttah</a> are just what the doctor ordered for those who like to kick back in a relaxing bath. Scented with organic lavender essential oil, the salts are soaked for a week to ensure that they're highly fragrant and moisturizing.</p> <p><strong>Cost: $8.25</strong></p> <h2>6. &quot;Good For One Mediocre Shoulder Rub&quot; Coupon Book</h2> <p><img width="477" height="250" alt="" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5123/GoodForOneMediocreShoulderRub.png" /></p> <p>If you've been married for a while, you're sure to find the humor in this <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1612433987/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=1612433987&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=UDIKM2HM6PVCQMVH">quirky coupon book</a> that allows the recipient to redeem for special domestic treatments like the eponymous mediocre shoulder rub, a night off from doing the dishes, and more. Pair it with some special edition Hot Tamales candies &mdash; emblazoned with the word &quot;Hottie&quot; on the box in celebration of Valentine's Day &mdash; for an even more gratifying gift.</p> <p><strong>Cost: $9.34</strong></p> <h2>7. BBQ Sauces and Rubs</h2> <p><img width="283" height="250" alt="" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5123/PirateJonnysBBQRubs.jpg" /></p> <p>If you've got a serious meat lover in your midst, touch his heart by way of his stomach with <a href="http://www.piratejonnys.com">Pirate Jonny's Caribbean BBQ</a> rubs and sauces. I recommend picking up one bottle of <a href="http://www.piratejonnys.com/content/sauces#!/Syrenas-Seduction-Hot-Sauce-5-OUNCE-BOTTLE/p/37510578/category=9301220">Syrena's Seduction Hot Sauce</a> and pairing it with a new <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B002SU7GHK/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B002SU7GHK&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=EPNZI4LTA2VQRHSL">silicone basting brush</a>, or spring for two bottles in <a href="http://www.piratejonnys.com/content/sauces#!/Pirate-Jonnys-Hot-Saucey-Combo-Pack/p/44530035/category=9301220">Pirate Jonny's Hot Saucey Combo Pack</a> for double the deliciousness.</p> <p><strong>Cost: $9.25 to $9.74</strong></p> <h2>8. Sharetapes</h2> <p><img width="375" height="250" alt="" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5123/Sharetapes.jpg" /></p> <p>Mixed tapes are a thing of the past, but the concept of compiling musical content to express your feelings to someone you love is alive and well in the present.</p> <p>Next-generation <a href="http://www.sharetapes.com/">Sharetapes</a> enable you to give a classic mixtape-style gift in the form of a digital production by connecting to services like Spotify, YouTube, SoundCloud, and 8tracks. Once complete, all the recipient has to do is activate his or her Sharetape with NFC or QR enabled smartphone or tablet. Packs of five are available at $9.99 &mdash; which will eat up your entire budget &mdash; so I suggest picking up one Sharetape for $2.49 and pairing it with another music-inspired gift, like framed ticket stubs from a memorable concert or this <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00ATSLKXE/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B00ATSLKXE&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=WF3W2BKK2L7TM2Y3">music note bottle opener</a>.</p> <p><strong>Cost: $7.79</strong></p> <h2>9. Panasonic Earbuds</h2> <p>Instead of a Sharetape for your musically inclined paramour, go another route by creating a playlist in iTunes and secretly uploading it to his or her device. Leave a note instructing your partner how to find the playlist along with a pair of new <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/search/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;high-price=10&amp;keywords=panasonic%20earbuds&amp;linkCode=ur2&amp;low-price=&amp;qid=1430423712&amp;rh=n%3A172282%2Cn%3A281407%2Cn%3A172532%2Cn%3A172541%2Ck%3Apanasonic%20earbuds%2Cp_36%3A1253503011%2Cp_89%3APanasonic&amp;rnid=386442011&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;x=3&amp;y=12&amp;linkId=NIF4ZUB3TD7GQQYY">Panasonic headphones</a> with which to listen.</p> <p><strong>Cost: $9.99</strong></p> <h2>10. Dappertime Cufflinks</h2> <p><img width="375" height="250" alt="" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5123/Dappertime_Cufflinks.jpg" /></p> <p>If your man prides himself on his put-together appearance, the gift of a glittering brass accessory will definitely make his day. These gold-colored, crown-shaped <a href="http://www.dappertime.com/collections/dapper-cufflinks/products/rex">Rex cufflinks</a>&nbsp;from Dappertime's Cuffmachines collection let him know that he's king of the castle &mdash; even when you know better.</p> <p><strong>Cost: $9.99</strong></p> <h2>11. Melt-Your-Heart Brownies</h2> <p>For this <a href="https://www.hersheys.com/celebrate/valentines/recipedetail.aspx?id=96449&amp;name=REESES-Melt-Your-Heart-Brownies">DIY gift</a> you'll need a <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00ODSY5ZQ/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B00ODSY5ZQ&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=DVMSMI2GTYJQZVIX">heart-shaped silicone baking mold</a>, Hershey's cocoa, Reese's Peanut Butter Chips, 18 Reese's Peanut Butter-Filled Hearts, and a few pantry staples. The result is decadent candy-topped brownies made from scratch that you and your boo can share anywhere &mdash; even in bed.</p> <p><strong>Cost: $5.59 + a few ingredients</strong></p> <h2>12. Coracao Confections</h2> <p><img width="250" height="250" alt="" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5123/FeelGreatChocolate.jpg" /></p> <p>Get a little fruity &mdash; then nutty &mdash; as you put together a special selection of chocolates for your S.O. Eclectic choices from <a href="http://www.coracaoconfections.com">Coracoa Confections</a> include the Ghost Pepper Baby Bar, Kale Granola Bark, Rose Truffles, Berry Caramel Hearts, and more.</p> <p><strong>Cost: $3.25 to $5.99</strong></p> <h2>13. Inkling Scents</h2> <p><img width="328" height="250" alt="" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5123/InklingScents.jpg" /></p> <p>Breathe in the aroma of love with a five-fragrance sample package from <a href="http://www.inklingscents.com/">Inkling Scents</a>. Select from a dozen women's scents, seven men's scents, and one unisex scent to create a personalized package. Each milliliter vial is packaged in a clear pillow box tied with a bow.</p> <p><strong>Cost: $10</strong></p> <h2>14. &quot;I Love You Mom&quot; Trinket Dish</h2> <p><img width="250" height="250" alt="" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5123/ILoveYouMomTrinketDish.jpg" /></p> <p>You can't forget mom on Valentine's Day &mdash; she's the reason you're here after all. Show her a small measure of your appreciation with the <a href="http://www.kennebugboutique.com/pd-i-love-you-mom-trinket-dish.cfm">&quot;I Love You Mom&quot;trinket dish</a> from Kennebug Boutique. This cream-colored ceramic dish with a flower border and terra cotta backside will be Mom's new favorite place to keep all her cherished charms and baubles.</p> <p><strong>Cost: $6.99</strong></p> <h2>15. Pop Vinyl Figures</h2> <p>Let him know he's your Superman (or that she's your Superwoman!) with Funko's officially licensed <a href="http://www.fun.com/search.aspx?q=pop+heroes">Pop Heroes collection</a>, available at Fun.com. These vinyl figures, which stand 3.75 inches tall, are molded and painted to look like your favorite comic book heroes (and villains), like Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman, among other favorites. The full collection features a wider array of characters from other pop-culture mainstays, including The Wizard of Oz, Elf, Game of Thrones, Big Bang Theory, Goonies, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Star Wars, Adventure Time, Masters of the Universe, and Disney.</p> <p><strong>Cost: $9.99</strong></p> <h2>16. Credit Card Survival Tool</h2> <p><img width="250" height="250" alt="" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5123/credit-card-survival-tool.jpg" /></p> <p>Maybe I've watched too much Walking Dead or perhaps I'm just keenly aware of what's really happening in the world, but either way I'm taking precautions to prepare for a catastrophe that will render me self-sufficient. Given the world in which we live nowadays, you probably have a similar person in your life &mdash; and they'll totally appreciate the thoughtful and functional <a href="http://www.thegiftsformen.com/credit-card-survival-tool.php#">Credit Card Survival Tool</a>&nbsp;from Gifts for Men. This compact, stainless-steel lifesaver (it's no bigger than a credit card) features 11 useful applications, including a saw, box opener, bottle opener, can opener, wrench, ruler, and more. Perfect for camping, backpacking, or bugging out when the ish hits the fan.</p> <p><strong>Cost: $5</strong></p> <h2>17. Homemade Treats</h2> <p><a href="http://www.effortlessgirl.com">Effortless Girl</a>'s Julie Loven provides a few ideas on how to bring the heat &mdash; and the sweet &mdash; in the comfort of your own kitchen.</p> <h3>Valentine's Cookie Sandwiches</h3> <p>Bake chocolate cookies in the shape of hearts and use strawberry ice cream, frozen yogurt, or gelato in the center so you have Valentine colors of chocolate and pink.</p> <h3>Valentine's Marshmallow Pops</h3> <p>Purchase pink marshmallows from the supermarket. Place them on lollipop stick and dip half of the marshmallow in melted chocolate. Allow to harden and serve pops for stirring in hot chocolate. Very delicious.</p> <h3>Chocolate-Dipped Strawberries</h3> <p>An old standby. Easy to make. Dip each berry into melted chocolate and allow to harden.</p> <h3>Optional Add-On: Breyer's Gelato Indulgences</h3> <p><img width="494" height="250" alt="" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5123/BreyersGelatoIndulgences2.jpg" /></p> <p>If you happen to have money left in your budget, spring for a container of <a href="http://www.breyers.com/product/category/694165/gelato">Breyer's Gelato Indulgences</a> &mdash; which just introduced its mint chocolate chip flavor &mdash; to pair with any of your homemade treats for a little extra indulgence.</p> <p><strong>Cost: $4.49-$5.99</strong></p> <h2>18. Love With Food Box</h2> <p>For the health-conscious humanitarian in your life, send a <a href="https://lovewithfood.com">Love With Food box</a>, an organic or all-natural snack box that helps fight hunger in America. The Tasting Box includes eight or more surprise snacks that are either organic or all-natural, GMO-free, gluten-free, or free of artificial junk. Each box donates one meal to hungry children in America. Long-term subscriptions are available, but you also can purchase a one-time box.</p> <p><strong>Cost: $10</strong></p> <h2>19. Konectidy Bracelets</h2> <p><img width="366" height="250" alt="" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5123/Konectidy_Bracelets_0.jpg" /></p> <p>Empower your children to be the best they can be with a surprise from <a href="http://konectidy.com">Konectidy</a>, color-coded bracelets that you design, name, and own with a specific positive meaning for the recipient. Konectidy was built on &quot;the spirit of 'paying it forward' for both individuals and charities&hellip; in whatever colorful way you choose.&quot; Pre-made bracelets also are available to support various causes like Legacy of Hope, Domestic Violence Ended, and R.I.S.E. &amp; Stand.</p> <p><strong>Cost: $9.95</strong></p> <h2>20. Yiftee eGifts</h2> <p>You know I love a good discount, and <a href="http://yiftee.com/">Yiftee</a> is a great way to deliver almost effortless but thoughtful savings to someone special with just a few clicks. Just choose a merchant (like a cool neighborhood bar, cafe, shop, or spa), select a gift value, write a personal message &mdash; &quot;Hey Sallie, meet me at Mike's Bar at 8 p.m. tonight; here's something for your first glass of wine in case you get there early&quot; &mdash; and send instantly via e-mail or text. Sallie then receives the eGift on her smartphone with the ability to instantly thank the sender, and she can redeem the eGift by presenting the mobile voucher to the service provider. Sounds like the beginning of an awesome date, if I do say so myself.</p> <p><em>Do you have any other Valentine's gift ideas for under $10? Let me know in the comments below.</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mikey-rox">Mikey Rox</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/20-valentines-day-gifts-for-10-or-less">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-9"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/30-meaningful-mothers-day-gifts-for-every-budget">30 Meaningful Mother&#039;s Day Gifts for Every Budget</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/80-stocking-stuffer-ideas-for-10-or-less">80 Stocking Stuffer Ideas for $10 or Less</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/make-5-cheap-greeting-cards-that-blow-hallmark-away">Make 5 cheap ‘greeting cards’ that blow Hallmark away.</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/21-perfect-holiday-gifts-for-book-lovers">21 Perfect Holiday Gifts for Book Lovers</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-affordable-kids-gifts-that-wont-rot-their-brains">10 Affordable Kids&#039; Gifts That Won&#039;t Rot Their Brains</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Frugal Living cheap gifts gift guides gifts product reviews romance Valentine's Day Tue, 10 Feb 2015 18:00:08 +0000 Mikey Rox 1286594 at http://www.wisebread.com Here's What You Spent on This Holiday Season http://www.wisebread.com/heres-what-you-spent-on-this-holiday-season <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/heres-what-you-spent-on-this-holiday-season" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman-christmas-shopping-Dollarphotoclub_70911498.jpg" alt="woman christmas shopping" title="woman christmas shopping" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Perhaps just as interesting as how much you spent on holiday shopping is <em>how</em> you spent it. Far fewer people shopped in stores than ever before during the five-day holiday shopping bonanza that spans Thanksgiving to Cyber Monday. For the first time, online traffic from mobile devices&nbsp;<a href="http://www-01.ibm.com/software/marketing-solutions/benchmark-reports/black-friday-report-2014.pdf">outpaced traditional desktop computers</a>&nbsp;on Thanksgiving Day. (When it comes to mobile sales, tablets are king, driving 36% more sales than smartphones.)</p> <p>From bizarre gift categories to eBay's most popular zip code, read on for a surprising snapshot of what you bought and where you spent it, based on the latest Black Friday and Cyber Monday stats.</p> <h2>1. $243 on Home Goods</h2> <p>From accent pillows to cutlery, home goods were high on holiday shopping lists nationwide. Year-over-year online sales for home goods spiked 7% on Black Friday and 12% on Cyber Monday. All told, the average order total on these two days came in at $243.</p> <h2>2. $180,000 on Boxes of Poop (No, Really)</h2> <p>More than 30,000 people unwittingly purchased a box of poop on Black Friday. Or, more precisely, a box of pasteurized bull feces from a cattle ranch in Texas. Huh?</p> <p><a href="http://cardsagainsthumanity.com/">Cards Against Humanity</a>, the company that makes the eponymous fill-in-the-blank adult card game, added a new item to its website on Black Friday: &quot;Bullshit&quot; priced at $6. And hoards of people bought it, not realizing that its billing on the website was actually quite literal.</p> <p>Cards Against Humanity made&nbsp;<a href="http://time.com/3634443/cards-against-humanity-poop-black-friday/">20 cents on each $6 box</a> of excrement, according to Time magazine. But the company won't actually profit on this strange and stinky stunt. The $36,000 will be donated to <a href="http://www.heifer.org/">Heifer International</a>, a charity that gifts livestock to impoverished people with the goal of fending off hunger while also providing a source of financial stability.</p> <h2>3. $145 on Department Store Goods</h2> <p>Kohl's, the Wisconsin-based department store with nearly 1,200 locations in 49 states, cashed in on Black Friday big time, <a href="http://www.forbes.com/sites/ianmorris/2014/12/01/apple-samsung-ea-and-microsoft-were-black-friday-and-cyber-monday-winners/">earning the most mentions</a> of any other retailer on Twitter and Facebook. That's the good news for traditional brick and mortar department stores. The bad news is that the runners up were Apple, Samsung, Amazon, and Microsoft, indicating a huge national preference for online shopping and the gadgets that make it all possible. Perhaps that's why the average online order value for department store goods on Black Friday and Cyber Monday came in at a cool $145. That's a year-over-year decrease of 3% on Black Friday and 10% on Cyber Monday.</p> <h2>4. $108 on Apparel</h2> <p>Nearly 80% of Americans planned on <a href="http://www.gallup.com/poll/179756/cautious-christmas-shoppers-eye-clothing-toys.aspx">making clothing purchases</a> in the weeks leading up to Christmas, according to a recent Gallup poll. Nonetheless, the year-over-year average order value for apparel dropped 7% on Black Friday and 2% on Cyber Monday, lowering the average order amount to $108.</p> <h2>5. 2.5 Million eBay Purchases</h2> <p>Sales at online retailer eBay climbed an astounding 19% on Cyber Monday. All told, there were <a href="http://blog.ebay.com/breaking-down-black-friday-cyber-monday-on-ebay/">more than 2.5 million transactions</a> on the online auction site on Black Friday and Cyber Monday, the company reports. Interestingly, Prairie Grove, Arkansas, with a population of just 2,540, bought more items on eBay on Cyber Monday than any other zip code in the U.S. Trailing behind Prairie Grove were Miami, Florida, Alpharetta, Georgia, and Santa Clara, California.</p> <h2>6. $65 on Health and Beauty</h2> <p>The average online order value for a health and beauty purchases on Black Friday and Cyber Monday peaked at $65, marking a 10% increase over last year's numbers for Black Friday and a 4% spike for Cyber Monday.</p> <p>If your credit card's still smoking from all those swipes, be consoled: Holiday gift-giving is&nbsp;<a href="http://www.cep.ucsb.edu/papers/DeltonKrasnowCosmidesTooby2011_withSI.pdf">remarkably rewarding</a>, often providing us with a warm and fuzzy feeling that not even a high credit card balance can ward off.</p> <p><em>How much did you spend this holiday season?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/brittany-lyte">Brittany Lyte</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/heres-what-you-spent-on-this-holiday-season">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-7"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/wise-bread-gift-guide-gifts-that-save-money">25 Gifts That Save Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-art-of-the-group-gift">The Art of the Group Gift</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-people-go-crazy-on-black-friday">Why People Go Crazy on Black Friday</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/even-more-black-friday-savings-tips-from-shopping-experts">Even More Black Friday Savings Tips From Shopping Experts</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/black-friday-tips-from-money-saving-experts">Black Friday Tips From Money-Saving Experts</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Shopping black friday gifts holiday shopping Tue, 30 Dec 2014 18:00:12 +0000 Brittany Lyte 1274862 at http://www.wisebread.com 10 Christmas Gifts You're Better Off Returning http://www.wisebread.com/10-christmas-gifts-youre-better-off-returning <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-christmas-gifts-youre-better-off-returning" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000062663562_XXXLarge.jpg" alt="opening bad present" title="opening bad present" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>We can't all have the gift giving foresight of Kris Kringle. Luckily, most retailers have a return policy to keep us from actually having to wear that itchy wool sweater from Aunt Sue. Last year, the average person&nbsp;<a href="https://nrf.com/news/top-tips-happy-holiday-returns">returned four holiday gifts</a>, according to The National Retail Federation's Holiday Returns Survey. And while it's common sense to return the gifts we hate, there are several less-obvious reasons why we might consider bringing a present back to the store.</p> <p>Read on for our list of the top gifts you should return this holiday season, and why.</p> <h2>1. Smartphones</h2> <p>They're sleek and they're handy &mdash; and they're the&nbsp;<a href="http://www.cnet.com/news/why-a-smartphone-might-not-be-the-smartest-holiday-gift-choice/">gift that keeps on costing</a>. In the lead-up to Christmas, wireless carriers often slash the prices on the hottest mobile phone models, making them great bang-for-your-buck gifts for Christmas present shoppers. Target, for example, was hawking the Samsung Galaxy 5s on Thanksgiving weekend&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wwmt.com/news/features/top-stories/stories/Taking-a-deeper-look-at-Black-Friday-deals-around-Kalamazoo-60177.shtml">for a penny</a>. That's all well and good for the gift-giver, but it does nothing to help out the recipient, who will be stuck paying the service bill for that shiny new device. The phone itself may have cost a penny, but the service bill won't. In fact, monthly service charges can add up to&nbsp;<a href="http://money.usnews.com/money/blogs/my-money/2014/07/03/5-low-cost-alternatives-to-your-pricey-cellphone-plan">more than $3,000</a>&nbsp;over two years, which is the typical amount of time that the smartphone recipient would be locked in to a new wireless service contract.</p> <h2>2. Clothes That Don't Fit Your Taste or Shape</h2> <p>Apparel is the number one&nbsp;<a href="http://www.ibtimes.com/worst-christmas-gift-ideas-what-presents-are-returned-after-holidays-387000">most returned Christmas gift</a>, and here's why: When we don't like what we wear, it tends to hog our focus, stealing away our energy from other things in our lives, such as career, family, and relationships, that are more important. And with so many variations in style, color, and size, it's nearly impossible to buy clothing for another person. Be it a sweater or a pair of socks, follow this rule of thumb: If you don't like it, bring it back.</p> <h2>3. The Snuggie</h2> <p>Once people started to realize that the Snuggie is merely an unattractive throw with sleeves, the wearable blanket trend went out the window &mdash; and that was years ago. If you get a Snuggie this Christmas, do us all a favor and return it. There are plenty of ways to keep warm without invoking a hospital gown.</p> <h2>4. Home Goods That Aren't Quite Right</h2> <p>The thing about gifting someone a blender or a lampshade or an area rug is that most people have a very specific idea about what kind of kitchen tools and lighting accessories and carpeting they want to outfit their home with. So if you gift them the Vitamix 300 instead of the 500 model they actually wanted, chances are they'll return it. In fact, 11% of gift recipients plan on&nbsp;returning home goods&nbsp;this Christmas. That's why you shouldn't hesitate to step right up to the returns counter if a home good you received isn't quite right.</p> <h2>5. Perfume and Cologne</h2> <p>There's about $1.50 worth of ingredients in the average bottle of perfume, yet the typical price tag is $150 &mdash; less than&nbsp;1% of the retail cost. Think about that the next time you receive a bottle you're less than thrilled about.</p> <h2>6. Skis, Skates, and Snowshoes</h2> <p>If you're a newbie to a winter sport, getting the gear to match is probably a poor investment. There's no reason to own a set of skis, for example, until you've figured out whether it's an activity you actually enjoy. And it doesn't do anybody good to have barely used winter sporting equipment laying around in the attic for years to come. So unless you know you're going to make use of those speed skates, take them back to the store and stick to rentals.</p> <h2>7. Self-Help Books</h2> <p>Self-help books tend to state the obvious, oversimplify, and contain more fluff than helpful, meaty nuggets. &quot;Their recommendations are often out of touch with&nbsp;<a href="http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/how-do-life/201406/stop-the-self-help-books-already">what works in the real world</a>,&quot; says Marty Nemko, a career and personal coach who claims to have scanned, skimmed, or read thousands of them. So if you're looking to make gains in your personal or career life, it's probably best to ditch the manuals and ask real-life experts or experienced professionals for guidance instead.</p> <h2>8. Makeup</h2> <p>It's difficult to know what makeup will compliment your style and skin tone until you try it. So it stands to reason that it's doubly hard to buy lipstick or blush for somebody else. Luckily, most cosmetics counters accept timely returns. &quot;You shouldn't ever feel guilty about a return,&quot; New York City makeup artist Raychel Wade, who got her start working behind makeup counters, tells Woman's Day. &quot;It's hard to know&nbsp;<a href="http://www.womansday.com/style-beauty/beauty-tips-products/makeup-counter-clerks-wont-tell-you">how your skin will react</a> or if you'll still like a color when you get home.&quot;</p> <h2>9. Candles, Soaps, and Lotions</h2> <p>It's true that just about everyone likes, or at least uses, candles, soaps, and lotions. It's also likely true that you already have enough of them. So long as they're unopened, you should be able to return them &mdash; and that's a much better option than giving them space in your bathroom junk drawer.</p> <h2>10. Exercise Equipment</h2> <p>In January and February, when everyone's trying to keep their fitness resolutions, retailers tend to mark down treadmills, ellipticals, stationary bikes, and the like. In the weeks leading up to Christmas, however, these items are typically priced at their highest. You can cash in on this pricing trend by returning exercise equipment purchased in December and repurchasing it again a few weeks later when the prices come down. You'll still get that brand new elliptical &mdash; plus a little extra cash in your pocket.</p> <p><em>What gifts have you returned?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/brittany-lyte">Brittany Lyte</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-christmas-gifts-youre-better-off-returning">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-holiday-gifts-to-give-the-neighbor-you-like">9 Gifts to Give the Neighbor You Like</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-great-gifts-for-5-or-less">25 Great Gifts for $5 or Less</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-holiday-stocking-stuffers-for-techies">10 Holiday Stocking Stuffers for Techies</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/holiday-gifts-for-your-co-workers">20 Gift Ideas for Your Co-Workers</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/holiday-gift-giving-for-the-truly-broke">14 Gift Ideas for the Truly Broke</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Shopping extra cash gift return gifts holiday gifts product reviews Mon, 29 Dec 2014 18:00:12 +0000 Brittany Lyte 1272763 at http://www.wisebread.com