Cheap Stocking Stuffers

My daughter always goes for her stocking on Christmas morning before she opens her big gifts. I think that’s the traditional way to do it. It’s how we did it in my house when I was a kid, anyway.

I always wrap everything (the tiny stuff too) even though it’s a pain in a reindeer’s butt.

I did some research and found a handy list of stocking stuffers, all under $5 dollars, for all age groups, even adults. Why should the kids have all the fun?

Ho Ho Ho!

 

stocking

From Pinterest.

 

I would actually love a stress ball (and a mini bottle of liquor.)

Hey, I don’t get these merry pink cheeks naturally, you know.

Do you have any ideas for stocking stuffers that isn’t on this list? Let us know in the comments!

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Inexpensive Ways to Wrap Those Christmas Gifts

Thanksgiving is over with and Christmas will soon be here. Yes, I know! Don’t shoot the messenger!

Of course, with all that shopping you also need to wrap those Christmas gifts. So, I thought I would help you out and give you some cheap and easy but cute ways to save money on wrapping paper.

Unless you are one of those highly efficient people who actually have money left over after Christmas and buy your wrapping paper then. If you are…..these still might interest you. Then you can save that same money and spend it on a well deserved after Christmas present for yourself! Win, win.

I know there are also some of you who use gift bags (I’m guilty!) and that’s ok, too. But, for some of our more adventurous readers might want to skip the bags and go for a unique way of doing the presents this year.

Also, I needed something to write about and this is what I came up with. 😉

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Brown mailing or craft paper……Get creative and use stampers, unique ribbon, stencils, twine, paint, or glitter to add some holiday flair. Or stickers, which make the paper look super festive.

Jars, Tins and Plates…..You can up cycle medium and large-sized glass jars, or buy some cheap mason jars to gift all sorts of items. Dollar store holiday plates and tins also make great gift packaging.

jar

Potato chip bags……Yes, you read that right! Only Martha Stewart could come up with potato-chip bag gift wrap, which is not only clever and festive, but eco-friendly. Re-use a large, empty potato-chip bag by opening it up to reveal the shiny silver inside. After a good cleaning and drying, you now have some great foil wrapping paper, which is perfect around the holidays.

Tissue paper…… I use this quite often as it is cheap and it comes in so many pretty colors. Dollar stores carry a nice selection of this.

tissue

Fabric.…If you are a crafter or sewer, I bet you have leftover fabric from your projects. Use them to wrap your gifts! Or cut them into strips and use them for the ribbon. A perfect way to save money and make a present personal.

Newspaper…..Or even those pesky flyers you get in the mail all the time. They’re free and you can really make a present unique with those!

newspapergift

Maps…..You can easily find maps at flea markets or maybe you have some yourself you no longer want. Well, recycle those things!

 

 

Do you have any ideas for a cheap and easy, yet pretty way to wrap presents? Let us know! 

 

 

 

Homemade Sugar Scrub

Christmas is coming, you guys. You know what that means, don’t you?

Yes, cookies galore. But that’s not what I’m talking about.

Presents! Oh, crap. So many presents to buy.

Wait a second, I’m too broke to buy presents except for my daughter, niece and nephew. I try to do what I can for them. My mom and aunt also get a little something. 

But as for the adults, they are just happy enough to have me get drunk on wine and sing carols for them.

This year though, I have found a way to actually make the females in my life real gifts with my own two little hands.

What woman doesn’t enjoy slathering goop on their face? I know I do.

So I had a super idea (it happens sometimes) to make some kind of facial scrub.

There are so many recipes out there for sugar scrubs it truly boggles the mind. I found one that is the most affordable to make from saltlicklessons.com.

Vanilla Sugar Scrub

What you’ll need:

Sugar (Obviously. You can also use brown sugar as well. Yum. )

Coconut oil or aloe vera gel (the cheapest of the two)

Real vanilla extract

A mason jar with lid

  1. Combine the coconut oil or aloe vera and one cup of the sugar in a bowl. Mix until creamy.
  2. Add the vanilla extract while continuing to stir. This is when you would add coloring too if you wanted to get fancy.
  3. Add the remaining sugar until the formula reaches the desired consistency.
  4. Put in a mason jar and decorate as desired.

I plan on using some ribbons and whatnot to decorate mine.

You might be tempted to eat it but I don’t think that aloe vera gel tastes good.

 

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This is an example, mine will be better.

 

You can mix this up by using any sort of essential oil or extract that you’d like. I just happen to have some real vanilla extract in my kitchen.

Do you have any homemade budget friendly Christmas gift ideas? Let us know in the comments!

What To Do With Those Thanksgiving Leftovers

Thanksgiving  is next week in the States (Canada already had theirs), so I thought it would be a good time to bring up what to do with all those Thanksgiving leftovers.

I mean, really, if you are like me, you get tired of the same old leftovers about Saturday night. Yet, there is still so much there!

Well, you could freeze most of it. I do. I freeze the turkey and stuffing. If you don’t want to freeze it, you just want to use it up and get it over with, I have a few recipe ideas you might consider.

The turkey, of course, can be used in many recipes that use chicken or even beef. But what about that stuffing or mashed potatoes? Or even the vegetables? Or that old standby, cranberry sauce?

Here are a few ideas I thought to share with you.

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To use up some of that turkey, vegetables, and even the mashed potatoes, make a Shepherds Pie. Bam! You have used lots of the leftovers in one dish and you wouldn’t even know it’s leftovers when you eat it.

Ok, how about the cranberry sauce? I found a place that lists all sorts of ideas and they all sound amazing! How about using it as a jam on toast? Well, go to this website and get some ideas!

How about the gravy? I always make way too much gravy as the husband and I both love it. With the leftovers, I freeze it and use it as a base in soups, as it works pretty darn good that way. Go here for some more ideas on what to do it all that yummy gravy.

I know a lot of people love their sweet potato casserole. But what to do with those leftovers? Here’s a recipe for making biscuits out of them, even if they have the marshmallow topping!

Now my favorite is the Thanksgiving stuffing. I love that stuff, so I make lots of it, but what to do with the leftovers? I mean, it’s flavored bread……well, here’s some ideas for you that goes from breakfast hash to bacon wrapped stuffing bites to stuffed mushrooms. This site has eighteen recipes to share with you. Go take a look.

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Do you have ideas for those Thanksgiving leftovers? Let us know!

 

When to Buy What

I’ve traveled the web for hours looking at puppies looking for new ways to save money. Although I’m a Thrifty Diva, I also admit that there is much more that I need to learn!

I found this simple to follow guide on when the best times are to buy certain things.

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It seems to me that July is not only temputure hot, it’s also a hot time to buy almost anything.

I’ll keep that in mind when I’m ready to buy my next Mercedes.

If you have any thoughts, please leave us a comment! We love comments!

Grocery Store Savings

I admit I spend more than I should at the grocery store. I’m guilty as charged. It’s so easy to do!

I go in for a couple of things and go out with way more than I should and I hate grocery shopping! But…I am trying to do better. And you can too. Unless you’re one of those kind of shoppers…..you know….you go in the store and come out with ONLY what you need.

Show offs.

Anyway, I’ve been scouring the interweb for tips on how to become a better shopper. I love research. I hate shopping. I know, I know. I’m weird.

Here’s some tips I came away with, hope they help us all.

Don't shop with kids either! They convince you to buy things you don't need!

Don’t shop with kids either! They convince you to buy things you don’t need!

 

Make a shopping list. Now I do this all the time. Only because I’m old and my memory is not as it used to be. Unfortunately, I sometimes forget the damn list. Sighhhhh. The good thing is…I do make the list and most times do remember to take it with me. It helps so much to just get what’s on the list and not extras. I know my grocery store as well as I know my home. I know where everything is and just go and grab what I need. Most times……..

Don’t go to the store hungry. I’m sure you’ve all heard this one. It is so true. I can vouch for it. Last week I made that mistake and went hungry. I ended up buying twice as much as I planned. Stupid. Have a snack before you go or go just after you’ve eaten lunch. I don’t eat breakfast but I prefer to do my shopping in the mornings. I need to have a snack before I go. An apple, a carrot…something.

Check the upper and lower shelves for cheaper items. I do this a lot and it’s true! There are cheaper items on the upper or lower shelves. In the store I shop at, it’s usually the upper. I’m vertically challenged, folks. The upper shelves are hard for me to reach, so of course, that’s where the cheaper items I want are. I think it’s a conspiracy.  I ask complete strangers (especially the good-looking young men) to get me the items on the top shelf. Most people are very helpful. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.  You never know when you might find a new friend.

Don’t buy your toiletries from your grocery store. I usually don’t. There is a nice Shopper’s Drug Mart right across the street from the grocery store and their prices for my toiletries are usually lower. I know it’s much more convenient to buy them when you are grocery shopping but try to refrain. You can save some serious cash buying them at the drug store.

Plan a weekly menu. Sounds easy enough, right? It’s not. At least for me. Hopefully for you. I try to plan my meals for the week. I usually can. Then I make a list of the items I need and buy those items. Sometimes it doesn’t always work out but I still have those items for next week. I do tend to save some money doing this, so it’s all good.

Buy generic. I do this often. I have found that most name brands also manufacture a ‘generic’ or ‘no-name’ brand. It’s the same stuff usually just under a different name. Get into the habit of reading labels. You’ll be surprised. Pleasantly.

Don’t buy pre-cut stuff. I know buying that bag of salad is easier for you. Try to resist. It’s so much cheaper and fresher to just buy a head of lettuce and clean and chop it up yourself. Same with the carrots, cheese and other stuff that you can either buy shredded, chopped or peeled. Do it yourself! Yes, it might take some or your precious time and effort but it will save you bunches. (see what I did there? ha!)

She's way to happy to be grocery shopping!

She’s way too happy to be grocery shopping!

 

Those are some of my suggestions. I bet you have some of your own, don’t you? Let us know in the comment section! 

 

 

 

 

 

Are Expired Foods Safe To Eat?

canned-food

I recently cleaned out my cupboards and threw away 3 boxes of macaroni and cheese. The dates on them were well past a year. My daughter no longer asks me to make her mac and cheese, which makes me nostalgic.

She loved it when I would cut up hot dogs and mix those in.

My husband noticed the missing boxes and asked me what happened to them. I told him and he got all huffy about it.

“But those were for emergencies, the oh no we have nothing left to eat stash!”

I am weird about expiration dates, I’ll admit it. Having worked in many industrial-sized kitchens and having a mother who is also weird about food going bad, my natural instinct is to toss it out.

I decided to investigate further. I found some information in this article on the topic.

  • ‘Sell by.’ This is the date by which manufacturers suggest that retailers remove the product from shelves. The goal is to ensure quality for a period of time after you buy it. That can be several days to several weeks, depending on the item. For instance, milk, assuming proper refrigeration, should last five to seven days past its sell-by date before turning sour.
  • ‘Best by’ and ‘use by.’ Those terms tell you when to eat (or freeze) a product for the best quality. A jar of salsa may not taste as fresh and tangy as it’s supposed to, for example, and crackers may be soft instead of crisp after those dates.

Hmmm. They might taste funky but not be dangerous to consume.

Maybe I had been a little too quick to discard those boxes of mac and cheese. When you’re really hungry, even powdered cheese sounds like a gourmet meal.

 

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Yum!

 

The next time you go through your cabinets and see that a can of corn is past its due date, I say open it. I wasted at least 3 dollars tossing good mediocre food away, which is not the thrifty diva way.

Do you have any thoughts on expired foods? Let us know in the comments!

Life Hacks to Make Your Life Easier

I don’t know about you but I like to make my life easier. Could be because I’m just lazy or could be because I’m smart.

Okay, we won’t get too far into the reasons…….

Anyway, I gathered together a few life hacks that might make your life easier too.

lifehacks

 

  • You know how hard it is to open blister packs right? Of course you do! I swear everything is in those blasted things and it’s almost impossible to open them. I have almost cut my hand off trying to open one. Then I found an easier way! Use a can opener! Yes, you heard that right. A can opener will zip right through that plastic and let you get what’s inside.
  • Ever have a pot boil over? If you’re like me and multi-task even cooking meals….you have. Stop that by putting a wooden spoon over the top of the uncovered pot and it won’t boil over. Believe me, I’ve tested this one numerous times and it always works.
  • Is your phone battery running low? Need it to charge fast? Put the phone on airplane mode while charging and it will charge up fast!
  • candle
  • If you use post-it notes for note taking, before you throw it away use the sticky end to get crumbs and dust from between the keys of your keyboard. Works great!
  • When you want to nail a small nail in the wall use a clothes pin or a comb to hold the nail. Saves on your fingers being hammered instead.
  • Have a dull knife but no sharpener handy? Use the bottom of a ceramic bowl! The rough bottom edge makes for a great sharpener in a pinch.
  • 17-keys

 

 

 

 

I’m sure you can come up with some others! Please share your life hacks with us!