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!

 

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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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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!

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.

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

 

 

 

Fun Things To Do For Free

Here on Thrifty Divas, we are here to show you ways to save money or to do with less. We also like to have fun, as I’m sure you do also.

So I’ve compiled a list of free or almost free things to do for fun! I know we don’t all have the same idea of what is fun so I’ve tried to make the list pretty varied.

If anyone has any other ideas please let us know in the comment section! Thanks.

 

Visit your local library.  Libraries aren’t just for book lovers. They also have activities going on for all ages! Most libraries have a website you can check out on what activities are going on at what time. I checked out my local library and even though I don’t live in a big city I was amazed at all the things they have going on. From movie nights to ‘Roving Gyms’ for preschoolers.

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Play Board Games. I know board games aren’t for everyone. They are great for families though! Kids usually love board games once you can get them away from the computer. Even couples could benefit from the togetherness that board games give you.

Have cooking lessons or a cook-along! The husband and I used to cook together on weekends when we were first married. We’d try different recipes or just cook dinner together. It was a great way to have conversations and still do something together. You could also teach a child or even a young adult how to cook.

Learn a foreign language.  Believe it or not, there are ways to learn a new language free. Use YouTube for something other than cute cat videos. There are also online sites like Duolingo and Language Zen. A person is never too old to learn something new!

Do some puzzles! Personally, I love crossword puzzles. I know many people are into Sudoku. There are lots of places online that you can find free puzzles to do or find some really cheap puzzle books at your local dollar store.

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Scan your old photos. This is something I plan on doing very soon. Most people have a scanner at home. Scan those old family photos (and new) and save them digitally. Not only do you safeguard them you can make a screen saver with them or have them handy for “Throwback Thursday”. Saving old photos on a flash drive or even in a memory cloud is just a good idea as old photos tend to deteriorate and fade over time, maybe even getting destroyed by fire or flood.

Write letters.  Yes, I mean actual pen and paper letters. You can write letters to family members or friends (who doesn’t enjoy getting real mail!) or write a letter to your future children or grandchildren. Even write a letter to your future self!

Attend a dress rehearsal. I saw this somewhere a while back and thought it was a wonderful idea! Many performances hold dress rehearsals before opening night and they let people see them for free! Call your local theaters and ask them if they have open dress rehearsals for any of their shows. Many do! It’s a great experience for kids and even adults who have never experienced a live performance.

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That’s just a few things you can do for free or almost free. I’m sure there are lots more. Hope you enjoyed the list. What do you do for free that’s fun?

 

 

 

Generic Meds Do The Job

Whenever I can, I buy generic over-the-counter cold meds, muscle rubs, cough drops and stomach ache remedies. My local drugstore has their own brand. I’ve found absolutely no difference between name brand cough syrup and Drug Mart cough syrup other than the packaging.

I usually stock up on these items once every three months. That way, when my daughter tells me that she has a headache, I can point to the kitchen cupboard and go back to watching Netflix.

I bought some muscle rub for $4 dollars the other day, instead of paying $9 for the “real” stuff.

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Non-greasy is an important feature.

It smells like Pepto, but it does an amazing job of helping with my muscle pain/twitching.

If you haven’t been using generic meds, give it a try at least once. You’ll save money, which is what we strive to do here on this blog.

Do you use generic drugs? Let us know in the comments!

Dining Out on a Budget

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No matter how broke we were, Friday was always “dining out” night when I was a kid. Somehow, my parents were able to pull this off every week. We’d order a pizza, go to McDonalds, or to an affordable family restaurant. I would always get the cheeseburger and fries off of the children’s menu.

It was our splurge for the week. As much as we enjoyed my mom’s cooking, dinner out was a special occasion. (Not to mention a well deserved break for our mom.)

It’s not that difficult to find a decent restaurant to visit at least once or twice a month to give you that feeling of treating yourself. We all deserve that, no matter what our bank account looks like.

Here are a few tips…

  • Ask around. Most people love to share where they go for an affordable tasty dinner.
  • Check out the appetizer menu. Despite what anyone says, onion rings can be an entire meal.
  • Find a place that doesn’t upcharge you for salad, soup, bread and side dishes.
  • Ask for water to save extra money.
  • If you’re old enough, order something from the senior menu. Sadly, I have a few more years before I can do this. Boo.
  • Tip nicely and be amazed when your regular waitress doesn’t charge you for coffee and throws in an extra roll. (This actually happened.)

And remember, always use a napkin and excuse yourself when you belch.

Do you have any tips on dining out on a budget? Let us know in the comments!

Some Ways to Save Money You Might Not Have Thought Of

I’ve always been willing to learn new ways to save money. Afterall, don’t we all want to save some bucks when we can?

I came across a few other ways to save some money that I hadn’t thought of before. Maybe you know of some ways too. Feel free to let us know in the comment section.

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Have a day of the week you cook a meatless meal for the family. Even one day a week can save you tons of money on meat (which is usually the most expensive part of the meal). There are lots of recipes out there that taste pretty darn good without meat!

People love to shop online. I know I do. There are a lot less people. 😉 But….you might save yourself some money if you don’t buy those items right away. Put it in your online shopping cart and then sleep on the idea of buying your purchases overnight. You might be surprised at how often the next day those same purchases don’t seem quite as appealing, thus saving you money!

Don’t always pass by the generic brands in stores. A lot of generic brands are made by the big name manufacturers, believe it or not. They are way cheaper, though. Try some out and you might be surprised!

Use your slow cooker more often. It uses less electricity than a stove or microwave and if you….um….have a tendency to overcook or burn your food… using a slow cooker will stop that! Plus, you will have a home cooked meal when you get home or as I like to use it….put it to use and do other things while dinner is cooking itself!

Go to your local farmers market near closing time. Lots of vendors will deeply discount what they have left so they don’t have to cart it home! You can save tons of money this way.

Buy at dollar stores! I can buy most cleaning supplies at my local dollar store. Or better yet make your own! There are a lot of websites out there devoted to making your own cleaning supplies. Look them up!

I’m sure there are many more ways people can save money, these are just a sampling of what you can do.

Zucchini Pizza

I like to make easy appetizers for the weekly football game, but I’m trying to mix things up a bit this season. I am also currently trying to stay away from processed foods, which is not an easy feat.

I stumbled across this simple and delicious recipe that has only 3 ingredients. It’s carb friendly and much healthier than your standard helping of nachos or slice of za.

What You’ll Need:

2 large zucchini’s, sliced

1 jar of pizza sauce

2 cups of mozzarella cheese

Place the zucchini slices on a baking sheet. With a spoon, put a dollop of sauce on top, then cover with cheese. Put in the oven for 20 minutes on 350 degrees.

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They looked better before everyone started eating them!

They were a hit! Even my husband loved them. We didn’t miss the pizza crust at all.

I swear.

Do you have any easy, simple appetizer recipes to share? Let us know in the comments and we’ll feature them in a future post!

Beware the Money Suckers

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I recently sold some of my clutter at the flea market. I didn’t make much money, but it felt good to finally get rid of some of the useless items that I’ve accumulated over the years. The things that didn’t sell were given away to charity.

But wait, I hear you asking. This is a blog about being thrifty, not decluttering your home!

Give me a second to explain.

I realized that even though I am as thrifty as they come, I do have an issue with buying things that I don’t need or won’t ever use.

For example, I am always trying different dietary supplements. I bought 3 bottles of something at a website (buy two get one free!!) only to end up getting sick from it. I should have gotten a small bottle to try instead.

I sold the two never opened ones for a dollar each and I lost money.

We don’t even realize how much cash we spend on useless items, or as I like to call them, Money Suckers.

Take a look in your junk drawer to get an idea of what your “Money Suckers” may be.

Mine is full of things that I don’t even recognize, although most of it was purchased by my husband. (Don’t tell him I said that.)

I currently have 3 decks of playing cards, a set of stress relief balls, 10 keychains, 20 pens, a bunch of staples (no stapler) and enough paper clips to last two lifetimes.

Every little thing counts when you’re trying to save money.

Do you have any thoughts on this topic? Please let us know!

5 Things to do with 5 Bucks

When I was little, 5 bucks to me felt like 100. I was a child millionaire. I could buy any kind of candy that I wanted and still have enough to buy a few cans of ice cold Coca Cola.

These days, 5 dollars isn’t much. But you can still have a mildly good time if you use your imagination.

Here are 5 things to do with 5 dollars.

Go To The Flea Market

I have found some really cheap finds at the flea market for under 5 dollars.

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I got this vintage tin sign for $2!!!

I don’t drink pop, especially Dr. Pepper, but my daughter loves the stuff. I have it hanging above my kitchen sink. It’s selling on Ebay for $30 right now.

Treasure hunting is totally doable with little cash!!

Feed The Wildlife

Go to a store that sells baked goods at discount prices or just your regular store will do. Buy a couple loaves of stale bread (or fresh if you’re feeling charitable) and find your nearest lake or pond. There are bound to be a few ducks or gooses around. They love bread!

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Pigeons will also appreciate your efforts.

Just be careful, though. I once got chased by a pissed off goose.

Go See A Cheap Matinee

The majority of theaters have a discount movie day. Where I live, it’s on Tuesdays, although I haven’t had the chance to go in a long time. $5 will get you in, but you are on your own with concessions and they are really against bringing in your own food.

I’m a rebel and do it anyways.

Buy Some Really Nice Nail Polish

If you’re into doing your nails yourself, you deserve a decent bottle of nail polish once in awhile. I just got one for a dollar on clearance, Maybelline Color Show Street Art called Nighttime Noise.

Mer’s Thrifty Hint: Always take a gander at clearance items!

I had four dollars left, so I just stuffed that away for next time.

Coloring Is Fun

Most of the dollar stores near me sell various adult coloring books, colored pencils and markers. If you haven’t tried coloring as an adult, I highly recommend it. Anyone can do it regardless of artistic talent, it’s cheap to get started if you shop at the right place and it’s relaxing.

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For a few dollars more, you can even get a swear word coloring book. I am gonna ask Santa for one this Christmas.

 

So you see, there are plenty of things that you can do with 5 measly dollars. Who needs a Caribbean cruise, anyways?

If you have any other ideas, please let us know!!