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!

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.

 

lavender-vanilla-scrub-1

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!

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.

7c9131d80761decfdd16a0ff9dc7bd1d

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!

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.

 

rs_560x415-150420113900-560-kraft-mac-and-cheese-jw-42015

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!

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.

muscle-ultra-carton

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

eatingoutonabudget

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!

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.

f5f3e827c7911db998fd2f3063cf2be5

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!

ib589752

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.

swear

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!!