Use Technology To Save Money and Time this Holiday Season

Saving for the holidays can seem like a big task each year. But with the advances in technology there are many phone apps that will help you save money without wasting your time! Coupon.com has a FREE mobile app for your Android or iPhone that keeps you up to date on the latest coupons, shopping codes, shipping codes and much more. Search drug store deals, restaurants coupons and FREE stuff daily- Choose to see the coupon instantly on your phone or have it sent directly to your email to print later!

Grab the Ebay Mobile phone app to keep track of the latest auctions, see sale trends and sell your items with a snap of a picture! Shopping Ebay has never been so easy! Whether you are looking to sell, buy or research product prices you can now do it all from your phone. This makes shopping for the holidays a breeze! The best feature of this app is the voice enabled search- simply state the item you are looking for and it will find you a match! Sign up to get alerts to keep watch on your auction bids and then use paypal for quick and secure checkout!
Traveling this holiday season can take a toll on your budget. Keep it under control with Kayak mobile app. Compare travel sites- search for the best price on hotels, flights and car rentals. Keep track of your vacation plans and your flight status all from your phone! This is a FREE app and is available on the iPhone, iPad, Android, Windows Phone 7, and Kindle devices.
Use Skype this Christmas to call your loved ones, near and far! What better way to spend the holidays without family then to chat and share with them via Skype mobile app. FREE Skype to Skype calls, FREE video chat and send pictures or documents to anyone, anywhere! All though not all features on Skype are FREE, most of their features are and compared to other programs, they are fairly inexpensive!

Looking for a mobile app to help prepare for that Christmas dinner? Check out Grocery IQ mobile app– create shopping lists, find coupons, scan barcodes and find coupons to add directly to your savings store card. This is great for those of us hard core couponers and dinner planners- not only can you have your shopping list at your finger tips, but adding coupons while shopping in the store makes this a great additions for big savings!

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How To Save Money on Christmas Cards

Each year the average American spends around $25 on Christmas cards alone, not including postage! $25 could get me a 30 minute massage or 8 Chocolate Chip Frappe’s! Year after year, this becomes an added expense that quickly can be cut out of your budget, saving you money! Here are some ways to help have amazing Christmas Cards without the price tag of the traditional cards!

  • Make Your Own: As long as you don’t plan to send hundred’s of Christmas Cards this year, grab the family, some scrap paper and your arts & crafts box and make your own. Personalizing each card will not only make every card even more special, this could become a great tradition to do with your family each year.
  • Keep The List Small: Every year I seem to add more and more people to our Christmas card list; the new pto mom, our girls new dance teacher, the dog groomer, the old man at the end of the street that always says hi, you get the idea! This can quickly become a huge addition to your holiday budget that you were not expecting! Keep the list to those that are just family and close friends, saving you time and money.
  • Check Dollar Stores: Most dollar stores will have a box of 10 or 12 Christmas cards for just a $1 when larger retailers carry a box of 20-25 for more than $5. But grab them quickly, these boxes of cards always seem to be sold out fairly quick at our dollar store.
  • Check Vistaprint: Vistaprint not only offers business cards, magnets and calender’s- they carry a large selection of Christmas cards that will fit any budget. Time it correctly and you can grab FREE Christmas cards by using special promo codes, all you pay is shipping!
  • Send a Card Via Email: With more and more people send text and emails, snail mail is becoming a thing of the past! So keep up with the times and send a e-card. Most places will allow you to make cards that sing and dance, add your own photos and even create singing, dancing photos of yourself! This is the best option when you want to save time and money~ who doesn’t love FREE!

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How To Save on Christmas Gifts With Little to No Money

Each year it seems harder and harder to find the right gift in the ever shrinking budget we have. So each year we try to find new ways to increase our budget or decrease our spending for the holidays. Here are a few tips we use to make the most of our budget:

  • Clean Out The Garage & Closets: If you have lived on your own for any amount of time, you always seem to have a collection of items that you just don’t use, need to donate or toss. Instead of holding onto those items, snap some pictures and sell your unwanted items on Craigslist. This will not only keep your house more organized and clean, but will help you grab some extra money just in time for the holidays! There are also tons of places on Facebook that you can sell your unwanted items as well. I am in several local yard sale groups where we all sell items that we no longer use or need for extra cash!
  • Make Your Own Gifts: Everyone has some talents; whether it be crafts, baked goods, photography, sports, etc. Find something that you are really good at and offer it as a personalized gift this year! A container of your best chocolate fudge or a photo book of your niece at the playground, will make a great gift with out breaking the bank! Check out Pinterest to find great ideas of what others are making if you can’t think of anything!
  • Pick Names: If you have a large family and a tight budget, suggest a name exchange this year. Put everyone’s name in a bucket and each of you pick another name. This way you only have to buy one other gift instead of multiple gifts, saving you a boat load of cash. You can also spend all your gift giving budget on one great gift, instead of a bunch of smaller, less expensive novelty gifts for your loved ones!
  • Shop Craigslist: Just as quick as selling items on Craigslist to make a little extra cash, you can buy quality products on there as well. People just like you are looking to clean out their unwanted items and grab a little extra Christmas cash, you can grab a great deal on some great gifts!
  • Skip The Wrapping Paper: When you have a lot of gifts to give, this means you have a lot of wrapping paper to buy! This year try a different approach and find things around the house that you can use to wrap all those gifts. Grab construction paper, scrapbooking paper, newspapers, etc. Check out Pinterest for some great ideas on alternative gift wrapping ideas!

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How to Create a Christmas Budget – and Stick to It!

Creating a Christmas budget each year may seem like a unfavorable task, but it’s one you should not dismiss! With the average American spending more than $500 a year for their holiday shopping, pulling that much from your monthly budget all at one time, can really put a damper on your spending. There are many things you can do to help create a Christmas budget and stick to it!
  • Save a little each week! Start this right away- every pay check put up a small amount of money just for your Christmas shopping. Figure out just how much you can live without each week- skipping a latte a couple times a month may seem like a lot to ask, but come November you will be happy you did!
  • Make A List & Check It Twice! Making a list of the people you know you need to buy for and how much you would like to spend on them, is the best way to keep yourself on track. Only buy for those on the gift for the amount you budgeted. If you buy gifts early on sale, check their name off the list. Come November you will know who else you need to buy for, spending only what you need!
  • Buy Gifts Year Round! There are many times through out the year that stores like Target or Kohl’s price items for basically nothing to make way for new products. Take advantage of this and buy a few gifts when they are at their rock bottom price. This will keep you under budget and spending less time come holiday shopping season scrambling for gifts!
  • Skip The Extras! If you are hosting Christmas dinner or a Cookie Exchange, skip buying the party supplies. Use your own dishes and silverware, then have the kids make the decorations! When the party is over, toss the decorations in the recycle bin and dishes in the dishwasher! This will leave you extra money for your holiday gifts.
  • Buy Gift Cards and Pay With Cash! When November hits and the gift card deals start rolling out, grab as many as you can. Many places will offer you extra or bonus gift cards for buying a certain amounts now. Keep only the gift cards with you as well as your Christmas cash stash while out shopping, leaving the plastic at home! This way you will get more for your money and you are not using credit cards- racking up large bills that will come knocking on your door in January! Best part is that you will stay on budget, only spending what you have in hand!

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Quick & Easy Gifts to Have on Hand for the Holidays

As the holiday’s gets closer our holiday list tends to grow longer and longer. Someone always has a new girlfriend or a new baby and we always needs gifts last minute. Part of my gift closet is for those gifts that I like to keep on hand for unexpected visitors that you may need to give a gift to! Here are a few items that I like to get and have on hand!

After every holiday I love finding the clearanced tin containers or holiday boxes for goodies! I have a whole tote full of them and these are probably the best gifts to have on hand and the least expensive! Last year after Christmas I picked up these tin containers and holiday boxes for just .13 each! Now when I know we are going to grandma’s house and long lost cousin Ted is stopping by, I can grab one of these festive containers, fill it with cookies, fudge or candy and viola, gift ready to go in minutes!
I also keep a small tote filled with scented candles! Candles are something that can be for anyone, mom, dad, aunt, grandma, etc. They are fairly inexpensive and easy to pop in a gift bag to give! I love finding candles on sale and storing in my gift closet. I also keep a stock of diffusers, scented oils, and decorative candle holders!
Dollar store toys are not only inexpensive you can have a wide range of gifts for all little ones! Grab a few rattles or chew toys for the babies, books, coloring books, race cars or dolls for toddlers, board games or puzzles for tweens and even grab some headphones or body lotion or wash for teens! It’s easy to keep about $20 worth of gifts on hand and have plenty for any age child!
I love giving picture frames to family members, so I always have a few on hand. With kids I always have a abundance of pictures from our girls soccer team, cheerleading, school pictures, holiday cards, etc. So I take pictures of my family and fill the pictures frames to give to grandparents, aunts and uncles- who doesn’t love a frame already filled with a picture.
Another great gift I like to have on hand is stationary and craft items. These aren’t always so much as gifts to give but to help us keep our kids busy during the holidays! Christmas parties can sometimes run longer than expected and guests may be bored of games or activities that you had planned. So I keep these products on hand to pull out and have everyone create their own ornaments, snow flakes, pictures, whatever they want to keep busy!

Last but not least, I like to have a small stash of $5 gift cards to local retailers, ice cream places and restaurants. $5 may not seem like a lot to give but at least you have something to give and remember it’s the thought that counts. Plus if it is someone that you want to give a little more to, stack a few gift cards together to make it worth a little more!

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Kroger: FREE Command Hanging Products

Getting ready for back to school and want to organize? Snag these Command Hanging Hooks for FREE at Kroger this week!

Command Hanging Products, $0.99 each
-$1/1 Command Picture Hanging Strips printable
-$1/1 Command Brand Hook printable
= FREE After coupon and $5/5 deal

Thank you I Heart Kroger!

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Walgreens: FREE Clear Care Contact Solution

Check out Walgreens this week for some FREE contact solution! Here is how to snag yours:

Clear Care Contact Solution 12 oz for $9.99 each
Use $5/1 printable
and with $5/1 Walgreens in-store coupon
=FREE after coupons

Thanks Money Saving Mom!

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Host Your Birthday at SkyZone

SkyZone

Sky Zone’s wall-to-wall trampoline courts are designed as a fun and fit outing for all ages, shapes and sizes. The innovative trampoline park offers a variety of activities for everyone to enjoy including Open Jump, allowing guests to leap, bound and soar and Ultimate Dodge-ball, a friendly and healthy dodge-ball competition. In addition, fitness fiends can feel the burn at Sky Zone’s original SkyRobics class, which combines advanced calisthenics with a three-dimensional cardio and strength training program. This park is the ideal venue for groups seeking unforgettable events such as birthday parties, corporate team building, field trips and much more!

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How To Save On Your BBQ Essentials

Summer is just around the corner and with that comes barbecuing! Nothing like the smell of the smokey grill, fresh cut grass and listening to the neighborhood kids laughing- that is when you know summer has arrived! With this you need to stock up on all your BBQ necessities to make for a great day of backyard and barbecuing.

One of the best places to hit to save big on BBQ essentials is the dollar stores. For less than $25 you can load a cart full of all the items you will need to make for a great day at the grill. Anything from your ketchup, paper plates, snacks, sauces, tongs, foils, and so on are just a few things you can pick up for just one dollar! Our local dollar stores are starting to have such a large variety of items that you will be sure to find everything you need!

When it comes to picking up your meats and produce wait until the last day of your ad circular. When a local store weekly ad ends on Saturday evening, head in around 9pm on that last day, you will see prices drop quickly. Items that were in the weekly ad and are still on the shelf need to be moved out of the store to make way for new product and new sale items. So managers will start to slash prices to get them off the shelf-quickly! This is the best time to snag a large amount of meat or produce for very little out of pocket.

If you are looking for the bigger ticket items such as a grill, hold out just a little longer. With Memorial day right around the corner, retailers will start handing out great discounts on grills and all their accessories. Match these great sales up with coupons or online coupon codes and you will be sure to snag a super cheap grill. Better yet, if you can hold out until the summer is coming to an end, most retailers will not hold onto outdoor grills through the colder months, so slashing prices to get them out the door will be something you will see come September! Patience is a necessity for this option!

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Tips To Save On Graduation and Wedding Gifts

When most people think of graduation or wedding gifts, the first thought is money, lots of money! With most people just graduating or just getting married they will be accruing many expenses and need all the extra cash they can use! New homes, new jobs, furniture, college tuition, etc are all expenses on their list. But not everyone feels comfortable with forking out $100+ to everyone they know that graduates or gets married. There are a few ways to save when getting gifts for these newly weds and recent graduates!

Handmade items are quickly becoming one of the best and least expensive gift to give. Now don’t think this means grab a handful of colored pasta and make a macaroni necklace, you will need to put some real thought and a little cash into this gift. Even though you won’t or can’t spend much, you want the recipient to see how much thought and care you put into your gift. Pinterest is full of great gift ideas if you are looking for inspiration. Frame their graduation announcement or create a personalized wedding album, are just a couple ideas to save big on your next gift.
Shop online! This is the best way to save the most- save gas, save time, save money. Almost every store offers coupon codes or free shipping codes to grab a great gift without paying full retail price. Memorial is just a few weeks away and you will see many online retailers offer great savings, just in time for graduation and wedding season.
Most brides spend hours at the nearest Bed Bath and Beyond scanning every item they think they need to start their newly married life off right! Needless to say most brides still have several appliances or gifts from their wedding, that was never used or even opened for that matter. So don’t feel bad if you look for a deal somewhere other than where she registered to grab that triple shot espresso maker. You can check their registry but then head out to local retailers or even check online for big savings. With stores price matching, coupons from the newspaper or online coupon codes, you can get big savings by shopping other stores!
If you feel that you have to give cash but don’t have a lot to give, get creative! There are many ways to make $20 in singles look fun and interesting all folded up as a cash bouquet. Once they see the super cute design, they won’t even want to open each one to see how much they got!

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