When wedding season is in full swing, you can spend a big part of your personal budget celebrating the brides and grooms in your life. Of course, gifts are important tokens of love to the people you care about, but there comes a point at which they cross over from gracious to burdensome. Conventional wisdom dictates that you should spend approximately the cost per plate that the bride and groom are spending on you as a guest, and taking one look at a registry packed with fine china and expensive appliances can have you wishing that weddings weren’t such big affairs.
By Jacqueline Curtis
As the end of the school year approaches, parents’ top concern is likely signing up their little ones for swimming lessons, summer camp, or any of a host of extracurricular activities. However, before the final school bell rings, it’s also important to say thanks to their teachers.
Educators often work long hours for low wages, and when you’re not around, they stand in as surrogate parents. Much of the growth and development you’ve seen in your child over the last eight months is due to the efforts of those teachers – and a small token to show your appreciation for their hard work is completely appropriate.
According to Marie Claire, a 2015 survey by skincare brand Artistry by Amway found that, even after all these years, silver screen darling Audrey Hepburn is women’s most popular style icon. Others in the top 10 include Marilyn Monroe, Grace Kelly, and Sophia Loren, so the competition obviously wasn’t easy. Audrey Hepburn’s style, grace, and sophistication have continued to influence women and designers alike, an inspiration for everything from commercials, to entire fashion lines dedicated to her memory.
When one of your friends harbors a major case of wanderlust, a Target gift card may not be the best thing for special occasions. Birthdays, holidays, and even bon voyage parties are perfect opportunities to give your traveling friends the things they really need. Whether you’re talking about planes, trains, automobiles, or boats, many aspects of travel can be made easier and more enjoyable with the right item – and you don’t have to spend more than $50 to get them.
The best travel gifts are thoughtful, but also highly portable, so choose gifts that make the process more convenient and comfortable for your friends. Here are some brilliant ideas to get you started.
It’s easy to get stuck in the habit of overspending. Quick trips to the grocery store without a list become common. You drive your car out of convenience to places that you could walk or bike to. And that phone call to customer service to negotiate a better cell phone rate never gets made.
Unfortunately, getting out of this rut can be very difficult, as many common methods of saving money don’t appear to make a big enough difference to motivate change. That line of thinking, however, is wrong. If you have the willpower to buckle down and slash your expenses, it’s very possible to see some real results in your bottom line each month.
Whether searching the offerings at an estate sale or combing through the aisles of a thrift store, society is obsessed with the idea of “the find.” Every junk yard and flea market offers a real treasure hunt for anyone willing to do the work.
With the right approach, thrift store flipping – the practice of purchasing items from a thrift shop with the intent to resell them – can go from a hobby to an income stream. No, not every trip is going to yield a long-lost Picasso, but learning more about thrift store flipping just might give you the incentive to look a little closer the next time you’re checking out the local store.
The idea of the “push present” – a gift given to a new mom after she’s had a baby – is pretty new, but it has caught on like wildfire. Traditionally given to the new mother by the new father, push presents are also becoming more common among friends and relatives.
The difference between a push present and a traditional baby shower gift is that a push present is a gift intended for the new mom, rather than the baby. Instead of strollers and onesies, they’re more along the lines of jewelry. The push present is meant to signify gratitude to the mother for the last nine months of pregnancy, and the work and attention it took to culminate in a healthy birth.
We all know someone who simply has it all. My husband is a prime example: If he wants something, he goes out and buys it, leaving me scrambling for gift ideas when it comes time for special occasions.
Whether it’s a car accessory, the latest tech gadget, or new clothes, people who already have everything don’t leave a lot of choices for well-meaning gift givers. The trick to getting the perfect presents for the people who have it all is to think up things they wouldn’t purchase on their own – and that can be a challenge.
By Jacqueline Curtis
You love hanging out, but there’s always that one person in your social group who wants to talk about what’s in your wallet. Whether it’s constantly asking about your financial status or pressuring you to blow your budget, financial “frenemies” can have a serious impact on your bottom line. When friends negatively affect your spending habits, it might be time to make a change or lay down a few social ground rules when it comes to talking about money.
It seems as if the world has almost forgotten the art of letter writing. The Pew Research Center found that 75% of cellphone owners text, which means you’re probably more likely to get a birthday note from a friend on your smartphone – not in your mailbox. Although communication has become overwhelmingly digital, there are still times when a personal handwritten note is much more appropriate.
In the children’s tale “Hansel and Gretel,” the two titular children leave a trail of breadcrumbs to find their way out of the forest and back home. And when you’re shopping in certain stores, you might be leaving your own little breadcrumbs behind for retailers to track your spending – even if you don’t intend to.
But this isn’t child’s play – some retailers carefully track shopping habits as a way to offer new products, learn more about their customers, and even adjust prices. Both brick-and-mortar and online retailers have systems in place to scour for useful information that increases their chance for revenue.
By Jacqueline Curtis
When Valentine’s Day approaches, we’re all hit with a barrage of commercials for restaurants, flowers, lingerie, and even edible bouquets. But if you’re short on cash, the idea of a pricey dinner and a movie night may not have you feeling the love.
Let’s face it: The usual date for Valentine’s Day isn’t exactly groundbreaking. As such, all of the restaurants in town are likely to be crowded – and good luck finding a good seat at the movie theater. So, what if, instead of spending your special day waiting for a table and rushing to get to the cineplex, you did something a little offbeat? You can fight fewer crowds, save yourself some coin, and impress your Valentine with something refreshingly different.
By Jacqueline Curtis
If you’ve ever needed to purchase skin care products from any drugstore, you know they can cost a fortune. Even brands that tout themselves as lower-priced options can have you forking over $20 for a tube of moisturizer.
What I’ve found to be the most effective skin care treatment plan is actually a combination of DIY treatments and frugal skin care options – not pricey department store products that promise a lot and deliver a little. Of course, everyone’s skin is different, so yours might not respond to the lotion that your friend raves about. Determining proper skin care requires a bit of trial and error, but with enough experience and understanding of ingredients, you can create a skin care routine that benefits your unique tone and type.
Buying clothes can be both a necessary evil and an expensive pastime. Annual American spending on clothing and accessories tops $250 billion, with global spending at $1.2 billion, according to data compiled by Statistic Brain. Chances are, if you’re an average American, a portion of your paychecks goes to clothing, shoes, and accessories. After all, you can’t show up to work wearing your old ripped jeans.
But what if instead of lining the pockets of clothing designers, manufacturers, and retailers, you kept more cash in the bank while giving your clothes new life? Instead of getting rid of damaged garments and buying something new, see if the stuff in your closet can be fixed, altered, or repurposed.
The case for thrift store shopping is a strong one: You can score great pieces on the cheap while doing your part to help your community and decrease your own environmental impact.
But while thrift shopping might make you feel your best, secondhand clothes don’t always make you look your best. Clothes that are worn, faded, out-of-season, and just plain cheap can give your secondhand secret away.
Therefore, it is important that you do your best to make the most of your thrift store finds. By ensuring that you select quality pieces and take proper care, you can fool anyone into thinking that you bought your outfit at the mall, just like everyone else.