Frugal Ramblings

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Frugal Holiday Gift-Wrapping Tips

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Holiday Gift-Wrapping Tip (sent in by reader, Olivia)…

Wrapping paper and gift bags and tissue paper have always annoyed me. It’s wasteful and it’s money that literally goes in the trash. This year I decided that I wasn’t buying anything to wrap gifts in, I would use what I had.

So I have wrapped all my gifts in newspaper. A couponer is sure to have newspaper laying everywhere, right? I made gifts bags using cereal boxes, cracker boxes and oatmeal containers that I wrapped in newspaper. I made bows out of magazine pages, thanks to all of the free subscriptions! I also started asking for paper bags at the grocery and used paper bags to wrap the gifts for the little kids so that they wouldn’t get newspaper ink in their hands.

I did however break down and bought $3 worth of ribbon at CVS just so I could make handles in my bags. Next year I’ll use twine. Then I found small blocks of Sculpey baking clay at Walmart for $0.97 each and I made little gift tags out of them. So for all my gift wrapping this year, I only spent less than $5! Not too bad and I was being resourceful! It’s more work than just buying all the usual stuff but I love how it turned out!

Another Holiday Wrapping Tip (sent in by reader, Julie)

I, like many others, receive tons of packages in the mail throughout the year. Many of these packages are filled with plain brown paper. I hated the thought of wasting all that paper! I started saving it a few months ago with the intentions of wrapping all my Christmas gifts in it. My husband (the skeptic) thought I was nuts! The paper was fairly easy to store; I just folded it flat and tossed it into a storage container. I was shocked at how fast the container filled up!

When it came time to start wrapping, I took out the folded sheets and spritzed them just a bit with a water bottle and then ran a warm iron over the paper to smooth it a bit. The paper is still somewhat wrinkled but it is smoother for wrapping. To dress the packages up a bit, I bought a 50 yard roll of ribbon at Costco for $6.99.

I have wrapped ALL of our presents in the plain paper and made simple bows out of the ribbon. I love the simple homespun look! My 13 year old son says it’s the best paper ever. The present in the photo is a box of chocolate covered cherries; the skeptic’s favorite. ;)

And Another Holiday Wrapping Tip (sent in by reader, Shannon)

Don’t have gift tags? Price of wrapping paper got you down? Here’s an affordable and super cute idea!

I buy rolls of the brown postal wrapping paper for $1 each at Dollar Tree. I like the way it looks as is, but you or your kiddos could easily make designs or cute little white dots with a white-out pen or silver/gold/whatever color sharpies.

In lieu of name tags, I like to purchase scrapbook paper from Hobby Lobby for approximately $0.40/sheet and cut the name out in bubble letters. Simply paste the letters on to the postal paper wrapped gift and voila! It looks much better than a name tag and you can use the same sheet of paper for several names.

For more information on the Hip2Save Holiday Tips & Deals series and to learn how you can participate in the fun, click here!

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Reader Holiday DIY Idea: Log Snowmen

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Holiday DIY Idea (sent in by reader, Sherrisa)…

Easy, Super Cute DIY Log Snowmen!

If you’re on the lookout for some cheap and super cute Christmas decorations then these snowmen might just be your answer! They are really easy to make and the best part is they don’t cost much either! :)

You will need…

* Two small logs or fence post or any piece of wood really ( I used small logs)
* Two hats and a scarf (I used 1 scarf and cut it in half)
* Black, & orange, acrylic paint (pink for the cheeks is optional) and white paint.
(If you will have these outside, use an exterior paint… I just used an exterior primer)
* Small paint brushes and a large brush for white paint.
* Pen or pencil to trace the face and buttons.
* Drop cloth or something to paint on.

Directions:

* First make sure your logs are clean and ready to paint.
* Paint the logs with the white paint. Let dry!
* Take a pencil or pen and trace the face and buttons anyway you would like. (Keep in mind that the pen might show through the orange paint… I found this out the hard way!)

* Take your acrylic paint and paint the eyes, mouth and buttons black, and the nose orange. If you want, you can put a little pink on the cheeks. Let dry!
* Next is the fun part! Place the hat on top of the snowman and put the scarf around the neck of the snowman! I used thumb tacks to secure the scarf around the Snowman. But you could use whatever you want or simply tie the scarf.

Now sit back and look at your adorable creation!

Note: These are so easy to make. I have been wanting to make them for a few years and was scared that they were going to be too hard to make. But honestly they are very simple. :)

For more information on the Hip2Save Holiday Tips & Deals series and to learn how you can participate in the fun, click here!

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Top 30 Unique & Frugal Stocking Stuffer Ideas

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Top 30 Unique & Frugal Stocking Stuffer Ideas Hip2Save

Are you looking for inexpensive and fun stocking stuffer ideas?! Along with your help (thanks to all you Facebook fans who contributed to this post!), here are THIRTY Unique & Frugal Stocking Stuffer Ideas.

30 Unique & Frugal Stocking Stuffer Ideas:

*Play dough
*Hand warmers
*Deck of cards
*Socks/Underwear/tights
*Stickers/temporary tattoos
*Small accessories- bracelets, earrings, hair bows,
*Personal Grooming- Deodorant, toothpaste, toothbrush
*Gum/Candy
*Crayons
*DVDs
Hip2Save Stocking Stuffers
*Small accessories- bracelets, earrings, hair bows
*Mittens
*Gum/Candy
*Meaningful Christmas Tree Ornaments
*Gift cards, movie tickets
*Sunglasses
*Glow Sticks
*Bubbles
*Pens/Pencils
*Nail Polish/Nail Stickers
Stocking Stuffers Hip2Save
*Lotions
*Personal Grooming- Deodorant, toothpaste, toothbrush
*Lip Gloss and Lip Balm
*Lottery tickets
*Reading light/Bookmarks
*Cars or Small Toys
*Seed Packets
*Rainbow Loom Bands
*Coupons for late bedtime or treat
*Gift cards- Coffee, Movies, ToysRUs
Stocking Stuffer Ideas Hip2Save
Do you have any additional ideas to add?

Photographs above taken by Lina for Hip2Save. Lina is a proud mom of 2 small kids who loves photography, all holidays, cooking, thrift store makeovers, bargain shopping, and DIY makeovers. Her goal is to create a beautiful life and stylish home on a dime!

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How Do YOU Keep Track of Passwords?

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Hip2Save reader, Pam, recently sent over this email below…

With all the different websites, grocery apps, drug store apps, reward cards, user names, different passwords due to min/max characters allowed, emails (personal, business & couponing) etc., how do YOU keep track of it all?

I have tried using a password app… but they lost all my information & my trust. I had to start all over again. I’ve tried keeping it on “my notes” in my iPhone & emailing it to myself. But then there is always “one more” to add to the list. I started writing them down in a small note pad & I keep it in my purse (I’m afraid it might get lost or stolen & it is very easily available for prying eyes). With the endless list of information we need on a daily basis, I find myself always relying on this little note book to get me through the day.

How do YOU keep track of it all?

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Reader Holiday Tip: Send Christmas Cheer All Month Long Without Breaking the Bank…

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Holiday Tip (sent in by reader, Jaclyn)…

I have a holiday tip (gift idea) to share. Every year I struggle to come up with great gift ideas for the grandmothers in my family. I love to give them things that they love, without giving them things that simply fill up their houses and are not really needed.

Last year, I came up with a gift idea I called the “25 Days of Christmas”. Each day of December, I sent something to my husband’s grandmother, who lives across the country from us. Some of the items that I sent included: art created by my young daughter, photo cards, letters written by each member of our family, photos of our family with a description of what event/occasion the photos were taken at, and Christmas cards. I tried mixing up the types of items I would send each day.

To tie the gift together and help her know that the piece of mail was part of her 25 Days of Christmas gift, I created special labels to place on the outside of each envelope I sent her. I used blank address labels printed with the words “25 Days of Christmas” at the top and then the Day number below that. The labels helped decorate the backs of the envelopes and helped me stay organized on which item to mail each day.

My grandmother-in-law loved receiving a piece of fun mail every day of the month. It gave her something to look forward to. I had fun deciding what items to send to her, and enjoyed getting input from my husband and daughter. It was such a hit that I decided to do the same thing again this year, for all three of our grandmother’s!

To prepare for the 25 mailings for each grandmother, I have created photo cards using the deals offered by Shutterfly. I have jumped at the chance each time Hip2save has posted the deal for 10 free photo cards and I now have multiple cards ready to go for each grandmother!

Throughout the year I have used Viggle (iTunes or Android Devices (Google Play))and Swagbucks to earn Amazon gift cards, which has allowed me to buy supplies without having to spend my own money. I’ve also used the fantastic deals posted on Hip2save to get free printer paper (for some of the art) and find deals on printer ink and address labels.

NOTE FROM COLLINSorry for getting this wonderful reader holiday idea up so late (I know – it’s already December… time is sure flying by!). However, you could do a shortened version this year – maybe 10 or 15 Days of Christmas. Also, be sure to keep this idea in mind for next year. And note that you really could do this anytime of year to make someone feel special. For example, you could do it for a loved one during their birthday month!

For more information on the Hip2Save Holiday Tips & Deals series and to learn how you can participate in the fun, click here!

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It’s Bragging Time… What have been your BEST Black Friday Buys? Be sure to Share!

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Although I do not normally condone bragging, this is one of those rare times where I am asking you to please BRAG, BRAG, BRAG! I’ve received many emails from readers who were very excited to share the awesome deals and bargains they snagged at Black Friday sales both online and in-store. On the flip side, I have received many emails from readers who are searching for the best deals and looking for tips and tricks. So… this is where you come into play!

If you have a great deal or bargain that you’ve snagged today, please share it below. If you are looking for a specific item or deal, please mention it below and hopefully, another Hip2Save reader will come to the rescue! Let’s help each other out… that’s what Hip2Save is all about! :)

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Reader Holiday Deals: Save BIG at Kmart & Sears

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Holiday Deal (sent in by reader, Kelly)…

I scored an awesome deal at Kmart on November 24th!  My kids love XBOX, so I’ve been looking for good deals on Gold memberships, points and headphones.  Kmart had the XBOX Live Starter packs in the older green boxes marked down to $15 each!  These retail at $74.99.  Each pack has one year of XBOX Live Gold, 400 Microsoft points (=$5 XBOX credit), a headset and a Chatpad.  I picked up 3 – one for each of my kids and one for my brother.  After the 5,000 surprise points that I had (for being a Shop Your Way Rewards member), I paid $42.17 OOP and saved over $180!

On a side note, I may have shrieked a bit when I found these.  The guy in the electronics department had a good laugh though.  He said he’d never seen anyone so excited over a deal! ;)

Holiday Savings Tip (sent in by reader, Maria)…

I am so excited about this Holiday Deal / Unique Savings Tip contest because I have a deal everyone will love! This deal not only allows for huge savings, but it also promotes healthy living. Each month I have been able to purchase items from Kmart and Sears for little to no cost at all just by using the points I accumulate with my Fitbit at FitStudio.com. I have purchased items ranging from dogs toys to baking needs and have not spent a dime out of pocket.
Screen Shot 2014-11-26 at 10.28.23 AM

Here is how it works:

  • First you will need to use your Fitbit (if you need to buy a Fitbit there are great savings on eBay)
  • Your Fitbit will track all of the steps you take each day. Once you reach 14 miles per week, you will receive 5000 points ( = a $5 reward)
  • In addition, at the website (FitStudio) you can log your exercise activity, weight, rating, and workouts. For this, you will receive an additional 3,500 points (= a $3.50 reward)
  • You also get additional points for participating in challenges etc
  • At the end of each week,  you get to spend the money earned at Kmart and/or Sears, either online or in one of the stores. I have been using this money every week to do my holiday shopping.

NOTE from Collin: If you are interested in snagging a Fitbit, be sure to check Hip2Save often as we have posted some great Fitbit deals in the past (but they sure do expire quickly!). Also, keep in mind that there are some great upcoming in-store deals…

Screen Shot 2014-11-26 at 10.35.18 AM

Radio Shack Black Friday Deal (Starting 11/27)

Fitbit Flex Wireless Activity/Sleep Wristband $99.99
Receive a FREE $25 Gift Card with in-store purchase of Fitbit Flex
Final cost $74.99!
* Check out all of the Radio Shack Black Friday Deals here.

Sports Authority Black Friday Deal (Starting 11/27)

Fitbit Charge Wireless Activity and Sleep Monitor $129.95
Receive a $25 Cash Card when you purchase any Fitbit priced $100 or more
Final cost $124.95!
* Check out all of the Sports Authority Black Friday Deals here.

Walgreens Deal (starting 11/30-12/6)

Fitbit Flex Activity Band $99.99
Buy 1 = 35,000 Balance Reward Points (= $35 reward)
Final cost $64.99!

For more information on the Hip2Save Holiday Tips & Deals series and to learn how you can participate in the fun, click here!

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Hipsters to the Rescue: Teacher Gift Ideas Needed (+ Cute Bath & Body Works Hand Soap Idea)

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Check out this email I received from Hip2Save reader Melissa -

It’s that time of the year again when we have to start thinking about Christmas gifts for children’s teachers. I have a 4 year old who goes to preschool and I really want to give Christmas gifts to all his teachers. He has 5 teachers in his classroom. I am in a dilemma…what is an appropriate budget?

With that being said, if you’re looking for an affordable gift idea for teachers, neighbors, friends, and more, consider making “We Wash You a Merry Christmas!” hand soaps using this printable template and Bath & Body Works hand soaps (currently on sale 5/$18 or 7/$24) or whatever hand soaps you like! Then just add some ribbon and a personalized note and you have a super cute and frugal gift idea! :)

If you’re planning to shop online, you may want to use the promo code FA143271 to score $10 off a $30 or more purchase + Free Shipping on a $50 order (expires 12/7). Or the promo code WILDVANILLA to score 20% off your entire order (expires 12/31). Or you may want to use the code DOLLARLOVE to score $1 shipping when you place a $25 order.

Now it’s your turn…what are your frugal but thoughtful teacher gift ideas? And, if you’re a teacher, we’d love to hear what gifts you appreciate most! :)

(Thanks, Melissa!)

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The Results Are In…YOUR Top 10 Most Wanted Holiday Shopping List Items (+ My Best Deal Finds!)

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top-10-most-wanted-holiday-items-hip2save1

I can’t believe that Black Friday and Cyber Monday are almost here… not to mention that Christmas is just around the corner! :) As you know, I recently asked Hip2Save readers what items were on your Holiday Shopping list and received over 575 comments on that post! So, after reading through all the comments, I’ve compiled a post including YOUR Top 10 Most Wanted Items based on the results, plus I’ll share my deal finds for these items! Here’s an overview…

#1 Most Wanted Item – iPad
#2 Most Wanted Item – Lego Products
#3 Most Wanted Item – TV
#4 Most Wanted Item – Laptop
#5 Most Wanted Item – PlayStation 3 or 4
#6 Most Wanted Item – Xbox or Xbox 360
#7 Most Wanted Item – Wii or Wii U
#8 Most Wanted Item – Disney Infinity Game, Figures, Accessories
#9 Most Wanted Item – Camera
#10 Most Wanted Item – UGG Boots

(To see deals for the Top 10 Most wanted Items, click the link below “Read More / Post Your Comments”.)
Read More / Post Your Comments »

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Millions of Graco Strollers & Travel Systems Recalled

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Do you own a Graco stroller? Well, please take note that 11 Graco & Centruy-branded strollers with a manufacture date from August 1st, 2000 to September 25th, 2014 are being recalled due to the folding hinge on the sides of the stroller which can pinch a child’s finger, posing a laceration or amputation hazard.

Owners of the strollers are urged to contact Graco for a repair kit, which will be available starting early December. Go here for more details on this recall or to verify if your stroller is included in this recall. You can also order the repair kit by entering the model number or by calling 1-800-345-4109.

The recalled models include:
Aspen, Breeze, Capri, Cirrus, Glider, Kite, LiteRider, Sierra, Solara, Sterling and TravelMate Model Strollers and Travel Systems.

(Thanks, Penny Pinching Queen)

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