Friday, September 30, 2011

Experiences over Gifts

When thinking about holiday shopping one thing to consider is taking your family and friends on trips and other experiences instead of toys and other "stuff" they may not need.

I have some friends who have started doing this. Taking their kids on trips, ball games and other things. Last Christmas, my parents took our whole family on a trip to Florida. So there were'nt as many gifts but we have memories from that trip. My nieces and nephews still bring up memories of the trip every once in awhile.

Another idea is "consumable" gifts such as gift cards for coffee shop, restaurants and other places they visit regularly. If you don't want to give them just a gift card, you could make up a basket of items relating to the theme of the gift card, such as a coffee basket, book basket, cooking, gardening and others.

With the state of the economy, some families may not be able to purchase gifts like they used to. It is difficult to change your spending but it is important to take steps on cutting your expenses as soon as your situation changes. Some may start using credit cards to keep up their usual spending but it can catch up with you.

If you do find yourself in a situation that you need to cut your spending it may be helpful to explain the situation to your children. If you keep spending, handling what happens at the end may be more difficult to deal with than explaining it to them now.

It is important to remember your "presence" is more important than the "presents".

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Halloween DIY

With the price of many things going up, it is getting more difficult for many people to buy things they usually do. It may be possible to make your own halloween costumes.

One source for ideas is Pinterest. It is an online pinboard. If you find sites you like online you can "pin" the website to your boards and share with friends.

I have made a board with some costume ideas and other halloween ideas. There are also boards with other holiday ideas.

Other resources for halloween costumes are the thrift stores. Savers in Fargo has brand new halloween costumes that may be less expensive than other stores and they also have a selection of used items to make you own costumes. Other thrift stores have halloween decorating items, both new items and used.

Now is also the time to keep an eye out in stores for sales on candy to hand out.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Sending Christmas Cards

Besides gifts, another major part of the holidays for many families is sending and receiving cards or family letters. Sending cards and letters is a great way to stay in touch with family and friends but some people may feel pressured to send them.

I realize we are all busy but if you start making plans and can break them down and work on them when you have time it may be less stressful than waiting until the last minute. If you can get some of it done now it will be easier than trying to do so many things closer to the holidays when things may be even busier. Cards after the holidays may be welcomed by some people since they get most of them before the holidays.

Also by having cards and letters done early, you may be able to find sales or deals than waiting until closer to the holidays.

If you don't have time now or before the holidays, you could consider sending them after the holidays. If your family can only get together over the holidays and you want to send a card of photos taken then, you could send New Years cards.

This is part of the series I am doing of ideas to help with your holiday shopping, decorating and recipes.

Used Book Sales

One way to save money on books is to buy used books. It may take more time to search for what you are looking for but sometimes you can find unexpected treasures. Besides used book stores, there are some book sales coming up.

The Moorhead Library is having their Fall Used Book Sale Oct 1 and 2. The sale is Sat. 9-5 and after 2:00 all items are half price. On Sunday, the sale is 1-4 and books will be $5 per bag.

The West Fargo Friends of the Library is having a book sale Oct 14-16. Friday is for members only from 3:30-5:30. The book sale will be open to the public on Saturday from 10-4:30 and Sunday from 1-4:00.

The Fargo Library usually has a book sale also, but I could not find any information on it at this time. However, they do have books for sale throughout the year. At the Main branch downtown there is a room that is open at certain times. Their goal is to be open when the library is open, but it depends when they have volunteers. At the Carlson Branch, there are a couple of book shelves of books that for sale.

The Hope Lutheran Church at 3636 25th St S, Fargo is having a used book sale from Oct 9 through October 19.

90 Day Holiday Countdown

It’s hard to believe, but Christmas is about 90 days away. It is my goal to make a post the next 90 days with money saving ideas, recipes and decorating ideas to help you take some of the stress out of the holidays.

One of the first things to do is make a holiday budget. Sit down and make a list of everyone you are planning on buying a gift for. Along the each name write an amount you plan on spending and any ideas you may have. Total up your amounts to see what the total amount is. When you see the total you can divide by the amount of months or weeks left and try to work it into your monthly budget.

After you have made up your gift budget, also do the same thing with other extra expenses you are planning on such as parties, extra dining out, cards, giftwrap and other expenses.

Following is a recap of the holiday posts

Day 2 - Sending Christmas Cards
Day 3 - Halloween DIY
Day 4- Experiences Over Gifts
Day 5 - Shopping For Holiday Supplies
Day 6 - Homemade Mixes as Gifts
Day 7 - Shopping With Layaway
Day 8 - Photo Gifts
Day 9 - Tips to Hosting a Cookie Exchange
Day 10 - Halloween Alternatives to Candy
Day 11- Saving on Baking Supplies
Day 12 - Shopping with Daily Deal Sites
Day 13 - Crockpot Cooking
Day 14 - Scrapbook Paper Gifts
Day 15 - Holiday Travel Expenses
Day 16 - Uses for Mason Jars
Day 17 - Holiday Rice Krispie treats
Day 19 - Wreath ideas
Day 20 - Beware of Sales Ads
Day 21 - Saving on Tableware
Day 22 - Gifts from Game Pieces
Day 23 - Online Holiday Shopping
Day 24 Getting Ready for Halloween
Day 25 - Giving Back During the Holidays
Day 26 - Thanksgiving Decorating
Day 27 - Saving on Holiday Outfits
Day 28 - Holiday Price Matching
Day 29 - Gift Wrapping Ideas
Day 30 - Canvas People Deal

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Kindle at the Library

Area public libraries have had e-books and now they have e-books that are compatible with Kindle readers that can be checked out. Even if you don't have a Kindle there is software you can download to be able to read them on your computer and some phones. I don't have a Kindle, but read them on my computer and Android.

For the Fargo Public Library Kindle books, go to the library's website and click on "downloads".

Information on Kindle books at the Moorhead Public Library is on their website. The Moorhead Library is having an informational session about e-books on Monday, September 26 from 6:30 to 8:00 pm. Registration is required at (218) 233-7594.

From the information I found, the West Fargo Library has ebooks but they are not compatible with the Kindle at this time.

Check out periods are different for certain books but it looks like most are 14 days. There are a certain limit of books available, if the limit is check out you can add it to your waiting list. On the Fargo site you are limited to check out 5 title at one time.

This is one way to cut down on clutter and save money on buying books. Also, if you check out an e-book you can preview it before buying the hard copy to see if it is worth it to buy it.

Many libraries are getting access to e-books so check out your area library to see if they are available in your area.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Jane Goodall event

On Tuesday, September 27 there will be an event “An Evening With Jane Goodall Live” at select theatres around the country. Locally it will be at Century 10 in Fargo, which is the only location it will be shown at in ND. It will start at 7:00 and the tickets are $15.

The event marks the 50th anniversary of Jane Goodall’s lifelong work in conservation and animal welfare issues. There will be special appearances by Angelina Jolie and others.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Enemies of the Heart review

In "Enemies of the Heart" Andy Stanley explores four of the things that can affect our lives, guilt, anger, greed and jealousy.

Over the past few years I have read several books by Andy Stanley. As with the other books this one was also a quick and easy read. He has a great talent for relating current situations to biblical references also.

The book includes a six-week discussion guide in the back of the book to extend your study of what is contained in the book.

I would highly recommend this book for insights into your life and how it may be affected by the power of guilt, anger, greed and jealousy.

Review of The Grace of God

Over the past few years I have read several books written by Andy Stanley and have enjoyed all of them. "The Grace of God" is a quick read and very thought provoking. It makes you think what grace means to you. As Andy states in the introduction to the book, "When we are on the receiving end, grace is refreshing. When it is required of us, it is often disturbing."

Along with references of grace in our current lives and references from the Bible he has certain sentences in bold so they stick out to the reader.

He has a style of writing that is easy to read and comprehend. I would highly recommend this book.

I received a copy of the book from Thomas Nelson publishers as part of the Book Review Blogger program. The book is the only compensation I received and had no affect on the review.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Everything in Moderation

Many people think I disapprove of spending money on anything. I like to relate budgeting and spending to dieting. Just as with dieting you need to consider your calorie intake and amount of exercise you get. With budgeting you need to consider your income and the fixed expenses you have. Once you deduct your fixed expenses such as mortgage/rent, utilities, food and debt repayment then you can see how much you have to spend on other things.

As it is discussed in David Bach's books, "Smart Women Finish Rich" and "Smart Couples Finish Rich" and other resources it is helpful to sit down and think about what is important to you about money. Once you decide what you value, it may be easier to budget your money towards those things.

I feel it is also important to track your expenses so you can see how you are spending your money. It is easy to take out cash and all of a sudden your wallet is empty and you may have little idea of what you actually spent your money on.

So it is alright to spend money, just think about what you are spending it on.