Saving for the Holidays – Why not start now?

Saving for the Holidays Christmas
🎄🎅 It’s never too early to start saving for the holidays!  Here’s why and how you can get a head start this September:

save for the holidays

Avoid the holiday rush

By starting early, you won’t have to scramble for gifts, decorations, and party essentials in December. You’ll have plenty of time to plan and shop without the stress and pressure of last-minute shopping.

Break it down

Determine your budget for Christmas, including gifts, holiday activities, and travel expenses if applicable. Divide that amount by the number of months until December, and save a portion each month to meet your goal. It’s much less daunting to save a little each month than scramble for a lump sum later.

holiday shopping sale

Take advantage of sales:

Keep an eye out for sales and discounts throughout the year. September is a great time to find deals on summer clearance items that can be repurposed or saved for Christmas presents. Take advantage of sales and promotions to stretch your budget even further.

DIY for the win

Consider making homemade gifts or decorations. Not only is it a more personal touch, but it can also save you money. Start gathering materials early, so you have plenty of time to create heartfelt and budget-friendly gifts.

Set up a separate savings account

Open a separate savings account specifically for Christmas expenses. Set up automatic transfers from your regular account to ensure you’re consistently saving without having to think about it.

Cut unnecessary expenses

Take a look at your monthly spending habits and see if there are any areas you can cut back on to save more money for Christmas. It could be skipping that afternoon coffee run or reducing eating out to once a week.

Get creative with celebrations

Plan budget-friendly activities and traditions that prioritize quality time over extravagant spending. Host a potluck dinner, start a family game night tradition, or organize a holiday movie marathon.

By starting to save for Christmas now, you’ll avoid the financial stress that often accompanies the holiday season. Plus, you’ll be able to enjoy the festivities knowing you’ve already prepared.

How to Do Labor Day Weekend on a Budget

You’re short on cash and want to have fun, but you don’t know how to do labor day weekend on a budget.

Fortunately, there are a ton of ways for you to plan a fantastic Labor Day. Follow these tips and ideas for how to do labor day weekend on a budget.

Ways to Do Labor Day Weekend on a Budget

Pick Budget-Friendly Outings

Spend a few minutes researching the true cost of a Labor Day trip or outing before committing to a plan. Don’t forget to include items like transportation expenses, food, beverages, parking, and entertainment.

For example, a free Labor Day festival sounds like a fun outing, but if the only free thing is the entrance fee, you’ll still need to budget for your transportation expenses, food and drinks, and additional festival activities. This seemingly “free” event can cost you hundreds of dollars, especially if you’re attending with your family.

However, a lake, pool, or beach that charges a fee for access may be a solid deal if you’re able to pack your own food and drinks and bring items for entertainment (like a beach game or floats).

Opting for activities that allow you to bring your own food and drinks helps you keep your expenses as low as possible.

Share Expenses with a Friend

If you want to get away for Labor Day weekend, travel with a friend so that you have someone to split your travel costs with. While you’ll still need to pay for your food, entertainment, and personal items, you can drastically reduce the amount that you spend on lodging and transportation.

Shop Around for the Best Price

When booking a hotel room or flight, make sure to check at least three or four websites to get the best price possible. You should also see if you qualify for any discounts (like a military discount, student discount, senior citizen discount, or discount for being a member of an organization like AAA).

You can even save a little more money if you’re willing to select a room or flight that’s non-refundable; just make sure you’re willing to commit to your travel plans before going this route.

Use Your Credit Card Points

If you have a credit card that gives you points or rewards for making purchases, you may be able to use these points to pay for a hotel room or purchase tickets or a gift certificate for a fun activity, like a movie or a nice meal out.

While you need some time to implement this tip, credit card points can be an excellent way to have fun without busting your budget.

Just make sure to pay your balance off each month to minimize interest expenses and look for a card with a low or no annual fee. You may also qualify for a sign-up bonus when opening a new card that gives you a lot of points upfront.

Drive a Little Further for Cheap Airfare or Transportation

Labor Day plans that involve flying or taking a train have the potential to become an expensive weekend away. Keep your travel costs low by comparing rates and fares at different airlines and train stations. Driving an extra hour to use a different carrier can save you hundreds of dollars.

Take Advantage of Free Hotel Perks

When staying at a hotel, see if they offer free breakfast or have complimentary snacks at a certain time of the day. Utilizing these free perks will help you lower your food costs while you’re away. You can even grab a couple of things to take with you for free snacks while you’re out and about.

Plan a Staycation

A staycation is an underrated option for celebrating Labor Day weekend. You’ll save a lot of money on travel expenses, and you’ll have access to your kitchen so that you can prepare delicious, budget-friendly meals.

Look for free or low-cost activities to celebrate the holiday, including public pools, state or national parks, and public parks. Be on the lookout for cheap community events or museum and zoo promotions that offer reduced entrance fees.

Since cheap destinations are popular on busy holiday weekends, try to arrive early to beat the crowds and ensure that you have a spot.

Or, cozy up at home for a terrific Labor Day weekend. Schedule a movie marathon that includes all those movies you’ve been meaning to watch. Make popcorn, grab some snacks, and invite a few friends over.

A game night is another fun, cheap way to celebrate Labor Day. Have each family member pick out their favorite game, prepare your favorite appetizers and dips, and spend an evening enjoying a little friendly competition.

Go Camping

If you want to get away for cheap, check out nearby campgrounds to see if they have any open camping sites. Tent camping makes for an affordable weekend away, and even if you need to purchase a tent and air mattress, the cost is still significantly cheaper than staying at a hotel.

Bring simple meals to grill or cook over the fire, or you can bring non-perishable items to minimize your food costs.

Don’t have a campground near you or want to cut your costs even more? Set up your tent in your backyard! You’ll save on campsite rental fees while having access to a few modern amenities for cooking and showering.

Schedule a Potluck-Style Gathering

Want to invite your friends and family over, but don’t have the funds to cover food and drinks for everyone? Invite everyone over for a potluck gathering where each person brings their favorite drink, snack, or dish.

You’ll have a variety of offerings without having to spend the money (and time) to prepare all the food and drinks yourself.

Plan a Road Trip

Even with the cost of gas, a road trip is still a budget-friendly way to see a lot of sights. Pick out a nearby town, and have each family member pick out a few sights and stops that they want to explore.

Be on the lookout for cheap excursions, like parks and other public spaces. A farmer’s market can also offer some great deals on fresh produce, flowers, and other food items.

Decorate for Fall

If you’re one of the people who like to celebrate fall immediately after Labor Day, Labor Day is a terrific time to prepare your home for the changing seasons. Sweep or hose down your front porch so that it’s clean, and break out your favorite fall decoration.

Want to add a few new pieces to your fall setup? Look for local farms and retailers with deals on pumpkins, gourds, and autumn flowers, like mums and black-eyed Susan’s.

Stretch Out with a Book

The warm summer days are a fantastic time to find a shady spot where you can relax with a great book. Pack a picnic basket with a few drinks and snacks to make the most of your reading time.

Stop by the local public library to borrow books to enjoy over the Labor Day weekend. Prefer to use a tablet or smartphone to read? Many public libraries have programs that permit you to borrow virtual book copies.

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Spring Holidays in the USA

Spring is just around the corner, and that means a full holiday season will soon be upon us. From making your own version of Mardi Gras on March 1st to commemorating Memorial Day on May 30th, the spring months hosts plenty of holidays for you to celebrate with your family and friends. Keep reading to learn ways to celebrate the spring holidays.

Mardi Gras – March 1st

Mardi Gras, meaning “Fat Tuesday” in French, is traditionally a time of excess as people fit in everything they want before Lent. Celebrated by religious and non-religious people alike, Mardi Gras has since become a big party for everyone. To celebrate at home, you’ll first want to make sure you have all the foods you’d eat in New Orleans, such as po’boys, hushpuppies and a king cake. The last one can be difficult to find, but it’s essentially a purple, yellow and green cake with a plastic baby inside. Whoever finds the baby is said to be bestowed with luck. If you drink alcohol, consider stocking up on some Louisiana brews or make some Sazernacs, the official cocktail of New Orleans. Next, get some masks and decorations that allow you and your friends to celebrate in style. Finally, play some jazz music in the background and celebrate the first of many spring holidays.

Saint Patrick’s Day – March 17th

Everyone is Irish on St. Patrick’s Day, and cities around the world celebrate in style. However, if your town doesn’t have an annual St. Patty’s Day celebration, you can still have a special event at home. Corned beef and cabbage is an easy meal to make on top of being the traditional dish served, especially with a few slices of soda bread on the side. Beer drinkers will love sampling different variations of green beer as well. More of a purist? Guinness is likely the right choice for you. Don’t like beer? Try an Irish Coffee with brown sugar for an extra dose of sweetness. Whether you put on green from head to toe or wear a little Shamrock somewhere on your outfit, Saint Patty’s Day is an easy holiday to get in the festive spirit.

Easter Sunday – April 17th

Easter is about the resurrection of Christ for Christians; however, many people from all backgrounds have their own Easter-themed celebrations—including a visit from the Easter Bunny. The night before is perfect for dying eggs with the kids before hosting an egg hunt in your yard or around the house. If you want to go the extra mile for kids, consider renting or purchasing an Easter Bunny costume for a memorable celebration that won’t be forgotten. Finally, consider whipping up some Easter staples, including cakes, deviled eggs, a roast turkey or ham and plenty of sides for a feast your friends and family will love. Easter is one of the most celebrated spring holidays.

Earth Day – April 22nd

Earth Day is all about working together to save our planet, and this is the perfect holiday to get your kids involved in making the world a better place. There is a multitude of different things you can do to help the planet, including being car-free for the day, starting a recycling program at home or even making a birdhouse for feathered friends. Regardless of how you choose to spend your Earth Day, it’s important to remember to take the time to make the world a better place for everyone.

Arbor Day – April 29th

Closely related to Earth Day (and only a week apart), Arbor Day revolves around trees. Of course, the most popular and traditional way to celebrate is by planting a tree. However, not everyone has the space to plant, especially if they live in an apartment. For those looking to celebrate, consider sponsoring a tree being planted, reading more about trees with the kids or volunteering somewhere in the community to complete tasks like cleaning up a park or making a group donation to a charity.

Cinco de Mayo – May 5th

Cinco de Mayo celebrates Mexico’s victory in the Battle of Puebla against the French, and it’s one of the most fun and festive holidays on our list. You can easily host your own holiday spectacular by decorating your home in bright, festive colors or by ordering decorations made just for the holiday. Of course, the most popular element of any Cinco de Mayo celebration is the food, and now is the perfect time to whip up some enchiladas and perfect your tamale-making skills. Finally, take the time to learn more about the history of our neighbors to the south and why the holiday means so much to the people of Mexico.

Mother’s Day – May 8th

Mother’s Day is the one say of the year to celebrate your mother (or mother figure), and you can come up with a myriad of ways to celebrate what makes your mom so great. If you still live with her, consider making her breakfast in bed and giving her a break from household chores. If you live nearby, throw a surprise party with her friends after you’ve spent the day together. Finally, if mom lives far away, take the time to give her a phone call and have flowers or chocolates delivered for a holiday neither one of you will forget.

Memorial Day – May 30th

Memorial Day tends to get used as the marker for summer beginning; however, it’s also time to remember the soldier who died for our country. Before the picnics and barbeques, take the time to attend a Memorial Day ceremony or parade and consider decorating the graves of fallen soldiers at your local cemetery.

The spring months offer plenty of holiday cheer for those looking to spend their time with family and friends. From donning your best purple, yellow and green mask for Mardi Gras to remembering our fallen soldiers on Memorial Day, you can make this spring a holiday season to remember. Whether you decide to throw a few parties or take time to celebrate each holiday with your family, remember that each day offers plenty of activities that everyone will love.

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Shopping for Valentine’s Day on a Budget

Valentine’s Day is dedicated to romance, and one of the main ways people celebrate is by purchasing gifts for one another. However, if budgets are tight this year, it can feel difficult to find a gift that’s perfect for both your partner and your budget. Luckily, we’re here to help. Read on to learn how to shop for Valentine’s Day this year while staying within your budget.

Plan Your Valentine’s Day on a Budget Ahead of Time

Look for ways to cut down on expenses by writing down your income and listing your expenses. Certain things like rent and utilities obviously need to be paid, but what can you cut down on? For example, if you get a coffee every day, consider making your caffeine fix at home for the month or get a basic weekly car wash rather than the deluxe. Small changes like this can save you a couple hundred dollars a month, which is perfect for your Valentine’s Day on a budget.

Set Your Budget and Stick to It

You’ve carefully crafted your budget and are ready to go shopping. As you look around, you find the one item you know will blow your loved one’s socks off. The only problem? It’s a several hundred dollars over your price range. It can be tempting to go over your budget this one time to get the present; however, depending on your finances, you might be in a financial limbo for several weeks or months if you do. When you create your budget, attempt to stick to it as closely as possible rather than stretching yourself thin. You’ll find another perfect gift in your price range in no time.

Shop for Great Deals

Just because it’s Valentine’s Day doesn’t mean you only need to shop at expensive stores. Plenty of cheaper brands stock great gifts your loved one will cherish. For example, your local dollar store likely has an assortment of items just waiting to get placed in the perfect gift basket. Take the time to look at what cheaper stores have to offer and save some serious money while you’re shopping for the right gift for your loved one.

Turn to Staples

With the holiday upon us, many stores will happily put their wares on sale to become your loved one’s present. Jewelers, florists and candy makers consider February a big month for sales, and they’re all competing to get you through their doors. Take the time to see which brands are offering deep discounts for the holiday. You might find that perfect gift for much less than it would normally be.

Consider Personalization

Does your loved one drink coffee on a regular basis? Do they love to get the latest bestseller from their favorite bookstore? More and more companies are now offering personalization on their products, allowing you to create something that’s truly unique for the person you care about. From mugs to bookbags to wine bottles, your loved one can receive something that has themselves written all over it.

Get Creative

Many times, people are looking for a gift that’s from the heart rather than something you spent thousands of dollars on. This is where crafting comes in handy. Scroll through Pinterest or Instagram to get great ideas on something you can make for your loved one using tools and supplies you already have around the house. Think about what your recipient likes and will use as well. There’s little sense in giving someone something they’ll rarely use. Finally, remember that you don’t need to make something that’s big or elaborate either. Small things like a photo album or cookies are much appreciated as well.

Make a Date Night

Many people focus on gifts for Valentine’s Day, but a great date night can mean more to people than anything you purchase. Is your partner a devoted concertgoer? Do they spend hours on end looking at vintage cars? Think about things your partner likes doing and plan your Valentine’s Day date night around their favorite activity. Want to up the awe factor? Consider taking them to the first place you met for dinner or take them shopping to that antique store you know they love. They’ll get a fun night they’ll never forget while you’ll have created the perfect experience to show them how much you love them.

Buy Some Favorites

What’s your significant other’s favorite candy? Their t-shirt brand? Their wine brand? Oftentimes, it can be tempting to give someone something that’s new, exciting and expensive for Valentine’s Day, but favorites are much more likely to win over your lover. Take some time to think about what you know they love and go shopping for a few of these favorites to make a Valentine’s Day present that means more to your loved one than anything else you could purchase. By selecting things you know mean a lot to them, you’re showing that you notice the small details that keep your loved one going.

Look for Valentine’s Day-Themed Gifts

Just like other holidays, Valentine’s Day offers plenty of holiday-themed gifts. As the day creeps nearer and nearer, store owners start to worry about their themed stock selling and will commonly mark it down. While you probably won’t find that exact thing you were eying a couple weeks ago, you can find some low clearance prices that will fit into nearly anyone’s budget. Of course, the cheapest prices are after Valentine’s Day, so consider doing some after-holiday shopping as well.

Shopping for Valentine’s Day on a budget doesn’t have to be hard. From creating a budget and shopping for great deals to creating a new, cherished possession and taking them to their favorite restaurant on date night, Valentine’s Day can become your loved one’s favorite holiday without you needing to spend a lot. Take the time to think about what your significant other loves, and shop for or make a gift you know they’ll love. Have a Happy Valentine’s Day and remember that it’s the thought that counts rather than how much you spend.

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25 Activities To Do In The Winter

Are you looking for activities to do in the winter? As the weather gets chillier and festive holiday cheer abounds, indoor and outdoor winter activities are guaranteed to keep you entertained this season. Whether you love unwinding by the fire with a cup of hot cocoa or prefer a more sporty activity like ice skating, the winter season has something for everyone. Here are 25 activities to do in the winter.

1. Make Hot Chocolate Bombs

These tasty hot chocolate powder and marshmallow-filled treats require a special mold (here’s a link to purchase) and some assembly is required for the chocolate globes. We love this recipe.

2. Take a Drive to See the Holiday Lights at Night

Check your local media outlets for neighborhoods with special holiday decor and light displays for the public to enjoy.

3. Ice Skating

Strap on a pair of skates and take a spin at your local ice rink! This is also a great way to stay physically active in cold weather.

4. Bake a Panettone

This Italian sweet bread with candied fruits is a winter holiday favorite that takes a bit of time (the dough needs to rise overnight) but is well worth the wait and effort. View the recipe here.

5. Create a Scrapbook of Winter Memories

Rather than leaving all of your memories on your phone, print out your pictures this year and chronicle your wintertime adventures like experiencing the season’s first snowfall or the winter solstice.

6. See The Nutcracker

Whether it’s watching the movie on a projector while cozy at home or seeing the ballet in person, this family-friendly classic is full of magic and winter adventure.

8. Camp Out in Your Living Room

Assemble a pillow fort or break out your sleeping bags, light the fireplace or put a Yule Log video on Youtube, and bring out the snacks for an impromptu indoor camping night in.

9. Try a Winter Photo Shoot

Gather friends or family for an informal winter-themed photo shoot using DIY backdrops, such as garlands, or a snowy outdoor scene.

10. Visit a Local Museum

From modern art to natural history, there’s probably a museum or two you haven’t visited yet. Winter is the perfect time for this indoor cultural activity.

11. Create a Winter-Themed Music Playlist

Get into the spirit of the season by compiling a list of your favorite wintertime songs on Spotify to play and share with your loved ones. You’ll be surprised how many songs have a winter vibe.

12. Make a Dream or Vision Board

Have big goals for the upcoming New Year? Find inspiration from images online and in magazines to make a visual representation of your dreams and goals for the future. This can be made digitally on gomoodboard.com or by using a poster board, magazine clippings, and a glue stick.

13. Make Fake Snow

Missing real snowflakes? This simple two-ingredient recipe means you can have snow even if you’re in a warmer climate. 

14. Go on a Winter Scavenger Hunt

Write down 10 things to search for around town or near your home – everything from spotting a pine cone or a Santa hat works – and the first person who checks everything off the list wins.

15. Take a Day Trip

If weather permits, go on a long drive to explore back roads, semi-local attractions, and finally visit those spots you’ve always vowed you’d stop at one day.

16. Make Waterless Snow Globes

This craft is relatively easy to do if you’re handy with a glue gun. Go here for directions.

18. Visit Winter Markets and Bazaars

Need last-minute gifts or decorations? Check out the goods and support local artisans and makers at festive markets and bazaars in your area.

19. Have a Winter-Themed Movie Night

From Frozen to Eight Below, films with wintry settings full of snow and frigid weather are a delight to watch while curled up in blankets on the couch with hot chocolate.

20. Make Pomander Balls

If you love the scent of winter citrus and fragrant spices, try your hand at making pomander balls. Simply stick whole cloves in firm oranges in the pattern of your choice. For additional scent, you can roll oranges in a mixture of spices, including cinnamon, allspice, and nutmeg. If you’d like to hang your pomander, run a long, thin wire through the middle of the orange and make a loop at the top.

21. Make a Snow Angel

Enjoy a snowy day by laying down on the snow and spreading your arms and legs to create one.

22. Make a Winter-Scented Potpourri

Fill your home with the scent of wintertime by combining spices and fruit like nutmeg, apples, and cranberries on your stovetop. We love this recipe.

23. Refresh Your Space

Get a head start on spring cleaning with a winter refresh – go through your closets and decide what items to keep, donate, or toss. Be honest about what you’ve actually worn this year, what fits, and what you no longer love or want to wear. You’ll make room for the new and any holiday presents you may receive.

24. Start a Book Club

Winter is the ideal time to curl up with a good book and catch up with dear friends – combine the two by starting a book club. Select a book that’s set in wintertime and set aside a time to meet virtually or in person to discuss the book’s plot and overall themes.

25. Play a Board Game

Snowed in? Grab a board game like Monopoly or Candyland to keep your mind occupied. Have a lot of time to keep your kids busy during winter break? A 1000 piece puzzle will do the trick.

26. Organize a Clothing Swap

Invite friends and family over one evening to share and swap gently used clothing, outerwear, and accessories. Any leftover items can be donated for people in need in the true spirit of the season.

We hope these activities keep you entertained (and warm!) all winter long.

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Where to Shop for Holiday Gifts on a Budget

One of the best things about the holidays is giving gifts that make others happy and feel special. Trying to shop for holiday gifts on a budget may seem hard, but it’s not impossible. There are plenty of stores and places online to find affordable holiday gifts these days. This year, with cost inflation, that is incredibly beneficial. You also have the supply issue to consider when shopping, so creativity will be necessary.

Uncommon Goods

Uncommon Goods is an online retailer and offers gifts you won’t find on other websites, and many of them are at an affordable price. Find unique items such as Famous Artists Ornaments for $22.00, Kids-for-Kids winter socks for $15.00, and Aromatherapy Balm stocking stuffer and ornament for $25.00. Uncommon Goods is a popular way to shop for holiday gifts on a budget.

Target

Target always has a decent selection of affordable holiday gifts. This year they have Amazon Fire TV Stick with Alexa Voice Remote for 19.99, a 15 pack of Men’s Marvel Advent Calendar socks for $15.00, or a Vitamasques Festive Face Mask Gift Set – Limited Edition – 6ct for $10.00. Close to 2,000 locations are throughout all 50 U.S. states, and you can shop online.

Walmart

When you think of Walmart, uncommon gifts may not be the first thing that comes to mind, but they have plenty of options for fabulous gifts at affordable prices. They have an Atomi Bluetooth 5W 3.25-Inch circle shower speaker for $14.96 and a Big Lebowski Movie 500-piece puzzle in plastic retro blockbuster VHS video case for $9.97. Or, in Walmart’s photo section, you can personalize a 50Ă—60 plush fleece blanket with your photos for $39.99 or two for $60.00! You can find this big retailer almost everywhere and shop their deals online.

Amazon

Amazon is an online retailer and the go-to for many these days, and the holiday season is no exception. Find plenty of Cheap and quirky gifts for all of your favorites. Things like a 12 pack of Vincent Van Gogh Guitar Picks gift set for $14.95, an Ecolution Original Microwave Micro-Pop popcorn popper for $12.99, a holiday crave box full of delicious snacks for $24.95, or a Prodyne Fruit Infusion Flavor Pitcher for $19.99.

Kohl’s

Kohl’s has long been the place to go for affordable holiday gifts. This year they have a Toastmaster personal blender for 14.99, an Amazon Fire TV Stick Streaming Media Player with Dolby Atmos Audio and Alexa Voice Remote for $19.99, or adorable St. Nicholas Square ornaments for $4.99. There are Kohl’s locations in every U.S. state except for Hawaii. You can also take advantage of their fabulous deals online.

Dollar General

Dollar General carries a wide variety of items at a low price. You can find anything from clothes to cleaning supplies or home goods to toys and electronics. They always have a selection of items on sale for the holidays. Things such as a Sylvania speaker, set of two for $10.00, SpaScriptions four-piece spa day set for $5.00, or if you are shopping for kids, they have a National Geographic deluxe STEM science activity kit for $20.00. There are 17,000 store locations throughout the U.S. You can also shop online.

Etsy

Etsy is a neat online marketplace that allows artists and crafters to create accounts and sell items, including artwork and other goods. Many of the items are at low and affordable prices. You can find unique gifts such as a personalized family recipe book for $29.00, personalized birthstone bracelets for $17.20, and personalized wall art starting at $22.00.

Five Below

Five Below is a discount retail store that sells items that cost up to $5.00. You can find small gifts and stocking stuffers such as fidget and sensory toys popular among kids these days. They also have board games, small electronics, holiday home decor, toys, clothing items, make-up, and candy. There are 900 Five Below locations in 36 U.S. states, and you can enjoy their discount pricing online.

JCPenney

James Cash and Penny opened the first JCPenny store in 1902. The retailer closed many JCPenny department store locations in the last few years, but you can still take advantage of their superb holiday deals online. They have fabulous gifts, including a Clean Reserve perfume discovery kit for $24.00 or a Harry & David Tower Of Sweet Treats for $29.69.

Crate and Barrel

Crate and Barrel is a home decor store that offers trendy and modern essentials for every room in your home. You can find hip gifts such as a Dash Mini Gingerbread Man Waffle Maker for $12.95, a mini pie maker for $17.95, and a 2021 Silver Pearl frame Christmas ornament for $8.95. Crate and Barrel have 89 stores and eight outlets around the United States and Canada, and you can shop online.

Burlington

Burlington has plenty of holiday gift items to choose from at low prices. Things such as men’s box spa sets for $16.99, adorable handbags are starting at $24.99, and plenty of toys, holiday apparel, and home essentials all start at low and affordable prices. There are currently 740 Burlington locations around the country, and you can also take advantage of their prices online.

If you’re trying to shop for holiday gifts on a budget, you are in luck. You can save plenty of time, effort, and money by shopping for holiday gifts for all of your favorite people at the stores and retailers you know will have the best deals. Use this handy list to finish your holiday shopping without breaking the bank in no time!

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Top Thanksgiving Dishes

Thanksgiving is fastly approaching. We’re looking forward to the food we’ll devour during our annual dinner. From scrumptious turkey to decadent pies, Thanksgiving brings all the goodies directly to us.

Keep reading to learn about our top ten dishes for the season and the recipes to make them.

1. Turkey

It’s a standby for a reason. It’s just so darn good. This turkey recipe is sure to make everyone at your table wanting seconds. Just remember to use fresh herbs for the best culinary experience!

Ingredients

– 12-14 Pound Turkey, giblets discarded and neck to the side
– 2 Sprigs plus 1 Tbsp. Chopped Thyme
– 2 Sprigs plus 1 Tbsp. Chopped Sage
– 6 Tbsp. Unsalted, Room Temperature Butter
– 2 Carrots, Halved
– 2 Celery Ribs, Halved
– 1 Onion, Quartered

Directions

– Preheat Oven to 350. The key to a great turkey is longer roasting at a lower temperature.
– Combine butter and chopped herbs in a bowl. Add salt and pepper as you see fit.
– Place veggies and herb sprigs at the bottom of a roasting pan with 2 cups of water; top with roasting rack.
– Rub butter mixture underneath the breast skin; season turkey and cavity with salt and pepper; place on roasting rack and tie the bird’s legs, folding wings under; place in oven.
– Baste every 30 minutes, adding more water if vegetables begin to burn.
– Remove turkey when thermometer reads 165 when inserted in the thickest part of the thigh; place chicken on counter or platter to rest for 30 minutes, saving cavity juices, turkey neck and any drippings in bowl for gravy.

2. Gravy

No Thanksgiving meal is complete without gravy, and this one is sure to become a favorite!

Ingredients

– Turkey Drippings
– Turkey neck
– ½ c. White Wine or Chicken Stock
– 4 c. Chicken Stock
– ÂĽ c. Flour
– Salt and Pepper
– 1 tsp. Thyme
– 1 tsp. Sage

Directions

– Place neck and drippings in a sauce pan; cook until thickened and brown.
– Add wine or chicken stock; cook for 6-8 minutes until syrupy
– Add flour and fresh herbs; stir 30 seconds.
– Slowly add chicken stock; allow to thicken, stirring often for roughly 15 minutes.

3. Candied Yams

Who doesn’t love the world’s most delectable side dish? These candied yams are perfect for picky eaters as well as those who just want a sweet treat.

Ingredients

– 1 (29 oz) can of Sweet Potatoes
– ÂĽ c. Butter
– ½ c. Brown Sugar
– 1 ½ c. Mini Marshmallows

Directions

– Preheat oven to 400 degrees
– Drain sweet potatoes; place in baking dish; place butter evenly on top of sweet potatoes; sprinkle with brown sugar; place marshmallows on top.
– Bake for 25 minutes; Sweet potatoes will be tender and marshmallows melted.

4. Stuffing

While we don’t recommend putting stuffing in your bird, you’re more than welcome to! This recipe is easy, breezy, and yummy.

Ingredients

– 1 ½ Loaves of French Bread (day old)
– 3 c. Chicken Stock
– 2 Sticks of Butter
– 1 Onion
– 4 Celery Stalks
– 1 ½ Tbsp. Poultry Seasoning
– 1 Tbsp. Fresh Oregano
– 2 tsp. Fresh Rosemary
– Salt and Pepper to Taste

Directions

– Cut bread the day before; store in paper bags.
– Preheat oven to 350 degrees; Grease casserole dish with softened butter.
– Dice onion and celery.
– Melt butter in saucepan; add diced veggies; cook veggies for 8-10 minutes; add spices and stir over low heat until spices and herbs become fragrant.
– Add 2 cups of stock to pan; heat for one minute; remove pan from heat.
– Place bread in mixing bowl; add stock/butter mixture in one cup at a time.
– Add additional stock as needed.
– Place in casserole dish; bake for 30 minutes with foil on top; remove foil and bake an additional 30 minutes.

5. Green Bean Casserole

This is by far the easiest recipe on our list, but that doesn’t mean your guests won’t be impressed!

Ingredients

– 4 (14.5 oz) cans of Cut Green Beans, drained (do not get the French cut green beans!)
– 2 (14 oz) cans of Cream of Mushroom Soup
– 1 Can of French’s Fried Onions

Directions

– Preheat oven to 350 degrees
– Mix green beans, soup and 2/3 of a can of fried onions; Place in baking dish; bake for 45 minutes; add remaining onions and bake an additional 5 minutes.

6. Cranberry Sauce

We know the stuff you get out of the can is great, but trust us when we say homemade is SO much better. You’ll want this all year long.

Ingredients

– 1 lb. Fresh Cranberries
– 2 c. Water
– 2 c. Sugar

Directions

– Heat water and sugar until boiling; allow to boil for an additional five minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent burning.
– Stir in cranberries; boil for 5 minutes (cranberries will begin to pop); place in serving dish and cool for at least three hours.

7. Mashed Potatoes

Is any Thanksgiving complete if it doesn’t have mashed potatoes? We don’t think so either. Trust us when we say these potatoes are heavenly.

Ingredients

– 3 Pounds of Potatoes, peeled and quartered
– 1 Tbsp. Salt
– 4 Tbsp. Unsalted Butter
– ½ c. Cream
– Pepper to Taste

Directions

– Place potatoes and a tsp of salt in a pot; cover with water; bring to a boil and allow to gently boil for 20-25 minutes, or until potatoes are tender; Drain.
– Place potatoes back in the pot and let sit for up to two minutes to remove moisture.
– Mash potatoes to the consistency you like; add remaining ingredients; mash ingredients together, adding more cream as you see fit.

8. Yorkshire Pudding

Okay, we know this comes from our British cousins, but trust us when we say these rolls are so much better for Thanksgiving.

Ingredients

– 3 Eggs
– 1 c. Milk
– 1 c. Flour
– 2 Tbsp. Butter

Directions

– Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
– Beat eggs and milk together; add flour; set aside
– Butter a muffin tin with roughly ½ tsp. of butter per cup by placing butter in tin and melting in hot oven; add batter to cups.
– Bake in oven for 5 minutes; reduce heat to 350 and bake an additional 25 minutes.

9. Brussels Sprouts

The time to hate brussels sprouts is long gone, and these delicious little morsels will quickly become a staple in most households.

Ingredients

– 1 Tbsp Butter
– 2 tsp. Olive Oil
– 24 Brussels Sprouts, Trimmed and Thinly Sliced
– 2 Tbsp. Lemon Juice
– Salt and Pepper to Taste

Directions

– Heat butter and olive oil in a sautĂ© pan over high heat for 1-2 minutes.

– Add Brussels Sprouts and lemon juice into butter/olive oil mixture; stir constantly until sprouts start to soften, usually about a minute.
– Season with salt and pepper and serve.

10. Pumpkin Pie

No Thanksgiving meal is complete without pumpkin pie, and this recipe is sure to be a standout that makes everyone salivate.

Ingredients

– 1 unbaked pie crust
– 1 Tbsp. Pumpkin Pie Spice
– 1 (14 oz) can Sweetened Condensed Milk
– 1 (16 oz) can Pumpkin Puree
– 2 Eggs

Directions

– Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
– Combine all ingredients, except pie crust, in a bowl and mix thoroughly.
– Place crust in a pie dish; poor pumpkin mixture into crust.
– Bake for 15 minutes; reduce oven to 350 degrees; bake pie an additional 35-40 minutes, placing foil on crust if it begins to burn.

We hope you enjoyed these easy recipes that are sure to make any Thanksgiving the best your family has ever had. With adequate help and some planning, you can easily get this feast on the table with as little work as possible. We hope you have a marvelous Thanksgiving, Happy eating!

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Thanksgiving on a Budget: Tips and Recipes

Thanksgiving can be such a refreshing holiday; time spent with loved ones without the pressure of gifts, no events, or mandatory activities. It’s a break from all of that: a reprieve before the true chaos begins. But for a Thanksgiving host, well it’s a different story entirely. Hosting Thanksgiving can be very overwhelming and extremely costly. Feeding so many people so many different dishes—it’s a big ask. But we’ve compiled a few tips and easy recipes that will help you host thanksgiving on a budget. After all, you deserve to enjoy Thanksgiving just as much as Uncle Frank who’s usually taking his post-meal snooze before you’ve even made your plate!

Thanksgiving on a Budget: Saving Tips

Here’s our no-stress, low-cost guide to hosting a classic Thanksgiving.

Easy Does It

The beauty of a Thanksgiving meal is in its simplicity. These dishes are tried and true. They work for a reason. Stick to the basics. Don’t feel pressure to impress or outshine. The stuffing that’s been passed down throughout generations is more than good enough. Don’t try to fancy it up with new recipes or new ingredients. Your guests came for nostalgia, this makes it easy to do thanksgiving on a budget.

Bulk Buying

Shopping at big box stores will save you time and money. Everything is cheaper in bulk and there’s no better time to take advantage of that fact than Thanksgiving. For many of your recipes, you’ll need the same things: eggs, flour, sugar, butter. Even potatoes and herbs can be purchased in bulk! You can freeze leftover herbs in olive oil (see this fancy little trick here!) and as for the other items, plan ahead of time to split your purchases with a friend who is also hosting their own Thanksgiving. You’ll both save money and have more than enough ingredients.

Shop Generic

For those items that can’t be purchased in bulk, opt for generic brands. Generic or store brands are way less expensive in the long run and honestly, no one will know the difference. Add enough herbs and spices and nothing on your Thanksgiving table will taste generic, guaranteed.

Plan Ahead

Don’t wait until the last minute to do your grocery shopping. You’ll be surprised how quickly stores will run out of the cheaper items, leaving you to spend more than you initially planned. Additionally, most stores run specials or discounts on Thanksgiving items a week or two before the holiday. These sales are great opportunities to grab all your canned items or frozen foods.

Frozen Foods

Speaking of frozen foods…frozen ingredients cost a lot less than fresh ones, especially when you have to buy a lot. Considering most Thanksgiving dishes are some variant of a casserole, it’s unlikely that your guests will notice what was fresh and what was frozen. Save yourself some money (and time since most frozen veggies come pre-chopped!) and buy frozen.

Make a List

Make a list well before you head to the store. Going in without a list will only make it a more stressful experience. You’re likely to buy too much or too little of something, eventually costing yourself more money. Once you have a list, stick to it! Impulse purchases can add up. Trust that the list you prepared ahead of time covers everything.

Share the Burden

No rule says the host must provide every single dish at Thanksgiving. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself! If you know there are a few dishes that are just completely out of your purview, ask a few people to pitch in and bring a dish. Most people will be happy to help. Ask around; some folks may already have a dish in mind that they consider their specialty! They’ll probably be thrilled to prepare it for Thanksgiving.

Easy Thanksgiving Recipes

Here are some yummy, expensive dishes you can make for your thanksgiving on a budget!

Old Fashioned Stuffing

The main ingredient in this recipe is an entire loaf of bread. But once again, no need to go fresh! Start saving stale bread, or the end pieces that no one ever eats. Freeze them until you are ready to make the stuffing. Then they just need a quick thaw. Chop them into cubes and use them just as you would fresh bread! Although, this does require you to plan ahead!

Most folks have their own tried and true recipe for stuffing, but just in case, you can find a reliable one here.  You’ll need butter, onion, celery, chicken broth, and sage. Hopefully, those are all items you already bought when you shopped EARLY with your fully prepared list.

Candied Yams

This is one circumstance where you might want to go fresh. Fresh yams are relatively cheap this time of year and tend to be less expensive than canned yams. This casserole calls for (more) butter, brown sugar, and marshmallows. You can also substitute yams for sweet potatoes.

Find the specifics here.

Mac & Cheese

Not much can beat classic mac & cheese. This is another one of those dishes that doesn’t need anything fancy. Making mac & cheese from scratch couldn’t be simpler, and when cooking for a crowd, it ends up being cheaper than boxed options.

You just need the basics: pasta, milk, cheese, butter, and flour.

Mashed Potatoes

If you have the ingredients for mac & cheese, then chances are you can make mashed potatoes. Even without gravy, mashed potatoes are perfect alongside turkey and stuffing. It’s what comfort food is all about!

For easy mashed potatoes you just need potatoes, milk, and lots of butter! If you want to make them extra creamy, consider adding sour cream. Estimate approximately one potato per person.

Pumpkin Sheet Cake

Instead of several pumpkin pies, consider making one giant pumpkin sheet cake! You’ll save yourself so much tedium and you’ll satisfy all the pumpkin cravings. Sheet cakes are so much more convenient for large crowds, not just in the preparation but also in the serving. Cut up a few squares, add a dollop of whipped cream to each, and dessert is served! It’s a delicious win-win.

Find an easy-to-follow recipe here.

Unfortunately, the most wonderful time of the year can also be the most expensive. But it doesn’t have to be that way. By following these tips and recipes, you can host an incredible thanksgiving on a budget. Remember to stick to the classics and you’ll be fine. Yes, Thanksgiving is about food. But it’s also about friends, family, and gratitude. Your guests will be grateful to you for hosting and won’t care whether the turkey was fresh or store-bought. (By the way—buying from a store brand is another way to save!)

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Best Places to Shop on a Budget for Fall & Winter Clothes

Here are our picks for the Best Places to Shop on a Budget for Fall & Winter Clothes. As we officially head into the colder months, it is time to start planning and preparing for your warmer wardrobe. Most people like to keep up with current trends and add to the selection in their closet with the season’s changes. However, everyone knows that keeping up with the latest clothing fashions can be hard on your wallet. Shopping for new clothes is a lot of fun, but if you don’t know where to shop, it can also do some serious damage to your bank account.

Luckily, these days there are many options out there that will allow you to keep up with the latest fashions and stay well within your budget. When you find affordable retailers buying your favorite trendy apparel feels a lot more practical! 

ASOS

Asos offers customers a wide range of seriously hip fashion at low prices. ASOS is the best place for clothing essentials, including jeans, t-shirts, and simple dresses. They also have a fabulous selection of formal wear at low prices you won’t want to pass up!

They offer sizes from petite to plus-size, so everyone will definitely find something they love on the ASOS website. Stylish winter coats, boots you will love, and trendy tops. Tops include sophisticated sweaters, blouses, turtlenecks, and more. You name it, and ASOS is sure to have it!

Mango

Mango‘s clothing line will give you a high-fashion feel for affordable prices. They offer fabulous sales and deals regularly. You will find unique cuts and fabric combinations that you will love to wear through the fall and winter months.

Amazon Fashion

As with nearly everything else, Amazon offers consumers exceptional deals on the latest styles and trends. They are an excellent choice for trendy clothing, and they refresh their clothing catalog regularly. Spend some time on the Amazon Fashion website, and you will find fashionable clothes you love at unbelievable prices.

There are many budget-friendly choices, and they offer an excellent selection of well-known designers. Another great perk of shopping on the website is the customer reviews. Customers always write detailed and helpful critiques about the sizes and quality of the clothing. As with all of Amazon’s merchandise, Prime members get free two-day shipping on most items.

Target

Target has long been a clothing favorite. Over the recent years, they have seriously expanded their styles, sizes, and designer collaborations. Target is a store everyone should check out when they look to update their fall and winter wardrobe and need to stay on a budget.

TJ Maxx

TJ Maxx has been at the top of its game in offering affordable prices for designer clothing for a long time now. You can find anything from designer bags to trendy clothes at a discount, and they consistently provide discounts from 40% to 60% off. TJ Maxx offers an array of styles and trending brand names for women, men, and kids.

Old Navy

If you haven’t checked out Old Navy‘s vast clothing selection lately, you may not recognize the retailer anymore. They work hard to keep up with all the latest trends and fashions. The thing that will never change about Old Navy is their excellent low pricing!

You can find all sizes ranging from petite to plus-sized, and many fashions and styles. They are also almost always offering discounts on top of their already low price tags.

ROSEGAL 

ROSEGAL offers customers the latest fashion and trends at affordable prices that you will love. If vintage-style clothing is your forte, you will fall in love with their apparel. They have a vast vintage selection and offer a wide range of sizes.

ROSEGAL is especially popular for its selection of plus-size clothing and a wide selection of clothing at affordable pricing. The online retailer offers choices in women, men, and children’s clothing and accessories.

6pm Online Shopping Company

6pm is an online low-cost footwear retailer. They also offer a limited clothing and accessory selection. However, you will find amazing deals on a wide range of heals, tennis shoes, and sandals.

6pm is the sister site of Zappos, and you can find great shoes at a discount that didn’t sell at a much higher price. They also offer speedy shipping on purchases! You will find name brands at fabulous discounts from COACH, J. Crew, Bebe, Nike, and more.

H&M

H&M has all your favorite stylish winter essentials. They have a vast selection of outerwear, sweaters, turtlenecks, and cute blouses. The most exciting part is that their clothing, shoes, and accessories are affordable and won’t break your budget.

LuLu’s

Lulu’s offers a wide range of affordable formal attire, pretty dresses, and adorable separates that anyone looking for trendy deals should check out. You can browse all the latest trends without spending a lot of money. They offer all the latest styles in work attire, from dresses and skirts to sleek blouses.

DressLily

DressLily is another great retailer for affordable and stylish fashion, and they offer the latest trends in every style. They always provide amazing discounts plus additional discounts to new customers.

Whether you are into gothic styles or a fitness buff, you will find things you like. Stop by the DressLily website to find the latest fashions and at prices, you can afford. Not to mention the latest chic crazes that will make you look like a fashionista!

Uniqlo

Uniqlo has all the stylish and unique clothes you need to keep you cozy and warm through even the coldest winter months. They combine simplicity with sophistication and produce quality attire.

Uniqlo provides trendy layer pieces and comfortable, warm sweaters that you will love. You will definitely find clothes you love at prices you can afford.

Kohl’s

Kohl’s is an enormous department store where you can find excellent prices for blouses, skirts, jeans, shoes, and so much more. Kohl’s also has a great clearance section that you must check out on every visit.

Kohl’s offers stylish department store clothes at crazy low prices. You can fill your closet with outfits, shoes, boots, jackets, and coats that you will love wearing all winter long.

Stylish fall and winter clothing and accessories can be costly, so it’s important to stay on the lookout for affordable alternatives. The bottom line is, you don’t have to be rich to stay fashionable this fall and winter. There are plenty of options for retailers that offer all the latest fashions and trends at cheap prices you can afford.

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Top 10 Easy Budget-Friendly Crafts for Fall

Spend some time making budget-friendly crafts for fall that are easy on your wallet. Decorate your home and make exciting costumes with the whole family! Simple and easy instructions make spending time crafting a breeze. From beautiful fall lanterns your kids will love to DIY gifts for your friends and family, this fall will be the craftiest of them all.

Ditch the DIY crafts with long lists of expensive items to buy. These Budget-Friendly Crafts for Fall have 5 components or less each and are inexpensive to purchase. With these ideas, cheap doesn’t mean tacky or clunky. Each one of these fall crafts is fun, fabulous, and easy to make. Try making these budget-friendly crafts for fall with your friends, family, or co-workers!

1. Fall Leaf Lanterns

Nothing says fall like leaves and warm light. This project is simple, easy, and ecological. All you need are a couple of cheap items from your local dollar store and some fall leaves. It’s impossible to mess up and a great activity to do with kids! Try this idea out for a centerpiece on your table or on top of the fireplace.

For this craft you’ll need:

  • A mason jar or vase
  • Modge Podge
  • Leaves from outside
  • A paintbrush
  • Tealights

2. DIY Fox Ears Headband

Looking for an easy DIY costume? You can easily make this no-sew costume with a few simple items. This versatile craft can be used to make all different types of animal ears for endless possibilities. This costume project can be made with low-cost materials like felt, plastic headbands, and hot glue. Easy enough to make with children and fun!

For this craft you’ll need:

  • Felt
  • Hot glue
  • Thin plastic headband
  • Scissors
  • Sharpie

3. Crayon Drip Pumpkins

If you have kiddos in the house then no doubt you have crayons. Possibly even hundreds of broken crayons, which is perfect because they’re exactly what they need for this project! This beautiful way to recycle crayons and decorate for fall is cheap and simple, perfect for everyone. Make rainbows, stick to your favorite shades, or go monochromatic. Try it out this week!

For this craft you’ll need:

  • Pumpkins
  • Crayons
  • A hairdryer

4. Mummy Candles

Super cute candle holders are just a few steps away! These spooky little mummies are simple and fun to make. An excellent choice for little ones and great for brightening up the house for movie night, these mummies will light up the night. Get ready to spend an afternoon of fun making these little guys and prepare to bask in the glow!

For this craft you’ll need:

  • Mason jars
  • Large googly eyes
  • First aid gauze
  • Tealights
  • Hot glue

5. Fairy House Jack-O-Lantern

Creating a fun fairy house out of your jack-o-lanterns is a great way to use biodegradable ingredients. For this simple project, all you need is a pumpkin, a carving knife, a tealight, and a good imagination. You can add your own personal style to this craft with paint, flowers, and maybe some glitter too. Create a whole fairy garden with your family this fall!

For this craft you’ll need:

  • Pumpkins
  • A carving knife
  • Tealights
  • Decorations

6. DIY Coffee Cup Candles

This craft makes for a great gift for the holidays or a decoration. Transform your old mugs into wonderful candles with your choice of essential oil. You’ll be surprised at how easy candle-making can be with a few cheap ingredients from your local craft store and a whole lot of fun. Customize your signature scent and light up your home with candles that will impress your friends!

For this craft you’ll need:

  • Candle wax flakes
  • Scented oil
  • Candle wicks
  • Mugs
  • A pot

7. Easy DIY Bat Costume

If you or your kiddo need a costume in a hurry, this easy DIY bat costume is the perfect project for you. You can easily put together this costume with simple sewing or alternatively hot glue. Making this costume for the whole family will undoubtedly win any costume contest. Get ready for tons of batty fun and adorable memories!

For this craft you’ll need:

  • 1.5 yards of black fabric of your choice
  • 6 inches of elastic
  • Thick black fabric (or felt)
  • Hot glue or a needle and thread

8. $4 Dollar Tree DIY Halloween Wreath

Decorate your door with a festive Halloween wreath! You can make it spooky, leafy, or even witchy. It’s all up to you and your local dollar store. You’ll be amazed at how festive and fun these cost-effective decorations can be. All you have to do is piece them together and you’ve got a brand new wreath you can use year after year. With easy wreaths like this, everyone can decorate their own!

For this craft you’ll need:

  • A wreath form
  • A Halloween door sign (or fall-themed)
  • Garlands
  • Hot glue

9. Happy Fall Wooden Entry Sign

Make your entryway as cute as can be with this adorable wooden entry sign. This craft is cheap to make and can be tailored to your liking as you see fit. Go crazy with paint, ribbon, fabric, and more! This project is great for the whole family. You can each make your own or collaborate on one big sign altogether. Your creation awaits!

For this craft you’ll need:

  • Wood background for the sign
  • Paint
  • Hot glue
  • Lettering template
  • The decor of your choosing

10. Book Page Leaf Garland

Enjoy this classy-looking garland that is great for the entire fall season. Great for kids that are able to cut with scissors, this garland will liven up any room. For next to nothing, your entryway, mantle, bookcase, or door frame will look beautiful when you add this finishing touch. Take it a step further and stamp the leaves with fall colors or throw in a bit of synthetic greenery.

For this craft you’ll need:

  • Old books
  • Cardstock
  • Elmer’s glue
  • Hot glue
  • Floral wire

Spending time making crafts this fall is a wonderful way to bond as a family and enjoy decorating together. There’s something about making things yourself that provides a sense of accomplishment. Making these crafts will be fun, exciting, and won’t break the bank. It’s a win-win-win all around. Try your hand at any of these simple and easy projects and you’ll have a fall to remember!

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