Does anyone remember the time when Black Friday was a one day (or maybe weekend) event that actually began on the Friday after Thanksgiving? It now begins, for some people, before they have even had their slice of pumpkin pie. Black Friday has shoved its way into our holiday feast and called itself grey Thursday. What a sad way to blur our beloved Thanksgiving holiday. Can you tell how I feel about the whole thing?
I don’t go out Thursday night and I hardly ever go out on Fridays anymore (except to go get my clearance turkey). However, I do understand that it’s possible to get some amazing deals. And, I love a good deal. So if you’re a grey Thursday/Black Friday shopper, more power to you. Here are a few tips to make sure your time and money are well spent.
1. Do Your Homework. Scour the ads and websites of the stores you think you may visit for the specific items you’re looking for. There will be plenty of items marked “sale,” “price cut,” or something more dramatic to get your attention. Just check the prices and you decide on the best deal.
2. Prioritize. It’s going to be crazy out there. I know. Just call me “Captain Obvious.” I say that to say that if you have a list, start with the item you want most just in case you can’t get to everything.
3. Divide and Conquer. Go with friends or family and divide up your list to get a better chance of snatching all the good deals you’re after. Plus, if you make sure you each grab a hot cup of something, then it might feel a little more festive while you’re out there in the frigid temperatures!
What do you do to plan for your big Black Friday adventure?
Artistic people go through art supplies quickly. They create wonderful works of art that bring happiness to others, but at a cost. Here are a few ways to reduce the costs that go with creative and artistic work.
Drawing to Stippling
Changing the style of art you do can also change the amount of resources that you use during your projects. I used to draw, but was constantly sharpening my pencils down to get the best look and using a great deal of pencil “lead” to create shading. Then I switched to stippling. The use of dots reduced the amount of colored pencil that I used in both shading and sharpening. Creating dots don’t always require a fine point. Shading is just adding more dots, and sometimes just in a darker color. It keeps me from going through quite as many colored pencils but allows me to still enjoy my art.
One of the simplest ways to save money on art supplies is to treat them with care. Don’t leave clay out to dry. Don’t crush your paint brush bristles by pushing too hard into your painting. Wash them out when you are finished with them. Put crayons away where they can’t be broken. The better care you take with your art supplies the longer they will last.
Both Sides of the Paper
This tip is more for those with artistic children or draw in a sketch pad. Use both sides of a piece of paper. For children this will extend the use of a piece of paper that is going to end up on your fridge and reduce the amount of paper your child uses. This works pretty well in sketch pads as well, just so long as you aren’t working with a wet or oily product.
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This coming week is a time when women all over the United States will be stressing out and scrubbing every square inch in their home. They will be planning their Thanksgiving menu, buying everything, and then coming home and stressing over what they forgot. This is why it’s important to take a day to just be calm before the storm that Thanksgiving can be. What do you do on this day of calm? You make sure you don’t overspend by thinking your way out of your panic state.
You seemed to have forgotten the rolls on your last shopping trip. You plan to have rolls, biscuits, and various types of sweet bread. Take a deep breath and admit to yourself that it will be okay that you forgot the rolls. While someone may notice, there are plenty of yummy bread staples around to make your roll absence not a huge loss. You and your family will still have a great Thanksgiving without the rolls.
You Need Help
Ask your family for help. You do not have six arms and you do need sleep. Trying to do it all by yourself is only going to cause you frustration and waste ingredients when things don’t come together as planned. The best way for everything to come together is for everyone to take on some small part of your Thanksgiving planning. Trying to do it all by yourself will just cause stress and holiday drama.
Let People Bring Something
People offer to bring stuff to your festivities, but you keep saying no. You’re the hostess and you will do it all by yourself. Well, stop it. Let people bring something with them. It helps some people feel needed or feel good that a certain recipe is requested. It helps you keep costs down as well as work load.
Now take a deep breath… and exhale. You will survive Thanksgiving!
Thanksgiving is one week away! One week! How did that happen? If you’re like me, you can’t wait for fall to arrive. It seems to be an eternity, waiting for the season to change. Then, you are thrilled when the weather finally begins to get cool and it “feels like” the holidays. Then, about a week before Thanksgiving, you can’t believe how fast the time has gone! This happens to me every year. Along with that “I can’t believe it’s already Thanksgiving” comes the slight panic over all that has to get done before that day. Here are a few tips to help you (and me) enjoy more and stress a little less on the big day.
There’s not too much time to plan ahead right now. However, just making sure that you know exactly what needs to be done one week in advance makes a difference. Make sure you know (and even write down) what you need to buy for all the foods you’ll be preparing, all the supplies you may need, all the projects (aside from the usual cleaning) that you want to have done before the guests arrive next Thursday.
Do Whatever Can Be Done Early
Most pies and desserts can be made the day before. Some cleaning and organizing can be done several days before (unless you have little ones who will get into whatever you’ve just organized).
Older children can help set the table, clean, and entertain little ones. Friends might enjoy coming over a little early to chat while helping with final preparations.
Remember that your plans and expectations are not shared by your guests. So rather than letting your expectations taunt you on Thanksgiving, enjoy time with family and friends even if you didn’t get to make everything you’d hoped or decorate exactly as you had envisioned.
What else do you do to ensure that Thanksgiving is more fun than stressful?
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My ideal shopping is done with a hot cup of coffee in one hand as I sit bundled up with a computer on my lap and packages arriving at my door. If I could buy all my groceries that way, I would! However, there are just a few exceptions to my ideal and those usually involve the word “clearance” and getting amazing deals on food.
I know that what we all have on our minds right now is preparing for Thanksgiving and buying Christmas and holiday presents. So, allow me to shed a little happy light on your frenzied preparations. I encourage you to think about both what you’d want to get at clearance prices for Thanksgiving next year, like decorations, decorative paper plates and napkins, baking cups and what you could use the day after Thanksgiving!
While I enjoy getting ahead of the game by getting clearance items for the following year, I get much more excited about clearance items I could use once Thanksgiving has come and gone. Especially if that item is food.
We rarely think about food as a clearance item. However, several years ago a manager in the meat section of my local grocery store told me that they considered ham and turkey to be holiday items, just like all those Thanksgiving decorations. So when those decorations get marked down 40% or 50%, so does the turkey and so does the ham.
I realize that those words may not be music to the ears of people who endure eating turkey one day a year. But for the rest of us who love turkey (especially all the fun meals you can make with all the leftovers), this whole thing is pretty exciting!
Turkey can be stored in a deep freezer for up to one year. For the last couple of years, I have bought as many as I could fit in our freezer. The turkey in my freezer now is one I bought after Christmas. It’s an organic turkey I got for $0.49/lb. It will be this year’s Thanksgiving turkey. Then, on the morning after Thanksgiving, I’ll head over to my grocery store to pick up several to stuff in my freezer for this next year. One of those will be our Christmas turkey and the rest we’ll eat throughout the year. When thrifty means yummy, you know you’ve done something right!
This has been a public service announcement. You’re welcome.
Do you ever buy turkey the day after Thanksgiving?
It seems that there are fines for everything. Don’t park in the wrong spot. Don’t litter. When you are renting your home there are even more ways to get fined. Here are a few ways to avoid fines when living in an apartment.
Claim Your Pets
One of the easiest ways to end up with apartment fines is to not claim your pets or not abide by the leasing agreement regarding your pets. Paying your pet deposit may seem like a lot of money, but it’s nothing like the fine you may have to pay later or possibly eviction. Obey leash laws and clean up after your animal as well. The less attention your pet draws in these areas the less your apartment staff will be annoyed that you have a fur-baby in your care.
Read All Letters Left
Sometimes an apartment complex leaves fun little notes taped to your door. Be sure to read each and every one. There are announcements for apartment inspections and insect spraying as well as social activities on these flyers. They may also tell you that you will need to pay a fine if you are not prepared for the spraying of bugs or your apartment inspection. It is required by law (except in cases where the law has been broken) that they give you notice regarding any apartment visit. Be sure to abide by any other restrictions the letter specifies, such as crating your animals during their visit.
When things break, call maintenance as soon as possible. Keeping your apartment together may be your landlord’s job, but it’s your job to let them know when things need to be fixed. Calling and letting them know that something has broken shows that you care about your living space and keeps repairs from building up. Keep records regarding when you call and when they arrive. This could be helpful when your are more concerned about your living condition than your landlord.