Halloween is going to come and go pretty soon and all of us will be wondering what to do with our old pumpkins we used on our porches and to carve with our kids. Most people will just throw them away, but there are so many more uses for them!
1. Make it into a planter. Your pumpkin is already carved out and most likely only one side is decorated. Turn it around, put some awesome fall flowers or plants in there and let it continue to set outside. It takes a little while for pumpkin to rot, so you’ll have some time. They make wonderful fall decor for your front yard.
2. Roast the seeds. Pumpkin insides have a lot of seed in them. Don’t trash it though, roast the seeds instead. It’s an awesome treat and they are kind of expensive in the store. Here is an awesome recipe that I’ve used.
3. Feed it to the animals. Birds and other wildlife LOVE pumpkin. Chop it up and throw it in your yard. It won’t take long to be gone. This is especially great if you live in the country because deer LOVE pumpkin!
4. Enrich your soil. This is great to get your soil ready for spring planting. Roughly chop up your pumpkin and bury it. It will quickly decay and enrich your soil.
5. Cook with it. If you didn’t carve your pumpkin, there are literally thousands of recipes online for cooking with pumpkin. Personally I hate pumpkin, but I am a rarity.
Good news, online shoppers! Target and Best Buy have announced that they will price match with selected online competitors for the holidays. This new policy tells me that I have not been alone in doing most of my Christmas shopping online, and on Amazon in particular.
From November 1 through December 16, customers can price match by either showing competitor prices on their smart phones or having customer service representatives look up the prices. The competitors include Amazon, Walmart, Best Buy, Babies R Us and Toys R Us.
Best Buy also announced that they will price match competitor online prices. See the full article on USA Today here.
This really is good news for the consumer. I have definitely shifted my holiday shopping from in store to online in the last couple of years. My reasons have been both because prices tend to be better and because, as a mom of two small children, you can’t put a price on the convenience of having gifts shipped to your door for free! (I usually shopped at Amazon and made sure to combine my items so that I spent at least $25 per order so that I could get free shipping.)
I’m not sure how much the policy will change my shopping this year. However, this may make a huge difference for Target and Best Buy shoppers.
Are you more likely to shop in store or online for the holidays?
Think Christmas…Now through Thursday, October 11, the Disney Store is offering FREE Shipping on your entire order. All you have to do is use the code FREESHIP at checkout.
It’s a good time to check the clearance and sale items…think Christmas! You can click on the Sale link at the top right of their site and then sort from lowest to highest to find the best deals.
There are Flip Flops that are as low as $1.99, 12 inch dolls for $4.99, lunch Totes as low as $5.99 just to name a few items. Have I mentioned that it’s probably a good time to think about potential Christmas gifts? And, why stop at Christmas? If you have a little patience and a little space to store a couple of items, maybe you can think about birthdays or other reasons for cute little Disney gifts!
I already have a couple of items I’m hiding for Christmas. I’m definitely headed to the Disney store to see if there’s anything else I can add to the growing Christmas stash!
After all, isn’t it fun to think about Christmas in October?!
The next few months make up my favorite time of the year! The weather is cool; the food is warm; and, the deals are hot! And, here is what will be hot this month.
Be on the look out for deals on candy, costumes and accessories, fall decorations, pumpkin carving kits, candles and Halloween day restaurant deals (usually for customers in costume).
If you love to bake (like I do), this category makes you smile! Expect canned pumpkin, evaporated milk, baking chips, pie crust (boxed mix and ready-made frozen), cream cheese, sugar and flour to all be discounted starting this month through the end of the year.
National Seafood Month
Did you know that it’s National Seafood Month? If you like seafood, this is good news. We should see fish, shrimp, lobster and crab all on sale this month.
Adopt a Shelter-Dog Month
Here’s another one you may not have known. This one may help you out if you have a dog. You can expect to see promotions on wet and dry dog food, dog toys and chews.
This is always my favorite category. Because it’s harder to get coupons for produce, I always look to see what’s on sale. So, this month look for apples, artichokes, arugula, beets, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, chard, cranberries, parsnip, pears, pomegranates, potatoes, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, winter squash, turnips and, of course, yams to be discounted.
What are you favorite October deals?
I know. I know. You think I’m crazy for mentioning the “H” word in August. Perhaps it is because I live in one of the hottest cities in the nation, or just because I can be a romantic, I’m already looking forward to Thanksgiving and Christmas. However, it’s not just for romance sake; there’s a practical side too.
Who says we have to wait until commercials tell us to go buy Christmas presents in order to buy Christmas presents? I have found some great deals lately that I’ve decided to turn into Christmas gifts. I recently got a great deal on a couple of educational toys for my children. Everything in me wants to give it to them now. However, it will be just as fun and just as educational in just a few months. So, I’m throwing some Christmas wrapping paper around them now (in order to keep me from caving)!
There are great deals on office and school supplies now. That includes crayons and craft supplies. So, while it’s fun to use all these crafts and crayons now, think through what you may want to save or use as part of a gift just a few months from now.
If you live in a city like mine, you can actually keep wearing some summer attire in the fall and winter. So, as summer items go on clearance, think about clothes that may work as gifts where appropriate.
Companies like Shutterfly and VistaPrint make offers available all year long. Walgreens and Target sometimes have free print deals. Keep an eye out for any offer that may work as a gift for a friend or family member (whoever would appreciate pictures of your family). Right now, VistaPrint has a fantastic deal on a personalized calendar. You can post your own pictures and personalize dates on a 12-month calendar (you decide the 12-month period). The calendar is free; shipping is $5.32. Head over to VistaPrint between now and August 31 to take advantage of this great gift idea!
Have you started your Christmas/holiday shopping yet?
I have Easter on the brain. I even had a dream last night that it was Easter morning and I have forgotten to make Easter baskets for my kids. I woke up in a panic. I must get this done. The first year I did it, I spent a small fortune and it was totally unnecessary. Here are some tips I’ve learned over the years to save you money on your Easter baskets.
1. Use candy coupons. Thrifty Divas will be posting candy deals so watch for them. Don’t pay full price for Easter candy. Also, if you have leftover Christmas candy, use that. I promise your kids won’t care.
2. Skip the pre-made Easter baskets. The stuff they put in these baskets are usually not worth much and are poor quality. Skip the pre-made and go for making your own.
3. Buy your basket on clearance. So yes, this won’t help you this year, but if you don’t already have a basket from last year, make sure you snatch them up after Easter. Unfortunately you can’t keep candy for a year, but the baskets you can for sure!
4. Check out your dollar sections at places like Target and Wal-Mart. Target is especially great about themed items around the holidays. I looked today and they have a great selection of little odds and ends toys for your child’s basket.
5. Find your local Easter egg hunts. Your community and local churches probably have Easter egg hunts for the kiddos. This is a GREAT way to stock up on some candy and have fun.
6. Use real eggs vs. plastic. Call me traditional, but I just don’t like plastic eggs. Also, there is only one use of plastic eggs, but with real you can make deviled eggs or potato salad for your Easter meal.
7. Check out Goodwill or another second hand store. There is no reason you need to buy new for your Easter basket. I know stuffed animals are popular for them and at the second hand stores you can get them for $.25-$.75!
What tips do you have for a Thrifty tips for Easter baskets?
I love St. Patrick’s Day! Maybe because green is my favorite color or maybe because I am Irish. Who knows, but I do love it! It’s also a holiday that you don’t have to spend a lot of money on. Here are some Thrifty Diva ideas for your St. Patrick’s Day.
1. Corned Beef and Cabbage. This is a MUST for any St. Patrick’s celebration. Plus, I don’t think there is a cheaper (and more tasty) vegetable than cabbage! Here’s my go-to recipe.
2. Green EVERYTHING. Grab your green food coloring and dye anything you can tolerate eating. Milk is awesome to do to surprise the kids with. Try it in their cereal too. Making a cake or cupcakes? Try some green food coloring in their as well! The possibilities are endless and it’s a lot of fun.
3. Go to a parade. Most bigger cities have parades and a lot of smaller cities are catching on. Parades are free and fun for the whole family.
4. Make a leprechaun trap. We live close to a town that is VERY Irish. You’d swear you were in Ireland sometimes. So St. Patrick’s Day is HUGE there. One of the assignments that 1st graders had was to build a leprechaun trap. How fun is that? Need a tutorial? Go HERE.
Happy St. Patrick’s Day from Thrifty Divas!
As you begin to think about taking down all the decorations, it’s a good time to give yourself an organizational head start for next year. Here are just a few tips to keep in mind as you say good bye to the holidays and hello to 2012.
1. Donations. As you begin to pack up your decorations, it’s inevitable for you to ‘run into’ those things in your attic, your garage or any other storage spot in your house that you haven’t used in a long time. It has been said that if you haven’t used something (aside from seasonal items) in six months, you probably won’t use it again. But, if you want to give yourself an even more conservative timeline, you can ask yourself if you have used your “stored” items in the last year. If not, then get rid of them. And, if they are in decent condition, then you may want to consider making a donation to a non-profit organization with a 501c3 status so that you can get a tax write off for 2011.
2. Make Lists. If you haven’t already taken advantage of Christmas clearance sales, take note of what’s missing, broken or just something you wish you had this year and see if you can get it now while all the decor is discounted. If you’re not in hurry, then the list will help you for next year’s clearance sales. Put the list IN THE BOX with all the Christmas decorations so that all things Christmas stay together.
3. Trash. The trash can is your friend, really. As you go through your “storage,” if there are things that don’t work or that you planned on fixing four years ago and just haven’t gotten around to it, dump it! No need to collect dust and take up space you could use for more valuable items.
I like going into the new year a little more organized and these are just a few easy ways to do it. What do you like to do to get organized for the new year?