Tag Archives: holiday season

50 Ways To Save Money (With Minimal Effort)

Some of my most popular blog posts on Finding Delight are all about How To Ball On A BudgetAnd why not? Everyone would love a little help in this department. Which is why sharing ways I personally save money (with minimal effort) is something I’m happy to do!

As the holiday season approaches, saving that extra bit of cash for all the costs that go along with the time of year becomes a necessity. Presents and parties and vacations…OH MY!

With the impending holiday expenses in mind, I put together a few of my favorite money saving ideas. Pick and choose a few of these simple lifestyle changes to implement and you’ll be well on your way to a nice little monetary stockpile. However you choose to spend (EGGNOG FOR EVERYONE!)…well, that’s up to you!

 

Shopping

Check second-hand stores first.
If that doesn’t pan out, hit the clearance racks.
Check the weekly circulars for the best deals.
Shop your pantry before shopping the store.
Make a weekly grocery list and stick to it.
Shop the periphery of the grocery store.
Don’t be afraid of the generic brand.
Sign up for rewards programs and do your homework about the benefits.
Buy seasonal items during their off-season.

Food

Pack your meals for work and school.
Always have a water bottle on hand for free hydration.
Brew your coffee at home and learn to make your indulgent Starbucks order.
Buy from the bulk bins so you’re not paying extra for packaging.
Batch cook big meals in your crock-pot.
Get into the habit of meal planning.
Find a cookbook you love and cook your way through it.

Appearance

Give yourself at-home manicures.
Color/straighten/curl your own hair. Or let it go natural.
Create a fitness plan that doesn’t involve a gym or costly classes.
Set up a seasonal capsule wardrobe.
Make your own beauty products.

Travel

Stay at an Airbnb.
Stock your kitchen-away-from-home so you can prepare meals instead of eating out.
Give yourself a daily allowance (in cash) while you’re away so you don’t go overboard.
Bring along all your lingering gift cards to treat yo’self.

Entertainment

Bust your boredom. 
Cancel cable and pick a streaming service instead.
Cancel print subscriptions and subscribe to a few email newsletters instead.
Make a list of cheap date night ideas you think sound fun and cycle through.
Host a game night for your friends.
Get your books from the library.
Go out for brunch or coffee or happy hour cocktails instead of dinner.
Start an articles club.

DIY

Consider making gifts instead of buying.
Dollar Tree is a great place to pick up cheap craft supplies.
Learn to mix your favorite cocktails.
Create your own cleaning products.
Check for tutorials online before paying someone else to do your home improvement projects.

Utilities

Call your cell phone/internet/utility provider and ask for a cheaper rate.
Turn off the lights when you leave the house (or the room for that matter).
Don’t go crazy with your thermostat.
Carpool with your colleagues.
Make payments on time.

Savings

Kick it old school with a penny bank for your loose change.
Automate your payments and savings plan where possible.
Keep a spending diary.
Read budget blogs for free financial information and resources.
Challenge yourself to a no-spend day once a week or a no-spend weekend once a month.
Look through your bank statement for any recurring costs and consider canceling whatever they’re attached to.
Research any discounts you may be afforded through your work/school/memberships.

What lifestyle changes have YOU implemented to save money? Let me know in the comments below! xoxo

 

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My Holiday Season: a look back in photos.

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Hello! I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday season full of family, food, friends and fun. I hope you all made many beautiful memories. I know I did! This past weekend Chet returned to Louisiana to start his spring semester so now it feels like the holiday season has officially come to a close. I was super lucky to have him here for an entire month (!!!) and we spent the days eating wonderful home-cooked meals, Christmas shopping, braving the cold to scamper around the city, and spending quiet nights at home with blankets, TV and Wink in tow. We had our own little Christmas on Christmas Eve and opened our presents to each other under own tree and Christmas Day we went to my Mom’s house for more presents and food with my fantastic family (my brother got super sick right after we opened our presents which was a bummer and we all felt terrible for him). New Years Eve we cooked a fancy dinner and watched the ball drop in our comfies. I couldn’t have asked for a better Christmas/NYE/winter break! Here are a few photos I wanted to share, if you’d like to take a peek…

tree topper

Our tree topper for our adorable little tree was made by Chet circa the first grade. We decorated our tree with old ornaments from our childhoods and it was so fun to merge them into one place. I was sort of obsessed with all the Disney movie McDonalds ornaments he still had in his collection. Sebastian from The Little Mermaid may have taken the cake for me as top ornament this year. Although I still have a soft spot for my “Feliz Navidad 1992” ornament featuring a mouse wearing a sombrero. OLE!

christmas tree decorating

I love this dude so much! We had so much fun decorating for Christmas as soon as he got into town. As you can see above, his grandparents sent us adorable stocking ornaments with our names on them and his parents sent two presents to be opened specifically when we were decorating. One was a beautiful 2014 frame ornament for us to pop a picture of ourselves in and hang in a place of prominence on the tree. The other was…

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A Godiva hot chocolate set for some fancy, festive sipping. Mini marshmallows FTW!

southland tree lighting

And speaking of trees… one night, for work, I went to a lighting at a local fire station. The carols, sung by a local high school choir, definitely put me in the Christmas spirit that night.

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Chet and I also did a lot of camera experimenting since my camera is still fairly new (he got it for me for my birthday in October). One evening we walked up to Ashland Estate to get some shots, even braving the crazy cold. I had fun with some texture shots of the old buildings (and selfies, always selfies) because THEIR Christmas tree was nothing to write home about and by that I mean not all that fun to photograph.

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Due to the temperatures we made a LOT of soups from scratch. I love this picture because the reflection in the pot totally gives it away that we’re both wearing flannel pj pants to cook dinner. YOLO.

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Another evening of braving the cold, we ventured to The Kentucky Horse Park for their annual Southern Lights. The drive-thru Christmas light display was pretty as always but this alpaca family totally upstaged everything ever.

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We brought a lot of class to the Southern Lights establishment, IMHO. Even thought we’re definitely freezing our butts off in this picture. ; )

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Hot beverages (chai for him, hot chocolate for me) and a wander through a winter wonderland makes for a magical night in my book.

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Have I mentioned that this boy CAN. COOK.? Check out those knife skills! I’d say his specialties are Asian dishes (think: Japanese curry and spicy bowls of piping hot noodles) and of course Cajun (think: huge servings of Gumbo and buttery crawfish etoufee).

peddlers mall

Have you ever been down the terrifying yet strangely intriguing rabbit hole that is The Lexington Peddler’s Mall? We have! Sometimes you really do find that needle in a gigantic haystack. Note: the sunglasses Chet’s sporting are not one of those needles.

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Remember those crawfish potatoes I was seeing in my dreams for weeks after Festivals Acadiens? We successfully created our own version and I’d say it was down right, to the T, SPOT ON. Food hack success!

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I did a spot of holiday baking after gaining inspiration from Lily Pebble’s Vlogmas videos on YouTube. These are her Internet-famous “Brookies” –a cross between a cookie and a brownie.

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As I mentioned above, Chet and I opened our presents to each other on Christmas eve at the apartment. I was absolutely stunned and elated to receive this GORGEOUS computer!!! Talk about spoiled. Chet built it himself AND painted it that lovely Tiffany Box blue/retro shade. I don’t think anyone has ever made me such a customized gift. It works so well and is cute to boot, not an eyesore like a typical desktop tower. I’m already obsessed with using it!

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katie and i xmas

Later that evening, we enjoyed some drinks and appetizers at my Mom’s house. My sister Katie was in from St. Pete and my brother and his fiancee, Dawn, were in from Savannah. A happy little clan. Christmas morning was spent opening presents, bein’ a bum (pj’s for as long as humanly possible!!!) and seeing Into the Woods. I don’t really have any photo documentation of these endeavors on Christmas day because I was too busy being me, BUT…

wink christmas presents

…here’s one of Wink opening his presents! I received some lovely presents from my family that I am so thankful for. Hiking poles, a lamp, a lovely bowl for noodles, lots of books about crime and (too) much more. They know me so well. One thing I’ve gotten better about in the last few years is putting my Christmas presents to use pretty much immediately. In the past, I would want to “save” them but where is the fun in that? That’s a quick way to end up with too much STUFF ie) leaving that nice lotion in your bathroom cupboard for months. Why not crack it open right away!?

blanket

One thing I treated myself to in the post-Christmas sales was this organic blanket from Target. I can’t get enough of it and neither can my cat. I also scored a wicked cheap set of knives and a pair of jeans in my Boxing Day mad dash.

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Bummed the holiday season is over…

chet and wink

yet so glad I got to spend so much time with these two!!!

Hope everyone had an equally rad time this past month. My goal is to start cranking out some more regular content on Finding Delight in the coming weeks so stay tuned and check back often! I’m so happy to have you along for the ride.

Let’s catch up! Tell me about your holiday season. What was your favorite Christmas present? Who did you kiss on New Years? Did you brave the cold for any fun outdoor excursions? Don’t be shy, share in the comments!