Cute Ideas for Valentine's Day

Check out these fun suggestions

Buzzfeed comes up with some pretty cute lists and this list of 32 things Things That'll Make You Say, "Why Don't I Own That Already?" has some adorable ideas for Valentine's Day. Yes, I know that they use affiliate links sometimes but who cares. If they have cool stuff with a good deal, we should check it out.

The dairy valentines are so cute and perfect for giving to friends, and the Dobby socks are perfect for your Harry Potter lover. The dress with pockets (!) would make an awesome gift for anyone, especially since our dresses don't usually feature pockets, but I would avoid giving your lover the ironing mat for lover's day. Just saying. I know someone who would love those essential oil towlettes (who knew those were even a thing?) and the five year memory book is great for long-term couples or families.

Check out the whole list. What do you want the most and what would you remove or add? Tell us what you buy, if anything, in the chat!

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Scoring Movie Ticket Deals

Share your best tips

Are you looking for a great deal on movie tickets? There are so many great movies playing right now, and while some of us can wait to see them at home on DVD, others really love that big screen experience. Ticket sellers claim that prices have never been lower comparatively speaking, but in comparison to stagnant wages they sure seem high. One movie ticket costs more than an hour of work for some people, and when those people have multiple children it's quite expensive indeed.

Here are some tips to get cheaper movie tickets:

Check to see if your town has a "dollar theater" that shows slightly older movies that are coming to DVD soon. They often cost much less. The same goes for theaters that aren't well attended.

Check to see if your theater has matinee prices for cheaper during the day or early on weekends.

Try a site like ebates or other reward sites for points for theater tickets.

Avoid IMAX which costs much more.

Sign up to preview movies for free with a site like Gofobo.

What are your best movie money saving tips?

 

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Gold Box Deals of the Day

What are you getting on Amazon?

The last thing I bought on Amazon was a cat scratching post! I had a gift card from someone and my cats are tearing up my beautiful new pleather furniture from my parents (they moved and it was too big!) so hopefully it works as a solution. Meanwhile, Amazon has several great Gold Box deals today if you want to check them out!

I'm eying that office chair. It's a great price and between my standing desk and the writing desk I have set up, I could use a new chair. My dogs sure would like those Bully Sticks and even though my niece is too young for the dollhouse for sale today, I would love to get it for when she's a bit older! It's an adorable tiny greenhouse and any child (or collector) would surely love to have one.

What are you buying from Gold Box deals today? Share your links in the chat!

 

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All You Can Eat Pasta

A great winter deal for cozy eating with company

If you're looking for a cozy and filling meal this winder, Noodles and Company might be the place to go. They are having a Winter Pasta Party every Wednesday from now until spring and given that this blogger's kicking carbs right now, it's a hard temptation to pass up! Not only is it a flavorful, fun experience with weekly themes and several pastas to choose from, but it's also a great deal at $10 per person for endless pasta.

Not into pasta? Maybe you are into fitness gear, winter clothing, motorcycles or furniture! According to experts, January is the month to buy these things at the lowest costs in general. That isn't to say you won't find a cheaper rate at another time of year, but it's a good time to shop.

What kind of great buys have you run across this month? Share them in the chat.

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Eating Out vs. Eating at Home

How do you save money?

Research shows that the gap between eating out and eating at home is wider than ever. It's no wonder why eating at restaurants is down; the cost of purchasing food went down in 2016 for the first time in almost 50 years, but it was less than a 2% drop, which is why consumers likely didn't feel it much (especially since wages aren't going up). But the cost of buying food in a restaurant has risen by nearly 3%. 

Buying fast food is a bit different than eating out in a restaurant, but the price has also increased. Still families often find that buying from "value menus" can cost less than preparing food at home, especially if they're on the run, working multiple jobs and unable to cook or otherwise unable to purchase food. 

How do you save money on your grocery bill? Do you have great sources online for coupons? Share your resources in the chat.

 

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Shopping for Boring People

It's bound to happen sooner or later

Holiday shopping can be great fun, especially if you are shopping for someone with fun interests and tastes. When you have to shop for someone a little... well... boring, it can be a drag. The person may not even be boring, but perhaps you don't know them that well. Maybe he or she just has opposite interests from you. Whatever the situation, it can make shopping a bit difficult. That's where these great lists come into play!

Bustle has a great list of Amazon gifts you can order right now for that hard-to-buy-for person. A cutlery organizer that expands to fit any drawer? A productivity planner, hand steamer or Dirt Devil with a 16-foot power cord? Those are things that anyone might like, PLUS they are so useful that no one could claim that they're frivolous gifts!

At Mashable, you can check out a gorgeous marble cheese board, a wine caddy and a cold brew coffee maker. 

What practical gift ideas have you come across in your shopping adventures? Share them in the chat.

 

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Last-Minute Gifts

Are you finished shopping?

Have you completed all of your holiday shopping yet? If you're like many shoppers you're still looking for those perfect gifts. When I'm shopping last-minute, I usually go for a Groupon, especially if I know the person would love an experience. From wine tasting to car racing to even room smashing (yes, it's a thing!), there's always something interesting to buy. It also means the person doesn't get more "stuff" but an experience instead.

Buzzfeed has some other fun last-minute gift ideas for you that are also thoughtful, such as a personalized cutting board with a favorite recipe on it or an experience, like a road trip or mementos from a road trip. From photo transfers on canvas to baked goods, they have some great options.

What do you give when you are shopping at the last minute? Share your ideas in the chat.

 

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Gifts for Your Craft People

You know what they want!

While searching for an affordable yet workable pottery wheel for my tween (yeah, I couldn't find one), I ran across so many great craft items for the holidays. The kits come out like crazy this time of year! Whether you want to learn to give massages, make your own soaps or candles or even learn lettering, there's a kit for it. I may go with something like that; last year she enjoyed her claymation and felting kits.

It's holiday season and you're searching for just the right items for the DIYers and craft people on your list. Deep down you probably already know what they'd love! New brushes and tools, some more clay... think about what he or she would love and just go from there. Here are some great ideas for the crafters in your life. From mason jars to calligraphy sets, a DIY BBQ set to terrarium kits, you'll find something for everyone!

What are you giving your crafter for the holidays this year? Share your ideas in the chat.

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Best Tech Gifts for the Holidays

Something for everyone!

Are you shopping for a bunch of tech lovers this holiday season? If so, there are some amazing gifts out there to choose from this year! Take, for example, the Google Daydream. It's a virtual reality headset that's not as expensive as most others on the market and works with any Daydream compatible phone. The coolest thing about it is that you can show your daydream on the TV screen so everyone can see what you are viewing, which makes you look a little less like a weirdo walking around looking into a box while nobody knows what you're doing.

There are so many drones to choose from these days that the most difficult thing is simply choosing which one to get your drone-lover for the holidays. The TRNDLabs Spectre Dome is a pretty cool model that has everything most people want in a drone, including an HD camera. It's in the mid-range as far as drone prices go, too.

What cool tech finds are you after this holiday? Which ones do you hope to receive?

 

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Giving Tuesday

Today is the day to give back

While we're in the middle of the holiday season, it can be difficult to remember the real reasons for the season, whether they are simply being together as a family, your religious celebrations or peace on earth and goodwill toward humankind. Today is Giving Tuesday, a time to give back and think about the causes, charities and important social issues that matter most to you. People are encouraged to donate to things in their own communities, just as they are encouraged to shop locally, but depending on the cause you care about you may give to something internationally.

Some of my favorite charities to give to on Giving Tuesday include the Ronald McDonald House charities (they housed us when my baby was born prematurely a couple thousand miles from home!), the Polaris Project, which helps to end human trafficking, and Heifer International, which helps people grow their own food, raise livestock and earn income. My family also likes to give to a local organization that provides backpacks of food to over 1,000 kids every weekend when they're not at school to receive meals.

What charities do you like to give to during the holiday season? Share your favorites in the chat.

 

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Best Reasons to Shop on Black Friday

What is your reason?

As a non-Black Friday shopper, I have to ask those of you who shop that day what is the draw? What makes you venture out to shop in the chaos? I've read about some of the benefits (using a store app to map it out and find the deals, going as friends to make it more fun, and shopping in person makes it easier to see if the object is something you really want. 

Granted, it doesn't have to be a stampede to keep me away. A crowd in general will make me want to head home. I don't usually shop online, either, but that's because I'm spending time with my family.

Do you go shopping during Black Friday? What do you do and why?

 

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Meal Deals This Week

Save money while you eat out

If you're planning on dining out this week, there are some pretty good deals available. Pizza Hut is offering 50% off all online orders through the weekend, giving you a chance to eat half-price. Even if you aren't home, you can still order online to access the deal and pick your pizzas up.

Several restaurants have deals for veterans on November 11, which is Veteran's Day. Vets can enjoy specials at Applebees, TGI Fridays, Golden Corral and more. Call your favorite restaurant to find out if they have any Veteran's Day specials available.

Red Lobster and Macaroni Grill both have coupons that are valid through today for deals, too.

Do you know of any great meal deals this week? Share them in the chat.

 

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Black Friday and Cyber Monday Loom Near

Do you participate?

I have to admit that I am a total sucker for Cyber Monday deals. Did you know that a lot of museums, zoos and other places offer tickets or memberships at half-price on Cyber Monday? That's my biggest attraction to the sale, and while I don't always save up for it, when I'm able it's very exciting.

Black Friday, on the other hand, is something that I typically strive to avoid. It's way too crowded, hectic and busy for my taste, but I know lots of people who enjoy it, prompting me to ask this question: What are your best Black Friday tips?

Some say to get there hours early or right on time, some say to find any coupons available to add to your discounts, some say to just pace yourself for the shopping drama! If you are a seasoned Black Friday shopper, what kinds of things do you think newbies should know if they choose to jump in this year?

Share your favorite Black Friday and Cyber Monday ideas, tips and places to shop in the chat!

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Best Places for Halloween Candy

Where do you buy yours?

Halloween is less than a week away and you might be scrambling to find enough candy to tame your trick or treaters. Where do you get your Halloween candy deals? For my family, it's not complicated since we get very few trick or treaters. We end up buying a small bag or two of candy that we like and placing it on the porch while we take our daughter to her festivities. Most of it's still there when we get home and then we get to keep the rest! 

We get our small bags at the dollar store but that would be pricey if you're buying for a large group of kids. Using coupons or points on items might be your best bet if you know of a great deal going on; I know Walgreens has run some great deals, as has Walmart. 

Where do you do your Halloween candy shopping? Do you know of a place that sells candy really cheaply? Share your resources below.

 

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Best Post-Halloween Shopping Deals

Start saving to shop!

Last week we talked about some great Halloween sales already going on but we all know the BIG ones are coming up fast! The day after Halloween is typically when a lot of these sales are available so be sure to start saving up for some major cool Halloween deals.

While stores like Dollar Tree are usually already switched over for Thanksgiving and Christmas by Halloween night, there are big sales to be had at the Halloween stores themselves like Spirit, where things can go as low as half price to clear out stock. If you're like me and you want skeletons climbing all over your house but don't want to pay 60 bucks a pop for them, this is the time to check those prices again.

Two must-hit stores, of course, are Wal-Mart and Target where you're going to get Halloween specials for up to 80% off before they're gone. We get some of our best Halloween decorations at Target during this time of year because they're so low! I get lots of items under a buck just because of this deal.

Where do you get your post-Halloween deals? Tell us in the comments.

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