How to Celebrate Valentine’s Day As A Family On A Budget

Are you on a tight budget this Valentine’s Day? You can celebrate Valentine’s Day as a family on a budget, you just might have to get a bit creative. Here are 5 clever and frugal ways to celebrate Valentine’s Day with your family.

Valentine’s Day.

You can argue that it is a Hallmark holiday, a made up holiday, a day for suckers, etc.

Let’s be honest though, who doesn’t (even secretly) enjoy a being a bit more loved on from time to time?

If you have young children, chances are likely that you won’t be heading out to a fancy dinner with your significant other. Even if you could find a babysitter, the wait times at most restaurants are AWFUL on Valentine’s Day (hence my friend Katie making this tasty dish for her family a few years ago!).

We actually celebrate Valentine’s Day as a family by choice!

In addition, at least in our case, our anniversary is just 3 weeks after Valentine’s Day which makes us hesitant to go “big” on a holiday that is of national importance compared to our anniversary which is of our own personal importance.

Therefore, we celebrate Valentine’s Day as a family! I have referred to our Valentine’s Day celebrations as a family before here on Family Friendly Frugality, but I thought it would be worth it to share some more general ideas so that you can see how you might fit celebrating Valentine’s Day as a family into your Valentine’s Day celebrations (and budget!).

Make a Fancy Dinner (or Breakfast…or BOTH) at Home

This one is a given! One of the best ways to show love is to cook for someone! Cook something out of the ordinary. Go grab those steaks that you usually wouldn’t spend so much money on (it’s still cheaper than eating out!). Or, you could just make an ordinary dish, EXTRAordinary by making it heart shaped (think about it! Heart shaped Fathead Pizza! Or Celebration Pancakes!)!

Here are some ideas I have here on FFF that you might consider cooking for celebrating Valentine’s Day as a family:

Homemade Gifts

Encourage everyone in your family to make homemade gifts for each other. This can be as simple as drawing something for each other to as complex as going to your local craft store and picking out some pottery/wooden crafts to paint.

Pinterest has a wealth of ideas for homemade crafts.

Or you could make it a no spend challenge!

One year for Christmas, my daughter had placed so many handmade crafts under the tree, at least half of the presents everyone received that year were from her! She did not spend any money, she just went around the house and used items we already had, drew pictures, created coupon books, etc. Her creativity was so special and everyone was so touched by the sweetness and thoughtfulness that went into each and every gift.

Write Love Notes to Each Other!

Challenge your whole family to write letters to each other. Okay, you might not want to call them love notes if you have children over the age of 8. It’s unlikely my 9 and 11 year old would set pen to paper if I gave them the task of writing love notes to each other.

So maybe, call them notes of encouragement and thankfulness. Whatever you have to say to get your brood on board ;).

This has the added bonus of forcing, I mean encouraging, time spent in reflection over our relationships. Who knows, this small act of kindness between family members could mend fences and create a more harmonious household! (well, we can dream, right?!)

Help Your Kids Show Love To Others

This can be as simple as helping your children fill out Valentine’s Day cards for their class (did you know I have free printable Valentine’s Day cards available?).

Or, take this a step further and go volunteer together.

Find a shelter that needs help. Go through your house finding items to donate to someone in need. Go visit a nursing home with your children.

Do something that shows loves for others, but do it as a family. Model what love for others looks like outside the walls of your home. This can be a life changing opportunity for your children!

I always love when I hear the stories about the teen that buys “candy grams” or “carnations” for all of the girls/boys in the school. Valentine’s Day can be a very very lonely time for some people. Maybe your family can change that for somebody!

Take a Walk Down Memory Lane

This is my favorite! Do you upload your pictures for the year to Amazon Photo? (this is FREE if you have Amazon Prime) Maybe you back them up via Dropbox, Photobucket, Flickr, etc.

Either way, set that account to slideshow mode and sit with your family and reminisce!

Maybe print pictures out ahead of time and sit down with your family to scrapbook. Maybe watch old videos.

Spend sometime looking back on your journey so far as a family. Sometimes nostalgia is just what we need to really feel the love.

Regardless of how you plan to spend Valentine’s Day, I hope you will consider at least a few of these ideas to make Valentine’s Day special for your family this year regardless of how big or small your budget might be!

Comment below if you have any fun traditions you use to celebrate Valentine’s Day as a family! 

My Favorite Money Saving Apps

Top 10 Money Saving Apps

Your smartphone can be a very powerful tool if you know how to use it for more than just surfing social media and posting memes. There are so many money saving apps available that can help you save large amount of cash every single year! Here are my favorite money saving apps and the ones I tend to reach for on a daily/weekly basis.

If you have a smartphone, you know that there is an app for darn near everything. Type in “money saving apps” and the huge array of choices can be a bit overwhelming. It is hard to know what is legit? What companies will actually pay out? Some of these companies require you to enter sensitive information. Who can you trust?

Some of these we use on a regular basis. Some of these money saving apps are on our “2019 to-do list” to set up. Some of these are used daily! I hope you’ll enjoy our list of money saving apps, and please comment below with some of the apps your family enjoys using to help save money and meet your financial goals!

Ibotta

One of my faves and super easy to use! Simply scan this before you head out the door to shop and you can add offers to your account. Then go shopping and afterwards, just take a pic of your receipt and Ibotta will give you credit!

This is definitely one of those “small trickles make a big stream” apps but it can really add up over time!

Click here to sign up for Ibotta (this is my referral link FYI!).

Target

The Target app makes me so  happy. Not only is it now a one stop shop for all Target Cartwheel offers and coupons, but it also offers a built in price checker AND you can pay via the app!

As you peruse Target, pull out the app to scan items to see if there are relevant coupons/Cartwheel offers that you can apply to your purchase.

Are you a Target RedCard holder? You can actually link your card to your app so that you can pay with your phone at checkout!

This app saves me so much money because it makes finding the great deals at Target so easy!

Coupon Sherpa

This app saves my butt every single time I leave the house to go shopping and forget to bring my retail coupons! Standing in line at Sally’s Beauty supply? I quickly open up this app to see if there are any relevant coupons I can use!

I love the interface of this app over other retail coupon apps and I have found that if there is a coupon out there, Coupon Sherpa usually has it available.

Groupon

I love Groupon. You can save on products, services and travel! I have Groupon on my phone and try to check it on a daily basis to see if there are any deals that will help my family.

You can also use Groupon if you intend to travel. You are not limited to only buying deals in your local area. Say you are traveling to Branson, just plug Branson into Groupon and see what deals you can find! This can be a great and frugal way to travel for less.

Sign up for Groupon here if you have not already!

Cozi

This one might seem a bit strange. This is a calendar/family organizer that you can use to organize basically your entire life. My family uses the Cozi app and I have a full review planned for later this month about how much we love it (well, I’m not sure the kids love the chore lists…but it’s better than us barking orders at them!).

This app is a money saving app for me because it includes meal planning and from your meal plan, you can make grocery lists! Meal planning and never going to the grocery store without a list are HUGE money savers for me and my family!

We pay for the Gold version of Cozi, which is a bit pricey, but we more than earn that money back in our annual savings.

Gas Buddy

This app will do just what you think it will! It will help you save money on gas! Tell Gas Buddy where you are and it will find the cheapest gas around town for you!

If you are going on a road trip, you can even plan your trip based on where you can find cheap gas along your route!

My Grocery Store Apps

I’m not sure what grocery stores you have near you, but all of my local grocery stores have an app. Their apps all have coupons available that I can either add to my store loyalty card, or I can at least see the weekly ad. In my area, most grocery stores have stopped mailing their weekly physical ad, so I find this super helpful!

Restaurant Apps

Do you frequent your local Starbucks? Are you a Chili’s regular? Regardless of where you tend to spend your eating out cash, be sure to see if that restaurant has an app! Often times, chain restaurants will have apps that link to loyalty programs. The more you frequent their establishment, the more perks you get.

Here are a few of our faves:

Starbucks

Buffalo Wild Wings

BJ’s

Acorns

Acorns is a way to make saving and investing basically effortless. It works by rounding up your purchases to the nearest dollar and then adding that difference to your Acorns account.

Then, the money will be invested in your portfolio and you will earn a return on your investment.

It takes 5 minutes to set up and is a super easy way to increase your savings with minimal involvement.

You Need A Budget

This app works by going off of last month’s income. The theory is that if you are only spending money that is over 30 days “old”, you will relieve yourself of the neverending paycheck to paycheck cycle that most of society tends to live in.

FYI, you work your way up to this level. They don’t automatically assume you can just stop spending/paying bills this month to free up your income for next month.

This app does require you to hook up your bank account info for it to work effectively. It is highly rated and has great support if you have any issues. This app can be tried for 34 days for free, but afterwards you will have to pay a $6.99 monthly fee.

I have several other apps I use, and several others that I am interested in checking out.

For now though, these are the money saving apps that I am personally most excited about!

Do you have any apps that you love to use to save money? Am I way off the mark on my top 10 list? Let me know in the comments below!

My Goals for 2019 – Business and Personal Goals

It has been awhile since I have shared a “goals” post here on FFF. In fact, I would say it’s been a long while since I have shared anything personal in nature here at all.

I never really considered myself a super private person until the past few years. The older I get, and the more I realize how many thing are out of my control, I have really realized that my privacy and the privacy of my family is one of those things I do have some measure of control of.

I do not apologize for this and will continue to have fairly strict boundaries regarding what I will share here on my blog.

This was never intended to be a “mommy blog” (I have nothing against mommy blogs though!) where I share about the day to day of my family’s life (however, if you want a bit more insight into our lives…I do share a bit more candidly over on Instagram!).

However, in some ways, I do feel like my lack of personality here on FFF has kind of stunted the growth in this community over the past few years. If you have only been following for a few years, you might think that this is just yet another deal site run by a mindless office full of employees.

No way!

I have had helpers over the years, and honestly this site would not be where it is today without their support and hard work.

Now though, it’s just me (well…and Lizzie for at least one post so far, haha!).

Therefore, one of my goals for 2019 was to share more about my life in the form of content posts! Anyway, I am getting ahead of myself here…let’s get to my goals:

Business Goals – 

(fyi, if you aren’t really interested in business goals…you can skip down a bit to personal goals!)

100 Evergreen Articles in 2019

Oh this one scares me y’all! I’m not sure how many evergreen articles (evergreen articles are articles that are not time sensitive. How to Use Coupons, How to Play the Drugstore Game, Keto Friendly Low Carb Mini Cheesecakes, etc) I put up in 2018…but I guarantee it wasn’t 100.

This goal is important to me because I sometimes post upwards of 50+ posts a day. I spend a LOT OF TIME on these posts. Hours a day.

Within 24 hours, 90% of those posts are dead.

Done.

No longer relevant.

Ugh.

Therefore, sometimes it just feels like I am spinning my wheels all day every day.

I need content that helps others all day every day.

I need to feel like I am making lasting change and leaving a footprint of service here on my little corner of the internet.

This means sharing a bit more about me and my life while still keeping up strict boundaries (like…you will never read a post here about my kids personal lives or my frustration with a friend/family member).

This *might* mean less deal content. It might not.

I know I am excited for it and also terrified that I have now put this out there!

Income goals

I am not going to share my exact dollar figure. Needless to say, it is more than I am making now, less than I have made in the past. My goal is just consistency at this point.

My business obviously has seasons.

As you know, (if you have read my How to Monetize a Blog post), I make money from passive traffic and when my readers make a purchase in some cases. It is not a lot per sale/pageview.

However, it can add up, and I honestly need it to do so more consistently 😉 .

Increase Pageviews and Email Subscribers – 

These two are kind of self explanatory and they are all intertwined with the two goals above. I have a few actionable ways I am planning to reach these goals:

  1. Promote my email list more. Did you know that I send a (um…sometimes) daily email with all of the deals of the day? I do! You can sign up here. (see…that wasn’t so hard, and yet I never really promote it!)
  2. Increasing Pageviews will involve generating more content AND being more strategic about where/when/how I share that content. I’m talking social media,  y’all! My thoughts on each platform are:

Instagram

Be more personal. More Instagram stories.

More sharing the day to day. More engaging with the frugal living community.

I feel like there are people there who I can help AND people who can help me!

Follow me on Instagram here.

Facebook Group – I love my Facebook group.

It is my most interactive form of social media for FFF and I think it is is working just fine as it is.

Deals will continue to be auto posted to my Facebook group via dlvr.it as long as that service continues to work out for me.

Facebook Page – Posting all deals to my Facebook page just isn’t working.

Facebook’s algorithm hates bloggers and honestly it hates anything that I post that doesn’t originate from someone else (ugh…viral posts only seem to be blessed upon the same 10 pages).

I will feed the Facebook page beast and share content that is relevant and performing well from others in hopes that I can funnel readers who WANT good deals/frugal advice to the Facebook group from time to time.

Pinterest – I will continue to use Tailwind for my Pinterest Content Strategy.

I will stress LESS about what images I put onto Pinterest.

I am noticing a trend on Pinterest of “normal” pictures having success.

This is encouraging. I am not a photographer and sometimes the fact that I KNOW my pictures won’t compete with the professionals posting on Pinterest has me holding back on creating content…no more!

Twitter – Twitter isn’t really a traffic driver for me and never has been.

I will continue to auto feed to twitter because that is the only place my husband reads my blog. Haha!

Work Outside the Home More –

You might be thinking…um why?!

You are so lucky to work from home!

Here’s the thing.

Without getting into too much personal detail, my home does not inspire creativity in me. Too many interruptions. Lack of control over my environment.

I am rarely ever home alone and honestly I am always on the edge of my seat waiting to be interrupted. Since I have ADHD, the smallest interruption can easily steer me off course.

(Fun fact, I literally just got interrupted while I was writing that sentence. Haha!)

My home is also a source of stress for me in many ways that I will not get into. Suffice to say, I think for 2019, I need to get OUT of the house to be more productive/creative. I have tried to work out of the house at least once a month for the past few years, but I need to do it more. I am actually thinking once or twice a week.

The key is, I am going to go into these work outside the home sessions with a clear plan of what I need to be working on. I have been known to get a study room at the library for 2 hours and then talk on the phone to my friend Katie for those 2 hours. Haha. I need to be intentional and focused during this time to make it most worth my while.

Personal Goals –

Lose Weight –

This has been my goal every single year for as long as I can remember. Basically, it just  needs to get done. I know how, I just need to set my mind to the task and not lose focus. Some ways I am going to focus on losing weight:

  1. Meal Planning
  2. Low Carb & Dirty/Lazy Keto
  3. Get active more often – at least 3 times a week (my competitive nature REALLY wants to say 5 times a week. That is what I always say though, and I burn out. Setting the bar a bit lower on this goal in hopes of meeting it).

Household – 

Clean & Organize one space a month – This one is kind of tough for me because I like to clean BY MYSELF with the music blaring and without interuption.

As posted above, I am rarely ever home alone and honestly I think that this keeps me from conquering big tasks because I know I’m just going to get side tracked. (you really can’t even understand how easily I get side tracked. This post is taking a LOT of mental focus to keep writing right now!)

My husband bought me some GREAT bluetooth headphones though that I think I’m going to make good use of this year. I could ignore a hurricane with those bad boys on!

Financial – 

I have a few things I want to really work on this  year in terms of finances. In addition to making more consistent money (like posted above), I also want to focus on saving more money by doing the following things:

  1. Start Christmas shopping early. I love having a gift closet, but I also want to be more intentional with my gift giving rather than just picking up random markdowns. It’s tough to Christmas shop early for kids because what they are into in February is likely NOT what they are into in December later that year. However, there are things I can do year round to take some of the burden off that big November/December Christmas shopping spending spree.
  2. Thrift Shops – I love going to thrift shops. I will proudly tell you the sweater I was wearing costs $.50 or the adorable dress my daughter has was a Goodwill find. I need to get more intentional about visiting the thrift shops on a regular basis!
  3. Shop my own sales – I am probably the only deal blogger on the planet that RARELY buys the great deals I post. It’s like I have tunnel vision. I am posting these deals for YOU and I don’t even consider buying them for myself. I will remember as I’m going to bed that night…oh, I should have taken advantage of that great deal! Only to look it up and it is already a dead deal 🙁 .

Motherhood & Marriage – 

I want to be more intentional about my time with my husband and my children. Spend more one on one time with all of them. Surprise them more often. I want to pray for all of them daily in a more intentional and focused way.

I want to ask them what they need from me and provide it. Don’t just assume that I am meeting their needs.

In the same vein, I want to tell them what I need from them as well. Don’t just assume they know.

I want us to go on a vacation together. We have not been on a vacation in several years. The last vacation we went on was with extended family. We need a vacation with just the 4 of us.

We need to go camping more.

Have more day trips.

My son is already 11. That might still seem very young, but let’s be honest.

We only have a few more years of being just a family of 4 living under the same roof.

We need to make the most of our time together and build memories that will last a lifetime.

I need to DATE my husband more. We have a wonderful relationship, but we rarely get the opportunity to just focus on each other. I’d love for us to find a hobby outside the home for us to engage in. Not sure what that will be (besides eating…we both enjoy that, haha!), but I’m excited to figure it out.

Read More Books

I want to read 50 books in 2019. Yikes! I think I can do it. I read mostly Kindle Unlimited and Kindle First Reads books because I am chea….frugal 😉

Wrapping up…

If you have followed along this far, bless you! I’d love to hear about your goals for 2019. Feel free to leave them in the comments. If there is a way I can help you reach your goals, please let me know!

10+ Last Minute (Like Super Last Minute) Gift Ideas!

Last minute gift ideas! Did you wait until the last minute to get gifts? Or maybe, your gift just got lost in the hustle and bustle of holiday shipping and it definitely won’t be here in time for the upcoming holiday. OR possibly, you were gifted something special from someone you did not expect to receive a gift from, and now you are scrambling to reciprocate!

You actually have several options, and honestly…I think most people would be THRILLED to receive any one of these last minute gift ideas!

Digital gifts – books & gift cards

Digital gifts are simple and quick. If you know the person’s email address, you can email them the gift. Amazon makes this super simple!

  • Email Amazon Gift Cards (if you don’t know their email address, you can email this to yourself instead and print out the voucher. OR you can text message it to them or message it to them on Facebook!).
  • Books – You CAN gift books if you know your recipients email address. Just go under the pricing info where you can see this: if the option to gift is available.

Magazine Subscriptions – Gifting magazine subscriptions is quite easy. You can just subscribe to the magazine you know your recipient will enjoy, and then run to the store to get the current issue. Gift the current issue with a voucher or receipt for the full subscription! My favorite places to subscribe to magazines are Amazon and DiscountMags.

Audible Subscription

Your gift recipient will enjoy:

  • An unmatched selection of audiobooks performed by world-class talent.
  • 3 titles for each month of their gift membership: 1 audiobook + 2 Audible Originals.
  • 30% off any additional audiobooks.
  • Anywhere, anytime listening with the free Audible app.
  • Free and easy audiobook exchanges.
  • An Audible book library they’ll own forever.


Kindle Unlimited Subscription – Choose from a Kindle Unlimited 6, 12 and 24-month membership plan!

*Unlimited reading from over 1 million ebooks

*Unlimited listening to thousands of audiobooks

*Read on any device

*Membership plans are also giftable

Music Streaming service: Choose from Amazon Music UnlimitedApple MusicGoogle Play MusicSpotify or another subscription service.

Netflix or Hulu Subscription – Give the gift of unlimited entertainment! Both instant streaming services offer different show/movie options. Honestly, nowadays most people already have access to one or the other service, but if not…I would opt to gift Netflix over Hulu!

Gift cards for these services are available at most grocery stores, walmart, walgreens, etc.

Subscription Boxes – There are SO MANY TO CHOOSE FROM! While this won’t give you something physical to hand over today, you can print out a certificate (make your own FREE Gift Certificate with Canva!) and gift that as the promise of the gift that just keeps on giving. 

Some ideas: 

Winc – A wine lovers box! Get $25 off your first month now! 

KiwiCo – Hands on Science projects delivered for ages 0-16! 

FabFitFun – A box FILLED with amazing beauty, wellness, fashion, and fitness products! 

Ipsy – An affordable monthly bag filled with beauty goodies! (I actually get this subscription bag every month!)

Lootcrate – You have a few different options for this one. Based on whatever geeks out your recipient the most! Check out the options here.

Lessons or Vouchers for Experience based giftsGroupon Local is GREAT for this! Be sure to look at the top banner of Groupon to find a discount code on local deals. There is usually a 10-20% off coupon code available!

Memberships to local zoos or museumsClick here to find a zoo or aquarium near you.  Find a museum by you by clicking here. 

Give the gift of Prime – Amazon Prime has TONS of great perks besides just 2 day shipping. Learn more about all the awesomeness you will be gifting if you opt to give the gift of Prime by reading this article. 

Cash – Not much else to say about this one! Cash is king and you can’t go wrong by sticking a $20 bill in a card and calling it a day.

Hopefully this post will give you some ideas and ease some last minute stress by providing some simple and quick last minute gift ideas!

Comment below if you know of any other great last minute gift ideas!

Why You Need To Start Working On Your Christmas Budget Now

Whether you are on a tight budget, barely making it paycheck to paycheck, or comfortably setting aside a chunk of change into a robust savings account each week, it’s time to start thinking about your Christmas budget! Have a more joyful and stress free Christmas season by getting organized for Christmas NOW in 5 easy steps! 

It’s hard to believe, but Christmas is closer than you think.

If you are like me, I like to take life one day and one HOLIDAY at a time.

However, this can be short sighted when it comes to BIG holidays like Christmas. Preparation and good financial planning is important to truly enjoy these holidays that often come with a big price tag.

A well thought out Christmas Budget can make a HUGE difference in your enjoyment of the most wonderful time of the year.

Here are a few things you can do NOW to make your Christmas season a bit more stress free!

Christmas Budget Tip #1: Decide What Your Realistic Christmas Budget Will Be

What can you afford? This will involve you sitting down with whoever else is involved in the financial decisions in your household and having a conversation about what is realistic. Do you already have money set aside?

Do you need to start saving? What is a reasonable amount to save each week? Do you need to cut something that you aren’t really using anyways?

Some banks and credit unions offer special Christmas accounts that automatically take a set amount of money from your bank account each month and set it aside for you. This can be an awesome way to make adding to your Christmas Budget a bit less stressful!

Christmas Budget Tip #2: Write Up A List of Who You Need To Buy For

Who are you buying for this year? It’s time to make a list of alllll your loved ones and decide who is getting a gift from you this year.

In addition, don’t forget teachers, extra tips for hairstylists, etc.

Basically, if you even *think* you will spend more money on this person than you ordinarily would the rest of the year, include them on this list.

Christmas Budget Tip #3: Decide How Much You Will Spend Per Person

Now it’s time to decide how much you want to spend on each individual. It might be a good idea to write down your ideal next to everybody’s name and then work backwards. After you have all of the dollar amounts written down, compare that to the number you worked out in step 1.

It it’s equal to, or less than, your set budget…great job!

If it’s more than your set Christmas budget, you have a few options. First option is to go back and start decreasing the amounts you will spend on each person.

You other option is to see tip #4!

Christmas Budget Tip #4: Do You Need To Make Extra Money?

Maybe you only need a bit more money to hit your Christmas budget! Or maybe, you realized on your current income, you can’t afford Christmas gifts at all!

I encourage you to check out the following posts to learn how you can make OR find more money to add to your Christmas Budget:

Baby Clothes: How To Save Money and How To Make Money
10 Ways to Make Living On One Income Easier
WMFW: Small Trickles Make A Stream (Make Money Online)
How to Shop a Thrift Store
How to Start a (Money Making) Mom Blog
10 Tips For Learning How to Use Coupons

Christmas Budget Tip #5 Start Shopping

Start shopping right away!

I post deals ALL YEAR LONG. I highly encourage you to create a gift closet! If you periodically stock your gift closet all year long, not only will it help you at Christmas time, but it can also help you with birthday parties, housewarming parties, baby showers, etc!

If you have specific ideas for what you want to get each person, be sure to join my Family Friendly Frugality facebook group to keep up with the deals I post each day. You can also email me directly to let me know what you are looking for a deal on!

Beauty On A Budget – My Top 10 Beauty Budget Must Haves

Top 10 Beauty Budget Must Haves

Are you on a tight budget? Maybe you just don’t like to spend a ton of money on beauty products? These beauty budget haves will give you the most bang for your buck. Lipstick that lasts forever, the best gel for curly or wavy hair, the best razor (no more razor burn!) and more!

Okay, first off, let’s state the obvious…

I am NOT a beauty blogger.

I am a fairly low maintenance mom of 2 who barely ever plucks her eyebrows.

However, I do care about my appearance and I do try to put effort into how I look each day.

I do NOT invest a lot of money in my outward appearance though. I should probably invest more, but let’s be honest, I can think of a lot of better ways to spend my hard earned money.

That said, if you are a beauty guru or fashionista…more power to you! I watch my share of youtube beauty gurus and have learned quite a few tips and tricks.

Okay, now that that is out of the way, on to my beauty budget must haves!

Qualifications to make my beauty on a budget list: 

  1. I must use the product on a fairly regular basis
  2. I must have repurchased the product at least 2-3 times (most of these have been repurchased MANY more times)
  3. The item must be $10 or less

Without further ado…here are my top 10 Beauty Budget Must Have’s (as of 2018): 

Hollywood Beauty Tea Tree Oil Skin & Scalp Treatment

How I use it:

I use this daily. I use it at night after I wash off my makeup and then I often use it again in the morning right out of the shower. I have also used this as a scalp treatment. Basically, this tiny little bottle gets a lot of use! Great for keeping dandruff AND acne at bay, I also find it is very moisturizing to my skin. It is SUPER cheap too.

Where to find it: 

You can find it here on Amazon. I have also purchase it from HEB, Sally’s Beauty Supply, Target, Walmart…basically anywhere that beauty products are sold.

Maybelline Makeup SuperStay Matte Ink Liquid Lipstick (specially in the color Lover)

How I use it: 

Well, it is lipstick, so I use it on my lips. Joking aside, this liquid matte lipstick lasts FOREVER and compliments ANY skin tone! What I mean by this is that I have complimented multiple people on their lip color, only to find out that they were wearing this exact shade! This beauty on a budget find seems to compliment every single skin tone by pulling the prettiest shade on everyone! (this lasts so long I have to use makeup remover to remove it most nights. And lipstick usually doesn’t last 10 minutes on  me!)

Where to find it: 

Amazon is your best bet to actually find this exact shade IN STOCK. I have had trouble finding this in stock in stores. This is a beauty budget must have for a LOT of people! Also available at Walmart, Target and Ulta.

 

L’Oréal Paris Makeup Voluminous Lash Paradise Mascara

How I use it: 

I use this to make my lashes look amazing! This layers well and makes even the scrawniest lashes look impressive. I prefer the waterproof kind, but if you aren’t a waterproof mascara fan, I have used the non waterproof version and it does not run/clump either!

Where to find it: 

Of course, you can find this on my favorite site…Amazon! (and there is currently a coupon if you sign up for Subscribe & Save – learn more about Subscribe & Save here!) .

Also grab this beauty on a budget find on Walmart, Target and any drugstore (Do you know how to get the best deals at the drugstores? Read my post on The Drugstore Game!)  near you! (although this is another product that seems to be sold out often…lately I have had more luck finding this in stock anywhere I go).

NOTE: There is also a “primer” for this mascara. I have tried it and I honestly don’t think it makes much of a difference.

ECOCO Eco Style Gel

How I use it: 

Okay, so this one is going to be for my wavy/curly girl ladies! Although, if you ever use gel at all (to slick back a ponytail or bun maybe?), you might want to listen up.

This stuff is beauty on a budget GOLD!

Creates a nice hard cast that easily breaks with NO residue once your hair is dry. No clue what language I’m speaking? You must not have read up on the Curly Girl Method (if you have even the slightest wave to your hair, I highly encourage you read this book). Basically, you “scrunch” your hair with this gel while it is still wet and LEAVE it alone until it is dry. Then you “break” the cast (what gives you the wet head scrunched hair look that was so popular in the 90’s) and are left with beautiful frizz free curls/waves!

This stuff is awesome and SOOOO cheap!

Where to find it: 

You can buy this stuff just about anywhere! Buy this huge tub here on Amazon that will likely last you the remainder of your time here on earth (recommended ;), however, over my $10 requirement…so if you want a smaller tub click here) . Plus, find this at Sally’s, Target, Walmart and pretty much any drugstore (often times you will find this in the ethnic hair care section).

Jergens All-Purpose Face Cream

How I use it: 

Okay, remember how I mentioned up there that I prefer waterproof mascara? Well, getting waterproof mascara to come off at the end of the day can be a REAL chore! This stuff makes it easy!

Just smush (technical term) it all over your eyes and it will loosen all of your eye makeup making removal easy. Then just swipe off with a makeup wipe or cotton ball.

I also use this all over for a “just like grandma” moisturizing treatment every once in awhile. My skin feels awesome afterwards!

I do use miceller water sometimes (this brand specifically – which I would also consider a beauty budget find, but I have only purchased this once so far…so stay tuned.), but if I have several layers of my waterproof mascara on, this stuff is the only stuff that does the trick. 

Where to find it: 

The usual suspects. Amazon, Target, Walmart, your grocery store, the drugstore. Look in the old lady section. Haha!

Global Beauty Care Collagen Spa Anti Aging Treatment Mask

How I use it: 

It’s a mask, so I use it as a mask. My skin feels gorgeous and glowy afterwards! You don’t rinse your skin after you take the mask off, so you rub in the extra product.

Where to find it: 

I’m linking to it on Amazon, but go to your local Dollar Tree! You can grab 2 masks in a package for $1! Here’s a slightly embarrassing picture of me wearing it from Instagram:

The Wet Brush

How I use it: 

I use this brush exclusively to brush my hair and my daughter’s hair. EXCLUSIVELY. I can’t stand other brushes anymore! These are so worth it. We have like 5 of these brushes.

Where to find it: 

Pretty much anywhere. Check out this 2 pack on Amazon. Plus, you can find them at Sally’s, Walmart, Target, Ulta, etc

Wet N Wild Color Icon Eyeshadow Quad ~ Walking on Eggshells 340B

How I use it: 

I have a ton of eyeshadow. It’s kind of addicting for me. It’s one of my few splurges. I just love trying out new palettes (well, provided they are cheap).

This is a great old standby though. I find myself falling back on this palette probably 50% of the days I do my makeup.

This was the first palette I think I ever purchased more than once and it is STILL the only palette I have purchased more than once ( I think I’ve purchased it 4 times over the past few years?). Super cheap and it looks good.

Where to find it: 

Amazon, but you will find it much cheaper in the drugstore, Walmart or Target.

e.l.f. Smudge Brush

How I use it: 

I use this to make any eyeshadow into an eyeliner! I just dip this into any black eyeshadow (I have been using a black NYX eyeshadow that came in an Ipsy exclusive palette for this for a long time now) and use it to line the top/bottom of my eyes!

Often times I will start off doing a very thin liquid eyeliner on my top waterline (I stay pretty well stocked on liquid eyeliner through my Ipsy subscription…more on that later), and then I lightly pack a bit of eyeshadow on top and finish off the bottom of my eyes with the black eye shadow using this brush.

Honestly I love ALL of the e.l.f. brushes, but I would be lost without this e.l.f. Smudge Brush!

Where to find it: 

Amazon, Target, e.l.f cosmetics, Walmart and your local drugstores!

Schick Intuition Razor

How I use it: 

This is probably the item I have been using the longest on this whole list! This razor changed my life. I have VERY sensitive skin. Typical razors/shaving creams give me razor burn EVERY SINGLE TIME. Ever since I found this razor? No more razor burn…EVER. NO more cuts…EVER. I have not cut myself with a razor since I was in my early 20’s (when I first found out about this razor).

Where to find it: 

You can find this razor anywhere. I typically buy one once a year at HEB and then purchase the refills via Subscribe & Save on Amazon (they are MUCH cheaper using subscribe & save on Amazon).

I hope you enjoyed reading about my beauty on a budget must haves! I had fun writing it. I love to gush about products I am loyal to.

For the most part though, I am NOT very brand loyal. Because of this, I enjoy trying different brands often. Most of the time, the trial size is enough for me to get my fill and that is why I love my Ipsy subscription! It’s a little mom gift I get in the mail every month.

 

You can set your preferences so you get to try the kind of makeup you WANT to try. Sign up here using my referral link and I’ll get a small bonus 😉

What are some of your favorite beauty budget must haves? Comment below! Maybe I’ll find my next beauty budget must have from your comments! 

What To Buy In July – Cheesecake, Laptops, Hot Dogs and More!

Do you know what to buy in July? Do you know what you definitely should NOT buy in July?

One thing I’ve noticed over the past 6 years of deal blogging is that sales are typically cyclical.

This goes for food, clothing, furniture, vehicles and almost everything.

You can see my full list of yearly sales cycles here, but here’s a list of what you should/shouldn’t buy in July.

 

First off, July is National Ice Cream Month! Also National Fried Chicken Day (July 6th), National Cheesecake Day (July 30th).

July 4th Sales

  • Hot Dogs
  • charcoal
  • Hamburgers
  • salad dressing
  • BBQ Sauce
  • potato chips
  • Ketchup
  • dips
  • condiments

Back to School Sales Begin: 

  • crayons
  • binders
  • pencils
  • folders

Seasonal Produce

  • Asian Pears
  • Figs
  • Peaches
  • Bartlett Pears
  • Garlic
  • Peppers
  • Beans
  • Grapes
  • Sweet/Bell
  • Blueberries
  • Nectarines
  • Plums
  • Corn
  • Onions
  • Potatoes
  • Cucumber
  • Valencia Oranges
  • Summer Squash
  • Eggplant
  • Watermelon
  • Tomatoes

Christmas in July: Think Black Friday (-ish) pricing in July. Sales extend throughout July and many stores drop prices to semi annual lows.

Back to School: Yes, I know school JUST let out, but now is the time to start stocking up for back to school! 
Clearance: Believe it or not, many stores will be starting to clearance their summer inventory to make room for fall. Check out Lowe’s, Home Depot, Amazon and basically any major retailer during the month of July and you’ll find deals for dad.

Air Fair – Sometimes you can find good deals on air fare in July. Seems strange, but flights need to be filled and everyone is traveling! .

Laptops – Some back to school laptop sales start in July much to every teacher’s dismay.

PC Games – Many PC games go on sale during the month of July.

Air Conditioners – “On average, air conditioner deals we saw last July were 16% cheaper than deals we saw in June, and 14% cheaper than deals we saw in August. ” – Deal News

AVOID: HDTV’s

What Are Amazon Lightning Deals & How Do I Find Them?

Amazon lightning deals are time sensitive deals that have drastically (sometimes) reduced prices for a limited number of customers. The deal will either expire because the quantity of the item available at the special price has been hit or because time has expired.

Where do I find amazon lightning deals?

Click here to see all of today’s Amazon lightning deals.

You can also click on “Today’s Deals” and scroll down past the deals of the day to see the lightning deals. You will see a progress bar showing the percentage of the deal that has been claimed, as well as the countdown showing the time remaining. (During the holidays, I share a LOT of time sensitive lightning deals on my Facebook page. Lightning deals from early November to mid December are often really amazing discounts and they go FAST!).

What is the secret to getting amazon lightning deals?

There is no big secret, and most of the year, the deals are good…but not great (meaning, if you already planned to buy the item, you should definitely hop on it!!). However, during that November/December time frame, the deals go so fast you might get whiplash!!

In that case, I suggest filtering down to “upcoming” deals and setting 5 minute reminders for the deals you might be interested in. It is a lot like bidding in an auction, so I also suggest you decide ahead of time what you are willing to pay, so you don’t end up swept into the excitement!!

What is the waitlist?

The waitlist is exactly what it sounds like!! The deal has been claimed at 100%. The catch is, some customers might not have checked out yet!! For whatever reason, there is the possibility that they will not complete the transaction.

Here is how you join the waitlist:

  1. Select Join waitlist on a Lightning Deal to place yourself on the waitlist.
  2. When you’re next on the waitlist, you’ll see an alert in the upper right-hand corner of your Amazon.com page indicating that the deal is available. A notification will be sent to your phone if the latest Amazon App is downloaded and notifications are turned on.
  3. Add the deal to your Cart within the time remaining.
  4. You are now ready to claim the Lightning Deal. If you don’t add the deal to your Cart within the time limit, you will be removed from the waitlist .
  5. Complete your purchase and redeem the discount.
  6. A waitlist automatically expires when the promotion expires. All customers on the waitlist then lose their chance to claim the Lightning Deal.

I do not often post amazon lightning deals here on fff due to their time sensitive nature. So be sure you follow me on Facebook!

10 Ways to Make Living On One Income Easier

 

Nowadays, living on one income is harder than ever. Most families simply don’t think they can make it work. Unfortunately, most are right! However, if you do need to live on one income (or you just want to financially live as if you are living on one income) here are some tips to make it easier!

Bargain Shop:

First and foremost, you will need to learn the art of bargain shopping! This includes knowing how to use coupons and how to follow sales. Here are some helpful articles to get you started:

You might also find it helpful to shop at thrift stores and clearance racks. Set aside a day a week to go peruse the clearance racks and thrift stores. You might ask your local stores when they have their restock days or markdown days. You can start to form a weekly schedule to go check out what is on sale.

You can get some amazing deals if you stay vigilent and stay ahead of the needs for your family (for instance, if you know your son has a program coming up next month that he’ll need a white shirt for…put that on your list now so you don’t have to pay full price at the last minute!).

Make food from scratch:

This is a big one. For the most part (and especially if you are cooking for a family), you will save a ton of money if you make most of your food from scratch. Pre-prepared meals or meals that you eat out will almost ALWAYS cost more than you can get away with spending if you make it from scratch at home. This does mean more work in the kitchen, but the money you save will be well worth it.

Here are some great from scratch recipes that your family might enjoy:

If you DO decide you need a night out every once in awhile, be sure you are following me on Facebook either on my page or in my group. I try to post good restaurant deals there whenever I see them!

Get a side hustle

Just because you are planning to live on one income does NOT mean you can’t earn some extra income from a side hustle! My side hustle is this blog (learn how to make money blogging here!).

Depending on  your skills, some options are:

  • Tutoring
  • Sell on Ebay
  • Freelance writing (check out Fiverr!)
  • Freelance Photography
  • Selling on Amazon
  • Babysitting

There are so many different ways to make money from home. You can do one thing or many things. Chances are, every little bit of extra funds you can bring in will help!

Live minimally

If you have less, you’ll find you need less. This one is a struggle for me in my already very cluttered household! The truth of the matter is, the more you have to store, the more expensive your lifestyle will be. Live with less and you will be able to live ON less.

To begin this new minimalist lifestyle, you should have a yardsale!

Build an emergency fund

I have written extensively about having an emergency fund and on it’s importance. This emergency fund will be used and it will need to be regularly replenished. If possible though, don’t go down to one income until you have this well funded.

If you are already down to one income and do not currently have an emergency fund, read this article for details on how to build yours up quickly.

Use cash instead of credit

This could also be called just living within your means. If you can responsibily use a credit card each month and pay it off (and earn the associated perks), by all means, you can continue to use your credit card.

If you have a habit of letting the month get away from you and just paying minimum payments on  your debt, I would strongly advise paying cash wherever you go. Don’t allow yourself to drown in debt!

Downsize where possible

Move to a smaller home. Purchase a less expensive vehicle. Go to the lowest cable plan. Whatever it takes to trim  your budget to be more manageable on one income…do it! You might be able to live on one income VERY comfortably if you just cut some costs by downsizing!

Constantly shop around

Make a phone date with your electricity, phone, cable, insurance, etc providers on a regular basis. Pay special attention to special rates and when they expire. Do not let yourself get caught “off contract” and paying some overly inflated market rate because you did not pay attention to your terms and contract dates.

Sometimes loyalty pays off, but sometimes it doesn’t. If another company can give you a comparable service/product, then jump ship. If loyalty is so important to the company you have been with for years and years, they will be able to match the quote. This alone can take HOURS of your time, but it is worth it for the savings!

Make a budget and stick to it

This should have probably been first! The only way you can be succesful living off one income (unless you have an endless amount of discretionary funds, in which case you are probably not reading this article!) is by budgeting!

I have written a whole series on budgeting, so rather than reinventing the wheel, just check out these posts:

Step 1: Decide Your Non Negotiables

Step 2: Write Down All Your Monthly/Yearly Expenses and Prioritize them

Step 3: Starting from the top, create your budget

Step 4: Revisit your budget often. At least once a month, more if your situation changes.

Sacrifice

Finally, you just might have to sacrifice. You will need to decide if the sacrifices you need to make to be a one income household are worth it. Maybe you won’t have the hot new bag the second it goes on the market.

Maybe you won’t get to go on a fancy vacation every year, or even every 5 years! You and your family need to decide if the sacrifices necessary to maintain a one income lifestyle are worth the trade off of being/becoming a dual income household.

Do you have any tips/advice for anyone planning to transition to a one income household? Comment below!

 

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