Stock up now for next Halloween–for CHEAP!

This might seem like a no-brainer, but just like Black Friday is a great time to shop for the holidays, and after-Christmas sales are the best time to stock up on things like wrapping paper and decorations–today and the next few days are the best time to score Halloween goodies on the cheap.

No, I don’t mean buy candy and save it for next year, lol. And it’s certainly hard to think ahead as to what you want to be for next year’s office party. 

But if you’re in need of things like costumes, decorations, party supplies, or those smaller accessories like Halloween makeup, wigs, or hats–now’s the time to shop!  Stores usually discount their leftover Halloween items at 50-75% off, right after Halloween is over. Although there’s not always a lot left, you can always find something at a deeply discounted price. Places like Target, Walmart, Sam’s Club, Costo– even Walgreens and CVS (or whoever your local drugstore is) are great places to find deals.

And for me, now’s the time to replenish what I hand out to the trick-or-treaters. I don’t give out candy–I prefer to give out little toys, as it’s better for the kids’ health. Last year I found amazing treasures at my Walmart Neighborhood Store (grocery store). I found Halloween themed activity books, bracelets, bubbles, erasers–all in packs of 20. I think I paid no more than $1.00 for each, possibly only 50 cents for each pack of 20. I also got a huge package of 90 Lisa Frank Halloween items at BJ’s for about $5.00.  So I’ll definitely be stopping in

Halloween treats from Oriental Trading

today to see what’s on sale!  (Because those kids completely cleaned me out last night. I had probably 60 little ones stop by, it was awesome!)

And if you don’t have time to scour the sales at your local brick and mortar stores, Oriental Trading Company is a fantastic online company with a great variety of Halloween itemsand they’re 70% off right now! 

But don’t wait too long. Usually the best of what’s left has been picked over by the end of the week. I know I’ll be heading to Target this evening, and checking out Oriental Trading’s sale sometime today.

Plan ahead, and save, save, save…

Get a grip on your spending with free financial tracking tools at Mint.com

One of the first steps towards getting your debt and spending under control is to know exactly where your money goes each month–and I found a fabulous free tool for budgeting and tracking finances at Mint.com. Mint comes to us courtesy of the folks at Intuit.com, who created Quickbooks, Quicken and Turbo Tax.

With Mint, you can:

  • See all your accounts in one place (checking, savings, credit cards, investments, etc)
  • View graphs and charts of your spending
  • Set and track your budgets to help you achieve your goals
  • Receive hundreds of dollars in personalized savings (they send you offers based on your spending habits)

It doesn’t take too long to add your accounts–a little while if you have a lot of different types of accounts–but it’s worth taking the time to do this. It’s secure, and best of all–FREE. You can log in from anywhere to see what’s happening in your financial universe at any time.

Sometimes we don’t realize exactly where we’re spending–or how much–and Mint will help you get a good handle on your finances. They send you a weekly snapshot of where you are (basically your current status as far as debt vs. assets) and even better, you get offers from Offermatic for rebates, as well as discounts from other Mint partners.

For instance, because I’m a big-time Amazon customer, and Mint determined this after 3 months of analyzing my spending, Offermatic sent me two $10.00 rebates already–which is fantastic for me! I’ve already used one and I’m about to redeem the second one.

So…with the holidays descending upon us, now would be a great time to sign up at Mint.com
and take the first step towards a healthier financial future!

Let me know if you try Mint, and if it helps you as much as it’s helped me…

Get $40.00 worth of stuff at The Body Shop for $20.00, today only!

Groupon has done it again! It’s yet another great national deal today, similar to their Gap offer a couple of months ago. Today’s deal, running in all cities, is $40.00 worth of merchandise (in-store only) for $20.00, at The Body Shop.

I’m seeing more and more national deals coming through from Groupon lately…and my gut feeling is that they’ll follow less of a local trend and become a big player in offering deals for big chains. Guess they need to start making back their latest round of $30 million in funding!

Either way, it’s a great deal, and I purchased two of them myself. With the holidays coming up, it’s a great way to save some money buying a gift basket or other items for a friend or family member. Or, I’ll stock up on shower gels for our household–because at $13.00 a pop, I refuse to pay full price…but remember, the deal is on for one day only! Get yours now…

Get a jump start on your holiday greeting cards–and save time and money while you’re at it!

I love the holidays, and every year around this time I swear I’m going to stay on top of everything I need to get done. But inevitably, the one thing that always plagues me is getting those holiday cards out before the holiday itself passes.

I always dread sitting down to write out the cards and eek! gasp! even worse—the envelopes.  But this year, I’ve found a way to tackle this task, and save money at the same time! I’m now using a service called Send Out Cards, that lets you create all sorts of fabulous greeting cards via a web-based application, and then the awesome folks at Send Out Cards print out the card, stuff the envelope, put on the postage and send the card for you. It’s like having your own virtual personal assistant!

If you’ve shopped for greeting cards lately, you know how out of control the prices have gotten. Cards are nearly up to $4.00 or $5.00 sometimes…and I don’t know about you, but having time to go to the store to pick out a card is not a luxury I have anymore since my baby came along.  And the cards on Send Out Cards typically cost about 99 cents—a HUGE savings! Postage costs the same as it would from the post office—but—once again, I don’t have to go to the store to buy postage, I can just replenish my account whenever I need to with a few clicks of the mouse.

So…what could be easier than popping onto your computer, choosing a card, selecting your recipient from your Contact Manager, and clicking on Send?  Not much in my book!

It’s truly one of the biggest time and money-savers I’ve found—not to mention I love being able to create my own custom cards. I actually had bought Minnie Mouse themed “thank you” cards for my daughter’s first birthday this year, but ended up taking them back to the store and using Send Out Cards instead—I added a photo of her “cake smash” on the front of the card, and friends and family just loved it!

You can choose from an enormous selection of cards (or make your own), and then personalize it by writing an individual message one by one, or you can even set up a card campaign to send the same card to multiple people. I may use that option for the holidays this year to make things even easier.  The system has a wonderful Contact Management system–also great for having easy access to an address book online!

I use Send Out Cards for birthday cards, condolence cards, thank you cards—everything you can think of, it’s just so incredibly convenient and cost-effective. And while sending an email greeting might be easy (and free), isn’t it nice to receive an actual card in the mail once in a while? I know it means a lot to me when someone takes the time to send me a physical card. Not to mention, you can easily add gift cards or affordable gift items along with your card.

Send Out Cards is super easy to use, and I was so lucky to sign up with Kerry Palmieri and Debbie Shulman of UnitedWeSendCards. These gals are wonderful Referral Specialists, there to help every step of the way with anything you need. It’s rare to find people so willing to take the time to help—but these ladies truly go above and beyond in that regard.

You can even test the program free! Just pop over to their website to send a free greeting card.

If you try it out, let me know what you think! I bet you’ll love it as much as I do.  And why not get a head start on those holiday cards…