Category Archives: Gift ideas

Adoption Day Surprise

Adoption Day Surprise

Adoption Day Surprise | Money Savvy Living

 

My niece Ava is adopted.  So every year, her adoption day is celebrated almost like a birthday…  Well, my sister and brother-in-law actually got her on February 6, but she finally got to come on February 9, so she kind of has an adoption week celebration…

For those of you that have gone through the process of an international adoption, I’m sure you will be able to appreciate how Ava’s mom (my sister, Alison) remembers bringing her home:

“10 years ago today we flew home from Guatemala with this precious girl. The flight attendant was so kind and told us that she let the pilot know that he had a special passenger on this flight. When we entered American airspace he came on and congratulated Ava – because at that moment she became a citizen. The older she gets the more meaningful our adoption day celebrations become.”

Adoption Day Surprise | Money Savvy Living

Ryan and Alison with baby Ava and Ava’s foster mom in Guatemala when they picked her up.

This year, I thought, what better way to celebrate her special day than with a little adoption day surprise!

 

As soon as I saw this, I knew Ava would love it: Scratch & Sniff Scented Nail Art from SmitCo Gifts for Girls.  The perfect gift for a 10-year-old girl, right?!  Of course, I got this to help her celebrate her adoption day, but this would be perfect for a birthday, holiday, or just because…

 

Adoption Day Surprise | Money Savvy Living

 

The Review:

SmitCo Gifts for Girls

The emoji theme of this nail art was cute, even the nail polish bottle lids were emojis—fun!  And the polish actually smelled good… nice and mild and fruity.  One of the best things about this set is that it is non-toxic and the nail polish peels right off when it’s dry.  So if you make a mistake or if it’s just time for a new color, you can easily peel the polish off.  Much better than using harsh nail polish remover!  The polish dried very quickly and my niece was able to put a decorative sticker right over the polish right away… and then, on to putting candles on her cake…

 

Adoption Day Surprise | Money Savvy Living

 

It definitely wouldn’t be a party without pizza and cake!  And of course, the kids just love any reason to get together… because for us, it’s all about family.

 

Adoption Day Surprise | Money Savvy Living

 

Even Derek realized it was a special celebration day and let Ava give him a hug!  Of course, we know he loves his cousins, but trying to get a five-year-old boy to let his cousins give him a hug doesn’t happen on a regular basis… LOL.

 

Adoption Day Surprise | Money Savvy Living

 

*This post has been sponsored by SmitCo Gifts for Girls.  Product review and opinions expressed in this post are mine alone. #ad #SmitCo

 

Unique Gift Ideas Under $100

Unique Gifts Ideas Under $100

Unique Gifts from UncommonGoods for Less Than $100 | Money Savvy Living |

This post has been sponsored by UncommonGoods.  All opinions are mine alone.  #UncommonGoods #ad

 

If you are looking for a unique gift for a birthday, anniversary, wedding or other holiday, then you really need to check out these cool gadgets from UncommonGoods.  They have unique gift ideas for every budget, so you won’t have to break the bank trying to find the perfect gift.  It is also nice to know that UncommonGoods was founded on the principles of offering socially responsible products, environmentally friendly products, and giving back through the Better to Give Program.

UncommonGoods offers unique gift ideas for kids, teens, and adults that are sure to be a hit.  I like to look for gifts that fit my frugal lifestyle, but also offer something that someone may never have heard of before, is useful, and will get the “Wow, that’s really cool—I love it!” reaction.  So here is my list of favorites (and they are budget-friendly too!):

 

Birthday Picks: 

Birthstone Definition Necklace, this beautiful necklace is handmade in Texas, exclusively for UncommonGoods, $50

photo via: UncommonGoods.com

photo via: UncommonGoods.com

Bluetooth Tracking Tag, Do you misplace your keys a lot?  You can change that for only $40

photo via: UncommonGoods.com

photo via: UncommonGoods.com

Magnetic Key Holder, This key holder comes in the shape of the United States or you can even choose an individual state, $44

photo via: UncommonGoods.com

photo via: UncommonGoods.com

Craft IPA Beer Shampoo and Conditioner, Yes, beer is good for more than drinking… it will give you beautiful hair as well…$19.95

photo via: UncommonGoods.com

photo via: UncommonGoods.com

Heat Conducting Ice Cream Scoop, You will never have to dip your ice cream scoop in hot water again or wait for your ice cream to thaw, $19.99

photo via: UncommonGoods.com

photo via: UncommonGoods.com

 

Anniversary and Wedding Picks:

Ticket Stub Diary You can now easily create a keepsake of all the sporting events, movies, and concerts that you and your significant other attend together…$12

photo via: UncommonGoods.com

photo via: UncommonGoods.com

Personalized Maple Wall Clock This makes a unique and special gift with the ability to add a surname or date to this clock, $72

photo via: UncommonGoods.com

photo via: UncommonGoods.com

Personalized Cutting Board  Personal and useful—all in one!  A great addition for any newlywed’s kitchen, $54

photo via: UncommonGoods.com

photo via: UncommonGoods.com

 

Kids and Teens Picks:

Edible Chemistry Kit What can make learning more fun than a cool science experiment?  One that you can eat!  $18

photo via: UncommonGoods.com

photo via: UncommonGoods.com

Bioluminescent Aquarium (small) Tiny plankton will illuminate this spherical aquarium when you swirl it.  Truly a one-of-a-kind gift $59.95

photo via: UncommonGoods.com

photo via: UncommonGoods.com

Equation Geek Watch Geeks rule the world, right?  Your science-loving teen will love this equation watch. $68

photo via: UncommonGoods.com

photo via: UncommonGoods.com

DIY Lip Balm Kit Not only is this do-it-yourself gift a fun idea, proceeds from these kits helps to provides jobs and support to women in the Washington DC area. $40

photo via: UncommonGoods.com

photo via: UncommonGoods.com

 

Step outside of the stand-by gifts that you may normally givelike socks… because, really, no one is excited to receive socksagain.

Gifts Your Kids Really Want for Christmas

Christmas gifts your kids really want | Money Savvy LIving

Wondering what to get your kids for Christmas?  Get some great deals online and avoid the crowds this year.  Great gift ideas for small kids through pre-teen: sports, educational, books, and more!

SPORTS

VIDEO GAMES

Super Mario Bros Wii U

kids super mario bros wiiuNew Super Mario Bros. U

 

You can really never go wrong with LEGOS:

Legos
LEGO Disney Princess Elsa’s Sparkling Ice Castle

LEGO Minecraft 21116 Crafting Box

LEGO Star Wars 75043 AT-AP

 

Holiday Barbie 2015

Holiday Barbie 2015 Barbie Collector 2015 Holiday Doll

 

PAW PATROL is set to be some of the most demanded items for young kids:

Paw Patrol Collage

Nickelodeon Paw Patrol Pop Up Game

Nickelodeon Paw Patrol – Look-Out Playset, Vehicle and Figure

Paw Patrol Action Pack Rescue Team

Paw Patrol Giant Puzzle (46-Piece)

 

EDUCATIONAL

kids star wars planetariumStar Wars Science – Death Star Planetarium

kids star wars r2 d2 bop itBop It! R2-D2 Star Wars Game

kids spelling game

The Learning Journey Match It! Spelling

kids alphabet memory gameThe Learning Journey Match It! Alphabet Memory

 

kids color shapes puzzle

The Learning Journey Lift and Learn Colors and Shapes Puzzle

 

kids gear set Learning Resources Gears! Gears! Gears!

kids brain quest
Brain Quest Smart Game

kids states trivia
Professor Noggin’s The Fifty States

kids science game
Educational Trivia Card Game – Professor Noggin’s Wonders of Science

 

BOOKS

Popular books for Kids | Money Savvy Living

Diary of a Wimpy Kid Series 1-8
Diary of a Wimpy Kid 1-8 Complete Set

Diary of a Wimpy Kid 10
Diary of a Wimpy Kid #10: Old School

Diary of a Wimpy Kid 9
Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul

Are You My Mother?
Are You My Mother? (Bright & Early Board Books(TM))

Charlotte’s Web
Charlotte’s Web (Trophy Newbery)

Pat the Bunny
Pat the Bunny (Touch and Feel Book)

Magic School Bus Series
The Magic School Bus Chapter Book (20 Book Set)

Tuck Everlasting
Tuck Everlasting

Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret
Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret.

 

*This article does contain affiliate links, so if you choose to purchase through here, I will make a commission, although it does not increase the cost to you, the consumer. However, I highly recommend that you get an activity tracker whether you purchase through here or elsewhere.

 

Ultimate Holiday Gift Guide 2015

Gift-Guide-Collage 20 Something’s Gift Guide

30 Must Have Gifts For The Grill Master

Bloggers Gift Guide

The Ultimate Gift Guide For Any Woman

Gluten Free Gift Guide

30 Unique Gifts For Bookworms

New Mama Gift Guide

Educational Toys For Boys

Health, Beauty and Fashion Gift Guide

The Ultimate Gift Guide for Bakers & Cooks

There are a lot of gift guides this time of year, however, this one truly has something for everyone. Covering everything from gifts for the new mom, to the grill master or baker in your family, to book ideas, educational toys, fashion, beauty, and even health and gluten free gift ideas…

So sit back, have a cup of hot cocoa, and enjoy getting your shopping list checked off from the comfort of your own home…

*Many of the links are affiliate links, however, that does not change the final price of the product for the consumer.

Holiday Gift Guide 2015: Health, Beauty, & Fashion

Holiday Giuft Guide 2015 | Beauty, Health, Fashion | Money Savvy Living

 

Give the perfect gift this year.

But remember, it’s not really about the gifts; it is about the spirit of giving; it is about making memories with your loved ones; and it is about celebrating the birth of the savior.  All the other stuff is nice, but don’t let it take away from the important stuff and the true meaning of the season…

If you are looking for health and beauty items, this guide is exactly what you need.  This focuses on gift ideas for ladies, but many of the items can be for men as well… or maybe you are even looking to get healthier as a couple.

 

BEAUTY

Rodan + Fields

Give her a day at the spa without even having to leave the house!  Rodan + Fields has skincare products for all skin types:

Rodan + Fields

2015 Holiday Gift Guide | Rodan + Fields | Money Savvy Living

 

HEALTH

Juice Plus+

Juice Plus+ offers all the essentials for a healthy lifestyle with WHOLE FOOD supplements, shakes, and nutrition bars… no artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives, and gluten free.

2015 Holiday Gift Guide | Juice Plus+ | Money Savvy Living

 

JEWELRY

Shop Amazon Fashion – Holiday Jewelry

You can never go wrong with earrings…

Elegant and classic:

Sterling Silver Swarovski Blue and White Cubic Zirconia Stud Earrings

Swarovski Blue and White CZ Stud Earrings

Ready for any holiday party:

kate spade new york French Wire Drop Earrings
Kate Spade Earrings

 

HANDBAGS

 Shop Amazon Fashion – Handbags

Surprise her with a night out on the town, and one of these clutches to make it a perfect evening:

La Regale Rectangular Chainmail Clutch

Silver Clutch Jessica McClintock Sadie Clutch Evening Bag 

Gold Clutch

 

Or this beautiful shoulder handbag for everyday use:

Tosca Classic Shoulder Handbag

Tosca Handbag

 

WISH LIST

 Shop Amazon – Most Wished For Items

Possibly one of the most popular gifts this year is an activity tracker.  Get one for you and her, and commit to a more active lifestyle.

You can get an activity tracker that you wear like a watch, like this one: Fitbit Flex Wireless Activity + Sleep Wristband, shown in Black:

 

Fit Bit Wrist | Money Savvy Living

 

Of course, there are a variety of colors to choose from, if you want something more fashionable than black:

 

fit bit wrist colors | Money Savvy Living

 

Or you could opt for one that you put in your pocket or clip on over the waistband of your pants, like this one: Fitbit Zip Wireless Activity Tracker.

 

fit bit colors | Money Savvy Living

 

Many of these activity trackers work with apps that can be downloaded on your smartphone, so you can track your progress.

 

 

*This article does contain affiliate links, so if you choose to purchase through here, I will make a commission, although it does not increase the cost to you, the consumer.

 

Holiday Gift Guide 2015: A Little Something for Everyone

 

Have you started your Christmas shopping yet?  Perhaps, you are waiting for the great deals of “black Friday” before you start… or maybe you are a procrastinator and won’t shop until you absolutely have to… regardless of your shopping style, it is inevitable that you will need to do some shopping this holiday season… and this online holiday gift guide will help you do all the shopping you need from the comfort of your own home.

Holiday Gift Guide 2015 | Money Savvy Living

Here’s a holiday gift guide that features products that can be used for any occasion…

 
Juice Plus
Juice Plus+ holiday gift guide | Money Savvy Living

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rodan + Fields
2015 Holiday Gift Guide | Rodan + Fields | Money Savvy Living

Rodan + Fields

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thirty One

2015 Holiday Gift Guide | Thirty One | Money Savvy Living 2015 Holiday Gift Guide | Thirty One | Money Savvy Living

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Holistic Healthways
2015 Holiday Gift Guide | Holistic Healthways | Money Savvy Living

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Young Living Essential Oils (to order, email: marymiller1124@gmail.com)

young living essential oils | Money Savvy Livingyoung living essential oils | Money Savvy Living


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Scentsy
2015 Holiday Gift Guide | Scentsy | Money Savvy Living 2015 Holiday Gift Guide | Scentsy | Money Savvy Living

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pampered Chef
2015 Holiday Gift Guide | Pampered Chef | Money Savvy Living

 
Norwex
2015 Holiday gift Guide | Norwex | Money Savvy Living

 
Divine Gifts
2015 Holiday Gift Guide | Divine Gifts | Money Savvy Living 2015 Holiday Gift Guide | Divine Gifts | Money Savvy Living 2015 Holiday Gift Guide | Divine Gifts | Money Savvy Living 2015 Holiday Gift Guide | Divine Gifts | Money Savvy Living

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Trades of Hope
2015 Holiday Gift Guide | Trades Of Hope | Money Savvy Living Oppurtuniy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jamberry

Holiday Gift Guide 2015 | Jamberry | Money Savvy Living Holiday Gift Guide 2015 | Jamberry | Money Savvy Living Holiday Gift Guide 2015 | Jamberry | Money Savvy Living

 

 

 

 

 

 

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10 Ways to Avoid Overspending this Christmas

10 Ways to Avoid Overspending this Christmas  | Money Savvy Living

 

Shopping for everyone on your list, attending all of the holiday parties, and taking in all of the sights and sounds of Christmas can get expensive—but it doesn’t have to.  There are a few steps that you can follow to ensure that you don’t end up with the winter blues, a whole lot of regret, and a huge credit card bill come January.  Here are 10 ways to avoid overspending this Christmas:

  1. Make a list. Don’t just set out to shop without a game plan. Write down who you are buying for and what you want to get for them. And remember, if it’s not on the list—don’t buy it!
  2. Set a budget. Decide ahead of time how much you want to spend on the gifts you will buy. The easiest way to not overspend is to set aside a certain amount of cash, when the money is gone, your shopping is done. If you are buying online or using a credit card, save your receipts and make sure to keep track of your spending.
  3. Don’t get drawn in by “biggest SALE of the season” advertising. Just when you think that Black Friday has the best sales, then Cyber Monday comes along with a whole new plethora of items on sale. Really, until Christmas Eve, you can count on retailers trying to entice you onto their website or into their store so you can take advantage of the Christmas savings. Don’t get me wrong, the 52” flat screen HD TV is a great buy for $300, but if you don’t really need it, then that was $300 that you didn’t really need to spend.
  4. Focus on the true meaning of Christmas. It is so easy to get caught up in buying the perfect gift for that special someone or making sure everything is checked off the “Santa” list, but gifts, decorations, and holiday parties are not the reason we celebrate Christmas. Remembering that we celebrate Christmas because of the birth of Jesus helps get things back in perspective.
  5. Make gifts. As much as Grandma and Grandpa enjoy getting a new pair of slippers under the tree, they would probably enjoy getting a homemade gift from their grandkids even more.
  6. Wait until the after-Christmas sales. This won’t do you very much good this year, but planning ahead can save you 50-75% off for next year. Wait to buy lights, wrapping paper, and other decorations once they go on sale the day after Christmas.
  7. Take advantage of gift card specials. Many stores offer a free “gift” with purchase— $10 free gift card with a purchase of $40 of gift cards, for example. If there are items that you know you want to get from a store that offers this, buy the gift cards first, then use them to buy your gifts—and pick up a bit of extra spending power along the way.
  8. Comparison Shop. With most stores having an online presence, it is pretty easy to look up current sales and compare from site to site which retailer has the best deals or offer free shipping.
  9. Shop consignment stores for holiday clothes for the kids. If you want to have the perfect holiday outfit for your kids for the annual Christmas picture, card, or school program, it can get very pricy. If you aren’t careful, you can sink quite a bit of money into a complete outfit that your rapidly growing child will only wear one or two times over the holidays.  Many consignment shops offer “nice as new” and name brand clothing for a fraction of the original cost.
  10. Attend FREE holiday events. Many churches, individual venues, or communities offer free events such as plays, light displays, Christmas tree lightings, caroling, and festivals. These free events can offer a lot of great family fun—and it doesn’t cost you a thing!

 

10 Ways to Avoid Overspending This Christmas | Money Savvy Living

Homemade Cinnamon Christmas Ornaments

cin ornaments1

You won’t believe how simple these ornaments are to make… and they fill your home with the wonderful scent of cinnamon! These are a great craft for kids to make. Not only can you put them on your own tree for years to come and remember the fun Christmas memories of making them, but they make great gifts for the grandparents too.

My kids just love helping make these– and we make some nearly every year!  The good news is, they are pretty inexpensive to make.  I bought generic cinnamon (2.5 oz) for $0.88 and the name brand cinnamon was $4.68!  So right away, that is a savings of 80% on ingredients!  To make 24 of these ornaments only costs around $3.

Cinnamon Christmas Ornaments

  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

3 Ingredient recipe
2 c. applesauce
2 c. cinnamon
2 Tbsp. Elmer’s school glue

That’s all you need! Just mix together until dough forms, roll out (to about 1/4 inch thickness) and use your favorite cookie cutter shapes to make your ornaments. Just remember, if your dough is sticking as you roll it out, “flour” your rolling pin with cinnamon.

Homemade Cinnamon Applesauce Christmas Ornaments | Money Savvy Living

Homemade Cinnamon Applesauce Christmas Ornaments | Money Savvy Living

Once your ornaments are cut out, you must use a toothpick, a craft stick, or even a straw to poke a hole in the top so that you can put a ribbon through to hang on tree. Or, if you want to string them for garland, you will want to place 2 holes in the middle of the ornament, at least 1/2 inch apart.

Homemade Cinnamon Applesauce Christmas Ornaments | Money Savvy Living

Homemade Cinnamon Applesauce Christmas Ornaments | Money Savvy Living

 

Optional:  lightly press glitter onto the ornaments while the dough is still moist and let it dry into the dough for decoration.

Once the ornaments have dried for at least 24-48 hours, use glue to decorate after the ornaments with glitter, sequins, or whatever your choose.

Put ribbons through the holes and decorate your tree!

 

Dec 2012 045

Merry Christmas!

*Money Savvy Tip*
Shop at the dollar store or an overstock store for these ingredients, or even ask your local grocery store for damaged containers of applesause or cinnamon, you may be able to save a bit of money on these items. Also be sure to look for generic brands of these ingredients for extra savings.

Keepsake Journal

Keepsake Journal | Money Savvy Living

 

The best gift a Mother can receive is something made by her children. Of course, I like jewelry and flowers too! But this year, my husband bought a journal in which each child wrote a Mother’s Day message for me. He let them write whatever they wanted… totally unprompted.

 

I have to say, these sweet, heartfelt messages from my kids just make me smile:

 

Keepsake: Mother's Day Journal | Money Savvy Living

 

The idea is that for Mother’s Day, or my birthday, or any other holiday throughout the year, the boys can write a message, draw a picture or whatever they want, and I will have a journal of their messages to me over the years as they grow up. Not only is it nice to have it all compiled in one book, but no need to buy expensive cards that get misplaced or thrown away.  Saves money AND I have something homemade from my kids…. win, win.

 

It will be interesting to see how the boys’ handwriting and pictures change over the years.  I’m pretty sure one day, they will look back through this book and smile at some of the cute things they wrote when younger.

 

This keepsake journal idea would also be a great gift for Father’s Day (yes, we definitely started one for my husband too!), or for a parent or grandparent’s birthday. A gift from the heart, for any occasion, that is money savvy too, doesn’t get much better than that.

 

Cake Pop Christmas Tree

Cake Pop Christmas Tree | Money Savvy Living

 

Are you looking for a centerpiece that is more than just pretty… look no further! This Christmas cake pop tree would make a great centerpiece for your holiday table. Not only is it festive for a holiday celebration, but the cake pops are sure to be a big hit too. And by the way, you can make it for less than $10 ($4 for the actual cake pops and about $6 for the Styrofoam display)! The recipe I use makes approximately 36 cake pops, so when you think about how much it would cost to buy 3 dozen cake pops at $1.50 per pop… well, you can see that you are make this for only a fraction of what it would cost to buy it ready-made.

 

Making the Cake Pops
There is no perfect science to making these, unless you buy a kit. I just made a spice cake, cooled it, and crumbled it up finely into a large mixing bowl. This is where you just kind of need to add spoonful by spoonful until you get to the right consistency. I ended up adding about 1/2 of a 16 oz. container of icing. Don’t be afraid to get in there with your hands and mix it. You know it is ready when it can be rolled into cake balls about 1″ and they keep their form without falling apart.

 

Christmas Cake Pops | Money Savvy Living

 

Next you will put the sticks in for the cake pops. To do this, melt a small amount of chocolate wafers. You will dip the stick in the melted chocolate about 1/2 in then put into the cake ball. After these are all in, put in refrigerator to solidify the sticks so they hold.

 

Christmas Cake Pops | Money Savvy Living

 

After the chocolate has dried on the sticks and they are solidly in place, melt more chocolate wafers in a bowl. I melt them in the microwave at 50% power, in 30 second increments. Of course, you can use a double broiler as well. Just use whatever colors and flavors you want. Dip the pop in, swirl around until coated on all sides, let the excess drip off and then poke into a large piece of floral foam for the chocolate coating to dry. If you are going to decorate with sprinkles, nuts or any other candy crumbles, you will need to do this immediately because the chocolate will dry very quickly once on the cake pop.

 

Christmas Cake Pops | Money Savvy Living

 

Presentation is Everything!
I like to wrap each cake pop in it’s own individual candy bag and close it with a twist-tie or ribbon. From here, you can poke them into a decorated foam stand, lay them on a plate or pedestal, or whatever creative way you can think of!

For the Christmas Tree look:

  • I made a special cake pop for the star on top… just covered in white chocolate and then covered with yellow/gold sprinkles.
  • Each ornament cake pop is covered with different sprinkles and multi-colored tie twisties.
  • Spray paint a foam craft cone and glue it to a small cardboard cake plate.
  • Decorate with greenery, poinsettias, ribbons, berries…
fun, festive, and delicious!

fun, festive, and delicious!