Thursday, December 10, 2020

Get A Head Start On Next Summer's Vacation Plans

 


Depending on where you are in the country (I'm in PA.) or in the world, you might be getting ready for some bitter, cold weather or you already had a snowstorm or two. Or maybe you're one of the lucky ones who live somewhere where you don't see snow and ice and temps below freezing! Wherever you call home, you might be looking to get away for a few days or a few weeks. If you are planning to take a vacation, now is the best time to start planning! (and saving!) 


Pick A Destination 

This might be the hardest part of the whole adventure. Of course, this will depend on your budget and the time of year you're planning to visit but this could end up being a tough decision! Especially if you have a kid or 3 and you have a few other people who might have different ideas than you. 

You'll want to definitely do your research! Check out rates, availability of rooms or space, and definitely find out when their off-season is. If you can pay half the price to make reservations a week after Labor Day, that might be the deal-breaker right there. We often go to different campgrounds after Labor Day so we can get the less expensive cabin. Oftentimes this was a great opportunity to add a few nights onto our original plan or we would just have extra spending money to take along. (Well, in one case, it ended up being transmission money for my Saab and tow from Connecticut back to PA.) Either way, there is always a reason to save money where you can. I'm sure you can think of something to do with it! 


Start Planning

So, you have your destination and you checked out reviews on every hotel, vacation rental, bed and breakfast, cabin, and RV park so what's next? Check out the best vacation spots, museums, find your restaurants, shopping malls, maybe you planned and chose your destination around an event. It is never too early to plan an itinerary. (Unfortunately, due to the current situation, you may not be able to set anything in stone so you may want to check out cancelation policies and plan what you can. You can always go back to this once you know what the current situation is wherever you may be going.) I'm not digging any part of this shutdown so I am going to pretend that by next spring, all will be well and we are planning anyway with the expectation that we will be allowed to visit anywhere! 

I've always found that the best way to find the best spots in town is to start searching for local groups on Facebook and start searching Google for local, small-town dining, shops, even right outside of the town if need be. I tend to always favor small businesses and prefer to give them as much business as possible. Even at home. But, they also don't charge outlandish prices. They're not tourist traps. Usually. So, you can save a fortune maybe driving just a little bit outside of your vacation spot but you could potentially save $5 for that Alabama Slammer (OK, maybe $20 on 4 of those...) and you could get a much better quality meal that will only cost you half the price! 

Be sure to check reviews, check for coupons, discounts, and collect addresses, phone numbers, map everything out so you know where you're going when you get there. You probably won't have a printer with you but if you print those half-price coupons off before you leave, you could save a whole dinner's worth of money before you head back home. 


Take Care Of Everything At Home

Even if you're 9 months out, you may want to consider setting up any arrangements necessary for pets or even if you need someone to check in on your house or check your mail. It probably wouldn't hurt to have backup plans too. (Trust me, this happened to us a few times when a friend ended up backing out last minute.) 

You'll probably need a new pair of sneakers or some swim suits for the kids, maybe a few new tankinis for yourself, or a new bag to stuff everything into. So, start checking for sales during the holiday season! I often find the best deals from Cyber Monday the whole way through the New Year. I even stock up on shower gels, snacks, fancy candy, things I wouldn't otherwise buy any other time during the year. But, when they sell for half price or offer free gifts and free shipping I will buy up to last as long as possible! Actually, this would be a great time not just for swimwear but for toiletries and games and puzzles for the kids. All of these things are useful when traveling. 

Years ago when I first started actually using a computer and a printer., (Just 15 years ago! I was way behind on all of this Internet stuff!) I quickly realized how important it was to have a bank bag or an envelope stuffed with any pamphlets or maps from any of the places we were planning to visit. As well as coupons, any gift cards, frequent dining or gas station perks cards, a few blank checks, just in case, an emergency credit card or 2, medical insurance cards, anything I knew or thought we might need going into this bag. It was so helpful to have this so handy (in the glove box). That way, if we were going by a gas station or a chain restaurant, I could quickly find everything and save money too! If you are using a bank bag or a small bag of some kind and you have vitamins or prescription medication, this is the perfect place for those bottles too! Everything is just right within reach and depending on the size, you could easily fit this into your own bag when you stop on the way or are going into a restaurant. I also always throw a few oddball things in there like an extra lip gloss or 2 and a chapstick as well as some bandages, allergy meds, basic first aid kind of stuff. 

Another maybe strange habit I've always had or maybe it's not so strange but, I always think about how exhausted we are when we do finally arrive back home from vacation. The absolute last thing I want to do is have an overflowing hamper and a sink full of dishes! I am usually the last one to sleep on vacation eve because I am busy writing checklists to make sure we packed everything and then I catch up on laundry, clearing out the fridge, making sure drinks are stocked up so we don't have to run anywhere after we are home, and making sure the sinks are cleared out and everything is tidy. I feel a lot better coming home to a neat and tidy house. Where I don't have to do anything. But unpack and make a pot of coffee and fall asleep on my laptop. Of course, these are things you would do right before you leave rather than 7 or 8 months ahead of time! But, I figured I would add them. Just in case. 

Save Your Money

This is sometimes the most annoying part of vacation planning but if you throw a few dollars in a jar each week or you automatically deposit a few bucks into a savings account online or you just save all of your change, this will add up fast and could end up being all of your spending and shopping money while you're gone! (I'm assuming you've already paid for your stay when you reserved.) The next step isn't so bad. You just have to create a plan and a budget and stick to it! 

Years ago when my husband and I first started out and we had just 1 child, I was very cautious about our spending money on vacation and I would write up a piece of paper with exact amounts of money we had to use for each day. For instance; We're going to be out for 3 nights and 4 days so we need 4 days worth of food money and 2 days worth of spending money and the gas money for days 1 and 4. I would gather all of the coupons and discount cards I could find and then simply divide the money up into categories. I love to "overestimate" everything. Even if it's just a $5 overage. This way there is always extra. (I do this with my bills too!) Say my truck payment is $533 a month. It's actually $550 so that's how much I make sure is in the bank to cover that bill. I do this with each bill so this way I am always just a little bit ahead. (Same deal for vacation money just on a smaller scale.) 

One last thing! If you're saving coins, be sure to check with your bank first before paying an outrageous price like 8% at the grocery store. We have a very small bank but they do allow for us to drop off loose or rolled up coins and then pick up later in the day or the next day and they don't charge us anything! 8% may not seem like a lot but it could end up being 2 large pizzas worth when you're counting out a few hundred.


Monday, November 16, 2020

Liderstar Glow In The Dark Moon And Stars Sticker Set Giveaway

 

Welcome to the Liderstar Glow In The Dark Moon and Stars Sticker Set Giveaway! 2 Winners

This giveaway is part of our Holiday Gift Guide – Stop by to see all the giveaways and great products.

Host is Deliciously Savvy

Michigan Saving and More

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This giveaway's Sponsor is:

WEBSITE ~ FACEBOOK ~ PINTEREST ~ INSTAGRAM ~ YOU TUBE

Available on Amazon

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2 Lucky Winner Will Win A Liderstar Glow In The Dark Moon & Stars Sticker Set (TRV $50)! 220 stars and a moon included in each set!

See review HERE.

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This giveaway/sweepstakes is in no way endorsed, affiliated, or associated with Facebook, Twitter or any other Social Media Networking Site. This Giveaway is valid to continental United States residents only, Entrants must be 18+ years of age to enter. This giveaway event will end at 11:59 PM (EST) 12/19/20. The winner will have 48 hours to email their information back to mcushing7 at hotmail dot com or a new winner will be drawn, you may want to put this email address as safe as it could go to spam. The giveaway is not valid where prohibited! By entering you are authorizing us to collect the information on the form below, this information is used only to contact the winner! No purchase necessary, Void where prohibited by law, and the number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Winners are chosen randomly by the Giveaway Tools program. The sponsors are each responsible for shipping of the above prizes. No blog associated with this contest are responsible for prize fulfillment. If you would like to be a sponsor in a giveaway like this please email Melissa Cushing at mcushing7 (at)hotmail (dot) com. If you take an entry you must stay following for the entire contest or you will be disqualified.

Sponsors interested in joining our gift guides can see the information HERE.

$25 Credit Special Dreamsby Ron Etsy Shop Giveaway

 

Welcome to the $25 Credit SpecialDreamsbyRon Etsy Shop Giveaway!

1 Winner $25 Credit SpecialDreamsbyRon Etsy Shop

This giveaway is part of our Holiday Gift Guide – Stop by to see all the giveaways and great products.

HOST IS MICHIGAN SAVING AND MORE and SWEET SOUTHERN SAVINGS

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This giveaway's Sponsor is:

SpecialDreamsbyRon Etsy Shop

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1 Winner receives the $25 credit SpecialDreamsbyRon Etsy Shop

Welcome to the $25 credit SpecialDreamsbyRon Etsy Shop Giveaway! 1 Winner $25 credit SpecialDreamsbyRon Etsy Shop

$25 credit SpecialDreamsbyRon Etsy Shop

$25 Credit

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THE GIVEAWAY

This giveaway/sweepstakes is in no way endorsed, affiliated, or associated with Facebook, Twitter or any other Social Media Networking Site. This Giveaway is valid to continental United States residents only, Entrants must be 18+ years of age to enter. This giveaway event will end at 11:59 PM (EST) 12/25/20. The winner will have 48 hours to email their information back to las93063 at gmail dot com or a new winner will be drawn, you may want to put this email address as safe as it could go to spam. The giveaway is not valid where prohibited! By entering you are authorizing us to collect the information on the form below, this information is used only to contact the winner! No purchase necessary, Void where prohibited by law, and the number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Winners are chosen randomly by the Giveaway Tools program. The sponsors are each responsible for shipping of the above prizes. No blog associated with this contest are responsible for prize fulfillment. If you would like to be a sponsor in a giveaway like this please email Laura Smith at las930 (at)gmail (dot) com. If you take an entry you must stay following for the entire contest or you will be disqualified.

Sponsors interested in joining our gift guides can see the information HERE.

 

Thursday, August 20, 2020

Long Distance Gift Ideas


If you're in a state or a country that has been locked down due to COVID 19 you have probably been shut down since March of this year. (It's soon September, just in case you're anything like me and forget what day of the week it is anymore!) So, chances are, you probably had a birthday or 2 or maybe an anniversary or maybe you just wanted to brighten a loved one's day but you've been limited in options. 

Fortunately, we still have some options for gifts or just a simple, "Thinking of you" gift basket or some goodies for a college student! Back to school shopping hasn't been the same, summer hasn't been the same, 2020 hasn't been the same but one thing that hasn't changed is the fact that you can still find ways to brighten someone's day! So many different small businesses have stepped up and some who didn't offer delivery or even websites have now started these things. It's even easier to support small businesses now! 

Of course, we have the infamous chocolate covered strawberries! Those always seem to be a hit at our house! My oldest son especially loves the white chocolate strawberries which is great for me since I don't eat the white chocolate and he leaves all of the dark chocolate for me. 

You can also find pre-made gift baskets and care packages for any age, any profession, you can even find some wonderful ideas for sports fans, (even by their favorite team.) Personally, I always prefer to make my own care packages by buying specific snacks and extras such as journals, pens, books, cards, board games, and music that  I know the recipient would love. I also think this adds a nice, personal touch. But if you're in a rush, there are a lot of good options and deals online. 

Homemade gifts are always cherished by the recipient. This is the perfect time for making jams or bread or even cookies! Depending on where you live and the shipping rates, this may be something limited to more local friends and family members. Here in PA, the end of August is an excellent time for produce! The only fruits I cannot buy locally are strawberries and blueberries but everything else is available or will be any day now make for some tasty jams and dips. Grab a case or 2 of Mason jars, some pretty labels, twine, and pectin and you are well on your way to creating mouth-watering, summery good jams that can be enjoyed even with 5 feet of snow on the ground. 

Flowers are a fun way to add a little bit of sunshine! Not only do they smell beautiful but when arranged beautifully, they turn into artistic masterpieces that are sure to delight everyone. New Jersey flower delivery from Plant Shed has such a stunning variety of options that are very aesthetically pleasing you'll end up finding an arrangement you'd like for yourself as well!

I know many of you are thinking I am forgetting wine or gift cards so I figured I would add these to the end since. Oh, and who can forget pumpkin spice is it? I like pumpkin pie and pumpkin roll when made properly but I've never been a pumpkin fan. More of a chocolate fan! I'm also not a wine person but I do understand there seems to be some wine fad that has been going on. Much like the whole pumpkin, latte, Starbucks, mermaid smoothie, something or other! Gift cards are cool and while I don't typically jump for them right away only because they are too quick and not very personalized, I will use those for kid's and teenager's birthdays. Especially when my kids are invited to a few parties in a month, I figure the gift cards are much appreciated by their friends. 

Whether you want to go all out and buy lots of Lego sets or a cute urban cheesemaking kit or order a NJ flower delivery, your loved ones will be grateful and sure to smile! That's the most important part after all!




 

Saturday, May 23, 2020

Craving Coffee Giveaway

Craving Coffee Giveaway

Welcome to the Craving Coffee Giveaway!

1 Winner Crave French Vanilla Flavored Coffee.

This giveaway is part of our Dads and Grads Gift Guide – Stop by to see all the giveaways and great products. Satisfy your craving coffee with Crave coffee!

Host is Michigan Saving and More

 
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This giveaway's Sponsor is:
Craving Coffee Giveaway

If you are craving coffee then Two Rivers Coffee will help satisfy that craving with all their great varieties of coffee.

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1 Winner receives the below. Crave French Vanilla Flavored Coffee
Crave French Vanilla Flavored Coffee

Craving coffee with Crave French Vanilla Flavored Coffee

$17.99 ARV plus shipping
See review HERE.

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THE GIVEAWAY

This giveaway/sweepstakes is in no way endorsed, affiliated, or associated with Facebook, Twitter or any other Social Media Networking Site. This Giveaway is valid to continental United States residents only, Entrants must be 18+ years of age to enter. This giveaway event will end at 11:59 PM (EST) 6/10/20. The winner will have 48 hours to email their information back to las93063 at gmail dot com or a new winner will be drawn, you may want to put this email address as safe as it could go to spam. The giveaway is not valid where prohibited! By entering you are authorizing us to collect the information on the form below, this information is used only to contact the winner! No purchase necessary, Void where prohibited by law, and the number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Winners are chosen randomly by the Giveaway Tools program. The sponsors are each responsible for shipping of the above prizes. No blog associated with this contests are responsible for prize fulfillment. If you would like to be a sponsor in a giveaway like this please email Laura Smith at las930 (at)gmail (dot) com. If you take an entry you must stay following for the entire contest or you will be disqualified.
Sponsors interested in joining our gift guides can see the information HERE.
 

Takobia Earrings Giveaway

Takobia Earrings Giveaway

Welcome to the Takobia Earrings Giveaway!

1 Winner will receive 2 pair of Takobia earrings from their most recent collectiton.

This giveaway is part of our Dads and Grads Gift Guide – Stop by to see all the giveaways and great products.

Host is Michigan Saving and More

 
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This giveaway's Sponsor is:

Takobia Earrings

Since its inception in 2007, Takobia has been featuring the latest in fine fashion jewelry made to the highest quality standards. Each piece of jewelry is treated with care and inspected for quality numerous times before it makes it into the hands of customers. By keeping practices modern and fresh without sacrificing that personal connection with valued customers, Takobia provides a quality experience to shoppers that complements the quality found in their jewelry.

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1 Winner receives the below.
Dazzling Takobia Jewelry

2 random pair of earrings from their most recent collectiton.

up to $72.00 ARV
See review HERE.

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THE GIVEAWAY

This giveaway/sweepstakes is in no way endorsed, affiliated, or associated with Facebook, Twitter or any other Social Media Networking Site. This Giveaway is valid to continental United States residents only, Entrants must be 18+ years of age to enter. This giveaway event will end at 11:59 PM (EST) 6/12/20. The winner will have 48 hours to email their information back to las93063 at gmail dot com or a new winner will be drawn, you may want to put this email address as safe as it could go to spam. The giveaway is not valid where prohibited! By entering you are authorizing us to collect the information on the form below, this information is used only to contact the winner! No purchase necessary, Void where prohibited by law, and the number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Winners are chosen randomly by the Giveaway Tools program. The sponsors are each responsible for shipping of the above prizes. No blog associated with this contests are responsible for prize fulfillment. If you would like to be a sponsor in a giveaway like this please email Laura Smith at las930 (at)gmail (dot) com. If you take an entry you must stay following for the entire contest or you will be disqualified.
Sponsors interested in joining our gift guides can see the information HERE.
 

John Boos & Co. Walnut Rustic-Edge Cutting Board Giveaway

Welcome to the John Boos & Co. Walnut Rustic-Edge Cutting Board Giveaway!

1 Winner

This giveaway is part of our Dads and Grads Gift Guide – Stop by to see all the giveaways and great products.

Host is Deliciously Savvy

Michigan Saving and More

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This giveaway's Sponsor is:
1 Lucky Winner Will Win A John Boos & Co. Walnut Rustic-Edge Cutting Board Valued At $139!

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See review HERE.

A Little History On John Boos Boards:

John Boos & Co., based in Effingham, IL is one of the oldest manufacturers of premium quality foodservice equipment and butcher blocks in the U.S.A. Boos has been in business continuously since 1887. It was in his Effingham, IL blacksmith shop that founder, Conrad Boos first invented what would become the original Boos Block®. Having harvested sycamore from local wooded areas, and processed it in his sawmill, Conrad brought it to his blacksmith shop for finishing. That first block of sycamore slab placed on three legs evolved with sheer purpose of a block to absorb the shock of this smith’s hammer against the anvil. It was the local butcher, who having seen and admired Conrad’s block, became impassioned about owning a block for his meat market. Unknowingly, Conrad’s son, John, who having made and sold that first block to the local butcher, took John Boos & Co. into the infancy of the 125 year reign of serving customers in the commercial market sector.

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This giveaway/sweepstakes is in no way endorsed, affiliated, or associated with Facebook, Twitter or any other Social Media Networking Site. This Giveaway is valid to continental United States residents only, Entrants must be 18+ years of age to enter. This giveaway event will end at 11:59 PM (EST) 6/28/20. The winner will have 48 hours to email their information back to mcushing7 at hotmail dot com or a new winner will be drawn, you may want to put this email address as safe as it could go to spam. The giveaway is not valid where prohibited! By entering you are authorizing us to collect the information on the form below, this information is used only to contact the winner! No purchase necessary, Void where prohibited by law, and the number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Winners are chosen randomly by the Giveaway Tools program. The sponsors are each responsible for shipping of the above prizes. No blog associated with this contests are responsible for prize fulfillment. If you would like to be a sponsor in a giveaway like this please email Melissa Cushing at mcushing7 (at)hotmail (dot) com. If you take an entry you must stay following for the entire contest or you will be disqualified.
Sponsors interested in joining our gift guides can see the information HERE.