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Showing posts with the label Christmas

Shop Small Businesses This Holidays!

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The day after Black Friday is Small Business Saturday. Why do corporate businesses come before small businesses? Because they have the money for advertising and mind control. They have bigger budgets, more staff, and more time to infiltrate your consciousness and convince you to spend your hard earned money on them.

However, small businesses should be taking precedence this holiday season and all year round. Why? Because small businesses are the backbone of this country. We couldn't live without them. All corporate businesses started out as small businesses and grew to be bigger than they should have been. Now a lot of them are failing to leave small businesses to pick up the slack.

Small businesses provide quality products and personal customer service. Small businesses provide attention to detail that corporate stores don't take the trouble to provide. The biggest reason of all to support a small business is because that money is going directly to the person providing the prod…

Stay Home on Black Friday. Shop Small. Shop Local.

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(Originally posted in 2013. Revised and expanded for 2018. The views of the author haven't changed!)

Black Friday shopping can be crazy. Stores opening at midnight if they even closed at all. Standing in line and getting a ticket to buy an item at significant savings. Most of the time people are buying things they don't really need. They are missing out on time with family and friends to go shopping. Employees are missing out on time with family and friends on a holiday to satisfy a corporation's greediness.

No, I don't agree with stores being open so early on Black Friday and even on Thanksgiving Day. It is a holiday after all!  Just because someone works retail doesn't mean they need to pay the price of missing out on sleep and time with loved ones. I don't agree with stores opening at ungodly hours to satisfy their bottom lines while offering deals that are supposedly irresistible to shoppers. I don't like the whole craziness of these shopping days and wha…

20 Books To Give Your Favorite Preppers (and Non-Preppers) For The Holidays!

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One of my favorite gifts to give and receive for any holiday is books! Almost everyone reads books. Beyond that, reading increases knowledge, brings pleasure, and is generally a good way to relax. 

These are my favorite prepping fiction and non-fiction books to read and to give. You can give most of them as an e-book, but I recommend a hard copy to keep in the home library. If you can give the e-books as a downloadable book, this would be good too so the recipient can download and print the book. 

You will see fiction and non-fiction on this list. While most preppers like non-fiction, non-preppers will enjoy fiction books more. Sometimes the fiction books do more for opening the eyes of non-preppers than any talking to them will do! 

20 Books To Give Your Favorite Preppers (and Non-Preppers) For The Holidays!

1. How to Survive the End of the World as We Know It: Tactics, Techniques, and Technologies for Uncertain Times by James Wesley, Rawles. (This is my favorite prepping book ever!)

2. S…

How To Start Saving Money For Next Christmas

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What do you mean next Christmas? Christmas was, like, yesterday!

I know, I know. However, now is the time to set your budget for next Christmas and to start saving money for it. You know how much you spent on gifts, food, entertainment, and all the little extras. If you don't know, now is a good time to find the receipts and add them up. 

While you might be in shock over how much you spent, you need to take the time now to come up with a plan for next year. My goal is to pay cash or have the money in my checking account to pay for Christmas. I start early buying gifts so I can spread out the spending more. Saving money now allows me to start buying early because I have the money already saved.

If you were forced to use credit cards to pay for Christmas this year, this plan is for you too. Pay off those credit cards as quickly as possible and start putting some money away for next Christmas. If you used credit cards for the points and cash backs and can pay them off right away, that l…

10 Money Saving Hacks For A Happier (And Cheaper) Holidays!

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In 10 Money Saving Tips for a Frugal Holidays, I focused on how to save money on gifts and stockings. Those tips have saved people a lot of money since the post was published. However, during the holidays, saving money on gifts is not the only way to save money!

During the holidays, normally frugal people can even go crazy and spend money that they know better than to spend! Something about the holiday spirit makes people throw out their budgets and good caution. We want to be generous, treat people well, and generally have a good time. That is great to do, but we can all practice good sense with these money-saving hacks listed below!

1. Respect the traditions. If you have certain things you do every year and you know your family will miss them if you don't do them, keep the traditions alive as long as you can afford it. The costs of these traditions should already be in your holiday budget. If you take the whole family to a big show every year, that costs should already be figured …

What Does Your Prepper Want For Christmas? This Prepper's Top 10 Christmas Wishlist!

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Christmas is a hard time for me. People ask me what I want for Christmas and I have a tough time telling them what I want! Of course, I have an Amazon wishlist and a mental wishlist. However, I still am not sure what to tell my loved ones what I want.

Then there is also the small problem of me telling them some of the things I want, but they won't buy them anyway! Anyhoo...

The special prepper in your life can be hard to shop for. You know they love gadgets, but they have so many already! You know all about the "two is one and one is none" theory, but how many of one thing do they really need? Is a bucket of emergency storage food really a gift (yes, it is!)?

I am here to help! I have compiled a list of things I want or have gotten that I think would make great gifts. I have picked all prices ranges for those with a smaller and bigger holiday budget,

In no particular order or priority is This Prepper's Top 10 Christmas Wishlist:

1. A Generator! I prefer to have smaller ge…

10 Money Saving Tips for a Frugal Holidays!

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Christmas time can just be a crazy time! So many people you want to give gifts to, so many things your kids want, and only so much money to spend in your wallet! What is a person suppose to do?
I am here to help you! I use these tips to help me save money at Christmas and still feel good about the holidays. These tips can help you too!
1. Set a budget! I set a budget for each kid of $75 each and try extremely hard to be under that. I don't have a budget for stockings, but I try to find item cheaply and that will take up some room!

2. Make some of the gifts yourself. Beware: some gifts cost more to make than to just buy. Be a thrifty present maker! Make sure it is a labor of love and not on your wallet.

3. Decide carefully who you are buying gifts for and who you are not. Despite the generosity of the season, not everyone needs a gift. A card stating your appreciation for all they do can be enough. A small plate of cookies is fine too. However, teachers can only get so many cups and pl…

Homemade Apple Fritters

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Homemade apple fritters are a family tradition. And no wonder! They are so good! My mom makes these every Christmas morning. She loves to tell the story about who used to make them and where the recipe came from. In fact, when I emailed her to ask her if I could share this recipe, she sent me this:

"Your Great-Grandma Marie Jebsen Kopp made that recipe a family tradition using either apples or raisins. Your dad prefers the apple one so that has become our tradition. I heard the recipe came from her mother, so your Great-Great Grandmother Amanda Wohlert Jebsen. They would use dried apples and reconstitute them by boiling in water a little while. Raisins were also treated to a hot bath. Raisins were a treat for those living in the Midwest back in those days, they usually only bought them at Christmas or Easter time. They were not readily available in this part of the country most of the year or if they were they didn't spend money on them until the holidays."

I love the his…

Christmas 2013 Gifts

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Christmas 2013 (left to right) Shali, Paige, Dane, and Jordan
Today I thought I would share with you what I did for Christmas for the kids. I try really hard to follow the four present rule: one gift to wear, one gift of need, one gift of want, and one gift to read. I also give a stuffed full stocking.

The following is a list of what the kids got and how well or not so well I followed the four present rule:

Shali: A new winter coat (need)
         2 pairs of pajama pants (wear)
         cosmetic travel bag (want)
         Barnes and Noble $25 gift card (read)

Jordan: A new robe (wear)
            hair straightener (need in her mind)
            cosmetic travel bag (want)
            Amazon Kindle $25 gift card (read)

Paige: 2 pairs of pajama pants (wear)
          large utility tote (need)
          handmade snow globe (made by me!) (want)
          3 new books (read)

Dane: A new shirt and pants (wear)
          Mindcraft Lego set (want)
          Star Wars snap together model kit (wa…

Christmas Birthdays

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Gotta love Christmas birthdays! My Paige was born three days before Christmas and on my dad's birthday. At the time, I didn't realize how tough it would be to keep her birthday separate from Christmas!


Birthday parties need to be planned and held in advance! As with all my kids, I do not throw big blowout celebrations every year. They get a big one when they turn seven with all their classmates invited. When they turn thirteen, they get a party and sleepover with the friends they want to invite. When they turn sixteen, they get a night out with their friends - usually that involves dinner out, the movie theater, and a sleepover.

The birthdays before and in between are usually just family only with maybe a friend or two over and maybe a sleepover with that friend depending on what is going on. This way, I stay sane and the birthdays do not wreck my pocketbook. My kids know that their birthday is a special day, but they will not have a huge blowout affair that will spoil them or…

Are You Struggling Financially This Christmas?

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How is Christmas going for you this year?

With Christmas being just two weeks away, are you feeling overwhelmed or joyous? Wondering when that Christmas "miracle" is coming so you can afford to get some gifts? Wondering how you can buy gifts when the bills are piling up? Wondering how you can get presents for everyone?

This time of year is difficult for most people, but those struggling to make ends meet already feel the pressure even more. The temptation to put the gifts on a credit card or not pay other bills to buy gifts is very, very great. The pressure to get gifts for everyone and make everyone happy is overwhelming.

How can anyone feel joyous when they don't how to make it all work?

I have been there. I am still there for the most part. Even with my frugal lifestyle, Christmas creates panic in my heart and sanity. Every year, I tell myself it will be different. With small changes every year, it has become a little different. I would like to share what I have done and …

Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday Shopping: Is the Headache Worth It?

Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday shopping can be crazy. Stores opening at midnight if they even closed at all. Standing in line and getting a ticket to buy an item at a significant savings. Missing out time with family and friends to go shopping. Employees missing time with family and friends on a holiday to satisfy a corporation's greediness.

No, I don't agree with stores being open on Thanksgiving Day. It is a holiday after all and just because someone works retail doesn't mean they need to pay that price. I don't agree with stores opening at ungodly hours to satisfy their bottom lines while offering deals that are irresistible to shoppers. I don't like the whole craziness of these shopping days and what they stand for. I personally try to never participate if I can help it. Last year, I got one thing online and regretted it because despite the reviews, it was cheaply made.

The problem with Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday shopping is that the people are feedin…

Planning for Christmas - Week 3

With Week 1 and Week 2 down, the planning has begun, the wish lists have been given to you, and you have your lists ready. Right?

If you don't, don't feel bad! You have plenty of time yet to get going!

This week we will be focusing on three things. None of them are very difficult, but all of them need some time to get accomplished. That means getting started now!

1. If any homemade gifts or stocking stuffers need to be started, start now. If you are doing anything like homemade extracts, jams, jellies, butters, vinegars, candles, or whatnot, start now. Anything that needs time to cure or develop flavor should be started now. Anything you can do now should be started so you are not stressed out later!

2. Now is also the time to start purchasing gifts. To make it easier on your budget and your wallet, start purchasing now. I have a few gifts already for Dane, one for Paige, and one for each of the girls. I also have a good deal of the stocking stuffers bought, but I do that all …

Planning for Christmas - Week 2

(I was a bit busy this week and am a bit behind. Monday's frugal update will be next Monday! Thanks!)

With Week 1's Planning for Christmas, we got our holiday notebooks and our list of people we wanted to give presents to written in it. This week will be building upon it.

First, I want you to write your family traditions in your holiday notebooks. Anything you do for the holidays that your family loves to do, you love to do, food you love to make, and whatever else you consider a tradition. Think about what your family loves to do at the holidays.

Notice I use the word "love". If you have a family tradition that seems like a burden, reconsider that tradition. This is all about making the holidays fun, easier, frugal, and organized. If a tradition is a burden, it is becomes a chore and that is not what the holidays are about.

After writing down your traditions, make a list of things you need to make those traditions happen. Whether it be food, gifts, craft supplies,…

Planning for Christmas - Week 1

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As I mentioned in the Christmas in September post last week, we will be getting ready for Christmas one week at a time! We have plenty of time, we just need to get it planned!

This week we will be doing a couple of things. None of them are too difficult and will help you keep it altogether!

First, find yourself a notebook to write in. This can be anything that contains paper! You might want a small notebook that you can fit into your purse or a school notebook that is big enough to not lose. You can use an old notebook or a new notebook. Whatever floats your boat! Just make sure there is plenty of paper so you can keep multiple years in the notebook.

Next, in that notebook, I want you to write down anyone you need or want to buy Christmas presents for. If you have birthdays coming up, you may want to write down those too so you can keep the birthday gifts separate from Christmas gifts. Paige's birthday is right before Christmas so I find including her birthday keeps me sane and ma…

Christmas in September - What?!?!

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(From Christmas 2010 - My kids were so little!)
Time to start thinking about Christmas!

What that you say, Erica? Not ready for that Christmas thing!

Me neither, but let's get a positive attitude about it!

We have three months and two weeks until Christmas! I also have two birthdays in that time so a little more creative planning is involved. I like to think ahead about these things and get the ball rolling.

I have simplified Christmas to only giving my kids four gifts and a stocking stuffed full. This makes my shopping easier, but I still get to buy sixteen gifts total. Oy!

I have the kids' gifts broken up into four areas:
(1) Something to wear
(2) Something to read (usually about 3-4 books)
(3) Something they want
(4) Something they need

I ask nicely (maybe I mean demand) wish lists from all of them. That way I know what they want, especially the teenagers. They can be the tricky ones! This year I have a college student too. New territory for this mama! I have no idea what…