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Christmas Gift Ideas for Teen Girls under $25

“We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.”

Are you needing a gift, maybe a Christmas present or a birthday present, for the teen girl in your life?  Are you on a budget and don’t want to overspend?

Well you have come to the right place!  I have researched all of the best gifts for teen girls!  The best part?  Everything is under $25, so you can stick to that budget!

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Gifts for Fun

This Karaoke Microphone would be so fun for some teen girl parties or for anyone who loves to sing!  It is compatible with both android and iOS.  It is only $24.99.

 

Adult Coloring Books are so fun and relaxing.  I loved the inspirational sayings in this book.  Every teen (and adult!) needs a good motivational quote every now and then!  this coloring book is a really good deal at $6.22.

What teen girl wouldn’t love a itunes gift card.  This way she can pick and choose what she wants!  You can decide how much money you want on your gift card, with the lowest gift card at $25.

Amazon.com gift card design

Let’s face it, teens love to take pictures!  This Phone Tripod looks so fun for setting up cute group photos or selfies.  It is currently only $13.98!

Accessories

CC Beanies are all the rage right now with teen girls.  These darling CC beanies are only $8.99, with dozens of colors to choose from.

Trendy Warm Chunky Soft Stretch Cable Knit Slouchy Beanie Skully HAT20A, Teal

 

These blanket scarves are so popular right now and would be perfect for the cold months.  This one is less than $15, and there are many other color options to choose from.

Bess Bridal Women's Plaid Blanket Winter Scarf Warm Cozy Tartan Wrap Oversized Shawl Cape (One Size, Camel)

I never thought scrunchies would come back, but they did, and are super popular with the teen crowd right now!  These Scrunchies are darling and only $12.99.

KECUCO 12A Colors Women's Chiffon Flower Hair Scrunchies Hair Bow Chiffon Ponytail Holder,Including 8 Colors Chiffon Flower Hair Scrunchies and 4A Solid Colors Chiffon Hair Ties (STYLE 1)

I’ve seen so many people wearing a bag similar to this Mini Backpack Purse.  They are really cute, and a fun alternative to the traditional purse.  This backpack is only $24.99!

 

Beauty Gifts

This set of bath bombs comes with 6 different scents and colors.  It’s a fun “luxury” gift for your teen.  The entire set is only $12.99

Aprilis Large Bath Bombs Gift Set, Organic and Natural Bath Bomb, Lush Fizzy Spa to Moisturize Dry Skin, Perfect Handmade Birthday Gift Ideas for Women Best Friends, Girlfriend and Kids, 6 x 4.0 oz

This Tabletop Makeup Mirror would be such a fun gift to receive as a teenage girl.  I was excited to see the price was only $22.49!

What teen girl wouldn’t like a makeup kit???  This one includes a little bit of everything; blush, lip gloss, and eye shadow.  It is only $10.35!

SHANY Glamour Girl Makeup Kit - 48 Eyeshadow/4 Blush/6 Lip Glosses

This 20 Piece Makeup Brush Set is a great deal at only $7.99.  You will never want for a makeup brush again!

EmaxDesign 20 Pieces Makeup Brush Set Professional Face Eye Shadow Eyeliner Foundation Blush Lip Makeup Brushes Powder Liquid Cream Cosmetics Blending Brush Tool

I love the colors in this Gel Nails Set.  This kit is the perfect way to get beautiful gel nails, but for only $17.99 it is at a fantastic price.

 

Gellen Gel Nail Polish Set - Nude Gray Series 6 Colors Nail Art Gift Box, Soak Off UV LED Gel Polish Kit 8ml

This Curling Wand has over 7,000 positive reviews and makes the most beautiful curls.  It is currently only $21.73!

Remington Pro 1-1½” Curling Wand with Pearl Ceramic Technology and Digital Controls, CI9538

When you are not wanting to curl your hair, this Hair Straightener is amazing!  My daughter has had this same one for a couple of years, and I love it.  (yes, I might “borrow” it from time to time!  😉 )  It’s very easy to use, and works great!  It is a great deal at $19.99.

Anjou Hair Straightener Brush with Anion Hair Care Electric Ceramic Heating Straightening Brush

I have had an ipsy Subscription off and on for 4ish years now.  It is a fun beauty subscription service where they will send you 5 beauty products and a cute makeup bag every month for only $10!  When you set up the subscription service you will feel out a form detailing what types of beauty products you would prefer, your coloring and more.  This would be a fun gift for a teen girl to receive, even if you only sign up for 2-3 months worth of subscription.  It’s a great way to learn new makeup skills and try out new products.

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Books

I bought this hair styling book for my daughter last Christmas.  She loved it!  It gives easy to follow instructions for fixing hair.  It is currently $12.98

The Fault in our Stars is a story of a sweet teen romance. It has been a best seller for a few years.  The paperback is just $7.59

Keeper of the Lost Cities:  Flashback is the newest (just released in November) of the hit series Keeper of the Lost Cities.  If your daughter is a fan of this series, she would be thrilled to receive this newest book.  It is currently priced at $13.24.

Room Decor

I love this Bluetooth Nightlight.  It has so many functions including night light, speaker, handsfree calling and more.  For only $18.95 it really is a great deal!

SHAVA Night Light Bluetooth Speaker, Portable Wireless Bluetooth Speakers, Touch Control, Color LED Speaker, Bedside Table Light, Speakerphone/TF Card/AUX-in Supported (White), 7

Felt Boards are super trendy right now!  Most teen girls would love having them in their room to be able to make fun and cute sayings.  It is only $20.99!

You can choose any letter you want with the Marquee Letter Sign.  It would make such a fun room accessory!  It is currently only $12.99.

 

Practical Gifts

This Duffel/Sports Bag comes in a dozen different colors.  My daughter has been wanting a bag like this to carry her sports gear to school, it would also be great for a teen that is on the go or traveling.  This bag is $23.99.

I love the rich colors on these Stainless Steel Insulated Water Bottles.  They are practical and cute!  These water bottles are currently $15.95.

It’s always fun to change up the look on your cell phone.  These marble Cell Phone Cases are only $8.99, and have a few different designs and colors to choose from.

 

You might be interested in a few of my other gift lists!

25 Gift Ideas for 5-7 year old boys under $25

10 Valentines gifts for him under $10!

10 Valentine Gifts for Her under $10

25 Gift Ideas for Tween Girls; all under $25!

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Affiliate · Amazon · Bargain Buys · Birthday · Fabulous DEALS Friday · Family · For the kids · Frugal Life · Gift Ideas · Parenting

25 Gift Ideas for Tween Girls; all under $25!

“We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.”

Tween girls can be hard to shop for!  They are growing out of the little girl toys, but not quite interested in the teen girl life.  My tween daughters have consistently been the hardest to shop for!

I did some research and compilied a list of 25 AMAZING gift ideas for tween girls.  The best part???  They are all under $25!  Yay!

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Gifts for Reading

Keeper of the Lost Cities:  Flashback is the newest (just released in November) of the Keeper of the Lost Cities Series.  This is a really popular series and is currently priced at $13.24.

I absolutely love the concept of Wreck This Journal.  Each page gives different prompts of things you can do to the journal.  It literally gives the kids permission to “wreck” the journal.  It sounds so so fun and only $12.00.

The Tail of Emily Windsnap is such a darling book!  Both of my daughters absolutely loved it; AND it is a series!  That is a huge win for me!  The paperback book is $5.99.

Tween Accessories/Jewelry/etc.

Unicorns are super popular among the tween crowd!  These Unicorn Slippers are so sweet and fun.  The price varies depending on size, but is between $11.99 and $19.99.

Unicorn Animal Fleece Slippers | Indoor Outdoor Home Slippers | Cozy Plush Memory Foam

I never thought scrunchies would come back, but they did, and I am actually not mad about it!  These Scrunchies are darling and only $12.99.

KECUCO 12A Colors Women's Chiffon Flower Hair Scrunchies Hair Bow Chiffon Ponytail Holder,Including 8 Colors Chiffon Flower Hair Scrunchies and 4A Solid Colors Chiffon Hair Ties (STYLE 1)

My daughters go to nail polish is always the Essie brand.  These colors are beautiful and the polish is easy to use.  This set of 4 is $18.00.

essie Spring 2018 Nail Polish Collection, Set of 4

This faux leather jewelry box is a beautiful shade of blue and a perfect beginner jewelry box for a tween girl.  At $15.58 it is a great price!

I adore this dainty initial necklace.  It would make such a special gift!  The necklace is a great price at $14.99.

MignonandMignon Gold Initial Necklace Initial Pendant Necklace Graduation Gift Personalized Necklace (M) - RCIN

Gifts for the Room

Felt Boards are super trendy right now!  This would be so fun in a tween girls room.  It is only $20.99!

You can choose any letter you want with the Marquee Letter Sign.  It would make such a fun room accessory!  It is currently only $12.99.

It’s no secret that teens love emojis.  This emoji pillow is sure to be a hit!  It is currently priced at $7.99.

I always wanted a lava lamp as a young girl.  There is something so relaxing about watching the colors move and change.  This Lava Lamp has really pretty colors are costs $13.34.

It’s so fun for kids to have their own alarm clock, and a great way to teach responsibility.  This Alarm Clock is adorable and only $12.99.

Educational/Craft Gifts

Help your tween feel a little more grown up with an Adult Coloring Book.  I loved the inspirational sayings in this book and it is a really good deal at $6.22.

Now a days, tweens can never have to much slime!  Here is a a fun Glow in the Dark Slime Pack with fun neon colors!  This 12 pack is only $13.99.

How fun does this Lip Balm Kit look?  It is a fun mix of science of pre-teen glam.  The reviews are all really positive and would be a fun activity to do together.  It is priced at $17.51.

MindWare Science Academy (Lip Balm)

American Girl just can do no wrong!  This American Girl Baking Cookbook is darling and looks so fun.  It would be a great way for tween girls to learn to bake.

This American Girl Sketch Book looks so fun for learning how to draw, and being able to use some creativity with fashion design.  It is currently priced at $12.65.

Gel pens are so fun, and this kit has 100 colors including glitter and metallic.  I know my tween would love having all of the many color options!  The kit costs $19.99.

 

It is NEVER to early to teach kids the importance of saving money.  I love this Savings Bank that offers the options of save, spend and share.  It is only $17.99.

Gifts for Fun

This Karaoke Microphone would be so fun for girl parties or for anyone who loves to sing!  It is compatible with both android and iOS and it is only $24.99.

My tween daughter always asks for a Squishy.  They are a great stress relief, and fun for kids who need to keep their hands busy.  This squishy is $6.38, and their are a lot of other cute options.

I always wanted my very own gumball machine as a kid.  This cute Gumball Machine comes with gumballs already stocked and is only $20.99.

My daughters LOVE their roller blades.  They spend more time roller blading than riding their bikes.  I was excited to find these Roller Blades for only $22.49!

This Family Version of Wits and Wagers is so fun for all ages.  It is a huge hit in our family!  I was happy to see it is just under $20 at $19.99.

 

You might also be interested in my other gift guides:

Christmas Gift Ideas for Teen Girls under $25

25 Gift Ideas for 5-7 year old boys under $25

10 Valentines gifts for him under $10!

10 Valentine Gifts for Her under $10

Affiliate · Amazon · Bargain Buys · Birthday · Fabulous DEALS Friday · Family · For the kids · Frugal Life · Gift Ideas · Holidays · Parenting

25 Gift Ideas for 5-7 year old boys under $25

“We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.”

My goal for giving gifts is to find good quality gifts that will be loved for years, without spending very much money.  This is not always an easy task, but it is possible!

Today I researched gifts for 5-7 year old boys.  I was able to find 25 fun gifts, all under $25!

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Gifts for Reading

The Monster at the End of This Book is actually one of my favorite children’s books!  It is such a fun, interactive story that brings a laugh with every turn of the page.  It is a GREAT price at $4.44.

The Book With No Pictures is so much fun!  Each page is filled with silly words that “must” be read exactly as shown.  It’s impossible to read it without laughing!  It is worth the $13.99!

My son loves looking through the I Spy books.  With all the detail in every picture, it provides hours of entertainment.  It is a great price at $10.73.

Educational Gifts

I have heard so many positive things about this Snap Circuits set.  It is educational, fun, and has over 5,000 positive reviews.  This is actually the gift I bought my 6 year old.  It is currently priced at $20.99.

This Science Kit can provide hours of fun for you and your son to enjoy together.  It is educational, rewarding, and fun.  It;s currently on sale for $15.42.

I love this educational LEGO craft kit.  It involves building, planning, and experimenting.  It teaches you how to build 10 different moving machines with all pieces needed included.  This is a great toy for helping kids learn, while they are having fun!  It is only $14.89!

This How to Draw book is perfect for a child who is interested in drawing.  The shapes are all easy to draw and understand, making it perfect for a young beginner.  It is just $4.99!

Sport Gifts

Here is a fun Over the Door Basketball Hoop for a fun game of bball in the house.  It is $19.99 and includes a ball.

 

Do you have a soccer lover?  This Soccer Goal Net would be a fun gift to help them practice their newly learned skills and get them outside staying active.  It is currently on sale for just $19.99!

Gifts for Play

Remote control anything is always a sure bet with young boys.  This Remote Control Car is extra special with the flashing lights.  It is on a great sale right now at $24.95.

How fun would these Walkie Talkies be for your sweet boy?  The reviews are all fantastic and they are only $23.99.

Magformers is one of my favorite toys for kids.  It’s a great educational toy for kids to use their imagination and STEM knowledge.  But, at the same time, it’s also fun…..so they don’t even know they are learning!  This is a small beginner set and costs $16.97.

When it comes to boys, you can never go wrong with a LEGO set.  Honestly though, LEGOS are expensive.  I found this LEGO City set a few months ago and really felt like it was an excellent value at $23.99.

How cute is this Kids Tool Set?  My little boy just loves pulling out his toy tools and “helping” dad around the house.  This set costs $19.99.

My son received these Night Vision Goggles for Christmas last year and absolutely LOVED them!  He was so cute playing “spy” with them.  They are only $14.99!

This Nerf Gun has over 4,000 positive reviews and comes with 6 darts.  It could provide hours of fun for any little boy!  It is priced at $12.99.

Drones are so fun, but they can be expensive!  This Mini Drone is a good price and would make such a fun toy!  It is only $23.98!

This Flexible Race Track is a FAVORITE in our house.  The tracks are easy to snap together and fun to change the design over and over.  It is a good price at $24.95!

This Robo Shooter Robot looks so fun!  Not only does it walk and move, it also shoots frisbees!  I was happy to find it on sale for just $24.99.

I love these Boogie Boards.  They are similar to a white board and chalkboard, but easier to erase and so much less mess.  My kids absolutely love them!  We use them on car trips, during church, and for playing at home.  This Boogie Board is $21.97.

The Star Wars craze is back, and not going anywhere anytime soon.  This 2 Pack Light Sabers are perfect for a friendly duel.  You can also attach them together to make a dual saber!  So fun.  This two pack is $23.94.

This is a perfect beginner Transformer for young boys.  It is easy to transform from action figure to vehicle and is sure to be a big hit.  As far as transformers go, this one is an excellent price at $14.99.

Games

Our Family LOVES the game Spot It.  I was really excited to find a Spot It Jr. for our little one.  This game is so easy to learn and play, and so addicting!  It is only $7.99.

Spot It! JR. Animals

Connect 4 is a classic game, and for good reason!  It is fun to play and a great beginner game.  It is only $8.77.

I have heard SO many positive things about the game Exploding Kittens.  It sounds like a huge hit for young kids and I’ve been really wanting to try it out.  It sounds like a huge hit for boys especially.  It is only $19.99.

 

You might also be interested in my other gift guides:

25 Gift Ideas for Tween Girls; all under $25!

Christmas Gift Ideas for Teen Girls under $25

10 Valentine Gifts for Her under $10

10 Valentines gifts for him under $10!

Affiliate · Amazon · Family · For the kids · Frugal Life · Halloween · Homemade · Parenting · Recipes

Monster Rice Krispie Treats

Disclosure:  “We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.”

When I saw these darling Monster Rice Krispie Treats over at One Little Project at a Time I immediately fell in love with how cute and simple they were to make!  I decided they would be the PERFECT item for the Bake Sale at my kids Halloween Carnival.

Happily, these Rice Krispie Monsters turned out just as darling and easy as I had imagined.

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First, make your rice krispie treats according to the package directions.

Cut them into rectangles.  I cut mine slightly to big, next time I will be sure to cut smaller pieces.  (I must have been hungry 😉 )

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Next, prepare your chocolate.

I found these candy melts from Walmart.  You can order them off of Amazon, but they were cheaper at Walmart.  They were easy to melt and only took about 3 minutes, and no stress!

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Now, you dip your rice krispie rectangles into the chocolate.  You will want to be slightly quick with this.  As the chocolate cools it will be harder to dip.

All that’s left is to add on the candy eyes.  I also bought these at Walmart, but they are available on Amazon as well.  It was so fun adding the eyes and making the fun monster faces.  My kids loved helping with this part, and actually had some good ideas!

Let your cute monster rice krispie treats cool, and the chocolate harden.  And that is it!  All done.  Now, feed your monster treats to your little monster darlings.  😉

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Affiliate · Amazon · Birthday · For the kids · Frugal Life

Budget Friendly Pancake and Pajama Birthday Party for Tweens!

Disclosure:  “We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.”

Why is it every time my kids have a birthday I get so emotional????  Please tell me I’m not alone in this!  It is so fun to watch my kids grow into amazing people, but oh how my heart hurts to see just how fast time passes and how quickly my babes grow!

We celebrated my daughters 10th birthday last week!  I may have shred a tear or two, but I mostly enjoyed celebrating her sweet life!

I throw my kids a birthday party with their friends every other year.  This year happened to be the year for my daughters party.  It took us a few days to come up with a theme that felt a little more “grown up” for her.  Take a look at my article Fun Birthday Traditions for Small Budgets for a few other ways we celebrate birthdays.

We finally decided that a Pancake and Pajamas Birthday Party would be the perfect party for young tween girls.

Like all of my parties (LEGO Birthday Party for Under $20), I try to plan simple, fun and FRUGAL.  I want it to be a special day for my kids and all of the party goers….but I also want it to be the least amount of stress possible for me!  (that’s just how I roll!)

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The Invites

I spent $2 on the invitations.

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I found the cutest invites at the Dollar Tree!  Seriously, how cute are these?!?!  They were perfect in every way, cute enough to keep my daughter excited and cheap enough to keep me satisfied!

The Decor

By using items I already had at home I was able to spend $0 (yes, zero!) on decorations for this party!

I went with the colors turquoise, pink and white.  I hung a few streamers and balloons around the house, and made some tissue paper pom poms for a fun statement over the dining room table.  I have an easy tutorial for my Tissue Paper Pom-Poms.

It turned out beautiful!  I was so happy the way the colors all went together.

 

 

The Table

I spent $5 on the table decor/paper plates.

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I bought the plates, utensils, cups, napkins and table cloth at Walmart for $.97 each.

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The centerpieces were put together using items I had at home.  I simply filled a mason jar with fruit loop cereal and put a flower inside.  So easy!  So cute!  The girls loved munching on the cereal while they were waiting for the food to be ready.

The Food

By trying to use food I already had at home, I spent $10 on a few remaining items.

Beings how this was a Pancake party, I tried to make the food a fun part of the party.  (and…while I was so busy doing that….I failed to take any pictures of the food, oops!)

I cooked up a large batch of pancakes, and provided a fun array of toppings for the girls to choose from.  We had nutella, strawberries, blueberries, whipped cream, maple syrup, raspberry syrup, and sprinkles (it was a birthday after all 😉 ).

I overestimated the amount of food these girls would eat.  We ended up with a lot of leftovers!

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The Games/Craft

The activities were my biggest budget item.  I spent $40 on the activities.  A few of these activities doubled as the “goody bag.”

After the girls were done eating we played a few simple games.  We played Silent Football, Human Knot, and “The Cereal Game.”

I made up The Cereal Game based off of a White Elephant Game.

I bought 9 mini cereal boxes9 mini cereal boxes (1 for each girl) and made 9 slips of paper each with a number on it (1-9).

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The girls sat in a circle and each picked a number.  The number they drew was the order when they would be able to choose a cereal.

The first girl was able to choose from all of the cereals.  The next girl had the option to choose from what was left in the middle or steal from the first girl.  Play continues in the same way until all the girls have each had a turn to steal or choose from the middle.  If a cereal is stolen from you, you will receive a turn to steal from another person or choose from the middle.  A cereal can only be stolen twice until it is “dead,” meaning it can not be stolen again.

This game ended up being a huge hit!  They each loved having a mini cereal box to take home with them.

After the games we did a fun craft.  I gave each of the girls a white pillow case and then using fabric markers, they were able to color and decorate it.  Honestly, before the party I wasn’t sure how long they would want to sit still and color, but they surprised me!  They sat quietly for a good 20 minutes decorating their pillow cases.  They loved this craft!  This activity was the biggest expense of the party,  but I decided it was well worth the money.  I found the cheapest pillowcases were in bulk on Amazon.

 

The Results

I spent $57 on this party.

The Pancakes and Pajamas Party was such a fun party!  I loved seeing all the girls show up in their darling PJs and have a “mini sleepover”!

Now, I get to enjoy my sweet girl at age ten…..and keep hoping someone invites a special potion that will make kids stop growing!

 

Affiliate · Amazon · Crafts · Family · For the kids · Gift Ideas · Good Ideas · Halloween · Holidays

The Easiest No Sew Halloween Trick or Treat Bag

Disclosure:  “We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.”

Halloween is just around the corner!  I love this time of year!  I love the pumpkins, the crisp cool air, the changing leaves, and the excitement in my children.  My kids love to dress up as anything they want and run around the neighborhood trick or treating.

I got the urge to craft the other day and decided it would be so fun to make my kids new bags for trick or treating.  I wanted to create something cute, but also simple and frugal (because that’s how I roll!).

I came up with the idea of a no sew trick or treat bag.  I’ll be honest with you….it was even EASIER than I originally had planned!  (win!)

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Trick or Treat Bag Tutorial

Supplies Needed:

– Canvas Craft Tote

– Scrap fabric

Wonder Under

– Iron/ironing board

– Pattern for tracing

Let’s Begin:

You will first need to find your pattern for tracing.  I asked my kids what picture they wanted on their bags and they requested a spider and a cat.

After a quick google search I was able to find a couple of good tracing patterns.  Print these off and then cut out the shape.

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Now, follow the directions found on your wonder under fusing.

I cut out a large square of wonder under (large enough to cover the entire shape), and ironed the rough side onto the wrong side of the fabric.

Use your tracing pattern to trace the shape onto the paper side of the wonder under.

Once the pattern is traced, cut the picture out (fabric and all).

Last, you will gently pull off the paper backing of the wonder under.  Center it on the bag, and then iron it.

I have found that holding the iron steady for 5-10 seconds over each section of the picture helps give the applique a nice firm hold.

That’s it!  You’re done!  See, I told you it would be easy!!  It probably took me a total of one hour to finish both bags!  Quick crafting, is my type of crafting!

There are so many fun possibilities for these bags!  Pumpkin, ghost, witch hat, bat, skeleton, or lettering would all make darling trick or treat bags!

I can’t wait to watch my kids go trick or treating with their new bags!

 

 

Affiliate · Amazon · Finances · Frugal Life · Frugal Living Challenge · Good Ideas · Money Educatioin · Money Helps · Side Hustle · Walmart Grocery Pickup

Budgeting for Beginners: FAQ

Disclosure:  “We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.”

I receive so many messages on a daily basis from people wanting to start managing their money and living frugally, but they don’t know how to take that first step.  I admire everyone who wants to improve on their life and financial situation, it can be scary trying to make such a big change into the unknown.  I decided it was time for a FAQ article for all you brave beginners.

I asked my followers on instagram for all their budget beginner questions and today I will be answering a few of those.

A great place to start for a beginner is with my Free 14 Day Frugal Living Challenge.  This is a challenge made specifically for those just starting to manage money and live frugally.  This will give you a good starting place and should help you develop frugal habits.

FAQ for budget beginners2

Where do I begin?

The best place to begin is your budget.  It is vital you have a working budget.

If you are new to budgeting, it might take you a while to figure out just how much money to budget for each category.  This is normal!  A budget is fluid, meaning it is always changing.  The budget below is one that I made as a free printable.  It has many of the categories I use in my personal budget and is also easy to customize and add your own.  This (along with the spending tracker below) is available for free in my 14 Day Frugal Living Challenge.

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You will also need to begin tracking all of your expenses.  This helps you keep your budget accurate, and gives you a great window into your spending habits.  By tracking your spending habits, you will be able to see what areas you are over spending in and areas you could cut back.

A great resource, and the book that completely changed my financial views, is Dave Ramseys book, The Total Money Makeover.  Check it out from your library, borrow it from a friend, or order it from Amazon.  No matter how you get it, I HIGHLY recommend everyone read it.  Dave Ramsey uses easy to understand terms as explains exactly how to fix your financial situation.

What is the best way to keep track of day to day spending?

There are a few different ways of doing this.  It doesn’t quite matter HOW, it just matters that you do it and that you stay consistent.

For years we used an excel spreadsheet that my husband made.  It took quite a bit of work for him to put it together, but it worked out really well.

About 7 years ago we discovered You Need a Budget.  It is so user friendly and very affordable.  You can download the app onto your phone and update it as you spend.  This is not sponsored in any way, we REALLY do love it!  A similar program is Every Dollar, I have never tried it, but have heard lots of good things.

There is also the good ol’ standard paper and pen method.  I’ve never tried this method, but I do know other people who enjoy it!

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When tracking spending it is important to stay consistent.  Pick a day of the week, schedule a time, and develop a routine for tracking your spending.  We do it every Monday evening.  We save all of our receipts and go through each item one by one and write it down.  It is not necessary to write EVERYTHING down, for example:  when buying groceries, just write groceries and the amount.  There is no need to write down bread and bananas, etc.

You could track your spending daily on your phone, or weekly like we do.  Try a few different things until you find a good fit for you.

How do you start the envelope system?

Using cash envelopes is a great way to limit your spending.  I have an article written all about how to get started and the benefits you’ll gain.  You can check it out at The Envelope Money System: A Beginners Guide.

How do you make a grocery budget?

My grocery budget has been all over the place.  When I first started budgeting, I set the grocery budget FAR to low.  I kept going way over the budgeted amount and couldn’t figure out how to cut the costs down.  I finally decided that I needed to budget more money for our weekly groceries.

I tell this story to give you encouragement that all budgets, but especially grocery budgets, are trial and error.  It might (and probably will) take you a few months before you have the best budget for you.

While you are tracking your spending you should be able to see how much you are normally spending on groceries.  This gives you a good ballpark figure to begin with.  If you feel it is unnecessary spending, you can try to slowly bring the budget down week by week until you get it to a place you feel comfortable with.

How do you minimize grocery costs?

Groceries are one of the biggest expenses for most budgets.  This is one of my personal struggles.

The number one way I have found to keep those costs low is to meal plan.  Plan out every meal you want to eat for the week.  As you meal plan, write out your grocery list, and stick to this list while you shop.  I’ve found using Walmart Grocery Pickup has helped me to stick to my list, AND my budget.

A few other ways to lower grocery costs are to cook from scratch (avoid convenience foods), shop sales, and use the cashback apps regularly.

What are the easiest apps for frugal beginners?

I love cashback apps!  Long gone are the days when you have to sift through ads and cut out coupons, now all you need is a receipt and an app on your phone!  I actually love these apps so much I already have an article written about all my favorites.  You can find it here:  My Favorite Cashback Apps.

What should my budget look like?  What is normal for our family?

No two budgets will look the same.  My normal will be different than your normal.  What I spend on groceries, will be different then what you will spend on groceries, etc.  This is one of my favorite parts of a budget.  You can customize it and find something that works for you personally!

I prefer a zero based budget.  Start with the amount of money you expect to make for the pay period.  Then, using your budget, find a spot for every single one of those dollars.  Keep budgeting until you have “spent” on paper every dollar of your paycheck.

This WILL take some adjustments and some TIME.  Focus more on giving every dollar a place in your budget, and less about how it compares to other budgets.  Again, I recommend Dave Ramseys, Total Money Makeover book.  He gives good advice about how much your percentage you should be spending in each category.

Coming Soon:  I am currently working on an article to share my personal percentages in each category.  Hopefully this can help you get an idea of where to start.

What can you do when you cut back, budget and still don’t have enough?

I loved this question; because it is such relatable and real situation for many of us.

My first piece of advice is to keep your head up!  You are NOT alone!  There are so many dealing with similar struggles.  I strongly believe that together, we CAN help each other reach our financial goals.  Reach out to facebook groups and instagram accounts that discuss this issue.  Surrounding yourself with others in this situation should give you the strength, support and ideas to help get you through it.

I love Dave Ramseys quote to be “gazelle intense.”  When you have done EVERYTHING you can think of and the money is just still NOT adding up, that means it’s time to take more extreme actions.  Here are a few ideas to take when you need to be “gazelle intense.”

  1.  Sell items in your home (see 10 Items In Your House You Can Sell Quickly To Make Money  and 5 Places Online To Sell Your Clutter and Earn Cash).
  2. Start a side hustle.  Is their a side job you could take on to earn some extra money?  Google side hustles ideas and you should be able to find a good variety of ideas.
  3. Look through that budget one more time, what else could you sacrifice?  Could you cancel your tv subscription, quit eating out, lower your phone data plan, cut out all entertainment, etc.  None of these things are FUN, but they might be necessary in this situation.  Here is an article where I share What we cut from our budget to save over $2500 a year.
  4. Could you ask for a raise?  Would it be beneficial to make a job change?
  5. What could you downgrade?  Perhaps trade in your car for a cheaper model or move into a more affordable home?

I understand it is NOT easy when the money just ISN’T there.  ESPECIALLY when you feel as if you have sacrificed again, and again and again.  I get it.  I have been there!  Keep your head up.  Keep trying.  Be “gazelle intense.”  I believe in you!

FAQ from Budget Beginners (2)

I hope these questions and answers helped you in some way as you begin the exciting, yet sometimes difficult world of budgeting.  It’s never easy to develop new habits and start fresh.  Most things in life that are hard, and the ones worth doing.  I can guarantee keeping track of your finances are one of those things.

 

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Fabulous DEALS Friday: Gymboree Labor Day Sale PLUS Secret Code for an EXTRA 20% Off!

I am a member of the Gymboree affiliate program.  I may receive compensation from purchases made through links in this post.  All opinions are my own and I never recommend anything I don’t truly love and support.

Gymboree is having an AMAZING labor day sale!  I actually REALLY struggled trying to narrow down my favorites to share!  Be sure to check out Gymboree because it is LOADED with lots of cute, marked down deals.

One of my favorite ways to shop is to stack coupons.  I was so excited when Gymboree sent me a secret code for all of my wonderful readers.  This will give you an EXTRA 20% off your entire purchase!  Just enter AUG20AFF at checkout for your extra discount.  This code will only be good through 9/1, so don’t waste any time!

I love shopping labor day sales because this is the time when I like to stock up on summer clearance sales.  I always try to shop for my kids clothes a season ahead.  So, I will be buying them a huge pile of summer clothes for NEXT year!

Here are a few of my favorite Gymboree deals:

Gymboree Girl Deals

Remember to check out with code AUG20AFF for an EXTRA 20% off, the prices listed, do NOT include that extra discount!

This Ruffle Skirt is darling!  I love the soft coral color!  It is on sale right now for $4.89!

I love these Strawberry Flip Flops.  They just say summertime to me!  You can get them right now for only $5.59.

I am so happy about the positive affirmation on the No Bad Days Tee.  Affirmations is a big part of my parenting and for only $6.99 I’m excited to buy this shirt for my daughter.

My girls are so in love with the cactus trend!  I was excited to see this Cactus Nightgown.  I know they will love it!  And at only $6.99, I love it too!  😉

Is it weird that I seriously want this Diamond Romper in my size?!?!?!  It is only $6.99, and still has all size options available!

I obviously have a thing for coral!  These Trim Shorts are so fun and summery.  I love the ruffle trim!  They are a great at price at just $6.99!

This Flamingo Tee would actually pair cute with the coral shorts!  Flamingos are so trendy right now, and this shirt is only $6.99!

I really like buying my kids high quality swim suits, but I REALLY don’t like spending over $10 on one.  (yes, I am a cheapskate!)  Gymboree has a lot of cute swim suits right now, ALL for under $10!  These are a GREAT quality swimsuit.  If you’ll be needing to buy one next year, I HIGHLY suggest buying one of these.  I loved this Zebra Swimsuit for $8.39, but they had a lot of other cute varieties.

The Gold Bow Sandals are adorable!  They are only $8.39, and I seriously can’t get enough of their cuteness!

This Colorful Hearts Tee could be cute for summer, or back to school.  It is on clearance right now for only $8.39!

My girls LOVE to wear jeggings.  They are ALL about the comfort, and I am OK with that!  These Denim Jeggings are at a great price, only $9.08.  When you can find good jeans under $10, it’s stock up time!

These Ombre Shorts are really cute and have a lot of great reviews.  They are currently only $9.09!

Gymboree Boys Deals

Remember to add the EXTRA 20% off to each of these deals to dropthe price even lower.  Code:  AUG20AFF.

My son is going to love this Motorcycle Tee.  It has a lot of great reviews and is only $5.59.

The Red Henley is really cute, and would actually work well for back to school!  It is on sale for only $6.99!

These Board Shorts are a great price at just $6.99!  They still have all sizes available and great reviews!

I love slip on sneakers for my kids!  They are just so much easier than dealing with shoe laces!  These Camo Sneakers are so cute and perfect for easy on and off!

I am buying this Plaid Shirt for my son.  I love the colors, and it’s only $9.09!

These Relaxed Shorts are my sons favorite to wear.  (Did I mention my kids were all about the comfort???  😉 )  They are currently $9.79!

Be sure to check out Gymboree to browse all the other deals!  The ones I shared are just a sliver of what’s available.  I also found so many cute baby and newborn deals!  Remember to use the secret code for an extra discount!

Happy bargain shopping!

 

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How to Make the Perfect Zoodles

Sweet Frugal Life is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.  As an amazon associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

My zucchini plants have been generous this year, and I have loved cooking with this delicious vegetable!  Zucchini is one of my favorite veggies because, it’s the vegetable that just keeeeeps on giving, and it is also so versatile!  We have been enjoying zucchini in bread, cookies, on the grill, fried, etc.

One of my very favorite ways to cook zucchini is to turn it into zoodles!  Zoodles is a great, healthier alternative to noodles. (and if you pick the zucchini from your garden….it’s also FREE!)  I will usually serve it under marinara or alfredo sauce, but any of your fave pasta sauces will work great!  If cooked correctly, the zoodles are really not a lot different from regular noodles.  They are also much more filling, with much less calories!  Sometimes my kids don’t even realize what they are eating……emphasis on the sometimes.

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Homemade Zoodles Tutorial

A vegetable spiralizer is my best friend when it comes to homemade zoodles.  I couldn’t find the exact one that I use, but this spiralizer on Amazon is very similar in price and design.  It is also only $15.99, great deal!

First things first, if your zucchini is long, you will want to cut it down into smaller chunks.

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Next, you will need to prep your vegetable spiralizer.  I use the Thin Spiral for my zoodles.  Put your thin spiral attachment in the spiralizer and then stick one of the zuchinni chunks into the middle, in between the handle and the blade.

Now, all you need to do is twist!  This part is so simple (and…kindof fun….really!).  The zucchini will spiral through the blade, be sure to have a plate to catch all the spirals!

You can eat the zoodles raw or cook them over the stove.  I prefer cooking them for a few minutes (don’t worry it is quick!).

Heat up 1 or 2 tablespoons of oil in a sauce pan.  Once the oil is hot, add the zoodles.

Sprinkle with salt and pepper and toss in oil.  Continue to gently toss the zoodles while they cook.  Cook for 2-5 minutes.  I like them to be soft, but also slightly firm.

Serve with your favorite pasta sauce.  ENJOY!!!

 

 

 

 

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How to Make Ice Cream in a Bag

Sweet Frugal Life is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.  As an amazon associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

I’ve always said that I was born in the wrong decade!  I truly yearn for the simple life of the early 1900s.  I think that’s partly why I love being frugal.  I get so much satisfaction from growing and making my own food; and living a simpler, less materialistic life.

When we make our own ice cream it reminds me of simpler times.  It’s a way for the entire family to make our very own ice cream, no need to go to an ice cream parlor or the grocery store.  We can do it on our own!

We always have ice cream in a bag on our summer bucket list.  It’s easy (the kids can do it themselves!).  It’s cheap.  It’s fun.  I almost always have all of the ingredients on hand.  And, who doesn’t love ice cream on a hot summers day????  I know we do!

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Homemade Ice Cream in a Bag Recipe

1 cup Half and Half (I usually just use plain milk and it works just as good!)

2 TBSP Sugar

Favorite Mix-Ins:  any combination of the following

1 TBSP vanilla

1 TBSP cocoa

Chocolate Syrup

Fruit

Mix half and half, sugar and one or more mix ins (we used cocoa) in a quart size Ziploc freezer bag.

In a gallon size Ziploc freezer bag dump in a lot of ice and about 1/2 cup ice cream salt (I never measure this, I just kind of guess).

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Take the quart size bag with the ice cream ingredients and get out all the air and seal it shut.  Make sure the bag is sealed tight so no salt will get inside.  Place the quart size bag inside of the gallon size bag.

Now for the fun part.  You shake it!  This takes about 5-10 minutes of HARD shaking. It’s important to be shaking it constantly. I will usually help my little kids to make sure it gets nice and frozen.

Once the milk mixture looks frozen, take the quart size bag out and rinse it under cold water.  This helps to wash off any excess salt.

Pour it into your bowl, top with sprinkles if you’d like, and ENJOY!  I love the simplicity of this activity, and the excitement the kids get out of making their very own personal ice cream!

I hope you love this recipe as much as we do!  It’s fun to try to make different flavors!  My daughter had the idea to use a little mint extract and chocolate chips in our next batch for our own chocolate mint flavor!  There is really no right or wrong combo!

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