5 Simple Ways to Show Love and Appreciation Without Saying It

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Sometimes the way you show your love for someone matters more.  Check out our simple ways to shop love and appreciation without saying it.


Sometimes when disaster strikes in families, such as, death, sickness or other unforeseen things we sit back and think… Could I have done something different, what if I did… and so on. Sometimes saying, “I love you,” “I appreciate you,” seem robotic (if you will) and not really heart felt. So that led me to ask what are some ways we can show appreciation and love without saying it.

We posted this question on our weekly Penny For Your Thoughts post on our Facebook page. Here are a couple of the tips which were shared by our readers.

“Cooking. When everyone is full, cozy, and happy, that’s love shining through the recipes.” – Matthew G.

“One of my favorite things to do is to make something. For the hubby its Pumpkin pie. He knows its Food Translation for “I love you”….when I hand him a slice he actually says, ” Mmmm….I love you too” lol. For parents I love to make ornaments. Especially Christmas ones, my parents love them!” – Angel H.

“I have a college age boy who seldom shops for the necessities..So randomly I send him a care box with socks, cold medicine, cough drops ect.. and of course his favorite cookies! I always get a “how did you know I needed socks?” and a thank you for the cookies!” – Deb B.

“A hug, card, little gift or home-cooked meal or dessert.” Mimi J.

“Agreed: cooking someone’s favorite dish. Also a random ‘thinking of you’ greeting card mailed.” – Melissa B.

I think our readers had some great ideas and I agree that sometimes cooking a meal for a family member, dropping off a card or even just doing something sweet for someone will brighten up their day and let them know you care.

Make sure you watch Facebook each Monday for our newest question and share your ideas.  You may find your name and tip featured each week on Penny Pinchin’ Mom!


Kitchen Hacks for the Holidays

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There are things you can do to make the holidays less stressful....check out this list of Holiday Kitchen Hacks!!!

The holidays are creeping up on us fast and that means we’re all soon to be in the kitchen preparing meals. Wouldn’t it be nice if you could spend less time preparing for the holiday and more time hanging out with family and friends? Well, I’ve been thinking about this and decided to ask our readers for their favorite kitchen hacks for the holidays!

We posted this question on our weekly Penny For Your Thoughts post on our Facebook page. Here are a couple of the tips which were shared by our readers.

“Make mashed potatoes day before then put in crock pot next day to keep warm.” – Lashawn D.

“Make cornbread dressing up to a month ahead of time. Mix it up but do not cook it. Freeze it. Thaw in refrigerator a few days ahead of the holiday. The flavors marry well and it turns out moist and so good.” – Lurline N.

“I cook and as I take out my food I put hot dish soap and a fabric softener sheet in the pan .When its time to do the dishes they wipe it clean.” – Sandra H.

“I prep everything the weekend before and freeze it, except any meat dishes. I buy those prepared, like smoked turkey or ham. I don’t eat meat. I’ve given up cooking it. I take the frozen food and I toss it all into slow cookers the morning of. Simple. Everything is there ready when folks filter in. I don’t have a set dinner time because lives are just so busy.” – Celina B.

“Clean as I go along.” – Tara H.

“I make bread pudding / french toast breakfast casserole the night before and put in the fridge for morning. Very easy to pop in the oven during present opening.” – Colleen H.

“Share the work! In our family, the host ( which rotates sometimes) takes care of the turkey and mashed potatoes and everyone else brings assigned side dishes. Keeps the cost down for each person AND the work!” – Courtney B.

“Plan ahead, take advantage of sales and coupons. I also prep a few days before, so that the day of goes quicker (and with considerably less dishes–no extra cutting boards, knives, pans, utensils).” – Amber M.

“Have lots of snacks available and in the living room. It keeps people from wandering into the kitchen getting in the way.” – Lissa F.

There are still quite a few ideas that we did not list… You can always scroll back to see Monday’s questions and answers! I love these ideas and think they’re great ideas to help cut down on time in the kitchen on the day of the holiday!!

Make sure you watch Facebook each Monday for our newest question and share your ideas.  You may find your name and tip featured each week on Penny Pinchin’ Mom!


Destination Wedding Gift Giving Etiquette

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Gift Giving Etiquette for the Destination Wedding.....what should you do?!



Destination Wedding Gifts

According to The Knot’s 2014 Real Weddings Survey, nearly one-fourth of all weddings are considered “destination.” This shouldn’t come as a big surprise. More and more budget-savvy couples are forgoing the often-overwhelming expense of a local ceremony and reception in favor of exchanging vows in memorable locations. Why bother with decorations when a Caribbean sunset will do the trick? However, while destinations are often the ideal solution for brides and grooms, these getaway trips can raise financial concerns for guests.


Wedding Bells Abroad

In the mainland U.S., the top locations for destination weddings are Florida, California and Nevada, while couples looking for an even more exotic spot are most likely to choose the Caribbean, Mexico or Hawaii. Because these are popular vacation locations as well, attending a destination wedding as a guest takes some forethought.

If you’re invited to a destination wedding, there are many elements to consider. Can you afford the flight? Is there a minimum night stay at the resort? Many wedding-friendly hotels require that guests stay at least three to four nights, especially during the busy season. If the wedding is an adults-only affair and you have children, will you be able to find child care or bribe their grandparents? Do you have enough vacation time at work? Make a list of possible expenses and decide if it’s even feasible for you to go.

If you can’t, and there are no plans for an “at-home” reception, feel free to send a gift (in the standard amount) when you post your RSVP. If there are plans to celebrate with friends and family after the wedding abroad, you can wait until you receive the invitation before you start picking out the perfect present.


Presence as a Present

If you are able to attend, most experts agree that since you’re already spending money to travel to a destination wedding, it’s okay to spend less than you normally would on a wedding gift. Some couples even explicitly tell guests not to buy gifts if they’re spending money on travel and accommodations.

If a card simply won’t do, use your friend or family member’s destination wedding as an opportunity to get creative. DIY wedding presents can be deeply meaningful. Use your skills to stitch keepsake pillowcases or create a one-of-a-kind art print for their home. Pick up something locally made that serves as a special reminder of their big day – just make sure it’s an item that can be easily packed into a suitcase or that you’re willing to haul (or ship) home for them.


This post concludes our wedding gift series, where we’ve covered the proper gift etiquette for every wedding-related experience from engagement parties to wedding showers, and expectations for bridesmaids and other wedding party members. Now that you’ve got the gift-giving figured out, feel free to reward yourself with an extra slice of cake! For more savings tips, click http://twitter.com/savinmavens or visit http://communityamerica.com 



Learn To Organize: 21 Days to a More Organized Home

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Learn to Organize!! Organizing your home can be a challenge - especially if you don't know where to start! Get the tips to learn how to organize -- so you can tackle any space in your home!!

Learn to Organize

Welcome to our fun new series, where we are going to all work together to get our homes organized — in just 21 days!  Each day you will have work to do.  It may take you a few minutes or several hours to do any of our tasks. It depends upon how much you have in your home to organize.

The great thing about all of these posts is that you can work everything at your own pace.  There is not a right nor wrong time frame.  One of our posts may require 3 days to get completed and others may not even be applicable to you.  Jump in and find the posts that work for you to help you!

The one thing I hear quite frequently is that people don’t know where to start or it just doesn’t work for them.  That is where I am here to help.  We are going to break this down into easy follow segments so you can learn how to organize.  They will be simple enough that anyone can follow.  Of course, when it comes to trying anything new, such as organizing, you do need to know where to begin.    Here is what you will need to keep in mind when organizing.

  1. You can only do what you can.  One person might be able to organize 5 dressers in one day, but for you, that is too much.  You can only tackle one a time and so it takes you three evenings.  Don’t worry about it.
    The great thing about organizing is that it can be on your own terms.  No one is there forcing you to do it.  However, I do recommend you set personal goals, which is our next step.
  2. Set goals.  While you may not have to complete a task by a certain date for anyone but yourself, it is wise to set your own deadlines.  Make a list of the tasks you need to complete and the date by which you need to be done.
    By putting this in writing, you instantly become accountable to yourself. Just keep this in plain view where you can see it every day – so you won’t overlook it!
  3. Create a schedule.We all schedule time for work, doctor’s appointments, games, vacations and more.  We always make sure to carve out time for these things.  Why do we do that?  Because it is important.  You can use your Google Calendar or even Cozi!  Heck, you can even just write it on a note on the fridge!!
    The same holds true with organizing.You will need to schedule time each day to tackle your tasks.  If you only have 30 minutes, then set the timer for 30 minutes and do what you can during that time.  I will warn you though….sometimes you get started and just don’t want to stop (which is not necessarily a bad thing).
  4. Be willing to commit.  Only you can commit to the project.  No one can do it for you.  Before anyone can ever make a change in his or her life, be it weight loss, financial — anything at all — one must be willing to put in the work.
    It is not easy to do this, but if you are willing to go all in, with 100% effort, it will be worth it.   I promise.  However, if you are not able to do that, then you may not be quite ready to actually organize your home.
  5. Celebrate the small successes.  Even if you tackle just one drawer you deserve a pat on the back.  That is one less drawer which is unorganized in your home. Perhaps all you can do is clear off one side of the kitchen counter. I say – WAY TO GO!
    As you learn to organize and see that you CAN do it –  be proud of it.  The more you do, the easier it will become and your home will be organized before you know it!


Now that you know where to start, it is just about time to get ready!  Up next, we will talk about how to actually organize a space.  So, get ready as tomorrow we will jump in and tackle our first project — together!

What tips do you have to add to our list?
Share them below or on one of our social media pages and will add them to the bottom of this post!!!

catch up

20 Items You Should Always Buy at The Dollar Store

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Your local Dollar Store can be a hidden treasure trove of deals (as well as lots and lots of misses). There are the twenty items I would always recommend you pick up at your local store -- and not pay more than $1 for anywhere else!

20 Items You Should Buy at the Dollar Store

When it comes to shopping, I am a believer in getting my money’s worth.  However, that doesn’t mean that you can’t still get those quality items you need at the Dollar Store — where you can find them priced at just $1 (or around that price).

I’ve shopped Dollar Stores for years and there are always items I buy there, which I usually don’t pick up elsewhere.  These are items which brand may not matter and/or those items which are disposable.  I mean, if you are going to throw it away, why pay more than you need to!

Here is my TOP 20 LIST of the items you should always try to buy at the Dollar Store.

Birthday Party Supplies - Buy the these at the Dollar Store at a FRACTION of the cost!



These are one of the items I always grab at the Dollar Store.  Of course, I usually stock up on tissue paper at the end of Christmas as that is usually even less than $1, but all other items?  I head to my local dollar store!

1. Gift Bags.  If you are giving gifts, you know that the person will probably open the item and toss the bag.  Why pay $4 (and more) at other stores, when you can find them for just $1 at your Dollar Store!

2. Gift Wrap.  This is usually a better deal – just always check the square footage.  Know what you pay per square foot at larger stores, so you can make sure that it is a bargain.  I usually find that it is a better bargain, but there have been a few rare times when I found a good deal at a larger store, which did cost less them my dollar store.

3. Cards.  These are always $1.  I know that when I give a card to someone (even sympathy, anniversary, thank you, etc), they will read it and then, it usually goes into the trash can.  I pay no more than $1 for my cards just for that reason.  If you price cards at other stores, they can be very expensive ($4 and more)!!

4. Decorations.  You can find balloons, table cloths, party hats, party favors and more — all priced at just $1!  These vary in price at other stores.  By the time you complete your decor, you could easily spend $30 and more at a larger store – compared to just $7 – $10 at your Dollar store!



I do not buy too many of these items at our Dollar store, as I usually find great deals at ALDI.  However, there are a few things I do pick up there – always!

5.  Movie Theatre Candy.  When my kids are on any type of break, we make stop there for them to each pick up one box of their favorite candy.  It is around $1.25 and more at other stores, so it is not a huge savings there.  However, if you pick it up and put it into your bag before you go to actual theater, you will notice HUGE savings.  Theaters charge upwards of $5 and more for the same box!!!

6.  Spices.  You can find all sorts of spices priced at around $1 at your Dollar store.  These same ones can cost much more at your grocery store – realizing instant savings.

Personal Care Products at the Dollar Store


Once again, you need to know the prices of the items you purchase at your regular store, to compare the prices.  These are the items I have found are less than other stores.

7.  Band-aids.  I don’t know about you, but my kids think they need a band-aid the minute that they hurt themselves (blood or no blood).  Needless to say, we go through a lot of them.  I pick them up for just $1 a box and keep them handy for those incidents.

8.  Pregnancy Tests.  While I do not need these personally now (whew!), I did many years ago.  It was so much more costly to pick up dollar store tests rather than pay $10 at other locations.  You may be surprised to know that they are pretty accurate too (at least mine always were).

9.  Reading glasses.  This is one I haven’t needed yet, but my mom sure has!  Rather than have just one pair that she has to take with her everywhere, she has multiples.  She keeps on her desk at work, another in her home office, another in her purse – and even one at my house!

10.  Hair accessories.  With two girls, we go through a LOT of hair bands.  (Seriously, where do those little things disappear to at night??).  We have picked up new combs and brushes for them too – and paid much less than at other stores.

11.  Q-Tips.  I’ve tried our dollar brand of q-tips and you know what – they work as well as the name brand!  I’ve even picked up cotton balls which work just the same too (at a fraction of the cost).

12.  Bar soap.  You can sometimes find 2 bar packages of soap for just $1  — much less expensive than elsewhere (and, if you are lucky enough to have a coupon that doesn’t exclude that size, you can save even more).

Home Decor at the Dollar Store


This may be surprising, but you really can find some great items!  The great thing is that when you pay less, you can afford to change it out with the seasons (or even as your mood strikes).

13. Seasonal decorations.  From Easter to Halloween to Christmas, you can find some great decor items at your Dollar store — for much less than you will pay elsewhere.  The only thing I would not purchase is anything that is electrical.  It is not worth the risk to pay less.

14.  Vases and bowls.  You can find adorable glass vases to hold your flowers or even bowls for potpourri, floating candles and more!  This is a great way to give flowers to someone and save.  Just pick up an inexpensive bouquet at your grocery store, grab a vase at your local dollar store and you’ve got a beautiful arrangement at a fraction of the cost!

15.  Picture frames.  I’ve found some really pretty frames at our local store.  It is a great way to give a photo of our kids to grandparents — or even spruce up the home with different looks!  I’ve even purchased the cheap wooden frames, sprayed them with silver paint, and turned the cheap one into something fabulous for a gift for my mom!!

Household Items at the Dollar Store -- pay MUCH less!!!!


I’ve also had pretty good luck with many different household items.  Again, watch the quality so that you don’t get anything TOO cheap.

16.  Dishware.  What I love is that you can find open stock dishware to purchase to spruce up your table for that special dinner.  Keep in mind that it is not the best quality, but it can be a fun way to bring in unique decor or colors to your table,

17.  Glassware.  These seem to chip and break all of the time.  You can find all sorts of glassware (and even coffee mugs) at your local dollar store.  These are also sold individually so that you only need to purchase the number you need, instead of an entire box.

18.  Dish cloths and Dish Towels.  No matter how well you launder your dish clothes and/or towels, they tend to wear out.  Don’t spend more than you need to — just pick up a package at the dollar store.  Then, when they wear out or you need to throw them away, you have a new supply of cleaning rags!

19.  Envelopes.  Have you priced envelopes at your local store?  You can pick up a box for much less — just around $1 when other stores may charge $3 and more!

20. Gloves.  I don’t wear gloves that often, but there are times when I need to.  These are around $1 at your dollar store.  Compare these to $3 and more at other stores and you’ve got a bargain!

25 DIY Halloween Costumes

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Check out this fun list of 25 DIY Halloween Costumes!  Some of these are just too cute for words!!!


When it comes to Halloween, the costume means EVERYTHING for your child.  The holiday is all about them being able to dress up into something fun.

While you can often find really cute ideas online, it can also really hit your budget.  We’ve rounded up 25 fun ideas on how to make your very own costumes — all for little to no money at all (which always works for me)!!

Just click on the link below and we’ll send you right to the page with all of the details, tips and photos so that you can make it yourself!!

  1. Family Monster University Costumes
  2. Pinocchio
  3. Spider
  4. Hello Kitty
  5. Baymax
  6. Star Trek
  7. Bee
  8. Dragon
  9. Evil Queen
  10. Artemis
  11. Space Girl
  12. Skunk Mask
  13. Bumble Bee
  14. Witch Mask
  15. Shark
  16. Fisherman
  17. Vampire Makeup
  18. Instagram
  19. Construction Worker
  20. Mailman
  21. Raccoon
  22. Paper Bag Monsters
  23. Lion
  24. Peacock
  25. Winter Soldier

Words Plumbers Use When Repairing a Toilet

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Tank? Fill Valve? Flapper? If you've heard these words from a plumber, you may be wondering what in the world they even mean! We've got the list of words plumbers use when repairing a toilet!


From time to time things break in our home which requires us to call an expert to remedy the issue. Like going to the doctor, we sometimes can be very confused about what they’re trying to explain to us. They could come out to work on our sink and tell us we need a new coupling and we will probably jump on our phone to use Google to help us out of our confusion. However, never fear, I am here to translate a few jargons used by plumbers.

Words that a plumber might use when working on your toilet:

Tank – This is the back of the toilet, usually the larger part of it that holds the water and has a lid that’s removable.

Bowl – This is where the yucky contents are held before flushing occurs. This has a small portion of standing water at all times.

Seat/Lid – This is an easy one. This is where you sit or what covers the bowl.

Flapper – This refers to the rubberized flat like piece found in the bottom of the tank of your toilet. It often has a chain attached to it that leads to the lever.

Tank Lever – This is a lever that is usually on the side of the toilet or found on the outer extremity. This is the thing you push or pull to make the toilet flush.

Flush Valve – This is found inside at the bottom of the tank, it basically looks like a hole with a 12 inch tube attached to it. It’s also what the flapper attaches to.

Ball Cock/Fill Valve – This is located in the tank. It’s the piece that allows the water to fill the tank up. This also shuts off the water when the tank has filled to the correct level. It can look like a single unit with an upside-down cup like thing or like a small blown up balloon.

Supply Line – This connects to the ball cock/fill valve on the bottom outside the tank. It also connects to the shut off valve or the main water pipe. It carries the water from the main incoming pipe to the toilet. It can be braided stainless steel, copper, chrome, or it can also be a white flexible tube. It will almost always be tubing of some sort.

Now, if you ever have to call a plumber to work on your toilet, you will have a better idea of what he’s saying to you.

Wedding Gift Giving Etiquette

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Wedding Gift Giving Etiquette tips and ideas for giving the perfect gift!!


Wedding Gifts on the Wedding Day

It’s finally here – the big day! These days, wedding celebrations are so much more than a ceremony followed by a meal. While it’s their “special day,” more couples are placing greater importance on ensuring guests have a great time, too. With dances, slide shows, photo booths, and even midnight snacks, weddings are consistently becoming more about the entertainment factor. What hasn’t changed are the expectations regarding wedding gifts.


Old School, New Rules

While there are no minimums or maximums for purchasing a wedding gift, there are considerations, such as your personal budget and your relationship to the couple. How much you choose to spend will differ greatly if the bride is a co-worker or your sister, for example. Use your best judgment, but if you’re looking for a hard number, $50 to $75 is a pretty standard base for an acquaintance or associate.

Also, forget about needing to buy a gift that covers the cost of your dinner. That rule was thrown out years ago. One rule that hasn’t changed is when you’re expected to give or send your gift. If you don’t send a present before the vows or bring it with you to the wedding, try to send something within two to three months. A year is far too long.


On the List

Most couples would probably prefer that you purchase a gift from their registry. For many, these are items they know they need or items that fit best with their taste, lifestyle or, in some cases, square footage. However, there are no hard-and-fast rules about buying “off” the wedding registry. For instance, if you find an item from their registry at another store, and it’s less expensive, it’s perfectly fine to purchase your gift there. Be sure to snag a gift receipt and call the store where they’re registered to let them know the item has been picked up elsewhere.

Sometimes it’s necessary to go off-registry, especially if the lists have been picked over or if the couple’s requests are outside your budget. If you find yourself in that situation, you have free rein to be creative. Think about hobbies the couple enjoy, such as hiking, or an event they could attend together, like a concert or a play.

Of course, no one is obligated to give the couple a gift, and the bride and groom certainly shouldn’t expect every single guest to do so. But, at the very least, a heartfelt card or letter absolutely should accompany your presence at the wedding and/or reception. It not only confirms your attendance (and helps out with that thank-you card list), but this kind gesture returns the one they extended with their invitation.


When it comes to marriage, they say it’s the journey, not the destination, that matters. When it comes to a gift for a destination wedding, it’s the relationship that trumps all! For our last installment, we’ll talk about gift-giving etiquette for guests invited to (and who attend) destination weddings. For more savings tips, click http://twitter.com/savinmavens or visit http://communityamerica.com 


Non-Candy Halloween Treat Ideas

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Check out these Halloween Treat ideas that are NOT candy!


As we all know, Halloween is just around the corner. If you haven’t went shopping for costumes yet, the kids are sure to start asking soon! As a parent taking the kids trick-or-treating, it basically means, and endless supply of candy… but I don’t let my kids have that much candy, so I was interested in Halloween treat ideas other than candy (because candy isn’t cheap) or a healthier options and a lot of people responded.

We posted this question on our weekly Penny For Your Thoughts post on our Facebook page. Here are a couple of the tips which were shared by our readers.

“Certificates for ice cream at Wendys.” – Janice U.

I go to the stores (most luck @ hobby lobby finding 80% + off) after Halloween and stock up on their clearance Halloween kid crafts, stickers, bookmarks ect…..and save it for the following year. Sooooo much cheaper and healthier than candy! That or pre popped pop corn in small bags.” – Candice Y.

“I hand out freeze pops. You can get a box of 100 for less than $5 and buy a couple of boxes and give each kid 5 of them. I have kids that ask me every year if I have them.” – Samantha S.

“Capri Sun & a bag of popcorn (not popped).” – Melissa A.

“Pencils no sugar rush no allergies.” – Elizabeth D.

“Pretzels. play dough, pencils, coloring books, bracelets, stickers.” – Alana K.

“I did glow bracelets one year, and all the kids loved them. I also had candy, but most of the kids picked the glow bracelet over the candy. I found them at Michael’s.” – Jennifer D.

“I give out boxed juice…” – Olivia O.

“We do goodie bags with little trinkets in them..stickers, tattoos, pencils.” – Melissa N.

“Snack size bags chips and pretzels.” – Holli D.

There are still quite a few ideas that we did not list… You can always scroll back to see Monday’s questions and answers! I love these ideas and think they’re a great alternative to candy!!

Make sure you watch Facebook each Monday for our newest question and share your ideas.  You may find your name and tip featured each week on Penny Pinchin’ Mom!


30 Day No Cash Challenge: Week 2 Check-In

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This is week 2 of my NO CASH challenge.  Find out how I am feeling and what has happened this past week!


I am half way through my 30 day challenge and I will admit that I name it appropriately — Challenge.

I am not enjoying this. To be honest, I hate it.

Perhaps it is because I am not a spender by nature. Maybe it has to do with using cash for so long. I really can’t put my finger on it, but I can say without a doubt that I don’t like this.

This past week was not a good one to really watch spending as I had to travel for work. That meant spending was all business related and really was not much that was personal. In fact, I haven’t even hit the grocery store yet for our weekly shopping trip as I was away from home.

My husband doe enjoy the card for only one thing – shopping online. While our bank has always been amazing when it comes to helping us out when this happens, it is such a royal pain in the behind.  I hate it.  So, while I will admit to hating it for day to day shopping, I do enjoy knowing that if we are hacked, it is only this one card affected and not our bank account.

I am counting down for the end of the 30 days when I can put this card away.  I really, truly am.