5 Budget-Friendly Tips on How to Throw a Fun Halloween Party

5 Budget-Friendly Tips on How to Throw a Fun Halloween Party

With Halloween fast approaching, the preparations are at full speed. Halloween is a great time to let your imagination run wild and throw a spooky party. Don’t panic if you haven’t figured out all the details yet. There is still time to organize a fun and budget-friendly Halloween party for your kids that will be talked about for a long time. These amusing and multifunctional Halloween stickers will help you out in that venture.

  1. Create an Invitation

After you’ve set the time and place of the party, the next step is sending the invitations. Making an invitation is a piece of cake with these Halloween stickers. Choose the design you think is the most appropriate for an invitation format and include information about where and at what time the party is taking place. It’s plain and simple.

  1. Plan a Spookalicious Menu

Instead of buying expensive Halloween-decorated meals, you can create them at home. Depending on the number of guests, just make a plan which ingredients you need and in what quantities. You can then cook any regular party food you like preparing and give the dishes creepy names. Cut out a few stickers and write down invented food names. Be creative! You can easily make believe chicken wings are bat wings or punch is mummy’s blood. You can also freeze water in a plastic glove and put it in the punch. The icy hand floating in the punch bowl will surely elevate the party mood. Voila! You have the perfect Halloween feast.

  1. Decorate the House

Decorating is pretty much the most important thing for getting into the Halloween spirit. After you already spiced up the Halloween table with some scary party food, next step is to decorate the whole house. You can use the stickers to make banners with scary messages. You will only need a handful of printed stickers and a rope. Attach cut-out stickers to the rope and see how easily the hanged banner can make your house resemble a scary castle. Covering the furniture with sheets and fake spiders can also contribute to creating a creepy atmosphere without spending too much.

  1. Plan Halloween Games

It’s a good idea to plan out games and activities for the kids on time. There are so many interesting games you can prepare for very little money. Mummy wrapping, for example, is one of the many great games for Halloween. You will only need toilet paper or white crepe paper and many happy kids wrapping each other from head to toes. You can even use the stickers to devise a Halloween treasure hunting game. Write down the location of the clues on each label and let the kids look for the treasure. If you need help with activity organization, you can always ask other parents to join you or maybe some of the older children. There is no need to pay someone to additionally entertain your kids.

  1. Make Halloween Treats

Halloween isn’t Halloween without trick-or-treating. Therefore, it’s really important to have great treats waiting for the kids. Making cookies in the shape of spiders, bats or skulls is always a good idea. You can then pack them in bags and apply scary-looking stickers with appropriate messages on them. You may even use them as a reward for the winners of a costume contest that you can organize.

Hopefully, these tips will help you organize an unforgettable Halloween party and not spend too much money. And don’t forget to have fun. Happy Halloween!

Save Your money and make lunches for your kids

Want a logical way to keep your kids’ lunches healthy while saving yourself some money?  It’s simple: make their lunch.  Sure, it takes time and a bit of organization, but if you follow these easy tips, it will become part of your weekly routine (that’s right—weekly) in no time.

Step One- What Does Your Healthy Look Like?

Everyone has a different definition of what healthy is.  For some, only freshly made, organic foods make the cut, while others are okay with giving their kids the occasional prepackaged treat.  You have to figure out what works best for you and your kids—after all, you wouldn’t want to make them a lunch they didn’t even eat, as that would be a waste of money.  You also need to determine how  much your budget will allow you to spend—the bigger the budget, the more you can spend on organic items if that’s something that’s important to you.

Step Two-Gear Up

While simply brown-bagging it is fine, a lot of healthy foods will be fresh and will need better storage to keep them that way until they’re consumed.  Think about spending some money upfront and getting a good insulated lunch bag, some BPA free Tupperware, and a lunch box size ice-pack.  These items will last you a long time and save you from having to buy plastic sandwich bags—a win for the environment as well.

Step Three- Buy and Bag

Now that you have all you need to get started, it’s time to buy your food items.  Buy in bulk dry foods if you can and fresh fruit and vegetables that will last through the week.  Right when you get back from your shopping, separate your lunch provisions into individual servings.  It will take some time, but when you’re finished you’ll have a stock pile to grab from and throw into your lunch box.  Why is this important?  Because it cuts down on the “things getting in the way” factor.  Things like being tired, stressed out, having errands to run, or just simply forgetting.  Putting lunches together will take just a minute of your time because you already got the hard part out of the way.

Step Four-Weekly Preparation

Each week you’ll just need to make sure you have enough items to get through the week and you’ll need to set time aside to get your lunch supplies up.  Don’t forget that you can freeze items that will thaw out before lunch—think about making 10 peanut butter and jelly sandwiches on Sunday and freezing them, then just grabbing one or two out of the freezer when you need it for a lunch.  You can freeze all kinds of things—yogurt, applesauce pouches, even fresh fruit.

Step Five-Just Do It

The last part is just remembering to make your children’s lunches each day.  It’s easiest to do right when you get home in the evening—just grab from your pre-made supplies, add in some fresh fruit and veggies, and you’ll have a healthy, balanced lunch for your child in no time—while making sure you’re keeping in budget.

Making your child’s lunch to save money isn’t exactly reinventing the wheel, but some people don’t do it because they can’t figure out how to get themselves organized enough to make it cost effective.  Well, now you do—so get started today.

Baby Items You Don’t Need

There’s no question about it: Babies are expensive. From nursery furniture to car seats to clothing, the cost of raising an infant can really add up. And let’s not forget the monthly expense of diapers, wipes, and food. While there’s no getting around certain baby-related expenses, you can cut corners and save money by being smart about the things you buy. In fact, there are plenty of popular baby items out there that you can easily do without. If you’re on a budget, here a few you’ll probably want to skip:

Wipe Warmer

It’s natural to want your baby to be as comfortable as possible, but here’s the thing: Wipes were designed to keep babies nice and clean, and they do their job just fine at whatever natural temperature they come in. Unless you’re storing your wipes in the refrigerator (and why would you?), there’s no need to warm them up before applying them to your baby’s bottom. Save your $30, or, if anything, spend it on a nice warm blanket.

Baby Bullet

There’s no need to spend $60 or more on a food processor with cute packaging. Want to know what does a fine job at pureeing baby food? A regular food processor. If you have one already, there’s no need to spend money on the baby version.

Plush Stuffed Animals

Sure, stuffed animals are nice and soft, and they’re perhaps fun to look at, but there’s no need to buy your infant an expensive one. In fact, many stuffed animals are actually unsafe for babies, as they come with removable eyes and other hazardous components for infants. Instead of stuffed animals, invest in some learning and development toys for your little one.

Shopping Cart Covers

Germs are a part of life, and while it’s natural to want to keep your baby in a virtual bubble, one day you’ll realize that you can only do so much to prevent your child from catching whatever’s going around. Until then, do yourself a favor and save your $30 or $40 by taking that shopping cart cover off your list. Not only does it only serve a limited purpose (your child can still reach out and touch other parts of the cart), but it’s also going to add to your already out-of-control laundry pile.

Crib Bumpers

Crib bumpers are cute and all, but these days, doctors actually advise against using them. The logic is that young babies can roll over and get caught in them, thus creating a hazardous sleeping environment. There’s no sense in spending extra money on something that’s not even safe for your baby.

Sheet Savers

Sheet savers are only effective if your infant stays absolutely still during the night. Once your baby starts squirming around in his or her crib, those sheet savers are rendered completely useless. You’re better off spending money on an extra set of sheets.

Remember, the people who market these baby products are very good at what they do. Give them a chance, and they’ll have you convinced that you absolutely need these products to give your baby the best start at life. In reality, there are plenty of so-called baby essentials you can skip, and your infant isn’t going to suffer one bit in the process. Stick to the basics, and use whatever leftover money you have to make your life easier. Or put it toward your baby’s college fund. Just don’t waste it on useless gear you’ll only regret buying.

Creative Ways for a SAHM to Make Money

When I became a SAHM, it wasn’t long before I felt the need to contribute in more ways than just changing diapers, washing clothes, and being on-call for 24 hours a day.  (You know, like new moms need more to do!) I realized that in order for me to stay at home, it was important for me to also contribute financially—and that meant even if I couldn’t work in a traditional job.  Pinching pennies in order to stay at home with the kids is nothing new for families scrambling to make it on one income, but there are some ways you can actually bring in some money- or at least recoup money you’ve spent.

Sell All the Things

My husband is a giver.  He wants to give things away to people.  It’s a really nice trait, but I’m not a giver.  I’m a seller.  When our son grows out of clothes, I sell them.  Toys?  For sale. That stroller he outgrew?  Sold.   Any and everything that can be sold will be.  It takes planning and organization to sell items on Facebook sites, Craigslist, or eBay and you’ll need to be prepared.  Or you can look in your area to find a resale shop that takes gently used kid’s items.  You’ll make more money if you sell things on your own, but if you try and no one’s biting, take them to a resale shop for a quick cash pay day in your pocket.

Become a Freelance Writer

The Internet is huge.  Websites are begging for new content all the time so they can stay relevant and competitive.  In order to do so, they need to post original posts several times a week, if not every day—sometimes multiple times a day.

And while they just might seem like words on a screen on a website, those words–that content–was written by a person, most likely a freelance writer.

Freelance writing is a fantastic way to earn extra money as a SAHM.  The vast majority of positions allow you to take on as much or as little as you’d like, while working from home.  There are lots of websites out there that can link you up with companies interested in writers, such as elance.com, creativecircle.com, and problogger.com.

Don’t forget to put aside some money for taxes—most freelance jobs are 1099—meaning they don’t take out taxes for you and the position is considered a contractor.

Offer Services If You Have a Talent

Just because you aren’t working in your career field anymore doesn’t mean your experience and knowledge aren’t valuable.  If you worked in education, you could tutor students in subjects like math, English, social studies, or foreign languages.  Other ideas include:

  • Doing hair/nails/massage out of your home (for former hairstylists/cosmetologists)
  • Data Entry (Some companies offer data entry jobs that can be done from home)
  • Lesson planning
  • Making crafts—Are you talented at making something? Could you open your own Etsy shop and make it worth it?
  • Childcare—Take on a few more kids—it doesn’t have to be all day—but what about moms who want to just get away for a few hours?

Being a SAHM in itself is a full-time job, whether you have one little one at home with you, or several.  If you find yourself in a position where you’re able and willing to take more on, there are opportunities out there for you that are fun, flexible, and make sense financially.  You might have to put in a little more legwork to find ways to make extra money from home, but it is possible!

5 Things You Really Need When Having Your First Baby

Seeing the results of a pregnancy test can leave you feeling shocked, overwhelmed, excited, and anxious. But those feelings pale in comparison to how you’ll feel after taking your first trip down to your nearest “baby” store.

After losing yourself (and possibly your mind) for hours and hours in aisles filled from top to bottom with all things baby related, it’s likely you might leave the store questioning if you’re fit to be a parent. After all, don’t good parents buy things like wipe warmers and ergonomically designed pacifiers for their babies? And if you don’t or can’t, what does that make you?

A complete and utter parental failure. The baby hasn’t even arrived yet and you’re already letting it down. Way to go mom and dad.

The truth is most of the thousands upon thousands of items in those baby stores are not necessary for raising a thriving, healthy baby. Sure, there are lots of products that will help you in your quest to become the parent you’ve always wanted to be, but in general, there are just a handful of “must-haves” when it comes to taking your first baby home.

#1-A Good Crib Mattress

You don’t need the latest, greatest, state-of-the-art crib, but the crib mattress?  Well, that’s another thing altogether. Pinching pennies on a crib mattress may very well result in a saggy, unsupportive mattress in just a few months’ time and you’ll find yourself once again spending cash on another mattress. Save yourself the second trip and just get a better quality mattress to start with. You’ll sleep better and hopefully, so will your baby.

#2- A Video Monitor

The first few months of parenthood?  You might find yourself going a little insane.  You’re tired and constantly worried about this tiny little person you’ve just brought in to the world.  You might be so anxious about SIDS that you actually find yourself sleeping on the floor next to your baby’s crib as if you’d be able to fend it off.  Some parents get a monitor that lets them hear their baby’s cries and later, baby’s babbles.  I’d suggest taking it a step further and getting a video monitor so you can actually see what’s going on.  I can’t tell you how many times I heard a few sounds, ran into my son’s room to see what was wrong, only to find out he was  making sounds in his sleep and my running into his room in panic mode only resulted in waking him.  A video monitor lets you see and hear your sleeping angel—giving you much needed reassurance.

#3-A Sling

It’s no secret that babies like to be held.  Some of them will make you hold them forever.  And if you’re lucky enough to get one of those babies, it’s highly unlikely you’re going to have dinner/a clean house/a chance to do laundry for a few months.  Get a swaddle, wrap, or sling, bundle your little guy or gal up in it and enjoy hands’-free parenting at its finest.

#4- A Quality Stroller

Your baby will spend quite a bit of time in his or her stroller in the first year or two of life, but make sure it’s one you really like too. There are so many options out there, it really just depends on your lifestyle and what you plan on using the stroller for.  My go-to was the City Mini.  Everything about this bad boy was easy—and it made traveling a snap with its quick release fold handle.  My favorite trick was when we’d be in the security line at the airport.  No one likes to get behind a family with a kid and stroller, right?  Well, they’d be shocked when I’d just yank the handle up on the stroller and the whole thing just collapsed like a house of cards.  Mic drop.


For you, not for baby.  Sure, it’s kind of a joke, but also kind of not.  Shrill baby cries got you down?  Earplugs.  Is it your shift to sleep, but every whimper or sniffle wakes you up?  Earplugs.  Has your spouse’s voice inexplicably become extra annoying (this will return to normal in a  few months.  Maybe.) Earplugs.  Take the edge off and be that super-parent you’ve always dreamed of becoming.

Don’t buy into the hype.  Babies are simple little creatures that don’t need much—it’s us parents that over-complicate the situation by thinking we need it all in order to be a gold star parent.

How To Teach Kids the Basics of Budgeting and Spending Responsibly

Budgeting and spending responsibly aren’t skills that should be developed later in life. Money knowledge is on the same plane as reading and being polite. By instilling positive, responsible spending habits, you’ll set up your kid (or kids) for success.

Set an Example

There’s no doubt about the fact that kids are great observers and absorb what’s going on around them. So, be cognizant about how you talk about money and how you actually spend money. When it comes down to it, practice what you preach.

An Allowance

In the world of parenting, allowances are extremely common. However, they are about more than just simple cash every week. Make an allowance something that is earned from doing chores/homework, not something that is a given. If they aren’t good or tasks aren’t completed, don’t give an allowance. This shows kids the connection between doing work and receiving money.

Additionally, you can also use allowance money and birthday/holiday gifts to form a mini bank. Let them know how much money they have. You could keep the information in a notebook or maybe display it on the fridge, so it’s visible.

When they want to buy something, like a toy, have them look at the cost of it. Then, have them compare the cost to the amount of money they have. In order to help them make educated choices, help them set goals. Good questions to ask include:

  • What do you really, really want? Based on its cost, how many weeks would you need to save to get it?
  • Is there anything you can do to get to your goal quicker, like a lemonade stand or additional chores?

It can be helpful to keep the money that accumulates in two jars: spend and save. Instead of the traditional opaque piggy bank, try something see-through, so kids can visually see money adding up.


For young kids, it may be difficult to tell the difference between game currency and actual in-app purchases. A good amount of parents have been surprised when they’ve been charged for in-app purchases when their kids use their tablets.

A great lesson revolves around the difference between play money in games and actual currency. Oh, and it doesn’t hurt to block in-app purchases, either.

Real Budgets

As kids get older, they can handle more complex information about money and finances. Of course, you probably don’t want your kids to know the ins and outs of your personal budget, but what can you share? Think it over by yourself or with your spouse, and share what you feel comfortable with.

Explain your thought process and let your kids know when you’ve run into challenges. That way, they’ll be able to see that budgeting isn’t a black and white process, and it can be difficult sometimes – beyond just buying a recreational item.

At the end of the day, whether you’re a mom or a kid, budgeting is difficult. There is always more to learn (after all, that’s probably why you’re reading this blog!). Emphasize this to your little ones as they grow up into young adults, and you’ll be sure to see them flourish financially.

Top 5 Money Tips For New Parents

A new member of the family means a lot of things, from new experiences and memories to new fears and frustrations, chief among them the fact that you now have to stretch your money to completely support a new person.

Budgeting for a family is no small chore, especially if you’ve never had to do it before. It doesn’t have to be difficult or intimidating, though. By following these 5 money tips for new parents, you can get your new family’s finances off to a solid start in no time.

Establish An Emergency Fund ASAP

You’re probably concerned enough with just covering the day to day expenses when it comes to your new family member. Savings, beyond what you may or may not have automated, might not seem like a primary concern from the beginning.

It should be, though. It’s recommended that you have six months’ worth of non-discretionary income set aside to make ends meet should something happen to your earning ability. It’s not always fun to think about losing your job when you have a new baby, but it does happen, and if it does, your family needs to be ready.

Try to have enough to cover half a year’s worth of basic living expenses, including rent or mortgages, utilities, bill payments, food, and baby expenses such as diapers and new clothes, set aside in advance. Whether you’re getting this set up before baby comes or you’re starting after the fact, worry about this before you start worrying about college funds or pre-school tuition. Those things are important, but so is your family’s living security.

While you’re at it, take a look at life insurance. It may have been frivolous when it was just you or just the two of you, but now that someone is going to be depending on your income for several years to come, life insurance is an important security measure to make sure that your child is cared for in tough times.

Evaluate Your Primary Expenses

Next on our list of top 5 tips for new parents is to take a look at how much you’re spending on the necessities.

You know that adding a new person into your family budget is going to change things, but have you truly considered by how much? Remember, you’re not just going to need to buy one wardrobe’s worth of baby clothes that will last until they reach their toddler years, you’re going to need to re-outfit that growing body every couple of months.

There’s no one number that’s going to tell you how much extra your kid is going to cost you, and you’re going to have to be prepared for your budget to not go exactly as planned, but it’s important to look into the potential cost of raising your child, and evaluate your budget from there. There are even a number of online calculators to help you get started.

When you know how much you need for your child, you’ll be in a better place to decide how the rest of your budget should be allocated. Necessities like food, shelter, utilities, etc., aren’t going anywhere, but you’ll be surprised where you’ll be able to cut back.

Look Into Alternative Options

Once you know where you absolutely must spend and where you can cut costs, don’t be afraid to look into alternatives where costs are still high.

New parents are easy targets for advertisers because your time and mental resources are already pretty tight, but the newest or flashiest isn’t always going to be what you need. Buying gently used on things like furniture and clothes for your new kid is a good way to cut some of the initial costs that are only going to last between a few months and a couple years.

Look into alternatives for things like health insurance, too. Increased premiums might make employer benefits a costly addition to your budget. Government-backed coverage might save you some cash while still keeping your whole family healthy. If you do run into emergencies with your budget, there are options such as collateral loans that you can look into.

Look Into Tax Advantage College Savings

You might need that safety net first, but saving for college should be something that starts early. With estimated costs at a quarter of a million dollars by 2030, college isn’t going to come cheap and it’s not going to happen on its own.

Options like a 529 College Savings Plan provide parents a chance to save without the savings being subject to federal and in most cases state taxes, meaning that you’re getting a full dollar for every dollar you put in.

Don’t Hesitate To Ask For Help

When you’re tired, stressed, or just don’t know what to do, loading up on hundreds of dollars’ worth of baby books and paying for top notch sitters and nannies won’t get you nearly as far as your own network.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help from your supporters, whether that’s other new parents, your own parents, or other friends and family. If you need a sitter or help getting your kid to an important appointment, talk to someone you trust with your kids. Often, they’ll do it for nothing more than the promise that you’ll return the favor down the road.

Don’t be afraid to ask for advice, either. Things like medical needs should never be overlooked but a seasoned parent might be able to reassure you that a red spot is nothing more than diaper rash and save you the cost of a copay that you didn’t account for. Remember, it takes a village.

There’s no set number when it comes to budgeting for a growing family, and there’s no definitively right way to do it. Just set your priorities, look at all your options, and don’t be afraid to take help where you can get it. Most of all – don’t be afraid to not be afraid. You’re going to be a great parent.