Win a Marks and Spencer Festive Christmas Hamper

Parenting is Stressful Win this amazing Marks and Spencer Hamper to help you manage the stresses of Christmas Planning

With Christmas right around the corner it is the perfect time to start thinking of maybe a little Christmas tea party to enjoy. I have teamed up with some UK bloggers to bring you this amazing giveaway.

This prize is M&S Christmas Tea in Mayfair hamper.

So hold onto your kettles! There are plenty of ways to enter, simply scroll down to the Rafflecopter widget below to see the options. You will also see the terms and conditions below as well as all of the blogs taking part – please do take a moment to visit them to show your support to them. 

Bloggers Taking Part

Here is a list of all of the bloggers taking part in this giveaway – please show your support by visiting them.

Blog Bay Bee | Not got a Clue | Sit and Take in the View | Money Making Mummy | Brig Knows Best | Fully Money | Make a Little Money | Touch of Wellness | Diet Exercise Lose Weight | Online Life Calendar | The Finance Fettler | Doing the Impossible | Positively Eco | The Heaton Fam | Good Life and Mind | Weddings and Wishes | Feli Family | Schoolhouse Cinema

She’s Changing Lanes | Make Money Online Creative | Photographyish | Sahara Vibes | Celtic Tigress | Forever Home | Eric Ales | Mum’s Guide to Life | Keene on Saving | Home and Garden Things | The Green Purpose | Make Money Blogging Now | Crafting Her Joy | Our Life Interrupted | Skylark Virtual Services | Home Town Furniture | The How to Heroes | Wow Gift Creations | Mudpies and Rainbows | The Parenting Insider | Thrifty Husband | Mrs Pinch

Blogger Creations | Harley Smith | Surviving with Coffee | The Blogging Portal | Spiritual Life Learning | Big Boys Cry | Sporf | Image Premiums | Live Life Love | Birds and Lillies | Journalist Book | The Way up Fitness | Cheat Planet | Cotswold Lifestyle | Mental Health Parent | Ellis Denning | Frugal and Fun | Blog Masters | 911 Blog | Bake More Cake

Inhome Insights | Craving Christmas | Lifestyle Saving Techniques | Insequiral | Ecoralive | Have a Fab Day | Mrs Money Pot | Wake up it’s Monday | Money Matters UK | Mortgages After 60 | Gonna Get Wed | Lifestyle of a Londoner | Manifest with Loa | Active Gardening | Skinny Spending | Discount Days Out | Gin and Gemini | Joyful Bite | Lula Grace | The Family Cookbook | Madam Blunt | Steely Soft | Interior Design Toolbox

Blogging 101 | Savvy Squirrel | Paper Writing | Pots of Pennies | Trust Nature | Full of Wishes | Life with More Sparkle | Balance the Budget | Guide to Health and Fitness | Money Money Money Online | Green Northerner | The Free From Mummy | Kitchen Recipe Book | Binancially Inclined | The Green Shilling | KiddoCo | The Life we Built | Annie Grace | The Thrifty Princess | Crafted with Perfection

Make Enough Money | Thrifty Minimalist | Lydony | A Little Life of Lovely | The Good Life in Somerset | Live it Your Way | Better Best You | Christmas Ahoy | Pounds and Pennies | Amaze Ball Gamer | All Sorts of Jazz | Lisa Cooking | Frugal Home Project | Dotranker | SEO Gold | Nishiv | Vegan Book | Mums the Wurd | Valid Articles | Houston Marcha | Citas Planet | Doggie Attitude

The Prize

This prize is M&S Christmas Tea in Mayfair hamper.

This includes:

  • 6 all butter mince pies (334g)
  • Classic Panettone (100g)
  • Clementine & cranberry Bucks Fizz (75cl) (Alcohol Content- 4%)
  • Luxury Gold tea tin (10 bags)
  • 8 Chocolate & orange cookies & cream biscuits (176g)
  • Classic recipe iced Christmas cake slices (240g)
  • Hand decorated fudge chocolate yule log (495g)
  • All butter shortbread trees (100g)
  • Grey wicker hamper

Terms and conditions

1. There is one top prize of the M&S Christmas Tea in Mayfair Hamper.
2. There are no runner up prizes.
3. Open to UK residents aged 18 and over, excluding all bloggers involved with running the giveaway
4. Closing date for entries is midnight on 23.11.2021
5. The same Rafflecopter widget appears on all the blogs involved, but you only need to enter on one blog
6. Entrants must log in to the Rafflecopter widget, and complete one or more of the tasks – each completed task earns one entry in the prize draw
7. Tweeting about the giveaway via the Rafflecopter widget will earn five bonus entries into the prize draw.
8. 1 winner will be chosen at random.
9. The winner will be informed by email within 7 days of the closing date and will need to respond within 28 days with their delivery address, or a replacement winner will be chosen.
10. The winners’ names will be published in the Rafflecopter widget (unless the winner objects to this).
11. The prizes will be dispatched within 14 days of the winner confirming their details. In this giveaway’s case prizes will be dispatched from 15th December.
12. The promoter is Drew Media LTD t/a www.MakeMoneyWithoutAJob.com
13. By participating in this prize draw, entrants confirm they have read, understood and agree to be bound by these terms and conditions

Enter now

Simply complete any or all of the Rafflecopter entry widget options below to be entered. You can also tweet about the giveaway daily to earn bonus entries.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sleep is an Antidote for Stress

Sleep is an Antidote for Stress

 

Sadly, stress is part of life. At some point, everyone experiences stress. Physical, emotional and other types of stress take their toll on our minds and bodies. That’s why sleep is so important. Sleep is an antidote for stress.

 

Our bodies use sleep to restore and recover. While we sleep our bodies carry out important restorative functions. Our brains rid themselves of toxins and sort out the events that happened throughout the day. Our bodies repair and restore themselves as well. It’s pretty amazing how much our minds and bodies remain active even when we are sleeping.

Stress affects the mind and body

Stress takes its toll on our minds and bodies. Stress causes the release of cortisol, a powerful hormone that triggers the fight or flight response in our bodies. This hormone can cause overwhelming sensations in the body, raise blood pressure, and cause anxious feelings. Sound sleep helps reduce the levels of cortisol and balance the chemistry in the brain and body. Chronic stress without adequate sleep can raise your risk for heart disease and stroke.

 

Stress affects our mood

 

Stress affects our mood. When we are stressed, we tend to over or under-react. This can lead to an onslaught of problems. Living in a heightened sense of worry or anxiety can result in eating too much or too little, emotional outbursts or withdrawal, or a wide range of other behaviors. After a long day of stress, the best thing to regulate mood swings is a restful night’s sleep.

Stress affects our relationships

 

Stress changes how we engage with other people. Being worried, anxious, or overwhelmed makes it harder to be present and engage positively with other people. From co-workers to family, stress can fracture relationships if we aren’t careful. Being able to unplug from people and take some time for yourself can help. Sleeping provides a significant amount of time to recharge and get ready to face the world again. Even the act of relaxing in bed prior to sleeping can aid in rebuilding your energy and make it easier to get along with others.

Sleep is the antidote for stress

 

Sleep is a wonderful remedy for a stressful day. Relaxing in the comfort of your bed and letting go of the worries of the world can give you new perspective, renew your spirit and energy. Sleep can be the escape you need from the pressures going on and give you the uninterrupted time to recover. Making sleep a priority, including naps when necessary, can help your mind and body recover from stress and manage difficult situations easier.

How can we Encourage Reluctant Readers and Engage Them in Reading?

Ways to Encourage Reluctant Readers

I always struggled to get my kids to read books I thought it would be great to include some helpful tips for your reluctant reader. There are lots of reasons why your child is finding difficulty reading. They could be dyslexic or they are just bored with the choice of reading material.

A reluctance to read can be for various reasons. However, just because a child does not care for reading material does not mean that we cannot attempt to change their likes and dislikes, encouraging an appreciation for the written word. 

Here are some suggestions of how you could encourage the reluctant reader in your life. 

Read to them

Sometimes a child simply isn’t ready to read, and they must gain enthusiasm for stories and other texts. What better feeling as a parent than leaving them at the end of a chapter desperate to find out what happens next? Audiobooks are another valuable resource, especially useful for long car journeys. 

Vary the material

Often, we are so fixated on children reading the book that has been sent home from school that we neglect their willingness to read other things. Whether it’s a catalogue for a toy store or an instruction manual for their Lego model, a comic book, or a non-fiction book about Space, allow them the freedom to choose their own material on occasions. 

Role reversal

Kids love telling us parents what we’ve done wrong, right? Reversing the typical roles of the parent as the teacher and the child as the student allows your kid to take charge and boss you around. Read their reading book to them in the hope that they will pick up on your mistakes. Pay attention to the sound they have been learning and get them wrong. Then, they are likely to realize you’ve made a mistake and pull you upon it. 

Reduce the formality

How you structure your reading time with your child can make a difference in how well it is received. Forget the table and chairs. Instead, get comfy and cozy, wrap up under a blanket, hideaway in a den, and share a book, encouraging your child to read alternate words, then sentences, and eventually paragraphs and pages. If your kid is used to reading in the same place at the same time every night, perhaps that is why they are reluctant. You could create a spinner with a few different places written on, including the treehouse in the garden or even the bathtub, and get them to spin it each night and see which location is randomly selected. 

Read to soft toys

Parents aren’t the be-all and end-all when it comes to reading. Some children adore reading to their teacher but audibly groan when it’s time to read to Mum. Get them to grab their favourite teddies, arrange them in a circle, and read them a bedtime story. You can still access it on the periphery, but you are not the main focus like you usually would be.

Incorporate games

Is it still reading if you play games that involve sounding out the words? Of course! One of the most enjoyable games for younger children is ‘fastest finger first. After reading a page of their book, get them to wiggle their index finger and give them a word that they must find before you do. This game helps them to remember words and can also be super fun for both them and you. Just don’t let them win every time!

How Playing Games can Manage Stress and Anxiety

What is Stress and How can Gaming Reduce it?

With the current state of technology, we need to find ways to reduce the amount of stress we feel. Gaming is one option for reducing stress and is particularly popular with those who are prone to anxiety, depression and social phobias such as Autism.

The main benefit of gaming as a stress reliever is that it provides distraction from whatever causes us anxiety or causes us stress. We can also choose whatever form of gaming we like, be it mobile games on our phone or console games in front of a TV. All forms of gaming can provide hours worth of distraction from a stressful situation without any additional cost other than time. There are plenty of free gaming sites online you do not need a console just a tablet or desktop/ laptop pc. My Son loves Minecraft .

Gaming also has a secondary effect on our brains where it stimulates the brain’s reward system, which makes us feel good about ourselves and allows us to feel less stressed about

As a parent of teenagers many love technology and specifically gaming. We worry about screen time, we set rules and make them have screen downtime. However have you ever considered gaming might actually be a good thing sometimes.

My Son is autistic he has always preferred screens to people. It does not have to be a problem. Yes being autistic  means he is not always socialising . We encourage him to be social as much as possible. However this can sometimes become too much if you have ever been around a child/teenager in full meltdown mode . I am telling you now it is not fun its stressfull and challenging. An autistic child can suffer sensory overload being in busy social situations. Gaming can help reduce that anxiety and calm you down. Some  of my sons favourite games are Tetra Blocks and Pac Rat. He really loves retro gaming he still has and uses a PS1. In Pac Rat your Rat eats cheese but need to avoid the cats.

Gaming is a way to relieve stress.

It’s not just about playing video games. Playing any game can be good for your health, whether it be an app on your phone or a board game with friends. There are many ways to enjoy gaming and all of them could be considered as leisure activities. We love some of the games here. We also love that you get a little history about gaming. There are educational games too which my older teenage daughter liked.

One common misconception about gaming is that it’s all about violence and gore. That isn’t true at all; there are plenty of games out there that focus on the lighter side of life and even world peace.

The potential for gaming to promote mental health is a notion that is increasingly being explored. The video game industry has been trying to tackle the stereotypes of gamers being unhealthy and isolated. Even if you are over 40 you can still play games.

While no conclusive evidence can establish a direct link between gaming and mental health, there are certain aspects of gaming that have been shown to be beneficial to human psychology. So next time your child is displaying challengiing behaviour gaming might not be such a negative option.

The Frugal Way to Healthy Eating

The Frugal Way to a Healthy Diet

 

Food is a huge expense over your lifetime. Consider that once you start having to buy your own food, you’re generally stuck with that obligation for the rest of your life. If you buy your own food for 50 years, that’s £260,000 if you spend £100 per week.

 

Saving a little money each week adds up to a lot of money over 50+ years!

 

Of course, it’s also important to purchase and consume healthy food. Consider that nearly every cell in your body at this point is composed entirely of the foods you’ve eaten, the beverages you’ve drank, and the air you’ve breathed. You are made of the food you eat, so eat good food!

 

Eat well and save money at the same time with these techniques:

 

  1. Eat at home. The food in a restaurant is always more expensive than what you can prepare at home. Restaurants have to pay employees, utilities, rent or mortgage payments, taxes, maintain a parking lot, and make a profit.

 

  • It’s true that most restaurants might taste better than your meals prepared at home, but you can just take that as a challenge to increase your chef skills.

 

  • You can also use healthier ingredients than your local restaurants choose to use.

 

  1. Buy in bulk. A large bag of rice or potatoes costs less per pound than a smaller bag. Stores like Costco and Sam’s Club have a lot of great deals if you can handle larger quantities of food. Having a large freezer and pantry can certainly be helpful if you’re going to take advantage of this tip.

 

  1. Have a garden. A garden is practically free from a financial standpoint, but it does require some labor to prepare the soil and to plant the seeds or seedlings. A garden also requires time to deal with the weeds, water, fertilize, and harvest the food.

 

  • The advantages are great cost savings, access to high-quality food, and you’ll get some exercise, too. Children love gardens, too.

 

  1. Substitute other ingredients for meat. Meat is expensive, but there are other sources of protein than just meat. Beans, lentils, eggs, and some types of fish are considerably less expensive than most cuts of meat.

 

  1. Buy whole foods. A whole chicken costs less than all the parts cost separately. A block of cheese is less expensive than shredded cheese.

 

  1. Take advantage of sales. There’s always something on sale. The meat section often has meat with a reduced price of 50% or more because it needs to be sold the next day. Buy and cook it that night or put it in the freezer.

 

  • There’s always one type of apple or grape on sale. You never know what’s going to be on sale from week to week. Keep your eyes open and take advantage of those sales.

 

  1. Avoid highly processed foods. A can of soup has a lot of different ingredients, the contents have already been cooked, it has to be put into a can, and there are a lot of additives to keep the soup from spoiling. All of that isn’t inexpensive, and the additives make the soup less healthy.

 

The foods you eat have a huge impact on your health and your bank account. There are many ways to limit your grocery bill without compromising on the quality of the food you put into your body.

 

Inexpensive food can be healthy and satisfying, so avoid the belief that good food and enjoyment has to be costly. It can also improve your mental health.

The Mental Health Parent Halloween Giveaway

Enter this fun competition to win a luxury Marks and Spencer Halloween Hamper

The Bloggers Taking Part

Here is a list of all of the bloggers taking part in this giveaway – please show your support by visiting them.

Mum’s Guide to Life | Weddings and Wishes | The Heaton Family | Good Life & Mind | All Sort of Jazz | Foody Thoughts | Dharma Advise | Lula Grace | Kids on Roll | Cash Lee | Joyfull Bite | Earning by the Sea | Cosmic Box | Life Love & Everything in Between | Dad Fat Diary | Campingish | Ellis Denning | Fully Money | Our Life Interrupted | Crafting her Plans | Crafting her Scents | Travel Bugs | Discover Kent | My Tunbridge Wells | Lifestyle Saving Techniques | Doing the ImPCOSible | The Finance Fettler | Active Gardening | 911 Blog | Frugal and Fun | Family Frugal Ways | Have a Fab DayMrs Money Pot | Wake up it’s Monday | Birds and Lilies | Three Words News | Journalist Book | Giving is Glorious | Your Thrifty Lifestyle | All 4 Garden | The Motherly Insider | The Blog Crowd | Chasing my Sunshine | You Will Make Money | She’s Changing Lanes | Image Premiums | Fashion Shirt | FRMT | Bossy Girl | You Can Make Money on the Internet | On the Soap Box | Frugal Home Project | Lisa Cooking | Savvy Squirrel | A Friend Abroad | Cotswold Lifestyle | Blogging 101 | The Happy Piggy Bank | Curtain Pic | Fire Runner | Adjusting the Net | Trust NatureEasy Meals for Busy Mums | Balance the Budget | Life with more Sparkle | Your Perfect Christmas | Mum Making Money | Slimmed Cartree | Manifest with Loa | Making Money Mummy | The Green Purpose | Easy Keto | Lifestyle Saving Techniques | Blondarina | Master Money Multiplier | Save and Earn | Best 4 Mum | A Life of Lovely | Lydony | A Little Life of Lovely | Blogging Waves | Several Ways To | Pounds and Pennies | Life Changing Side Hustle | Buddina Community Garden | The Blog Lancer | Mumernity | Off White | Brig Knows Best | Ecoralive | InsequiralGuide to Health and Fitness | Money Money Money Online | Mud Pies and Rainbows | Blogger Creations | The Parenting Insider | Pale Girl Rambling | Crumpets and Cocktails | Skinny Spending | Discount Days Out | Gin and Gemini | Vegan Book | Moms the Wurd | Digital Frogs | Our Hand Made Home | Bay-Bee | Not a Clue | The Free From Mummy | Extreme Frugal Living | Binancially Inclined | Mortgages After 60 | Lock Down House | Travel Around Planet | All or Nothing Blog | Online Life Calendar | Two Hearts One Roof | Fox and Flora |Single Dad’s Guide to Life | Florence in Print | Being a Food Lover | Youtuber Life | Food Lover Recipes | Bubbly Nattie | Lofpo | Tranquil Dreamer | Boring Mother | Cool Kid Crafts | The Thrifty Princess | Bark and Bites | Bloor | SEO Gold | Freelancer Kit | Mental Health Parent | The Blogging Portal | Rhian Westbury | Petals and Planes | Budgeting and Saving | Weddings by Westy | Crafted With Perfection | Grandma Dave | Lifestyle of a Londoner

 

The prize

We are really pleased to be giving away a Halloween Spooky Night In A Box hamper from Marks and Spencer, worth £50.

This hamper includes:

  • Goulish Gingerbread biscuit kit (154g)
  • Sour Spiders (110g)
  • The ghoulish gang (55g)
  • Vampire’s fangs (110g)
  • Chocolate cake mix (500g)
  • Indulgent chocolate icing (400g)
  • 12 Cupcake cases and toppers
  • Skull mask
  • Cat Mask
  • Decorate your own skeleton felt bucket
  • Decorate your own pumpkin felt bucket
  • 7 piece pumpkin carving kit
  • Gift box

Please note that deliveries take place from 15th October 2021.

Terms and conditions

1. There is one top prize of the Halloween Spooky Night Hamper.
2. There are no runner up prizes.
3. Open to UK residents aged 18 and over, excluding all bloggers involved with running the giveaway
4. Closing date for entries is midnight on 22.09.21
5. The same Rafflecopter widget appears on all the blogs involved, but you only need to enter on one blog
6. Entrants must log in to the Rafflecopter widget, and complete one or more of the tasks – each completed task earns one entry in the prize draw
7. Tweeting about the giveaway via the Rafflecopter widget will earn five bonus entries into the prize draw.
8. 1 winner will be chosen at random.
9. The winner will be informed by email within 7 days of the closing date and will need to respond within 28 days with their delivery address, or a replacement winner will be chosen.
10. The winners’ names will be published in the Rafflecopter widget (unless the winner objects to this).
11. The prizes will be despatched within 14 days of the winner confirming their details.
12. The promoter is Drew Media LTD t/a www.MakeMoneyWithoutAJob.com
13. By participating in this prize draw, entrants confirm they have read, understood and agree to be bound by these terms and conditions

Enter now

Simply complete any or all of the Rafflecopter entry widget options below to be entered. You can also tweet about the giveaway daily to earn bonus entries.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

10 Ways to Be A More Sustainable Parent

10 Ways to Change to a Sustainable Life

As a single parent of 2 teenagers I have become more aware of the waste we make and throw away. I have seen our food, energy, water and fuel bills rise dramatically over the past few years.

The world has a lot of big problems and often we feel like we can’t do much about them.  But there are lots of little changes we can make to our lives to help do our little bit towards making things better.  Living a more sustainable life with a constant view of our impact on the world is a great approach for this and here are 10 ideas how you can start doing this today.

  1. Cut back on animal products

This doesn’t mean you need to become a vegan (unless you want to) but by cutting back on animal products can help make you live a more sustainable life.  That’s because it takes a lot of resources to produce those animal products – one gallon of milk uses 2000 gallons of water due to the amount of feed that the cow needs.  Plus by eating a more balanced diet you may find yourself generally healthier and less needing of healthcare resources.

2.Filter your tap water and drink it

This doesn’t apply to all parts of the world but if you live somewhere that you can filter the tap water and drink it, then do this.  This saves money on buying bottled water and also cuts back on the waste – landfill sites are a huge problem so every item you don’t send to them is good.

3.Unplug unused appliances

Many appliances use a dribble of electricity when they are plugged in, even if they aren’t doing anything.  By unplugging them when not in use, you not only save a little money on your electricity bill but help cut back on the demand for fossil fuel created power resources.

4.Start car sharing

A car-sharing pool in your area can be a great way to cut down on costs around travel and can be fun as well.  Talk to people in your area to see where they work and if you can share cars with them or them with you.

5.Use public transport

In lots of places, public transport has seen cut back but there are still many areas with a good network, especially in the cities.  So if you can use public transport to get to work, the shops or anywhere else, try to do it.  This cuts back on car use and all the pollution and fossil fuel use associated with it.

6.Use those stairs

Using the stairs has a couple of benefits.  Not only does it get that extra little bit of exercise into your routine, but it also saves on the energy needed to run the escalator or elevator.  These take a lot of power to run and if people used them only when they needed to, this could save on electricity and therefore fossil fuel use.  Plus if you use the stairs a lot, you could save on a gym membership!

7.Turn off the water while brushing teeth

Water waste is a big problem and one of the top causes of wasted water is when we brush our teeth.  So when you have used the water and are doing the brushing, turn off the tap.  You can even catch some water in the sink if you need to refresh the brush.  Then turn it back on to rinse the brush and the sink.

8.Switch to LED light bulbs

Conventional light bulbs waste around 95% of the power that they use.  New LED light bulbs are more expensive to buy and also far more energy efficient.  They also last much longer – some as much as 25 years depending on how much you use them.

9.Try to buy second hand

There are some things we need to buy new but there are others where a good second-hand option can be more cost-effective.  Plus this helps with living a sustainable life because you are saving something from going to the landfill site.  Do the same when you are clearing out things – offer them to people on swap sites or Facebook groups rather than send them to the landfill.

10.Try a reel lawnmower

A reel lawnmower is one that doesn’t use any electricity or battery and is very simple to use.  They may need a little more effort than electric mowers so might not work for everyone but if you can, it can be worth considering it.  And they do a great job of cutting the lawn!

Conclusion

These are just 10 examples of ways you can live a sustainable life and cut back on the resources that you use.  If everyone put two into action, the difference on the planet would be huge.  So which two could you start with?

Easy and Fun Halloween Ideas for Kids

Easy and Fun Halloween Ideas for Kids

One of the most popular home decorating ideas for a Halloween party is to transform your door into a pumpkin by using an orange paper or fabric.

Another idea is to use spider web, bats, and black cats. Black cat silhouette decals are very popular nowadays.

Witches are usually associated with scary things so find ways to include them in your home decorating ideas for Halloween party.

Some people also hang small figurines on their porch or outside their house. And don’t forget about the lighting!

Have you ever hosted a Halloween party but couldn’t find the right decorations?

If so, this is the perfect post for you! We’ve compiled the most affordable and best decorations to buy for your next Halloween party.

1) Plastic spider webs: These are affordable and durable, making them perfect for outdoor parties.

2) Black tablecloth: This is a classic choice that has never gone out of style. You can use it to cover your table with ease. Use some fake cobwebs on top to make it look like they’re coming out of the cloth for an extra spooky effect!

3) Spooky Styrofoam head: This will make your living room look like Professor Quirrell’s laboratory in Harry Potter! They are super cheap, too.

A DIY project is a great way to create a halloween decoration on a budget. You can use things from around the house or browse through your local pound store for inexpensive decorations. With so many decorations available, it can be hard to find the best deal. Here are some tips for choosing the cheapest halloween decoration for your budget: Check more Halloween ideas and free printables.

 Consider what you need – if you’re looking for lights and just want something small, then there are many options that don’t have many other accessories included. If you want something that has more accessories, then you should double-check and make sure it comes with all of them in order to get the best effect.

We’ll start with homemade food gifts. These are perfect for people who love to cook or bake themselves, but you don’t have to be an expert chef to make these recipes. You can find them online or in your favorite cookbook.

Next we’ll cover items you can purchase at your local pound shop or charity shop which will also stretch your budget and give you plenty of options for different budgets and tastes.

Halloween is a time for kids to get excited and have some fun. It doesn’t have to be expensive or time-consuming.

Halloween is a great holiday for kids and parents alike because it’s filled with creativity. You can make all sorts of spooky treats, decorate your house, and dress up in costume without having to spend too much money.

Some ideas:

– Pretzels dipped in chocolate and then decorated with sprinkles, M&Ms, or peanut butter cups – Cookies that look like jack o’lanterns – Melting chocolate chips either in the microwave or on the stovetop, then dipping marshmallows in them for spiderwebs

Back to School Tips and Tricks

 

In these challenging economic times, back-to-school time can be an expensive experience. We all want to do everything we can to ensure our kids have all they need to have a successful school year. Fortunately, there are many steps you can take to see to it that your child is ready.  

 There are several simple strategies that will help you stretch your back-to-school funds. You really can spend less this year while preparing your children for their best school year ever! 

What You Already Have on Hand

Your Child’s Clothing Drawers

Your Child’s Closet

Making the “Master List”

School Supplies

Clothing

What To Do With Outgrown Clothes

Garage Sale Facebook Marketplace  sell on Ebay 

Swap with Family 

Donate Charity Shops

More Simple Strategies to Increase Your Back to School Savings

Set and stick to Your Budget

Shop During Late Spring/Summer Sales plan ahead

Use Social Networking to Pump up Back to School Savings

Where to Shop

Time Your Shopping

The Best Time to Shop for School Supplies

The Best Time to Shop for Clothes

The Best Time to Shop for Computer and Technology

What You Already Have on Hand

Most of us at some point have bought an item we thought we needed, only to come home and discover that we already had one! This is particularly true with back-to-school shopping.

Before the pressures from peers and advertisements encourages your kids to ask you relentlessly for new gear, it’s important to know what school supplies and clothing your children already have. 

Sometime early in your child’s summer vacation, plan a few days to “explore” together their desk, clothing drawers, and closet. The age of your child will determine how much help they can be in this process.

This “cleaning out” task helps in many ways: you’ll get rid of garbage that’s collected in your children’s rooms, find nearly new items to save for the coming school year, and create space for new school supplies and clothes. 

  • Your Child’s Desk: Home of Hidden School Supplies

Although your ultimate purpose is to take inventory, you’re also looking to find space for the new school supplies you’ll soon be buying.

Follow this handy list of basic steps for this process:

  • Go through your child’s desk drawer by drawer. Be sure to check every drawer. You may even want to dump them out on the floor and go through the piles of stuff there, rather than rummage through the drawers themselves.
  • As you’ve probably learned long ago, kids can be remarkably good at “hiding” items from parents, and even from themselves
  • Have your child help you sort out nearly new items, partially used items, and old desk supplies that can be thrown away. If your child seems resistant, try making a treasure hunt out of it. Create a list of school supplies you’re “hunting” for and check them off as they find each one.
  • Place all the nearly new supplies in a box. A large, clear Tupperware or Rubbermaid tub is a great way to see what you’ve got inside of it. Of course, any box will work – even a used cereal box if you’re really tight on money.
  • Label the box clearly, and put it somewhere out of reach until the next school year. Once you’ve gone to the work of gathering all of these supplies, there’s no sense letting them go back “into circulation.” You’d just have to find them all over again!
  • Your Child’s Clothing Drawers

Next, it’s time to clean out the closet, dresser, and other clothing storage. Start with the drawers to make room for more folded clothes.

  • Divide and conquer. One by one, remove the drawers and sort the clothes. For this, it helps to have three boxes or bags. Label them “To Keep,” “To Give Away,” and “Garbage.”
  1. The rag bag. Items that are torn, stained, faded, or worn go into the rag bag or the garbage.
  2. Does it fit? Have your child try on clothing items that are still in good shape. Do they fit? Are they good enough to use to start out the upcoming school year?
  • If the garments fit and you believe they’re appropriate for your child to wear to school, place those items neatly into an emptied drawer.
  1. Separate play clothes. Clothing that can still be worn but that you don’t see as school-worthy can be stored in a separate drawer. These garments can be for wearing around the house or when your child goes out to play.
  2. What to give away. If you come across clothes in pretty good shape but that don’t fit, fold them neatly and place them into the “To Give Away” box
  • Donate those items to a favorite charity, hand them down to other parents, or better yet, keep them for a Swap Meet. Whether you make money from reselling them or just see them off to other homes, you’ll be glad to have helped someone with your cast-offs.

Once you’ve cleaned out the drawers, move to the closet. You’ll have made lots of space for folded clothes, including play clothes, some of which will probably be “retired” from the closet.

  • Your Child’s Closet

The closet will probably be the most challenging space to get through with your child. Explain that it’s smart to see what clothing your child has so you’ll know what to buy for the new school year. You might want to begin going through the closet in the morning after breakfast, so the both of you are well-rested.

Because kids’ closets often have cluttered floors, try starting there. Have a garbage bag, a box, and some extra hangers ready. As you pick up items on the floor, determine if they need to be thrown out or laundered.

If your child hasn’t worn an item for some time, let them try it on so you’ll know whether it will work for the coming school year. For clothes that are outgrown or suitable only for play, put them in the appropriate bag or box.

Next, go through clothing items on hangers in the closet. This isn’t as difficult as it sounds. For many of the items, you’ll be able to tell at a glance whether to toss them, save them for school, or keep them for playtime.

This is Part one Take a look at Part 2 the ultimate checklist 

Back to School The Ultimate Checklist

Making the “Master List”

Whenever you shop for anything, go with a list in hand. The process of making the list encourages you to think through what’s truly needed. In general, writing it won’t take long. 

Simply record the essentials your child will need, including school supplies and clothing. Consider what specific types of clothing your child needs. 

Keep in mind that there’s no need to shop for a whole year’s worth of clothes at once! Your child may outgrow them anyway. Focus on fall, and go from there. 

  • School Supplies

You’ll likely need some specific school supplies for the upcoming academic year. Here are some items you might include on this list: 

  • Pens
  • Lined paper
  • Crayons
  • Ruler
  • Protractor
  • Spiral notebooks
  • 3-ring binders
  • Backpack
  • Art supplies
  • Calculator

Once you’ve got your list, you’re ready to dig into the details. Many schools also publish lists of particular supplies your child needs for that year’s assignments, so include those necessities on your list as well.

These additional suggestions may save you money also:

    1. Think about what type of backpack your child needs. Depending on your child’s age and stature, you might want to consider a rolling backpack to help them avoid shoulder and back injuries.
  • Know the exact type of supplies needed, as many teachers are quite specific about their requirements. For example, if your child is in middle school or high school, you may need to purchase a scientific or graphing calculator.
  1. Be familiar with the stores in your area. If your child has enough leftover school supplies to last for the first 2 weeks or so of school, consider waiting until after that time to buy anything new if the retailers in your area tend to offer deep discounts on leftover inventory after school starts.
  • However, some retailers offer the deepest discounts before school starts to entice you to their store during a time when you might be doing a lot of shopping, so pay close attention to the specials of competing stores.
  • Clothing

Reflect on what types of clothing and how many of each kind of garment your child needs for school. Review the following sections to determine which of these clothing suggestions will work for your child

  1. If you have a daughter. For girls, consider this list of clothes to start the school year off right:
  • 2 new pairs of comfortable pants
  • 3 pairs of jeans
  • 1 skirt or dress 
  • 3 blouses or shirts 
  • 5 pairs of socks 
  • A light jacket or long sweater
  • A winter coat with hat and gloves
  1. If you have a son. For boys, the list includes:
  • 3 new pairs of pants
  • 3 good shirts
  • 5 pairs of socks
  • A light windbreaker
  • A winter coat with hat and gloves

As with school supplies, if your child has enough clothes to begin the new school year, wait a few weeks to buy new clothes. Kids’ clothing goes on sale at that time and you can get a lot more for your money.

Writing down what your child needs to start the school year is important. To be comprehensive, include both supplies and specific clothing items on your list. With list in hand, you can do your shopping with a clearer idea of what your child needs to be prepared.