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The Giving Calendar

The Giving Calendar

Looking for a unique and personalized gift every Mother on the planet would appreciate? Give her the gift of time. Sound cheesy? Well, with this personalized approach it is easy for you to get it just right for the special Mom’s in your life. Whether your Mom is sappy & sentimental, humorous & witty, or all of that plus everything in between, The Giving Calendar will definitely be her favorite gift of all time. And the best part, it fits into every budget!

Warning, this may become so popular that people request traditions or ask you to teach them more often!  In my family we call it THE calendar and it started one year when I was finishing my Masters Degree and had an extremely tight budget.  I knew in about 6 months that should change, as I’d already landed a better paying job and would be able to dedicate the hours I put into school back in to work.  Being from a family full of crafty women, I am all for homemade gifts.  However, my time was tight and I have a whole folder of Pinterest fails so I didn’t want to end up rushing out for a last minute gift, on top of the cost of the glue and glitter used to create homemade.  So, THE calendar was born.

It is simply a promise, written on paper, for spending time together.  It takes the guess work out of what to do and creates excitement to last all year!

So, go buy, or make, a calendar and keep reading to spark ideas about what unique twist your schedule will take!

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Spa Day

If your budget is larger, go ahead and schedule a day.  Most spas have group packages.  From scalp massage and facials to manicures and pedicures, everyone loves to be pampered.  For a smaller budget, if you don’t have product around  your home to use, there are a multitude or do-it-yourself sugar scrubs, coconut oils skin masks, avacoda hair treatments and you name it available with a quick google search.  Many fruits, veggies and oils are multi-purpose and can be transformed into spa worthy potions.  You can ask people to bring their own favorite supplies or provide a special pair of slippers for each guest.  Diffuse some soothing oils, provide mimosas or fruit infused water, some healthy snacks and you have yourself a spa.

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    TV Series Night

    Plan to rent or DVR a favorite series and watch it as a group.  Sometimes gift giving can feel high pressure, but instead of the theme being stress let it be something simple that everyone wants to do anyway, then plan to do it together!

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      Baking Event

      Many culinary classes are offered at colleges, wineries or local restaurants.  Check out living social or group on for deals near you or if baking is something you like, share your talent and recipes with others.  If you have a larger group you could set up a bake-off.  Kids love the chance to judge the adults in their life, so if you have kids, get them involved by letting them judge the dishes on taste and presentation.  Make score cards and tally the results to award the best baker (or team).  This could be the theme of the whole calendar, giving people a fun motivation, as they research new ideas prior to the scheduled rematch!  Award a ‘golden’ spatula to the winning team, to be passed around as the winner changes hands.  If this is a popular pick for your family, you could mix it up by letting opposing teams pick the ingredients the other teams have to work with.  Every dish may not come out perfect, but the time spent together will be priceless

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        Stokpic Ed Gregory

        Pallet Project

        Pallets are free, or close to, from many businesses.  There are thousands of ideas out there on-line about how to re-purpose your pallets into everything from wall art to bed frames to outdoor pathways.  There are chic to rustic ways to express your personality with pallets!  Grab the person with the most power tools and reuse old paint laying around, or buy sample can for $2.50 from Home Depot, and you are set to have a creative day together

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          Local Event

          You can find tons of local events your friends/family may not have heard or thought of.  Sometimes it seems as if everyone knows what’s going on, or that you have no new and unique ideas, but remember we all can’t be everywhere.  And having the idea is way different than actually taking the time to plan it out.  Whatever comes up in your day-to-day travels that draws your eye and provokes your interest is a good bet for sharing with those close to you.  Local home and garden tours, plant exchanges, open mic nights at local coffee houses, apple picking, community concerts, local author book readings, are typically low and no costs options offered by many communities.  If you have a friend or family who would want to participate, sign up your group and try a new way to put yourself out there!

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            Not So Local Event

            Painting parties, glass blowing classes, wine tastings and mystery dinners are just a few of the events that are typically offered near you and you can locate by checking out sites such as group on or living social.  You can also do knock-offs of such things at home with smaller investments.  If you have any talent you have spent your time developing, those close to you will be interested to have you share it.

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              Gardening Day

              Schedule to have your group learn about your interest as an amateur farmer.  You could purchase or use recycled glass bottles to force tulip bulbs but adding bulbs (rocks if desired) and water.  Or if it is the right time of year to start some container gardens, how fun would that be to do with friends.  Use recycled items, such as popsicle sticks for marking seeds, old plastic jugs or egg cartons to start seedling and create a greenhouse effect.

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                Book Club

                You could give a book with your calendar, and plot a day when it will be completed and discussed.  Your group can come in costume of their favorite character or just come in something comfortable.  Themes always help your event feel special and unique and give guests something to plan for and show their personalities off.

                kaboompics.com_Grey Felt Journal TO DO LIST on a white desk-2

                  Whatever you choose to include in your calendar, or however many times a year you plan to meet, getting it on paper and giving the gift of time will be remembered long after the perfect gift is forgotten.  There is an event for everything and everyone, and with a little thought you will find great ways to spend time with those close to you!

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                  Last Updated on June 26, 2020

                  25 Easy Tips on How to Save Money Fast

                  25 Easy Tips on How to Save Money Fast

                  “How to save money fast?” This is the question asked by all of us not in the top 1% of rich people.

                  If you are looking for ways to drastically reduce your expenses immediately, first look at what you need to spend money on every week. And I mean really need.

                  You don’t really need to order in food. You don’t really need to buy expensive perfume.

                  Building from that, you can work out how your regular expenses can be reduced.

                  As for irregular expenses, they can also be deceptively costly in the long run. Once-off buys can also be tackled with some prudent planning and a little extra research.

                  And remember: a budgeted lifestyle does not mean a bad or boring one!

                  But first, understand what budget you can cut down on daily:

                  • Regular expenses for the average adult (can be trimmed but not eliminated):
                    • food
                    • rent/mortgage
                    • cell phone
                    • insurance
                    • socializing/entertainment
                    • transportation
                    • hygiene products
                    • household bills
                  • Irregular expenses for the average adult (can be eliminated or cut down a lot):
                    • travel
                    • clothing
                    • medication (*depends)
                    • grooming (hair, nails etc.)
                    • gifts

                  Now, let’s dive right into the 25 ways to save money fast:

                  Save Money on Food

                  1. Bring a stock of food to the office/work

                  Instead of popping out for an overpriced salad and a smoothie, leave a set of basic utensils at the office as well as a stock of non-perishable goods such as tinned fruit, tuna, rice crackers and so on (try to avoid the junk food and this can turn into a pretty great diet!).

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                  Stocking up means you won’t forget or say “I didn’t have the time” when you rushed out to work in the morning.

                  2. Buy the store-brand version

                  Many basic foods, such as bread and milk, will taste exactly the same as their branded alternatives. Go for stuff with minimal additives and preservatives. Meat in a tube is probably insanely unhealthy!

                  3. Eat cheaper cuts of meat

                  Learn how to tenderize and flavour cheaper meat and fish, and save on the (typically) most expensive item on your grocery bill.

                  4. Have group dinners

                  If 10 friends put $5 each in the kitty, it’s pretty easy to make a giant lasagne and get refreshments, as well as hang out with your favourite people.

                  Save Money in Transport

                  5. Get a bicycle

                  Save on gas money and bus/metro fares with this underrated mode of transport.

                  6. Use public transport and/or don’t get taxis

                  Some places can only be reached by car. But as a good practise, check your public transport website and see if any routes pass nearby where you need to get to. Walk as much as you can.

                  7. Find the cheapest gas

                  Regularly check out where the cheapest gas can be bought.

                  Save Money in General Shopping

                  8. Shop online

                  Not only will you save on the gas or transport fares from going to the shopping mall but you will also find better deals

                  9. Sell your old stuff

                  Get your unwanted belongings up on eBay ASAP and earn a few dollars.

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                  Here’re more ideas for you: 25 Things to Sell to Make a Lot of Money

                  10. Bulk buying stores

                  For regular non-perishable/slow perishable purchases such as toilet paper, cat food, pasta, washing powder and so on, do an epic stocking-up trip to a co-op or equivalent (my mum used to go to a place that restaurants buy from).

                  Be wary of supermarket “deals”, as some have been found to be fraudulent after working out a simple calculation.

                  11. Become a flea market/car boot sale/street market guru

                  You can find original gifts and develop good negotiation skills at these places.

                  12. Generic brand medication

                  More often than not, the generic version of paracetamol and other basics work the same as the branded version.

                  13. Choose deodorant, not perfume

                  It blows my mind when someone drops $70 on a bottle of spray. Stick with a nice deodorant, and not only will you smell just fine but you’ll be sweat-free as well!

                  Cut Down on Household Expenses

                  14. Printing

                  Ink is one of the most expensive substances in the office and coloured ink is doubly so. B

                  e more efficient and choose black and white, and if your printer doesn’t have a print-both-sides options, just print odd pages first, re-insert the paper and print even pages.

                  Expand the margins of what you are printing as often as you can to save on paper.

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                  15. Minimize SMS and phone calls

                  A combination of a free chat service such as WhatsApp and a free call service such as Skype can reduce your bill to nothing (so long as you have a decent Wifi connection).

                  16. Shop around for insurance

                  Most people don’t spend enough time searching for the best insurance deal.

                  Keep a watchful eye out for deals and new competitors in the market.

                  17. Try re-negotiating your rent/mortgage

                  If you have built up a good credit history or a good rapport with your landlord, then chances are a frank chat about needing to tighten your spending could result in lowering your payments. You’ve nothing to lose from trying.

                  18. Don’t get a TV

                  Invest in a computer/laptop and an internet-only package. You can watch more (and often better) entertainment on the web, and skip the advertisements as well.

                  19. Pool your internet bill with a neighbour

                  My apartment building is basically a big old house split into three apartments. There are five of us in total. We pool the internet bill, making it crazy cheap.

                  Save Money in Socializing, Entertainment And Travel

                  20. Have house parties

                  Instead of paying for overpriced drinks, set up a series of in-house get-togethers with your friends. Everyone takes a turn, so it’s not always your house that needs cleaning.

                  For sound insulation, hang heavy drapes on the walls and windows. For music, invest in a good second-hand set of speakers which you can connect to your computer. Let Spotify or Grooveshark playlists do the rest.

                  21. Open festivals, meetups and events

                  It never fails to surprise me how much underground stuff goes on around me for free or for very cheap. Find out who runs the blogs and websites that list all the less well-known cultural activities.

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                  22. Volunteer

                  If you can’t pay for a ticket, volunteer and get to be there anyway.

                  23. Housesit

                  There are multiple housesitting websites offering you the possibility to avoid paying hotels and skip the discomfort of crummy hostels.

                  Save Money on Hygiene and Beauty

                  24. DIY beauty

                  French manicures, pedicures, waxing, eyebrows… pretty much all of these can be achieved at home (and done well) with some practise. There are plenty excellent blogs and YouTube tutorials to help.

                  25. Fewer haircuts/volunteer at a trainee hairdresser

                  If you can’t bear the risk of a trainee touching your locks, learn more ways to manipulate your hair as it grows and get haircuts sparingly. Women’s haircuts are outrageously priced in many cities.

                  Bonus: Effective Money-Saving Tips for Everything

                  Here’s a summary of what you can generally do to save more money:

                  • Share/pool resources. Organize a neighbourhood sharing scheme, common resources for your apartment block or with your friends. Not everybody needs an individual lawnmower.
                  • Buy energy-saving everything. The easiest way to lower your bills – replace those lightbulbs!
                  • Buy in bulk. Be sensible about it (i.e. make sure you have space!), and drastically reduce weekly expenditure.
                  • DIY. Skill up using YouTube tutorials on plumbing and many other essential services so you never have to pay for simple problems again.
                  • Research a lot before making a decision. Most money-wasting is the result of poor preparation and planning. Don’t shirk this part just because you don’t like it!
                  • Use your network. Your network is full of resources that can ease the pain of budgeting. Ask for help.
                  • Stop and think. Do I really need it?

                  Unfortunately, there are some things that require plain ol’ giving up for the time being. This can include high-cost sports such as skiing, the latest versions of some technologies, the finest brands of food/drinks, premier seats at the opera and most other indulgences.

                  What is important to remember during lean times is that when you look back on your life, it will be the experiences that stand out, not the extra comforts.

                  Living on a budget can teach you a lot about how much you can really get out of your paycheck. We only live one life, so make the most of every penny you earn!

                  More Tips for Personal Finance Management

                  Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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