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A Random List of Unique Gifts

A Random List of Unique Gifts

As the holidays roll around, you might start stressing when it comes to gifts. Special gifts, white elephant gifts, clever gifts—where do you begin? Well, first, don’t overthink it. Think about the person you’re getting a gift for, and the things they enjoy. And to help you out, here’s  a list of unique things that may inspire you.

1. Print someone a book online

If you’re looking to do something really thoughtful, try making a book. Bookemon.com allows you to create a book from different formats and templates. It could be any kind of book – a children’s book, a recipe book, a scrapbook, a book that’s all words. It’s all online and prices start at $10, but keep your eye out for specials.

2. An awesome mug

A cool thing about mugs is that you can find all kinds of them. Funny ones, colorful ones, totally random ones, ones for book lovers, music lovers, science fiction lovers, sports fanatics, or coffee aficionados. Another cool thing is that you can find them anywhere.

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3. Bacon things

If you know anyone who loves bacon and appreciates a random gift they can laugh at, think bacon. Bacon air freshener, a bacon wallet, bacon band aids. Or, if you need a white elephant gift, maybe some bacon toothpaste?

4. An Irish accent

Need another white elephant gift, or perhaps a funny stocking stuffer? Try some Instant Irish Accent Gum. Why not, right?

5. This thing called a Fondoodler

This totally random thing allows you to draw stuff. With cheese. I recommend this for people who enjoy cheese; it can be used to write cheese-letters or draw fun things on food. That sounds like a whole new level of cheese-awesome.

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6. A website domain

Anyone you know want to start a website? Why not buy a domain for them? You can buy a domain name for $10/year on GoDaddy, As for creating the site, there are lots of site-building hosts to choose from, such as WordPress, Wix, and Squarespace, and Bluehost offers coupons for hosting services.

7. A personal library kit

For all your book-loving friends out there who love to share their books with friends, but whose friends take forever to give those books back, they might be in need of their own library kit. It comes with its own return date cards, and a date stamp and ink, so they can stamp a due date on it. Now you have no excuses.

8. A T-shirt quilt

If someone you know has a lot of T-shirts that they don’t wear, but want to keep for sentiment’s sake, something else that might be thoughtful is a quilt made from all those shirts. You could look up a pattern and make it yourself if you are craft-inclined, or you could send all those T-shirts off to a company that will do it for you.

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9. A witty notepad

Why use a regular, boring notepad, when you could use a witty one, specifically designed to make writing your to-do lists, reminders, checklists, and notes more fun and interesting—especially if the recipient enjoys a sarcastic wit. My dad cracked up when I got him a “Crap to do and Crap to buy” notepad for Father’s Day.

10. A trip to Las Vegas

Vegas is known for its night life, casinos, and many themes. So, if you can’t decide whether to go on a holiday cruise, or travel abroad, or go to another state, take a trip to Las Vegas. With all its different themes, it’ll be like visiting multiple places at once.

11. A car seat cover

If you know someone who would want to cover their car seat with a nifty pattern, by all means, go for it. This could also work as a white elephant gift.

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12. A book-lover’s candle

If you or someone you know enjoy the smell of old books, bookstores or libraries, or want to find out what Sherlock’s study, the Cliffs of Insanity, or Dumbledore’s office smell like, those scents are now available in candles.

13. A picture-frame chalkboard

I’m sure you can buy something like this somewhere, but I’m going to suggest you make one. Just buy any size picture frame you want and a small can of chalkboard paint; all you do is paint the glass part of the frame. When it’s dry, put the glass back in the frame, and you’ve got yourself a chalkboard. I recommend using a smaller one that be set on a desk or tabletop—somewhere someone might want to leave a note.

See? No need to stress about finding the right gift. The holidays are about spending time with the people you love, so if you focus on them, you’re bound to find something they’ll love—no matter how unique the gift.

Featured photo credit: Jennifer C. via flickr.com

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Published on November 11, 2020

10 Best Ways to Save Money Faster and Smarter

10 Best Ways to Save Money Faster and Smarter

People love to talk about budgeting, reducing spending. and investing. But unfortunately, talk is cheap, and poor money management is expensive. It’s easy to talk about the best way to save money, but putting it into practice is a different thing.

What people need to talk about is the practical and efficient ways you can quickly save money to accomplish your goals. After all, they don’t teach this stuff in school.

Here are the 10 best ways to save money faster and smarter.

1. Cancel All Your Subscriptions

Yes, all of them.

Okay, you can keep your wifi and trash. But other than that, cancel all your monthly subscriptions for one month. You will survive, I promise. Better yet, you will realize you won’t miss all of them.

Now that you have had 30 days to examine what you really missed and what you never thought twice about, you can add some of them back in. The others? you never have to think about them again.

This is something you can and should do with every part of your life. If it’s clutter, cancel it. Being able to step back and see what is cluttering your life and what is excelling your forward helps improve your quality of life and financial standing.

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2. Automate Savings From Your Paycheck

Many of us are so excited about getting a new job that we rush through the paperwork during the hiring process. Good news for you, I have had lots of jobs so I have seen it a million times.

There is an option for a portion of your paycheck to go directly into a secondary savings account. This is by far the most effective way to save money every month. We tend to spend most of what we have. So, if we take it off the top first, then it’s less likely to be spent. Just head over to HR and ask. It will only take two minutes.

3. Cancel the Happy Hours for the Rest of the Pandemic

We are in the middle of a global pandemic, which means that there is no better time to buy some drinks from the local store and stop shelling out $5 a drink at the local cocktail bar. When we look back at our bank statements, we are always shocked that fast food and alcohol can add up so quickly. You can easily save a couple of hundred dollars just by taking this step.

A great exercise is to print out your last bank statement and highlight all the areas of alcohol and fast food. The amount may surprise you and make you think twice about that old fashion.

4. Online Grocery Shopping

Some people think online shopping increases the amount they spend. For the most part, I would agree—except for this category.

Online grocery shopping is now a no-brainer, though. Whenever you walk through a grocery store, two things always happen: you always grab impulse items, and you never know the total of your cart until you checkout. This means that we always spend more than we originally planned.

With online shopping, you can see your total as you add items to your cart. You are way less inclined to make those impulse purchases and because of that, I would venture to say that you could even pay to have them delivered to your door and still save money each month by choosing online grocery shopping.

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5. Get a Famzoo Debit Card

This is something my wife and I swear by, and it’s great for the entire family! Famzoo strictly exists to help families and kids budget their money better. Each month, my wife and I have an allotted amount loaded onto our pre-paid Famzoo debit card. This amount has changed every year depending on promotions, kids, stage of life, etc.

The important part is that when you give yourself the freedom to spend a certain amount, you are more likely to only spend the allotted amount. Think of it as a diet. If you are counting calories, you are more likely to stick close to the amount you set. You can also look for some tips online to better stick to your family budget.

6. Purge

This is actually my favorite to do, and it is actually one of the best ways to save money. Raise your hand if you have ever moved. Okay, so everyone.

When we move, we are always amazed at how much junk we have acquired. I have found that about every 6 months, I can find a couple of boxes to sell online of things that we never use. This not only gives you so extra quick cash, but it also keeps your house more tidy and organized.

Now, go clean out that garage!

7. Amazon Subscribe and Save

32! That is how many items I have setup on amazon subscribe and save. Let me explain.

This sounds expensive, I know. But it actually saves us hundreds of dollars per year! We all need toothpaste, shampoo, razors, laundry detergent, toilet paper right? This feature is truly a triple threat. When you have more than 5 items on subscribe and save, you automatically unlock the max savings for every product on your list. This can be up to 20% per item!

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Now, even better is that it ships straight to your door on the exact day you want the item, maybe monthly or maybe you only need it every 4 months. This way, you never have too much or never run out. Either way, it’s totally customizable.

Lastly, there is no contract for any items, which means you can switch brands or items at any given time at no cost. My advice: every single staple item should be on your subscribe and save.

8. Rewards

This may ruffle some feathers, but if you are using your debit card for purchases, you are missing out on free money! We have this notion that credit cards are evil but in reality, they are the same piece of plastic as your debit card.

How you use it can be bad, don’t get me wrong. But if you want my opinion though, ditch the debit card and get a rewards credit card. Use it just like you would your debit card and make sure to pay it off as soon as the statement comes in!

Just to give you an idea of how powerful this can be in terms of money, here are some things that our miles have paid for:

  • 4 nights in Vail with Flight
  • Rental car in Vail (convertible might I add)
  • Flight to Ireland
  • Flight to Hawaii
  • Multiple staycations at very nice Hotels

That’s roughly about 7 thousand dollars in travel expenses so far! Remember that the credit card is just a tool and can be one that benefits you if you use it wisely. Ironically, this can be an effective way to save money.

Pro tip: If you don’t trust yourself carrying around a credit card, then set up all your monthly bills with your credit and leave it in a drawer at home. This way, you rack up miles but don’t get tempted to overspend.

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9. Vacation With Friends

Now, I know travel is hard right now but what a perfect time to go grab an Airbnb in the woods with a couple of friends and detox from the world right now!

Vacationing alone can be pricey and get rather boring quickly, but if you split lodging and set out for a road trip, it can become affordable quickly! For a couple of hundred bucks apiece, you can have one of the most relaxing vacations ever. Don’t forget to pick up your food at the local grocery store to avoid eating out every meal!

10. Make a Budget

When is the last time you updated your budget or made one for that matter? Making a budget is like writing down your goals. If you don’t make a budget, then you will struggle to save.

How can you know if you are spending wisely if you are not tracking everything?

Our advice would be to get a finance app like Mint, Every dollar, or personal capital. All these apps are free and do a tremendous job of tracking spending and budgeting. I still am old-school and have an excel spreadsheet which I do highly recommend.

Work Smarter, Not Harder

The entire goal is to boost your bank account while reducing the effort required. Efficiency is the name of the game, and automation is the key player. Luckily, we live in a world that has more perks than we can ever take advantage of. But if I were to choose a few, it would be the ones above.

Taking on all 10 of these steps may seem a little daunting. You can first try to pick three of your favorite and start there. Saving money doesn’t have to be a chore as long. As we use the tools correctly, it can be quite effortless. And now, you have a great blueprint to get started!

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Featured photo credit: Sharon McCutcheon via unsplash.com

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