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A Random List of Unique Gifts

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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.

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Featured photo credit: Jennifer C. via flickr.com

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Last Updated on January 5, 2022

33 Painless Ways to Save Money Now

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33 Painless Ways to Save Money Now

In a difficult economy, most of us are looking for ways to put more money in our pockets, but we don’t want to feel like misers. We don’t want to drastically alter our lifestyles either. We want it fast and we want it easy. Small savings can add up and big savings can feel like winning the lottery, just without all of the taxes.

Some easy ways to save money:

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  1. Online rebate sites. Many online sites offer cash back rebates and online coupons as well. MrRebates and Ebates are two I like, but there are many others.
  2. Sign up for customer rewards. Many of your favorite stores offer customer rewards on products you already buy. Take advantage.
  3. Switch to compact fluorescent bulbs. The extra cost up front is worth the energy savings later on.
  4. Turn off power strips and electronic devices when not in use.
  5. Buy a programmable thermostat. Set it to lower the heat or raise the AC when you’re not home.
  6. Make coffee at home. Those lattes and caramel macchiatos add up to quite a bit of dough over the year.
  7. Switch banks. Shop around for better interest rates, lower fees and better customer perks. Don’t forget to look for free online banking and ease of depositing and withdrawing money.
  8. Clip coupons: Saving a couple dollars here and there can start to add up. As long as you’re going to buy the products anyway, why not save money?
  9. Pack your lunch. Bring your lunch to work with you a few days a week, rather than buy it.
  10. Eat at home. We’re busier than ever, but cooking meals at home is healthier and much cheaper than take-out or going out. Plus, with all of the freezer and pre-made options, it’s almost as fast as drive-thru.
  11. Have leftovers night. Save your leftovers from a few meals and have a “leftover dinner.” It’s a free meal!
  12. Buy store brands: Many generic or store brands are actually just as good as name brands and considerably cheaper.
  13. Ditch bottled water. Drink tap water if it’s good quality, buy a filter if it’s not. Get 
      a reusable water bottle and refill it.
    • Avoid vending machines: The items are usually over-priced.
    • Take in a matinee. Afternoon movie showings are cheaper than evening times.
    • Re-examine your cable bill. Cancel extra cable or satellite channels you don’t watch. Watch the “on demand” movie purchases too.
    • Use online bill pay. Most banks offer free online bill paying. Save on stamps and checks, and avoid late fees by automating bill payment.
    • Buy frequently used items in bulk. You get a lower per item price and eliminate extra trips to the store later on.
    • Fully utilize the library. Borrowing books is much cheaper than buying them, but in addition to books, most local libraries now lend movies and games.
    • Cancel magazine/newspaper subscriptions: Re-evaluate your subscriptions. Cancel those you don’t read and consider reading some of the other publications online.
    • Get rid of your land-line. Do you really need a land-line anymore if everyone in the family has a cell phone? Alternatively, look into using VOIP or getting a cheaper plan.
    • Better fuel efficiency. Check the air pressure in your tires, keep up with proper auto maintenance, and slow down. Driving even 5MPH slower will result in better fuel mileage.
    • Increase your deductibles. Increasing the insurance deductibles on your homeowners and auto insurance policies lowers premiums significantly. Just make sure you choose a deductible that you can afford should an emergency happen.
    • Choose lunch over dinner. If you do want to dine out occasionally, go at lunchtime rather than dinnertime. Lunch prices are usually cheaper.
    • Buy used:  Whether it’s something small like a vintage dress or a video game or something big like a car or furniture, consider buying it used. You can often get “nearly new” for a fraction of the cost.
    • Stick to the list. Make a list before you go shopping and don’t buy anything that’s not on the list unless it’s a once in a lifetime, killer deal.
    • Tame the impulse. Use a self-enforced waiting period whenever you’re tempted to make an unplanned purchase. Wait for a week and see if you still want the item.
    • Don’t be afraid to ask. Ask to have fees waived, ask for a discount, ask for a lower interest rate on your credit card.
    • Repair rather than replace. You can find directions on how to fix almost anything on the internet. Do your homework, and then bring out your inner handyman.
    • Trade with your neighbors. Borrow tools or equipment that you use infrequently and swap things like babysitting with your neighbors.
    • Swap online. Use sites like PaperBack Swap to trade books, music, and movies with others online. Also, look for local community sites like Freecycle where people give away items they no longer need.
    • Cut back on the meat. Try eating a one or two meatless meals every week or cut back on the meat portions. Meat is usually the most expensive part of the meal.
    • Comparison shop: Get in the habit of checking prices before you buy. See if you can get a better price at another store or look online.

    Remember that saving money is not about being cheap or stingy; it’s about putting money into your bank account rather than giving it to someone else. There are many ways to save money, some you’ve never thought of, and some that won’t appeal or apply to you. Just pick a few of the ideas that sound doable and watch the savings add up. Save big, save small, but save wherever you can.

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    Featured photo credit: Damir Spanic via unsplash.com

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