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10 Ways to Save Money This Halloween

10 Ways to Save Money This Halloween

Halloween is probably the most fun holiday of the year, isn’t it? Sure, you can stuff yourself with Christmas dinner and revel in all the socks and underwear that your relatives have given you, but on what other occasion can you dress up in a costume, run around in the dark pretending to be something you’re not, gorge on sweets, and howl at the moon? This is a perfect opportunity to delight in all things dark and spooky-like, and you don’t have to break the bank in order to celebrate in style.

Costumes

Naturally, one of the most important aspects of Halloween is a good costume. Some people go all-out and spend an entire year creating an outfit that will blow all their friends away, but that takes a lot of time, energy, and money. You can put together some really great costumes for a fraction of the cost with a few of these simple suggestions:

Pool Resources

Get together with a bunch of friends, and bring everything in your closet that could possibly be used as part of someone’s costume. Do you have a feather boa left over from a friend’s stagette? Bring that. An old frilly blouse that you’ll never wear again? Bring that too. Your friends might have some pieces that can inspire your own costume idea, and an item that you bring might be the key element in another’s ensemble.

Go Thrift Shopping

Used clothing stores like Goodwill, Value Village, or a myriad other secondhand shops are absolute treasure-troves when it comes to putting together outfits, but the key is to hit them up early: there’s usually a mad rush at the end of October when people search for last-minute costume ideas, and you want to get in ahead of the crowd. These shops sometimes carry wedding gowns, evening dresses, and suits for $5-$10 apiece, and accessories can be as cheap as a quarter. If you already have an idea in mind for what you’d like to dress up as, definitely shop around the thrift stores to see what you can find. If you’re stumped, a visit might inspire you.

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Decorations

Hit the Thrift Store Again

Another great thing about thrift shops is that they tend to carry decorations as well. Some of the trendier places may have Halloween decorations like spider webbing, window decals, etc. for a third of what regular stores will charge, but you might also find some unique treasures that can be tweaked slightly to interesting effect.

Are you familiar with those porcelain angels and cherubs that some people decorate their homes with? Those can very easily be painted black, and then decorated with white accent paint to create flying skeletons. If you find old dolls, they can be aged with paint effects to look downright terrifying. Imagine a display of creepy dolls set around white-painted pumpkins? *shudder*

Dollar Stores

It’s nearly guaranteed that there will be a dollar store somewhere in your area, and you will undoubtedly find some interesting stuff in there to decorate your place with. Go to the craft section and pick up some packages of construction paper for $1 each: you can cut out shapes like bats or skulls and make garlands of them. In the party section, you’re sure to find orange and black streamers that you can intertwine, and depending on the size of the shop, there might even be a dedicated Halloween section.

Print Your Own

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For invitations, spooky bottle labels, gift tags, and headstones, you can just print your own and stick them onto the surface of choice with a bit of glue or mod podge. Do a quick google search for free Halloween printables, and when you print them out, you can augment them with some extra calligraphy or drawings of spooky things.

Candy

Whether you’ll be throwing sugary treats at neighbourhood kids or collecting candy for a party, you’ll need a wide variety to keep everyone happy. If you pick up those pre-packaged packs at the supermarket or pharmacy, you’ll spend an insane amount of money for very little.

Go to a Bulk Food Store

These places are absolutely incredible, seriously. It’s best to give yourself a strict budget when going, otherwise you might end up in a feeding frenzy and spend far more than you’d intended: I’d recommend taking some cash out and leaving your debit and credit cards at home, lest you be tempted.

If you’re handing out candy, fill your bags with items that are packaged individually so you don’t run the risk of scaring anyone with the possibility of tainted food. Wrapped toffee bites, gum, rockets, lollopops, miniature candy bars—these are all perfect for giving out to the wee trick-or-treaters, and are far cheaper in bulk than pre-packaged.

If you’re amassing candy for parties, you can go for the bulk goods that aren’t wrapped, as it’ll just be friends, family, etc. who are eating it. You can go nuts with everything from candy corn and eyeball gobstoppers to liquorice spiders.

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Speaking of parties…

BYOC (Bring Your Own Candy)

If you’re throwing a party, feel free to ask guests to contribute to the buffet! You can even word things in your invitations to imply that every visiting ghost, goblin, witch, sorcerer, and zombie must bring an offering for the altar (or somesuch). This keeps your cost down, and you might be pleasantly surprised to discover new snacks and sweets that others may bring.

Meals and Snacks

BYOF

As with the “Bring Your Own Candy” idea mentioned above, make your Halloween party event a potluck one: the more that others contribute, the less you have to make.

3:1 Ratio of Inexpensive:Costly

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Remember that some of the best foods out there aren’t necessarily the priciest ones. Snacks like “spiderweb eggs” are super-easy to make for the simple cost of a dozen eggs (hard-boiled) and a bit of black food colouring. You can make a spicy snack mix with a combination of salted nuts and assorted dry cereals, and hit up Chinatown for some inexpensive raw produce like baby carrots, celery, cauliflower etc. as crudites. For every 3 items you have that are low-cost, you can splurge a little bit and spend a little more on 1 luxury item. Maybe you’d like an avocado to add some green goo (not to mention deliciousness) to your table, or some bocconcini balls to stuff with olives as eyeball canapes; either way, if you stick to this ratio, you’ll keep your costs down gorgeously.

Drinks

It really goes without saying that no celebration is complete without lovely libations to toast at the witching hour, but I’ll mention it here all the same.

Non-alcoholic drinks are far cheaper to create than the boozy versions (obviously), but you can follow the 3:1 ratio you used for your food when dealing with drinks as well, to great effect. Non-alcoholic drinks like the cream soda based Harry Potter-themed Butterbeer (which calls for both butter and cream) can also be made with margarine and milk. Mulled apple cider or juice is easy to make, and merely requires some cinnamon sticks and cloves to be simmered in the liquid for about 30 minutes.

If you make a couple of these inexpensive drinks, you can splurge a little bit and pick up a small bottle of black vodka to make drinks like a Screwed Up Screwdriver (with orange juice) or a Berry Scary Martini (with cherry or cranberry juice).

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Last Updated on March 13, 2019

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

1. Work on the small tasks.

When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

2. Take a break from your work desk.

Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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3. Upgrade yourself

Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

4. Talk to a friend.

Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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6. Paint a vision to work towards.

If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

7. Read a book (or blog).

The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

8. Have a quick nap.

If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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9. Remember why you are doing this.

Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

10. Find some competition.

Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

11. Go exercise.

Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

12. Take a good break.

Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

More Resources About Getting out of a Rut

Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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