Posts Tagged ‘presents’

9 Black Friday Shopping Apps

Smart phones and technology can help make your shopping easier, especially on Black Friday (doesn’t THAT sound nice?). Here are video reviews of Black Friday and other shopping apps that can help you save time and money:

Tech reviewer Matts MacIntosh shows two phone apps to find coupons and locations that accept them, find apps and track their price changes, scan bar codes and then located the best deals. He reviews Yoowza!, AppSniper and RedLaser: reviews three and evaluates the performance of these three apps designed for shopping Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals . Find out if  the cost of these iPhone & iPad Touch mobile apps are worth their potential savings:

The Daily App Show reviews The Find, a mobile app that ties online and offline shopping together. You can price compare, scan bar codes, locate products and save information to save money. For iPhone and Android:

Crazy Mike from walks you through the features of THI Friday iPhone App, a free money-saving app:

Owen Robbins from KRRS Systems reviews the money-saving and coupon app called, The Coupons App for iPhones, iPad, Android devices. They also feature Black Friday deals:

More Black Friday Savings strategies in our posts:

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Black Friday Previews

Black Friday continues to arrive earlier and earlier each year, and this year is no exception. Not only do Black Friday “specials” come earlier, but the “previews” (aka “leaks”) of deals, doorbusters, and specials that stores will be offering on Black Friday come earlier and earlier too.

While I personally am not a Black Friday Shopping Fanatic, I know there are thousands of you who will brave the jammed parking lots, crowds, long lines, and limited stock on doorbuster deals to take advantage of bargains that can be found on that discount shopping day. And, being well prepared in advance is one of the best ways for you to get the most out of those deals.

So for those who are determined to take part in the Black Friday Shopping ritual, we bring you some of our favorite sites and articles for finding Black Friday deal previews, tips and tricks:

UPDATED 11/12/13: – – –

Delio –

Catch more holiday shopping tips –

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12 (Awesome) Gifts Under $10

Gifts that are thoughtful, clever, fun and beautiful for under $10? YES! Here are 12 ideas that are perfect for the “Grab Bag” event, stocking stuffers, hostess gifts, thank you gifts, and even THE gift for THE friend or THE family member… you’ll find ideas here that will make a great impression for anyone on your gift list – and won’t put a dent in your wallet, either.


Bright Porcelain bowls. Serve dips, hold fruit, nuts, chips, or brighten  your morning cereal with these welcoming porcelain colorful vessels created in collaboration with Potter’s Workshop, a collective of South African artists known for their signature bead-like patterns. Microwave and dishwasher safe. 3.75 ” diam. x 2.5″h.  From West Elm. $5 each.

Colorful bracelets made from real guitar strings! Designed by Hannah Garrision & Steve Bernstein. The guitar strings are made in China; the bracelet is handmade in the U.S. with lead-free nickel and brass. Available at UncommonGoods. $10 each.

The healing power of comedy is now available in an over-the-counter form. Apply this Emergency Clown Nose liberally as needed. A necessary accessory for removing splinters or applying band-aids. Side effects may include chuckling, chortling and guffawing. Nose made of polyester. From UncommonGoods, created by professional clowns Rosie Cole and Lloyd Brant to promote their philosophy of healing through laughter.  $5.

Key Tool Keyring Multi-tool – This tiny tool packs the power of 8 different tools: 3 screwdrivers, tweezers, wire stripper, and more. It fits on your keychain and it comes with a fake key to “park” in. Made of stainless steel for strength and durability. From think geek. $7.99

Glass Candlesticks. Handmade from handblown and heat-tempered clear borosilicate (“beaker”) lab glass these candle holders are graceful glass sculptures in three light-as-a-feather yet durable styles. From CB2, $4.95. each.

Bud vases. Showcase your fresh flowers in this sleek, iron, teardrop-shapped bud vase. Handcrafted in India.  From CB2 $9.95 – $10.95.

Bright green cable with eight magnets displays photos, memos, cards and notes without the need for overwhelming your walls with excessive pins, nails or tape. Weighted end keeps the 59.5″ cable straight.  At CB2. $6.95


Bamu Cork Coffee Cuff reusable mug holder is an eco-friendly alternative to paper protectors. Fits various sized cups, glasses, cans and thermoses.  At $9.75.


A fresh idea for wall display or a bulletin board alternative; Darice Cork Sticky Shapes are great for one-handed posting of messages, lists, notes, photos. Items stick securely and remove easily with or without tacks or pins. These cork shapes will stick to most surfaces. Ideal for interior rooms, offices, dorm rooms, bedrooms and/or where sound dampening is needed. Available in a variety of shapes (hearts, crowns, flowers, skulls, etc.). Includes 8 cork sticky shapes per pack, $4.70.

Quench your dog’s thirst while on the road with the Pet Water Bottle Top. The plastic top fits most standard water bottles and the flow can be adjusted for any size pet. Made of plastic with an adjustable flow for any size pet. The bright orange color ensures you won’t mistake your pet’s bottle for yours.  Includes an adapter to fit different bottle types. From $7.95.

You don’t always need staples! This handy (and environmentally friendly) staple-less stapler device cuts a tiny flap in the corner of your paper, and folds it in on itself, tucked in a tiny paper pocket. Sleek and small, the Staple Free Stapler can clip together up to five sheets with ease. We personally use this and love it! Amazon.  $7.02.

The Credit Card Lightbulb means no more struggling to find your keys, or squinting while trying to read the menu when the restaurant is too dark. Handy when traveling, too. This unusual card looks like a flat incandescent bulb, but push the bulb vertical and it unexpectedly lights up. The rest of the card serves as a stand. The same size, though slightly thicker than a credit card you can easily store one in your wallet or purse. From Batteries included, $3.99 – $5.99

More Gift Ideas that Won’t Stretch Your Wallet in our posts:

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12 Gifts Under $30

Giving a gift that lets someone you care about know you are thinking of them does not have to cost a fortune or break your budget. Here are 12 unique gift ideas all for less than $30, that would suit anyone, anytime, from kids to great-grandparents – while suiting your bank balance as well.

Give the gift of warmth and comfort with a cozy throw. These welcomed cozy down-alternative throw is available in an array of colors and patterns to suit any personality and every decor. From JC Penney. Machine washable. $19.99 – $25.

Carafe and Cup set: This elegant glass and pitcher duo is made entirely out of recycled glass bottles, giving it a unique pale green color and a sculptural aesthetic. The textured bands of glass allow it to be grasped firmly, preventing accidental slips and spills. Beautiful on nightstands, dressers, and desks, and tables, even when it’s not bearing water. Handmade by fair trade artisans in Bolivia. $29.99

Chill the party with this festive red  party cooler that’s ultra-hot! This Metal Party Tub offers a great way to ice drinks and snacks in the back yard, park, or stadium parking lot. Made from a durable and rust-resistant alloy with a bright finish, this reinforced Metal Party Tub comes with steel carrying handles and is built to last. Available is several colors at Party City, $19.99.

This versatile serving platter set is made of gleaming white durable porcelain with a clean sleek design. Dishwasher, microwave, and conventional oven-safe. Made in China. 5-piece set includes: four small platters; one large platter. From CB2. The set: $22.75.
The Fozzils Solo Flat Pack Dinerware Set is great for your outdoorsy friend or adventure traveler.  Made of durable polypropylene and is leak-proof and easy to clean. Just throw the flat sheets in your backpack and later fold into cup, bowl, and plate and spoon in seconds. The Fozzils Pack Set comes in a reusable packing sleeve that can also be used as a prep tray or cutting board. $15.95 a set.
Bring memories home with this darling Sandy Feet Casting Kit. You can use it for either footprints or handprints. Simply make a foot or hand print in dense, moist sand. Collect beach water in the cup provided; mix in the special powder to it, then pour the mixture into the print impression. You can even personalize your print with the included stylus, and use the cord to make your footprint ready-to-hang. Allow 20 minutes for it to harden, then gently scoop the print out. Use the special keepsake pail to tote your creation home! The kit can make two children’s feet (up to size 2) or one adult foot. Parental supervision required. Contents made in the USA; tin made in China. Sand not included. From UncommonGoods. $15.

Charge your cell phones in style with the Garden Charging Station. Keep your counters looking neat and tidy and add a little decor with this “grass” filled decorative container.Easily hide all your charging cords by placing them under the grass and run 1 extension cord to the Charging Station. Available in black or white. 10.5″ L x 6″ W x 3.5″ H. Extension cord not included. At Convenient Gadgets & Gifts. $27.95

Guitar Pick Punch – Create your own recycled guitar picks quickly and easily with the Pick Punch. Turn expired credit cards, old gift cards, hotel key cards, and other thin plastic into perfectly-shaped guitar picks. The heavy-duty Pick Punch features a steel head that can cut through materials up to 1mm thick. Good idea for DIY earrings or necklace pendants too! From UncommonGoods. $25.

HABA/TC Timber Master Builder Series. This large block set allows children to use and learn the same engineering principles the Romans followed. In true Romanesque style, this 54 pc set of solid wooden blocks is sure to entertain young and old architects alike. Note: This set does not come with building instructions. From$29.99

The Hess Toy Truck – We just can’t help it – we love this gift! (yes, it was on last year’s list, too) Since 1964 Hess has released a new model toy truck in November each year; and kids (no matter what age) never tire of collecting them and playing with them. They often are actually two vehicles and feature high quality realistic fun with extras like flashing lights, sirens, lifts or ramps. Available at participating Hess Gas Stations, starting November 11, 2011, and they sell out fast! Batteries included, $26.99.

Tabletopics. Played with family, friends or during a candlelit dinner for two, each card in a Tabletopics sets asks a different thought-provoking, conversation-starting question. Choose from four different sets – Couple’s Edition, Family Edition, Original Edition, and Dinner Party Edition. All four sets are guaranteed to keep the fun and conversation flowing. (we can personally attest to that!) The set of 135 cards are housed in acrylic 4 x 4″ square cube. Appropriate for ages 12 and up. From RedEnvelope. $29.95

This leather and stainless steel  heart token manages to be both rugged and refined. The versatile leather necklace is expandable up to 35 inches and is available in four colors. The necklace is available in Black (pictured), Brown, Red or Pink. Specify necklace color and up to six letters for custom engraving. Not suitable for children under 12 years of age. From Enchanted Memories $25.99

This cheeky money clip serves its purpose, even if you’re light on cash. The engraving, rich in humor, says it all (and then some):  “The safest way to double your money is to fold it over once and put it in your pocket.” – Kin Hubbard. Made of aluminum and made in the USA, from UncommonGoods. $18.

More creative and wallet-friendly gift ideas in our posts:

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15 Almost Free Easy DIY Gift Ideas

One of the all-time top easy and free gift ideas is to give a “personal gift certificate” that is good for a something friends or family members might value, for example: I will cook dinner for a week, including shopping and clean-up chores. Or, 4-weeks lawn mowing and weeding the garden. We love that idea, and it’s easy to be creative with it, but we’ve come up with some additional creative gift items that not only would make your friends and family happy, but are almost zero cost to you. Yes, that’s right, these will virtually cost you nothing, yep, practically free to you!

The key to virtually free gift ideas is to use what you may already have, pieces you’ve collected, objects from your yard, left over craft supplies, hardware washers, nuts and bolts, items you’ve been given, your own fabric from linens, table cloths, clothing, etc. and in addition, also take advantage of free samples, of all types. (Just be sure to make certain a deposit is not required before using the samples as is often the case with fabric or carpet). Collect all the free samples you can and combinie what you already have from around the house, the garage or attic, maybe add in a couple of affordable purchased items, and create something new.  Continue to collect throughout the year, and you’ll have enough on hand to create several meaningful gifts for birthdays, thank you’s, hostess gifts, and holiday presents. In our suggestions here, we’ve added a few ideas for embellishments, and of course there’s no limit to what you could add in. Retail gift certificates (you can purchase them from someplace like at a discount), gift cards you may have gotten from “free gift card” promotional offers, or add on your own “I’ll cook dinner for a week, including clean up chores” coupon… always sure to please!

So, here they are,  enjoy!

Tiles, Stones, Fabric, Buttons, Broken China, Nuts and Bolts, etc. :

Decorative Frame: Take a plain wooden frame and glue onto it fabric, tile, buttons, china pieces, dried pasta, paper clips, spoons and forks , there’s no  limit to what you can use… Don’t forget to put in a photo, or keepsake, or mirror… Simple!

Create a Cool Framed Art Piece: Make a collage with glue and fabric pieces, or  other items you have on hand like buttons, trading cards, photographs, cut up cereal boxes,etc. and make a custom art piece by gluing onto cardboard.  Be sure to have a specific frame ahead of time and pre-cut the cardboard so it will fit the frame when you’re finished. Easy!

A Table Runner: Sew fabric pieces together for a table runner. And you can easily make napkin rings to match!  A set of coasters would really complete this gift!

House Address Plaque: If you don’t have a board, you can purchase an inexpensive small plain wooden plaque from the hardware or hobby store. Stain or paint it or leave natural. Glue on tiles, pieces of broken china, buttons, sea shells, stones, or nuts and bolts to create the house number…  done!

Serving Tray: Using the same technique as the house address plaque, decorate a larger board or plaque, for handles just screw on a drawer pull on either side, and use as a serving tray! Include some cheeses and breads for an even more festive gift!

Carpet Samples:

Custom Floor Mat: Use carpet tape to tape pieces together for a unique custom floor mat.

Dog or Cat Gift: Combine with a bag or box of homemade dog cookies and a new collar or tennis balls. Or make catnip sachets (see below beauty products, but fill with catnip) and a bag or box of homemade pet cheese treats. Woof and Meow!

Scrap Wood, Branches, Pine Cones:

Rustic Bird Feeders: Use scrap wood pieces to make a simple bird feeder.  You can also make an easy pine cone bird feeder. First tie a piece of yarn, string or wire around the top. Next, spread the cone with peanut butter and then roll in birdseed. Kids love making this one. Enhance this gift with a bag of birdseed and a bird watching book for years of enjoyment to come.

Towel Bars or Jewelry Holders: Sandpaper the branches so they are smooth. Fasten on attachments to secure to the wall for towel holders, or attach the base of the branch to a wooden plaque so it stands up; this can then be used for holding jewelry or guest towels.  Add a couple of guest hand towels to complete the package for a simple yet dramatic decor statement. (you can purchase a wooden base/plaque from the hardware or hobby store if you don’t have already on hand)

Fire Starter Kit: Drip scented candle wax on pine cones (you’ve been saving candle ends and scraping from glass candle jars, right?) Bundle them in a piece of fabric, or make a bag, and tie closed with twine. Take a bundle of small kindling branches wrap around and tie with twine. Give the scented pine cones together with the kindling branches for a nice fire starter package. Add Marshmellows and popcorn (maybe a DVD?) and you’re set!

Decorative Frame: As mentioned above with tile and fabric, you can also do the same with nature objects. Take a plain wooden frame and glue the pine cones, or sea shells, or twigs, or stones onto it. And of course, don’t forget to put in a photo, keepsake, or mirror.

Beauty Products, Lotions, Perfumes, Shampoos, etc.

Spa Gift Gags: Purchase inexpensive canvas bags from a hobby store or create your own using fabric. Fill with a variety of free samples.You can also easily make your own sugar or salt scrubs! And to further enrich your gift, add in a little cosmetic mirror, a few hair clips, a colorful bath sponge or loofa, pumice stone, and a scented candle.

Potpouri: Take perfume samples (if they are cards just cut up the cards into little pieces). Collect (or purchase from hobby shop) dried leaves, little pine cones, wood chips, dried orange, lemon, and lime peals, dried flower petals, etc.  Sprinkle with the perfume, or mix in the perfumed card cut up pieces. Place the dried items into a pretty jar (of course you’ve been saving them up), or place in a piece of fabric and wrap a rustic piece of twine around the top and tie into a bow, or a us a colored ribbon.

Sachets: You can make little sachets to place in drawers, suitcases, and to hang on door handles. Take fabric and gather around a cotton ball that’s been sprinkled with the perfume from samples, gather the fabric and tie with twine, string, yarn or ribbon. Leave enough to make a nice bow or to hang over a door knob.  Put together several of these in a pretty box (perhaps covered in matching fabric?) and you’re set!

Clothing, Hats, Jewlery, Make up, Purses, Briefcases

Dress Up Kits for Kids: Decorate a really bog box with fabric, buttons, ribbons, pictures from magazine, etc. Put inside: clean hats, suit coats, sport jackets, vests, dresses, skirts, shirts, blouses, gloves, shoes, aprons,costume jewlery, briefcases, purses, wallets, sunglasses, scarfs, watches, old keys, make up samples, razors with out blades, you name it… include an unbreakable mirror, and kids will stay busy in Dress-Up -Land for hours! (For dresses, skirts, pants and slacks: to prevent tripping, cut off length to shorten.)

More creative gift and present ideas in our post: The Gift… Basket?

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More Money Saving Holiday Shopping Tips

It is possible to keep your savings growing during the holiday shopping season if you shop wisely.  These holiday shopping and saving pointers will help you stretch your dollar, while giving great gifts – and your bank balance will thank you!

Holiday Money Saving – U.K. financial expert Jasmine Birtles gives holiday money saving ideas on gifts and presents with solid pointers that will save you big no matter where you live.

Holiday Money Saving Secrets – Tennessee Valley’s WDEF TV segment gives ways to stretch your holiday budget with tips to shop smarter using coupons, bonus buy deals, and  online rebates…. one technique actually puts cash back in your bank account.

Online Holiday Shopping Pitfalls – Ordering online offers convenience & sometimes better prices, but there are pitfalls to online purchasing. MoneyTalksNews advises on what to look for regarding pricing, shipping, returns, e-bay, and payments.

How to Give Holiday Gifts Under $25 –  Ideas on where to shop for unique & thoughtful gifts at under $25 from  Stores, retailers, online resources, and creative DIY ideas to keep your gift-giving abundant & affordable.

Morebudget-friendly gift ideas:

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10 Cool Picks for Gifts Well Under $30

10 Cool picks for presents and gifts well under $30 that are certain to satisfy, and that includes your budget!

The Hess Truck – A classic favorite gift.  If they still have stock left, you’ll find it on sale at any Hess gas station while supplies last. Each year there is a new edition issued, with lights, sounds, and and moving parts for decades of fun for the kid or collector in everyone. Batteries included. $25.99.

Color an Umbrella! Cool creative idea!!  Kids color their own umbrella using markers. The kit includes one child-sized umbrella and markers. From Alex Toys. Umbrella with marker set or paint set: $16.49.

Coasters. These clever and elegant coasters cover all the bases: they create a beautiful setting, you can wrap them around a wine glass base to identify wine glasses and prevent condensation drips all over your lap as well as all over your tabletop, and they can also be used with conventional glasses as well.. Wow!  From Dining In The Round. Set of 4 from $20.

The Duffel – It’s not easy to find the perfect duffel, but it’s a must for weekend jaunts, overnights, and short trips or to the gym, court or ball field. This polyester, moisture resistant duffle with zippered exterior compartments and removable shoulder strap will make any travel a breeze. Netpack Weekender Duffel at Amazon. 24″ size is $23.99.

Learn Harmonica – It’s small, does not need electricity, can be played anywhere, and it’s fairly easy to learn… (and they’ll love you even more at parties!) Check out this package, includes instruction book, CD and harmonica in a soft carrying case, Instant Harmonica, with CD, by Hal Leonard. Available At $18.95.

Flatware Votive Holder – This sleek and stylish metal flatware jar holder adds a rustic and vintage touch to any decor. The perfect addition to liven up any room, this piece holds large and medium jar candles and large tumbler candles. FromYankee Candle® at Bed Bath and Beyond.  $7.99 (without the glass jar).

Fitness and Yoga Bag – Headed to the gym or class with your mat, water bottle, car keys, gym membership card, etc.? This water harness Yoga Mat Gym Bag Tote Carryall  is large enough to fit what you need.  This a durable and water-resistant bag has padded shoulder straps, a full length top zipper pocked, a padded zipper side pocket and an inner mesh zippered wall pocket.  It’s roomy enough for your yoga, Pilates or fitness mat and more.  $24.99

The Bracelet – The Resource Revival Recycled Bicycle Chain Bracelet is made of 100% recycled bicycle chain and makes a cool statement for both women and men. $10.50.

The Glass Mug Almost unbreakable, ultra high-strength – guaranteed against fracture from thermal shock. If it breaks on filling with hot liquids they will replace it. Survives drops on floor. Treated by same process used for fighter aircraft windshields. Dishwasher and Microwave Safe. Set of 4, at Amazon $22.99

Indoor Herb Garden Kit – Grow your own herbs for the freshest and tastiest additions to your meals. Fun for kids too! This set includes three 100% biodegradable pots and trays! Comes with basil, parsley, and chive seeds’s Urban Farmer Herb Garden, $17.95

More budget-friendly amazing gift ideas in our previous post:

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Black Friday, Cyber Monday Money Saving Tips

With Black Friday and Cyber Monday (is there really any difference anymore?) the holiday shopping season “officially begins” – though the trend is for holiday shopping and deals to happen earlier and earlier in the year… but never fear, we’ve got you and your budget covered!

6 Videos full of Money Saving Tips for Black Friday & Cyber Monday:

Black Friday Preparation Tips – clip with Christine Frietchen editor-in-chief of tells how to get the most out of Black Friday shopping by preparing before you go!

Holiday Online Shopping Safety – Pointers to keeping your savings safe when shopping online from  The Early Show’s Susan Koeppen.

Cyber Secure Shopping – Tips to protect yourself when purchasing over the web in this clip from Indianapolis TV news reporter, Steve Bray

Black Friday Cyber Monday Online Savings – Michelle Madhok, online shopping expert and CEO SheFinds Media gives pointers for getting great online deals.

Some of the best Black Friday Shopping Tips We’ve Seen –  This is not a video, but a great article from Stacey Ross, founder of Stacey gives how-to pointers you shouldn’t leave home without.

Steely Dan, “Black Friday” Live 2006 – Enjoy this classic musicperformance recorded from a 2008 concert.

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