Thanksgiving Table Decorations – Affordable!




It’s the final day of October. Some folks may call it “Halloween”, but I call it a night on my sofa dedicated to planning out my holiday season on Pinterest. I am sure once I have a family of my own I will enjoy Halloween more, but until then… Halloween who?! ::turns up Michael Buble’s Christmas Album::

Needless to say, I am SO excited to kick off the holidays. Not gonna lie, I’d be putting up my tree this week if it wasn’t for Parent Teacher Conferences (aka: 13 hour teacher work days all week).

So, in the meantime I will give some love to one of my favorite holidays that kick off the holiday season: Thanksgiving.

I love Thanksgiving! I love the family, the food, the feeling… it might just be my favorite holiday! To me, Thanksgiving is the kick off to the Christmas season, but I get it when some people like to keep it separate. With that being said, there are so many decorating options to try! You can use traditional fall colors, introduce some wintry Christmas elements or even keep things fresh and neutral. Hey, as long as there is food, right?!

Here are some of my favorite, affordable Thanksgiving styles courtesy of Amazon.com  (When all fails or you don’t want to leave the house… Amazon, people!!)

This post contains Amazon product links. See something you like? Click on the image to see more!

You may be interested in:

Christmas Throw Pillow Shopping Guide

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Traditional Thanksgiving

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plaidnapkin

Neutral Farmhouse Thanksgiving

 

Cabin Style Thanksgiving

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10 Safe Ways to Make Money Online

Is it me, or does life just get more and more expensive? Just when I was beginning to feel solid in my finances and career, in comes a new car payment at 75mph! On top of that, a mortgage and the dreadful student loan payments.

Then I got engaged. Obviously, I am completely enamored and filled with bliss, but I’d be lying if I didn’t admit the idea of paying for a wedding terrifies me!

If you are anything  like me, you do not have a hidden trust fund, a wealthy family or a winning lottery ticket. You have a budget. Welcome, “no spend weekends”,  drip coffee and generic brand food! We are going to get to know each-other real well.

…Or you could find ways to earn a little side money!

As a full-time teacher, I knew that driving to another part-time job (ew!) would completely wear me out. …and let’s be real, I wanted to be paid for something that required as little brain work as possible.

Fast forward 6 months, I now have a couple tried-and-tested side hustles that are consistently helping me make a little extra money! All are online!

I am so, So, SO excited to share with you my list of safe ways to earn money online!

For the quick, to-go list of 10 Safe Ways to Earn Money Online, scroll to the bottom of this article. I get it, your time is valuable!

If you want the detailed version, keep on reading!

{Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. I may earn commission if any products are purchased.  However, all opinions and advice are 100% my own. In order to stay truly transparent and honest, I only recommend services and products that I use, love and believe will benefit others.}

10 Safe Ways to Make Money Online

Broken down into 5 different categories.

1. Survey Sites 

Survey sites are perfect if you have a little extra time to spare (or you are a great multi-tasker). Basically, you are paid to share your opinion on topics such as common household items, retailers, commercials, etc. Most survey platforms either pay you in pay-pal cash or through gift cards. 

How do survey sites have money to pay their users?  Various product companies hire survey platforms in order to find consumers to take their surveys. Basically, we as the survey takers are earning a small portion of their commission.

swagbucks-share-1550

2. Shopkick   

Finally there is an app that rewards me for what I do best… shopping! What?! Yes, all I have to do is proceed with my normal weekend groceries and shop kick will pay me in “kicks”. These points are later redeemed in gift cards of your choice.

The app itself runs off of Bluetooth. You “check in” once you are in a qualified store and you earn kicks! You continue to earn kicks by scanning and purchasing items. It’s kind of like an adult Easter egg hunt.

Qualifying stores include Walmart, Costco, TJMaxx, American Eagle, and just about every popular grocery store out there.

How does Shopkick have money to pay their users? Different stores and brands pay Shopkick to use their products within their app. In theory, these brands are receiving more customer sales thanks to Shopkick.

  • Try Shopkick Now  –  I earned my first gift card within 3 weeks of using the app

3. Testing Websites

Another quick and easy way to make money online is by testing websites. Depending on the test, you will be paid anywhere between $5-$10 per test. Most of them last around 30+ minutes and you are sometimes prompted to write a bit of feedback on what you tested.

How do these testing websites have money to pay their users? Similar to survey sites, these “Site Testing” platforms are the distributor. Various websites, apps and companies pay the “Site Testing” platform to find testers (you) to ensure quality in their projects.

4. Achievement Fitness App

Achievement is an app that rewards you for getting your health and fitness on! The app gives you points based off of how many steps you take in a day. You can also synch up Achievement with Apple Health, MyfitnessPal and your Fitbit to earn even more points for exercise, food, water intake and daily weigh ins.

Similar Post: How I made over $100 while exercising.

Once you get to 10,000 points you can cash out $10.00. I’ve had the App since early summer and I’ve earned around 6,000 points ($6.00). It definitely takes time, but they can’t just throw money at you now can they?! However, in a few months I will be $10 richer than I would have been without the app! (Hopefully a few pounds lighter as well…)

How does Achievement have money to pay it’s users? In theory, Achievement is paid by other fitness related apps and platforms that users can synch to their Achievement account. For example, I downloaded the MyFitnessPal along with another running App. Those two companies received my business thanks to Achievement.

5. Blogging

Creating a blog is your ticket to a potential 6 figure salary… for reals! It is mind boggling how well some bloggers are doing out there.

I have yet to earn 6 figures on my blog, but I can say it has be a creative outlet and simple way of earning passive income. I achieve this mainly through ads right now, however I hope to grow more sales through affiliate links and maybe one day an ebook. 

How do Bloggers make money through their blog? This can be achieved in many different ways! However, the most common ways are through ads, affiliate links, product/service sales and sponsorship. The easiest way to monetize a new blog is through ads and affiliate links.

If I had to choose 2 ad/affiliate markets to begin with they would be:

So if you have a passion for something or you just have really great ideas, invest in yourself and start a blog! The skies the limit with blogging!

Make Money Blog

There we have it! 10 simple, but most importantly, SAFE ways of making money online. I hope you found this article helpful. I wish I knew about these years ago! They really have been such a blessing to my fiance and me during our wedding planning adventures.

If you know of any other great ways to make passive income online, please let us all know in the comments!

Best wishes to you!



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Quick List – All safe & highly rated.

  1. Survey Junkie –  I’ve made around $110 within a few months.

  2. InboxDollars  <–Sign up via this link and earn a $5.00 starting bonus!

  3. SwagBucks  <–Sign up via this link and earn a $3.00 starting bonus!

  4. Paid Viewpoint  –  I’ve made around $5 during the first few weeks.

  5. Global Test Market 

  6. Shopkick  – I earned my first gift card within 3 weeks of using the app

  7. User Testing 

  8. Enroll  App

  9. Achievement App  –  I’ve made over $10 so far!

  10. Money Making Blog

  How to use (1)



11 “Basic Girl” Products I Stopped Buying

{Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. I may earn commission if any products are purchased.  However, all opinions and advice are 100% my own. In order to stay truly transparent and honest, I only recommend services and products that I use, love and believe will benefit others.}

If there is one thing that my fiancé and I have learned throughout this whole wedding planning process, it would be how to commit to living on a budget. What a perfect introduction into the married life, huh?!

Both of us are teachers, and while we love our jobs and LOVE working with our students, we don’t love the pay. That, and my “champagne taste” doesn’t make frugal wedding planning any easier. So, we needed a game plan.

Luckily, he is a smart and practical high school math teacher (with above average good looks) and I am a creative little music teacher. We put our talents together and came up with a pretty solid plan. Of course, with every budget there will be sacrifice  (sigh…) However, it will all be worth it in the end when I am walking down that aisle to meet my husband! …and eating the wedding cake (I. love. cake.)

From the time we were engaged (December 2016) until our wedding (June 2018) here are the things that I’ve chosen to stop buying. So far, I have saved an extra $621.27!

11 “Basic Girl” Products I stopped Buying

1. Expensive Face Wash

This one was quite obvious to me. Why spend $10+ a month on a product that literally is on my face for maybe 10 seconds before washing it all off? The purpose of cleanser, in my opinion, is to gently remove makeup, dirt, oil and other impurities.

Instead of purchasing my normal $12.00 Origins Cleanser from Sephora (which I did love!), I opted to try an all-natural cleansing oil from Trader Joe’s. Not only is it almost half the price of what I normally pay, but it does a better job at removing makeup without leaving my skin feeling dry and over processed with chemicals. That, and it has 4 FL OZ more than than what I pay $12.00 for!

Trader Joe’s even sells a few other face washes for different skin needs (breakouts, dry skin & oily skin). Why I didn’t I think of this years ago?!

$12.00 Origins Cleanser$6.99 Trader Joe’s Cleansing Oil = $5.01 Saved

$12.00 – $6.99 = $5.01 Saved!

2. Spray Tans & Self Tanner

::audience gasps:: I know, I know… I love a good sun-free tan. However, spray tans only last around a week and they are such a cost commitment! The cheapest place near me is around $20 a session and I usually have to schedule at least 3 times a month from May-August to avoid looking speckled and blotchy. What a waste of money! Good times though…

I tried switching to self-tanners, but even those seemed like another monthly expense if you wanted a GOOD product. I basically said “Screw it! I’m embracing the pale life this summer!” and I never looked back.

While rocking the skin that God gave me, I didn’t have to walk around with that spray tan smell, buy darker foundation and I saved $40-$60 a month! Oddly enough, I received random compliments on how healthy my “porcelain” skin has been looking. Maybe self tanners don’t look healthy?! Maybe I was always blotchy haha? Don’t know exactly what it means, but I’ll take it!

$60.00 for 3 spray tans x 4 months of Summer

$60.00 x 4 = $240.00 Saved!

($40.00 for decent Self Tanner x 4 months of Summer = $160.00 Saved)

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Thanksgiving Table Decorations – Affordable!

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3. Manis & Pedies 

 During the first few months of my engagement I visited the nail salon religiously! I figured everyone will be looking at my ring, so my hands need to be “show and tell” worthy. Ohhh, the money I wasted! I got acrylics for the first time, which were beautiful, but at $50 a set plus $20 fills every few weeks, it was not helping my bride-on-a-budget lifestyle.

By March, I went cold turkey and just filed them down until things were back to normal. To be honest, I missed painting my own natural nails. …oh, and typing like a normal human being.

(As for pedicures, I don’t like having my feet touched, sooo that one wasn’t a problem for me!)

$20.00 fills x 6 months of no visits

$20.00 x 6 = $120.00 Saved since I stopped getting my nails done!

4. High-Lights Every 3 Months 

Blondes may have more fun, but that fun is expensive, y’all! Like $80+ every 3-4 months. Ouch.

My last color job was done a few months back. I told the hair dresser my situation: I am getting married in June 2018, I need to save a ton of money, but I don’t want to sacrifice my hair game. She suggested that I get a bayalage. Although it is around $30 more expensive than your typical full highlight, it is way more low maintenance.

It is now, August 2017 and my naturally dirty blonde hair as grown out quite a bit, but it still blends well with the bayalage. I probably could even go a couple more months, especially since I let my hair go darker for fall/winter anyways!

$80.00 Saved 

You may also like: 10 SAFE Ways to Make Money Online   <–I’ve made $100+ a month

5. Expensive Shampoos & Conditioners

I am no scientist, but I don’t see what miracles can be performed when shampoo is only in your hair for maybe a minute before being washed out. Plus, hair is dead. It’s dead. Our goal is to preserve it’s deadness until it’s so dead, that it’s obviously dead and we need to cut it.


I stopped buying my $14.98 salon shampoo and conditioner ($29.96 for both every two months) and started using a similar lauryl & laureth sulfate free shampoo by Giovanni. I get them at walmart for $14.98 for both the shampoo AND the conditioner. That’s literally half of what I was paying!

$29.96 Salon Brand Shampoo & Conditioner$14.98 Giovanni Shampoo & Conditioner $29.96 – $14.98 = $14.99  Since I buy shampoo/conditioner roughly every 2 months, since January I have purchased 3 sets.

 $14.98 x 3 sets = $44.94 Saved!

6. Anti-Aging Cream 

::audience gasps again:: I’m a sucker for anything that claims to be anti-aging! I’ve always tried to take care of my skin, but I started noticing minuscule changes in the mirror as I head towards my 30s.

Regretfully, I spent tons of money on every anti-aging fad out there and noticed little change. Then lo and be hold I change my diet, water intake and exercise regime last December (sweating for the wedding!), and what do I notice? The fine lines around my eyes are gone!

My face feels more plump and hydrated. I know it was not due to the expensive creams, because I stopped purchasing/using them. Now, I use an anti-oxidant face cream from Trader Joe’s with a few added drops of lavender and frankincense essential oils from Plant Therapy. They are natural anti-aging remedies and they are way cheaper!

$52.00 Origin’s Night Cream $5.99 Trader Joe’s Anti-Oxidant Moisturizer$6.75  PT Lavender EO$11.95 PT Frankincense EO

$52.00 – $5.99 – $6.75 – $11.95 = $27.31 Saved!

7. Makeup! 

I’m not going to lie, this one was difficult. Especially since this has been the year of makeup palettes. Well, every year is the year of makeup palettes (let’s be real!).

I do still buy my normal necessities like foundation, mascara and brow pomade, but I don’t fall for the hype of every new product.

My current eye shadow palette is good enough. The blush I use is perfect. That, and it took forever to find the perfect color for my pale skin with warm undertones (the struggle).  Why spend the money on makeup that I don’t actually need? Why not save money for high quality makeup for my actual wedding? That’s the plan!

The ammount I saved is hard to determine since I usually purchase makeup sporadically, with no rhyme or reason. (Being honest!) However, I came close to purchasing the Sweet Peach Pallet by Too Faced many a time, so let’s just say my inner voice saved me $49.00 thus far.

$49.00 Saved!

8. Expensive Body Wash or Bubble Bath 

Ok, I am a huge sucker for Philosophy Body Wash. Especially “Cinnamon Buns” (OMGoodness!). I will probably still put them on my Christmas List and continue buying them once my wedding funds are in check, but for now the love story must come to a cliff-hanger ending.

Instead, I’ve been using Epsom salts and essential oils for my baths. Unfortunately, my bath doesn’t smell like pink sprinkled animal crackers (you need to smell this bubble bath from Philosophy). However, Epsom salts and essential oils are so relaxing, cost friendly and they, too, smell wonderful.

For body wash, I’ve switched to Trader Joe’s “Next to Godliness” Oatmeal & Honey soap. At around $2 a bar, it is an amazing product! The smell is mild, but the soap itself lathers well and does not dry your skin out. Um, yes please!

$18.00 Philosophy Body Wash$4.87 Epsom Salts$1.69 Trader Joe’s Soap Bar            

$18.00 – $4.87 – $1.69 = $11.44 Saved!

(Essential Oils not included in this calculation since I included the same ones in #6. Here are the two listed:  lavender and frankincense essential oils. They are amazing and affordable!!)

9. Lotions & Candles Galore

It’s that time of year when a certain wonderful body shop lures their habitués into their “pumpkin spiced and everything nice” fall display. Don’t get me wrong, I love me a good autumn leaf smelling candle (do leaves even have a smell?) but I couldn’t find a good enough reason to squeeze it into my budget.

Likewise, as much as I also want to smell like a pumpkin cupcake, this year I am taking the frugal route.

Instead of lotion, I have been using THIS coconut oil. It is quite lovely to be honest! I apply it after showering and that’s it! I never feel the need to keep reapplying as I do with lotion. I could even add essential oils to add a bit of fragrance.

As for candles, I still have an arsenal of fall-scented candles from years past. However, I’ve been super into diffusing essential oils! Not only are they healthier to breathe in, but the oils are cheaper, they last longer and they are multi-purposed! I am loving “Germ Fighter” by Plant Therapy. It smells like cinnamon tea and it is a natural antiseptic! Fall candles who?!

Oil Diffusers can sometimes be hard to find in stores. I got mine off Amazon –> HERE. I love it! I’ve had it a year and it still works great. I love the wood grain appearance!

$12.50 8 FL OZ lotion$5.99 Trader Joe’s 16oz Coconut Oil

$12.50 – $5.99 = $6.51 Saved!

$24.50 Candle $14.95 PT Germ Fighter (autumn scented) Essential Oil

$24.50 – $14.95 = $9.55 Saved!

10. Clothes 

Ok, ok… less clothes. I didn’t completely stop buying clothes, because the thought of that makes my heart sink a bit. Really, it sounds devastating. Instead, I am buying what I need as long as it fits in my “bride-on-a-budget” criteria. Basically, it needs to have these three qualities:

  • This item will replace an older, damaged item that I need, but can’t be worn anymore. i.e: denim.
  • This item will get so much wear AND will allow me to get more wear out of other clothes I own. i.e: cardigan.
  • IT’S ON SALE. No excuses. 

Again, it’s unclear how much I saved since I used to just shop online practically every paycheck. However, now I’ve only purchased 3 blouses for work, a cardigan and a pair of jeans since January.

11. Coffee Shop Beverages 

This one is quite obvious to me, but it’s such a struggle! Coffee is pretty much my adult blankie. It is so comforting and when I need it, stand back, because I NEED IT.

On an average day I only drink 1 cup in the morning, but there are some mornings when drip coffee just doesn’t sound good. Typically, I go to Starbucks and watch my bank account crumble away with every tall almond milk cappuccino I order. So, instead of giving up one of the few things that truly brings me joy, I needed a more frugal option.

I invested in the Ninja Coffee Bar Single Serve System (technically my fiance invested in it since he bought it as an early birthday gift last June). Y’all, this machine is life changing! AND it’s under $100. (most specialty coffee machines are $200 and up!) 

This machine can make all of your favorite cafe beverages in the convenience of your own home, office or classroom. I’ve made almond milk cappuccinos daily and haven’t been back to Starbucks since!

$4.25 SB coffee beverages x 10 quantities a month (at least)

$4.25 x 10 = $42.50 spent a month on Starbucks (at least)

$42.50 x months I’ve had my NinJa Coffee Bar = $127.50.

$127.50 – $99.99 NinJa  = $27.51 Saved! 

In all, I saved around $621.27 just by giving up/replacing products that I don’t really need.

To be honest, it wasn’t hard to do at all! Most of the time it felt like a good challenge that encouraged me to save even more.

Whatever your savings goals may be, I hope this article helped you out! Keep working towards your financial goal! It will all be worth it in the end 🙂

Happy Savings!!

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If You’re looking for a way turn earn EASY passive income, check out how I earned $130.74 at the gym!

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