January – 2017 – Frugal Novice
Monthly Archives

January 2017

Gift Ideas for Men

You typically only see gift idea posts around the holidays, but I got to thinking that this year I want to really make smart gift choices for the loved ones in my life. This means I want to both spend efficiently and find unique gifts that really fit the recipients.

I thought it would be helpful to share five gift ideas for men – this could come in handy for birthdays, for Valentine’s Day, for Father’s Day, and of course for Christmas, too!

  1. Fishing Gear – I will fully admit that this is not the first gift I would think of, because I really have no experience with fishing. Brian’s stepdad, though, loves to fish, and he can spend hours looking through gear. You can do a really great themed gift with a tackle box, bait, and other must-haves for fishermen. You can find great deals at Cabelas, for instance, at sites like Retale.
  2. Movie Tickets – I’ve thought about buying my husband a pack of gift cards for the movies before. There are plenty of movies that come out that I just have no interest in seeing (I’ll be honest, 90% of those are sci-fi films), and he has no problem going on his own to see them, or meeting up with a friend. You can create a fun basket with tickets/gift cards, candy, and more.
  3. A subscription to a(n) “_______” of the month club – there are a ton of these out there for virtually every interest and hobby you can think of – or even help him be more stylish with some new duds. Did you know that Stitch Fix now has a men’s option? This is a fun idea because then it’s a gift that keeps on giving throughout the year.
  4. A “favorite things” day – Think about what the recipient’s favorite things are. What’s his favorite restaurant? What’s his favorite hobby? Make certificates or an itinerary for the day and do all his favorite things with him. This is a double win because you get quality time together and he gets to do what he loves.
  5. Something from his childhood – this requires a little bit of research, but it can be a really great thing! I knew Brian had really wanted a specific toy from Star Trek when he was a child, so I hunted it down on eBay and surprised him with it for Christmas a couple of years ago. He loved it. And I know first-hand how awesome it is to receive a gift you’ve always wanted, because when we were dating Brian got me an Easy Bake Oven that I’d always wanted. Any gift that you put a lot of thought into will be extra-special.

I hope these ideas help you in your hunt for the perfect gift!

Easy Way to Save Money: Groupon Coupons!

This is a sponsored post. All opinions are mine.

I do a lot of online shopping. With three kids, it’s definitely the most efficient shopping method – but shopping online also expands what’s available to me, since we live in a city with limited options.

Another reason I love shopping online is that it’s so easy to save money. SO easy, y’all. There are tons of coupons available online and I don’t even have to spend the time looking through newspapers and clipping things out.

Groupon Coupons makes it amazingly easy to find coupons for all sorts of products and services, like internet & TV from AT&T. I saw one coupon for 35% off DIRECTV, and another for up to $300 in reward cards. I love coupons like this, because they can add up to major savings.

I love to shop for kids’ clothes online, too, and Groupon Coupons has all sorts of coupons available for some of my favorite kids’ stores:

GrouponCoupons-Stores

Kohl’s, JCPenney, Carter’s, and Hanna Andersson coupons – all just a click away. As you can see above, some of the coupons are available for use in-store, too. You can search for coupons just at stores near you – there are lots of ways to filter the results so you find coupons that are a perfect fit for you.

If you’re online shopping (or in-store shopping!), shop smart with Groupon Coupons and make the most of your money!

When Sick Gets Real, Pfizer Products Provide Real Relief

This post has been sponsored by Pfizer Consumer Healthcare. All thoughts and reviews are my own.

There is nothing worse than seeing your child sick. It’s just awful, and as parents of course we would do anything to help them feel better. When sick gets real, parents get proactive.

We have three kids, all of whom go to school and around other kids. This means, of course, that an immeasurable number of germs come into our home each and every day. And when one of our kids gets sick, we’re immediately on guard trying to prevent the other two from coming down with whatever bug we’re dealing with.

Right now strep is making its way around like crazy. So far we’ve managed to avoid it (knock on wood!) but we’ve definitely dealt it in the past. One time our middle son had strep but we really had no clue at first – he didn’t complain at all of a sore throat, but he had a fever and his head was hurting really badly. Thankfully we had children’s Advil to help alleviate the pain while we waited to hear back from the doctor’s office! Children’s Advil is a great solution for kids as young as 2, and up to 11 – so it’s perfect for us to have on hand for all three of our kids. It comes in several flavors, including  Sugar-free Dye-free Berry, Bubble Gum, Grape, Blue Raspberry, Fruit and Dye-Free White Grape. I personally love the color-free options, because my kids almost always drip a little medicine down the front of their shirts!  (Just FYI, moms of infants – there’s also Infants’ Advil White Grape, which provides fever relief with a syringe for easy dosing. This works great for children 6-23 months.

Of course, with it being winter, colds are also running rampant. We’re really thankful for medicines like Children’s Dimetapp and Children’s Robitussin to help relieve our kids’ miserable cold symptoms when they hit! Children’s Robitussin Extended-Release 12 Hour Cough Relief controls and relieves symptoms all day or all night. It’s available in grape or orange flavor, and works well for children ages 4 and up. (Please note, certain Children’s Robitussin products are only suitable for children ages 6 and up so I am always sure to read the box for instructions). Another great option is Children’s Dimetapp Multi-Symptom Cold Relief Dye-Free, which eases your child’s stuffy and runny nose and quiets a bothersome cough. The Children’s Dimetapp comes in a great-tasting grape flavor that’s dye-free, for children ages 6 and up.

*Note, bolded because this is important: Remember to always read and keep the cartons for complete warnings and dosing information on Pfizer Pediatric products and to use as directed.

Find out more information on the Sick Just Got Real site and Facebook page.

 

DIY Detailing Gives You the Feel of a New Car!

love having my car detailed; it gives me the feeling that I’m driving a brand-new vehicle, which is always fun! There’s just something nice about having a pristine-feeling car. No matter what your circumstance, detailing your vehicle is a way to pamper yourself – and your car. If you’re not willing, or able, to shell out the money for someone else to detail your car, don’t worry! Here are some steps to do it yourself and save money.

1.     Buff your paint. A good car wash goes a long way, but use an oscillating buffer with some polish to really make your car gleam. Follow up by waxing your car and you’ll get a great shine to your car’s exterior that will definitely make it feel new!

2.     Use an air compressor. There are lots of nooks and crannies you just can’t reach with a vacuum, so an air compressor can really make a difference in the depth of cleaning you’re able to achieve. Borrow one, rent one, or invest in one – regardless of how you acquire one, you’ll be glad you did. An air compressor loosens dirt from the carpet and seats, making it easier for you to clean.

3.      Remove all mats from your vehicle before vacuuming. Vacuum the interior well (after using the air compressor, of course) and take care of the mats while they’re outside of the car. While the mats are out, go ahead and wash them with a steam cleaner to get them looking great before you put them back in your vehicle.

4.     Use glass cleaner inside and out. You might not really think about cleaning the insides of your windows, but that’s where all the fingerprints are (or, if you’re like us, nose prints from your dogs that ride in the vehicle). Get your windows sparkling by using glass cleaner (a spray or wipes) on the interior and exterior of your windows.

5.     Wipe down all hard surfaces with a cleaner. You’ll remove any grime or dust settled on the car, and then you can finish off the job with something like Armor All to give a little added shine. Wipe your dashboard, of course, but also think about wiping off other hard surface areas you might not typically consider like around the doors where people put their hands, or on area where you clip your seatbelt in.

Keeping Cool During Cold Season

This post has been sponsored by Pfizer Consumer Healthcare.

We are in the midst of winter, and I think we all know what that brings. Yes, beautiful snowy vistas (if you don’t live in Texas, that is), but also: cold and flu season.

The symptoms of a cold can range from uncomfortable to pretty debilitating! If you’ve ever tried working through a cold you know how hard it can be to concentrate due to the pain. And of course the flu is even worse, with aches and pain all over.

When your cold and flu symptoms become too much to handle, Advil Cold & Sinus is the number one pharmacist-recommended brand. It combines Advil, of course, which is the number one selling pain reliever, with a powerful nasal decongestant. It provides fast, powerful relief when you need it most. Just ask for it at the pharmacy counter!

You might just be able to stock up on Advil Cold & Sinus, chicken noodle soup and anything else you’ll need to make it through cold season – Pfizer is graciously providing a $25 VISA gift card for me to give away! Just enter via Rafflecopter below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

Be Prepared in 2017 – Make an Emergency Kit for Your Vehicle!

The start of a new year is a perfect time to get organized. When it comes to being on the road, it can be crucial that you have a proper emergency kit stashed away in the trunk of your car – you definitely want to be prepared! It’s really simple to put together a kit of materials you might need in various situations, and you’ll sure be glad you did! You can buy pre-assembled kits, but if you make your own you can save money and end up with a kit that’s custom for your needs. Here are five things to include in a vehicle emergency kit:

1Fire extinguisher. This might not be something you think of automatically to have in your car, but think about how many times you’ve seen vehicles on fire on the side of the road. It’s good to be prepared! Make sure you get one rated for Class B (those that involve flammable/combustible liquids, like gasoline, diesel fuel and kerosene) or C (those involving electrical equipment like switches and batteries) fires.

2First-aid kit. You probably have one of these in your home (and if you don’t, add that to your shopping list, too!) and it’s just as important to have one in your car. This can be one of those things we knowwe need, but we never get around to purchasing. Neosporin, band-aids, antiseptic wipes, gauze, adhesive tape, and aspirin are all great things to include. Your family might have specific medical needs that you want to consider, too. We have been really glad to have band-aids in the car on several occasions!

3Jumper cables. We have these, and just recently were able to help a friend whose battery had died. If our car dies, it’ll make it a lot easier for us to get help by already having jumper cables. They’re inexpensive and compact, so it makes sense to have these on hand.

4Blankets. While it’s still cold these can be especially important to have. In winter, if you get stranded you’ll be thankful for the warmth. In the summer, if you get caught in a hail storm a blanket might be your only line of defense between you and the hail. If you have to fix a flat tire and are surrounded by rough terrain, you could lay the blanket down underneath you while you work.

5Foam tire sealant.  This is an inexpensive, temporary solution when you get a flat tire, and I think everyone should own a can. It could mean the difference in you being stranded in the middle of nowhere or making it to the nearest town for help!

While you’re assembling your kit, try and think of any other items you might need – and feel good about getting prepared for 2017 travel!

Don’t Forget to Make New Year’s Resolutions for your Vehicle!

It’s hard to believe that 2017 is already here! If you’re like me, you’ve probably made resolutions to get healthier this year. Add your vehicle’s health to your resolution list while you’re at it! Maintaining your vehicle will make you – and your wallet – happier when you look back on the year.

1.     Schedule regular tune-ups for your vehicle. Make sure your filters aren’t too dirty, that your fluid levels are where they need to be, and that everything is running smoothly. Our auto place even offers free check-ups in between oil changes, because they recognize that it’s a great way to keep your car in tip-top shape.

2.     Keep up with oil changes for your vehicle when needed. If you think you’re saving money by stretching out the time between oil changes, you’re not doing yourself any favors. It can actually end up costing you more in the long run because it can end up causing damage to your vehicle. Skipping an oil change leads to a less-efficient car with more potential for problems. Keep all your fluids topped off – most oil change places will tell you if your other fluid levels are too low.

3.     Declutter your car every day. I have three kids, so clutter is king in our car. I have to make a conscious effort to clean up as we exit the car each day or the clutter piles up before I know it! It’s easy to think that you’ll throw that coffee cup away tomorrow, but I promise that if you get into the habit it’s just as easy to go ahead and throw it away today. It only takes a minute to work on it a little each day, and then you don’t end up with a monumental task. If you have children like I do, make them clean up their trash – and bring in toys – every day, too. You’ll all feel better traveling in a clean car, and then you won’t be embarrassed to give someone a ride.

4.     Listen and look for things that are out of the ordinary for your vehicle. You’re with your car day in and day out, so you are familiar with what sounds and behaviors are normal. If you notice a weird clanking, buzzing, or humming, it’s worth getting it looked at. Right now it might be a minor problem, but if you put off taking care of the issue now it can turn into something big – and expensive.

5.     Maintain your tires and have them rotated regularly. Tire blowouts are not fun, but they can happen easily if your tires are worn or if you have nail in the tire that you’re not aware of. Keep an eye out for the condition of your tires, and look for things that might be stuck in them. Check your air pressure, too. Most cars now have a warning if your air pressure gets too low, but a simple tire gauge is a great tool to have around. Rotate the tires so they wear evenly.

Make the resolution to take great care of your car for the coming year with these five simple steps!