The Savvy Life
Gift for Dante's Teacher PDF Print E-mail

By Melissa Tosetti

Despite my best efforts, there was one person I neglected to add to my holiday list - Dante's teacher, Ms. C.  It dawned on me late last night as we talked about Friday being the last day of school before winter break. 

After doing a little research on Pinterest I found an article titled Top Ten Teacher Christmas Gifts, which was written by Beth, who's a teacher.  Her advice on what not to give was as priceless as what to give, i.e. coffee mugs.  Every teacher has a cupboard full of them.

One of the suggestions she did have was fun smelling hand soap.  I happened to be heading to Whole Foods this morning in a desperate search for molasses since my Safeway was sold out when I bought groceries yesterday.  While there, I found a beautiful bar of Lavender Soap from Bonny Doon Farm in Santa Cruz. 

I think Ms. C will love it!  I have it sitting on my desk to remind myself to wrap it and I have to tell you, my office smells amazing!  I'm tempted to buy a bar just to keep on my desk!

By the way, I have to give Whole Foods credit.  Not only did they have plenty of molasses in stock, but the price was $2 cheaper than Safeway.  Now Dante and I will be able to make Gingerbread Ninja's for tomorrow night's fundraising event at his school.

$7.99 at Whole Foods
Schedule It! PDF Print E-mail
By Melissa Tosetti
Christmas is nine days away and Hanukkah begins tomorrow!  It's likely you still have dozens of errands and tasks to do before the holidays officially arrive. 

Instead of trying to haphazardly squeeze your to-dos into your day - schedule them. Literally, write them into your calendar to ensure you give yourself the time you need to get the tasks done.  

One of the things I used to always get caught by is wrapping gifts.  Every Christmas Eve I'd scramble to get it done right before walking out the door to go to Paul's dad's for dinner.  A task that should be fun became a stressful chore.  After learning a time management tip from a friend - to block out travel time on your calendar for out of the office events such as lunch meetings, it dawned on me that I could apply the same technique for tasks such as wrapping gifts, holiday shopping and more. That simple habit has made all the difference in the world allowing me to enjoy the holidays so much more!   

For more ideas on how to thrive during the holidays, download a copy of Thriving During the Holidays.  The eBook is filled with easy-to-implement, time and money saving ideas to help you turn the holidays from something you survive, to a time to thrive. There’s no reason why kids should have all the fun during this time of year! The goal of the Thriving During the Holidays eBook is to help you turn the holidays into something you enjoy just as much as the children around you. 
Thriving During the Holidays shows you how to: 
  • Create a holiday budget.
  • Save your sanity and your cash when shopping.
  • Strategies for making holiday travel as smooth as possible.
You will also learn how to:
  • Plan your meals to save time and money.
  • Stay in control of your schedule.
  • Donate more than just cash to charity.
Find out how to save money on:
  • Holiday Cards
  • Gift Wrap
  • Decorations
We also share our favorite:
  • Holiday Websites
  • Shopping Spots
  • After Holiday Sales Strategies
There's also an entire chapter dedicated to tips on how to relax and enjoy the holiday season so much more. 
Thriving During the Holidays is available at the affordable price of just $4.95. To purchase and immediately download your copy, click here: 
Smart Winter Skin Care PDF Print E-mail

As great as it feels to go in from the cold, heaters can cause skin to get dry and flaky.  It's tempting to head to the drug store or beauty counter and drop money on anything that claims it will help.  Before doing that,check out this article from the experts at WebMD: 10 Winter Skin Care Tips

In additon to offering advice that includes items you likely already have at home, it also includes one of our favorite tips for skin care - see a specialist!  A dermatologist can save you hundreds of dollars by suggesting products they know will work for your skin - rather than a potentially very expensive trial and error method.

Save Money, Time & Calories PDF Print E-mail

Slow cookers were made for cold, busy December days. Endless to-do lists and crazy holiday traffic turn the idea of making dinner when you get home into a Herculean effort!  No wonder we tend to go out to eat more the last month of the year.  But going out to eat takes time and effort as well.  It also takes money that you'd probably rather spend on something more important than grabbing lunch or dinner on the go.

If you don't already have one, pick up a slow cooker the next time you're at Macy's or Target - or order one online.  This 6 quart slow cooker by Crock-Pot is programmable.  Place your ingredients into the slow cooker in the morning before work and set the timer.  Walk in the door after work and be greeted by the smell of dinner which is ready to go. 

As for recipes, our go-to website for slow cooker meal ideas is A Year of Slow Cooking

Save time, money and calories this December by getting that slow cooker to work for you. Every kitchen should have one! 



How to Pay for Holiday Shopping PDF Print E-mail

By Melissa Tosetti

I'm a big fan of the Holiday Savings Account - a separate savings account that you contribute to throughout the year. When the holidays roll around, the money is ready. Spending money you’ve saved specifically for the holidays vs. racking up credit card debt makes all the difference in the world when it comes to merry gift giving!  
For years I’ve used Capital One 360 (formerly ING Direct) for my Holiday Savings Account. I also have a free checking account through Capital One 360. When the holidays come around I simply move my holiday savings money over to my checking account and then use the debit card tied to that account for all of my shopping. What I love about this process is that it keeps my holiday spending separate from my day-to-day money. 
This year I made more purchases online than ever before. I’m not comfortable using my debit card for online purchases so I decided to use my credit card.  However, the Holiday Savings Account still comes into play. When I’m done with my holiday purchases, I’ll pay off my credit card with the money from my Holiday Savings Account. 
For more ideas on how to pay for your online purchases, check out Gregory Karp’s article: Personal Finance: Best Ways To Pay For Online Shopping. Gregory is one of my favorite personal finance experts and I have great respect for his advice.  

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