It’s National Mom and Pop Business Owners Day

Did you know today, March 29th is National Mom and Pop Business Owner Day? Small businesses play a vital role in the United States economy. Today is set aside to recognize their significance.

Owning a small business requires hard work and dedication. If you are searching for ways to help promote a local restaurant, hair salon, mechanic, contractor, or specialty shop on Mom and Pop Business Owner Day, consider the following ideas.

Photo by Artem Beliaikin on Pexels.com
  1. Know Your Community: Check out new local shops or revisit long-standing independent businesses. Join community groups on social media to learn about new or other small businesses in your neighborhood.
  2. Write a Review: After visiting a local establishment, write a review of your experience. If you made a purchase, describe your product or service. If you did not buy anything, you still can leave a review. Describe the business. How did the employees greet you? Will you return? Provide honest feedback.
  3. Follow On Social Media Platforms: Many stores use social media to promote new items or services being offered. If a local business has a social media presence, follow the page and share posts. Even if you did not find anything for yourself, share posts with your followers or friends.
  4. Subscribe to Newsletters: Small business owners share vital information about sales or upcoming events through weekly or monthly newsletters. Subscribing to a newsletter keeps you informed.
  5. Show Gratitude: A “thank you” to employees or the owner is a great way to show appreciation. Consider buying gift cards or certificates to give away to loved ones. If you are visiting a local restaurant or hair salon, tip well to show your gratitude.

What is the best way to support National Mom and Pop Business Owners Day? Visit one.

Christmas Preparations in October

Is the cooler October weather making you think about the upcoming holiday season? Are you on a tight budget this year? Or do you just want to start preparing for Christmas early? Starting Christmas preparations in October is an excellent way to get the most out of the holiday season.

Think Lists (and More Lists)

Whether you use your computer or a spiral notebook, lists are essential to staying organized during the holiday season.

  • Christmas Gift List: Who do you plan on buying gifts for this Christmas? A gift-giving list is a perfect place to start. Don’t worry if you forget someone. You can add to your list as the holiday season draws closer.
  • Size List: If you plan to purchase sweaters, pajamas, or other clothing items, start a size list. Keeping everyone sizes on one list is ideal for shopping, especially if you come across deals.
  • Gift Ideas: Do you already know what your family wants for Christmas? Make a gift-giving idea list for each person. Many stores have clearance items or other cost-saving deals right now. Maybe you will be able to check off a couple of things early.
  • Christmas Cards List: Due to social distancing and other guidelines, many family reunions, birthday parties, graduations, weddings, and other social gatherings were put on hold for a later date. Sending your family and friends Christmas cards lets them know you care. If your crafty, make handmade Christmas cards to send to your loved ones.
  • Food Menu: Make a list of recipes, Christmas Eve, and Christmas Day menus. Write out the groceries needed to make everything on your list. The task provides an idea of the cost.

Budget

Use your lists to set a budget for the holiday season. If you get a weekly or bi-weekly paycheck, consider putting a portion of the money aside for Christmas preparations. Check weekly store ads for deals. Shop the clearance section. When possible, buy early.

Start Your Christmas Buying Now

Obviously, buying food at this time is not advisable. But, picking up other items, including gifts, is a great way to prepare for Christmas.

  • Stocking Stuffers: Small items are an easy add-on to your grocery list. For example, right now, many school-related things are on sale. Colored pens, pencils, watercolors, crayons, small notebooks, USBs, earbuds, markers, and other school items are great stocking stuffers.
  • Gifts: Toys, DVDs, clothes, and books are easy early buying gifts. Now bigger items such as electronics, televisions, or computers are often on sale during the holiday season. Waiting to purchase big-ticket items may be beneficial to your budget.
  • Stamps: Depending on the amount of Christmas cards you plan to send out, consider purchasing a book of stamps each week. The price of stamps adds up quickly. Spreading the cost over time is ideal.

Starting Christmas preparations in October can ease the stress of the holiday season.

How to Make a Christmas Organization Notebook

Staying organized during the holiday season is essential. Making a Christmas organization notebook is one of the best ways to keep all your information in one place. Fill the pages with Christmas card lists, recipes, gift ideas, grocery lists, receipts, and much more.

I begin the Christmas Organization Notebook by decorating. When I write out my lists or tape return addresses inside to use later, I want a festive and fun covering. Make the notebook part of your holiday crafts.

Making a Christmas Organization Notebook

Each Christmas Organization Notebook is a personal process. Decorate or leave plain, the choice is up to you. The idea of the notebook is convenience. When you are sipping your morning coffee, you can glance through the notebook to add or cross off items. I leave mine on the end table. When I am relaxing in the evening, I write down what I would like to accomplish the following day. Or add to lists that I need to finish before Christmas gatherings.

Materials I Used:

  • Christmas Cloth (I buy the pre-cut pieces at Wal-Mart. At $1.47, the price is right for simple crafts.)
  • Composition Notebook (I love these notebooks. They are inexpensive with a sturdy cover.)
  • Construction Paper
  • An Envelope ( I actually used an old one)
  • Scissors
  • Marker
  • Embleshiment
  • Hot-Glue Gun

The basic materials for your Christmas Organization Notebook

Measure and cut the cloth to fit around the notebook. Leave room to fold the fabric over to glue down.

Cut the fabric piece to fit around your notebook

Before gluing the fabric down on the inside, cover the inside with construction paper. This step is optional. I like using the green and red construction paper to add to the Christmas theme.

Construction paper covers up the inside information.

Next, begin gluing. Before careful, the contents are hot. There is a reason for the name hot glue gun. When folding the fabric over to glue, you will need to cut the middle to allow the cloth to lay flat.

Next, glue the envelope in the back. I like having one place for all my shopping receipts. Placing them in the envelope, allows me to keep track of spending. I have the receipts on hand in case I need to return anything.

An envelope for the receipts.

Finally, add your embellishments. Since my fabric had snowflakes, I added a large snowflake to front of my Christmas Organization Notebook. I wrote in the year. I keep my notebooks as resources for the following year.

 

I record my purchases in the notebook. I can look back to see what I bought each person on my list. This way I know I do not purchase similar items the following year.

Black Friday Strategies

Black Friday is one of the most competitive selling days for retailers. What does that mean for you, the frugal shopper? A chance to save money on your holiday gift list. Black Friday brings extended shopping hours, early-bird specials, doorbuster, and online sales. Unlimited opportunities are perfect for all of your shopping needs. 

Black Friday Strategies to Get the Most for Your Money

The massive shopping event brings large crowds, long lines, and significant savings. Being prepared is the best way to get the most for your money during Black Friday specials. Consider the following strategies to get the most out of your Black Friday shopping experience. 

Start Early

After you gather your loved ones’ holiday wish lists, begin researching. Learn everyday prices, especially big-ticket items. Electronics, appliances, gaming systems, cameras, and computers often have the best savings opportunities. By knowing the regular price, you can determine which store offers the best deal on Black Friday.

Ads and Apps

Your best resources for saving money on Black Friday are store ads and apps. 

  •  Ads: Use the ads for comparison shopping among different retailers. Most ads will be online before Black Friday. If you cannot find online ads, check your local newspaper for inserts. Remember to take your ads with you when you shop. Many retailers offer a price match guarantee. 
  • Apps: Use downloadable apps to find additional savings. For example,  Slick Deals features coupons, discount codes, coupons, and other ways to save. Using an app on Black Friday allows you to stretch your money further. 

 Favorite Retailers

Do you have a favorite store? Or are you planning to shop at specific retailers on Black Friday? Use their social media and email features to get updates, discount codes, and other chances for further savings. 

  • Bookmark: Use the bookmark feature on your phone or computer to save each of your favorite retailers. By bookmarking each retailer’s website, you can quickly locate the site to view and compare pricing. 
  • Get Social: Take advantage of your social media accounts. Find and follow your favorite retailers on your social network. Numerous retail stores will offer exclusive savings for followers. 
  • Email: Most retailer websites provide you with the option of signing up for email updates. Signing up for emails may result in additional savings. Numerous retailers offer other or special discounts through daily, weekly, or special email updates. 

Use the Buddy System

Do you remember the buddy system in grade school? Use the same idea for Black Friday shopping. 

  • Long Lines: When purchasing big-ticket items, retail stores use lines to keep the crowded areas flowing smooth. If you want more than one deal, ask a friend to stand in another line for you. 
  • Cart Watcher: Moving a cart around a crowded retail store is difficult. When you go shopping with a buddy, one person can watch the cart while another finds the desired item. 
  • Safety: Shopping with a buddy is safer. Even with the extra security, being with another person, enables you to keep a closer watch on your surroundings. 

 Use Black Friday to find the great deals for all your holiday wish list items. Remember to wear comfortable shoes, standing in line is always part of the experience.

 

Personal Review: September’s Geek Gear Wizardry Box

I am enjoying the monthly subscription to the Geek Gear Wizardry box. I thought I would share September’s contents with all of you. As many of you know, I am a geek. Getting a box filled with items from the Wizarding World is exciting.

September’s Contents

The box generally contains around 7 or 8 items. I was impressed with this month’s box. In every box, I receive a wearable, This month’s t-shirt was an exclusive creatures t-shirt. I admit I was grinning from ear to ear when I pulled the shirt out of the box. Even though I am not a fan of yellow, I really love this shirt.

Along with the shirt, my next favorite item in the box was Unicorn Blood Glass Bottle. From the packaging to the glow in the dark contents, the bottle was a perfect addition to my collection.

Unicorn Blood

The contents glow in the dark.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The jewelry is always a welcomed addition.

I love the simplicity of the bracelet.

The design on the envelope is amazing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I admit my wall space is getting limited with all these new prints and posters. The decree posters are one of my favorites, I am slowly adding these to my bedroom. Many of the other prints hang in my room as well.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The September box also contained an Exclusive Magical Totebag.

 

And tea.

Teas are always a favorite for me. I love sipping hot tea on a cold, Michigan day.

 

Addressing the Box’s Lateness

I had a comment on one of my social media posts that the Geek Gear Wizardry box was lateLoo last month. Please take into account, the boxes come from the U.K. They must pass through customs before arriving at my house. So when I post about the box two weeks into the next month, I do not consider the arrival late. What can I say, I know the owls have a long way to go to get to my home.

Looking Forward

I just saw a teaser post for October’s box. The theme is Goblet of Fire and the teaser…dragons. I cannot wait.

Do you have a favorite subscription box? Please let me know.

 

Planning Ahead: Tips for Black Friday Shopping

Are you already thinking about the 2019 Christmas season? You are not alone. Frugal shoppers are already looking forward to finding deals for the upcoming holiday season. Whether you shop at the store or online, one of the best days to save is Black Friday. 

Tips for a Successful Black Friday

Black Friday is a fun and exciting way to save money for the Christmas season. For many individuals, planning for the day is the start of holiday shopping. 

Plan Ahead

Preplanning is one of the best ways to get the most out of your Black Friday experience. 

  • Make Lists: Before Black Friday, make lists of desired items. Keep the lists on your phone or use a small notebook. Using a list keeps your focus on the wanted items to prevent overspending. 
  • Comparison Shop: Get the store ads ahead of time. Compare your wanted items with the store ads. 
  • Strategize: Use the ads as a way to strategize your shopping to get everything on your list. Take advantage of store apps to help guide you through shopping on Black Friday. 
  • Divide and Conquer: Strategize with friends. If you want items at more than one store, ask friends who are shopping to help. Offer to get their desired items at one location if they get yours at another one. The divide and conquer method is the best chance to get all of the Black Friday shopping lists wants. 

 Be Safe

Safety is essential on Black Friday. Large crowds mean lots of people in enclosed areas. Unfortunately, not everyone follows the rules. Being safe requires extra precautionary measures. 

  •  Use the Buddy System: Remeber when you were little, the teacher or parent stressed using the buddy system for safety. Rules have not changed for Black Friday. Get a friend or relative to shop with you. 
  • Watch Your Purse or Wallet: Be aware of the people around you at all times. Carry your purse inside of your coat or zip your wallet into your coat’s interior. If you place your purse in the cart, slip the child’s safety belts through the handles to lock in place. 
  • Mind Your Money: Keep your money or credit card in your purse until you are at the counter. 
  • Save All Receipts: Regardless of the size of purchase, save the receipt. Along with proof of purchase, a receipt can be used to exchange items, monitor your spending, and check credit card activity. 
  • Check Your Surroundings: Park your vehicle in a well-lit area. Keep your car locked at all times. Be aware of anyone who is around you. Generally, stores add extra security, and police officers are around during Black Friday sales. 

Have Fun 

Yes, Black Friday is about finding the best deals. But you can have fun while you shop. 

  • Use Your Voice: Sing to the Christmas carols playing on the loudspeaker. Singing along to Christmas favorites is a great way to spread holiday cheer.
  • Talk: Engage in friendly conversation with others while standing in line. 
  • Eat: Go out to lunch or dinner. Remember to stay hydrated, shopping can be exhausting. Stopping for a simple meal is a must on any shopping excursion. Use the stop to analyze your list and figure out your next move. Anyways, a rich chocolatey dessert can be part of your Black Friday shopping tradition. 

Participating in Black Friday is a great way to kick off your holiday shopping. Grab a friend and make the day memorable.

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