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Link Love – 10/31/14

Happy Halloween

Happy Halloween!

I took my kids trick or treating last night and it was freeeezing! It always seems to work out like that. Do you have any big plans for the weekend?

The girls and I are going to see Disney on Ice Sunday and I can’t tell you how excited I am. I know this will be a memory they don’t forget :)

As usual here are some of my favorite posts from around the blogosphere:

Have a safe weekend!!

Photo Credit: Tina Phillips

7 Frugal Halloween Activities

Frugal Halloween ActivitiesI don’t know if I can say that Halloween is my favorite holiday, but I can definitely tell you that I’m a horror movie junkie.

I don’t watch TV a lot but if I do you can pretty much count on the fact that it will be a scary movie. (BTW, the best horror movie I’ve seen so far this year is “We Are What We Are.” Have you seen it yet?)

In honor of Halloween I decided to do a roundup of seven frugal Halloween activities you can partake in this weekend.

# 1 – Host a Scary Movie Marathon

You knew this was going to be number one my list, right?

But seriously, go rent some DVDs or check out Netflix or Amazon Instant Video and find 2-3 movies you can watch with your spouse or a friend. Grab some popcorn and pizza and make it a night.

# 2 – Go to a Haunted House

The only haunted house in my area costs $10 for admission. It’s appropriate for kids ages 12 and up and adults.

It’s been awhile since I’ve visited a haunted house but I always have a good time when I go.

# 3 – Make Halloween Cookies

My kids and I have already made two big batches of Halloween sugar cookies this year and they loved it both times. If you have young kids this can be a perfect solution!

Bake some cookies, get some colored icing (or make your own), and decorate!

# 4 – Carve Some Pumpkins

It’s not too late to carve some spooky pumpkins. And you can use these as props for the next activity.

# 5 – Tell Ghost Stories

If you have kids telling (age appropriate) scary stories can be fun. (Just make sure you keep it lighthearted with little kids or else they’ll be sleeping with Mommy and Daddy!)

Pile up some pillows and blankets on the floor, shut off all the lights and let your jack o lanterns illuminate the room. Then take turns going around in circles sharing your stories.

If you don’t have kids you can make this interesting by visiting a spooky looking place (like an abandoned house) and coming up with a story to tell your spouse J

# 6 – Read Some Halloween Books

My kids love reading Halloween books. Our two personal favorites are “Creepy Carrots” and “The Night Before Halloween.” We also came up with crafts to go with each of these books, which just helps to prolong the fun.

# 7 – Go on a Haunted Hayride

Locate a haunted hay ride near you and check in to see just how scary the ride is. If it’s better suited for adults make sure to get a sitter for your children.

If it’s G rated, this could be a memory your kids never forget.

Now I’m turning it over to you. What are your plans for the weekend?

College Acceptance Letters Explained

Some people know exactly what college they want to go to, but for others the decision may be more difficult. There are many factors that determine which school is the best choice for each individual. These include financial aid provision, areas of study offered, geographical location, campus life, to name just a few. If you have applied to a number of schools, their responses should help narrow down your options. If you have received several acceptance letters, congratulations. Understanding the layers of information contained in these letters may seem daunting at first. Colleges and Universities organize their acceptance letters in different ways, but they should all have much of the same information inside. We break down the stuff you should be able to learn in every acceptance letter, in the infographic below from Citizens Bank.

Financial Aid Award Letter Sample

Consider private student loans from Citizens Bank

5 Ways to Combat Consumerism in Your House

5 Ways to Combat Consumerism in Your HouseI was on an organizing kick this weekend. It started with my car Friday and by Sunday I had went through everything in the house.

It felt good to get rid of so much junk, but it was also a bit embarrassing.

The problem area in my house is toys. Sometimes it feels like the sheer amount of toys my two girls have prevent the house from ever being truly organized and clean. This weekend we decided to change that.

The girls and I went through every single toy in our home. We kept some, bagged some up for a yard sale, and threw away A LOT. In fact, by the time we were done we had six trash bags full of junk toys. Yes, six!!

And now that we have their toys down to the essential few I want to keep it that way. In the process I also want to retrain our brains to be less consumeristic. (Because let’s face it – living a simpler lifestyle is so much more freeing!)

Here are the five things we’ll be doing in an effort to combat consumerism.

Declutter Your Home Regularly

When my house is nice, neat, and organized I don’t want to mess it up. Having a decluttered house helps me think so much more clearly and eliminates unnecessary stress. And for the girls, having only the toys they truly love means that those toys actually get played with. (When they have too many toys nothing gets played with!)

By keeping our home decluttered we’re able to go for quality instead of feeling the need to buy every junk item advertised to us.

Practice Gratitude

In an effort to have a happier life I’ve been practicing gratitude for a while now.

Every night before I go to bed I start counting my blessings. And nothing that I’m truly grateful for is a material item. Practicing gratitude is a great way to keep yourself aware of life’s big picture and not feel the need to “keep up with the joneses.”

Block Advertisements

I don’t watch a lot of TV but when I do it’s on the DVR or on Amazon Prime so I can completely skip the commercials. (I need to figure out how to block ads on YouTube. Is this possible?)

When my kids are watching TV with commercials I hear “Come here mommy, I want this!” or “Can I have that for Christmas?” on literally every single commercial break.

Kids are so susceptible to advertising and I feel like it’s my duty to protect them.

Shop Only With a List

Another thing that helps me a great deal is to shop from a list.

For instance when I go to the grocery store without a list I’ll often come home with all kinds of things I never intended on buying. But when I shop with a list I only grab the things I truly need.

Combat Impulse Purchases with a 30 Day Wait Period

I’m not perfect – there are often times when I can’t help but want things that I don’t really need and aren’t practical for my life. Instead of sleeping on these purchases for a night or two I’m going to start putting them on a thirty day wait period.

If I still want the item after thirty days then I can give myself permission to buy it. My guess is that after only a few days I’ll lose interest.

Consumerism is a real problem in America. It’s why people go into debt, go broke, or go bankrupt. However, it’s also something that can be overcome if you’re willing to work toward it.

And I’m definitely willing to give it a shot!

How do you combat consumerism?

Link Love 10/24/14

Good morning. Hope you had a good week!

In case you’re in need of some weekend reading here are some of my favorite posts from around the blogosphere this week.

Enjoy!

Have a good weekend!!