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Ways to Save Money with Low Waste Living

Ways to Save Money with Low Waste Living

Not only are there major health and environmental benefits to living a more low-waste lifestyle, but there are monetary benefits to take advantage of as well.

Taking care of our planet is important for many reasons. For example, air pollution has been linked to increases in cases of asthma. Even prenatal exposure to air pollution can increase the child’s risk of developing childhood wheezing and asthma.

Likewise, the benefits of recycling and lowering our wastes are great. It can help our environment, our health, conserve our natural resources, and provide more economic security.

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But one major benefit to recycling and living a more low waste lifestyle is that it’s also a way to save money in the long run. Instead of buying single-use items once or twice a month, replace these costs with higher quality products that can last you a number of years. And if you need help paying for these higher qualify single-purchase items, you can always take out a Check City Personal Loan to get you started on your low waste journey.

There are everyday expenses that you can reduce or eliminate entirely just by using a few low-waste living tips.

What is Recycling?

In 2017, the US generated over 260 million tons of waste. We recycled about 67 million tons and composted about 27 million tons.

In waste management, there are 2 types of waste disposal—the conventional method, recycling, and composting.

Recycling is a method of waste disposal that takes waste and makes it into other things. Instead of throwing things away, they are used to create new products. Recycling allows materials to continue to have use rather than piling up in landfills.

What is Composting?

Composting is the process used to turn organic waste, like food scraps, into usable compost, which can then be used as fertilizer. Composting gathers organic waste together and lets it decompose until it creates a soil conditioner (fertilizer) that is very rich in nutrients. You can then use this for soil as fertilizer to help plants grow better.

Composting is a great thing to do at home for your garden, flower bed, or herb garden. It is just another way you can help your household become more self-sufficient and help your plants and flowers grow more abundantly.

What is Greenwashing?

If you want to do your part to help the environment and your local community thrive then you’ll want to be aware of greenwashing.

Greenwashing is an advertising method meant to make products look organic or ecofriendly when in reality they aren’t. If a product or company’s ecofriendly claims are really true then they’ll usually tell you all about it—providing evidence, certificates, and details.

If their claims are vague or unspecific, then most likely they are greenwashing their product in the hopes it will help it sell better. When making purchases do your research and don’t be duped by false or shady advertising.

What is Low Waste Living?

Being environmentally minded comes in all kinds of ranges. You can strive to live the zero waste lifestyle or you can simply try and live a more low waste lifestyle. Either way can save you hundreds of dollars every year.

Low Waste Living is when you attempt to make less waste, be more self-sufficient, and buy products that are quality and long lasting rather than single use products you’ll have to buy over and over again.

All the Ways to Save Money Living Low Waste

You might think of low waste living as something crazy and intense people do or something you need to be really committed to in order to pull off. But there are actually plenty of really simple ways to make less waste and save yourself a ton of money along the way.

There are lots of frequent, recurring costs you could replace for a single purchase to you’re your monthly spending and use that money elsewhere. You just have to know what can be replaced.

1. Plastic Water Bottles

Save $100.00

Filtered water is just better, and many of us don’t live in areas with great tap water. But we need to drink lots of water every day and the cost of water bottles can really get out of hand. Instead you can buy a water filter pitcher, a really nice water filtration dispenser, or a really nice stainless steel faucet water filter so you don’t have to spend so much money on water bottles ever again.

2. Shop in Bulk

Save up to 83%

You can save a lot of money when you buy in bulk. Find the local stores near you that sell in bulk like Sam’s Club, Costco, and whole food stores where you can get basic foods from barrels.

The key with buying in bulk is that you save big on the price per unit and you buy amounts that can stock up your home and last a lot longer, which saves you gas money and time spent at the store. Some experts estimate that you can save up to 83% on your grocery bill by buying in bulk.

3. Make Homemade Cleaning Products

Save $600

We want to keep our homes clean and sanitized but the products we need to do so can get really expensive. Instead, you can just make your own homemade cleaning products with these simple homemade cleaning product recipes. You can also buy your favorite squirt bottles to reuse over and over again as well.

4. Reusable Grocery Bags

Save 10 cents per bag

Plastic bags are still free at most grocery stores but this might not always be the case. Many states have already begun banning single-use plastic bags at grocery and retail stores or created minimum 10 cent charges if you want to use plastic bags.

Save yourself the hassle by getting your own awesome reusable grocery shopping bags now that you can keep in your car and use at the grocery store instead of plastic bags.

You can also buy some tote bags to use when you make retail purchases at other stores, so that you can avoid the hassle of plastic bags there as well.

Getting your own shopping bags is also helpful because they won’t rip at the bottom and spill your items everywhere, they won’t squish your items together in small plastic bags, and they can even keep your food cold on the trip home. You can even get specific produce bags with some online shopping.

5. Reusable Straws

Using reusable straws instead of single-use plastic straws can be one of the easiest, and funnest ways to go green. Reusable straws come in all kinds of shapes and colors, and can even come in compact containers that fit on your keychain.

6. Bring Your Own Water Bottle

Water bottles also come in all kinds of creative shapes, sizes, and colors. They can also come with unique functionalities. Instead of using the flimsy paper and plastic cups at restaurants you can use your own bottle instead! This will also keep your drink cold or hot longer and be more comfortable to hold in your hand or travel with you when you leave.

7. Install a Bidet

Save up to $120

The average American spends up to $120 each year on toilet paper alone. While you can’t really get rid of this cost, you can reduce the need by installing a bidet in your bathroom. You’ll save on toilet paper and actually be a cleaner and more hygienic person as well.

8. Start a Compost Bin

A compost bin can be a great way to put all your organic waste to better use. Your compost bin just needs 3 ingredients to function:

  1. Browns: like dead leaves, branches, twigs
  2. Greens: like grass, vegetable scraps, fruit scraps, coffee grounds
  3. Water

When you make your own compost you won’t need to spend money on chemical fertilizers and your garden will grow fuller and healthier. So a compost bin can save you money on gardening supplies and on groceries depending on what you decide to grow!

9. Plant a Garden

Save up to $600

Planting your own garden can both save and make you money. By planting your own herbs, vegetables, legumes, and even fruits you can save up to $600 on food costs each year. You could also make extra money each year by selling the produce from your garden at your local farmers market, or to your friends and neighbors.

10. Raise Chickens

Save up to $400

You can take your little farm one step further by getting a few farm animals of your own. Chickens are a good example for beginners and they can save you on the cost of eggs each year. You could even make money selling chicks to other households that would like to start raising their own chickens as well.

11. Make Your Own Clothes

Save up to $1,800

New clothes can be so expensive and with the rise of fast fashion many clothing brands don’t even provide quality clothes anymore. But you can take your wardrobe into your own hands by learning how to sew your own clothes!

12. Replace Paper Towels with Dish Rags

Save over $200

Paper towels can be nice and convenient but they might also be taking up more of your budget than you realize. Instead of spending extra money each month on the convenience of paper towels, buy a couple of kitchen towels for cleaning and wiping your hands.

13. Replace Paper Napkins with Cloth Napkins

Save over $200

You can also replace the paper napkins in your house with cloth napkins instead! Now your set table will look nicer and your family and guests will feel pampered and fancy when they come over for dinner.

14. Use handkerchiefs instead of tissues

Save up to $100

For instance, a pack of 4 flat box Kleenex costs about $6 while a pack of 6 basic handkerchiefs can cost $5.00 and last you for years to come. Meanwhile, tissue boxes only last a little while before you need to purchase them all over again.

So instead of buying box after box of tissues every year, just get yourself some nice handkerchiefs instead!

Replacing frequent costs with a single purchase is always the better choice. And handkerchiefs are going to be nicer on your nose, not chaff and dry out your nose the way paper tissues do. They’re also more useful because you can use them as a cloth too! If you need to wipe away some perspiration or wipe your hands throughout the day or anything.

15. Make Foods from Scratch

Save up to $4,109

Learn to make homemade things from scratch instead of instant and boxed foods. For example, two homemade pizza can cost as little as $3.25, while 2 pizzas from a pizza place can easily cost you over $20.

You can also learn to do your own canning and make preservatives. There are many things you can make yourself for less than half the cost it takes to buy it from the store. Here’s a short list of some other things you could learn to make from scratch instead of buying it in stores:

  • chicken or vegetable stock
  • peanut butter
  • macaroni and cheese
  • granola
  • baby food
  • spaghetti sauce
  • lunch meat
  • pizza
  • bread
16. Eat More Like a Vegetarian/Vegan

Save up to $700

You don’t have to commit to a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle to take advantage of vegetarian and vegan meals. These meals can be tasty, full of nutrients, and cheaper than recipes that use lots of meats and dairy products.

17. Recycle

Make some spare change!

Get recycling bins for your home and start recycling! You can actually make money recycling certain items at your local recycling facility.

18. Don’t Waste Freezer Foods

You can create a lot of waste and waste a lot of food by not utilizing your freezer enough. Make foods last longer by storing them correctly in the freezer. You can even create a food expiration calendar for your fridge to help you keep track when you need to eat certain foods.

food storage expiration date calendars

There are also a surprising number of things you can make with overripe foods, like banana bread. So always check before you toss things whether you can give it a second life somehow.

19. Buy Used Instead of New

Not only does buying used items help recycle things and maintain the environment, but buying used can also save you a lot of money as well! If you need new furniture, you can find great deals on beautiful pieces at antique shops and on the Facebook Marketplace.

20. Support Local Farmers

By shopping at the local farmer’s market for food items instead of big chain grocery stores, you can support your local farmers, reduce consumption, and save money on cheaper and fresher produce.

21. Don’t Waste on Basic Bills

Save up to $2,060

Overdoing it on utilities can put a strain on the environment and your wallet. So take measures to reduce the use of your utilities like heating, cooling, electricity, and water.

For example, you could save your AC by opening windows to keep things cool instead. You could also make some homemade dry shampoo so you don’t have to wash your hair so frequently and conserve water that way. This will also help your shampoo last longer for when you do wash your hair. You could also put less use on your drier by hanging things up to dry instead.

22. Find a Local Tailor

Sometimes we get rid of clothes when they could be fixed! Find a local tailor and have them fix up your old clothes, pants, shoes, or even hats so you don’t have to replace them as often. You’ll also be supporting local businesses which is always a good thing.

23. Replace Plastic Loofahs

Save up to $120

Instead of rebuying plastic loofas over and over again throughout the course of your life find a more permanent solution. You can find bath brushes in all kinds of shapes and brush types and they’ll actually help exfoliate and clean you better than a loofah anyway.

24. Rechargeable Batteries

Save up to $20

Not many things still use batteries but our need for batteries is far from over. But instead of rebuying batteries every time they die, just buy a pack of rechargeable batteries that you can use for life! That way you won’t be throwing away harmful batteries all the time, and you won’t have to buy them all the time either.

25. Make Reusable Gift Bags

Save up to $240

We spend so much on wrapping paper each year for birthdays and holidays. It’s fun to give gifts and being able to open the gift is one of the best parts! But you can keep the surprise while getting rid of wrapping paper costs by crafting together some reusable gift bags or clothes of your own.

26. Ditch Sponges for Brushes

Save up to $40

Sponges are important for helping you wash dishes, but they can get gross and need replacing really fast. Ditch the cost of sponges all together by buying dish brushes instead.

27. Use Public Transit, Walk, or Bike

Save up to $2,000

The average American spends over $2,000 a year on gas. That’s a lot of money that could be going to other parts of your budget. By taking the bus, using a bike, or walking you can greatly reduce this cost and reduce your emissions.

How To Live a Low Waste Lifestyle

The above list doesn’t list all the things you can do to cut down on waste and costs, but just with the tips above you can potentially save up to $13,000 a year by becoming more self-sufficient and replacing single-use purchases with single-purchase items you only have to buy once.

What will you do with all this extra money? You could put it all into a savings account, a checking account, use it to help reach your savings goals, or pay off credit cards, or start an emergency fund. Start saving money today and make your future brighter and more waste free.

These are a lot of really helpful ideas, but most of them boil down to a few key tactics to living a more low waste lifestyle.

  1. Make things from scratch
  2. Be self-sufficient
  3. Support local businesses
  4. Choose quality over anything else

Now all you have to do is create your own master plan of attack for living the low-waste way and watch how much your budget grows with all those savings!


(Shopping Guide) Valentine’s Day

valentine's day shopping

Valentine’s Day occurs every year on February 14th.

Valentine’s day has been around for a very long time, though how it all got started is less known. Regardless of how Valentine’s day all began, it’s a holiday full of love and appreciation for those who are most important to us.

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Valentine’s Day History

The origins of Valentine’s Day are shrouded in long forgotten legends and stories. It either began as the anniversary of Saint Valentine’s death or as a Christian adaption of an old Pagan holiday.

Saint Valentine was a priest during the era of Rome. It is said that the Roman emperor banned marriage for young men because he needed soldiers. But Saint Valentine continued to perform weddings in secret for young lovers. When his defiance was found out, he was killed.

Other legends say he was killed because he was helping Christian refugees escape Roman imprisonment. While imprisoned it’s said he fell in love and sent love letters from prison signed, “from your Valentine.” Now we use the name “Valentine” to refer to someone we care about or love dearly.

But Valentine’s Day could also have Pagan origins from the festival of Lupercalia. This Pagan festival was celebrated on February 15th. It was a fertility festival dedicated to Faunus, the Roman god of agriculture, and Romulus and Remus. As they did with many pagan holidays, the Catholic church made their own holiday during the Pagan festival of Lupercalia.

Whatever the true story is, the idea of valentine’s day is that it’s a day of romance, confessions, and affirmations.

valentines day gift

There are many ways to celebrate Valentine’s Day. It’s a holiday that can be whatever you want it to be!

You can celebrate Valentine’s Day by practicing some self-love, buying yourself something you want, having a relaxing day at home, or going out with friends. It can also be spent with a special someone on a nice Valentine’s Day date, or with friends and family that you care about.

However you choose to spend your Valentine’s Day, there might be Valentine’s Day gifts you’d like to buy to show your love and appreciation for those you care about. And if you really want to go all out this year, but need some financial help to do so, you can take out a Check City Personal Loan.

Below we’ll go over the most popular Valentine’s Day flowers and gift ideas for everyone!

Valentine’s Day Gift Ideas for Her

Whether you need a special gift for your mother, your wife, or your girlfriend, these gift ideas are sure to wow the special woman in your life.

  • Jewelry
  • Clothes
  • Organizers
  • Makeup
  • Vanity mirror
  • Tech she wants
  • Beauty products
  • Spa gift basket
  • Personalized or custom made gifts

Valentine’s Day Gift Ideas for Him

When buying a gift for a special someone in your life, the point is to show how much you cherish them. Sometimes this will mean getting them something they’ve been wanting, rather than something strictly romantic.

  • Massage gun or foam roller
  • Clothes
  • Custom made or custom engraved gifts
  • Beauty product gift baskets for men
  • Video games
  • Tech he wants

Valentine’s Day Gift Ideas for Kids

Nieces, nephews, cousins, and your own children are also great Valentine’s Day gift recipients. They’ll love getting little gifts to remind them how special they are.

  • Games
  • Toys
  • Fun shirts
  • Books
  • Craft kits
  • Stuffed animals
  • Candy

Valentine’s Day Gift Ideas for Coworkers

Coworkers can be some of the most appreciative Valentine’s Day recipients. Many of them probably won’t expect anything from you, so getting a valentine’s gift from a fellow coworker can be a fun surprise to brighten up their workday.

  • Engraved wallet
  • Mugs
  • Socks
  • Calendar
  • Desk toys, decor, or plants
  • Games
  • Designer office supplies

Valentine’s Day Gift Ideas for Friends

Your friends deserve some extra appreciation on Valentine’s Day as well. They’ve been there for you through thick and thin and Valentine’s Day is the perfect day to thank them with a gift.

  • Games
  • Food
  • Puzzles
  • Gift box
  • Gift cards for restaurants
  • Custom friendship memorabilia

Gift Ideas for Galentine’s Day

As the world evolves we realize things like, having a boyfriend or a husband doesn’t determine a woman’s self-worth. That’s why Galentine’s Day was created, to remind women everywhere that self-love is just as important as romantic love.

For similar reasons, a day like Guyentine’s Day could be created! To let men everywhere know that their own self-love is just as important as the love they receive from others.

  • Funny shirts or socks
  • Book
  • Mug
  • Journal
  • Self-care gift basket
  • Trip to a salon
  • Lady’s night out
  • Guy’s night out

Valentine’s Day Gift Ideas for Pets

As a society, our relationship with our pets is changing. We see them more as family members now and want to treat them as such. For this reason, Valentine’s Day is also a great day to buy something special for the furry friend in your life!

  • Fun clothes
  • Car seat
  • Blanket
  • New toy
  • New treat
  • Ball that rolls itself
  • Nanny cam for pets

Shop at Walmart by Clicking Here

At Walmart, you can get all kinds of Valentine’s Day goodies. They have chocolates, candies, stuffed animals, flowers, and even jewelry!

Shop at Target by Clicking Here

Target has stuff to help make your Valentine’s Day party a blast! You can find fun Valentine’s Day cards for the kids to pass out in class, exchange candies, and cute Valentine’s Day mailboxes to keep everything in!

Shop at Anthropologie by Clicking Here

Anthropologie is a popular place to get your Valentine something really nice. They have fragrant candles, beautiful dresses with Valentine’s Day colors, red jeweled earrings, and more!

Shop at Nordstrom Rack by Clicking Here

Nordstrom Rack is a great place to find quality items for your sweetheart at reasonable prices. You can get matching Valentine’s Day mugs, Valentino perfume, and deluxe candy boxes to make your lover swoon.

Shop on Amazon by Clicking Here

Right now you can watch Amazon Live, sponsored by Hallmark to see first hand the kind of great items you can get for your loved one on Valentine’s Day. Some of the most popular items include a Dash mini heart-shaped waffle maker, a Hamilton Beach digital air fryer oven, and a Wilton chocolate fountain.

Shop at Hallmark by Clicking Here

Hallmark has been a staple brand for cards and gifts for a long time. At Hallmark, you can find thoughtful gifts for under $10, $20, or $30.

Valentine’s Day Flowers and Their Meanings

valentines day flowers

Here we’ll go over a complete guide to Valentine’s Day flowers, so you can figure out the perfect flower arrangement full of thoughtfulness and meaning.

Rose

Roses are by far, one of the most romantic flowers to receive on Valentine’s Day. They also come in a wide range of colors and meanings if you want to get poignant with your Valentine bouquet.

Rose Color Meaning
White Rose: innocence
Red Rose: love
Pink Rose: sweetness
Yellow Rose: friendship
Orange Rose: desire or admiration
Lavender Rose: love at first sight or enchantment
Tulip

Tulips are an elegant flower that can come in literally any color. They are the perfect flower to show sophistication along with simple beauty. Tulips generally signify perfect love, so you can easily just get a bouquet in the recipient’s favorite color.

Tulip Color Meaning
Red Tulip: true love
Purple Tulip: royalty
White Tulip: forgiveness
Yellow Tulip: cheerfulness
Lily

Lilies are a striking flower that can’t help but be noticed. As a whole, the lily flowers represents devotion and purity. They are also associated with motherhood and rebirth, so if you’re looking for a flower to give the mother of your children, this is the flower for you.

Lily Color Meaning
Calla Lily: faithfulness
Day Lily: a mother’s devotion
White Lily: virtue
Pink Stargazer Lily: prosperity
Red Lily: passion
Orange Tiger Lily: confidence
Carnation

Carnations are the perfect gift to get someone who was born in the month of January since carnations are the birth flower of that month. But they are a flower that also comes in many many colors with lots of different meanings you could use.

Carnation Color Meaning
Red Carnation: love
White Carnation: pure love
Pink Carnation: gratitude
Purple Carnation: impulsive
Orchid

Orchids are a wonderful plant to get someone who loves to decorate their home and who wants to keep their flower for a long time. When cared for orchids can continue to bloom for years to come.

Orchid Color Meaning
White Orchid: elegance
Purple Orchid: admiration
Yellow Orchid: friendship
Baby’s Breath

Though the baby’s breath flower doesn’t come in many colors, it is a common flower used to fill out beautiful flower arrangements. It is a symbol of everlasting love and the sincerity of someone’s feelings.

Daisy

The daisy is a bright and cheerful flower that stands for innocence, purity, and cheerfulness.

Chrysanthemum

Chrysanthemums are a popular flower. They make very full bouquets and can effortlessly adorn the inside and outside of your home.

Chrysanthemum Color Meaning
White Chrysanthemum: devoted love
Red Chrysanthemum: deep passion
Violet Chrysanthemum: get-well soon
Iris

The iris may be one of the most regal looking flowers. They have an elegant, royal look that can be perfect for representing your feelings this Valentine’s Day.

Iris Color Meaning
Purple Iris: wisdom
Yellow Iris: passion
Blue Iris: faith
White Iris: purity

The possibilities for how you can celebrate this day of love are vast. There are gifts and flowers for every situation. Use this guide to help you plan your Valentine’s Day to really make it special this year.


How to Become a Morning Person

how to become a morning person

As humans, we all struggle with a lot of common things. Losing weight, eating healthy, working out, not procrastinating, and waking up in the morning.

But becoming a morning person might be in your best interest if you, like many people, have an early morning schedule. Most people need to get up between 6:00 and 7:00 in the morning to have enough time to get ready and get to work.

In fact, about 85%of people get up early in the morning but only 22% would have an early morning schedule if they had a choice. So becoming a morning person would make this one aspect of your life more manageable and even maybe enjoyable.

The Importance of Quality Sleep

Just like eating healthy, exercising, and drinking enough water, sleep is an important part of our physical health that you may be forgetting about. Your body needs sufficient sleep and quality sleep in order to perform important internal functions.

Why Your Body Needs Sleep:

Many things in your body need sleep, like your brain, lungs, heart, and muscles. When you’re sleeping your whole body slows down. Your heartbeat and breathing get slower, your temperature drops, your muscles relax, and even your brain activity takes a beat.

All your systems decide to take a much needed break while you’re asleep. One system that especially needs this break is your brain. While you’re sleeping more cerebral spinal fluid pumps through your brain than when you’re awake. This spinal fluid literally cleans out the regular, everyday buildup in your brain and might even help prevent Alzheimer’s disease.

Your body is also able to focus more of its efforts on healing and repairs while you’re asleep. Because other functions are able to shut down, your body can work overtime fighting off illness or repairing muscles from everyday wear and tear or exertion.

1. Get into a Routine

The number one best way to successfully become a morning person is to establish a routine that you stick to every day of the week. The best way to successfully stick to a routine is to make your routine something you actually look forward to.

Download a Free PDF Printable for My Daily Routine Template.

You are going to want to set both a morning and evening routine. It might look something like this:

Morning Routine Example

It’s also a good idea to schedule some daily exercise into your day first thing. This will make you feel more productive, get your body energized and ready to go.

  1. Stretch
  2. Make the bed
  3. Drink a glass of water
  4. Brush teeth
  5. Shower
  6. Get dressed
Evening Routine Example

The purpose of an evening routine is to wind down at the end of the day, relax, calm yourself, and prepare your body and mind for sleep. Avoid doing activities that wake you up, and search for activities that relax your body and mind.

  1. Tidy up
  2. Prepare for the next day
  3. Get into sleepwear
  4. Plug in your phone
  5. Read a book

Download a Free PDF Printable for My Daily Morning/Evening Routine Template.

Make your mornings worth waking up for by planning things that make waking up worthwhile.

Think of your favorite way to get going, and put that in your morning routine. Then think of your favorite way to wind down and relax, and put that in your evening routine.

Here are a few examples to get you started on your own list:

  • Create a morning and evening playlist for how long you have to get ready in the morning or for bed.
  • Use your morning or evening time to write a daily journal entry.
  • Go through emails.
  • Read a book.
  • Schedule some family time.
  • Meditate.
  • Listen to podcasts.
  • Do a simple puzzle.
  • Read the news.
  • Water the plants.
  • Walk the dog.

If your body is on a schedule, it’ll perform better during the day, and make things like falling asleep, sleeping well, and waking up when you need to, easier. Wake up at the same time on weekends too so you never throw yourself off.

2. Get a New Alarm

The way you wake yourself up can also have a large impact on how easy it is to get out of bed in the morning. It’s common for alarms to be, well . . . alarming.

But waking up so abruptly is actually not the best way for your body to wake up, according to a study done by the National Institute of Industrial Health. It’s better to wake up gradually, and more naturally.

There’s a reason waking yourself up naturally on a Saturday is so much easier than getting up to a loud alarm sound all at once. This study found that “self-awakening” was a better, and even healthier way to wake yourself up each day.

Natural Alarm Clocks

There are some alternative alarm clocks you can use to help yourself wake up more gradually in the morning.

  • A sunrise simulator alarm
  • Morning sounds alarm clock
  • Leave the blinds open to wake up natural lighting
  • Quiet, gradual alarm that builds in volume over a period of time
  • Set the timer on the coffee pot to wake you up with good smells
  • Set your smart home devices to turn on lights at a certain time

3. Exercise Daily

You might not think about this, but exercising daily can actually help you sleep more sufficiently. Working out keeps your body fit and helps regulate your body. You’ll find healthy sleeping patterns easier when you stick to a healthy fitness pattern.

Many people have argued that your body receives the most benefit from exercising in the mornings. If this routine works for you then go for it, but recent research also suggests that just working out at the same time each day is enough to see all those benefits.

4. Eat Right

If you haven’t figured it out yet, your overall physical health can greatly impact how much quality sleep you’re able to get each night. The same thing goes for eating well.

According to studies done by the American Society of Nutrition, your diet can impact the quality of your sleep. Eating a balanced diet fool of diverse, healthy foods is important to your body’s overall wellbeing and ability to function at full capacity, even in its ability to sleep efficiently.

Avoid Food and Caffeine Before Bed

Drinking caffeine too close to bedtime can keep you from falling asleep on time. Likewise, eating too close to bedtime can have a lot of adverse effects, like acid reflux, heartburn, restless sleep, nightmares, and even weight gain. Unless weight gain is something your body needs, then eating later in the day might be a good weight gain tactic for you.

Your metabolism is yet another thing that needs to slow down and take a break throughout the night. This is why the first thing you eat in the day is called breakfast because you’re breaking the nightly fast your body needs to reset for the next day.

5. Go to Bed on Time

You can’t get great sleep if you don’t give your body enough time to do what it needs to do while you’re asleep. That is why your goals should be set toward getting quality sleep each night. Understand sleep cycles and how they work can help you make that happen.

You’ll ensure you get quality sleep each night by sticking to a strict bedtime that allows you to get plenty of sleep each night.

6. Get Quality Sleep

There are different tactics you can use to help you sleep more comfortably, and therefore more soundly, each night.

  • Wash your sheets every 2 weeks
  • Shower before bed to get clean and wind down
  • Research what mattress is best for you
  • Get a sound machine
  • Get a humidifier
  • Get a fan
  • Keep your room cool and your bed warm

7. Get Enough Sleep

Different age groups need different amounts of sleep each night. Make sure you are getting adequate amounts of sleep for your age group.

amount of sleep

For example, newborns need the most sleep. They need around 14 to 17 hours every day. Infants need 12 to 15 hours, toddlers need 11 to 14 hours, preschoolers need 10 to 13 hours, and school-age children need 9 to 11 hours of sleep every night.

quantity of sleep

As you get older you need a little less sleep. Teenagers need around 8 to 10 hours each night, young adults need 7 to 9 hours, adults need 7 to 9 hours, and older adults need around 7 to 8 hours of sleep each night.

So if you’re wondering, “how much sleep do I need?” wonder no more! Use this simple chart to figure out how much sleep is best for you, and then plan your sleeping schedule accordingly.

8. Limit Screen Time Before Bed

The lights from the screen of your phone, computer, tablet, or TV can strain your eyes and keep you awake at night. But cutting out some relaxing phone scrolling before bed can be hard to do.

There are two ways to make limiting screen time before bed easier. You can either replace evening screen time with a screen-less activity that you find equally enjoyable or you can turn on night mode and blue light filters on your screens to help reduce the strain on your eyes.

Many devices even come with timers you can set so your phone will automatically turn the blue light filter on in the evenings. But don’t give up too quickly on finding other things to do before bed that doesn’t involve screens.

Instead of watching TV or being on your phone before bed, you could read a book, draw a sketch of the day, take a soothing bath, write in your journal, or have a bonding talk session with a loved one.

At the very least you can turn things on night mode or turn the blue light filter on, or turn the brightness down on your screens to give your eyes a much needed break.

9. Don’t Do Homework in Bed

This idea can apply to a lot of things, like drawing, writing, reading, watching TV, and even eating, but the main idea is that you should use your bed for sleeping, and not use it as a kind of bedroom desk or seating area.

This is because using your bed for more than just sleeping can actually train your brain to stay alert in that place. If you work in your bed, then your bed becomes a place to think about schoolwork or other things.

Instead, set up a comfortable desk space that you can use to take care of things like homework and other personal business.

10. Destress Your Life

Stress can be a huge factor in the kind of quality sleep you are or aren’t getting. Destressing your life throughout the day can help you get better rest at night! Sit down and think about the common stressors you have in life. Then brainstorm with a loved one about how you might better alleviate those stressful aspects of your life.

Financial strain can be a big stressor in many people’s lives. That’s why Check City makes it easy to get a Payday Loan so you don’t miss any important payments before your next paycheck comes in.


Keto Recipes: An Easy Guide for Beginners

Keto Recipes: An Easy Guide for Beginners

The keto diet is becoming ever more popular and it’s easy to see why. Many ordinary people are seeing great results with this high fat and low carb diet.

The National Center for Biotechnology found that out by doing a study to test the effectiveness of the diet over a period of 24 weeks. After their study was over they found that the keto diet can significantly decrease both weight and body mass index.

How Does the Keto Diet Work?

The word “keto” in keto diet, comes from the word “ketogenic.” The diet involves low carbs, proteins, and lots of fats. By eating this way, your body goes into what’s called ketosis, which makes your body switch to burning fats for energy instead of carbohydrates.

The keto diet was originally intended for children with epilepsy. It has also been suggested by doctors for obese patients or patients with type 2 diabetes or who are prediabetic for type 2 diabetes.

People have also found that the keto diet can help with heart disease, cancer, and even acne!

But it’s a pretty strict diet, so finding keto-friendly recipes can be difficult. Luckily, we’re here to help, and we’ll even show you how keto foods can help you save money as well.

Keto Diet Steps

The keto diet is all about no carbs and lots of fats and proteins. But for some, it can be a really different way to eat compared to how they normally eat.

keto diet health

First, learn what you can and can’t have on the keto diet

Here are a few foods you can’t have while on the keto diet:

  • Grains like bread
  • Starchy vegetables like potatoes
  • Sugary fruits like bananas or mangos
  • Sugar
  • Baked goods

And here are a few foods you can have while on the keto diet:

  • Meats
  • Low carb veggies
  • Dairy
  • Nuts
  • Berries
Second, fill up your pantry with the foods you can have

By grocery shopping for what you can eat, and getting rid of the foods you can’t eat, you’ll make eating right a lot easier on yourself. When unhealthy foods are out of sight they are more easily out of mind as well. And if you need help stocking that pantry, you can always take out a small Check City Installment Loan to cover some of your food costs.

Third, build up an arsenal of keto recipes you love

Make your own cookbook full of your favorite keto recipes. Starting a healthier diet can be a fun way to experiment with new recipes that are also better for you.

Download a Free PDF Printable for a Keto Recipe Card.

Fourth, track your progress

Another way to help you stay on the keto diet is to track your progress. If you are able to see the difference eating healthier can make on your body and mind then you’ll be more likely to stick with it.

Download a Free PDF Printable for a Keto Progress Worksheet.

Fifth, create contingency plans

You also want to create a plan for what you’ll do when obstacles arise. One challenge might be when your friends want to go out to eat. Look up the keto-friendly options available at your local restaurants so you know where you can eat.

You might also need to make a contingency plan for when you go to family gatherings. Try talking to your loved ones about your new diet and see if they can provide keto-friendly food options for you. Otherwise, you can always plan on bringing your own food.

Just follow these simple steps to make living the keto diet super easy.

Keto Diet Recipes

If you’re just starting the keto diet, then you might feel lost about some things like what is a chaffle? and what do I make myself for dinner now? Don’t worry though, there are plenty of easy keto recipe ideas to choose from on the internet right now.

Here are some of the most popular keto recipes to get you started:

How the Keto Diet Can Save You Money

Living a healthier lifestyle doesn’t need to be difficult. Especially once you realize the health and financial benefits a healthy diet can provide! Eating healthier can also save you money in the long term!

Here are a few ways eating keto can help you gain money as you lose pounds:

  • You have to stick to your grocery list, so you’re less likely to buy lots of extra goodies.
  • You’ll end up eating out less and cooking at home more.
  • You’ll have more leftovers to provide even more meals throughout the week.
  • You’ll stop buying expensive snacks and junk foods.
  • Healthy produce is less expensive in the long term.
  • You can pack your lunches for work and school instead of eating out every day.
  • Becoming healthier means less medical bills.

If you allow it, living a healthier lifestyle can help you and your wallet feel great. As you work toward physical stability, you can also work toward financial stability! Learning to use the keto diet to maintain better physical and financial health is just one diet example that can benefit your life in more ways than one.


How to Make and Keep New Year Resolutions this Year

Explore this Article

new year wishes

The New Year is a significant time for a lot of people. A whole new year is beginning with a whole new you waiting ahead!

The new year is a time of new beginnings and fresh starts for us all. Many of us will attempt to make new year resolutions to better ourselves and our lives this coming year. We see the new year holiday as an opportunity to celebrate the past year and look hopefully toward the year to come. New Years Eve may be one of the most hopeful nights of the year as we start over with the dawn of a whole new beginning.

New Year Resolution Ideas

Have you decided what your new year resolutions are going to be? If not, here are some common new year resolution ideas that you could choose from.

  1. Work on physical health
  2. Work on mental health
  3. Get more organized
  4. Save money
  5. Get out of debt
  6. Quit bad habits
  7. Stick to a budget
  8. Travel
  9. Read more
  10. Find a better job

new year goals

1. Work on physical health
Every body needs to learn good, healthy habits to keep their bodies fit and strong. This goal works for everyone since we can all do a little more to take care of our physical health, whether that means eating better, working out more, or both.

2. Work on mental health
This goal also works for everyone since we can all always do a little more to take care of our mental and emotional wellbeing. Self-care is important and can make accomplishing other goals a lot easier. Mental wellness goals can be anything from resolving to visit a therapist to doing morning yoga for a happier morning routine.

3. Get more organized
Organizing and decluttering your life is another goal that can make keeping other goals easier. Maybe you want to focus on planning more productive days. Or maybe your office space, bedroom, or garage could use a major cleaning and organizing overhaul. This can be a great goal to make as a family to rearrange and reorganize your home and your lives together.

keep new year resolutions guide

4. Save money
We’d all like to save more money, but making this an actual new year resolution might be the focus you need to really make it happen. You can save money in many ways: 1) reduce spending by getting rid of some monthly payments, 2) get a better paying job or a second job, or 3) learn to stick to a budget that allows you to save more money.

5. Get out of debt
Debt can bog down all aspects of our lives. It can keep us from getting the things we need and moving forward with important life steps. Resolve to get rid of debts this year and make an airtight financial plan for how you’ll do it. Maybe this year you can decide to go without certain things so you can afford the bigger payments to bring down your debts faster.

6. Quit bad habits
Bad habits come in all shapes and sizes. You might want to quit smoking this year, or maybe you just want to quit eating junk food. One key trick to quitting bad habits is figuring out how to replace bad habits with better habits to fill the void the bad habit was filling.

7. Stick to a budget
Creating a budget and sticking to it can be a really difficult goal to accomplish. To finally learn to stick to your budget, try focusing on one aspect of your budget at a time in order to more slowly learn how to live according to that budget. This way you’ll take things slower and not fail due to being overwhelmed.

8. Travel more
Traveling can be a great way to expand your views, learn about the world, and learn about yourself. Make sure that in your goal planning you remember to account for time and costs. You might need to use PTO days at work and plan accordingly. There will also be travel costs like gas, tickets, hotels, or whatever else you’ll need to make your traveling plans actually happen. You can also make use of a Check City Installment Loan in your travel budget to help with costs. Plan to prepare before you plan to travel.

9. Read more
Reading is an important hobby we often forget about in our busy lives. To remind yourself to read this coming year create your own reading list. Keep in mind your own reading pace and schedule out your planned reading for the year on a calendar. You can even form a book club and read together with friends.

10. Find a better job
Money might not buy happiness but a good job can make all the difference in your personal and financial life. Finding a better job might be an important goal this year if you’re struggling to not live paycheck to paycheck. It might also be an important goal if the environment at your current job is less than ideal, or if your commute is too long.

How to Set Goals

set goals
Making goals for yourself this new year is a worthy endeavor, but many of us start to fail in our goals around February and give up by March. Why is this? Generally, we fail in our goals because we lack the proper motivation and planning to keep our goals.

1. Don’t set too many goals
One of the main things that keep people from accomplishing their goals is setting too many goals at one time. Instead, stick to only one or two major goals for the year. You may have up to 50 goals you’d really like to accomplish this coming year, but if you want to be successful at keeping your goals, you’ll need to prioritize and focus on the most important ones first.

2. Make a step-by-step plan for your goals
Once you have your resolution in mind, break the goal up into manageable steps. For example, you may want to save up to buy a new car, but you know you can’t just put thousands of dollars aside. However, you do know you can put aside $10 this month, and $20 the next month. Make big goals more manageable by organizing them into small, easy to accomplish steps.

3. Expect and accept setbacks
When trying to accomplish great things you are going to experience setbacks. Don’t let them destroy all your efforts by recognizing that failure is a normal part of any process. But failure doesn’t have to mean absolute failure. You can fall off the horse and get right back on, and at the end of the day, it’s this kind of effort and resolve that gives you the most out of your goals.

How to Stay Motivated

new year resolutions
One way to keep yourself feeling excited about your goals is to make use of new year quotes. You can print out motivational quotes and hang them around your house or bedroom as a reminder of your goals. It’s also a great idea to have a motto of the year that you look to each morning to stay focused, positive, and motivated. Here are just a few of the many quotes you could use as your quote of the year:

“You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.”

—C. S. Lewis

“Life is change. Growth is optional. Choose wisely.”

—Karen Kaiser Clark

“Never underestimate the power you have to take your life in a new direction.”

—Germany Kent

“Life’s not about expecting, hoping and wishing, it’s about doing, being and becoming.”

—Mike Dooley

“It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are.”
—E.E. Cummings

You can also help yourself stay motivated and achieve your goals by helping others stay motivated and keep their goals. On new years we like to make resolutions for ourselves and give out new year wishes for others. Support your friends and family in their goals by reaching out to them in your new year wishes this year and offer your help and encouragement in their own endeavors.

DIY Christmas Gifts

diy christmas gift ideas

Get your gift-giving organized this year, and start preparing now for next year by reading up on all our helpful gift-giving articles:

Shopping for holiday gifts can get expensive. One thing that can help with your holiday costs is to take out a small personal loan. Another way to mitigate holiday gift costs is to make some presents yourself! Let’s go over a few DIY gift ideas that are not only cheaper than buying gifts but some of the most thoughtful and personal gifts you could do.

1. Make Food

make food

You can make food for them! The great thing about this DIY gift idea is that the possibilities are endless. You can easily lean on your cooking and baking strengths to make them something yummy. If you love baking you can make them cookies or pumpkin bread. If you love cooking you can make them their favorite dinner. If you aren’t good at either, you can always make them an easy breakfast in bed.

2. Personal Cleaning Service

cleaning

Everyone appreciates a clean home, kitchen, bedroom, etc., but not everyone enjoys having to do the cleaning themselves. This DIY gift idea works especially well for a homemade coupon card. Your gift recipient might also have a specific area in their life that could use an especially good cleaning, like their car or garage. You can even send them away for a fun evening out to dinner or to see a movie while you clean the house for them.

3. Knit a Sweater

christmas sweater

You don’t necessarily have to knit something and it doesn’t necessarily have to be a sweater either. You could also sew, cross-stitch, or crochet something for them. If you’re new to sewing-type crafts then you could knit a simple scarf for them. You could also make them a pillowcase, a blanket, a hat, or mittens. There are many great tutorials online and they’ll love having something you handmade for them.

4. Plan a Fun Activity

christmas date

This one may cost you a little, but it has the potential to save you some money in the short term if you just can’t afford them something right now. You could even hand-make an elegant invitation for them so they still have something to receive on Christmas day. Whoever you’re shopping for, a fun time going to the movies, or to dinner, or to see a performance will be loads of fun and leave them full of even more anticipation after opening your gift. You can also possibly find free or inexpensive shows and performances at your local community arts center or theater.

5. Make a Handmade Christmas Ornament

christmas ornament

With just a few inexpensive items from the craft store, you could make them a beautiful, hand-crafted, and personalized Christmas ornament. This may be one of the easiest and most inexpensive DIY ideas because you may already have what you need at home! With some paper, glue or tape, and some string, you can make a thoughtful gift with almost zero cost.

6. Make a Scrapbook

handmade gift

Scrapbooks are fun and easy to make because you can design them however you choose. They can also contain whatever you want them to! You can include photographs and captions to go over some special memories. Or if you don’ have photos you can recreate memories with drawings, or little items that will help them remember. You could even make a storybook instead of a scrapbook, and tell your own meaningful Christmas tale. You could also go over the things you admire about that person, or make a motivational booklet with your favorite quotes.

7. Make Some Art

handmade gift

Make use of your artistic skills and create something they can hang on their wall! Art is a form of expression and you can use art to express your feelings of love and gratitude this season. If you aren’t sure about your artistic abilities, you could find a free art class at the local library or community center and seek their aid in painting or drawing something special. You might even find another type of arts and crafts class you can take for free, like pottery, and make them something equally homemade and personal.

 

There is a lot of work, thought, and preparation that goes into the gifts we open on Christmas day. We should be able to enjoy buying and creating wonderful, personal gifts just as much as we enjoy opening them up together around the tree. Learn to have fun Christmas shopping by using lists like this one to brainstorm great ideas, and by planning gifts for next Christmas today.


15 Thanksgiving Memes to Help Make Turkey Season Feel Bright

meme definition

What is a meme?

Merriam Webster’s Dictonary defines a meme as, “an idea, behavior, style, or usage that spreads from person to person within a culture” or “ an amusing or interesting item (such as a captioned picture or video) or genre of items that is spread widely online especially through social media.”

Basically, a meme is a form of reference humor using captioned pictures and short videos. Memes are generally found online and on social media platforms.

The Thanksgiving holiday is largely based around getting together with lots of relatives and being grateful for family and loved ones. But sometimes family members can be difficult to be around, causing drama and stress during these big family get togethers. Relatives aside, Thanksgiving can also be stressful because of all there is to do! There’s so much cooking and cleaning involved in this kitchen and food centric holiday.

Whether you need a break from people or from the dishes some well deserved meme scrolling can really get you laughing and ease tension. And who knows! Maybe you’ll be able to share a meme or two.

via GIPHY

There are a lot of article options out there when you want some holiday themed memes to laugh at. But a lot of them are riddled with ads that distract from the great comedy genius that is today’s meme culture. Do you want a clean list of memes without all the ads getting in the way? Then look no further. Scroll our favorites list of Thanksgiving memes and enjoy!

1. Early Christmas Ads are the WORST!

early christmas ads
 
There’s nothing worse than early Christmas ads distracting you from the fun of Thanksgiving. Go away Christmas ads! It is not yet your time.






















2. Stay in Your Lane Santa!

stay in your lane christmas
 
Seriously though, why can’t Christmas just stay in its own month?! But hey, at least the early Christmas hype makes for some hilarious internet jokes.

3. Like an Unloved Cat

sad cat meme
 
Sometimes Thanksgiving probably feels so unloved by us compared to how much we love Christmas. How tragic.


















4. Instagram Turkey Mistakes

instagram meme
 
Posting your Thanksgiving roast turkey on Instagram may seem like a great idea, but when you get your many posts that day confused, it can leave your followers feeling a little worried for your dog.




















5. Thanksgiving Ruins Your Diet

thanksgiving diet
 
There’s kind of no avoiding it. Thanksgiving can really put a wrench in your dieting and health goals. But it’s ok! You can get back up on your feet for a couple more weeks before Christmas rolls around to ruin your diet all over again.

6. Thanksgiving with Darth Vader

darth vader thanksgiving
 
Have you ever wondered what thanksgiving might be like at Darth Vader’s house? Neither have I! But now we know I guess.

7. Batman after Thanksgiving Dinner

batman after thanksgiving
 
Everybody puts on a few pounds after feasting on Thanksgiving dinner, even Batman! Though it probably makes Batman look a lot cooler than it makes us look.




















8. Don’t Look the Dishes in the Eye

distracted boyfriend meme
 
The guy checking out another girl, otherwise known as the distracted boyfriend meme is a classic and is made even more funny when you see him actually avoiding distraction. I guess we all don’t like to notice the pile of dirty dishes in the sink after Thanksgiving, even distractable boyfriends.

9. Starving Students

thanksgiving leftovers
 
Thanksgiving comes just in time for starving students everywhere to fill up and hoard up on leftovers.






















10. Brace Yourself!

brace yourself meme
 
One thing we all know about Thanksgiving is that no matter how much we eat on Thanksgiving day, there will always be mountains of food left over to tide us over in the oncoming week.

11. Chillin Turkey

chillin turkey
 
Whether you’re a beginner chef yourself, or a long time pro, I’m sure you’ll find the humor in this great turkey day meme.


















12. Missing Family Members

thanksgiving meme
 
Thanksgiving is about being together, so when family members can’t make it to Thanksgiving dinner it can be really sad. This family found a clever and amusing solution to their missing family member problem.




















13. Cats are Total Derps

derpy cat meme
 
A lot of us are also going to be spending Thanksgiving with our pets! Owners of derpy cats who just want to share some of the roasted turkey will appreciate this irony.
















14. Finals Week is Nigh

finals week
 
It’s a shame that Thanksgiving break is so close to students’ finals week because who’s going to actually study while you’re home for Thanksgiving? Nobody.






















15. Poor Turkeys

turkey day
 
Poor turkeys were almost the most important bird in America. Well, I guess they still are.


















Words of Wisdom from Joey

via GIPHY

 
We hear you Joey, it’s not time for words, it’s time for turkey! Thanksgiving doesn’t have to be too stressful. There are lots of things out there that can help make it easier, whether it’s a memes that gives you a good laugh, or a simplified personal loan to help pay for groceries or plane tickets.

 

READ MORE
Read more of Check City’s helpful Thanksgiving articles:

When is Thanksgiving this Year?

Save Money Food Shopping This Thanksgiving

4 Great Thanksgiving Service Ideas


When is Thanksgiving this Year? 2020

when is thanksgiving

When is Thanksgiving?

Thanksgiving is Thursday, November 26, 2020

Thanksgiving is a great time of year. It’s a time to come together with our loved ones, put our differences aside, and be grateful for all we have. It’s a time to be together with friends and family and to remember all our blessings. Thanksgiving first began in 1863 when Abraham Lincoln made this day of thanks an official holiday. America was in the middle of the Civil War, but despite the suffering and hardship of war, Abraham Lincoln wanted to bring the nation together in remembrance of all they had to be grateful for.

In a way, creating the Thanksgiving holiday was another one of President Lincoln’s efforts to join the divided nation again as he called upon all Americans to:

“commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquility and Union.”

(Abraham Lincoln Online, Proclamation of Thanksgiving)

It was then decided that Thanksgiving is on the last Thursday in November each year, and it’s been bringing families and friends together for some quality mealtime ever since. But to make this holiday special there is a lot of things to do! There’s preparing to host guests and there’s all that Thanksgiving food to plan and prepare. Hopefully this master Thanksgiving prep checklist can help you get everything done in time this year.

Now that you know that this year’s Thanksgiving is Thursday the 28th, you can start preparing! If you want to be a stellar Thanksgiving host this year then there are a few things you’ll need to do to get ready. When there’s so much to get done it helps to have a master checklist so you don’t forget anything important:

Thanksgiving Master Checklist

when is thanksgiving

If you’re hosting Thanksgiving at your house this year, then you don’t just have food to prepare, you have a house to prepare as well. A good host has a clean house that’s ready to meet every need a guest might have. For instance, if you’re having people stay over you’ll want to prepare sleeping arrangements that are comfortable, you’ll want to have clean, visitor-friendly bathrooms that aren’t cluttered with your personal hair products, you’ll want to add some fall decor to give your house the right feel, and you’ll want to plan the menu and cooking so you’re prepared and able to get dinner done on time.

  • Clean house
  • Put up fall decorations
  • Prepare the guest bedrooms/guest sleeping arrangements
  • Plan your Thanksgiving menu
  • Do the grocery shopping
  • Make cooking/baking schedule and assignments

Thanksgiving Host Cleaning Checklist

Part of being a good host is to have a clean house to host in. To keep all your preThanksgiving chores organized, use a free Thanksgiving cleaning checklist by clicking on the image to the right.

thanksgiving cleaning checklist

    • Wipe down kitchen

Wipe down all the counters, the sink, the exterior of the fridge, the cabinets, and any other surfaces that could use cleaning and sanitizing before you begin preparing all the food.

    • Clean the oven

One thing that can ruin Thanksgiving Day is a burning oven, smoking up the house. You can avoid this by giving your oven a good cleaning before the big cooking day. You can run a cleaning cycle on the oven, or you can clean it more manually by using oven cleaner or a baking soda, vinegar mixture and a hard brush.

    • Clean the stovetop

How you clean your stovetop will depend on whether you have a gas or electric stove. Just remember to take apart what you can and get every nook and cranny.

    • Clean the dishwasher

You’re going to have a lot of dishes to do during Thanksgiving so it’ll help to run a quick cleaning cycle on your dishwasher. It’s super easy to do, just place a cup of white vinegar in the top rack, or sprinkle a cup of baking soda in the bottom of the dishwasher and run a hot water cycle. This’ll get rid of any grease, hard water stains, or odors and help your dishes come out clean every time.

    • Organize and declutter the kitchen

Our kitchens can get cluttered, but you don’t want anything in your way when it comes time to cook and bake. This may include making more counter space in your kitchen or going through the pantry closet to make sure you know what you do and don’t have.

    • Organize and declutter the living room

Another place you’ll spend a lot of time during Thanksgiving is in the living room. So make sure there isn’t unnecessary stuff kicking around so that your guests can comfortably relax there too.

    • Clean the couches

People often forget to clean their couches, but they need some cleaning care as well. You can do some regular cleaning by vacuuming the cushions, not forgetting to vacuum under the cushions as well. You can get an even deeper clean on your couch by using a shampooer.

    • Tidy bedrooms

If you’re having guests stay over for the holiday season then you’ll want to clean up the guest bedrooms (if you have them) or arrange the area where guests will be sleeping and staying. Make sure you provide the basic things guests need, like blankets, pillows, fresh bath towels, toiletries, and the Wi-Fi password.

    • Clean bathrooms

Make sure your bathroom is not only clean and smelling fresh, but also make sure it’s free of your personal bathroom clutter. While guests are around, it’s a good idea to keep your personal bathroom products off the counter so your bathroom is tidy and guest ready.

    • Floors

It’s a good idea to tackle your floors last and all at once. That way you can go through with the broom on all your hard floors, and then tackle all your carpet with the vacuum. Don’t forget to mop at the end to really free your house of dust and grime.

    • Catch up on laundry

You don’t want to have loads of laundry in the way, and you want blankets and towels to be ready for guests. It’s also always polite to provide fresh clean sheets for guests, so it’s a good idea to catch up on all your laundry before guests arrive.

Plan the Thanksgiving Menu

Plan your Thanksgiving menu by choosing appetizers, sides, the main dish, beverages, and desserts. Everyone has their own traditional Thanksgiving dishes and this is your chance to plan those out and include everybody’s favorite Thanksgiving food.

Likewise, everyone has their own traditions about when to serve Thanksgiving dinner. But if you’re new to hosting Thanksgiving you may be wondering when to serve Thanksgiving dinner. Generally, Thanksgiving dinner is served in the early afternoon between 1:00pm and 3:00pm.

Thanksgiving Appetizers

You don’t have to have appetizers, but a lot of people don’t really eat before the main Thanksgiving meal so having some predinner appetizers laid out can help tide people over until the main course starts. The following appetizer ideas are realistic for Thanksgiving Day because they aren’t too carby, meaning they won’t fill your guests up too much before the actual meal.

  • Put together a cheese board
  • Put out some light fruits like grapes or clementines
  • Chips and dip
  • Veggie tray and dip
Thanksgiving Side Dishes
  • Mashed potatoes
  • Sweet potato casserole
  • Green bean casserole
  • Macaroni and cheese
  • Potato salad
  • Stuffing
  • Vegetables like cream corn
  • Gravy
  • Cranberry sauce
  • Salad
  • Dinner rolls
Thanksgiving Dinner

Some people prefer having traditional roast turkey for Thanksgiving while others prefer ham, or going out to eat instead. The beauty of the holidays is that you can celebrate them however you choose. You can also get creative with your main course and make it stuffed or use a special recipe for optimal flavor.

  • Turkey in the oven
  • Turkey in the crockpot
  • Turkey in the instant pot
  • Ham in the oven
  • Ham in the crockpot
  • Ham in the instant pot
Thanksgiving Desserts
    • Pumpkin bread
    • Pie

There are endless types of pies you can make like, pumpkin, chocolate, apple, cherry, blueberry, shoofly pie, and pecan pie

  • Apple crisp
  • Pumpkin cheesecake roll
  • Rice pudding
  • Cobbler
  • Cookies
  • Creamy jello
  • Cranberry fluff

Now that you’ve decided what foods you want to include in your Thanksgiving menu, you’ll want to actually schedule when you’ll do all your grocery shopping, when you’ll prepare each dish, and who will prepare each food if you have helpers in the kitchen. It can help to have a specific Thanksgiving calendar plan to write out all the details of your preparation.

Planning your Thanksgiving out now can also help you save on Thanksgiving dinner this year. By planning beforehand you can even shop for groceries online in order to better budget how much you spend on food this year. But in either case, you can always use a small personal loan that you can pay off in just a few short months to help you pay for Thanksgiving this year. Click on the image below to print out your own free Thanksgiving week calendar.

thanksgiving day

There’s a lot to do to get ready for Thanksgiving, but don’t forget the reason for the season. The whole purpose of Thanksgiving is to be together with the ones you love, reconnect across long distances and after long periods of time, and take a moment to appreciate one another and all we have.

We’d also love to hear from you about your own Thanksgiving traditions! This can be anything from what foods you always make to other Thanksgiving activities you always do. Share this article and then share your favorite Thanksgiving traditions.

 

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Visit the Thanksgiving Page on Delish’s website right now to get actual recipes and even more great food ideas.

Food Network also has a Thanksgiving Recipes page.

Check out these interesting statistics about what time people serve their Thanksgiving meal.

30+ DIY Halloween Decoration Ideas

halloween decor ideas

Decorating for Halloween is just what your house and yard needs to really give you that spooky October feeling. Here are some easy, DIY ideas for decorating your home this October:

If you’re not really into DIY projects, or you don’t feel like you have the time, you can always shop for decorations. It’s really nice when you can get deals on seasonal purchases too! The best way to get clearance Halloween decorations is to actually shop for next year’s decor after Halloween, when all their leftover Halloween stock goes on sale.

If you’re really in a rush, then you can check out your favorite store’s Halloween items right now by clicking the fast links below! They’ll take you right to the store’s Halloween decor pages.

Where to Decorate

Sometimes you need to decorate for a Halloween party you are having. Other times you just want to decorate for when trick-or-treaters come to your door. Or maybe you just like the Halloween season and you want to make your home feel delightfully spooky this time of year. Either way, there are key places to consider decorating when setting up for Halloween.

Front Porch

Transform you porch into some kind of scene! With some simple tricks you can turn your front porch into a graveyard, a pit stop for flying witches, or a home for a pumpkin village.

halloween porch

Front door

You can also jazz up your front door! You can make your door look like a monster, or wrap it in paper to look like a mummy, or decorate around it to make it look like the jaws of a monster opening up to swallow trick or treaters whole!

Yard

Decorated yards are especially eye catching. You can decorate your hard with mock murder scenes, fake gravestones, or rising zombies made from homemade scarecrows.

Living room

Make your main living space feel eerie by putting cut outs of werewolves and witches against the windows. You can also take thin sheets of black or red tissue paper and fit them over your lampshades to change the lighting in your living room. If you don’t have lampshades to cover in dark paper, you can paint your light bulbs themselves with non-water-based glass pain for the same effect.

Staircase railing

Your staircase is the perfect place to wrap up in cobwebs and lights!

Kitchen

The kitchen is a great place to take advantage of witchy themes. You can decorate with candy jars, a witch’s broom, and cauldrons ready to make yummy fall time foods.

DIY Halloween Decor Ideas

1. Make a scarecrow

You can easily make your own scarecrow people by filling up clothes with rags and pillows. Then you can use a pumpkin as the head! It doesn’t have to be a scarecrow either. You can recreate a stuffed vampire or the headless horseman too.

2. Jack-O-Lanterns

Jack-o-lanterns are a very old Halloween tradition and they make for great decorations too.

3. Scary pillows

You can sew scary pillows using old shirts! You can make an easy pillow case, and then cut pieces of fabric into eyes and mouths to sew up a little pillow monster friend! You can also use this technique to make the head to your scarecrow person.

4. Pipe Cleaner spiders

You can make your own spiders with black pipe cleaners! All you do is play around wrapping and bending the pipe cleaners together until you have a spider!

jack o lanterns

5. Make spider webs

You can make spider webs with paper, the way you would make a snowflake, or you can make them with giant trash bags. You can also pull apart cotton balls to make cobwebs.

6. Window cutouts

With big sheets of construction paper you can cut out silhouettes of witches, monsters, werewolves, and other frightful creatures. Then you just tape them against your windows and place lamps behind them to make it look like your house is full of ghosts and goblins.

7. Halloween banner

Make a Halloween-themed banner by attaching cut outs to a piece of string. You can garnish your banner with little paper bats, pumpkins and witches that you staple, tape, or glue to the rope.

8. Mummy

Make a mummy by taking a large stuffed animal, doll, or homemade rag doll and wrapping it up in toilet paper. With practically no cost at all you now have your very own mummy!

9. Halloween chandeliers

Make a bat chandelier, with cut out bats, string, and hoops from the craft store. Then you just tie and dangle the bats at different lengths from the hoop. Instead of bats you can also use ghosts, or origami black birds.

10. Little ghosts

You can make little ghosts with tissues, or tissue paper. Get balls from the craft store, then put glue on the ball and add tissue over the ball until it looks like a ghost. With sharpie draw it’s eyes and mouth, or glue on some eyes from the craft store. You can hang these guys in the air by gluing a string to the top of their heads

11. Mystery box

Make a spooky mystery box by painting cardboard boxes black. Cut holes into them for people’s hands to reach through, and then put things in the box for them to feel and guess what they are. You can use cabbage, noodles, olives, and anything else with a weird texture to freak the brave darers out.

12. Eye cutouts

Make eye that watch you in the dark by cutting out eyes in a large sheet of cardboard or construction paper. Then you can place two light sources (like flashlights) behind each eye to make it look like ppl are being watched.

13. Monster mailbox

Turn your mailbox into an open mouthed monster with paper, glitter, and craft feathers.

halloween center piece

14. Voo doo dolls

Use pieces of felt to sew simple voo doo dolls. You can also make them little skeleton people, or whatever Halloween person or creature you most like.

15. Witch’s broom

Get an older looking broom and leave it out as a witch’s broom. To add to the witch aesthetic you can take some shoes and stockings and stuff them so they look like the disembodied feet of the wicked witch of the east.

16. Witch’s hat

Make a witch’s hat with construction paper. All you need to do is make a cone with one sheet of paper, then make a large circle with another sheet for the rim of the hat. Then place the cone on top of the circle so you can trace out the hole for your head. Glue or tape all the pieces together and you have a witch’s hat that you can decorate to your choosing!

17. Chalkboard signs

Get chalkboards that you can stencil or write seasonal sayings on. This is a great thing to buy because you can use it for every season.

18. Gravestones

Get rocks and write gravestone sayings on them with paint. If you really want the gravestones to look creepy you can put just a little too much paint on your brush and let the paint drip downward a little on each word. Then place the stones in your flower bed or flowerpots.

19. Misty mirror

Make your mirrors misty by spraying them with hairspray. When you’re done partying for Halloween you can easily wash the hairspray off the mirror with your regular glass cleaner.

20. Spooky tree

Get a small dead branch from the lawn and put it in a pot as a spooky, spindly dead tree. Then you can decorate it with little black birds or lights if you want.

21. Little black birds

Make origami birds with black paper to give your house an Edgar Allan Poe feel.

22. Halloween doormat

Make a doormat for October guests by buying a cheap doormat, and using stencils to paint on the sayings or figures of your choice.

halloween candy

23. Mini Salem village

Make a little Salem village with painted bird houses. You can also make your own little houses with cardboard cutouts glued together, or popsicle sticks that you glue and stack into houses.

24. Candy jars

Fill see-through mason jars with Halloween candies and wrap the lids with Halloween festive looking ribbons. These can act as decorations you can eat throughout the holiday!

25. Halloween gingerbread house

Make a gingerbread house in October! Just use Halloween colored food dyes (like black, orange, purple etc.) in the icing, and use Halloween themed candies to decorate with. Who said gingerbread houses were only for Christmas anyway?

26. Crystal ball

You can make your very own crystal ball! You can get a glass ball from the craft store or get an undecorated Christmas ornament. Then just spray paint the glass ball with misty paints and place them on a pedestal of some kind, like a low bowl with dark fabric laid over it.

27. The living scarecrow

Pull some tricks of your own by dressing up as a scarecrow, grim reaper, or suited vampire and station yourself somewhere on the porch where trick or treaters will come by for their candy. If you hold very still, then trick or treaters will think you’re a prop! When you suddenly move you’ll give all your visitors a good scare.

28. Cereal killer

Use old cereal boxes and make your own cereal killer crime scene! You can paint faces on the boxes and laying them out in a comical murder scene. You can even make the scene a part of the party by having people deduce which of the cereal boxes did it, and how.

29. Leaf bag monsters

If you have leaves you need to rake up, then put them to decorating use! Put all your raked up leaves in big black bags, and then paint the bags to look like monsters have invaded your porch and yard.

30. Halloween mood lighting

You can give your house an eerie ambience by covering lampshades with colored tissue paper. You can even cut out images and scenes into the tissue paper to display things like hands, ghosts, and haunted forests on the walls and ceiling. If you don’t have lampshades, you can also paint the lightbulbs in a similar way. Just be sure to use a non-water-based glass paint so the paint doesn’t melt off the bulb.

31. Monster house

Make your whole house into a monster house by making key windows look like eyes, and the front door or porch area look like a toothy mouth. You can easily make cut out eyes and teeth with large construction paper.

halloween lighting

32. Halloween wreath

Wreaths make a nice touch on any door, inside or outside your house. You can make your own wreath very easily by getting a round metal wire base and filling it with ornaments of your choice. Be careful, and use hot glue to situate your materials together into the garland’s circle frame. There are many ways to put a spooky wreath together.

33. Halloween centerpiece

Dress up your kitchen table, counter, or coffee table with a Halloween centerpiece! You can use a piece of wood as a tray for things like pumpkins, or an assortment of candles or a flower arrangement with plants and buds of the season. The possibilities are literally endless for how you can accent your table surfaces in October.

 

It’s fun to make every holiday a festive time to remember. Decorations can help you give your home that haunted Halloween atmosphere you want this time of year. Making your own decorations with friends and family can also bring you all closer together during this fun and spooky season. And if payday just isn’t close enough and you need money for your Halloween party decorations right now, use a simple Check City payday loan to get part of your paycheck right now.

If you try any of these Halloween decoration ideas take a picture of it and share the picture with us on social media! You can find Check City on Facebook, or tag your post with #checkcity #halloweendecorations.


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Make and even scarier misty mirror with this DIY hack, “Haunted Mirror – A Halloween DIY.”

Find more specific tutorials for DIY projects you can do this year, “25 Diy Halloween Decorations to Make this Year.”

If you’re decorating for a Halloween movie night, check out this article for some scary movie ideas, “80 Best Halloween Movies, TV Shows, and Podcasts.”

You’ll also need party food and beverages if you’re going to host a Halloween party, “Halloween Party Food Ideas.”


Halloween Party Food Ideas

halloween party food ideas

Having a Halloween party and don’t know what to serve? Have no fear! Here are some classic Halloween party food ideas for you to use this October:

There are lots of great reasons to eat this time of year. There are all kinds of Halloween parties and events to cook and bake for, and you’d be amazed by how many Halloween-themed foods there are to choose from! Because it’s Halloween you can literally take almost any food, and just make it scary!
 

Halloween Appetizers

At any party, if you’re not serving dinner, it’s a great idea to serve some appetizers as the main course. Think of the appetizers as the savory part of the treats for the evening.

Mummy Pigs in a Blanket

For the original recipe check out Chelsea’s website. She also has loads of other great recipes for Halloween like, monster meatball sliders, cheesy bread fingers, and 7-layer spider web dip!

Ingredients

party food

  • Hot dogs
  • Dinner roll dough
  • Dipping sauces of your choice
Method
  1. Cut out strips of dough to use as the mummy wrappings
  2. Cut the hot dogs to give them arms and legs
  3. Wrap the dough around the hot dogs arms, legs, and body so it looks like a mummy!
  4. Bake in the oven for 10 to 15 minutes at 350 degrees
  5. When they’re done you can add eyes and mouths with mustard, ketchup, or food dye pens

Then you can serve a plate of mummy pigs in a blanket with the sauces of your choice.

Ghostly Mini Pizzas

Ingredients
  • English muffins
  • Pizza sauce
  • Mozzarella cheese slices
Method
  1. Set the english muffins out on a tray
  2. Spread the pizza sauce on each muffin
  3. Cut out ghosts on the cheese slices and place those on top of the sauce
  4. Place in the oven and bake for 5 to 10 minutes (or until cheese is melted and the muffins are toasted) at 350 degrees

Now you have cheesy, easy to serve mini pizzas with ghostly apparitions on top!
 

Halloween Desserts

Now on to the desserts section! After the appetizers, or at the other end of your serving table, you can display some yummy desserts. This is the sweet section of your party menu for the night and there are so many things you can choose from.

Cups of Dirt

Ingredients
  • Chocolate pudding packets
  • Oreo cookies
  • Gummy worms
Method
  1. Make the chocolate pudding according to the instructions on the box
  2. Put the Oreo cookies in a zip lock bag and use a rolling pin to crumble them
  3. Fill individual cups with the chocolate pudding
  4. Sprinkle the crumbled oreos on top of the pudding
  5. Place a gummy worm or two into each cup

If you want to get even more creative with these, you can decorate some whole Oreo cookies with icing to look like gravestones. Then you can insert these gravestone Oreos into the “dirt” to give your pudding cups a haunted graveyard feel.

Spooky Sugar Cookies

Decorating sugar cookies is a great party staple. You can even leave the baked, cut out cookies in a tray with the icing and decorations out for your party guests to decorate themselves. Not only will this save you a lot of time prepping your party snacks, but decorating cookies is a fun party activity for your guests to enjoy!

Ingredients

halloween snacks

For the cookies you’ll need:

  • 3 cups flour
  • 3/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbsp milk

For the icing you’ll need:

  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 6 to 8 tsps milk
  • 4 tsps corn syrup
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • Food dye
Method

To make the cookies:

  1. Mix together the flour, baking powder and salt
  2. Mix butter and sugar in a separate bowl
  3. Add both mixtures together and mix in the egg and milk
  4. Cut out your cookies into fun Halloween shapes!
  5. Bake in the oven for 5 to 10 minutes (until the cookies just barely begin to brown) at 350 degrees

If you want to watch a video on how to make easy sugar cookies, you can watch Alton Brown make his recipe on Food Network!

To make the icing:

  1. Put powdered sugar in a bowl
  2. Add milk, corn syrup, and vanilla
  3. Stir until smooth
  4. Divide the icing into different containers and add the food dyes you want

Now with icing bags or knives you can have a kitchen party decorating your Halloween cookies! Feel free to add other decorations besides icing too. You can add candies and sprinkles to finish off your Halloween figures with a flourish.

Other sugar cookie decorations you can have out:

  • Crumbled up Oreos
  • Reese’s peanut butter cups, cut in half
  • M&Ms
  • An assortment of sprinkles
  • Pull apart twizzlers
  • Candy corn

You can even have a cookie decorating contest with a table set up for serious cookie decorating contestants to do their work!

For some other Halloween dessert ideas, check out these awesome recipe websites below:

 

Halloween Drinks

Every good party host has to provide beverages of some kind. Otherwise, after eating all those savory appetizers and sugary sweets, your guests will die of thirst and haunt your house forever!

Below are some yummy beverage ideas for your party, but it’s also a good idea to always have some cold water available throughout the party too.

witch's brew

Cauldron Punch

Ingredients
  • A large bowl for the dry ice
  • A smaller bowl for the punch
  • Fruit punch
  • Ginger ale or 7-up
Method
  1. Make your punch by adding the fruit punch and soda in the smaller bowl
  2. Use gloves to set up the dry ice in the larger bowl
  3. Place the smaller punch bowl inside your larger dry ice cauldron
  4. When the party is ready, pour warm water on the dry ice to get the cauldron going
  5. *don’t let the punch and dry ice mix (hence the separate bowls)

If you’ve ever wondered how party pros get that misty cauldron effect on their punch bowls, wonder no more! Here is how they do it. Just remember to be safe with the dry ice! It is not remotely edible.

Ghostly Hot Cocoa

Hot cocoa is a great beverage to have when a party is more intimate or calm. That way you won’t die of heat in a big crowd by drinking something hot. It’s also a great beverage to serve if your party includes activities in the chilly outdoors!

Ingredients
  • Hot cocoa mix
  • Your favorite creamers
  • Ingredients for making marshmallows
Method
  1. Make hot cocoa how you like it
  2. Make homemade marshmallows and shape them into ghosts
  3. Watch your ghost disappear in your warm hot cocoa!

To make your hot cocoa servings extra special you can drizzle fudge syrup on the inner walls of the mug. This way you get a deep chocolate flavor the more you drink!

If making homemade marshmallows seems like too much work, you can also top your hot chocolate with whipped cream, and draw spooky figures with chocolate syrup instead.

 

There are many ways to put on a Halloween party, and there are lots of choices to fill your food table. Your food choices will depend on the preferences of you and your guests, but hopefully this list can get you started!

And if payday just isn’t close enough and you need money for your Halloween party right now, use a simple Check City payday loan to get part of your paycheck right now.


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There are endless websites with party food ideas you can pull from. Here are a few great recipe articles to get you started in your party food preparations:

Easy Halloween Party Food

17 Last-Minute Halloween Snacks That Will Save the Spooky Day

3 Easy Halloween Snacks


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