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How to Organize All Your Gift Giving This Year

gift organization tips

Don’t let yourself get overwhelmed with gift giving this year with these 8 gift organization tips:

  1. Gather Wish Lists
  2. Stick to a Budget
  3. Keep a Planning Journal
  4. Visit the Store’s Website First
  5. Shop for the Future
  6. Keep Wrapped Gifts Organized
  7. Create a Gift Exchange
  8. Free Gift Organization Apps

There are many reasons to be more organized about gift giving each year. The winter season is a time of many gift giving holidays, but the rest of the year has lots of gift giving occasions as well. There are numerous birthdays to remember, graduations, weddings, Easter, Father’s Day, Mother’s Day, Grandparent’s Day, anniversaries, baby showers, and the list goes on and on.

You need to better organize your gift giving this year because if you don’t you’ll end up . . .

  • forgetting someone
  • going way over budget
  • doing last minute shopping
  • running into the problem where you’ve wrapped gifts and forget who gets what
  • accidentally getting one kid 5 gifts while the rest only have 3
  • confusing who asked for what while shopping

All of these things are pretty catastrophic gift-giving disasters that you do not want to happen to you. But don’t worry, if you just use these gift-giving organization tips you’ll avoid the chaos and have a whole new experience with gift giving.

Gather Wish Lists

The first thing you want to do each year is ask for everyone’s wish lists. Holidays that gather the whole family together are a good time to pass out a crafty wish list printout and have everyone write down what they’d love to receive for birthdays and holidays next year. That way when January comes around, you’ll already know what to start shopping for.

When you’re passing out wish list worksheets, you can also create a list of everyone on your nice list, or everyone you’ll be getting gifts for. That way you’ll have a master list of all your gift recipients so not a single person gets forgotten in the stress and turmoil of shopping and gift planning.

Free Downloadable Wish List Printable: Click Here

Stick to a Budget

After you’ve made a list of all your gift recipients, and gotten gift ideas from all of them, you can start creating a budget. It’s a good idea to create a budget specifically for gifts because unrecorded gift expenses can easily get out of hand. To help your gift spending not get out of hand, you can take out a small personal loan at your neighborhood Check City store.

Start by looking at your household budget and determining how much you can spend on gifts. Then divide that sum between individuals or events—whichever makes more sense for you. For example, if you have a $100 gift budget and you want to give gifts to John and Mary this year, then you can plan on spending $50 on gifts for each of them. If you want to divide your gift budget between events then you might decide to spend $50 on birthday presents, and $50 on Christmas presents for everyone that year.

Free Downloadable Christmas Gift Budget Printable: Click Here or Here

Keep a Planning Journal

Now you need a separate to do list just for gift giving. This will help you keep track of all that is expected of you throughout the year so that you don’t forget any important events. Try creating a separate folder on your computer just for all your lists. That way you can go to one place each year to find your task list for Christmas, Thanksgiving, and whatever other holidays and occasions you have to plan and prepare for. You can also keep all of this information in an event journal where you record all your tasks so that you can become more efficient at planning with every passing year.

You can use an event planner or folder to keep track of other to do lists like all the things you need to do to get your Christmas cards sent, or for your annual family Christmas party put together, or how you did that graduation party. You can also use it to keep track of gifts you’ve received so you’ll remember to send thank you notes to everyone.

You could also make all of this into a bullet journal if you want to get extra crafty. Then you could possibly keep it as a kind of Christmas journal to commemorate important moments as well as plans.

christmas gifts

Keep a Detailed Record

There is a lot to keep track of with gifts to give and holiday parties to plan. That’s why keeping a careful record is important if you don’t want to forget anything and create stress. One way you can easily do all your gift organizing is to use excel. You can make a spreadsheet on excel or create a table in a word or google doc to keep track of the following:

  • List of all the people you need to get gifts for
  • Your total gift budget
  • What you plan to spend on each person
  • What you bought for each person
  • How much each present cost
  • What Santa gift you got for each child
  • Whether each present has been wrapped yet
  • Whether each gift has been sent or given yet

Visit the Store’s Website First

Don’t just show up at your favorite stores and start shopping—this is how we quickly go over budget. Instead, visit the store’s website first. By going to the website before you go to the store, you can take an inventory of what the store has in stock, and easily compare prices between stores. This practice will save you time, energy, and money. Even if you still go to the store to buy your items rather than buying them online, by taking a look at the website first you’ll have a better idea of what everything will cost you and where it’ll fit in your budget. This way you can see ahead of time what you can get and what they cost to add up your gift totals and make adjustments from the comfort and ease of your couch before you even purchase your first gift.

Shop for the Future

In your gift giving journal or word doc you can keep track of all the events each year that include gift giving, and make your plans ahead of time for each holiday or occasion. This way you can have gifts ready well in advance and make better use of sales to save money. Shopping with the future in mind can also help you have a more relaxing experience while gift shopping, because you won’t be under any time constraints.

Free Downloadable Printout for Yearly Gift Giving Planner: Click Here

Keep Wrapped Gifts Organized

Once you’ve planned, recorded, and bought all of your gifts it’s time to start wrapping them! When undertaking the task of wrapping gifts it is important to stay organized by creating a system.

Pick a space (like your craft room or bedroom) that the kids can’t go into and use it as your base of operations for gift organizing and wrapping.

Use bins, boxes, or laundry baskets that have been marked with each kids name and put their gifts in their stack as you purchase them. This will keep their presents organized and you can even use the bins when you put the wrapped gifts under the tree. You can even decorate the boxes to look like one big present if you want to organize the gifts under the tree a bit and not lose anyone’s presents in the back or under a couch. You can also use the gift basket idea to help you stay organized while you’re wrapping. Keep wrapped gifts in their labeled boxes so there’s not confusion later on about what gift belongs to whom.

Lastly, don’t forget to put a clear name tag on each present once you’ve wrapped each one. This will keep your wrapped gifts even more organized and further keep them from getting confused.

Create a Gift Exchange

The one time having a lot of loved ones can become a burden is when it comes to giving gifts. You want to get everyone you love a gift, but that can be hard to do on a budget. One way to fix this problem is to organize gift exchanges. This is especially helpful for extended families that want to get gifts for their many loved ones but can’t afford getting gifts for both their immediate and extended families. christmas gift ideasYou can also do this with a group of your close friends so you all don’t have to get gifts for every friend you have.

Create your gift exchange groups and then designate a system for exchanging names each year. You can all draw names out of a hat, you can do a secret Santa, or you can do a name rotation. Then you can throw a party each year to exchange gifts with each other.

Free Gift Organization Apps

There are many free apps out there you can also use to keep all your gift giving organized. Here are a few free app ideas you can look into:

  • Giftster
  • Santa’s bag
  • Christmas gift list
  • Gift planner
  • Gift list diary
  • Christmas gift list

Planning out your gift purchases ahead of time is the most efficient way to stay organized and on budget this gift giving season. But the real reason to stay organized as possible this year is because the seasons are meant to be enjoyed, and if you have things planned and organized, then your holiday season will be much more stress free and enjoyable.


READ MORE

Read, “Ten of Our Top Tips for Organized Gift Giving” for even more great tips about staying organized this holiday season.

Visit “Organize Your Gift Giving” for more free holiday printable downloads!


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.

 

READ MORE
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.

Autumn Daily Deals on Amazon

amazon daily deals

Did you know that Amazon has special sales going on every single day?! All you have to do is visit Amazon.com and click on Today’s Deals to see what’s on sale that day. The list of discounts goes on and on so every Tuesday we highlight some of the best Amazon buys. Today Amazon is starting their holiday sales and their Black Friday 2019 sales. You can find a lot of discounts on some great gift ideas. Snatch them up now and finish your holiday shopping early!

*The prices shown below are the sale prices listed at the time of posting.

Marinade Injector Syringe

turkey thanksgiving

 

Current Sale Price: $7.64
Originally: $16.89
You Save: $9.25! (55% off)

This plastic marinade injector syringe is from Ofargo, and comes with a free recipe e-book PDF upon purchasing. Use this syringe to up your meat cooking game and allow you to marinade better than you ever have before. It even comes with two different kinds of needles, one for finely ground sauces and another for liquid purees. The holidays are upon us and now more than ever our kitchens need to be prepared to create fantastic dishes for all our holiday meals.

Meat Thermometer

cooking thermometer

 

Current Sale Price: $16.95
Originally: $19.95
You Save: $3.00! (15% off)

Once you get a cooking thermometer for your kitchen you’ll wonder how you ever did without one. It’s useful for checking that your meats get thoroughly cooked. It only takes 2 to 4 seconds for it to read the temperature, it’s waterproof, and comes with an internal magnet so you can keep it on your fridge. The Kizen instant read meat thermometer can really help your Thanksgiving meal go much smoother.

Remote Control Car

gift idea for kids

 

Current Sale Price: $24.64
Originally: $59.99
You Save: $35.35! (59% off)

The battery operated Bifyton RC car has 360 degree tumble action so you can make your car do all kinds of awesome stunts! The remote control allows you to control your stunt car from up to 20 meters away and it comes with a rechargeable battery. This remote control car is a perfect gift idea for kids.

 

Beard Oil Conditioner

gift ideas for men

 

Current Sale Price: $15.19
Originally: $17.88
You Save: $2.69! (15%)

This 3 pack includes 3, 1 ounce bottles of 100% natural beard oil. The scents included are clary sage, cedar pine, and sandalwood. Viking Revolution knows that beards need a little TLC every once in awhile, that’s why they created this great gift box idea for the bearded men in your life.

 

Fitbit Fitness Smartwatch

fitbit sale

 

Current Sale Price: $149.95
Originally: $199.95
You Save: $50.00! (25% off)

The benefits of a Fitbit watch are seemingly endless. With a smart wristwatch you can better monitor your health, ask Alexa questions, listen to music, and so much more. You can save so much on this sleek smart watch by purchasing it today and use it yourself or wrap it up as a gift!

Amazon Basics Bedroom and Bathroom Essentials

house essentials

 

You Can Save Up to 34%!

Our homes are always in need of some basic essentials. Amazon basics can help you with that. Today Amazon basics are having a sale on all things bedroom and bathroom, from bed sheets, to bath towels. This is also a good gift idea if you have any newlyweds you need to get presents for.

Amazon Monthly Book Deals

Amazon is a wonderful place to get your winter reading fix. They have a countless number of deals on paperbacks and kindle books. Amazon also has sales on audiobooks. Keeping up with a healthy reading list doesn’t have to cost a lot with Amazon book deals.

Save on Audible Membership!

amazon kindle daily deal

 

Current Sale Price: $6.95 per month for the first 3 months
Originally: $14.95 per month (after 3 months returns to original price)
You Save: $8.00! (53% off) on your first 3 months of audible

One of Amazon’s ongoing holiday deals is a 3 month discount on an audible membership. With audible you can have access to a giant library of audiobooks. You can even give an audible membership as a gift to someone.

What You Did

by Claire McGowan

amazon daily book deals

 

Current Sale Price:$7.98 paperback
Originally:$15.95
You Save:$7.97! (50% off)

Mystery Thriller, Psychological Thriller

What You Did is a gripping tale of betrayal and mystery. During a college reunion with her friends, Ali’s husband is accused of assaulting one of her best friends. But as the story unfolds it becomes clear that her friend might not be telling the truth, and that something much bigger is going on.

Stillhouse Lake

by Rachel Caine

amazon black friday daily deals

 

Current Sale Price:$6.38 paperback
Originally:$15.95
You Save:$9.57! (60% off)

Psychological Thriller

Stillhouse Lake is about a girl named Gina Royal who has a calm, quiet life as a housewife with two kids. But everything changes when she finds out that her loving husband is actually a serial killer. Now Gina must remake herself in order to survive.

My Sister’s Grave

by Robert Dugoni

amazon kindle books daily deals

 

Current Sale Price: $6.38 paperback
Originally:$15.95
You Save: $9.57! (60% off)

Mystery Thriller

My Sister’s Grave is about a girl named Tracy whose sister was killed. A man named Edmund House went to prison for her sister’s murder, but Tracy believes the wrong man was put away for the crime. Follow her journey as she becomes a detective and figures out what really happened to her sister.

 

Holiday sales and Black Friday discounts are the best time to buy things we really need and gifts for those we love. Some people might even depend on buying certain items when they’re on sale. So when you find something you really need on sale, and payday is just a couple days too late, that can be really frustrating.

Luckily Check City can help you out with a quick and easy Personal Loan so that you can save money in the long term and take advantage of important deals regardless of when they happen.


READ MORE

Make clothes shopping not just easier, but cheaper too, by doing your clothes shopping online, “Shopping for Your Clothes Online.”

Get ahead on your Christmas shopping this year, “4 Reasons to Start Early Christmas Shopping.”

Learn how to get thrifty with all your gift shopping this season, “Thrifty Gift Shopping.”

Read all about the post Christmas online shopping addiction and how to you can save yourself from overbuying this year, “The Post-Christmas Online Shopping Addiction.”

Save on all your holiday shopping with these tips, “Saving while Online Shopping for the Holidays.”


Happy HoliDeals with Amazon Daily Deals!

amazon deals of the day

There are lots of great deals you can take advantage of every single day, with Amazon’s Daily Deals! You won’t believe some of the great things you can find. Every Tuesday we highlight some of our favorite Amazon Daily Deal buys. Here are some of our top picks from today:

*The prices shown below are the sale prices listed at the time of posting.

Dash Rapid Egg Cooker

dash egg cooker

6 Egg Capacity

Current Sale Price: $14.99
Originally: $19.99
You Save: $5.00! (25% off)

12 Egg Capacity

Current Sale Price: $39.99
Originally: $19.99
You Save: $20.00! (50% off)

Dash is the same brand that brought you the mini waffle maker—the same mini waffle maker you can use make easy keto-friendly waffles known as chaffles. The Dash egg cooker comes with either a 6 or 12 egg capacity and comes in black, white, red, yellow, and aqua colors. It will cook hard boiled eggs, poached eggs, scrambled eggs, or omelets. It also has an auto shut off feature to make it an extra safe kitchen appliance. By getting the Dash egg cooker you can make perfect eggs with no hassle at all!

Mr. Coffee Coffee Maker

coffee maker

Current Sale Price: $20.39
Originally: $29.99
You Save: $9.60! (32% off)

This programmable coffee maker comes in black, with an easy to open filter basket for easy cleaning. This coffee maker is exactly what you need to manage your busy mornings. With it’s programmable features you can actually set the coffee maker on a specific schedule so you can literally wake up to a warm cup of coffee! It will also auto shut off after an hour so you don’t have to worry about forgetting it when you’re in a rush in the mornings. You can also pause it when you need to grab a cup quickly before it’s done brewing, and it comes with a coffee pot that holds up to 5 cups of coffee.

Reusable Sandwich Bags

reusable sandwich bags

Current Sale Price: $14.39
Originally: $29.99
You Save: $15.60! (52% off)

These eco-friendly reusable bags are just what your kitchen is missing. Not only can you help the environment by buying these reusable bags but you can also make your life in the kitchen easier and save money in the long run. By purchasing reusable sandwich bags you won’t have to keep buying plastic ones every time you run out. These reusable storage bags come in a pack of 10, with 2 gallon bags, 4 sandwich bags, and 4 snack bags. The bags are thick and leakproof making them perfect for many purposes like, packing lunches, storing things in the freezer, marinating meats, or for storing other foods. They’re safe to use in the freezer and will protect your foods from freezer burn while helping you stay organized.

Robot Vacuum

robot vacuum

Current Sale Price: $217.94
Originally: $429.98
You Save: $212.04! (49%)

Robot vacuums may be one of the most useful Amazon purchases you’ll ever make. Imagine never having to sweep or vacuum your floors again because your robot vacuum will do it for you! Not only will this vacuum handle cleaning your floors, but you can also control it easily with an app and set it on a schedule so your floors get cleaned every day. You can also use voice command to control your robot vacuum if you have Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant. The Deebot robot vacuum works on both hard floors and carpets, has high efficiency cleaning paths, and you can even increase the suction power setting for even deeper cleaning. This particular deal today even comes with a fee echo dot!

USB Power Strip

power strip

Current Sale Price: $15.29
Originally: $17.99
You Save: $2.70! (15% off)

This power strip isn’t like any other power strip. Along with it’s 3 regular outlets, it has 3 USB ports. The extension cord is also 4.5 feet in length and uses an angled, flat plug that can easily fit behind furniture and won’t cover up the whole outlet. You can even mount this power strip to the wall, making it the perfect choice for your office, bedside, or wherever you want to keep your charging station because you can plug everything into this one port. It’s also compact in size so you can even carry it around with you while you’re traveling so you can always have enough plug ins wherever you go.

Fire TV Stick

fire tv

Current Sale Price: $34.99
Originally: $39.99
You Save: $5.00! (13% off)

The Fire TV stick comes with an Alexa voice remote so you can control your TV with your voice. You can stream anything with the Fire TV, from Disney+ to Netflix, Hulu, HBO and so much more. The new Fire TV remote now come with a designated power, volume, and mute button so use this deal on the new Fire TV stick and remote while it’s still on sale. The Fire TV is also a great gift idea for the upcoming gift-giving season.

Dog Camera

home security camera

Current Sale Price: $33.99
Originally: $69.99
You Save: $36.00! (51% off)

It never hurts to be a little cautious when it comes to our home, our kids, and our pets. This security camera can be used not only to keep an eye on your pets while you’re away, but also to keep an eye on your home, and your children too! It can even be used as a form of family home movie maker. The Tenvis security camera comes with motion detection that will alert your phone when it detects something, and night vision that can see for up to 32 feet so you can keep the perfect eye on your house. It also comes with 2 way audio so you can speak to those at home while you’re out. This home camera system is an ideal choice too because it has 1080P full HD quality video and can swivel it’s camera head in every direction so you don’t miss a thing.

 

Amazon Monthly Book Deals

Did you know Amazon has kindle deals every month?! It’s important to keep the joy of reading alive in your life and having your own library to go to is the key. With kindle e-readers this job is easy. Amazon also has great sales on great books going on all the time, and on audiobooks too. So reading lots of new things each year doesn’t have to cost a lot.

Duck and Hippo Give Thanks

by Jonathan London and Illustrated by Andrew Joyner

kid books

Current Sale Price:$9.00 hardcover
Originally:$17.99 (digital) $12.95 (print)
You Save:$8.99! (50% off)

Children’s Books

Duck and Hippo Give Thanks is a great book to get your kids for this Thanksgiving season. Let them read all about Duck and Hippo as they celebrate Thanksgiving with friends and learn what giving thanks is all about.

The Butterfly Garden

by Dot Hutchison

amazon books

Current Sale Price:$6.39 paperback
Originally:$15.95
You Save:$9.56! (60% off)

Thriller’s and Suspense

The Butterfly Garden isn’t at all what it seems. The gardener is a twisted man bent on keeping beauty confined in his beautiful garden until he is discovered. FBI agents go through this suspenseful case along with survivor Maya and her puzzling tale.

The Road Beyond Ruin

by Gemma Liviero

amazon deals

Current Sale Price:$7.48 paperback
Originally:$14.95
You Save:$7.47! (50% off)

Fiction

The Road Beyond Ruin takes place in 1945 when an Italian POW named Stefan takes an orphaned young boy under his wing. As they try to journey home they find shelter in a kind man’s house, but eventually find that things aren’t all what they seem.

The Paper Magician

by Charlie N. Holmberg

amazon book deals

Current Sale Price: $7.48 paperback
Originally:$14.95
You Save: $7.47! (50% off)

Fantasy

Ceony Twill is a recent graduate of a magical school and now she’s on to an apprenticeship with the Magician Emery Thane. With him she’ll learn paper magic and eventually use all she’s learned to take on a dark magician and save her teacher’s life.

 

Sometimes deals and sales are the way that we get things we really need. You may especially depend on sales when you’re in college, or just starting out on your own, or in a new place. So when you find something you really need on sale, and payday is just a couple days too late, that can be really frustrating.

Luckily Check City can help you out with a quick and easy Payday Loan so that you can take advantage of important deals regardless of when your payday comes.

 

Share with us what deals you snagged today by using the hashtags #amazondailydeals #checkcity.

 

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Make clothes shopping not just easier, but cheaper too, by doing your clothes shopping online, “Shopping for Your Clothes Online.”

Get ahead on your Christmas shopping this year, “4 Reasons to Start Early Christmas Shopping.”

Learn how to get thrifty with all your gift shopping this season, “Thrifty Gift Shopping.”

Read all about the post Christmas online shopping addiction and how to you can save yourself from overbuying this year, “The Post-Christmas Online Shopping Addiction.”

Save on all your holiday shopping with these tips, “Saving while Online Shopping for the Holidays.”


Dave Ramsey’s 7 Baby Steps

dave ramsey baby steps

Are you trying to get out of debt? Do you want more financial stability and freedom? Are your finances one of the bigger stresses in your life right now?

Explore this Article

Step 1: Start an Emergency Fund
Step 2: Focus on Debts
Step 3: Complete Your Emergency Fund
Step 4: Save for Retirement
Step 5: Start a College Fund
Step 6: Pay Off Your House
Step 7: Build Wealth

If any of these sentiments apply to you then Dave Ramsey’s 7 baby steps might be just what you need to cure your money blues.

Dave Ramsey is a guy who, through personal experience, was able to get out of debt and find financial peace of mind. He is now a financial expert with courses and books to help the everyday person get in control of their finances.

The best place to start when trying to regain control over your finances and achieve a full “money makeover” is to start with his 7 step plan. This plan has 7 baby steps that you follow to reach more financial stability and get to the point where you can start building wealth.

Step 1: Start an Emergency Fund

car maintenance

The first step in Dave Ramsey’s 7 step plan is, “Save $1,000 for Your Starter Emergency Fund.”

One of the main reasons people struggle with money is because necessary emergency expenses (like medical bills, car bills, or home repairs) come out of nowhere and drag you deeper and deeper into debt. But if you are preemptively prepared for these surprise expenses then they won’t take you off guard again.

So the very first thing you should do when getting your money in line is to get an emergency fund started. Save up an emergency fund in a separate bank account, until you have at least $1,000 in the account. This will be the start of the emergency fund that will keep sudden necessary expenses from plunging you into deep debts because you weren’t prepared.

Step 2: Focus on Debts

debts

The second step in Dave Ramsey’s plan is to “Pay Off All Debt (Except the House) Using the Debt Snowball.”

The snowball method that Dave Ramsey refers to here means that you start by paying off small debts first, and work your way up to the bigger debts. Debts can include paying off your car, credit card debts, and student loans.

First, make a giant list of all your debts, every single one, except for your mortgage if you have a house. Then, put your list of debts in order from the smallest debt amount to the largest. Then you go through knocking out each debt by eliminating the smallest debts first and working your way up to the largest debt last.

Step 3: Complete Your Emergency Fund

medical bills

The third step is to “Save 3 to 6 Months of Expenses in a Fully Funded Emergency Fund.”

Now that you’ve gotten all your debts out of the way, it’s time to finish your emergency fund. You can use the same money you were using to pay off debts each month and put it toward your emergency fund until it has enough to cover 3 to 6 months’ worth of expenses and bills. Then you’ll really be prepared for anything.

Reasons to Have an Emergency Fund

  1. If you lose your job.
  2. You won’t have to worry because you’ll have enough to last you 6 months. This will give you the time you’ll need to find a new job.

  3. If your car breaks down.
  4. You’ll be able to pay for the necessary repairs, the tow truck, or even for a new car in some cases.

  5. Medical bills.
  6. Don’t let your health and necessary medical bills keep you from staying afloat financially.

  7. Home repairs.
  8. If something happens to your home you’ll be able to fix the problem rather than living with it.

Having an emergency fund is THE key to keeping you out of debt in the future. After getting yourself out of debt, an emergency fund is what will keep you from getting back into debt in the future.

Step 4: Save for Retirement

retirement

The fourth step in the Dave Ramsey plan is to, “Invest 15% of Your Household Income in Retirement.”

After your debts are gone and your emergency fund is taken care of, it’s time to start seeing to other important savings like a 401K. Dave Ramsey recommends you take 15% of your gross monthly income and put it toward a retirement fund each month. To figure out how much you should be putting into your retirement fund each month, take your monthly income and multiply that number by 0.15.

Step 5: Start a College Fund

college funds

The fifth step to Dave Ramsey’s plan is to, “Save for Your Children’s College Fund.”

Avoiding student loan debts can be one of the biggest factors in staying out debt as a young adult. If you can pay for your kids college tuition then you’ll ensure their financial security in the future, as they’ll better be able to stay out debt. Dave Ramsey recommends using either a 529 college savings plans, or an education savings accounts (ESA). Talk to your bank or credit union about setting up these accounts for these specific purposes.

Step 6: Pay Off Your House

mortgage

The next to last step in this 7 step plan is to, “Pay Off Your Home Early.”

Put all the extra monthly income you have into your mortgage so you can finish paying it off early. After this step you will officially have no debts whatsoever! All of your earnings will go to you instead of getting drained away in large debts and payments.

Step 7: Build Wealth

wealth and legacy

Finally, it is time to, “Build Wealth and Give.”

Congratulations! Once you’ve reached the 7th step in Dave Ramsey’s Baby Steps, you can start focusing on building your wealth and leaving a legacy. Don’t forget to keep and maintain those financial safety nets like a healthy emergency fund, retirement account, savings account, and college funds.

Now you are officially in charge of your money rather than it being in charge of you.

Financial freedom is possible for you! Everyone can do it and Dave Ramsey’s 7 baby steps can help you get there. Dave Ramsey also has other resources that can help you implement this plan. You can participate in Dave Ramsey’s program, books, and podcasts.

You can take the actual course with Financial Peace University.

Dave Ramsey also has a free customized plan and assessment that you can do right now, in just 3 minutes!

Listen to the Dave Ramsey Show anywhere you listen to podcasts or radio.

 
Dave Ramsey’s 7 baby steps to financial freedom can help you with so many aspects of your life. They can help you decide when to buy a house or help you get situated for saving for a house. It’s a checklist program that can help you get rid of loans and debt (like student loans), or even help you get to where you can budget for a wedding.

Another way you can get some needed financial help is to take out an Installment Loan at Check City! Installment loans can help you stay on top of your bill payments and avoid late fees, which can really hurt your long-term financial goals.


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Browse Dave Ramsey’s online store for more great financial resources to help you on your financial journey.

Read more helpful articles on the Dave Ramsey Blog

Learn more about the debt snowball, “How the Debt Snowball Method Works.”

Read Dave Ramsey’s full article on his 7 baby steps, “What Are the Baby Steps?

Stay out of debt through college by using these tips, “How to Stay Debt Free through Grad School.”


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


80 Best Halloween Movies, TV Shows, and Podcasts



halloween media list

October is a great time to get into some chilling Halloween media. There are movies and TV shows you can watch, suspenseful books you can read, and spooky podcasts you can listen to. This article is a Halloween media master list to help you decide what to watch, read, or listen to this Halloween.

If you need some creative Halloween snacks you can check out Food Network’s Halloween section on their website and make your monstrous media night complete! Tell us what your favorite Halloween Movie, TV Show or Podcast is in the comments section below!

Just don’t get TOO spooked this Halloween—viewer and listener discretion is advised!

Scary Movies

halloween movies

Horror films are a strong tradition for older audiences during the dark, cold Halloween nights. But kids often want to watch something special for Halloween too! So we included some kid Halloween movie ideas in this list as well.

Halloween Movies for Kids

1. Hotel Transylvania
2. Hocus Pocus
3. Halloweentown
4. Casper
5. It’s the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown
6. The Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot About Halloween
7. The Curse of the Were-Rabbit

Halloween Movies on Netflix

8. Coraline
9. Goosebumps
10. Candyman
11. 1922: Based on the Novella by Stephen King
12. Little Witch: The Halloween Horror Story
13. Insidious
14. The Conjuring

Halloween Movies on Amazon Prime

15. I, Frankenstein
16. Sweeney Todd
17. Corpse Bride
18. Haunted
19. Lost Creek
20. The Legend of Halloween Jack
21. The Uninvited
22. The Witching
23. Halloween Horror Tales
24. The Woman in Black

Halloween Movies on Hulu

Hulu really likes to make an event out of Halloween. They have what they call Huluween, which is a category you can choose when browsing Hulu for what to watch.

25. Little Monsters
26. Uncanny Annie
27. Pure
28. School Spirit
29. Culture Shock
30. They Come Knocking
31. All That We Destroy
32. Tree House
33. Down

The “Halloween” Movie Series in Order

The Halloween franchise is a long series of movies starring Nick Castle as the infamous Michael Myers. But because there are so many movies in the series it can be confusing which movie goes in which order.

Below is the answer to all your questions about the Halloween movie series order:

  1. Halloween (1978), directed by John Carpenter
  2. Halloween II (1981), directed by Rick Rosenthal
  3. Halloween III: Season of the Witch (1982), directed by Tommy Lee Wallace
  4. Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers (1988), directed by Dwight H. Little
  5. Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers (1989), directed by Dominique Othenin-Girard
  6. Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers (1995), directed by Joe Chappelle
  7. Halloween H20: 20 Years Later (1998), directed by Steve Miner
  8. Halloween: Resurrection (2002), directed by Rick Rosenthal
  9. Halloween (2007), directed by Rob Zombie
  10. Halloween II (2009), directed by Rob Zombie
  11. Halloween (2018), directed by David Gordon Green
  12. Halloween Kills (2020), directed by David Gordon Green
  13. Halloween Ends (2021), directed by David Gordon Green

Spooky TV Shows

halloween tv

Many shows will have a TV special for holidays like Halloween, but some TV series will dedicate the entire show to the spooky feelings of the Halloween season. These Halloween-themed TV shows make great binging material for those who want more than a movie to watch.

Halloween TV Shows on Netflix

34. The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina
35. Charmed (the original 1998 series, and the newer 2018 version)
36. Stranger Things
37. Castlevania
38. Haunted
39. Penny Dreadful
40. Dexter
41. Van Helsing
42. Glitch
43. A Series of Unfortunate Events
44. The Haunting of Hill House

Halloween Anime on Netflix

45. Devilman
46. Death Note
47. Soul Eater

Halloween TV Shows on Amazon Prime

48. Lore
49. Fringe
50. Addams Family
51. Sabrina: The Teenage Witch
52. Haunted

Halloween TV Shows on Hulu

53. Light as a Feather
54. Castle Rock
55. Dimension 404
56. 11.22.63
57. Freakish
58. Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Suspenseful Books

halloween books

Don’t forget amidst all your haunted media consumption this year to include a few books as well. The freedom your imagination has to embellish scary stories from literature will leave you with chills until late November.

59. The Shining

By Stephen King

Kindle: $8.99

Audiobook: FREE with Audible trial!

60. Suspicious Minds

By Gwenda Bond

Kindle: $12.99

Audiobook: FREE with Audible trial!

This book is the first official Stranger Things novel! It’s a prequel to the Netflix original Stranger Things TV series.

61. Annihilation: Book One of the Southern Reach Trilogy

By Jeff VanderMeer

Kindle: $9.94

Audiobook: FREE with Audible Trial!

62. Fake Like Me

By Barbara Bourland

Kindle: $14.99

Audiobook: FREE with Audible Trial!

63. The Invited

By Jennifer McMahon

Kindle: $12.99

Audiobook: FREE with Audible Trial!

Creepy Audiobooks

halloween books

Looking to hear some great ghost stories? Audiobooks are a great way to listen to the eerie voices of narrators recounting ghostly tales while you and your friends listen in the dark or around a campfire.

64. Frankenstein

By Mary Shelley

Narrated by Dan Stevens

Kindle: $0.50

Audiobook: FREE with Audible Trial!

65. Dracula

By Bram Stoker

Narrated by David Suchet and Tom Hiddleston

Kindle: FREE!

Audiobook: FREE with Audible Trial!

66. The Haunting of Hill House

Narrated by Bernadette Dunne

Kindle: $14.99

Audiobook: FREE with Audible Trial!

67. Interview with a Vampire

By Anne Rice

Narrated by Simon Vance

Kindle: $7.99

Audiobook: FREE with Audible Trial!

68. Lincoln in the Bardo

By George Saunders

Narrated by Nick Offerman, David Sedaris, Julianne Moore, Ben Stiller, Susan Sarandon, Megan Mullally, Bill Hader, Don Cheadle, and over 150 other voice actors

Kindle: $13.99

Audiobook: FREE with Audible Trial!

69. The Handmaid’s Tale

By Margaret Atwood

Narrated by Claire Danes

Kindle: FREE with Kindle Unlimited

Audiobook: FREE with Audible Trial!

Eerie Podcasts

halloween podcasts

These horror podcasts are all available on Google Play Music so that whether you have an Android or an iPhone you can listen to all these podcasts. There are podcasts here that talk about the supernatural and the strange, and then there are others that talk about the real life horrors of true crime.

70. Cabinet of Curiosities

By iHeartRadio and Aaron Mahnke

71. Lore

By Aaron Mahnke

72. Unobscured

By iHeartRadio and Aaron Mahnke

73. Listen with the Lights On

By WAMC

74. Pretty Scary

By Unpops Podcast Network

75. My Favorite Murder

By Exactly Right

76. Unexplained Mysteries

By Parcast Network

77. The Strange and Unusual Podcasts

By Alyson Horrocks

78. Hollywood and Crime

By Wondery

79. This Podcast is Haunted

By Jen Vos and Cate Reed

80. Welcome to Night Vale

By Night Vale Presents

 

One of the funnest parts of the Halloween season is getting into some spooky media! Use this master list of scary, Halloween movies and more to kick start your Halloween media binge this year or to pick a movie for a scary movie night with your friends. If you need any financial help getting your monster movie night together, check out Check City’s payday loans.


READ MORE

Use this article to help set up your movie night, “5 Ingenious Movie Night Ideas for Your Movie Themed Party.”

Save money going to the theater to see new scary movies this year by using MoviePass, “Save Money With MoviePass.”


Let us know your favorite Halloween-themed books, movies, TV shows, and podcasts by commenting below!

Comments:

Today’s Amazon Daily Deals!

amazon daily deals

There are lots of great deals you can take advantage of every single day, with Amazon’s Daily Deals! You won’t believe some of the great things you can find. Every Tuesday we highlight some of our favorite Amazon Daily Deal buys. Here are some of our top picks from today:

*The prices shown below are the sale prices listed at the time of posting.

Handheld Fabric Steamer

lightning deals

Current Sale Price: $44.23
Originally: $67.99
You Save: $23.76! (35% off)

With the Rowenta handheld fabric steamer you can win the battle against wrinkles with incredible ease. It has an extra large metal head to smooth out the biggest wrinkles, and has a water tank that’s 6.76 oz in size so you can use it for up to 10 minutes before needing to refill.

It’s also ready to use in just 45 seconds! This steamer doesn’t just get out wrinkles, it also cleans and sanitizes! It kills 99.9% of germs, dust mites, and bacteria. The Rowenta steamer also comes with accessories, a fabric brush, a steam bonnet, and a door hook.

 

Ello Glass Tumbler

todays deals

Current Sale Price: $7.66
Originally: $12.99
You Save: $5.33! (41% off)

Looking for an easy to use cup and straw for smoothies? Ello makes some great tumblers, thermoses, and water bottles, and this one is on sale! It has a real wooden lid, and the interior vessel is made of actual glass, which makes everything taste better. But around the glass bottle is a silicone layer that protects the glass, and acts as a coaster, so it won’t slip around on the table. It’s even dishwasher safe!

 

Arteza Sketch Book

sketchbook deal

Current Sale Price: $14.94
Originally: $21.98
You Save: $7.04! (32% off)

If you need a gift for the artists in your life here’s a great find! This is a pack of 2 sketchbooks, each one has 100 sheets, giving you 200 sheets total of premium drawing paper. It’s also a spiral bound notebook, with durable, acid free drawing paper.

 

Panasonic Lumix Digital Camera

digital camera discount

Current Sale Price: $497.99
Originally: $999.99
You Save: $502.00! (50% off)

This is probably the biggest deal of the day today. It has great photo and video quality, capturing 4k videos! This camera also has high speed technology to get all your action shots. There’s also a touch screen in the back that moves so you can bring the screen out. The Panasonic Lumix camera also comes with a 45 to 150 mm lens.

 

Ultimate Beard Kit

beard kit gift

Current Sale Price: $12.59

Have a bearded man in your life? Get him the ultimate beard grooming kit from KINGPIN. This bear kit comes with beard oil, a brush, a comb, vanilla beard balm, scissors, and a pouch to keep it all in.

 

Sometimes deals and sales are the way that we get things we really need. You may especially depend on sales when you’re in college, or just starting out on your own, or in a new place. So when you find something you really need on sale, and payday is just a couple days too late, that can be really frustrating.

Luckily Check City can help you out with a quick and easy Payday Loan so that you can take advantage of important deals regardless of when your payday comes.

 

Share with us what deals you snagged today by using the hashtags #amazondailydeals #checkcity.

 

READ MORE

Make clothes shopping not just easier, but cheaper too, by doing your clothes shopping online, “Shopping for Your Clothes Online.”

Get ahead on your Christmas shopping this year, “4 Reasons to Start Early Christmas Shopping.”

Learn how to get thrifty with all your gift shopping this season, “Thrifty Gift Shopping.”

Read all about the post Christmas online shopping addiction and how to you can save yourself from overbuying this year, “The Post-Christmas Online Shopping Addiction.”

Save on all your holiday shopping with these tips, “Saving while Online Shopping for the Holidays.”


13 Halloween Activities to Do this October

halloween fun

Halloween isn’t just for little kids who go trick or treating. There are loads of things to do during this spooky section of the fall season that all ages can enjoy.

October is a great time of year because it’s Halloween time and fall time. So it’s completely up to you how you celebrate this month—whether decide to do spookier, Halloween themed activities, or just fall time ones.
 
Here are 13 things to do this October:

  1. Have a Halloween Party
  2. Have a Scary Movie Night
  3. Start Some Fall Time Baking
  4. Go to a Haunted House or Corn Maze
  5. Carve Pumpkins
  6. Do Some Crafts
  7. Participate in Your Community
  8. Trunk or Treat with Friends
  9. Play Games
  10. Make Your Own Haunted House
  11. Have a Campfire and Tell Each Other Scary Stories
  12. Read Scary Books
  13. Listen to Spooky Podcasts

There are tons of fun, festive activities you can do in October, or you can search events near you on google. By the time October comes around there are often tons of events going on for kids, families, and friends near you.

1. Have a Halloween Party

halloween party
 

Include a Costume Contest

Costume contests are a great event to include in any Halloween party. A costume contest is a great idea too because it gives those who have grown out of their trick or treat years a chance to dress up for Halloween too. Here are some things you can do to successfully hold a Halloween costume contest.

Decide what the prize will be.

You can make some kind of trophy or you can buy one. You can even have different rewards for winning different categories.

Halloween costume category ideas:

  • best group costume
  • scariest costume
  • funniest costume
  • most creative
  • most original

Make the invites!

Like any event, you’ll want to invite your guests. You can quickly invite everyone you know by making a Facebook event. You can also put up flyers or send out invites in the mail. You can make your spooky invites yourself the traditional way, with glue and paper, or you can design and print them on free websites like Canva and Adobe Spark. If you don’t want to pay for printing out a bunch of invites, but you still want to design something fun, you can also send out your spooktacular design via email.

Decide what the rules will be.

If your costume contest is going to need a set of rules, it’s best to outline them as early as possible so that people can appropriately plan their costumes ahead of time.

Examples of costume contest rules:

  • Maybe it’s a family party and costumes need to be appropriate, or not too gruesome
  • Maybe it’s a themed party and costumes need to be on theme
  • You can have rules about whether you allow group contestants

Choose the judges.

Every contest needs judges to decide the end results. Before you can have the contest you’ll need to decide who these judges will be.
If you don’t want to have the outcome of your contest depend on the decision of one or a few people, you can make everyone the judge and provide a place for guests to enter their own votes for who should win.

Figure out how you’ll judge.

After you decide who will judge you have to decide how they’ll judge. They’ll need to know what things to look for in deciding who should win.

How to judge a costume contest:

  • Scariness
  • Creativity
  • Originality
  • Best group costumes
Play Games

Board games don’t have to be Halloween themed in order to be a great group activity for a party. October is a cold month, making things like board games a great thing to do when you and your guests want to stay indoors.

Party Food

The food for your Halloween party is one of the things you can get super creative about. For instance, you can put labels on the food to give them spooky names. Punch then becomes a witch’s cauldron, grapes become spider eggs, and deviled eggs become eyeballs.

Choose a beverage

There are an endless variety of punches for you to choose from. Below are some websites with witchy Halloween brews to quench your ghoulish guest’s thirst:

Choose appetizers

Every party needs some great food to keep everybody full and happy. There are the staple party foods like chips, pretzels, and dip. But you can also make your own little appetizers, or your own party mix, to add some Halloween creativity to your food table.

Spooky Playlist

Lots of music streaming services have a Halloween themed playlist you can use.

2. Have a Scary Movie Night

scary movie night
 

Have a movie night with friends, host a drive in movie, or if it’s not too cold you can have an outdoor movie night on the lawn. You’ll need to plan some movie worthy snacks, like popcorn, soda, candy, and other treats.

Then you’ll need to plan the movie watching space, gathering all the cozy blankets, pillows, and flashlights your guests will need to be comfortable during the duration of the movie. You could even make a fort for you all to hide out in while you watch some scarier movie choices.
Then you’ll need to pick your movie.

Classic Halloween Movies

Experience some older but great Halloween movies this season.

  • Hocus Pocus
  • The Nightmare before Christmas
  • Halloweentown
  • Casper
  • Monster House
  • Beetlejuice
Halloween Movie Snacks
  • popcorn, seasoned sweet or salty
  • pretzels
  • fruits
  • veggie trays
  • make your own monster mash mix

3. Start Some Fall Time Baking

fall time baking
 

You can have a night of baking or cooking together with friends! Gather your favorite people around you, listen to your favorite music, turn on a show, converse, or play games all while making yummy fall time foods and desserts.

Check out these 50 Easy Fall Baking Recipes from Taste of Home for some ideas of what you could bake. But here are some other fall staples you could look into making with some friends:

  • Maple donuts. Everyone can help form the donuts out of the dough.
  • Candy apples. This is a great group activity because you can have all the decorating options out on a table and everyone can make up their own candy apples.
  • Pumpkin bread. Slices of this seasonal bread goes great with warm cups of cocoa or apple cider.
  • Apple cider. If you live near an apple orchard or an apple cider press you can make a night of picking apples and watching them get pressed into freshly made apple cider.
  • Sticky buns. A warm, gooey classic to chunk out on in the cold months.

4. Go to a Haunted House or Corn Maze

There are lots of outdoor Halloween activities you can do in October. There are scary corn mazes and regular ones, hayrides, and haunted houses.

5. Carve Pumpkins

carve pumpkin
 

Jack-o-lanterns can be really fun, no matter how old you are.

  • Remember to be safe
  • Use templates
  • Make it a competition
  • Use sharpie to draw your design first
  • box cutters
  • Use a pumpkin carving kit
  • use a tarp!

6. Do Some Crafts

This is an especially great activity to do when you have little kids to occupy. Happiness is Homemade has some great craft ideas to choose from.

7. Participate in Your Community

You can volunteer! Or start a cause or charity. This time of year is a great time to use Halloween fun as an opportunity to fundraise, or do a coat drive.

8. Trunk or Treat with Friends

Just because you’re not 8 years old anymore, that doesn’t mean you can’t have your own trunk or treat with friends. Everyone can decorate the trunks of their car as you all go around the parking lot getting candy and being with those you care about.

9. Play Games

Before it gets too cold out you can all get outside and play some fun spooky games. There are some classic games you can play with friends that can really get you in the eerie Halloween spirit.

10. Make Your Own Haunted House

haunted house
 

Who needs to spend money on expensive tickets when you can haunt your own house!

  • Decide where you’re going to have it, the porch, inside the house, in the basement
  • Use tarps to make the walls
  • Cover everything in cobwebs
  • Save money by making your own decorations and scary characters

11. Have a Campfire and Tell Each Other Scary Stories

campfire
 

Here’s a list of some books where you can find uncomfortable tales to tell in the dark.

12. Read Scary Books

13. Listen to Spooky Podcasts

 

It’s always fun to do seasonal things and get into the spirit of the season, whether that means doing scary stuff like haunted houses, or just festive fall time things like baking. And if payday just isn’t landing on the right day this October, you can always take out a convenient Payday Loan to tide you over.


READ MORE

Plan your Halloween festivities this year, “Start Planning Your Halloween Festivities Today.”

Keep you and your kids safe this Halloween with these tips, “5 Important Halloween Safety Tips.”

Stay on budget this year with these Halloween budgeting tips, “Saving Money on Halloween.”

Get inspired for your Halloween costume, “8 Cheap Halloween Costume Ideas on a Budget.”


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