Budget Friendly Valentine’s Gifts for Him

Budget Friendly Valentine’s Gifts for Him


This post contains affiliate links. For more information, see my disclosures here.

Saying, “I love you” doesn’t mean spending a lot of money. In fact, showing someone you care is more about moments than items.

That said – I still love gift giving!

Here is a roundup of budget friendly gifts to show that special man in your life, that you care. (I tried to stick below $20, but there are a few that are a bit above that).

The Techie

The Foodie

The Musician

The Man’s Man

The Dad

The Romantic

Some of my favorite ideas are creating a memory book, a coupon book of dates or special things you’ll do for him, or the date night idea cards.

It’s not hard to find gifts that are both affordable and thoughtful.

If you have any other ideas that boyfriends or husbands might love, please share them in the comments below!

 

Gift Guide: Budget Friendly Valentine’s Gifts For Your Man
8 Romantic and Budget Friendly Valentine’s Day Ideas

8 Romantic and Budget Friendly Valentine’s Day Ideas

My favorite way to show others that I care for them is through gifts. Unfortunately, that language of love isn’t always the best for my wallet! This year, with saving being one of our main goals I’ve had to think about some ways that my hubby and I can have a special time together without blowing our budget.

Did you know that a study done by the National Retail Federation says that the average American spends $136.57 on Valentine’s day plans and gifts?! That’s quite a bit…especially considering our entire budget for the month to eat out is $100!

So, for those of you who are on a budget like we are, but would like to have a romantic time with your significant other. Here are 8 ways that you can save money, yet savor the moment with your honey.

Dine In

Who says you have to go out for a fancy meal? Valentine’s can be memorable and special without going out dinner! Instead of sitting in a packed restaurant or waiting an hour to get a table, enjoy the opportunity to slow down and cook your favorite meal together. With some mood lighting, the right music, and that special someone you can have an even more romantic experience then in a bustling restaurant.

For those with kids, yes I know that doesn’t seem relaxing; however, there are a few options for you.

1. Feed the kids a special dinner of their favorite foods and then tuck them in for the night. Once they are snuggled in bed you can turn on some slow music and start cooking a tasty meal together. While it’s cooking, you can dance in the kitchen, change into that special outfit you have for your dinner, or share a smooch 😉 What really matters is for one evening to truly slow down and take the time to enjoy each other’s company!

2. Send the kids off their grandparents and let them have a special Valentine’s party together, while you and your love get to enjoy some peace and quiet at home!

Go Out for Dessert

I truly believe chocolate should be a love language…or more specifically, chocolate pastries or baked goods! An easy way to cut down on expenses, yet still go out is to make a homemade meal and then go out to your favorite coffee shop or restaurant for an indulgent treat. Indulging in a decadent cheesecake or chocolate mousse is even more enjoyable when it’s not getting added to your dinner tab!

Play Outside

I know for us it is hard to find the time to go outdoors like we want to. With work and then going home to have dinner and finish a few chores before bed, there just doesn’t seem to be a way to fit it in.

If you are a nature lover, like me, but are having a hard time fitting it in, then this special occasion might be just what the doctor ordered. Exploring the great outdoors with your special someone can be quite romantic – and the best part, it’s free!!!

In warmer climates you could head to the beach or go on your favorite hiking trail. Or, if you live in an area that tends to more frigid temps this time of year, perhaps a snowshoeing adventure or snowball fight is what will allow you to spend some quality time together.

Have a Movie Night

It has been a very rare occasion for us to watch a movie in the last 8 months. With a baby who has decided that sleep is not his favorite thing our nighttime hours are generally filled with much bouncing and “shushing”. For us, an excellent option for a budget friendly date night is cuddling on the couch with a romantic comedy and some salty snacks and simply enjoying each other’s presence.

This is a great option whether there are kids in the picture or not. Sometimes, the best thing we can do in this crazy life is just sit down and rest together. With the frantic pace of life these days there is nothing more enjoyable than snuggly pj’s, some comfort food (snacks), and sinking into the couch with your person! And, once again – it’s free!

Snuggle by the Fire

I have always thought a fire in the fireplace to be terribly romantic. A sweet and budget friendly activity to do with your honey is to grab some hot cocoa and some s’more making supplies and enjoy the warmth of the fire and each other’s presence.

Trade Massages

Grab some lotion or massage oil, put on your favorite relaxing playlist and then spend the evening giving each other a calming, romantic massage. *bonus points for some homemade chocolate covered strawberries to enjoy* It is so easy to become preoccupied with every day necessities and stresses, which can in turn cause tension between couples. Being able to help each other relax can help you reconnect and get back on the same wavelength.

Memory Lane

If you find that life has you feeling stressed and making it hard to connect, than this might be the perfect Valentine’s Day activity for you. Spend the evening reminiscing about your journey together. Take time to look at photos from the beginning of your relationship. Dig out the love letters or saved texts and remember some of your favorite moments. You could even create a video or slideshow, complete with your favorite songs, and document your journey together.

Insider Tip!

This is what we personally did last year, and most likely will do this year. We have just come from the holiday season and at some point you were most likely given a gift card to your favorite spot to eat, or a special place you don’t usually get to go to. We saved the gift card that we were given last year and were then able to go have a special meal out on Valentine’s without spending any from our budget. If you can’t do it this year, just keep it in mind for the next time someone gives you a gift card to your favorite place!

There really are an abundance of ways that you can spend time together with your special someone without having to spend much, if any, money! As I have gotten older and life has gotten busier, I have come to realize that it isn’t about the gift, it’s about the person behind the gift. Things don’t matter. Moments do. That’s what Valentine’s Day is about. I hope you have a wonderful day taking the time to enjoy and cherish the people you have to love.

Best Budgeting and Coupon Apps for 2019

Best Budgeting and Coupon Apps for 2019

If you are like me…or a 3rd of the American population….you most likely made a New Year’s Resolution or goal to cut back on spending, save more and pay off debt. And we understand the basic principle of the thing…stop spending so much so that you can save more.

But how???

That was my question as I headed into this year. I know I need to spend less and save more for the future. I know I need to get our financial situation monitored more closely…but how do I do that?

You see, many times financial advisors will give advice to “cut out the unnecessary spending”.  And, YES, that is one of the first steps to financial freedom; however, for much of the general population they have already cut out much of the unnecessary and still find it is hard to have enough at the end of the month to set aside for savings…or even just to pay for the bills.

I get it, my husband and I have tried to minimize our monthly expenses as much as possible. (now I am a Starbucks junkie…well, really a going out for coffee junkie. I realize this is one thing I need to cut out and only indulge if I have been gifted a gift card or cash specifically for the purpose of coffee. It seems so small in the moment, those 5 dollars…but, those 5 dollars x how ever many times I [you] go a week/month for coffee add up! So, it’s a personal goal of mine to cut out that spending.)

Okay, back from that rabbit trail…we try to minimize our expenses as much as possible. We don’t have cable and we cancelled our Netflix (we just don’t have time with a baby…and if we want to watch a movie we’ll see what is available for free with our Amazon Prime). We also just cancelled our gym membership in favor of working out from home. Which, works out so much better with having a baby! Once he falls asleep, we just press play on the program we’re following and we get it knocked out in an hour without the travel time (and it’s definitely cheaper than going to the gym!).

We are pretty good at our goal of only eating out once a week, but for a while it was difficult for me to get breakfast and lunch prepped for Jose. Thankfully, we’ve gotten better at that and now Jose has a good breakfast at home and then I pack a sandwich or leftovers for his lunch.

Perhaps, just in reading the few steps we have taken to minimize unnecessary spending has already brought to mind a few things that you could improve on or change!

BUT, maybe your one of the people who already does those things…

I have a few more ideas for you!

I have done a bit of research as to what some of the best apps are when it comes to spending a bit less and saving more. I have been using them and loving the ease of use as well as the financial impact they are having for our family!

Interested?

Let’s take a peek!

Mint is a well known and popular budgeting app. What I love about it is that it has the ability to connect with almost every US financial institution! Talk about making life easier! Mint allows you to see all your accounts, credit cards, and bills in one place…which is aaaamazing!

Within the app you can set up a budget and set reminders for when your bills are due. For me, being able to see all my bills in one place and not have to remember my login info for who knows how many different sites is awesome!

Mint will automatically suggest a budget, based on spending; however those amounts can be changed according to your personal preferences and goals. Because Mint keeps track of everything you’ll easily be able to see areas of overspending or areas that you are doing really well in!

The best part about this budgeting app…it’s FREE!

Now, Acorns is not for spending less or budgeting…

BUT

It does help you to save more. Which, is something I think we all need a little help with. Basically, it helps you to save money by rounding up any purchases that you make with a linked card and putting that extra change into a an investment portfolio.

Example: Say, you make a transaction for $4.35…Acorns will round it up to $5 and send that extra 65 cents to your portfolio where you are gradually and painlessly accumulating funds for your future.

What is a portfolio with Acorns? 

A portfolio is a combination of investments, usually stocks and bonds. Stocks are a share of the ownership of a company and bonds are when an investor (you) loans your money to a business or government for a specified period of time and then earn interest on that loaned money.

Acorns is extremely cost friendly as well, starting at $1/month to open up your portfolio.

Every little bit of savings adds up in the end!

Now, Honey isn’t necessarily an app. But it is still very useful!

Here is my basic summary.

Honey is an extension that you can download into your favorite web browser. A little icon with an “h” will then appear in the top of your internet browser. When you are shopping on line Honey searches for all coupon codes available for the site you are shopping at and then applies them all to your purchase when you check out. The two fold blessing is that it saves you money and time (who has 15 minutes to search for possible coupon codes…and then half don’t work???)!

Instead of searching manually for coupon codes and then inputting them to find out that they were fake or expired, Honey searches and finds all legitimate, usable coupon codes and automatically applies them to your purhase.

When shopping on an online store the Honey extension will light up letting you know that there are available coupon codes…you can go ahead and click to see what goodness it has hiding there or wait until checkout to click and seeing it apply every possible discount to that total in your cart. There is nothing better than watching that number jump down a few dollars!

NOW

One of my personal favorites about Honey is that when I am shopping on Amazon, Honey will automatically scan the entire Amazon site to make sure that you are getting the best price on the product you are interested in. If there is a seller who has it at a better price…Honey will let you know!

Think I’m done?

Think again!

There is one more awesome feature to Honey. On top of saving you money on your purchases if you are purchasing from a retailer where Honey makes a commission from your purchase, Honey will split that commission with you in the form of points or “Honey Gold”. With 1,000 points you can redeem them for a $10 giftcard!

There are a few more perks about Honey, so you can read about them here. I’ll also be posting a more in depth look at all the benefits of Honey and a more personal review…so stay tuned!

Shopkick is an app where you can earn points from making purchases at the stores or online retailers that you already shop from. Not only that, but you can also earn points from just walking into the store. Once you have racked up enough points they can be redeemed for giftcards to your favorite retailers!!!

There are quite a few ways that points can be earned:

  • Walk into stores
  • Scan barcodes of select products
  • Purchase with a linked card
  • Purchase and submit a receipt
  • Visit online stores
  • View online products
  • Make online purchases
  • Watch videos

With all that variety the points can add up fast. Then simply redeem those points for a gift card to your favorite store…with this extra money you can go ahead an get yourself a special treat without the guilt of it coming out of your budget 😉

If you are going to download the app make sure to use my code BLUE549382! You’ll earn an extra 250 points if you do!

Ebates is simplistic in it’s approach. There are no points or giftcards. All you do is shop using Ebates at your favorite store and with your purchase you will get a certain percentage of cash back! Keep a look out for when there is triple cash back! I have seen the percentage of cash back you earn on your purchase as high as 30%.

shhh…here’s a little secret

When you are doing your online shopping activate Ebates, when you go to checkout you know you’ll be earning cash back…but before you hit that checkout button make sure you click on your Honey extension to get as many discounts on your purchases as possible. Discounts + Cash Back = the perfect double whammy!

With this discount app, just scan item barcodes to find out if any rebates are available. You don’t have to do anything at the register when you’re checking out! Instead, upload a picture of your receipt into the app, and Ibotta will give you cash back. Once your total adds up to $20, you can cash out and put that extra money toward your future grocery budget or a gift card.

With this app, you won’t see immediate savings at checkout like you would with a coupon. But you will get actual cash back in your pocket to use later on down the road—which we think is worth the wait.

So, there it is…the bet apps for budgeting and saving! Becoming financially responsible doesn’t have to be scary or dreadful. It can actually be…fun, as long as you have the right tools to use. I’ll keep you posted as time goes on about how much I have been able to save using these apps. Plus, if you have any others that you love, please let me know! I’d love to check them out!
Best Budgeting and Coupon Apps for 2019
Best Budgeting and Coupon Apps for 2019
Best Budgeting and Coupon Apps for 2019

Goals for 2019

Goals for 2019

There is something magical about new beginnings. I have always loved the opportunity for a fresh start and a clean slate. The New Year is one of my favorite times of the year for this very reason. Now…it is not Jan 1st any more, but that doesn’t mean if you haven’t set any goals for the year…or have already fallen off the wagon, that you can’t get back on and get started. 

“Every day is a new day without any mistakes in it yet.”

Anne of Green Gables

Anne has always been one of my favorite characters with her vivid imagination and grandiose dreams. I think she was pretty on point with this. It is never too late to get started! Today can be a new day, a new beginning, brimming with possibilities you haven’t even dared to imagine. 

This year I switched my mentality from the make it or break it “New Year’s Resolution” to setting big goals, with actionable steps that will give me motivation and a means to achieve them. New’s Years Resolutions, such as I will no longer include sugar in my diet, are certainly good, but tend towards failure, because if you give in, JUST ONCE, you will then feel guilty and not even bother trying to continue. The key to change and perseverance is to set POSITIVE goals, broken down into monthly, weekly and even daily steps. I am finding this way, even if I slip up on a daily goal I know that I can get right back up and try again tomorrow. As long as I get back up and take that new start available to me I can still accomplish that big goal I set for myself.

Sooo….what are my goals for this new year? Well, I have quite a few! This year I took some time before Jan 1st to really set my intentions for 2019 so that it didn’t catch me by surprise. The week leading up to new year I signed up for a mini email course from Ruth Soukup, called “The Best Year Ever”. It included daily emails with a video lesson and a workbook to fill out. If you have never checked out her blog, Living Well Spending Less, I highly recommend it!

Using the worksheet I split up my goals into four separate categories.

  1. Family
  2. Financial
  3. Professional
  4. Personal

I’ll dive into each of these with a little more detail.

I debated on sharing what my goals are with you…sometimes it can be a little daunting and overwhelming knowing everyone will see them. Those limiting beliefs start popping up. 

What will others think of these goals?

What will they say if I fail?

But, I decided to dive in and do it scared! This will help give me a little more motivation in the daily grind to get accomplished what I need to, to start reaching those goals and living my best life.

As I considered my goals for this year I took some time to take inventory of the past year and realized that I hadn’t accomplished as much or reached a lot of the goals that I had set for myself. 

Now, 2018 was a big year for me and my family! My husband and I welcomed our son, Caleb in May. This had a big effect on my goals…and my motivation to even try accomplishing them. Keeping an early rising morning routine isn’t exactly the best goal to have with a newborn!!! And…honestly, those first few months of motherhood were a real struggle for me. I am a creature of habit who likes structure and routine as well as an introvert who craves alone time…both of which disappear when caring for a newborn.

Also, before going into anything new I am a planner and research every aspect of a situation or event before it happens so there are no surprises and I feel confident with what I am doing…

There isn’t any possible way to plan or train to be a mom beforehand and I felt completely lost and clueless as to how to take care of this helpless babe.

It completely threw me off and I had a hard time enjoying the little moments.

BUT

God is GOOD and I have learned so much about myself and His love and strength. I have grown more spiritually this past year as I had to rely on His strength and wisdom. I learned more about His unconditional love for me as I loved Caleb. And, I learned to rest and have peace in the knowledge that He is in control and can take even better care of my children than I will ever be able to.

Now Caleb is 7 months and I can say that I have fully embraced motherhood and am finding joy even in the craziness of this new adventure. Embracing mom life and it’s craziness has helped me to set big, but realistic goals for 2019.

So, here they are

Family

  • Date my husband. This past year was a test to our marriage…I think that is always the case when you add a baby into the mix. We are both flawed human beings who had to learn how to grow into our roles as parents, while growing in our role as spouse’s. I have loved seeing my husband become daddy….he is a natural at it! Last year date night’s or being romantic was sadly pushed to the back burner as we wrestled with sleep deprivation and poopy diapers. This year my goal is to grow the romance and make my husband feel more loved than ever!
  • Spend more quality time with family. It’s so easy after a long day at work to come home and veg on the couch or mindlessly scroll through the Gram. I want to be intentional in the time I have with my family, put technology aside and be present with them.
  • Open our home. I have always thought that family isn’t always about blood. I love my physical family greatly and am always so happy when we are together! However, I want to open our home to others, whether friends or acquaintances so that they can feel they are a part of our family as well. Mine and my husband’s goal is to have others over to our home at least twice a month (preferably more, but with a baby it can get a little tricky!).

Financial

  • Pay off one of our cars. Thankfully, we do not have “too much debt” compared to the general population. We both have our car payments, my student loan, and then our car mortgage, but we are planning on beginning the “debt snowball” and start paying everything off early!
  • Save to be able to take a family vacation (someplace tropical!) either this year or in 2020.
  • Make and stick to a budget. I’m the queen of “oooh, it’s on sale…if I buy it I’ll be saving so much money”. When, in all reality true saving is not spending at all! Going to try to reign in my spending habit by keeping to our family budget.
  • This will be mentioned below in professional goals, but I would really love to see my blog become a side hustle and by the end of the year be making $1,000/month. Anything is possible!

Professional

  • Get promoted at my full-time job. I had “mini-goals” that I had set for myself to complete extra tasks and go above and beyond daily so that if a position were to open up at my company I would be considered for promotion. It’s only 10 days into the new year and this goal has already been met! God is so good and has allowed me to move up from Client Support to Quality Assurance Analyst. I have begun training this week for my new role and am loving it!
  • Grow my blog so that I consider it a side hustle and not just a hobby. My dream is to be a stay at home mom one day, while still being able to contribute to our family finances. I have also always wanted to be a writer and blogging is a great step towards one day being the author of a book! There are a few specific and measurable goals I have to qualify my blog as a side hustle.
    1. 1,000 email subscribers
    2. 5,000 Instagram followers
    3. 1,000 Facebook Followers
    4. Create One Course or Product
    5. Bring in a monthly income of $1,000
  • Become a Diamond Coach with Beachbody. My hubby and I are serious about our fitness goals for 2019 and have gotten off to a great start by using Beachbody workouts (such a lifesaver with a baby in the family!!!). My goal is to help others get healthy and gain more financial stability through coaching. I’m honestly in love with the program we are using and getting to work out with hubby is like a mini-date 🙂 I’ll have to dedicate a whole other blog post to this!

Personal 

  • Read through the Bible in the year. Hubby and I will be using the YouVersion Bible app to be able to reach this goal. There are several Bible reading plans to choose from, but our church is focusing on becoming people of the Word and we decided it is important for us personally and as a couple to make sure we are getting our wisdom from God daily. Only 10 days in and I have been loving this plan! The daily readings include a passage from the New Testament, Old Testament and then a chapter from Psalms or Proverbs. In the app you can add participants to the plan, so Jose and I can see each other’s progress and help keep each other accountable. I highly recommend that you check it out! Becoming a person of the Word is always one of the best goals one could have!
  • I have always loved reading, but as an adult with a lot more responsibility than I had when a was a young lass I have found that reading has fallen to the wayside. My goal is to read at least 12 books this year, whether fiction or personal development.  
  • Of course, we can’t forget the fitness goals! I have yet to lose the “baby weight” and am no where near the weight I was in college, which is my end goal. This year my goal is to at least lose the baby weight, so then we can start thinking about the next baby 😉 Another fitness goal is to be able to run 3 miles (which also hasn’t happened since I was in college).

Setting my intentions and goals for this new year was an enlightening time for me as I dwelt on the past year and looked forward towards the future. I have set big goals for myslf, that make me a bit scared, but what’s the point of chasing a huge dream if it doesn’t even scare you a little bit! In case you need some help with reaching your own goals this year. Here are a few posts you might find helpful:

Simple Meal Planning For Busy Moms
Morning Routine for Working Moms
Organization and Time Management for Working Moms

I am so excited for this new year and all the adventure and promise it holds. Each phase of life is challenging and beautiful in its own way and I’m looking forward to walking through it with you!

I’d love to hear what your goals are for 2019! Drop them in the comments below or pop on over to my Instagram and comment on the pic from today!

Blessings!

Merry Christmas from the Morales Family!

Merry Christmas from the Morales Family!

Hello dear friends!

We are so blessed to have you in our lives! As much as I would love to send out Christmas cards to all those we love…there are just so many that it unfortunately didn’t happen this year. So, I thought I would take a moment to share a few highlights from our family this year.

The biggest highlight would have to be the arrival of our precious little boy, Caleb. He has brought so much joy to our lives and we can’t imagine our world without him!

He’ll be 7 months at the end of December and is just beginning to crawl. His two little teeth make his smile all the more endearing…although, they make the occasional chewing on your finger a little more painful 😉

We love seeing him grow…which is happening waaay too fast! His little personality is beginning to shine through and he seems to be a typical first child…never going to sleep when there is company and paying rapt attention to the conversation going around him.

We are so blessed to have family and friends who love and pray for him…and his parents!

Jose and I have been adjusting to life as parents and praise be to God who has given us strength and joy throughout the learning curve and sleepless nights. We have been learning just how patient, kind, and loving our Heavenly Father is to us as we seek to imitate that towards Caleb…nothing reminds us more of how we are flawed than being parents and we are grateful for His guidance in raising Caleb.

Another big even this year was being able to move into our own home. I am so proud of Jose and all the hard work he put into this house making sure it would be perfect for us. Even after work was done he would go and work on the yard to make sure it would be perfect. (Special thanks to my suegro {father-in-law} for giving up of his own time to help with that project!)

Ever since I was young I imagined having a home where I could raise my own family and be able to host friends and family. We have been granted that blessing and pray that we might be able to use our home as a means to bless others.

Of course, this year though filled with blessings has been filled with times of testing and growth and we are ever so thankful for those of you who keep our little family in your prayers. We have so much to learn in this journey of life and are grateful for every moment we have together.

May God bless you and your family as you celebrate His love this Christmas season.

Merry Christmas from our family to yours!

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