Posts Tagged ‘budget’

Another Valentines Day is fast approaching filled with candy hearts, boxes of chocolate and red roses–the symbols of the romantic season.  If you’re like us, and you prefer to seek out alternative symbols of affection to give this holiday new life, take a look at some of our favorite Valentine crafts and activities, DIY style!
Here are a few kid-friendly activities:

These Heart Stamps by Rust and Sunshine are the perfect activity for even the littlest valentine in your life.  All you need is a toilet paper roll, a scotch tape, red paint, and paper in order to make a home-made sweet surprise for any family member!
For the older kids, these Valentines Day Mad Libs by My Sisters Suitcase can be a fun gift to exchange at school.
If your honey has a sweet tooth, try these printables to make the occasion unique:
DIY Valentine Treat Bags by Twig and Thistle
For the more rustic Valentine, check out the You and Me and a Carved Tree idea from The Dating Divas.  It’s a romantic, yet “manly” way to show your affections!We also came across some wine cork art to stimulate your crafty side!

Wine Cork Heart from My Uncommon Slice of Suburbia
Wine Cork Heart The Corner Apartment.  The nifty thing about this collection of corks is that they didn’t require any paint!  The purple progression comes from the natural tint of the variety of wines that stained them.  If you don’t already have a collection going, maybe you can start stocking up corks for next year!Valentines Day doesn’t have to be cliche…spice it up this year!


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It is officially Fall!  If you forgot what weather in the 60s actually felt like, join the rest of us in an autumn celebration…of clothing!  As always, you do not have to celebrate into credit card debt to transition your wardrobe into fall.  Use what you have and have a little fun with it!
  1. Fashion show!  Your only audience may only be the cat, but you may have forgotten what’s been in storage the last six months.  If you haven’t pulled out your warmer fall clothing, do so now to test the fit.  If it is too small, donate to your local thrift store or charity organization.  A comprehensive list of choices to donate in the DC Metro Area can be found here.  Whatever is too large can be brought to a tailor and modified.
  1. DIY Modify.  Brighten your button-up sweater or peacoat by replacing drab buttons with  sassy new ones–rhinestone, metal, or large colored enamel styles can accent any piece.

  1. Accessorize.  If you are searching for a new fall look, a good scarf or belt may be all you need.  The key is to build accent colors on your neutral outfits and layer for the fall temperatures.  Add a rich, orange scarf to your gray work ensemble or add turquoise earrings to your little black dress and sassy boots.  Find a sale at Tj Maxx or Target and buy bright autumn colors that “pop” without buying entire outfits.
  1. Shoe Clips.  Skip buying a new pair of shoes by accenting your current kicks with shoe clips.  We found our favorites at AbsolutelyAudrey.com with styles ranging casual to vintage to evening wear!

Rust pink Betty Shoe Clips from Absolutely Audrey

Get creative this Autumn and have a little fun with your existing wardrobe!

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At JCL, we love September for many reasons…cooler temps, change of seasons (hello boots!) and of course, all those great school supplies!  We love the smell of Sharpies and crayons. Is there anything more beautiful than a perfectly sharpened No. 2 pencil?  Nirvana. We realize, however, that not everyone gets as excited about notebooks and rulers as we do, but relax. “Back to School” doesn’t have to mean “Back to Clutter.” Check out the following ideas from some of our favorite organizing guru moms and fellow bloggers for some creative solutions to  your homework headaches. We got goose bumps just looking at them!We just loved this Children’s Homework Message Center.  What’s more, this crafty momma has these templates available for purchase!Take a look at this Organize Your Morning hanging shelf.  No more scrambling in the morning to help your child get dressed and out the door.

For a space saver, try this over the door school supplies organizer.  No more scattered pencils and glue sticks in this home…

For the small areas of the home needing a little order, use a shower caddy organizer.  Brilliant!

Stuck with a stack full of school work from your children?  Organize them by grade with a hanging folder system like this.

Have a creative back-to-school organizing solution? Share your answers–it’s the only time you won’t get in trouble for sharing answers in class.

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It’s that time of year: tinsel, fresh-baked cookies, sparkling snow, and beautifully wrapped gifts.  During these tough economic times, your budget may be non-existent, but there is no reason to scrap the whole plan and turn to credit cards this year.  JCL Services is committed not only to organizing your life, but helping you stay within your means.  To avoid racking up jaw-dropping credit card bills, consider a few ways to keep the holiday fun, without stressing your wallet.

Make a budget and stick to your guns!  The word “budget” strikes fear into the hearts of many an avid shopper, and you may feel squeamish at the mere thought of sticking to a spending limit.  Whatever the reason, there is a false sense of freedom in unrestrained purchasing.  And trust us—it is a FALSE sense of freedom.  Freedom is independence; freedom is not being held captive by high interest rates and payments. Those retailers work long and hard trying to pull you into their glamour and seduce you with their holiday smells and festive tunes.  Go in prepared. Do not go shopping without a list of the people you are buying for, and stick to it. Also—assign a budget for each person, and make it realistic to what you can actually afford. Do not assign a $50 budget to the gift for your mailman if you can only afford $5.  Also—remember the reason for the season—and it is not about the gifts. It is better to give than to receive, but you can give your time, a smile, a homemade card or cookie. As a matter of fact, a heartfelt visit from you will leave a longer-lasting impression than a box of chocolates.

Keep yourself honest by bringing your receipts home and entering the totals into a spreadsheet. If you went over budget, perhaps you can trim in other areas.

Say No.  We know it seems naughty, but actually it is very nice.  Say no to hosting a party that will leave you feeling stressed. Say no to your child who wants a video game you cannot afford. Say no to your friend’s party invitation that you really don’t want to attend—you don’t necessarily have to have a reason!

Purchase extra small gifts.  This can still be done while sticking to your budget.  While you are shopping, pick up general gifts to have on hand for people you may overlook.  Items like inexpensive bottles of wine, candles or Starbucks gift cards will be a hit with anybody you forget to add to the gift list.

Draw Names.   A fun way to make the most of your gift giving this year is to do a “Secret Santa” type holiday gift drawing.  You can include extended family, work friends, or simply draw with the people in your household.  Buying for fewer people means you can put more thought (and money) into your Secret Santa’s gift and also save your budget in the process!

Make a commitment to yourself to not start the New Year with a dropping ball and a rising debt level.

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