Holidays and Special Occasions

“Kodak moments” such as weddings and birthdays and holidays don’t come cheap.  But, with some clever time-and money-saving techniques, they can be just as special, with far fewer costs. Read these articles with time-tested ideas to get the best (and save the most) for all your holiday and special occasions.

From 9 Ideas for a Frugal (Not Cheap!) Wedding to Gifts That Don’t Cost a Dime to 12 Things You Can Do Now to Get Ready for Christmas to all manner of holiday cheer, you’ll find great inspiration here.

Goals plans make to do and wish list for new year christmas concept, girl writing in notebook. Woman hand holding pen on notepad at home on winter holidays xmas. Christmas decoration, gift boxes

With the Holidays Still Fresh in Mind

Along with taking the tree down and putting the decorations away for another year, there are several things you need
gift for her

Christmas Gift Guide: Gifts for Her

Discover a thoughtful holiday gift guide for the special women in your life! This collection features some of my favorite
Dump Cake Cranberry

Festive 4-Ingredient Cranapple Dump Cake

Cake lovers rejoice! So you're not a pie fan? Here's the perfect dump cake to finish off your Thanksgiving feast.

40-Day Challenge – Day 1

Listen You probably would not add a family room to your home without a blueprint, knit a sweater without a
Gift Card retail rack

The Shocking Truth About Gift Cards

The truth is, consumers racked up more than $162 billion in Gift Card sales in 2022. I can’t stop the
Bundle of dollars in present box with bow isolated on white

3 Places to Find Extra Cash for Christmas

It's still summer, but it's not too early to start planning for Christmas. If you're ready to make this year
Banana Pudding

This Banana Pudding is My Summer Showstopper

If you ask me, no respectable summer cookout is complete without a big finish with a creamy, cookie-laden banana pudding
debt-free holidays with credit card in chains

The Secret for a Debt-Free Holiday Season

Here we are on the cusp of one more glorious, fabulous, exciting, and joyful holiday season. How can we do
bills and credit cards overspent for christmas

You Overspent on Christmas—3 Ways to Bounce Back

“Why did I buy expensive electronics for the kids when I couldn’t afford them?”, seeing your answer (“I wanted them

40-Day Challenge Day 40

May your day be filled with authentic joy comes not from the outside trappings, but from our hearts. It comes

40-Day Challenge Day 39

Later tonight, after the kids are all asleep and the house is quiet, pour yourself a cuppa’ and write emails
female writing christmas letters

40-Day Challenge Day 38

We’ve all been there: One more trinket for a child’s stocking, an extra gadget for your spouse. Once you have
Day 37

40-Day Challenge Day 37

Have your children leave some of their gently-used toys for Santa to take to children who don’t have any toys.

40-Day Challenge Day 36

If you will be hosting many guests at your Christmas dinner requiring more than one table, have everyone get up

40-Day Challenge Day 35

Help your children go through their clothes and toys, picking out those still in great shape but outgrown. Wash the

40-Day Challenge Day 34

Can’t see everyone between Thanksgiving and New Year’s? Be realistic about how much you can do. Save some get-togethers until

40-Day Challenge Day 33

  One night this week, gather the family and eat dinner or dessert by the light of the Christmas Tree.

40-Day Challenge Day 32

Be prepared for surprise guests. keep some generic gifts (candy or comics for kids; candles or calendars for adults) at

40-Day Challenge Day 31

As Christmas draws nearer, visit your community to look at the lights. You can do this on a night close
Day 30

40-Day Challenge Day 30

Set up a gift-wrapping area by draping a 
card table or other surface with a large 
tablecloth or sheet that

40-Day Challenge Day 29

Sorry folks, our 40-day schedule did not line up with the real calendar! but don’t despair. Many retailers are still
Colleagues at the office exchanged gifts for Christmas. A group of employees. The concept of surprises, greetings and secret Santa.

Christmas Gift Guide: College, Young Professionals

  Quick Link: Fun Stuff for Kids   Gift-giving is undoubtedly on everyone’s mind as we head into the Christmas

40-Day Challenge Day 28

When you get an unexpected gift, the worst response is “Oh, but I don’t have anything” for YOU!” so don’t
Day 27

40-Day Challenge Day 27

Take down your hanging pictures and wall art and wrap them as you would a gift, with paper, ribbon and
header for holiday entertainment

40-Day Challenge Day 26

It’s time to dust off your favorite holiday movies, books and music. Not much to choose from? Visit your local library and
Decor Only Day 25 Header

40-Day Challenge Day 25

Strapped for time and money? Instead of a vast tree this year, by a smaller one. Set it on a table to
Decor header for Day 24

40-Day Challenge Day 24

Look at your holiday calendar today and determine when you’ll need babysitting services. Reserve the dates with your babysitter, or
Family tradition of playing a game in front of Christmas Tree

Traditions: The Glue That Binds Us Together

Family traditions are the rituals and practices a family shares that strengthen that family's bonds and create lasting memories. Traditions,
Day 23

40-Day Challenge Day 23

When cooking this month, double your favorite meals and freeze the leftovers. Then, when things get rushed right before Christmas, you won’t fret
Day 22

40-Day Challenge Day 22

Arrange haircut appointments and check wardrobe selections for your family. Launder, press or repair as needed. Check consignment shops and sales if the
Day 21

40-Day Challenge Day 21

  Inventory your mailing supplies including containers for baked goods and packing materials for boxes. Dry popcorn makes great packing material and

40-Day Challenge Day 20

Change your child’s bookshelf to 24 Christmas books you have gift-wrapped, and number them 1-24.  Each night, read that day’s story with your
Day 19

40-Day Challenge Day 19

Plan your holiday menus matching them to grocery store sales. Inventory your pantry and freezer, collect coupons for ingredients on your list and

40-Day Challenge Day 18

  Pull out your holiday decorations and use only what you have. Instead of trying to decorate your entire house, focus on three

40-Day Challenge Day 16

If you will be hosting overnight guests during the holidays, make sure you’ve planned for extra expenses like transportation and food. If your
Day 15

40-Day Challenge Day 15

Today calls for a gift card search and rescue! Pool your family members’ forgotten or
 neglected gift cards now languishing at

40-Day Challenge Day 14

Get envelopes and label one for each of 
your holiday spending categories. Label
 an envelope for each person on your
Day 12

40-Day Challenge Day 12

Compile your Christmas cards list and divide it into manageable groups. Address envelopes and sign cards, one group at a time. If sending
collage make-ahead thanksgiviing

Famous Make-Ahead Sides for Your Holiday Meal

The secret for cooks who wish to have Thanksgiving day off is to embrace a meal prep and cooking method

40-Day Challenge Day 11

Feeling a little short on Christma cash? Every evening deposit all the coins in your pocket or purse into a

40-Day Challenge Day 8

It’s time to plan your holiday baking! Select your recipes, check your supplies, then grab the holiday deals at your
Website Image - Day 7

40-Day Challenge Day 7

  If you plan to participate in Black Friday or Cyber Monday, start getting your mind into tip-top shape. Retailers
Day 6

40-Day Challenge Day 6

  Compile a Master Gift List. Add everyone you are planning to gift. Analyze. Who on the list would be

40-Day Challenge Day 5

Your holiday blueprint should be built around your calendar. It will assist you in managing your time and your holiday

40-Day Challenge Day 2

If you buy gifts year-round, take a "gift closet" inventory today so you know what you have. Keeping track of

40-Day Christmas Challenge Welcome!

Welcome to EC’s annual 40-Day Christmas Challenge! Beginning tomorrow and for the next 40 days a daily challenge—something to do
Teenage friends making sÕmores with toasted marshmallows

A Fabulous Vacation on a Budget is a Staycation!

You might want to take a Staycation this summer—perhaps to save money, you have not accumulated enough vacation days, or
Whoville Austrian Mountain Village

Who Stole the Joy?!

It was an unusual interview. The interviewer explained she was writing an article for a national women’s magazine on clever

9 Tips to Make Christmas Morning a Breeze

Early mornings are hard enough, but Christmas morning can easily morph from calm into all-out chaos. But not this year.
Christmas essential oils in small bottles. Selective focus. fresh smell fragrance stovetop simmer

Inexpensive Ways to Make Your House Smell Like Christmas

Enjoy these simple inexpensive ideas to make your home smell like Christmas using the scents of pine, cranberries, cinnamon, oranges
centerpieces featuring cranberries

9 Fabulous Ways to Use Fresh Cranberries Starting Now and Throughout the Year

Fresh cranberries are available in supermarkets and grocery stores from October thru December—a very short season! Stock up on fresh
Hand holding money for buying Christmas gifts. Empty gift list on decorated office table. Top view of Christmas composition .

4 Reasons to Start Planning Your DIY Christmas Now

Brisk mornings, fall colors, pumpkin pie, and apple cider. Autumn is just the best time of year, right? And our

These 3-Ingredient Cakes are So Easy It’s Almost Scary

Just in time for the holidays, quite possibly the easiest, most versatile, amazingly delicious boxed cake hack ever to be
Homemade Pulled Chicken Sandwich

Slow Cooker Shredded Barbecue Chicken with Homemade Coleslaw

If you love good pulled chicken (pork, beef) barbecue sandwiches, this recipe is going to knock your socks off. It’s
Sweet Homemade Dark Chocolate Bundt Cake Ready to Eat

Killer Chocolate Fudge Bundt Cake

Just in time for your weekend plans, the most decadent, intensely chocolatey, take-a-sliver-every-time-you-pass-it chocolate cake. Moist and rich, the secret
Football party food, super bowl day, nachos salsa guacamole

Yummy Snacks and Appetizers—Quick & Easy!

For those of us for whom Super Bowl is more about the snacks than the game itself (someone had to
Jesus Christ our Savior is Born!

Let Heaven and Nature Sing!

He was born in an obscure village, the child of a peasant woman. He grew up in still another village
Apple Fritter Waffle Donuts

Apple Fritter Waffle Donuts—Inexpensive and Sinfully Delicious!

Yes, I did. I made Apple Fritter Waffle Donuts. In fact, I've made this recipe four times in 30 days
#1 Dad Fathers Day

Gift Ideas for Dads at Amazon You Can Get Now with 2-Day Shipping

Mr. Hard-to-Buy-For is no match for these ideas that you can still order and get in time for Fathers Day!

Make-Ahead Mashed Potatoes and Gravy

I know what you’re thinking: Make the mashed potatoes AND gravy ahead of time—up to several days before the big

How to Make Your House Smell Like the Holidays

Recently, my husband and I made a quick getaway to experience autumn in the tiny town of Lititz, Penn. The
kids halloween fun

Free Printables Make Halloween Super Fun

BOO!! No matter the kind of celebration you'll be seeing this year, these Halloween printables for decorating, playing games, coloring,
October 2022 - closeup of a small desktop calendar with a pen, time and business concept

October Best Month to Score Bargains on These 12 Things

Oh how I love this time of year! Cooler weather, sweaters, scarves, pumpkin pie, and beautiful fall colors make this
traditional st patricks day meal corned beef and cabbage potatoes carrots

Corned Beef and Cabbage: A Classic Irish Dish Made Simple

I can count on the simple ingredients in this meal to be on sale just when I need them, in
A boy lying on the grass

Great Dates for Couples on a Tight Budget

Wallet a little thin this Valentine season? That shouldn’t mean you cancel all dates until things begin to look up
Valentines day greeting card with rose flowers and gift box on white wooden background

Best Ideas and Gifts (Him, Her, Kids!) to Celebrate Valentine’s Day

In this post last minute ideas to celebrate Valentines Day including dozens of gifts that are sure to please your
family solving jigsaw puzzle at table

Four Things We Really Want for Christmas

Sure they want toys, but underneath it all, what kids really want for Christmas (adults, too) just might surprise you.
white fruitcake my grandmother made

White Fruitcake is What Dreams are Made Of

I have no pride and, according to some, no taste. I love fruitcake. Sickeningly sweet, loaded with pecans, cherries, pineapple,
A person sitting at a table

How to Avoid Christmas Debt When You’re Short on Cash

And just like that, we’re headlong into the most wonderful time of the year, when I challenge you to make
Halloween pumpkin head jack lantern with burning candles

10 Easy Ways to Do Halloween on a Budget This Year

There's no denying that we love Halloween. What other night do we get to eat, drink, and be scary? The

12 Ways to Make it Christmas in July

Ahhh, summer. The days are long, the grass is green, the livin’ is easy and the last thing on your
A close up of a flag

Simple Ways We Can Celebrate Memorial Day

May 29th is Memorial Day in the U.S. this year. I want to challenge you and your family to find
A close up of a hand

14 Readers Share Their Best Frugal Wedding Tips for How to Say “I Do” on a Dime

In nearly 32 years, I cannot recall a single time I've heard from a bride or groom saying they wished

Yummy Sweets to Make for Valentine’s Day

Friends. Valentine's Day is right around the corner.  Thankfully, we have several days and one beautiful weekends between now and
Three eggs boiling in pan of water

4 Ways to Boil Eggs So They Come Out Perfect Every Time

Eggs. They’re nutritious, delicious and cheap! And who's not thinking eggs right about now as we head into Easter Weekend!Cooking
Chips, football and Six Pack of Beer on a table in front of a big screen TV with a Football field.

11 Easy Delicious 3-Ingredient Party Dip Recipes

Delicious hot, cold, savory, spicy, and even sweet dips—an amazing variety sure to please all—beautifully arranged so that everyone can
Christmas gift in kraft paper wrapping

Gifts That Don’t Cost a Dime

Short on cash this holiday season? Maybe it's time to start thinking about gifts that don't come from a store,
Homemade Golden Caramel Popcorn in a Bowl

Gift-Worthy Caramel Corn Just in Time for the Holidays

For years, I’d attempted to make caramel corn, without success. It was either too soggy or too chewy. Or the

3-Ingredient Cinnamon Rolls—So Decadent, So Simple It Might Be Illegal!

Trust me on this. Magnificent Cinnamon Rolls in just 43 minutes from start to glorious finish—and just 3 ingredients!
happy family at christmas opening gifts together on the couch

Memories are Gifts that Last for a Lifetime

If you could use an injection of fresh ideas for how to make this Holiday Season meaningful for the children

Let’s Make Every Day Thanksgiving!

Choose to be grateful today—and every day—for all that you have. Gratitude will fill your heart with contentment. And best
A living room with a christmas tree

A Mishmash of Christmas Ideas and Holiday Tips

Good news! Another Black Friday is in the books. You survived—unscathed I hope. If you bag some amazing bargains without
Christmas vintage presents on a wooden background

Gift-Giving: What’s the Point?

The simple act of gift-giving has become extremely complicated. I blame that on the consumer credit industry. Think about it: You
portrait of family reasons to celebrate

6 Reasons We Need to Celebrate Soon—and Often!

Celebrate? With all that’s going on in our lives, the nation—the world?With all the challenges you're facing right now, you
A group of people posing for the camera

8 Creative Gift Ideas for Graduates You Know and Love

As you consider gifts for the grads on your list, think of that person’s “next step.” For a high-school grad, perhaps
A close up of many different types of food on a table

Your Best Thanksgiving Feast Ever, Healthy, Delicious

If there’s one thing we should be thankful for this Thanksgiving, it’s this: Turkey is cheap! And the rest of
silver flatware forks on linen napkin

Yes! You Can Clean Silver in the Dishwasher

Can you put silver in the dishwasher? Contrary to popular belief, you can wash silver and silverplate flatware in the
scary halloween vignette of pumpkins and ghosts

Spooky Tales of Scary Tricks Waiting to Be Played on You

Blood-curdling stories, tricks. and treats are all part of Halloween fun. But the last thing we expect are spooky tales

This Halloween Go Cheap

I have no one to blame but myself that our boys grew up favoring Halloween over all other holidays—except for
Healthy Homemade Carrot Cake Ready for Easter

Einstein in the Kitchen or Let Them Eat (Carrot) Cake

I have a special treat for you today. It’s a recipe. I usually sell this recipe for $1,000 but it’s

Christmas Holiday Tips, Tricks, Hacks

I am enjoying the unique holiday tips and tricks readers have been sending my way, to be shared with you.
A close up of a bottle of wine

Perfect Homemade Vanilla Extract

Every year about this time I start scrambling for gift ideas for my long list of friends, neighbors and colleagues. I
Roast beef on cutting board with saltcellar and pepper mill

From Chuck Roast to “Prime Rib” in Three Hours Flat

Here it is! The specific steps to roast a cheap cut of beef so that it turns out like prime

6 Fabulous Last-Minute Gift Ideas

Need a last-minute gift for a neighbor, friend, a beloved teacher, or anyone else on your gift list? Here are

How to Choose and Care for a Fresh Christmas Tree

As tempting as a pricey, artificial pre-lit Christmas tree may be, few things about the holidays are as satisfying as a

The Easiest Summer Barbecue Ever— Ribs, Beans, Slaw, Dessert

On the off chance that your fear-of-ruining-a-pile-of-ribs keeps your backyard grilling events stuck in hamburger mode, you can let those