27+ UNDER $20 CHRISTMAS PRESENTS (AND STOCKING STUFFERS)

Be prepared this Holiday season with 20 Christmas items under $20. Use them as gifts, or for yourself! Get ahead of the curve!

I’m diving in! I’ve already started watching the Hallmark/Netflix Holiday movies. I’m in the spirit, and this is the only time of year that I can find my name pretty much everywhere you look! I’m ready to have my home and my life feel like the holiday season.

Looking to “spruce” up your Christmas Season? (see what I did there?) In the “spirit” of making goals and budgeting for this holidays season, (ok I’ll stop), Here are some of my favorites! At the time this was posted all of the below items were below $20! Amazon may update though, so get them before the prices go up! (said in my best announcer voice).

All of the items below are with affiliate links, why? Because I like these products. I find them fun and a good addition to the Holiday Season, and I want to buy them for myself too! If you buy them I get a small amount, at no cost to you! This allows me to do things like keep creating this content!

Further Reading: HOW TO BUDGET FOR THE HOLIDAYS

COZY HOME!

HOLIDAY MOVIES:

Find out more of my favorite Christmas Movies on day 2 of “25 Days of Christmas Posts”

MICKEY MOUSE MUG WARMER

FOR THOSE WHO LIKE BIG MUGS (AND CAN NOT LIE)

FOR THE HEALTH FOCUSED

Check out more ideas for the coffee lover in your life HERE!

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Gift Guide For The Coffee Addict In Your Life

Have a coffee lover in your life? Wondering what to get them? Here are some hints!

Gimme, gimme, gimme the coffee! There have been real times at work when someone went and got me a coffee because they could tell that I hadn’t had my coffee yet in the morning. I’m going to take that as they know me, and not in a bad way.

Basically what I’m saying is I love coffee! And I guess it’s lesser loved by me cousin, tea. If you have a coffee lover in your life, below are some of my favorites to use!! Also at the time this was posted almost all of the below were 50% off!! How great is that!

This post does have affiliate links, and what that means is that if you purchase any of the items below I would receive a small amount at no cost to you! This amount helps me keep this blog running! As does coffee!

We’re starting right where we should ladies and gentlemen, with Gilmore Girls! If you have clicked on even a single section of this little corner of the internet, you will have noticed how many references are made to Gilmore Girls. I personally own the mug, and I love it! Except for the hand washing part, that I could do without!

Oi, with the poodles already!

Also, I really do drink coffee like a Gilmore and proud of it! I’ve been to Stars Hollow and I really wish they sold a sweater like the Luke’s one here. I would have bought it!


A French Press! Because, I mean how beautiful is that. I’m sure it’s probably everyones favorite part of the process, but when you push down the filter! Ohh and breaking the “coffee crust”. Now I just want coffee, that’s what this entire thing is going to end up, me wanting coffee.

THE WORLD ATLAS OF COFFEE has a step by step process of coffee. Not just, here’s how you brew a good cup of coffee, but even taking a step back, for the beans overall. I have a dream of wanting to go to a coffee farm one day, and this sparks that want even more!

At the time that this post went out, this Ninja Coffee Bar IQ was 50% off!! That means for all of the above it was $99 USD plus shipping yass! I love a good coffee bar, and my favorite part of this is that it’s pod free, meaning that I can use whatever coffee I want as opposed to having to choose a specific brand because it works with the coffee maker! Also building off of that is the below!

I have this coffee grinder! I love it. This was something that really did change the way I make coffee. It was accidentally started because “sleepy Joy” as I call her, was grocery shopping and bought whole bean instead of ground coffee and I had to figure out what to do with it. I’m very glad she did that, because a freshly ground cup of coffee is so much better!!! This Mr. Coffee grinder only takes about 10 seconds to grind the coffee beans and you have freshly ground coffee!! Worth it!

The desk mug!! Such a critical decision You’ve made a beautiful cup of coffee and you don’t want it to get cold before you finish it. This is a great mug! I’ve gotten really busy and haven’t had the chance to finish my coffee and then I return and it’s still hot! What more can you ask for!? Love This YETI 14oz rambler

Don’t take my coffee card away, but this is the coffee maker that I don’t have, but really want. However, it’s also glass and I know myself so I’m torn!! Do you own a Chemex? I watch Peter McKinnon make coffee in this all the time, it looks so good! Also, if you don’t know who Peter McKinnon is, where have you been? Go watch!! We’ll after this go watch!

FURTHER READING:

THE BEST COFFEE SHOPS IN DENVER

Lastly, where should you store all of your wonderful coffee? In a tray on the coffee table of course!! Love a good white wash.

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How to Budget for The Holidays

This year, get ahead of the Holidays and start planning now! What are some ways that you can do what you want to this Holiday season and not "break the bank"? Here's how!

Summer is ending and Fall is here! Before we know it snow will be falling and it’s Holiday time! You want to go to all of the Holiday parties, and enjoy fall with friends, but don’t want to “break the bank” as my dad would say. What to do!? I’ve got you covered with some budget tricks you can put into practice now that will help you in the future months.

And for those who found this post in the middle of the Holidays, you’re not too late! There are also tips and tricks you can use now to still be able to enjoy the Holiday season without spending too much!

FOR THE LONGTERM PLANNERS

SET UP AUTO TRANSFER

If you have a larger bank as your banker, you can set up an auto transfer to another account. It’s super easy to change over $10 a week now as opposed to pulling out a larger chunk later.

Let’s break down the numbers. IF you started this, this week you would save $120 dollars without really trying by December 25th. (This post came out mid October 2018). $10 is two coffees that you can make at home instead of going out, or one fast food run that you can eat at home instead.

EACH PERSON GETS A CATEGORY

This is a very simple and very effective step in the planning process. On the notes in your phone make a list of all of the people you need to buy gifts for. When you’re talking with them, and they tell you about something they want, write it on the list!

That way if they don’t have those things by the time the holidays come around you can purchase those items for them, and if you see one of those items on sale you can purchase it in advance!

AUTO TRACK YOUR FLIGHTS

If you’re planning on traveling home for the holidays, set up a tracker on your phone for flights. They’re super simple and most are free. That way when the flight goes down, or the app thinks the flight may go up next week if you don’t purchase it, you can pounce! Flights aren’t cheap, but if you pay attention you can get the most cost effective one!

A sub-tip to this is to look into credit card points. I’m not saying start another credit card! I’m saying if you already have a credit card and are earning points, maybe you could use those point for the round trip or they could at least pay for one way of the trip. Use credit cards to your advantage!

FOR THE LAST MINUTE PLANNERS

WHAT’S FREE?

One of my favorite memories from a pas fall was going to a FREE pumpkin patch with my friends. My original plan was to get a pumpkin we could carve, but the pumpkins were $30…um no thank you! We wen’t to the grocery store and found $6 pumpkins, but I still have the pictures of all of us wondering around! Such a good memory

Do you have a pumpkin patch in your area, or an apple orchard, is there a free corn maze, or a free ice skating rink in the park you could go to? Can you bring hot chocolate, and some cookies and pay Christmas music in the car while roaming around a neighborhood nearby?

MEMORY LANE

If it is last minute and you’re looking for a meaningful gift - What’s a sweet moment you’ve had with a loved one in the past? Maybe you could come up with a fun frame for that moment, or you could put your painting skills to the test and transition that moment into a beautiful painting.

Pay attention to their love languages. Do they value quality time? Are you skilled at cooking? Plan a fun night in with your friends and that can be part of the present as well as a smaller gift. That way you’re having the gift be centered around what they would actually value!

USE YOUR TIME WISELY

You may only have a week or under left before you need to have a gift! Or you may only have a week until you need to be at your family’s house. Take ten minutes and write down each of their likes and random facts about them. That way when your shopping your using time to your advantage, focusing on what you know they like!

For one of my friends it would look like this

  • Teaching

  • Baking

  • Travel/London

  • Dr. Who, Nathan Fillion

  • Comedians

  • Paleo

One Christmas, for that same friend I made felt ornaments. It was in college and I didn’t have much money, but I focused on what I knew she liked! I was so proud of my present to her, and she loved that I took the time to focus on what she would appreciate!

No matter what, this Holiday season take time to focus on what and who is important. Don’t get caught up in all of the hype that advertising will try to push at you. People are what matters! Budget to have your time and your money work for you! Let’s do this!

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7 Steps to Get Ahead of Your Finances

Money is not a four letter word, nor is it a lottery ticket. Here are some ways your can make sure your money is working for you and not the other way around!

Money is not a four/ five letter word, nor is it a lottery ticket. It’s not something to be afraid of or something to take lightly.

How do you get ahead of your finances? What are some steps you can take today that will make future you very happy!

These steps are some of the steps I used throughout college, and I was able to graduate without dept. Praise Jesus! All to Him! These steps I’ve used throughout my life that help me use money to my advantage, not the other way around. These are also steps that, when I don’t follow, I begin to feel like I’m treading water, and that my finances are starting to own me.

TAKE A REAL LOOK AT WHERE YOU’RE AT NOW.

No holds barred, where are you at now? Do you have $10,000 in debt? Do you have $100,000 in debt? Either way the first way to start getting out of that debt is to be honest with yourself of where you’re at. This pre-step is so important because we are good at ignoring what we don't want to accept.

I don’t want to you accept and sit in that debt, but being honest with yourself will allow you to take a real look at what you can and can’t do right now to move yourself towards your overall goal.

TRACK YOUR EXPENSES BOTH NECESSARY AND FRIVOLOUS

Now, don’t go “cold turkey” on all of your extra expenses, and sit and eat beans all day. You’re not taking care of your mental or physical health if you do that.

What is healthy for you to do though, is to pull up your credit card statement or your bank statements and take thirty minutes to track your spending over the past week.

Are you spending the majority of your money on your rent, food, travel, movie tickets, etc. Take a real look at where your money is going on a weekly and monthly basis. If you’re not sure where it’s going how can you get better at tracking that?

DO YOUR RESEARCH

The first and one of the most exciting steps in the process of getting ahead of your finances is to research. Find the areas where you can save by doing very little, or where you can stop spending more by doing very little.

When I first did this I found that if I were to “lump sum” pay my car insurances for the next six months as opposed to paying month to month, I was going to save over $150 dollars. That’s more than what one month of my insurance was. Why would I not do that!

Look into how you can set up auto payments. Do you have months that you get busy and forget to pay the bill until too late and now you have a late fee. Nothing is more disappointing and frustrating than having to pay more for rent just because you’re paying on the 4th instead of the 3rd. IF you can set up auto payments, do it!

It will help your mind too because your don’t have to think about that anymore. All of your major bills will get paid without you even having to pay them attention on a detailed monthly basis after the original research.

Take that free money and stop paying unnecessary extra money!

TAKE OUT $50 FROM YOUR BANK ACCOUNT AND NOTICE HOW QUICKLY OR SLOWLY IT GOES

We live in a world where plastic is king. We swipe, and the money is gone.

It gets real when you have to physically hand over your hard earned cash for that pair of jeans. It’s also amazing to see how you spend physical money.

Does that $50 last you all week, or are you out to dinner and over half is already gone?

This small demonstration can be eye opening. There is no way not to notice where the money is going when you’re physically giving it to someone.

IS YOUR PLASTIC WORKING FOR YOU OR AGAINST YOU

I say the above to also say this as well; if you know you can still pay as much attention to swiping as handing over cash, are you using that to your advantage?

If you have a credit card, is that card adding up points that you can use for flights or to pay off a credit card bill after a few months?

There are also cards that will give you more back based upon what you purchase. I know myself and I love eating out, it’s something I have to watch, but also my credit card is one that will give me double points for food or travel. I’m turning my challenges into my successes.

GIVE BACK

What are you giving to your church or community?

Is there a need in the community that you can put some of your money towards?

This is such a necessary step of faith! It’s something that can be difficult, but will make all the difference. I say this to you as much as I say to myself! God says test me. What have you done recently to take that trust step and give back?

FIND ACCOUNTABILITY

Find a partner in your quest to get ahead of your finances. Is there someone in your life who is also looking to get ahead of their finances that you can lean on?

Look to that friend who you know will call you out, and ask them to. If you know you’re going to have a conversation every Saturday with someone who will ask you the hard questions from the past week, you’re more likely to not spend the money because you know you’ll feel guilty having to explain why you did that.

You can also talk about your struggles together. If you have a hard week and you really just need to spend some money, having that person in your life say “It’s ok, we’ll go hard next week.” is so helpful. We’re all human and there are times that if we tighten too much, we’re going to crack. Have that person be your backup, and be their support as well!

Two cords working together towards a goal is going to be much stronger than one cord trying to hold that one cord by themselves and wondering why the swing is starting to sag.

LOOKING FOR MORE RESOURCES?

Both my parents and I have used Dance Ramsey’s books to help get us on the right path! It’s hard, but living like no one else now really does add up, see what I did there!

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. If you choose to dive into one of these resources, I would receive a small amount of money, at no additional cost to you!

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The Most Important Lessons I've learned Since I was 20!

Life lessons come in stages, here are the one I've learned since I was 20 that I've found most helpful!!

There are so many birthday posts about "Things I've learned in 20-something years". I am obsessed with those posts!! Recently, however, I've started thinking about things that I haven't learned from my entire time on earth, but what are things that I've learned in the past years between "YAY I'm 20!" and "I can't believe I'm almost 30!"

Not all of these are finalized, close the chapter, and turn the page, but they are lessons that I didn't start to learn until after I was 20. If you are in your 20s, or pre-20s, or post 20s we all have stages of life that we learn lessons in. I hope these help you start to learn these lessons, or solidify that "yes these are important lessons for me to learn."

1// While in College any scholarship money that you can get is so helpful!! I remember both sides of this coin. I remember spending hours looking for scholarships to get none of them, and feeling like I was wasting my time. I also remember seeing a scholarship at my school that I was pretty sure I qualified for, but I wasn't sure if I wanted to apply for! I'm so glad that I decided to apply because I did get that scholarship. If I hadn't applied I would have left about $3,000 on the table! Crazy! College is basically the only time in your life that people are like "You're young and want to learn, here's some free money to help because we know you're struggling." I wish there were more things like that after college like, "We see that you're paying for rent all by yourself and you want to travel, here is some money!" 

Paris - AVintageJoy

2// Trends in clothing change so much, purchase quality items as opposed to the ones that are cool right now. This is both about clothes and furniture. Remember when shirts that were high in the front and really long in the back were a thing?! Where are they all now! On the other hand, my combat boots that I found and love I still wear years and years later.

3// Travel during your summers in College! On a similar note to number one, there are not as many times in life after college that you get as long of a break as summer break in college is. Yes, I worked during the summer in college, but it's so much easier to say "I'm working a part time job, I can take 3 weeks off to go explore." as opposed to "I have a staff of 30, I would like to go travel for three weeks."

-Subnote: Have some of those trips be road trips in there with friends. It will be worth it! Trust me, and so much cheeper, because you're also still in college and have to check on finances so carefully.

4// Status/a title will not make you happy! We all fall into moments where we think "If only I had ____ I would be happy." But it really doesn't. Things and status will not bring fulfillment to your life, only God can do that. Trying to fill your life with things other than Jesus in the hopes of feeling fulfilled will just not work! That's one of the reasons why, when you do get that promotion or that item, the excitement of that fades and then you're looking for something else to feel fulfilled in a few days or weeks. Their beauty will always fade. I first hand know about this. For a few years I felt like I was chasing the "white rabbit" of being a manager, but once I got it I realized that it, just like everything else in life other than Jesus, does not fulfill!

5// The unique aspects of you that maybe you were made fun of as a kid, are the aspects of your personality that set you apart from others. On a physical/looks level one thing that I use to get made fun of as a kid that I felt hopeless about was my eyebrows. Back in my day (sarcasm on purpose), small skinny eyebrows were "in", I never had eyebrows like that. But now, being an adult and not having plucked to death my eyebrows, they are something that I get comments on. It's part of my face and something that I actually really like. Your beauty marks can lead to a career like Cindy Crawford. It's a big sentence to say but, be learn to be comfortable in your own skin. It's always something to keep learning but, just because one person looks at you funny, it doesn't matter!

6// Learn to share! This is a little more of a humorous lesson I've learned, but there are so many times that I use to go out to eat with friends that I would purchase all of this food and then leave half of it uneaten. Learn to share your fries with your friends. You'll save money and waste less. Also, make sure if you're going to get a medium or a large that you're hungry enough to eat/drink it! I was notoriously bad for getting the wrong size drink and wasting half of it. Not any more, I like to spend my money where it counts!! 

london subway - AVintageJoy

7// The world is so much bigger than you realize! No matter how "cultured" you are, the world is so much bigger than you can imagine! The more you travel and get to know people the more you realize how little you really know. Never stop learning and helping others. I pray that we do not get so comfortable in our little worlds that we have the naivety to think that everyone is as blessed as we are! Helping others is really the main message behind this lesson. 

8// Comparison is a thief of Joy. Get inspiration from people of course, learn from them, get inspired by what they're doing, but don't compare where they're at in life to where you're at. You are a different person, with different lessons to learn. Comparing and feeling behind will only lead you to feeling unsettled, not motivated.

9// Don't have a fear of investing in friendships or being yourself in a group of people. I'm definitely an extrovert, but there are times that in a large group of people where the girls are all talking about makeup or all playing with each other's hair, that I don't know what to do! I have a fear of talking about how I love the Star Wars movies because maybe the girls won't like me. But WHO CARES!! I'm looking for friends who appreciate who I am and I appreciate them for who they are. You don't have to love everything your friends do, but you do have to respect each other. And how can they respect that you really love this nerdy aspect of something if you never give them the chance to. Be your weird self! (they're nerdy about something too!)

College - AVintageJoy

10. It's ok to be Mulan. Let me explain!...When I grew up I always wanted to Belle and I still love Belle, but I'm much more of a Mulan in real life. I have goal after goal of reading books, and part of me is an introvert, but I'm much more likely to push boundaries of what a female "can and should" do. I feel you, don't message me about how powerful a woman Belle is, I know! That's why I love her too. But the "I'm just going to do this to fight for my family and so that my loved ones don't have to worry about this." Is much more my personality! I say that all to say, learn to see yourself in true eyes! Learn what your blindspots are and what your strengths are. We all have them, it's ok.

11. What God thinks of me is more important than what anyone else thinks. On that same note, if I truly want to fill fulfilled, I have to be following my God given calling, not worrying about what anyone else thinks. This one is the hardest for me to write, because I'll be working on this for years, and this is the one sometimes I feel the most out of line with. But, I remember the times in my 20's that I felt most alive, it was when I was more focused on what He thinks about me than worrying about what others think. 

This wonderful picture to the right is me from college, having a wonderful time learning how to solder. Yes, it's not the best picture, but I really love it because I was having so much fun! You can also definitely tell that a bunch of guys lived in this house from all of the lovely background accoutrements. 

There's one more lesson I've learned more about this year than ever before. But I feel like that one is a more detailed posts. So I'm going to write another post about that lesson. Read it here!

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You are the ONLY You that will Ever You!

Be Your Quirky Wonderful Self! - AVintageJoy

I recently read THIS POST by CupofJo and it really hit me. I love so many aspects of people and I really want to learn all that I can from other's experiences, but I truly believe the unique aspects of ourselves are the thing that makes us so unique. I know that sounds kinda like a "duh" statement, but remember when you were a kid? Remember all of those unique aspects of yourself being the thing that other kids tried to make you feel bad for?

I've been told things, even in my adult life like "you really shouldn't make so many jokes if you're running a meeting" **I made two jokes in an hour's time**. Those things, if we're not careful change the unique aspects about us that are the reason why we're where we are in the first place. 

Yes, we should always be maturing and growing as a person, but those special aspects of ourselves that others saw and loved, are also the aspects that others will see and want to change. 

I saw a poster that said "You can't make everyone happy, you're not coffee" Preach! I'm not here to try to appease everyone I come in contact with, there are going to be people that we just don't have to be best friends with, and that is ok! We're meant to love people to the best of our ability, but it is also a two way street. If you're going to be friends with someone they have to buy into that as well. 

It can be very easy to start to be someone else's version of you. Don't! Your loud laugh, or quirky jokes, or curly hair, are all meant to be that way on purpose. Be proud of your freckles, don't cover them up! Be yourself, don't spend your time trying to be "the cool kid." What does that even mean anyways, cool is defined by whatever the masses say is cool right now. Remember when Jocks, then Nerds, then Social Media Influencers became cool?

 It changes so much, just focus on being you! You're the best and only you that will ever you. Do yourself the justice of being that! 

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June Goals (10 in 30)

June Goals 2018 (10  in 30) - AVintageJoy

It's around this time of the year that I feel like my brain goes "ahhhhh" because the year is going so quickly and I have so many things I want to accomplish! We all have so many small and big goals that we're working towards every day. It's important to celebrate those. 

1// Purchase my Sugarland Tickets! If you don't know who they are, it's a country music band that I loved when I was younger and then they broke up to have kids....but they're back together now!! And they're coming to my part of the world and I really want to see them! 

2// Find lotion that I love, that's also better for my body than the lotion I'm using now. I never thought I had dry skin, but now I'm realizing I do, and lotion is important. The lotion I want to find though is lotion that has only a few ingredients so that it's better for my skin! Any thoughts?

3// Go to bed earlier. I have to get up so early for work, and yet in my heart I'm a night owl, therefore I tend to only get six hours of sleep a night, and recently those have been restless hours, no bueno.

4// Use my Levenger notebook to its fullest potential. I may even do a post on how great this notebook is. I love it so much! 

5// Learn more about my Lightroom presets. I've always been so intrigued by them and how they work so I finally purchased a set from Peter McKinnon and I love them! But I feel like they need to be tweaked on my pictures because of where I tend to shoot vs. where he tends to shoot. 

6// I want to find two things this month that I can cut out that will help me save more money! Because I feel like it's been so long since I've traveled I've been settling down. Getting use to a place isn't bad, but I don't want all of my money going for that instead of towards a future vacation!! 

7// Keep up with my at home workout routine! I'm starting to craft an at home workout routine that I really enjoy, I just need to keep it up!!

8// Look into options for AC units either in the window or something that I can put in the wall. I just moved and my new place has a window unit, but 20 minutes after I started it up, the cold air just became air *cries*.

9// On that same home remodel path: check to see how much a simple crown molding would be. I had it in my last place and I feel like it gave so much character. I wonder how much it would cost to do that in my place now?

10// See the outdoors! I'm keeping this one from months past because I wasn't very successful! I typically work 10-12 hrs a day, so seeing the sun is something that not only is important for my mental health, but also my physical! Go outdoors people! 

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