Cheap Dates That Won’t Make You Look Like A Cheapskate: 9 Affordable Valentines Date Ideas

Valentines Day is almost here and what better excuse do you need for a midweek date night? My Husband and I will be spending it the way we do every year, watching horror movies and eating bacon flavoured everything. Whether you’re celebrating with your girlfriend, boyfriend, girl gang, family, the lads or your pet cat, you’ll be wanting a way to impress your date and if you blew your budget on a single rose Bachelor style, then you’ll be looking for some more affordable date ideas!

Picnic + Book

Pack a picnic basket full of your Valentines favourite foods and head to the beach, botanical gardens, park or even your own backyard. Surprise your date with a new book (Check out my last post to find out how to get your hands on a Penguin Classic for just $2.95) and make a new playlist for entertainment.

 

Learn To Cook Together

Set the table all fancy-like, blast some tunes, pour yourselves a red and learn how to cook a new meal together. If you can’t afford a $130+ cooking class then why not try one online? Jaime Oliver and Gordon Ramsay both have YouTube channels for beginner cooks. Make sure you watch the video the day before to make a list of all the ingredients that you’ll need.

Photo by Mae and Sunshine

Games Night

If your Valentine isn’t a crazy competitive freak like me and is able to keep the sledging to mild insults, then the ultimate games night is just one Kmart trip away. They’ve got all of your favourite classic games like Jenga and Pickup Sticks from just $2.00.

 

Holey Moley Putt Putt Golf

As if Putt Putt wasn’t already fun enough, the geniuses at Holey Moley have taken this favourite childhood pastime and combined it with everyone’s favourite adult pastime… drinking! At only $16.50 a game and multiple locations around Australia, Holey Moley is the perfect Valentines date option. You can book online right here.

Honey Money Fortitude Valley

A Night of Culture

Impress your date with a trip to your local Art Gallery and Museum. Check their websites for free events and exhibitions before you go.

If you’re a Brisbane local, the Queensland Gallery Of Modern Art (GOMA) is screening The Mummy (1932) at 6:00pm and Morocco (1930) at 7:30pm for free! Finish the night with a stroll along the river or make your way to…

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

Cowch Dessert Bar

Cowch Dessert Cocktail Bar has two locations, Grey St South Bank and Pacific Fair. Sign up online before you go and you will receive a $10 bonus reward! The meals are beyond delicious and there is a wide range of affordable options including gluten and dairy free desserts.

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The Perfect Movie Night

Load up on snacks and get cosy at Cineplex, the cheapest cinemas in town at only $8.50 per adult. As if that’s not cheap enough, adult tickets are only $6.50 if you go to a weekday session before 6pm.

If you don’t live near a Cineplex why not sign up for a free Foxtel, Netflix or Stan trial, build a blanket fort and settle in for the perfect movie night in the comfort of your own home.

La La Land

Escape Room Experience

If you’re wanting to put your Valentines survival skills to the test, then the latest craze of Escape Rooms is the date for you. Prices vary but are around the $35.00 mark. If you’re looking for a discount then look no further than…

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Deals Extra

Deals Extra is home to the best deals available on the web! For a heavily discounted night out this is where you’ll find it. They’ve got deals on everything from stand up paddle boarding to fencing and of course restaurants and nights away. Deals only last a limited time but are updated daily!

Deals Extra

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20 Affordable & Unique Valentines Gifts That Aren’t At All Lame ​

So Valentine’s Day is right around the corner and whether you love it or hate it, the chances are, there is someone in your life who you love a little or like a lot and would really like to shower with gifts… however, if you are like me and are still recovering from Christmas then funds are tight. Never fear! It is possible to retain your ultimate gift giving status even when you are totally broke.

Here are 20 Affordable & Unique Valentines Gifts That Aren’t At All Lame

(Sorted from low to high because that’s how I roll when shopping online.)

1. Something Personal – $0.00

My secretly very talented friend Bryce drew these amazing pictures for his girlfriend and she loved them so much that she had them framed! If you are not this talented why not try your hand at some poetry… A is for awesome, L is for lovely, you went to primary school, you know how to do it! If music is more up your alley then create a super sick playlist that they can blast on their way to work. If all else fails everyone loves a good old inappropriate stick figure illustration.

2. Swizzels Giant Love Heart Roll – $1.60

Swizzels

Honestly, you can’t go wrong with lollies and with these giant candy hearts from Candy Time you can express all those feels without having to say a word. You can even make a cute personalised message on the Swizzels website to go along with it.

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3. Penguin Little Black Classics – $2.95

These Little Black Classics by Penguin are perfect for the literary lover in your life. You can order them from Angus & Robertson Bookworld for just $2.95!

4. Doughnut Time – $6.95

Doughnuts… need I say more! Doughnut Time has the most amazingly, indulgent doughnuts on the planet and with gluten-free and vegan options you’re bound to find something for even the trickiest gift recipient. Individual doughnuts start at $6.95 or you can splurge and have a pack delivered by Foodora for $32.00.

5. La La Land Valentine’s Day Cards – $6.95

These Australian made cards are so luxe and quirky that your loved one will want to frame them! Check out their online store lalalandshop.com.au, where you will find something to suit everyone, and trust me the struggle to pick just one is very real.

6. The Falcon Soap By Soap Cultcha – $8.00

Soap Cultcha

Never has there been a cooler and cleaner gift to impress your Star Wars lover with. You can find these Australian made Millennium Falcon soap bars and more online at Soap Cultcha’s Etsy store. May the suds be with you!

7. Soap & Glory Gift Pack – $9.00

Soap & Glory bringing us the budget beauty goods once again with these super cute gift sets. Both available for just $9.00 each from Mecca.

8. Mox & Co Earrings – $9.00

Brisbane based jewellery designer Mox & Co, create the most unique acrylic earrings at incredibly affordable prices. While you’re on their site be sure to check out their sale section to grab yourself an insane bargain. If your Valentine is into mermaids, flamingos or science then you absolutely need to check out their new Quirky Dangles statement pieces!

9. Alcoholder TraVino Spillproof Wine Sippy Cup – $14.95

Alcoholder

THIS IS A SIPPY CUP FOR WINE!!! You can order it online from the geniuses at Alcoholder… you’re welcome!

10. Frank & Oli Soy Candles – $15.00

Frank & Oli

Frank & Oli create the most delicious soy candles in flavours that you have only dreamt of… Smokey Bacon anyone? I discovered this Brisbane based business last year and now I have one of their candles in every room of my house. They are amazing value with the 230ml jar available for just $15.00 with over 35 hours of burn time. You can find these little scents from heaven online at Frank & Oli’s Etsy store.

11. Lush Wild Gift Pack – $15.50

Drive your Valentine wild with this super fun gift pack from Lush. They’ll never want to leave the shower after discovering Lush’s signature Keen Green Moulding Machine cleansing dough!

12. Søciety6 Mug – $15.99

With designs from artists all over the world, you are sure to find the perfect mug for your lover online at Søciety6. There are mugs celebrating everything from Friends to the fall of the patriarchy and a percentage of each purchase goes directly to the artist.

13. Marvling Bros Hot Stuff In a Matchbox – $16.00

Marvling Bros Hot Stuff In a Matchbox - $16.00

Looking for a gift that’s as hot as you are? The Hot Stuff In A Matchbox by Marvling Bros. is available from Hard To Find and is guaranteed to add some spice to your love life.

14. Shortstory Sushi Socks – $16.95

Is your Valentine still rocking holy socks from the mid-00’s? Update their wardrobe with some seriously funky Sushi Socks, available online at Shortstory and Glue Store.

15.  Frank Body Original Coffee Scrub – $16.95

Frank Body Original Coffee Scrub - $16.95

A Nylon review claims that Frank Body Original Coffee Scrub “Very well may be the greatest body scrub of all time.” and they’re not wrong! This scrub will leave your lover’s skin feeling softer than a babies butt and smelling good enough to drink. It is available online at Frank Body or in-store at Mecca.

16. Kikki. K Leather Key Ring Heart – $16.95

Your Valentine won’t lose their keys again with this adorable leather keychain from Kikki.K! You can make it even more special with their new monogramming service for an extra $10.00. “But I don’t have an extra $10.00 Alex, that’s why I reading this article”, you say? Don’t worry I’ve got that covered too, sign up to Kikki.K online and you will receive an email containing a $10.00 welcome voucher.

17. Mrs. Fields Signature Heart Tin Cookie Cake – $19.95

Mrs. Fields Signature Heart Tin Cookie Cake - $19.95

If you think $19.95 is too much to spend on a cookie then you probably haven’t tried Mrs. Fields. The Signature Heart Tin Cookie Cake is available in nine different flavours and can be ordered online or in store.

18. “Where We Met” Prints By Pixel & Flourish – $20.00

Where We Met Prints By Pixel & Flourish - $20.00
If you are looking for something that is truly unique to you and your partner then look no further, for we have found the ultimate way to celebrate your serendipitous first encounter (or schoolies in my case).  You can order these gorgeous, Australian made, custom “Where We Met” prints from Pixel & Flourish’s Facebook page.

19. Rose Quartz Tusk Pendant by Kirsten Ash – $23.70

If you are wanting to spoil your loved one with something really special then check out the sale section on the Kirsten Ash website. There are hundreds of beautiful bespoke pieces on sale from as little as $17.70. The stunning small rose tusk quartz pendant featured above is 18k gold plated and is available for $23.70.

20. Personalised Plectrum Holder Keyring by Parkin & Lewis – $25.00

img_7660Personalised Plectrum Holder Keyring by Parkin & Lewis - $25.00

This hand-stitched personalised plectrum holder keyring by Parkin & Lewis is perfect for the muso in your life. It is available online at Hard To Find, sign up while you’re there for lots of exclusive offers and discounts.

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Three Ultra Alternative & Very Creative Ways to Get a Bargain

Looking for some new ways to save cash so that you can start putting it away for that holiday you’ve been dreaming of / the house you want to buy / the bag you lust after / coffee (that one’s mine)? Here are three ultra alternative and very creative ways to get a bargain…

Make The Absolute Most Out of Free Trials

We all love a good free trial, especially when it’s for a streaming service! They lure you in and get you addicted to the kinds of shows you never knew you needed but now can’t live without. Before you know it you’re halfway through Stranger Things and your month is up! But what if I told you there was a way to buy yourself some more time, for free!

Here is how it’s done… between myself and my husband, we have two visa debit cards, a credit card and three email addresses. So, whenever I sign up for a free trial I use his email and visa debit card for the first time, then again with my email and visa debit card and one more time with my second email and credit card. So I get three free goes before I ever have to pay. Today I signed up for a free month trial of a streaming service, I shared the password with my bestie so that she can use it too, at the end of our free THREE months on my cards we will use hers because sharing is caring! Aaagh, that’s a lot of info, here is a breakdown…

A creative homebody's guide to staying inspired

Save With Social Media

So it turns out Instagram, is actually good for more than just stalking your ex’s new girlfriend’s cousin’s pug dog! There are hundreds of pages dedicated to helping you find bargains, there is everything from pages that share in-store bargains to ones that keep you up to date with online travel deals. Here are just a few of my favourites…

Home Is Where A Bargain Is is run by Ashlee, a Melbourne mum who loves a bargain and knows where to find them! Her favourite stores to showcase are Kmart, Big W, Target and Aldi. She posts daily and includes heaps of info in her descriptions too, so you know exactly how much things are and where you can find them.

Kmart Bargains is run by Aimee, a Kmart enthusiast from Western Australia with a keen eye for a bargain and beautiful taste in home decor. She posts frequently, especially when there are new products in stock and even shares her clever hacks, just like the one above. Check her Insta now to get a glimpse of Kmart’s new arrivals!

You’ll never miss a bargain again when you’re following Addicted to Bargains run by Brisbane’s own bargain Queen, Sam. If you’re looking to shop for the whole family, she’s got you covered with posts featuring products from Target, The Reject Shop, Kmart, Spotlight, Pillow Talk, Big W and Bunnings. She posts 2 – 3 times a day as well as updating her super informative story all day long!

If it’s not half price, it’s not a sale is this Sydney mum of two’s motto, and if it’s half price then you are sure to find it on The Savvy Saver Insta page. Ravin is passionate about stretching every dollar as far as she can and loves to help others do the same. She shops absolutely everywhere and posts insane bargains several times a day.

If you are like me you will go to great lengths to avoid paying for parking, unfortunately, this is not always possible. Luckily, Parking Deals Australia has set up an Instagram page to keep you up to date with parking deals from around the country!

Thought planning a holiday for the whole family was too expensive? Thrifty Family Travels will make you think again! Melissa’s Instagram is what dreams are made of, pristine beaches and delicious food, all at a reasonable price! Her blog is not only stunning but it is a must read if you are planning a trip with kids.

Another great way to save with social media is by following local pages such as the library, shopping centre, closest museum and art gallery on Facebook and Instagram. If your suburb has a page follow that, as well as your closest city. Following all of these pages will ensure that you never miss a free event or sale!

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My son Oscar at a free reptile show at Westfield Carindale
Pit The Big Grocers Against Each Other And See Who Wins (Spoiler Alert, It’s You!)

Whenever I have a really tight grocery budget I always make a comprehensive list of everything that I will need for the whole week. I then fill an online cart with all of my items on both Coles and Woolworths websites. I have no intention of ordering them online but it is a really good way to compare prices and work out where I am going to go shopping.  I prefer to go to the actual store instead of shopping online as there are always clearance items that differ from store to store and are not available online.

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10 Real Women Share Their Favourite Budget Beauty Products

I love nothing more than discovering budget beauty products that work just as well as their high-end counterparts. Sometimes the best way to find these little gems is through recommendations from friends who actually use them.

We asked 10 real women what their favourite budget beauty products are and they delivered…

Alex Whittington, 29, How To Hustle, Brisbane (AUS)

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“I am in love with my NYX blush, it is $9.95 from Priceline. I used to use Pure Envy Sculpting Blush by Estée Lauder which was $55.00 until my sister recommended NYX, it works just as well and lasts just as long!

Eilish Moloney, 16, Student, Sunshine Coast (AUS)

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“I got this 6 pack of Jeju Volcanic Nose Strips by Innisfree from W Cosmetics, for $6.00. I am a big fan of K-beauty (Korean Beauty Products) so I was excited to find these at Westfield! I have used heaps of different nose strips in the past but these definitely work the best.”

Ruby Schmidt, 26, Producer/Production Manager, Brisbane (AUS)

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“I don’t even have to think twice about this one! My favourite is Face Base Primer by Face of Australia it’s $11.95 and is just as good as Auto Pilot by Napoleon Perdis.”

Jenny Kennedy, 29, Occupational Therapist/Fitness Guru, Glasgow (SCT)

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“My favourite budget beauty product is MAYBELLINE Lash Sensational Mascara Washable in Blackest Black. It’s £8.99 here in Scotland ($21.95 in Australia, available at Priceline). The brush is sort of a half moon shape which is great for getting all the tiny wee lashes right in the corners without smearing it all over your nose and face. It doesn’t go clumpy, defines all of your lashes, and you can build it up as you apply! I wear one coat for work/daytime and then reapply it for my nighttime eye make up.”

Laura Appleyard, 29, Gym Manager/Personal Trainer, Gold Coast (AUS)

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“I use T.N Dickson’s All Natural Witch Hazel Toner. You can get it from Coles for $7.70 or on sale at Chemist Warehouse for $6.49. It is so great for my skin and prevents breakouts!”

Amber Schmidt, 21, Marketing Graduate, Brisbane (AUS)

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“I used to use Mac foundation but I have changed to Rimmel Lasting Finish Foundation. It is normally $18.95 but it is always on sale at different outlets! I recently bought it on sale from Woolworths for $9.50.”

Cassie Davis, 27, Mum/Small Business Owner, Mackay (AUS)

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“My favourite would have to be Nude By Nature Mineral Cover. It is $39.95 which is half the price of the Estée Lauder powder that I used to use. I buy it from Priceline and would definitely recommend it as it is the best powder that I have ever used!”

Kelly Jean, 49, Pharmacy Manager, Sunshine Coast (AUS)Screen Shot 2018-01-04 at 7.41.23 pm

“I have tried bronzers by Nepoleon, MAC and Lancôme but now I use DB (Designer Brands) Glow Get Em Bronzer and I love it! I get it from my work because I am a Pharmacy Manager but it is also available online for $11.99.”

Danielle Head, 27, Nursing Student, Sunshine Coast (AUS)

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“I have recently discovered Olay Moisturising Lotion For Sensitive Skin and I swear by it! I spend a lot of time at the beach which can leave my skin feeling really dry, so I like to apply a good moisturiser at the end of the day. I find Olay leaves my skin feeling hydrated and fresh! I buy it from Woolworths for $13.00.”

Roxy Lewis, 31, Naturopathy Student, Gold Coast (AUS)

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“My favourite budget beauty product is Corta’s Rose Water. I get it from my local Middle Eastern Grocer for $4.00 a bottle but you can also order it online from Amazon. I use it as a toner and apply it every night before bed and even bought a tiny spray bottle from the chemist so that I can carry it with me at all times. It just smells so beautiful!”

How to Sell Your Stuff: Babies and Kids Clothes

Welcome back to the How to Sell Your Stuff series. Next up we are going to raid the kid’s rooms.

If you are like me and your kids have nicer stuff than you do, then this room is the money maker!

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My family and friends love spoiling my kids rotten so their cupboards are filled with goodies. You’ll find me out and about in active wear and a hobo bun next to two kids dressed in Country Road and Seed. I keep my kids clothes in great condition and sell them as soon as they grow out of them so that I can start stocking up on the next size.

My best friend gave me two life-changing tips for keeping clothes looking like new:

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This Rechargeable Lint Remover from Kmart is the best $10.00 I have ever spent. It gets rid of pilling (the little balls) and makes clothes look brand new!
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This Stain-Lift by White King from Woolworths gets everything out from chocolate to blood! Just spray it on as soon as possible. It is even safe to use on colour.

Now let’s get started…

Designer Clothes

Start by sorting the designer clothes into brand specific piles, the best place to sell these is on Facebook Buy Swap Sell (BSS) groups. There are hundreds of kids BSS groups! Before you get started, go and join all of your local suburb/city kids BSS groups and then join the brand specific groups. There are groups for Bonds, Seed, Country Road, Witchery, Cotton On, Bardot Jnr, if it’s cute there’s a group! Read the page rules carefully before you post anything, each group has specific posting guidelines. For example, some make you post a collage of everything you’re selling and then post individual photos in the comments.

Now that you’ve joined the groups and read the rules, put your post together, including clear pictures, prices, sizes, the item condition and location (suburb only). If you post the item/s in multiple groups make sure you add “advertised elsewhere” in the description.

Handmade Boutique Clothes

You know that little cake smash dress that you spent months looking for and your cherub wore once? It was all worth it, not just because of the cute pics, but because, handmade items from well known local brands do well on BSS. Be clever with your posting times, don’t try selling your Christmas and Easter rompers in the middle of the year! Get your post together and put it up on your local suburb/city kids BSS groups.

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Non-Designer Clothes

There are a few ways to sell non-designer clothes on BSS…

Bundle – You can do size bundles but, don’t expect to get more than $20 regardless of the amount you are selling. Lay all the clothes out neatly and take a photo of the lot. Post this image as the main photo, then take individual pictures and post them in the comments.

Individually You can sell them individually, but do it all in the same post, group administrators hate it when you post hundreds of different items in one go and spam the page. Use the same format as above in ‘Bundle’ but include the individual prices under each picture in the comments.

Gold Coin Sale – If you are keen to sell them quickly and you have a lot, post them as a Gold Coin thread! Use an image of a ‘sale sign’ or something equally eye-catching. Post individual pictures of items in the comments. Under each image add the words ‘Gold Coin Sale’ as well as the usual information including the size and item condition. Include the same details in the post’s description. Because the items are so cheap you should also include the phrases ‘pick up ASAP’ and ‘no holds’ to prevent no-shows.

After a week or so when people have finished commenting, I usually post whatever is left as a free bundle. If you choose to do this make sure you only post in one group at a time because people get back to you FAST and it is hard to keep up with who wrote sold first. I have literally been verbally abused by a toothless woman who believed she commented ‘sold’ before another lady did. Needless to say, I did NOT give her the clothes.

Brand New With Tags

If you have anything with tags still attached (like me because my daughter grows faster than the speed of light) post them on eBay. Start with the retail price and see if you have any luck, you can always lower it after a week if it doesn’t sell or, select ‘make me an offer’ if you are happy to accept less. Make sure you include BNWT (Brand New With Tags) in the listing title and description, also include photos of the tags in your post.

You can try and sell BNWT items on BSS but they don’t do as well. BSS groups are a place to get a good deal not a place to pay the full retail price. Also, the mothers (or fathers) in these group are savvy shoppers so don’t try fooling them! There is nothing worse than seeing someone who has gone and bought a bunch of kids clothes at outlet sales and tried to sell them on BSS groups for the full retail price. It’s fine if you want to do this, and it is quite a good way to make some extra cash but sell the stuff on eBay, not BSS.

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Shoes

Shoes are a pretty safe bet when it comes to making a decent sale. Because let’s face it, kids feet grow a warped speed, so they are generally in pretty good condition. Excellent condition shoes sell well on eBay, whilst well-used shoes are best sold on BSS and the Facebook marketplace.

Swaddles

Love To Dream Swaddles (every new Mums dream) are one of the most popular items on BSS. Make sure that you are honest about their condition, don’t be a d*ck and try to fob off sweat and drool stained swaddles to unsuspecting strangers. I paid $25 for a swaddle that looked brand new in the photo and when it arrived it had mouldy stains on the hands so I had to throw it away! This was my first purchase on BSS and because I was new to the group, I didn’t know what to do about it. Now if there are not enough pictures of an item I will ask to see more before I purchase it, especially if it is being posted to me. I also always ask if the item is from a smoke-free home, especially if it is a swaddle. I have since bought 3 more from different people on BSS and they have all been perfect. Swaddles that are in good condition can sell from $15 to $30.

Baby Bag

If you and your kids have outgrown your baby bag and you need the cash to buy a grown-up purse and a few backpacks you might be in luck! Bags such as the Mimco Lucid Baby Bag are still in high demand. I recently sold my tan, 3-year-old (bag not child) on eBay for $150! It even had a few scuff marks (which I posted photos of on eBay). Brands like Oroton and Skip Hop do well on eBay as well. If you have a non-designer bag in good condition post it on BSS.

Happy selling!

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