Gifts for Her: Under $30

The holdiays can be an expensive time of year, so we’re keeping the money-saving tips coming this week with a continuation of our earlier post, Gifts for Him: Under $30. Here are some unique gifts for the special women in your life.

Hilary Duff With Love perfume

Hilary Duff With Love eau de parfum – The highest-rated celebrity perfume on TotalBeauty.com. – $29 Continue reading

DIY: Decorate It Yourself

In between classes, work, and play, all stylish undergrads need a chic pad suitable for crashing or hosting. There are two ways to achieve this: go out and buy the pieces you need, or create them yourself. Either way will work, but your wallet will be a lot happier with the second one. The best part is, you don’t need extensive DIY knowledge to make  your place come alive thanks to an abundance of websites with great tutorials. Here are a few places to start.

Design*Sponge
Featuring a category dedicated to DIY and another that highlights readers’ DIY before and afters, Design*Sponge is the place to start for how-to interior design. Recent tutorials include a vintage belt frame, a delicate centerpiece, and a vertical garden for your patio. Tutorials can be browsed by cost, difficulty, material used, and more. Continue reading

‘Tis The Season!

Most people would say that there are two kinds of people in this world: those who plan ahead, and those who do not. I would  counter  that there are actually three, when you include the people who always intend to plan ahead. In any case, this post is for all of you.

A girl I know throws an annual Christmas cocktail party. Everyone dresses up, eats bite-sized food, and drinks out of actual glasses. As a one-time thing, it’s always a fun night. If you don’t have a friend like mine, you could become the person who throws the fabulous Christmas party every year. If it sounds intimidating, start small: the invitations. There’s a budget way to create beautiful invitations – using only your computer!

The website 123print.com is a great place to get started. It’s incredibly easy to use. They have hundreds of pre-made templates to choose from that you can then customize. You can add text and edit any text’s font, size, and color. If you’re ambitious, there are more advanced tools that let you upload your own pictures and add various characters into your text. For the Photoshop-savvy, there is a completely blank template that allows you to upload the entire design. You can make this in Photoshop in the specified size and simply save it as a.jpg, then upload it to the site and voila! Invitation!

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Fall Asleep With Your Boots On

Fall is officially here, and with the shift of the seasons comes a shift in the wardrobe. From tank tops to cardigans, and shorts to skinny jeans, it’s time to transition to cool-weather clothes. Of course, you’re not going to wear your cute fall outfits with flip flops, so it’s also time to move towards warmer footwear.

Luckily for us, girls, there are plenty of choices out there. Here are some budget-friendly options.

The Cozy Boot

cozy boot from Target.com

The cozy boot is a fall must-have. This one, from Target.com, is a wallet-friendly version of the popular, but expensive Ugg boot. I like it because it has a lot of the things you should look for: nice tread on the bottom, a fuzzy or furry lining, multiple color options (pick the one that matches the majority of your comfy, casual outfits), and it even opens on the side to make it easier to tuck your jeans or pants into them.

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The Weekend Scene

A big part of any college experience is the fun of discovering the best place to grab a drink after a long week of classes. Luckily, the Dallas area is full of bars and restaurants, many of which have great happy hours. You might think that money-saving happy hours only occur during typical after-work weekday hours (often Monday – Friday, 4-7pm). However, it’s a testament to the great social scene in Dallas that there are plenty of good specials on the weekends as well. Here are a few examples from around the metroplex.

If you’re looking for a classy scene full of young, fun people, you can’t go wrong in Uptown. The popular Uptown Bar and Grill has a great happy hour that includes $2 kamikazes and $3 wells on Fridays, $4 vodka Red Bulls on Saturdays, and $3 Bloody Marys on Sundays, all from 7pm-2am. For Saturday or Sunday lunch, hit up Primo’s for $3 Bloody Marys and mimosas from 11am-4pm.

In Deep Ellum, highly-rated bar, The Bone, has $2 wells, $2 drafts, and $2.50 bottles from 6-8pm on Fridays (all week, actually). If you’re in the mood for Tex-Mex, try Monica’s Aca Y Alla for an all-night happy hour on Fridays that includes margaritas, beer, and well drinks for just $3 each. You also can’t beat their Sunday specials, which include extremely budget-friendly margaritas and mimosas for a mere $1 each, and screwdrivers and Bloody Marys for just $2.50 each. As a bonus, they also serve a $5.99 brunch special.

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Halloween Costumes on a Budget

With the approach of Halloween comes the approach of a fun holiday tradition: costumes. Halloween is the one time a year it’s socially acceptable to dress up in crazy costumes. Creativity is encouraged and humor is rewarded. With the exploding trend of Halloween super stores, it’s easier than ever to put a costume together. However, the price for a store-bought costume is soaring. If you don’t have $100 to spend on a costume, here are some ideas to help you avoid those pesky overdraft fees.

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IKEA, Your Way

For most college students looking for stylish furniture on a tight budget, there is only one place to turn to: IKEA. Specializing in modern Scandinavian design built for functionality, IKEA sells a huge range of products for every room. You can get any piece of furniture or any accessory you want, and you can choose how much you want to spend on it. For a quick fix, you can choose one of their low-priced lines, or you can spend a little more and get better quality.

But what happens when every college student in your dorm ends up with the same bookshelf? Or three of your friends have the same couch? That’s where IKEAhackers.net comes in. IKEA Hackers is a great resource if you want to personalize your cheap IKEA items so that you get to save some space in your budget, but also stand out from the crowd a bit.

The site features real people and their real projects that turn basic IKEA pieces into clever new pieces, or in some cases just improved or customized versions of the original pieces. Each post lists the materials used in the “hack,” as well as a description of the process. The posts range from children’s play kitchens to footstools, from lighting to couches. You can use the search bar to find hacks featuring specific products, and there is a category list on the left if you just want to get a general idea of the content available. Additionally, the site’s Quick Start Guide has a useful list of projects broken down by difficulty level, as well as a list of most popular hacks.

The best part about the site is that many of the hacks use items you probably already have on hand, and the majority of the IKEA pieces used are from the lower-priced lines – perfect for a college undergrad’s light wallet. Even if you never shop at IKEA and aren’t interested in starting, it’s inspiring to see how easy it is to start with something very basic and end with something unique and personal.