Things to Do on a Budget in Monmouth & Ocean Counties this November 2019

It’s time to kick off the start of the holiday season and there are so many great things to do with family and friends in the upcoming weeks to celebrate this special time of year! Check out our list of free or inexpensive activities happening this month in a town near you. We hope you have a very Happy Thanksgiving!

November 1: Jersey Shore Ghost Tour (Red Bank). Don’t miss the last night of this lantern-lit walking ghost tour through historic Red Bank! Tickets are $12 for adults and $10 for children under 12. Ticket sales begin at 8pm and the tour will leave at 8:30pm from Dublin House at 30 Monmouth Street. Learn more and book online here.

November 1 – 3: Stocking Stuffer Craft Show at Allaire Village (Wall). Starting at 10am on both Friday & Saturday and noon on Sunday until 3pm each of the three days, this once a year event features handcrafted items that are perfect for holiday season gifts! You’ll find ornaments, scarves, decorations, a handmade quilt raffle, and more. Get more information here.

November 2:

Fall Fest and Chili Contest at Old Glory (Keyport) from 1-7pm.  Besides the chili making contest, there will also be a DJ, petting zoo, a pumpkin throwing contest, live music, bull riding and more! Find out more details here. You won’t want to miss this fun event for the whole family!

Awesome Autumn Fun at Jakes Branch County Park (Beachwood) from 1-4pm. Take a hayride through nature trails, participate in fall-themed games, get your face painted, there will be a petting zoo, hot apple cider, costumed characters, and more.  Free to attend!  Learn more here.

November 9:

Late Fall Flea Market at Allaire Village (Wall). Hunt for bargains among vintage treasures, books, art work, handmade items, knick knacks and so much more! The event runs from 8am – 3pm and is $2 per person to attend. The Historic Village, Pilsen Gourmet Food Truck, General Store, and Bakery will be open as well. Learn more here.

Fall Craft Show at the Ft. Monmouth Recreation Area (Tinton Falls) from 9am-2pm. Shop for special gifts from over 50 unique craft vendors just in time for the holiday season! You’ll find holiday ornaments and decorations, jewelry, candles, soaps, paintings, baskets, embroidered items and more. Free admission and parking. Learn more by clicking this link.

November 16: Thanks4Giving Turkey Dash 5K and Splash from 10:30am to 3pm at Convention Hall (Asbury Park).  Participate in either the 5K race, cold turkey plunge, or both! The 5K dash goes from Asbury Park to Ocean Grove and Bradley Beach. Cost for the 5K is $35 and the turkey splash is $25 paid in advance (you can also register a team).  All proceeds will go to the Special Olympics of NJ. Register or donate here.

November 17: Annual Granny’s Attic Craft Show (Thompson Middle School, Middletown) from 9am to 4pm. Don’t miss more than 250 craft vendors – perfect for holiday shopping! There will also be food trucks from 11am to 6pm. Admission is $5 per adult, kids ages 3-14 are $2, and under 3 are free. There will be shuttle busses running continuously from Middletown Train Station to Thompson Middle School. There will also be hourly 50/50 raffles and a grand prize raffle at the end of the event. Find out more here.

November 22: Pizza and Penguins at Jenkinson’s Aquarium (Pt. Pleasant) from 6 to 7:30pm. Your favorite flightless bird will make a special dinnertime appearance while you enjoy pizza and drinks! Learn all about them, ask their keepers questions, and meet Perky the Penguin.  Pre-registration is required. Call 732-899-1659 or visit Jenkinson’s website for event details.  Event cost is $20 for adults and $15 for children.

November 23 & 24: Wine and Chocolate Weekend at 4JG’s Vineyard (Colts Neck) from 12-5pm. Sip award winning wines, sample delicious locally hand-crafted chocolates and relax. The fire pit will be going (weather permitting), come join the fun! Admission is $15 per adult (ages 21+ only). Learn more here.

November 29: Santa Express and Parade (Red Bank) from 6:45-8pm. Santa rides the NJ Transit train into Red Bank for the annual town lighting and holiday express concert. Join Santa on the train in Little Silver or meet him at the Red Bank train station when he arrives. There’ll be festivities before and after the train arrives with holiday dancers and the Pipes and Drums of the Atlantic Watch. Once in Red Bank, Santa will board a firetruck and lead the parade to Broad Street for the Holiday Express Concert and Town Tree Lighting. This event is free for all ages! Find out more information here.

November 30:

Asbury Park Holiday Bazaar at Convention Hall from 11am-10pm. Check out local and regional artists, vendors, and shops selling handmade art, jewelry, home goods, food, and more. The event will feature live music and special performances, photos with Santa, holiday photo booth pictures, a 30 foot Christmas tree, fireplace lounge, and beautiful holiday decor. While you shop, enjoy a seasonally-inspired menu and holiday drinks at the Anchors Bend and Asbury Oyster Bar. There will alos be kids art classes and holiday craft workshops. Get additional details here.

Seashell Festival (Ship Bottom, LBI) from 10am-3pm. Don’t miss seashells, seaglass, and holiday fun in the 2nd annual LBI Seashell Festival at Things A Drift on Long Beach Blvd. Bring your beach finds and compete in the best shell contest, enjoy some homemade cookies, and support local businesses for Small Business Weekend. There will be vendors with handmade nautical jewelry, art, home decor, holiday gifts and more!  Free admission.  Learn more at https://thingsadrift.com/

Last Minute Halloween Costumes on a Budget

Halloween is almost here and that means your time to find a costume is limited. If you are like many Americans, a Halloween costume is something that seems to slip to the bottom of the list every year. Whether you are putting together a last-minute fix for your child or a low-key costume for the neighborhood party, we have a few options for you.

Stick with the classics.

Everyone knows Charlie Brown. While his dreary disposition may not seem like the ideal inspiration for a fun Halloween costume, it is important to remember that Charlie always keeps it simple. Stock up on the following materials and create your own Peanuts ghost costume. You’ll need:

  • 1 white bed sheet
  • 5 sheets of black cardboard paper
  • 1 pair of scissors
  • 1 container of glue

Punny is priceless.

Everyone knows someone who doesn’t like to dress up. If you are that person, you’re in luck, this one’s for you. This costume commandeers the style of our Canadian friends and relies heavily on denim (also known as: the Canadian tuxedo). Grab your favorite pair of jeans, a denim jacket or shirt, and one “HELLO MY NAME IS” name tag. Fill out the name tag with the name “Jean” and you’re good to go. As a bonus, this costume will definitely keep you warm even on a cool October night. Costume supplies:

  • 1 pair of jeans
  • 1 denim top
  • 1 “HELLO MY NAME IS” name tag
  • 1 marker
  • Denim shoes or hat (optional)

Kick it old school.

Style is always changing and with decades of life experience comes decades of outdated apparel lining the back of your closet. Dig into your closet and revitalize one of your favorite old-school looks. From the bell-bottoms and big collars of the 70’s to the big hair and bright colors of 80’s – your Halloween costume is probably hiding in your closet, you just have to find it. This one’s easy – you’ll need:

  • Willingness to relive past fashion mistakes (and have fun with it!)

At the end of the day, Halloween is about having fun. Keep the stress and the cost low this year and handle the whole process in-house with these easy last minute costume ideas. Happy Halloween!

3 Steps to Reduce Your Impulse Spending

It can be tough to resist spending money. When you see something you want, especially when it’s at a price you like – it can be difficult to keep from making the purchase. With the way the internet and our smartphone apps have made it so easy to shop, the solution isn’t as simple as just avoiding the stores. If you’ve got an itch for shopping, here are three steps you can take to help you get back in control of your finances.

Take your time: During an impulse buy, for the most part – the whole process from finding the item to paying for it only takes a few minutes. Next time you’re about to hit the “buy now” button, slow down. Put the item in your online shopping cart, but wait before completing the transaction. Try not to buy anything the day you add it to your online cart. Let it sit and think – do you really need this item?

Think it over: If you’re still thinking about that item after sleeping on it, go back into your online shopping cart. In your cart you’ll be able to see the total price (including taxes and shipping), and decide for yourself if the item is really worth that total cost. At this point, look around some more online and try to find a better deal, but still – don’t buy the item (yet). After you’ve done all your research, put the item on your wish list or save it for later.

Be ready: You’ve thought about your purchase for days now, and you know you’re going to buy the item. You’ve done the research and you’ve found the lowest price. Do you have the money to make the purchase in your checking account? If the answer is yes, then go ahead and complete the transaction. If you don’t have the money now, save and start the process over when you’ve saved up enough to buy it without going into debt.

These same steps work for in store impulse purchases too. If you see something you’d like to buy when physically in the store – think about it for a day. The next day do some comparison shopping to make sure you are getting the best price. Still want the item on the 3rd day and you have shopped around and have the money to buy it? Head back to the store and make your purchase.

It pays (literally), to be a savvy shopper and reduce your impulse purchases!

Article Source: John Pettit for CUInsight.com

3 Tips to Keep Debt Away

Sometimes we build up debt due to emergencies or situations that are beyond our control. Sometimes we just buy too many things we don’t really need. Here are three things to think about when it comes to your finances and how you can avoid debt as much as possible.

Set financial goals: Goal-setting is very important when it comes to your money. Your budget should be an easily attainable financial goal for you. If you’re having trouble staying within a budget, it’s probably a good idea to take a closer look at it. When it comes to saving money, have a defined purpose. Every time you get paid, set up your direct deposit to put money into retirement and an emergency fund automatically. This way you won’t physically be transferring the money and convincing yourself that you can do without putting anything into savings this month. If there is a large purchase you want to make or a vacation you want to go on, open a savings account for that wish list.

Have more self-control: It’s easy to buy something impulsively (especially when it’s inexpensive), but those small purchases can really add up if you’re making them all the time. You need to start saying no to yourself and be really disciplined if you want to be free of debt. Having new things is great and exciting, but are those items worth going into debt over?

Ignore pay raises: If you budget your paycheck as if you’re making less than you do, it’ll be easier to save for the things you want in the future. Plus, you won’t have to put yourself in debt to get them. It may not always be easy to cut back, especially if you have a big family, but every little bit helps. And when pay raises come, redirect those additional funds to your savings account and forget all about them!

Article Source: John Pettit for CUInsight.com

How to Save Money Even on a Tight Budget

Saving money is important, but sometimes it can be hard to find extra money to save – right? While saving money can often be a challenge, it’s not impossible to do – even on a strict budget. Here are three ways you may be able to save when your spare funds are on the lower side.

Find deals online: Sites like Groupon or Living Social have a lot of deals in terms of entertainment and dining out. Did you know you can use them for much more? Both often have deals on electronics, automotive repair, health and beauty, home services and more! The best way to find these deals is to register with your zip code and browse around to find how you can save locally. If these are products and services that you’re already going to pay for or that you’re in need of, saving money in the process is an added bonus!

Trim it up: When you go on a diet, you may notice a little bit of weight loss in several different areas of your body. You should treat your budget the exact same way. Don’t try to cut back on (or completely cut out) one budget item, but trim a few dollars from different places. Some bills you aren’t going to be able to budge on, but you will most likely find a few areas you can cut back here and there. Take advantage of these savings and you’ll start to see it add up. Plus, you won’t feel as if you’re cutting anything out of your budget completely.

Spend more time at home: The more you’re out and about, the more you’re going to eat meals out and spend money on items you don’t really need. Instead of meeting your friends out for dinner and a movie, host a potluck dinner (ask everyone to bring something) – and watch your favorite movie or rent one from your local Redbox. You’ll save money, plus you can pause the movie when you need to and not spend a fortune on movie theater snacks. That’s a win-win for everyone!

Need help budgeting? Check out our online budgeting fillable worksheet!

Article Source: John Pettit for CUInsight.com