Summer Road Trip: 12 Tricks for Eating on the Cheap

Food and beverages on a road trip can really add up. Here are some easy, money-saving tips to keep you on budget when you're on the go.

Nearly 80% of American families plan to hit the road this summer, a 10% increase over last year, according to AAA. Many of us assume that a road trip will be a budget-friendly vacation idea, but the expense of meals, snacks and beverages on the road can cost more than we anticipate. We polled top travel experts and found more than a dozen ways to save on eats during your adventures on the open road this summer.

1. Stock up on Snacks

Travel writer Christina Valhouli avoids buying potentially overpriced snacks at gas stations and roadside convenience stores. “I stock up on snacks from my local supermarket or Costco before a trip. I make individual sized portions in Ziploc bags and pass them around the car,” she said. She uses clothespins to securely close bags of snacks, as they are sturdier and less expensive than chip clips.

2. Snack Healthy

Lisa Scurlock, owner of Gratitude Yoga in Chicago, likes to avoid junk food when she’s on the road. “I always pack protein bars, like Oatmega grass-fed whey protein bars, to keep me energized when I’m traveling to yoga retreats throughout the summer — they taste great and have tons of protein without a lot of sugar,” she said. “Plus, I save money by packing a box of four bars instead of buying one at a time from pricey rest stops along the way.”

3. Save With Apps

Sandra Hanna from SmartCookies.com recommends using the Ibotta app to look for restaurant deals. “If you’re on the road and want to stop for a bite, check out Ibotta’s offers for Buffalo Wild Wings or any number of restaurants available through Groupon,” she said. “You could earn up to 20% cash back on Groupon just by starting with Ibotta. Then cash out via PayPal or Venmo and put some gas in the tank.”​

Gabe Saglie, a travel expert from Travelzoo, recommends the free Travelzoo app. “The app geo-targets your location to showcase exclusive deals at nearby restaurants,” he said. “These deals — which can include everything from mimosa breakfasts to specially curated multi-course dinners — are vetted, tested, and represent significant savings.”

4. Breakfast Included

Saglie suggested being strategic when you book your hotel. “If you’re on a multi-day road trip, look for hotels where breakfast comes standard with your stay,” he said. “The option to grab a meal before you hit the road again can be a big money-saver.” Many hotels will feed your kids for free, or at a discount, he said. “At Fairmont hotels, for example, kids age 5 and under eat free from the children’s menu, and kids ages 6 to 12 eat for half price when ordering off the regular menu. Four Seasons and Starwood/Marriott hotels have similar programs.”

You’ll save more if you’re a member of your favorite hotel’s rewards club, and even more if you have a hotel rewards credit card. If you don’t already have one, keep in mind that most rewards cards require good credit to qualify. You can see where your credit stands by checking your credit scores for free on Credit.com.

Valhouli favors chains like Extended Stay or Marriott’s Residence Inn, because they often have kitchenettes. “You can whip up an easy breakfast or lunch in a kitchenette,” she said. “One $5 box of granola will go a long way!”

5. Look for Perks

Saglie suggests taking advantage of the free morning coffee service at many hotels. Some hotels also offer wine in the evenings. “Kimpton hotels offer a complimentary wine hour every day at 5 p.m., and Embassy Suites hotels feature complimentary managers’ cocktail receptions, which are an effective way to save on your night out,” he said.

6. Fill up on Coffee

Don Munsil co-owner of the vacation planning website MouseSavers.com, suggested filling a thermos with coffee before you leave the house on day one of your trip. “You can refill it at the hotel breakfast service the next morning,” he said. Need more later in the day? “Places like Denny’s or IHOP will usually fill your thermos for the cost of a single cup of coffee, or McDonald’s will typically eyeball your thermos and charge for one or two large coffees.”

7. Order Ahead

If you want to save time on the road, Tammilee Tilson of the Tammilee Tips blog suggests ordering snacks and other road trip essentials from the CVS Pharmacy app during breakfast while at the hotel or campground. (Here are some handy tips for saving money at CVS.) “You can use the app to access great deals through their ExtraCare Rewards Program wherever you are, and easily make your shopping list accordingly,” she said. “If the local store has curbside pickup, you can quickly pick up your items on the way to your next destination.”

8. Some Assembly Required

If you plan to stop for a picnic along the way, Munsil recommends buying sandwiches in the morning — unassembled. “To avoid soggy sandwiches, ask for them unassembled, with the filling for each one portioned out and ready to go in a plastic container, the spreads in little sealed cups and the pre-sliced rolls or bread in a bag,” he said. “Stick the meats and mayo in your cooler and the bread bag in a sunny part of the car so it’ll be warm.”

9. Load up on Lunch

If you go to a restaurant for lunch, Adrian Gradinaru, founder and CEO of Sailo.com, a peer-to-peer marketplace for boat rentals, suggests making lunch the main meal of the day. “Americans favor dinner as the main meal of the day but it tends to be more expensive,” he said. “Instead, try making lunch your principal meal as most people outside the U.S. do. Many restaurants offer special prix-fixe lunch menus that are a great deal.”

10. Bring the Beverages

Valhouli’s rule of thumb at hotels? Avoid the minibar. “We always pack a small, soft sided cooler in our car and stock it with juice boxes, soft drinks or wine for the adults so that we are never tempted to hit the overpriced minibar,” she said. Her only use for the minibar is to refreeze her ice packs overnight.

11. Get Gift Certificates

The Costco or Sam’s Club websites often offer discounted restaurant gift cards to their members from major chains like Landry’s and Darden’s, Munsil said. “Sometimes the gift cards will appear to be for a specific restaurant, but usually that card will work at any restaurant owned by that chain,” he said.

He also suggested planning your evening stops in decent-sized towns and checking a site like Restaurant.com for gift certificates to local restaurants. Larger towns are more likely to have participating restaurants. You can also check out tips for slicing your restaurant food costs.

12. Eat With the Locals

Gradinaru suggests staying away from touristy hot spots. “Instead, venture into more residential neighborhoods, where you’ll likely find some excellent and cheap establishments,” he said. He also suggests asking around. “Concierges tend to recommend pricier restaurants near your hotel, so try asking a waiter, bartender or your host (if you are staying in an Airbnb), where they like to eat. They’ll likely give you some great options,” he said.

Image: Image Source

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7 Common Couples Fights That Can Be Solved by Shopping

Whether you’re bickering about mattress firmness or the fact you’re not saving enough, fight no more.

No matter how harmonious your relationship, the occasional fight with your significant other is unavoidable. Whether you’re bickering about mattress firmness or the fact you’re not saving enough, fight no more. These common couples’ issues can be solved by something as simple as going shopping.

1. The Bed  

The Conflict: One person likes it firm, and one likes it soft.

The Solution: Next time you’re in the market for a mattress, consider a customizable one from companies like ReST Bed and Reverie, which allow you to adjust the firmness on each side of the bed. Some even offer sleep data and the ability to change the temperature.

2. No Closet Space

The Conflict: You can’t see your slacks for the suits. Or shoes. Or sweaters.

The Solution: Exchange your plastic hangers for extra-slim velour ones like those from Closet Complete or inventor Joy Mangano.

3. Too Much Stuff on the Floor 

The Conflict: All those piles are turning into a sore spot, and your tiny home looks like a bomb site.

The Solution: Designated hooks for each item would help, but who has the time to install them? Instead of classic hooks, look for ones that can be installed tool-free like High & Mighty or Command.

4. Moving

The Conflict: You’ve found a new home and are ready to leave, but moving feels like a chore.

The Solution: A full-service moving company, like Moving.com or Mayflower, can manage every part of your move. You’ll pay a bit more, but having the peace of mind — and peace in your relationship — is worth it.

5. Storage

The Conflict: You love your old beat-up rug and massive collection of record albums. Your partner doesn’t.

The Solution: Rather than insist these items take up precious real estate, get some storage. Self-storage can feel like moving, but full-service firms like Sparefoot and Closetbox come to you, take an inventory of your stuff and cart it off to a secure facility.

6. The Lawn

The Conflict: No one wants to mow it.

The Solution: You’ve heard of the Roomba robot. Imagine the harmony an automated lawn mower could bring. Today, mowers from brands like Worx and Robomow can get the job done hands-free. They also do amazing things like return to their charging station for more juice.

7. Saving Money 

The Conflict: You’re spending too much and saving too little.

The Solution: Cutting back on spending is a good first step, but if your budget has minimal wiggle room for socking money away, try using a service that rounds up your purchases like Acorns, Digit or Bank of America. They’re all a bit different, but once you set up the service, your debit card purchases will be rounded up to the nearest dollar and saved or invested on your behalf. (Be sure to track your finances by viewing two of your credit scores for free on Credit.com.)

Image: PeopleImages

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Successful Entrepreneurs Share Secrets for Running a Lean & Mean Businesses

Let these entrepreneurial whiz kids make your life a little easier.

Running your own business is an unpredictable adventure with highs, lows, twists and turns. And while you’ll weather much of what comes along, you will also make mistakes. Why not minimize missteps by listening to the advice of those who have come before you? Here are 15 tips from successful entrepreneurs on being efficient, keeping overhead low and more.

Your Team

“Always be ready to adapt your needs to match your employees to their strengths, so that they will shine, instead of fitting them to the job description. In other words, the ’round peg versus square hole’ concept at its best.”

Christi Lopez, President, Bergerons Flowers, a floral design studio in Springfield, Virginia

“Invest wisely by hiring skilled experts — rather than less expensive novices — who can focus on their areas of expertise (for example, sales, marketing, public relations, graphic design) and can dive into the details so you are able to focus on the big picture and set the overall direction for the company.”

 Kelly Carroll Burgin, Owner/Founder of K. Carroll Accessories , a luxury vegan handbag line

“Outsource repetitive and time consuming tasks to a virtual assistant, like Peach Tree Virtual Assistants. If you are organized and have systems in place, they can often accomplish more in 10 hours a month than you could with the same amount of time.”

Kaysha van der Heyden, a modern wedding and lifestyle photographer based in Orange County, California

Virtual assistants are a great way to get help without a huge cost.  They can relieve you of low value tasks and because they’re virtual, you don’t have any additional costs. I’ve found my people through Elance (now Upwork).”

– Jamie Chang, Founder, Passport to Joy, an online program that guides couples through planning their own wedding

[Editor’s note: If you’re starting your own business or thinking about it, your good credit can make it easier. Here are some tips for not letting your business ruin your credit. You can check two of your credit scores for free on Credit.com.]

Coaching

“Business/marketing coaching is everything because I’m not amazing at that stuff, and my business grows so much faster when I invest in a coach.”

Meg Hodge, Owner, Centered: Richmond Acupuncture & Wellness, a well-being facility in Richmond, Virginia

“Amplifying the RestoPresto brand is essential so with a tight PR and marketing budget, I deeply value the affordable (and free) strategies, tips and guidance by PR coach Sabina Hitchen of Sabina Knows. Combining that ‘how to’ knowledge with free HARO (Help a Reporter Out) media leads has gained amazing press for the RestoPresto wearable blanket including a feature on the TODAY Show!”

Candi Obrentz, creator of RestoPresto, the lightweight compact pouch that unfolds to a soft, water-repellent, thin layer to sit on or wear

Efficiencies

“I use a few filters to determine how to prioritize my time and my business spending. First, I look for things that will help me increase sales, because without sales, your business will fail. Second, I look for things that I spend too much time on that I can automate or outsource. This frees up my time to spend on higher value activities that directly impact revenue and client satisfaction. If more business owners focused on these things first instead of the superficial things that don’t immediately drive revenue, we would have fewer business failures. Sales fund everything in your business. Not the other way around.”

Maria Bayer, a consultant who helps experts in creative fields book clients they love and get paid what they’re worth

“Schedule, schedule, schedule. Make sure you schedule out your days and times for efficiency while leaving time for emergencies or tasks running over.”

Kim Sayatovic, Belladeux Event Design, an event design and planning firm in New Orleans

“Use technology to your advantage. Take some time and research some apps that will help streamline your day. A few we like are Evernote, Todoist and Acuity. Also, manage your time wisely. Block off time throughout your day to work on projects, but don’t forget to schedule some time for yourself!”

Kevin Dennis, editor of WeddingIQ and owner of Fantasy Sound Event Services, a full-service event company based in Livermore, California

Reduce Costs

“Reduce premises costs. Move to smaller premises or allow staff to work from home to save rent, business rates and utilities. Also, rent rather than buy equipment. Renting reduces capital investment and lets you speedily upgrade equipment, while saving on maintenance and repair.”

Vernic Popat, Co-Founder of PlantOGram.com, which produces sustainable, eco-friendly fruit tree gifts an alternative to traditional gifts.

Travel cost-effectively. Also, hold teleconferences whenever possible, rather than traveling to meetings,” said Popat.

“When it comes to tools and software, keep only what you need, use and like, and dump the rest. This will help reduce your monthly costs,” said Jamie Chang.

Communicate

“Schedule 30 minute ‘coffee talks’ with your staff in the morning to go over current projects and then monthly brainstorm meetings outside the office — ‘wine and brain dump’ for future ideas and strategic planning.”

Lynette Lovelace, Creator and CEO of Lifetherapy, a retail site focusing on well-being.

“When launching a new initiative, always test markets first, especially if you’re planning to reach a national audience. The cost to launch on a larger scale can be considerable, so best to make sure you have benefited from consumer feedback while also reducing any uncertainties.”

Joanne Jiang, founder, LadyMarry, an app that guides engaged couples through the wedding planning process through an easy-to-use interface.

“For service-based businesses, it can be tempting to say yes to every project and client that comes along, even if you are too busy to handle everything.  But one bad client can make you miserable or even hurt your business. Say no to the projects that are not a good fit for you so that you have more space to say yes to your ideal clients and projects.”

Ann Oleinik, Ann & Kam Photography & Cinema, a husband-and-wife wedding photography and cinematography team based in Chicago.

Image: svetikd

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5 Things You Need for a Successful Home Fitness Routine

Here's everything you need to get in shape at home.

Have you been skipping the gym too many times? Enough with the excuses. Just because you can’t get out (or don’t want to join a gym), doesn’t mean you can’t stay fit. Here’s everything you need to work out at home successfully without going into debt.

1. The Right Surface

If you have a spare area in your home to call your own, create a cushioned surface with Soft Tiles, which are interlocking 5/8-inch thick mats made of a non-toxic ethylene-vinyl acetate foam ($120 at SoftTiles.com for a nine-piece set covering a 6 1/2-foot by 6 1/2-foot space). These waterproof tiles are available in a ton of colors and have attachable beveled edges to create a smooth transition from the floor, so no tripping. Keep it simple with a color or two or use the Soft Tiles “mat builder” feature to create your own design.

If your workout space needs to be convertible, a yoga mat is a good way to go. There are different thicknesses, colors and patterns available, so check out a yoga lifestyle site like Gaiam.com for lots of high quality options.

2. The Right Apparel

You might think you’re just working out at home, so why wear anything special? Think again.

“Gearing up in clothing that’s designed for you to work out is one of the most powerful reminders to get into your fitness practice,” said Tara Mackey, health expert, author of “Cured By Nature” and founder of The Organic Life blog. “When I was first starting to change my exercise habits, I simply left my workout clothes and running shoes out by my bed the night before. This becomes an automatic reminder to make fitness a priority — first thing in the morning.”

I recommend ultra comfortable clothes you can also see yourself wearing for a run or at the gym. For women, a supportive workout bra is a must. The Tasc Performance TTFN (Ta Ta For Now) Studio Sports Bra ($44 at TascPerformance.com) is a mid-impact sports bra with supportive straps and a wide bottom band. It has crisscross straps in the back and side cutouts, so it’s cute under a loose tee if you make it to the gym or have to run out for an errand.

My new favorite leggings are the Luna Leggings from Liquido ($84 at LiquidoActive.com), which are said to help with microcirculation, firmness and reduce the appearance of cellulite. All I know is they are comfy and flattering. They are great to work out in, but are equally as comfortable for all-day wear.

For men, the Shēdo Lane Men’s Short Sleeve Sun Shirt ($28 at ShedoLane.com) is one of the softest tees you’ll own. The fabric has stretch and movement and, if you decide to go for a run, the shirt has an Ultraviolet Protection Factor of 50+. The Hylete verge II flex-woven zip pocket shorts ($80 at Hylete.com) feel virtually weightless but are durable and have features like a zippered pocket and a two-way drawstring allowing you lace the shorts inside or outside, depending on your preference.

3. The Right Tools

No matter what kind of workouts you prefer, it’s wise to stock up on a few essentials should you decide to branch out. A good place to start is with an all-in-one kit like the FitKit — Total Fitness in a Kit ($39.99). This kit contains essentials like resistance bands, a door anchor and a jump rope. It’s also weighs only 2 pounds so it’s good for travel. It includes fitness cards to help get you started and you’ll have access to a library of more than 250 exercises. For more workout options, check out YouTube, where you’ll find hundreds — if not thousands — of free fitness videos of any style, length or discipline you can imagine.

Mackey suggests weights as well. “Even if you have to use soup cans (which is what I did before I could afford a set of weights), make sure you are lifting at least a little bit every day,” she said. “Today, the investment is minimal; you can find five-pound weights for less than $20 on Amazon.” I also like to have a couple of kettle bells and an exercise ball on hand.

4. A Good Recovery Rub

Even if you’re working out at home, you can go overboard. For days when you are experiencing soreness, keep a muscle rub, like the Procure Epsom Salt Rub ($5.97 at Walmart) on hand. This lightweight gel is a blend of of Epsom salt and aloe vera to sooth sore muscles. And it’s fragrance-free so you won’t smell like a walking bottle of menthol.

5. An Alternative Exercise Option

And for those days when you don’t feel like doing anything at all, place a Posture Cushion ($37.99 at BackPainHelp.com) on the chair at your desk. Not only is it helpful for back pain and is comfortable to sit on, it functions like a fitness ball. Its unstable surface forces your body to sit actively to stay balanced, which, in turn, strengthens your core. If you’ve invested in a fitness ball, you can replace your desk chair with it for the same effect.

As you begin your new workout regimen you’ll want to meet with your doctor to make sure you’re healthy enough to do the workouts you’re planning. Likewise, you’ll want to check your financial health before buying a bunch of equipment. You don’t want to gain physical fitness at the cost of fiscal fitness. You can start by checking your credit scores absolutely free on Credit.com.

Image: Mikolette

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Shopping Last-Minute for Dad? Here Are 10 Ways to Stick to Your Budget

Just say no to ties, socks and underwear this year. Get your dad something he'll really love instead.

You know Father’s Day is coming, but somehow it sneaks up on you every year. Mother’s Day is hard to ignore — after all, we’re practically blanketed with commercials and print ads — but dear old dad can fall by the wayside. So here you are, days before Father’s Day with no gift strategy. You want to give your favorite father something special but you don’t want to pay a fortune. Here are 10 ways to do that.

1. Use Coupons… & Get Ideas

Sites like Coupons.com and Dealnews.com have blog posts about gift giving holidays. They’ll include deals on gifts you might already be considering, but they also have budget-friendly suggestions if you need ideas. Also keep in mind that coupons can help you save year-round.

2. Get Cash Back

A number of online retailers have cash-back offers, especially with Father’s Day around the corner. The easiest way to find out about these offers is to use a Chrome desktop extension, like the one from CouponCabin.com. It installs in seconds and notifies you of available cash-back offers as you shop online. You can get more cash back by using your cash-back rewards credit card. Don’t have one? Check out some of our favorites here, but also make sure your credit is in good standing before applying. You can get your two free credit scores on Credit.com.

3. Pound the Pavement

At this late date, you’ll likely pay expedited shipping fees to get your package on time. The one good thing about waiting until the last minute is that it’s an excuse to patronize your local merchants instead of shopping online. These shops need your business and you’re more likely to find a beautiful gift you’d never find browsing on your laptop.

4. Do It Yourself

You know what dad would really appreciate? Something you’ve made yourself. He loved that macaroni necklace you made in first grade and he’ll love what you make now. You can find tons of ideas on Pinterest by searching “Father’s Day crafts.” A lot of them are geared toward kids if you want to get your little ones in on the action, but there are good ideas for adults, too, like hand-painted signs and creative food gifts.

5. Buy Handmade

Not crafty? Buy from someone who is. Etsy has an array of handmade items. These craftspeople don’t have the overhead of larger companies so the prices are usually fair. While orders usually ship quickly based on our experience, it’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with the shipping policies of the person you are ordering from so you know when your gift will arrive.

6. A Date With Dad

When you were a kid, did you do fun things with your dad, like hiking, riding bikes or tossing a ball around? Plan a walk down memory lane for Father’s Day and do those things you both enjoyed. And it’s free, with the exception of gas, tolls and any park admission fees.

7. Breakfast in Bed

You always think of breakfast in bed for mom on Mother’s Day. Why not a relaxing meal in bed for dad? Make his favorite breakfast, juice and coffee and include the morning paper. If you’re feeling generous, offer to take over his morning household duties while he lounges in the lap of luxury.

8. Dining Out

Maybe a meal at a local restaurant is more his speed. Before you make a reservation, check Restaurant.com for deals. You can search by city and cuisine to find offers. In many cases, you can buy a $25 voucher for $10, saving yourself $15. Because restaurants tend to offer pricey prix fixe packages for occasions like Father’s Day, convince dad to celebrate with you another day instead.

9. Safety in Numbers

Instead of tackling Father’s Day on your own, host a group gathering with your siblings or a few friends and their dads. A Father’s Day potluck brunch or dinner means less work and a reduced financial outlay. Use a site like PerfectPotluck.com or SignUpGenius.com to organize who is bringing what.

10. Ask Him

Did you ever think to ask dad what he wants for Father’s Day? He could be hoping for something that didn’t occur to you (keep pressing if he says, “oh, nothing.”) If you don’t want to appear lazy, make him a card that encourages him to choose. Give it to him a few days early (like, today) so you’ll have time to plan.

Image: AleksanderNakic

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10 Ways to Save at Universal Studios Florida

Whether you’re a seasoned theme-park pro or it’s your first visit, you'll want to check out these 10 tips before you book anything.

For months, you and the family have been dying to take a trip to Universal Studios Florida to Race Through New York with Jimmy Fallon and lunch at the Leaky Cauldron. Of course, such a family vacation doesn’t come cheap. So whether you’re a seasoned theme-park pro or it’s your family’s first visit, you’ll want to check out these 10 tips before you book anything.

Now, read on for 10 tips to save big at Universal Studios Florida.

1. Get Park-to-Park Tickets

Kimberly Anwar, owner of Magic Family Getaways in Glen Ridge, New Jersey, recommended families stay at Universal hotels and get Park-to-Park tickets instead of 1-Park tickets.

“These packages have early park admission benefits as well as other discounts, depending on the offer, and you’ll have access to the Hogwarts Express, which goes to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter,” she said.

2. Book in Advance

A spokesperson at Universal Orlando Resorts recommended purchasing park tickets online, which can save up to $20 off regular admission and help you avoid waiting in line. You can print your tickets at home or at one of the park entrance kiosks.

3. Stay Awhile

The spokesperson also said the longer you stay, the less expensive each day will be. For example, a one-day 1-Park ticket starts at $110, while a three-day 1-Park ticket starts at $74 per day. Similarly, a one-day Park-to-Park ticket starts at $165, while a three-day Park-to-Park ticket starts at $92 per day.

4. Visit On-Site Hotels

If you’re traveling during peak times — think summer, Christmas or Spring Break — Don Munsil, co-owner of MouseSavers.com, a guide to theme-park discounts, suggested booking one night at an on-site hotel like the Hard Rock to get free Universal Express Unlimited passes, which come with every stay.

“The key thing is that Ultimate Express will allow you to ride everything in the park easily in two full days,” he said. Just remember, “you do have to get up early to get on the Harry Potter rides, since they’re not eligible for Express.”

5. Consider Annual Passes

You may not think your visit Universal Orlando enough to justify an annual pass, especially if you’re traveling a sizable distance to get there, but Munsil said it’s worth looking into. On-site hotels often offer good rates for annual passholders, and “you can get the Power Annual Pass for a little more than a three-day ticket,” he said.

Typically, Christmas and Spring Break dates are blacked out, but there’s the option of buying the Preferred Annual Pass, which has no blackout dates and includes a 15% discount at Hard Rock Cafe and 10% off at most shops.

“If you plan to spend more than $250 on food and merchandise, which is pretty easy to do, you’ll come out ahead with this pass and not have to worry about blackout dates,” Munsil said.

6. Research Seasonal Passes

If you’re traveling during the off season, Munsil said to consider buying the Seasonal Pass, which offers some hotel discounts. Be sure to check blackout dates, as this pass carries more than the other passes.

7. Drop by CityWalk Guest Services

Money-saving package deals are available here, according to the Universal Orlando Resorts spokesperson. Spring for the Meal & Movie or Meal & Mini-Golf deal to score dinner at a CityWalk restaurant and a movie at the AMC Universal Cineplex 20 or a round of 18-hole mini-golf, all at a discount.

8. Score a Souvenir Cup

Universal Orlando Resort offers a variety of refillable souvenir cups that you can get refilled at a discount. Like popcorn? Carey Reilly of CareyReilly.com said to buy a souvenir tub of popcorn that can be refilled all over the park. She also suggested bringing your own snacks to help you save.

The Universal Orlando Resorts spokesperson recommended checking into the Universal Dining Plan, which bundles drinks, meals and snacks together at more than 100 participating locations.

9. Use Travel Rewards Cards 

For families on a budget, a great way to put their spending to use is with travel rewards cards, which offer incentives like airline miles and free hotel stays. Certain credit cards may even get you discounts around the park (which you can read more about here.)

Just be sure to track what you spend so you don’t lose your rewards to high interest, or worse, end up accruing unwanted debt. No one wants to come home to an eye-popping credit card bill. You can check out our roundup of travel rewards cards here. (Remember, these cards tend to come with high standards, including requiring a good or excellent credit score. You can see two of your credit scores on Credit.com at no charge to get an idea if you’ll be able to qualify.)

10. Hit the Cabana

Anwar recommended checking out Universal Orlando’s Volcano Bay water theme park, which opened in May.

“There are private family concierge cabanas that fit up to 15 guests and include fruit and snack baskets, a small, pre-stocked refrigerator and locker and towel service,” she said. “If you share the cabana with one or two other families or go as a group, it’s worth the little extra cost.”

I went for the opening, and as water parks go, it’s pretty darn cool. There are beaches, wading pools, lazy rivers, water rides, restaurants and more, so you could feasibly stay for hours.

More of a Disney fanatic? We’ve got some tips on how you can visit Disney World for free (or close to it).

Image: Haxortech

Note: It’s important to remember that interest rates, fees and terms for credit cards, loans and other financial products frequently change. As a result, rates, fees and terms for credit cards, loans and other financial products cited in these articles may have changed since the date of publication. Please be sure to verify current rates, fees and terms with credit card issuers, banks or other financial institutions directly.

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15 Must-Have Items for Music Festival Season

These items are so practical, once the weekend is over, you’ll keep using them all summer long.

So you’ve spent a fortune on your Governors Ball tickets, and now you need to figure out what to pack. This is no ordinary long weekend — long days in the sun or rain require planning, after all. To help you prepare for your summer shenanigans, we’ve rounded up 15 must-haves so practical once the weekend is over, you’ll keep using them all summer.

On a budget? Don’t worry, none of the items listed here are more than $100. Here’s a helpful guide to saving on your summer adventures and timeless tips for spending on travel. Keeping tabs on your credit? You can view two of your credit scores for free on Credit.com. As always, checking your credit scores will not harm them in any way.

Now read on for our roundup of festival must-haves.

1. Maika Goods Crossbody Bags

Price: $19 and up at MaikaGoods.com

Whether you need a teeny bag or something roomier, these Crossbody bags are your go-to festival satchel. The beautiful colors and patterns have the perfect festival vibe, and the interior waterproof lining protects precious items.

2. Kikkerland Compact Backpack

Price: $20 at Kikkerland.com

This ripstop backpack tucks into its own pouch and expands into a roomy backpack.

3. Monkey Mat Quilted Blanket

Price: $29.99 at ContainerStore.com

This portable mat is padded, durable, waterproof and has weighted corners to prevent it from blowing away. Unfolded, it seats you and a few friends. (Here are some great travel sites to bookmark right now.)

4. Minimus.biz Festival Survival Kit

Price: $20.88 at Minimus.biz

Whether you need toilet paper, have a headache or want to freshen up on the fly, this handy kit has it all: travel-sized sunblock, Wet Ones, deodorant, Advil and much, much more.

5. Hello FAB Caffeine Matcha Wake Up Wipes

Price: $15 at Sephora and Sephora.com

These energizing wipes make water-free cleansing a breeze.

6. Brush on Block Touch of Tan

Price: $32 at BrushonBlock.com

This portable mineral powder is dispensed through its brush, providing broad spectrum SPF 30, oil control and a touch of bronzer.

7. InStyler BLU Mini

Price: $29.00 at InStylerBlu.com

Even if there’s precious little space in your travel gear, this deceptively powerful mini dryer will do the trick.

8. Shēdo Lane Women’s Open Back Long Sleeve Shirt

Price: $35 at ShedoLane.com

This flattering open-back top can be worn over your swimsuit and provides UPF 50+ ultraviolet coverage.

9. RipSkirt

Price: $35 to $39 at RipSkirtHawaii.com

RipSkirt is made of board-short material, providing comfortable and water-friendly protection. The Velcro closure makes it easy to throw on or off.

10. Sanuk Yoga Slings

Price: $38 per pair at Sanuk.com

These Yoga Slings from Sanuk come in lots of festival-ready colors and styles, and the soles are made from spongy yoga mat-like material.

11. Roma Chelsea Booties

Price: $59.95 and up at RomaBoot.com

These adorable rain booties look great with jeans or skirts and are perfect for puddle jumping.

12. UCO Gear Hundred Headlamp

Price: $29.99 at UCOGear.com

While everyone else is holding a flashlight, you’ll be lighting your way hands-free with this stylish headlamp.

13. WakaWaka Power+

Price: $69.99 at US.Waka-Waka.com

This durable gadget fully powers your smartphone in two hours and provides hours of light. It can be recharged via USB or by the power of the sun.

14. Hydaway Collapsible Bottle

Price: $15 for a 12 oz. bottle at HydawayBottle.com

An environmentally friendly alternative to disposable bottles, this refillable bottle packs flat when it’s empty.

15. DreamWave Bubble Pods

Price: $40 at DreamWaveUS.com

Portable and water-resistant with a five-hour play time, this speaker pairs with the music on your smart device to deliver a surprisingly big sound.

Image: PeopleImages

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Spoil Mom, Not Your Budget, With Mother’s Day Gifts Under $50

Mother's Day can be expensive. It's worth spending on mom, but she'd be the first to tell you not to blow your budget on a Mother's Day gift.

Thinking of ideas for Mother’s Day gifts can be stressful. Our mothers, grandmothers and aunts play such important roles in our lives and we want our gift to reflect how grateful we are. But there’s no need to go overboard – after all, the moms in our lives wouldn’t want us to overspend. We found 16 Mother’s Day gift ideas less than $50 that will warm their hearts and please your wallet. Some make great Mother’s Day gift basket ideas, too.

$50 & Under

Beauty Infusion Quinoa & Avocado for Hydrating
$49 at SkinAuthority.com
Beauty Infusion Quinoa & Avocado for Hydrating will resolve skin care woes in no time. The serum contains quinoa protein and avocado oil to intensely nourish the skin. She will love this beauty treat. (If you really want to treat mom and money’s no object, book her for one of these ridiculously expensive hotel spa treatments.)

Windowbox Medium Fishbowl Terrarium with Red, Pink, & White Forever Flowers
$43.98 at Windowbox
Perfect for the mom who may not have a way with plants, this glass terrarium contains colorful, mini “forever” flowers and greenery that don’t require sunlight or even water. This cheerful gift will always remind her of you.

RestoPresto
$39.99 at RestoPresto.com
For the mom who likes to be prepared for anything, the Resto Presto is a convenient, 55-by-31-inch water-resistant mat for sitting on the grass, on the beach or on a park bench after a rain shower. It can even be worn as a shawl. Folds into a tiny pouch when not in use, so she can carry it everywhere. Available in eight colors and includes mini stakes for securing the corners and a carabiner.

Touchstone Birthstone Collection Necklace & Earrings
$39 each at TouchstoneCrystal.com
Available in every birthstone, these pretty Ceralun pavé baubles add a sweet touch of sparkle. The necklace comes on a delicate rhodium plated chain, and the earrings have titanium posts. She will be touched you remembered both Mother’s Day and her birthday.

$30 & Under

Mind Fuel Nest ‘Because I Said So’ Tunic Tee
$24.99 at MindFuelNest.com
She’s in charge. This super soft tee, available in pink or white, is flattering and roomy and has stylish slits on the sides. 95% rayon and 5% spandex, in sizes small through large.

Armitron White & Rose Gold Women’s Digital Wrist Watch
$30 at Armitron.com
This sporty and sophisticated watch with white soft touch resin and rose gold-tone stainless steel accents will take her from the gym to brunch, and ensure she’s on time. Features include two time zones and water resistance up to 330 feet.

Photo Playing Cards
Price: $24.99 at CVS
She’s probably received her share of personalized gifts, but never a deck of cards. Photo cards from CVS are a gift that will remind her of you when she uses them. One photo of your choice appears on all cards, which come packaged in a clear, plastic storage case. Available in seven to 11 days with free shipping to a CVS store. (Check out these 18 ways to save at CVS.)

Godiva Chocolate Flower Gift Box
$25 at Godiva.com
Who can resist scrumptious chocolates in a flower-shaped box with butterflies? The pretty box is filled to the brim with individually wrapped truffles in mouthwatering flavors: dark chocolate lava, milk strawberry cheesecake and crème brulee. The best part is, the box is so pretty that it requires no wrapping.

She’s Her Own CEO Bistro Apron
$30 at KathrynStyleBoutique.com
Show everyone who is boss with this cute apron from Kathryn Style Boutique. This flattering, black apron is so comfortable, it’s sure to become her go-to when she’s cooking.

KN Karen Neuburger Live Love Lounge Tunic
$22.19 to $26.98 at Bon Ton
She works hard so she deserves comfy lounge wear. This tunic from KN Karen Neuberger is made from soft and forgiving fabric that feels great for relaxing or sleeping. It even has pockets. She may never take it off.

$20 & Under

Minx NY BeachTech High Performance Towel
$19.99 at MinxNY.com
If she’s a beach bunny, this will quickly become her favorite towel. It is soft and comfortable to lie on, and the anti-bacterial microfiber fabric will dry her off three times more quickly than a standard beach towel. When she’s heading to and from her destination, it folds up very small with its own strap. Available in four colors.

Smashmallow
$4 per bag at Smashmallow.com
If mom is always on the hunt for a new sweet treat, spoil her with some all-natural Smashmallow gourmet marshmallows. Available in delicious flavors like Meyer lemon chia seed, cinnamon churro and strawberries and cream, it’ll be tough to pick a favorite. A great addition to a Mother’s Day gift basket.

The Meaning of Michelle
$10.74 at Amazon
If you know a mom who is missing Michelle Obama, this compilation of essays from 16 accomplished writers is the perfect gift. It’s funny, smart and touching, and tied up in a tidy bow by rock star editor and writer, Veronica Chambers.

Golden Door Wildflower Honey
$18 for 12 ounces at GoldenDoor.com
Even the mom who has everything can use a jar of tasty honey. Extracted from hives on the grounds of the Golden Door resort in San Marcos, California, your purchase of this delicious honey also allows you to give back. All profits are donated to causes that aid at-risk children.

Angry Mama Microwave Cleaner
$9.99 at ContainerStore.com
No one likes to scrub a microwave, so this Angry Mama will give her a chuckle but also make cleaning her microwave a breeze. Remove “Mama’s” head, pour in some water and vinegar and heat. The steam will allow all dirt and grime to be easily wiped away.

Minted Notebooks
$16 and up at www.everymothercounts.org
If she still loves to write by hand instead of putting everything in her smartphone, Minted offers beautiful notebooks in many colors and patterns. Choose everything from how the pages are printed – from addresses to blank – to the kind of binding she’d like. And best of all, 100% of the proceeds will be donated to Christy Turlington Burns’ non-profit Every Mother Counts.

As you’re shopping for mom, make sure you’re also avoiding these common Mother’s Day scams. If you think you’ve been had, you can check two of your credit scores on Credit.com for any signs of trouble, like accounts you don’t recognize or a sudden drop in scores.

Image: eli_asenova

The post Spoil Mom, Not Your Budget, With Mother’s Day Gifts Under $50 appeared first on Credit.com.

Gifts for Mother’s Day 2017 That Cost Less Than $100

We know, you would buy your mom the world if you could. But you're on a budget, so try our affordable Mother's Day gift guide.

If you could, you would take mom on a world cruise to thank her for everything she’s done for you. Taking her globetrotting might be out of the budget, but it doesn’t mean you can’t give her something she’ll love, use and cherish.

These 20 gifts are guaranteed to delight, and they’re all $100 or less. Some are even less than $20.

Kamik Jennifer Rain Boots

Kamik-Jennifer-Boot-in-Navy

Photo Courtesy of Kamik

$64.99 at Kamik.com
If she’s not one for jumping in puddles, that’ll change once she steps into these cute boots. She’ll love the comfort and the classic style, and they’re available in five colors.

Terrace Jewelry Organizer by Umbra

Photo Courtesy of The Container Store

Photo Courtesy of The Container Store

$29.99 at ContainerStore.com
Mom has collected lots of baubles and bangles over the years and they’re all in a tangle. This three-tier lined wooden box offers a smart storage solution for her earrings, rings, necklaces and even her reading glasses. Drawers can slide out for display or remain neatly stacked. (If you or your mom have a jewelry habit, here’s what you need to know about the Kay Jewelers credit card. Just be careful not to apply if you don’t think you’ll qualify. You can check your free credit scores on Credit.com.)

Grow Oya

Photo Courtesy of Grow Oya

Photo Courtesy of Grow Oya

$24.95 and up at growoya.com
This clever clay receptacle waters thirsty plants with minimal effort. The Oya is buried in the garden for spring and summer and periodically filled with water. The plants in the vicinity draw the water they need. Because there is less surface watering, weeds are less likely to germinate. Available in three sizes. Wondering what to plant? You can grow these five groceries in your garden.

Tea Forte Rejuvenation Gift Set

Photo Courtesy of Tea Forte

Photo Courtesy of Tea Forte

$55 at TeaForte.com
If she needs a little “me” time, this gorgeous set will provide just that. In a beautiful gift box, she’ll find 10 green tea infusers, an 8-ounce porcelain cup and a tea tray, perfect for a peaceful and delicious afternoon tea. Is coffee more mom’s taste? These four credit cards are great for coffee lovers.

The Stylestring Classic String Collection

Photo Courtesy of The Stylestring

Photo Courtesy of The Stylestring

Price: $68 at TheStylestring.com
If mom has (or needs) a little edge, a Stylestring is the ideal accessory. Available in four colors, this versatile, vegan leather strand can be worn seven ways, including as a belt, bracelet and headband. She’ll love mixing it up every day.

Planted in Beauty Starter Kit

Well Within Planted in Beauty kit

$25 at WellWithinBeauty.com
Treat your mom to healthy skin with this set of six organic skin care products that are chemical- and toxin-free. These skincare products are packed with the highest quality plant-based ingredients, which encourage collagen production and protect her skin from environmental stressors.

Reversible Tote Purse

Photo Courtesy of Walmart

Photo Courtesy of Walmart

$9.36 at Walmart
The roomy tote will take her from the gym to brunch to the farmer’s market. It’s reversible so she can wear each color as the mood strikes, and best of all, it’s less than $10. Available in several color combinations.

OneLeg

Photo Courtesy of One Leg

Photo Courtesy of One Leg

$45 and up at OneLegUSA.com
This ergonomic stool will allow her to tend to her garden in comfort. She can sit and move easily while staying close to the ground and to her plants. Available in four different sizes and seven colors.

Meori Foldable ‘Mom Box’

Photo Courtesy of Meori

Photo Courtesy of Meori

$35 at US.Meori.com
An essential for the mom who needs her own special storage space for the car, the home office or a closet. With “Mom Box” emblazoned on the side, no one is going to mess with her stuff. Collapsible when not in use.

Atlas Coffee Club

Photo Courtesy of Atlas Coffee Club

Photo Courtesy of Atlas Coffee Club

Starting at $14 a month at AtlasCoffeeClub.com
Treat your adventurous Mom to a new coffee each month. As a member of Atlas Coffee Club, she’ll receive a monthly shipment of a coffee from a different part of the world, from the Costa Rica to Ethiopia. Each bag has its own beautiful packaging and cultural information. She’ll think of you each day as she brews a cup.

artnaturals Bluetooth Oil Diffuser

Photo Courtesy of Art Naturals

Photo Courtesy of Art Naturals

$49 at artnaturals.com
A blend of tech and Zen, this Bluetooth diffuser will scent the air with a fragrance of her choosing, play her favorite playlist, bathe the room in soft, colorful light and function as an alarm clock. Add a set of 16 essential oils, including cinnamon leaf, sweet orange and frankincense for $29.

Fischer & Wieser Make Mom’s Life Easier Gift Basket

Photo Courtesy of Fischer & Wieser

Photo Courtesy of Fischer & Wieser

$74.95 at Jelly.com
Sometimes, the most thoughtful gift is to make mom’s life easier. This basket is filled with “Mom’s” tasty sauces and seasonings from Fischer & Wieser. They’ll come in handy when she needs to whip up a quick, delicious meal. They’re preservative- and gluten-free.

Lano Lips Hands All Over Tinted Balm Trio

Photo Courtesy of Lano Lips

Photo Courtesy of Lano Lips

$41 at Net-a-porter.com
One for the kitchen drawer, one for the car, one for her purse. If she’s prone to dry lips, these will be her new go-to balms, as they soothe and nourish even the driest lips, thanks to ultra medical grade lanolin. The three tints offer just a hint of color for a little lift on the go.

Glamma Stemless Wine Glass

Papyrus Glamma stemless wine glass

Photo Courtesy of Papyrus

$14.95 at Papyrusonline.com
Your glamorous grandma needs her own special wine glass. This stemless glass is decorated with “Glamma” in gold foil and comes in a pretty, floral box, ready for gifting.

V-MODA Forza In-Ear Headphones

Photo Courtesy of V-Moda

Photo Courtesy of V-Moda

$100 at V-Moda.com
If she’s using old earbuds for phone calls and music, maybe it’s time for an upgrade. These durable, high-res earbuds deliver great sound for calls and tunes and come with a variety of fittings, sport fins and ear hooks to ensure perfect fit and comfort. They are available in orange, white and black with their own pouch. And if you want to go one step further, 3D printed, color and finish customization is available for an additional fee.

Salt of the Earth Bakery ‘The Whole Shebang’

Photo Courtesy of The Grommet

Photo Courtesy of The Grommet

$37 at TheGrommet.com
With flavors like coffee-infused “The Kona” to the decadent “The Chocoholic,” this box of cookies and brownies will have her grinning ear to ear. The treats are made with sea salts from around the world, for just the right touch of sophistication. The Whole Shebang includes three cookie flavors and three brownie flavors, with plenty to share.

Wahl Hot & Cold Custom Body Therapeutic Massager

Photo Courtesy of Max Warehouse

Photo Courtesy of Max Warehouse

$43.23 at MaxWarehouse.com
From a sore back to tightness in the shoulders, everyone has their share of aches and pains. Help mom find sweet relief with this hand-held massager. With variable speeds and seven attachments, including hot, cold and facial, she’ll be feeling better in no time.

Lorena Canals Leaf Baskets

Photo Courtesy of Lorena Canals

Photo Courtesy of Lorena Canals

$46 at LorenaCanals.us
This beautiful, cotton rope basket offers stylish storage for anything from yarn to magazines to toys. Soft and machine-washable, these baskets are available in Terracota, Natural and Green to suit her decor.

Philosophy Cleanse, Peel, Treat Trial Kit

Photo Courtesy of Philosophy

Photo Courtesy of Philosophy

$55 at Philosophy.com
If she’s been bemoaning dull skin, three simple steps will have her skin looking glowing, fresh and healthy in minutes. Cleanser and moisturizer are used daily, the peel is used weekly.

Vosges-Haut Chocolate Les Fleurs du Chocolat Collection

Photo Courtesy of EveryMotherCounts

Photo Courtesy of EveryMotherCounts

$45 at EveryMotherCounts.org
For every sale of this tasty truffle collection, Vosges will donate 20% of proceeds to Christy Turlington’s non-profit, Every Mother Counts, which supports efforts to make pregnancy and childbirth safer for women. Rich chocolate truffles are topped with garden-inspired delicacies, like orchids and bee pollen.

If you have money left over after shopping for mom, here are 11 other smart purchases for less than $400. And if you’re out of cash, take these four steps to stop buying stuff you can’t afford.

Image: Eva Katalin Kondoros

The post Gifts for Mother’s Day 2017 That Cost Less Than $100 appeared first on Credit.com.

15 Easter Basket Gifts That Won’t Give Your Kid Cavities

Easter doesn't have to rot your children's teeth. Here are some non-chocolate gift ideas for Easter.

With Easter approaching, you could dash out to the nearest big-box store and grab one of those premade baskets off the shelf. That’ll do in a pinch, but in case you don’t want a basket full of colored straw and plastic Easter eggs full of sugary snacks, here are 15 Easter basket stuffers that will provide tons of fun for your kids — without causing a trip to the dentist.

1. Pals Socks

Pals Socks come paired as unlikely friends, like a cow and pig, dragon and unicorn and polar bear and penguin. These mismatched socks ($9 at PalsSocks.com) are vibrant and super-comfy. Kids and adult sizes available (in case you want a pair for yourself).

2. Little Live Pets Hedgehogs

The Little Live Pets Hedgehogs come in six colors and are a joy to play with. Touch their noses and they curl into a ball and then unfold when it’s time to play again. Three LR44 batteries are required (not included). They’re for ages 5 and up. A single pack is available for $10.39 at Toys R Us. (Toys R Us offers free in-store pickup for online orders. Here’s our list of retailers that offer this service.)

3. Kikkerland Carrot Erasers in Basket

Every child artist needs erasers. These tiny Kikkerland Carrot Erasers in Basket ($5 at Kikkerland.com) come in their own farmer’s market wicker basket. They erase like a charm and are so darn cute.

4. PJ Masks Mini Wheelie Vehicles

Fans of Disney Junior’s PJ Masks will love the PJ Masks Mini Wheelie Vehicles from Just Play. Catboy in his Cat-Car, Gekko in his Gekko-Mobile and Owlette in her Owl Glider, can roll and race and they are just the right size for their little fans to play with. Ages 3 and up. Each vehicle costs $6.97 at Walmart. (Frequent Wal-Mart shopper? You can find a review of its rewards credit card here.)

5. Earth’s Best Organic Sunny Days Snack Bars

For something sweet(ish), the Earth’s Best Organic Sunny Days Snack Bars ($5.29 on Amazon) are available in apple and strawberry and taste so good kids won’t guess they’re healthy. Plus, they’ll be excited to see the Sesame Street characters on the packaging.

6. Surprizamals

Surprizamals are full of surprises. These collectible mini-plushes live in a plastic ball and are irresistibly adorable. For ages 3 and up, Surprizamals cost $4.99 at StuffedAnimals.com.

7. Welch’s Easter Fruit Snacks

A great alternative to candy, Welch’s Easter Fruit Snacks are available in chick, egg, flower and bunny shapes for Easter. And good news, one pouch of Easter Fruit Snacks has seven grams of sugar, as opposed to a Cadbury Egg, which has 20 grams of sugar. A 28-count box costs $4.99 at Target (full review of its credit card here) and at grocery stores nationwide.

8. Watchitude

Watchitude watches make fun and functional use of the slap bracelet trend. Watchitudes ($21.99 at watchitude.com) are available in lots of fun patterns, from sports themes to desserts. The kids will definitely want to learn to tell time if they haven’t already. (It’s a good idea to also teach your kids about credit, including the importance of keeping a good credit score. You can check yours free at Credit.com.)

9. Chick in Egg Zipper Plush

The Chick in Egg Zipper Plush is a delightful Easter basket surprise. The soft polka-dot egg unzips to reveal a sweet little plush chick. For ages 3 and up, Chick in Egg costs $9.95 at Papyrus.com.

10. Chef’s Cut Real Snack Sticks

Stick a few of Chef’s Cut Real Snack Sticks in the Easter basket of your carnivore kid. These tasty jerky sticks ($16 for eight at ChefsCutRealJerky.com) come in flavors like Buffalo Chicken and Japaleño Cheddar (pork and beef).

11. Playfoam Sparkle 4-Pack

For kids who love to squish and squeeze things like slime and magic sand, the Playfoam Sparkle 4-Pack by Educational Insights will be their new favorite. The colorful, sparkly and moldable dough holds a shape and never gets dry.  For ages 3 and up, a 4-pack goes for $4.99 at EducationalInsights.com.

12. Little Kids Peeps Giant Bubble Wand Party Pack

With the Little Kids Peeps Giant Bubble Wand Party Pack ($14.99 for a six-pack at Amazon.com), there’s enough bubbly fun for everyone. Each colorful tube is topped with a cute Peep and includes four ounces of bubble solution.

13. aGreatLife Sweet Ice Cream Kite for Kids

The aGreatLife Sweet Ice Cream Kite for Kids is small enough for Easter baskets but big and bright in the sky. The kite comes with its own instructional eBook and has a lifetime guarantee. A great excuse to get outside, it’s available for $11.99 at Amazon.com.

14. Alex Shrinky Dinks Mini Artist Activity Set

A fun indoor activity if spring hasn’t yet sprung, the Alex Shrinky Dinks Mini Artist Activity Set ($9.99 at Toys R Us) includes three Shrinky Dinks pictures, two frames, two easels and six pencils. Bake the colored-in pictures to shrink and frame.

15. Yoee Baby

Perfect for baby’s first Easter, the Yoee Baby will keep baby entertained with a teething ring, furry friend, bright colors, a rattle and crinkly spots for squeezing. Designed specifically for the developing minds of babies. Yoee Baby is available for $24.99 at Yoeebaby.com.

Image: Portra

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