When Do I Sit Down?

Modern mom just trying to make it!

Saving on Summer Vacation June 9, 2013

There are lots of ways to save on summer vacation. We truly do a family vacation. We go on vacation with my mom and stepdad…..and my sisters and brother in law…..am some times family friends. We are lucky that my parents have a time share about less then two hours from our house and we have access to a beach house in South Carolina for cheap through the company my step dad works for.

We still try to save even with the fact we have some nice vacation spots.

1. Bring you own food keeps you from eating out and spending money. Even if you are staying in a hotel that does not have a kitchen keeping things like fruit, nuts, granola bars, peanut butter, and crackers around it can save a lot of money. If you have a small fridge think about lunch meat and cheese. We also go shopping when we get there if it is a long trip ( South Carolina is an 18 hour trip for us so we pack food to eat on the way and food for breakfast and hit Sam’s Club after we get there. This year we will be feeding seven adults, two kids, and the baby.)

2. Stay some place with a kitchen so you can cook!

3. Check for things that are free – breakfast, kids eat/stay free, pool, appetizers, Internet….you get the idea.

4. Go with extended family or friends and split the cost. This works well if you want a date on vacation too. If your friends have kids you stay in and watch all the kids one night and your friend gets to do it the next.

5. Check for free activities before you leave. With the Internet it is so easy to find parks, festivals, or other free activities where you are staying.

6. Do they have free laundry? Both place we go I can do my laundry for free other then the cost of the detergent. I know that doing laundry on vacation does not sound like fun but it saves me a lot of work when I get home. I bring a laundry bag and we put all the dirty wash in it as we go. The day before we leave I do at least one load of wash in, fold it, and pack it in each persons bag. When I get home the dirty laundry goes down the steps as soon as I walk in the door and everyone’s bag goes to there room with clean clothes to go back into their dresser!

What are your tips for saving money on vacation?

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Summer Savings – Free Play Day!!! May 29, 2013

We had to go into town today because my 4 year old had a dance class that he needed to make up. With school being out I was able to take him on a weekday. I had all three kids with me and because 7 year old starts summer school tomorrow I thought we should have some fun. I did not want to spend any money (I did by lunch and I could have done that cheaper but I wanted to get vegetables so I splurged at the food court at bit). The first thing we did was go to the play place (or as I call it the pink eye play place) so the big kids could play and I could feed the baby. We played for about 25 min and headed off to the food court for lunch. We also made a stop at the family bathroom to wash hand and I would like to thank the person that decided that the family bathroom was a good idea.

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We love the pink eye play place.

After lunch we hit Barnes and Noble to play with the train and to pick up the summer reading handout for my 7 year old. The summer reading program is free!! Kids in grades K-6  read 8 fill out a  reading journal  and they receive a free book.  You can pick up the handout in store or print a PDF from their web page.

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Photo is a little blurry because the baby hit my camera when I took it – sorry!

The baby is napping now, big kids are playing, and I cleaned house some. The next part of our free play day is the local library. We will check out some books and play a bit before I have to make dinner and go to my church job. Remember to check you library for free summer reading programs as well. We do the activities we can at the library in the small town we live in and at the library in the big town next door.

The best part about this day, other then being free, is that it saves time. The first two activities and lunch were all at the same place. The faster we go from one thing to the next the less wining I here and the less I have to pack, unpack, and repack kids. The library in our town is only 3 min from the hose so making the run out there is no big deal.

What is your favorite free activities?

 

Gift cards….how should you spend them? May 19, 2013

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When I was a kid, or any time before I had kids, and I got a gift card I knew I was going to blow that money on something I wanted. Anymore that is not the case. Now that the big kids are old enough to know that they got a gift card we give them the joy of blowing the money. We do try and teach them to make good choices with the gift cards.

For example my daughters birthday is in October. She got a $25 Amazon gift card. She wanted to spend it then. We talked to her and we all decided the best thing would be to hold on to it until after Christmas. That way if she did not get something she wanted she would have the gift card. It turned out she got another $25 Amazon gift card for Christmas. We talked a lot about what she could get with her $50 at Amazon. My 7 year old loves to read and thought it might be nice to have an ereader. We looked it up and for $60 she could get the bottom of the like Kindle. With her gift cards and giving us $10 of her Christmas cash she got her self an ereader. I was impressed with the thought she put into it.

My husband took my 3 year old to Target to use a gift card one time. He said that they looked at toys for along time. My son found a $25 toy on clearance that he was able to get with his $15 gift card (I think that mom and dad did pay the tax on that one).

Now how do I spend my gift cards….most of the time….on food. If the card is to my husband and I we by things we need for all of us. An extra $25 in the food budget can go a long way (use some coupons with that and it can go really far!!)  or be that special thing that you don’t normally spring for. If it is a gift card for the baby or as a shower gift I spend it on the baby. I have gotten nipples, formula, and diapers. It has helped our bottom line and they where things that he truly needed…not just stuff I thought was cute or fun.

Do I miss the fun stuff….yep. Have I found other ways to put fun in my life…yep. But in the end teaching my child to make a good choice with money (or a gift card) or knowing that my son has formula for the next month helps me sleep at night.

 

 

Penny Pinching Patio Project – Outside toy storage

One of my goals was some outside toy storage so the kids can get to a few toys with out me having to let them into the garage. This way I can send them out if I am working on something in the house or doing something with the baby that will not let me go out. They can stay in the back yard and be far from the street and I can still see them from every room. We had been using a Step 2 plastic toy box in the garage for years  but it was not working well for us any more. I had my husband drill several holes in the bottom and then he attached three pieces of 2×4 so it was off the ground so it would drain and would be heavy enough to not blow away.

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This solution is by no meas water tight. It did rain some last night and when I checked it today it was nice and dry. The real test will be tonight. We are on the edge of a massive thunderstorm right now and then there is another one about 30 min behind it. Everything we have in it will be fine if it gets wet so I am not that worried.

I got the toy chest used about 6 years ago for $25 but for the sake of this project it was FREE because we had all of the things already. You just have to think outside of the toy box and get a bit creative with the things you have.  Any other good ideas for outside toy storage??

 

Summer Saving – Door Snake

Saving money on electricity is always a big thing at our house.  Everything we own is electric (no gas or propane). The last few days we have had to run the AC due to the humidity and the fact that my son has been sick and was having a hard time breathing.  We do all the normal things they tell you to do….keep the hose has warm as you can handle (for us that is about 75 during the day and 73 at night)…we turn it up to 78 or so when we are not home….the normal stuff.  We also still use the door snake. In the winter you use it to keep the cold air out…in the summer to keep the cold air in.

This past winter I made a door snake from an old towel and some rice.  I had an 16 lb bag of rice that I got for $8 just for projects like this (and heating pads….but that is another post!)

I measured the bottom of the door that I was going to use the snake on and then added 4 in. This would give me room to sew up the ends and have the snake be longer then the door. I made a tube by sewing three ends shut. I turned the tub right side out and with the help of my husband and a funnel filled it with rice. I then sewed up the other end.

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Penny Pinching Patio Project – Frugal Flowers May 5, 2013

I posted a bit back about how I got the kids flower bulbs for their Easter baskets. A few weeks a go I hit a good deal on some plants for the yard and the patio.

Bushes at Aldi –

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Yep I got bushes at Aldi and they where $2.99 each. Now I do understand that it will take a few years for these to be the big full bushes that I want but they will help hid the shed! They have been in the ground for about a moth now and they are looking good and have new growth!

Lows clearance –

Missouri can not decided if it is spring or winter. We keep getting snow and flooding and all kids of crazy weather. There where lots of plants that got damaged in a snow storm. This is what we got.

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I got these three min roses bushes for $2 each. There is one for each kid and they have named them. I can’t remember what they named them and the big kids fight about what the babies bush is called…it is kind of cute. They have done fantastic even with the crazy weather. All but one of them has bloomed. I did plant these in the front of the front porch so they are not really part of the Patio Project.

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These 6 packs of Pansies where 75 cents each! I potted them and will put them on the patio when it gets a bit warmer. Right now I have them up by the house on the deck just so they stay warm at night. They are stating to fill out the planters nicely and are getting ready to bloom big time. I will try and remember to take a photo.

 

The Cost of Convenience May 4, 2013

Filed under: Frugal Living,Meal Planing — hmyers1 @ 8:41 pm
Tags: , ,

I had to stay at school late for a function a few weeks ago and in order to save money I packed a salad. That was one of the days I packed all three meals. I decided that I needed a little something else to add to my dinner. I had to get gas and decided to pay inside so I could check out the chips and drinks. I was SHOCK at how much things really cost at the gas station. I then remembered that this is a Dollar General in town. I payed for my gas…got in my car…and went to the DG. For $2 I got a box of Wales and a Snapple. For $2 I could not have even gotten the crackers at the gas station. Just a little extra time saved me a lot of money!

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