- Video Game Tournament -- For more information on this, be sure to check out my post on 5 Ways to Save Money on Video Games.
- Coloring Pages -- Click here to print out New Year's Eve coloring pages.
- Snow Globe Snowman -- No Time for Flashcards features this adorable craft for the kids to enjoy.
- Tambourines -- Click here for instructions to make a fun tambourine craft (made with paper plates, ribbon, and jingle bells) to shake after midnight!
- Sparkly 2009 Banner -- Yesterday's post with directions for how to make a sparkly 2009 banner using empty cereal boxes and aluminum foil can be found here.
- Time Capsule -- Make a time capsule using a decorated empty coffee can. Fill with photographs, recipes, old recordings, trading cards, etc.
- Start a Journal -- What better time to start a journal with a clean slate? Click here for instructions to make a fabulous winter journal from a plain composition notebook.
- Make Your Own Peppermint Hot Chocolate -- This is so easy, and so frugal! For the recipe, click here.
Wednesday, December 31, 2008
Tuesday, December 30, 2008
Emily had a great time making this sparkly 2009 banner! You can add glitter glue or further decorate it, if desired. To make this frugal 2009 New Year's Banner, you will need:
- Two empty cereal boxes
- Aluminum foil
- Glitter Glue (optional)
- Hole Puncher
Monday, December 29, 2008
- Don't Rush -- The latest titles have the highest prices. If you can wait just a short while, the price may come down significantly. This is particularly true for computer games. An added advantage is that you will have access to more reviews of the game to see if it is really worth the purchase.
- Borrow From a Friend -- See if your friend won't mind parting with a game for a night or two. Be sure to return the game in the same condition.
- Swap -- You may be able to swap games with a friend, or set up a free account at GameSwap.com. You list your old games, mail them when they are requested, and earn credits for new games.
- Buy Used -- GameFly.com has used games starting at just $7.99 and includes free shipping until January 5th. Games come with a new case and new manual. They are also 100% guaranteed.
- Rent -- If your family likes to try new games, you might want to give renting a shot. At GameFly, plans start at $15.95 per month, and includes free shipping, access to over 6,000 games, and no late fees or other hidden charges. You may cancel at any time. Click here for more information.
Sunday, December 28, 2008
If you are in the Lehigh Valley, you might want to check out Lights in the Woods at the Flint Hill Farm Educational Center in Coopersburg, PA. Conditions were too muddy to go tonight, but they will have another run Tuesday night, December 30th from 5:30 to 8:30pm.
New Year's Eve parties can easily get expensive, but with a little help from the Frugal Family Fun Blog, you will be able to start 2009 off with a Fabulous Frugal New Year's Eve Bash -- and be able to celebrate without the worry of extra holiday bills!
- Guest List -- To help save money, consider limiting your guest list to the people who are the most important to you. You don't need to invite the entire neighborhood. Two or three other couples is just fine.
- Free Babysitters -- When possible, take advantage of free babysitting help from grandparents or other relatives. You could also take turns babysitting with another couple. In exchange, you could offer to run some errands or cook for them. This is a huge help, so be sure to thank your babysitters for all their hard work!
- Invites -- Sometimes the party's budget can be blown before the party even starts just because of expensive invitations! Instead, try Evite.com and you will be able to send online invitations, track RSVP's, ask guests to bring an item, or send party updates quickly and easily. Evite.com is free!
- Lighting -- Use lighting and decorations that you already have on hand. You could take down the Christmas tree (to free up some space), and use the lights around the party area. Silver garland works well.
- Food -- Since your party will probably start late in the evening and go all night, you can easily skip a full holiday dinner. Instead, offer lots of tasty homemade appetizers! Click here for recipe ideas. One of my favorites is Bacon-Wrapped Artichoke Hearts. Here is the recipe:
Bacon Wrapped Artichoke Hearts:
Pre-heat oven to 425 degrees. Cut bacon slices in half horizontally. Wrap each artichoke heart in the 1/2 slice of bacon and secure with a toothpick. Place on an ungreased baking sheet. Bake for 10-12 minutes. Serve immediately. You can prepare large trays of these ahead of time and pop them in the oven when the party is about to begin!
- Drinks -- Instead of loading up a full service bar, try serving one signature drink for the party. Pomegranate Martinis make for a festive drink everyone is sure to enjoy. Click here for the recipe. Be sure to include at least one non-alcoholic beverage.
- Music -- Hiring a band can be very expensive, so instead try hooking up some speakers to your computer or iPod. Set up a playlist in iTunes and you have a very inexpensive music solution. You could also borrow music CDs from your local public library for free.
- Entertainment -- If one of your friends has a Wii, you could borrow it to set it up with some fun party games such as Wii Sports, Super Monkey Ball, or Mario Party 8. Also, you could try some other fun games including CatchPhrase, Cranium, Taboo, and Apples to Apples. Ask around if any of your friends have these games to see if you could borrow them.
Saturday, December 27, 2008
For a limited time, McDonald's is offering a free premium roast coffee on Mondays. I am not sure if this is nation-wide or not, but the last few times they offered it, it was. Leave us a comment, and let it know if it is in your area, or not. Yeah, free coffee!
Re-gifting is an art. If done improperly, it is considered tacky and rude. If done properly, however, your friends will still like you and your resourcefulness will be admired. Here are some things to keep in mind when re-gifting:
- The recipient -- Obviously the recipient should be your main concern whether you are gifting or re-gifting. Only re-gift an item if you know the recipient will genuinely love it.
- Be upfront -- Be honest about what you are doing, and tell the recipient it was a gift from someone and you simply have no use for the item. Tell the recipient why you thought it was the perfect fit for him/her -- be specific.
- Certain items should never be re-gifted -- These include, but are not limited to: used items (these are hand-me-downs, not re-gifts), small appliances or electronics that the recipient would be puzzled to receive.
Friday, December 26, 2008
Now all the presents are unwrapped, and the holiday rush is just starting to settle down. I was tempted to just relax at home and enjoy time with the family, but the truth is now is the best time to score some awesome holiday deals at after-Christmas sales and start planning a holiday fund for next year.
You can decorate a plain 3-ring binder and use this as your Holiday Planner. Include address lists for cards, budget worksheets, recipes, gift ideas, etc. The key to saving money is to plan ahead and stay organized.
Here are some ideas to help you prepare for next year:
- Shop After-Christmas Sales -- Many stores have wrapping paper, cards, trees, ornaments, lights, candles, and even gifts for 50% off or more. I also stock up on holiday chocolate to chop up and use in baking, hot cocoa mix, or homemade granola bars.
- Set Up a Holiday Fund -- This is so simple to do and can help alleviate much of the financial strain of the holidays. Go to ING Direct to set up a high-interest savings account that is linked to your existing checking account. Set up an automatic weekly direct deposit of about $10, or whatever your family can comfortably set aside. At the end of one year, you will have saved $520 plus interest!
- Holiday Cards -- You can purchase these at after-Christmas sales, and you might as well go ahead and address the envelopes now. If you use the Forever stamp, you might save on postage if the rates go up again.
- Set up Next Year's Holiday Budget -- Make up a list of everyone you want to buy for, and how much you are willing to spend per person. ThrifyFun.com has a great example of a printable Holiday Budget Worksheet.
- Photo Gifts -- Shutterfly has photo cards available for 20% off and photo calendars for 25% off. Get creative, upload some photos, and you won't have to stress over whether or not your cards/calendars will arrive in time for next year.
If you have a holiday planning tip to share, please leave us a comment and tell us about it!
Thursday, December 25, 2008
Wishing everyone a Happy Holiday and best wishes for the New Year! Tomorrow's after Christmas sales could help save your family a lot of money for next year. Here is a quick list of best buys for after Christmas sales:
- Holiday Wrapping Paper, Gift Bags, and Gift Boxes -- If you have the storage for these, it is a great time to stock up for the upcoming year.
- Christmas Cards -- As long as there is no year mentioned, you can purchase cards for next year at deeply discounted prices.
- Ornaments -- Look for classic designs that never go out of style.
- Christmas Lights -- LED Christmas lights are a great buy because they use about 1/4 of the energy of traditional lights.
- Holiday Dishware -- Great buys are to be had on holiday dishware and glassware after Christmas.
- Artificial Trees -- Selection may be a bit limited, but you still might be able to score a nice tree for many more future uses.
- Holiday Chocolate -- Chop up and use in baking, or hot cocoa mix!
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
- Magazine Subscription -- Magazines.com has subscriptions that start at just $6!
- Restaurant Gift Certificate -- I know what you're thinking... Eating out is NOT frugal! But, did you know that if you order before 12/25 and use promotional code HOLIDAY at Restaurant.com, you will get a whopping 80% off! You will pay about $2 for a $25 gift certificate. If you place your order through uPromise, you will get a percentage back for college savings.
- Amazon e-Gift Certificate -- Just about everyone finds something at Amazon that they would love, so an e-gift certificate could be ideal. Available in any denomination.
- NetFlix Subscription -- Plans start at just $4.99 a month, which is a pretty good deal.
- iTunes -- Give the gift of music with an instant iTunes e-gift certificate. This must be done through the iTunes store. You can download iTunes, by clicking here.
Monday, December 22, 2008
Christmas is almost here and it is the perfect time of year to go caroling with friends, family, and neighbors. If you are like me, that sounds fine and dandy, until you realize you might not know all the words to some of the classic Christmas carols! Don't worry, to help you avoid any embarrassment, the Hillbilly Housewife has put together a Christmas Carol Song Book that you can download here for free! (Thanks, Hillbilly Housewife!)
Sunday, December 21, 2008
- Learn to Knit
- Easy, Homemade Holiday Food Gifts
- Jar Mix Recipes
- Homemade Bath Salts
- Green Gifts for FREE
- Hand-painted Block Print Kitchen Towels
- Festive Winter Journals
- Chocolate Covered Pretzels
- Chili Mix in a Jar
- Bird Watching Kit
- Hand Warmers
- Winter Lacing Cards
- Homework Organizer
- Cinnamon Ornaments Kit
- Gingerbread House Kit
- Doorway Puppet Theatre
- Pretend Play Sets
Saturday, December 20, 2008
Out of all of the games and toys Emily has, she seems to enjoy playing pretend the most. I try to encourage this as much as possible because pretend play is one of the most beneficial types of play for a child's development. Child psychologists claim pretend play helps increase creativity, memory, fine motor skills, and more! Today's project is a series of play sets that can be gathered from items you probably already have at home. They are very frugal, and best of all, the kids really love this kind of play!
- Doctor Set -- Fill a small black bag with some bandages, cotton balls, adhesive tape, tongue depressors, gloves, and some empty medicine bottles. You can paint a white cross on the outside of the bag.
- School Set -- Fill a basket with some paper, pencils, reward stickers, chalkboard, chalk, hall pass, report card with cardboard sleeve, and a few books.
- Restaurant Set -- Fill a medium sized tray with a paper pad, pencil, kid-sized apron, menu (you can laminate this), play-doh (to make pretend food), and a junior chef's hat. You could also include paper plates.
- Grocery Set -- Save your old trial size cereal boxes, mac & cheese boxes, cleaned out ketchup bottles, and other small food boxes or containers. Include some paper lunch bags, calculator, paper pad, and pencil. Put the items in a basket so the kids can use the basket for their shopping.
- Try FeltCuisine.com for some inspiration.
- Thrifty Craft Mama includes a free pattern for felt pumpkin pie!
- Pizza Kit -- Try cutting a circle out of tan felt for a crust, a slightly smaller circle from red felt for sauce, and an even slightly smaller circle from ivory felt for cheese. You can include toppings such as green pepper, pepperoni, mushrooms, and black olives.
Friday, December 19, 2008
I love Target. I just found your blog today, and am super excited to become a follower. You have some great ideas!Thanks to everyone for participating, and we will do another fun giveaway soon!
- 3 Curtain Tension Rods -- I found these at Walmart for just a few dollars.
- 2 Curtains (1 Curtain Valance & 1 Shorter Curtain) -- I made these with about 1 yard of leftover fabric.
- 1 Dark Colored Rectangular Table Cloth -- We taped ours to one of the top curtain rods, but you could sew this into a curtain as well.
- Various Puppets -- The one pictured above came from the dollar section of Target!
Thursday, December 18, 2008
As mentioned earlier this week, kids love to make their own creations. Today's project is a Make Your Own Gingerbread House Kit. These are simple and easy to make, and they taste delicious! Using these clever shortcuts, you can have a beautiful gingerbread house put together in minutes.
- 1 box graham crackers
- 1 empty 2 pint milk carton
- white icing
- decorative candy (licorice, gum drops, candy canes, peppermint candies, etc.)
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
Today's frugal last minute gift idea for kids is a Make Your Own Cinnamon Ornaments Kit! Kids love to make their own creations, and this is a great way to get them actively involved in decorating the tree. The ornaments have the added benefit of acting as air-fresheners and will keep their fragrance for up to 4 years! A large jar of apple sauce and a large container of cinnamon will make several kits, and you could give one to each kid in the family.
- 1/2 cup store bought apple sauce -- I used a small tupperware container filled with apple sauce.
- 1/2 cup ground cinnamon -- You could use zipper plastic bags for this.
- cookie cutters
- drinking straw
- 1 roll of 1/8" wide ribbon
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
Today's frugal last minute gift idea is a homework organizer made from an empty granola bar box, and some empty baby formula tins! This is a great gift for school-aged kids, and will help to keep them organized too!
- empty boxes (cereal boxes, granola bar boxes, etc. )
- pretty paper (again I used leftovers from the festive winter journals)
- double-sided tape
Monday, December 15, 2008
Every day this week I will be featuring frugal last minute gift ideas for kids. These projects are very frugal and can be made with items you probably already have in your home. You won't want to miss any of these great projects, so if you are not already a follower of the Frugal Family Fun Blog, click here to become a follower!
- Empty cereal boxes
- Pretty paper (I used paper scraps leftover from my Festive Winter Journals)
- Glue Stick
- Hole Puncher
Sunday, December 14, 2008
These hand warmers make great stocking stuffers, and they are easy to make! Just heat these in the microwave for a few seconds and they will retain heat for several minutes. To make your own hand warmers, you will need:
- embroidery floss
- lavendar (optional)
Saturday, December 13, 2008
Does the idea of spending a lot of money this holiday season make you cringe? Have you been trying to save money during this tough economic time? Are you afraid the holidays will put your family further into debt? Fortunately, Frugal Family Fun Blog is here to show you how to celebrate the holidays with friends and family without breaking the bank. Here are some ways to cut expenses during the holidays.
- Host a Potluck -- If you provide the turkey or ham, ask friends and family to each bring a side dish or dessert to share. A potluck can be an ideal solution for a vegetarian or other guests with special dietary needs. This will not only save money, but will also save valuable time.
- Draw up a Budget -- To save money this holiday season, make up a list of all the people you typically shop for and determine how much to spend on each person. Also, include ideas for gifts for each person. When you go shopping, take your list with you and stick to it!
- Plan Ahead -- The best way to cut expenses is always to plan ahead. Take advantage of sales and start shopping early in the season to spread out the expenses over time. With a little planning, you may be able to include other non-department stores such as CVS, Walgreens, or Big Lots to get some great deals.
- Shop Online -- This is also a great time saver. Shopping online means you are less likely to over-spend, thanks to the shopping cart which keeps a running total of expenses. Go to currentcodes.com to find coupon codes for some of the most popular online stores. Also, consider shopping through uPromise for additional college savings.
- Pick One Thing -- If your family needs an organic Christmas tree, consider purchasing it. Then find ways to cut costs in other areas. You could make your own ornaments, for example.
- Homemade Gifts -- Some of the best gifts I have received have been homemade. If you know how to knit or sew, take advantage of these talents to make gifts for the people on your list. A scrapbook can make a terrific gift as well. Even dry ingredients for your favorite cookies in a mason jar can make a nice gift, while saving you some cash.
- Wrapping Ideas -- Get creative with wrapping paper. Use holiday stamps and rolls of craft paper to make your own, or re-use comics, newspaper print, or old maps. You can use inexpensive raffia, yarn, or string instead of ribbons for a more rustic look.
- Gift Exchange -- Put all the family members names into a hat and have each person pick one name. Each family member only shops for the name he/she picked. This way everyone gets a gift without having to shop for the entire family.
- Volunteer -- While many families are struggling with money this holiday season, you may be able to give more of your time. Get the family out to a soup kitchen and volunteer some time there. This will help cultivate a sense of gratitude for the things you do have.
Friday, December 12, 2008
Every day next week I will be posting a series of projects to make last minute gift ideas for kids. You won't want to miss any of these! These projects are frugal, and can be made with items you would already have in your house. Here is a little preview of what to expect.
Thursday, December 11, 2008
Nothing takes the chill out of winter like a warm bowl of chili! This mix in a jar is a quick, simple, and frugal gift idea everyone is sure to love. Kids could easily help to make this. Be sure to attach a tag with instructions to make the chili. Add some big soup bowls, and cornbread mix for a terrific and frugal gift set!
Here is the recipe for chili mix in a jar:
Layer these ingredients in a 1 quart mason jar.
2 tbsp. dried parsley
2 tbsp. taco seasoning
2 tbsp. dried onion flakes
2 tbsp. cumin
2 tbsp. cornmeal
2 tbsp. paprika
2 tbsp. taco seasoning
2 tbsp. dried parsley
2 tbsp. chili powder
1 cup dried pinto beans
1/4 cup dried black beans
1/4 cup dried white beans
about 1 cup dried kidney beans (fill to top of jar)
Attach these instructions:
To a 12 quart pot add:
contents of jar
4 (15 ounce) can diced tomatoes
1/2 cup vinegar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 large can tomato paste
49 ounces tomato juice
2 pounds ground beef (cooked and drained)
Fill the rest of the pot with water. Bring to a boil and let simmer for about 3 hours. Add salt and pepper to taste. To serve, top with shredded cheddar cheese and a spoonful of sour cream.
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
I am a huge fan of Target, and this week I am giving away a $10 Target gift card! Keep it for yourself, or give it to a friend for the holidays. Tip -- Be sure to go to the gift kiosk to print out coupons to stretch this gift card even further.
- Become a Follower -- Click here to become a follower of Frugal Family Fun Blog, and you will be entered three times. Those of you who are already followers are automatically entered three times as well.
- Link to me -- Use the link to me button on the right of this page to create a link to Frugal Family Fun Blog on your blog, blog about this post on your blog, or create a text link to Frugal Family Fun Blog on your site, and you will be entered 5 times! Don't forget to come back here and leave a comment so I can see your site to verify the link.
- Leave a comment -- Post a comment anywhere on Frugal Family Fun Blog between now and December 19th. You will automatically be entered once.
I am not much of a baker. Instead, Emily and I did some holiday "baking" by making chocolate covered pretzels. There is no measuring required, and they are always delicious. Wrap in cellophane bags and tie with ribbon for a great (and frugal) gift!
- 1 bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips
- 4 spoonfuls of shortening
- 1 package of pretzel rods
- cookie sheet
- wax paper
Tuesday, December 9, 2008
Emily and I enjoyed making these winter journals. They are so simple to make, and they came out looking great! To make the journals you will need:
- Pretty paper (I used snowflake print, but any pattern will work.)
- Plain marble notebook
- Exact-o knife -- DO NOT LET CHILDREN USE THE EXACT-O KNIFE!!
- Book binding tape
- Glue stick
Monday, December 8, 2008
This holiday season, promote a better environment with these green gifts that help reduce waste. The best part -- they are FREE!
- Stop Junk Mail -- Junk mail uses a tremendous amount of resources. Use CatalogChoice.org to create an account for the recipient to pick which catalogs are of genuine interest, and CatalogChoice will work with companies to remove the recipient's address from their mailing list for free. GreenDimes.com has a similar free service for all junk mail.
- Offset Carbon Emissions for a Day -- Go to OneDay.BrighterPlanet.com to find out how you can give the gift of being carbon free for a day - for free.
- A Green Email Account -- Create a free green email account for the recipient at CommunityMail.net. This is a free email service that is provided by a wind and solar powered web hosting company.
- Green a PC -- Call 1-800-PC Support and a technician from support.com will help your recipient green their PC for free.
- E-Cards -- Each year greeting cards generate tons of waste. This year, consider sending free e-cards instead. Check out evite.com, hallmark.com, and 123greetings.com to get started.
Sunday, December 7, 2008
Looking for another great frugal gift idea? Try these cute kitchen towels! You and your kids will love making these, and they turn out looking great.
- Plain white flour sack towels (these can be purchased at Target for about $1 each)
- Fabric paint
- Holiday stamps (snow flakes, holly, ornament prints all work well)
- Paint brushes
Saturday, December 6, 2008
Hi, your blog is full of lots of frugal tips. I am new to the frugal world and am learning some...but could use all the help I can get. Thanks for a helpful blog. -- RhondaCongratulations, Rhonda!
Friday, December 5, 2008
MoneySavingMom recently featured a post on the McCall paper dolls, so I printed some out for Emily to enjoy. Here she is playing with the January 1996 Betsy with two outfits -- pajamas and ice skating. She enjoyed the maze as well. Great frugal fun! You can download the entire series here.
Thursday, December 4, 2008
Forget fruitcake. This year, you can spread your holiday cheer by giving presents that contribute to the fight against climate change. Give the gift of carbon neutrality for a day — it's free!
Emily and I spent some time this afternoon making these great gift tags from last year's greeting cards. To make the gift tags, you will need:
- Some old greeting cards -- Many of the ones we received last year had no writing on the inside left, so we used those.
- Hole Punch
- Ribbon - I found the 1/8" wide or 1/4" wide work best.
- Clear Contact Paper - Optional.
Wednesday, December 3, 2008
- Write for eHow -- eHow has a fantastic Writer's Compensation Program and it is free to sign up. The concept is simple. Everyone is an expert at something. Begin posting articles about what you already know. At the end of the month, if you have made more than $10, you will be paid via PayPal. If you make less than $10, it will be carried over to the following month.
- Design Merchandize -- If you know your way around Photoshop, or The Gimp, consider designing your own t-shirts, coffee mugs, or other merchandize for CafePress. You can open a free shop and begin selling your merchandize instantly. When you earn over $25 you will get a check in the mail! CafePress takes care of the production and shipping of your order, and you can earn big commissions.
- ChaCha Guide -- If you enjoy looking things up online, consider working as a ChaCha guide. Guides earn money based on how many queries they answer. Clients ask questions via text messages, and you are the person who answers their questions. Answer as many or as few questions as you like, and guides have the ability to be paid instantly via a debit card, or paid via check after a few weeks.
- Amazon's MTurk -- Amazon's MTurk program lets you work as little or as much as you want, however the jobs can get boring after awhile. Once a job is approved, you will be paid instantly via Amazon gift card, or have the money transferred to your bank account.
- Start a Blog -- Another great way to earn extra cash is to start a blog and write about what you know. Use Google Adsense program to generate some extra income by advertising on your blog. Also, consider linking into Amazon's Associate program and you can earn commissions for referring traffic to products Amazon already sells!
- Trade in Your Old Cell Phone or iPod -- This process could not be any easier. Go to FlipSwap.com and find the model for your old cell phone or iPod and answer some quick questions about its condition. FlipSwap will send out a prepaid envelope mailer, and you will earn Amazon Gift Cards. It is also good for the environment to keep those old electronics out of the landfill.
- Write an eBook -- Digital documents and eBooks are becoming increasingly popular, and it is a terrific way to earn extra cash without leaving your home or paying fees. Use a word processing program, such as MS Word, and save your eBook as a .pdf which can be uploaded to Lulu.com. You set your own price!
- Address Envelopes -- If you have neat handwriting or know caligraphy, consider earning some extra money by addressing envelopes. This can work well for political campaigns, weddings, graduation announcements, baby announcements, and more.
- Write Santa Letters -- Writing letters from Santa can be a fun way to earn some extra money. For an authentic touch, have the envelope post marked from the North Pole by addressing your envelope to: North Pole Christmas Cancellation, Postmaster, 5400 Mail Trail, Fairbanks, AK 99709-9999. To ensure delivery in time for Christmas, items should be received at the post office by Dec. 15.
- Join MyPoints -- Join MyPoints for free and earn points for visiting website links that are sent to your email, referring people, or purchasing items through the MyPoints website. Points can be redeemed for gift cards from many different merchants.
Tuesday, December 2, 2008
- Diapers: Consider cloth diapers. I know, I know, but before you turn your nose up at the idea, keep in mind that the average child will cost about $1600 for two years worth of disposable diapers. The cloth diapers of today are vastly improved over the ones from just a few years ago. Cloth diapers are not that much more effort, plus they are better for the environment. For more information on cloth diapers, check out Diaper Jungle's Cloth Diaper Guide. If you must use disposable diapers, a good way to stock up on these is to get them for free from CVS using Extra Care Bucks. For more CVS tips, visit MoneySavingMom's CVS 101. Also, generic store brands are often half the price of brand-name diapers, but work just about as well.
- Formula: If you cannot breast feed, try stocking up on samples. Every time you take your baby to the pediatrician, ask for samples of formula. Many times they keep several different varieties on hand. If you start asking for samples from birth, you can accumulate a large collection of formulas for free. For more formula samples, sign up for Enfamil's Family Beginnings. When you receive $5 coupons good towards any formula, try to get the smallest container to maximize savings and pay the least out of pocket.
- Baby Food: Making your own baby food is simple and easy to do. You can find more information on making your own baby food at WholesomeBabyFood.com. To save on store-bought baby food, many people do not know that stage 1 baby food is the same as stage 2. The only difference is the portion size. Many times stage 2 baby food comes in a slightly larger bottle. I like to purchase the stage 2 foods, pour some out into a bowl for a feeding and save the rest in the fridge to use the next day.
- Clothing: To save on clothing, it is important to realize that newborns outgrow clothes at a rapid rate. Also, frequent spills, diaper leaks, and food stains make purchasing new clothes seem... well, pointless really. Try shopping at a second hand store, consignment shop, or yard sale. Also, buying clothes out of season can be a big money saver.
- College Savings: It is never too early to start saving for your baby's college education. Consider starting a 529 plan and then automatically contribute a portion of your income. uPromise is another great resource for college savings, and you can invite other friends or family to contribute to your child's fund by linking their store discount cards or credit cards to the account.
Monday, December 1, 2008
- Letter from my Aunt (she lives in Argentina). Hola Tia Ines!! I love getting cards from friends and family, so this just made my day.
- Sample of Tide laundry detergent. To get your own sample, go here.
- Samples of Kotex with a coupon for $1.00 off any Kotex product. To get your free Kotex sample pack, go here.
- Two checks for baby formula. Good for $5 off any Enfamil formula. Join Enfamil's Family Beginnings Program, and you will receive samples, coupons, and more!
- $25 Target gift card from redeeming MyPoints. To sign up for MyPoints, and start earning points good towards gift cards, go here.
- Gift cards for Macy's. 2/$15 off a $30 purchase, 1/$25 off a $100 purchase, and 1/$50 off a $200 purchase. Other money saving offers from Macys.com can be found here.
- Billing error (in my favor) check from the hospital for $35. I love it when stuff like that happens!
- Dividend check from my insurance company for $115. NJ Manufacturers sent special dividend checks to policy holders totaling more than $61 million dollars this year. Click here to learn more information and see if you are eligible.
Sunday, November 30, 2008
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Saturday, November 29, 2008
Friday, November 28, 2008
Getting tired of turkey yet? Give your leftovers some fresh appeal with these great recipes:
- Paula's Home Cooking -- Includes recipes for Pumpkin Bars and Turkey Pot Pie.
- Leftover Cranberry Sauce -- Mix with Cream Cheese for a great bagel spread.
- CD Kitchen -- Easy recipes for leftover turkey.
- Turkey Casserole Recipe -- Uses leftover turkey and stuffing.
- Leftover Sweet Potato Cake -- Use up those leftover sweet potatoes and make a delicious dessert.
- Sweet Potato Biscuits -- Another creative way to use up those leftover sweet potatoes.
Thursday, November 27, 2008
I wanted to wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving! Don't forget to get your entry in for our coupon giveaway, and be sure to check out my recipe for Turkey Chili to use up those leftovers.
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
- Become a follower of this blog. Do this by clicking here. Becoming a follower will put you in for three entries. Those of you who are already followers will automatically be entered three times as well.
- Leave a comment on the Frugal Family Fun Blog, and tell me about some of your family's favorite frugal activities, or what it is you love the most about this blog. Your comment can be on this post, or any other post dated from November 25-December 5th.
Monday, November 24, 2008
Sunday, November 23, 2008
Saturday, November 22, 2008
If you are lucky enough to live in the Lehigh Valley, here are some frugal indoor family activities you can enjoy for $5 or less!
- Allentown Art Museum -- On Sundays admission is free to the Allentown Art Museum, and the kids can enjoy Artventures.
- Lowe's/Home Depot Workshops -- The first Saturday of the month is Home Depot's Kids Workshops, and Lowe's features kids clinics every other week. The kids get a little apron, and a small wooden project to put together, and a certificate of completion. It's free!
- Bounce U -- Purchase a Bounce Pass for $25 and it is good for 5 bounce sessions. Just $5 per session.
- Emmaus Movie Theatre -- A second-run movie theatre in downtown Emmaus. Matinees are just $3.00.
- Farmers Market -- The Allentown Fairgrounds Farmer's Market is an Allentown favorite.
- Roller Skating -- Try Skateaway Roller Rink in Bethlehem. Admission is just $5 for Saturday or Sunday night.
- Bowling -- In general, bowling is very affordable. Try the Emmaus Bowling Center.
- Coffee at the Perk -- You can enjoy some terrific coffee at The Perk on Main in Emmaus, and treat the kids to some tasty desserts.
- Hershey's Chocolate World -- Take a day trip to Hershey and experience Hershey's Chocolate World. Admission is free, and you get a free chocolate bar at the end of the tour.
- Lower Macungie Community Center -- Upcoming events include Pictures with Santa (2 photos for $10), free movie night, free open gym, and free drop-by storytime.
- Promenade Shops in Saucon Valley -- One of our favorite things to do is to stop in for storytime at Barnes & Noble. The kids usually do a small coloring or craft project afterwards. Instead of going to the cafe at the bookstore, we head over to Fresh Market where Emily gets a free cookie at the bakery section, and I get a free sample of coffee!
- Soup Mix in Jar Recipes: Recipes include Minestrone Soup Mix, Vegetarian Black Bean Chili Mix, and more!
- Cookie Mix in a Jar Recipes: I plan to try the Reese's Peanut Butter Cup Cookie Mix... yum!
- Quick Muffin Mix in a Jar Recipe: Includes instructions to make blueberry muffins.
- Brownies in a Jar: Makes a full 9" x 13" pan. Delicious and easy to make!
- Spiced Tea Mix in a Jar: Well-received by the tea-lover on your list.
- Lighted Potpourri Holiday Jars: These are decorative and easy to make.
Friday, November 21, 2008
Since the cost of food as risen, Thanksgiving dinner could cost you 6% more this year than previous years. Here are some of my favorite ways to save money on Thanksgiving, while having a festive dinner the entire family will enjoy.
- Kid Art -- Try not to spend money on decorations for your holiday table. Instead, get the kids busy with some easy craft projects to help decorate. This year, we are having Emily stamp a solid tablecloth with leaf stamps using fabric paint and fabric markers. Kids can also make centerpieces, and place cards. They can even make Thanksgiving Wreaths. Get creative!
- Planning -- This is probably the most important aspect of having a Thanksgiving on a budget. As with most of the frugal life, planning is crucial to getting the best deals at the best possible time. Plan your side dish menu around items that are on sale and that can be combined with a coupon for maximum savings. Couponmom.com can be a great resource for planning your Thanksgiving menu.
- Potluck -- Consider hosting a potluck Thanksgiving dinner this year. Ask your guests to bring a side dish, bottle of wine, or dessert to share. This helps foster a sense of community, and helps lighten the load for the host.
- Frugal Recipes -- For more money saving tips and great Thanksgiving recipes, visit MoneySavingMom.com. She includes recipes for Orange Ginger Cranberry Sauce, Pumpkin Dinner Rolls, and more!
- Buy What You Need -- Try not to go overboard buying too much food. If you need help with this, see Estimating Food Quantities for a Party.
- Volunteer -- Your entire family can help out at a food kitchen. Not only will your Thanksgiving dinner be free, but you will also cultivate a better sense of what Thanksgiving is all about.
To make cherry mountain pies, you will need 1 can cherry pie filling, white bread, and a pie iron. Start a fire in the fireplace, and when the fire is good and hot, start loading up the pie iron. You basically make a cherry pie filling sandwich with the white bread, close up the pie iron, and stick the whole thing in the fire. Cook to desired doneness, and serve warm.