Have Summer Fun Without Breaking the Bank

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Ways to Have Summer Fun without Breaking the Bank

“Mom! I’m bored!” How many times have you heard that as a parent during summer vacation? Summer break should be a time of fun and relaxation for the entire family, but lots of the time, that fun can be really expensive. Family fun doesn’t have to be so expensive that you need to mortgage the house. These ways to have summer fun won’t break your bank account wide open since they’re all budget friendly family fun ideas and will allow your family to have a blast during the warmer months.

Shaving Cream Balloon Fight – Put a new spin on the classic water balloon fight and use shave cream filled balloons instead! Your kids will love that they are getting to make a mess and you’ll love that it is so easy to clean up! Turn on the water hose and spray the kids down! See how to make them over at Totally The Bomb

Nerf Gun Wars – Grab a few Nerf guns and head outside! Play tag or hide ‘n seek where the person who is “it” has to successfully tag someone with a Nerf dart instead of by hand. Want to make it even more fun? Make multiple people “it!”

Nature Hunts – Print out a scavenger hunt list and turn the kids loose on a nature hunt! They’ll have fun tracking down the items on your list and you’ll enjoy how low cost it is! Add a small prize to make it even more fun.

Hiking trips – Pack up the kids and your favorite backpack and head out to do some hiking on the trails. Most trails are open to hike for free but if you do come across one that charges, the fees are usually reasonable. Don’t forget big spray,snacks, and plenty of water for everyone.

Pool Party – If you have a backyard pool, throw a pool party! Grill hot dogs and hamburgers and let the kids and their friends have a blast! If you don’t have a pool, most city pools are inexpensive for admission for the day.

Outdoor Movies – During the summer, see if your local city has a day and place that it shows movies outdoors. These things usually happen at the local parks or courthouses, and in my area the libraries also do this. The movies that they choose are family friendly and best of all? They’re free to attend! Bring a blanket and snacks to sit on and enjoy the show!

Farmers Markets – If your area has farmer’s markets during the summer, check them out for cheap family fun! Most aren’t just booths of produce and yummy foods, but instead have music, petting zoos, and other forms of family fun too.

Flea Markets – The same can be said for flea markets. There is usually cheap food, music and other forms of family friendly entertainment. Plus? If you have a lot of clutter to get rid of, you could check into getting a booth and make some extra cash while you’re at it!

Road Trip – When most people hear the words road trip, they think a long one, but they don’t have to be. Pack the kids in the car with drinks and snacks and just drive around your local area. You’d be surprised at the hidden gems that are all around us but go unnoticed! Check out these Road Trip Savings Tips

Camping –  If you have a tent and sleeping bags, you are half way to camping! Most state parks offer very affordable camping sites that bill per day. Spend the weekend with your kids away from technology and just get to know one another as a family again! You’ll be glad you did and your wallet won’t be too much lighter.

Enjoy your summer break!

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Creative Uses for Cream of Tartar

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Creative Uses for Cream of Tartar

Most people think of using cream of tartar in the kitchen, to accomplish tasks such as preventing sugar from crystallizing and stabilizing egg whites. But, they don’t realize they can clean with it as well. For example, as you can use this pantry item to do the following.

Naturally Repel Ants

Ants are such a nuisance, and kind of gross, too.   A paste made of cream of tartar and vinegar works wonders for repelling ants around the house.  Put it at entry ways and wherever you see them getting in.  For active infestation, reapply every few days.

Clear Drains

There’s no need to buy caustic drain cleaner when you can do this instead. Mix together two ounces of salt, two ounces of baking soda and one tablespoon of cream of tartar. Pour this down the drain, followed by one cup of water. Allow it to sit for a couple of minutes, before rinsing everything down.

Polish Stainless-Steel Appliances

Make your stainless-steel appliances shine by making a paste consisting of cream of tartar and a little bit of water. Use it just like you would traditional furniture polish.

Clean Stained Shirt Collars

When you need to remove “ring around the collar,” it’s simple to do with cream of tartar. Sprinkle it liberally, directly on the stain. Rub it in and watch the ring magically disappear. No soaking required!

Clean Dingy Aluminum Cookware

Dingy pots and pans?  Clean them with a paste of cream of tartar and water.  Apply on the stains, wait a few minutes, and then wash as usual.

Polish Copper

Simply combine one tablespoon of lemon juice with two tablespoons of cream of tartar. Rub it all over the surface of the copper and then wipe clean.

Restore Scratched Dishes and Porcelain

Cream of tartar removes scratches on dishes.   It also works on the porcelain in the bathroom.  Combine warm water and cream of tartar to make a really thick paste. Apply it liberally to each scratch, wipe with a clean cloth, and rinse. Easy-peasy!

General Household Cleaner

You can make a by mixing together equal parts of white vinegar and the tartar. You’ll find that this safe and affordable cleaner will clean most of the surfaces in your home… including grout and the inside of your oven!  Add a few drops of your favorite essential oil if the vinegar smell is bothersome, or if you just prefer scented.

Tip: For better deals than the grocery store baking aisle, look for sales on cream of tartar at craft stores (Like Michael’s with a 40% off or 50% off coupon!), or find cream of tartar online.

These are just a few ways you can clean with cream of tartar. Using natural ingredients that I know are safe to consume are a better alternative than something with chemicals in it that I cannot even pronounce.  Plus I usually have this stuff on hand for baking and royal icing.  Look for a few bottles on sale and try some of these.

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Road Trip Savings Tips

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Road Trip Savings Tips

Are you planning on taking a road trip this year?  Whether it’s a short one or long, you will want to be prepared with these savings tips to help make your trip a fun, more easily affordable one (so that the next one is more likely!).

Plan Ahead

Scheduling when and where you are going to go will help you save big on your road trip.  This can be viewed similar to a trip through the grocery store.  Think about it like this, if you don’t have a list, you are far more likely to grab whatever food you think looks good at the time and  you are far more likely to be sucked into those impulse purchases. If you don’t have a game plan on your trip, chances are you will be more willing to stop at places that will force you to spend out of your budget.  Places like Booking.com offer last minute hotel and motel deals that are super cheap, an can often be cancelled at the last minute if your plans change! 

Designate a Savings for the Trip

Like many other things, road trips are something that you really shouldn’t borrow for.  A fun, relaxing road trip becomes a lot less relaxing when you have to worry about how you are going to pay the bills that come along with charging everything.  Uses your credit cards wisely to take advantage of the perks, then pay that bill off immediately with the money you already saved for your trip.

Maintain your Vehicle

This is the most important thing you can do in preparation of your road trip.  Maintaining your vehicle can not only save you money, but it can, quite literally save your life.  Make sure that your oil, water and other fluid levels are all where they need to be.  Check your tires to be sure that they are in good condition and aired up to the proper levels.  Clean air filters can also help improve your fuel mileage = gas cost savings.  All of these things will keep you safe on the road, plus they also make it less likely that you will run into mechanical failures while on your trip, which can easily blow your budget and ruin your fun.

Score Cheap Gift Cards

Saving right off the top is excellent!  I LOVE to visit a site like Raise [NEW Raise customers get $10 off $25 CLICK HERE] to see if they have any discounted gift cards that I can utilize along the way.  There are tons from fast food places to gas stations.

Pack Necessities (Along with Your Clothes)

Yep, you need to bring clean clothes and food, you know that, but don’t forget the other necessities that you will need to bring with you on a road trip:

  • First Aid Kit – You really should always have a first aid kit in your car anyway, but it is a must have on a road trip.  Bandages, gauze and light medications can be handy in case of any small emergency, but it can also help prevent unnecessary stops along the way. (First aid supplies are not cheap at truck stops and convenience stores.)
  • Entertainment – This is especially true if you have children with you.  Make sure you pack TV/DVD players or tablets, road trip games and small toys.  You will save your own sanity by doing this because there will be less “Are we there yet” questions and boredom stops.
  • Food.  You need to be sure and have food on hand for emergencies (stick some granola bars in your First Aid Kit), but you also need to keep food on hand for snacks, so that you are not stopping a rest areas or driving through restaurants regularly, which can add up quickly if you are not careful!
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Surprising Things You Can Clean With Denture Tablets

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Surprising Things You Can Clean With Denture Tablets

You may be surprised to learn that denture tablets are great for cleaning more than just false teeth.  Who knew, right?  Here are several things that you can clean and freshen using denture cleaning tablets.  Stock up on a box or two next time you see a good sale.

Baked-On Food

Baked-on food can be a real pain, and sometimes soaking alone won’t get the food off. Fill the dish in question with warm water. Toss in a denture tablet or two for large dishes, and allow everything to soak for roughly 60 minutes. You may need to apply a bit of elbow grease, but not as much as required when you don’t use the tabs.

Coffee Makers

If you don’t like the smell of vinegar, try this the next time you need to clean your coffee maker. Fill the receptacle with warm water. Add two denture tablets and allow the coffee maker to go through a complete cycle. Rinse it out. Repeat, using clean water, for two more cycles to rinse thouroughly.

Smelly Shoes

The method of cleaning smelly shoes is similar to cleaning other things mentioned here. Fill your sink with warm water. Add up to three denture tablets. Let the shoes soak for up to one hour and rinse them thoroughly.  For best results, air dry.

Narrow Vases

This tip is more than a little bit ingenious. That gunk that is left when you are done with flowers in a vase is unsightly.  Fill the container with warm water. Pop in one tablet. After a couple of hours, the vase (or narrow bottle) should magically rinse clean. A bit of shaking on your part may be necessary.

Ceramic Tile

Add three or four denture tablets to a spray bottle of warm water. Spray on ceramic tile and allow it to sit for approximately 30 minutes. Rinse and dry as you normally do.

Tomato-Stained Plastic Containers

Don’t throw away your favorite plastic container, just because it happens to be tomato stained from your favorite red sauce. Fill it with warm water. Add a denture tablet. After 60 minutes or so, the stains should wash away with hot, soapy water or a run it through the dishwasher on the top rack.

Now, you have a good reason to stock up on denture tablets. Compared to some other cleaners, they’re easy on the budget and aren’t full of harmful chemicals. So, what are you waiting for? … get cleaning!

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Tips to Help Frugal Moms to Save MORE!

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Is it Possible for a Frugal Mom to Save MORE?  Absolutely!

If you are a mom, you know a budget is very important. More so than a budget, the ability to make something out of nothing is a skill every mom learns sooner or later. Frugal moms are known for couponing and using all resources they can find to save money. For our already frugal moms, here are some ideas to save even more money than you already are.

Find Free Events or Set-up Playdates

For some families, paying for museum visits, concerts, the fair, and other events and entertainment is a way of life. For a frugal mom, this is an area where some finances can be freed up. Instead of paying to go to the zoo, check your local newspaper for free community events. Usually, libraries hold free story time and even playtime for kids. If you want some company for your kids, ask friends or family members with kids to set up playdates at the park.  Summer brings lots of free programs as well — check with your local rec centers, libraries, and community centers.  

Borrow Books and Movies from the Library

You are definitely saving on the cost of your cable bill with your subscription to Netflix and Hulu. However, it’s time to get your family familiar with your local library. Libraries usually have a copy of all popular movies and are free to borrow. You can even download many of the ebooks for free while at home or on vacations. This can result in movie nights for the kids and even a stay-in date night for mom and dad.

Make Your Own Baby Food

Baby food is expensive, especially if you have more than one child. You can achieve this by using foods you normally buy from your local farmers market like squash, carrots, blueberries, raspberries, and more. The food should be pureed and frozen individually in order to make mealtime easier and faster. This method is not only cost-effective but healthy as well.

Use Websites That Help You Earn Gift Cards

Although most moms have a busy schedule, the intentional and smart use of downtime can help make money and shave dollars off of grocery bills. During naptime or when kids are at school, use websites that allow you to create a free account and play games in order to earn gift cards. If your kids are old enough, let them play for a half hour or so a day. This can get you $5 or $10 gift cards to sites you shop on daily, such as Amazon. [See 10 Legitimate Ways to Earn FREE Gift Cards]

Shop Ahead

Getting things on sale (or better yet, clearance!) and having a selection of gifts on hand will save you tons of time and stress on party day, but most of all, it will save you money!  Buying those last minute gifts usually means you pay more.  [See How to Stock a Gift Closet] Also hit up the post-holiday sales for cheap wrapping paper, bows, ribbons, bags, cards, etc.

Cleaning with Items That You Already Have

You may be cleaning your house with regular cleaning supplies, but there is a way to slash even your home cleaning bill. Using natural ingredients or things you already have at home can help reduce the money spent. One tried and true formula is vinegar mixed with baking soda; this solution can clean most surfaces and costs a fraction of popular brand name items.  There are a LOT of homemade versions of cleaning supplies you buy if you look around for recipes.  We have a lot!  for example, See How to make Homemade Liquid Laundry Detergent

If you are a frugal mom who wants to save more, it can be done, even for those who manage the tightest budget. These tips will help you and your family save more without looking like total penny pinchers.

 

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20 Awesome and Creative DIY Valentine’s Day Gift Ideas

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True love is not measured in dollars, but in things like time and care and thought.  I treasure each homemade gift I have ever been given.  To know that someone cared enough about be to create something with their own hands means the world to me.  Make something memorable, with your own hands, and gift it with LOVE.  Happy Valentine’s Day!

  1. DIY : Valentine’s Pom Pom Bouquet from camillestyles.com
  2. Glitter Heart Key Chain DIY from flaxandtwine.com
  3. Cute As A Button Valentine from sugarandcloth.com
  4. Handmade Valentine’s Gifts: DIY Wire-wrapped Heart Necklace from happyhourprojects.com
  5. DIY Tin Can Valentine’s Votive from camillestyles.com
  6. DIY Wooden Polaroid Gift Set from sugarandcloth.com
  7. Valentine Tea DIY Gift Sets from bakelovegive.com
  8. DIY Candle Carved With Initials from helloglow.co
  9. Gold Polka Dot DIY Vase from linesacross.com
  10. Mini Mason Jar Valentines from artfuldays.io
  11. Jewelry Box Of Chocolates from wellmadeheart.com
  12. Free Printable “LOBSTERS FOREVER” from patchworkcactus.typepad.com
  13. Last Minute Valentine’s Day Gift For Him from blitsy.com
  14. Pomegranate Sugar Scrub from thecasualcraftlete.com
  15. DIY Paper Sack Vase & Realistic Faux Flowers from craftberrybush.com
  16. How To Make A Sentimental Carved Heart Wood Slice from averageinspired.com
  17. DIY Kraft Paper Bouquet from thebeautydojo.com
  18. Valentine’s Day Craft! Dollar Store Gold Dipped Heart Dish Tutorial from domesticbliss2.com
  19. Free Printable Wine or Champagne Valentines from allforthememories.com
  20. Valentine Rose Lollipops from creativemeinspiredyou.com
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6 Unique Ways to Make it Till Tax Time When You are Broke from Christmas

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6 Ways To Make It Till Tax Time When You’re Totally Broke After Christmas

Did you know that the average American spends upwards of $700 on holiday gifts and goodies? That is a big chunk of change to absorb during a month. Many families use up their savings. OR they run up a credit card to be able to have everything that was requested under the tree, then use their tax return to pay everything off. If you feel like your pockets are extra empty this month, try one of the following ways to make it till you get your tax return!

1- Utilize Yard Sale Sites: One man’s trash is another man’s treasure. Did you get a few gifts this holiday season that aren’t your style or that you already owned? Join a local Facebook yard sale group and list it. You will be shocked about what sells and for how much. New items and used items sell well if you take good pictures and list it for a reasonable price.

2- Donate Plasma: I’m not sure why it’s called “donating” when you are getting paid for it, but Plasma banks will pay you for your plasma! Income received from plasma donating is not significant, but it’s consistent and if you have two people in your household do it every week, you can bring home a chunk of cash.

3- Sell Your Hair: Are you always getting compliments on your hair? Then you might want to consider selling it; to the right buyer it could be worth thousands. The very best and most expensive wigs are made from human hair, healthy human hair!

4- Recycle: It’s good for the planet and good for your wallet! Certain states offer 5 or 10 cents per can or bottle by returning them to a deposit center. You can gather all the cans and bottles around your house, pick them up from the sides of roads or host a bring your own beer party and provide the hot dogs – then sell the cans after.

5- Scrap Hunt: Just like cans and bottles can be recycled, metal scraps like steel, copper and aluminum can fetch good prices and scrap yards. You can tear the metals out of junked vehicles and earn some nice extra cash at a local scrap yard or recycling center. Make sure you call ahead and know what metals they accept!

6- Pet Sit: January is a popular time to vacation, because it is the “off season”. If you know a friend that has pets is going on vacation, offer to board their dog for them instead of it going to a kennel.  You could also baby sit or house sit.

 

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