Even the most frugal moms can get swept up in spending on the holidays. This year I used these exact tips to fill 5 Easter baskets for under 50 dollars.

Fill 5 Easter Baskets for Under 50 Dollars

Even the most frugal moms can get swept up in spending on the holidays. That’s why it’s important to have go-to tactics to save your money. In case you don’t have a plan for your Easter spending, I’m sharing some tips to help you save. This year I used these exact tips to fill 5 Easter baskets for under 50 dollars. No matter how big your family, you can fill each basket for under $10 when you utilize them!

Affiliate links may be used in this post. Ordering a product through these links may result in a commission at no extra cost to you. Read the full disclosure here.

Even the most frugal moms can get swept up in spending on the holidays. This year I used these exact tips to fill 5 Easter baskets for under 50 dollars.

Fill 5 Easter baskets for under $50 with these tips! #savemoney #Easter Click To Tweet

Make Your Own Candy

First things first, cut back on the amount of candy that you put in the baskets. Filling the baskets with more gifts and less candy means that fewer items are needed to fill the basket. To further save, make your own candy at home. We bought this cross mold 2 years ago to make our own chocolates for the baskets and it has been worth every penny. Hard candies are another easy candy to make. You can go even further and try your hand at making your own peeps.

 

Even the most frugal moms can get swept up in spending on the holidays. This year I used these exact tips to fill 5 Easter baskets for under 50 dollars.

Skip the Grass

I don’t know about you but I hate that plastic Easter grass. It always ends up all over the house for weeks after the holiday has ended. A few years ago I started filling the baskets with tissue paper and it’s fantastic. We always have some on hand and it is easily folded for storage. It is an easy and economical alternative.

 

Even the most frugal moms can get swept up in spending on the holidays. This year I used these exact tips to fill 5 Easter baskets for under 50 dollars.

Reuse Your Baskets

Don’t buy new Easter baskets every year. If you decide you want to freshen up your baskets, give them a makeover. I am a fan of traditional baskets and ours are getting an awesome Pokémon makeover this year. However, those plastic Easter buckets can be easily updated as well.

 

Hollar is Your Secret Weapon

When you have a budget of $10 per basket it is important to bargain shop. That is where Hollar comes in. Instead of running all over town in search of the best deals, I can jump on Hollar and get everything. The best part is that shipping is free with purchases over $25 which means your entire budget can go to basket-fillers. This year, I was able to get brand name items to fill our baskets at a fraction of the cost. Here are just a few of the items I scored this year:

 

Even the most frugal moms can get swept up in spending on the holidays. This year I used these exact tips to fill 5 Easter baskets for under 50 dollars.

Those deals don’t even scratch the surface of what you can find on Hollar. Your family can have an awesome Easter on a small budget. We were able to fill 5 Easter baskets for under 50 dollars and you can too! Did I mention that if you sign up for a new account you’ll get a $2 credit towards your purchase? That’s free money to fill your baskets! If you want even more ways to save on Easter find out how you can make the day easier with this DIY Golden Bunny Bank. Now I’d love to hear how your save on Easter? Let me know your tips in the comments!

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mm
I’m a nerdy, crafty mom of three adorable little kids. I love writing and creating, but in my non-existent free time I also love karaoke, taking my kids to the zoo, and reading. I got my degree in Science (no idea how that happened) but I took every English class I could get my hands on because, yeah, I’m that girl.
Find out how to throw a Cupcake Wars monster party for less than $100. Surprise your aspiring young baker with a party he’ll never forget! #ad

How to Throw a Cupcake Wars Monster Party + Money Saving Tips

Find out how to throw a Cupcake Wars monster party for less than $100. Surprise your aspiring young baker with a party he’ll never forget! #ad

One of our family’s favorite shows to watch together is Cupcake Wars. My oldest has even decided that when he grows up, he and I are going to go on it and win. Of course, he clearly doesn’t realize that all of those cupcakes I bake come from a box but that’s okay. We’ll let him dream. To give him a little taste of the competition, I surprised him with a Cupcake Wars surprise party. After the raging success, I can teach you how to throw a Cupcake Wars monster party for less than $100 with Oriental Trading. Surprise your aspiring young baker with a party he’ll never forget!

Find out how to throw a Cupcake Wars monster party for less than $100. Surprise your aspiring young baker with a party he’ll never forget! #ad

 

Find out how to throw a Cupcake Wars monster party for less than $100! #ad #party Click To Tweet

 

Party Supplies

 

Find out how to throw a Cupcake Wars monster party for less than $100. Surprise your aspiring young baker with a party he’ll never forget! #ad

Cupcakes

It’s not practical to have the kids create their own cupcakes from scratch in the time-span of a birthday party. Instead, bring cupcakes that are already baked and iced with white frosting. Make the competition about the decorations. Encourage kids to create the most outrageous and awesome monster cupcake ever!

$ Saving Tip: Make your own cupcakes and only add enough frosting to seal them. There is going to be plenty of candy added to them at the party.

Find out how to throw a Cupcake Wars monster party for less than $100. Surprise your aspiring young baker with a party he’ll never forget! #ad

Find out how to throw a Cupcake Wars monster party for less than $100. Surprise your aspiring young baker with a party he’ll never forget! #ad

Goodie Bag Creation

Fill each of your monster gift bags with the following:

  • Fan
  • Glasses
  • Sucker
  • 3+ Temporary Tattoos
  • 4+ Pixie Stix

$ Saving Tip: Buy the goodie bag items in bulk from Oriental Trading to have plenty to fill the bags without spending a lot of cash.

Find out how to throw a Cupcake Wars monster party for less than $100. Surprise your aspiring young baker with a party he’ll never forget! #ad

Find out how to throw a Cupcake Wars monster party for less than $100. Surprise your aspiring young baker with a party he’ll never forget! #ad

Party Set-Up

  • Place your tablecloths on each the tables.
  • Add a monster centerpiece to each one.
  • Place a blank chef’s hat at each seat.
  • Provide markers throughout the table.
  • Have everything else set off to the side but easily accessible.

$ Saving Tip: Don’t feel the need for a ton of party décor. There are so many monster items for decorating that it looks like there is a ton of décor.

Party Outline

 

Find out how to throw a Cupcake Wars monster party for less than $100. Surprise your aspiring young baker with a party he’ll never forget! #ad

Find out how to throw a Cupcake Wars monster party for less than $100. Surprise your aspiring young baker with a party he’ll never forget! #ad

  • Have the kids decorate their chef’s hats with markers.

 

Find out how to throw a Cupcake Wars monster party for less than $100. Surprise your aspiring young baker with a party he’ll never forget! #ad

  • When they have finished, fit the hats to each child’s head.
  • Next, provide each kid with a frosted cupcake on a monster plate.

 

Find out how to throw a Cupcake Wars monster party for less than $100. Surprise your aspiring young baker with a party he’ll never forget! #ad

  • Fill a paint tray with various sprinkles for each child.

 

  • Then let everyone pick a cupcake wrapper, monster eyes, and cotton candy for monster fur.

Note:

  • They may need help with the cupcake wrappers.

 

Find out how to throw a Cupcake Wars monster party for less than $100. Surprise your aspiring young baker with a party he’ll never forget! #ad

  • As the kids finish decorating their cupcakes, set them off to the side for judging.
  • Once all of the cupcakes are finished, hold up each cupcake creation one at a time and have kids and parents vote by a show of hands.

Tips:

  • We let everyone vote as many times as they wanted and still had a clear winner.
  • Keep track of votes for each cupcake in some form.
  • You can have a specified prize for the winner if you would like. We did not and the kids were still happy.

 

Find out how to throw a Cupcake Wars monster party for less than $100. Surprise your aspiring young baker with a party he’ll never forget! #ad

  • Let the kids devour their cupcakes.
  • Hand out the goody bags for them to play with while they wait for everyone to finish eating.

 

  • Once everyone has finished eating, end the party with presents and play.

 

Find out how to throw a Cupcake Wars monster party for less than $100. Surprise your aspiring young baker with a party he’ll never forget! #ad

Find out how to throw a Cupcake Wars monster party for less than $100. Surprise your aspiring young baker with a party he’ll never forget! #ad

Find out how to throw a Cupcake Wars monster party for less than $100. Surprise your aspiring young baker with a party he’ll never forget! #ad

Find out how to throw a Cupcake Wars monster party for less than $100. Surprise your aspiring young baker with a party he’ll never forget! #ad

Find out how to throw a Cupcake Wars monster party for less than $100. Surprise your aspiring young baker with a party he’ll never forget! #ad

Find out how to throw a Cupcake Wars monster party for less than $100. Surprise your aspiring young baker with a party he’ll never forget! #ad

Find out how to throw a Cupcake Wars monster party for less than $100. Surprise your aspiring young baker with a party he’ll never forget! #ad

Find out how to throw a Cupcake Wars monster party for less than $100. Surprise your aspiring young baker with a party he’ll never forget! #ad

Find out how to throw a Cupcake Wars monster party for less than $100. Surprise your aspiring young baker with a party he’ll never forget! #ad

This party is a big crowd pleaser! Even kids who aren’t into crafts and art will love creating crazy candy cupcake monsters. Remember to always have a backup in case the party activities move along faster than expected. For this party we had mini notebooks for each of the kids to color on and take home. We have also had tissue paper fights in the past which are always exciting for kids. Lastly, if you’re looking to save even more on your party, don’t forget that Oriental Trading has a coupon page, too!

See where I’m linking up!

Don’t Forget to Pin It!

Find out how to throw a Cupcake Wars monster party for less than $100. Surprise your aspiring young baker with a party he’ll never forget! #ad

mm
I’m a nerdy, crafty mom of three adorable little kids. I love writing and creating, but in my non-existent free time I also love karaoke, taking my kids to the zoo, and reading. I got my degree in Science (no idea how that happened) but I took every English class I could get my hands on because, yeah, I’m that girl.
Are you ready to get your grocery budget under control and your spending back on track? Find out why you need a grocery freeze to make it happen.

Why You Need a Grocery Freeze

Do you feel like your grocery budget is out of control? If you are spending hundreds each month on groceries and still having to run out weekly for ingredients then something has to change. It can be hard to get your spending on track and reign in your food budget. In the post Creating Your Future: January 2017 Goals I mentioned that this month we are doing a grocery freeze this month. It is a huge part of my finance goals because of how much money it saves my family. Keep reading to find out what it is and why you need a grocery freeze to get your budget under control.

Affiliate links may be used in this post. Ordering a product through these links may result in a commission at no extra cost to you. Read the full disclosure here.

Are you ready to get your grocery budget under control and your spending back on track? Find out why you need a grocery freeze to make it happen.

What is a Grocery Freeze?

A grocery freeze is a specialized no-spend challenge. For an entire month you don’t spend one penny on food of any kind. It helps you reset your grocery budget and also prevents food waste. When I do it, I don’t spend any money at all on food. I don’t buy coffees, slip through a drive-thru, and no popping by the store for milk. If you want to adjust it, you can make exceptions for basics like milk, eggs, and bread. The perk of not allowing exceptions is that it forces you to get creative with your meals and, in some cases, learn alternative ways to prepare them.

Find out how to get your food budget under control with a grocery freeze! #budget #save Click To Tweet

Why Do You Need a Grocery Freeze?

I don’t quite know how it happens but we always end up with things in our pantry and freezer that keep getting shoved aside each month. Canned goods sit unused and vegetables in steam packs never get eaten. A grocery freeze is the way to fix that. It forces you to use up those lonely items because you simply don’t have anything else. It can also force you to eat more vegetables is you run out of meat to prepare. (I admit that in all my years of doing grocery freezes, I have only run out of meat once.)

Grocery Freeze Steps

Now that you know why you need a grocery freeze, it’s time to get started. These easy steps will walk you through the basics. It may seem intuitive but without preparation you can stumble (or give up) when you hit road blocks. I want you to be successful reigning in your grocery budget.

Step 1

Pick you month. Don’t pick a month too far away. The closer the date is the better. That will keep you from padding your pantry with extra items before the freeze.

Step 2

Start on the first of the month and create an inventory of everything in your freezer, fridge, and pantry. If you need help, I’ve got tips and a free printable for your at You Can’t Meal Plan without Knowing What You Have.

Step 3

Take a look at your list and come up with a meal plan.

Step 4

Make and freeze the meals you can in batches. If it’s not easy on you then you will be more likely to give up as the month goes on.

 

Are you ready to get your grocery budget under control and your spending back on track? Find out why you need a grocery freeze to make it happen.

Are you ready to get your grocery budget under control and your spending back on track? Now you know why you need a grocery freeze to make it happen. Clean out your inventory and stop wasting food (and money) each month. I like to do these twice a year. Doing one in January sets the tone for my grocery budget the rest of the year. A second grocery freeze during the summer resets my pantry/freezer before the new school year. Come back next week for Grocery Freeze Tips to be successful and stretch your groceries.

See where I’m linking up!

mm
I’m a nerdy, crafty mom of three adorable little kids. I love writing and creating, but in my non-existent free time I also love karaoke, taking my kids to the zoo, and reading. I got my degree in Science (no idea how that happened) but I took every English class I could get my hands on because, yeah, I’m that girl.
You can’t meal plan without knowing what you have. That is why your first step should be creating a pantry and freezer inventory. Don’t worry. I have tips and a free printable to get you started.

You Can’t Meal Plan without Knowing What You Have

Is meal planning on your list of resolutions? If not, it should be. Meal planning saves you time, save you money, and saves your sanity on busy weeknights. It can be tempting to just jump in and pick out 7 recipes for the week, write them down in your planner, and call it a day. Unfortunately if you do it that way you will never be successful. You will go to make one of your meals, realize you are all out of the milk you need to make it, and promptly call the pizza man. You can’t meal plan without knowing what you have. That is why your first step should be creating a pantry and freezer inventory. Don’t worry. I have tips and a free printable to get you started.

Affiliate links may be used in this post. Ordering a product through these links may result in a commission at no extra cost to you. Read the full disclosure here.

 

You can’t meal plan without knowing what you have. That is why your first step should be creating a pantry and freezer inventory. Don’t worry. I have tips and a free printable to get you started.

 

You can’t meal plan without knowing what you have. Fix that with this pantry and freezer… Click To Tweet

 

You can’t meal plan without knowing what you have. That is why your first step should be creating a pantry and freezer inventory. Don’t worry. I have tips and a free printable to get you started.

Create Your Inventory

 

Step 1

Print out your pantry and freezer inventory.

 

You can’t meal plan without knowing what you have. That is why your first step should be creating a pantry and freezer inventory. Don’t worry. I have tips and a free printable to get you started.

Step 2

Write down what you have in your pantry and freezer in the itemized areas on the sheets.

Tips:

  • Remember to include your quantities in the square provided when filling out your inventories.
  • I like to write down the number I currently have in the first box then mark it out and update it as ingredients get used. (See picture above for reference.)

Step 3

Decide on some freezer meals that you can make. Prepare those meals and add them to the “meal” section on your freezer inventory sheet.

Tips:

 

You can’t meal plan without knowing what you have. That is why your first step should be creating a pantry and freezer inventory. Don’t worry. I have tips and a free printable to get you started.

Meal Planning Tips

Now that you know exactly what ingredients and meals you have, you are ready to start meal planning. There are many different ways to do this so I’ll share specifics in another post. For now, I want to share some extra tips that make meal planning easier for my family.

Breakfast and Lunch

Don’t forget about breakfasts and lunches when meal planning. Even if you don’t typically eat these meals at home they will affect your meal plan. For instance, if you don’t pack a lunch to work each day then you will need to make a plan for your leftovers. This can be as easy as planning a leftovers night for one of your dinners. You can also incorporate leftovers into a brand new meal later in the week.

Group Meal Items Together

There is nothing more frustrating than going to make a planned dinner and finding that someone in your family has eaten one of the ingredients. Prevent this by grouping meal items together in a labeled basket in your pantry. For example, if you need rice noodles, coconut milk, and peanuts for Tuesday’s dinner place them all together in a small basket labeled “Tuesday”. Next, simply let your family know that items in the labeled baskets are off-limits for snacking.

Get Creative

Instead of running out to purchase an item you’re missing, get creative. See if something else you have on hand will work as a substitute. Here is a pin with common ingredient substitutes to help you out. Also, don’t forget that most veggies can be swapped for any other with only a small change in flavor. Most proteins can also be switched (or ommitted altogether).  I substitue ground turkey for ground beef all of the time.

Pre-Portion Leftovers

I am a firm believer that the easier you make leftovers to eat the higher the probability that they will. Instead of dumping leftovers into large containers after dinner, pre-portion them into smaller containers. When you or your family members need a quick, single-serving meal these pre-portioned containers can be heated up. This will also make lunches a breeze whether you eat at home or pack them for work.

 

You can’t meal plan without knowing what you have. That is why your first step should be creating a pantry and freezer inventory. Don’t worry. I have tips and a free printable to get you started.

Now that you have your pantry/freezer inventory you are ready to save money and time with meal planning. Don’t forget to keep updating your inventory as you use items and meals. This will help you save money by keeping items from going to waste as well as keep you from eating out due to convenience. Before you go, tell me, what is the biggest money-waster for your family when it comes to food? Let me know in the comments!

See where I’m linking up!

mm
I’m a nerdy, crafty mom of three adorable little kids. I love writing and creating, but in my non-existent free time I also love karaoke, taking my kids to the zoo, and reading. I got my degree in Science (no idea how that happened) but I took every English class I could get my hands on because, yeah, I’m that girl.
Don't go into debt for Black Friday because you love a bargain. Find out how to actually save money on Black Friday!

How to Actually Save Money on Black Friday

In case you didn’t know, I am an avid Black Friday shopper. Over the years I have utilized every way to save on that day from shopping online to camping out in the snow at Target. It is a fun and time-honored tradition for me. Just because I love a bargain doesn’t mean I overspend and put us in debt for this deal-mania, though. Instead, I have set rules in place that I follow every season. Now I want to share how to actually save money on Black Friday with you as well as hook you up with some free moolah to shop with!

Don't go into debt for Black Friday because you love a bargain. Find out how to actually save money on Black Friday!

Start Now

Don’t think that you are forced to spend Thanksgiving Day planning for a successful Black Friday haul. Many major stores “leak” their ads early on purpose. Take advantage of this. My favorite database for this is Brad’s Black Friday. He and his team have been doing this for years. They know how to verify leaked ads and can spot a fake from a mile away. If you are relying on Black Friday deals to stay on budget this year then start planning now.

Do Your Research

When you see a deal for an item on your Christmas list make sure that you know it is a good deal. Companies pay people a lot of money to get you to part with your hard-earned cash. Check out what items are going for in stores now and compare to the deals in the leaked ads. If you’re only saving a few dollars off of the regular price is it really worth the fight through the chaos?

Find out how to actually save money on Black Friday and enter to win some shopping cash!… Click To Tweet

Make a List and Stick to It

This is the number one best thing you can do to save on Black Friday. Make a list of the exact items you want to pick up. While you are shopping, do not deviate from that list. The chaos of Black Friday encourages you to buy now! This is made even worse with many deals being available online. Shopping online prevents you from seeing any of your money leaving. It also keeps you from seeing the items you purchase accumulate.

Brave the Store

I know that this turns a lot of people off of Black Friday. When you think about the points made above it makes sense that you will save the most money in store. However, in addition to those points, here are a few more reasons to visit the stores on Black Friday:

  1. It forces you to prioritize. Many stores open at the same time and you have to decide which store has more of the items you are looking for.
  2. A lot of deals on big items such as game consoles and televisions are only available in the store (although I recommend skipping these items in most cases… read more about that here).
  3. You get tired. When you are on your feet for hours hauling items and waiting in line you will lose stamina. Being tired will send you home with more money in your pocket than shopping on the couch will.

Now are you ready to win some free cash?! Enter below and don’t forget to share with your friends!

Want to win some free cash to shop with this Black Friday? Enter today! #giveaway Click To Tweet

$335 Fall Black Friday Giveaway

WELCOME TO THE FALL BLACK FRIDAY GIVEAWAY!

Do you have a long holiday shopping list and need extra cash? Well, I’ve got good news for you. 24 bloggers have come together for the Fall Black Friday Giveaway! We don’t want you to stress over holiday shopping, so we’re giving away $335 in Paypal CASH! So what are you waiting for? Enter using the giveaway form below! This giveaway has ended. Thanks to everyone for entering!

Meet the Hostesses

Fall Black Friday Giveaway

Erlene • My Pinterventures Chelc • Inside The Fox Den Christene • Keys to Inspiration

Kim • Made In A Day Megan • C’mon Get Crafty Sherry • Olives-n-Okra

Leslie • Lambert’s Lately Emily • Our House Now A Home Amanda • The Kolb Corner

Brooke • Re-fabbed Shirley • Intelligent Domestications Brittany • Balanced Frugality

Lorelai • Life with Lorelai Emily • Two Purple Couches Alli • An Alli Event

Marie • DIY Adulation Dee • Meatloaf and Melodrama Holly • Pink Fortitude

Cindy • Little Miss Celebration Sara • Twelve on Main Vineta • The Handyman’s Daughter

Marilyn • Marilyn’s Treats Andrea • Waldorf Salad & Cottage Fries Paula • Holly Jolly Holidays

Holly Berries

ONE WINNER WILL WIN $335 PAYPAL CASH!

Giveaway ends November 16 11:59pm PST, open to US and Canadian residents, ages 18+. Winner is subject to eligibility verification and will be announced within 72 hours of giveaway close. Good luck!

Disclaimer: The winner has 48 hours to respond or an alternate winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way administered, sponsored, associated, or endorsed by Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, or Facebook., or Facebook.

mm
I’m a nerdy, crafty mom of three adorable little kids. I love writing and creating, but in my non-existent free time I also love karaoke, taking my kids to the zoo, and reading. I got my degree in Science (no idea how that happened) but I took every English class I could get my hands on because, yeah, I’m that girl.
You’ve probably seen that Groupon now has coupons available but are you losing out on free money because you don’t realize all of the ways to use it?

Are You Losing Out on Free Money?

You’ve probably seen that Groupon now has coupons available but are you losing out on free money because you don’t realize all of the ways to use it?

People love saving money. Even the biggest spendthrift is still excited about finding a great deal. Bottom line: You want to keep as much dough as possible to spend on the fun stuff (or build up your savings if you’re feeling responsible). That’s why most of you already have the Groupon app on your phone. (If you don’t, you totally should.) Now you can save even more without taking up any extra storage space on your phone. You’ve probably seen that Groupon now has coupons available but are you losing out on free money because you don’t realize all of the ways to use it? Stop losing and start saving, especially on travel!

 

You’ve probably seen that Groupon now has coupons available but are you losing out on free money because you don’t realize all of the ways to use it?

 

Stop losing out on free money by utilizing your phone apps! #ad #GrouponCoupon Click To Tweet

 

You’ve probably seen that Groupon now has coupons available but are you losing out on free money because you don’t realize all of the ways to use it?

Convenience of One Application

Instead of having an app for every store and coupon database, everything is in one place. This saves you valuable space on your phone for the things that matter like those vacation photos. If you already have the app, you already have the coupons. Simply open up Groupon, click on the coupons tab, and search by store or category for what you need.

 

You’ve probably seen that Groupon now has coupons available but are you losing out on free money because you don’t realize all of the ways to use it?

Great for Travel

This is one the big ways you’re losing out. Most people don’t think about using their phone apps when they travel but you should. This isn’t just for saving on hotels and car rentals (although you totally can). Here are some other great ideas for using the Groupon app when travelling:

  • RestaurantsWhen you travel you tend to eat out more. Save some cash by looking up coupons for your family’s favorite restaurants. Also, if you’re in an unfamiliar area, search for food coupons by zip code to find out what’s available in the area.
  • Automotive NeedsAgain, while you can save on rental cars with Groupon, there are other needs that may crop up while traveling. If you have car troubles while out of town, search the app for discounts at places like Advance Auto Parts and service centers!

 

You’ve probably seen that Groupon now has coupons available but are you losing out on free money because you don’t realize all of the ways to use it?

Save on the Everyday

These coupons are not just for clothes and restaurants. They will save you money on tons of necessities too. You can save on:

  • MembershipsFind discounts on memberships to places like Sam’s Club and Amazon Prime.
  • Self-ImprovementGroupon has coupons for items like Rosetta Stone if you’re looking to expand your fluency. You will also find discounts on fitness equipment to get ready for the beach this summer.
  • FinancesGet your finances in order with discounts on Quicken software, Manilla financial organizer, and checks.
  • InsuranceYou know that stuff you’re already paying for anyway like pet insurance and car insurance? You can even find coupons to save on these.

You’ve probably seen that Groupon now has coupons available but are you losing out on free money because you don’t realize all of the ways to use it?

If you’re going to have an application taking up space on your phone it is important to make sure you are utilizing it to its full capacity. With the Groupon app you would also be losing out on valuable savings. Now that you know, how will you use Groupon Coupons to save? Do you have extra tips to use them on vacation? I’d love to hear your advice and ideas in the comments!

See where I’m linking up!

mm
I’m a nerdy, crafty mom of three adorable little kids. I love writing and creating, but in my non-existent free time I also love karaoke, taking my kids to the zoo, and reading. I got my degree in Science (no idea how that happened) but I took every English class I could get my hands on because, yeah, I’m that girl.
You can create big memories on a small budget! These tips for big travel savings will help make more family adventures possible.

Must-Read Tips for Big Travel Savings

You love exploring new places with your family. There definitely are those favorite places you love to return to over and over again. Unfortunately, money can be a major barrier to traveling as much as you would like. What if there were ways to save money on travel even if you have a big family? You can create big memories on a small budget! These tips for big travel savings will help make more family adventures possible.

Affiliate links may be used in this post. Ordering a product through these links may result in a commission. Read the full disclosure here.

 

You can create big memories on a small budget! These tips for big travel savings will help make more family adventures possible.

Planning

You don’t always have to plan in advance to save money. Hotels often offer last minute deals to fill up unsold rooms. On the flip side of that, the earlier you book your flight the more you are likely to save on it. Also, it can be worth it to drive a little further to an airport with cheaper flights, depending on your options. This all boils down to knowing the best timing for deals before you start planning. In addition to the tips above, don’t forget that going in the off-season for an area will also help save you a bundle. Do some research and find out when the off-season is for your vacation destination.

 

You can create big memories on a small budget! These tips for big travel savings will help make more family adventures possible.

Free Rewards

Another tip worth taking advantage of is free rewards programs. When you sign up for loyalty programs for free, you can reap the benefits on purchases you already make. Hotels offer perks like free internet and breakfast or even points towards a free stay! Another rewards program type to look into is gas station rewards programs. You can earn discounts on fuel, free coffees, and more through these rewards. Again, they are totally free for you to sign up for and they are an excellent way to save even more on trips!

 

You can create big memories on a small budget! These tips for big travel savings will help make more family adventures possible.

Save on Flights

If it is an option at an airport near you, fly with an airline that has no bag fees. Unfortunately this isn’t available in all areas. That doesn’t mean you can’t still save some dough. Here are other tips that will help you save:

  • Pack EfficientlyIf you can fit everything in a carry-on you will pay a lot less on baggage fees. As a bonus, you won’t have to worry about the airline losing your luggage.
  • PursesPurses and similar sized bags always fly free. Get more free luggage on by having every member of your family bring a bag on board.
  • Be FlexibleBook your flight first and be flexible in your dates. Once you find flight dates in your price range, book the rest of your trip around them.

Save with Lodging

When booking a place to stay, don’t only focus on saving on lodging. You also want to keep in mind how your lodging can save you on your vacation. Food is a major expense when you travel so try to book lodging with a kitchen. If you are staying 5+ days it is worth it to look at condo rentals. If it will be a shorter trip, try to find a hotel room with a refrigerator and microwave at the very least. This will allow you to visit a grocery store and eat some meals in your hotel room. Another way to save is to share one room with your kids (especially when they are younger). Not only will you save money, you will get some quality bonding time in such close quarters.

 

These tips for big travel savings will help make more family adventures possible. #travel #savings Click To Tweet

 

Drive

You can save hundreds or more if you drive instead of fly, even if you rent a car. Yes, the trip might take longer but it also makes the trip a fun family adventure. The journey can be just as exciting as the destination. Here’s how you can save even more on vacation by driving:

  • Pack food and drinks. These don’t need to be just for the drive, either. Bring meals that can be heated up on vacation to save a ton on food costs. (Freezer meals are great for this!)
  • Bring games, movies, and activities for kiddos without worrying about the extra luggage fees.
  • Driving also allows you to bring comfort items for kids. Pack their favorite blanket or stuffed animal to make staying away from home easier for them.

 

You can create big memories on a small budget! These tips for big travel savings will help make more family adventures possible.

Get Your Money Back

When you book your vacation, save even more by earning cash back for free (and no, I’m not talking about a credit card). You are booking all of your travel online anyway so use Ebates and earn cash back on all of it. You will be able to earn cash back on your arrangements whether you book through the direct sites or not. Simply make sure that you have the web browser plugin installed and it will alert you whenever cash back is available for the site you’re on. If you want to save even more, book your entire trip through a site like Hotwire. This will find great deals for you and it earns you cash back through Ebates. Perfect way to get the most bang for your buck.

 

You can create big memories on a small budget! These tips for big travel savings will help make more family adventures possible.

When you use these tips it’s not a question of if you will save but how much more will you save on travel. You will even save on last minute travel arrangements. Plus, the more you use these tips the quicker they will become second-nature for you helping you save all of the time. When you use Ebates every time you book, you can just sit back and watch the cash back stack up. You’ll be the go-to travel guru in the family! Where will your family go this year? I’d love to hear about your adventure plans in the comments!

See where I’m linking up!

mm
I’m a nerdy, crafty mom of three adorable little kids. I love writing and creating, but in my non-existent free time I also love karaoke, taking my kids to the zoo, and reading. I got my degree in Science (no idea how that happened) but I took every English class I could get my hands on because, yeah, I’m that girl.
Find out why this is the single best family investment! Spend more time with your family and make thousands of memories on a small budget!

8 Reasons This is the Best Family Investment

There are a lot of things I look forward to during the summer.  Number one is definitely more time with my family.  During the school year, everyone is so busy and we are very constricted by schedules, holidays, and pretty much just life.  The summer offers us more freedom to explore, play, and get messy.  I love it. One of our absolute favorite summer activities is going to the zoo. If you think the zoo is just about seeing animals, you need to check it out again. We go at least a couple of times a week. I’m not an animal lover by any means, but there is just something about visiting the majestic creatures there.  It is incredible and entertaining. However, there are so many other amazing activities, photo ops, and general fun to be had at the zoo outside of the animals!   The best part is that most zoo passes aren’t very expensive. That is why a zoo pass is the best summer family investment.

 

Find out why this is the single best family investment! Spend more time with your family and make thousands of memories on a small budget!

 

Find out why this is the single best family investment! #family #makememories Click To Tweet

 

Find out why this is the single best family investment! Spend more time with your family and make thousands of memories on a small budget!

1. Free Shows and Concerts

Zoos often have free shows and concerts throughout the year. The Cincinnati Zoo has Tunes and Blooms every week in April which is weekly, after hours free concert. We’ve also been to other shows during the year that were 100% free and family friendly. A few years ago we attended a fun Avenger’s show that our oldest son absolutely loved!

 

2. There are Tons of Photo Ops

There are countless places for amazing photo opportunities. Some of them the kids love so much that you can look back at all of the photos later and watch them grow up. It is incredibly special and a wonderful keepsake to create. Last year, we even received a FREE professional (and printed) family photo for member’s appreciation night!

 

Find out why this is the single best family investment! Spend more time with your family and make thousands of memories on a small budget!

3. Member’s Appreciation

Most zoos offer some sort of member appreciation. At the Cincinnati Zoo they have a specific night dedicated to it. There are tons of perks including the photo mentioned above. You also receive amazing discounts on face painting, food, and more. Plus some fun freebies and activities are included on top of the regular zoo activities.

 

Find out why this is the single best family investment! Spend more time with your family and make thousands of memories on a small budget!

4. Rides and Playgrounds

There are also rides and play areas in the zoo. Kids will always enjoy the train, the merry-go-round, and the playground. Some zoos, like ours, even offer 3D theaters! 

 

Find out why this is the single best family investment! Spend more time with your family and make thousands of memories on a small budget!

5. Learning Opportunities

As you would imagine, the zoo is packed with learning opportunities. There are interactive animal centers and fun facts plastered everywhere. You can learn about more than just animals at the zoo, too. For example, our zoo had a real food garden for a few years that was a lot of fun for the kids.

 

Find out why this is the single best family investment! Spend more time with your family and make thousands of memories on a small budget!

6. Animal Encounters

From special animal encounters set up throughout the zoo where kids can actually get up close and pet the animals to the regularly scheduled ones, there are lots of ways to engage with the animals. We have pet snakes, alligators, penguins, and more. We have fed and brushed goats. These are wonderful experiences that your kids will cherish as they grow.

 

Find out why this is the single best family investment! Spend more time with your family and make thousands of memories on a small budget!

7. Special Events

Zoos also hold special events around holidays. At Easter, kids can stop by stations placed throughout the zoo and receive treats as well as get their picture taken with the Easter Bunny. In October there is trick-or-treat every weekend. Also, the zoo is open year-round. In the winter, our zoo has the Festival of Lights which is fun and gorgeous. We have met Mr. and Mrs. Gingerbread and sipped on free cocoa while enjoying the beautiful lights all over.

 

Find out why this is the single best family investment! Spend more time with your family and make thousands of memories on a small budget!

8. Save on Food

Another important thing to point out is that you save even more by choosing the zoo because you can bring in your own food. We always pack lunch, snacks, and drinks so we are set for the whole trip. Another little tip for you is to bring some sort of small treat, like a sucker, because if you walk by some ice cream or cotton candy but aren’t going to buy any, you can pull out the surprise treat. Your kids will love it!

 

Again, all of this is included with a zoo pass which is good for 12 months from the date you get it.  We pay a little less than $200 for our season pass which gets in 2 named adults, plus 2 adult guests, and up to 8 children each visit.  It also covers our parking which can run around $9 a visit.  Compared with theme parks, aquariums, and museums this is an incredible deal. A couple hundred dollars for a year’s worth of fun, activities, and family memories? Absolutely worth it. Looking for other summer ideas?  Check out our summer page!

 

Find out why this is the single best family investment! Spend more time with your family and make thousands of memories on a small budget!

In case you’re wondering, I have not been compensated in any way for this post.  My family just truly enjoys visiting the zoo as much as possible.  We go all year long and the benefits have been innumerable. I want to help you make the most of your money and time which I feel a zoo pass absolutely does.

See where I’m linking up!

 

mm
I’m a nerdy, crafty mom of three adorable little kids. I love writing and creating, but in my non-existent free time I also love karaoke, taking my kids to the zoo, and reading. I got my degree in Science (no idea how that happened) but I took every English class I could get my hands on because, yeah, I’m that girl.
Don’t accept paying full price for groceries! Instead use this easy lazy girl’s guide to couponing I created just for you.

Lazy Girl’s Guide to Couponing

You’ve watched the episodes of Extreme Couponing where people are leaving the grocery store with pallets full of items that they got totally free. You sit back and think about how awesome it would be to save that kind of money each month on groceries and household products! You want a piece of that savings, man! So you go out and buy a Sunday paper and sit down, scissors in hand, ready to start saving. Suddenly, it occurs to you that you don’t know jack about couponing. Furthermore, you don’t have nine hours a day to spend couponing and researching. At that point you are probably ready to pour a glass of wine and resign yourself to paying full price for groceries. Don’t pay full price! Instead, I’ve created the lazy girl’s guide to couponing just for you.

Don’t accept paying full price for groceries! Instead use this easy lazy girl’s guide to couponing I created just for you.

 

Don’t pay full price for groceries! The lazy girl’s guide to couponing will help! #savemoney #couponing Click To Tweet

 

Don’t accept paying full price for groceries! Instead use this easy lazy girl’s guide to couponing I created just for you.

1. Go Digital

A lot of stores now offer digital coupons that you can load right to your store card. This is great if you’re busy and don’t have the time to clip and organize coupons. In fact, I recommend doing this every time you shop to save a least the bare minimum on all of your purchases. Kroger is great for this (plus, hello, fuel points)! Here are some reasons why Kroger rocks for digital coupons:

  • They let you know some of the coupons that correspond with sales going on right in their ads.
  • They will also let you use one digital coupon up to 5 times in one transaction which is awesome!
  • Another reason Kroger digital coupons rock is because they provide coupons for their brand as well.

Even if you don’t shop at Kroger, digital coupons are always worth the 5 minutes it will take to search at whatever store you do shop at. If you don’t know if your regular grocery store offers digital coupons, check. These can save you on the items you always purchase.

 

Don’t accept paying full price for groceries! Instead use this easy lazy girl’s guide to couponing I created just for you.

2. Let Someone Else Do the Hard Work

There are a ton of websites out there to help you find sales and match coupons to those sale items. For the truly lazy couponer, like me, the absolute best site for this is the Krazy Coupon Lady. They do a fantastic job of finding deals but they take it a step further and let you know exactly what coupons to use and where to find them. Here are the specific (and super easy) steps to get your deals on their site:

  1. Select you grocery store from the menu.
  2. Click on the post for the current week’s matchups.
  3. As you scroll through the list, click on the box next to the sale items you want to buy. This adds those items to a list for you.
  4. If there are coupons online that you need to print, they will be listed as a clickable link under the item. Click and print these coupons as needed. Note: You can usually print the same coupon twice per computer.
  5. Repeat steps 1-4 for each store you shop at.
  6. Pull up your list on the site and print it out.

Not only will the items on your list be itemized automatically by store, they will also detail the precise way to use the coupons. For example, if you shot at Target and want purchase a specific dollar amount of items in order to receive a free gift card but also want to use coupons, they will explain (and it will print) exactly how to ring up your transaction. If you clip coupons from the paper for a certain item, they will even let you know the name and date of the insert it is found in. Seriously, this is the easiest way to achieve huge savings with almost no work on your part.

 

Don’t accept paying full price for groceries! Instead use this easy lazy girl’s guide to couponing I created just for you.

3. Enlist Help

There is no rule that says couponing can’t be a social experience. In fact, I absolutely support making it social. There are a ton of ways to make cutting coupons and shopping a social event but I’m going to share my 3 favorite ways with you.

  1. Get the kids involved. Let them help you cut out the coupons needed for your trip. If they are too young to use scissors (or to cut neatly) have them locate the coupons you need in inserts or organize like coupons together. Kids will get excited about helping and you’ll be teaching them life skills along the way. My oldest son started his own “coupon binder” at 5 years old because he loved it so much. Have fun with it and they will too.
  2. Make it a girl’s night. Get your girlfriends together with some wine and scissors and get to work. This lets you get some much deserved girl time without any guilt. Bonus, if you all pool your coupon inserts, you can get extras for items your friends may not buy and you might learn tips and tricks from each other.
  3. Stop together. The next time you go grocery shopping, have a friend tag along. My friend and I love doing this and I actually look forward to grocery shopping. We go into Kroger and hit Starbucks then get all of our shopping done. It is especially helpful if you have small children to wrangle. Two pairs of eyes are always better than one. It is also a fantastic way to stock up on items and bypass the Rule of 4 (see below).

 

Don’t accept paying full price for groceries! Instead use this easy lazy girl’s guide to couponing I created just for you.

4. Remember the “Rule of 4”

A lot of die-hard couponers recommend always bringing an updated copy of your store’s coupon policy because not all cashiers and managers will be knowledgeable about it. If you want to do that work, more power to you. I, however, am far too lazy for that and instead made the Rule of 4. The majority of stores will let you use up to 4 of the same coupon in a single transaction. This means if you have coupons for a dollar off 2 boxes of cereal then you can use up to 4 of those coupons for 8 boxes of cereal in 1 transaction. This is where having a friend shop with you comes in. Say you have 6 of those coupons and your friend isn’t using any. You can have her add the last 4 boxes of cereal onto her transaction and use the coupons to get the deal. Then just give her the cash for those items.

Now you know the absolute easiest way to save money with coupons! By going digital, using KCL, enlisting help, and remembering the “Rule of 4” you will be saving money on your groceries in no time. You may get so good at it that you’ll be able to start growing a stockpile (which I totally recommend). Need help budgeting, too? I’ve got you covered on our budgeting page!

See where I’m linking up!

mm
I’m a nerdy, crafty mom of three adorable little kids. I love writing and creating, but in my non-existent free time I also love karaoke, taking my kids to the zoo, and reading. I got my degree in Science (no idea how that happened) but I took every English class I could get my hands on because, yeah, I’m that girl.
Saving money is always at the top of everyone’s to-do list.Fatten your wallet with these 3 rules to help you save money on everything!

3 Rules to Save Money on Everything

Saving money is always at the top of everyone’s to-do list. Even long after the stamina of the New Year’s push has faded, you still want to save money whenever and wherever you can. Of course, then you’re in the store with 3 kids and you focus quickly becomes the incessant requests for items from little mouths and trying to get everything on your list (assuming you remembered to bring it this time) before the next outburst over a you said “no” to. You finally reach the checkout and you’ve spent 50-100 dollars or more than you planned to spend. We’ve all been there but it doesn’t have to go that way. Thankfully, I have 3 rules to help you save money on everything (even with distractions tagging along).

Saving money is always at the top of everyone’s to-do list.Fatten your wallet with these 3 rules to help you save money on everything!

 

Fatten your wallet with these 3 rules to help you save money on everything! #savingmoney Click To Tweet

 

Saving money is always at the top of everyone’s to-do list.Fatten your wallet with these 3 rules to help you save money on everything!

1. Have Patience

The majority of overpaying for items comes from hasty and impulse purchases. With the possible exception of groceries and fuel, you should never purchase something immediately without planning. This can be a hard discipline to get into but as with all skills will improve with practice. If you are at the store, see a pair of shoes, and suddenly remember that your son needs a new pair chances are that you will throw them in the cart and purchase them. Resist. Instead write a note, snap a picture, or send yourself a text reminder. Use the reminder later to look for discounts online or take a trip to a thrift store. In addition to helping you save money immediately, this rule will help you more easily distinguish between wants and needs. This helps you save even more in the long run. Here are some tips to help you do this:

  • If you absolutely must (and have the time frame to do this) put the items in your cart but put them back before you check out.
  • Add up what you are actually spending as you place items in your cart. This is a great way to show you how much you’re actually spending and can help prevent impulse buys. An easy way to do this is to use the calculator app on your phone.
  • Always take a list when you shop and do not buy anything not on the list. If you frequently forget to bring your list, create it on your phone instead or, even simpler, take a photo of it.

 

Saving money is always at the top of everyone’s to-do list.Fatten your wallet with these 3 rules to help you save money on everything!

2. Put the Word Out

You would be amazed at what you can get for free when you simply put the word out to family and friends of what you need (or are looking for). This can be everything from craft supplies and clothes to furniture and toys. Even if you don’t get the items for free, I guarantee it will be much less expensive than buying the stuff from the store. Again, this one will require having patience but it is absolutely worth it. Just in case you want further proof, here are just some of the items I have gotten for free just by putting the word out with friends and family:

  • Beds and Mattresses
  • Craft Supplies
  • Fabric and Sewing Patterns
  • Cookware and Dishes
  • Furniture (couches, tables, etcetera)
  • Lamps
  • Books and Movies
  • Office Supplies

The list goes on and on. This is a fantastic way to save money and it also helps out the people who are giving you the items. This was they don’t have to worry about finding the time and means to get rid of the items.

 

Saving money is always at the top of everyone’s to-do list.Fatten your wallet with these 3 rules to help you save money on everything!

3. Shift Your Thinking

One of the best (and often most difficult) habits to form is to shift your thinking. Look for creative solutions to your problem. If you need a grocery list or other small notepad, cut up old papers that are blank on one side and staple them together. If you need a seat cover for the backseat of your car, see if you have an old blanket or tablecloth that will work. This rule, along with rule 1, also takes practice but here are a few ideas to help get you thinking:

Need/Want      Solution
TV Stand Table, desk, or buffet
Receipt Organizer Old jar, small photo album, or coffee can
Tablecloth Flat bed sheet
Baby Doll Clothes Infant Clothes
Bathroom Rug Bath Towel

These rules may not be immediately intuitive. They will start to become habits over time with use. The best part is that they can be applied to any purchase. The immediate savings that you experience can help fuel the long-term development of these rules. They have save my family thousands over the years and I know that they will save you thousands as well. Want some extra help to get started shifting your thinking? Let me know a need or want you currently have and I will try to give you some solution ideas!

See where I’m linking up!

mm
I’m a nerdy, crafty mom of three adorable little kids. I love writing and creating, but in my non-existent free time I also love karaoke, taking my kids to the zoo, and reading. I got my degree in Science (no idea how that happened) but I took every English class I could get my hands on because, yeah, I’m that girl.