An old picture....but I love it :)

Have you signed your kids up for your local library’s summer reading program?

Gracia and Little Dude are loving it so much!

What’s been cool about the reading program so far:

  1. Each kid got to pick out a brand new book to keep when we signed up.
  2. Each kid also got an activity book. They have a few activities they have to do for each section, and then read (or have read to them) 10 books.
  3. For every section they complete, they get a prize. The kids already earned their first prize…free DQ cones! :)
  4. It’s great motivation for the kids. While we did it last year too, this summer it’s even more exciting  because since last summer, Gracia has learned to read. So now, instead of me reading to her, I’m having her read books herself! Of course, she still needs help and it has to be beginner books, but it’s been great motivation and I can’t believe she’s done the first 10 books already!
  5. It helps the kids know what books to pick out. Usually the kids each pick a few books, and I pick some for them too, but this summer, I’ve been trying to help Gracia find ones that are simple enough for her to read herself. She’s having to think through what she gets more, instead of just grabbing things off the shelf.

I know every library is different, so yours may not be doing things exactly like ours is, but it’s a great FREE way to not only keep kids occupied, but keep their brains exercising too! And if you don’t have kids…the library still is an awesome place!

Enjoying their hard-earned cones!

I enjoyed these 2 lists, and thought you might too:


Amy

I’m copying My Mothermode again with 5 frugal things I’ve done this week….thinking this might become a weekly ritual.
  • Went to the library and got lots of books for the kids and 2 movies for them, Learning with Leap Frog and Reading Rainbow…”It’s in a book, take a look, reading rainbow!!!!” Happy memories come back with that song. :)

  • Made homemade flour tortillas from Family Feasts for $75 a Week*. They were yummier than store-bought, but more work and not as perfectly round (I’m not one to spend forever getting things perfect!). I think I’ll still heavily depend on store-bought flour tortillas, but it’s a good recipe!

 

Making flour tortillas - This is an old picture, and a different recipe than the one I tried this week. The one from her book uses shortening and it's easier to get thinner tortillas.

 

  • Combined errands. It seems like lately I’m running to town all the time for dropping Little Dude off at visits, picking him up, going to the post office, store…it’s always something. But I try to combine errands when possible. For example, one day I picked Little Dude up from a visit and we went to the library all on the same run. Today I picked him up then we went shopping and filled up on gas.

 

Combining errands saves gas money and time!

 

  • Cut open my Burt’s Bees lotion to get more out and was pleasantly surprised at how much is still in their.

 

Burt's Bees is good stuff, gotta make sure none of it gets wasted!

 

  • Ran out of conditioner so I pulled out the ol’ bag of free samples I’ve been collecting and poured 7 samples of hair conditioner into my bottle. I probably use only half the amount from each sample per wash, so theoretically this will last 14 hair washes! :)

 

Making use of my free samples.

 

Speaking of freebies, here’s a picture of my most recent free goodies:

What have you done this week to save a buck or two?

*Amazon affiliate link – If you make a purchase through my link I receive a portion of the proceeds.

Amy

There’s all kinds of ways to have fun, some are expensive (a trip to 6 flags), and some are cheap (a game of Uno). I’m not opposed to spending money on fun, after all, I’ve been to Six Flags. But spending money on fun things all the time adds up. So in between those expensive excursions, it’s good to have some cheaper solutions to find fun. Here’s a list I came up with for free or almost free things to do:

  • Play a game! If you don’t have any games think up games that don’t require anything special. We used to play our own version

    Play a game!

    of Scategories with just paper, pencils and a timer. Do your own pictionary or charades.

  • Watch a movie. Watch one you already have, borrow from a friend, borrow from the library or watch something free off the internet (try hulu.com or netflix if your a member).
  • Go to a park. Gracia LOVES it when we do this!
  • Play free games on the internet. My husband finds the strangest games on the internet! He recommends indiegames.com.
  • Invite friends over for a meal, have everyone bring a dish so it’s easier on you.
  • Read a book (check the library).
  • Look for free events in your town, like parades and free concerts.
  • Cook something with someone. After all you have to eat, right? So why not try a new recipe with a friend, and make some memories!
  • Do a puzzle.

What do you like to do for free?

So, I think a lot of times un-frugal people look at us tightwads shopping at Goodwill, folding our aluminum foil and putting it back in the drawer and scrubbing our windows with vinegar and think we’re strange.  And on top of that I think a lot of people don’t think we really save that much…after all buying windex doesn’t usually break the bank!

So here I made up a little example of how one might save a big chunk of cash in only one month by using some of those “little” tightwad strategies. I wanted to come up with accurate numbers, so I either used estimates of my personal experience or looked up prices. Obviously not everyone is going to save the same amount, you may have more people in your family or already be doing some of these, and prices vary in different places, but read on and if you’re already  tightwad like me, maybe you can add an “Amen!” to this, and if you’re not, maybe you’ll convert.

The bold numbers are the savings. Where necessary I’m assuming that this is for just 2 people (think of the savings if you’re a big family!).

Buying Generic Brand Rather than Name Brand: $10

Reduced for quick sale meat = $3

Making a meal instead of going out to eat (say you spend $25 on a meal out and only $8 on making a meal) =$17

Renting from Redbox instead of going to the theater ($19 for 2 adults, $1.08 for Redbox, including tax) = $17.92

Playing a game rather than renting a movie (1.08 for movie, do this once a week or four times a month) = $4.32

Not buying a drink at a restaurant ($1.50 per person) =$ 3


Drying clothes on the line (72 cents a load, do this once a week, or 4 times a month) = $2.88

Borrowing a book from the library rather than buying it = $15

Using half as many paper towels (instead of using 2 rolls in a month, you use 1 at 1.30 a roll for the cheaper kind)= $1.30

Buying gas at cheaper station (3.41 or 3.54 and you buy 3o gallons – these were actual prices last week in Midland) = $3.90

Buying less soda (buy one less 12 pack)= $3

Using grocery bags as trash can liners (10 cents per bag, say you use 1 bag a day)= $3

Mowing own lawn instead of hiring someone= $20

Cutting men’s hair (1 cut for 1 man) = $15

Give yourself a manicure ($15 for a manicure at a salon, let’s say instead you spend $3 buying a new nail polish color) = $12

Buy 1 pair of pants at Goodwill instead of new ($20 for new pants, $5 at Goodwill) = $15


Cooking with beans in place of meat (88 cents for 1 bag of beans instead of 2.25 for 1 lb. hamburger meat = $1.37 savings per meal, do this once a week or four times a month) = $5.48

Make a gift for someone instead of buying one ( $15 store bought gift, $5 for supplies to make one) = $10

Total Savings:  $161.80

Remember this is just for ONE month, and is not at all exclusive of all the ways to save, there’s lots others like planning your menu around sales, trading babysitting instead of hiring a sitter, reusing ziplocs ect…

Gracia LOVES going to the library, and she likes reading the books when we get home!

The library!!!

When we think of the library we think of books, but that’s not all that’s at this marvelous place!

  • Save money by borrowing books instead of buying them
  • Save money by borrowing DVDs, instead of renting
  • Save money by learning things from the books and DVDs (like researching how to do home repairs, sew, cooking from scratch, etc…)
  • Save money by taking your kids to story time, a free activity (I still haven’t taken Gracia, it just never is on the day I want to go to the library!)
  • If you really want to save, cancel your internet and use the library’s (libraries policies on the internet may vary)
  • Cancel your magazine subscriptions and get those from the library too (I don’t know about all libraries, but the one in the town we used to live in would only let you take last months and older home. Also, the library here has magazines people have donated you can take for free or make a donation)
  • Cancel your gym membership and borrow some exercise DVDs (here’s more free exercise ideas)

I know not all libraries are the same, but the one here is magnificent! I love it so much! Anyways, if there’s a book you want that they don’t have, ask about it, they may get it for you.

Here’s some blogs, websites and books that I really like. Pretty much everything I know I got from someone else.

Books:

  • The Tightwad Gazette, by Amy Dacyczyn. I’ve already mentioned this book, but I HIGHLY recommend it. I bought it at a used book store and just happened by it! Right now I have The Complete Tightwad Gazette, from the library. It’s the first book plus book #2 and #3 all put together! It’s amazing! Sadly I’m almost done with it. =( It has a huge variety of tips and not just little tips, but overall ideas and attitudes towards saving.
  • Miserly Moms, by Jonni McCoy. I looked through this a while back, and can’t remember too much about it, so I think I’m gonna check it out from the library again. (www.miserlymoms.com)
  • 1001 Ways to Cut Your Expenses, by Jonathan D Pond. I just finished looking through this one. It’s not my favorite, but has lots of ideas and is very easy reading.

Blogs and Sites:

  • Tiphero.com - I get an email weekly from them. They’re my favorite money tip site. And if you answer the question of the week you might win a $20 Amazon gift card (I won one right before Christmas and bought my hubby a book).
  • Frugalliving.about.com – I get emails from this site too, good practical stuff
  • www.stretcher.com – I get emails from these guys too. And they do a $100 giveaway every month for tips sent in.
  • tammysrecipes.com – I LOVE her recipes, cheap from scratch recipes, she also has some good articles on housewife things
  • thefrugalgirl.com - If you check out this blog, you’re never gonna want to come back to my cheesy pictures again! lol But seriously, she posts baking recipes, goodwill finds and pictures from her everyday life.

So what are some of your favorite books or sites? Please share!

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