Saving Money With Kids Without Feeling Mean

Posted on October 24th, 2014 by Discount Debbie

saving money with kids without feeling mean

We all want to be able to give our children some of the things that they want, but often it seems we find ourselves saying no instead. Here are a few ways to say yes that won’t break the bank.

Limit Media

Children that watch a lot of television end up watching a lot of commercials. They watch commercials for cereal, toys, theme parks, and movies. For the most part children don’t know they are being manipulated to bug mom and dad to buy these items for them. They only know that the toys, theme parks, and movies entertain them. They want the sugary goodness that comes with that brand name marshmallow cereal.

The funny thing is without the advertisements the product loses its power over your children. You could take them down the cereal section of the grocery store and buy generic healthy cereal and your children won’t even blink. Get a Netflix account. It costs less than ten dollars a month. You also determine what television programs your children watch. Which shows have more merchandise on store shelves? Which are educational programs?  What franchises are you willing to invest in? These things are in your control. The more you take that control the less you will have to say no to your children about purchases without giving in to something that is overly expensive or inappropriate.

Make it at Home

There a many craft supplies and toys that can be made at home. For example, I have found recipes online for silly putty, sculpting clay, finger paint, and play dough. Keep a file of these recipes and when your child asks for one of those products tell them yes. Let them know that you are able to make the item at home and will do so. Make sure you follow through with your commitment to your child. Without following through you child will learn it’s just easier to buy the item than wait for it to be made as promised. Invite your child to help make the item. This saves money for you and teaches your child not to buy something they can make themselves at a lower cost.

Delayed Gratification and Choice

Teaching a child delayed gratification works especially well with a choice attached to it. For example, let’s say the family may be planning an outing. Choose a definite day that this outing will be happening in the future and let the family decide together on where you will be going. Treat delayed gratification as something to look forward to rather than something to wait for.

 

 


Avoid Losing Money Online

Posted on October 22nd, 2014 by Discount Debbie

avoid losing money online

There are many ways to lose money and with modern technology now there are more than ever before. Here are a few money sinkholes and how to combat them.

Internet Hypochondria

No joke. Don’t go on the internet when you are ill. You will end up going to your doctor over nothing. What makes us go running to our doctor when we try to diagnose ourselves based on website information? It’s the fact that there are a thousand things that share the same symptoms. The most popular symptom sharers right now are the flu and ebola. One means two days in bed and plenty of fluids. The other means medical isolation. While your internet hypochondria may not be so severe, there are many diseases that share the same symptoms and our minds naturally gravitate towards the worse case scenario.

Instead:

Keep your family doctor’s number or your ask a nurse number handy. They can tell you what sickness is running through your community, if you need to go to a doctor, and what steps you can take at home when a doctor isn’t needed. They can also tell you a time frame that the symptoms you are experiencing should subside and what to do if they don’t.

Social Games

Goodness knows how much money has been wasted on social games. There is a sense of obligation to play when your friends are playing. Then there is the desire to build up your city, farm, or cafe. Next you are running out of time for a certain quest, a quest item won’t drop for you, or you have to have that new bunny. And every last one costs money. So you spend money on your non existent establishment.

Instead:

Limit your time playing social games. Just limiting your time can reduce the chances of you spending money and getting caught up in keeping up with the Jones’ imaginary farm. That being said, social games can become a time wasting addiction. It’s because it’s social interaction that is passive and on everyone’s schedule eventually. Be more socially aggressive. Make a phone call. Write a Facebook comment. Have a party. You’ll feel more socially fulfilled. I promise.

Trying To Make Money

We have all seen the get rich quick schemes that the internet has to offer. They start out with the word free and end with a credit card number request. Some of us have tried them. There are web hosting sites that turn out to be useless to us. There are sites that promise to help us make money, but end up only being a platform to sell us other people’s merchandise. Some of these sites gum up your computer in the process of trying to use them.

Instead:

Check each site, product, or company with the Better Business Bureau. If the BBB won’t approve it, don’t use its services. Check to see how long your company or service has been in business. Usually the longer a service or business has been around the better the chances are that it’s legitimate. Last, ask around. Ask friends or look for reviews of the company or service on the web. If a service is shady people are more than happy to let the world know.

 


Use This, Not That

Posted on October 21st, 2014 by Discount Debbie

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There are many ways to cut corners when it comes to household costs. My favorites are finding a use for something that I already have. I don’t need to buy an extra item and I get more use out of the items I have. It reduces clutter and increases the room in my shopping cart.

The Fridge Instead of Dry Erase Boards

If you have a standard white fridge don’t buy a dry erase board. Dry erase crayon and marker comes off of your standard white fridge just fine. It’s also a high traffic area so it’s very likely that if you leave a message for a family member on it, they will get the message. For our shorter family members it’s a treat to be able to write on the fridge and only takes a wet cloth to wipe away. You can draw a calendar on your freezer door or write down emergency numbers for the babysitter. It’s a great way to get more use out of your fridge.

The Cleaning Sponge Instead of Wash Cloths and Loofahs

Sponges were made for cleaning and that includes your body. They absorb more than enough soap and water to get your skin clean. If you want to exfoliate use the ones (lightly and gently) that have a the green scrubbing pad on one side. They come in a variety of colors so that you can tell each family member’s sponge from another. If the color system doesn’t appeal to you, you could just get a six pack of sponges and cut them into different shapes for a useful kids crafts. They will love their custom sponge and you will love using the leftovers as cleaning supplies.

Cook Wear Instead of Mixing Bowls

This is a great tip for those with limited cupboard space in their kitchen. Don’t get mixing bowls. Instead use pots to mix up your cookie dough, or mix ingredients for your latest casserole recipe. Your cookware will work just as well as mixing bowls and using them saves both money and space.

 


The Frugal Prepper Part Two

Posted on October 20th, 2014 by Discount Debbie

frugal prepper

There is more to preparation than having food, water, and climate control (we covered that in Frugal Prepper – Part 1). There is the problem of where to put it all once you have it. What will you do for laundry or cooking without electricity? What good is a  generator without fuel? For apartment dwellers these issues are compounded with our lack of room for storage. Luckily there are ways around all of these issues if you want to be a prepper.

Storage

I know of people who build sheds in their backyard to keep all their preparation supplies. This doesn’t fit into the budget for everyone. Also some of us are apartment dwellers and as a result have no backyard. For those of us that are in the latter living situation, there are still places we can store our supplies. Canned goods can be stored in entertainment centers, under beds and sofas, and in closets. You could also go vertical by putting your canned goods on book shelves bought cheap at thrift stores. Just make sure you distribute it across your home in a manner that the weight of your storage won’t cause it to crash through your downstairs neighbors ceiling.

If you’re crafty, you can also create bean bag chairs that will hold your packages of beans, peas, lentils, rice, or other bagged dry goods. These can be anywhere in your home and serve a purpose other than storage.

Check Out Youtube

Youtube is a great resource when it comes to frugal preparation. So far our family has found videos showing how to make a homemade swamp cooler inexpensively that we could run on our homemade generator that requires exercise instead of fuel. The generator can also be made inexpensively and be used to charge a 12 volt car battery which our camp stove can run off. You can even learn how to make a camp toilet, which will be very much needed should the worst happen to your plumbing.

Electricity Free Items

I have already mentioned the camp stove that runs off a car battery. It costs about thirty dollars on Amazon last time I checked. Another thirty dollar purchase is a hand cranked washer for laundry. If you add a few drying racks you have a laundry system that didn’t cost too much and doesn’t rely on electricity. It can also save you money during non emergency life if you are looking for ways to keep more money in your wallet. It may cost a bit under one hundred dollars for these items, but that’s much less than a generator and the fuel required to run it.

Buy In Bulk

Get a card for Costco or Sam’s Club and buy your canned and dry goods in bulk. It will cost less and give you a good jump on having an actual surplus. Make sure you buy food that your family will actually eat. Your toddler still won’t like canned asparagus in a crisis. Don’t forget things like toilet paper. As your gain your surplus, use what you have and replace it regularly so that it doesn’t go bad.


It Costs More To Be Without These Items

Posted on October 17th, 2014 by Discount Debbie

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Most of the time to save money means to not spend it on frivolous items and getting rid of clutter. Other times it means to invest in very useful items and keeping things on file. Here are a few helpful tips in line with the latter school of thought.

Detectors

Fire and smoke detectors don’t cost very much, but are often over looked when it comes to being prepared. They not only can save lives, they can save money. The more your family is prepared the less likely your insurance will deny your claim should the worst happen. Make sure your detector is functioning properly and has batteries. Also consider getting a carbon monoxide detector. Check on Amazon. There are various CO detectors for any budget. They can save your family’s life and save on medical expenses.

Last but not least, if it’s in your budget, consider getting a security system. The sign in your yard by itself has been known to deter those who would break in. For those extra bold individuals who would break into your home it notifies your security company who will in turn notify the police. It will cost less than replacing things in your home that have been broken or stolen.

Numbers

Phone numbers are the first numbers that come to mind when it comes to saving money. Calling a store or company with a question is far more cost effective than making a trip across town to do the same thing. Even if you end up needing to go to their location, your time will be saved because the details of your visit have been taken care of over the phone. Also keep medical numbers, roadside assistance numbers, and family numbers on hand. These will save you money in emergency situations.

Confirmation numbers are the second numbers to keep around. When you pay a bill over the phone always write down your confirmation number of that payment on the bill and then file it. If you ever need to prove you have already paid a bill, your bill and confirmation number will be at your fingertips. You could also use your bank statements in a pinch if you need to. Without proof of payment, however, you may end up paying the same bill more than once.

Contracts of Service

Another item you need to keep on file are service agreements. Did you agree to a data limit on your internet? Are you stuck in the contract for a specified amount of time? Are you entitled to free maintenance? All these questions can be answered in your service contract. The same goes with your lease. Will you be fined for hanging things off your balcony? Your lease should be able to tell you.

 

 

 


The Frugal Prepper

Posted on October 17th, 2014 by Discount Debbie

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Some of us have the goal to be prepared for anything. We are ready should a zombie invasion take place, that’s how prepared we are. Being that prepared can be costly. After all we are preparing for a future time without paychecks to go along with a month to years worth of resources on hand. Never fear though, because as a creative, frugal mastermind your lofty prepping goals are still within your reach.

Water Storage

Having water is something that we take for granted. It comes out of the faucet and we use it for everything. We use it for cooking, sanitation, and drinking. It’s necessary to reconstitute baby formula and some types of medications. If, for some reason, we lost our access to clean water if would be a disaster. It would be off the store shelves faster than you could blink.

That’s why preppers look for ways to store water. Forget water beds and pools that you have to add chemicals to the water that wouldn’t be ideal for drinking. Some of us don’t have those potential water storing items anyway. Instead, use liquid containers that you already get from the store. Soda bottles are ideal. You won’t be spending more money because you already have bought the container. Just wash it out and fill it at the tap. Don’t use milk jugs that may leak and cause your family a personal little water crisis. And don’t use old juice bottles because those aren’t safe from bacteria growth from even the slightest bit of fruit juice residue left in the container. No matter how much you wash those you’re at risk. But soda bottles work fine because there’s nothing really organic enough in soda to develop into bacteria growth. (Which makes you think… but that’s a whole other topic.)

Dollar Stores

Dollar stores are the ideal place to find candles, soap, and some first aid supplies. If you are preparing seventy two hour kits (which you should because it takes FEMA at least 72 hours to arrive to help after a disaster, or if you have to evacuate you need to be prepared to take care of yourself at a shelter for at least 3 days, just in case) the dollar store is a great place to find your children activities that will pass the time in a shelter or at home with the power out. It’s also a good place to find food substances that will fit into a back pack if you need to travel. Dollar stores will keep your costs down and still meet many of your family’s prepping needs.

Climate Control

It doesn’t matter if it’s the middle of summer or the middle of winter. The outside climate can cause issues when the power goes out. It’s more severe in some places than it is in others, but being used to climate control we need to be able to control our climate when the power goes out. One way to do this is to put tin foil on our windows. It keeps cold air from seeping through the windows, or a least slows the pace of which it seeps. In the summer it reflects sunlight and heat away from your home.

Cloth solutions are also a good part of preparation in regards to climate control. Use curtains to add extra insulation to your home. A good curtain can keep both heat and cold at bay. Also, you can never have enough blankets. For some family fun during a black out build a blanket fort in the living room and have a family living room camping trip. It will allow your family to share body heat which will be contained by the fort. That aside, it will be a good diversion for your children.

 


Craft Items That End Up In The Trash

Posted on October 16th, 2014 by Freebie Felicia

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Crafting with children doesn’t have to be expensive. Most paints, play dough, and even crayons can be made at home. There are other things in our homes that make great crafting supplies. Unfortunately many of them get thrown away. The next time you throw out one of these items stop and think about its crafting potential.

Milk Cartons

Milk cartons are great for making bird feeders or making a planter. They are sturdy enough to be hung from a balcony or tree. The are fun to paint and easy to poke or cut holes in. If you have the type with the twist cap top, that part can be used as a funnel when filling other items. A carton with top cut off can even be used as a storage container for craft supplies like paint brushes, colored pencils, chalk, and crayons.

Soda Bottles

Soda bottles can also be made into bird feeders and planters, but they are more versatile than that. They can be cut as scoops, with the top as a handle. They can be taped together top to top to make the soda bottle whirl pool. This can be made even more fun by adding a few drops of your favorite color to the water in your bottles. With a little  paper mache, paint, and a pair of scissors they can even be made into creative piggy banks.

Cardboard Contraptions

A cereal box can be turned into a robot with toilet paper roll arms and legs. If you cut them up you can use them to create buildings and props in shoe box dioramas of farms, cities, or what ever your heart desires. Or you can use the inside of boxes to create bedroom signs or create homemade picture frames. Toilet paper or paper towel rolls can be cut to create play dough cookie cutters or rolling pins.

Egg Cartons

Egg cartons are a good way to store an egg shaped amount of play dough without mixing the colors. They are also a great way to separate and store paints you are using during crafting for a quick clean up.

Jars

Saved and cleaned up jars are great for jar gifts, storing homemade laundry soap, and other jar crafts. Just clean them out and keep the lid. Take off the label and whatever adhesive was holding it on. Decorate them as you see fit and use them in your jar craft the next time you use one.

 


Ways My Toddler Has Helped Me Save Money

Posted on October 14th, 2014 by Discount Debbie

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I didn’t realize it until very recently that my dear little toddler was helping me to save money. Part of it, I admit is my own paranoia, but a big part of it is the activities he chooses to engage in all by himself. Here’s what I mean.

Cleaning Supplies

The last thing I want around my house with my little guy running around is a bunch of harmful chemicals he could get into. So now I swear by vinegar, baking soda, and lemon juice. Since I cook with these three ingredients anyway they already were kept in stock at my house, but now I’m not buying their toxic cleaning counterparts.

Dry Erase

Dry erase crayons can be used on (you guessed it) dry erase boards over and over again. Saving me money on coloring books and printer paper. That isn’t all. They come off walls, furniture, and fabric much easier than regular crayon or even marker. While I am still trying to teach my little guy not to write on my laptop I can still get his artwork off my screen quite easily.

Imagination

My child has little need for brand name stacking toys. What need does he have for those boring things when he can reach my canned goods. There is little need for the music toys when he can shake an oatmeal container with some dry rice in it for a rain stick and then set it down and beat on it like a drum with a wooden spoon.

Exercise

I no longer need to be motivated to run up and down the stairs nor do I pay a gym membership that allows me to use a machine to simulate such an action. Now one minute of silence is all I need to motivate me to do those stairs. This doesn’t include tickle time, the sporting event that is bath time, or the great ab workout I get when I watch my little one mimic my efforts at yoga. I laugh that hard.

 How do your kids HELP you save money?


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