Taking Advantage of Your Local Library!

Posted on April 10th, 2015 by Freebie Felicia

library

Local libraries can be amazing resources for saving money! And I don’t just mean checking out books about saving money, either. With the advent of the internet and mobile phones, people visit their libraries less and less—including me. But they offer quite a few ways to save money! How so?

Checking Out Entertainment—Everyone knows libraries lend books. Most libraries lend DVDs, Blu-Rays, and CDs as well. If you’re willing to wait until that movie you want to see comes out on DVD, rather than seeing it in the theater, you can save quite a bit of money! Just remember to return them in time to avoid fines. Don’t like using paper books anymore? Many libraries now lend e-books as well. Check with your local branch to see if yours does!

Entertain the Kids—Libraries often offer storytimes for children. Instead of taking your child to a play gym or class you need to pay for, if money is tight take them to library storytime! Good libraries will often have art or other activities such as puppet shows for free as well.

Museums on the Cheap—I live in a large city, so I’m not sure how many other city libraries do this. But our city library lends out limited museum passes to anyone with a library card! There is often a waitlist, but if you are flexible with the times and days you want to attend, you can score free passes to the aquarium, zoo, or other local museums—savings here can easily head into the hundreds of dollars depending on how many passes you normally would have had to buy!

Do Your Taxes At The Library—and not from a self-help book! During the first half of the year many libraries, along with other local government institutions, offer free tax help and filing services. Contact your local branch to see if you need to make an appointment and what forms and items you will need to bring with you.

What other low-cost or free services have you received from your local library?


Thrifty Tip: Make a Healthier Easter Basket

Posted on March 23rd, 2015 by Discount Debbie

Easter basket with text

It’s that time. Easter is just two weeks away. I always feel a little bit of pressure when I see all the cute pre-made Easter baskets because I grew up getting them every year… and LOVED them. Now, though, I don’t want my children to have all that sugar and all those chemicals and preservatives in a sweet little basket that I give them for what I believe is the most significant holiday of our faith. As you can see, I have issues on multiple levels! So, I think about what I can put together/make as an alternative… every year. I’m not naturally geared to make arts and crafts. So, I’m sad to say that I have often done very little.

This year I’m planning differently. I do plan on an Easter egg hunt. My plan is to place one small piece of candy and a note that reads something like, “He is risen!” inside each egg. That’s the minimum. Anyone can do that. Therefore, I can do it. 😉

Meanwhile, I’m also contemplating making a basket. A healthier one.

Here are the components I’m considering for their baskets.

1. The chocolate bunny. I remember chocolate bunnies that were solid and ones that were hollow. My goal is to find a small hollow dark chocolate bunny. If they are going to have it, it may as well be a little bit of the good chocolate. I can live with that.

2. Crème filled eggs. Crème filled eggs won’t make the cut on these baskets. Can you say, “Way too much sugar.”

3. Plastic Easter Eggs. Like the eggs in the Easter egg hunt, these eggs will contain one or two pieces of candy. Probably all natural, no preservative jelly beans from Trader Joe’s.

4. Peeps. Peeps will also not make the cut. Thankfully, my children have never had them and won’t miss them.

5. Toys. I plan to throw in some colorful whistles or flutes, or other inexpensive toys, and perhaps some sidewalk chalk.

How do you plan to make a thrifty, healthier Easter basket this year?


Not So Good Reasons to Spend Money on Our Kids

Posted on March 4th, 2015 by Discount Debbie

kid spending

Kids. They cost a lot of money. As parents that isn’t something we just accept. In fact many of us live the thrifty life to give them the things we feel they need. We embrace it knowing the more effort we put into our children the better future they may have. We sign them up for many different classes and fun activities. We have a membership to every museum, zoo, and aquarium in a thirty mile radius.  But is spending more money a needed part of that effort?

I Just Like My Kids

Before we get on to the other reasons we may spend to much on our children, lets talk about the best reason. We like our children. We want to see them happy. We want them to have good opportunities and great learning experiences. So we need to ask ourselves if the purchases we make are giving them that? Are we repeating the same opportunities in different purchases? Or, if the purchase is in entertainment form, like a movie, will they be just as happy watching it on Netflix with us when it doesn’t cost twenty five dollars to watch.

We can give our children the things we want them to have, but we can also do it through delayed gratification or on a smaller scale.

What I Never Had

We want to make sure our kids have some of the things we didn’t have growing up. It’s the reason why eighties and nineties toys are making such a huge come back. We are literally getting our children the commercial toys we coveted at a young age. We need to ask ourselves if our child truly wants this toy or is it something that we have always dreamed of having? Are we living through our children vicariously?

It’s okay to get toys for our children, and it’s even okay to get toys for ourselves. We just need to make sure we don’t go overboard and we know who the purchase is actually for.

Bully Buys

Children have a way of getting to us through the power of whining. They whine and we may, from time to time, cave just to make the whining stop. Yes, five more minutes before bed time. No, they don’t have to eat ALL their vegetables. In stores purchases may be made for the same reason. A quick surrender so there is no in-store tantrum.

Let them have the tantrum. Then still don’t give them the candy bar or toy. Take a deep breath and remind yourself this is part of the growing process for you as well and them. If other people give you a hard time invite them to babysit. They may be full of advice, but chances are the application of said advice may be about as easy for them as it is for you.


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Posted on August 20th, 2014 by Freebie Felicia

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Keeping the Kids Productive This Summer

Posted on June 13th, 2014 by Freebie Felicia

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Frugal Activities for Kids

Posted on April 21st, 2014 by Freebie Felicia

Frugal Activities for Kids

Kids are expensive even when they are young. We want to be able to give them the best opportunities as they grow. Most enterprising children’s companies know this as well and many teach by play experiences cost a good deal of money. Luckily, there are a few ways around the cost of some popular learning tools.

Event Calendars

Checking event calendars at stores or online can help fill up a schedule for a child without breaking the bank. There are activities at libraries that help children get into reading, some even give out prizes at the end of summer. Libraries sometimes host fun little activities like teddy bear picnics. Most of these events are free to participate in. Book stores and art centers in some areas also provide story time or mommy and me art classes. These are also usually free or very low cost. If a daddy would like to attend as well many of these events happen on weekends in addition to weekdays. Try not to go twice in one week though, or you may find yourself repeating the same activity.

Just The Toys Please

Some classes for children go all out to supply extras when a child joins up. It could be CDs  and instruments if it’s a music class. In an art class it’s free supplies. What most people don’t know is that these items are usually for sale without the class. In most cases they a quite a bit less expensive. With the internet as a tool, plans for age appropriate projects are also readily available. You don’t have to waste gas going to another place and could even invite friends over to work on projects all together.

Just Like Mommy

It’s no secret that our little ones like to mimic what mommy or daddy are doing. That’s why it is equally important to take the time to share our talents with our children. After this article I will be opening up our writing software so my two year old can write his article (just so long as he’s still sitting on my lap). In this time he will, no doubt, tell me he is working and it’s time for me to be quiet. We find time to do some light yoga and meditation. These activities teach my sweet little guy to be calm and gives us time together.


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Posted on March 3rd, 2014 by Discount Debbie

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Teaching Children Delayed Gratification

Posted on February 14th, 2014 by Discount Debbie

Looking for a few good ways to teach children how to spend and save wisely? Children can be taught gradually without too much trouble and make it a part of their lives.

Toddlers

It’s hard to teach a toddler that they can’t always have what they want when they want it, but it is possible. We started by taking our child down the candy or toy section of a store without buying anything. We wouldn’t do it just to teach them delayed gratification. We just didn’t avoid those parts of the store if they were the shortest distance to where we were going.

Having  a schedule also helps a child between the ages of one and four to wait for something they want. It doesn’t matter if it’s a snack or story time. When there is a set time for a certain activity children learn to wait for what they want while still knowing that it will happen. This will cross over into their financial life when they are older. They will learn they may have an item later but it doesn’t have to be now.

Elementary School Age Kids

At this age children are old enough to learn that money doesn’t fall from trees. Prepare a set list of activities that they can do to earn money. Do you want them to study? Are there chores that need to be done? Let your children learn that earning money comes before spending money. It may also teach them that what they want is not always worth the work or money.

There are two important parts to this process. First a parent must be clear about the standard of job expected. Don’t tell your child they must get good grades. Tell them they must get at least a B in their classes to earn their pay. Second, if the child does the job, be prepared to follow through on your part of the bargain. This instills in children that work pays off, rather than adults don’t keep their end of the bargain.

Teens and Preteens 

The bank of mom has closed. Yes as parents we will feed them, make sure they get medical attention and provide a free bed. Because we love them there will give Christmas and Birthday presents and we will celebrate their accomplishments. We will even pay for all the field trips they go on for band. When it comes to that over priced pair of jeans, however, it’s time to go out and cut the neighbor’s grass. Or go babysitting. No more family generated work. It’s time to make an effort outside the home. We’ll see if those jeans are really worth twenty hours of babysitting.

This is also a good time to start preparing these soon to be adult children for financial independence by letting them see your financial situation. Explain how to set up utilities. Let them learn what a standard electric bill costs. Teach them about late fees, credit and interest. This will prepare them for getting started on their own financially.


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