Friday, August 14, 2009

Being Creative, Not spending and having fun!!

Normally, I don't write articles for my blog, this blog is typically just my "notes" but I wanted to add this article.....

After having my family in the newspaper, I realized how "different" we are from the regular "Jones". I told my husband how many emails I got that asked me if I was crazy or something. Well, I am not crazy! LOL....We have just made the decision that we didn't want to keep paying interest on credit cards and not saving for our future.

So, does this mean we are sitting at home, doing nothing, feeling sorry for ourselves? NOPE! We are as busy as any other family, but we are busy at different things!

We have no cable or satillite, so we have basically no TV! We borrow movies from the library or buy kids ones at rummages every now and then. This is great because we spend the time playing board games as a family. We have fun visiting friends and family. We ride bikes together and go camping together.

You read in the newspaper how we made money stretch...well, we did it again today. We won tickets from a radio station for a childrens concert. It was a drive to get there, so we spent some money on gas. But, the free tickets would have cost $32.00 for a family of 4. ( So we saved money there, thank goodness or we wouldn't have gone!) Then we packed a backpack full of snacks and drinks. That keep our spending down for food. Also, the church that was sponsoring the concert had free snow cones, so the kids got those. Then on the way out of the concert, one of the workers offered my son the concert poster that was on the wall! So, he was lucky to meet the band and get it autographed! Free souvenir!

So, besides the gas to get us there, we did a concert for free. :)

Then we had a friend stop by our house, she had extra corn on the cob, so we got 12 ears of corn for dinner! WOO HOO! Free dinner!

Also, I just cashed in some swagbucks for a $10.00 gift card. Got my Menards Rebates from a few weeks ago. I will save those for Christmas shopping or to get anything my kids may need for school (I have everything from the list, but you never know!). My MyPoints are almost to the point I can cash them in for another gift card.

Today, we have a girl scout event for my daughter. It's paid with her cookie sale money. Which means I spend gas money, but no other money out of pocket. We will brown bag it so no money spent on fast food.

Yesterday, during the morning, we went swimming. This is free because we buy the state part pass at the beginning of the year. That state park pass has gotten us into free concerts, free swimming, free family events, hiking, biking trails, etc. It allows us to use all those things for free. ( I guess you can say it's not free, but a one time cost of $25.00 for the state park pass).

There are so many ways to find things to do without spending a ton of money. Here are some tips:
1. keep your eyes open to city, state and local things that are free. Example: our town has family fun nights. Library has kids days. etc. Churches have Vacation Bible Study.
2. be organized. If you know this is going to be 1/2 day or all day event, pack a cooler or backpack with snacks, drinks or even lunches. Food is a huge cost on families.
3. Have play dates for the kids. For children, just going over to a friends house can be a fun afternoon activity. If you work with the other moms in your children grade level, one day they can play at your home, the next they can play at their home. Each mom gets one day break! :)
4. Get discount coupons!! There are always coupons out there! From the Entertainment book, to saving Coke Points!! Admission is typically expensive!
5. Learn to say no. My parents travel alot, and my brother lives far away (3 hours by plane) and they know we will not spend our money to go visit them. My husband hates flying and the cost of going out there is very expensive. Instead, we use skype to call them and facebook to keep in touch with them. That way we know what is going on with our family, without charging a bunch of money we can't afford. We send pictures. They are also aware of the costs and completely understand our situation.
6. Buy toys, games and everything second hand. Retail costs are high. My kids are fine without WII or the newest or greatest new video games. We have leapsters, which we bought super cheap and then bought the games at rummage sales or on ebay. We have saved a bundle of money doing this.
7. Go to the park. City parks are free and you are paying for them with your tax dollars. Enjoy them.

Cutting expenses doesn't mean you sit home and complain about NOT going to a movie or an expensive concert. If you are learning to cut expenses, learn to find other ways to have fun and stay busy!!!


Jess said...

Great Post! We aim for lots of free stuff too. You're not crazy for trying to get out of debt and get ahead, it's crazy not to! We read Dave Ramsey's book on the Total Money Makeover and are working our way through things - not much longer and we'll just owe on our house :o) Praising God for progress!

Nick + Amber said...

Hi FrugalMommie:)

I read the article in the WSJ last weekend, and I was really excited to have some new ideas for groceries, budgeting, etc. I think living on a tight budget is awesome, and I love being creative. I wouldn't have it any other way. Thank you for sharing your advice and good deals. We work in youth ministry, and don't make a lot of money, but God is good, and He has provided for ALL of our needs each and every month. Thank you, Angie, for sharing, and please do not be discouraged by others who disagree with you or think you're crazy or whatever. You're not!! :) God bless you, and I will add your blog to my blogroll so I can continually check your advice and good deals that you've recently posted. You have many ideas that I haven't considered or done yet, and funny thing is that I've been searching for new ways to be creative and save money!

Frugalmommie said...

Dear Amber,
Thank you! You saw my WSJ article from Iowa? WOW!

I looked at your site. How beautiful. It's nice to see someone so thankful for what they have!

Stay frugal!

Nick + Amber said...

Hi Frugal Mommie,
I was visiting my parents and in-laws in Madison last weekend - that's how I read the article :) but I do also check most days to keep updated on news there, and your article is also posted there. I am originally from Mt. Horeb, but moved to Iowa 3 years ago. :) Thanks again!!!

Frugalmommie as been on WITI FoxNews6 Television Milwaukee, WTMJ620 Radio, Several local newspapers, The Wisconsin State Journal, and is in a feature article in All You Magazine in the April 2009 edition.