An Important Investment Financial Advisors Don’t Talk About

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I mentioned before that I received an inheritance from my mom and then my mom’s mom (my grandma) and how my husband and I used them to become debt free.

an important investment financial advisors don't talk aboutWhat I want to talk about today is how we invested a good portion of the 3 rd  inheritance in 4 years  that we received. With our debts paid including the house. With a 3 month emergency fund in place. With a plan to save each month for vehicle replacement. With a rental home to help us with our monthly bills.  We moved on and invested  in memory building.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWe took the children on a trip to Disney World. All 5 of us had never once been there. In fact it was our first family trip ever.

A and C in battleWe learned  about American history as a family in West Virginia. My husband is a history buff so he planned it all; the rest of us were surprised by how much we loved learning about my hubby’s favorite subject, especially when it was brought to life in front of our very eyes.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWe went skiing as a family. My husband and I both loved skiing as teenagers and thought it would be fun to share it with our children who are almost all now teenagers themselves (that last one becomes a teenager officially in June).

chicago tripAnd thanks to applying our  thrifty travel tricks to all our trips we had enough money left over for a long weekend trip to Chicago where we enjoyed a few local sites and deep dish pizza.

As we drove home my husband and I realized this will likely be our last family trip where we simply get in the car with the children and go. Our eldest in now 19 and has a job and coordinating time off for all of us to go somewhere is going to get a lot more difficult.

Which made me realize I am so glad I put that money aside out of my grandmother’s inheritance for family vacations.

Sure we could have saved up money for some type of vacation as a family some how, but by using the inheritance we were able to have choices that would not have been available to us in our current income bracket.

I am not sharing these things to boast but because I want others to know it is okay to splurge on family time. Splurging is something I have trouble with myself. In fact, I had so much trouble that it took me weeks of prayer and seeking wisdom from others before I gave myself the green light and started planning all the above.

Some people might think our investment in these things was unwise . That we should have saved that money to help pay for our children’s college. That starting a retirement fund would have been wiser.

Perhaps they might be right….but here is why I am okay with our decision.

My grandma sent me money every birthday and every birthday she would say “make sure to spend this on yourself”. When her inheritance came I knew she would tell me to use a portion of the money to do the same thing she had been telling me all those years.

Before my mother passed away I made a promise to her to take the kids on a family vacation with a part of my inheritance. I didn’t  do it for years. I thought I would be wiser to invest the money in rentals and then let the rent money save up for vacation, but if you read about our debt free journey you know that plan back fired.

So when my dad’s mom (my grandma) passed away and I received my 3rd inheritance in 4 years I wanted to fullfill my promise to my mom and do what grandma always told me to do.

These 2 women knew me pretty well. They knew I would be thrifty with the money they left me. They knew I would make wise decisions with it but they also knew one more thing; I am sometimes too hard on myself when it comes to how I spend my money. I try to make the best use of every penny but forget that sometimes the best use is to enjoy it by building memories with those I love.

Because money isn’t the only thing in life where you are only given so much; we only have so much time with our loved ones.

Just as we are not guaranteed our next pay check, we are not guaranteed our next breath.

Yes prepare for the future, but don’t forget to enjoy today. There has to be balance.

No you do not have to go to Disneyland to build memories. But  to make memory building experiences happen you do have to make quality family time a priority both in your budget and on your calendar.

3 ways to afford memory building family time on a tight budget

 3 Ways To Afford Memory Building Family Time On a Tight Budget

1. Earmark a side income or financial windfalls

Set aside  money earned by throwing a yard sale or gift cards  earned through Swagbucks for family experiences. Or earmark  your yearly tax return or that Christmas bonus check as family vacation money. If you receive an inheritance like we did, or another type of financial windfall consider setting aside a portion for family fun.  You could also set aside money from a more regular source like revenue from some form of home childcare or weekly selling on eBay or Etsy.

2. Be Creative

If you are actively paying off debt and just can’t afford to divert a penny to fun until the debt is paid, or your budget is just too tight,  start thinking outside of the box. Camp in the backyard. Swap homes with friends in another city. Look for free community events. Memory building doesn’t have to cost a dime.

3. Ask For Memory Building Gifts

If you have a family that loves to shower your children with gifts each birthday and Christmas ask them instead if they could bless your child with a membership to the local zoo, or the children’s museum. Suggest that grandparents go into together and surprise your child or children with a Groupon deal to a water park motel that the whole family can enjoy.

Of course all the money in the world isn’t going to help build memories if you don’t make time in your life to hang out and spend quality time with your family. Sit down with your calendar and pencil in a weekend trip, or a day trip and don’t let life swallow that time you set aside. Make time to build memories with family a priority, because if you don’t you will run out of it.

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Learn all the tips and trick we used to make our vacation fund go farther.

Linked to Mom2Mom,

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10 Tools Thrifty People Use To Save Money On Groceries

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While finishing off writing 10 tools to help you get & stay debt free I began thinking of other areas of my life where I use tools to save money. The first area that popped into my mind was the tools I use at the grocery store to help me save money on groceries.

10 tools thrifty people use to save money on groceries Do you know what they are

My toolbox for grocery savings has changed a bit over my 20 years as a homemaker but a lot of it has stayed the same.

10 Tools Thrifty People Use To Save Money On Groceries

1. A budget

The best way to save money is to set a limit on how much you can spend. Without a price limit it is extremely hard to stay serious about trying to save money.

If you haven’t yet set a grocery budget and are wondering where to even begin, see if you can find out what you are currently spending on groceries. Dig through your receipts and bank statements.

Start with that as your starting point and then challenge yourself to lower it by $5 a week. Keep it at that level again and then reduce it by another $5 a week. Repeat until you have gotten to the point where you simple can’t keep that budget even with shopping like a thrifty ninja. At that point bump it up $5 and keep it there. (changing it when either prices go up or families needs change; as in your children become teenagers with stomachs that pack away food at an alarming rate :) )

If you are new to the budget thing I suggest also shopping with cash envelopes in hand. It is impossible to go over budget with cash.

2. A List

If you want to stick to a thrifty grocery budget never set foot in a grocery store without a list. Not only will you come out of the store with things you don’t need but you will also walk out forgetting things you did need which will mean another trip to the grocery store. Multiple trips to the grocery store each week reap havoc on a grocery budget, not to mention the waste of time and gas.

3. Wisdom

Those who get their groceries for rock bottom prices were not born with the knowledge they learned it. Go to your local library and find the section on finances and you will find a section of books filled with tips on how save money on groceries. Blogs are also great sources of thrifty grocery shopping knowledge as well as Pinterest.

4. A Price Book

More important than coupons is a price book. In a price book you keep track of the price you pay for the items you buy. Then you compare the prices you have been paying for one item to what that item is selling for at another store, or website. You want to note sale prices too.

You can also note in your price book the price of  store brands compared to the name brand you have been buying,   to see if they have a cheaper price on the product (tip: when trying out a new brand for a product you love in another brand, get the smallest size, that way you are not going to waste that much money if you hate it. Should you love it, then go back and purchase the most economic size).

5. A Calculator

The calculator can be the one on our phone although I prefer a simple handheld  inexpensive calculator that fits in my purse.

The calculator can be used to total groceries as you shop so you don’t go over budget. I also use mine to compare prices while in store to make sure I am getting the best price per ounce.

6. A Quarter

Thrifty people shop in no frill grocery stores like Aldi and Ruler Foods. These grocery stores don’t hirer a person to clean up their carts for them, instead they make sure the job gets done by their customers by charging a quarter for a cart. I keep one in my car at all times (pity the poor child who takes mom’s car quarter :) )

7. Reusable Grocery Bags

No frill grocery stores also charge for bags and there is no way thrifty people are going to pay for those each and every week when they don’t have too. Instead I use various cloth bags that I make sure to wipe out and dry each week.

Honestly though many times I forget them and when I do I either search for boxes as I shop (no frill grocery stores keep the product in the big box it came in) or I place the items in the back of my SUV without bags and when I get home I take bags out to the car to make it easier to transport the food into the house.

8. Store cards or  Store Apps

I shop the sales at my local Meijer and often save even more with their Mperks program where I load up coupons to my cellphone number on my laptop before leaving the house. It takes me just a few minutes and each trip it saves me $1 to $2. That really adds up over the course of a year.

Check the stores in your area to see which ones have cards or apps you can use to cut costs.

 9.  Paper & Digital Coupons

There are so many different places to find coupons beyond the Sunday paper nowadays.

There are printable coupons found at sites like…

You can also get access to printable coupons by signing up for email newsletter for companies like Betty Crocker, and General Mills.

There are coupon apps offering cash backs such as …

  • ibotta: good not just for groceries but for many different household expenses.
  • Checkout 51: Love Checkout 51 because it can be used no matter where you shop and has whole food items.
  • BerryCart: Gluten free, Non-GMO, Organic and natural food cash backs are available at BerryCart.
  • Snap: Can claim the cash backs no matter where you shop and often have cash backs on basic food items like bread.
  • Saving Star: Can either claim the cash backs with a receipt or link it to your store loyalty card.

And then there is  Favado  “a mobile savings app that helps shoppers save time and money by discovering the best deals in more than 65,000 grocery and drugstores nationwide. The Favado app uses real-time couponing data to provide access to exclusive matching deals (coupons plus in-store promotions) for ultimate savings. Other features include planning tools for weekly shopping trips and insider access to unlisted deals.” (website description)

I haven’t finished trying out  Favado yet but it is on my thrifty to do list.

10. Discounted gift cards & point earned gift cards

If you shop at stores like Walmart or Target you can grab a gift card using  Swagbucks to do thinks that you already do online anyway like searching the web, or shopping online. There are lots of other similar programs so make sure you check out my list of 18+ point programs for earning gift cards.

Another way to increase your savings is to buy discounted gift cards from places like Carpool. Cardpool has gift cards to natural food stores like Whole Foods and Trader Joes as well as grocery chains like Albertsons and Kroger.

step by step grocery shopping with a thrifty person (button)Now that you are armed with the tools you need to save money at the grocery store make sure you check out my step by step post on how a thrifty person grocery shops.

Linked to Frugal Fridays, Thrifty Thursdays,

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Snapshot Thursday: Love, Food & Colds

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Snapshot Thursdays 3 pictures from my week to give you a peek into my daily lifeWelcome to Snapshot Thursdays. Please join me on  Instagram  to see more pictures I share all week long.

chicken pot pie with loveLast week my husband was off work before dinner time. I kindly asked him if he would mind putting together the ingredients for chicken pot pie so I could get some more blog work done. He answered sure and so I let him work away at it coming down at dinner time. This is what greeted me at the dinner table. I of course had to snap a photo of it.

SO SWEET! This is one of hundreds of things I love about my husband. Small acts like this really speak to my love language.

free moes bday mealI enjoyed so many birthday freebies last week, but my free Moe’s entree with drink purchase has to be one of my favorites. I love the close talker salad and Moe’s is one of the few places where I get a pop. They have one of those machines with all the different flavor mixes. I love the cherry vanilla coke.

our new cold medsMy son came back from his missions trip with what we thought was just a cold but soon became a fever. He was kind enough to give it to his sister. They each took a turn sleeping one whole day away followed by another where they napped frequently. I attended to them with my 3 favorite cold products. Fisherman’s Friend cough drops (taste awful but really work), Maty’s all natural vapor rub and Emergen-C. I also made sure my remaining well child kept his distance and downed an Emegen-C daily to avoid the flu.

3 Deals So Good I Had To Share

 Screen Shot 2015-03-19 at 6.33.45 AM

All jewelery is 25% off at Dayspring right now including the Lisa Leonard collection when you use the code 25JEWELERLY! at check out. These would make awesome Mother’s Day gifts, birthday gifts or….? (offer ends March 22nd)

as7fr2N5pFn3dQRIj1kE-cbxEnUdseMIroemUj2-a-1_I5O7EyFmXxvppqnT1YT3-0NROuwyaRIjcmYrg2_F28f4juSS9z8P4dQr_e5xMG45OVaw2Px4OgOzNeYQ=s0-d-e1-ft

If you are a quilter you are going to want to check out Craftsy’s Spring Blowout  I took a few moments to look at the selections being offered and it is amazing and very extensive. Some kits are more than 1/2 price. (offer ends Monday)

Expecting or have a child in diapers? Join Pampers Rewards program and receive 100 free points toward your purchase of Pampers goods. Save money with exclusive coupons and receive a weekly, customized email, tailored to each stage of your pregnancy or your baby’s development. (click image above to join).

I often see blogs like Money Saving Mom list point codes for the Pamper Rewards program so even if you don’t use pampers you can still collect points to cash out for rewards.

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Tips To Help You With Your Spring Break Planning

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If you live in some states you might have already had your spring break but here in Indiana spring break season starts next week. Which means it is time to finalize your spring break plans.

Spring Break Planning Help: Packing, Hotels, Snack Food, Staycation & Vacation

 

Today I am here to help you by providing links to help you with whatever your spring break vacation destination might be.

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How To Save Money On Spring Break Vacations

10 Ways Thrifty People Save Money On Vacations

10 Ways Thrifty People Camp

A Simple Way To Stay On Budget During Vacation

2 Big Ways & 5 Little Ways We Saved Money On Our Disney World Vacation

10 tips for a successful staycation vaction How to fill your week with fun instead of chores (med)

How To Make Spring Break At Home Fun & Affordable

10 Tips For Staycation Vacation Success

20 Ways Thrifty Ways to Spend Quality Time With Your Child

5 Family Outings For $5 or Less

How to maximize your carry on luggage space I can't believe what fit in this bag! (med)

How To Make The Most Use Of Your Luggage Space Whether Road Tripping It Or Flying

How To Maximize The Space Of Your Carry On Luggage

How To Make The Best Room Of Your Trunk For Road Trips

Handy Website To Plan Your Trip

Trivago’s hotel search allows users to compare hotel prices with just a few clicks from over 200 booking sites for more than 700,000 hotels worldwide.

Once on the trivago website simply enter the name of the city you want to book your hotel in, when you want to stay and what type of room you want and let tivago do the comparison shopping for you.

 

Daily Deal Sites For Finding Discounts On Vacations & Staycations

Our family isn’t planning  a spring break getaway this year but we are planning a honeymoon (I won’t say second even though we have been married almost 20 years because we never really had a first) . My hubby and I have been amazed by the great all inclusive vacation deals available at daily deal sites like Groupon.

We have been asking around and found several friends who have booked these packages all who have had great experiences so far. It just might be worth looking into if you are planning a spring break getaway. The great deals book up fast so this might be one to pin and remember for next year.

If you are staying close to home daily deal sites can help make the week a bit more fun. Our family often grabs deals for our favorite restaurants off sites like Living Social & Groupon.

(psst…If your not currently a member of Living Social you can start your account with a $10 credit off an voucher of $20 or more which is good for 30 days when you use my referral link)

caramel crunch (small)

Road Trip Snacks

What road trip could be complete without a few snacks.

Here are two recipes that make great road trip snacks

Here are some of our families favorite ready made road trip treats

Vacation Photo Book For Less

When you get back from vacation don’t forget to gather all those great shots you took with your camera and cell phone and put them into a photo album you can look at together for years to come.

A great way to create photo books of vacation for less is by using Bing Rewards to receive free Shutterfly  photo book codes,(a $29.99 value) that leave you having to pay just for shipping costs (currently around $9).

Where are you going this spring break?

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52 Weeks To A Simplified Home: Project 11

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I continued work in the downstairs bathroom this week. Next week will be the last week in this room before stepping into a 4th room for this year. I am thinking the next room will be the kitchen, but that could change.

bathroom drawerI decided to do the bathroom drawer and…..

bathroom shoe binThe bathroom shoe bin. Yes I know most people don’t have a basket for shoes in their bathroom. We do! It all started because I was in a hurry to pick up the house one day so a grabbed a laundry basket and threw everyone’s runners in the bathroom in a bin and then left it there. You see when the kids and I work out we tend to head straight to the shower shoes and all. So the bin became kind of handy. There really isn’t room for it though and it is kind of an eye sore so I am going to try and get rid of it.

bathroom junkIt really didn’t take long to clean up the 2 areas. In the end I ended up with an entire plastic grocery bag full of garbage.

bathroom drawer doneThe drawer now just holds, swim goggles, hair accessories and my husbands wrist band support . The goggles and wrist band might find a new home that makes more sense when I declutter the last area of the bathroom next week.

empty basketThe basket is 100% empty and has now been moved out of the bathroom. Hopefully it stays out.

What did you declutter this week?

52 weeks to a simplified homefree printable plan (small)

3 Deals So Good I Had To Share

Enter to win a 7 day trip to Scotland by clicking image above.
$3.50 off (2) packages of PULL-UPS Training Pants
Here are 2 high value coupons for Pull-Ups.
$2.00 off PULL-UPS Training Pants

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What True Prosperity Looks Like

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One morning with my bible open and the house quiet I came upon the verse that I have read numerous times before but never seen from the angle that I did that morning.

True prosperity isn't money in the bank

PROVERBS 21:5 (NLT): “Good planning and hard work lead to prosperity but hasty shortcuts lead to poverty”

As I read that verse while all snuggled up in a blanket sipping on my morning cup of coffee my heart was suddenly filled with all that I have in my life that I cherish.

When I read that verse before I always thought of working hard to achieve financial prosperity, but on that morning, I had my eyes opened to the fact that prosperity in life is so much more than money.

Prosperity is those friends you hold so dear. The ones that will drop everything to be by your side when a loved one passes away. Nothing will keep them from celebrating the good times with you either.

Prosperity is a tight knit family, who laughs together and cries together.  A family that still loves you even when  you neglect them, or you don’t act the way you should.

Prosperity is a strong marriage. A spouse that is willing to come home and make dinner after his 10 hour shift so you can get more work done. A spouse that brings you chocolate or flowers or whatever just because. A spouse who will hold you when you sob so hard your whole body shakes with grief of losing a parent. A spouse that will laugh with you and not at you.

Prosperity is a caring church. A church that sends you notes in the mail that let you know they are praying for you. A church the arranges to have meals sent to your house when you have a baby, or surgery, or a loved one dies.

Prosperity is great neighbors. Neighbors who will come over and take your kids at a drop of a hat because you have to take care of a family emergency the children don’t need to see. Neighbors that will decorate your house for Christmas, clean your house, mow your yard, or shovel snow because you simply are not up for it  either emotionally or physically.

proverbs 215 Good Planning & Hardwork lead to prosperityRich relationships like these require HARD WORK from all those involved. Prosperity in relationships is not a one way street. It means we have to give our 100%  when the other half just isn’t able too. It means we have to pick up the phone and say we are sorry even when we too are hurt and feel like it isn’t all our fault.

It means we plan our days to include those we love. We plan dates with our spouse. Coffee time with our friends. We choose an activity in our church to be a part of. We plan to make a double batch of cookies so we can take the neighbor some.

To achieve prosperity in relationships means even when we are tired, we need to go that extra mile for those we love.

THAT IS TRUE PROSPERITY. That is love. That takes hard work and planning from all involved.

Let’s do it, let’s avoid emotional shortcuts, let’s push through tired. Let’s love even when we don’t feel it is returned in the same measure it is poured out.

Go out there today, and do the hard work. Prosperity will follow. Your heart will become full.

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41 Websites & Apps Thrifty People Use & Love

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I know some of you are looking at  the number and going why 41 websites and apps? Why not shoot for an even 50?

Well yesterday was this thrifty gals 41st birthday! Each year since I have started blogging I like doing a post that is a bit more personal in nature around the time of  my birthday. This year I decided to share 41 websites & apps I a thrifty person use and love.

41 websites and Apps thrifty people use and love websites guaranteed to save you money

Honestly though there are a few sites on here I have not used but instead just researched or found thrifty people I trust who said “yes I used that site and loved it” because my “personally used” list ran out in the 30s and I am not in that decade anymore.

41 Websites & Apps Thrifty People Use & Love

This list in not in any rating order. I love all these sites equally for how they help my family and other families save money. I tried to put them into categories but there is of course some websites or apps  that could go in more than one category so I just put them in the one I thought they served best.

Websites For Finding Sales, Discounts & Cash Back

1. Cardpool

I love stacking discount upon discount and Cardpool lets me do that. It makes me my thrifty heart swoon when I can purchase an item on sale with a coupon and pay for it with a discounted gift card. That is a win, win….WIN.

2. Brad’s Deals

I love opening my Brad’s Deal emails and checking out the top deals of the day on name brand clothing, electronics and more all around the web.

3. Ebates

Thrifty people love using cash back sites to earn back a bit of money with their purchases. Ebates is a great cash back site offering 1000’s of stores.

4. Lucky Vitamin

Lucky Vitamin is I think a gold mine of great deals for health conscious thrifty people. When I compare their prices to Amazon Lucky Vitamin  is often cheaper. Shipping is free with an order of $50 or more so I try think ahead and bulk buy my orders.

5. Money Saving Mom

I have been reading Crystal Paine’s blog Money Saving Mom since the very early beginnings when a neighbor told me about it. It is a great site for finding out information on all things thrifty and frugal. Coupon deals, free samples, and much more.

6. My Points

My points is the main point program I use for earning cash backs on online purchases. They often run  great high cash back value promotions. In fact they are how I earned $75 for staying home on Black Friday.

7. 6pm.com

A friend of mine kept going on and on for months about how I had to check out 6pm.com. I finally did and saved quite a bit on new sweatshirts for my son.

Apps That Will Save You Money Or Earn You Gift Cards

8. Ibotta

Ibotta is an app that gives you cash back on groceries, movie tickets, clothing, pet supplies, craft supplies and more. Cash out to Paypal or for an e-gift card to Amazon, Starbucks, Walmart and more. I have cashed out numerous times without issues.

9. Checkout 51

If you think coupon apps are only for highly processed food think again. Checkout 51 has at least a few offers each and every week for basic grocery items like milk, vegetables, eggs, and fruit. Plus it is not store specific so you can use this app to earn money back on your groceries regardless of where your buy them . You can request  check when your account reaches $20. Mine account hasn’t yet reached a pay out but I haven’t had problems submitting cash backs so far.

10. SNAP by Groupon

SNAP in another handy cash back app for groceries. Just like Checkout 51 you can use Snap by Groupon where ever you shop. They do offer cash backs on basic food items like vegetables, bread and eggs but their deals seem to run out fast. You can request a check when your account reaches $20. Mine  account hasn’t yet reached a payout but I haven’t had problems submitting  cash backs so far.

11. BerryCart

If your family has members with Gluten allergies or you love to eat healthy on a budget you need to check out BerryCart. This app is store dependent but does list a variety of not just health food stores but major grocery chains. Cash out starts at $6 for Paypal or various gift cards. I have cashed out twice without issue.

12. Shopkick

If your going to be at the store you might as well earn some gift cards by scanning the various items you pass in the aisle with Shopkick.  In some stores you earn Shopkick points just for walking in the door. You are paid in gift cards or merchandise. I have cashed out for Starbucks gift cards without any problems.

13. Gas Buddy

Thrifty people generally know the cheapest gas station in their own hometown. Now with  the Gas Buddy app they can quickly look up the best price for gas in any town they visit.

14. The Kindle App

The Kindle App is a Thrifty bookworms dream. A free app that you can use on whatever device you own and fill with free or low cost kindle book titles. (more on where to find those free books later)

15. The Favado Savings App

This is one of those apps that I  have yet to use but read great reviews about it from bloggers I trust.

Here is the description for The Favado Savings App….

“Favado is a mobile savings app that helps shoppers save time and money by discovering the best deals in more than 65,000 grocery and drugstores nationwide. The Favado app uses real-time couponing data to provide access to exclusive matching deals (coupons plus in-store promotions) for ultimate savings. Other features include planning tools for weekly shopping trips and insider access to unlisted deals.”

Sounds pretty cool to me and I plan to try it out really soon.

Daily Deal Sites

16. Zulily

Although they don’t always have the cheapest prices Zulily is handy to have in your thrifty tool bag. The site offers daily deals on name brand items. They often feature the running shoes I wear at 50% off and the sandals I like for cheaper than I can get them in store.

17. Groupon

Our family has used Groupon mostly for deals on family entertainment like discounted admission to the local ice skating rink. My husband and I also like to grab deals to our favorite date night restaurant through Groupon.

18. Living Social

I have used Living Social deals to save money on my favorite restaurant as well as my favorite shampoo and at the Luck Vitamin website I mentioned earlier. (if you haven’t used Living Social before you get a $10 credit towards a purchase of $20 or more  when you sign up through my referral link )

19. Educents

If you are a thrifty educator you are going to want to sign up for Educents. Educents offers great daily deals on educational materials and often offers 100% free downloadable printables as well. Currently when you sign up for Educents you get a $10 credit that is good for 6 months.

Survey And Point Programs That Are Worth Your Time

20. Paid Viewpoint

I am not a fan of many survey sites, finding them too lengthy for little return however, I really like Paid Viewpoint. Sure their surveys don’t pay much but the don’t take long either. Most surveys are under 2 minutes and you can have your earnings paid to Paypal once your account reaches $15.

21. Swagbucks

What thrifty person wouldn’t like earning gift cards from normal every day actions they do online, and that is just what Swagbucks does.

22. InstaGC

Hidden in its name is the reason why I love InstaGC. You receive the gift cards you earn instantly. Most of their ways to earn can be easily done while multi tasking. For instance you can listen to music and earn points while working on your laptop through the Radio loyalty section.

23. My Survey

My Survey is one of the only longer survey sites I stuck with for several years in a row. I don’t use My Survey anymore due to a change in life stages that mean I don’t have the same down time in my day. When I did use it I generally earned $10 to $20 a month in gift cards. What I liked most about My Survey was their screening process didn’t take long, so I wasn’t wasting too much time figuring out if I even qualified for the survey.

24. Bing Rewards

Bing rewards is a very simple program where by spending 2 to 5 minutes a day you can earn enough points for various cash outs including Shutterfly Photo Books, a 500 Swagbucks code, Amazon gift cards, Hulu gift cards and more.

Websites For Learning DIY Skills

25. YouTube

My husband and I have learned numerous skills through Youtube. Me mainly for blogging purposes. My husband for household repairs.

26. Craftsy

Cratsy currently offers 40 free mini video classes. These are high quality videos with professional instructors on the topics on photography, gardening, jewelery making, sewing, cake decorating and more.

Websites For Finding Quality Gently Used Clothing

I am talking about these websites from the perspective of a clothes buyer, but you should also know ThredUp and Twice will buy your clothes from you all you need to do is request a bag, postage is free. Schoola also offers a free send in bag but instead of receiving payment for your clothes the money earn is donated to the school of your choice.

27. ThredUp

ThredUp was the first consignment clothing website I tried. I have ordered from ThredUp several more times since and have been happy with all my orders. The have clothing for boys and girls from infancy through the childhood years. Teenage clothes for girls. Maternity clothes and women’s clothes. You also  start your account with a $10 credit when you sign up through my referral link.

28. Twice

Twice just started consigning clothing for men. They have up to recently just sold women’s clothing. Their clothing is generally more higher end name brands. So far I have order clothing that would be perfect for church, job interviews or conference wear. If you are not already a member of Twice you can start your account off with a $10 credit when you sign up through my referral link.

29. Schoola

Schoola is a fairly new consignment clothing website where 40% of the proceeds fund schools (you can even pick the school you want the proceeds from your sale to go to) . They sell clothing for both boys and girls starting from 1 years old to 13+ years old ( the teenage section has both men’s and women’s sizes so adults could shop there too). I haven’t personally used Schoola yet but I do have an account and am hoping to soon place an order for summer shorts for my daughter (waiting for her size to come up). I have read several great reviews about Schoola, and seen several bloggers I trust use and give the site a positive review. You can get $15 towards your first order when you sign up through my referral link.

Websites for Thrifty bookworms

30. Tyndale Rewards

Earn free hold in your hand books from Tyndale Rewards. I recently cashed out some Tyndale points for an Adventures In Odyssey CD set.

31. Paperback Swap

Paperback Swap is a great site for finding those books on your want to read list. I often find books that we use in our homeschooling. You start your account by listing 10 books which then gets you one free book credit. After that you get get swap credits every time some one orders and receives one of your books. There are some cost involved (see the site for all the details) but it is still a  thrifty way to find books on your want to read it list.

32. Recycle Bank

Recycle Bank is a program that pays you to learn about thrifty actions. Most of their actions don’t take long. I like trading my Recycle Bank points for magazines like Runner’s World. What magazines they offer changes from time to time. Also make sure that you read what format the magazine comes in; it could be digital or a traditional held in your hand and mailed to your door. Recycle Bank also offer gift cards that you can cash your points out for from time to time.

33. Spirit Filled Kindle

My current favorite source for either free or low cost kindle books is Spirit Filled Kindle. I liked their Facebook page and clicked “get notifications” so that I don’t miss out on their daily listing of free, .99 cents and $1.99 titles.

Websites Where You Can Find Printable Coupons

Printable coupon sites are a great way to save money on groceries, toys and more. Here are few coupon sites I have used..

34. My Savings

35. Coupons.com

36. Red Plum

37. Smart Source

Websites Where You Can Buy Stuff You Need & Sell Stuff You Don’t

38. Craigslist

Our family has had more luck selling on Craiglist than buying. But I know others that have gotten amazing deals through Craiglist on cars, furniture, appliances and more.

39. Facebook

Facebook is for so much more than socializing. I don’t know how many times I have said “our family needs….” only to have offers in seconds of items for either low cost or no cost. I am also a member of several Facebook buy and sell groups  and the few times I have used them to sell my items I have been very happy with my success.

40. eBay

eBay and I go way back. I started as a part time seller selling things to raise enough money for my kids activities like swimming lessons. I then branched out into  helping my children buy items such as lightly used iPods at a fraction of the cost of new.

41. Amazon

Amazon is a great site for finding items that are often lower than in store. You can also sell there and not just your old books. Last year I listened to a podcast on Smart Passive Income about a couple making an amazing income selling items the find on clearance on Amazon.

Thanks for letting me share my favorite thrifty sites with you for my 41st birthday! Now tell me about a thrifty website I missed in the comments below.

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Snapshot Thursday: A Look Back

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Snapshot Thursdays 3 pictures from my week to give you a peek into my daily lifeWelcome to Snapshot Thursdays. Please join me on  Instagram  to see more pictures I share all week long.

Today is my 41st birthday. I have a pretty special post coming out to celebrate it tomorrow but, I wanted to do something for it here too. Around our house a birthday is more than a day it is more like a week. Birthday week!

I decided the best way to celebrate my birthday for Snapshot Thursdays would be to share with you 3 photos taken on 3 of my favorite moments on my 40th year of life.

(real life friends if you are not in these moments, it is because I had to pick just 3! That was really hard, so if your not in them it doesn’t mean I love you any less)

Mother's day dinner 2014What your looking at is my Mother’s Day dinner for 2014. I had a pretty awesome Mother’s Day including gifts of roses, chocolate, Starbucks gift cards and a new tea cup. We had lunch at a Mexican restaurant and I relaxed all afternoon. However my favorite part of the whole day was sitting around the table at dinner time eating sugar coated cereal. I let everyone pick their favorite type. I had Reese’s Puffs. Sugar coated cereal is a treat at our house, that my kids get only on Birthdays and at Christmas. I loved the atmosphere around the table more than the cereal though, me and my favorite peeps, laughing together.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThat is me reading UNstuff (good book by the way) in the park. The picture was taken by my husband during our anniversary date. We had such a great day. We drove to Fort Wayne had lunch at a new restaurant we wanted to try and then spent several hours right here reading side by side. We don’t often get to sit in the shade of a tree in late spring soaking up quiet and sun. It was like a piece of heaven on earth.

sitting around the campfireOur family hauled the RV out to a local campground for 10 days mid summer. One night my redhead runner friend (the one in the pic) came out with her children and we took turns going kayaking followed by an old fashioned over the fire pit wiener roast.  Such a simple night but such an awesome one.

Looking at these three photos make me think; some of life’s best moments are found when we slow down and take time to really enjoy the people God has placed in our life. Whether it is your cereal loving children, or you fellow bookworm hubby or perhaps one of your closest friends and her crew.

Another thing I notice, none of these events cost much. Some cereal and milk, some grass, a blanket, a few pillows and good books, some hot dogs and a fire pit.

Don’t wait to enjoy your loved ones until you can afford that “big trip” or “those concert tickets”. Enjoy them right now today,  over a bowl of sugar filled cereal severed for dinner. Hmm… maybe that is what I will have for my birthday dinner tonight.

3 Deals So Good I Had To Share

Happy Birthday Freebies (fb)

 

 

 

 

 

 

I don’t know if we will really have cereal for dinner or not but one thing is for certain I will be using my birthday freebie coupons today. Check out my birthday freebie list to make sure you are getting your share of free food and more on your birthday.


$2.00 off any TWO (2) Right Guard Products

$5.00 off two (2) Schick Disposable Razor Pack

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Our New Flexible Children’s Chore System

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If there is one thing I have learned in 19 years as a parent it is that schedules, routines, and systems all change with the seasons.

One such system that changes as the children age is chores. How much to pay for a chore. How many chores each child has. What the child is expected to do with their money and so forth.

I have known for a while now that our current system of a set chore chart for each child and a set allowance wasn’t working anymore.

My children are all older now and no longer home all day at the same time. My oldest just got his first job. My middle child attends a christian private school 2 days a week. My daughter is a social butterfly visiting with her friends when ever she gets the chance.

A flexible Children's chore system adaptable to changing daily life.

All the activities mean that sometimes during the day only one child is home. Other times no children are at home. Problem is chores need to be done whether the kids are home or not and that left my husband and I or another child picking up the slack for the child/children not home when the dishes needed doing or the laundry needed sorting. Which means we were doing chores other people were getting paid to do.

So in a moment of pure parent frustration born out of a child who was whining about sorting laundry because it wasn’t her chore, our chore system got  long over due update. One that I hope will last us through these final years as the children leave the nest (our youngest is now 12).

I made this system up in one afternoon, and based it on the sugar bowl system we use to use when the children were much younger and had been using still for irregular chores. This system is flexible. The chores are assigned on a day by day basis meaning those that are home get paid to do chores and those that are not home that day, miss out on earning money.

Our New Children’s Chore System

monoply money

I am all about simple, so I knew we needed a simple way to keep track of work done as it was done so that I knew how much I owed them at the end of the month.

I knew the simplest thing to do would be to switch to an automatic pay system. As in you do the chore you get paid instantly. However, I like making payment for chores as close to real life as possible. I don’t know about you but I know my husband doesn’t get cash at the end of each work day.

I also prefer paying my children in a lump sum at the end of the month because I find it easier to teach them how to tithe and save for bigger purchases. It is possible to take the .50 cents you just earned from emptying the dish washer and put .05 cents aside for tithe , save .30 cents and put .15 cents in your spending but time consuming. My children do several chores a day and I didn’t want that much change in the house at one time.

Which is where the picture of the Junior Monopoly board game comes into play.  I wanted the problem fixed right now! I wasn’t about to run to the store and buy fake money. Nor did I want to make up a bunch of paper slips like last time, since the kids earn a lot more chore money now then they use to and writing all those slips out would cramp any hand.

making chore moneySo I grabbed the money out of the Junior Monopoly game and photocopied it and then broke out our laminator and  laminated it. I assumed that since this is only for personal use, and I owned the Junior Monopoly game I used that I wouldn’t be breaking any laws to photocopy it and use it in our families chore system.

photo copied quartersThe Junior Monopoly only has $1, $2, $3, $4 and $5 and I wanted to do a half dollar too. I thought about cutting a bunch of the $1 in 1/2 but then thought I could just photocopy quarters instead.

large paper cutter slicing chore money in halfI then cut the laminated sheets of money in half with our large full sized paper cutter.

small paper cutter for chore moneyI then used my smaller creative memories paper cutter to cut out the rest of the money.

our pay slips for our new chore system

I put all the money slips into separate bags and placed them all in a zippered pencil case.

The rule is each child is to report to mom or dad when their chore is done and ready for inspection. If upon inspection a parent sees something that isn’t done right the child must correct it without whining. If you whine, you don’t get paid.

Once the chore is done right the child gets their pay slip which they put in their pay envelopes.

Our chore cards The children pick out a certain number each day and exchange them for payment when done

For the chore cards I didn’t get as fancy as I did with the money slips. I used simple index cards and wrote what the chore was across the top. Then below I wrote any further instructions (such as cleaning toilet means cleaning around base, both sides of seat and the bowl) .  I then wrote in the price.

chore envelopes they hold the chore payment slips until the end of the month when they have pay day.

To keep the pay slips all in one place until the end of the month when my children get their pay day, I wrote each child’s name on an envelope and placed it in an empty container.

What chore system do you currently use at your house?

7 ways to raise a thrifty child (button)Here are 7 ways we are raising our children to be thrifty

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52 Weeks To A Simplified Home: Project 10

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I am 10 weeks into 52 Weeks To A Simplified Home and I have to be honest every single week I struggle to get started with the area I am decluttering.  However week after week I love the results, and those make me glad I did it each and every week.

I ….don’t…like…to…clean. Not one bit. But as Ruth says in her book  Living Well Spending Less: 12 Secrets To The Good Life, cleaning is part of being an adult.  I am an adult so whether I like it or not I must clean.

Our messy bathroom counterThis week I decided to do the counter of our main floor bathroom. The mess on this counter has bothered me for months. When the mess started it was just a hair dryer in that white bin. As you can see the mess grew.

clearing the bathroom counterI decided the best way to start with this mess was to clear off the entire counter, mirror and all. After the area was all cleared off I wiped it down with our families favorite Seventh Generation All Purpose cleaner that we get through ePantry (start your account with $10 towards your first purchase when you go through my referral link) .

all the bathroom counter stuffI then took the time to go through ever single item that was on the counter. I filled an entire plastic grocery bag with garbage.

I found a few smaller stackable containers to put the rest of the items in. I placed them in those containers and put them in the area under the sink that I freed up last week.

clean mirrorThe first item I put back on the counter was the mirror. I gave it a good cleaning with the Seventh Generation glass cleaner I ordered from ePanty a while back. I really like the way it worked; best part no harsh fumes.  Cleaner fumes often trigger my migraines.

clean bathroom countersI put back just the essentials and am very pleased with all the empty counter space.

What did you declutter this week?

52 weeks to a simplified homefree printable plan (small)

Grab a plan and join along as we simply our homes this year one area at a time.

3 Coupons For Products I like

I have had Settle’s best coffee on numerous occasions and really like it. I also love True Citrus products. My favorite are their stir sticks that are sweetened with Stevia .  Another great product True Citrus sells are lemon packets that allow you add the hint of lemon to your water where ever you are.
$1.50 off (1) Seattle's Best Coffee bag

$1.50 off (1) Seattle's Best Coffee K-cup packs

$1.00 off On Any ONE (1) True Citrus Product

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