Amazon · Fabulous DEALS Friday · Farmhouse · Uncategorized

Fabulous DEALS Friday: 10 Farmhouse Decor all under $20




I moved into a new home about a year ago and I have been slowly trying to incorporate some farmhouse pieces.  I’ve included a little allowance for home decor in our monthly budget and have tried to stretch it as far as I can.  I found some great items on Amazon last night. Everything is under $20!  I purchased a few things and added a few others to my cart for next month!  🙂


  1.  Lanterns are very trendy right now.  I love the fresh look of this Farmhouse Lantern.  It is under $5 and has a lot of great reviews.
  2. I have been needing some new pillows and loved this Compass Pillowcover.  It is under $3 and is a great way to add a farmhouse style to your home.
  3. I have a few of these potted artificial plants around my house.  They are a great way to add a little color to any room.  I usually pull mine out around spring time and keep them out until fall.  I love them so much I might even buy a couple more!
  4. Adding a few French Stripe Dishtowels to your kitchen is an easy way to add some farmhouse charm.  This pack of dishtowels comes in a set of three and have a gorgeous soft nautical blue color.
  5. Nothing says farmhouse like a comfy throw blanket over a couch.  This farmhouse throw is beautiful and would go with a lot of different colors.
  6. I love galvanized pieces around my house.  This round galvanized serving tray would look beautiful for a coffee table centerpiece.
  7. Start your farmhouse look at the front door with this beautiful wreath.  At under $15 this is a great deal!
  8. I have these darling mini glass milk bottles sitting on my front entry table and I always get a lot of compliments on them.
  9. How fun would it be to have your very own personalized vintage farmhouse sign.  To get your name and personalized year on your own sign it will only cost you $16.99.  That’s a great deal!
  10. This rusted metal egg basket is sitting in my Amazon cart right now and I can’t wait until it gets here.  I love the wire metal basket look, but this one has the rusted metal giving even more of a farmhouse look.

I hope you find something perfect!

Parenting · Uncategorized

15 FREE Things to do with your Kids over Spring Break

In a couple of weeks my kids will have their annual one week Spring Break from school.  I always look forward to this break.  It’s so fun to have a break from the school routine and spend time together, but sometimes the kids can get a little stir crazy.  Where I live winter lasts well into April so Spring Break isn’t always “springy.”  🙂  I started brainstorming some things the kids and I can do together while on Spring Break, and as usual all of them are FREE!


  1.  Board Games:  I love to buy board games at our local thrift store for a couple of dollars a piece.  I love playing games, and it is so fun to play them with my kids.  Some of their favorites are Clue, Sequence and Apples to Apples.  I have bought each of these in perfect condition used.
  2. ABC Day:  Have an ABC Day. Every once in a while I will tell my kids to choose a letter and we try to plan the day around that letter.  For the letter R we might eat Raisins and Red apples, play Ring around the Rosies or have a Race, and we would do an art project based around the letter R.  My kids have a lot of fun trying to come up with different ideas based around the letter.
  3. Picnic:  If it’s warm enough where you live go for a picnic at a park.  If it’s not warm enough just lay a blanket down on the living room floor and picnic at home.  Your kids will love getting to eat somewhere other than the kitchen.
  4. Crafts:  There are a lot of Spring related crafts on pinterest.  Find a fun one to do with your kids.
  5. Ice Cream in a Bag:  No need to go out for ice cream, you can make it at home with ingredients you probably already have in your pantry.  There are a lot of recipes on pinterest to look through.  My kids love getting to customize their own ice cream with chocolate and sprinkles.
  6. Family Movie Night:  Let your kids stay up late one night watching a movie together as a family.  Pop some popcorn and enjoy a few other treats.  Check out your local library for free movies you might not have seen yet.
  7. Library:  Whenever my kids have a day off from school we always end up at the Public Library.  They love getting to check out some books that they can’t always find at their school library.  Check out my blog post all about the great resources the library offers here:  10 Ways using the Public Library will Save you Money
  8. Bake:  My kids all love to help in the kitchen.  Find a new recipe you can all try out together.  Our favorite is ALWAYS cookies!
  9. Nature Walk:  If you are one of the lucky ones with a warm spring break go outside on a nature walk.  Bring a sack with you and collect different rocks, pine needles and pine cones.  Once you get back home admire everyone’s collections.
  10. Start your garden:  If you love to garden Spring Break is a great time to get those little seeds started indoors.  This is so fun to get the kids involved with.  Watching those little seeds sprout is so fun and exciting for the kids (and me!).
  11. Friend Day:  Plan a play date with a few of your kids friends.
  12. Spring Cleaning:  This might not be your kids most favorite activity, but we always have a few items of Spring Cleaning I try to get done during Spring Break and my kids are lucky enough to get to help me with that.  😉  😉  It is a good way to get them busy and occupied.
  13. Make Slime or Play Dough:  Slime is all the rage these days.  We tried it out for the first time a couple of weeks ago and loved how easy it was.  There are many tutorials for it on pinterest.  If your kids aren’t interested in slime, make some play dough.  You can find our favorite play dough recipe here:  Our Favorite Play dough Recipe.
  14. Paint Rocks:  Collect some rocks outside and bring them back home to paint them.  Paint a fun design on the rock, or paint an animal (we love turning ours into ladybugs).  So easy and fun!
  15. Science Experiment:  Do a fun science experiment with your kids.  Make a volcano with baking soda and vinegar or try out  our favorite Magic Toothpick Experiment.

It does not need to cost any money to make special memories with your kids.  All they want is time and love.  I hope you have a fun and frugal Spring Break!

Crafts · Easter · Holidays · Parenting

Easter Egg Sun Catcher

I made the cutest Easter Egg Sun Catcher with my son the other day.  We have it hanging up in our window right now and I love seeing the bright colors of it every day.  This project is so easy and I just used items I had around the house.  The colors of the egg can easily be customized using any of your favorite colors.  I did this craft with my preschooler, but it would also be great for a toddler!


First, I gathered all of my supplies.  You will need:

  • Tissue Paper:  I just grabbed all my spring colors from the tissue paper I already had at home.
  • Contact Paper:  I buy this at Walmart.  A roll will last a long time and is fun for laminating things by hand or other fun little craft projects.
  • Scissors
  • Paper Hole Punch
  • String, yarn, whatever you have on hand to hang the egg on

Cut squares out of your tissue paper.  I didn’t use very much from each color, it will just depend on how many and how big you are making your egg.

After you have a nice pile of tissue paper squares it’s time to get your contact paper ready.  I cut two pieces of contact paper both large enough for our egg.  Set one of the contact pieces aside and pull off the backing of the other piece and lay it sticky side up on the counter top.  My son then started placing the tissue paper all over the contact paper, making sure to overlap and fill all the holes.

Once you have your contact paper covered with the tissue paper you will need pull off the backing of your second sheet of contact paper.  Carefully lay the two contact sheets together with both sticky side on the tissue paper.


I printed an egg template off my computer just from clip art.  I traced the egg onto the contact paper and then cut along the tracing.  Once the egg is cut out you can use your hole punch to poke a hole in the top of the egg.  Loop your string through the hole and your Easter Egg sun chatcher is ready to hang in your window!

My son has a short attention span so he loves doing these quick and easy projects with me.  Now if only the snow would melt and then spring would really be here!

Affiliate · Fabulous DEALS Friday · Gymboree

Fabulous DEALS Friday: Coupon Code plus Clearance at Gymboree

I am a Gymboree Affiliate and may receive commissions for purchases made through links on my site (THANKS).  I was not compensated for this post and all opinions are my own.  

I really really love Gymborees clothes.  They are high quality and always last much longer than many other brands.

One of the best ways to bargain shop is to stack a coupon code with items on clearance.  I was excited to see Gymboree put an additional 40% off their already markdown clothes. But, it gets even BETTER than that.  Right now they are offering an EXTRA 20% off your purchase, and that includes these extra marked down prices.  Enter code SILVERLINING at check out to get the extra 20%.  I LOVE when they have this deal.  This is a great time to stock up on some good value clothes for your kiddos.  Click the link to browse all the great deals:  Gymboree extra 40% off.

Below I shared a few of my favorite deals I picked out for my own kids.  These are the price it will be AFTER you enter your coupon code during checkout.  Happy Frugal Shopping!

Fuzzy Owl Hoodie
Fuzzy Owl Hoodie originally $39.95 now only $7.20
Striped Shift Dress
Striped Shift Dress originally $39.95 now only $7.20!
Sparkle Tulle Skirt
Sparkle Tulle Skirt originally $36.95 now only $7.20
Canvas Joggers
Canvas Joggers originally $32.95 now only $7.20
Incredi-Soft Fleece Shirt
Soft Fleece Shirt originally $32.95 now only $4.80!


Waffle Tee
Waffle Tee originally $19.99 now on sale for ONLY $4.80



Disclaimer:  A good deal is NOT a reason to use credit cards or spend money that has not been budgeted for.  Budget first, and IF you have money in your budget, then it’s time to bargain shop and see how far you can stretch that already budgeted money!

Affiliate · Get Away Today · Travel

How we visited San Diego on a Budget

I am a Get Away Today partner and may receive commissions for Get Away Today vacations booked through links on my site (THANKS).  I was not compensated for this post and all opinions are my own.  I was recommending Get Away Today to all my friends BEFORE becoming a partner, because they are that amazing.  🙂


A couple of weeks ago I blogged all about our trip to Southern California.  We spent a couple of days in Anaheim and a couple days in San Diego.  You can find the blog detailing the Anaheim portion of the trip here: Our Disney Savings Plan: How we paid for our Disney Vacation while on a small budget.  Refer to my Disney post to read all the details about how we saved money on food, souvenirs and transportation while on this trip.  Today’s blog is all about our couple of days in San Diego.

Once we arrived in San Diego we checked into our hotel, the Holiday Inn Express San Diego Circle.  We loved this hotel.  It was a really good value.  It had a modern layout and design.  The kids always had the pool to themselves, and the room was the perfect size for our family of five.  It had two queen size beds and a couch that could be made into a bed.  It was nice to have a little elbow room while in the room.  We found the hotel on Get Away Today.  I am so in love with Get Away Today.  They offer the best discounts on any Southern California Vacation, and they are so easy to work with.  I used them a few years ago for a trip and knew that we wanted to use them again for this trip. Get Away Today is offering my readers an additional discount, I’ll share the coupon code at the end of the post!


We had two full days in San Diego and wanted to spend one of those days at a beach. I researched San Diego beaches and came across Coronado Beach. It looked and sounded beautiful so we decided to spend our beach day there.  The parking was FREE, which is a huge bonus to me.  The beach was beautiful with soft golden sand and a great view.  We spent a Sunday there and were expecting large crowds, we were so pleasantly surprised when we found the beach quiet and we seemed to have our own little space all to ourselves.  The waves were calm enough for my school aged kids to swim in, they spent hours laughing and swimming in the waves.  Our favorite part of the beach were the sea shells.  When the tide went out around 2 in the afternoon we were able to find dozens of perfectly round beautiful sand dollars.  We had so much fun walking up and down the beach collecting our treasured sand dollars.  We ended up finding 53 perfect sand dollars in only about an hours time.  If you are looking for a great San Diego beach and love finding great shells go to Coronado Beach.


Our other day in San Diego was spent at Sea World.  This was a highlight of our trip. The park was so empty, we were able to walk right onto every ride, had great seats for all the shows and loved learning more about the beautiful sea animals.  Get Away Today offers 7 day Sea World tickets for a great price.  If you are wanting to spend a few days at Sea World be sure to buy those tickets from Get Away Today.  We only had time for one day though so we bought our tickets directly from Sea World’s website.  If you are only going to spend one day there then definitely buy them from their website, you won’t find a lower price anywhere else.


My only regret about San Diego was that we didn’t spend more time there.  I wish we had planned a few extra days and I want to go back and visit again sometime.  It is a really beautiful city with so many activities.

If you are planning a Southern California vacation through Get Away Today feel free to use the coupon code:  SweetFrugal at checkout for an extra $10 off your vacation package.  Happy Frugal Travels!

Amazon · Money Educatioin · Parenting

Teaching Kids Smart Money Habits


It is so important to me to teach my kids how to be smart with money.  I want them to learn while they are young how to handle money, how to budget, how to save and how to spend wisely.  I would rather then make mistakes with $5 than with $5,000  I wanted to share a few things that have worked for us as we’ve tried to teach our kids good money habits.  Parenting is such a personal thing, and there is more than one way to be a fantastic parent.  This is the way we feel is best to teach our kids, but understand that others may disagree and may have other ways that work for them and their family.

A few years ago I read Dave Ramsey’s and Rachel Cruze’s book titled  Smart Money Smart Kids: Raising the Next Generation to Win with Money.  This book is so well written and gives really good advice for how to go about teaching your kids about money.  I really really recommend it to EVERY parent.  Check your library for it or buy it on Amazon, either way, just read it!  I have implemented a lot of the lessons I learned from Smart Money Smart Kids:  Raising the Next Generation to Win with Money, but there are a few things we have chosen to do different with our own kids.


I know, I know!  There are a lot of people who are against giving kids an allowance.  I understand the reasoning’s behind not wanting to pay your kids an allowance.  I do.  I get it!  None of us want our kids to grow up to be spoiled or entitled.  We all want our children to understand that in order to have money, you have to work for it.

So why an allowance???

We decided to give our kids an allowance after discussing with my husband the different ways we were both raised.  I did receive a monthly allowance while growing up.  With that allowance I was expected to tithe 10%, save minimum of 20%, and with the rest I was expected to buy all of my own clothes, make-up, shoes, etc., and pay for any extra curricular activities or outings with friends.  I grew up to be very responsible with money.  I did not become spoiled, entitled or lazy.  I did not expect a free handout once I became an adult.  Instead I learned early in life how to budget and save and spend wisely.  Instead of asking my parents to buy me a brand new pair of name brand shoes and being disappointed when they told me it was to much money; I instead was given a set amount of money and I learned to decide for MYSELF that the name brand shoes were to much money and I would rather shop around for a better deal.  I am so grateful to my parents for helping me to learn this lesson.  My husband did not receive an allowance, his parents were against it.  However, they paid for all of his clothes, his extra curricular activities and outings with friends.  He is good with money, but he is the first to admit he wishes he had received a money lesson similar to mine in his early years.  Because of these two life experiences we have decided to give our kids a small monthly allowance.

Once our kids turn eight years old they start receiving a small allowance of $5 a month.  We teach them to save 20% and tithe 10% to our church.  After they save and tithe they can then use the rest of the money as spending money.  They use it when they want to go to a movie or other activity with their friends, they use it for buying birthday presents for friends and family, and any other thing they want to save up and buy with it.  Once they reach age 13 this allowance amount will increase and they will then be expected to buy all of their own clothes.  My oldest will be turning 13 (yikes!) in 6 months so we have been planning how best to make this work.  I went through and added up how much money I spend on her clothing and activities a year.  I divided that number by 12 (for 12 months), added a little bit of extra to help cover the amount she will save and tithe and I have come up with her monthly allowance.  She will be receiving $20 a month and will be responsible for budgeting that money to be able to pay for everything she needs to pay for.



Chores are an excellent tool to help kids learn valuable lessons.

We have some chores in our household that my kids are expected to do without receiving any money whatsoever.  Cleaning is a part of life and I want them to learn to keep a house clean just because that’s what you do.  They have daily chores and weekly chores that they must get done before playing with a friend, going outside to play or having any screen time.

My kids daily chores include making their bed, picking up any clothes or clutter off the floor, doing the dishes (each has a separate job for dishes) and practicing the piano.

Saturday is the day we work on weekly chores.  On Saturday they are expected to:

  1.  Sort their laundry first thing in the morning.  I then wash and fold the laundry.  That evening once the laundry is done they put their clean clothes away in their dresser.
  2. “Deep clean” their bedrooms.  Deep cleaning in our home consists of picking up all clutter on floor or dresser, organizing their closet, cleaning out from under the bed, dusting, vacuuming, and making their room look very presentable and nice.  I always check after they say they are done to make sure they did it thoroughly.
  3. Change their sheets on their bed.  They take off their sheets and bring them to the laundry room for me to wash.  They then get a clean set of sheets from the closet and put those on the bed.
  4. We have 6 weekly house chores that we rotate through each week so that they all get a turn helping with each chore.  These house chores are different rooms in the house.  Each room is suppose to have a thorough cleaning, I have typed of lists to go along with each of the rooms so they know exactly what is expected.  These 6 chores are:  Entry way and foyer, kitchen, basement, bathroom, great room and your choice (the choices include cleaning out the car, doing the laundry for the day, or washing all the windows).

I wanted my kids to learn that a part of life is cleaning the house and you never get paid for that (unfortunately!).  But, I also want them to learn that the harder you work the more money you will receive.  So, we came up with some chores that they get paid to do.  We raise chickens and the kids are responsible for feeding, collecting the eggs and routinely cleaning out the coop.  They are suppose to mark it on the calendar after they do their chore and they are paid 25 cents for each day it is done.  At the end of the month I add up how many days they did their job and give them their pay.   We have also provided a list of EXTRA chores they are few to do whenever they want to earn more spending money.  My kids utilize this list often when they find something they want to save up for.


Teaching Money Habits

When our kids turn 8 and begin to receive an allowance we buy them a savings tin that we found on Amazon years ago.  You can buy the girls version here and the boys version here.  These tins have three separate slots for saving.  I like them because they make saving a little more fun for the kids, they love having their own key to lock their money in their personal bank, and it makes separating the money easy.   You do NOT need to spend money on savings banks though.  Feel free to set your kids up with three envelopes or three jars, anything that will store money will work!


The very first things our kids do after receiving their allowance or chores payment is go get their savings bank and tithe 10% to our church, save at LEAST 20% for their future, such as college and a car.  I often will pay them with change to make it easy to divide the money up between.  If it’s time for their monthly $5 allowance then I will give them 4 one dollar bills and 4 quarters.  They know that two quarters go into their tithing bank, one dollar in their savings and the rest into spending.


Lessons Learned

The lessons I have seen my kids learn since implementing these methods have been HUGE and absolutely PRICELESS.  A few of the things I have watched them learn are:

  1.  Their future is important to them.  More often than not they save MUCH more than the required 20%.  They understand that they will be responsible for a lot of their future expenses and are very motivated to save for those moments.
  2. Some things are just not worth spending money on.  Their have been moments in the store when they have fell in love with a toy.  I always remind them that they have their own money to spend and if they want to buy it they can.  So often they have expressed that that particular toy looks fun, but is just not worth spending their hard earned money on.  They choose wisely when they make purchases.
  3. The harder they work the more money they will have.  A few months ago one of my kids was continually not getting completing her chore with the chickens.  When this happens I don’t nag them, I just go outside and do it myself.  The end of the month came and one of my kids earned her full wages, the other child who had not been making her job a priority earned very little.  She was very disappointed by this, and the next month she was outside first thing every single day making sure she was getting her job done, she did not miss a single day that month.
  4. It feels good to give.  We teach our kids that paying a tithe to our church is a way to help and bless others who might not have much money.  My kids love to stuff their tithing bank full of money, they have mentioned to me that they want to help other people and would rather give them money than buy something at the store that will only be fun for a day.

These are just a few of the things that have worked for our family.  I have loved watching my kids make mistakes with money and then learn from those mistakes.  It has been amazing when they begin making smart money choices all on their own.

What are some methods that have worked in your family to teach your kids money smarts?  I am constantly trying to learn and improve in whatever ways I can.

Affiliate · Bargain Buys · Fabulous DEALS Friday · Jane

Fabulous DEALS Friday: Great Sale on Womens Clothing at Jane

I LOVE to shop,but I also LOVE to save money.  This is where bargain shopping comes in.  Nothing thrills me more than being able to go shopping, buy some great products, but spend very little money.  When I shop, I try to ONLY shop the sale racks.  I’ve decided to start a feature on my blog titled Fabulous Deals Friday.  This will be a time when I can share some of my favorite bargain deals for any other bargain hunters to enjoy.

Disclaimer:  A good deal is NOT a reason to use credit cards or spend money that has not been budgeted for.  Budget first, and IF you have money in your budget, then it’s time to bargain shop and see how far you can stretch that budgeted money!


One of my favorite places to bargain shop is Jane.  They are an online store offering great discounts on childrens clothing, home decor, womens clothing and accessories.  The discounts on Jane are only available for a short amount of time and a limited quantity.   I have learned the hard way that if you find something you love you should buy it immediately or else it might be gone the next time you go to look.

Now that March is here Spring is just around the corner.  I found some darling spring womens clothing for a good price!

This darling embroidered blouse is perfect for spring and summer.  I love the polka dots and the cap sleeves.  The Embroidered Boho Blouse is originally $44.99 now you can get it shipped for only $25.98!  

Was $44.99 - Now $21.99 - Embroidered Boho Blouse | 2 Colors (3/2 to 3/4)

I love spring florals!  This dress is an AMAZING deal!  I love the detail on the sleeves and the floral is so pretty and feminine.  This Midi-Dress is on clearance originally $38.99 now ships for only $17.98!  It’s hard to find dresses much cheaper than this.

Midi Dress Clearance

These strappy sandals are so cute.  I love the faux leather look and they have a cushioned insole which makes them comfortable but stylish.  I would love these shoes for running errands around town with my kids. and lunch dates.  The Slingback Sandals are originally $39.99 now shipped for only $24.98.

Was $39.99 - Now $18.99 - Slingback Comfy Insole Sandals (3/1 to 3/3)

I have seen these cute criss cross tees everywhere lately.  It looks so easy to dress down with some jeans and sandals or dress up with a cardigan and and accessories.  It’s at a really good price right now.  The Dolman Criss Cross Tunic is sold for originally $24.99 and you can get it right now shipped for just $16.48!  I’m really excited to get this one in the mail, I love the Navy color!

I am looking forward to some warmer weather and some new fun spring clothing!  Let me know if you buy anything and if you loved your experience!

I am a Jane Affiliate and may receive commissions for purchases made through links on my site (THANKS).  I was not compensated for this post and all opinions are my own.  I was recommending Jane to all my friends BEFORE becoming an affiliate with them, because their deals really are great! 

Crafts · For the kids · Parenting

5 FREE activities to do with Kids using items you already have at home

I’m all about finding easy ways to entertain kids at home.  ESPECIALLY with items I most often have around the house.  Where I live the winters can get LONG and we all tend to get a little stir crazy.  If I can keep the kids entertained and happy without needing to spend money, I am feeling pretty good!


1.  A Box and a few markers and scissors

That’s it.  Whenever you get a box–SAVE IT!  Large boxes are best, these can be a little hard to come by, so if you ever get one make sure to hold on to it!  We turn large boxes into secret hideouts, spaceships and cars.  We have used our “box car” to make our very own drive-in movie.  Decorate the box to look like a car and put some pillows in it and sit in it to watch a movie.  My kids love this!  Save your small boxes too, shoe boxes are really fun.  We like to turn the inside of a shoe box into a scene, it could be a mountain scene, a castle, a race track anything your kids are interested in will work!  Make your scene using construction paper, markers, glue and then your kids can use their toys to play inside of the box.  Once you’re done put the lid on it and save it for another day.  We love this!


2.  Magazines and scissors

My kids love to cut out pictures in my magazines.  We store them in a container and my kids will get them out and make stories using the pictures.  We will glue these onto papers and make a story book out of it, or other times my kids will just play with the pictures like paper dolls.  Either way, this is something they really enjoy doing.


3.  Play dough

There is no need to buy play dough.  It is so easy to make and kids love to help!  I posted the instructions for my favorite recipe here:  Our Favorite Play dough Recipe.  We get out cookie cutters, butter knives and rolling pins to use for even more play dough fun.


4.  A piece of wood and paint

My husband is a wood worker, so we always have extra junk wood around.  Sometimes I will pull out a junk piece of wood and a few of my craft paints for my preschooler to paint on.  He loves when I do this!  He likes painting a picture on paper, but the wood and craft paints entertains him for a long time and he is always so proud of it when he’s done.


5.   Science Experiment

My kids love when we do science experiments.  I have a few favorites that we do quite often.  I shared one of these here:  Magic toothpick science experiment.  This experiment is so fun for the kids because the toothpick almost really does seem like magic.  The designs it makes are always different and so pretty and fun.


What are your completely FREE activities to keep your kids entertained at home??  Share them with me in the comments!

Frugal Life · Money Educatioin

The Frugal Life: What it means to me

The word “Frugal” means something different to everyone.  Some find the meaning of the world unpleasant, boring, and blah.  Others find it necessary, practical, and a way of life.  I find the meaning beautiful, strong, and empowering.


I have longed admired the pioneer women.  The ones who worked from sunrise to sunset.  These women washed laundry by hand, baked and cooked meager meals over a fire.  They had small homes and large hearts.  I’ve heard story after story of women who were hardworking, selfless, and humble.  These are the women I look up to.  I find them strong and their simple way of life beautiful.

Life has changed.  I am so grateful for the conveniences we have, for the advances made in technology and life.  But, I often lean towards those old fashioned ways of life which seems in many ways simpler and in so many ways beautiful.

Frugality reminds me of those simpler days.  I love the feeling of providing for myself, of growing my own food, my husband building our own furniture.  It provides me a sense of connection to the remarkable pioneer ladies from old days.  This is what it means to me to be frugal.

I found this quote today and it resonated so deeply with me.

“More stuff isn’t happiness.  Be grateful and thankful for what you have.”  –Sherry Borsheim

I believe it takes a strong and brave person to try to live a frugal life in a world full of conveniences and entertainment.  It takes a great amount of thought, effort, and strength to ignore the bombardment of marketing everywhere you turn and enjoy the simple, important things in life that are right in front of you.

Being frugal doesn’t mean you are deprived.  It means you can be empowered.  Empowered to control your spending.  Empowered to enjoy your life the way it is right now without needing to keep up with those Joneses and buy everything in front of you to find happiness.  This takes strength.  It’s not easy to live frugally.  But, when I do I find more happiness and joy from the important things in life:  friends, family, myself.

Love the life you live.  Work hard to make the life as great as you possibly can.  Be proud of your frugality.  I find it an absolutely beautiful way to live.

What does being frugal mean to you?  Do you find it beautiful and empowering like I do, or does it hold a different meaning?

Affiliate · Disney · Frugal Life · Get Away Today · Travel

Our Disney Savings Plan: How we paid for our Disney Vacation while on a small budget


Last fall we took our family on a vacation to Southern California.  We spent a week exploring California, bonding as a family and playing at many of the fun amusement parks.

We started planning this trip a couple of years before it actually happened (planner by nature here!).  We knew we wanted to go on a family vacation in a year or two and we knew that we wanted to save up for it slowly.   I wanted to share the steps that we went through as we planned, saved, and explored California all while on a budget.

We spent a few nights in San Diego and a few nights in Anaheim.  Today’s post will be all about our stay in Anaheim.  Be sure to check out my post How we visited San Diego on a Budget to read about our few days in San Diego.

Disney Savings Plan

First, we set our budget.  We wanted to spend less than $5,000 on the trip.  Once the budget was set we developed an aggressive 52 week savings plan.  I pinned this chart up on my wall to keep me focused and excited as I saved little by little each week and got to cross off each week as our Disney fund grew.



Once we had our savings plan set I began researching.  I checked daily different travel websites and reading review after review of different hotels.  We needed a hotel large enough to sleep our family of five, one that included an in room microwave and fridge, free hotel breakfast and the kids requested a pool.  🙂

We found a great deal and exactly what we wanted in Springhill Suites Anaheim Maingate.  I purchased the hotel through Get Away Today as part of a Disney Vacation package.  We had the pool to ourselves every single night.  The large breakfast was wonderful, they even had Nutella (my favorite!) for my toast.  The room felt nice and spacious with two queen beds and a small couch (turned into a bed) and desk.  I think my favorite part of the room was the large closet where we could hang up our clothes and stash our suitcases.  I will be sharing below a $10 off coupon from Get Away Today later in the post.


Get Away Today is the absolute cheapest place to buy Disneyland tickets.  Promise.  I have searched and searched and could not find any cheaper than Get Away Today offered.

We decided to spend two days at Disneyland and bought a one day at each park pass.  This made it possible for us to spend an entire day at both Disneyland and California Adventure.  The parks are each so large, I find it not worth the extra money to buy the park hopper ticket.  We bought these tickets as part of our vacation package with the hotel.


We added a one day pass to Universal Studios to our vacation package and had so much fun spending the day exploring Hogwarts and Hogsmeade.  If you are a Harry Potter fan, you MUST visit Universal Studios.  The attention to detail was incredible!



Plane tickets for a family of five are pricey, so we decided to drive the 13 hours to California.  We made it a fun road trip experience for our kids, making multiple sight seeing stops and playing many many car games.

While in Anaheim we decided to use the ART shuttle to take us to and from the Disneyland resort.  The ticket prices for the shuttle was very reasonable as part of our package from Get Away Today.  It was so nice to just sit down on the shuttle and rest our tired feet after a long day playing at the park.  The shuttle was always available for us with very little wait time and the ride to and from the hotel was short.


I’ll start off by saying that our family are not big foodies.  I would rather spend money on experiences then food.  We decided to only purchase one meal a day.  Before driving to California I packed up a cooler full of snacks and makings for sandwiches.  Breakfast was provided by the hotel daily.  We packed sandwiches, bagels and snacks into the amusement parks with us every day.  For dinner, we ate at budget friendly restaurants inside the parks.  It was so handy having the snacks all packed into individual serving baggies, we whipped them out while standing in long lines and it helped keep the kids happy and occupied.

Below I listed a few of our favorite budget friendly places to eat while inside the parks.



Bengal Barbeque: The Bengal Barbeque has really tasty meat and vegetable skewers for under $5!

Cafe Orleans:  The Cafe Orleans is not your cheapest option, but I had heard so many great things about the Monte Cristo Sandwich I decided to include it in our food budget.  The Monte Cristo Sandwich is only served at the Blue Bayou and Cafe Orleans.  The sandwich is the exact same at both restaurants, but $7 dollars cheaper at Cafe Orleans. So, if you want to try the sandwich do it Cafe Orleans!  We also decided to split the sandwich between my husband and I and then we split a plate of kids Mac and Cheese between my three kids.  Splitting between the three kids was a little small, next time I would buy two kids orders to split.  For the five of us we spent about $30.  Which is the most we spent on a meal the entire trip, but totally worth it to me to get to taste that delicious cheesy Monte Cristo Sandwich!

Rancho Del Zocalo:  Rancho Del Zocalo offers delicious food with very generous servings.  This is another great option for splitting an entree.

California Adventure


Cozy Cone Motel:  The Cozy Cone Motel offers different snack options that could be turned into a small meal.  We ordered a couple of chili cone quesos and they were so good and so satisfying, and under $10!  Yay!

Pacific Wharf Cafe:  The Pacific Wharf Cafe has great soup and salads each for around $11.  My favorite is Broccoli and Cheese soup served in their famous Sour Bread Bowl.  So GOOD!

Universal Studios


We weren’t to adventurous while eating at Universal Studios.  We ate at Panda Express which is located at the bottom lot.  We had a hard time narrowing down which restaurant to try at Universal and ended up going the easy safe route.  Panda Express had good cheap options and the service was very quick.


A month before we left on our vacation I printed off some play money and told my kids that they will need to do chores in order to earn money to buy souvenirs while on our vacation.  They earned between $20-30 total.  We told them that this was their money to spend however they wanted, but once it was gone it was gone.  If they wanted a souvenir or a fun treat that we weren’t going to buy for them they had to make that decision if they wanted to spend their money on it or not.  This really  helped us to not impulse buy and overspending while in the park.  We all had our limit and we stuck to it.

I have also heard a great tip if you are a Target shopper.  Target has Disney Gift Cards available to buy and these can be used within the park.  If you use your Target Red Card you get an automatic 5% off all purchases, and this counts toward gift cards too!  I didn’t try it, but I think it is a really smart idea.


We like to use our Discover Credit Card (and pay it off IMMEDIATELY) for big purchases like traveling.  I explained all about it in my blog post titled The one idea I disagree with Dave Ramsey on.  Discover will sometimes give 5% cashback towards travel purchases.  After I have budgeted and saved enough money I then wait for this 5% cashback offer.  Once Discover offers it I then purchased the hotel package.  In this case I was given around $200 cashback.  A great deal!

We had such an amazing family vacation with lots of memories made and laughter shared.  I never feel deprived when traveling on a budget.  We plan, prepare, and spend wisely.  It makes for a guilt free vacation.

Coupon Code

If you are looking into planning a family vacation on a budget Get Away Today will give each of my readers $10 off a vacation package when you use the code SweetFrugal at checkout.  I recommend this travel website to anyone who is looking into good deals on travel!

Do you have some favorite budget friendly travel tips?  Please share them in the comments!  I would love to learn more tips!

I am a Get Away Today partner and may receive commissions for Get Away Today vacations booked through links on my site (THANKS).  I was not compensated for this post and all opinions are my own.  I was recommending Get Away Today to all my friends BEFORE becoming a partner, because they are that amazing.  🙂