Affiliate · Bargain Buys

Fabulous DEALS Friday: Mothers Day Gifts Under $15!

I am an affiliate with Cents of Style.  I may earn commission off of purchases made through my links.

Mothers Day is just a few weeks away!  This is the time to start thinking about the perfect gift to give to the special mothers in your life.  If you are looking for completely FREE gift ideas check out my post Mothers Day Gift Guide: 15 FREE Gift Ideas.  If you are wanting to spend a little bit of cash on mom, but still want to stay within budget than THIS is the post for you!

Today on Cents of Style you can get Mothers Day Gifts 40% off when you use the code MOMGIFT.  Shipping is ALWAYS FREE, so this is a great opportunity to buy the perfect gift for mom!  Here are some of my favorites!

 

I may have sent a screen shot of this necklace to my husband!  😉  I love the mama bear phrase and thought this Mama Bear Necklace was so darling.  After the coupon code it is only $11.97 shipped!!

Mama Bear Bar & Charm Necklace

What mom doesn’t relate to the phrase, “because I said so”????  I’m pretty sure we have all said it and heard it multiple times!  This Because I Said So Tee is so cute and would be a great t-shirt for summer.  You can get the Because I Said So Tee shipped for only $14.97 after the coupon code.

Because I Said So Graphic T-Shirt

This gold bracelet is simple yet beautiful.  Mother is my favorite title and I would love wearing that title around my wrist daily.  The Mother Gold Bracelet is a steal of a deal at only $5.97 shipped after entering the coupon code!  My MIL loves jewlery, so I ordered one for her, I know she is going to love it!

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I love this #MomLife Tee so much!  It is the perfect description of what life is like being a mom of young kids.  This would be the perfect for a young mom in the thick of raising their kids, perhaps for your sister or friend (or maybe yourself 😉 ).  After entering the coupon code you can get the #MomLife Tee for only $14.97 shipped!

#momlife Graphic T-Shirt

I really love simple jewelry., and this heart necklace is no exception.  It is simple, yet will makes a bold statement that you love and care for mom.  You can get the heart necklace shipped for just $7.77 shipped after coupon code.  This is another really really good deal!

Heart Stamped Spirit Necklace

This Cuff Bracelet is a good reminder to enjoy whichever season you are currently in.  Motherhood can be quite a bit daunting and overwhelming, but the reminder to “Enjoy the Ride” is a great way to look for the happy wonderful moments that Motherhood also brings.  After entering the coupon code the Cuff Bracelet comes to only $8.97 shipped!  Hooray for cheap jewelry!

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This Felt Bag is so cute!  I love the coloring and it pairs perfectly with any and all “mom” outfits.  It looks large enough to stuff all the kids toys and snacks in while leaving room for moms essentials (sunglasses are essentials!  😉 )!  The Felt Bag only costs $14.97 after coupon code!

Sutton Felt Bag

Happy Frugal Shopping!  Let me know if you find the perfect gift  for the mom in your life!

 

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!

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Uncategorized

What we cut from our budget to save over $2500 a year

I am not naturally a frugal person.  I was raised by two frugal parents, but I lean more towards wanting to shop and buy things.  It has been a huge learning process for me to become more frugal and to learn the value and beauty in cutting back and saving money.  This learning process has been over the course of years, and quite honestly, I’m still learning and trying to better myself.  Today though I started thinking about all the things we have cut from our lifestyle over the years, and they have all been slowly cut out, and I was blown away with the amount of money we are saving ourselves just by making a few different lifestyle choices!

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Pack that Lunch:  $1000

Packing a lunch for work, instead of eating out with coworkers, has been our biggest money saver.  Every night I pack a lunch for my husband to take to work.  The lunch mostly consists of some leftovers from dinner, occasionally he will bring a sandwich.  I was so surprised to find out this simple habit is saving us over $1000 a year!

Change your own oil:  $210

My husband taught himself how to change the oil in our two vehicles, all it took was watching a few you tube videos.  It takes him less than an hour to do and he claims it’s super easy.  This is not some natural talent he has, he had to get out of his comfort zone to learn this skill, however this simple task saves us $210 a year.

Cut the Cable:  $480

A few years ago we decided to get rid of our cable TV.  We were actually already on a fairly cheap rate, but we decided we could do without it.  We have saved $480 a year by doing this!  There are so many great options for cheap TV.  We use Netflix.  But I have friends who use Hulu, Roku, or Amazon Prime.

At Home Haircuts:  $200

I bought clippers 14 years ago for $20.  I have been cutting my husbands and sons hair ever since.  This is a $200 annual savings.  If you know me, you know that hair is really NOT a talent of mine.  I have watched a few you tube tutorial videos and both my husband and son get very basic cuts.  I have made my some a few mistakes on both of them, but I keep learning and trying.  And luckily boys hair grows out fairly fast!  😉

Workout at Home:  $840

We have never had a gym membership and this decision saves us $70 a month.  We have learned to get a good workout in at home.  We go for a run or bike ride during the summer and find great you tube videos to follow during the winter.  I buy cheap weights and exercise equipment to use from the thrift store.  My favorite you tube channels to follow are fitness blender and yoga with Adrienne.

The Results:  $2730

Just by making these 5 adjustments to our lifestyle we save $2730 a year!  So in five years we have saved $13,650!  Ten years it will be $27,300!  Those little expenses don’t seem like a big deal, but over time they add up to be a very very BIG deal.

It really has not been hard to cut any of these things from our budget.  We have been living this way for years and honestly never seem to miss a gym membership or cable TV.  It has just become our way of life, and it’s a great life!  It can be hard to form new habits, but once you do those habits become your way of life and you often never really look back!

Take a look at your budget and lifestyle.  Can you find a few things that you could change in order to save money?  I promise the pay off is so worth it!

Finances · For the kids · Frugal Life · Money Educatioin · Parenting

Money Lessons for Kids: The night we taught our kids the TRUTH about money

I have been wanting to give our kids a really good object lesson about how to handle money.  We talk about this topic constantly, and we give them chores to help them learn how to save and spend wisely, you can read all about that here:  Teaching Kids Smart Money Habits; but I just kept wanting to find something that would make a big impact on them and the real adult world.  I began brainstorming ideas and came up with a game plan that ended up having a greater impact than I ever could have imagined.

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We told the kids that we were having a family meeting and that they all needed to come join us.  We excitedly announced to the kids that we would be having a money lesson (cue groans.)  I ignored these sour face expressions and got started with our plan.

Phase 1:  The Marshmallow Bank

First, I gave each of the kids 5 marshmallows.  I told them that those marshmallows were theirs to do whatever they wanted with.    But, if they wanted to put the marshmallows in the marshmallow bank the marshmallows might grow.  My 12 year old and 9 year old decided to put all of their five marshmallows into the marshmallow bank.  My 5 year old decided to eat three of his marshmallows and put the other two into the bank.  I took the marshmallows away and put them into the “bank” (aka my closet).  We left those marshmallows alone to sit in the bank for a while and we moved onto Phase 2!

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Phase 2:    Real Life

For Phase 2 I really wanted to give my kids an understanding of exactly where mom and dad’s money goes each month and WHY we just can’t give them every.single.thing. they want all the time!  I also wanted to give them an understanding of what responsibilities they will need to expect when they become adults.

To prepare I got out enough cash to resemble how much money my husband earns in one month (I did this during the first of the month when I had a bunch of cash on hand from my cash envelopes).  We pretended that a quarter was $25, $1 was $100, $5 was $500, $10 was $1,000 and $20 was $2,000.  I then got three bowls filled with snacks.  The first bowl had cheerios in it and a $50 sign, the next bowl had fruit snacks with a $100 sign on it and the last bowl had a few mini candy bars in it with a $500 sign.

I gave the kids all of the “money” that our family has to live off of for one month.  I explained that after they paid all of their monthly bills than they could use whatever money is left to go shopping at our “store.”  At this point the kids were SO excited about their money.  All of those bills looked like a gigantic wad of sum to those three young kids.  They could not wait to buy out the entire store!

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Then the bills began…

We listed off every bill that we have to pay each month and how much that cost.  As we listed it off the kids had to pay us their “money” for those bills.  We included everything!  They had to pay for life insurance, car insurance, retirement savings, college savings, sports and piano lessons.  They paid for electricity, groceries, car repairs, and a few date nights.  We had them put money into their emergency savings account.  If it was on our real budget, the kids saved for it.  As the huge wad of cash slowly dwindled the looks on the kids faces kept dropping and dropping.

Once the bills were all done being paid my daughter exclaimed, “But where did all of our money go?!?!”  The kids had about $10 leftover, an equivalent of $1000.  Not enough to buy each of them one of the coveted candy bars.  They had to settle for a few fruits snacks and cheerios.

Phase 3:  The Lesson

At first the kids were a little upset.  They were asking questions like, “So does this mean we don’t have any money?!?!”  and “I don’t understand where the money went.”  We then explained to them that we do have money.  We have enough to pay for everything in our budget, everything that they had to pay for.  We have enough for the soccer camp, the piano lessons, food on our tables, the necessary clothing and occasional fun family activity.  We talked about how we have enough money for those things.  But, we do not have enough money for ALL the things.  We talked about why and how we make a budget each month, how some months we might budget for a fun family activity and another month we will budget for new school clothes.

As the conversation continued I could see the understanding start to set in their eyes.  They began to realize the importance of a budget and why they are told no to some of the things they ask for.  They learned the importance of saving money each month and budgeting for the many bills that come with being an adult.

Phase 4:  Investments

Now it was time to check how our investments were doing in the “marshmallow bank.”  When I went to go get the marshmallows I tripled the amount of marshmallows each of the kids had in their bowl.  My 12 and 9 year old ended up with 15 marshmallows and my 5 year old had 6 marshmallows.  My 5 year old was a little disappointed when he saw how little marshmallows he had compared to his two older sisters.

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We then explained to the kids the importance of investing your money and how if you do it wisely your money will grow.  We demonstrated how the more money you invest, the more money you will earn in return.

I was so very happy with how this money lesson turned out.  My kids really seemed to understand and grasp what we were teaching them.  The conversations we had throughout the lesson were very real and mature and I am hoping this is something my kids will remember as they grow up and begin making their own personal money choices.  And once we were all done we totally let them have a few of the mini candy bars…..just because I try to be a nice mom.  Sometimes.  😉

 

 

 

for free · Frugal Life · Holidays

Mothers Day Gift Guide: 15 FREE Gift Ideas

I love Mothers Day.  I love being showered by my kids and husband with thoughtful gifts and notes.  I love celebrating all moms out there for the love and work they do every day of their lives.  Being a mom is without a doubt the most difficult, yet most beautiful thing I have ever done.  It is my favorite title and the thing that brings me the absolute most joy into my life.  Gifts do not need to cost very much many, in fact some of the best gifts cost no money!  The only thing that matters is that it comes from the heart.  I brainstormed 15 free gift ideas to give your mom for mothers day.

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  1.  Write a sweet note.  My love language is words of affirmation and nothing means more to me than receiving a kind and genuine note.  Tell your mother what you love and appreciate about her.  Let her know the impact she has made on your life.
  2. A bouquet of fresh flowers.  Pick some flowers from your hard, or maybe some wild flowers.  Put them in a mason jar or tin can, make sure to add a pretty ribbon tied around it.
  3. Offer to make her dinner.  As a busy mom, I love getting a night off from cooking dinner., I bet your mom feels the same way!  Invite her over for dinner and cook a few of her favorite foods.
  4. Mom and daughter book club.  Check out two copies of the same book from your local public library.  Tell her you will both read the book and get together every week to discuss it.  You will have your own mini book club!
  5.  DIY hand sugar scrub.  There are a lot of great recipes for sugar scrubs on Pinterest.  I usually mix coconut oil with sugar and add a few drops of lavender essential oil.  I keep the scrub stored in a mason jar.  It works great!
  6. Make a Top Ten List.  List the Top Ten things you love about your mom.  Use some cute scrapbook paper or fancy fonts to give the list a little extra flare.
  7. Favorite memories e-mail.  Send mom an e-mail with a few pictures of the favorite memories you have together.  Explain to her why those moments are so special to you.  If you are tech savvy, put together a video montage with music of all of your special pictures.
  8. Weed her flowerbeds.  When spring comes, so do the weeds (unfortunately!).  Help mom out by weeding her flowerbeds.  She will love a break from all the work and will appreciate the thoughtful service.
  9. Homemade cookies.  Does your mom have a favorite cookie or treat?  Make mom her favorite dessert.  Wrap it in saran wrap and put a pretty bow on top.  Remembering what she likes will be a sweet gesture.
  10. Wash her car.  Surprise her with a free car wash.  You could even show a little extra love and detail the inside by dusting and vacuuming it out.
  11. Gift of time.  What better way to show your mom that you care than to spend time with her.  Ask her to spend quality time just the two of you.  This could be by going on a walk, playing a game, doing a craft, or attending a free community event.
  12. Give her a pedicure.  Bring your nail polish over to moms house and paint her toes and fingernails.  She will love having a little girl bonding time.
  13. Make a quote jar.  Cut out a bunch of your favorite motivational quotes and put them in a mason jar.  Tell her she can pull out a quote each day to help her feel loved and inspired.
  14. Crafty gift.  Do you like to craft?  Find an easy craft you could make for mom.  Challenge yourself to make it by only using supplies that you already have at home.
  15. Be there for her.  Take the entire day off from other commitments and just be there for your mom.  Spend the entire day with her.  Help her around the house, share inside jokes, and show her you care making her your priority for the entire day.

What are you giving mom for mothers day?  What are some of your favorite free gifts that have been gifted to you??  Share in the comments so we can all learn together!

If you would rather spend a little bit of money on mom check out my post Fabulous DEALS Friday: Mothers Day Gifts Under $15! to find some budget friendly, yet very cute gift ideas for mom!

Recipes

Easy Pizza Night ideas

I talked about one of our favorite family traditions in my post:  My favorite easy Homemade Pizza Crust Recipe.  We all look forward to Friday nights to eat pizza and watch a movie together.

To save on costs I always try to make the pizza at home.  Some Fridays we use My favorite easy Homemade Pizza Crust Recipe, but to try to help us not getting bored with pizza (but seriously, who could get bored of pizza?!?) I try to change the pizza up from time to time.

Here are two very easy, simple pizza ideas for your next pizza night.  The kids love helping with both of these, and It’s a lot easier than making a crust!  😉

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French Bread Pizza

Slice a loaf of french bread in half.  Place both slices on a baking sheet and cook in 350 degree oven for about 5 minutes.  You do not want it to get toasty, but it helps to harden up the bread just a bit.

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After a few minutes in the oven take it out and put all of your toppings on it.  Bake it in the oven for about 15 minutes, or until cheese is melted.  Slice and serve!

 

Pizza on Rolls

I have made pizza this way using two different methods.  I have used Pillsbury biscuits from the can.  I have also used Rhodes Freezer Rolls.  I think that I prefer the Rhodes rolls better.  But, the Pillsbury biscuits are a little easier because they don’t need time to thaw.

Take the Rhodes Freezer Rolls out of the freezer three hours before you will need to eat.  Place them on a baking sheet to thaw.

Once they are all thawed and had a little time to rise you are ready to make your pizzas!

Gently smoosh and pull the rolls to form flat pizza circles.  This is the step your kids will really want to help with.  Place them on a greased pan.  Add your toppings, let everyone top their own individual pizza just the way they want it.

Bake in 400 degree oven for 15 minutes until cheese is melted and crust is slightly browned.

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They are all ready to eat!  Enjoy your own little personal pizza!

Fabulous DEALS Friday · for free · Free Fun · Frugal Life

34 Places that will give you FREE stuff on your Birthday!

Today just so happens to be my birthday!  Yay!  Happy Birthday to me!

I received my annual birthday coupon for an appetizer or dessert from Carrabba’s in my e-mail a few days ago and I started wondering about what other places I could sign up with to receive FREE stuff on my birthday.  (I loooove free!)  I did some research and because I am turning 34  I found 34 places that will give you FREE stuff just for having a birthday!  It’s great!  All you have to do is sign up for their e-mails (or some require a download of an app) and you’ll be eating free for your entire birthday week!  Check out all the great birthday freebies below!

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Free Meals

IHOP:  IHOP will give you a Free Meal just for signing up, on your birthday, AND on your sign-up anniversary!

Tucanos:  Earn points and rewards with Tucanos and a Free Birthday Meal!

Firehouse Sub:  Firehouse will gift you a Free Medium Sub every birthday.

Rainforest Cafe:  Sign up for Rainforest Cafe Club and receive a free $25 welcome gift AND a $25 gift on your birthday!

Black Bear Diner:  Black Bear Diner will send you a Free birthday meal.

bd’s Mongolian Grill:  Join bd’s Mongolian Grill and receive a free $5 off gift and a Free Meal on your birthday!

Ruby Tuesday:  Free burger or Garden Bar entree every birthday!

Benihana: Benihanas will e-mail you a $30 gift certificate for your birthday.

Dessert/Appetizzer

Marble Slab:  Earn points and rewards and $5 coupon on your birthday AND on your sign-up anniversary!

Dippin Dots:  Free Dippin Dots on your birthday!

Sprinkles Cupcakes:  Sprinkles will give you a Free Cupcake on your birthday!

A&W:  Free Root Beer Float at A&W!

Carrabbas Italian Grill:  Carrabbas will send you a birthday coupon for a Free dessert or Appetizzer!

On the Border:  Free Queso for signing up with On the Border AND on your birthday.

Rita’s Ice:  Free birthday treat from Rita’s Ice!

Red Mango:  Red Mango will give you a $5 reward every birthday.

Del Taco:  Get two free tacos for signing up with Del Taco AND a birthday milkshake.

Orange Leaf:  Join Orange Leaf to earn points and rewards and $3 off on your birthday!

Dunkin Donuts:  Free beverage for signing up and and your birthday.

Surprise Gift/Extra

Rodizio Grill:  Rodizio Grill will send you a surprise coupon on your birthday.

La Madeleine:  Free soup or salad for signing up and a surprise birthday treat.

Baja:  Sign up for Club Baja and you will receive a free taco and a birthday treat!

Marie Callenders:  Free gift for signing up Marie Callender’s E-Club and birthday coupons!

Famous Daves:  Free Birthday gift when you join Famous Nation.

The Melting Pot:  Melting Pot will send you coupons for your birthday.

Redbox:  Redbox will gift you a Free movie rental for your birthday AND your sign up anniversary!

Steak n Shake:  Special treat for your birthday and a special anniversary.

Applebees:  Sign up for Applebees and receive a free birthday special.

Texas De Brazil:  Free coupons on your birthday AND anniversary!

Pretzelmaker:  Pretzelmaker will send you a special treat for your birthday!

Red Lobster:  Join Red Lobster Rewards for points, rewards and a birthday surprise.

Cinnabon:  Birthday surprise from cinnabon AND a free cinnabon just for signing up.

Edible Arrangements:  Sign up with Edible Arrangements and receive a free birthday gift!

Perkins:  When you join with Perkins you will automatically receive 20% off, and then a special surprise on your birthdays.

It’s so fun receiving all these free coupons in your e-mail during your birthday week.  I signed up for a few more while I was researching and am looking forward to receiving them next birthday!  There’s nothing better than FREE!]

Do you have any other places that sends you free coupons on your birthday?  Share them in the comments to help us all benefit!

for free · Frugal Life · Good Ideas · Recipes

Homemade Bathroom Cleaner

My least favorite room to clean in the house is the bathroom.  I’m sure I am not alone in this!  I always put this job off for days!  I would rather make this homemade bathroom cleaner than actually use it.  😉

I started making my homemade bathroom cleaner a few years ago and have not looked back!  Making your own bathroom cleaner is so easy and is a great way to save money!  Buying it in the store can get pricey.  For this recipe I always have the ingredients on hand and it only takes me a few minutes to put it all together.

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You will need a plastic spray bottle.  I recommend spending a few extra dollars rather than buying the cheapest bottle.  It will last much longer this way.

Ingredients:

2 tsp. baking soda

1 cup vinegar

1/3 cup lemon juice

1/4 cup dish soap

1 1/2 cups water

First, add the baking soda to the spray bottle and then add the vinegar.  I do this in the sink, and do it slowly because it will foam.

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Squeeze the foam out and then add the rest of the ingredients.  After all of the ingredients are added put the lid back on the bottle and shake it up really good.  That’s it!  You are ready to tackle the bathroom!  This lasts me about a year and I use it for every part of the bathroom; the toilet, sink, countertops, shower and bath.

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It does make cleaning the bathroom maybe SLIGHTLY more enjoyable if I know that I am saving money while doing it.  Right?!?!

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Do you make your own cleaners?  Have you noticed a savings when doing so?

Travel

Kauai on a Budget

I am a Amazon affiliate and may receive compensation from links clicked on in this post.

 

I have never seen anywhere more breathtaking than the beautiful Hawaiian Island of Kauai.  With it’s gorgeous green mountains, cascading waterfalls, and picturesque beaches, it is my idea of a perfect vacation spot.

When I was planning our trip to Kauai I spent hours and hours researching everything there is to know about the “Garden Isle.”  I wanted to enjoy every inch of the island, but without having to spend much money.

I read a lot of books about Kauai and the very very best one I found was The Ultimate Kauai Guidebook: Kauai Revealed.  This book was everything!  I consulted it about beaches, hotels, restaurants, etc.  EVERYTHING you could want to know about Kauai is in this wonderful perfect book.  My husband teases me that I have it memorized because of all the facts I kept spouting out of it.  🙂  Seriously though, if you are going to Kauai read The Ultimate Kauai Guidebook: Kauai Revealed.

After a lot of research and planning we were able to plan the perfect vacation and stayed within the budget.  Today’s post is going to be sharing what worked for us and all of the money saving tips I learned along the way.

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Where to Stay

We were able to find a condo to rent for $100 a night on VRBO.com.  It was a studio on the beach with a small kitchenette.  Having the kitchenette enabled us to make a lot of our meals right in the condo.  VRBO is seriously amazing for finding great deals on lodging while traveling.  It has a lot of options and was very easy and great to work with.  I will use them every single time I travel to Hawaii.

We decided to stay on the East Shore so that we would have easy access to both the North and South sides.  It was only ten minutes from the airport and very quick and easy to find.  The East Shore hotels were all cheaper than the other areas, which is exactly what I was looking for!  We did have a beach front property, but the waves are very strong on the East Shore and it was not a safe beach for swimming.  This didn’t bother us, but it is important to point out in case others are needing something different.

Rental Car

If you want to spend any time outside of your resort you will need a rental car in Kauai.  We reserved an economy sized vehicle on discounthawaiicarrental.com for ONLY $6 a day.  YES!  You read that right!  $6 a day!   The prices change often so you will want to check the website frequently, and when you find a low price make sure to snatch it up because the price will change.

Where to Eat

We ate most of our meals in our condo.  Immediately after arriving in Kauai we went to the local grocery store and stocked up on easy quick foods to prepare throughout the week.  We stopped at Foodland in Kapaa, but I know others who do their shopping at Walmart or Costco.  We had fruit and toast for breakfasts, packed sandwiches for lunch and stopped for quick dinners while we were out exploring.  A few of our favorite cheap eateries were Tacos Al Pastor, Da Crack, Hanalei Taro & Juice Company, and Puka Dog.

We ate Shaved Ice every day while in Hawaii.  It is so good and is a MUST try!  Our favorite shaved ice was at Hee Fat General Store in Kapaa.  We always ordered one to share to save a little extra money.  We did splurge on ordering real fruit syrup, this was definitely worth the splurge.

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What to Do

There are so many fun FREE activities to do on Kauai.  You do not need to spend a lot of money, or any money to have a great vacation.  We had a great week adventuring around the island and spent very little money on activities.

Snorkel Bobs

We rented snorkel gear for the week from Snorkel Bobs.  It was only about $15 for the entire week.  It was so nice to have the gear with us all the time so we could pull it out whenever we came across a great snorkel area.  Our two favorite snorkeling beaches are Hideaways and Turtles.  Snorkeling is very best in the morning, so get their early!

Beaches

Kauai has so many beautiful beaches.  With golden coarse sand, blue turquoise water, and large green mountains for a backdrop it is the perfect place to spend a day relaxing and playing in sun and sand.  The beaches and parking are all FREE, so take advantage of them!

Our favorite beaches on the North Shore were Kee and Hideaways.  Kee is at the end of the very end of the road.  Parking is limited and fills up quickly, so I recommend getting there first thing.  Hideaways is a little bit harder to find which makes it a perfect, quiet, and uncrowded beach.  To get there we used valet parking at the St.Regis Princeville (this is free, but it is a good idea to tip!).  There is a trail a short distance away to hike down to the beach.  The trail is steep and slippery, so wear good shoes.

Our favorite beach on the South Shore was Kiahuna Beach, also known as Sheraton Beach.  Kiahuna Beach is located directly in front of the Sheraton Kauai Resort.

Hiking

Kauai is known as the adventure island for good reason!  There are so many beautiful hikes to do and beautiful places to explore.

Our first day we hiked along the Kalalau Trail.  This is an intense 11 mile long hike along the Napali Coast.  We just hiked the first two miles of it to Hanakapiai Beach.  The views along this trail were incredible.  The majority is right alongside the ocean.  The Kalalau trail starts out extremely rocky and steep, so be prepared.  It is worth hiking the first 1/2 mile at least for a fantastic view of Kee Beach.

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Secret Falls

Secret Falls is a magestic 100 foot waterfall deep in the rainforest.  The only way to get to  Secret Falls is to kayak down the Wailua River and then hike about 30 minutes through the rainforest.  You could pay for a guided tour that will take you to Secret Falls, but we decided to go with a much cheaper option.

We rented a kayak from Kamokila Hawaiian Village in Kapaa.  It is right on the Wailua River and you launch the kayak right from the village.  It cost us $35 for a daily rental.  They give you a map showing where you need to go and will answer any questions you might have.

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We kayaked about 15 minutes up the river, docked the kayaks and hiked to the waterfall.  This trail is very muddy, so bring water shoes!  We passed MANY people hiking barefoot because it was to muddy for sneakers.  When we arrived at Secret Falls a large tour group just happened to be leaving and we were able to have the entire place to ourselves.  It was so fun swimming under the waterfall.

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Once we got back to our kayak we paddled up stream another 5 minutes to a cliff jumping spot and were able to jump off the cliff and swim in the river for a little while.

We loved this entire day and it was really so easy to rent and find where to go all by ourselves.

Sightseeing

There are so many great sight seeing stops around the island.  They are all free and fun to stop at.  I’ll list a few of our favorites.

East Shore

Wailua Falls:  These falls are very easy to get to, and a only a quick stop alongside the road.  They are absolutely breathtaking!

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Opaekaa Falls:  I’ll be honest, I was a little underwhelmed by Opaekaa Falls.  But, I do know of many others who have enjoyed seeing them.  They are very easy access right off the road and only take a few minutes to view.

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South Shore

Tree Tunnel:  While driving into Poipu on the South Shore you will pass through what’s known as the Tree Tunnel.  It is a beautiful section of road lined with Eucalyptus Trees.

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Spouting Horn:  Spouting Horn is located near Poipu Beach.  A blowhole is naturally formed when water crashes through a small hole in the lava rocks.  The water can reach up to 50 feet in the air.

Waimea Canyon:  The road to Waimea Canyon is a little long, but the views are spectacular!  It is called the Grand Canyon of the Pacific.  The reds of the canyon next to the green vegetation were breathtaking!  We did not spend a lot of time here, but there are a lot of hikes in the area that all sound fun to do and explore.  Drive a little further up the road and view the Kalalau Valley Lookout.  It is another view of the beautiful Napali coast and was once home to an ancient Hawaiian village. The history buff in me enjoyed imagining what life was once like there.

North Shore

The North Shore is my FAVORITE and the next time I go to Kauai I will be spending all of my time here!  It is so green and dense with vegetation.  This is the part of the Island that gives Kauai the nickname the Garden Island.

Kilauea Lighthouse:  This picturesque lighthouse is located just a few minutes off the main  highway.  It is a beautiful sight..  We only viewed it from the parking lot, but I know that there is a bird sanctuary and other fun things to see.

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Hanalei Pier:  Hanalei Beach wasn’t my favorite, but it was a very pretty area to view and I am glad we made the visit.  It is a popular place for boogie boarding and surfing and we were able to catch a few waves and a bunch of laughs for the afternoon.  I did love walking out on the pier and watching the locals jumping off.

Hanalei Valley Lookout:  Right along the main road right, just past Princeville you will find this beautiful area of taro farms.  They look like a green patchwork quilt and is a great stopping spot for a few pictures.  When we were there we counted 8 waterfalls on the mountain right behind the field.  It was a breathtaking sight!

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Souvenirs

The best place to find souvenirs is at the ABC Store.  We stopped at the one in Kapaa on our last day in Kauai.  I was happily surprised and impressed to see how much cheaper the souvenirs were here than at the other places we looked at during the week.  They have all your typical souvenirs; shirts, trinkets, food, etc.  We bought a few things to bring back home to our kids.

 

If you do some research and planning you can visit Kauai on a budget!  We spent less than $2,000 for our entire trip.  Half of that was spent on airfare.

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Have you ever been to Kauai?  What was your favorite thing that you did?

 

Affiliate · Bargain Buys · Fabulous DEALS Friday

Fabulous DEALS Friday: Extra 25% off on Gymboree Clothes with coupon code

I may get compensated for links included in this post.  All opinions are my own.  I only share items I truly believe are a fabulous deal and that I would personally buy.

For this week Gymboree has EVERYTHING on their site 40% off and if you use coupon code HAPPYDANCE at checkout you will get an EXTRA 25% off the already discounted price.  Gymboree has very high quality clothes and I know when I buy something from them it will actually LAST!

I searched through the website and found some darling clothes!  EVERYTHING I am posting is UNDER $10!  🙂  I only shop if it’s a GREAT deal!

Girls Clothing Deals

These Frenchie Leggings are so cute and after the coupon code they are only $2.70.  I only buy leggings for my girls if they are under $3.

This Leopard Infinity Scarf is only $3.60 after the coupon code.  This would be really cute to buy and save it for back to school next fall.

This Classic Tee is really cute.  I love the little extra detail in the shoulders to the original tee style.  After the discount this shirt is only $4.50!

I love this Quilted Sparkle Skirt.  My youngest daughter loves to wear skirts all summer and I think this one looks perfect for play or dressing it up a little.  After the discount the skirt is only $6.39.

I was really excited to find these Skinny Jeans.  They come to only $9 after the coupon code.  For high quality jeans, this is a really good deal!!

 

This Pineapple Tee is so cute and fun for summer.  It is only $6.75 after the coupon code!

 

Boys Clothing Deals

I bought this Plaid Bow Tie for my boy.  I love little boys in bow ties and this one was a good deal!  Only $4.50 after the coupon was applied.

This Spider Man shirt is so cute.  My son loves superheros and is going to be excited when I pull this out for him to wear.  After the coupon code is applied it is only $5.85!

I love this Plane Lunchbox.  I kind of wish my son needed a new lunch box so I could get him this one!  It is just $5.85 after the discount.

This is a great deal on Cargo Shorts, just in time for summer.  These shorts come to only $6.75!

 

This Hooded Tee is really cute.  I think it would be a great one to buy and save for the Fall for Back to School Time.  Only $9 after the coupon code!

 

Everything on the website has the 40% off with the additional 25% off with coupon code HAPPYDANCE.  There were to many good deals to post, so feel free to check them out and see what darling things you find!

 

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!

 

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What I have learned about living a sweet and frugal life on ONE income

“How do you do it!?”  is a question I have been asked multiple times;  “How do you raise your family on only one income!?!?”

I never really know how to respond to this question.  Honestly, living on one income is all I’ve ever known.  My oldest was born one month after I graduated from college and I chose to become a stay at home mom.

My husband is a good and hard worker, but he is a blue collar worker and he does not earn a large paycheck.  We have had ups and downs and I have had to learn to change from a SPENDER to a natural SAVER.  It has not always been easy, but I have learned a few things along the way to make it more doable.

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As a Stay At Home Mom (SAHM), I do not earn a physical paycheck.  But, that does not mean that I don’t contribute to the family finances.  I consider it a large part of my job to stretch my husbands paycheck as far as I can.  A SAHMs paycheck comes in the form of saving money, budgeting smartly, spending less instead of more.  Taking this part of my job seriously has helped us to save more and live more contently.

Make a Budget and Stick to it

At the end of every month we have a “Budget Meeting” where my husband and I sit down and discuss our finances and make our budget for the next month.  It is not always easy to stick to this budget (especially not at first).  But the more we kept working on it, the easier it has become and the more freedom we have felt.  Having this budget keeps my money in check AND gives me freedom to spend without feeling guilty.  We prefer to spend most of our money using cash, you can read more about why and how we do so here:  The Envelope Money System: A Beginners Guide.

Do NOT spend a lot of Money on Kids Clothes

When you are shopping for your kids clothes, do not spend a lot of money on them!  It’s hard with all these darling cute little outfits, but I promise it is a waste of money.  Kids grow out of clothes way to quickly, they spend most of their time playing outside getting their clothes dirty, and honestly, most kids (especially younger kids) do not care how much their clothes cost or what brand they are wearing.

I’ve learned a few little tricks to save money on kids clothes:

  1.  SAVE everything.  If you are planning on having more children, then save all of your kids clothes.  That way when the next child comes you will already have plenty of clothing that you can use again.  I organized all my children’s old clothes into boxes (diaper boxes work great for this!) or Tupperware bins (I can usually find these for pretty cheap at Walmart) and then I labeled them by the age and gender of the clothing, for easy access to them later.
  2. When at all possible buy USED!  There are a lot of great options available right now for parents to be able to buy good quality used children’s clothing.  My favorite option is a local children’s consignment store.  Check to see if you have one in your area and stop in regularly.  Some days I leave without buying anything, but other days I leave buying almost new name brand items.  A few other options are thrift stores, garage sales, and ebay.  All of these are great resources, especially if you check them often.
  3. Shop off season.  Usually in the spring you can find winter clothes on a huge discount and in the fall summer clothes has a big discount.  Buy a size up from what your child is wearing currently and save it for them to wear the next year.
  4. Sell clothes you will not need anymore.  If you aren’t planning on having any other children and you have clothes that they have grown out of, SELL these items.  They can be sold on Facebook marketplace, the local consignment store or at a garage sale.  If you are going to get rid of them anyways you might as well make a few bucks right!?!
  5. Utilize discount stores such as Ross and TJ Maxx.  I have found some great deals on brand new clothes for good prices at both of these stores.

Meal Plan!

Every week on Tuesdays you will find me with my pen and paper.  This is the day I plan all our breakfasts, snacks and dinners for the week.  Lunches are more of a loose plan and I just try to have sandwich fixings on hand at all times.  Having a meal plan helps stop the temptation to buy fast food or go out to a restaurant to eat.  When making your weekly Meal Plan look through ads at your local grocery stores to see what the stores have on sale.  Try to plan your meal plan around those sales.  It takes time, but it saves a lot of money.  You know the saying, “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.”  Make a plan!

Cook from Scratch

Cook from scratch as often as possible.  I still throw a frozen lasagna into the oven occasionally, but I have learned that the more I cook from scratch the more money I will save.  Search Pinterest for ideas on snacks and meals to make.  A few of my recipes are posted here How I use ONE Roast for THREE MealsHomemade Graham Cracker RecipeThe absolute easiest Pasta Bake Recipe!, and My favorite easy Homemade Pizza Crust Recipe.  Cooking in the kitchen can be a fun family activity.  My kids LOVE to help me in the kitchen!  We turn on some tunes, dance and laugh together while we cook.

Travel Frugally

I do think it is important to plan family travels.  It is a great way to make memories and build friendships.  But, you do not need a fancy expensive vacation to make memories.  Explore areas nearby for your family vacation.  Become tourists in your own area. Go camping at a nearby National Park, spend a couple of nights at a hotel for a “Staycation”, or explore a few local museums.  Join Groupon and look for deals that you can use as a family.  Your town just might be more interesting than you originally thought, and your kids will appreciate the extra time spent together.

Consult Pinterest cautiously

As a mom Pinterest is my go-to resource for finding kid activities and recipes.  However, if you are trying to save money you should view Pinterest cautiously.  It is far to easy to get swept away with the fancy decor and lavish birthday parties.  These are fun, and I do not put down anyone who likes to go a little over the top for their children, but for those of us who are trying to save a few bucks it is not always the best route.  Enjoy your time browsing Pinterest, but be careful not to get swept away in the pins that will end up only costing you more money.

The best things in life are actually free

Sometimes it’s hard to see others going on exotic vacations and buying fancy new vehicles.  But, I have learned that the best things in life are actually free.  Try to find joy and contentment in the simple things in your life.  Going on a family bike ride, dancing in the kitchen, and snuggling with my kids while reading books are all moments that I will treasure forever.  No amount of money is worth more than these quiet times with my children.  When we learn to find joy in these special free moments (something I am constantly working on) those lavish vacations won’t seem near as tempting.

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