Affiliate · Amazon · Birthday · For the kids · Frugal Life

Budget Friendly Pancake and Pajama Birthday Party for Tweens!

Disclosure:  “We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.”

Why is it every time my kids have a birthday I get so emotional????  Please tell me I’m not alone in this!  It is so fun to watch my kids grow into amazing people, but oh how my heart hurts to see just how fast time passes and how quickly my babes grow!

We celebrated my daughters 10th birthday last week!  I may have shred a tear or two, but I mostly enjoyed celebrating her sweet life!

I throw my kids a birthday party with their friends every other year.  This year happened to be the year for my daughters party.  It took us a few days to come up with a theme that felt a little more “grown up” for her.  Take a look at my article Fun Birthday Traditions for Small Budgets for a few other ways we celebrate birthdays.

We finally decided that a Pancake and Pajamas Birthday Party would be the perfect party for young tween girls.

Like all of my parties (LEGO Birthday Party for Under $20), I try to plan simple, fun and FRUGAL.  I want it to be a special day for my kids and all of the party goers….but I also want it to be the least amount of stress possible for me!  (that’s just how I roll!)

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The Invites

I spent $2 on the invitations.

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I found the cutest invites at the Dollar Tree!  Seriously, how cute are these?!?!  They were perfect in every way, cute enough to keep my daughter excited and cheap enough to keep me satisfied!

The Decor

By using items I already had at home I was able to spend $0 (yes, zero!) on decorations for this party!

I went with the colors turquoise, pink and white.  I hung a few streamers and balloons around the house, and made some tissue paper pom poms for a fun statement over the dining room table.  I have an easy tutorial for my Tissue Paper Pom-Poms.

It turned out beautiful!  I was so happy the way the colors all went together.

 

 

The Table

I spent $5 on the table decor/paper plates.

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I bought the plates, utensils, cups, napkins and table cloth at Walmart for $.97 each.

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The centerpieces were put together using items I had at home.  I simply filled a mason jar with fruit loop cereal and put a flower inside.  So easy!  So cute!  The girls loved munching on the cereal while they were waiting for the food to be ready.

The Food

By trying to use food I already had at home, I spent $10 on a few remaining items.

Beings how this was a Pancake party, I tried to make the food a fun part of the party.  (and…while I was so busy doing that….I failed to take any pictures of the food, oops!)

I cooked up a large batch of pancakes, and provided a fun array of toppings for the girls to choose from.  We had nutella, strawberries, blueberries, whipped cream, maple syrup, raspberry syrup, and sprinkles (it was a birthday after all 😉 ).

I overestimated the amount of food these girls would eat.  We ended up with a lot of leftovers!

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The Games/Craft

The activities were my biggest budget item.  I spent $40 on the activities.  A few of these activities doubled as the “goody bag.”

After the girls were done eating we played a few simple games.  We played Silent Football, Human Knot, and “The Cereal Game.”

I made up The Cereal Game based off of a White Elephant Game.

I bought 9 mini cereal boxes9 mini cereal boxes (1 for each girl) and made 9 slips of paper each with a number on it (1-9).

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The girls sat in a circle and each picked a number.  The number they drew was the order when they would be able to choose a cereal.

The first girl was able to choose from all of the cereals.  The next girl had the option to choose from what was left in the middle or steal from the first girl.  Play continues in the same way until all the girls have each had a turn to steal or choose from the middle.  If a cereal is stolen from you, you will receive a turn to steal from another person or choose from the middle.  A cereal can only be stolen twice until it is “dead,” meaning it can not be stolen again.

This game ended up being a huge hit!  They each loved having a mini cereal box to take home with them.

After the games we did a fun craft.  I gave each of the girls a white pillow case and then using fabric markers, they were able to color and decorate it.  Honestly, before the party I wasn’t sure how long they would want to sit still and color, but they surprised me!  They sat quietly for a good 20 minutes decorating their pillow cases.  They loved this craft!  This activity was the biggest expense of the party,  but I decided it was well worth the money.  I found the cheapest pillowcases were in bulk on Amazon.

 

The Results

I spent $57 on this party.

The Pancakes and Pajamas Party was such a fun party!  I loved seeing all the girls show up in their darling PJs and have a “mini sleepover”!

Now, I get to enjoy my sweet girl at age ten…..and keep hoping someone invites a special potion that will make kids stop growing!

 

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Good Ideas · Grocery Haul · Homemade

Grocery Haul 10/08

This week I spent $100 on groceries and a few other needs.  I have included my weekly dinner meal plan for the week as well!

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Other Needs

I bought shampoo and dog food (not pictured).

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Produce

My produce this week was cuties, two oranges, potatoes, spinach, carrots, apples, and lettuce.

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Dairy/Meats

In the dairy department this week I bought whipping cream, greek yogurt, blueberry yogurt, string cheese, cheddar cheese, cream cheese, butter and italian sausage.

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Bakery

This week I bought two loaves of wheat bread, blueberry bagels and a can of yeast.

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Cereal

I bought two boxes of cheerios, a box of rice krispies, and a bag of malt-o-meal frosted mini spooners.

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Other

A few odds and ends were marshmallows, candy melts, pumpkin puree (yay for pumpkin!), and 4 packets of taco seasoning.

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All of this came to $102.10 after taxes.

 

Affiliate · Amazon · Crafts · Family · For the kids · Gift Ideas · Good Ideas · Halloween · Holidays

The Easiest No Sew Halloween Trick or Treat Bag

Disclosure:  “We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.”

Halloween is just around the corner!  I love this time of year!  I love the pumpkins, the crisp cool air, the changing leaves, and the excitement in my children.  My kids love to dress up as anything they want and run around the neighborhood trick or treating.

I got the urge to craft the other day and decided it would be so fun to make my kids new bags for trick or treating.  I wanted to create something cute, but also simple and frugal (because that’s how I roll!).

I came up with the idea of a no sew trick or treat bag.  I’ll be honest with you….it was even EASIER than I originally had planned!  (win!)

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Trick or Treat Bag Tutorial

Supplies Needed:

– Canvas Craft Tote

– Scrap fabric

Wonder Under

– Iron/ironing board

– Pattern for tracing

Let’s Begin:

You will first need to find your pattern for tracing.  I asked my kids what picture they wanted on their bags and they requested a spider and a cat.

After a quick google search I was able to find a couple of good tracing patterns.  Print these off and then cut out the shape.

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Now, follow the directions found on your wonder under fusing.

I cut out a large square of wonder under (large enough to cover the entire shape), and ironed the rough side onto the wrong side of the fabric.

Use your tracing pattern to trace the shape onto the paper side of the wonder under.

Once the pattern is traced, cut the picture out (fabric and all).

Last, you will gently pull off the paper backing of the wonder under.  Center it on the bag, and then iron it.

I have found that holding the iron steady for 5-10 seconds over each section of the picture helps give the applique a nice firm hold.

That’s it!  You’re done!  See, I told you it would be easy!!  It probably took me a total of one hour to finish both bags!  Quick crafting, is my type of crafting!

There are so many fun possibilities for these bags!  Pumpkin, ghost, witch hat, bat, skeleton, or lettering would all make darling trick or treat bags!

I can’t wait to watch my kids go trick or treating with their new bags!

 

 

Family · Finances · Frugal Life · Good Ideas · Money Educatioin · Money Helps · Parenting · Travel

The life lessons that taught me to budget for JOY while living in the present!

budget for joy

I’ve been asked a few times my opinion about spending money on life experiences right now, or if it’s best to keep saving and wait for the future.

The obvious answer from a frugal, budget loving blogger, who loves to encourage everyone to spend conservatively and plan for their future, would be to advise everyone to wait until later and build your wealth now…..

However……..

I actually feel very strongly about the importance of budgeting money to experience JOYFUL experiences right now.  In THIS moment….because, you know what, those golden years you are anxiously waiting for, they just might not come…..

My sweet mother was a huge saver.  I have learned ALL of my frugal ways from her.  And, the truth is……I’m still not as frugal as she was, I don’t think I’ll EVER be as frugal as she was.

I think the thing I admire most about her is the fact that she did NOT need to be frugal, she had a very comfortable income.  She CHOSE to be frugal because she understood the value of saving money.

She passed away when she was 48.  I was 22.

Losing her at such a young age has had a HUGE impact on the way I view life.  I have developed the mindset that life is temporary, short, and fragile.  It is a gift to be treasured and celebrated.

I am fairly confident in saying that my natural instincts would be to save EVERYTHING for the future and look forward to enjoying life once that comfortable retirement kicks in.

But…..my life experiences, have taught me a different lesson.  I do believe in saving for your future…..I ALSO believe in spending some money on enjoying life in the present.

I have begun to focus on BALANCE.

It MUST be a priority to pay off all debt, save aggressively for your retirement, save to send your kids to college, try to build wealth, etc…..

At the same time, you need to budget for a little bit of JOY.

This does NOT mean it’s ok to go on a luxury vacation while charging everything to your credit card.  This is NOT an excuse to blow your budget because you are “enjoying life.”

It does mean it is ok (and I would argue important) to give yourself some fun money, take a break every now and then, explore the areas around you, and LIVE life to it’s fullest.

This will look different for everyone.  For some this could be a weekend road trip, others might prefer a quiet stay cation.  It doesn’t matter what it is you do for JOY, it only matters that you are taking the time and effort to do it!  (and…you know what, it actually doesn’t need to cost a lot of money to have meaningful, joyful experiences!)

Be intentional with your spending.  Intentional with saving money.  Intentional with budgeting and building wealth.  But also, be intentional with your life experiences.  Life is to short to only enjoy it when you get older…..make sure you are experiencing it right now too!

I would love to know your opinion on this subject!  We each have had different life experiences that have shaped us into the people we are today.  Do you agree or disagree with my thoughts?  Are you trying to be intentional with budgeting AND enjoying life?  Let me know in the comments!!

 

Affiliate · Amazon · Finances · Frugal Life · Frugal Living Challenge · Good Ideas · Money Educatioin · Money Helps · Side Hustle · Walmart Grocery Pickup

Budgeting for Beginners: FAQ

Disclosure:  “We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.”

I receive so many messages on a daily basis from people wanting to start managing their money and living frugally, but they don’t know how to take that first step.  I admire everyone who wants to improve on their life and financial situation, it can be scary trying to make such a big change into the unknown.  I decided it was time for a FAQ article for all you brave beginners.

I asked my followers on instagram for all their budget beginner questions and today I will be answering a few of those.

A great place to start for a beginner is with my Free 14 Day Frugal Living Challenge.  This is a challenge made specifically for those just starting to manage money and live frugally.  This will give you a good starting place and should help you develop frugal habits.

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Where do I begin?

The best place to begin is your budget.  It is vital you have a working budget.

If you are new to budgeting, it might take you a while to figure out just how much money to budget for each category.  This is normal!  A budget is fluid, meaning it is always changing.  The budget below is one that I made as a free printable.  It has many of the categories I use in my personal budget and is also easy to customize and add your own.  This (along with the spending tracker below) is available for free in my 14 Day Frugal Living Challenge.

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You will also need to begin tracking all of your expenses.  This helps you keep your budget accurate, and gives you a great window into your spending habits.  By tracking your spending habits, you will be able to see what areas you are over spending in and areas you could cut back.

A great resource, and the book that completely changed my financial views, is Dave Ramseys book, The Total Money Makeover.  Check it out from your library, borrow it from a friend, or order it from Amazon.  No matter how you get it, I HIGHLY recommend everyone read it.  Dave Ramsey uses easy to understand terms as explains exactly how to fix your financial situation.

What is the best way to keep track of day to day spending?

There are a few different ways of doing this.  It doesn’t quite matter HOW, it just matters that you do it and that you stay consistent.

For years we used an excel spreadsheet that my husband made.  It took quite a bit of work for him to put it together, but it worked out really well.

About 7 years ago we discovered You Need a Budget.  It is so user friendly and very affordable.  You can download the app onto your phone and update it as you spend.  This is not sponsored in any way, we REALLY do love it!  A similar program is Every Dollar, I have never tried it, but have heard lots of good things.

There is also the good ol’ standard paper and pen method.  I’ve never tried this method, but I do know other people who enjoy it!

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When tracking spending it is important to stay consistent.  Pick a day of the week, schedule a time, and develop a routine for tracking your spending.  We do it every Monday evening.  We save all of our receipts and go through each item one by one and write it down.  It is not necessary to write EVERYTHING down, for example:  when buying groceries, just write groceries and the amount.  There is no need to write down bread and bananas, etc.

You could track your spending daily on your phone, or weekly like we do.  Try a few different things until you find a good fit for you.

How do you start the envelope system?

Using cash envelopes is a great way to limit your spending.  I have an article written all about how to get started and the benefits you’ll gain.  You can check it out at The Envelope Money System: A Beginners Guide.

How do you make a grocery budget?

My grocery budget has been all over the place.  When I first started budgeting, I set the grocery budget FAR to low.  I kept going way over the budgeted amount and couldn’t figure out how to cut the costs down.  I finally decided that I needed to budget more money for our weekly groceries.

I tell this story to give you encouragement that all budgets, but especially grocery budgets, are trial and error.  It might (and probably will) take you a few months before you have the best budget for you.

While you are tracking your spending you should be able to see how much you are normally spending on groceries.  This gives you a good ballpark figure to begin with.  If you feel it is unnecessary spending, you can try to slowly bring the budget down week by week until you get it to a place you feel comfortable with.

How do you minimize grocery costs?

Groceries are one of the biggest expenses for most budgets.  This is one of my personal struggles.

The number one way I have found to keep those costs low is to meal plan.  Plan out every meal you want to eat for the week.  As you meal plan, write out your grocery list, and stick to this list while you shop.  I’ve found using Walmart Grocery Pickup has helped me to stick to my list, AND my budget.

A few other ways to lower grocery costs are to cook from scratch (avoid convenience foods), shop sales, and use the cashback apps regularly.

What are the easiest apps for frugal beginners?

I love cashback apps!  Long gone are the days when you have to sift through ads and cut out coupons, now all you need is a receipt and an app on your phone!  I actually love these apps so much I already have an article written about all my favorites.  You can find it here:  My Favorite Cashback Apps.

What should my budget look like?  What is normal for our family?

No two budgets will look the same.  My normal will be different than your normal.  What I spend on groceries, will be different then what you will spend on groceries, etc.  This is one of my favorite parts of a budget.  You can customize it and find something that works for you personally!

I prefer a zero based budget.  Start with the amount of money you expect to make for the pay period.  Then, using your budget, find a spot for every single one of those dollars.  Keep budgeting until you have “spent” on paper every dollar of your paycheck.

This WILL take some adjustments and some TIME.  Focus more on giving every dollar a place in your budget, and less about how it compares to other budgets.  Again, I recommend Dave Ramseys, Total Money Makeover book.  He gives good advice about how much your percentage you should be spending in each category.

Coming Soon:  I am currently working on an article to share my personal percentages in each category.  Hopefully this can help you get an idea of where to start.

What can you do when you cut back, budget and still don’t have enough?

I loved this question; because it is such relatable and real situation for many of us.

My first piece of advice is to keep your head up!  You are NOT alone!  There are so many dealing with similar struggles.  I strongly believe that together, we CAN help each other reach our financial goals.  Reach out to facebook groups and instagram accounts that discuss this issue.  Surrounding yourself with others in this situation should give you the strength, support and ideas to help get you through it.

I love Dave Ramseys quote to be “gazelle intense.”  When you have done EVERYTHING you can think of and the money is just still NOT adding up, that means it’s time to take more extreme actions.  Here are a few ideas to take when you need to be “gazelle intense.”

  1.  Sell items in your home (see 10 Items In Your House You Can Sell Quickly To Make Money  and 5 Places Online To Sell Your Clutter and Earn Cash).
  2. Start a side hustle.  Is their a side job you could take on to earn some extra money?  Google side hustles ideas and you should be able to find a good variety of ideas.
  3. Look through that budget one more time, what else could you sacrifice?  Could you cancel your tv subscription, quit eating out, lower your phone data plan, cut out all entertainment, etc.  None of these things are FUN, but they might be necessary in this situation.  Here is an article where I share What we cut from our budget to save over $2500 a year.
  4. Could you ask for a raise?  Would it be beneficial to make a job change?
  5. What could you downgrade?  Perhaps trade in your car for a cheaper model or move into a more affordable home?

I understand it is NOT easy when the money just ISN’T there.  ESPECIALLY when you feel as if you have sacrificed again, and again and again.  I get it.  I have been there!  Keep your head up.  Keep trying.  Be “gazelle intense.”  I believe in you!

FAQ from Budget Beginners (2)

I hope these questions and answers helped you in some way as you begin the exciting, yet sometimes difficult world of budgeting.  It’s never easy to develop new habits and start fresh.  Most things in life that are hard, and the ones worth doing.  I can guarantee keeping track of your finances are one of those things.

 

Date Night · Family · for free · Free Fun · Frugal Life · Good Ideas · Parenting · Valentines Day

10 Ideas for Date Night at Home

Date nights are so important to all relationships.  I’ve been married 14 years and life has HAPPENED.  Right now the majority of our time is spent taking care of our three kids, working our jobs, and maintaining our home (with our slightly to big yard!).

It’s been so easy to get consumed with all of these “to dos” and leave less time for my spouse.  We have learned that we MUST make date night a priority, or else it probably won’t happen.

I get it!  Dating can be expensive!  Just dinner and a movie could easily cost you a quick $50.  PLUS, when you have to hire a babysitter….those dates can add up fast.  I have BEEN there!

One thing my husband and I have learned to do is to have date night at home.  This saves us the added cost of hiring a babysitter and is almost ALWAYS cheaper than the dates we have outside of the home.  We plan a night each week, put the kids to bed, turn off the TV, put away all phones and other distractions and we spend time TOGETHER.  It has done wonders for our relationship!

I’ve made a list of a few of our favorite at home date night ideas.  Hopefully this will help you brainstorm a few that you and your significant other can enjoy.  For EVEN more FREE date night ideas check out my post, 20 FREE Valentine Date Ideas.

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Here are 10 of our Favorite At Home Date Night Ideas

1.  Candlelight Dinner

There’s no rule that says you have to go out to a fancy restaurant in order to enjoy a romantic dinner.  Cook a special dinner, put the kids to bed and enjoy a quiet dinner for two.  Set the mood by lighting some candles, dimming the lights, and adding a pretty tablecloth.

2.  Put Together a Puzzle

I am not usually a huge fan of puzzles (I lack patience!), however, my husband really enjoys them.  Through him I have learned to better appreciate puzzles.  Often when we do a puzzle together it has turned into sweet moments where we are able to just talk and laugh.  It’s fun to have a project/goal we can work towards together.  I have surprised myself by saying I enjoy puzzles…..as long as they are done with my husband!  😉

3.  Would you Rather

Ask each other “would you rather” questions to get to know each other a little better.  It’s such a fun way to learn more about each other.  You can ask serious questions, or be a little more lighthearted and fun.  I’m still surprised at all the random idiosyncrasies I keep learning about my husband!

4.  Food Tasting

Try some new foods together with a food tasting.  Look for new food at the grocery store that you normally wouldn’t buy.  Perhaps, some fancy cheeses and unique fruits.  You might even find a few new favorites!

5.  Personality Quizzes

I’m a bit of a nerd in the fact that I seriously love personality quizzes.  I’m betting there isn’t a personality quiz out there that I haven’t taken.  For a fun date night you could both take a personality quiz and then read each others results.  It’s such much easier to understand why someone is the way they are if you understand their personality better.

6.  Dream Board

Dream up your future together!  Set goals and put together a dream board of what the two of you hope to accomplish within the next 5, 10, 20 years.  The best way to achieve a dream, is to have a dream!

7.  Outdoor Picnic

If it’s warm outside, set up a little outdoor picnic.  Lay out a blanket to sit on, pack all your favorite finger foods, and enjoy time together in your own backyard.  Try to schedule it right before the sunset so you can enjoy dinner and a show.  Be sure to bring an extra blanket for snuggling.

8.  Ice Cream Sundaes

Who says ice cream is just for kids????  My husband and I have a serious deep love for ice cream.  It’s fairly common for one of us to buy a pint of ice cream as a sweet gesture to the other.  How about making gourmet ice cream sundaes, WITHOUT the kids around?  Pile it high with all your favorite toppings, finish it off with a cherry on top (of course!), and enjoy talking and spending time together while you eat your ice cream sundae!

9.  Play Name That Tune

Test each others music knowledge with a friendly game of name that tune.  Travel back in time and play some of the hits from when you were kids.  Turn it into a friendly competition with a small wager (maybe loser has to make the bed the next morning????).

10.  Learn a New Skill

Watch some youtube videos about a new skill you have both been wanting to learn.  These could be a few weeks worth of dates, as you continue to learn and improve your new skill.  Perhaps you will want to learn about photography, cooking, art, or a foreign language?  The options are endless!  Maybe you could each pick a new skill you would personally like to learn and you can take turns supporting and learning the others chosen skill together.

Date night has truly become a night I look forward to ALL week!  Sometimes us moms just need a little adult interaction, amiright?!?!?!

What are some of your favorite at home date night ideas???  Let me know in the comments!  The more ideas we share, the better for all of us!!

 

 

Bargain Buys · Frugal Life · Frugal Living Challenge · Grocery Haul

Grocery Haul 9/10

Hello all you frugal grocery shoppers!  I’m excited to start sharing some of my grocery hauls!  I get asked a lot what we eat and how I shop, so I want to share with you what is a part of my weekly budget.

I probably won’t share ALL my grocery trips, but I will try to share some from time to time.

This week I went to Walmart Grocery Pickup (which, FYI, is the best invention ever) and to Smiths to take advantage of their case lot sale.  I spent a total of $80.

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I bought granola bars from Smiths.  We will be making smores this week so I bought and marshmallows, chocolate and graham crackers for that.

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Peanut Butter from Smiths Case lot sale.

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Mt produce this week consisted of bananas, apples, mandarin oranges, carrots, onion, garlic, and lettuce.

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I was able to get this milk for free as part of a promotion.  I also bought butter, cheese, and greek yogurt.

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In the meat department I bought a bag of chicken breasts and a pork shoulder roast.

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I struggled keeping in budget this week!  There were so many great deals at the case lot sale and I had to really limit myself.

Bargain Buys · Date Night · Finances · Frugal Life · Frugal Living Challenge · Money Helps

5 Easy Ways We Cut Costs While Eating Out

My husband and I do not eat out very often.  We both learned years ago that we are able to save such a huge amount of money simply by eating at home.  We still enjoy eating out occasionally, we just try to do so frugally.

It is possible to enjoy eating out at restaurants from time to time, even while being on a tight budget.  The most important thing is to include the expense in your monthly budget and try to cut out a few common restaurant costs.

Here are the 5 ways we try to cut the costs when we eat out:

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1.  Eat Out For Lunch

Go out to eat for lunch instead of dinner. A lot of places will have cheaper lunch options to choose from. You will also be much more likely to order a cheaper meal, such as a sandwich or salad if it’s during lunch time.

2.  Skip all the Extras

Order water instead of ordering a drink. I will usually request a lemon in my water so I feel like I’m getting something slightly fancy. 😉  Always skip the appetizer and desserts as well.  They are both very overpriced.  Try to order a big meal to fill up on instead.

3.  Shop the Deals

Become familiar with your local restaurant deals. A lot of restaurants will have kids eat free nights. Our favorite Italian restaurant offers buy one entree get one free during a certain day of the week. Find out the deals in your neighborhood and plan your outings around those days.

4.  Split the Meal

Only eat half of your entree and take the rest home for another meal. This way you get two meals for one price.  Or, you could split the entree with a spouse or friend.  Most restaurants will be more than happy to serve you one meal with two plates.

5.  ⠀Turn an Appetizer into a Meal

Consider ordering an appetizer instead of an entree.  Appetizers are usually much cheaper than entrees and still provide a large amount of food.  Look for a restaurant with a trio appetizer for a well rounded meal.

It is possible to still enjoy eating out at restaurants while on a tight budget.  It takes a little self control and some planning, but it is still possible.

What are some of your fave tips for eating at a restaurant while on a budget???? Share below in the comments, I always need fresh ideas!⠀

Affiliate · Bargain Buys · Fabulous DEALS Friday · For the kids · Frugal Life · Gymboree

Fabulous DEALS Friday: Gymboree Labor Day Sale PLUS Secret Code for an EXTRA 20% Off!

I am a member of the Gymboree affiliate program.  I may receive compensation from purchases made through links in this post.  All opinions are my own and I never recommend anything I don’t truly love and support.

Gymboree is having an AMAZING labor day sale!  I actually REALLY struggled trying to narrow down my favorites to share!  Be sure to check out Gymboree because it is LOADED with lots of cute, marked down deals.

One of my favorite ways to shop is to stack coupons.  I was so excited when Gymboree sent me a secret code for all of my wonderful readers.  This will give you an EXTRA 20% off your entire purchase!  Just enter AUG20AFF at checkout for your extra discount.  This code will only be good through 9/1, so don’t waste any time!

I love shopping labor day sales because this is the time when I like to stock up on summer clearance sales.  I always try to shop for my kids clothes a season ahead.  So, I will be buying them a huge pile of summer clothes for NEXT year!

Here are a few of my favorite Gymboree deals:

Gymboree Girl Deals

Remember to check out with code AUG20AFF for an EXTRA 20% off, the prices listed, do NOT include that extra discount!

This Ruffle Skirt is darling!  I love the soft coral color!  It is on sale right now for $4.89!

I love these Strawberry Flip Flops.  They just say summertime to me!  You can get them right now for only $5.59.

I am so happy about the positive affirmation on the No Bad Days Tee.  Affirmations is a big part of my parenting and for only $6.99 I’m excited to buy this shirt for my daughter.

My girls are so in love with the cactus trend!  I was excited to see this Cactus Nightgown.  I know they will love it!  And at only $6.99, I love it too!  😉

Is it weird that I seriously want this Diamond Romper in my size?!?!?!  It is only $6.99, and still has all size options available!

I obviously have a thing for coral!  These Trim Shorts are so fun and summery.  I love the ruffle trim!  They are a great at price at just $6.99!

This Flamingo Tee would actually pair cute with the coral shorts!  Flamingos are so trendy right now, and this shirt is only $6.99!

I really like buying my kids high quality swim suits, but I REALLY don’t like spending over $10 on one.  (yes, I am a cheapskate!)  Gymboree has a lot of cute swim suits right now, ALL for under $10!  These are a GREAT quality swimsuit.  If you’ll be needing to buy one next year, I HIGHLY suggest buying one of these.  I loved this Zebra Swimsuit for $8.39, but they had a lot of other cute varieties.

The Gold Bow Sandals are adorable!  They are only $8.39, and I seriously can’t get enough of their cuteness!

This Colorful Hearts Tee could be cute for summer, or back to school.  It is on clearance right now for only $8.39!

My girls LOVE to wear jeggings.  They are ALL about the comfort, and I am OK with that!  These Denim Jeggings are at a great price, only $9.08.  When you can find good jeans under $10, it’s stock up time!

These Ombre Shorts are really cute and have a lot of great reviews.  They are currently only $9.09!

Gymboree Boys Deals

Remember to add the EXTRA 20% off to each of these deals to dropthe price even lower.  Code:  AUG20AFF.

My son is going to love this Motorcycle Tee.  It has a lot of great reviews and is only $5.59.

The Red Henley is really cute, and would actually work well for back to school!  It is on sale for only $6.99!

These Board Shorts are a great price at just $6.99!  They still have all sizes available and great reviews!

I love slip on sneakers for my kids!  They are just so much easier than dealing with shoe laces!  These Camo Sneakers are so cute and perfect for easy on and off!

I am buying this Plaid Shirt for my son.  I love the colors, and it’s only $9.09!

These Relaxed Shorts are my sons favorite to wear.  (Did I mention my kids were all about the comfort???  😉 )  They are currently $9.79!

Be sure to check out Gymboree to browse all the other deals!  The ones I shared are just a sliver of what’s available.  I also found so many cute baby and newborn deals!  Remember to use the secret code for an extra discount!

Happy bargain shopping!

 

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How to Make the Perfect Zoodles

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My zucchini plants have been generous this year, and I have loved cooking with this delicious vegetable!  Zucchini is one of my favorite veggies because, it’s the vegetable that just keeeeeps on giving, and it is also so versatile!  We have been enjoying zucchini in bread, cookies, on the grill, fried, etc.

One of my very favorite ways to cook zucchini is to turn it into zoodles!  Zoodles is a great, healthier alternative to noodles. (and if you pick the zucchini from your garden….it’s also FREE!)  I will usually serve it under marinara or alfredo sauce, but any of your fave pasta sauces will work great!  If cooked correctly, the zoodles are really not a lot different from regular noodles.  They are also much more filling, with much less calories!  Sometimes my kids don’t even realize what they are eating……emphasis on the sometimes.

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Homemade Zoodles Tutorial

A vegetable spiralizer is my best friend when it comes to homemade zoodles.  I couldn’t find the exact one that I use, but this spiralizer on Amazon is very similar in price and design.  It is also only $15.99, great deal!

First things first, if your zucchini is long, you will want to cut it down into smaller chunks.

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Next, you will need to prep your vegetable spiralizer.  I use the Thin Spiral for my zoodles.  Put your thin spiral attachment in the spiralizer and then stick one of the zuchinni chunks into the middle, in between the handle and the blade.

Now, all you need to do is twist!  This part is so simple (and…kindof fun….really!).  The zucchini will spiral through the blade, be sure to have a plate to catch all the spirals!

You can eat the zoodles raw or cook them over the stove.  I prefer cooking them for a few minutes (don’t worry it is quick!).

Heat up 1 or 2 tablespoons of oil in a sauce pan.  Once the oil is hot, add the zoodles.

Sprinkle with salt and pepper and toss in oil.  Continue to gently toss the zoodles while they cook.  Cook for 2-5 minutes.  I like them to be soft, but also slightly firm.

Serve with your favorite pasta sauce.  ENJOY!!!