Showing posts with label money saving. Show all posts
Showing posts with label money saving. Show all posts

Friday, February 13, 2015

5 Ways to Save Money on Valentine's Day - PG-13

So depending on your family situation there may, or may not be stress associated with what to buy or do on Valentine's day for your loved one. Luckily, I have a wife that is extremely practical and has a love language of quality time. Even this year I thought about surprising her with flowers at work, but then thought a bit longer and realized that she would be upset that I spent the money on something that is going to die shortly after and had no serious thought behind it (every dude sends flowers to his lady on Valentine's). Here are 5 things you can do instead that will cost less and hopefully be a bigger hit!

Shout out to my beautiful Valentine!!! 

1. Cook your Valentine's favorite meal for them. Make sure to set the mood with some relaxing music and candles from the thrift shop. Regardless of what you cook, it will be cheaper than buying it at a restaurant and you won't have to wait in line. Dessert is a must! A great and inexpensive dessert that is romantic is fondue. You can melt chocolate over the stove or look for a fondue maker at that same thrift store (I see them at Goodwill all of the time.) Here is a link to some great recipe ideas:

2. Go to the thrift store (MAKE SURE TO READ FURTHER!!!). Have a game in which you each get a set dollar amount to spend on the other person like $5 or $10. You then can spend that much money on gifts for your Valentine right then and there. This is great because it gives you the opportunity to be goofy or sweet.

3. Make coupons for your Valentine that are acts of service. If you're a married couple you can get really creative with this (wink wink). For everyone else some great ideas would be a back rub, foot rub, cleaning a room of the house for them, washing and vacuuming their car, doing their taxes, or anything else they may like. They can expire after February 14th or be valid forever! You can find love coupons here

4. Get some hot cocoa and go ice skating. Ice skating in general is pretty inexpensive and so is hot cocoa. If you have to pay for both it is still a pretty cheap date. However, there are even more opportunities to save money with this. In Grand Rapids for example, there is free ice skating at Rosa Parks Circle Downtown or you can find a random frozen pond. Pair this with some delicious homemade hot cocoa in a thermos and the night costs ingredients and gas!. Make sure to hold hands while you skate and keep your attention on your date.

5. Go to an Adoration Chapel, spend time with God, and ask for St. Valentine's intersession for your relationship. This one is for my Catholic friends! Here is a great prayer for you to do as a couple while you are there: This is an spiritual investment for your relationship and by deepening your relationship with Christ you are also doing so with your spouse. Part of this could also include verbally letting God know what you appreciate about your spouse and state your intentions of helping your spouse make it to Heaven. If an Adoration Chapel is not available you can do this anywhere, but I think a church or chapel would be more special. This may be a great activity to pair with one of the other ones as well. Numbers don't lie, and couples who share their faith are happier and have more healthy marriages. Plus, intimacy is better as outlined by this article: . 

Please comment with your money saving ideas for a meaningful and memorable Valentine's Day!

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Sunday, January 25, 2015

Cheapest Baby Toy Ever (I think)

So my 9 month old son is quite active and seems to lose interest in toys rather quickly. For about a day now this has been one of his new favorites.

So here is how you make it:

Put some popcorn kernels (or dried beans) in a plastic bottle. It is also a good idea to clean this bottle well before handing it to you kid.

This happens to be an empty pop bottle that I obtained from a table at the public library (free).

So it really cost us almost nothing.

I can also envision some creative folks bedazzling the bottle up in ways to make it even more engaging for their children. My wife suggested adding a little bit of multiple dry food sources to make it more comfortable. I opt for the most simple route usually :)

Thanks for reading,

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Friday, January 23, 2015

Get Yourself a Cooler for Traveling!

So here's a quick money saving trick that saves us hundreds of dollars annually; using a cooler when traveling or staying somewhere over night!

My wife and I tend to travel often. Both for short family vacations and traveling to see family members. We don't live in the same areas as our parents so we seem to be on the road frequently.

When I was growing up we would always stop at fast food or a gas station to load up of drinks and snacks whenever we were on the road, even if it was just a hour drive to where we were going. As we started our own family we decided that was way too expensive and impractical.

We now have a little travel cooler that goes with us whenever we travel. Here is a link to the one we have (although we did not pay this much for it): . When heading out on the road some things that are often packed are, but are not limited to...

Soups in Containers (can heat with microwaves at gas stations)
Pre made pasta dishes (can heat with microwaves at gas stations)
Water (in reusable bottle that you can fill at gas stations)
Homemade Iced Tea
Sandwiches (Canned tuna or salmon mixed with avocado are our favorite for the road)
Salsa for chips and salsa
Hummus and Veggies

and many more...

It costs less than $10 to fill that cooler with enough food for a meal and snacks easily and we are not spending money on needless drinks at the gas station.

If on a longer vacation make sure to hit up a grocery store when possible to replenish. When we're traveling we really like finding a Trader Joe's to stock back up on our fruit and veggies. Also, we've had some great luck getting free ice when stopping because we show the cooler to gas station attendants and tell them we'd be wasting a lot of ice if we have to purchase a bag. In the worst of cases they'll charge 50 cents.

All of the ways we've used the cooler to save money:
Overnight at the hospital
On the road
Overnight at a family or friend's home
To the park
Running errands all day
All day sporting event
Overnight in a hotel without a fridge

Make sure to check out this LINK for tips on packing and some great road-trip recipes. 

You can also use it to incubate your homemade yogurt (look for how to in a later post)

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