101 Ideas for Summer Fun {Plus a FREE Summer Bucket List Printable}

FREE SUmmer Bucket List Printable

Are you looking for fun activities to do with your kids this summer?  Look no further!  I’ve put together a list of 101 Ideas for Summer Fun!  Plus, you can print out my FREE Summer Bucket List Printable to keep track of the activities you’re hoping to accomplish!  Some of these items are things my kids look forward to all year (like using the magic bucket at the beach to make sand pudding and going to a water park) and some of these are boredom busters that we employ around here so I don’t have to hear any whining! :)

  1. Make Sand Pudding
  2. Go to a Water Park
  3. Draw a hopscotch board with sidewalk chalk and then play hopscotch as a family
  4. Play in the ocean
  5. Go to the pool
  6. Go to a splashpad
  7. Run through the sprinkler
  8. Paint a canvas
  9. Bake cookies
  10. Make homemade ice cream
  11. Go to the movies (Check out this great list of free and frugal summer movie programs)
  12. Have fun on a slip and slide
  13. Have a family dance competition {We’ll be using our Xbox Kinect for this}
  14. Do a bubble painting project
  15. Collect seashells
  16. Create art out of seashells
  17. Make pet rocks
  18. Have an outdoor movie night
  19. Make S’mores
  20. Catch fireflies
  21. Play flashlight tag
  22. Watch fireworks
  23. Play with sparklers
  24. Go on a scavenger hunt
  25. Celebrate Christmas in July by making glitter ornaments
  26. Have a water balloon fight
  27. Have a squirt gun war
  28. Have an indoor beach party
  29. Camp in your backyard
  30. Let your kids do an ice excavation
  31. Build a sand castle
  32. Make tie-dye shirts
  33. Make homemade lemonade
  34. Play wiffle ball
  35. Make googly eye shirts
  36. Let your kids plan all your meals for a week {This is a great way to teach them about planning and nutrition}
  37. Let your kids make dinner start to finish {Use this cookbook for kids for ideas}
  38. Make shirts for the 4th of July
  39. Have a “Make Your Own Sundae” bar
  40. Read through a series of books {We like The Boxcar Children and The Chronicles of Narnia}
  41. Blow bubbles {Use these bubble wands for even more fun}
  42. Hula Hoop
  43. Workout with your kids {Need inspiration? Try this!}
  44. Visit a science museum
  45. Visit an art museum
  46. Take a tour of your local fire station {Bonus points if you bring the cookies you baked to the fire station to thank them}
  47. Take a road trip
  48. Make summer journals {I love these Draw and Write journals}
  49. Go fishing
  50. Go on a bike ride
  51. Train for a family fun run
  52. Ride a ferris wheel
  53. Jump in a bouncy house
  54. Roast hot dogs over a fire
  55. Host a potluck at your house
  56. Play at a playground
  57. Volunteer as a family
  58. Have a garage sale
  59. Create vision boards {If you do these yearly, it’s fun to see how what your kids love changes from year to year}
  60. Spend an afternoon coloring
  61. Go on a boat ride
  62. Go ice skating {Most ice rinks aren’t as busy in the summer so you can skate without it being too crowded}
  63. Take a cooking class as a family
  64. Learn the states and their capitals
  65. Learn the Presidents
  66. Visit a farmer’s market
  67. Have a luau in your backyard
  68. Make homemade pizza
  69. Go to an amusement park
  70. Go ziplining
  71. Go to the batting cages
  72. Play miniature golf
  73. Make popsicles
  74. Go to an outdoor concert
  75. Visit a local farm
  76. Go to the zoo
  77. Go roller skating
  78. Visit a national park
  79. Have a fancy tea party
  80. Go to a baseball game
  81. Visit the state fair or a local county fair
  82. Feed the ducks at a local pond {Make sure this is allowed}
  83. Take an international food tour {Try foods from around the world.  You can make them at home or visit a variety of ethnic restaurants.  If you’d like to make this more interesting, you can create passports that you stamp each time you eat food from a different country.}
  84. Make paper bag puppets
  85. Make homemade playdoh
  86. Make your own bugspray {recipe coming soon}
  87. Pick up trash at a local park
  88. Make your own beaded jewelry
  89. Make a bird feeder
  90. Make a printable paper chain reading log
  91. Paint your own canvas sneakers
  92. Make your own popsicles
  93. Make S’mores Pops
  94. Make Fireworks Pretzels
  95. Make clothespin magnets
  96. Create with duct tape
  97. Make an American Flag Fruit Pizza
  98. Visit a nature preserve
  99. Go to an indoor waterpark
  100. Take family pictures
  101. Put together a family photo album

There are so many other fun things you can do this summer, but I wanted to give you some ideas so you can create your Family Summer Bucket List!  Be sure to follow me on Instagram as I will be documenting many of the items we’re checking off our summer bucket list!

Download a FREE Summer Bucket List Printable

If you think of other fun activities I’ve missed, please leave a comment!

 

Free and Cheap Weekend Activities and Events

Free Weekend Activities Cheap Weekend Activities SimplifiedSaving.com

Looking for some fun things you can do this weekend that won’t break the budget?  Here’s a great list of events going on across the country!  Some are events that take place on a weekly basis (like Michaels…which we do every weekend) and others are one time only events.

Share this fun,money-saving list with your friends and family. And, if you know of any others to include, please let us know! It is always best to call ahead and make sure that your local store or retailer is participating to avoid disappointment.  If you know of a great event going on this weekend or in the upcoming weeks, please leave me a comment!

:: American Girl Special Store Events

Special events differ by location. During June, they include Discover Truly Me Event, Adorable Accents: Twists & Braids, Jewel Highlights, Meal & Memories with Dad and more.

Many of the American Girl in store events are free, however some have a fee and some have age restrictions. Get the details here and find participating stores. Call ahead and make sure that your local store or retailer is participating to avoid disappointment.

barnes & noble storytime

:: Barnes & Noble

Saturday, June 27th at 11 AM

Story time featuring Orion and the Dark plus related activities at many B&N locations

Most stores have free toddler story time, NOOK events, hands-on learning events and author events – find the times and participating Barnes and Noble stores here.

bass pro summercamp 2015

:: Bass Pro Shops

June 27th – July 26th

Free Family Summer Camps include free catch & release pond & photo download, free shooting arcade, free casting challenge, free BB shooting range, free crafts, free workshops on archery, bird watching, fishing, camping, kayaking and more. Check your local store for specific events, times, and details.

 

music-mentor-ep-tile

:: Guitar Center

Saturday, June 27th {no age restrictions for free music lessons}

10:15 AM – Recording Made Easy: Presonus Studio One

More free classes are offered during the week with their Music Mentor Series. Register at the Guitar Center website here.

home depot workshops for adults

:: Home Depot Workshop for Adults

Saturday, June 27th from 10 AM – 11:30 AM – Learn Interior Paint & Drywall Repair

You can pre-register online here.

storybook cottage lakeshore learning

 

:: Lakeshore Learning Store

Saturday, June 27th from 11 AM-3 PM and a few locations offer crafts every Sunday.

Kids design and take a Storybook Cottage. Get more information here.

captain america motorcycle

:: Lowe’s Build and Grow

Saturday, June 27th at 10:00 AM

Kids make and take a Captain America Motorcyle. Registration begins June 1st at 12 AM (EST) at the website here.

pie tic tac toe game michaels

 

:: Michael’s Kids Club

Saturday, June 27th 10 AM to 12 Noon

Kids can make and take a Pie Tic Tac Toe game. At just $2 per child, they get 30 minutes of creative craft fun, supplies included. Ages 3 and up. Sessions start every half hour from 10 AM – 11:30. See a store associate to sign up. Get more information here.

williams sonoma free jr chefs

:: Williams-Sonoma Free Technique Classes for Kids

Saturday, June 27th at 10 AM *note- This is the first time I have seen a fee for this weekly class.

Join Williams-Sonoma and American Girl® for a hands-on baking class inspired by Grace™—the 2015 Girl of the Year™! Each student will learn Grace’s favorite French Madeleine recipe, then finish the pastries with dark chocolate, white chocolate, and a few other toppings. We’ll also make and decorate sugar cookies from scratch. Each child will take home a special American Girl® goodie bag! $30 per child • Suitable for ages 8–12 • Call your local Williams-Sonoma store to sign up. Class size is limited to 12 students. Get more information by contacting your closest store right here.

:: Williams-Sonoma Free Technique Classes for Adults

Sunday, June 28th

Fourth of July menu: A red, white and blue motif pairs perfectly with a menu of all-American foods cooked on the grill and ultra-creative desserts in star-spangled colors. This menu is wonderful for sharing with family and friends—a guaranteed crowd pleaser. To find specific class times, contact your closest store right here.

……… MARK YOUR CALENDAR! COMING SOON……..

:: Free Museum Entrance for Bank of America customers

Saturday, July 4th and Sunday, July 5th

Bank of America’s Museums on Us is offering free admission to more than 150 museums nationwide for Bank of America or Merrill Lynch credit or debit card holders along with a photo ID. For more information about Museums on Us, visit: http://museums.bankofamerica.com.

:: Free National Park Entrance

August 25th – National Park Service Birthday

Find out the list of participating parks (over 405 of them) right here.

:: Home Depot Kids Workshop

Saturdays, July 4th from 9 AM – noon

Kids make and take a Minions Scooter plus get a free orange apron. Get more information and register online here.

:: Lego Stores Free Model Build

Usually held monthly in stores, kids ages 6 to 14 can build and binoculars. Contact your closest LEGO® Store here for details.

:: Michael’s Classes for Adults

Find out more information right here about creative classes happening all week long.

:: Microsoft High Tech DigiCamp for Girls (free)

Microsoft is proud to offer technology programs specifically for youth. Find out more information here.

More to Explore Throughout the Year:

:: FREE National Parks Admission for 4th Graders in 2015 – 2016 School Year

Starting in September 2015, every 4th grader will get an Every Kid in the Park pass food for FREE admission to all of America’s National Parks. The pass will be good for one full year and will be good for the 4th graders & their families as most parks charge admission per car. This is part of President Obama’s Every Kid in the Park initiative. Thanks to Thrifty NW Mom for the info!

:: Apple Camp

Enrollment is open for kids ages 8-12 to attend Apple Camp. This is popular free camp where kids learn to make movies or create interactive books complete with their own illustrations and sound effects. Hurry, spots fill up quickly. Go here to sign up.

:: Athleta Stores

Free fitness classes, group runs and special events at your local store. Visit your local store page here for more information.

:: Apple Store

Free workshops – learn the basic of Mac, iPad, iPhone, or iPod. Learn how to create slideshows with iPhoto. Edit home movies with iMovie and more! Find your local store and make a reservation for a free workshop here.

:: Beauty Events in Stores

Find free beauty events at local stores with free samples and demonstrations. Visit the website that keeps track of these right here.

:: Bowling for Kids all Summer

Kids Bowl for Free all summer at select bowling centers. Get two free games for each child, every day, all summer long. She rental is not included. Check to see what nearby bowling alleys are participating here.

:: Factory Tours

Find factory tours all across the USA, go here, The site has 570 tours and counting! Many are free but some may have an admission fee. (Thanks to the Happy Housewife for sharing this!)

:: Free and Frugal Family Movies During the Summer

There are so many theaters offering Summer Movie Programs.  Prices range from free to $2 per movie. Here’s a great list of Summer Movie Programs!

:: Flying Lessons

Young Eagles – kids ages 8 to 17 experience aviation and get free rides in private aircraft flown by experienced pilots. Get more information here.

:: Home and Garden Shows

If you like Home and Garden shows, this site will give you a free pass. Check the ACS Home Show site.

:: Lululemon Fitness Classes

Lululemon locations offer free yoga classes, go here for schedules and locations.

:: Major League Baseball Clinics

Through the Major League Baseball Players Alumni Association, kids can attend a free baseball clinic in many locations across the country. The free program is called Free Legends for Youth Kids Clinics.

:: Playground Finder

If you find yourself in a new location and are looking for a playground, use the free KaBoom Map of Play, playground finder and just type your location into the search bar.

:: REI Running Classes

Learn or get back into running with training and techniques classes. Find our more at REI.com.

:: Roller Skating

Kids Roller Skate for Free all Summer: Find the closest participating facility right here.

:: Sephora: Free In Store Beauty Classes

Join the Sephora Beauty club ,( free) and attend free beauty classes inside Sephora stores to learn everything from building a skin care routine to creating the perfect smoky eye. Classes are held on Sunday at more than 60 stores across the USA. Check with your local stores for schedules and times.

:: SKI Passport for 5th Graders

Go to www.5thgradeskipassport.com to get a free pass in Idaho or the Pacific Northwest. For other areas, search for your state with the words “5th grade ski pass + your state”, or the name of your local ski resort.

:: Target – Free Community Events

Target is also sponsoring FREE community events ranging from free museum admission, free theater tickets, family activities and tours at some of our countries most famous venues. Times and locations vary by city. Find free family activities sponsored by Target in your area right here.

:: Wine Tasting

Total Wine stores offer free wine tasting classes each weekend. Learn about specific producers, regions and varietals. Where allowed by law, participants receive special discounts on the wine being tasted. View the FREE Wine Tasting Schedule here.

:: More Free Museum Dates

This site, www.freemuseumday.org, tracks free museum days in the following cities: Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, Portland, San Francisco Bay Area, and the Seattle Area.

:: Celebrate Crazy and Fun Holidays

Make memories and celebrate Take Your Dog to Work Day, Strawberry Parfait Day, Meteor Day and more. See the full schedule here.

 

* For more ideas for family fun, be sure and check Groupon, Amazon Local and LivingSocial in your area. Join each site for free and start having more fun on a budget! These vouchers make great gifts too!

For inexpensive and sometimes free tickets to local events, I am a fan of Goldstar tickets. Watch your emails for the heading “Comp Train” from Goldstar. If you are new, you can set up a free account here.

Be sure and check out your local library and parks and recreation departments for free programs and events right in your hometown!

Thanks More with Less Today!

Summer Movie Programs: Free & Frugal Family Fun

 

Summer Movie Programs | Free and Frugal Family Movies from SimplifiedSaving.com

I’m so excited that so many theaters are bringing back their Summer Movie Programs!  This is a great way to take your family to the movies without breaking the bank!  Most of these movies are family friendly, but you’ll want to use discretion on what is appropriate for your family and your kids.

CineMark Century Theaters: There are 2 different money saving movie programs at CineMark. Pay $5 per person for 10 shows when you buy them in advanced. Or if you buy your tickets at the show they are $1 each. See participating CineMark locations (note: some Rave Theaters are now owned by CineMark. Call your location for participation)

Cineplex (Canada): Attend Saturday mornings at 11 am for Cineplex Family Favourites. Watch a family fave film each week for only $2.99 at participating locations. See movie list here.

Classic Cinemas: Beginning June 1oth, Wednesday Morning Movie Series. Each Wednesday morning at 10 am ticket prices are just $1, all movies are rated PG, see full list here.

Harkins Theater: There are 2 options, you can buy the season pass and it is less then $1 per movie and there are 10 movies in the season. Or buy tickets the day of the movie for $2 per ticket. Showtimes are at 9:45 am.

Marcus Theaters: June 14th – August 21st, 2015 on Sunday, Monday and Wednesday mornings at 10am to view your favorite family flicks for just $2! And score 2 FREE tickets by visiting a participating American Family Insurance agent. See more details and the movie line up here.

NCG Cinemas – NCG will be kicking off their FREE Family Film Festival on July 31st.  Movies will play Friday, Saturday, and Sunday at 10am. Doors open at 9:30 and seats are first come, first serve.  These movies are also sensory friendly! See the list of movies here.

Regal Cinemas $1 Movies – All summer long long you can see movies for just $1 a ticket for select PG movies! Show times are at 10am and a portion of proceeds goes to Will Rogers Institute. See locations and films.

Studio Movie Grill: Summer Children’s Series is every weekday at 11 am. See great family friendly films for $3 a ticket. See summer line up of movies here.

Showcase Cinemas Bookworm Wednesdays (select locations): Each Wednesday, kids can bring in a book report (unless you are six and under and then admission will be free) – which will be cost of admission! Program runs every Wednesday at 10:00 a.m. See list of shows here.

Not Yet Confirmed for 2015

AMC Theaters: Summer Nights program (adults). 8 select blockbuster hits back for a limited time. Show times are Mon-Wed at 10 pm. Tickets are just $3 and benefit charity. See list of movies here.

How to Help Your College Student Save Money

Help Your College Student Save Money from SimplifiedSaving.com

Help Your College Student Save Money

It’s that time of year where graduation parties abound.  And while those who have newly graduated think they know everything, the truth is, they could still use your guidance {whether they believe it or not}.

Sending your kids off to college is an exciting time, but it can lead to a lot of anxiety – especially if your net worth is less than a few million dollars.  When my oldest daughter graduated from high school last year, I was really excited, but worried about how she’d survive financially.  If you’re hoping to avoid that same fear and worry, here are some great tips!

Help Your Student Start a Budget

Whether they’re paying their own bills, or you’re helping, a budget is in order. If you’re giving them cash for bills and such, consider loading money onto a prepaid card and helping them set up automatic payments for things like credit cards, electricity, cell phone, etc.

Discuss what you’ll pay (if anything), and what they’ll be responsible for paying. How will they earn their income? Now is the time to figure out a part-time job schedule that will fit well with their classes.

Start a spreadsheet for their budget, and share it on Google so you can both edit it. It can be as simple or as detailed as you’d like it to be, but for their sake, make sure you cover all bases in the most efficient way possible.

Buy Used

Purchasing used text books can save you a huge amount of cash. Text books are outrageous! Buying them used can save you 50% or more on each book. Bonus: Sell your text books when you’re finished with them. Your campus book store will usually buy them back, or you can sell them to another student.

The same goes for clothes — there are thrift stores and second hand shops in pretty much every city. Make a day trip out of clothes shopping — old is in!

Skip the Credit

While it’s super tempting to use credit cards for everything, don’t. Teach your college student responsible spending: what’s a credit card for? What constitutes an “emergency”?

If you do use credit cards, pay the balance off every month if possible. If not, at least make sure you make more than the minimum payment! Minimum payments add years to your credit card balance.

Ask for gift cards for birthdays and Christmas, so you can use those instead of credit cards when you feel the need to make an impulse buy.

Use Student Discounts

So many places give student discounts! Whether your college student wants to see a movie this weekend or buy a new shirt, they’ll usually find a discount no matter where they’re going – they just have to ask!

Try these lists:

95 Student Discounts
50 Places Students Get a Discount

Teach Your College Student How to Grocery Shop on a Budget

If you have the campus meal plan, use it! If you must eat out, make it just once a week – and don’t splurge on steak dinners… go home for those. ;) Skip the daily Starbuck’s, too.

Grocery shopping isn’t something many college students really want to do, but it’s a necessity – especially if you’re on a budget. Talk to them about meal planning, budgeting, and even price matching. If they want to get super frugal, obviously they can start couponing, but that does take more time. Visit Pricematcherz.com to see which groceries can be price matched each week.

Give a Little, Get a Little

Your college student might have to skip the new car (and payment) if they don’t want to have to work full time, so help them figure out other transportation options: car pooling, walking, riding a bike, and public transportation are all great options.

Need more ideas? Try these:

63 Quick Tips to Save Money in College
College 101: 24 Ways to Save Money in College
30 Money Saving Tips for Students
118 Ways to Save Money in College

What tips would you give to a student heading off on their own for the first time?

Restaurant Coupon Roundup {6/12/2015}

Eating out sure can get expensive, so I’m always on the lookout for deals to make it more affordable.  Below I’ve included the top printable restaurant coupons for this week!

BJs – $10 Off $35 Purchase (exp: 6/18/2015)
Black Angus Steakhouse - Free 5 oz. Lobster Tail When You Buy Steak Dinner (exp: 6/15/2015)
Carvel Ice Cream – $1 Off Any Cup or Cone (exp: 6/15/2015)
Chuck E Cheese – $19.99 for 1 Medium 1-Topping Pizza, 2 Drinks & 30 Tokens + More (exp: 7/6/2015)
Corner Bakery – $3 Off Sandwich, Panini, Pasta or Salad Combo (exp: 6/18/2015)
Great American Cookie Company – $3 Off Square Cookie Cake (exp: 6/21/2015)
Jack In The Box – Buy 1 Get 1 Free Black Pepper Cheeseburger (exp: 6/15/2015)
Jacks – $3.33 Hamburger, Fry, Small Drink & Pie + More (exp: 7/5/2015)
Krystal – $3 Off Steamer Pack (exp: 6/18/2015)
Logans Roadhouse – $10.99 for 8 oz. USDA Flat Iron Steak, Side & Salad (exp: 6/14/2015)
Marie Callenders – Buy 1 Get 1 Free Breakfast Entree When You Buy 2 Drinks (exp: 7/8/2015)
Mimis Cafe – Buy 1 Get 1 Free Entree When You Buy 2 Drinks (exp: 6/20/2015)
Olive Garden - $6 Off Dinner for Two (exp: 6/14/2015)
Outback Steakhouse – $5 Off 2 Dinner Entrees (exp: 6/14/2015)
Quiznos - $1 Off Regular or Large Sub or Large Salad (exp: 6/17/2015)
Smokey Bones – $5 Off $15 Purchase (exp: 6/14/2015)
Souper Salad – $6.49 Adult Buffet (exp: 6/14/2015)
Steak Escape - $6 Any Regular Sandwich (exp: 6/30/2015)
Sweet Tomatoes – 25% Off Dinner Family Combo + More (exp: 6/24/2015)
Togos – Free 20 oz. Drink with Regular or Larger Sandwich (exp: 6/14/2015)

Thanks Surviving the Stores!

Father’s Day Gifts for Outdoorsmen

Father's Day Gifts for Outdoorsmen from SimplifiedSaving.com

Father’s Day will be here before you know it.  If your dad is anything like my dad, you may find yourself at a loss for what to get him.   Over the next few days, I thought I’d share some different Father’s Day gift ideas that just might be the perfect thing for your dad.

Here are a bunch of great gift ideas if your dad is an outdoorsman.

Gifts for a Hiker:

Gifts for a Fisherman:

  1. Plano Angled Tackle System — $37.96
  2. Delk Ultimate Fishing Tool — $18.95
  3. Amco Rub Away Bar — $9.20
  4. Life Is Good Tee — $15.95
  5. Rapala Fishing Tool Combo Pack — $26.99
Gifts for a Hunter:

Retail Coupon Roundup {6/12/2015}

If you’re planning on doing a little shopping this weekend, make sure to print off these great retail coupons before you go!

Bealls – 30% Off Entire Purchase (exp: 6/14/2015)
Carsons – $10 Off $25 Regular & Sale Price Purchase (exp: 6/16/2015)
Dress Barn – 20% Off Entire Purchase (exp: 6/16/2015)
Goodys – 25% Off Entire Purchase (exp: 6/18/2015)
Kohls – $10 Off $30 Select Men’s Apparel & Men’s Department Gifts (exp: 6/21/2015)
Lord and Taylor – 25% Off Regular & Sale Price Purchases (exp: 6/15/2015)
Osh Kosh BGosh – 20% Off $40 Purchase or 15% Off Entire Purchase (exp: 6/17/2015)
Peebles – 25% Off Entire Purchase (exp: 6/18/2015)
Sally Beauty – Free Gift with $15 Purchase (exp: 6/16/2015)
Staples – FREE 5 lb. of Shredding (exp: 6/27/2015)
White House Black Market – $20 Off $80 Purchase (exp: 6/15/2015)

Thanks Surviving the Stores!

Free and Cheap Weekend Activities and Events

Free Weekend Activities Cheap Weekend Activities SimplifiedSaving.com

I love weekends!  And this weekend has some especially fun activities.  I think the twins are going to love making the Father’s Day frames at Michael’s.

If you’re looking for some fun things you can do this weekend that won’t break the budget, here’s a great list of events going on across the country!  Some are events that take place on a weekly basis (like Michaels…which we try to do every weekend) and others are one time only events.

Make some memories and try a new workshop, lesson, or craft. You may just find a talent or new hobby!

Share this fun,money-saving list with your friends and family. And, if you know of any others to include, please let us know! It is always best to call ahead and make sure that your local store or retailer is participating to avoid disappointment.

:: Free Fishing Days

Check the calendar and plug in you location to see when Free Fishing Days are happening in your community.

american-girl-store-events-125x150

:: American Girl Special Store Events

Special events differ by location. During June, they include Discover Truly Me Event, Adorable Accents: Twists & Braids, Jewel Highlights, Meal & Memories with Dad and more.

Many of the American Girl in store events are free, however some have a fee and some have age restrictions. Get the details here and find participating stores. Call ahead and make sure that your local store or retailer is participating to avoid disappointment.

Brightest-Star_970x194_v2_03

 

:: Barnes & Noble

Saturday, June 13th at 11 AM

Story time featuring Touch the Brightest Star plus related activities at many B&N locations

Most stores have free toddler story time, NOOK events, hands-on learning events and author events – find the times and participating Barnes and Noble stores here.

[Read more...]

Order Whole 30 & Paleo Foods Online

 

Whole 30 + Paleo Items Available from Amazon

If you’ve made the switch to Paleo or Whole 30 (or if you’re considering it), here is a great list of Whole 30 and Paleo Approved foods that you can get shipped right to your door!

Whole 30 Foods:

Free and Cheap Weekend Activities and Events

Free Weekend Activities Cheap Weekend Activities SimplifiedSaving.com

I’m so thrilled that school is out and the weather is finally warm.  For our family, that means lazy evenings at the pool, lots of grilling, and a whole lot of travelling.  We also have lots of family fun planned both during the week and on the weekends!

If you’re looking for some fun things you can do this weekend that won’t break the budget, here’s a great list of events going on across the country!  Some are events that take place on a weekly basis (like Michaels…which we do every weekend) and others are one time only events.

Make some memories and try a new workshop, lesson, or craft. If you enjoy these free activities, be sure and bookmark this master list of free store events or PIN It for later!

Share this fun,money-saving list with your friends and family. And, if you know of any others to include, please let us know! It is always best to call ahead and make sure that your local store or retailer is participating to avoid disappointment.

:: Free Doughnuts

Friday, June 5th is National Doughnut Day!  You can a FREE doughnut from Krispy Kreme and a FREE donut from Dunkin Donuts.

:: Free Fishing Days

Check the calendar and plug in you location to see when Free Fishing Days are happening in your community.

bank-of-america-museums-on-us-150x84 (1)

:: Free Museum Entrance for Bank of America Customers

Saturday, June 6th and Sunday, June 7th

Bank of America’s Museums on Us is offering free admission to more than 150 museums nationwide for Bank of America or Merrill Lynch credit or debit card holders along with a photo ID. For more information about Museums on Us, visit: http://museums.bankofamerica.com.

american-girl-store-events-125x150

:: American Girl Special Store Events

Special events differ by location. During June, they include Discover Truly Me Event, Adorable Accents: Twists & Braids, Jewel Highlights, Meal & Memories with Dad and more.

Many of the American Girl in store events are free, however some have a fee and some have age restrictions. Get the details here and find participating stores. Call ahead and make sure that your local store or retailer is participating to avoid disappointment.

Places_Youll_Go_

:: Barnes & Noble

Saturday, June 6th at 11 AM

Story time featuring Oh, the Places You’ll Go! plus related activities at many B&N locations

Most stores have free toddler story time, NOOK events, hands-on learning events and author events – find the times and participating Barnes and Noble stores here.

[Read more...]

Retail Coupon Roundup {5/22/2015}

If you’re planning on doing a little shopping this holiday weekend, make sure to print off these great retail coupons before you go!

Aaron Brothers – 40% Off 1 Regularly Priced Item (exp: 5/30/2015)
Bealls – 20% Off Entire Purchase (exp: 5/26/2015)
Big 5 Sporting Goods - 20% Off Up to 2 Regularly Priced Items or 10% Off Up to 2 Sale Price Items (exp: 5/25/2015)
Bloomingdales – 20% Off Sale & Clearance Items (exp: 5/25/2015)
Bonton - $10 Off $25 Regular & Sale Price Purchase (exp: 5/26/2015)
Carsons - $10 Off $25 Regular or Sale Price Purchase (exp: 5/26/2015)
Carters – 20% Off $40 or 15% Off Entire Purchase (exp: 5/27/2015)
Express - $15 Off $30, $30 Off $100 or $40 Off $120 Purchase* (exp: 6/2/2015)
Famous Footwear – 15% Off Entire Purchase (exp: 5/25/2015)
Lifeway Christian – 25% Off Entire Purchase (exp: 5/25/2015)
Loft Outlet – 10% Off Entire Purchase (exp: 5/25/2015)
Lord and Taylor – 20% Off Regular & Sale Price Items (exp: 5/25/2015)
Party City - $10 Off $60, $15 Off $80 or $20 Off $100 Purchase (exp: 5/25/2015)
Sally Beauty – 25% Off Entire Purchase (exp: 6/3/2015)
Sports Authority - $15 SA Cash Card with $75, $25 SA Cash Card with $125, $50 SA Cash Card with $250 Purchase (exp: 5/25/2015)
Staples – FREE 5 lb. of Shredding (exp: 6/27/2015)
Stein Mart – 20% Off 1 Home Sale Item (exp: 5/25/2015)
White House Black Market – $20 Off $80 Purchase (exp: 5/24/2015)
Yankee Candle – $15 Off $45 Purchase (exp: 5/27/2015)

Thanks Surviving the Stores!

Restaurant Coupon Roundup {5/22/2015}

If you’re heading out to eat on this Memorial Day weekend, make sure to check out these printable restaurant coupons!  There are lots of great deals right now!!!

Black Angus Steakhouse - Free 5 oz. Lobster Tail When You Buy Steak Dinner (exp: 6/15/2015)
Bob Evans – $4 Off $20 Purchase (exp: 5/31/2015)
Brueggers – $1 Off Brueggers Bagel Burger (exp: 5/24/2015)
Carls Jr – $1 Off Mile High Bacon, Egg or Cheese Combo (exp: 5/31/2015)
Carvel Ice Cream – Buy 1 Get 1 Free Classic Sundae (exp: 5/27/2015)
Chuck E Cheese - Free Individual Thin & Crispy Pizza with $29.99 Purchase + More (exp: 6/1/2015)
Daphnes Greek Cafe – $5 Classic Gyro Pita (exp: 5/25/2015)
Donatos Pizza – Free Upgrade from Large 1-Topping to Large Signature Pizza with Online Order (exp: 5/30/2015)
Great American Cookie Company – $3 Off Square Cookie Cake (exp: 6/21/2015)
Hardees – $1 Off Mile High Bacon, Egg or Cheese Combo (exp: 5/30/2015)
Jacks - $3.50 for Cheeseburger, Fry, Drink & Pie + More (exp: 5/24/2015)
Juice It Up - 50% Off Classic or Veggie Smoothie Bowl (exp: 5/30/2015)
Logans Roadhouse – $10.99 for 8 oz. USDA Flat Iron Steak, Side & Salad (exp: 6/14/2015)
Macaroni Grill – $10 for 2 Express Lunch Entrees (exp: 5/24/2015)
Marble Slab – $3 Off Any Medium 8 Inch Round or 1/4 Sheet Cake Ice Cream Cake (exp: 5/31/2015)
Marie Callenders – $5 Off $20 Purchase (exp: 5/31/2015)
Mimis Cafe – Buy 1 Get 1 Free Entree When You Buy 2 Drinks (exp: 5/30/2015)
Monicals Pizza - $6 Individual 1-Topping Pleaser (exp: 5/31/2015)
Olive Garden - 10% Off 2 Entrees, 15% Off 3 Entrees or 20% Off 4 Entrees (exp: 5/24/2015)
Peter Piper Pizza - $14.99 for Large 1-Topping Pizza & Regular Boneless Wings with Online Order (exp: 5/30/2015)
Quiznos – $2 Off $10 Purchase (exp: 6/3/2015)
Souper Salad – $6.49 Adult Buffet (exp: 5/24/2015)
Steak Escape – Buy 1 Get 1 Free Sandwich, Salad or Smashed Potato (exp: 5/31/2015)
Stevi Bs – $1 Off Unlimited Buffet (exp: 5/31/2015)
Sweet Tomatoes – 25% Off Dinner Family Combo + More (exp: 5/27/2015)
Wendys – Free Jr. Frosty with Purchase for a Year When You Buy Frosty Key Tag (exp: 6/1/2015)

Thanks Surviving the Stores!

Restaurant Coupon Roundup {4/25/2015}

Eating out sure can get expensive, so I’m always on the lookout for deals to make it more affordable.  Below I’ve included the top printable restaurant coupons for this week!

BJs – $5 Off $25 Purchase (exp: 5/8/2015)
Black Angus Steakhouse – Free 5oz. Lobster Tail With Purchase of Dinner Menu Side (exp: 4/27/2015)
Bob Evans – $4 Off $20 Purchase (exp: 4/30/2015)
Carrabbas – 15% Off Entire Purchase (exp: 4/29/2015)
Corner Bakery – $10 Off $50 Catering Purchase (exp: 5/13/2015)
Dickeys Barbecue Pit - 10% Off Catering (exp: 4/27/2015)
Donatos Pizza – Free Upgrade from Large 1-Topping to Large Signature Pizza with Online Order (exp: 4/30/2015)
Hardees – $1 Off Any ThickBurger El Diablo Combo (exp: 5/3/2015)
Logans Roadhouse – $5 Off $20 Purchase (exp: 4/29/2015)
Longhorn Steakhouse - $4 Off 2 Adult Dinner Entrees (exp: 5/3/2015)
Marie Callenders – $5 Off $20 Purchase (exp: 5/8/2015)
Peter Piper Pizza - 1 Large, 1-Topping Pizza + 40 Game Tokens for $19.99. (exp: 5/3/2015)
Quiznos – $5 Small Combo (exp: 5/6/2015)
Souplantation – 25% Off Dinner Family Combo + More (exp: 4/29/2015)
Sweet Tomatoes – 25% Off Dinner Family Combo + More (exp: 4/29/2015)
Tony Romas – $10 Off $30 Purchase (exp: 5/20/2015)
Wendys - Free Jr. Frosty with Purchase for a Year When You Buy Frosty Key Tag (exp: 6/1/2015)

Thanks Surviving the Stores!

Retail Coupon Roundup {4/25/2015}

If you’re planning on doing a little shopping this weekend, make sure to print off these great retail coupons before you go! I’ve been toying with the idea of creating a capsule wardrobe for a while, so if I can get rid of  enough things today, I may head out to the mall tomorrow.

Aeropostale – $10 Off $50 or $25 Off $100 Purchase (exp: 5/11/2015)
Bonton – 25% Off Regular & Sale Price Womens, Mens & Kids Apparel + More (exp: 4/28/2015)
Carters – 20% Off $40 Purchase (exp: 4/29/2015)
Express – $15 Off $30 Purchase (exp: 5/5/2015)
Lord and Taylor – 25% Off Regular & Sale Price Purchases (exp: 4/27/2015)
Osh Kosh BGosh – 15% Off Entire Purchase (exp: 4/27/2015)
P.S. from Aeropostale – $10 Off $50 or $25 Off $100 Purchase (exp: 5/11/2015)
Picture People – 50% Off Big Bundle Package (exp: 4/26/2015)
Rue 21 – 30% Off $30 Purchase (exp: 4/26/2015)
The Limited – 50% Off Regularly Priced Purchase (exp: 5/12/2015)
Yankee Candle – Buy 2 Get 2 Free Candles (exp: 4/26/2015)

Thanks Surviving the Stores!

42 Easy Ways to Save Money

42 easy ways to save money from SimplifiedSaving.com

 

Saving money is not always an easy task. Sometimes it requires sticking with a strict plan while other times it means taking drastic measures. Well, I am about to tell you that there are 42 Easy Ways to Save Money that require little to no effort!
Before I get started I want to say that many of these might seem like common sense. However, often times when people get going with life they tend to forget that making little changes can sometimes have the biggest impact. This list will be a friendly reminder and hopefully also give you some other great ideas you haven’t thought of before.

42 Easy Ways to Save Money

1.  Stop using credit cards

Some of the biggest issues in America today lie with debt and credit cards (anything plastic related) is the biggest culprit. Using credit is using false money. Use cash to avoid debt and in return you will save money.

2.  Save your pennies

It seems like saving your change isn’t going to make much of a difference, but if you use this 365 Day Printable Saving Chart, you can save $667.95 over the course of 1 year.  You can take it to the next level and save $1378 by using this 52 Week Savings Chart.

3.  Make a grocery list and stick to it

Have you ever shopped for groceries without a list? You probably went overboard and even purchased items you didn’t need. By making a list before you head to the store and purchasing only items on that list, you will save money.

4.  Wash your own car

The average price per car wash is $15. If you wash your car several times a month and do it yourself, you can save quite a bit of money there.

5.  Cut and dye your own hair

The reason is the same as washing your own car. Instead of paying the average of $28 per hair cut for men, and $44 for women, (plus all that added cost of dyeing and styling it) you can do it yourself and save that cash.

6.  Paint your own nails

The average manicure is $15 + tip. Yep, you guessed it. By doing it yourself you can truly save that money.

7.  Grow your own fruits and vegetables

Having a garden means saving money especially when fruits and vegetables are not in season and prices in-store skyrocket. Plus there is an added benefit of eating organically grown for a healthier alternative.

8.  Host date nights at home

Date nights can be costly. Instead, opt for a night in with a good movie and homemade dinner.

9.  Purchase and plan gifts ahead of time

Instead of waiting to purchase a gift right before a holiday or event, purchase it far ahead of time to maximize your savings. Purchase items when they are on clearance or on sale during their off-season.

10.  Shop sales and clearance only

This goes with #12. Opt to shop when items are only on sale or clearance. Never paying full price for anything will help you save money.

11.  Trade Services

If you have a business or a service someone else needs, offer it for free in exchange for something you need. It’s a great way to avoid paying for that specific service but still give something in return.

12.  Purchase Used

You wouldn’t believe how much you could save by purchasing a gently used item over new.

13.  Repurpose old items

Again going along with used items, no need to throw them away to purchase new. Simply find a way to repurpose old items and you can save a ton. Pinterest is a great resource for that.

14. Ditch the cable

You probably hear this all the time but cable is expensive! You can pay for a streaming service such as Netflix and save over a hundred dollars every month!

15. Take lunch from home

Eating out can add up fast. By shopping for what you need and taking lunch with you from home, your savings can really add up.

16. Contribute to 401K Savings Plans

Did you know that most employers will allow you to be taxed on your income after you’ve contributed to your 401K? Meaning less taxes you will pay plus there is sometimes even a tax deduction. Both helping you save money.

17. Water your lawn less often

This is certainly important in areas where they are droughts but watering less means less use of water and electricity meaning less money out of your pocket.

18. Trade school books with other students

In college or know someone who is? Suggest they trade books with other students rather than paying for them every semester.

19. Take advantage of price matching at retailers

Some fear the option to price match. However, price matching ensures you pay the lowest possible price which means immediate savings for just  a few minutes of your time.

20. Wash dishes by hand more often

Dishwashers are a convenience appliance but they are also a way that will eat at you’re monthly income. Washing dishes by hand lowers bills by reducing the amount of water and electricity used in the process.

21. Pass classes the first time around

Those who have been in college know that it isn’t cheap. Not passing classes the first time means a recharge to take that same class again. Ensuring you are a good student and passing them the first time will save money in the long run.

22. Buy a house instead of renting

Renting is putting your money in someone else’s pocket. Buy a house when possible and invest into something you will own. Money not wasted is money saved.

23. Participate in employee sponsored health insurance plans

Most employers will help pay a portion of your health insurance when purchased through them. This can save you a great amount of money every month.

24. Whiten your teeth at home

Professional teeth whitening kits can cost a fortune. Purchase the ones sold in-stores or online to avoid that hefty markup.

25. Buy generic brands

Generic are often just as good or even better than name brand products but they cost much less. Don’t let a brand or label fool you into thinking otherwise.

26. Carpool

Whether you are heading to work, school, or an event you can choose to carpool and save gas, which in return saves money.

27. Take advantage of mail in rebates

Rebates offer cash back on your purchase. It does take a little more effort and time but it can make a difference in the amount of money you save.

28. Budget for the unexpected

Nobody likes surprises when it comes to costly repairs, emergencies, etc. Make a savings fund dedicated to the unexpected and in the end you will save money by not having to borrow the money and pay fees or interest.

29.  Take care of pests yourself

Pest control can be an expensive service that is reoccurring. Check reviews on products you can buy and use yourself as a money saving alternative.

30. Unplug large appliances while not in use

Appliances will pull power from the source even when not in use. Unplug and save on your electricity bill.

31. Live a healthy lifestyle

Eating right and being healthy can contribute to saving money over a lifetime. It means less doctor visits because you will have less health problems and less money spent on medical bills.

32. Use coupons on every purchase

It might be surprising but there are coupons out there for almost anything and everything. Take it upon yourself to never purchase an item without one and you will save money on everything, every time.

33. Book vacations 6 months – 1 year in advance

Many will jump on an opportunity to book a vacation without much thought. Whenever you can, book a vacation 6 months or more in advance for the best rates, incentives, and availability.

34. Ditch services you don’t need

Think of all the extra this and that people throw at you when you buy a new car or get a new cellular plan. Chances are you don’t need that second warranty or that extended data plan. If you don’t absolutely need it, don’t buy it. If you did buy it, call and cancel the service.

35. Shop thrift stores

You wouldn’t believe the things you can find at thrift stores that people just got rid of. You can find everything from gently used items to brand new. Same goes for yard sales.

36. Pay off debt

Don’t leave those credit cards maxed out especially when you have savings. Pay off your debt first to avoid paying interest which is just lost money. Then focus on building your savings account.  We found that Dave Ramsey’s Total Money Makeover and Financial Peace University were extremely helpful to us as we paid off our debt.

37. Create a budget

Having a budget gives you the ability to know exactly where you money goes and makes you in control of your money. It’s a way to avoid overspending and help you save what you earn. If you need help creating or updating your budget, check out these budgeting tools!

38.  Learn the power of “no”

Okay so this is a bit more of a hard one. If your kids want a new toy, say no. If your friends want to go out to eat every night, say no. Saying no is a powerful way to save money because you don’t feel obligated to spend.

39. Compare rates on everything

Jumping the gun on anything can be a money saving disaster. Shop and compare rates from competitors. Some companies will even offer a promotion where they will not only match a competitors price, but they will beat it. Time and money well spent if you ask me.

40. Donate more

Helping others not only does good for the soul, but it does good for your wallet. Donating is a great way to give back and receive a tax break for it. Saving you money around tax season.

41. Utilize cash back programs

Who doesn’t want money back on everything you buy? Cash back apps and programs give you money back on items you already purchase.  My favorite cash back sites are Ebates and Mr. Rebates.  Money back in your wallet is always a good thing.

42. Think outside the box

This last one is a way for you to get creative with saving. There are millions of ways to make and save money, you just need to find a creative and rewarding way that helps you.

Help Has Arrived! Get The Ultimate Homemaking Bundle for $29.97

Homemaking Bundle

Do you ever feel like all the other moms have it together and you’re barely surviving? Do you feel like days of domestic bliss are something you’ll never experience?  Do you feel like you completely missed getting the domestic gene?  Maybe you’re a great cook, but a terrible housekeeper.  Maybe you have an immaculate house, but your finances are in shambles.  There are very few of us who would say we have homemaking down to a science.  I know I certainly wouldn’t!

While I’d love to live in a house that is always clean with fabulous meals on the table and clean clothes hanging in every closet, reality looks a lot more like this…non-stop laundry, never-ending meal prep, a pile of dishes that continues to grow no matter how many times we load the dishwasher, shoes piled in the front hall, floors that constantly need sweeping {even moreso, now that we no longer have a dog}, soap scum, the stain that won’t come out of my husband’s favorite shirt, teaching my twins to read, teaching my 16 year old to drive, a husband who recently turned in his notice to pursue his dream of owning his own business, a daughter with a toothache, and I’m trying not to lose my mind as I try to accomplish things with a broken elbow!

You may not have a broken elbow, but chances are, you have your own issues that are making homemaking challenging.  {For the sake of honesty, I was bad at homemaking before I broke my elbow.  This just gives me a little more of an excuse.}  I’m excited to share an awesome resource that I just purchased…The Ultimate Homemaking Bundle!

Erin and Stephanie created the Ultimate Homemaking Bundle because they know as rewarding as it is, homemaking is hard work and it doesn’t always come easily.

The Ultimate Homemaking Bundle will help you nurture the beauty and productivity in your home and family relationships with proven, simple, and effective tools that really give you a boost as a homemaker.  You’ll find help, inspiration, tips, encouragement, and resources…all at your fingertips!

The Ultimate Homemaking Bundle is a complete library of carefully selected eBooks, eCourses, audios, online conferences, and printable packs designed to help you turn your house into a home… without all the overwhelm.

What’s in the Ultimate Homemaking Bundle?

The first step in putting together this collection was to find the critical homemaking skills that you need to transform your house into a home.

Here they are:

  • Cleaning… create a healthy, toxin-free home
  • DIY/Homemade… fun and frugal ways to express your personal style
  • Devotionals and Faith… take a break from the daily grind to renew yourself
  • Finances… build a budget that works
  • Cooking & Meal Planning… serve easier, tastier meals in less time
  • Holidays & Special Events… brighten up old family traditions and create new
  • Homeschooling… homeschool with grace and ease
  • Marriage… heat up your marriage
  • Motherhood… find peace, balance & joy in mothering
  • Organizing… conquer the clutter and simplify your life
  • Pregnancy & Babies… enjoy a healthy pregnancy and prepare to nurture your baby
  • Health & Wellness… soothe aches & pains with natural remedies
  • Working from Home… hone your talents, live your passions and earn money to help your family

… a complete library of 99 eBooks and eCourses to help you nurture the beauty and productivity in your home and family relationships.

Are there too many books in the Ultimate Homemaking Bundle?

Let me ask you a question.

Have you ever taken your family out for a buffet dinner… and then been disappointed when you couldn’t eat every single morsel on display?

Of course not!

Sure. There’s that first, breath-taking moment when you see and hear and smell the amazing meal spread before you… and you think, “Where will I even start?”

But that’s the thing… because you do start… with something.

Maybe it’s a tender flaky biscuit, or a piece of delicious roast beef, or maybe you’re like me and start with dessert first!

So relax, enjoy, and start anywhere you like. Come back to the Ultimate Homemaking Bundle “buffet” as many times as you like. It’s all here for you.

Is the Ultimate Homemaking Bundle worth it?

In a word… yes!

To be absolutely certain, Erin and Stephanie asked questions, tried techniques and just about drove themselves crazy making sure that the Ultimate Homemaking Bundle was the very best homemaking resource anywhere.

They dug through hundreds of websites and connected with dozens of authors and teachers.

And then we all worked together to make these resources the most affordable possible.

And They Were Delighted to Help…

The result? This collection is a fraction of the price of what someone would pay for each resource individually!

For a short time, the Ultimate Homemaking Bundle… a complete library of:

  • 76 eBooks
  • 6 eCourses
  • 1 audio download
  • 2 online conferences, and
  • 14 printable packs

…99 carefully selected resources designed to help you nurture the beauty and productivity in your home and family relationships… is only $29.97. (A total value of $984.74.)

That breaks down to 30 cents per book.

Your 30-Day 100% Satisfaction Guarantee

If for any reason, you decide that the Ultimate Homemaking Bundle is not for you, then please send an email to customerservice@Ultimate-Bundles.com and we will refund 100% of your investment. No questions asked.

Don’t Forget the Bonuses…

Of course, no Ultimate Homemaking Bundle would be complete without the generous, inspiring gifts donated by companies that understand homemakers like you. Every gift is yours to keep and enjoy.

  • Choose 1 FREE Online Class from Craftsy (Select from 24 of Their Most Popular Classes – Up to $60 Value)
  • 1 FREE Kids Discovery Box from Green Kid Crafts ($19.95 Value)
  • FREE $15 Credit to Hope Ink PLUS 2 FREE 8×10 Art Prints ($71 Value)
  • FREE 90-Day “Good Deal” Subscription to She Plans Dinner ($15 Value)
  • Choose 1 FREE Stylish Spring Scarf from Deborah & Co. ($20 Value)
  • FREE $80 Healthy Moving Class Credit ($80 Value)
  • FREE 90-Day Pro Membership to ListPlanIt ($30 Value)
  • FREE 65 Tyndale Rewards Points to Be Used for a FREE Book or Towards Any Book of Your Choice ($15 Value)

Now It’s Your Turn

I think Laura Ingalls Wilder said it best…

“Just as a little thread of gold, running through a fabric, brightens the whole garment, so women’s work at home, while only the doing of little things, is just like the golden gleam of sunlight that runs through and brightens the whole fabric of civilization.”

The proven, simple, and effective skills you need to transform your house into a home are all waiting for you in the Ultimate Homemaking Bundle.

This is your chance to get all the love, support, guidance and inspiration you need to nurture the beauty and productivity in your home and family relationships with proven, simple, and effective tools that really give you a boost as a homemaker.

But time is running out! The Ultimate Homemaking Bundle will only be available from 8:00 a.m. EST on Monday, April 20 until 11:59 p.m. EST on Monday, April 27.

After that, the shopping cart closes and the deeply discounted price is gone.

Act now!

Click here for more info or to buy now.

Best wishes and happy homemaking!

Read the fine print about this bundle and read the answers to frequently asked questions about the bundle.

 

Free and Cheap Weekend Activities and Events

Free Weekend Activities Cheap Weekend Activities SimplifiedSaving.com

Looking for some fun things you can do this weekend that won’t break the budget? As a mom of 4, I totally feel your pain. Family activities can get expensive!!!  With that in mind, I’m sharing this great list of free and cheap events going on across the country!  Some are events that take place on a weekly basis (like Michaels…which we do almost every weekend) and others are one time only events.

If you live in the Fort Wayne area, head out to Glenbrook Square this weekend to check out Canstruction. My family and I love this event. During this event, teams of high school students build really cool structures out of canned goods.  You can then vote on these structures.  They’ll be building the structures this weekend and they’ll be on display for the next week.  At the end of this event, all canned goods will be donated to the food bank!

Make some memories and try a new workshop, lesson, or craft. Share this fun,money-saving list with your friends and family. And, if you know of any others to include, please let us know! It is always best to call ahead and make sure that your local store or retailer is participating to avoid disappointment.

:: Free National Park Entrance

April 18-19th
opening weekend of National Park Week

Find out the list of participating parks (over 405 of them) right here.

american-girl-store-events-125x150

:: American Girl Special Store Events

Special events differ by location. During April, they include Grace’s Sweet Spring Break Event, Adorable Accents: Twists & Braids, Grace’s Apron Craft & Cookie Decoration, Meal & Memories with Dad and Mom and more.

Many of the American Girl in store events are free, however some have a fee and some have age restrictions. Get the details here and find participating stores. Call ahead and make sure that your local store or retailer is participating to avoid disappointment.

Aqualicious_970x194_03

:: Barnes & Noble

Saturday, April 18th at 11 AM

Story time featuring Aqualicious plus related activities at many B&N locations

Most stores have free toddler story time, NOOK events, hands-on learning events and author events – find the times and participating Barnes and Noble stores here.

 

music-mentor-ep-tile

:: Guitar Center

Saturday, April 18th {no age restrictions for free music lessons}

10:15 AM – Group Ukulele Class

More free classes are offered during the week with their Music Mentor Series. Register at the Guitar Center website here.

home depot workshops for adults

:: Home Depot Workshop for Adults

Saturday, April 18th from 10 AM to 11:30 AM – Organic Gardening

Sunday, April 12th from 1 PM to 2:30 PM – How to Install a Toilet

You can pre-register online here.

whirly twirly windwill Lakeshore Learning

:: Lakeshore Learning Store

Saturday, April 18th from 11 AM-3 PM and a few locations offer crafts every Sunday.

Kids make and take a Whirly Twirly Windmill Craft. Get more information here.

clothespin bug magent

:: Michael’s Kids Club

April 18th – 10 AM – 12 Noon

Kids can make and take a decorative Clothespin Bug Magnet. At just $2 per child, they get 30 minutes of creative craft fun, supplies included. Ages 3 and up. Sessions start every half hour from 10 AM – 11:30. See a store associate to sign up. Get more information here.

williams sonoma free jr chefs

:: Williams-Sonoma Free Technique Classes for Kids

Saturday, April 18th at 10 AM

Junior Chef: Baking Bundts – kids will learn to prepare different flavors and sizes of Bundt cakes with three different glazes. The Jr. Chef’s class is suitable for kids ages 5-13.

williams-sonoma free techniques class

:: Williams-Sonoma Free Technique Classes for Adults

Sunday, April 19th -contact your store for class time

Coffee Techniques Class: Be your own Barista and learn brewing methods and discuss various roasts and grinds that affect your finished drink. To reserve a spot, and find out specific class times, contact your closest store right here.

……… MARK YOUR CALENDAR! COMING SOON……..

:: Free Comic Book Day

May 2nd

Find participating stores here.

: Free Admission to National Public Gardens

May 8th

A favorite annual events just in time for Mother’s Day. Find Gardens Near You

:: Free Art Museum Day

May 18th

Many art museums will be offering free or discounted admission. Find our more information here.

:: Free Zoo Admission for Dads on Father’s Day

June 21st

Most zoos all across the USA offer free admission for Dad every Father’s Day. Contact your local zoo for details.

:: Amtrak Train Days

Kickoff is May 9th at Chicago Union Station

Community events happening all across the USA from May 9th through November. Get more information here.

:: Bass Pro Shops

Friday, Apr 24th from 6 PM – 8 PM and Saturday, April 25t from 12 PM – 5 PM

Instructional Demonstrations, Product Discussions and showing off Product Displays to help you to Gear Up for Your Escape!

Kids Archery Workshops ongoing through November 18th

Most Bass Pro Shops have the same workshops, but be sure and check your local store here before you head out.

:: Home Depot Workshop for Kids

Saturday, May 2nd from 9 AM to 12 PM

Kids Learn How to Build a Picket Fence Photo Frame ~You can pre-register online here.

:: KOA Campgrounds Kids Camp FREE for Father’s Day Weekend

June 19th through June 21st

Kids camp free this weekend. Find the participating campgrounds right here.

:: Lego Stores Free Model Build

Usually held monthly in stores, kids ages 6 to 14 can build and binoculars. Contact your closest LEGO® Store here for details.

:: Lowe’s Build and Grow

Saturday, May 9th at 10 AM

Kids make and take a Mother’s Day Planter. Register at the website here.

:: Michael’s Classes for Adults

Find out more information right here about creative classes happening all week long.

:: Microsoft High Tech DigiCamp for Girls (free)

Microsoft is proud to offer technology programs specifically for youth. Find out more information here.

:: Pottery Barn

May 10th at 10 AM

Botanical flower arranging. Get more information and RSVP here.

:: Pottery Barn Kids

April 21st at 11 AM

Decorate biodegradable flower pots and plant seeds for Earth Day. Call your local PBK store here for a reservation.

More to Explore Throughout the Year:

:: FREE National Parks Admission for 4th Graders in 2015 – 2016 School Year

Starting in September 2015, every 4th grader will get an Every Kid in the Park pass food for FREE admission to all of America’s National Parks. The pass will be good for one full year and will be good for the 4th graders & their families as most parks charge admission per car. This is part of President Obama’s Every Kid in the Park initiative. Thanks to Thrifty NW Mom for the info!

:: Apple Camp

Enrollment is open for kids ages 8-12 to attend Apple Camp. This is popular free camp where kids learn to make movies or create interactive books complete with their own illustrations and sound effects. Hurry, spots fill up quickly. Go here to sign up.

:: Athleta Stores

Free fitness classes, group runs and special events at your local store. Visit your local store page here for more information.

:: Apple Store

Free workshops – learn the basic of Mac, iPad, iPhone, or iPod. Learn how to create slideshows with iPhoto. Edit home movies with iMovie and more! Find your local store and make a reservation for a free workshop here.

:: Beauty Events in Stores

Find free beauty events at local stores with free samples and demonstrations. Visit the website that keeps track of these right here.

:: Bowling for Kids all Summer

Kids Bowl for Free all summer at select bowling centers. Get two free games for each child, every day, all summer long. She rental is not included. Check to see what nearby bowling alleys are participating here.

:: Factory Tours

Find factory tours all across the USA, go here, The site has 570 tours and counting! Many are free but some may have an admission fee. (Thanks to the Happy Housewife for sharing this!)

:: Family Movies for $1 During the Summer

Participating Regal Cinemas, United Artists, & Edwards Theaters offer 9 weeks of family movies, rated G or PG, for just $1 on Tuesday or Wednesday mornings at 10 AM. You can see the schedule, starting dates and movies here on the Regal website.

:: Flying Lessons

Young Eagles – kids ages 8 to 17 experience aviation and get free rides in private aircraft flown by experienced pilots. Get more information here.

:: Home and Garden Shows

If you like Home and Garden shows, this site will give you a free pass. Check the ACS Home Show site.

:: Lululemon Fitness Classes

Lululemon locations offer free yoga classes, go here for schedules and locations.

:: Major League Baseball Clinics

Through the Major League Baseball Players Alumni Association, kids can attend a free baseball clinic in many locations across the country. The free program is called Free Legends for Youth Kids Clinics.

:: Playground Finder

If you find yourself in a new location and are looking for a playground, use the free KaBoom Map of Play, playground finder and just type your location into the search bar.

:: REI Running Classes

Learn or get back into running with training and techniques classes. Find our more at REI.com.

:: Roller Skating

Kids Roller Skate for Free: Find the closest participating facility right here.

:: Sephora: Free In Store Beauty Classes

Join the Sephora Beauty club ,( free) and attend free beauty classes inside Sephora stores to learn everything from building a skin care routine to creating the perfect smoky eye. Classes are held on Sunday at more than 60 stores across the USA. Check with your local stores for schedules and times.

:: SKI Passport for 5th Graders

Go to www.5thgradeskipassport.com to get a free pass in Idaho or the Pacific Northwest. For other areas, search for your state with the words “5th grade ski pass + your state”, or the name of your local ski resort.

:: Target – Free Community Events

Target is also sponsoring FREE community events ranging from free museum admission, free theater tickets, family activities and tours at some of our countries most famous venues. Times and locations vary by city. Find free family activities sponsored by Target in your area right here.

:: Wine Tasting

Total Wine stores offer free wine tasting classes each weekend. Learn about specific producers, regions and varietals. Where allowed by law, participants receive special discounts on the wine being tasted. View the FREE Wine Tasting Schedule here.

:: More Free Museum Dates

This site, www.freemuseumday.org, tracks free museum days in the following cities: Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, Portland, San Francisco Bay Area, and the Seattle Area.

:: Celebrate Crazy Holidays

Make memories and celebrate Haiku Poetry Day, Bicycle Day, Earth Day and more.See the full schedule here.

* For more ideas for family fun, be sure and check Groupon, Amazon Local and LivingSocial in your area. Join each site for free and start having more fun on a budget! These vouchers make great gifts too!

For inexpensive and sometimes free tickets to local events, I am a fan of Goldstar tickets. Watch your emails for the heading “Comp Train” from Goldstar. If you are new, you can set up a free account here.

Be sure and check out your local library and parks and recreation departments for free programs and events right in your hometown!

Thanks More with Less Today!

Ignite Your Imagination with Audible

Disclosure: This post is a sponsored post.  As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.  

A book is a device to ignite the imagination

I’ve always been an avid reader.  Growing up, I always had a book in my backpack and often hidden in my desk so I could read while my teacher was teaching. {Don’t judge me!}

When I was in my late teens, I discovered audiobooks.  They were fabulous cassettes that I could play while driving around or listen to while cleaning my room.  I was HOOKED!  Now, I could “read” anywhere!  When I started traveling, I would buy an audiobook before I left.  My dad shared my love of audiobooks and I could always count on him to have an audiobook to share with me.

Eventually technology changed and books on tape became books on CD.  I liked CDs even more than I liked tapes.  The quality was better and it seems like the availability was better as well.

The real gamechanger for me was the introduction of Audible.  Audible is an app that allows you to download audiobooks to your smartphone or tablet.  Suddenly a whole new world opened up for me.  I could now listen to books while walking around the house cleaning or while exercising.  Dreaded tasks like dishes and folding laundry became enjoyable with the addition of a good book.  I usually alternate between personal development books and fun fiction books. I typically listen to 4-8 books each month. At that rate, I’ll never listen to all the books in the Audible library.  Audible has over 150,000 books to choose from in a variety of genres including classics, bestsellers, personal development, and they even have children’s books!  My kids love to listen as well!

Audible is much more affordable than buying audiobooks at the store.  You can save even more by using Coupons.com Audible coupon codes.

If you’re interested, you can try Audible for 30 days for FREE, but I’m warning you, you’ll be hooked!!! :)

 

 

 

15 Non-Candy Easter Basket Fillers

15 Non-Candy Easter Basket Fillers

When my older girls were growing up, I filled their Easter baskets with all kinds of candy!  I threw in a few practical things like fuzzy socks and my favorite lip balm, but for the most part, their baskets were full of all things chocolate, sugar, and dye!

When the twins came along, we found out that they can’t have dye, gluten or high fructose corn syrup without turning into purple minions.  So Easter baskets have had to change dramatically.  We now do mostly non candy items with a few things like YumEarth Sour Jellybeans, YumEarth Lollipops, and some chocolate.

If you’re looking for some alternatives to Easter baskets filled with candy, this list is for you!

1. Plastic Original Slinky – $5.99

2. Veggie Tales – An Easter Carol – $4.51

3. Crayola Special Effects Sidewalk Chalk – $7.56

4. You Are My Sunshine Book – $4.00

5. Toddler Favorites CD – $5.99

6. Let’s Play! Bug Garden Reusable Sticker Set – $7.99

7. Preschool Color & Activity Book – $5.65

8. Play-Doh Classic Tropical Colors 4 Can Pack – $5.99

9. Uno Card Game – $5.97  {This is a huge hit for all of the kids in our family…ages 9 to 19}

10. Ganz Lil’Kinz Striped Alley Cat Plush – $3.40

11. Melissa & Doug Jumbo Triangular Crayons – $5.98

12. The Little ABC Coloring Book – $1.35

13. Toxin Free Loom Band Refills – $17.90  {I ordered these last week for my daughter’s birthday and was really happy with them.  You can order a kit like this and split it between multiple baskets.}

14. Melissa & Doug Construction Wooden Chunky Puzzle – $9.99

15. Melissa & Doug Sunny Patch Augie Alligator Bubble Saxophone – $6.99