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Category: Family, Fun & Holidays

A Frugal Father’s Day: Share your links!

In honor of Sunday being Father's Day, I thought it would be appropriate to share some of our frugal ideas for making this a special day without breaking the bank. Reader, Lucky, emailed me with many of the great links below to get things started out.

::Perhaps you could consider surprising that man in your life with Breakfast in Bed? Berry French Toast is a great recipe and it can be inexpensively made if you use day-old Italian bread and only one kind of berries. Lucky said she often makes it up the night before and then just pops it into the oven to bake. Breakfast pizza is another delicious option. Or there's always just some of your classic standbys.


::And what about making some homemade gifts? There's paper airplane cards or notepads. Or perhaps you could check your stockpile and see if you could come up with some items to put together a car-washing kit? Looking for more creative and inexpensive ideas? Janet at The Money Jar has an extensive list here.


Those are just a few ideas and links to get things started. I'm going to open up the floor and let you share you all celebrate a frugal Father's Day at your house. Either leave your ideas in the comments section or post your ideas on your blog and leave your link below. I'm anxious to hear what creative things you've come up with!


MyPoints: Earn free gift cards for reading emails and taking surveys


Back when my husband was in law school and we were living on our bare-bones beans-and-rice budget, we rarely ever had any extra cash to use for dates. However, I didn't let that deter me from coming up with creative ideas for fun dates. We'd take a picnic to the park, we'd go to the library and browse books, we'd take walks. If we could scrounge up a few dollars, we get a meal or two at a fast food restaurant with coupons or hit the $0.99 bowling night.

One of our favorite things to do was to head to a bookstore and get an iced coffee and just spend a few hours looking at books. We'd browse the shelves and then take a stack of books to a cozy corner and read for a while. We usually paid for our drinks with a gift card I'd earned from MyPoints so the whole evening ended up costing us nothing out of pocket and would be a very relaxing and refreshing time for us to spend together away from the pressures and deadlines of law school life.

If you are strapped for cash but would love to also get to have a bookstore date on occasion, I'd definitely recommend MyPoints. It's free to sign up for and you can earn points to cash in for gift cards by reading emails and taking surveys. It takes a bit of time to accumulate enough points to cash in for a gift card, but if you have more time than money right now, it's a great way to be able to enjoy a few free dates every year.

Go here to sign up.

Guest Post: Summer Family Fun for Free

Guest Post by Christi Bovee from Blessings From Our Home to Yours

In our house, we are all getting antsy to get out and feel some sun on our faces and get our bodies moving in the summer breezes. Here are just a few of our family's favorite ideas for enjoying the Summer months without spending a lot of money. In fact, most of these ideas are free!

Summerfun

1) Try letterboxing. Our family discovered this fun activity a few years ago and our children have loved the thrill of this "treasure hunt". If you've never heard of this before, this article on "Start Finding Letterboxes" explains:

Letterboxing is an intriguing “treasure hunt” style outdoor activity.
Letterboxers hide small, weatherproof boxes in publicly-accessible
places (like parks) and post clues to finding the box online on one of
several Web sites. However, clues to finding some of the most
highly-sought boxes are passed around by word of mouth. There are about
20,000 letterboxes hidden in North America alone. Individual
letterboxes usually contain a log book, an often hand-carved rubber
stamp and may contain an ink pad. Finders make an imprint of the
letterbox's stamp on their personal log book, and leave an imprint of
their personal stamp on the letterbox's logbook .

To read more about letterboxing and the supplies you will need to get started, visit Letterboxing.org.

2) Visit your local library. The summer reading program at our library is always a big hit with our children during the Summer. Our library gives great prizes like Frosty coupons, Little Caesar Pizzas, Donuts, and Chocolate-Dipped Oreo Cookies from the local coffee shop. Those prizes are definitely great motivators for our children to read! Most libraries offer similar Summer Reading Programs and I'd encourage you to check yours out.

Mail.google.com

3) Participate in nature programs.
Many local parks offer nature free programs. If you check out the website(s) for the parks department in your area, you might be surprised at what things you can learn and do for free!

We often visit Maple Wood Nature Center in LaGrange, Indiana one Wednesday a month for an educational program. Their programs range from learning about maple syrup to patterns in nature to learning about instruments. Last summer we attended a park in Elkhart, Indiana which had a program on old fashioned sodas. We learned the history, tried samples of various old fashioned drinks, and then made root beer and bottled our own to take home.

4) Go to museums. Some of the best educational places are museums, but it seems–especially for families with even a few children–it is nearly impossible to visit these without spending at least the amount that would be spent on groceries for the week. However, don't let the admissions costs deter you because we've found many museums have free or discounted days a few times each Summer.

For instance, in the Chicago area, the Chicago Children's Museum offers free family nights on Thursday evenings and free admission on some Sundays and Mondays. The Chicago Museum of Science and Industry has six free days in June and The Art Institute of Chicago offers free admission on Thursday evenings. 

Bank of America has their Museums on Us promotion which provides free admission to over 100 museums nationwide on the first Saturday of every month. More details here.

I'd recommend contacting the museums in your city to see if they have any free admission days or times during the Summer. You might be pleasantly surprised!

There are so many options for parents who can’t afford to take an elaborate or expensive vacation but still want to create special memories with their children. It doesn’t have to cost you a months worth of wages, either. Time spent together as a family will likely be some of the best memories your children have all Summer!

Mail.google.com

Christi Bovee is a homeschooling mom who looks for every opportunity to build and create special memories with her husband and children every day and season of the year. She loves reading, singing along with her children and husband while he plays guitar, hiking, and enjoying the fellowship of her church family. She and her husband have three children with another one due in May. You can read about the blessings in her family at her blog.

Reader Tip: A Thrifty Mother’s Day Idea

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Sarah from A Thrifty Mom sent in this creative but thrifty Mother's Day idea:

As Mother's Day approached this year, I found
myself stressed about what to get for my Mom. I wanted to make sure
she felt special and appreciated but I don't have the money to buy her an expensive gift.

Now that I am grown, I look back on my
favorite memories at home with my Mom. They are not the gifts she
bought me or the money she spent. It was the time she spent with
me–reading me a good night story, doing my hair, teaching me to bake
bread, picking fruit and then canning it together. It was the time
she took to show me how to serve others. It was the time she took to just be a
wonderful Mom.

With this in mind, I picked up a little scrapbook from
the dollar store, added a few ribbons, flowers, and pattern paper
to the inside. Then I added a little tag to the front that reads “My
Mother”.

The whole book cost me less than $2 to make, but it is what
I am adding inside that will be the true gift. I filling the book
with photos and short stories of my favorite memories of my Mom and
what I love most about her. Sometimes we forget to tell those
closest to us just how special they are to us and I am hoping that this Mother's Day, through this simple gift, my mom will catch a little glimpse of how much I appreciate her.

What are your creative and memorable ideas for celebrating Mother's Day without breaking your budget? I'd love to hear!

Our $0.31 night of fun!

Did you get your $0.31 ice cream from Baskin Robbins tonight? We certainly did!

We've missed a lot of the other recent great food freebies and deals since I was too sick to make it out of the house. But the antibiotics are finally kicking into gear and I'm feeling much more energetic (I didn't know that was possible at 40 weeks pregnant, but compared to how sick I was last week, I feel great this week!) so we ventured out tonight to enjoy some very inexpensive and delicious ice cream.

Of course, apparently we weren't the only ones to have decided to hit up Baskin Robbins tonight. In fact, we had a hard time even finding a place to park–there were scores of people everywhere when we pulled up! The line was stretched quite far out the door but that didn't deter us. After all, patience is a virtue, right?

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Waiting on the bench outside for Daddy to bring our ice cream. Kaitlynn wasn't too thrilled at having her picture taken!

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And still waiting for Daddy to get to the front of the line! The girls were very patient and had a blast watching through the window as the long line of people gradually made it up to the ice cream counter.

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Ice cream at last! Yum!

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Yours truly (aka The Very Pregnant and Swollen Mama!) with my two little precious girlies.

It was a fun and memorable evening–all for only $0.31 per person!