Money-Saving Tips & Recipes To Help Families During This Time

Over the past 10 years, I have written a lot of posts that I think might be helpful to our current situation.

I decided to sit down and comb through my archives to make one big post that would compile all the relevant information in one place.

I hope you find this information useful!

Are you doing just fine right now? That’s awesome! In that case, you might consider reading the article GOOD GIFTS FOR FAMILIES IN NEED – Now is a great time to pay it forward if you find yourself with an abundance of supplies!

REVERSE MEAL PLANNING – HOW I SAVE A TON ON GROCERIES BY REVERSE MEAL PLANNING! – This version of grocery shopping is basically what we ALLLL need to be doing now. Most of us don’t quite know what will be available when we head to the grocery store nowadays. Reverse meal planning will help us make the most of what we already have on hand AND what we can gather during our quick socially distanced grocery trips.

HOW TO BECOME A BETTER COOK – LEARN TO COOK BETTER AT HOME TO SAVE MORE MONEY! – I keep seeing posts about friends and family struggling with having to cook more meals/more often than they are used to. Recipes aren’t turning out well. They are getting frustrated with the constant barrage of hungry people in their household. They only have ingredients to MAKE food and less convenience food than before. Learning how to cook can make this time of being stuck at home a more enjoyable and flavorful experience!

10 WAYS TO MAKE LIVING ON ONE INCOME EASIER – Some advice in this post might not be actionable right now. However, there are some tips in this post that might be helpful if you are suddenly one income short right now.

HOW AND WHY YOU NEED TO CREATE A BUDGET – If you have been living without a detailed budget, now is a great time to sit down and make one! Especially if you have lost an income stream or you anticipate a drop in income. When you sit down and write it all out, you might find places you can cut back and you might actually notice you have more money than you thought you did!

Garden shed with tools and flower pots

10 WAYS TO GARDEN FOR LESS! – Finding yourself with some extra free time? Maybe it’s time to start that garden you have always wanted! FYI, some tips in this post might be hard to take advantage of right now. However, you can order most supplies online and many grocery stores actually carry seeds/potting soil as well. If you have the spare room in your budget, this could be a great calming activity!

10 EASY WAYS TO BUILD UP THE EMERGENCY FUND – This might be difficult to do right now when you might be down an income or if you have uncertainty about future sources of income. However, having an emergency fund can bring you SO much peace of mind! It might be worth bookmarking this and coming back to it when life gets back to normal again.

LIVING HEALTHY ON A BUDGET: EXERCISING – Need some inexpensive exercise ideas? Here is an article that has quite a few!

MARRIAGE AND FINANCES – IT’S ALL ABOUT TEAMWORK – If you find yourself having to pinch pennies where you never have before, this could create some struggles in your marriage or your relationship. This is kind of our story about how we figured out how to manage our own finances as a married couple and the struggles that lead to where we are today.

FREE EDITABLE GOOGLE DRIVE SCHEDULE FOR DISTANCE LEARNING!!! – A great resource if your kids are currently embarking on a Distance Learning adventure! Fully editable for your own personal situation. This has REALLY majorly been a huge stress reliever in our household!

Finally, I have TONS of great frugal recipes on my site! Here are just a few that you might want to try out over the next few weeks:

Click here to see all of my recipes!

Also, here are to fun Easter treats if you happen to have the supplies on hand to make these!

SURPRISE RICE KRISPIE TREAT EASTER EGGS ON A SOUTHERN MOM

EASTER FUN: MAKE BUNNY BAIT WITH YOUR KIDS!

Here are some fun at home DIY/kid activity ideas as well:

I hope that some of these posts can help you and your family make it through this difficult time with a bit more peace, good food and cash in your pocket!

Let me know if there are any other ways that I can help! If you haven’t already, join my Facebook Group for more money saving advice, deals and resources!

How To Become A Better Cook – Learn To Cook Better At Home To Save More Money!

Do you want to cook at home more often, but you know you need to become a better cook first? Does your family cringe as you place their dinner plate on the table? You can become a better cook by just picking up a few new and simple habits!

One of the easiest ways to save money is to cook at home. Making meals at home for your family is almost ALWAYS cheaper than getting a meal in a restaurant. Fast food might be cheaper than cooking the same meal at home (think Taco Bell tacos compared to home made tacos with all of the fixings), but the long term repercussions of that fast food might just make you lose money over the longterm in health issues.

The argument I hear OFTEN regarding why people don’t cook at home is that they just don’t think they are a good cook! Or maybe, they think they are an okay cook, but they can’t cook *insert dish here* better than their favorite restaurant can.

I am here to tell you…if this is you…you are WRONG! You can cook! I am under the firm belief that anyone can cook. Maybe you aren’t a good cook now, but you can become a better cook!

Now, here is my caveat…I love to eat out. I love going to restaurants. I do feel I am a good cook. I actually think I am an above average cook when I have the time and inclination! If your budget allows for eating out, then by no means am I saying you need to stop! You still might benefit from these tips to become a better cook though!

My Tips For Becoming a Better Cook

Season, Season, Season –

When I first met my husband, we would go out to eat and he would sometimes declare something didn’t taste so good. I would take a bite, add some salt & pepper and all of a sudden, he couldn’t get enough! The thing I have noticed about most self proclaimed “bad” cooks is that they do not season their foods. (my husband now seasons when necessary and follows this first rule very well!)

Not only do you need to season your food to taste at the end of the dish, you really should be seasoning at every single stage of the cooking process. This is why my recipes (except for baking…baking is like chemistry, you need to have exact amounts!) typically state “Salt & Pepper to taste”. I wish I could also put “to taste” for all of the spices I use, because truthfully…I only season to taste.

Do you hear that? Just because a recipe calls for 1 Tablespoon of Italian Seasoning, does not mean you only need to use 1  Tablespoon! Taste it after it’s had some time to permeate the dish. Does it still need more? Add some more!

Let’s say you are cooking a soup. First you are sauteing some veggies to go in your soup. Season them with some salt & pepper as they cook. Next you are cooking the chicken for your soup. Who likes bland chicken? Absolutely nobody. Season your chicken! Now you put your broth in with your veggies and chicken. Allow it to simmer to let the flavors blend, then taste it….and see if it needs more seasoning! (it probably does!). Don’t be afraid to season your food.

If you are on a low sodium diet, you can get very creative with Mrs Dash type no salt seasonings or other herbs and spices. Don’t let your food be bland! Season, Season, SEASON!

Use Reputable Sources for Recipes

Pinterest rocks. Blogs rock. However…when I want to make a dish I have never made before, I head over to AllRecipes. Why? Because I can crowd source my recipes!

I want to make risotto? (I have an awesome risotto recipe here, lol) I will head over there and look for the one that is rated the best. Then I will read the reviews (not all of them, mainly just the top few) and see where people made substitutions or what their comments are regarding the recipe. If there seems to be a theme through all of the comments (this asks for too much broth, you need to cook this for longer than the recipe says, etc), I will take that feedback into consideration.

The reason I say don’t rely on Pinterest and blogs (and I am saying this as a blogger who posts recipes!!) if you are not somewhat experienced in the kitchen is because often there is no feedback. Nobody else is proving the trustworthiness of this recipe. Often, you’ll just see “Oh I can’t wait to make this!” or “Oh this looks so good, I am making it tonight!” in the comment section of blog recipes. Nobody comes back to update whether they made the dish and how it turned out.

There are some exceptions to this. Obviously, Pioneer Woman gets a lot of feedback on her recipes. That said, (and I am not accusing anyone of anything), bloggers can delete comments that criticize their recipes.

Unless you are an experienced cook who can use blog recipes and Pinterest as inspiration and adapt along the way if things don’t taste to your liking (remember, you need to be seasoning and tasting all along the way!), then find your recipes through cookbooks and/or websites that allow unfiltered feedback and reviews.

Use the Right Equipment

Don’t use a cast iron pan for a recipe that requires non stick. You will just give yourself a headache.

Don’t try to shred cheese using a fork. Make sure you have a cheese grater.

You really don’t have to spend a ton to have a well stocked kitchen. However, investing in good kitchen equipment that withstands repeated cooking, and makes your life easier, is well worth it.

My favorite kitchen items are:

My Instant Pot

My Ninja Foodi

My KitchenAid Stand Mixer

However, you don’t need any of those pricey appliances (although they sure do make my life infinitely easier) to have a well equipped kitchen. Here is all you really need:

This is certainly NOT an exhaustive list. You might find you have no use for a potato masher because you use your stand mixer to make your mashed potatoes/mashed cauliflower (I do). Or you might not need a cast iron skillet because you have no desire to cook with cast iron.

However, having the right equipment can make the difference between you attempting to cook a whole chicken in a pot on the stove or roasting it in a roasting pan in the oven (I’ll give you one guess for which will taste better and actually cook evenly!).

Use Shortcuts

Speaking of roasted chicken! If your budget allows…buy that rotisserie chicken at the grocery store and shred it at home for recipes. Use the carcass for stock and bam…you have made a budget friendly decision that is only a bit more expensive than cooking the roast chicken from scratch at home yourself.

If your budget allows, buy the already cut veggies. The bagged salad. The pre-cooked bacon (although..yuck? I hate that stuff).

Even when you use shortcuts, you can still spend less money and eat more healthfully cooking at home vs going out to a restaurant.

Be Organized and Tidy

This is where I fail y’all. I am just going to admit defeat here! No, I’m not…I will never be defeated by a messy kitchen! I HATE to cook in a messy kitchen, but I also hate to clean the kitchen. What’s a gal to do? (my solution…make the husband and kids do it! Hey, I’m the one cooking, menu planning and grocery shopping!)

Clean the kitchen y’all.

Have you heard of a mise en place?

Mise en place (French pronunciation: ​[mi zɑ̃ ˈplas]) is a French culinary phrase which means “putting in place” or “everything in its place.” It refers to the set up required before cooking, and is often used in professional kitchens to refer to organizing and arranging the ingredients (e.g., cuts of meat, relishes, sauces, par-cooked items, spices, freshly chopped vegetables, and other components) that a cook will require for the menu items that are expected to be prepared during a shift. – Wikipedia 

This means that you get everything nice and neat and prepared for cooking à la food blogger style. When you have to run to the pantry while the onions are sauteing, you might just get side tracked and they will burn. Ask me how I know this? Trust me, been there, done that a time or two!

When I start off with all of my ingredients in front of me and a clear and defined work space, my cooking experience is much smoother and much nicer. If you pretend hard enough, you can actually convince yourself you are the next Rachael Ray! (grab the garbage bowl and the EVOO!).

These are my tips! I hope they will help you to become a better cook. I know they all make a difference in MY cooking and I think I am a pretty good cook if I do say so myself!

What are some tips you have for becoming a better cook?

Reverse Meal Planning – How I Save A Ton On Groceries By Reverse Meal Planning!

Have you tried reverse meal planning? Learn how I use reverse meal planning to make a HUGE dent in our weekly grocery budget without having to clip coupons!

Over the past several years, I have discussed here on FFF how I truly feel that the “secret” to saving money on groceries is meal planning. Meal planning can make an enormous difference in your grocery budget.

The difference between walking into my local grocery store with a list and without a list is absolutely measurable. I spend so much more money if I walk in without a plan!

Meal planning in general is one of those tasks that can initially seem super challenging, but once you get into a flow and have a few weeks of plans under your belt, it can become incredibly effortless. OR, you can also just outsource meal planning to a service like eMeals, Eat at Home, Six Sisters, etc.

Even though I do find meal planning to be a huge money saver, the biggest money saver I have found regarding grocery shopping is REVERSE Meal Planning! Oh, and I RARELY use coupons when I reverse menu plan…only if they are right there next to the product and stupid easy to grab!

Click to purchase on Amazon!

Oh gosh, what is this fanciness you might be asking?

Reverse Meal Planning is not for everyone.

Reverse meal planning might not be for you if you don’t have:  

Time – It involves shopping multiple stores, or at least going to one store more often than you would typically go grocery shopping.

A lack of brand/store loyalty – If you REFUSE to give up your favorite brand, or maybe you have specific dietary needs so you CAN’T buy just any kind pasta, etc this might not be the form of meal planning for you.

Creativity – Okay, you don’t need a ton of creativity, but some weeks you might only find foods on sale that are not in your typical wheelhouse! You need to be okay with hopping on to AllRecipes or Pinterest and finding a recipe for something that is potentially outside your family’s typical rotation.

Storage – If you don’t have a lot of storage for both perishables/non perishables, this might not be the meal planning option for you. However, you CAN do Reverse Meal Planning without a lot of storage, but you likely will not be able to build up too much of a stockpile which means you will have to be very inventive in the kitchen from week to week as you will have less of an arsenal to pull ingredients from.

Okay, now that we have established who Reverse Meal Planning is NOT for…

Reverse Meal Planning might be for you if: 

  1. You don’t mind stopping by Kroger on your way home. HEB once over the weekend. Aldi a few times a month. Checking the store ads at Walmart/Target/Amazon Subscribe & Save/insert other grocery store here. You will go to the grocery store more often with reverse meal planning.
  2. You enjoy being a bit creative in the kitchen!
  3. You have room to store extra items for when you find a good deal and you are able to stock up!

You Still Want To Give Reverse Meal Planning A Shot? 

Well, here goes…first off, you walk into the store without a list.

Are you shocked? Are you wondering why I just harped on always entering a grocery store with a LIST above and now I’m telling you to walk into a grocery store without a list?

Are you concerned I am going crazy?

Here’s the thing, Reverse Meal Planning is about creating your meal plans based on what is on sale and what you have in your pantry/fridge/deep freezer.

The longer you Reverse Meal Plan, and the more you build your stockpile, the more money you will save!

How to Reverse Meal Plan

First off, you’ll walk into your local grocery store and raid the markdowns! Look for the loss leaders (the top half of the store ad is usually the loss leaders. These are the items that your grocery store is selling for dirt cheap to get you in the door in the hopes that the rest of your cart will be filled with full priced items).

My biggest hint is to look for Manager’s Specials in the meat department. 90% of the proteins I bring into our home are either on sale or Manager’s Specials that are 25-75% off the retail price! Use good judgement here, if the meat already looks iffy…it won’t get better looking at home. I ONLY buy markdowns if they look just as good as the full priced meat.

Often these proteins are so deeply discounted only because they are close to their “sell by” date.

Guess what though? I have a deep freezer! I package all of these proteins in freezer friendly bags and write the date on them (FoodSafety.gov has a great chart for how long items can stay refrigerated/in a typical freezer/in a deep freezer).

Then I scan the rest of the store for good deals. The signage for markdowns in most stores is generally pretty clear. You can usually whiz down aisles pretty quickly and the markdowns will stand out.

You HAVE to be able to resist impulse purchases. Adopt the motto, if it’s not marked down…it does not go in my cart! 

Do this at as many local stores as you have access/time to visit. At first, you’ll still have to menu plan a bit traditionally.

I recommend trying to use Week 1 and Week 2 of Reverse Meal Planning as “clean out the pantry/fridge” weeks. As you gradually build your stockpile, you will be able to menu plan based on what you have on hand. You will rarely be shopping for THIS week’s groceries each week. 

Instead, this week’s grocery shopping trip will be for fresh produce (on sale if possible), fresh dairy for your family and finding markdowns to stockpile for future menus. You will also likely have to buy a few items here and there to flesh out your meal plan.

For instance: 

I might have a dinner of pork chops (found on markdown and frozen a couple of weeks ago), mashed cauliflower (frozen bag of cauliflower found on sale about a month ago and stashed into my deep freezer) and a spinach salad planned for dinner one night this week.

This week, I will put a bag of spinach for my spinach salad on my grocery list, but otherwise, everything else for this meal I already have on hand!

Reverse meal planning will not be for everyone. It requires time and effort. There are many other alternatives to reverse menu planning that will also save you money and cut down on your grocery bill. I encourage you to give it a shot though. Or do a hybrid!

Leave a couple of days of the week unplanned until after you grocery shop. Use your grocery store markdown finds to play your own personal version of Chopped based on what you find.

Do you reverse meal plan? Are you considering it? Comment below and let me know what you think!

Resources For Those Affected By The Government Shutdown

Looking for resources for federal employees affected by the government shutdown? Here are a few resources to help those affected.  This article will hopefully help federal employees and their families navigate their lack of paycheck(s) during this time of uncertainty.

The Government has been shut down for 26 days as of today (1/16/19). 800,000 federal workers are either currently working without a paycheck, or unable to work at all (and obviously  not getting paid either).

Without pointing fingers or making things political…this just sucks.

The reality of the situation is that people are going to start hurting (if they aren’t already). Just today, I was at Walgreens and a woman asked how long it would take for her prescription. She commented that she was going to have to wait around for it because she lives two towns over and her husband works for the TSA so they need to spend as carefully as possible.

This woman was worried about gas money. The amount of gas money it would take to drive less than 4 miles back and forth. Most of of us take for granted 4 miles worth of gas. Even the penny pinchers among us probably don’t worry too much about 4 miles worth of gas.

Her fear is understandable though. At this point, nobody knows when the government will re-open. Nobody knows when things will go back to normal. Even AFTER the government opens, at this point..there will be delays.

I asked on my Facebook page, what can I do to help? Neither myself or my husband are federal employees, but I knew I wanted to help. The response was just to share helpful resources. I will do my best.

#1 Lean in to your community: 

Truthfully, I will not be able to provide you with ALL of the resources at your disposal. Some communities are bonding together and creating support for local federal workers. Local restaurants are providing free food. Our local baseball and softball leagues are delaying registration fees for the children of federal employees that want to play (oh, that makes me tear up).

Our communities are bonding together to help support those among us who are struggling, so first off…I encourage you to ask around your community and see where your fellow neighbors might be just waiting to see how they can help YOU.

Look on Nextdoor, Facebook and Twitter. I, personally, have been sharing every single local business offering support to furloughed workers on my own personal facebook timeline.

#2 Check what resources your department has for you: 

I did a quick check and found this great resource for the US Department of Transportation employees. The Letter to Creditors is awesome, take advantage of it and get in contact with your creditors ASAP. MOST are willing to work with furloughed employees.

Here is info for the GSA employees that are furloughed.

NASA has a huge PDF guide here. 

Honestly, if you are a furloughed employee, just check your departments website and they SHOULD have a resource available for you.

Some workers/states are eligible for unemployment. Some are not. You will need to check this out for yourself to verify. If you are, know that the process does take awhile, so don’t wait until you are in dire straits to apply.

#3 Talk to your bank/credit union

Some banks/credit unions are offering loans or covering pay for federal employees. I know JSC Federal Credit Union is offering 0% furlough loans for qualified members. See if your bank/credit union is offering anything similar.

#4 Start cutting your spending any way you can

Here on FFF I have tons of articles that can hopefully help you save money and help you deal with your new, limited budget:

Learn How to Use Coupons

How To Become A Better Cook – Learn To Cook Better At Home To Save More Money!

Reverse Meal Planning – How I Save A Ton On Groceries By Reverse Meal Planning!

My Favorite Money Saving Apps

10 Ways to Make Living On One Income Easier

How to Save Money Easily – 5 Simple Tips to Create Wiggle Room In Your Budget

The 5 Biggest Budgeting Mistakes (and How to Avoid Them!)

How and Why You Need to Create a Budget

4 Easy Ways to Coupon Without a Printer

5 Important Financial Tips for Beginners

10 Tips On How To Save On Your Car

How to Save Money on Utilities

10 Easy Ways to Build Up the Emergency Fund

How to Shop a Thrift Store

How to Build Up a Pantry for Less (From Scratch) in a New Home or Apartment

What to Buy/What Not to Buy at the Dollar Store

Strategic Shopping without Coupons! My Supermarket Shopping Trip

Find Out Why You SUCK At Saving Money!

Simple, Basic Ways to Cut Household Spending to “Find” Much Needed Cash

Five Disadvantages of Budgeting

Marriage and Finances – It’s All About Teamwork

#5 Reach out to your kids school, your church and the local food bank

In addition, reach out to your church and your local food bank for support. Let your children’s school know your situation. I know our school district has already proactively set up a donation center AND has agreed to allow kids meal accounts to go negative, let fees go unpaid, etc for the duration of the shutdown to alleviate financial stress due to school related expenses.

This feels so small. I don’t feel like this article is enough. If you know of more resources, please comment below and I will add to this list. If I have any misinformation on here, please kindly correct me. I just want to help and if I can give a bit of support from my tiny corner of the internet, then it is worth it.

My Favorite Money Saving Apps

Top 10 Money Saving Apps

Your smartphone can be a very powerful tool if you know how to use it for more than just surfing social media and posting memes. There are so many money saving apps available that can help you save large amount of cash every single year! Here are my favorite money saving apps and the ones I tend to reach for on a daily/weekly basis.

If you have a smartphone, you know that there is an app for darn near everything. Type in “money saving apps” and the huge array of choices can be a bit overwhelming. It is hard to know what is legit? What companies will actually pay out? Some of these companies require you to enter sensitive information. Who can you trust?

Some of these we use on a regular basis. Some of these money saving apps are on our “2019 to-do list” to set up. Some of these are used daily! I hope you’ll enjoy our list of money saving apps, and please comment below with some of the apps your family enjoys using to help save money and meet your financial goals!

Ibotta

One of my faves and super easy to use! Simply scan this before you head out the door to shop and you can add offers to your account. Then go shopping and afterwards, just take a pic of your receipt and Ibotta will give you credit!

This is definitely one of those “small trickles make a big stream” apps but it can really add up over time!

Click here to sign up for Ibotta (this is my referral link FYI!).

Target

The Target app makes me so  happy. Not only is it now a one stop shop for all Target Cartwheel offers and coupons, but it also offers a built in price checker AND you can pay via the app!

As you peruse Target, pull out the app to scan items to see if there are relevant coupons/Cartwheel offers that you can apply to your purchase.

Are you a Target RedCard holder? You can actually link your card to your app so that you can pay with your phone at checkout!

This app saves me so much money because it makes finding the great deals at Target so easy!

Coupon Sherpa

This app saves my butt every single time I leave the house to go shopping and forget to bring my retail coupons! Standing in line at Sally’s Beauty supply? I quickly open up this app to see if there are any relevant coupons I can use!

I love the interface of this app over other retail coupon apps and I have found that if there is a coupon out there, Coupon Sherpa usually has it available.

Groupon

I love Groupon. You can save on products, services and travel! I have Groupon on my phone and try to check it on a daily basis to see if there are any deals that will help my family.

You can also use Groupon if you intend to travel. You are not limited to only buying deals in your local area. Say you are traveling to Branson, just plug Branson into Groupon and see what deals you can find! This can be a great and frugal way to travel for less.

Sign up for Groupon here if you have not already!

Cozi

This one might seem a bit strange. This is a calendar/family organizer that you can use to organize basically your entire life. My family uses the Cozi app and I have a full review planned for later this month about how much we love it (well, I’m not sure the kids love the chore lists…but it’s better than us barking orders at them!).

This app is a money saving app for me because it includes meal planning and from your meal plan, you can make grocery lists! Meal planning and never going to the grocery store without a list are HUGE money savers for me and my family!

We pay for the Gold version of Cozi, which is a bit pricey, but we more than earn that money back in our annual savings.

Gas Buddy

This app will do just what you think it will! It will help you save money on gas! Tell Gas Buddy where you are and it will find the cheapest gas around town for you!

If you are going on a road trip, you can even plan your trip based on where you can find cheap gas along your route!

My Grocery Store Apps

I’m not sure what grocery stores you have near you, but all of my local grocery stores have an app. Their apps all have coupons available that I can either add to my store loyalty card, or I can at least see the weekly ad. In my area, most grocery stores have stopped mailing their weekly physical ad, so I find this super helpful!

Restaurant Apps

Do you frequent your local Starbucks? Are you a Chili’s regular? Regardless of where you tend to spend your eating out cash, be sure to see if that restaurant has an app! Often times, chain restaurants will have apps that link to loyalty programs. The more you frequent their establishment, the more perks you get.

Here are a few of our faves:

Starbucks

Buffalo Wild Wings

BJ’s

Acorns

Acorns is a way to make saving and investing basically effortless. It works by rounding up your purchases to the nearest dollar and then adding that difference to your Acorns account.

Then, the money will be invested in your portfolio and you will earn a return on your investment.

It takes 5 minutes to set up and is a super easy way to increase your savings with minimal involvement.

You Need A Budget

This app works by going off of last month’s income. The theory is that if you are only spending money that is over 30 days “old”, you will relieve yourself of the neverending paycheck to paycheck cycle that most of society tends to live in.

FYI, you work your way up to this level. They don’t automatically assume you can just stop spending/paying bills this month to free up your income for next month.

This app does require you to hook up your bank account info for it to work effectively. It is highly rated and has great support if you have any issues. This app can be tried for 34 days for free, but afterwards you will have to pay a $6.99 monthly fee.

I have several other apps I use, and several others that I am interested in checking out.

For now though, these are the money saving apps that I am personally most excited about!

Do you have any apps that you love to use to save money? Am I way off the mark on my top 10 list? Let me know in the comments below!

Money Saving Monday: Entertain Your Family For Less

One of the most frustrating parts of a frugal lifestyle (either by choice or forced!) is how expensive entertainment can be nowadays! Forget about it if you have a large family. Movie tickets range from $9-$12 a piece. It’s honestly a bit ridiculous. Here are a few things we do as a family to cut costs and still have fun!

Netflix

I’m not sure I can say enough wonderful things about Netflix. We are a big TV and movie watching family. We do have a cable package, but honestly we use our Netflix daily. We can instant stream some of our favorite shows right from our gaming systems, no need for a disc! We are set up on an unlimited plan with 1 disc mailed to us at a time. This means we could instant stream all day long and have one DVD in our home and still pay the same low price. We only pay around $10 every month and it is worth every single penny (for the kids programming ALONE. Veggietales, Clifford, Dora, Diego, Dinosaur Train, etc). Start your Netflix FREE trial today!

Parents Connect

Parents Connect is an excellent resource for families. Specifically when it comes time to find a fun family friendly event in your neighborhood. Simply go to the nearest large city near you and search for events you are interested in. I check this website on a regular basis and even get weekly emails from them with events for my area.
Sign up for emails here.

Kids Eat Free

Maybe you want to go out to eat. Consult My Kids Eat Free first. They have a HUGE list of all the restaurants in your area that offer free food to kids on certain days of the week. We love to go out to eat, but our kids don’t eat enough to justify the huge price tag for a family of 4. So we hit kids eat free night and don’t feel guilt over our bill!

Money Saving Monday Blog Hop

Do you have any great money saving tips to share this week? Link them up in the linky, or just leave a tip in the comments!

I have decided to change things up a bit this week and open up the hop to general participation. Which means you DON’T have to link up a money saving tip post. Just hop and have fun!

This is a blog hop! Here are the rules:
1. You must follow me…the host. It’s only fair!
2. Link up the main page of your blog OR your Money Saving Monday post…no giveaways, facebook, twitter, etc. and no adult content
3. Have fun!
So link up! You don’t have to post about the hop…but I’d love love LOVE if you did and left me a comment showing me where to find it! Please tell your friends about this hop too!

Want to learn a bit more about Family Friendly Frugality? First subscribe to FREE daily emails. Next, learn more about our family blog by reading our about me post or read the popular series Our Story. Or jump in head first and learn how to save money grocery shopping, play the drugstore game, or catch up on the hottest deals!