frugal seeds

 

 

person holding a green plant

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The title of my blog gives away the fact that I live with at least one chronic illness.  Now, I don’t want to brag, but I actually live with several, and as interesting as it sounds, it is not a whole lot of fun.  Unfortunately I am not the only one in my family who lives with such a burden.  Every person in my immediate family lives with at least one chronic illness.

As a result of all of our medical bills, we have learned to live on a tight budget.  Over the years I have had to learn to be frugal and about 6 months ago I decided to put some of  my frugal ways into a book,  Frugal Seeds: 501 Ways to Make, Save or Stretch a Dollar.  It is now available in both paperback and e-book on Amazon.  The entire book can be read for FREE with an Amazon Kindle Unlimited membership.

You will notice it is written under a pen name.  This has been done as I working on additional books and I am determined to keep the lives of my children private.  Thank you for understanding.

 

 

 

As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

frugality, budgeting, minimalism and saving money

silver and gold coins

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There is a simple, no bells or whistles website, THE FRUGAL SOURCE,  that lists links to  publications, blogs and websites, all having to do with saving, investing, retirement, budgeting, minimalism, do-it-yourself and using money wisely.

In my attempt to stretch our budget a bit tighter, I have found many of these sites to be helpful.  May you find something that can bless you too.

 

free activities for adults

national museum of anthropology building

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Now that it is summer (and I am way late posting this), there are so many free activities taking place around the country.  Just in my small mid-west town we have a free concert series, library summer reading programs, free movies once a week and free lunches every weekday for anyone who is hungry.  So check out what is available in your location………you might be amazed how many free activities are available to you and your family and the free choices can be just as fun as the ones that cost money – without the guilt.

Below is a list of some free activities for adults:

 

Free admission into National Parks

https://www.nps.gov/planyourvisit/fee-free-parks.htm

 

Free admission into museums with Bank of America credit card or

https://about.bankofamerica.com/en-us/what-guides-us/arts-and-culture.html#fbid=WooO27LGd7d/hashlink=museums-on-us

 

Free classes for adults at home depot………yes, they offer free kid classes too

https://www.homedepot.com/workshops/#change_store

 

Free fishing days

https://www.takemefishing.org/how-to-fish/how-to-catch-fish/free-fishing-days-2018/

 

Geocaching

https://www.geocaching.com

 

Places you can volunteer

https://www.volunteermatch.org/

 

Free music app………..makes doing something not-so-fun, more fun with a personalized playlist

https://www.spotify.com/us/

 

Whole foods offers free classes in some locations

https://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/events

 

Some Williams Sonoma stores offer free classes

https://www.williams-sonoma.com/pages/store-events/store-events.html

celebrate your day with freebies

 

purple and red balloons

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Here is a list of stuff you can get free on your birthday……….and in case you missed it, check out free food you can also receive on your big day!

 

Acme Comedy Company – free tickets

 

Alamo Drafthouse Cinema – free movie ticket

 

AMC – free gift

 

American Eagle – 15% off coupon

 

Anthropologie – birthday discount

 

Banana Republic – birthday gift (possible coupon)

 

Bare Minerals – free gift

 

Captain Dizzy – free car wash

 

Colombia – free birthday gift & welcome gift

 

Container Store – free birthday & anniversary gifts

 

CVS – special offer on birthday month

 

DSW – $5.00 off

 

Famous Footwear – $10 off

 

Fresh – free gift

 

Harkins Theater – free $5.00 for concessions

 

House of Comedy – free ticket

 

J Crew – 20% off & free shipping on your birthday

 

Kohl’s – free gift

 

Lancome – special gift

 

Office Depot – special birthday offer

 

Old Navy – free gift

 

Out of Africa – free park admission

 

Payless – special birthday offer

 

Redbox – one free night rental

 

Sephora – free gift

 

Ulta Beauty – free gift

 

World Market – free surprise

 

Happy celebrating!

 

~ wendi, pen name Charlie, is the author of Frugal Seeds: 501 Ways to Make, Save or Stretch a Dollar.

food freebies for your birthday!

lighted candles on cupcakes

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Here is a (partial) list of food freebies that you can receive on your birthday.  Happy Celebrating and saving money!  I mean who doesn’t love to save money?!

 

Abuelo’s – free treat on your birthday & anniversary

http://www.abuelos.com/join-our-mi-abuelos-rewards/

 

Applebee’s – free dessert

https://www.applebees.com/en/sign-up

 

Arby’s – free milkshake

https://arbys.com/get-deals

 

Au Bon Pain – free lunch

http://aubonpain.fbmta.com/members/UpdateProfile.aspx?Action=Subscribe&_Theme=21474836609&inputsource=w

 

Auntie Anne’s – free pretzel

http://www.auntieannes.com/terms-and-conditions

 

A & W – free root beer float

https://www.awrestaurants.com/rootys-corner

 

Baja Fresh Mexican Grill

https://www.bajafresh.com/clubbaja/

 

Baskin Robbins – free ice cream

https://www.baskinrobbins.com/content/baskinrobbins/en/thescoop.html

 

bd’s Mongolian Grill – free entree

https://www.gomongo.com/join-bds-club-mongo/

 

Bertucci’s – free treat on birthday and half birthday

http://bertuccis.com/email-club-sign-up

 

Benihana’s – $30.00 birthday certificate – must follow all instructions

http://profile.benihana.com/registration/

 

Bennigan’s – BOGO entree and free dessert

https://bennigans.com/e-club-sign-up/

 

Big Boy – free birthday dessert

http://www.bigboy.com/email-club/

 

Black Angus Steakhouse – free steak dinner w/a purchase of any dinner – 1st year

https://www.blackangus.com/contact/#terms

 

Boston Market – free dessert

https://www.bostonmarket.com/eclub/

 

Buca di Beppo – free $20 for your birthday, free pasta just for signing up

https://www.bucadibeppo.com/eclub/

 

California Pizza Kitchen – free dessert

https://cpkpizzadough.myguestaccount.com/guest/

 

Cinnabon – free treat for signing up & on your birthday

http://cinnabon.fbmta.com/members/UpdateProfile.aspx

 

Cold Stone Creamery – BOGO

https://www.coldstonecreamery.com/mycsc/

 

Culver’s – free treat & BOGO value basket just for signing up

https://www.culvers.com/delicious-perks/join-the-club/join

 

Dairy Queen – special treat on birthday and half birthday & BOGO blizzard just for signing up

https://www.dairyqueen.com/us-en/Blizzard-Fan-Club/?localechange=1&D

 

Dave & Buster’s – free $10 game play

https://www.daveandbusters.com/rewards

 

Del Taco – free milkshake

https://deltaco.com/contactus

 

Dippin’ Dots – free dippin dots

https://www.dippindots.com/dotcrazy/signup.html

 

Dunkin’ Donuts – free beverage when you sign up and on your birthday

https://www.dunkindonuts.com/en/dd-perks

 

Denny’s – free grand slam

https://www.dennys.com/search/?q=birthday

 

Don Pablos – free nachos for signing up & $10 for birthday

http://www.donpablos.com/hab-club

 

Edible Creations – free gift

https://www.ediblearrangements.com/rewards/

 

Einstein Brothers Bagels – free egg sandwich w/purchase

https://shared.einsteinbros.com/join

 

Iguana Mia – free meal and fried ice cream

//www.iguanamia.com/

 

Firehouse Subs – free medium sub

https://www.firehousesubs.com/birthday

 

Friendly’s – free sundae

https://www.friendlysrestaurants.com/login/?login=register

 

Fuddruckers – free 1/3 pound burger

http://fuddruckers.fbmta.com/members/UpdateProfile.aspx?Action=Subscribe&inputsource=w

 

GOVIDA – free treat

http://www.godiva.com/get-chocolate-rewards?baseURL=get-rewards

 

Great American Cookie – free treat

http://greatamericancookies.fbmta.com/members/UpdateProfile.aspx

 

IHOP – free meal

https://www.ihop.com/en/pancake-revolution

 

Jersey Mike’s – free sub and drink

https://www.jerseymikes.com/email-club

 

Margaritaville – free treat & free appetizer just for signing up

https://www.finsupclub.com/

 

Moe’s Southwest Grill – free burritos

https://www.moes.com/rockin-rewards

 

Olive Garden – free dessert

https://www.olivegarden.com/specials/free-birthday-appetizer-or-dessert-with-your-meal

 

Orange Leaf – $3.00 off

https://www.orangeleafyogurt.com/rewards

 

P.F.  Chang’s – free appetizer or dessert w/purchase

https://www.pfchangs.com/faq/

 

The Melting Pot – free chocolate fondue

http://pages.themeltingpotclubfondue-email.com/Profile_Center

 

The Spaghetti Warehouse – free meal & appetizer for signing up

http://www.meatballs.com/join-our-club/

 

Pinkberry – free yogurt

http://www.pinkberry.com/loyalty/

 

Planet Smoothie – free smoothie

http://www.planetsmoothie.com/eclub/

 

Red Robin – free burger

https://www.redrobin.com/royalty.html

 

Rita’s – free birthday treat, if closed on your birthday will receive on 1/2 birthday

https://www.ritasice.com/connect/birthday-club/

 

Ruby Tuesday – free burger

http://pages.rubytuesdayrestaurants.com/page.aspx?QS=5c591a8916642e737829bde7e144b86f195bb33af6913d4c5dda6ef500467c48

 

Sbarro – free birthday treat

https://sbarro.com/slicesociety

 

Shula’s – free entree

https://www.shulas.com/shulas-clubs/

 

Smashburger – free side or shake w/purchase

https://smashburger.com/smashclub/

 

Sprinkles – free treat on birthday and 1/2 birthday

http://sprinkles.com/perks

 

Starbucks – free drink on your birthday

https://www.starbucks.com/card/rewards

 

Sonny’s BBQ – free big deal combo

https://www.sonnysbbq.com/reward

 

TGI Friday’s – free dessert & free dessert or appetizer for signing up

https://www.tgifridays.com/rewards/faq

 

Western Sizzlin

https://www.sizzler.com/join-the-club

 

Wienershenitzel – free coupon & free chili dog when you sign up

http://www.wienerschnitzel.com/specials/

 

Zaxby’s – free nibbler & free sandwich meal when you sign up

https://www.zaxbys.com/zax-club/

 

Zoes Kitchen – free birthday treat

https://zoeskitchen.com/rewards

keeping my young kids entertained at home while chronically ill

depth of field photography of p l a y wooden letter decors on top of beige wooden surface

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Although I had been “sick” for as long as I can remember, no one could find anything wrong with me.  As a result, I went on with my life the best I could and that included the blessings of children.  It was not until after my last child was born that I became too ill for the doctors to ignore.  Once a diagnoses was finally made, my life was more complicated, stressful, and difficult due to increasing symptoms.  There were many days that I lived minute by minute, not sure how I was going to last until it was their bedtime.  I had to figure out ways to make taking care of the kids a little easier and these are the things that I did.

We hung a bird feeder outside our dining room window.  This was a place we could all sit and watch the birds.  I purchased a few storybooks with birds and a bird guide to help us identify the visiting creatures.

Special boxes.  Every late summer when school supplies went on sale, I would put together a box for each child.  Their boxes would include paper, pens, pencils, crayons, scissors, stickers, glue sticks, craft supplies, a puzzle, journals, a book or two, and a few smaller toys.  These boxes were only brought out with my permission and I used them on days I couldn’t handle much noise or activity.  They were a HUGE hit with my kids as I was adamant that the boxes were only brought out at specified times and when they were done everything went back into the box and it was put away until next time.

Play dough and Model Magic.  I had a bin with plastic silverware and plates and small toys and  plastic animals to use with the play dough.  Kids loved it when I pulled out this bin, but it had to be used on days that I felt decent, as it involved more clean-up.

Special DVDs.  There were several movies that my kids loved to watch and I would hold those back for times when I could not get out of bed.  The kiddos would climb into bed with me and “we” (mostly them) would watch the movie.  This would give me a solid hour and a half to be still.

Books.  I read A LOT to my kids, hundreds and hundreds of books.  I would sit in a comfy chair and the kids would gather around and listen while playing quietly (most of the time).

Legos.  I LOVE Legos.  We had all kinds of legos at our home and as the kids grew the legos got smaller and more dangerous to have scattered all over the floor.  These could keep my kids entertained for hours.

Blocks.  I had a very large plastic bucket full of wooden blocks and my kiddos would sit and play with those for hours creating their own imaginary kingdoms.

Trains.  A train table was given to my oldest child and Thomas and his friends joined shortly afterward.  There was enough room at the table for all of my kiddos to sit and play.

Dress-up bin.  Old clothing, jewelry, hats, halloween costumes, they could dress up and become anything they wanted.

Art supplies.  White paper, scratch paper, construction paper, packing paper, pens, pencils, crayons, markers, finger paints……….I kept all of this contained to one area of the house.

Dolls.  Dolls and doll clothing plus beds made from clementine crates and plastic doll food from the dollar store.

Sandbox in the backyard. My husband built a simple sandbox in our backyard and the kids LOVED playing in it.

Tire swing hanging from a large tree in our backyard.  My husband put this up for the kids and it was an instant hit.

I hope you can find something you are able to use to entertain your kiddos or grandkids while you deal with CI.

 

Until next time……..

 

~ wendi, pen name Charlie, is the author of Frugal Seeds: 501 Ways to Make, Save or Stretch a Dollar.

resources available from a small town library

 

bookcase books bookshelves hallway

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Here is a list of FREE things currently available from my Midwest small town library.  I have wanted to do a post on all the free stuff that is available to you at your local library as I believe it is an underutilized community resource, especially for those of us living on a limited budget.  Although I knew my small library had a lot to offer, doing research for this blog, I discovered even more resources……….so I encourage you to check out what your local library has to offer you!

FREE resources:

Museum passes

Books

DVDs

CDs

Audiobooks

Magazines

Newspapers

Free rooms that you can reserve for studying or meetings (has computer, white board, and markers)

WiFi

Charging stations for electronics

Links to two local newspapers through their website

E-books

Hoopla – movie, documentaries, TV shows, audiobooks, comic books and ebooks

Play-a-ways

Xbox & Wii games

Portable internet tablets that can checked out and used inside library

Faxing

Notary Public

Cynoculars – can be checked out for home use

Portable recharger – can be checked out for home use

WiFi hotspot – to check out for home use

Computer Lab

Monthly book club – adults

Monthly book club – homeschool grade school

Needle art group

Knitting group

Crocheting group

Ukulele classes

Paws to read – kids read to therapy dogs to increase reading skills

Story time for babies

Story time for toddlers

Saturday  crafternoons  – drop in crafts for school aged kids

Weekly teen classes

OverDrive – audiobook and book downloads

My  library rewards – receive points for checking out items and earn free food, classes and museum passes from the surrounding communities

RB digital – free e-magazines

Tumble book of the day – animated audio kids’ books

eSebco database – digital nonfiction childrens’ books

MyON books – digital childrens’ books

Exam proctoring

Genealogy room – Librarian to assist with your research needs

Childrens’ area – w/books, tables, computers and lego play area

Teen area – booths, tables, books, board games, coloring sheets

Inter-library loans

Bookmarks

Community events information

Paper recycling

 

Please take some time to see what your library has to offer you……..

 

~ wendi, under the pen name Charlie, is the author of The Frugal Seeds: 501 Ways to Save, Stretch or Make a Dollar

 

 

 

Until next time….

Five of my top free educational sites for young kids

computer monitor on table

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After my chronic illnesses kicked it into high gear right after my youngest turned a year old, I quickly started searching for how I was going to keep my kiddos busy,  maybe learn something, and have fun.

I remember those days with young ones under my feet while I was so ill, stressed out, and not sure what was going on with me, with each day bringing on new physical challenges.    One of the ways I kept my kids entertained for a while each day was with computer time……….

Here is a list of 5 of my favorite educational sites for young kids.

Happy exploring…………..

 

http://www.starfall.com/

 

http://pbskids.org/

 

https://kids.nationalgeographic.com/

 

https://www.brainpop.com/free-stuff/

 

http://www.nickjr.com/games/

 

Until next time……………you are a super hero even if your cape looks more like a child’s blanket!

list of free (and $1.00) summer activities for kids

assorted underwater animal toys

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It is hard to believe, but summer is just around the corner and with the warmer months brings more time with the kiddos.  It can get very expensive trying to find ways to entertain children/grandchildren/nieces/newphews without losing your mind or physically exhausting yourself.    Below is a list of free activities your kids can participate in and some require minimal outings on your part.

These activities may not be available in all locations.

 

Free summer reading program for kids grades 1-6

https://dispatch.barnesandnoble.com/content/dam/ccr/pdf/2018/summer-reading/bn-summer-reading-journal.pdf?x=y

 

Free summer reading program for kids to 14 years old

https://www.halfpricebooks.com/fyb/pdfs/FYBReadingLog.pdf

 

Kids to 14 years old can bowl 2 games/day free all summer.

https://www.kidsbowlfree.com/

 

Regal movie theaters are offering $1.00 movie tickets through the summer two days/week.  One of the movies is Max and is something that is not a predominately a kids movie so adults may enjoy it too!

https://www.regmovies.com/movies/summer-movie-express

 

Free movie/game rentals in JUNE for each A on a child’s report card at Family Video

https://www.familyvideo.com/community-involvement/

 

Every 4th grade student and their family gets a free National Parks pass to be used as much as wanted by August 31, 2018

https://www.everykidinapark.gov/game/adventure/start

 

Free family summer camps

https://www.basspro.com/shop/en/family-summer-camp

 

Free camp at apple store ages 8-12

https://www.apple.com/retail/camp/notify.html

 

Free workshops for kids ages 5-12

https://www.homedepot.com/workshops/#change_store

 

Free month Lego mini-build ages 6-14

https://shop.lego.com/en-US/minibuild-registration

 

While your at it, sign your kiddos up for a free lego magazine

https://www.lego.com/en-us/life/magazine

 

Free fishing – nationwide schedule

https://www.takemefishing.org/how-to-fish/how-to-catch-fish/free-fishing-days-2018/

 

Free classes for kids

https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/store/locations/events-for-students

 

Free summer audiobook program for kids 13+

http://audiobooksync.com/

 

Another book program for kids

http://www.bookadventure.com/Home.aspx

 

Pottery Barn kids book club

https://www.potterybarnkids.com/customer-service/store-events.html

 

Free tokens from Chuck E Cheese for completely logs such as reading

https://www.chuckecheese.com/deals-offers/rewards-calendars

 

If you live in the Boston area, here is what I found for free

https://bostonlivingonthecheap.com/always-free-cheap/free-museum-days/

 

If you live in the Chicago area here is a link to free days at their museums

http://www.chicagoparent.com/learn/museums/museum-free-days/

 

If you live in the Houston area, here is a link to free dates/time for free museum entry

http://houmuse.org/free-admission-times/

 

If you live in the Indianapolis area, here is a link to free and discounted museums

https://indywithkids.com/free-indiana-museum-days-2017/

 

If you live in the NYC area, here is a link to free or pass as you wish museums

https://www.nyc-arts.org/collections/35/free-museum-days-or-pay-what-you-wish

 

If you live in Oregon, below is a link to free admissions

http://www.oregonlive.com/entertainment/index.ssf/2017/12/get_free_admission_to_12_orego.html

 

If you are in southern California, below is a link to free museums

http://www.socalmuseums.org/free/

 

In the St. Louis area, here is a link to free admissions

http://www.familyattractionscard.com/single-post/2015/04/07/15-Free-Things-to-Do-in-St-Louis

 

If you are in the Washington DC area, here is a link to free activities and museums

https://freetoursbyfoot.com/free-things-to-do-in-dc/

 

Don’t forget that many libraries nationwide have free summer reading programs!  This has always been a favorite of my kids.

Free summer lunches, and in some places breakfasts, are available nationwide for kids through 18 years of age.  These are available in select public schools and parks.  Below is a link but you may have better information googling your state and free summer lunch program.

https://www.fns.usda.gov/summerfoodrocks

 

Until next time…………………..YOU are a superhero!

FREE reading

books stack old antique

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Those of us who are chronically ill tend to spend our free time participating in less physical activities such as reading.  Since most of us are on a budget due to those endless medical bills, I have done my best to compile a list of websites that offers free reading material.  It is my hope that this list will be beneficial to even the biggest bibliophile.  Happy exploring!

 

https://www.goodreads.com/shelf/show/free-online

http://en.childrenslibrary.org/

http://rivetedlit.com/

http://www.readprint.com/

http://www.gutenberg.org/wiki/Main_Page

https://www.wattpad.com/

https://www.fanfiction.net/

https://www.bookrix.com/books.html

http://www.read.gov/books/

https://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Main_Page

http://www.openculture.com/free_ebooks

http://manybooks.net/

http://www.online-literature.com/author_index.php

http://freecomputerbooks.com/

https://librivox.org/

http://www.authorama.com/

https://archive.org/details/texts

https://www.questia.com/library/free-books

https://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/Main_Page

http://www.bibliomania.com/

https://openlibrary.org/

http://www.sacred-texts.com/

https://www.free-ebooks.net/

http://digital.library.upenn.edu/books/

https://www.smashwords.com/books/category/1/newest/0/free/any

https://mises.org/wire/ten-books-read-free

https://fee.org/books

 

Until next time………….YOU are a superhero and knowledge is a super power!