Celebrating the True Meaning of Christmas on a budget

close up of christmas decoration hanging on tree

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The Holidays, even if you budget for them, have a way of putting a strain on your wallet.  While my kids were younger,  I worked very hard to make sure they didn’t notice our limited budget by keeping Christmas a fun and active time while remaining focused on the true meaning of this holy season.

In my latest book, Frugal Seeds Christmas Edition: 101 Ways to Celebrate the Holidays on a Budget, I share many of the ways we celebrated the Christmas season while keeping our focus on the reason for the season.

I would be greatly humbled if you would take a moment to check it out.  It is now available on Amazon in paperback and e-book and can be read FREE on KindleUnlimited.  Thank you.

FrugalSeedsChristmasCover

 

“I will honour Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all year.”

Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

summer fun with kids

action beach boy child

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As many of you know I have written a book call Frugal Seeds  Summer Edition:  101 Ways to Enjoy Summer with Your Kids for Little Money.

This is can be read FREE at Amazon with KindleUnlimited or you can purchase the e-book for 99 cents.

From my family to yours……….wishing you a summer filled with blessed memories.

“Summer time is the best of what might be.” ~ Charles Bowden

 

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.

I have written a book, under the pen name Charlie, Frugal Seeds 101 Ways to Make, Save or Stretch a Dollar.  I would be honored if you would take a moment to check it out.

free budgeting apps

money coins cash currency

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“A budget is telling your money where to go instead of wondering where it went.” — Dave Ramsey, financial radio host and best-selling author.

 

Everyone can benefit from budgeting his/her money, but having a chronic illness makes your financial life more complicated…….every dollar ( at least in my situation ) must be stretched in order to be able pay all the medical bills and their bill friends that come along for the ride!

Below are links to free budgeting apps, each a little different, so you should be able to find one that fits your specific needs.

 

mint

goodbudget

wally.me

everydollar

nerdwallet

pocketguard

dollarbird

honeyfi

claritymoney

fudget

spendee

expense-iq

“Beware of little expenses: a small leak can sink a great ship.” — Benjamin Franklin, one of the Founding Fathers, inventor, diplomat, and the author of The Way to Wealth

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

stores with free download fridays

 

grocery cart with item

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When you are watching your pennies, or dollars if you are lucky, a freebie now and then is a nice blessing.  Below is a list of stores who provide free weekly downloads.  May you find something that can be a blessing to you!

 

Baker’s

City Market

Dillons

Food 4 Less

Foods Co

Fred Meyer

Fry’s

Gerbes

Jay C

King Soopers

Kmart

Kroger

Owen’s

Pay Less Supermarket

Quality Food Center

Ralphs

Smith’s

 

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

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

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….

May money audit, or, just write it all down.

notebook writing pencil start

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Money………..there is never enough, especially when you have sooooo sooooo many medical bills.  I have had to live frugally for years now due to medical treatments and tests, medicine, supplements, special foods……….you know the drill.  One more illness, more crap to pay for.  It gets frustrating and sometimes downright scary as there can be not enough money left for the month.

One way I make sure I am spending money as carefully and wisely as possible is by keeping track of every penny that is spent in a specific month.  I always do a money audit in January and I decided to do one again for the month of May.

It is really simple but it takes commitment………..you must write down Every Single Thing you spend any money on ALL MONTH long.  If you throw a nickel into the wishing well, write it down.  Lose a dime through the drive-thru, write it down.  Send a check to your niece for her birthday, write it down.  All bills, yep, you guessed it, write it down.  Every, single, piece of money that leaves your money pool needs to be written down.  I have a notebook that is dedicated for this purpose only, allowing me to go back and compare previous spending habits and bills.

Although I consider myself frugal by default, (because I would much rather not have to be!) participating in a monthly study of our spending has shown me ways that I may be able to cut back even more.  My spending flaws tend to stand out at me when I have to write down $2.25 for the pictures I HAD to have at the Dollar Tree.

If you are also living a life on a budget I encourage you to take a month to take inventory of your expenses.  The process of writing things down seems to make them more real, more noticeable.  You just may find that you can save an extra 10-20 bucks a month and put it aside to go do something fun………..like get your hair done professionally, instead of your spouse cutting your hair with household scissors in the kitchen…..O.K.  maybe that is just me!?

Until next time…………..YOU are a superhero and I am pretty sure superheros have their hair cut by a professional?