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

 

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summer edition

macro photography of black sunglasses on sand

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I am excited to announce that we have another book available on Amazon, Frugal Seeds Summer Edition, 101 Ways to Enjoy Summer with Your Kids for Little Money.  This was a true labor of love as the ideas inside this e-book are how I have enjoyed summer with my kids through the years.

I would be humbled if you would check it out.  Free to read with KindleUnlimited and 99 cents to download.

encouraging frugality

pink and white ceramic pig coin bank

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If  you would like to be encouraged in your frugal endeavors and receive money saving tips, please follow us on Instagram @thefrugalsource

 

~ I am the author, under the pen name Charlie Lee Austin, of Frugal Seeds 501 Ways to Make, Save or Stretch a Dollar

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.

 

 

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.

celebrate your day with freebies

 

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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

Do you have unclaimed money waiting for you?

dollar-currency-money-us-dollar-47344.jpeg

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Below is a website that will allow you to search for unclaimed property/money from various sources.  Although I haven’t found any extra cash for myself, I did find some for my mother and grandmother.

Here is to hoping that you will be able to find some lost cash for yourself, enough to pay off a medical bill AND go buy yourself something nice…………like new, comfy PJs!

https://www.usa.gov/unclaimed-money

 

Until next time…………happy and fruitful hunting!

money saving tips

money pink coins pig

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Do you ever feel that your money is not your own?  For me, it seems as if most of the money goes to treating my CI one way or another: special foods, supplements, medication, and medical bills.  Over the years I have had to stretch our resources so bills (especially those darn medical bills!) can be paid.  I have also learned that every little bit of saving helps, small expenses can add up quickly.  So here are a few things I do to stretch a dollar.  I would LOVE to read yours!

Reuse (cleaned) plastic zip lock bags as long as they did not previously hold meat or eggs.

Reuse (cleaned) aluminum foil as long as it did not cover meat/cheese/eggs.

Turn off lights every time you leave a room.

Plug electrical devices into power strips, turn off power strips at night.

Run dishwasher on shortest cycle for each load.

No cable TV.

Cook from scratch as much as possible- bulk ingredients are often cheaper than prepackaged foods.

Purchase meat in bulk.

Eat less meat.

Buy as many products as possible from a dollar store — price compare per unit.

Purchase clothing from thrift stores.

Shop end of season sales for clothing.

Combine errands (this is to save both gas money and personal energy!).

Keep meals simple.

Eat leftovers.

Eat out only on special occasions.

Use coupons when eating out.

Take advantage of free grocery store downloads (Kroger, K-Mart, Giant Eagle).

If possible, shop at more than one store.

Cut up empty cereal/cracker bags into sheets to use as waxed paper.

Drink mostly water.

Set grocery budget and stick to it.

Check clearance grocery section first.

Purchase bulk foods that have a long shelf life.

Get rid of all memberships and subscriptions that are not regularly used.

Use plastic grocery sacks as trash bags for small waste cans.

Use empty plastic/glass food containers as storage tubs for leftovers.

Use mesh produce bags tied in knots as a scrub pad for dishes.

Use a small dry erase board on the outside of fridge to write down leftovers waiting inside – cross off when consumed.

Save brown paper that comes in delivered packages to wrap own packages.

Save the cotton from bottles of supplements for cosmetic use.

Turn off  stove/oven when food is almost done, let it continue cooking/baking.

Open shades in winter to let the sun in and warm up the rooms.

Close shades in the summer to keep the sun out and keep rooms cooler.

Use the library to check out free books, movies and take classes.

Install led lights as bulbs go out.

Send away for all rebates immediately.

Shop discount grocery stores.

Use cash whenever possible – you spend less money.

Eat as healthy as possible so you can feel as good as possible.

When shopping on-line always look for discount codes first.

Purchase used when possible.

Cut up old clothing that can’t be donated into rags.

Use rags to save on paper towels.

Use Walmart’s saving catcher program.

Sign-up for stores’ reward programs.

Use both sides of the paper.

Use printer mistakes as scratch paper for kids’ drawings.

Pay bills on-line.

Send postcards vs. greeting cards.

Purchase generic foods when possible.

Request generic drugs when possible.

Certain medications are free at: Winn-Dixie, Meijer, Publix, Reasor’s Foods, Price ChopperHarvey’s and BI-LO.

Walmart has a list of $4.00 medications.

Visit local parks as a free source of entertainment.

Make your drinks of choice at home.

Save and reuse gift bags.

Run dishwasher only when full.

If clothes are lightly soiled wash in cold on the shortest cycle possible.

Wash laundry in cold when possible.

Hang up clothing to dry, saves wear and tear on clothing.

If you purchase juice, buy it frozen and add extra water when mixing.

Take recycling to a drop off center – no longer pay for curbside pickup.

Purchase all wrapping paper after Christmas, make sure to get some solid colors that can be used for other occasions.

Cut-up and freeze produce before it goes bad……perfect for smoothies.

If you use milk, try powdered.

Once the toothpaste tube appears empty, cut the bottom off to get to what is left.

When no more shampoo will come out of the bottle, add water and shake and instant shampoo again.

If you buy soda, cheaper to purchase a 2-liter than a single bottle at check out.

Take a thermos of water and snack with you when you run errands, it keeps you from going through a drive-thru.

Put all loose change into a container to save for a special occasion or purchase.

Purchase nonperishable food items in bulk such as beans, rice and oatmeal.

Get free food grade buckets from Walmart’s deli counter for storage.

De-clutter your home so you know what you have, avoiding duplicate purchases.

Clean out and organize your freezer so you know what you have.

Clean out your pantry – makes it easier to know what you have on hand so you don’t over purchase.

Eat what you freeze before it goes bad.

Stuff unusable socks with plastic grocery bags and put at the bottom of doors to keep out drafts.

Pay bills on time to avoid late fees (this may not always be possible).

Carry a small notebook as a price book – keep track of prices/unit so you know if you are getting a good deal or not.

If you have a garage, clean it out so your vehicle can be kept inside, save gas from having to warm it up in winter.

Comparison shop when purchasing supplements.  You can usually find them cheaper than the prices at your health care professional at places like Amazon, Vitacost, Swanson, The Vitamin Shoppe, and  Mountain Rose Herbs just to name a few.  If you sign-up for a company’s newsletter you will usually receive a coupon code.

Floor models, open boxes and things about to expire are always cheaper, don’t be afraid to ask for a discount on these items.

Shopping at the end of the day at garage sales will save you even more money – people don’t want to haul all their stuff somewhere else.

Don’t purchase something just because it is a good deal, make sure you need it.

Comparison shop for car insurance, cell phones, trash and internet service and other monthly expenses or even call your current providers to see if there is a cheaper plan.

Bring your own bags – some stores charge for bags and others give you a small discount if you bring your own.

If someone asks, request gift cards as presents to your favorite restaurants or stores.

Grow any of the food you consume – even apartments have a space for one pot in which you can grow herbs or a tomato plant.

Please check out Frugal Seeds to read more money saving tips.

 

 

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The Complete Tightwad Gazette: my favorite book for money saving tips

pink and white ceramic pig coin bank

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If you are anything like me, you need to watch your pennies.  My chronic illnesses have put an enormous of strain on our budget requiring me manage it closely.  As with de-cluttering books, I have read many (and I mean many) books on how to save money, budgeting and frugality.  Some of the books were a total waste of time, others have been very helpful, but the one that changed my life more than any other money saving book is, The Complete Tightwad Gazette by Amy Dacyczyn.

The Complete Tightwad Gazette is not a typical book that reads like a story, instead it is based on the subscription newsletters that Ms. Dacyczyn published from 1990 – 1996.  Therefore, the book is divided up into smaller articles ranging from………..should you let a bar of soap dry out before using it, how to make a volleyball net with plastic rings from a 6-pack, to a basic muffin recipe, and everything in between.  Because the newsletters were published in the 1990s many of the money saving tips are now outdated and no longer relevant.  Despite the book having some out dated money saving tips, I found it extremely useful.  I did read the entire book cover to cover, all 959 pages, and it was the only book I have read that encouraged me to start thinking of as many ways as possible I could save us money, how to creatively use up what we already have, and make the most out of every single penny.   No other book has pushed me past my comfort zone, to think creatively and encourage me to search for even the smallest ways to save…………hey, it all adds up!

Because this book has been so wildly popular you should be able to check it out from your local library.  If you cannot find the Complete Tightwad Gazette, you maybe able to find one of the first three volumes:  one, two and three………the later ones would probably be more beneficial.  I have seen copies of her books at Half Price Books and Goodwill.  In my very humble opinion, it is worth the time and effort to find a copy of her book.

 

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

 

 

As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.