Frugal Dating: 8 Frugal and Easy Date Ideas

If you are like the average couple, your dates seem to revolve around the usual, tried and tested same old movie and dinner dates.
Could it be because you can’t think of other creative date ideas?  Or you think anything outside a movie and dinner date will dent your budget?

No way!

There are so many more fun, creative and affordable things you could do on a date!  It just takes a little creativity and thinking ‘outside the box’.

These 8 ideas below are fun, frugal and far-reaching. They should help get your dating creative juices flowing:

8 Frugal Date Ideas

 

 

  • Have a blindfold guess – our – location drive!Go for a drive together with your partner blindfolded. Drive for a few minutes and have them guess where you are. They get points for guessing right or almost right. Do this in turns.

  • Go for a walk around town on a Friday or Saturday night. Soak in the atmosphere.

  • Challenge each other to a contest. It could be anything at all! The sillier, the more fun!

  • Have Theme night (or day) date. Pick a theme and do everything in line with the theme. Example,

  • Get 2 painting canvas and each paint an original art picture for your wall together.

  • Bubble bath and massage. Settle in for a night of pampering at home. Run a bubble bath and then treat each other to full-body massages.

  • indexGo to a thrift store and give each other a budget, say $5 or $10 each.  You have 10 minutes to shop for the “perfect” gift for your partner at the store, using the budget set.  OR, you can go to a thrift store and buy each other outfits.  Each is required to wear the outfit the other picked out for them for the rest of the evening.

  • Pick a new recipe for a food you’ve never made, but always wanted to try.  Work together putting together, and later enjoying the food.

    You don’t have to stick to the conventional date to have fun.

    An assortment of creativity and frugality can give you the amazing and memorable dates you always dreamed of.

What are some of YOUR favorite frugal date ideas?  Leave a comment below!

Children’s Claritin and KaBOOM! Are Bringing Imagination Playground to Communities in Need!

Parents! Vote Now to Help Kids Have More Fun – One Playspace at a Time

As parents, we spend a lot of time discovering creative ways to nurture our children’s curiosity. Luckily, being outdoors provides the perfect landscape, fueling young imaginations and creating endless possibilities for exploration, discovery and creativity. Children’s Claritin hopes to inspire parents to create innovative play spaces in their backyards, and communities.

1473Children’s Claritin also believes in the benefits of outdoor activity for children, and wants to help children get the most out of every day! They’re teaming up with KaBOOM!, a national non-profit, to help bring innovative playspaces to communities in need and you can help! By voting, you can help them pick the four community organizations that will receive Imagination Playground™. What’s Imagination Playground™? See imagination at play – watch last year’s winner enjoying Imagination Playground™.

Be sure to visit ClaritinVoteforPlayspaces.com where you can place your vote and gather playspace inspirations for creating your own backyard playspace.

While visiting the Children’s Claritin & KaBOOM! Facebook page, you can also:

  • Learn more about the twelve organizations you can vote for receiving Imagination Playground™

  • Download coupon offers

  • Locate a playspace near you

Vote now and help us pick the four community organizations that will receive Imagination Playground™. You can vote one time per day through 9/26/14. Click here for voting rules.

 

Menu Monday and Weekly Goals – Sept 8

mpm-1Another week, another menu.  I’m doing my best to eat out of the pantry this month, as I’m trying to take advantage of the case lot sales and food storage deals available during the month of September.  The menu this week will be based on that.

 

Breakfasts:

  • Freezer waffles (I’m SO glad I made a big batch of these!)

  • Cereal

  • Steel Cut Oatmeal with Apples

  • Fresh Fruit

 

Lunches (always served with one or more of the items below):medium

  • Peanut butter and grape jam sandwiches

  • Carrots, Apple slices, Broccoli, Grapes, Apples

  • Pretzels, Granola Bars, or Crackers

  • String Cheese

  • Greens Chews

  • Lettuce Salad with Beans, Fish, or Chicken

fish fingers 2Dinners:

Monday – Tacos night (Turkey taco meat, lettuce, garden salsa, homemade refried beans, etc)

Tuesday – Paleo Fish Fingers, Lettuce Salad

Wednesday – Chicken and Rice Soup

Thursday – Leftover night

Friday – Quinoa and Bell Pepper Salad, Steak

Saturday – Neighborhood Party – we’ll eat whatever is there. :)

Sunday – To be Determined

 

And now, time to see how I did on my goals for last week:

  • Can and preserve grape juice (we harvested 47 lbs of grapes last night) – DONE!
  • Can and preserve grape jelly – DONE!
  • Can and preserve peaches (my mom harvested and shared 50 lbs of peaches) – DONE!
  • Can and preserve more salsa – DONE!
  • Finish up The Identical Giveaway – DONE!
  • Plan and carry out Activity Days – DONE!

I can’t believe it; I got EVERYTHING on the list done!  My husband also canned and preserved 6 pints of spaghetti sauce.  Makes me feel motivated to try and accomplish some more awesome stuff this week:

  • Can and preserve peach syrup (yep, my mom’s last and final tree’s peaches were given to me over the weekend!)

  • Create a menu plan for the rest of September, based on what we have in the pantry.

  • Take Buddy Boy in for some dental work.

  • Go into work early 4x this week (making up for the time I’ll be gone at the dentist)

  • Declutter and clean out bedroom dressers.

Have a great week!

 

We’re linked up at OrgJunkie. :)

Never Ever Give Up by Erik Reese Book Review

51wOOEewimL._AA160_It started with a simple question: How can we help them? It became an international movement called NEGU: Never Ever Give Up. When Jessica Joy Rees was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor at age 11, she chose to focus not on herself but on bringing joy and hope to other children suffering from cancer.

During the ten months she battled cancer, she and her family worked in the “Joy Factory” (originally their garage) making JoyJars®—packages filled with toys, games, and love for other kids with cancer. Jessie first handed them out personally at the hospital where she was being treated, but the effort blossomed quickly and there were soon thousands of JoyJars® being distributed across the United States and to over fifteen countries. Today, more than 100,000 kids have received JoyJars®, and they continue shipping each week to kids in over 200 children’s hospitals and 175 Ronald McDonald Houses.

Jessie lost her battle with cancer in January 2012, but her message lives on in the Jessie Rees Foundation, which has become a beacon of hope for families fighting pediatric cancer.

Join the movement at www.negu.org.

 

 

 

Picture of Jessie (middle), JT, and Shaya, shortly after Jessie was diagnosed.

Picture of Jessie (middle), JT, and Shaya, shortly after Jessie was diagnosed.

Oh my goodness.  What an incredible, heartbreaking, and inspiring story.  I was crying in the very first chapter.  My daughter is 11 years old, and I couldn’t help but put myself in the writer’s shoes as I read his story of being told that his sweet 11-year old girl had an inoperable brain tumor.  Very well written, this true story tells of Jessie and her battle with cancer.  She had an extremely rare form of cancer, and the odds were desperately stacked against her.  Instead of wallowing in self-pity because she was sick, she chose to help others, and in doing so, she brought joy to herself, and to thousands of others.  She invented the “Joy Jars”, jars filled with gifts and fun stuff.  She became well known in her community after a news story was aired about her Joy Jars, and still her story spread.  Erik Reese, the author, is Jessie’s father, and he tells the story only the way a parent can.  It is heartfelt and heartbreaking.  It is inspiring and devastating.  He chronicled the last 9 months of his sweet daughter’s life, and it’s just so raw, so tender.  The chapter in which he tells of her death haunts me, and yet it reminds me to hug my own children, and to share with them what Jessie taught so many:  NEGU, or in other words, Never Ever Give Up.  What a message!

I’m giving this book 5 stars.  I loved it, and I became inspired to join the movement.  If you want to know more of Jessie’s story, or what the foundation in her name does, you can follow the foundation’s page on facebook. The beginning of the timeline on that page is full of notes from Jessie herself.  You can GO HERE to like their page.

Many thanks to Handlebar Publishing for providing me with a copy of the book.  All opinions are mine and mine alone.  No monetary compensation was received, nor was I required to leave a positive review.  I received a free copy of the book, Never Ever Give Up in exchange for my honest opinion.

Final August Grocery Update

Yeah, I’m late.  What of it?? :)

Sorry about that, y’all.  I’m so far behind on everything – it’s pathetic!  One of these days I’ll be on top of it.

That day will be the day this world implodes.

In the meantime, let me share this very late update on our final August shopping trip.  Did we stay under budget??  Let’s see:

 

IMG_20140819_102338

We paid a visit to Winco, which I LOVE for their bulk foods section (as you can see).  They also mark their meat down in the mornings, every morning, but in all honesty, I don’t often take advantage, since I can usually find meat on sale for less.  We were running pretty dang low on our proteins, however, so I picked up the best deals I could find.  I didn’t write down the number of lbs I got, so I don’t know the exact price-per-pound, but I know that I spent less than $2.50/lb on each:

  • Boneless Pork Loin, $5.82

  • Beef Sirloin, $6.91

  • Fresh Ground Pork, $3.77

  • Jennie-O Ground Turkey, $4.74

  • 2 frozen Burritos, $0.38 each, $0.76 total

  • 2 Airheads (the kids behaved, what can I say?), $0.30 total

  • 1.86 lbs Fresh Ground Peanut Butter, $3.68 total

  • 3.55 lbs of Quinoa, $17.71 total (OUCH!)

  • 4.5 lbs of Brown Rice, $2.80 total

  • 2.6 lbs of Dry Garbanzo Beans, $2.66 total

  • 2.3 lbs of Buckwheat Groats, $2.20 total

  • 2.9 oz Ground Cumin, $0.59 total

  • 1.6 oz Dried Oregano, $0.39 total

  • 5 oz Chicken Soup Base, $1.08 total

  • 5.1 oz Ground Cinnamon, $0.86 total

  • 1.1 lbs Unsalted Peanuts, $1.75 total

The total plus tax for this trip was $57.70.  That brings the our total for the month of August to $228.46.

 

Our total grocery budget for the month of August was $220, so we did NOT make it under budget.  We overspent by $8.46.  Aw, man!

September is Case Lot sales, baby, so I get to budget more money for the month.  This makes me happy. :)

 

Online Money – August Report

Hey y’all.

Since I’ve decided to be more transparent about my financial goals and situation, I thought it might also be helpful for you if I include my online money-making reports.  They’re honestly pretty pathetic – I’m not one of those bloggers making much money.  This was a good month, though.  At least, for little ol’ me. :)

Money and roses - I like 'em both. :)

Money and roses – I like ‘em both. :)

Are you thinking about trying online surveys?  How about focus groups, or placing ads?  I’m not very experienced yet, but I’m happy to show what I’ve found.  I’ll probably stick with the programs I’m doing now for a while and see where they head in the next few months, and then re-tweak them come January – you know, see what’s working and what isn’t.  What are your favorite ways to make a little extra money on the side?  Do you prefer online or in-person methods?  I’m such an introvert, I definitely focus on the online stuff.  Here are my numbers for August:

 

  • surveySpot_logo2Survey Spot - This is a survey-taking site.  They give you points that you can exchange for cash or for a few different gift cards (amazon.com and itunes).  The points are worth a penny each, so in order to redeem a $5 amazon.com gift card, you need 500 points.  In August I redeemed $10 in Paypal cash from previous months’ points.  I earned 394 points, equivalent to $3.94.

  • ZoomPanel is another survey site.  They also give you points that you can redeem for Amazon.com gift cards.  The minimum to earn is 2,500 points, which is redeemable for a $25 Amazon.com card.  What I like about this site is that if you start a survey and after spending a few minutes on it, you find that you don’t qualify for the survey, they will still give you 5 points for taking the qualifying questions.  August was a slower-than-usual month for me at ZoomPanel.  I didn’t qualify for many surveys for some reason.  I made 170 points in August, equivalent to $1.70.

  • thSwagbucks is an online search tool that randomly rewards it’s members with surprise points.  Whenever you search using their platform, you have a chance of winning “swagbucks”.  You can redeem these bucks for prizes.  My personal favorite is the $5 Amazon.com gift card for 450 points.  If you are willing to spend a little time each day searching on there, and get your friends to sign up using your referral link, you can earn points fairly quickly!  I haven’t done much with the referral option, and I usually only remember to search twice a week.  With that level of activity, I made 116 Swagbucks (450 will get you a $5 gift card).

  • Vindale Research does online surveys, as well as studies.  They also send a daily email that pays $0.05 when you click on the logo in the email.  Quickest and easiest 5 cents I make each day!  Vindale offers “surveys” that pay pretty well ($7-$8 range), but those are usually offers, like “get a free auto quote” or something.  They also offer studies, which I would consider to be more of a survey that you can take.  These pay around $0.75 each, depending on the length of the survey.  You can redeem your cash when you reach a minimum balance of $50.  This last month I made $3.78.  I’m only a couple bucks away from my $50 minimum, which I’ll redeem to use for Christmas, most likely.  I manage to cash out every 6-8 months or so.th

  • Sponsored Tweets is a great option if you are active on Twitter.  You can set your own price.  They will give you a suggested price to charge, based on your following, but you can control that.  I had mine set to $1.25, but recently changed it to $1.50.  As my Twitter following grows, I’ll continue to bump that price up.  (I’m currently charging less than the suggested amount.)  Basically you are sent offers.  Advertisers will pay you to tweet a message for them.  If you choose to accept the offer, you will personalize and schedule the tweet (maybe 20 seconds or so of your time) and Sponsored Tweets takes care of the rest!  They’ll send it out at the appointed time.  If you don’t get enough participation with your tweet, you may be asked to retweet it again.  The minimum cash amount to withdraw used to be $20, but they may have changed it.  In August I accepted 2 offers (I like to be picky about what I’ll accept) and was paid $2.50.

  • th20/20 Panel is another study site.  It is rare to qualify for their studies (I qualify for one every 8 months or so).  However, when you do qualify, you are paid well.  The studies they do usually will take an hour, maybe 2 or 3 hours, of your time, and they pay anywhere from $50 to $150.  I qualified for my first study in months during August, and was paid $75.  If you are interested in joining 20/20, leave a comment with your email address and I’ll send you an invite.

  • PostPresso is a site that you can use to write articles for your blog, and monetize those articles.  They make it super easy, and even have starter sample articles you can use if you’re feeling a bit of writer’s block.  I joined PostPresso in the middle of August, and so far I have made $0.85.  I’ll have to watch this one closely and decide if it’s worth keeping.

  • thPinecone Research is one of my favorite survey sites.  They offer 300 points per survey that you take (300 pts = $3.00).  I took 3 of their surveys in August, totaling 900 points (which, of course, would equal out to $9).  Pinecone Research is not open for anyone to join at any time.  They do let members know when they are opening enrollment to others, so I will be sure to share whenever I hear about that being an option!

 

 

Calculating all of the point values and actual cash values, I made $97.81 in the month of august, redeeming $85.

 

So, tell me:  What are YOUR favorite sites for making money?

 

Linked up at Frugal Friday!