This sponsored post is brought to you by Groupon Goods. All opinions are my own.
A great way to save money is to look for deals throughout the year on gift items. One site you won’t want to miss is Groupon. They always have super savings. But today, I want to introduce you to another part of Groupon: Groupon Goods.
Who doesn’t want to get ahead on some Christmas or birthday shopping?
Medium Sized Family has turned one! I’m so excited about reaching this milestone. I actually published the blog in July 2015, but I didn’t tell a soul about it until August 6, 2015. So I consider that to be the blog’s “birthday”.
I’ve come a long, long way since those first posts. When I look back at some of my first work, I’m a bit embarrassed at how little I knew. But more than that, I’m proud of how far I’ve come! I’ve learned a ton about things I didn’t even know existed a year ago.
I’ve made new friends and met some fabulous readers. I’ve learned about some of your struggles, and I’ve learned how to better handle my own.
Happy Frugal Friday! I like to spend Fridays tracking some of the ways we’ve saved money over the past week. Writing this series has held me accountable, and I consider it one of the important methods we’ve used to pay down debt in our #yearofno. If you like, you can read through the entire series.
School is back in session for us this week. I’m not sure if that helps me save money, since the kids are always need money for something school related. But at least we have a routine again.
Today we are going to wrap up the final post in the 7 Ways to Pile Up Christmas Money series. If you missed any part of the series, be sure to go back and read through all the ideas. You’re sure to find something to put to use.
So far we have talked about ways to find money and ways to stretch that money across your list of giftees. Now let’s talk about stretching your Christmas money by simplifying.
Yeah, I know. Here we are halfway through August and I’m just now getting my July progress put up. Summertime is nuts! I’m sure you’ve been as busy as I have been.
I’m almost looking forward to the routine of the school year. Almost.
But lets get down to it!
Life has been a whirlwind of county fair followed by nearly a week of camping. I enjoy both, but boy is it stressful to keep everyone in line! It’s nice to be home again and thinking back over the ways we saved money lately.
Catch up with the entire 5 Ways We’ve Saved Money This Week series here.
Today we are going to continue our series on 7 Ways to Pile Up Christmas Money. If you missed any of the previous days in the series, you can find them at the bottom of this post.
Today we’ll talk about another method for giving gifts: do it yourself Christmas presents (DIY).
Some of you are saying “Wait a minute. You, the self proclaimed Non-DIYer, are going to tell me to do it myself? Ha!” But give me a chance to explain myself here!
I am not a crafty person. Some people (like The Prudent Homemaker) virtually ooze creative juices from their every pore. Those people can lovingly craft gifts for every person on their list, and everyone would be joyful to receive such gifts.
I don’t know about you, but I feel like I can never collect too many back to school tips. This time of year brings up mixed emotions. I don’t enjoy alarm clocks and keeping up with school supplies. But it is nice to get back to a routine that works well for us.
Over the years, I’ve found some excellent resources that keep our family on track.
Here are my best back to school tips.
One last fling
While you’re figuring out schedules and supplies, don’t forget about having some fun, too! Was there one thing you’ve been meaning to do all summer, but just never got around to it? What would your kids love to do one last time? Try to fit in that trip to the pool, a backyard camp out, or one more night of catching lightning bugs.
Look back over your school shopping lists to be sure you didn’t miss anything important. And if you know the kids will need a refill of certain items (I’m looking at you, no. 2 pencils) halfway through the year, buy extras while they are on sale.
Be sure to check out my 5 Best Ways to Save Money on Back to School Supplies.
Ugh, I don’t miss packing lunches over the summer! But it’s a great way to save money over the cost of a school lunch, so we always try to pack as often as we can.
I’ve simplified that process as much as possible. Even a kindergartner can pack parts of their lunch, so be sure to ask the kids to pull their own weight! We always put lunches together the night before. Refrigerated items can go in a basket marked with each child’s name for simple mornings.
Get more tips on simplifying lunches (plus a free printable!) here.
Know Your Schedule
I’m lost without my calendar. With so many kids in different activities, it’s too hard to keep track of everything. At the beginning of the school year, I try to find a school calendar and enter as many items on my own calendar as I can. So in August, I already have some idea of what next May will be like for us.
Of course, sometimes things change. So you’ll want to double check items on your calendar throughout the year.
I love using my Cozi calendar, because it’s free (#yearofno approved!). It has an app that both Hubby and I can access (so we can schedule appointments on the go). Plus it’s color coded, so I can see at a glance that our oldest needs to be here while my youngest should be there.
Have a Routine
When I first decided to put a routine in place for our family, I was too strict. We were to eat at noon, followed by naps at 1:00 on the dot. So if we were out running errands, I’d drop everything to be home by noon exactly. I was lost when we deviated from that routine.
Now I realize how silly that was. When you have a young family, you have to have a fluid routine. A general plan or checklist of things that have to be done each day is good, but it has to move with life.
Now I’ve got my own plan. Each morning, I must empty the dishwasher, run a load of laundry, make the bed, and choose supper. Even if I don’t do anything else on a busy day, our family will be able to run smoothly.
The kids have expectations for the morning, too. They must:
- dress down to shoes
- eat breakfast
- brush teeth
- put together lunch (packed the night before)
- gather everything needed for school
That must be done before any reading or play happens.
If this is an area that you struggle with, I recommend Make Over Your Mornings by Crystal Paine (Money Saving Mom). I took this course myself, and it has a wealth of information to make your life flow more smoothly! I am NOT a morning person (you don’t want to try to talk to me before coffee!), but even I got a lot out of this course. So don’t worry that she’s going to hound you to get out of bed at 5 am.
There’s also a Make Over Your Evenings course. I haven’t tried that one, but I’m sure it’s also excellent.
Both of those courses are on sale for only $10 right now. But you’ll need to act by August 15th to get that low price!
Many people suggest that you acclimate kids to an earlier school year bedtime a bit at a time. Move their summer bedtime forward 15 minutes each night until you’ve reached your goal.
I’m sure that’s great information, but I don’t find that it works well for our family. I prefer to make sure they get up a bit earlier each day leading up to the big morning. But we mainly use the “It’s the first day of school! Get out of bed!” shock method. My kids adjust fine within a few days.
I do find it important to have a bedtime routine. It’s great for everyone in the family! Give your body a signal that you’re getting ready to lie down for the night. Try washing your face (or showering) and reading for a bit (if that’s calming for you). Another trick? Let the kids stay up an extra half hour to read. It’s a great way to encourage your kids to love reading!
These back to school tips will have your family ready to go by the time the bus rolls up your street.
Need to find a way to raise funds without asking parents to give even more money? This fundraiser is the easiest one I’ve ever done. You can raise money for your school group without asking friends and family to spend a dime! Check it out here:
What’s your best back to school tip? Be sure to share below!
Our family spent all of our time at the county fair last week, so I missed writing my 5 Ways post last Friday. But I hope you’re finding some inspiration from my 7 Ways to Pile Up Christmas Money series. Even if you’ve already got Christmas gifts covered (or maybe they’re unnecessary for your family), you can use those tips to reach another goal. So be sure to check it out!
If you’ve attended a fair, you already know that it’s not a cheap place to hang out! But we managed to find a few ways to save money while we were there.
Did you read past the title? Good!
Some of you are doing a good Jimmy Fallon impression right now. (“ew”) But buying secondhand isn’t gross, and I’ll tell you why. Because it’s going to save you a ton of money.
Now so far in the 7 Ways to Pile Up Christmas Money series, we have talked about creative ways to find some extra bucks to spend on presents. If you missed any of the series, be sure to check out this post! At the bottom you’ll find links to all of the previous posts.
Back to secondhand shopping.
Ok, so it’s not just the frugal part that makes it not gross. The fact is that a lot of people out there are getting rid of perfectly good (or even still new with tags) items for whatever reason. Maybe they are decluttering or cleaning up the home of a loved one or got a gift they hated but couldn’t return. Who knows?