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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.

So here are the 5 Ways We’ve Saved Money This Week.

5 Ways We've Saved Money This Week 43. Tips for getting your spending on track so you can use your money on the things you need the most.


Alternatives to pressure spending.  If you take a walk down the aisles of a fair, you’ll have people yelling at you from all sides to give your money to them.  My kids are especially susceptible to their schemes, so I try to walk them a different way when I can.

I also gave them some tricks to use.  My son started asking them if they’d like to buy his 4-H lamb when they asked him to play a game.  It gave him a way to respond in a joking manner without feeling guilty about not spending his money on games.  (The game workers are great at guilting kids into giving them money!)

I also took my kids to the store to buy fish with their money rather than wasting dollar after dollar on the fish bowl game.  Our local Meijer sells goldfish for 19 cents.  At the fair, it costs 25 cents for the chance to throw one ball (and probably miss) for just a chance at winning a fish.

Free fun.  Our fair board brought in the Home Depot one day so that kids could build a small wooden project for free.  Don’t forget that Home Depot and Lowes offer free workshops on Saturdays throughout the year.  It’s a fun and frugal way to get in some one on one time with the kids!

On a different day, our state’s Department of Natural Resources set up to allow kids to learn about nature, shoot BB guns and arrows, and gather some free pencils (yay for free school supplies!).


Making do with a frugal hay rack for our goats! Worked like a charm all week. #frugalfarmer

A photo posted by Jamie Jeffers (@mediumsizedfamily) on

Hay bag.  We needed a hay bag for our goats to keep their hay from laying on the floor of their pen.  I noticed that other goat owners had used canvas grocery bags by cutting a hole in the bottom so goats could reach in to eat it.  They attached it to the pen by the straps at the top.

At first, I thought I would pick up a couple of those bags that I had seen on clearance.  But when I looked around our barn, I noticed several empty dog food bags.  They would certainly hold up as well as a grocery bag.  So I cut a hole in the bottom with scissors and attached the top with a zip tie and a pipe cleaner (so we could open and close it for adding hay).

Even with our big mama goats standing on these bags, they held up remarkably well!  Another score for creative frugality.

Pet bunny and some ways to save moneyNo impulse buys.  I’m a farm girl at heart.  I impulse buy animals the way other women buy shoes.  But I stayed away from buying animals at the fair this year!  I avoided pens with “For sale” signs on them and kept my bidder number in my purse during the livestock sale.  If I were trying to avoid buying shoes, I’d do the same thing with sale flyers and commercials.

Of course, my kids decided to spend their own money on pet bunnies and a couple of fish.  Luckily, neither of those animals require much money for upkeep.

Use the price checker.  Our 11 year old needed a ball glove, and now is the perfect time to buy baseball equipment.  Most stores have put it on clearance to make room for fall sports.  We found a very nice glove that was marked at 40% off.  I was excited to see a good price on a glove of such quality, but even on clearance it was going to be a bit much in our #yearofno.  Out of curiosity, I used the store price checker.

That glove was actually 80% off!  What an awesome deal!  There was no way I could pass that up.  It goes to show that it’s definitely worth a small hike to find a price checking scanner.

That’s 5 ways closer to our big money goals!

These tips are helping us to reach our big, hairy, audacious goal of paying off debt in our #yearofno.

How are you saving money right now?  Share your tips!