Tag Archives: frugal fun

Romance on a Budget – Love Is Patient, Kind, and Cheap!

Valentine’s Day is around the corner and men from Alaska to Florida are breaking into a cold sweat. They’ve bought into the fallacy that romance equals money. Men everywhere have been frightened off by television and movies and believe that romance is something outside of their budget. They are wrong.

When I think of the most romantic and breathtaking stories that my friends and I discuss over coffee, we don’t talk about flying off to Europe or drinking the most expensive champagne. The little things like holding hands, reading stories together, and lots of laughter are what we hold dear.

I’ve put together a list of ways to show love — without running up your credit card bill. And, ladies, this list is for you, too. Initiate the following ideas with your Sweetie, and show him how much you care. The ideas below are for men or women and fit every budget.

Love Notes – Leave Love Notes for your Sweetheart to find.

Pampering – Brush her hair. Scratch his back.

Wildlife – Feed the ducks, squirrels, birds, turtles or fish near you.

Games – Turn off the TV. Sit and play cards or board games together.

Cooking – Find recipes to make with your sweetheart.

Candles – Candles should be used every day — for meals, bath time, snuggling.

Read together – Choose a book and take turns reading it to each other.

Photos – When is the last time you had a photo taken together? What are you waiting for?

Work Date
– Surprise your love with a lunch date.

Stroll – Leave the TV, phone and computer behind and go on a walk together.

Spell it Out – With Sidewalk Chalk, write your names in a heart on the sidewalk where your sweetheart is sure to see it.

Entertainment – Go see a High School or College play or concert. It is affordable and fun!

Slow Dance – Turn on the radio and dance to the songs you fell in love listening to.

Star Gaze – Drive out to the country and look at the stars.

Volunteer – Choose a charity or cause that means something to both of you and work together to make the world a better place.

Love Story – Write how you met, fell in love, how you felt, what your thoughts were. You will treasure looking through these books over the years.

Love Grows – Plant a garden together. Herbs, vegetables, flowers, fruit — anything you both like.

Cheer – Go to a High School Sporting Event.

Warm Hearts – Snuggle by a campfire or build a fire in the fireplace.

Watch the Clouds – Lay together and watch the clouds go by. Talk about the different shapes you see.

Connect – Hug, Hold Hands, Put your Arm around your Sweetheart.

Big Money
– Write your Sweetheart a Check for One Million Kisses. Or make a coupon book of treats for him or her.

Window Shop – Go downtown and window shop.

Early Days – Look at photo albums of yourselves when you were kids through your dating years.

Puzzles – Do a jigsaw or crossword puzzle together.

Wish List – Both make a wish list of things that make you happy and put them in order. Hugs, dates, gifts, time together, intimacy, etc. Then look at the lists. They may surprise you.

People Watch – Sit on a bench and watch people go by. Try to guess their stories.

Play – Go to the park and swing.

Kiss – Before you part for the day, kiss for 10 seconds. It is much better than a quick peck on the cheek.

Picnic – Get take out food or make a picnic lunch. Take your time and enjoy your meal together outdoors.

Throw Rocks – Go to a pond, creek, or lake and throw rocks. Try to skip them or aim for different targets.

So, although an occasional expensive dinner is appreciated, it is truly the day-to-day affection that builds romance and love. Yes, Love is Patient, Kind — and Cheap!

Article by:

Nicole Dean welcomes you to Romance Your Husband– a website dedicated to helping married couples stay friends and to help them remember why they married each other in the first place.

7 Tips for Thrifty Living

It is no secret that life is more expensive today than when our parents were growing up. How can we offset soaring prices without sacrificing quality of life? Here are a few tips to help you save more:

1. It is no surprise that credit cards represent a trap for many people. Incentives such as “earning” frequent flyer miles or free internet access are only “free” if you can pay off the balance every month. Otherwise, you end up on the losing end of the stick, paying interest rates in the double digits. It makes more sense to save for that ticket to visit the Caribbean or your relatives than to rack up frequent flyer miles on a card you can never pay off. Tip: Only use credit cards if you know you can pay off the balance at the end of the month.

2. Electricity doesn’t come cheap. Heat-producing appliances such as dryers and refrigerators burn up enormous amounts of energy. Tip: Consider purchasing an energy saving appliance. Turn down the refrigerator in the cooler months. Hang your wash outside instead of using the dryer. It will save you money, and the clothes smell fresh!

3. It is tempting to spend a lot of money on the weekends “because you deserve it.” That may be true, but you may not be able to afford it, too. Tip: Instead of that expensive weekend at an amusement park or that ski trip that costs a bundle, take a bike ride with your kids or check out a new park to go sledding. You’ll get some exercise and needed fresh air while creating memories with the kids.

4. Children usually like to draw. If your little Picasso is eating up all of your expensive computer printer paper, think about this. Tip: Consider using paper bags or recycled office paper for some of their artwork. They work fine for collages, and they are free. An added plus? You’ll reduce that pile of bags in the pantry that keeps growing, and you’ll save several trees.

5. Spending time away from the kids is essential, but babysitters can be expensive. Tip: Consider swapping babysitting with a neighbor, at least some of the time. It will reduce the cost of going out with your partner, and you’ll benefit from a night on the town for less.

6. Good picture frames can be very pricey. Tip: Purchase one stable picture frame for the kids’ annual school photos. Keep the old photos behind the frame to compare prior years’ pictures. An added benefit? You have all of the school pictures in one place!

7. Entertainment need not be expensive. Tip: Rent a video instead of attending a movie in a theater. Invite your friends and have a potluck supper. Now you’ve multiplied the fun without the extra cost of parking, movie tickets, and refreshments!

Life can be beautiful. It doesn’t have to be expensive.

To learn other thrifty tips check out 12 Ways to Pay Less.

Christine Louise Hohlbaum, American author of Diary of a Mother: Parenting Stories and Other Stuff, http://www.diaryofamother.com is a freelance writer living near Munich, Germany with her husband and two kids. She holds a B.A. in Political Science from Smith College and an M.A. in International Relations, German and English Literature from the University of Constance, Germany. When she is not leading a toddler playgroup or writing, she likes to dance, sing with her kids, and generally frolic.

Family Fun on a Frugal Budget

Family activities are always a focus in our home. We have fun playing together as a family and dh and I feel the time we spend together is important. The kids are very supportive of having family activities…. sometimes our budget is not. lol

We set aside one night a week specifically for family night. Everyone adjusts their schedule around it and after dinner, we have a little religious message or lesson and then we play a game and have treats. Other nights of the week, we MAY watch tv together or play a game or two with whomever is home, but this one night is always scheduled.
Aside from scheduled family time, we occasionally find ourselves playing a game, doing a puzzle or watching a show together. Once in a while, a larger family activity is in order. How can we have a bigger activity using a limited budget? A few ideas we’ve had success with:

Invite your children to the movies! My ds who is 17 did much of the work on this, but the younger ones helped and we ALL had fun! We rented a movie (though you could just pull out one you own but haven’t watched for a while, or borrow from a friend or the library). The furniture was rearranged to be more “theatre” like, (he also had 2 amps he uses for his band that he hooked up for surround sound – it was great!) show tickets were made, play money from a game found to use. We hung a sheet over the doorway to our family room where the tv is and my son set up a ticket booth just outside the door. He also gathered a variety of snacks we had around the house, soda, fruit snacks, popcorn, and we bought theater sized boxes of candy as well. (though you could easily do without buying those – I spent hours vacuuming up Nerds that were spilled. lol) At the appointed time, ds handed each family member $20 in play money and started taking tickets. It was $5 for a movie ticket, $1 for soda and most other treats. You should have seen our 4 and 6 year daughters grin as they paid their own way. LOL! We had such a fun evening and even though very little money was spent, this is an event we’ll always remember.

Take the family to breakfast! (or any other meal) Years ago we started a tradition of going to breakfast on Presidents Day. One year our budget was much too tight to allow it, but we knew the kids would be looking forward to going. Dh and I did some planning. We made a couple of signs and menu’s on the computer with all sorts of fun choices for breakfast… pancakes, french toast, eggs, omelet, bacon, juice, milk, hot chocolate, etc. There were choices everyone would like. (Breakfast is an easier meal to short-order cook for) We organized our ingredients the night before and hid them. In the morning, we hurried getting everyone ready to “go to breakfast”. My husband loaded the kids in the car while I hurried and set the table and hung up signs to announce the ‘restaurant’. We drove to a nearby store, where I needed to buy buttermilk anyway. I ran into the store quick and when I was finished dh drove home. The kids were a little confused until we opened the door and seated them at the table. Dh wore an apron and took orders, I cooked and set up the plates for him to serve. Oh, did we have fun! We’ve done similar meals on occasion and each one has been wonderful. We spent time together and it cost a fraction of what it would have to take a family of 8 to breakfast!

Enjoy a picnic in winter! Pack a picnic lunch or dinner. Toss a blanket on the floor in the living or family room to eat on. Bring folding camp chairs if you’d like. Play CD’s of outdoor sounds like a waterfall or birds chirping. After lunch, lay on the blanket to read a book together or play games. You could jazz this up by going to the “beach” for your picnic and having everyone wear a swimsuit or shorts and bring a towel to sit on. LOL

Have a sleepover! Okay, I admit, I’m old…. or at least the floor isn’t as comfortable as is used to be, LOL BUT the minor discomfort was well worth it when we pulled out the sleeping bags, pushed the furniture back, and had a slumber party in the family room. Lots of giggling, storytelling, fake snoring, and MANY “goodnight John Boy” moments. A night to remember!
You don’t need to spend money to have fun with your family…. you just need to spend time.