Free Summer Family Fun

Summer is a great time for outdoor family activities. The beautiful weather makes spending quality time together that much more enjoyable.  Unfortunately, nowadays spending time with your family outside of the house can cost, “an arm and a leg.” There is no reason why family time should break the bank. Below are a few activities that are both family and budget friendly

  • Museums. Many museums have free days and there are many others that are donation only or “pay as you wish.” Some public libraries offer Museum Passes with a library card membership, allowing you access to local museums. Different library branches have different policies, so inquire with your local librarian.
  • Town/ City Events. Staying abreast of what events are taking place in your town or city is also a wise idea. Many town events are free.  Events taking place in your city, as well as neighboring cities, is a great way to spend family time. Street fairs, parades, outdoor movie and concert nights, firework displays, etc. are often free to the public.
  • Stargazing. If you have older children, let them stay up past their bedtime, put out a blanket and stare off into space. If you have a telescope, now is the time to break it out! Search constellations beforehand and try to locate them. 
  • Wash the car. Younger kids will love this outdoor activity! Children seem to love any activity that involves water, so put all those extra hands to work and give your family car a good wash!
  • Water balloon fight. No explanation necessary! 
  • Local and National Parks. Never underestimate the classic family picnic in the park. Local parks are always a great idea. My son’s favorite sumer activity is feeding the ducks and fish at our local park. Public beaches and parks in many states are free.  The National Parks Service website is a great tool to help you locate national parks. Nature walks make great photo ops too! 
  • Memberships. Purchase a membershipwhere your family frequents. My family has a membership to our local zoo, which is The Bronx Zoo. Wildlife Conservation Society For a one time fee of $195 my family can go the Bronx Zoo, as well as four other local zoos and an aquarium as often as we want. We are also e-mailed news about special events that are member exclusives. The initial membership fee of $195 may seem a little steep, but when you calculate how much it costs for a family to visit one of these establishments just one time the price will total around $100. Most memberships are tax deductible as well. 

I would love to hear how you and your family spend time together in the summer months!

Free is the way to be! O

The only thing better than purchasing an item on clearance or on sale is getting it for free! Freebie websites are an essential part of the ‘couponing game.’

Freebie websites update multiple times a day with offers for free items and samples. These websites also feature contests and sweepstakes. Free samples are important to couponing because the majority of free samples are accompanied by a high discount coupon.
The coupons that accompany free samples are usually much higher than the coupons you may find in the newspaper circular for example. They also do not expire as quickly as newspaper coupons and some even have no expiration date at all! Additionally, there are a good many of free samples are are decently sized.
Sometimes product companies also offer free full sized products. Oftentimes companies will distribute free items that are brand new so that they can get the word out about a new product.
I often use free samples/products to stock my cabinets and closets. another great use for them is to add them to gifts as fillers or add-ons. For example last Christmas i filled my husbands entire Christmas stocking with free cologe
To get the best offers, check the following web sites frequently, as they do expire. The more popular the item, the quicker the samples/products will go. I check them a few times a day.
Below are my favorite freebie web sites:

Enjoy your freebies!

Sports Authority Going Out of Business Sale!

There are three days left in the Sports Authority Going Out of Business Sale. All of the items were 70% to 90% off!  I am always in search for a good bargain. And  with 70%-90% off, who wouldn’t be in love?

The best clearance items I saw were team jersey’s and sweaters, cleats, ski gear and exercise machines. 

I stocked up on the winter themed sports team sweaters. We are New Yorkers, so I purchased team sweaters from the Yankees, the Giants and the Jets. They were all originally $70 and I purchased them for $3.96 each! I have a good number of Yankees and Giants fans in my family, so these will make great gifts! 

If you have sports enthusiasts in your family, try and make it over to Sports Authority before they are completely sold out.

****UPDATE – the team sweaters are are now $1.99, which is 95% off the orioles price of $70.00

Happy Shopping! 

Couponing 101

If you are new to couponing the idea of it may seem a little daunting; you may even be unsure of where to start. As there is much information on the topic, I will be dividing up this post into a series to allow for the information to be easily digestible.

If your family is on a budget, or living off one salary like mine is, coupons are a vital part of staying within your budget.

The first step in couponing is to figure out where to obtain coupons. Almost everyone is aware that coupons can be found in the local Sunday newspaper. While this is true, there are additional places to add to your coupon search as well:

  • Online (,,,,
  • Digital Coupon apps from your local grocery store.
  • Magazines (Parents, Family Fun etc.)
  • Doctor’s Office (usually for children’s medicine or cleaning products)
  • Automatic coupon dispensers located in the store in front of the product. The coupons are usually not on display when the item I son sale, so hold on to them until the item does go on sale.
  • Catalinas are the coupons that come along with your receipt at the store. Always check them as they are distributed to you by your purchase history associated with your store card.
  • E-mail companies whose products you purchase and request coupons and/or compliment their products.
  • Local family monthly magazines. These free magazines are usually displayed at a local diner or supermarket or outside corner free newspaper stands.
  • Sign up for your favorite products newsletters, as they often offer additional coupons to newsletter subscribers. For Example: General Mills Tablespoon offers $250 in coupons and great recipes.  
  • Sign up for free samples, as they usually come with a coupon for the product.
  • Tourist attraction pamphlets. Take a drive to a hotel in your area or rest stop off of highway. They both usually have a rack of pamphlets that contain information about tourist attractions in the area. These pamphlets usually contain coupons as a way to entice travelers to stop by their establishment. For example the LegoLand pamphlet has a coupons for one free child with an adult ticket.


Magazines and free samples are obtained through online freebie sites. I will share my favorite freebie sites in the next post!

Until next time!……………Jillian

My baby boy is graduating Pre-K!

My baby boy is moving up to Kindergarten next year….. I can’t believe it! (Insert hysterics here). Wednesday is his moving up ceremony and school is almost done! My main priority now is to figure out how to keep an energetic 5 year old and a tireless infant who is into everything occupied all summer long. I will let everyone know how that pans out…wish me luck, because I am going to need it. 

With the end of the school year, comes the Teacher Appreciation gifts. When you are on a budget, the most cost effective option is always the best option. 

I love cooking and baking, it is one of my favorite hobbies. I am a big believer in food related gifts, as you can never go wrong with a sweet treat! (Always keep in mind food allergies). Add a decorative container and voila! Instant gift! 

For my son’s teachers I made oatmeal maple raisin and M&M chocolate chip cookies. I had the batter for the M&M cookies in the freezer and already had all the ingredients for the oatmeal cookies ( I love when that happen I was able to get these 3 decorative treat boxes with ribbon’s at Target on clearance for $0.58 each, originally $1.99….In the end I spent $1.74 for all three! 

Layering a dry mix with instructions is a fun gift as well! If you aren’t much of a baker, check the beauty clearance section of stores like T.J. Maxx and Marshall’s. Choose 2 or 3 complimentary items and place them in a decorative or organza bag. 

Notebooks or notepads with a pen are great ideas too. Pens separated from a package can oftembe found in the clearance rack. Tying  the gifttogether with clear wrap and a ribbon adds a nice touch. 

Happy Gifting!