Frugal Family

As the mother of three boys – 14, 10, and 2 – seeking financial independence, having frugal fun as a family is a must. Here’s a list of my favorite stories, tips and tricks for having a good time without breaking the bank.

It Is Not A Box – Kids should use their imaginations. They don’t need stuff. Adventures with Not A Box – the book and the box – are important ones for kids.

Build and Grow and Kids Workshops – Free Weekend Fun – Although the Lowes Build and Grow is sadly no more (it ended after I wrote this article), the Home Depot Kids Workshops are still going strong. My three boys all love building, decorating, and painting their own projects!

Hot Air Balloon Festivals – Fun things don’t have to cost money. Every year we go to a local hot air balloon festival, pack some coffee and homemade food, and watch the balloons take off. Find out more about our adventure and the frugal lessons we learn together.

Chopped Championship – Kids complaining they’re “bored” on the weekend, but going out and blowing money just isn’t in the budget? Use what you have in the fridge, pantry and freezer to host an epic chopped championship. You can do the kids or adult edition!

Boy Scouts – The Real Financial Story – My oldest son is a Star scout, which is two steps away from Eagle. Come find out more about what it costs to be a scout, and the money lessons your kids can learn. They have entire merit badges all about personal finance!

Camping – The Ultimate Frugal Vacation – Every year our family of five goes camping. Not glamping – camping out in a tent in a campground. Is it the ultimate frugal family vacation? Heck yes! Plus check out my tips for getting started camping without breaking the bank.

Make Your Own Board Game – My creative older boys have made several board games over the years. Check out how they made their latest version using toys from around the house as game pieces – complete with Nintendo themed fake money!

Minecraft TNT Birthday Cake – Ever since my oldest son was born 14 years ago, I’ve been making homemade birthday cakes. At first it was out of necessity because of food allergies – but now it’s a fun hobby. Check out the financial breakdown of an epic Minecraft cake, and some musings on turning hobbies into side hustles.

Epic Road Trips! – We take a road trip with the three boys every year. Check out how we nurture their passions and teach them financial lessons while on the road. We also get them involved in planning the road trip, using the internet and the library to help them learn, have fun, and get excited about the trip.

Fun Frugal Fail – To save $10 on a field trip, I decided to use my museum membership. I had cleared it with the teacher ahead of time, but the museum had an issue. Come laugh at my frugal fail, and see what I learned.

An $11 Weekend – A weekend full of fun day trips for only eleven bucks? Yep. Check out how I combined fun free things to do and Groupons to score an epic fun weekend.

Birthday Parties! – Homemade (epic) cakes. Birthday posters showcasing pictures of my sons past year. Homemade pizza. It’s easy to break the bank and have a party, but with a bit of creativity you can have a fun time on the cheap.

Cell Phones – My Kids Don’t Have Them – It surprises people that I have a teenager and a tweenager, and they don’t have their own cell phones. In this article I go over the reasons why, and interview them to find out how they feel about it.

Fun Frugal Fail – To save $10 on a field trip, I decided to use my museum membership. I had cleared it with the teacher ahead of time, but the museum had an issue. Come laugh at my frugal fail, and see what I learned.

Teaching Kids Hard Money Lessons – Wizard Chess and Hoverballs – Teaching kids about delayed gratification, smart shopping, and the evils of advertising is not easy. Learn how we do this using ordinary events – and how wizard chess and a hoverball changed my kids financial perspectives.

Cutting Cable – Three Kids, Seven Years and Counting – People often use their kids as an excuse for why they can’t cut cable. With the streaming options available today, there’s really no excuse to not cut the cord. Find out about our cable free journey here.

Cutting Cable – Steps and Countering Objections – If you’ve been considering cutting the cable cord, you’ll be interested in my step-by-step guide to making the cut and countering objections your family might have.

Teaching Kids Delayed Gratification – When my oldest son was small, he desperately wanted a Lego Death Star. He saved, and saved, and saved some more and finally achieved his goal. Now, about a decade later, this is the only toy from his childhood he still uses on a regular basis.

Financial Lessons from School Book Fairs – I love using ordinary, everyday events to teach my kids important money lessons. School book fairs can be used to teach smart shopping strategies to your kids.

Fixing a Broken Watch – And A Broken Heart – Why would I spend $100 to fix a $50 watch? What kind of lesson does that teach? That some things are more important than money.

Back to School – On The Cheap – I’ve seen horror stories online for the cost to send your kids back to school. Well it doesn’t have to break the bank. Here’s how I shop smart and save money.

Making The Ordinary A Bit Extraordinary – An important part of leading a frugal family life is using creativity to make ordinary, every day events just a little more special. A homemade lunch becomes a fun picnic in the park – or a box becomes a spaceship. You too can use creativity to make what would otherwise be ordinary a bit more special.

Secondhand Kids are the Best Kids – As the mother of three I can definitively say that very little of the “new” stuff sold for kids is worth it. We get almost everything secondhand, particularly when the kids are little.

If you haven’t already, be sure to swing by my comprehensive Kids and Money page.  Don’t see an article or resource you’re looking for? Drop me a note at liz@chiefmomofficer.org to recommend future articles or request resources.

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