Free and Fun Family Activities in Your Local Area 1/17 – 1/19

Each week I’ll post links with fun and inexpensive (or free) things to do in your local area and national deals that everyone can enjoy!

National Activities:

  • American Girls:  Bring your girls to celebrate the release of Isabelle, the newest Girl of the Year at American Girls. The events that are going on this weekend are different for each location. So look to see if and how your local store is participating.
  • Guitar Center: Classes are offered for free through the Music Mentor Series. On the 18th there are two classes being offered. At 10am, Recording Made Easy for Garage Band and at 10:15am a Group Guitar Lesson. Open to all ages. Register online at Guitar Center.
  • Lakeshore Learning Store: On the 18th kids can build and decorate their own skydivers complete with working parachutes. No reservation necessary. Event lasts from 11am to 3pm.
  • Michael’s Kids Club: At Michaels on the 18th, kids get to make and keep an Alien Foam Door Hanger. Designed for kids 3 and up. The craft costs $2 per a kid for a 30 minute session. Sessions start every half an hour from 10am and through 11:30.


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5 Ways to Save on Your Heating Bill

By contributing writer Laura

It’s winter, but are you actually enjoying the weather and walking in a winter wonderland? Maybe you’re like me, preferring to stay warm inside and avoid the harsh elements outside. Regardless of whether you’re an outdoor adventurer or homebody this season, if you’re like most Americans, your heating bill is going up. Here are a few tips to help you save some serious coin on your sizzling heating bill.

5 Ways to Save on Your Heating Bill | The Happy Housewife

Lower Your Thermostat

This tip is pretty simple. If you can bear to lower the temperature in your house by just a few degrees, you can make a dent in your gas or electric bill. For every degree you lower your thermostat, you can save up to 3% on your heating costs. You may need to bundle up or wear layers inside, but if you’re okay with that, you’ll notice a decrease in your heating bill.

Change Your Filter

Replace air filters in your furnace about once every 1-3 months. A dirty filter will slow down air flow in the house, making your HVAC system work harder to keep you warm — greatly reducing its efficiency, even up to 20%. It’s particularly important to change filters during heavy use periods like winter and summer.

Caulk or Weatherstrip

Examine your windows and doors for air leaks, aka drafts, and use caulk or weatherstrip to prevent heat loss. Caulk is ideal for sealing cracks or gaps that measure 1/4″ or less. A silicone or acrylic latex caulk plus caulk gun can be used to seal cracks or small holes. Weatherstripping is a great way to winterize your windows. You can find many self-sticking weather stripping products available in your local hardware store.

Search Your Basement & Attic

Although you may feel most drafts by your windows or doors, I’ve been told that the most significant air leaks in your home are typically hidden in the attic and/or basement. Look to insulate your basement and attic to prevent these major drafts. You can find some great DIY tips on the EnergyStar website.

Soak up the Sunlight

Let the natural sunlight help warm up your home! Don’t forget to open up your drapes and shades during the day to allow the sunlight in through your windows. Let mother nature do some of the work for you so sun rays can naturally raise the temperature inside your home.

All the tips above will help you save money on your heating bill, and it really boils down to two simple strategies: 1) Find ways to deal with lower temps, and 2) Make your home more energy efficient, which will reduce your energy consumption and result in savings on your heating bill.

What creative ways have you saved on your heating bill during the winter months? Have you heard that gas prices will likely be increasing this upcoming year? It may be even more important for your family to find ways to save on your heating bill, as the costs increase. Be sure to leave a comment and share your own tips and thoughts!

More from The Happy Housewife


This post may contain a link to an affiliate. See my disclosure policy for more information.

Free and Fun Family Activities in Your Local Area 1/10 – 1/12

Each week I’ll post links with fun and inexpensive (or free) things to do in your local area and national deals that everyone can enjoy!

National Activities:

  • American Girls:  Bring your girls to Bitty Baby’s Story time at participating stores on the 14th. Bitty Baby is the first story of a new picture book series from American Girls. The reading is free and open to girls 3 and up.
  • Guitar Center: Classes are offered for free through the Music Mentor Series. On the 11th there are two classes being offered. At 10am, Recording Made Easy for Garage Band and at 10:15am a Group Guitar Lesson. Open to all ages. Register online at Guitar Center.
  • Lakeshore Learning Store: On the 11th kids can build and decorate their own bongo. No reservation necessary. Event lasts from 11am to 3pm.
  • Michael’s Kids Club: At Michaels, kids get to have some painting fun. Designed for kids 3 and up on the 11th. $2 per a kid for a 30 minute session. Sessions start every half an hour from 10am and through 11:30.


This post may contain a link to an affiliate. See my disclosure policy for more information.

What to Stock Up on During January Sales

By contributing writer Alea Milham

There are always lots of great clearance sales in January. If you are strategic, you can use these sales to stock up on items and save money on the things you need.

While much of the clearance sales will be Christmas items, some of those Christmas items can be used through out the year. And there will also be many useful items on sale that are not Christmas related.

What to Stock Up on During January Sales | The Happy Housewife

What to Stock Up on During January Sales

Some Christmas Items Can be Used Year Round

Some of the clearance items will scream Christmas and will only be useful if you are still building your collection of Christmas decorations. However many of the Christmas items will simply be a solid Christmas color.

I buy solid red, green, and gold cloth linens to use in our home during the January clearance sales. It helps that I have a green bathroom and a gold bathroom. I also happen to have a green kitchen, red dining room, red and gold bedroom, and a green and gold living room. No, I didn’t plan it that way, but I do make it work for me.

Ask yourself if it matters if the item has a Christmas print. Kitchen Towels with holly on them dry dishes just as effectively as plain white dish towels. I happen to have a drawer full of odd dish cloths and towels that I have picked up from clearance sales. My kids sleep in Christmas pajamas in February. And nobody will ever know if they are wearing Christmas themed underwear in July.

Repurpose Red and Green Items for Other Holidays

You can use some of the red and green items for Valentine’s Day and St. Patrick’s Day. I pick up red and green cupcake decorations for use on those days. Solid red or green wrapping paper can be used to wrap birthday presents. Solid gold or silver wrapping paper is great for wrapping wedding or anniversary gifts.

Buy Winter Items in January to Save 50% or More

The stores will also be putting all their winter gear on clearance. Take inventory of the items you need or will need in the future. Do you need new flannel sheets, a space heater, or snow boots? January is the time to pick these items up for 50% off or more. Do your children have fairly predictable growth patterns? Pick up their winter clothes and accessories for next winter for 50 – 75 % off in January.

Stock Your Gift Closet.

Many toys and games will be on marked down during January. This is a good time build your gift stash for all the birthdays throughout the year. Fragrance sets will also be on sale, so you can tuck them away for Mother’s Day gifts.

What will you be stocking up on in January?

More frugal ideas from Alea


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