Free and Fun Family Activities in Your Local Area 5/16 – 5/18

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 GirlMay In-Store Events (Events vary by location and minimum age. Find events specific to your area online. Reservations required. For girls ages 8 and up.) This month includes: Mother’s Day Card Craft, Isabelle’s Funky Fashion Headpiece Craft, Everyday Fun Doll ‘Dos, Isabella’s Celebration, Julie’s Bracelet Craft and more!

Guitar Center: Free Classes through their Music Mentor Series.  Register online. No age restriction.

  • Saturday, May 17th: 10 AM - Recording Made Easy for Garage Band
  • Saturday, May 17th: 10:15 AM – Group Guitar Lesson

Kindermusik: Try a free class (see all the information here). Kindermusik ~ Where Music & Learning Play!

  • Classes for children from newborn to age seven
  • Child development through music and movement
  • Immerse your child in a musical atmosphere of play, song, and dance – while developing fundamental skills
  • Connect with other moms, dads, and families

Lakeshore Learning: Saturday, May 17th from 11AM-3PM ~Fishing Pole. Kids can make and take home a play fishing pole.

Michael’s Kids Club Workshops: Kids will create a craft that they get to take home. Designed for kids ages 3 and up ($2/child).  Starts at 10 am and runs every 30 minutes on Saturday (5/17).  You can shop while they create.

Williams-Sonoma Free Technique Classes (for kids and adults): Saturday, May 17th at 9:30 AM~ Junior Chefs will make Fresh Salsa. Make a reservation.Thanks, More with Less Today!

Local Activities:

If you are a blogger who posts a local round-up of family activities, then feel free to fill out this form to be considered for future posts.


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 5/9 – 5/11

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 GirlMay In-Store Events (Events vary by location and minimum age. Find events specific to your area online. Reservations required. For girls ages 8 and up.) This month includes: Mother’s Day Card Craft, Isabelle’s Funky Fashion Headpiece Craft, Everyday Fun Doll ‘Dos, Isabella’s Celebration, Julie’s Bracelet Craft and more!

Free Zoo Admission: Search the name of your town plus “free zoo admission Mother’s Day 2014″ to see if your local zoo is offering free admission for Mom on Mother’s Day, Sunday May 11th. Last year, over 60 zoos all across the USA participated! Some zoos are offering half-price admission for Mom or Mom gets in free with paid child’s admission.

Guitar Center: Free Classes through their Music Mentor Series.  Register online. No age restriction.

  • Saturday, May 10th: 10 AM - Recording Made Easy for Garage Band
  • Saturday, May 10th: 10:15 AM – Group Guitar Lesson

Kindermusik: Try a free class (see all the information here). Kindermusik ~ Where Music & Learning Play!

  • Classes for children from newborn to age seven
  • Child development through music and movement
  • Immerse your child in a musical atmosphere of play, song, and dance – while developing fundamental skills
  • Connect with other moms, dads, and families

Lakeshore Learning: Saturday, May 10th from 11AM-3PM ~Special Mother’s Day Crafts. Kids can make and take home coupon book, craft stick card, blooming bouquet, and a dazzling crown and sash for their mothers.

Michael’s Kids Club Workshops: Kids will create a craft that they get to take home. Designed for kids ages 3 and up ($2/child).  Starts at 10 am and runs every 30 minutes on Saturday (5/10).  You can shop while they create.

Pottery Barn: This weekend kids are invited to make a one of a kind card for their mom or grandmother. Check your local store to see if they are participating.

Williams-Sonoma Free Technique Classes (for kids and adults): Saturday, May 10th at 9:30 AM~ Junior Chefs will make Rocky Road Fudge for Mom. Make a reservation.Thanks, More with Less Today!

Local Activities:

If you are a blogger who posts a local round-up of family activities, then feel free to fill out this form to be considered for future posts.


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

3 Free or Inexpensive Gardening Hacks

The following is a guest post by Rodney Southern.

More and more people are gardening today because it is a way to put healthier food on the table. It’s also a great way to save money, get exercise, and have the whole family join in on doing something good for the home. In fact, just about the only way it could be improved upon is by using some inexpensive or free gardening hacks.

Free or Inexpensive Gardening Hacks

Mix in Free Mulch

In the springtime, cities and counties both trim branches and trees that have broken over the winter or are getting a little too close to power lines. They might also trim through the alleys to keep them clear for emergency vehicles and garbage trucks. Rather than leave the trimmings on the ground, they mulch them. The mulch is then dropped off at a place designated by the city or county. They then pass it along to citizens. Otherwise it simply builds up and creates a hazard. In most places you can simply pull in and ask for a truckload. Without leaving your vehicle, you will have a free truckload of mulch.

Take the mulch home and spread it through a garden that has a hard time retaining moisture. The mulch can be mixed in with the existing dirt to help the ground with moisture. While you don’t want your garden to stay wet, some areas are sandy and can benefit from the addition of mulch.

Start with Kitchen Scraps

Before heading to the garden supply store, take a look in your refrigerator. You may have items in your vegetable drawer that can be grown in the garden. Celery, potatoes, garlic, onions, scallions, and many more vegetables that you buy in the store can be grown from scraps.

Use Two Liter Bottles to Hold Your Plants

Whether you want to reduce waste or you just need to find a way to create a vertical garden, two liter bottles may be your ticket. One way to use them is to lay a two liter bottle on its side and cut the (now) top off. Use a nail to add some drainage holes. Hang the two liter bottles on the fence and fill with soil. Add seeds and water regularly. If you want to create multiple garden walls or you don’t have a fence, attach the two liter bottles to the inside of pallets that you have standing on their sides.

From saving the seeds from the vegetables you cook to making your own compost in the backyard, there are an unlimited number of inexpensive gardening hacks you can use. In fact, the more you garden, the more hacks you will find as you try to get creative and make use of your surroundings.

You might also like…

Photo credit, cc license

Rodney Southern is a long time content writer specializing in a wide array of niches both online and in print. His work has been featured on sites such as Yahoo.com, The Sporting News and numerous others over an eleven plus year career. He also runs his own website on diabetes called Dashing Diabetes. He was the National Call for Content Winner for 2008. Southern resides in Greensboro, NC with his wife, Julie and identical twin daughters, Valerie and Brooke.


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

How to Save for a Down Payment While Renting

How to Save for a Down Payment While Renting | The Happy Housewife

By Jennifer Riner of Zillow

Most people dream of owning property one day. Rent fees only finance current housing and don’t apply toward residents’ investments or compile for future returns. Conversely, homeownership allows individuals to pay for housing while simultaneously investing in one of their largest capital ventures available. Beyond the obvious return on investment potential, some homebuyers discover their monthly mortgage payments cost the same as or less than rents. In those cases, home buying is both attractive and economically smart.

Saving money for a down payment is often the biggest hurdle to initiate a home purchase. Twenty percent of the total purchase price of the home is the ideal down payment size. Although loans with lesser down payment percentage options are available, borrowers pay additional monthly fees for private mortgage insurance until they have 20 percent equity in their homes. Many prospective buyers haven’t accumulated the cash to make such sizable down payments. Therefore, lessees who seek homeownership need to begin allocating portions of their incomes immediately to fund future home purchases.

Aside from increasing income, consider these four tips to cut back on current expenses and begin saving for home procurement.

Downsize

The first thing renters can do to save for future down payments is minimize their current rent overheads. While smaller apartments aren’t as comfortable, the lower costs help renters save for home purchases. Remainders from decreasing rental expenses benefit personal investments rather than property management’s pockets.

Not willing to move yet? Consider negotiating with landlords for lower rates. As a reliable tenant who regularly pays rent on time, a lessee can capitalize on a good relationship with a landlord to hopefully receive a smaller bill. To find new tenants, landlords must clean, market and re-lease their units, all while the spaces are unoccupied. Therefore, a slightly reduced rent may be more enticing for landlords than finding new tenants.

Invest in an IRA

Investing in a retirement plan is an understandably smart step toward a stable financial future. However, these investments can also assist future home purchases. The first-home exemption rule says individuals under the age of 59.5 can use up to $10,000 of their IRA funds toward the purchase of homes without incurring the usual 10 percent withdrawal fee. Keep in mind that even though home shoppers circumvent early withdrawal fees, they likely still pay income taxes on amounts deducted.

Find Roommates

Roommates aren’t just for college freshman anymore. Shared rentals are extremely common amongst young professionals trying to cut down on living costs post-grad. Realistically, anyone can split rent with friends or family members. Rather than paying $1,000 per month for a one-bedroom apartment, consider searching for a new apartment to share and split the $1,400 monthly expense. In this case, finding a roommate reduces individual rent payments by $300 per month. While seemingly small, these reserves add up quickly. In four years, $300 per month in savings equals $14,400, excluding any interest. While probably not an adequate amount for a down payment by itself, it can put renters on the fast-track to owning when combined with some of these other savings tactics.

Roommates also help split utility bills. Rather than individually paying $100 per month on phone, Internet and cable fees, three roommates can share one package and pay around $33 apiece. In this capacity, shared utilities save tenants more than 60 percent. And with today’s technology, communal routers have little effect on individual speed and functionality.

Get Rid of Unnecessary Amenities

Is an outside gym membership really crucial? How often is the membership used and are there any viable alternatives to keep healthy without spending an extra $20 to $100 per month? These are questions all fiscal-minded individuals should ask themselves when additional amenities affect their monthly budgets. Consider running outside or investing in a treadmill for a basic cardio workout. Individuals who don’t use the gym but keep paying monthly dues “just in case,” aren’t doing their bank accounts any favors.

Is cable the only source of entertainment in the home or is it possible to get by on Netflix alone? Consider nixing the cable and phone bill and use the Internet as the sole means of digital entertainment. Connect an HDMI cord or purchase Apple TV to link Internet and laptops to television screens when entertaining guests.

These are just a few common tips renters can use to jumpstart the paths to home ownership. Calculate specific personal expenditures to get a better idea of where to cut back and how to allocate money appropriately.


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