It’s hard to believe but I wasn’t always this cheap (ahem, frugal).  I used to frivolously spend money on things that I didn’t need and/or couldn’t really afford.  I had just given birth to our first child when my husband and I decided to really buckle down and start being adults about money.  That’s when we also decided that I would quit my full time job of five years and become a stay at home mom.  We knew we would have to kiss our old lifestyle goodbye in order to pay off debt, buy a house and start a savings plan.  We knew HOW to do it, we just had to take the first step on this new journey.

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I have always been a fan of shave gel.  What’s not to like?!?  It moisturizes and gives a smoother shave.  It smells great and a little goes a long way.  I also like it because it’s the best product to use to avoid razor burn.  I’ve been using it since I first started shaving my legs.  When I received a can of Skintimate Mandarin Burst, I was actually excited to shave my legs that night.

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As you can see, my pug, Roger, was also excited to be in the picture.  He’s sitting beside me while I type too.

Did you know that you can also use shave gel to get tough stains out of clothing?  Just lather up and rub on the stain. Same goes for stains on your carpet.  My kids love to ‘paint’ with it too.  Just squirt some in a resealable bag and they can paint until their heart is content.  See? It’s handy to have around.  You can usually find a coupon for them too.  So stock up when you find a good buy!  Enjoy!

Be sure to try Skintimate Mandarin Burst, ladies!  I am really enjoying this kind. Combined with my lemon shampoo, I smell divine right out of the shower.

Do you have any alternative uses for shave gel?

Disclaimer:  I received a complimentary can of shave gel from CrowdTap.  No other compensation was received.  All comments and/or opinions are my own.

My family loves to go to different theme parks every summer.  They have so much to offer with shows, food, rides and the like.  But they can also cost a small fortune.  Fear not!  I’m going to provide you with some helpful tips and links in order to make the most of your trip.  This is the stuff that my family does on trips and it makes such a difference, especially with young kids.

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  • Pack a lunch!  Food costs are outrageous at theme parks.  Most will let you leave the park and eat your lunch in a pavilion, near the parking lot.  Check in advance and pack a LOT of drinks!  Do I even need to tell you how great an ice cold drink will taste once you hit the car?!?! We pack a lunch and then we choose one special snack while we are in the park.  That way, it not only saves money but it teaches everyone how to use money wisely.  You only get one and it’s a big decision! (this works with souvenirs too!)
  • Bring a loaded backpack.  We always take a backpack loaded with essentials like sunscreen, water bottles (if allowed), money, a change of clothes (this one almost ALWAYS comes in handy), napkins, camera, etc.  Take what your family might need.  Be sure to check the rules before packing your backpack.  You don’t want to have to trudge back to the car after they search it and find unintended contraband.
  • Buy your souvenirs before you go to the park.  This one sounds weird but it is a wonderful money saver!  Find out the types of souvenirs they sell at the park by checking the website.  Then, go to the dollar store, or other mass merchandisers and buy several small, fun things for your trip.  You can even wrap them if you want to make it extra special.  Then take them with you & keep it a surprise.  You can keep some in your backpack to prevent a meltdown while in the park.  That way, you are getting them for WAY lower than theme park price plus you can bypass the gift shop if you want!  Everybody wins!
  • Put a couple ponchos in your backpack.  You never know when an unexpected shower (or water ride) might occur.  The gift shop costs are ridiculous and nobody wants to walk around with wet shorts for the rest of the day.  Trust me.  This is a gem.
  • Use a note app on your phone to remember where you parked.  I use Evernote.  I just have a note called “parking’ and I use it every time I park in a crowded place.  I just make a clear description, add a photo and voila, no more lost time at the end of the night.
  • Buy the souvenir cup.  We drink a lot when we’re hot, as do most people.  They always offer a cup, where every future refill is at a reduced cost.  Do this right away or even buy it in advance and then have everyone share it.  By the time you really think about it, it will be too late and you’ve already bought four regular drinks.
  • Check the price of a season pass.  Are you planning on hitting up the park a few times? Calculate how many visits it would take in order to pay for itself.  It just might be better that way.  An added bonus? Sometimes you park free with season passes and get other special privileges.
  • Try to travel at odd times.  If you go a little early or a little late in the season, tickets are MUCH cheaper.  If your trip dates are flexible, this might be your best bet.

Looking for discount codes for your tickets?  Here are some links to get money off each ticket.  Please keep in mind that I found these using a Google search so I’m not endorsing or guaranteeing any of them to work.  Just trying to be helpful, folks!  Be sure to check fast food restaurants and grocery stores for coupons too. Different places have different coupons.  If you know someone living near the park, ask them to send some coupons to you!

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Click the links to find discounts:

Hershey Park

Six Flags

Walt Disney World

Busch Gardens

Kings Dominion

Dorney Park

We are taking the clan to Busch Gardens this year. We are all excited and I can’t wait to try and see how much money I can try to save while there.  I’m doing some research and we’ve already purchased our tickets.  Good luck and I hope you can use some of this information. It really comes in handy when we go on vacation.

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How about you?  Are you going to a theme park this year and if so, which one?  Any tips I missed?

 

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I already make a lot of ‘earth-conscious’ decisions naturally since I am such a cheapskate.  It’s pretty awesome that I am reducing my carbon footprint by doing things that save me money too!  Some of these things are pretty easy to do, while some require more time, but in the long run it’s worth it to my family and to me.  Everyone always wants to know your plans for Earth Day.  Well, I want to know your plans for the rest of your life?  You shouldn’t aim to be earth-conscious for one day.  You need to plan to change your habits and your lifestyle!  An added bonus is that you will lengthen your own life but doing a lot of these things too.  But where to start?  Here are some ideas that we already do in my family:

  1. We make our own laundry soap and other cleaning products.
  2. We rent books and DVDS from the library.
  3. We use a GPS instead of writing or printing directions to a new place.
  4. We reuse printed paper for scrap paper, then recycle it.
  5. We switched our trash plan to a bi-weekly plan & got an extra recycling can.
  6. We are planting a vegetable garden.
  7. We make a meal plan every two weeks. (a LOT less waste)
  8. We cook dinner at home 6 days a week.
  9. We eat leftovers. (I add one day in the meal plan for a leftover ‘buffet”)
  10. We carpool as much as possible.
  11. We make a lot of our food from scratch.
  12. We buy a lot of food in bulk and use or share it.
  13. We open our windows and use fans instead of AC as often as we can.
  14. We wear warm clothes when it’s cold and keep our heat very low.
  15. We use reusable gift bags or we reuse wrapping paper for gifts.
  16. We use my parents’ water filter instead of buying bottled water.
  17. We buy reduced produce at the store or produce stand, then incorporate it into that day’s meals.
  18. We buy local goods.
  19. We use reusable bags at the supermarket and other stores (some even give you a discount!)
  20. We have a box of reusable items for crafts.
  21. We donate or sell items that we can no longer use.
  22. We use and/or wear items from yard sales and thrift shops.
  23. Our ripped, old clothes become rags for odd jobs around the house.
  24. We put a brick in our toilet tanks in order to use less water.
  25. We like to park the car and walk to various places.
  26. We take snacks and drinks with us when we go on trips.
  27. We plan our trips for certain days & group them together to save gas.
  28. We use one particular car for work since it gets better gas mileage.
  29. We keep the trunk as empty as possible to help with gas mileage.
  30. We do routine maintenance on our cars to keep them running as long as possible.

See?  Easy peasy, lemon squeezy.  I love finding new ways to save money.  The weirder, the better too!  My husband laughs at me because I am usually up for anything if it saves a buck. I am currently planning on using family cloth soon.  Look it up.  So, Happy Earth Lifetime, instead of Earth Day.

What are you doing that saves money and reduces the strain on our resources?

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I love making lists. I think, at times, it drives my poor husband crazy.  I have a list for everything.  Grocery lists.  Things to Do lists.  Vacation Planning Lists.  You name it and I make a list for it. In fact, my last few posts were about lists.  Please keep reading.  I promise that there’s a point to my rambling.  I feel like lists help keep me organized and on track.  When I was around fifteen years old, I decided to hand write a list of Things To Do Before I Die.  That was the exact title and everything.  I had about one page, front and back.  It included things that I could do quickly and in my younger years, but also things that would take awhile, like study abroad and get married.  Then I got to work.  I promised myself that I would always be working towards some type of goal on the list.  This really makes me feel determined and purposeful.  It’s sounds weird to say, but this list has really helped me keep going at times.

Then, that movie, Bucket List, came out and stole my thunder.  But it’s cool.  I think everyone should make a list and work towards completing things on it.  You can always change things, update them or delete them.  That’s the beauty of the list.  You don’t answer to anyone but yourself.

Since you can pretty much find anything online now, I stumbled upon the site, 43 Things, a few years ago.  43 Things is a goal setting website.  You make a list (with up to 43 things, of course) and then you work towards achieving your goals.  The fun part is that you receive ‘cheers’ from other people and you can ‘cheer’ them on too.  It’s so much fun having complete strangers root for you!  I have also met some great people and friends on this site.  I love it because you can put as much or as little effort as you want into it.  Then when you achieve a goal, you can check it off, write a review and then help other people achieve the same goal.   There is even a book about it:  Find it here!    One of my friends is quoted in it!

I love getting ideas from other people’s lists and helping them with their goals.  I love getting help from others and all the interaction too.  When I first made my list as a teenager, a lot of people thought it was ‘morbid’ and that I was ‘jinxing myself.’  I think it’s the complete opposite.  I think that this list actually makes me want to live my life and enjoy it!  Here is my list on 43 Things:

http://www.43things.com/person/ducktapegurl

These are the things that I am currently working on. There are some long term goals and some short term ones too.  I saved my big list on a word document.  I still have my old list too.  Yes, the one I made when I was fifteen.  I still look at it from time to time to see where I’ve been and what I’ve learned.  Won’t that be cool to show my kids when they grow up?  I can only imagine what life has in store for my family and I can’t wait to cross it off my list.  😉

Disclaimer:  This is not a sponsored post.  I just love this website and wanted to share it with you.  Thoughts, comments and opinions are my own.