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Why I Don’t Think TV is the Enemy

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I’ve seen and read dozens of posts in the last few years about the time suck that is television.  To summarize, everyone should cut cable at the very least and/or stop watching tv altogether if they really want to accomplish anything in life. Cutting Cable WILL Save You Money Yes, cutting cable can save you thousands of dollars.  We’ve done it.  It’s was a great feeling to bank that extra $75 a month. BUT, we also reconnected to cable less than a year later because the savings wasn’t worth it to our friends/roommates at the time.  I also was frustrated by the hassle of tracking down which other places I could find my favorite shows.  Len wanted to be able to watch nationwide live sports easily (and legally).  We don’t do the pirated streaming thing – he’s a rules-driven sports official and I am a goody two-shoes myself on most things.  And the antenna was only getting him a few games a week.  The legal options – connecting my laptop to our tv, using the slightly glitchy Chromecast, finding old episodes on Netflix, or watching commercials on Hulu – worked okay but it was always a process instead of lazy fun.  We missed our DVR. As a household, we are the definition … Read more

6 Free or Cheap Summer Fun Ideas

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Today’s post is from writer and commenter here on BFS, Kate (Mrs. COD).  She is passionate about helping people make smarter decisions with money in order to be able to spend money on what really matters to them. Thanks to slaying her debt demons, she’s now able to stay at home raising her two rambunctious little boys. Kate blogs about lifelong habit changes and “finangelism” at Changing Our Default, which she started early in 2016. As soon as the weather starts to turn warmer and the allergies start acting up, we know summer is just around the corner! Whether you work full-time in summer or have some time off, as I always have as a teacher, summer promises oodles of extra fun. Making memories with family and friends doesn’t have to cost a fortune. Summer is ripe with opportunities for free and cheap entertainment. Let’s dive into a few of them! Picnics and Barbecues What summer is complete without a few cookouts with friends? You have to eat anyway, so invite a few pals over and fire up the grill. Set this up however you prefer–either you can provide everything, or you can take care of the food while everyone BYOBs, or … Read more

Living Paycheck to Paycheck but Having FunToo

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Living Paycheck to Paycheck but having fun too | Zero Dollar Entertainment Budget | Having Fun on a Budget | Tips for Having Fun | Cheap Entertainment

The following post is from Sarah at A Matter of Cents.  She’s a new mom, former accountant, and current business owner who is throwing herself into freelance writing now too. Finding ways to make a dollar go further can be challenging. I know from my 20’s and 30’s that paychecks don’t always go as far as you need them to stretch. Being a responsible adult is a drag, but I’ve found some ways to create extra spending money without picking up a second job or cutting spending. I have found that even if I save some extra money for something fun, that same money gets used for some “adult responsibilities” like unforeseen auto expenses or doctor visits. So I decided to get creative. A Truly Free Lunch (or Dinner) Get that dinner paid for by someone else! Dining out is a common way to get out of the house and have a nice treat. Sometimes we do this a little too often. But if someone else is footing the bill, there is less need to cut it out of the budget! No, I am not suggesting having a guy take you to dinner…besides, when you get married, it doesn’t help that “that guy” is using … Read more

6+ Free Family Activities for Summer Fun

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6 Free Family Activities for Summer | Things to do with Kids | Children's Activities | Frugal Entertainment | Free Things to Do

Mr. And Mrs. Beatles blog about their frugal life at Stacking Pennies. They recently began their journey towards frugality and write about different things they learn on their way to a debt free lifestyle. In the Beatles household, family activities are what we look most forward to in the Summer. We believe that frugal families tend to be closer and stronger than their counterparts because rather than paying someone else to entertain them, they find entertainment together and within each other. This creates special bonding moments! While entertainment costs have gotten out of control (have you seen the price of a movie ticket and popcorn lately?), there are plenty of other ways of having fun without paying a dime; these are cost-free activities that anyone can do with their families. Let’s look at some family activities that don’t require you to open your purse or wallet: Visit the beach (or water near you) Beaches are a ton of fun and make no impact on the budget!  You can collect shells, swim, build sand castles, feed the seagulls, fly a kite without getting it caught in a power line, etc.  Jazz it up with a pitcher of homemade lemonade and sandwiches. If there’s no … Read more

Another November, Another Huge Board Gamer Party!!! Woot for #BGGCON16!

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We attended our first Board Game Geek (BGG) Convention in 2012 and have returned every year since then. I loved the overall feel so much, I joined Team Geek in 2014 and volunteer 20+ hours every year in exchange for free tickets.  We still pay for gas, food, and to stay in the convention hotel (which we split with friends).  Overall, it ends up being a 5 day vacation every November the week before Thanksgiving for $500-$750. Team Geek 2016 Since this was my third year on Team Geek, I was finally able to sign up for the primo volunteer shifts!  “Primo” for me meant that I was able to count the setup and tear down shifts as actual time towards my required 16 hours (I usually do those shifts anyway for free just to help).  The team this year was even more efficient together and just as friendly as always…they make me feel like part of something important and bigger than myself.  I know that sounds weird when talking about convention staffing, but it really does feel like an annual family reunion. My only tiny complaint was that I didn’t end up in the amazing BGG library for my … Read more

How to Make a Yard Spider – Our Newest Halloween Addition

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This is a super fun but still cheap Halloween decoration. We're going to have the best DIY haunted house on the block this year thanks to tutorials like this one. Decorating for the holidays is so much fun, but can be hard on my budget. Frugal hacks ftw!

Two years ago, I grabbed some stuff from Home Depot and created this new addition to our Halloween decoration family… My Giant Yard Spider – Elspira Meet Elspira (Elvira but a spider…get it?  Hehehe) – she makes me smile. Here is how you can make a giant yard spider of your own. Things to Gather Here are the items I bought from Home Depot (you can use my affiliate link to see their specials and get free shipping on most orders over $45) and their cost in 2014: Six 6′ foam pipe covers (enough to make sixteen 2 foot parts) – $10 Eight 1/2 inch elbow socket pipe parts – $1.75 Black electrical tape – $3 Two Black plastic bags (already had them from Costco) – $1 Filler (we used old newspaper and a spare brick for the body) – $N/A Foam plate (or something to make the eyes and extras) – $N/A Two wire coat hangers (or something to make spikes) – $N/A Total Cost = $15.75 Steps to Making a Yard Spider Cut the foam into sixteen, 2 foot sections. Join two sections of the foam together using an elbow socket pipe part and black electrical tape. Repeat 7 times. Fill one plastic bag to … Read more

Keeping Our Cable Bill Tolerable Instead of OH HELLS NO

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If you’ve been reading for years, you know that we are cable-cutting flip-floppers. In 2014, we cut cable to save $100 a month. I usually could call annually and get them to keep our bill reasonable, but in 2014, they decided to call my supposed bluff. I decided not to bluff. Restarted Cable in 2015 BUT in April 2015, 8 months later, our roommate and my close friend, Mandy, called “Uncle”. She wanted DVR again and was willing to chip in $50 a month. Mr. BFS also missed some of his live sports. So, I took AT&T up on a deal and we signed back up again. Our bill went back from $65 a month with fees and taxes to $125 for a few months and then finally to the $150 a month, where it settled. But our 1 year deal ended this past month and the bill jumped up yet again to $195. Maybe Cancelling Again I didn’t want to cover an unbudgeted $45 a month for a service that I really don’t use very much. I mean, Mr. BFS and I enjoy using the DVR’d shows a couple of times a week. But we both stopped watching as … Read more