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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

Online Gambling For the Win

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I sometimes prefer online gambling to playing games live at a casino. There’s something unappealing about going to a smoky casino and having other players watching your every move. Instead, online gambling allows you the chance to win money while cozy at home. Casinos Casinos have a reputation for being terrible places to hang out. Aside from the smell of smoke that permeates every casino in the world, some of the gamblers who are attracted to casinos are the hardcore gamblers or addicts – neither group of which are pleasant to be around. And since I live in Texas, going to a casino requires driving to Louisiana. That is about 3-4 hours of driving just one way in order to gamble. That means a quick trip to play a little video poker means giving up an entire day or two. It seems odd to me to either need a hotel or a major coffee spree to pull off a few hours of entertainment. Online Gambling is the Future On the other side of the coin, we’ve got online gambling. Online gambling arguably offers more chances and more entertaining way to win. From a purely comfort stand point, playing games in … Read more

Nerds Are Nuts!

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Remember me mentioning the Board Game Geek (BGG) Convention? It’s a 2500-3000 person nerd fest for board gamers the week before Thanksgiving every year in Dallas, Texas. Mr. BFS and I have attended since 2012. Board Game Geek Con is a Big Deal In the board gamer world, BGG is HUGE. It’s like Comicon for sci-fi geeks. BUT, it never sold out in like an hour before…well, before today. Today it took 1.25 hours to sell out all 2900 tickets. And the hotel was booked solid within an hour too. And the main overflow hotels were booked up within an hour after that. And we NERDS WENT NUTS! Forum Posts The BGG forums are just flooded with dozens and dozens of ticked off or sad postings because very few people expected it to sell out so quickly. The general guess was about 3-4 days. Not less than 2 hours… Here were some of the most memorable forum postings: “As one of those who couldn’t get to a computer to get my tickets, I’m ready to burn down the freaking world right now.” “NOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I’m an ‘Every Timer’ and I don’t have tickets for this year!!! Not fair. My house gets … Read more